Coloring & Making Bracelets

It has been a long time since I wrote a post about Gary’s mom.  She has Dementia and is currently living with Gary’s younger brother in Florida near Pensacola.  For those of you who wish to know more about her, you are welcome to read these posts I wrote last year –

My Mother In-Law Teacher

…hold back the tears in my eyes

Dementia – It’s Been A Long Road

My Mother In-Law’s Library

You may remember, we took Gary’s mom from the younger brother’s home to the older brother’s home in Orlando right before Christmas last year.  She stayed with the older brother until we took her back to the younger brother in late March this year.

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Prior to our actual move from Pensacola, Florida to Tampa, Florida, I had a consultation with an Oncologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.  That consultation resulted in subsequent tests later that same week.  There were tests scheduled in one day and it literally took all day to complete them.  A couple of these test involved having to spend several hours in between them and Gary and his mom needed to do something while I was having the actual tests.

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We were fortunate that Moffitt Cancer Center has specific areas in their hospital for just that; finding something to do.  While I was having my bone scan, Gary and his mom spent time coloring and making bracelets.   I wanted to share a few pictures with you of Gary’s mom – my mother in law.  She is 94 and is in great physical heath and she can walk faster than me.  There is the Dementia that causes issues at times, but that day while waiting for me, she was happy coloring and making her bracelets.

And do you see the important message she had for me?

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goodbyes or Thank You

I have in the past had dreams where I woke up and voice recorded what I remember about the dream.  A couple of months ago, I had one of those dreams and though I did not remember a great deal of detail about the dream, I went ahead and voice recorded what I did remember.  It was an important dream, because it involved all of my family and I felt it had significance.

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What was is about and what is its significance?

I was in a large room and all my family were there, everyone.  There were my sons and my parents and my siblings.  There also were my aunts, uncles and cousins, nieces and nephews.  And one other person was there; no longer considered family, but she was there – my ex-wife.

I am approaching each one of them and grasping their hands and hugging them and having a brief chat.  I have no recall what these discussions were about, but I felt it was the last time I was going to see them.  This whole event appeared to everyone including me as not a big deal, it was not exciting nor somber; there was no laughter and there were no tears – it just was the family being together.

Amongst all the family members in line, also standing there is my oldest son, and I bypassed him; I felt I had nothing to say to him.

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You may remember back in March I wrote a post ‘ESTRANGED‘, and I concluded with the following –

One of my sons calls on a regular basis – thank you son.  The other two sons do not call me and in the past I would call them, but now no longer do I call. 

These 2 sons I saw at Thanksgiving and they were aware of my surgery.  These 2 sons I have not heard from since my surgery.  These 2 sons I have not spoken with since Thanksgiving.

Are we estranged?

Again, I just do not understand why?

In the past, I had asked myself, what did I do or not do to deserve the absence from my life; the no communication and the appearance of not caring?

Again, I refuse to blame myself any longer. 

Again, I refuse to cry anymore tears.

In today’s post, I conclude with the following –

Since this dream took place, I have spoken with both of these sons and will write about in a future post.  But in this dream, why did I not acknowledge the oldest son?  And what was this dream about?

Is the dream about me saying my goodbyes before I die?

Is the dream about me saying “Thank You” for your thoughts and prayers that have now brought me to being healthy once again?

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I decided to not put more thought into interpreting this dream; I do not think there is a need to.

Perhaps at the time of this dream, I was still blaming myself and angry, especially at my oldest son.  My relationship is different with him than the other two and our differences and similarities go back a long way.

I do believe my sons truly care about me.  It maybe they just do not know how to display it.

The Yellow Dot

In my posts ‘Look Forward‘ and ‘Seeking a Home Base‘,  I wrote about the future planned trip to central Florida in search of a possible location to relocate to.

That trip will begin tomorrow.

Many activities have already taken place this week and my time on WP has recently been limited.

Today, I am spending most of the day alone with hopes of catching-up on reading posts and writing posts.

What does the yellow dot have to do with today?

ESTRANGED

Over a year ago, in my post ‘The Good Me & The Bad Her‘, I wrote the following words –

Some of you know my feelings about me as a father to my sons.  Many years I felt like a failure because I was out of my son’s lives at a young age – they do not really know me.  This is one reason for starting this blog; I want to share me and who I am and my life in writing so my sons may someday know who I was and know who I am.

