Tag Archives: family

Dear Dad [Rest in Peace]

26 Dec

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Dear Dad,

I called you dad, pa, daddy, Roberto, papa. You called me Michelleeanna, Annie, hot rod…Anner Nanner.

You’ve been the best father that a girl could hope for, and you’ve been with me through every moment of my life, big or small. As we go through your belongings, we find things that bring back the best memories…memories I’ll cherish the rest of my life. You may be gone in body, now, but you’ll never be gone in spirit.

The day of my wedding, you’ll be there.
The day I finally buy a house, you’ll be there.
The day I graduate with my next degree…you’ll be there.

You live on in me and my sister, our mother, and your grand children.

I find solace knowing that you are finally at peace, and that your pain has ended. You fought a good fight, Dad, and I knew that no matter the outcome, the day you told me I’m going to fight this damn cancer  that everything would be okay. And I know that as much as I love you, and I admire you that you love me and are proud of me.

Everything I’ve done until this day, and everything I’ll do in the future is to make you and Mom proud of me. You are such a major part of who I are, and who I’ve become. You’re the fire to my phoenix.

I know that you held on as long as you did for us, to make sure we were ready and that we would be okay once you were gone. Thank you for that. I know it was a hard, long struggle. I know you were worried. But we will be okay. I got to spend one last Christmas with my papa, even if you were only hanging on by a thread, even if you couldn’t sit with us next to the Christmas tree…I got to sing Christmas carols to you, and buy you one last Christmas present, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

I’ll miss you. I love you.

Give ’em hell, Dad

Rest in Peace
12.26.14
2:19 pm

When “Alone” Doesn’t Begin to Cover It: Being the “Balanced” One

2 Dec

Over Thanksgiving, I was once again reminded of my role in the family: the balanced one. I don’t know how I got stuck with that title, but it appears I have no choice. My sister and my mother can’t seem to stand each other. One owes the other, and one can’t see that she’ll never be repaid. They are both anxious and nervous, and can’t seem to talk to one another even on the eve of my fathers death.

So Mom comes to me to cry about everything because my sister isn’t talking to her. My sister comes to me to cry about everything because she isn’t talking to my mom. No one seems to be able to remain calm but me.

Balance.

Being the balanced one means I don’t get a lot of time to be unbalanced, which sometimes I so desperately need. I have to be balanced, because if I become unhinged like everyone else, the world plummets into chaos. And I can’t handle chaos.

It’s lonely when you’re balanced.

My mother told me something on the phone the other day that I just can’t seem to shake. I know it’s true, and I know that means I’ll be alone. She told me, when talking about the grief counselor that hospice sends over once a week, that herself, my sister, and I will each need someone to be our rock on that day, and that my mom doesn’t think she will be able to do it.

I haven’t heard such a truthful statement.

And on that day, I will be the loneliest, most alone person on the planet. My mom has the grief counselor, my sister has her husband, and me…well…

I have no one.

But I’m the balanced one. And the balanced one must remain balanced, so naturally I will use logic to assess my emotions, that my emotions are valid, that death is necessary and predictable, and that having no one is a result of being balanced. Because only the balanced one can be okay without someone else to balance for them.

And on that day, I fear nothing more than my entire family becoming unhinged and estranged from one another, simply because the person who made the balanced person balance, is gone.

The Dog Fight

9 Nov

It never seems to fail – no matter how hard I try trips home tend to be dramatic.

Last time I visited home, I slept in my car after being cornered by my sister’s dog, who for some reason seems to be the only dog in the entire world that hates me. Of course, I bring my dog with me, so we keep them separate.

This time when I went home, my sister’s dog just happened to be only about a week shy of being full-term pregnant. My mom also decided we should let the dogs play. Never mind that I work in animal behavior…no one seems to think I have any clue about what I’m doing when it comes to dogs.

