Challenge Accepted

Given all the upheaval and turmoil/change in my life recently, I have vowed to attempt DO the following:

ugly day

I have to admit, many days since 28 August this goal has been all-but-impossible to achieve. That admission aside, things ARE gradually getting better and each day IS actually getting less ugly and more beautiful. Thanks, Universe!

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Revelations About Grammy and Pop-pop

On Sunday, I began the task of organizing and clearing out my parents’ house, readying it for sale after my father’s recent death. My Mom passed away six years ago and my Dad (Pop-pop) pretty-much left the house intact since – I mean, my Mom’s cigarette case is still on the coffee table and a pack of Kool 100’s is in the freezer (now six years old). Anyway, today was the first few hours in what I can see will be a lengthy process.

My goal today was to organize my parents’ living room, making it look as though they still lived there – not for any creepy reason but out of respect to their memories, and the house they loved. My father spent his final few weeks at home before he passed away there. Since the hospital bed got picked up, there has been a “hole” in the living room and the coffee table became the unofficial sponge bath staging area, holding towels and bedding. It was important to me that the room be returned to its former semi-glorious state, more or less as an homage to my parents and the house I grew up in.

As my project got underway, the first thing I noticed was that, in the final few months of his life, it appears Pop-pop replaced household cleaning products with household disinfecting products, as if Clorox Wipes and Dow Scrubbing Bubbles would make his cancer disappear. I wound up dusting the furniture with a damp cloth (goodness knows, my Mom accumulated 1000+ dish towels in her life, LOL!) Then I began the “clearing-and-straightening-up” process. I immediately determined three things:

1. My Mom never met a silk flower she didn’t like. Or a candle ring. Or a garland of silk ivy…

candle ring

I must have tossed three or four candle rings (all seasons, BTW), more than a few garlands of silk ivy (my Mom had taken to wrapping them around curtain rods; it is a look for sure) and two silk arrangements from her OWN funeral – saved by my father after – now all dusty and faded. Don’t get me wrong – my LOVE for my parents is boundless BUT my Mother definitely had her own ideas when it came to “home accessorizing.” Which leads into revelation two…

2. Grammy had an addition to burgundy key tassels. A serious addiction.

tassel

I must have “liberated” about eighteen of these today from my parents’ living room, They were on door knobs and cabinet pulls, hanging off the dining room chandelier (not even kidding!) and pinned to curtain edges. Again, I love Grammy, but Mom, please – enough with the key tassels already. And finally, Pop-pop’s answer to key tassels?

3. The Yellow Pages. My Dad was a phone book “hoarder.” I cleared 2005 thru 2013 out of the house today.

phone booksMy father’s attraction to phone books is odd – he hated talking on the phone. I suppose he just always wanted to ensure he could find a number when he needed one.

So anyway, when I left, I was quite pleased with how the living room “looked” – it was neat, organized and clean. I was not happy, however, with how the room “felt.” Sad thing is, in my efforts to make it look like someone “lived there.” I made it look like a model apartment: stacks of books here, strategically-placed pillows on every piece of upholstery and – forgive me, Grammy, forgive me Pop-pop – I also re-arranged the lamps.

I know – I am a horrible son (and anal retentive/ mild OCD, too!) And, know what was REALLY missing from the living room, the one thing I cannot “fix” or glam up? My parents are gone.

I’d stack those phone books, re-hang all those tassels AND wind faux ivy around any length of chain, rod or rail if I could only have my parents back. I missed them today, BIG TIME. And while I relished pitching those excessive things out, I’d be the happiest child on earth if I could hear my Dad ask for a phone book, or have my Mom ask me which candle ring I liked better.

I miss you Mom, I miss you Dad. Please look after each other, OK and, if you could, give me a glance every now and again, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

I’ll Love You Forever…

I have just come home, having spent the past two days with my Dad (Pop-pop). It was a beautiful and heartbreaking visit, a time of learning new terms (urine output, barrier creme, vacant stare, resting comfortably) as well as leaning a whole new list of “non’s:” non-verbal, non-responsive, non-engaged, non-emotive.

My father is dying and, no matter how much I wish that weren’t the case, it is true. It sucks…

When I went home Sunday afternoon, Pop-pop could still talk. His eyes connected with mine – we had (brief) conversations. Over the course of Monday, conversation moved from simply “Yes” or “No” responses to a thousand words spoken only with a look, a glance. A question was asked and the response could be seen in my father’s gray-blue eyes. Those “conversations” were beautiful and perfect, simple and easily understood. Gone was all the BS pretense of father/son, parent/child, man-to-man, etc. Left behind was simply a beautiful exchange of pure love and affection, flowing wordlessly between the two of us. Something as simple as a sip of water became a massively-appreciated gesture, and was rewarded with a powerful, loving glance that I will never forget. The emotion was raw and unvarnished – again, pure in its essence, It was amazing.

I felt a bit guilty when I left today, telling my Pop-pop goodbye and that I would see him again soon. I think he knows I was lying as much as I know it, too… I suspect that, very soon, Pop-pop will be moving to the next step on his soul journey, a moment that will make me happy and very, very sad, all at the same time. It is a painful paradox, this transition. Leaving behind the finite, earthly life we all have and moving forward, ahead into the next step, the next evolution of the blossoming of one’s soul. Words fail me tonight (except all the non’s). Much like Pop-pop, I cannot communicate how I feel with words now.