In today’s post, I write the following –

From Google –

es·tranged

iˈstrānjd/

adjective

adjective: estranged

(of a person) no longer close or affectionate to someone; alienated.

“Harriet felt more estranged from her daughter than ever”

(of a wife or husband) no longer living with their spouse.

past participle: estranged

“his estranged wife”

I just do not understand why?

In the past, I had asked myself, what did I do or not do to deserve the absence from my life; the no communication and the appearance of not caring?

I refuse to blame myself any longer.

I refuse to cry anymore tears.

But it does still bothers me, more so today, because my life has changed, my health has changed.

Life threatening or not, shouldn’t this bring us closer?

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I have not written about my relationship with my sons in quite a while.  I have written posts about their birthdays, but nothing specifically about our relationship today.

My sons have known about my cancer since I found out about it; I have hidden nothing from them.  You remember it was important for me to visit my family for Thanksgiving.  I did see my 3 sons at that time and I feel fortunate to have spent some time with them.  For many years I would not receive a call from my sons and it was always me calling them because I was interested in them and their lives.  Many years I did not receive a call on my birthday and even Father’s Day.  I blamed their lack of interest in me on myself; it was my fault.  I overcame this self-blame last year after writing posts about them and me and our relationship.  Today, I no longer blame myself.

One of my sons calls on a regular basis – thank you son.  The other two sons do not call me and in the past I would call them, but now no longer do I call.

These 2 sons I saw at Thanksgiving and they were aware of my surgery.  These 2 sons I have not heard from since my surgery.  These 2 sons I have not spoken with since Thanksgiving.

Are we estranged?

Again, I just do not understand why?

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In the past, I had asked myself, what did I do or not do to deserve the absence from my life; the no communication and the appearance of not caring?

Again, I refuse to blame myself any longer.

Again, I refuse to cry anymore tears.

But it does still bothers me, more so today, because my life has changed, my health has changed.

My hotchpotch

In my post ‘the next 9 days‘ I wrote the following –

Most of my posts for the next 9 days are about events of the past several weeks, about my current feelings and about my future after surgery.

In today’s post, I write the following –

9 days counting; I feel you are tired of reading posts about this upcoming surgery and my feelings and emotions.  But I had to get it out of my head and onto paper before tomorrow.

So, today I am wrapping-up different topics into one post – my hotchpotch.

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Hotchpotch #1 –

Reminders –

Because I have a personal goal to post every day, next week is no exception.  Next week’s posts are all scheduled and ready to publish; expect a lighter week with regards to subject and topic.  Starting tomorrow, my posts will have the comments disabled.  My hope is that I will be back ready to respond to your wonderful comments next Saturday – time will tell.

Hotchpotch #2 –

Tomorrow is surgery day.

Tomorrow is not just an important day for me, it is for others as well.

Tomorrow, Monday January 16, 2017 is significant for the following reasons –

A Federal Holiday –

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States honoring the achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. – the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement to end racial segregation. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is close to January 15, the King’s birthday.

RV Friend Surgery –

While temporary living on the Naval Air Station Pensacola RV park, Gary and I have met many wonderful people we now consider friends.  One of these friends is having surgery tomorrow as well and at the same hospital as me.  Who knows, maybe our paths will cross in the surgery prep room.

Stepmom’s Birthday –

For no particular reason; I do not believe I have ever mentioned my stepmom here on my blog.  She is very important to my dad and very important to me.  My stepmom is much younger than my dad and not too much older than me.  My dad and stepmom are married for over 30 years now and tomorrow is her birthday.  My stepmom is 18 years younger than my dad and 9 years older than me.  My stepmom celebrates her 65th birthday tomorrow.

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Hotchpotch #3 –

I wanted to publish another post before tomorrow of the importance of my caregiver Gary.  I ran out of time and days and his post will wait for a few weeks.  Let’s just say, in the coming months, I will need him more than ever – and it is comforting to know, he will be here for me.  I am fortunate, lucky, blessed to have Gary in my life.

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Hotchpotch #4 –

I am fortunate, very fortunate in my life – a life filled with joy, sadness, certainties and unknowns.  I consider myself lucky: I do believe I have much more to look forward to – many years to come of travels, making friends, visiting family, celebrating, uncovering, and most importantly living.

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I remain grateful (Reader Discretion Is Advised)

We are not far along into the new year and I hope all is well with each one of you.