So against my better judgment, I decide its okay to introduce the dogs, and all was well enough. My mom decided to take them into the living room, and for whatever reason I didn’t think to follow (probably because I was talking to Dad).

Only a few short moments later, I hear a fight break out. Instinct kicks in and I tear out of my mom’s room, through the kitchen and into the living room where a full-blown dog fight has broken out. My mom was trying to get in the middle of the dogs meanwhile my nephew was pushing her out of the way (literally), and everyone else just decided it was okay to watch.

Jazz, being a pretty good dog, tried to stop fighting once I started yelling, but her dog wouldn’t let up. Amidst everyone telling me not to, I reached in and picked up my dog to remove him from the situation, but because everyone else thought it was better to just watch, her dog grabbed hold of Jazz again.

Once again, no one seems to think I have any clue what I’m doing, because they kept telling me to stop.

Which is when I got fed up and yelled at them that I know what I’m doing and to grab Ivy’s back legs. Like I said, once I grabbed Jazz’s butt he completely stopped. Unfortunately, even once they grabbed my sister’s dog, she wouldn’t let go of my dog’s neck, so we had to pry her off.

And in all of an instant, I look down and see blood on Jazz’s head and splattered all over the floor, so I pick my dog up and take him into my old bedroom. His neck was soaked and I was expecting the worst after the hold the other dog had on him.

Lo and behold…I got a bloody nose even before I reached the dogs and bled all over the place. Had I walked out of my room and into the street, you would think I got a real good beating – blood all over both arms, my shirt, my neck, smeared on my faces and dripping down my lip. Jazz’s neck was soaked only with doggie saliva.

As it turns out, both dogs were largely unscathed. Apparently, the quick exertion mixed with the much drier air and probably dehydration gave me a nose bleed when I got up and ran, which I thought was a runny nose. It bled and bled and bled, and even into the next day I was still getting blood from it. Everyone was freaked out by the amount of blood in the living room before they realized it was just my nose.

I still don’t know what everyone would have done had I not been there. And I can’t believe my nephew pushed my mom out of the way twice.

Ever had something like this happen? How are your family gatherings?

Death: Logic & Reason VS. Feelings & Emotion

27 Oct

I tend to be a very logical person. A great example (at least to me) was the time that I blacked out in a hotel. Once I started to come to, my first full thought was “Please don’t need to go to the doctor to get IV fluids”.

Or, when I get broken up with or rejected or anything of that nature, I always acknowledge that it’s okay if you don’t like me. It is. You can’t force anyone to like you or to love you, and we don’t have control over our feelings.

I do tend to be a very sensitive individual, too. I don’t have any great examples for that one, so you’ll just have to trust me.

With death, and this may be a “me” thing or an “everyone” thing, I find that these two seemingly contradictory processes makes dealing difficult.

My dad has officially been placed on hospice care. The treatment for his cancer is too hard on his body, and he has been given only a couple of months to live. I can only hope that is a conservative guess, and that he might have something closer to 4 or 6 months.

Being faced with my father passing soon, I find myself conflicted. I just don’t know how to feel.

Death is probably the most logical, reasonable, and expected thing in life. We know it’s coming from the second we know what death is. It happens to everyone and everything, and the only thing we don’t necessarily know is when and how. Because it is such a logical thing, I feel like I’m being somewhat cold to the situation. Of course I think it is too soon, and if I had a choice my dad wouldn’t have to leave me, but he does. If it wasn’t soon, it would be later, and it would still happen. It  will happen to my mom and my sister, and eventually me and my husband. My nieces and nephews. All of us.

But like I said, I’m a sensitive soul. I’m torn up that I’m losing my father. He won’t get to walk my down the aisle when I get married. He won’t see me get my next degree. I won’t be able to take care of him when he gets older and I have the ability. There are so many times I turn to my father to make me feel accepted, and happy, and justified in my feelings. I feel frustrated with myself when I start being logical about the situation.