I hope my Pop-pop knows how much I love and will miss him; I am sure he does but I suppose I wish I could hear him say it one more time. But then I remember “that” look, and I know my hope has already been fulfilled. Sleep well tonight, Pop-pop. Sleep well…

letting_go_byBTW, the title of this post comes from a beautiful poem-made-children’s book, named “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. You may read the entire poem here, and read the back story about the poem on the author’s website by clicking here. When you read the poem, please substitute Pop-pop for Mommy. Thanks.

Sad Man

Someone I love very much is very sick, as in VERY sick. He will not be getting better and today he is having an especially difficult day. It sucks, and I feel powerless to help him…

sad-man

I have begged The Universe to help me understand why this is happening (as has the person in question) and so far, The Universe has been pretty silent on the matter. I am mad, I am sad, I am angry, I am brokenhearted, I am lost and I am just bewildered. I am usually pretty much a control freak so to be going through this, with little no options is contrary to the way I normally “work.” It really pisses me off…

I have been asking for a miracle; now I am just asking for guidance and acceptance. Please hold good intentions and prayers for Pop-pop. He needs them…

Hello September

I have always believed one sure sign that you are aging – other than reading road signs out loud in cars when others are driving (“Look, Martin, a Bob Evans…”) – is a discussion of time in relation to the seasons. You know, things like “Gosh, it is Fall already – where’d July disappear to?” or “Before you know it, September will be over and this rain will be turning into ice and snow.” See? You know what I am talking about, LOL!

That said, I would like to say “Hello, September!”

hello

I must admit – Summer did seem to fly by. But – honestly? I have been pretty busy lately, personally and professionally, so maybe (probably) it passed by at the standard pace; it just seemed too quick to me. I do, however, have several summertime “regrets:”

1. My Beloved and I have only been to the beach three times this summer. He loves it there, and I love being with him. I hope there are a few more “Indian Summer” weekends ahead.

2. Between me starting a new job, closing a division of my own business, my Sweetie being in Europe for five weeks in late June/early July, him starting a new job and all the other mundane “responsibilities of adulthood” (working, laundry, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc.) well, we haven’t seen our friends as much as we’d like. That sucks. 

3. My Dad’s health has been a bit of a roller coaster these past few months – I wish I had been able to spend more quality “do nothing” time with him, rather than just meeting him for doctor’s appointments and making sure he has groceries – I would just like to “hang out” with Pop-pop.

4. Speaking of hanging out, another school summer vacation has come and gone and I spent probably less than 24 hours total with our nieces and nephews. I love them all dearly so it should seem easy to make time to “do” things with them – but, alas, not so much.

5. I am still sans cell phone (my error – I drowned my iPhone). It has been about three weeks now and I frickin’ hate it! I would have never said I was someone attached to his cell but I guess I would have been a liar,

I’ll stop there with my regret list (plus that’s five – see the connection?) All I know is that, given the events of this past summer. I have come to cherish every moment I have with my Angel, and the other people I love in my life,

So, heck yeah, “Hello, September.” I plan on enjoying a kick-ass fall, so get ready…

 

And On The Seventh Day

closed

I hate to sound all “whine-y” or, as my dear, departed friend Dan Rogan used to say, “Go all martyr on you,” but I have worked for seven days in a row, with two more days to go before I have a “day off.” (That day off, BTW, will be spent with my spouse, siblings and father at a doctor’s appointment in an office about 142 miles away from my home, where we will be getting some test and biopsy results relating to my father’s health – fun, huh? Oh, and then another 142 miles back home…) Once that day is over, I work at least three MORE days in a row… So, what does this all mean?

My mind is a bit, um, “tired” at the moment. I anticipate this situation may continue for a few days; I’ll have to keep you posted. That said, I am taking today OFF from any serious blogging, opting instead to watch some mindless television programs with my Beloved. Thanks in advance for your understanding – I’ll be back (hopefully) tomorrow with some “witty banter,” or maybe some “insightful prose.” But for now, I leave you with this – C U L8R, G8TR ( I know – SOOOOO gay.)  🙂

PS – To my faithful (sometimes faceless) readers/followers here in Cleveland and around the US, as well as all you poor people around the globe that read this tripe I post, may I ask a huge favor? Please send my father good, loving and healing thoughts and energy. He can use it. He thanks you, and I thank you, too… Just to be sure, my father’s name is Kenny but we all call him Pop-pop. Thanks in advance…

Some Days…

Most days, I can pretty much handle most anything The Universe sends my way – work, personal, family – you name it and I can “work it out.” But some days (like today), the inside of my head is much too crowded and my mind “feels” like this:

???????????????????????????????????????image courtesy Zappa Blamma

Now before anyone gets all weird and worried, I am fine – it is just that I have a lot of things going on at once, not the least of which is a definite career change of course and a big family medical challenge. All the thoughts and decisions that normally seem ordered and well-behaved in my brain (like, they all wait their respective “turn”) are now all SCREAMING at me, wanting to be addressed, decided, put to rest, whatever… It is definitely getting pretty noisy up there, between my ears. I hope it all gets sorted out soon…

Do you ever watch “Hoarders: Buried Alive?” You know that moment when Matt and his crew from 1-800-GOT-JUNK roll up with their big trucks and haz-mat gear roll up and start to empty out all the junk? I kinda’ want that to happen to my head.   🙂