Monday, November 6, 2017

Remembering

November 3, 2017

Yesterday marked one year. The day we were headed over to Montana to see The Hub’s Dad. He said we should come sooner than later because he didn’t think he had much time left. He had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer 2 months prior, and there hadn’t been any break throughs. The Doctor had said if there was one more blockage,  there was nothing he could do.

It was cold and brisk just as a November should be here in the Pacific Northwest. We packed up the car and started the 7 hour drive over. A few hours into the trip we received a text from my step-mom-in-law saying that she had to take him to the hospital, so when we get into town, just meet them there.  

A Week Had Passed

It was just the four of us in that hospital room for a week.  Cousin Travis had flown in, but could only stay for a couple of days.  After a week in the room we had grown so familiar with, he told us he had done a lot of soul searching. He was choosing to go home on Hospice care. 

This was it. We were stunned. 

I suppose deep down I kept thinking that if I just stayed with him, somehow we'd be back at their place, fighting this thing and eventually he would be well.  But not so.  We sat close to his bedside along with his wife and proceeded to call the rest of the siblings. On speaker phone, we heard the sighs, the cries and the feelings of pure heartbreak. The question of “Why?” Swirled around in all of our minds and hearts as we just could not comprehend how this could happen to Dad. An otherwise very healthy man, a tumor decided to grow on his pancreas, block his whole system and kill him. 

Memories now striking my core a year later of how he passed November 18, 2016 at 11:51pm. I was the one who looked at the clock to mark it.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a detail oriented person.  But death is just as important as birth, and I wanted to notice those things. 

It was the first time he and I really ever spent time together. Which is sad to say after 14 years.  Oh we would see each other at special events and holidays, but all in all it was like passing in the hallway, a smile and a "hey" and that was about it.  But here, in the hospital I would rub his back and put cool water on his head and massage his scalp. He couldn't eat or drink anything, so was only getting nourishment from the IV connected to him.  He was losing weight rapidly and his muscles were in atrophy,  When he came home on Hospice, with all of The Hub's siblings around we would take shifts during the night to make sure someone was with him around the clock.  Rob and I would get up at 1:45a.m. to take our 2 hour shift with him.

You don’t realize what a shared moment is until you hold someone’s hand while they are dying. Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes just breathing.  We learned a bit about each other in those two weeks. We had more in common than we thought. Direct, to the point and not kidding ourselves about our circumstances. Although his sense of humor was all his own! :) When we had to leave for a couple of days to go back home (before Hospice) and make sure things were taken care of there, he didn’t want me to go. He said “ the problem with leaving Rob, is that you can’t leave her here.” My heart just about burst. I never thought I would ever hear him utter words like that. 

When he passed away it was Rob and I saw who saw him take his last breath. We awoke the others with the news that Dad was gone.  It was kind of like moving through a dream then.  Why am I so attached to a man I knew for 14 years, but only became friends with the last two weeks of his life? Maybe its not him.  Maybe it was the event, the horrific circumstances and the time, energy and love which was the driving force that makes me remember so distinctly. 

Dreams. 

About a month later I had a dream about him. I was standing outside, it was sunny and warm. I looked up and saw him standing, looking like he was in deep thought. He was wearing old work jeans and an old white t-shirt that had words that were red on it. Suddenly I saw him fall to the ground and just lay there. The next thing I know, it appears that he is getting up, but his body was still laying there. He started walking toward me, then passed me. As he was walking by he told me that he loved me. I said that I loved him too. He kept walking until he disappeared. I looked back and his body was still laying there. I realized what happened and that I needed to tell the others and so I left and did.  Still vivid in my mind from a year ago. 

He was the first person that has ever passed away that was ‘close’ to me. The first time I have ever been that close to death before, and a dead body. All that with the emotions can really trip you up. On the anniversary of a traumatic event a person can experience symptoms of PTSD. These include:


  • Flashbacks or bad dreams
  • Emotional numbness or detachment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Outbursts of anger or irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Intense guilt or worry
  • Feelings of helplessness or worthlessness
  • Sense of foreshortened future/impending death

These symptoms are something the body chooses to do to handle or deal with the trauma that has happened to the soul.  Unfortunately I can say that I have had all of them.  The sense of foreshortened future and/or impending death was right before we went to Europe.  I kept thinking of making a will, writing letters etc., because...'if the plane goes down...' I could at least have left someone some kind of instructions on what to do.