I’m stuck in the middle. One part of me says that I should stay strong and carry on, that feeling overwhelmingly sad is unnecessary. The other part of me says that I should quit my job and glue myself to my dad’s side until he passes and that there should be no moment that I’m not crying.  One part says that it is time to accept what is happening and the other part says do not accept defeat – you aren’t ready to lose Dad yet.

On one hand, I’m quite fortunate to be able to sort these things out [somewhat] before he passes, but on the other, it gives me more time to think things over too much.

How do you deal with death? Do you reason yourself through it, or do you just let the emotion flow? Is this a weird “me” thing, or is this an “everyone” thing? With the death you’ve had to deal with, was it sudden or did you prepare prior to it’s occurrence? 

Peace of Mind

12 Sep

This weekend I was finally able to visit my father since the news of hiscancer. I was nervous at first, and then frustrated, but I’m really glad I went because even though the news hasn’t changed and progress hasn’t really been made, I have acquired some peace of mind.

The peace of mind came from two things. Two very simple things.

The first thing was something I’ve been contemplating since we found out. Should I or shouldn’t I move back to be with my family? My mom tells me just as frequently as I tell her that I should move back. While it definitely would have some perks, I find it hard to abandon my job and my home here to move back home where I may not find a job in my field. I decided that I would ask my dad, and whatever he said I would do. So I did. I’ll not be moving back. He said that there wasn’t anything I could do, and he loves me of course, but he also is pretty level-headed. And its true. I did spend every second I could with my dad on Thursday, but he was only awake for about 8 hours, so while me being there was nice it isn’t like he is spending 16 hours awake alone.

The second thing, which is probably more comforting, is what he said to me this morning before he left for a doctors appointment.

I’ll come up to see you soon. We’ll get this thing shrunken and I’ll come up. I’m going to fight this. I’m a fighter, Annie.

To see that fight still left in my dad was everything I could have asked for. Even if the treatment renders him unable to actually visit me, knowing that he hasn’t given up and wants to win his battle with cancer makes it all okay. And even if we all feel completely defeated right now, he gives me hope.

30 Day Letter Challenge: Dear Person Who Needs to Forgive Me

24 Jun

Dear Person Who Needs to Forgive Me,

In length, my life is remarkably short, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done my share of things that were probably on the edge of terrible.

There is one thing, that only you and a select other few people know of, until now at least, that I’ve done that I really, really wish I hadn’t.

Maybe not done, maybe just thought or said. 

Every day I wish you would forgive me. It’s been about 15 years, and still, nothing.

When Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, I so vividly remember the multiple times I thought I’d tell my parents “I told you so” if they got lung cancer. Every time they lit a cigarette, I was so upset. I thought and maybe even said things that I can’t even get up the courage to say now, and I don’t even know if I told them or if I just kept it to myself.

Regardless…no, Dad. I will not say I told you so. I will not rejoice that you may have gotten a lesson for your years of smoking. I will not be happy if you lose the battle.

But if I did tell you when I was so young, you wouldn’t remember anyway. And you wouldn’t even hold a grudge that needed forgiveness.

I would though. So please, forgive me.

Always, Me

30 Day Letter Challenge: Dear Sister

15 Jun

Dear Sister,

There is only one of you, and probably for the better.

Our relationship has had it’s ups and downs, but whether you’ve taught me or I’ve learned from your mistakes, you’ve helped me through a lot in my life.

Being so far apart in age gives us a unique relationship, too. We never really played together, and I pestered you and you were mean to me, but that’s kind of just the thing that siblings do, right?

I truly think that our sisterhood is one that does best when we are far apart, but it makes sense. We’ve always been kind of far apart. Age, maturity, distance. It makes sense. But I will always be there for you, and I know that you will always be there for me. You do a lot, and I know you are worn thin, but even if people don’t thank you, they do appreciate it and they do appreciate you.

Never forget that. And never forget that you are strong, because you have been through more than many, and you are still holding up the world.

Love you.

Always, Me