Chats, Tears & Love

Last month, in my post ‘Phone Calls‘, I wrote the following –

(note: since the very beginning of my journey with my cancer, all procedures and tests and treatments; all resulted in bad news.  I have not once received good news in the past 1 ½ years.  NOT ONCE)

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Image Provided by: Emedicine Medscape

So, the news of my cancer spreading and growing was received on a Friday; and Saturday Gary made a couple of calls.

What was discussed in these phone calls?

Gary was honest and sincere and direct.  He was caring and sensitive and calm.  He called these 2 people to let them know the truth concerning my current health situation.  He told them I am in a great deal of pain to the point I am using a cane to help me walk.  He told them I have lost almost 40 lbs. and my appetite is not always the best.  He told them the results of the latest scan.

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Image Provided by: Kyrene Foundation

He told them what is to come with regards to my future treatment and the slim possibility of positive results.  He told them more than likely we would not make it to Texas for Thanksgiving.  He told them he felt it important that they (my family) consider making plans to visit me here in Florida.

In today’s post, I write the following –

You remember last month on Father’s Day weekend, I received a surprise visit from my 3 sons?  My heart was happy and the time spent together that weekend is priceless.  It was by far the best Father’s Day I have ever had.

I just recently had more visitors that left yesterday after a weeklong visit.   My dad and stepmom drove from Texas to come visit me.  The time spent with my dad was special and I feel a closeness to him I have never felt before.  We chatted about our relationship and the mistakes we made along the way, and the love we have for each other.  We talked about my current health situation and we cried together and he provided me support only a dad can.

The weeklong visit was fun, special and very emotional and one I will never forget.  My dad has Parkinson’s that has progressed in recent years; he is lovingly taken care of by my stepmom.  She is an amazing lady, who I have great respect for.  I know my dad is in good hands with her, just like I am in good hands with Gary.

Image3Thank you dad, for taking the time to visit me.

I love you,

Terry

Dad’s Birthday

Today is my dad’s birthday.

Dad has lived 83 years on this earth today.

The purpose of this post was to write something profound.  A post about this special day; the day my dad was born.

I googled ‘birthday’, ‘why celebrate birthdays’ and ‘what is a birthday’, and I received many different results back.  Some of the results included websites of different religions and the reasons for celebrating one’s birthday.  Other results included websites that sell birthday related products and services such as Hallmark and Dave & Busters.  And then there are other websites with articles related to birthdays such as ‘Why Do We Blow Out Candles on Birthday Cakes?’, ‘Best Birthday Gifts For Boyfriend 2016’ and ‘Birthday Do’s & Don’ts’.

Well there was not anything I found as a result of my search that appeared to be profound, so let us move on.

Birthdays are important!

Dad’s birthday is important!

Dad and I go back a long way; back decades and the relationship was not always good, not always easy – but the foundation that kept us going was always love.

There are many posts I have written about dad – (if you are interested in reading – clicking the title link below will take to that post)

My Dad Who Taught Me Plenty

One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked…

I understand the words ‘I love you’

Anger Towards My Dad

A Letter From Dad

We Darn Near Lost Him

not many handshakes going on these days.

The shell of a man

The transformation of our relationship has evolved over the past 50+ years and today is one of meaning for both of us.  I know my dad felt years ago as I have felt in previous years; we failed as a father, we made mistakes, but we did our best.  Dad and I are very much a like even though we are very different.  Dad and I are dealing with health issues and we handle them the best we can, positive attitude and dealing with our illness one day at a time.

My dad and I are not the best patients: we both complain and we are both referred to as ‘a bitch’.  LOL, we really are, that is us – my dad and I.

Back to the foundation that kept us going – love.

Love may not always be displayed in ways we usually expect them.  My experience so far is love blooms as we grow older and though in the previous years it was not displayed in the usually fashion, it certainly is being displayed that way today.

My dad displays his love for me and I display my love for my dad.

You may recognize the right half of the picture below, as I display it many times here on my blog.  I decided today to display the whole picture; the picture that completes me.

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Happy Birthday Dad.

