Monday, January 2, 2012

This is a tough one.

Warning this is a long "me" filled post.  A coworker once described me as a "very private person" and this is true.  If you need some one to cry with, logically find the solution to a problem, or help bury the bodies I'll be there for you but I don't think you need or even want to know what my troubles are.  This is a legacy from my Dad and this post is gonna have a lot about my Dad in it.  It is also a post to help justify to myself  why I didn't finish, even come close to finishing, my ACC plans.

Rolling back to mid July... After much internal debate and terror I decided to enter the ACC.  I've been known to procrastinate a project up to the day it's due and I didn't want to do this on something so massive as the ACC.  
About a week before my first postings on this blog my brother, who is three yrs younger than I, had a heart attack.  This particular type of heart attack is commonly known as The Widow Maker.  If he hadn't actually been at the VA doing some testing for something else he would have died.  This begins the beginning of the most stressful six months of my life.
One of my Aug posts talks about the boat restoration Hoggar and I worked on over the spring for the Lake Powell trip.  What I didn't mention in that post was the phone call we got while down there.

My Dad really wanted to go with us to Powell.  Because of several health problems and a doctors appointment during the time we were going to be down there he couldn't make it so he called every day to give us a weather report.  Seriously that was the excuse to call and see how we were doing.  He'd check the weather channel for the next days conditions and then we'd talk about what we'd done that day and what the plans were for the next day, based on his report of course.  The final phone call wasn't the weather report, since we were leaving the next morning, but the doctors report.  He held off telling us until the last day of our trip the test results:  lung cancer.  This wasn't a surprise, we were all expecting that diagnosis and hoping for something less.  I was terrified he had emphysema so the cancer diagnosis was actually a secret relief for me.

So Aug moves along with all the questions about treatment for Daddy.  My brother gets two more stents put in his heart and seems to be improving physically.  He's in a bit of a depression which is not a tiny bit surprising for any of us.  I think this is when I had the snag with getting hold of linen thread for finish the blanket stitching and button holes for Hoggar's coat.  I'm also dragging my feet about getting started on the trousers for the ACC.  Finally Daddy gets a treatment plan and is staged.  Stage 3 on the lung cancer and the lymph nodes are still clear so three rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and then cut the rest of the sucker out.  This is good news.

Sept rolls around and at my nieces birthday party Mom lets me know that my uncle Ken's partner of almost 20yrs, who has been battling thyroid cancer for the last 8yrs,  was going into Hospice; so get ready.  Two days later Uncle Joe died.  Only two days; when I hear Hospice it's supposed to be a couple months to a year to get ready, to say good bye, to visit one last time.  I think it was at this point that if the words cancer or heart disease came up in a casual conversation I would literally walk away from the conversation. 
As an extra kick from Murphy on the day of Uncle Joe's funeral Hoggar's truck threw the timing and punched a rod through the oil pan.  Annoying but easily fixed once an new truck was bought.

Into Oct:  I have a schedule for how I'm going to get everything done, including costumes for the kids cosplay at AnimeBonzai and the two scrolls for Solstice Court.  In a brilliant move I also accounted for the possibility of overtime at work for the Christmas rush AND I'm keeping to the schedule.  I can do this.
October 21st: Daddy goes in for his first round of Chemo.
October 25th:  Daddy is admitted to the Huntsman Cancer Hospital with sever dehydration due to  vomiting and diarrhea from the chemo.  He also has chemical burns in his throat so talking is difficult.  All this is normal and to be expected.  IV fluids and monitoring and all should be well.  My one sister leaves the hospital around 5 and gives us all an update.Daddy is doing OK but he's starting to spike a fever so they're adding antibiotics to the IV.  Nothing to be too concerned about yet.  I let the rest of the sibs know I'll go in after I get off work the next morning.
October 26th 12:15 am:  My supervisor gets me off the work room floor to let me know Hoggar has called, call him back right away.  After a brief phone call I leave work, go home to get Hoggar and the kids and meet the rest of my family at the hospital.
Oct 27 10:45 am.  Daddy peacefully passes away surrounded by his family.  It sounds like something trite to put in the obituary but it was true.  Daddy had gone to sleep sometime around 6 six that morning.  The out of town sister got to the hospital around 9 and the whole family.  Mom's brother and sisters, all of my sibs and spouses, and most of the grand children.  Daddy's cousin, his best friend and pastor of our parish, The head of the police chaplain's department,  the NY cousin via face book: we were all there talking when he simply stopped breathing and didn't start again.  It really was peaceful and easy.

