Sunday, September 21, 2014

Growing and changing

I realized this morning that my blog had been neglected. Yes, I added new posts to it sometimes, but it hadn't actually been updated in a while. So this morning I went through and deleted links that no longer lined up with my current beliefs. I decided not to follow some blogs that I was following. One I was following only because she was a friend of mine, even though she was posting stuff I didn't believe. Another one I am no longer following because we are not longer friends.

I went back and read some old posts I had written.  I was a bitter, angry woman. I lashed out at anyone, and hated people who had things that I wanted. I won't make excuses, because that would be stupid. There is no excuse for my immature, inappropriate behavior. It takes growth and learning in order to get out of that ugly place. Over the years I have grown and changed in many ways. My beliefs, my attitude, my whole way of thinking. After my divorce, I had to find myself. Figure out what I believed, versus what I was told to believe. I had to get those ugly voices out of my head that told me I was stupid and fat and ugly. I am still learning to believe that I am not stupid and ugly, and that being overweight isn't the most horrible thing in the world. 

I also believe losing my dad has forced that growth I needed. It's been 9 months since we lost him, and it has changed my life in ways I would have never imagined. Everything seems so petty and crazy. Little things that bothered me before no longer bother me now, or they bother me less.

I'm not the person I was 10 years ago, or 5 years ago, or even 1 year ago.  I'm growing. I'm changing. And I like that.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Please donate to the Out Of The Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk

On September 27th, 2014, my mom, my eldest son, and I will be participating in the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk. We are raising funds to help in awareness and prevention of suicide. Which is where you, my wonderful readers, come in.  Yes, I am asking for donations. Any donation, no matter how big or small, is greatly appreciated.   To donate, please click here.

For more information and a backstory, see this post: The Day My Life Came Crumbling Down

This is the last picture ever taken of my dad and me together. It was taken less than a month before he died.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The day my life came crumbling down around me.

 July 4th, 2010, my dad started having seizures.  He was eventually diagnosed with  epilepsy and put on many medications. The doctor was hesitant to take his license for a long time. Unfortunately that also meant she wasn't willing to help him get disability. Over the years, the lack of work, the medication, the depression, and everything else became too much for him. One day in October, he was driving to do a job, blacked out, and crashed his truck. Thankfully he survived with nothing more than a scratch on the leg.  Or so it seemed. I believe that crash did more than we realized.  In November, I moved myself and my 2 boys to the town he lives in so we could be near him.  It was also in November that he told me that he was having trouble remembering things. Simple things. Things he had known for years. He needed a map to get around the small town he had lived and worked in for years. He was a self-employed plumber, so he knew the streets of this town backward and forward.  Suddenly he needed a map to get around. He was also diagnosed with early-onset dementia, because of the head injuries and epilepsy. He wasn't able to drive anymore. He had to have people drive him to jobs. That was a massive blow to a man who was always self-sufficient and able to provide for his family. Suddenly he couldn't. And on top of that,  the government said he couldn't get any help from them.   He didn't want to be a burden to anyone, and the depression took hold.

 On Monday, Dec. 16th, he and my mom went to the doctor for a routine MRI. He needed to be sedated for the MRI, but the technicians were not informed of this. So they had to reschedule.
When they got home that afternoon, my dad decided to go for a walk. My mom had no idea that he had taken the gun from the nightstand.  He was gone for hours, which wasn't unusual for him. He often took long walks by the river to think. The river was one of his favorite places.
I knew that my dad had the MRI that day, so that night I texted my mom to find out how things went. She said she would talk to me about it tomorrow.  So I figured that my dad had 'chickened out' and decided not to do it.  If only it were that simple.

December 17, 2013 started out as any normal day. My son woke me up about 7. We got up, made coffee, and started our day. It was a cheerful day. It was my nephew's 15th birthday and I sang Happy Birthday to him(though he couldn't hear since he lives 3000 miles away). Little did we know that it would soon end.

I waited that morning for my mom to call me and tell me how the MRI went.  I never got the call. Instead I got a knock on the door. She opened the door and said "hi, I have people with me." Those people were Pastor H and his wife.  They walked in and smiled and said hi and asked mom how the MRI went. She woke up my 12 year old and told us to sit on the couch. I could tell she had been crying and that something was seriously wrong. My first thought went to my 83 year old grandpa who also lived with them.  I'll never forget my mom saying "honey, your dad shot himself." I screamed "NO" and asked her if she was joking. Of course she wasn't. She would never joke about something like that. I immediateley buried my head in her lap and cried. I didn't get to say good-bye. I didn't get to give him one last hug and tell him that I loved him. I didn't get to thank him for being such a wonderful daddy to me, and an amazing grandpa to my kids. My just-turned 4 year old buried his head in the couch and kept saying "this is a horrible day. This is a very, very bad day!". My then-11.5 year old cried and snuggled up next to my mom.  I remember the 4 us snuggling on the couch together, crying and saying "it's not fair! It's not fair!!!!". 6 months later and we're still saying that. It's not fair. And it sucks.

