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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2 Years, Tomorrow

Hi Dad,

Tomorrow, or actually it's already tomorrow, ends the second year that we have been here and you have been there.  I'm still not all that invested in afterlife daydreams -- just what exactly IS dad doing with all his free time?! --  preferring instead to focus on ways in which my life is muted without you here with me.

Example one.  We're driving with J & B to Colorado -- Durango of all places -- and I had no idea the depth of my exclusive childhood connection:  Colorado = Dad.  It doesn't hit me until several days into our trip and we're making the trek over the mountains from Durango to Telluride.  I see the grandeur of the terrain...the heights, the sheer dropoffs, the carpet of evergreen trees...and I see you, in memory form, as a type of overlay that brings a haze of present tense into each scene.  Had I chosen to write them down, stories of "You in Colorado" would have filled all the empty spaces of our car.  It was physically painful, in an odd sort of way.

Example two.  We have a puppy.  You'd laugh with Tim and me, watching her antics.  Clearly, at 3 and 1/2 pounds, she's no German Shepherd.  Not a real dog.  More like part rodent, part feline, part bat, and last and least, part dog.  Despite the combo, I know you'd approve and though she's just a pet and not a child, there's a tiny part of me that thinks the experience of bringing her into the human world would be fuller, if you could share it with me.

Well, I think I'd like to copy down a story that I would have read to you, perhaps at your birthday gathering later this month, that would have made you smile:



Monday, July 2, 2012

it's just a regular day

Hi Dad,

It's just a regular day today.  My heart isn't hurting especially much for you right now, which is perhaps why it's possible for me to set aside a few moments and connect with you.  Life is so normal now, compared to how it was when you were sick, or right after you died.  So when waves of missing you come over me, i feel somewhat surprised and it feels foreign to "lean into it" like I had no choice but to do during all those months of intense grieving.  I think of this space, and how I'd like to meet you here, but then I decide just to wait passively until the wave passes.

It's interesting, how your other children are faring.  I wish we could each of us experience more closeness together through our grieving, but the path is so personal, and each of us is so different from the other!  And each of us experienced your illness and death so differently.  Perhaps in the years to come we will feel more common ground in our sense of missing you.

This week coming up is the 4th of July.  I think perhaps it will be the first time every single one of us has been together since your memorial service in Phoenix.

The room will feel empty without you.