Love you,

Terry

Rain, Rain, Bring on the Rain

I am in Pensacola, Florida for a little over a week now –

I have seen more rain than sun –

Here is the forecast for the next 10 days –

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In the coming days there is more rain than sun –

I am feeling better due to medication I am taking for pain and discomfort –

The constant rain and gloomy weather makes it difficult to smile and be happy –

I will remain optimistic and upbeat, because this is what will help me through the storm taking place in my life at this time –

So bring on the rain –

This too shall pass –

From the theboot.com website article Top 10 Country Songs About Rain lists this song as # 6 –

“Bring on the Rain”

Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw

We’ve all been at the end of our rope, ready to just give up, and a literal storm on a dark day can be just enough to push someone over the edge — but Messina, with help from her producer and friend Tim McGraw, reminds us that it’s just a little water, and we’re thirsty anyway. This defiant anthem preaches taking things one day at a time and remembering that this, too, shall pass.

The shell of a man

Last week, Gary and I had dinner with my dad, my stepmom, my older brother, his wife and their 2 children. This was a ‘goodbye’ dinner of sorts before Gary and I were to depart to Pensacola, Florida; the next location for my next surgery and treatment I will receive for my cancer. At that dinner, I told them I would see them again and that my plan was to be in West Texas for Thanksgiving to spend that holiday with them and the rest of the family.  This is the usual location my family meets to celebrate this holiday.  I said to them with not knowing what will take place in the next couple of months, my plan could change, but at this point in time, I want to be there in West Texas come November.

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Image Provided by: thewholeworldatyourhands.blogspot.com

I sat next to my dad, who is dealing with Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments.

His body is frail, his body is a shell that is weathered and fragile; that is non recognizable and not the dad I have memories of when growing up and even in these most recent years.  The body is weathering and the Parkinson’s has become strong to the point his voice at times is muffed, and just a noise that at times is unrecognizable in the words that are being spoken.

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Image Provided by: http://www.pinterest.com

That dinner sitting next to my dad, his words were detectable, though very soft.  My ear was in his face trying to hear him, with soft words and his hand on my shoulder I heard him say “If you need anything, I am here.”  I see this fragile man, who I believe is coming near to the end of his life and he is supporting me, comforting me and he is being here for me and this I am thankful for.

The relationship we have now is dramatically different from years past when we were both younger.  If you are not familiar with our relationship, you are welcome to read these posts: ‘My Dad Who Taught Me Plenty‘, ‘I understand the words ‘I love you’‘, ‘Anger Towards My Dad‘, ‘A Letter From Dad‘, and ‘not many handshakes going on these days.‘.

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Image Provided by: http://www.reference.com

Later after dinner I was back home and my stepmom sent me a couple of photos she had taken earlier that evening of my dad, my older brother and myself.  It was not until I viewed those pictures, that I saw my dad in a different way.  His body, his shell is deteriorating; as if it is already decaying, already having life drained from it.  It saddens me to see him in this state, because I know he will be gone from this world soon.

But, I also find comfort in knowing we have both changed and we both understand our relationship and love each other for who we are.

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Image Provided by: http://www.wallpaperhi.com

My dad’s shell as a younger man was hardened with no emotions displayed; and now that shell is fragile and worn; but now it is full of love.

love is in the trying

A couple of weeks ago I published a post ‘School of Hard Knocks‘, for which I received many comments.  One of those comments was from Amanda Ricks and she wrote the following –

It is very hard at times to separate our own guilt over perceived past inadequacy as a parent and letting our kids have and work on their own stuff. i can relate. Just remember, “love is in the trying.” You always have tried your best and still are and that’s what counts.

I replied with the following –

Amanda, thank you for a very thought provoking comment – I mean that in a very good way. I never thought about it this way “love is in the trying”, this is a phrase I certainly will remember. Thank you for reading and commenting, always appreciated!

The babycenter.com website has an article titled ‘Sweet age-by-age ways to show your love to your child’ that begins with the following –

A $10,000 birthday party? Nah… Making children feel loved and special can be as simple as rolling around on the floor with them! Read on to find age-by-age suggestions.

The article’s suggestions to show you love your child only goes to age 8 years old.  Okay, that is fine, but what about after age 8 and beyond; in their 30s, you know adults!

Many of you know, I divorced when my sons were very young.  Son #3 was about 3 years old and the other two would be 5 years and 7 years old.  I was out of their lives fulltime at a very young age and since that time have tried to prove my love for them, to them in many different ways.  I have had internal struggles with myself and I have reinforced myself time after time that I did the best I could with the circumstances.  I feel at times my sons do not really care about me, they tell me they love me and I tell them I love them – I always have – since they were little babies.

