About Me

My Photo
I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active eight year old (Robby) and an infant (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Picking my Battles

This morning Scott and I are flying to Austin in preparation for my Dad's Memorial Service.  The boys are spending a few days with my Mom, who definitely deserves a day at the spa to thank her for all of the help she's been providing. The service in Texas is the first of two, with the second being a smaller funeral and internment in Pennsylvania next week.  My Mom has really stepped up and selflessly picked up the slack when I needed to be away. If it wasn't for her help, I know that I wouldn't have been able to be with my Dad when he needed me the most.

A few weeks ago, during the first visit to see my Dad after his diagnosis, he asked me to give his eulogy on behalf of the family. Of course I agreed, hoping beyond hope that he would be granted a miracle and my speaking would not be necessary. I've thought about the eulogy periodically since the request, more so in the past few days, but each time I try to organize my thoughts I become overwhelmed and cry. I know that he asked me to speak because he believes that I can do it; right now I'm worried that his confidence in me was misplaced. 

I'm hoping to find the right words between now and the service tomorrow. I know it won't be perfect, but I don't want to appear foolish. Hopefully inspiration will hit in the next few hours. 

True to my pattern during the past few weeks, I'm currently pushing the eulogy out of my mind because I have more pressing matters that need attention. I need to make sure that the funeral home is abiding by my Dad's extremely detailed instructions. I know that he meant well by planning so thoroughly, but I discovering that his explicit instructions are become a source of anxiety. The Funeral Home has already made blunders, things that normally wouldn't matter. However,  I find myself becoming upset because I know my Dad wanted something different.  I also know that my Dad wouldn't want me to become this upset over small details, so I am trying to relax.  I think the next few days I will have to pick and choose my battles or I will leave Texas completely drained.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Congress?

Yesterday was a blur.  Despite my intentions to get some rest after learning the news, I wasn't able to sleep. I ended up lying on the couch, closing my eyes and desperately trying to escape the reality of the news I was trying to absorb. Eventually I gave up and began to drink copious amounts of coffee.

As my mind was swirling, it dawned on me that I was going to have to break the news to Robby. My little Koopa does not accept change gracefully, and I was dreading breaking his heart. While he knew that his Candy Papaw was ill, Robby was still grasping the hope that he was going to fully recover. In his young mind, any other alternative was unacceptable.

When he finally emerged from his bedroom and curled up on the couch, I could sense that he knew something was amiss.  I curled up next to him and began to break the news. He cried, screamed and tried to run away.  I let him have a few moments alone, hiding under his covers, but soon went to retrieve him.  Although it was a difficult lesson, he also needed to learn that we do not hide from our emotions.

After talking with Robby for awhile and as the news began to sink into reality, it became clear that he was becoming angry. He wasn't angry with his Candy Papaw for dying, but he was furious that his prayers for healing and recovery were not answered.  This was the first time that he wanted something so badly and it did not happen, and he was livid.

I tried to explain that prayers were not guarantees, but rather suggestions for how you would like things to happen. God has his own plans and, while praying makes you feel better and will not hurt, it doesn't necessarily mean that God will grant the request.  In a way, I explained, prayers are like voting for an outcome.  Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don't.  But either way you have to accept the result and make the best of it.

Robby seemed okay with the explanation, and was actually composed enough to go to school.  When I received a phone call from the school a few hours later, I assumed that his grief was manifesting and expected a request to come home. Instead I heard his teacher chuckling.

During circle time, Robby took the opportunity to share his news about his Candy Papaw.  After accepting the condolences of his friends, he continued by sharing his new understanding of prayers.  "When you pray, it doesn't mean that God will do what you wanted. Think of prayer like Congress. Sometimes it doesn't really matter how you vote because they are going to do what they want."

Somehow, I knew that his Candy Papaw was smiling.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dreaded Phone Call

I had trouble falling asleep last night. About an hour before bedtime, I developed an overwhelming sense of foreboding. I tried to shake it off and ignore to little avail.  After tossing and turning for awhile, I finally drifted to sleep.

I woke up at midnight with a ominous feeling, like in that moment everything had changed. I tried to rationalize the feeling by convincing myself that I was just exhausted. Although I did fall back to sleep, I wasn't surprised when the telephone rang and hour later.

My Dad had just passed away.

I am writing this at 2 AM, about an hour after receiving the call.  I suppose that there isn't really anything for me to do at the moment.  I can't sleep, but I suppose I should try. I know that the day that lies ahead will be long with phone calls and arrangements.

It is odd that, in this moment only removed one hour from the news, I feel numb instead of pain and grief.   I know the gravity of this loss will be felt fully and deeply in the coming days, weeks and months. Even though I was anticipating this moment, it feels surreal. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wing Man

With the weather finally breaking, Timmy and I have been able to spend more time outside. Although I have seen Mr. Bill in passing and for brief visits, I haven't really been able to sit and chat with him in a few months.  (Neither of us "do" cold weather and tend to become hermits during the winter.) Sunday afternoon Timmy and I spent almost two hours on Mr. Bill's back deck swing, just talking and catching up. Before leaving, we made plans to go to Cracker Barrel for breakfast on Monday.

