Sunday, January 23, 2011

Even if you think you're ready...

One of the things I really look forward to on Sundays is reading the paper.  I have a certain way I read it.  I start with the front section, then I go to Denver and the West but really I skim until I get to the obituaries.  I read the obituaries every day but I really read them on Sundays...and...I think about them.  I read the ages and I imagine them and then as I read on, I look to see if I can get a clue to how they died.  On Sundays, there are usually a bunch so this takes me a while to get through.

When I was a hospice nurse, I usually knew some of the people and would look to see if I recognized the family names.  I generally don't know the folks these days since I am not in that field anymore. 

Today, when I read the "obit's" as I used to call them, I thought of my girlfriend who's mother just recently died.  When I heard I called her and she told me and started to cry.  Then she apologized for crying..."I don't know why I am so upset, I mean, it's not like we didn't know it was coming."  Yes, she was old and yes, she was ill, and yes, it was expected but...there is no way to be totally ready.  To be ready for your mother who had you and raised you, no matter how you think it all turned out...is not an easy thing to get through.

My father was out here in July of 2001 to help me paint, re-tile and do just about everything for my husband and I to sell our house.  He was an 81 year old ball of fire.  He would get up in the morning and say, "So what are we doing today?" and the next thing I knew, we were pulling up the tile or painting a room.  He was that good.  In October of that same year, he had a massive heart attack.  He ended up having heart surgery and the result was minimal.  He had about 20% of his heart working and he had a pacemaker and defibrillator.  When all was said and done, he could barely walk out to the mail box.  When I tell you he was angry to be alive...that was putting it mildly.

We tried to encourage him and he would let us know in no uncertain terms what he thought.  He would go into weird heart rhythms and not tell anyone.  When we could get him to the cardiologist, they would tell us his pacer fired 6 times...meaning he went into a bad rhythm and was brought back.  He was ready to go.  He was done but he kept living. 

I decided I was done too.  He could go for all I cared.  He was old, crabby and kind of mean.  It was his time and I was fine when it came and it would be a matter of time.  No worries for me...I was ready.

On a Friday in August, after a busy day at church getting ready for the biggest yard sale of the year, I pressed the button to go into the garage when my husband came out and stopped me.  "Stop the car, and get out, will you" he said.  Why won't he let me just pull into the garage...what is wrong with him, I thought, and I am so tired.  I got out of the car and he stopped me and looked me in the eye and said, "Your father is gone."  "What...what...how would you know?" I said.  "Your sister just called and he is gone."  I was stunned and could hardly breathe.  And I was so ready....

Oh how I loved my father...he was a great man.  He was funny, and smart although he didn't think he was.  He could fix anything that was broken or find a way to get it fixed on the cheap.  He and my mother were married for alot of years, some good and some tough...but they stayed together.  I had forgotten that when I got "ready" but remembered it after he was gone. 

The rest of the story is pretty standard but I fooled myself about being ready.  You are really never ready and even if you are, it hurts...and it hurts alot.  If they were someone who you loved dearly, it is devastating.  You miss them for along time and then you feel guilty because they weren't your first thought of the day.  If they were someone that you had issues with...that is equally devastating...the should haves, could haves, why didn't I's?  The regrets.  So remember, even when you think you are ready to lose a loved one...it hurts, you'll cry and probably wish you had done more...that extra phone call, that extra visit...I know because I thought I was ready.

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,


Jori said...

I think about this being ready stuff a lot. I thought that if something ever happened with my dad I'd be ready but you are right you are never ready. I wasn't ready for him to leave but to be done being sick and in pain. I was ready for him to be out of pain and enjoy every moment of life but I wasn't ready for him to go. It's just one of those things. I don't know why I wrote this but I guess it's just to say I know the feeling. I love reading your blogs Terry and I appreciate them and the thoughts they bring to me. You're great and I love you.

Ms. Moon said...

Lots to think about here, Love. Lot's of wisdom. Your daddy sure was a handsome man.

Anonymous said...

You always say things just right. I love you, Terry Joy Ritter!