Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Two things I don't want to forget

On the drive home from school the other night--through the river
bottomlands--lots of windy, narrow roads, I topped a hill and saw
2 cars pulled off on the shoulder, so I slowed down, rolled down my window
and asked if their was a problem. The man standing on the shoulder of the road
with one of his two children pointed at the woods and his wife and other child
and said, "Do you see that?" I scanned the wooded area he was pointing to,
but things were hard to see--it was nearing dusk, but then I saw it.

"It" was the tiniest fawn I've ever seen.

It looked like it had just been born--still wobbly on its little legs. The wife (that's
an assumption, I know, but the whole crew had on matching t-shirts that had
some kind of baseball team logo on them, so I am assuming wife) was trying
to coax the fawn to come to her. I asked them if they planned to call a shelter
and he said he wasn't sure what they could do but they were going to do something.
They had been there for some time and there was no mother in sight. I kept
wondering if I should have gone back and put the little thing in my Highlander
and brought it home to care for it, but I knew that wasn't an option.


Dad was in one of my dreams again last night (actually was dreaming about him when
the alarm went off this morning). He had just been released from the hospital.
He looked tired but younger and better. He seemed a bit jaundiced, but otherwise
he was much better than he was when I last saw him alive. He was missing a few teeth,
his hair was still black, and he was walking with no problems. But what I remember
most was his pink tongue--free of all the dried blood and caked matter that covered
it in the ICU. We would ask them if they could swab it or do something to moisten
his mouth. It just looked so uncomfortable. I know there is a concern that a person
may aspirate and get pneumonia, so you have to be careful, but they did allow us to take
these sponge sticks to swab out his mouth. Sometimes he'd fight us because he didn't
know what we were doing. Other times, he would just lick his lips and then rub them together
and we knew how much better his mouth felt. So, I remember that most vividly from
the dream. I also remember that home was not "home"...it looked like our home in Virginia
Beach, but I know it wasn't there either. He said he felt better but would have to go back
to the doctor for more tests.

It's still so hard to get through each day. Yesterday, on my way to the post office, a Medivac
helicopter flew over and that was all it took for me to choke up and start crying. All I could
think about was the night they flew dad by helicopter to University Hospital Louisville.
Oh, if we could only go back. Just for even a day. I miss my dad so much and would just ask him
things that I never thought to ask him about, and I don't even know if they're all that important,
but I would ask him. I don't know if he ever had a dog when he was growing up, or a cat, or any kind of pet. If he ever told me, I have forgotten.

I want to read Our Town again.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Dreams of Father

I can't remember everything in one of my dreams last night, but I remember my father telling my mother not to jump into the water--to just wait where she was and someone would come to help her. She was on a vessel of some type with other people I knew but can't place today. I was viewing the vessel as if I had x-ray vision and could see through the steel hull of it (side view showing all levels) or as is someone had created a model on the computer and you could view what the levels inside looked like. I remember peering into an opening at the top of this vessel (before my father arrived in the dream to tell my mother not to jump), but I could only see her legs and socks. From the inside view I had of the vessel, I could see that my mother and the others were in some type of sleeping quarters. They were moved in and out of the quarters on racks (reminded me of an oven rack). Even though this was some type of ocean-going vessel, it was on land, but surrounded by water. Something had happened and the bottom half of the vessel had disappeared. My mother wanted out and was going to come up through the hole and jump to the water below (looked about 40 ft or more). Why she couldn't come up through the same hole I was looking through and be ok, I don't know.

And then, there he was--my father. I didn't see his face. I saw his legs. They were wet, as if he had just come out of the sea, and he said in a very calm voice, "Joyce, don't jump into the water. Wait for help." I could see him basically in profile only, and only as if it was a passing glance of someone very far away but very close at the same time. His hair was dark and he was lying on the concrete, propped up on one arm. He told my mother he was ok but his legs hurt.

That's all I remember. I woke up when the alarm went off and for the first morning in some time, I felt I had actually gotten some sleep. I also felt better for the first morning since Dad's death.

Yesterday, I had a meeting in Hopkinsville, so I stopped by the Veteran's Cemetery. I went to Wal Mart first and bought red carnations, a disposable camera (I'm going to have to put my old Minolta back in my car and keep it there like I once did), and a Father's Day card. I thought the cones we put flowers in on Memorial Day would still be there, but they weren't, so I made a little hole in the very wet earth with a pair of scissors I bought at Wal Mart (to trim the carnations), and I stuck them in the holes on either side of Dad's stone. Then I poured some bottled water in the holes. I stuck my card in between the carnations. And I took pictures. Why, I am not sure.

I wanted so badly to just stretch out on top of the grave--to just curl up and nap there, but I didn't have a blanket with me, and the groundskeepers came within 15 minutes of my arrival to dig a new grave, so I didn't stay long. Since Dad was buried on 4/24, 15 more graves are now next to him--some with stones, some with just markers. That whole generation of men and woman are dying in such great numbers daily. I thought about the 15 other families who were mourning the loss of their loved one. I packed up my things, got in the car, and drove home (about 36 miles). I cried all the way.

Started class Monday night. Meets 2 nights a week--5:15-9:15. Makes for a long day after I have worked all day, drive an hour there and an hour home. It's going to be an extremely busy and time-consuming class, but hopefully it will be interesting. I have chosen to design a curriculum to teach an AIDS/HIV Family Support group. The purpose of the group cannot be therapeutic, and the group can't meet in an educational setting (those are the stipulations with Family Life Education Outreach). So, I have much research to do and many things to pull together. On Wed. night, I have a mid-term and after the mid-term, I will have to present a movie clip demonstrating to the class something I would use in my sessions. I am going to look for a scene from Philadelphia.

Sunny and warmer today. Lauren and Ville are here to work on the kitchen this weekend. I am glad they are here. It is so good to have family and friends visiting with me. It so much helps this grieving.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Can you imagine us...

years from today
sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends
Old friends

That was playing in my CD player this morning...made me sad all over.
Again and again, this sadness. Only such a brief few moments
of each day am I not filled with it. I can't bare losing Dad.
I just can't bare to think I'll never see him again, kiss the top
of his sweet head, give him a big hug and feel him hug me back just as tightly.
I'll miss his quiet, soft manner. His amusement at our inanities. His beautiful
eyes (blue and green and grey and little streaks of brown). I'll miss his voice
coming from upstairs as I came in the front door of the house
and called for him "Ho, Sis!"

Oh my dear, sweet , Jesus, this is terrible pain. I can't even bring myself
to look at his pictures. It just makes me feel like I'm choking. I can't sit
in his chair or lie across his bed without feeling like I'm suffocating.

Oh, Dad. Come and make things right again, Ok?