Vinyl

A part of my soul that was lost years ago has been returned.

Today while I was napping, Alan went out and bought a record player and some used records to add to a little collection we started recently.

He showed off the new purchase by playing Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.”

It transported me into another dimension. Time stopped. My skin tingled. I almost cried.

Music from a record is a physical music. It is felt not only by the ears and heart but by the body, too.

Sitting on the sofa with my soft, purring kitty in lap while listening to records might be my new favorite way to spend a Friday night.

Everything is temporary.

Since learning about my dad’s illness, grief comes and goes in waves.  Sometimes the waves overcome me and make me stop what I am doing. Then I cry and feel the intensity of that wave.  Like surfing.  It goes up and comes back down again.

Through this process, there has been an increasing sense of clarity.  There is a force making me let go of my firm grip on how things are right now.  Everything is temporary.  Everything I love will eventually fade, change or pass away. This moment is all that any of us have.  This is both terrifying and comforting.

What happens after we die?  Why are we alive in the first place? I think about it a lot these days.  The possibilities of heaven and reincarnation and karma are comforting and fascinating.  Life is a great mystery.  One of the benefits of dying, I suppose, is finding out once and for all what happens to us once we leave our bodies.

We watched the movie, A Dog’s Purpose, which so beautifully portrays the circle of life and the purpose of living.  “A dog’s purpose is to be here now.” Maybe that is our purpose, too.

 

Engagement, revisited.

On September 14, 1998, Alan asked me on a date outside the large ensemble room at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  I nervously accepted. On September 16, 1998, Alan and I had our first date and spent some time at a park on a little lake called Half Moon Lake.  On October 31, 1999, Alan proposed to me at this same park, while I sat on a park bench overlooking the lake, nervously giggling and eventually accepting his proposal.  So, naturally, we had to visit and reenact these scenes when we recently visited Eau Claire roughly 20 years later. This time, there was less nervous giggling, but there were clearly more pounds, more grey hair, and more children, too.  I married a sweet, handsome, and all-around amazing man.  I am grateful.  Happy 20-ish years, Hub.

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Optimistic

I visited my parents today, all by myself.  No kids, no dog, no siblings.  I can’t remember the last time I did that.  It was special and memorable. My dad looked and acted like his usual self and has handled things well.  He begins chemo on Monday. I feel hopeful, especially compared to yesterday.  I suppose that is how this journey will be: up and down.  He is hopeful, too.  He believes in his doctors and in the medicine.

My dad will receive one treatment every three weeks, for a total of 6 treatments or as much as his body can handle.  I hope and pray for his body handles the treatments, that he stays free from infection, and all of the cancer in his body disappears and his body is filled with healthy cells.  He won’t see much of Mia and Anna, because they are sick so often and spend 36 hours per week in the petri dish called school 🙂 Even a little sniffle or sore throat could send him down a bad road, so we’re not even going to risk that. And, at the same time, I do believe his life is in the creator’s hands and that things will unfold according to plan.

I watched the movie, Heal, and recommended it to my dad.  It is a documentary that emphasises the power of belief, such as belief in the chemo medication and believing it will heal the cancer. I found the movie to be inspiring and lovely.  It is a little “out there” and maybe a bit hippie-ish, especially for someone like my dad–an traditionalist and an engineer.  I am one of those who is willing to try just about anything and everything alternative.  And I am trying to hold back and remind myself to accept and allow my dad to choose his own path and experience this journey in his own way.

 

 

 

Grief and joy

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Anna turned 9 years old yesterday.  The day was simple and joyful.  And thankfully, it was free from the painful sentimental feelings I normally feel on my children’s birthdays.

This year, Anna could choose between having a birthday party or having a weekend at a hotel with her family.  She chose the hotel, and last weekend we spent two nights at a hotel in Wisconsin.  Anna spent most of the time swimming. We also spent some time seeing old sites from when Alan and I lived there.  We visited my parents on the way home, and they gave Anna her first sewing machine.

On her actual birthday, Anna chose what we ate for breakfast and dinner (pancakes and eggs; spaghetti without meat).  And, she invited grandma and grandpa over for “dessert”, also known as veggies and dip, popcorn, and Zevia root beer.  Somehow, the sweet tooth the rest of us are plagued with doesn’t seem to reside in her–and therefore she is our little health nut who keeps us eating our vegetables.

Family life is sweet and lovely.  It has been especially so in recent months.  Things feel grounded and connected in our little family, and I am glad for that.

In the background, there is grief.  My dad has stage 4 cancer.  He doesn’t want to share the news with anyone outside of our family, at least, not yet.  At first I felt shock and intense love for him and compassion for his suffering.  In addition to this, there is now grief and sadness.  The feelings swing between periods of peace and acceptance and then the intense feelings of grief.

I am letting myself cry when I need to.  Work has been a welcome distraction, although I am not as cheerful or engaged with my clients as I usually am. I’m feeling bewildered and disorganized and uncomfortable, not always knowing what to do when I’m not busy.  I know that allowing the feelings to come is what will heal me and keep me together.  But it is hard.  I often want to run from it and go back to the way things were before.  I am thinking a lot about the memories I have of my dad throughout my life.  Dad riding the John Deere in the summertime, dad taking us ice skating on the frozen marsh, dad cutting down trees and splitting logs, dad building snow forts for us and making awesome sledding trails.  I feel the comfort and the consistency he has provided all of my life.  Always there.  Reliable and strong.  What would it be like without him?

Things that help me cope with this grief are talking about it, walking in nature, cuddling my pets, and reaching out to others. I am visiting my parents as much as I can.

Life is hard.  And, it is beautiful, too.

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