Archive for January, 2018

After 30 years a new family will live in my Mom and Dad’s house. I finished cleaning out and cleaning up the house yesterday. I had never seen this house empty. It was a bittersweet day; the end of an era for us. Empty houses hold such promise, I hope there will be lots of sweet for the new people and hardly any bitter.

I stopped in to see Dad before going to the house. He was sleeping. I stood there and watched him sleep for a while like I used to do with my kids. Unlike with my kids watching my Dad made me sad instead of happy.

Even in his sleep breathing is a struggle. He looks so small and the effort to move air is so hard for him. Part of the problem is he lays down flat to sleep. With as bad as his lungs are he should be sleeping sitting up. He has never been able to sleep that way, so he won’t.

I left after a few minutes and went to finish the house. There wasn’t much left and I had everything cleaned and loaded in my car before noon. I checked the house multiple times to be sure I had everything.

Once done I set my timer and sat down on the floor and meditated, remembering the fun times we had in that house. Remembering the sad times we had in that house and missing my family. I cried a little, I smiled at the memories, I left wishing the new owners all the happiness we had experienced and more.

I stopped in to see Dad before I headed out of town. His breathing was still labored and I was lucky that the respiratory therapist came while I was there. Because he was struggling even after using his rescue inhaler she had them give him a prednisone. He is to take it again today if he is still struggling.

He can’t be on prednisone all the time because of the side effects. ‘roid rage is a real thing. Sister B and I have been on the end of some of that and the staff at the home does not need to deal with that if they don’t have too.

Dad’s memory isn’t good. He has a hard time understanding what is happening. He forgets when he took his medicine, he forgets the names of the people who are taking care of him. It frustrates him that he can’t keep things in his head. It also makes him anxious. Brother G said he talked to him today and Dad sounded awful.

We are on the downhill slope. I am still hoping that it will be a gentle bunny hill but it feels more like we are heading down a mountain. COPD is a horrible insidious disease. It is robbing us of our father/grandfather/great-grandfather/brother/uncle.

There are times when all I do is feel. Everything feels raw and right at the surface. Other times I feel numb. Sunday I wanted to cry until I threw up. Yesterday there were tears but not as many. Today I feel rather detached from it all. That inertia is very hard to overcome. I know it is grief. We are all feeling it. I will write about my grief another time.

The end of the era of visiting at the house is over. I don’t know how long we will have with Dad but I am so very grateful for everyday.

Happy thoughts for a happy day!

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I was hoping this would be about the last time I was at Gpa’s house. But . . . I have a lot of negative things I would like to just spew all over this page. But I am restraining myself from writing them. At least here, in public. 

Gpa’s house is almost empty. I have a few things to pick up on Tuesday. I was feeling very emotional on Sunday on our way to his house. So I want to thank the person for the anger and hurt to help power us through what had to be done. 

The intention was to finish everything on Sunday but I couldn’t fit everything including the garbage into my car so I will be going back and finishing up Tuesday. I need to load a couple things and clean up. Vacuum, sweep, load up the garbage that didn’t fit into the can and that will be that.

And that will be that. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that when I go to visit my Dad I won’t be able to stay at his house. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my Dad lived in that house for 30 years and now we have done the right thing and sold it. 

Dad is having his ups and downs. When we saw him in the morning on Sunday he was really struggling. He was having a hard time breathing and needed his rescue inhaler. They ended up giving him his breathing treatment early because he was struggling so hard. I have said it before but it makes me tired watching him breathe. He has to work so hard to get the air out so he can get air in.

When we saw him in the afternoon he was doing better. He had gone down to the cafeteria for lunch. They have new cooks at the nursing home and he likes the food now. I hope that he will continue to like the food. His appetite is so sketchy, I am willing to feed him anything he will eat. 

