HOW OUR BLOG BEGAN, in AUGUST 2010: As many of you know, Phil has been struggling with a very complex series of neurological issues for about 5 years. This past spring, the issues became especially intense as a result of an unexpected cognitive decline and a fall on May 15th that resulted in a head injury and further decline. And then, on July 16th things catapulted to unbelievable, as Phil suffered from a severe "electrical storm" in his brain that essentially created a status of brain death for two full days. Inexplicably, the very morning that neurologists and other medical team members were planning removal of life support, Phil began breathing on his own and his brain waves returned to a stable, while still abnormal, level. Since then, each day has been a unique journey. And while he and his body continue to demonstrate a will and capacity to live, he continues to have severe deficits and it is quite uncertain as to the path he will take. As loved ones close in can attest to, it has been tricky to keep up emotionally with all of his changes, and provide the needed support. We can only imagine the hard work Phil has gone through as his brain has taken him through such roller coaster experiences. It is our goal here to keep family and close friends apprised of Phil's ongoing story, and to build connections that honor him.

AND THEN, SEPTEMBER 11, 2010....Dad's remarkable journey alongside us culminated in a gentle, generous death.

And so, my goal here now as his daughter is simply this: to record snippets...pieces of his life that my memory offers back to me, pieces of myself as I learn to live without a dad. I hope all who meander by find life, and hope, and peace.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

i get a lot more than just coffee tonight

okay so, dad, it's been two weeks and sixteen minutes since your time of death was announced.


i'm glad we're not burying your body until November.  gives us time to adapt, in stages.  and how unbelievably grateful i am that we can honor you at arlington national cemetery.  our nation's capital, the place our whole family feels is a bit like home.

*          *          *          *          *

tonight i'm sitting at my friend's christian-ish coffee shop, elevate.  her young friend nate is singing the blues on the coffee shop stage.  this one song has four lines, i think, or maybe it's actually three, do they call them stanzas? -- that just keep repeating themselves, over and over and over and over.  which is nice for me because eventually the words cut through the fog and i begin to hear what's being said.  and then i discover i like what's being said.  and then i get to write it down.  and then i get to hear it again.  by the time nate's moved on, i know what it is about the words that work for me tonight.  repetition is nice that way, it buys you time.

what am i supposed to say
when the best of me was always you

what am i supposed to do
when i'm all choked up and you're ok

i'm barely breathin'
i just pray to a God i'm not quite believin'

i know the song is about breaking up, a guy and a girl, and i'm not sure what's going on with the praying / not quite believing combo.    but it comes over me, tonight, that these are the sensations of loss.  not all of them, for sure, but some of them.  and loss, in its many forms, always sings a similar sad tune.  lovers. dads. a child, a childhood dog, a lifelong friend.  the strands of loss are universal, i suppose it could be said.

and while the words are not a perfect mirror for me tonight, since i get to hear them over and over and over again, i begin to love the chance i've been given to contemplate the parts that reflect the bits and pieces.

some of my best was embodied in you, dad.
the senseless crying sessions have started, dad, even when i know full well you're more than ok.
ok so yeah sometimes with the crazy tears, they do have a way of getting in the way of the breathing. 
and yeah, i'm not quite sure what's going on with the praying / not quite believing combo, but i'm sure i could do
more of the one and less of the other.

goodnight, dad.
goonight, friends.

1 comment:

  1. Its now been 3 weeks. Weird, I can only now post anything to Facebook. And as I began typing I had that same panicky feeling I had 3 weeks ago - we didn't know the exact timing but we were 2 hours away from saying goodbye to Dad's earth suit.

    So expected, his death, but still so hard. Takes your breath away. Emotions are so strange. And while I completely understand, my sweet sis, they aren't SENSELESS crying spells. Necessary I think. Just let 'em hit ya. I found it's only while the tears are falling that it feels like they'll never end. But they do. You suddenly realize - I'm thinking about something else, and not crying anymore. Double weird.

    Am currently listening to a great album, "Come Weary Saints"

    which is a perfect complement to those purposeful--clean out the tear duct sessions. I love you, sis. My new motto: Life is good - heaven is better!