Apologies to The Hubs for the rest of what he's had to put up with from me. I'm new at this.  God bless you if you are reading this and have been/are going through the same thing.  You certainly are not alone.





Friday, January 27, 2017

That Stamp of Approval

VALIDATION.  It has reared it's head a few times in the past few months, so of course I should give it the AFFIRMATION it is demanding.  DEMANDING.  Validation does that.  It demands;  with love, guilt, anger, passion and even lust.  It's glared at me, and others around me.  It can and does start out as a 'love language', but can take over and throw a person spiraling into Victim Mentality if one does not keep that stinkin' thing in check.

DEFINITION

Validation: to make valid; substantiate, confirm.

That seems so cold.  Mix it up with the heart and soul of a person who has emotion and BAM! You've got a concoction that is living, breathing...and needing....

Some synonyms are: acceptance, affirmation, recognition, stamp of approval, blessing

Validation can be given through Parental relationships, friendships, love relationships, and now especially more than ever, through social media.  I mean, who doesn't check their Facebook status to see how many people liked what their post was?  I can tell myself, (and you can too) that we post because we have something we want to say...give our opinion...share something we think is funny. I can admit that it is quite gratifying sometimes to get a few likes, and positive comments.  Children who grow up with their parents (or even just one parent) validating who, what and why they are, grow up more well-rounded than children who don't.  How many times have we reached out to a friend--and if there is no answer, our heart hurts a bit?

'Words of Affirmation' is one of the 'Five Love Languages'.  If you haven't read the book by Gary Chapman, I would definitely put it on the list as a 'must-read'.  Doesn't matter if you are married or single...it is jaw-droppingly eye opening about how to love someone according to their make-up/personality.  IT IS NOT A WAY TO PROFILE SOMEONE'S PERSONALITY!  It just simply gives you a new perspective.  Most people love others the way they liked to be loved. For instance a person who's love language is Words of Affirmation is more than likely to speak words of affirmation to others...a lot.  Acts of Services is another love language, I know how this sounds... but this really speaks to the servant at heart.  This person will do things, positive and out of love for others...a lot.  This just happens to be one of my love languages.  I love serving/helping. The other day, while I was volunteering, my husband was home on a holiday and decided to clean all of the demolition on the house renovation we have been doing, and clean my whole kitchen.  There must have been 1,000 dishes piled in the sink. When I got home the surprise was overwhelming, and tears came to my eyes. The first thing I thought was 'he loves me'.  Quality Time is another one...this person is willing to not only spend time with you, they turn toward you and pay absolute attention to you. They interact with you, and listen to what you have to say.  This is also how they would like to be loved.  Get the Picture?

Validation.  That Stamp of Approval.  No matter how great or insiginificant, the need and desire for it is ingrained into each of us...into our souls.  But why?

The Beginning

It's gonna get Biblical.  Just warning you upfront.  Candidly speaking, the reason why I went so far back with this, and have put so much thought into it is because that stupid need for approval started throwing darts into my heart--ba@#$%d!

Naturally (for me) I started skimming the Bible for answers.  No joke, it took me straight back to the beginning...literally.  Genesis. After man and woman were created, they disobeyed God.  At THAT instance they were ashamed and felt guilty...because for the first time they were AWARE that they wanted God's stamp of approval and thought they would be rejected. Before sin, before the fall of man, there was no need for validation. We are fractured individuals who live in a fractured world.

There is HOPE.  Things will change, and our need for validation will turn into a continual state of pure gratefulness.  But until then, each of us seek it.  On a large scale or a small scale.

Love Tanks

Gary Chapman, in his book, 'The Five Love Languages' makes an analogy with a cars gasoline tank...and the love gauge of our hearts.  If the car doesn't have any gasoline, it doesn't run well, if at all (haha, most of the time not at all...) kind of the same with humans, except when our 'love tank' is empty it affects our hearts and minds and how we react to people and circumstances around us.  Something to think about.

This is getting long...sorry.  So many thoughts running around in this brain of mine! Just want to say that the act of validating others can help us to be others-centered, which is GOOD! It is when we try to over-compensate that it can turn against us, and then it all becomes about us, which is BAD.

Thanks for listening :) Wait! Is this considered Quality-Time?  hee, hee.

~Until next time~

Reb.

pic found on google images...no name given for credit. ?