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Archive for February, 2018

I have a weekly video call with my middle granddaughter (daughter of Army Girl). She is 2 1/2 and loves talking to me on the phone. Unlike her older sister who only talks on the phone if someone forces her to say hi. I am the Mia in the title.

When I say hanging out in the title I am not kidding. She and I do stuff together: we eat breakfast or snacks, we play, we watch tv. Generally just hang out. Case in point this is a screen shot of our conversation/ hang out today. I wish I could tape some of the conversations we have. They are fun, funny, and wide ranging.

view of our conversation

view of our conversation

As you can see, we do a lot of looking at each other. 😜 I love these days when I can listen to or sometimes see what she is doing. She always includes me in what she is playing. Today we were swimming in the pool with her baby dolls. Her imagination is so wonderful to be a part of.

Often when Navy Girl is on her way to work she calls and baby A will tell me a story. Cooing and warbling, sometimes it is a happy story and sometimes it is a sad one. Air Force Girl’s kids H1 and H2 love to tell me stories as well.

I am so grateful for modern technology so that I can see them. I can be more of a presence in their lives than my parents were able to be. It also helps me not miss my parents as much.

We usually talk until one of our batteries is about to die. Then we go about our days, me just that much happier.

Happy thoughts for a happy day!

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My Dad passed peacefully. He was laid to rest on a gloomy, foggy, rainy day. The whole family was there. All of his children, grandchildren and most of his great grandchildren, plus his brothers and many of our cousins were there. It was a great weekend. He would have loved it. My Dad used to love a party.

I gave the eulogy at Mass. My brother C had some beautiful words about Dad and for us at the wake. I wish I had a copy of it. Here is the eulogy I gave:

First and foremost, before God and everyone I want to thank my sister and her family. Because of them Dad was able to live as long as he did and for the most part on his own terms. For that I am eternally grateful.

Son, brother, uncle, husband, daddy, grandpa, gpa, papa bern, great-papa, dammit V, friend, no matter what you called him we are here to celebrate his life. If you were to judge by the last few years you would think he had a pretty tough life. The last few years were a struggle but the 70 some years before that were a celebration of life. While writing this the line from Mark Anthony about Cesar keeps coming to me. I have rearranged it a little. “I come not just to bury Dad but to praise him.” As my cousin said “Dad got life.” Thank you cousin for passing that oh so apt comment on to us.

Our dad was an eternal optimist. He didn’t just see silver linings in clouds he saw gold. Good things were always just around the corner. He knew it, if he just waited long enough or tried hard enough it would all work out in the end.

We all have great stories about him. From the epic ping pong battles with his brothers and nephews, to his willingness to show up with a hammer and saw to help fix things. We remember his stories about the donut shop, walking on the rock river when it froze, riding cows, and getting lost with a truck full of ammunition while in the army. We look forward to hearing more of your stories about him today and in the future.

He was always willing to help out. We all get our sense of community and our need to help others from the example set by Mom and Dad. They did an awful lot of good everywhere we lived. Some things we know about – PreCana, building dugouts, helping at church. But did you know about the poor box? If Dad had anything extra it went into the poor box.

The Friday before one of my cousins wedding I got a killer migraine. He drove 2 hours to take me to the doctor. He sat in the dark for more than 6 hours and held my head while I threw up even though he had plans with his brothers. When I broke my leg after mom died he came up as soon as I called and took care of the girls while I was in the hospital. Many of us have similar stories.

Our Dad was an artist at heart. He was always sketching things. This is how the such-a-cards came into being. Each card was made especially for the recipient. Dad would think about and start gathering materials for each card months in advance. Hopefully you were able to see some of them yesterday.

We had a complicated relationship, he and I. I am his first born child, the prototype, and a girl. Growing up without sisters he didn’t always know what to do and as we all know kids do not come with user manuals. Plus for some odd reason all of his kids have this stubborn streak . . .

I wear red today because of an argument he and I had. I don’t remember what we were arguing about but in exasperation and probably just to get his goat I said “Fine then I am wearing red to your funeral!” and his reply was “You had better!” at which point the argument was over. 

We are here to celebrate the life of our Dad, who loved our Mom and us 5 kids, and 17 grandkids and 10 great-grandkids and who is loved in return. Thank you for coming to help us learn to live without him.

He will be sorely missed. Love and peace to you all.

M

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I can’t see my Dad this week. My daughter needed me. She called, I travelled. Anytime one of my girls say they need me takes precedence over everything. I do feel bad because my Dad is not doing well at all.

It started Monday. My Dad has been feeling very anxious because he can’t remember things. Because of the anxiety he is not eating and is sleeping at odd hours and not for long enough. He is on anti-anxiety medicine but it is too recent to be completely effective.

I called him on Monday to let him know that I will not be visiting him this week. I had to be out of town. He sounded awful, didn’t know it was Monday, and I am pretty sure I woke him up (it was 10:30 in the morning). We are talking to Hospice to have them come in and help make him comfortable.

About 7:45PM Dad called me. He was very confused and having a panic attack. He woke up from a nap and didn’t know where he was. I had him push the call button and got the CNA to get the nurse for his medications. I also texted my siblings what was going on. He kept saying he was scared and didn’t know what to do. Luckily my niece A was in town and able to see him. They got him into his pj’s and to bed.

I talked to him on Tuesday and had a really weird conversation with him. He said people won’t leave him alone to get his work done. I asked what people and what work did he need to do. He said he told him to do the work  and now they want him to take out and change the information he took all morning to input in the system. I asked him what system and he mumbled something and got more confused. I told him it’s ok, the work can wait until later.

The Doctor says it’s time to call hospice. Wednesday B went to see Dad and he wouldn’t wake up. A says that Gpa says the Russians are helping him with his breathing treatments. I have no idea what that means.

This morning (Thursday) he called B. He was highly confused, told B that he is in bad shape (I think that is the first thing he tells everyone these days) and is ready to give up. It is so hard to hear. It makes my heart hurt.

My brother C is going to visit this weekend. We have discussed him telling Dad that it is ok to go be with Mom. None of us want him to suffer anymore. As B said “Honestly I’m kinda praying for it . . . I can’t imagine what he is going through in his mind.” I agree with her. None of us want him to go but none of us want him to stay with the way things are going.

My heart hurts.

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