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Friday, January 4, 2008

Mixed Emotions

Many of you may remember my posts over Thanksgiving when I went home to Washington State. It was to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family there and to celebrate my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary. I also went to say goodbye to my father.

My father's health is not good. The last 5 years has taken a real toll on him.

My father has always been a very active man. He grew up one of 7 children, in a small town in Washington State. He was born at home in 1932, as were his brothers and sisters. We grew up camping with the entire family, boating, water skiing, snowmobiling, swim teams, softball team, Jobs Daughters, Girl Scouts, whatever his daughters were involved in, my father threw his life 100% into it.

My father did not graduate high school. He made it through the 8th grade and left school. He worked some odd jobs in this small town. He and his brothers made a name for themselves. Not always a good name, when even as a teenager I had to be aware of which police officers were on duty because one or two still had a hard on for someone with my last name.

My father served in the Korean War. He still has major nightmares. In fact, as children we were taught to not walk up to daddy when he was asleep. Stand at the foot of the bed and talk to him. Do not ever jump on him or surprise him when he is asleep. I once asked my daddy about his time in Korea and the only thing he could tell me was "they just kept coming, they never stopped, it was row after row" My father never confirmed it verbally, but I believe he is one of the survivors of Pork Chop Hill.

He worked at a food processing plant in our town. It processed foods for all the major brands. He worked there as a teen, with his father, then after Korea he came back there and never left. He loved Cedergreens. We were all family. We knew all the people he worked with, they knew us, his children. We visited the plant, we brought him lunch on the weekends.

My father is dying. He is at home, my Mom is being brave. I knew when I was there at Thanksgiving that it would probably be the last time I saw him alive. I didn't want to go. I wanted to remember him as I had in January when I was there after the tree fell on their house and he fell 4 days later and broke his hip. I didn't want to see my father on oxygen, not walking, barely able to feed himself, I couldn't understand half of what he was saying. He sleeps in his chair, he only leaves it to go to the computer to check websites, play computer games, read emails. He loves his "judge shows". He watches them all.

My sister is living in my hometown with her fiance. She has the burden of watching our father waste away. She is there for our mother, who knows her soul mate of 50 years is leaving her.

My sister and I had some issues in the last year. My sister herself has had some major issues, she overcame them. She has turned her life around completely and become the person she was before.

My sister is doing what I cannot do. She is there, she is with my parents every day. She is watching our father waste away, she is watching our mother watch the love of her life disappear.
Today, I have the most ultimate love, respect, honor, awe for my little sister. She has the strength that I do not. She is doing what I cannot do. She is facing the ultimate, like our mother. While, like our father, I am not.

Debi, I love you.

7 comments:

Miss Britt said...

Ah honey, I'm sorry. That would be so hard - for your sister to be there, and for you to not be.

Diva said...

My family is spread around as well. I am here with my father and his parents and my sister with my mother and her husband.

Recently, my mom has been plagued with problems, both her health and his, and it's hard for me not to be able to drop it and be there. At the same time, sadly, I am almost thankful that I can keep tabs from a distance.

We all have battles to face, girl. Don't kick yourself because you are not physically there. You are obviously there in heart and spirit and thought.

My love and prayers for you and your family.

Stacie said...

I'm so sorry your father is passing on. It's so hard to see our parents aging, something I am just now starting to struggle with. Your sister sounds like and amazing woman, and you should know that you are too.
Hugs,
Stacie

Jennifer said...

I am so sorry. I went through something simular with my grandpa, who was like a father to me.

~Tori said...

I'm so sorry... warm thoughts to you & yours!

Mr. Fabulous said...

Honey, I am so sorry. I can't imagine how tough this has got to be. I'm thinking of you.

Girl, Dislocated said...

This is such an awful time for your family in Washington, but I also know it couldn't have been easy to go over there to say goodbye and come back either. I can't say I know how you feel because I haven't had to do that with either of my parents, but I have just the tiniest inkling from saying goodbye to family members I knew I'd never see again.

I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.