Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Dead Dads Club

17 years ago today, my dad lost a very brief fight with cancer. So brief, that as a 21 year old, it had taken me 4 weeks to adjust to his diagnosis. And he was gone. No epic battles, no long bouts of suffering, none of the lengthy horrors you dream about. Horrors many friends have had to endure in their battles since.

 And I was grateful. Grateful that God answered a simple prayer. "If you are going to take him anyway, do it sooner. Don't make him suffer." That gratefulness didn't change my grief. Not then and not now 17 years later.

 Because contrary to the phrase, you never "get over it." You adjust. You adapt to the circumstances which become your new normal. But you never get over it.

 Sure. I am not in a fog of tears, grief, and frustration. I am not so exhausted and overwhelmed that my mother, aunt and I laughed and cried hysterically trying to craft a Eulogy in "Klingon". (Long story) There are no priests, no funerals, no cards. On this day of the year, it is always a bit darker in my world.

But it isn't just this day. There are little things, little moments. Like when I hear the song "They Don't Know" by Tracey Ullman. Because my dad was an avid music fan. His genre of choice was 50's and 60's music, but thanks to a full on 80's child he was fairly well versed in my own brand of music awesome. But that song he loved. It really reminded him of the music he grew up with. I hear it and I want to call him and tell him it made me smile to think of him. And I remember. There is no phone that can span this distance.

 Or college basketball. My dad was a huge UNC fan and I was a huge Duke fan. The yearly meet-ups of those two teams was an event attended eagerly by dad and I every year. My mom usually made herself scarce as it got pretty heated and dramatic in our living room. My dad and I didn't have a great relationship during my teenage years (I was a turd) but this was 'our thing.' Even now I can't stand to watch it. Though my husband has become a Duke fan himself and would love to watch a great rivalry in action, it is no fun to watch the game without having my dad there.

 Firetrucks. My dad was a firefighter. It was his passion to help others and as a fireman he was able to do so. He loved it so much he worked a paid firefighting job in a city and volunteered as a firefighter in our smaller suburb until he got injured and was unable to continue working as a firefighter. The boys are at the right age where they are fascinated with fire trucks. Any time we pass a station they shout and point at the trucks. Today one of the trucks had its lights on and they talked about it all day. My dad would be in his glory if he were here. The boys room would look like a fire truck threw up in it. And he would be laughing and playing right along with them. 

My dad could talk to anyone about anything. He would find a topic if need be. He loved sitting and talking with people where they were. I tell my husband he and my dad would have had a great deal to talk about.

 He was caring, kind, generous, and genuine. The kind of guy that would let you borrow anything, would save an injured cardinal from the road, and would sit and play board games with his family.

 And I will never get over missing him. Wishing he could hold his grandsons. Or give me a hug.

 There was a scene in the TV show "Grey's Anatomy" where the dad of one of the interns dies. Christina (the rigid, left brained, stone faced one) found her grieving friend and told him about the club they were both a part of. One you can't join until you are in it. The Dead Dads club.

 It is true. Not just for dads but all loss. Parents, spouses, friends, family. You can't possibly understand until you are there. But you really hope no one ever has to join the club.

 I miss you Dad. Today and Every day. God willing we will meet again. I love you.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Boys will be Boys and the Preschooler Mom

It started as a regular summer morning.  The dudes and I had breakfast, piled into the car, and made it to swim lessons a few minutes early.  Really that should have been my warning that something would not go right.

While getting E-dude's shoes off, G-Man was climbing on the lounge chair behind me.  Suddenly, a screaming cry.  Little G-Man had done a face plant into the concrete.  Sigh.

I picked him up, held him tightly, and fished out some wipes to clean up the blood on his lip.  And he kept crying.  And bleeding.  It took me a few minutes to register that he had not simply cut his lip...he cut his gums.

Above his big tooth-big gash.  (Gross picture at end of post)

And it was bleeding all over the place.  Good grief do mouth injuries bleed.  Little man missed swim as we tried to stop the bleeding-which took a little while but thankfully stopped.  Teeth still in place and no wiggling.

We got home, had some popsicles and I got a good look at his mouth.  And like any mom...panicked.  I took pictures, called his pediatrician, and a pediatric dentist.  Based on my description, the pediatrician said we could bring him in or wait to see if it improved.  They assured me gum injuries healed quickly and just to watch to make sure it was healing.  I wasn't assured.

The very kind assistant at the dentist said something similar but welcomed me to send her a picture so she could let me know if the dentist felt he should be seen.  

I could mention that G-Man was in great spirits and taking full advantage of the popsicle angle.  Other than his mouth hurting, he didn't seem to be bothered.

The dentist felt that as long as the tooth wasn't loose and G-Man wasn't complaining, to just let it heal and keep an eye on it.  

That finally made me feel better.  At least for the moment.  Because we all know that this is the easy stuff.  All parents of older boys give me that look and say "just get used to it."  But...does anyone really get used to it?