After a while, Pastor H and his wife left.  My 11 yr old sat on the couch, not sure what to do. I went and set up my 4 year old  with a project. I informed people on Facebook. My mom made phone calls. Those are some horrible phone calls to make. How do you call people and tell them someone they love has just shot themselves?  The Sheriff in town, whom we know, called the local Suicide Prevention group and they came up to talk to us. They gave us some information and made sure we were okay. They made sure to tell us that there was nothing we could have done. Quite honestly, it did little to reassure us that day. We were all so numb. We finally had to go up to my parents house because family members were arriving to be with us.  Walking into that house and seeing my dads empty recliner was horrible. I remember curling up in and smelling it because it smelled like him. I wanted to yell at everyone not to sit in it.

That day was a very, very long day. The weather was beautiful, which at one point prompted one of my aunts to say "it's a nice day." To which my 4 year old again replied "NO, it's not! It's a bad day! A very, very, very bad day!!". Out of the mouth of babes, right? It was, indeed, a very, very, very bad day.  We spent the day talking to people, but I have no idea who. Family members came over and gave us hugs and condolences. I'm not completely sure who. It's kind of a blur.   The rest of the week was spent trying not to lose our minds, planning my dads memorial service, and visiting with family. My sister, brother-in-law and their 3 kids flew into town a few days later. We cried together and made a wonderful memorial video for our dad.  He was 3 months shy of 63 years old when he died.

The last 6 months have been a blur of grief and moving and craziness. I can't believe it's been 6 months. I can't believe my daddy is gone. He was my daddy. My fishing partner. The man who taught me about plumbing and how to cast a fishing pole. He was the man who smiled so proudly each time he held his grandchildren for the first time. Or any time, really.  He was the man who everyone in town loved and admired. He was the man that you could look up to to be a good role model.

I know my daddy would never, ever, ever purposely hurt us if he had been in his right mind. Never, in a million years, would he do anything to hurt us. That is how I know that the illness he had completely taken over and he just didn't want to hurt anymore. He was in pain all the time, physically and mentally. He wanted to be done with it. He wanted to go home. He wanted healing. And dying was the only way to get it.  I know that my dad is in heaven, and he is partying with Jesus, and his mom, and his dad, and his step-dad, and his grand babies that didn't make it to earth, and with his brother, and with my grandpa, who joined him in heaven just 6 short weeks later.

But that doesn't make us miss him any less. I miss him constantly. I want to give him a hug. I want to feel his arms around me as he kisses my head and says "love you, Punkin'." I want to see him playing with his grandsons. I just want HIM.

I don't know how to end this, so I'm just going to leave you with this video that we made for his memorial service:

Monday, April 7, 2014

It takes a village to raise a child.

We hear this all the time.  "It take a village to raise a child". For the most part, I will say, yes, it does. It takes loving people to support the parents and help out when they can.  Some people have apparently taken this to mean that it is okay for a stranger to discipline a child that they don't know. That is false. It is never, I repeat never, okay to discipline a strangers child. If a child is being noisy, talk to the parents. If a child is doing something you find unacceptable, talk to the parents. It is their right, not yours, to tell the child to be quiet, or to stop doing the thing that is unacceptable.   There are few exceptions: If a child is running into the street, it is acceptable to gently stop the child and keep him safe.

So, does this mean a person shouldn't help out a mom or dad in the grocery store?  It does not mean that at all. That is where the village comes in.  To support the parents.  Instead of telling the child to be quiet, play with the child. Entertain the child so the parent can do what he/she needs done.

Example: You are in line at the grocery store, and your 2 year old is being, well, 2.  Wanting everything, screaming, the whole works.  Instead of scowling at the parent for "not controlling her child", a better choice would be to help.  Talk to the child. Try to make him laugh. Entertain him. Make funny faces. Offer to help the mom or dad with the groceries so she can tend to the screaming child.  Be creative.  Just don't judge.  Don't scowl. Don't be mean.  The parent is doing the best he/she can, and  smiles and support go a long way in making life better.