For Chip: He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. —Unknown

Monday, November 18, 2013

November Memories

November is the month 15 years ago when you got sick.  It was devastating to get the call.  It was even more confusing when "Granny" (my mom) said you were sick from "bad fish".  I remember asking what kind of fish you had eaten and not knowing the real reason you were in the hospital.  As usual "Granny tried to hide the truth and make everything rosy".  That's the good trait about Granny.  She is always trying to play up the positive.  She never acknowledges illnesses and is probably why she is still alive.

You would be very proud of her because she has managed quite well and is able to live comfortably.  However, Granny is able to live on less money because she is very frugal.  I know no one else that has an electric bill for twenty dollars.

When I saw you in the hospital I was very concerned because you looked helpless. It was not bad fish, but a stroke.  I wanted to believe that the stroke would not be debilitating.  You were dizzy, but there were few  effects from the stroke.  A week or so went by and you went to rehab.  Honestly, I thought that was ridiculous.  They dressed you up in regular clothes and sent you to daily rehab.  You told me that you were having difficulty because you were very dizzy, and you did not look like your felt very well. 

The following days are a little blurry.  The next set back was you having another heart attack. The  term for your condition was congestive heart failure.  Your doctor kept explaining how parts of the heart had been damaged, but I never gave up thinking that somehow it could be regenerated like the tail of a lizard.  Time went on and Christmas passed although we refused to celebrate much of a Christmas even with the kids.  It did not feel right to celebrate any holiday with such an important family member so sick in the hospital. 

At one point they sent you home for a few days, but you quickly returned to the hospital. Funding had run out, but you were too ill to be at home. After three days you were back in the hospital.   While I was gone most of the family went to the funeral home to make arrangements for your impending death.  I was shocked that such a terminal decision was planned.   I never gave up on your recovery.  I kept asking about new treatments, but it was  obvious that your breathing was becoming labored.  When they put you in a car to drive around I realized that you looked miserable and wanted this to end. 

In February only a few days before Valentine's Day you passed away when no one was there.  That must have been sad.  However, your favorite expression, "I just want to be left alone" might have applied in this situation.  I know when you are sick you do not care to be entertained, talk, or hear noise.  I was out of town, but I asked if anyone had gone to look at you after death.    It must have been shocking for Granny to arrive at the hospital and you were gone.  I got the call at work that you passed on in the early morning.   I immediately flew home with relatives waiting to pick me up at the airport.  

Waiting for a funeral is a ritual that you want to be over.  You would have felt the same because we have a lot of the same traits. One funny thing  happened when we were ordering the blanket of flowers for your coffin.  The older lady at the florist said, "It's too bad your dad died near Valentine's Day because there are hardly any good flowers around."  Was that not an inappropriate thing to say to people planning a funeral?  I will never forget you saying that Granny's family was a bunch of misfits.  I thought so too and we laughed a lot about that.

Sometimes when I go to your home I will take Granny to see where you are buried.  She and I are not that interested in dwelling there.  Of course we go to the tombstone and see your name, but we walk away very quickly.  We leave with a feeling of regret that we  went there.  There is no solace or satisfaction in a piece of empty land.  We know you are in a better place.  Just like the resurrection of Jesus you are not there. 

P.S.  While in the coffin I  remember the gold wedding ring on your finger, and I grabbed your icy hand.  I do not know when the ring was removed, but I proudly wear it on my right middle finger as a reminder of you.   I love and miss you.
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