I have tried to prove my love for them.  There was the showing of affection, the providing comfort, the gifts, the vacations and the financial assistance.  But as Amanda indicates in her comment, “love is in the trying”.

I think one day they may realize I tried to be a good dad and tried to prove my love to them.

You know I have cancer and have done plenty of research.  My hope someday before my time is up, whether it be near or far, I hear those words “Thanks dad”.

When I was younger my dad did not show affection, did not provide comfort, gave few gifts, few vacations and no financial assistance.  A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with him and after we talked about my next surgery, he indicated he tried to be a good dad to me.  I responded you were and you are the best dad; you have taught me many good things.

I realize now, his love ‘was in the trying’.

will I cry or will I smile?

I do not really like Father’s Day!

Why, you ask?  Not because I dislike my father, no – it is because I dislike me as a father.

I have a great relationship with my dad; was not always this way, but it is now – and that is what is most important.

I have a good relationship with my sons; it has always been this way, but it could be better – this is important to me.

I do not really like Father’s Day; it has not always been this way, but I am use to it now – it is no longer important to me.

I need to move on and I have some, but there are reminders such as Father’s Day that reminds me that I feel I was not and am not a good father.

Will this Father’s Day be different?  I will know soon.  Will today be the same as last year?  I will know soon.

Last year I received no recognition on Father’s Day – no phone call – no contact at all.  Will this Father’s Day be different?

I am not here to write bad about my sons – but when I receive no phone call – my heart breaks – I beat myself down – I failed as a father.

Last year 2 days after Father’s Day, I published a post – a poem.  You can read it here ‘No Phone Call Received‘.

I ended that poem with this –

Why do I make it all about me?

It is because I love you and I want you to see.

I hoped things had changed and really believed,

But instead I cried because No Phone Call Received.

I end this post with this –

Will this year be different?

Today will be over soon – will I cry or will I smile?  Will this Father’s Day be different?

If it is the same – I will recover in about a week and will do better next year.

I do not really like Father’s Day!

not many handshakes going on these days.

I remember that day as if it were yesterday.

I am a hugger and a kisser; my mom and her side of the family are huggers and kissers.  I remember spending holidays at my grandmother’s house – my mom’s mom.  I grew up with this side of the family always hugging and kissing.

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Image Provided by: animalshugging.tumblr.com

My dad’s side of the family was totally opposite.  They never expressed their love in this sort of way.  But my mom’s side of the family always did.  And I guess me not being your typical guy, grew accustomed to hugging and kissing and did not put much thought into doing it – except with my brothers and my dad.

My siblings and I worked for my dad in his fast food restaurants and I guess I considered him my boss.  My mom also worked in the business and I can remember calling my mom and dad by their proper name.  That continued until I left the business and moved on to other jobs.  The relationship with my dad was not close through my childhood years and early adulthood years; for quite some time it was more a business relationship instead of a dad/son relationship.  You can read more about my relationship with my dad in these posts ‘My Dad Who Taught Me Plenty’, ‘I understand the words ‘I love you‘‘, ‘Anger Towards My Dad‘ and ‘A Letter From Dad‘.  But over the years as we both grew older the relationship began to change.

I remember that day as if it were yesterday.

I was visiting my dad at his house and it was time for me to leave.  The usual action to take place was to shake hands; this is what we always did.  Today was different, not because of a special occasion or special anything; it was an ordinary day with an ordinary visit.  It was time to leave, and that farewell would be different.

Upon leaving with no intentional thought I hugged my dad and gave him a kiss on the cheek and left.  I got into my truck, left and started driving home and after several minutes it occurred to me.

What did I just do?  What was I thinking?

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Image Provided by: animalshugging.tumblr.com

That is the point, I was not thinking; I was just acting.  I was acting the way I acted with everyone upon leaving and saying goodbye; with a hug and a kiss.  This is what comes natural to me but did not for so many years to my dad.  We never spoke of that farewell on that particular day, but it was the event that helped change our relationship.

Today, I hug and kiss my dad always without hesitation and the response is welcomed.  I do not kiss my brothers, but we do hug now – not many handshakes going on these days.

The first hug and kiss to my dad – I remember that day as if it were yesterday.