As I mentioned above I was feeling emotional on the ride to his house, Hubby and I were talking about how surreal it feels and how I am trying very hard to hold it all together. He is lucky both of his parents are alive and relatively well for being in their 80’s. I am sure when the time comes for them to clear out his parents house he will come to understand how I am feeling. 

It is my hope the person has not chosen the nuclear option and instead is just waging a small cold war. I can stand the cold, the nuclear option makes me unutterably and inconsolably sad. 

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I try to meditate every day. I get done with my exercise and take time to just let it all go. I know what you are thinking, oh man all sorts of woo woo new age crystal bullspit. But there is no chanting, no mantras, no anything I don’t want. I don’t meditate in the traditional way. I lay on the floor with my bottom against a wall and my legs up the wall forming a 90° angle. Right now I do this for 15 minutes.

I am working my way up to 30 minutes of meditation time. I just increased the time from 10 minutes to 15 this week. I find that after 12 minutes I start to get antsy.  I will keep doing 15 minutes until such time as I can relax the whole time.

I find this time incredibly rewarding. I just lay there on the floor staring at the ceiling and let everything go. I have a few moments most days of having a completely quiet mind. The voices in my head shut up for a few precious moments. I am hoping as I continue to practice this meditation technique the voices in my head will cease to be so loud and often negative.

We all have those voices that tell us bad things, that we are ugly or stupid or should have or shouldn’t have or blah blah blah. These are the same voices that like to rehash the past or make you anxious about what might happen in the future. I find that through meditating I have been able to make some of that negativity go away. We all need less negativity.

Doing my meditation with my legs up the wall has had a lot of benefits for me health wise. My back feels better, my hips feel better, I have less swelling in my feet from sitting too long, my attitude is better and I think it is lowering my blood pressure.

I am hoping that as I get better at quieting my mind, I will be able to hear the good things it has to say. In the mean time I will lay on my floor with my legs up listening to my refrigerator run, the birds outside my window sing, the wind blowing and for those few precious moments the silence of my quiet mind.


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The trouble is you think you have time

– fake Buddha quote, but still relevant

I saw Dad twice this week, Monday and today. I was trying to think of a theme for this weeks blog and then this quote popped up in my Facebook feed today.

The trouble is you think you have time. We all think we have time, more time to take care of things, more time to visit people, more time to take care of ourselves, more time . . .

My Favorite Dad


I know I hope I have more time. I am lucky right now that I have the time to go see my Dad as often as I can. This week I was able to see him twice; I am trying to see him at least once a week. But time is against us. I have so many other people I want and need to see as well.

This week on Monday Dad was doing pretty well. When I got there he was in the cafeteria eating lunch. Today he was eating in his room. On Monday I left before 2 because he was worn out and looked like he would fall asleep before I made it out the door. Today he was tired but not as much as Monday and I left shortly after 2.

We were able to begin the process of getting help from the VA today. It is amazing how much paperwork there is to deal with. We are very lucky that our sister B is wading through it. I do not have the patience to wade through forms.

I hate the feeling and the knowledge that we have a finite amount of time left. I hate knowing that he has less time that we want. We had too short an amount of time with my Mom. And now. And now, the clock is ticking louder and faster and I don’t like it.


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Visiting Gpa

I went to see Gpa this week. It is so hard to see him. He looks so small. My Dad is not a big guy, he is 5’4″ maybe 5’5″ although he has always insisted he is at least 5’7″. But he has always seemed bigger. He used to have a very big personality. He was the first to have fun, he was the first to volunteer, he was a presence. Now he is more of an absence.

He has become so introverted. Everything about him is turning inward. He seems to have lost that gregarious presence that he had. I know a lot of it has to do with this terrible disease COPD. His breathing is labored it takes all of his energy just to breathe so that  . . .

His house was on the market for 1 week and we had an offer which we have accepted. The closing is 1/31. So fast, I was prepared for it to take a while. Other houses in his area have been on the market for much longer. The good news is with this we can keep him in a private room for much longer.

