Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Community....

In the past couple of weeks, I have come to realize what an amazing community of people I have in my life.

Some I see regularly,
Others not so much.

Some I talk to a lot,
Others randomly.

In the morning,
In the afternoon,
In the night,
Really all hours of the day....

In Person,
On the phone,
Text Messages,
Facebook,
Emails,
and every other form of communication you can think of.

I just want to say THANK YOU!!!  and I hope that I am there for you too.

I have been asked a question quite a bit lately and I have had a hard time answering it, but you have done it just the same.

"What can I do to help?"

You have held me in your love and support, and that is what I have needed.

Now that grief has lessened its initial grip, I have some things that I would like to suggest.  Some will be hard while others easier, but they are all important to me...

1.  This is a doozy, so I am going to start with this:
     Talk to your parents/spouses/significant others about end of life care.
When my Dad brought up what the subject for the first time, I balked.  I didn't want to talk about it, but he asked me to stay and it ended up being (believe it or not) a beautiful conversation.  Be honest.  Be accepting.  And realize this very important fact, if you talk to 10 people, you will get 10 very different decisions and wishes and they are all OK.   The conversation that I had with my Dad and the ones that he had with everyone else in the family made it so we KNEW what to do and there were no discussions and indecisions about what to do.  It strangely made it easier.....

2.  This is a practical one....
      Airlines have eliminated their Bereavement fares.
I have immediate family in 2 states separated by the majority of the continent.  Death/illness/accidents do not come with a 14 day advance warning.  Airfare purchased the day of is EXPENSIVE!!!!  Set aside some money for airfare if you are like me and have family far from you.  I had started a fund after the October health scare, but did not have near enough.  I was helped out by a friend who works with an airline, and if I did not have that option, family would of helped out.  Don't let financial issues keep you from being there.  I know money is tight, but trust me, family, especially in hard times is worth everything.

3.  Accept your emotions as they come.
    I have ugly cried.
    I have laughed.
    I have felt this is just weird.
    I have ached.
    I have been sentimental.
    I have been numb.
    I have had no appetite.
    I have been oh, so tired.
 
    and it is ok.  I am on the very strange journey of grief.

4.  Accept support when it is offered.
     If you are like me, and fairly independent, this may be a little hard.  People, who love you, just want to help in any way they can.  The support will be from expected and unexpected sources.   Accept that this is a time you are in need.

5.  Please know that I will be there for you....
    One of the greatest gifts of all of this is the firm knowledge that I have AMAZING people in my life who love and support me.  I feel the same about you.


The words that demanded to be put down are gone, so I will end this here.....

Feeling secure in my community,
Melissa

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ramblin' Wreck....

My Dad passed away early in the morning of February 5th.....
The same day, 19 years earlier, as his only sibling, his sister Betty.

He had been transferred from the hospital to a hospice center, as per his requests.
He passed quietly in his sleep, as he wanted, not hooked up to machines and monitors.

I did not believe his death was a possibility until the transfer to the hospice center on Monday, February 2nd.  I believed up until that point that he would recover again.  I knew it would of been a longer and more drawn out recovery, but I believed it would happen.

The issues attacking his body had other plans.

My Dad had very specific and defined views on his end of life care, and while they were hard to listen to when he told me about them a while back, I understood his reasoning and logic behind them.

It made parts of this whole experience, while I can't really say easier, more straightforward.

There were no questions or debates on what to do, we knew the steps that needed to take place....

And in the end, his death set him free.....

His death, however for me, triggered a massive loss of my self confidence.

I became the drama queen, which I am normally not (and DID NOT LIKE BEING)...
A Ramblin' Wreck...

I reached out and made missteps...
I was an open wound over sensitive to everything.
I was beyond quiet and could not seem to be anything else.
I accepted help from someone and by doing so hurt another.

I spent quite a bit of time on my own at my Dad and Ann's house and sat with my emotions.  Whenever I would visit in the past, Ann, his wife, would go to bed early and then Dad and I would stay up a little later and talk.  This time, Ann went to bed as usual, but I didn't have my normal conversations.  It was silent.

I grieved the silence.

I grieved the end of a two way conversation that had been going on for years, since we patched up our differences.

I accepted the past, not wishing it could be different.  Our path got us to where we needed to be and the things we learned and the mistakes we made got us there.

I loved.
A man who was human.
A man who accepted my humanness as well.

I love my Dad.
Death will never change that.

I will miss him.
Time will ease the pain, and leave the love,
but the longing will remain.

As we spent the weekend in Georgia together, we each chose a memento.  There were guns and fishing reels, but since I am neither a hunter or a fisher, they did not seem appropriate or right.

What I ended up feeling what was right, on the surface, probably won't make much sense either, until I explain it...

His Georgia Tech class ring.

I know,  I know.
I am a die hard University of Georgia fan.  (I met UGA, the dog, as a kid and some players and immediately threw my loyalty to the Dawgs.)
Georgia Tech is their instate rival.  My loyalty to the Dawgs always baffled my Dad, but he knew why I loved them and we always had fun on game days with it.

I willingly and openly chose a Tech item.
One that I wore as a kid and into Junior High....

I got a chain for it and wear it around my neck.

The Georgia Tech fight song or maybe school song,  I'm not quite sure which has a line in it that goes as follows...

'He was a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer.'

He was also my Dad.....

Charles Harold Murphy
November 11, 1938 -- February 5, 2015

Bye Dad.
Love,
Your Daughter









Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Good with the Bad....

There are certain realities that you have to face when dealing with the impending death of a loved one.....and this post will be about mine.

From the ages of 16 to about 23, my relationship with my Dad was...
difficult,
tumultuous,
hard,
contentious,
and pretty much
non existant.

That is not any easy thing to admit to..
and it does not mean that I did not love him during this time, or that he did not love me.

Although, I think we both forgot that at times...

Hurt occurred on both sides through words and actions.
Invitations were not issued, offers were not made, promises were broken, and time was not spent together.

At our worst, it was like a field of land mines, a small misstep would lead to a large disaster.

Near the end of our troubles, without explaining to him why I was doing what I did, I did not speak to him for nearly 6 months.  I had to break the cycle of our behavior.  Looking back, especially after we talked about it later, I should of told him that was the reason why, but I did not have the tools at the time to do so..  I just needed the hurt to stop......

We, then, started the long, slow and sometimes very awkward process of rebuilding our relationship.  It had some starts and stops, but once we got real about the core issues of what had been going on, it got better.

I'm not going to go into the details, somethings are meant to stay private, but I am telling this because in dealing with his illness and impending death, I have been dragged back into the past by my self consciousness and find myself envious (I know, it's not my finest moment) of those in my Dad's life whose relationships seem (at least to me) simpler and without the drama.

There are things you can wish for...
that are never going to happen.

I can not go back in time and not say the words or feel the emotions that I did,
nor can my Dad, to avoid the time spent apart.

What I am trying to focus on is this....
We rebuilt our relationship, essentially from scratch, to form the bond we have today.  It is stronger than it was, because it is more honest than it was.

I am immensely proud of that fact and I know that he was too.

So that is my bad,
that I accept along with the good....
Melissa