Click on the blue link below to hear an excerpt from my voice lesson with Peaches Chrenko, yesterday:
EMAIL MESSAGES AND UPDATES (my words are in blue):
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012
Was with my dad until almost midnight. He was snoring/breathing very loudly. It got louder when I talked to him, so I know he could hear me. It was the first time I was able to be alone with him – although I guess my talking/singing probably woke his poor roommate up. I remember how it was for my mom when her roommate(s) died (more than one). Yesterday, the man who shares his room offered my brother, Norm and I chocolates – boy was that a comfort!
The most beautiful moment was when I was singing to him. One of his favorite nurses, Veronika (whom I shared a picture of recently), came in crying and stayed with me for a long time. She told me his dying was affecting her deeply; she was the only nurse he allowed to shave him (I’m sure she must have been extremely gentle). Then I was touched when she told me she had read my blog and that meant a lot to me.
This dying process is a mystery. I coached him and begged him to just take his last breath. I knew he could hear me, because his snoring became much louder when I talked. I am not camping at his bedside because I am trying to stay in a place of functioning. One nurse told me that there was a woman who lived this way (no water, nothing) for 18 days.
I think my father is hoping to see my oldest son, who is coming home tonight from a camping trip.
As far as my eyesight goes, it wavers. Unfortunately, because I’m very near sighted with a huge prescription, I don’t notice many of the changes. My one eye seems to compensate well. I need to see my optometrist again to see what to do about the glasses that I ordered, which will have to be redone. But this will all have to wait. Yesterday I saw my doctor, and I need to have lab work done when I get a moment.
The palpitations I’m feeling are bothering me, but I know they are clearly a result of stress. I have cut back on coffee. At the forefront of my mind is my father’s eulogy, which I am writing in my mind wherever I am. But I listen to my music and comfort spreads throughout my body. I am thankful for the blessing I was given to help me through.
TEXT MESSAGES FROM MY OLDEST SON WHO IS ON A FIVE DAY CAMPING TRIP.
Let grandpa know I am coming to visit him tomorrow night and the following morning
I wish I were there so bad right now. It’s so painful right now. Glad I have your support. Hate having to keep a straight face here.
I want to be there so badly. Thanks for letting him know for me.
Tell him I will take good care of his stuff and that I’ll search under the dresser in the game closet.
Let him know I am standing up straight and not chewing on ice. That I am in college for a general education.
Let him know I am driving home tomorrow morning and I’ll visit him right away.
I stayed last night late. I begged grandpa to let go, but he’s hanging on. Your messages were so beautiful & I read them 2 him. I know he heard them. Can I share your messages? I am writing a lot because it helps me. I love u. be safe coming home.
You can share my messages. Whatever helps you. Can’t wait to get home. I’ll drive safely. Love you, too, mom.
MESSAGE FROM MY FORMER ART TEACHER AND DEAR FRIEND, NANCY:
I am reading your feelings wondering if perhaps they aren’t prophetic as I watch my own parents decline. Yes, the dying process is fascinating. Difficult as it is, it is a remarkable privilege to share in the very intimate end of someone’s journey on this earth. We will never know until we die if it isn’t THE most intimate moment of our lives….the end. I liken it to being born. I wonder if your dad is simply moving through the birth canal toward his new life. And you are helping him, guiding him to that beautiful new place at the end of this journey. Someday we will know ourselves and hopefully we will have a helper as loving and compassionate as you.
They help us enter– and we help them move on. I wonder who was on the other side when we were being born. Do all people imagine such things or is it only that I am an artist. Hahaha!
You are soooo important to your parents and to all of us. Yes, your dad knows and he won’t forget, even as he moves on.
As far as your own health is concerned…. Judy, we both know first hand what emotions can do to our bodies. Please allow that awareness to guide the choices you make for your own well being.
I love you Judy!
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
Judy, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I remember your dad being so patient with me when he tutored me in math. (Not my best subject) He couldn’t have asked for a better daughter.
I think of all I’ve gone through with both my parents the last five years. It’s been hard, but I am grateful for all that I was able to do for them. I have a blog, where I’ve shared a lot about that journey. I hope to help others by maintaining my positive attitude.
I’m just amazed at the way you are handling this moment in life even though I know it is so very hard. YOU, Judy, are a courageous person. I imagine your father lovingly sharing with you that beautiful inheritance as you walk with him through this door. You are surrounded by a million people who love and support you, even from afar.
I have colitis symptoms, so I wish I were handling it better. Our body exhibits what our mind doesn’t allow. I am off to visit my father for a while, and then I am going to do music. That will help me.
Judy, my prayers are with your father and for you and your family. How is your mother doing?
My mom has no idea. She is in her own world and cannot hear, nor communicate coherently anymore. That is a blessing at this time, I think. But I’m sad, because she is gone from me, too. I miss them both.
Judy, I’ve been thinking how your mom’s dementia is a blessing for her. She will not suffer her husband’s loss. It must be very difficult suffering the loss of both parents at the same time. How lucky you’ve been to have had such a wonderful relationship with both of them for so many years!
Thank you for your message. I am hoping it’s getting closer. I just came back from visiting him. His breathing is more labored, but it sounds like he’s just snoring. I pray it is over soon. I wish he were a pet that I could just give a shot to. It’s horrible to watch.
Oh Judy, I’m so sad to read your email. If your Dad made his wishes clear to you, then you are doing the most loving thing you can for him by not prolonging his suffering. Be strong and remember that. You are as always so far evolved from anyone else I know. Keep that clarity. I am so thankful that your mom is missing this and that you and the brothers are all on same page. I’m still religious, or spiritual, enough to believe there is purpose in transition, five days to disassociate from the machines and interventions of modern medicine. As long as your dad is not in pain, so be it for his sake and yours.
Thanks so much for your loving message. Each medical situation I’ve faced has been so difficult and required a lot of consideration about what my parents’ wishes were. My mother was a fighter. I was amazed how she pulled out of her ordeal on a respirator. Her broken hip was another situation altogether.
My health is not good. Although I am emotional and clear about my feelings, my body is telling me things. I wish I knew what I could do to feel better. I am trying to do all those things. No word yet on the eye tests I had. This is on top of everything! But thankfully, I feel calm because of my music.
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Tags: "sandwich generation", acknowledging grief, acoustic guitar, Aging Parents, Caregiving, death, father's illness, grief, grief over losing a parent, GRIEF RELATED, inspiration, losing a father, loss, Music, original songs, singing, songwriting, voice lessons