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Thursday, July 04, 2013

The Last Pictures

I spent last July 4th with my dad.

I knew since he decided to stop his chemo treatments (he didn't feel like they were working anymore) for pancreatic cancer that we would inevitably have to say goodbye to him sooner rather than later.

But last July 4th I wasn't expecting it to be so soon after that day.

July 4th was his last good day. The last day he was really alert, more mobile (although he still couldn't walk because of the blood clots in his leg), in great spirits, and 'with it' in his conversations with us. I guess it was something like a last 'surge' before his body shut down.

We left the next day, Thursday - July 5th, and exactly one week later he passed away. I still can't believe he's gone. I can't believe it's almost been a year since I said goodbye to my dad.

The days to that one-year anniversary are hurtling faster and faster towards me and I just want to stop time. I don't want July 12th to get here. I just want to skip over that day. I don't want to have to remember and associate July 12th with his death. I don't want to have to associate the July 4th holiday as the last time he had a good day, and that there are no more July 4th celebrations for him.

I don't like remembering that he's not here anymore.

As painful as these pictures are to look at I also cherish them ... the last pictures I have of my father.

Since I can't avoid July 12th I'm wondering what I can do to honor my dad on that date. We aren't going to be in Florida to visit his grave site ... so what can I do at home for him? For myself? For Kayla and Lucas to acknowledge the significance of this date? Any suggestions for something else besides maybe releasing balloons?

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Heidi said...

Do something fun with your kids. Spend time celebrating the relationship that you had with him, by making more memories for them with you.

Anonymous said...

We planted a lilac bush for my mil. The kids painted rocks with love notes and we put them at the base

Heather said...

Sending you love and peace and sitting alongside you, even if virtually, as you walk these days. I know them well. The 7th will be one year. One entire year. How can that be? I find my self saying " A year ago this day we were .." It is painful as we reach these last few days. I have 2 voicemails from the 5th and 6th I am going to try and listen to. I am afraid I am forgetting her voice. That scares me.

This last week I tried to do a few of the things she loved to do. I tried to bake the things she liked. Her famous banana cake. I going to make homemade jam. I have spent time at the beach. Those kind of things.

And whether we like it or not, the 7th and 12 will arrive. And they will pass. And perhaps the anticipation of the days will be harder then the actual day. Hard to say.

My dad has literally gone into hiding. I keep telling myself that my pain is a fraction of his. I wish I could help him through this but I know I can. Nor can I help you but I am with you inspirit and sending you strength for the days ahead.

Heather said...

I just listened to one. It was actually from July 4th. Man that was hard.

Anonymous said...

Instead of facing the date as a taboo, you can try to make it a day to remember all the good things of your father, cook his favorite food, tell funny stories about him to your children, see pictures ...

Cyndi J said...

remember the good times !
Create a fun time with your children.
My Dad has been gone 16 years.
It is hard but the good times get you thru.

Good Bless

I suffer from chronic pancreatitis, so fo feel for your Dad.

Deborah said...

My husband's brother Elliott passed away when my oldest was 3 years old. Since then, we haven't recognized the anniversary of his death with the kids - we talk about it, but it's not something that we do anything for. On his birthday, however, we always go out for pizza and drink Pepsi (even the kids). If I'm really with it, we have chocolate cake, too. Those were Elliott's favorite foods. We make a point to celebrate him and talk about special memories on that day.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that you were with your dad "on his really good last day".

And you were with him when he passed away.

I agree with the other comments, "celebrate and acknowledge July 12th." I think your dad will be smiling!!

I also know your heart will be breaking because you miss him so much.

Love Mom

Carla said...

Oh Michelle ((hugs)). I remember that panic, the panic that "that" day was coming up and the awful memories of it will all come flooding back and you will be overcome (like the memories had ever gone eh?)

Do something that day that involves having fun, but not something that you can't cut short if you need to. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself, just be. Remember the good times.

It will be painful, there's no avoiding it, but not anymore painful than it already is. Gradually that pain subsides, I promise. It doesn't ever go away totally and you never forget, but would you want to? It's kind of like getting a bad injury, for the first while it's tender to touch, it's raw and it's very painful.

Gradually it starts to heal and it's only really painful if you knock it - you get a reminder of it.

Eventually, the injury has healed completely, very little pain, but the scar remains, not painful, just there.

That will be when you can remember without that overwhelming grief.

How about planting something in your dad's memory in your garden? Something that's in bloom this time of year perhaps?

Anonymous said...

On the 2 dates my parents passed away, I always try to go out and do something good for someone else. Shopping with my kids for a local food pantry, shopping in advance for Christmas/Toys for Tots, etc. My kids of various stages all love to help and it makes me happy to do something positive in my parents' memory; I know they would be thrilled.

I will be thinking of you on July 12.


ahoy.jenni said...

Spend time being really present with your children and husband. Just cherish what and who you do have around you, and be happy for having had such a lovely father! Lucky you...
We light special candles in memory of our loved ones. We light it on the day they pass and also the anniversary. It burns quietly on a shelf during the day and into the evening, and everytime I look at the candle I remember the person...it feels like honouring their life and still having them with me.

krlr said...

It's already the 12th where you are and I hope you can find peace today. Sending love. --k.