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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Summer of 2012

It has been five years since the summer of 2012.

For me that summer is mostly defined by my father's death. At the start of every summer since then I have to repress the melancholy feeling in the pit of my stomach at remembering everything that happened.

It actually started a month before - in May - when my dad called to say that he decided not to continue with any more chemo treatments as they just didn't seem to be doing anything.

A few weeks after that we were in Denmark - a trip that was probably planned a year in advance. While we were there I got word that my dad was in a bad place and no one knew what was going on or if he would still be with us when we got back from Denmark. Thankfully he was; he had some excruciating pain and finally was admitted to hospice but eventually went back home with a morphine drip and a nurse who would check in on him.

A few days after we got back from Denmark we were in Florida to visit with my dad. I will never forget as soon as I stepped out of the vehicle he grabbed me up in a big hug and started crying and said to me, "I thought I would never see you again." There was no way I could maintain my composure after that, even though I tried to keep it together.

The day after we arrived he developed a blood clot in his leg and was back in the hospice house. He said he wanted treatment so he was transferred to the hospital to try and get the right dosage of medicine and once that was under control he went back to the hospice house - and never did go back to his own house.

We went back home and then weekend before the 4th of July dad called while we were at the beach - during that phone call he broke down crying again and I knew I had to go back to Fl. The next day I packed the kids and myself up and we were off to spend his last 4th of July watching fireworks from the hospice house parking lot with my dad. It was his last good day.

We went home the next day and the day after that he took a turn for the worse and a few days later I found myself once again in Florida.

I was sitting in his room when he took his last breaths on July 12th. We celebrated Kayla's 9th birthday on July 15 amidst all that sadness. His funeral was on July 17th and the stress of it all kept coming. The day we were heading back home we realized Kayla's thumb needed medical attention - it was red and swollen. We went from urgent care to the ER to finally have it lanced and drained.

We were only home for another brief stay before we were packing again and off to DC for the Down syndrome convention. It was hard to be there, I hardly had time to catch my breath and grieve, but I also needed to be there for the distraction.

So it was the summer of a lot of traveling and consumed by the uncertainty of how much time my father had left, until his death. So every summer I'm reminded of what I was doing that summer of 2012.

It's only been five years, but it feels like it's already been a life time because of everything that he's missed out on:

- Lucas starting school (he was only 4 when my dad died and I don't think he has much of a memory of him
- Kayla becoming a teenager and starting middle school
- Me hitting my 40s
- Joe's retirement from the Air Force
- Lucas' first 10k
- New hobbies for the kids: archery, chess, geocaching, metal detecting
 - The birth of a grandson
- Grandkids starting, and graduating from, high school
- Grandkids getting their driver's licenses
- Military promotions for my brother and his wife
- Championships for the Red Sox & Patriots

Life goes on. I sure wish he was still here watching life go on.

A few days ago we were driving home in a thunderstorm which was putting Kayla on edge. She hates thunder and lightning and was getting herself all worked up about it. Sweet Caroline came on the radio. The kids had just been exposed to the experience of Sweet Caroline at the ballpark a week before so I was able to remind her about that and it distracted her from the thunderstorm as we sang along. We rarely hear Sweet Caroline on the radio - I told Kayla that was Pepere sending her the song to help her during the thunderstorm.

Thanks Dad, for still watching out for us.


Anonymous said...

oh Michelle, my eyes have tears for you. Your dad passed away to soon. Love mom

Bonita said...

What a sad, yet sweet, story. Thank you for sharing, Michelle. I pray that with each passing year it gets a little bit easier.

Cindy said...

Sweet Caroline will forever mean so much to you. My mom died in May 2005 and every year I pull out the scrapbook I made of the last time I saw her (she lived in San Diego, I'm in Seattle) and of her memorial. She lived in Seattle for 7 years and worked at a shopping mall here. Every May I go to that mall and just hang out. I was just thinking the other day how much I miss her.

Thank you for sharing memories of your precious dad.

Cate said...

Oh, Michelle. I can't believe it's been 5 years. Time just goes faster....I'm sorry. It's so hard. Sweet Caroline though! I love that. I'm sure it was him.