Monday, February 6, 2017

I'll Fly Away

As Dad grew older, he came to accept his death.

When Dad first broke his hip in 2008, he thought of the old hymn, "I'll Fly Away."
"Some glad morning when this life is o'er, I'll fly away..."

As the years went on and his body gave way to aging,  he looked forward to that glad morning.

A month or two before dad passed, Dad laid in bed sick.  I went into the bedroom and laid next to him. He said to me "My heart has been beating for ninety-five years and that's a lot of pounding." He had become weary. His body was wearing out.

Death was not something he wanted to avoid. During a visit to the heart doctor to discuss the TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic  Valve Replacement) procedure, Dad said he did not want the TAVR.  The decision made him happy.
Helping him with a needed change of clothes one day, Dad was worried it was a trick. He did want to see any more doctors. He had accepted it was his time to fly away.

While I had hoped for him to have the operation, I realized how cruel it would be to convince him to have the procedure, extend his life, and not allow him to live his life as he desired.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Grief by the book

My experience with grief has been a strange journey. Weird and wonderful has been the best description. I have enjoyed scanning the pictures from my mom's. Sitting in my Dad's place on the couch while looking through his Bible. And recording mom as I gather stories from her life.
I was aware of the stages of grief but was I experiencing them.? I had been told about anticipatory grief during the visitation the night before the funeral. Could this be what I am encountering?  Was I going through denial? Nothing seemed to be what I expected.

So recently  I have decided to buy a book on grief. It was not my intention to buy any books, figuring most books were full of crap. One day, while examining the books at Barnes and Noble, a book entitled, Grief is Journey by Dr. Kenneth J Doka, stood out. Not just that the title of the book resembles the title of my blog, but some of the points fit with my experience.The price for the Amazon Kindle version was 13.99, and so I have purchased it for the Amazon Kindle.

An initial point concerned the five stages of grief.  It's more about our experience with illness and dying, not about grieving.  I was finding it difficult to see these, in my life. It's good to know they are not about those grieving the loss. I was bewildered by what I was experiencing.

When writing about offering condolences, Dr. Doka says not to provide platitudes as He is in a better place.  A better place doesn't need him. He was needed here. A better place does not need his generosity. A better place will not need his advice. A better place does not need his knowledge. Those things are essential on Earth.

I am through with part 1. Part 2 deals with various type of loss. I may just skip to the part on a death of a parent, then go back to other chapters.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A New Year

It is now six months since Dad has passed away, While it has only been six months, we are in a new year. But saying ""My Dad passed away last year." makes it seem much further away This new year means the first year full year without him. Do not have some part of the year with him, seems weird.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Time

Today marks five months exactly since Dad's passing.

I love any time traveling movie:
."The Time Machine" (1960)
"Time After Time" (1979),
"Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" ( 1989)
"Back to the Future" I, II, and III (1985, 1989, 1990)
"About Time" (2013)
I even like "Hot Tub Time Machine
Thinking back to all my past Christmases, I never ever had to work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I don't remember ever not spending Christmas with my Mom and Dad. This is the first Christmas Eve and Day without my Dad.  If I ever was away from either of them, I do not recall.

One Christmas I bought a trophy for horseshoes. He had won some trophies but they were used for second place  and lower. But everytime he was part of the winning team, he did not recieve a trophy. So I went to a local store in Fargo ND and purchsed a trophy. I don't recall what the troyphy says.

One Christmas I gave Dad a DVD with the best of the Andy Girffith Show. We stayed up late, 10 PM, watching it. He shared remembering watching television with his mother.

He never needed anything. Finding a gift that just said "I love you Dad." was not always easy to find.

Dad loved chocolate covered peanuts Candy was always a good buy.

If I could go back in time.  I would want to go back to Christmas 1968, my first Christmas. Now
But since time machinses to not exist we use pictures  We are so lucky now to have ways of caputring these moments.
During the project of scanning in pictures, I have discovered some pictures from Christmas 1968. We were spending Christmas at my Mom's father's home.

Now we are not talking about a quantum leap method where I would have to take the place of someone, but as I am now. I would be a stranger, but yet Dad would know who I was.

When I think of the past

 I don't recall there ever being anything like a car seat. Maybe Mom held me in her lap the whole trip. My two older brothers sitting in the back.

Weather Underground showed the temperatures for Aitkin Mn During this time as being a high of 18 on Christmas Eve. 16 on Christmas day.  The days surrounding that time 18-20 for highs.
Sharing a meal with them would
be wonderful.
To sit at the table and share a meal with them. 

Dad would be  47 years old. I am now
 older than him in this picture
 I would like to know what all the presents were. What was the music being played? I wonder if the tree was real.