My dad complains that he has no time to be social. I couldn’t understand what he meant until I found out besides physical therapy and occupational therapy he has 8 scheduled breathing treatments a day. The first one at 5am and the last one at 9pm. There are treatments through the night as he needs them. This means that every 3 hours he is having a breathing treatment. And he needs them, by the time the three hours are up he is wheezing and turning gray.

My dad is physically smaller as well. He is having problems eating. Nothing tastes good, many things upset his stomach leading to other issues, and frankly the COPD makes him not hungry. When you get to n-stage of any illness it takes away your desire to eat. And my dad has been n-stage for a long, long time.

I was talking with my brother G and he mentioned that Dad was first diagnosed with COPD 30 years ago. I think one of the reasons it has taken so long for the COPD to get so bad is my Dad was very physically fit. Aside from the smoking he was very active, riding his bicycle everywhere, building things for the church, and more.

Now when I go see him, he is so tiny, you can see the bones in his face. His legs and arms have no muscle tone. The lack of oxygen is affecting his memory. His skin tone is grey, and he gets tired so very easily.

He is struggling, we are struggling. We keep trying to keep him here, I am not sure he wants to stay. I am not sure I want him too either.

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Happy Monday! January 8th already. I hope your year has started the way you want it to.
As most of you know I am a yoga junkie. Love it, love the way it makes me feel when I am doing it and how accomplished I feel when I am done. Yoga alone can be a great workout and when paired with other exercise . . . 💗
Yoga with Adriene has a new 30 day program (completely free) called TRUE. I have not properly worked out in nearly a month so a 30 day program will be just the thing to get me back in the swing. I did Day 1- Motive (24:56) today. This is a great starting video. Moves all the muscles without any fancy moves, no pigeons, no crows, no other animals. Just simple moves that are easy to follow.
I paired this with 30 minutes on the exercise bike. I kept it slow except for 4 1/2 minutes of 1 minute sprints sprinkled through out the ride (11.5 miles). The last 30 second sprint kinda made me want to hurl but that is good because we need to push ourselves a little.
Once this 30 days is done my intention is to get the new Fitness Blender’s 4 week Burn series (only $9.99) and yours forever.
I am in no way affiliated with either of these sites on YouTube. I just love them. I am going to document my attempts at getting healthy, getting a new job, and generally adjusting my attitude.
Oh I have also been listening to some books on tape. I travel a lot because Gpa, lives 3 hours away, Army Girl and fam live 4 hours away, In-laws live 5.5 hours away, Air Force Girl and fam live 8 hours away, and Navy Girl and fam live a whopping 14 hours away. So needless to say I have lots of time for listening. So I decided to make productive use of the time.
So far I have listened to Born to Win by Zig Ziglar, Meatball Sundae – Is Your Marketing Out of Sync? by Seth Godin and You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. I have listened to the last one 3 times in the last week. I will listen to it a few more times before it is returned to the library. I will be listening to a new one of these a couple times a month. I will keep you posted on which ones I find helpful.
So now I have a plan for the next two months or so. What is your plan for the new year? Have you started?

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Life is full of transitions. This weekend, the beginning of a new year was also witness to the best kind of transition – a wedding. My beautiful niece J married a fine young man. It was a wonderful ceremony filled with love and laughter. Most of my siblings made it to help the lovely couple celebrate. It is always a pleasure to get a chance to hangout with my family.

We have another big transition coming up. The sale of Gpa’s home is progressing quickly. We have a closing date of the end of the month. Gpa’s first 100 days at the nursing home are rapidly coming to an end as well. He will be moving to a different room with in the nursing home for the remainder of his stay.

The remainder of his stay, isn’t that a nice euphemism? We all know what I mean.

My sister M has some decisions to make. We all need to figure out how to finish cleaning out the house. I have some planning to do for a number of different things.

The new year gives us permission to reexamine our lives and see where we want to go from here. The question is where is that?



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