Back on January 16th I took a blogging break. I actually posted another 6 times after that, but only things that were already scheduled or in reference to my Dad's passing.
It has been a very emotionally stressful, sad time.....but it's also brought me closer to God, my family and my friends have been amazingly supportive.
My Mom and Dad celebrated 65 years of marriage this past December 21st. They raised 8 children, have 17 grandchildren and 7 (soon to be 8) great-grandchildren.
They have lived in a retirement community for the past 12 years. It's a wonderful place. Their community center was always a busy place with bible study, bridge, swimming, exercise classes, coffee clubs, pot lucks, sewing circles and shuffle board. They have lots of close friends too. They only started to slow down after my mother's stroke 2 years ago, when he was 87 and she was 86.
My parent have been able to see Samuel growing up since the day we brought him home and Samuel adores his Na-Na and Pa-Pa.
Back in 2010 the doctor found melanoma on my Dad's back. I'm not going to go into the details, but it has been a very stressful time with many doctors visits and procedures.
Please folks DO NOT TAN! My Dad had no idea that when he was aboard ship in the navy or worked out in his garden without a shirt on or any sun block, what the consequences would be. Please, for your families sake, take the information and use it.
My Dad fought courageously for 2 years. Then after he was told nothing more could be done, he decided it was time to go home. The VISTA CARE HOSPICE nurses were amazing. Medicines were delivered directly to our home. They took our calls at all hours and answered our questions and concerns with kindness and patience. Even though they had other patients, I always felt that my Dad was their number one concern. Thanks to their care and the love and support of my siblings, my Dad was able to finish his journey to the Lord, peacefully, at home. I am so happy I was able to be there in his last moments. It has really helped with my healing process.
We had a quiet service and then a get together at the community center near where they lived.
My sister, Genie, and brother-in-law, Kevin, put together great pictures of my parent's lives together.
Then we went back to my parents' home and shared stories, laughed and ate lots of wonderful food.
It was fun getting together with cousins we hadn't see in years. Sam got to meet a 3rd cousin, Iris. They had a ball together.
We shared tons of funny stories......
....and photo albums we hadn't opened in ages.
It was a lot of fun!
My Mom loved the commotion and we even got her to laugh. For a sad day, it was really quite nice.
My Mother has come to live with us for a few weeks, until my brother, Mark, finishes some upgrades on a bathroom and bedroom at my sister, Karen's, house in New Hampshire. Then I will fly home with her on March 7th (First class, I might add, thanks to my brother, John!), where she will live permanently.
My two sisters, Mary Kay and Karen are really looking forward to having her around. They are excited to enjoy weekends in our hometown, Lincoln, trips in the golf cart around the lake, visiting with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren and getting Mom hearing aides. Up to this point my mother never wanted the money spent on herself. Well now we are going to insist. It's our pleasure to be able to take care of her the way she always took care of us.
For now, Sam is loving having all of Na-na's attention. She loves reading books to him....and he....
....loves explaining to her which animals might eat her if she goes into the jungle.
It really lifts my Mom's spirits to have him around. He is constantly making her laugh.
My Dad was a very special man and I miss him terribly, but I know he is with God now and enjoying sprucing up His garden.
I am hoping to fly home, to New Hampshire, in July, where my Dad will be buried with FULL MILITARY HONORS.
Thank you to all my family and friends who have supported us through this very hard time. I love you all! GOD IS SO GOOD!