Another method  to takes us back to those moments is diaries. Mom will allow to me look through her diaries after she passes, but maybe I could get her to review some entries now. I would love to learn about the past Christmases. Diaries can be the best thing let us know our history. I would love to see those Christmas pasts.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Advice from my Dad

Advice from my Father.
The advice I received from my Dad was both direct and indirect. The indirect were those things you would see him do. You knew it was important.
Here is some direct advice he gave.
Marry a woman who had her appendix out, has a fur coat and has lots of money. And if you could find a woman like that, why not?
Here is a video of Dad giving me that advice.

Dad was asked by my brother Paul about advice Dad would want to give to future generations. Here is a clip of that.

Indirect advice.
Use the scripture daily.

After breakfast, Dad would sit on the couch at his spot, open his Bible and go through a devotional. Looking through his Bible, I could see it was not a meaningless book to him. He would in color pencil underline scriptures. It was not an old book for use in the past it was something useful now.

Dad did not limit his prayers to before meals, but prayer was used during trials. Heading into breakfast one morning some weeks before his death, I saw Dad holding mom's hand as they prayed. Praying through the struggles coming with Aortic Stenosis.

Save money. A lesson learned during the depression staying with him throughout his life.

Get the most out of things you have. From adding a bit of water to the ketchup to get every last drop, to trying to fix glasses when they got broken, and turning two wooden grain bins into a wood shop and wood storage.

 Dad loved laughing. When I was young, and I thought Mom and Dad were both away from home, I quickly changed clothes turned on TV as I enjoyed my time alone. Some strange noise was coming from the living room closet. I approached the door listening for the sound. I opened up the door, and Dad let out a loud yell scaring me. Boy did I jump. Dad laughed. He loved laughing.

Don't be afraid to say you are sorry.

October 2015, after having fallen and breaking his arm, afterwardsDad was in Manor Care in Fargo. One day he had a fight with mom. The next morning, Mom told me about their fight as I drove her to Manor Care. She stopped at the front desk to see if an appointment with a heart surgeon had been made. I went ahead, to find Dad eating breakfast. I sat next to him. He tells me “I said some mean things to your mother.” I nodded to him and said “I know”. He asked about her, I told her where she was.
When Mom came into the room Dad raised his right arm, wrapped in the fiberglass cast, waving her over to him. He reached up to her hugging her crying as he said he was sorry.

When I was younger school had a Halloween event where we would dress up in costumes. When I reached fifth grade I was past the level for that event. Mom and Dad concerned I was missing out, gathered items to make a custome.
So err on the side of helping people and learning they had no need. Better than not helping, and learn of them having great need.

Our father was a very wise man, May his wisdom guide me the rest of my days.

Monday, October 31, 2016


I have been thinking about Halloween's past. Using a Cheerio box, and some green construction paper to make a Frankenstein mask Remembering all the candy.

But one Halloween sticks out.

I was in either 4th or 5th grade, in previous classes on or near Halloween the classes from kindergarten to 3rd or 4th grade would dress up in costumes and run around in the gym. In my current grade we did not dress up But Dad and Mom were not aware of this fact.

So concerned I was going to be left out they gathered together items to make a costume including some Halloween make up. Dad drove into the school to give me the items. I, being a stupid kid, feeling embarrassed was more mad than thankful.

If I could quantum leap back in time to that moment, I would thank Dad for bringing it in, and I would want to give him a hug.
Thank you ,Mom. and Dad.,

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

Some things in life are bad,
They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle,
Don't grumble, give a whistle!
And this'll help things turn out for the best 
Always look on the bright side of life!

If life seems jolly rotten,
There's something you've forgotten!
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing,
When you're feeling in the dumps,
Don't be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle -- that's the thing!
And always look on the bright side of life 

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is a song I have come to love. Is Life treating you poorly? Find the bright side. Find joy.

Philippians 4:8&9
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paul encouraged the people of the Church at Philippi to think of the best.

Think of something that makes you laugh.
Think of something that makes you smile.
Think of something that makes you dance.
Think of something to sing.
Think of something to whistle.

Before Dad passed, I considered the day of the funeral would be full of Joy.

I had reached and passed by more than a year the age my father was when I was born. I did not believe I would reach that age with him alive, but I reached it. I remember having lunch on the day I passed the exact age year, month, day, and minute. He was living in his nineties. I was surprised he lived through his seventies, through his eighties, and now he had reached ninety-five. I had many more years than expected. I was blessed with time.

So many more hugs. Even a few fist pumps. Just siting with Dad. I experienced great blessing with so many moments of love expressed. I learned to express love better. To show love and not be afraid. What a wonderful gift Dad gave me.

I imagined I would go from table to table collecting memories. But I only collected one new story. It was a great story however.

Funerals are how we begin to say goodbye. The beginning of remembering. For it is not enough time from a person's death to funeral It never is. So you move forward and continue the process of grieving and of remembering.

Remembering the laughter shared. The smiles shared.

The time spent in the shop with him.

All the great memories. Looking through and scanning all the pictures mom has at the farm is helping to see the bright side of life.

Always look on the bright side of life.