Later that day I submitted my Oct report for the ACC and withdrew from the challenge.  Bianca offered her condolences and refused to let me withdraw.  So what if I hadn't finished I'd done so much already.  I still smile at her "you've come so far already" comment.  I had one piece about 95% done and nothing else started.  I did agree and still do agree that withdrawing from the competition less than 12hrs after a major life changing event was a sure sign that I wasn't thinking clearly.  What I hadn't planned on was the lack of motivation to do anything.   I don't want to call this depression but a deep sadness and a bit of something missing.  Daddy and I weren't "talk every day about everything" close but he was there if and when I needed him and I knew it.  That's the missing part and I'm still adjusting to its lack. 

Back to the ACC.  Bianca relieved much of the pressure when she told me to slog on even though I wouldn't finish.  I only have two button holes to do on the coat and it is done and documentation  Ugg documentation.  The nice thing about working with an extant piece is documentation is more of a "this is when it was pulled out of the ground and what it looked like."  "This is what the conservators and archaeologists say it is and what it should look like." and "This is what I did and how and why it varies from the original."  Have I written this documentation yet?  No.  Why?  Dani's dad died on Dec 10th and I guess I had a bit of a relapse.

Dani is a co-worker of mine but it's a bit deeper than that.  Dani's Mom and my Mom and Aunt went to high school together.  My Aunt works for Dani's Mom now.  Dani's husband grew up a few blocks from where I live.  Her kids and my kids are both six months apart in age and same order; boy first then girl.  Dani and I have been leading the same life.
Dani's Dad had prostate cancer and even before my Dad was diagnosed she and I would talk about it.  Me being in the supportive role. that shoulder to cry on that I talked about at the beginning of this incredibly long post.  When Daddy was diagnosed she returned the favor; offering advise, letting me know what to expect, giving me book suggestions.  We supported each other so when her Dad passed it was very much like ripping a scab off a healing wound.  I see the sadness in her face and wonder if I looked like that a few months ago and if I still do. 

So I didn't finish or submit the documentation for the part that I did do.  I'm still trying to get 12th Night off work and will bring the coat up for anyone who wants to look at it if I don't have to work.  I might even do the documentation in the next few days to bring with me.  I also still plan on making the rest of the outfit as Hoggar really does want it.

If you've reached this point Thanks for slogging through my selfish whining and justification and hopefully see you at 12th Night


  1. love ya jen... bring up the coat and bring the book for documentation

  2. Thank you for this. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to see it. My ACC entry is all about grief as well and how I've pushed it under. I went crazy as a way to avoid it and now I'm sort of lost without "one more thing" to do. My mother is terminally ill and took a very bad turn back in October. My sister just had a diagnosis of breast cancer. My mother and aunt are 8 year survivors and my grandmother died of it so the fear for myself is mixed with my concern for her. She has ovarian cancer as well in addition to lupus and watching her and her pain has been terrifying. Add to the mix my father who has been having confusion due to unexplained low blood oxygen saturation despite oxygen supplementation and well, I've been running scared for some time. We all deal with grief in various ways. My way is to not deal. It sort of all hit like a brick wall yesterday. So, thank you for the morning catharsis and I'll see you this weekend where I promise to be more upbeat.

  3. Praks, I am soooo sorry you're going through this too. If you ever need someone to sit in a corner and vent/cry/try to find the logic of it all let me know.

  4. Love and hugs to you. Please take care of yourself.


  5. Thanks Morgan. Things are getting easier. It just takes a long time.