Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Weird and Wonderful

Two words, weird and wonderful, are not words I would have expected to describe theses last two months. Weird I can understand, but wonderful?
But I found many moments of wonderful?
Hugging my brother Jim was wonderful as we briefly cried together next to dad's body. Most of my hugs were with Dad and Mom. It was the first time I hugged Jim. I was hugging a lot that next week and month. Even hugging some other men who are not huggers. Dad had helped me with getting comfortable with hugging. One time a couple of years back I did not hug someone because I was not feeling the freshest, and I regretted not giving her a hug. I feel a need to hug others now.

Singing the Beatles song “Good Night” as I lay next to his body. With Spotify having the Beatles available, I have been able to hear all of the Beatles recordings. “Good Night” is a song I had not heard until Spotify carried it. Golden Slumbers seemed to be for a female, while “Good Night” works for anyone. We say rest in peace when talking of those who have passed, and a lullaby seemed so appropriate.
Putting together the videos we had with Dad for the funeral and then reworking it again afterward when I had more time. I so enjoyed the creative expression. I am not good at making something requiring an artistic touch; I don't eyeball things well. Making a video is very precise, but yet it allows for creativity. I need to interview Mom and put together a video of mom telling of her and Dad's story.
Holding my mom's hand while sitting at the table in Dad's chair and saying his prayer before the meal. I loved hearing Dad pray before lunch. I made a couple of recordings of it. While it may have slight variations at different times, it is the same.
Dear Lord.
We thank you now for this Day.
We thank you now or this food.
We ask now that you be with us, and guide us.
We pray this in your precious name.
Not that it was the only time I saw him pray. One morning when I was home, shortly before he passed, I walked into the living room looking into the kitchen seeing Dad holding Mom's hand while they prayed. It was so sweet I wanted to take a picture, but it seemed very private as well. In 2008 after Dad had broken his hip while at Church camp during the healing service, I asked to pray for Dad. So I prayed with Dad for his hip. During times of struggle Dad would pray. So it was not just before meals.

A good talk with my brother Paul. As I took him to the Airport, we had a good discussion. I don't talk with him too much, and we had a good conversation as I drove him to Fargo.

Listening over and over again to the songs selected for the funeral. I made a playlist of the songs sung at the funeral and two songs used as music before the service One being “Good Night” by The Beatles. The others were “There is a River”, pre-service music, then “I'll Fly Away”, and “Life's Railway to Heaven”. (I remember watching RFD-TV show “Country Gospel Reunion” when she told me of that being a good song for either of their funerals.) Finally “God Be With You.” Those songs now hold such precious memories and give me such comfort.

Sitting at Dad's spot on the couch, and looking through his Bible at scripture he underlined. He did not just read his Bible he worked through it, underlining passages and studying it. The Bible was not a passive object to him but something that was living.

It was wonderful to wear his BetaSeed hat as I worked on the farm. Touching, wearing or sitting what he touched, wore, and sat connects me to him. It makes him feel close to me. And it brings me comfort.
Many things are not as I thought they would be, many of the things I have experienced are weird and wonderful.

Dad would hold Mom's hand while they would pray. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

“...Dad passed away”

Dad wanted to have a garden so we purchased some seed  and did some planting.
I had thought about the many scenarios when dad died. What would I do if I was at work, at my apartment or my parents home? My brother, Paul would have to be told by phone, and it would have to be voice to voice, not text and no leaving a message. I did not want to tell Jim by phone but face to face.

But things don't always go as we wish.

When informed I was not alone. I was with mom, and in a sense with Dad. Jim was alone. I did not want him to be alone when I told him.

Now, two months later, I am not 100% certain who I told first. I suspect Jim. He would have been the one brother who would be able to do something immediately. I told each one the same thing.
“Sometime between 4 and 4:30, Dad passed away.”

It was straightforward and to the point, but yet seemed like it was not the right words. But what else could one say?

Many other people I imagined telling face to face. As many cousins as possible, and the pallbearers. Also, I imagined I would tell his sister Doris, face to face. News like this seems too impersonal over the phone  But I was home already. So phone calls were used.

When Jim arrived at the farm, about 8:30 in the morning, Tim Anderson of the funeral home was discussing things with Mom. I greeted Jim at the front door, walked with him to the bedroom.
He looked at Dad and began to sob. I joined him in sobbing. It has been the only time cried since his death. I don't know why that was the only time I cried. It was brief but beautiful.
I opened up my arms; he approached me, and I embraced him. In the many years before Dad passing, I would give my father many hugs. I was now a hugger. During this moment of sadness, It was splendid to hug Jim and sob with him.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

He's Gone

Good Night Dad, Sleep Tight

Here is my first entry. It is now two months since Dad left us.

4:20 AM, Monday, July 25th ,2016 An emergency alarm set for calls from my parents awakened me. I reached the phone, but voice mail had picked up. I begin calling them back and after three busy tones, It finally connected

Mom answered.

“ Your father had another fainting spell, and he ended up rolling out of bed. I need you to come home.”

“Alright I will gather my stuff and head straight home,” I replied

“Take your time. You know it takes awhile for your father come out of these spells” With Dad's aortic stenosis fainting had become more familiar.

After the call had ended, I gathered together my items, loaded up and drove home to my parent's farm.

I arrived home around 5:40 AM. I saw someone in the driveway standing outside. He was not Stuart, the renter of my parents land. Who he was I did not know. I parked in front of  the garage, headed to the front door of the house and into my parent's bedroom.

I walked to the west side of the room by the side between the wall and Dad's side of the bed. I saw him face down next to the bed and no movement.

“He's gone.” My mother said.
For a brief moment, I thought she was talking about the person who was now standing outside. Then I realized what she was saying. My Dad had died.

I turned to her and said “Oh you mean he's dead”

I looked back at my Dad's body, Shook my head and said “Hm.”

I shrugged my shoulders and bent down grabbing my Dad's body and worked toward moving him back to bed. If it were on film, it would be very comical, as I wrestled with my dad's body while moving him back to bed. Once he was in bed, I placed a blanket over him as if he was just in bed sleeping. For three brief moments, I laid next to my father.

The first time I laid next to him and sang the Beatles song “Good Night” as I had planned to do.

Now it's time to say good night
Good night, sleep tight
Now the sun turns out his light
Good night, sleep tight
Dream sweet dreams for me
Dream sweet dreams for you

For a couple of more times, I laid next to him. One time I just laid next to him and the other time I rubbed his neck as if it had been just another fainting spell.

I was surprised dad lived to be 95. But for many years prior, his passing was continually on my mind. Each time I would say goodbye, I thought it would be the last goodbye. When I would tell him good night, it was possible I may not see him alive in the morning.

The final goodbye was the Tuesday before his death. I had been home to take them to a funeral. While Dad wanted to attend, he did not feel up to going. As I head out, Dad stood up, I wrapped my arms around him and held him tight. I said,“Goodbye Dad, I love you.”

It was a good hug and an excellent last goodbye.