Mr. Bill adores going to Cracker Barrel, and yesterday I learned that his motives were not entirely pure. As he explained to me before we left, a lot of single ladies his age tend to congregate for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. He also added that Mondays, more than any other day of the week, seem to be the morning that the "hot grandmas" choose to get together for breakfast.  I found this observation odd for two specific reasons. First of all, I was surprised that Mr. Bill has been tracking the breakfast dining habits of his female counterparts for some time and has accumulated enough information to be deemed an expert. Secondly, I knew that at that very moment my mom was on her way to meet her friends for their scheduled Monday morning breakfast.

Instead of just being a dining companion, I quickly realized my real purpose: he needed a cover for his hot grandma reconnaissance.  As it turned out, I was Mr. Bill's wing man!

As soon as we entered the restaurant, he began to put on the charm. He smiled broadly to all of the single ladies, offering up casual conversation with an ease that I found both endearing and impressive.  He referred to all potential dates as "my dear" or "my lovely" and insisted that the group of women (all senior citizens) get seated before us because "such beauty should never have to wait." He may be 73, but he can definitely still work a room. 

As we were eating, the ladies who were seated ahead of us stopped by our table to say good-bye. (I must admit it was odd seeing this generation flirt so openly.) They thanked him for allowing them to jump the line (an obvious grasp for a conversation starter) and wished him a good day.  Without missing a beat, Mr. Bill responded by saying, "My day will be measurably better if I knew that I would see you lovely ladies next Monday for breakfast."

After they gushed and plans were made to meet the following Monday, Mr. Bill wouldn't stop smiling. I wasn't sure how to respond, but he winked and filled the void.  "Looks like I have plans for breakfast next week Buddy, but did you know that Tuesday is Senior Citizen Day at IHOP? How do you feel about catching some lunch with Old Mr. Bill next week?" 

Obviously spring is in the air.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rest!

Knowing that I was both emotionally and physically drained, Scott took off Friday afternoon. I handed him Timmy almost as soon as he walked up the stairs and headed back into Robby's room to take a nap. I woke up nearly two and half hours later. I can't remember the last time I took an afternoon nap of that length! I woke up feeling stronger and more centered.

This weekend we didn't do anything of any significance, but it felt like I was constantly in motion. We ran a few errands, but I spent the majority of my time doing laundry from the trip, catching up with the mail and returning phone calls. It is amazing how life's little tasks really accumulate after two weeks. I did manage to get in some outdoor playtime with Robby and a few neighborhood strolls with Timmy. 

Between the weather and my health, it has been a long time since I have been able to leisurely walk through the neighborhood. It was wonderful to push Timmy through the neighborhood, stopping to talk with neighbors I haven't seen since Fall. This has been a long and extremely cold winter; I was happy to officially ring in the first day of spring.  I love being outside, and judging from the smiles on Timmy's face, he does as well. I have a feeling the stroller and wagon will be logging a lot of miles in the coming weeks. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Homecoming

Yesterday was incredibly difficult.  Saying goodbye to my Dad, for perhaps the final time during his life, was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I feel emotionally drained and I have no doubt it will take me several days to process the events of the past two weeks.  I am sure I will write about it again, but to be honest right now I am not in the proper frame of mind to relive the goodbye. 

I must admit though that it was wonderful to see my boys again.  Robby came running to meet me at the metro station.  He jumped into my arms, nearly knocking me off my feet. He hasn't given me a running hug in quite some time. I nearly forgot how to brace myself!

I was worried about Timmy's reaction, concerned that the two weeks away might have faded his memories of me. All of my worrying was for naught because it took him approximately 2.4 seconds to process who I was before a smile quickly enveloped his little face. My little Hamlet wouldn't let me out of his sight last night, happily crawling around after me wherever I went in the house.

It is wonderful to be home. I know that both my Mom and Scott made sacrifices so that I could spend the past two weeks caring for my Dad.  Scott really picked up the reigns at home, taking care of Robby.  My Mom took Timmy to her house and I know that he was well loved!  She went above and beyond yesterday, not only driving five hours round trip to return him to me, but she also prepared a full roast dinner for us to enjoy when I came home from the airport.

Despite the heartache, I went to sleep in my own home knowing that I was loved and supported.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Going Home

Today is one of mixed emotions. I am eager to return home. The thought of wrapping my arms around Robby and Scott and picking up and snuggling Timmy brings me to a near giddy state. As eager as I am to be reunited with my boys, I am fully aware that I may be seeing my Dad for the final time. It is a thought that I simply cannot fathom, but in my heart I dread that it is a reality.

I am so thankful that I was able to spend the past two weeks with him. Transitioning into a care taking role for a parent has been enlightening. During the course the day I would occasionally be struck by the gravity of our role reversal. He used to care for me when I was young; and now I am was returning the favor.  I'm sure that it will take time to process all of my thoughts and emotions, but for now I'm just happy that I was able to help.

I'm going to have a difficult time kissing my Dad goodbye for perhaps the last time, but I know that it's time for me to go home. Instead of thinking about the grief,  I'm looking ahead, probably because contemplating the reality is too overwhelming and would cause me to break down. So instead of crying I'm going to try to smile. After all, today I get to see my boys again.