 

It is not just Valentine’s Day

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Image Provided by: imgkid.com

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, hope your day is a special one.

Today is a very special day for me, not only is it Valentine’s Day, it is also the birthday of my son #2.

He was born on this special day 32 years ago weighing in at 9lbs and 12 ½oz.  Yes, he was a big boy!

My son #2 has proudly served in the United States Military for the past 8 years.  Upon graduating boot camp, he was stationed in Japan for 4 years and is now stationed in the US.  He is a special man to me, not only because of his service to this country, but because he is my son.  He was married last year to a beautiful young lady who is a very nice addition to the family.  I am extremely proud of him as well as my other 2 sons; they all have grown into great men.

It amazes me how this baby, grew into a boy and then into a young man.  Where did the time go, and how did he grow up so quickly?

As you know I am downsizing and I am sorting through boxes and deciding what to keep and what to throw away.  I will not be throwing anything away about my sons; the newspapers articles, school pictures, graduation announcements, event programs and accomplishments they achieved.  No these items will someday be given to my sons.  For son #2, I have those awkward school pictures, you know what I am talking about, the photographer catches you by surprise when you least expect it and you are not smiling and your glasses are positioned crooked on your nose.  Well son #2 I have those pictures and I also have pictures of you dressed in your cute Halloween costumes when you were very young and then there are the school report cards of all your good grades and the newspaper articles of all your achievements.

Son #2 today is a man of 32 years.  The pictures today are no longer awkward; you stand tall and proud in your Military Blue Army Service Uniform.  And your cute Halloween costumes are now replaced with the Army Combat Uniform.  The school reports cards, newspaper articles and achievements are now replaced with Military Decorations, Insignias, certifications and accomplishments.

Son #2, I remember changing your diapers, feeding you, watching over you and keeping you safe.  Today, no changing diapers on your part – not yet, and I know the Army feeds you well and I know you are watching over me and keeping me safe.  Thank you son #2 and all other amazing military personal for giving of yourselves and your time for the service of our country.

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Image Provided by: imgkid.com

 

I am proud to be a military dad, but more importantly I am extremely proud to be your dad.

Happy Valentine’s Day my son #2, but more importantly Happy Birthday!

 

 

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Time to Travel Home – Final Thoughts

There is a 5 hour drive time on the Interstate that I have driven more times then I want to remember.  The view during the drive is not pleasing and honestly I have seen it so many times with so many trips on this same Interstate; I dread the drive.  I usually always do the driving as I easily get motion sickness as a passenger.  While I am driving, my partner usually sleeps and on this trip so is our dog.  With the radio off and just the noise of the vehicle traveling, thoughts come to my mind.

This Thanksgiving was very different, not just for me but my siblings as well.  My dad was unable to make the trip this year due to his health.  The 5 hour drive I am driving would be the same drive for him and he is weak and still having issues and the trip would be too difficult for him.

I think to myself ‘My dad is not doing well; I wonder how many more Thanksgivings will he be around to celebrate?’  ‘Did I wastefully spend these many past Thanksgivings on my Christmas decorating when I should have spent them with my family?’  ‘With moving next year, I will be further away; no longer a 5 hour drive time; instead 5 states away.  What will future Thanksgivings be like?’  ‘Will I come back each year to visit my family for Thanksgiving?’

I wrote in my post ‘This year will be different’, the following –

It will be a nice visit and everyone will have a great time.  We will eat a lot, and the guys will watch football and the girls will sit around the table and chat.  I love my family, but truthfully only like to spend a couple of days with them.  I have always felt like an outcast; the black sheep of the family, because I am different.  This difference will be revealed in an upcoming post and don’t get me wrong, my family loves me and I love them.  But this difference of me, I allowed it to distance myself from my family.

I write in my post today, the following –

Thanksgiving with my family is over and it is time to head home.  I am driving and with the radio off and just the noise of the vehicle traveling, thoughts come to my mind.  With my dad absent, my siblings and I chatted about him, his life and us his children.  A sense of closeness between us kids takes place as we know life is short and our dad’s life will be coming to an end someday.

This Thanksgiving with my family I will hold in my memory for a time.  I am thankful I took the effort this year to visit and spend time with my family.  I am unsure what the future holds, but the present and the not so distant past are good.  They are good because I spent time with my family.

Thanksgiving with my family is over and it is time to travel home.