Today has many unknowns for me as it did a year ago at this time.

Last year had me diagnosed with superficial bladder cancer, followed by 2 surgeries and then the upgrade to Stage 4 Bladder Cancer, followed by 12 weeks of chemotherapy.

In 5 days, this coming Monday, I will have a major surgery to continue the journey that started more than a year ago.

Once the surgery takes place, there will be more to come that currently is unknown.

Once the surgery takes place, there will be more to come that is certain.

Let me be honest – I have always been honest here on my blog and at times direct.

I will no longer have control of my urination and I will no longer produce sperm and possibly no longer have an erection.

Let me be honest, again, I have always been honest here on my blog and at times direct.

I have no problems no longer producing sperm and I have no problems with no longer having an erection.

However, it does bother me some to no longer have control of my urination.  It seems odd that this would bother me, but it does.  I took for granted things in my life, one of them is having control of my urination.  Think about this for a minute; as men grow older, the whole producing of sperm and lack of erection can happen.  And there are pills for that – not that I am interested – but they are available.  But never had I thought about not having control of my urination.

In 5 days, this coming Monday, I will no longer have control of my urination.

Let me be honest, one more time, I have always been honest here on my blog and at times direct.

In 5 days, this coming Monday, I will have a stoma or also referred to as a urostomy, an ileal conduit or urinary diversion.

I will have a pouch or bag on the outside of my body to collect my urine.  I will no longer have control of my urination.

This bothers me some – but I will accept it and I will become accustomed to it and I will live with it.

Soon the unknowns will become knowns and there will be more to come that is certain.

What I do know today; is I will remain grateful.

For after all that has taken place last year and all that is to come next week and the months to follow; I still have many things to be grateful for.

I have a spouse who is my caregiver, who is always here for me.

I have a home, a place to live, a place to shelter in.

I have a family, both near and far, who support me.

And I have you my friends, who are never more than a comment away with support, encouragement, thoughts and prayers.

I remain grateful.

My mom, she worries

Today is my mom’s birthday!

Image1What can I say about mom, that I have not already written about here on my blog?

Oh, you may have missed some of my past words about mom?

Well, since you asked?

Here are some excerpts from past posts about my mom, a special lady in my life –

Post: Thoughts From Years Past.18

….I once called my mom pleading for her to leave work and come help me.  Mom was there for me, helping me get through a tough time as I found in the years to follow she would do on a consistent selfless basis.

Post: My Time in a Psychiatric Hospital

I looked forward to those visitations because each time I knew my mom would be there – not once did she miss coming to visit me.

Post: Thanks Mom!

My mom may not have always understood me and my actions; but she has always supported me.  She has never questioned my choices in life even when those choices were bad ones and she has always been there to help pick me up so I can continue to move forward. 

Post: Happy Birthday Mom

She was there for me in the most difficult dark days of my life and literally saved me and my life.  She has never failed to be available for me in so many ways, so many times, for so many years.

Post: Magnificent

My mom is splendid, grand and outstanding.  But more importantly she’s understanding, unconditional, accepting and loving.

In my post ‘Mother Mary‘, I wrote the following –

I made my mom cry the other day.  It upset me that she was crying; she was crying because she knows I am going to go through a major surgery to have my bladder removed and some other organs removed, and that my life will be different.  And, I guess as a parent we don’t like to see our child suffer; we don’t want to see our child struggle and we don’t want to see our child go through certain situations.

In today’s post, I want to conclude with the following words –

When I visited my family last month for Thanksgiving and it was time for me to say goodbye to my mom – I made my mom cry again.  Image3Well, I did not make her cry, she cried because she knew what was going to take place very soon.  Thanksgiving would be the last time my mom and I would be together before my surgery.  My mom, she worries – and so she cried when it was time to say our goodbyes.  I hugged her and told her not to worry, it all would be fine; it is all good, I will be okay.

I write this post, thinking she may never see these words, but she knows how I feel about her – I have never hesitated to let her know.

Love you mom – happy birthday!

Terry

Brother, it may be the chromosomes

I wrote a post back in September titled ‘Brothers‘, in which I ended with the following words –

The years preceding today, for the brothers, it was not always easy to embrace compassion, love and expression.

I think they are changing – what a nice birthday present for us all.

Happy Birthday Brothers.

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In today’s post, I write the following words –

This brother and I: maybe what we do not have in common is our chromosomes?

Today is my 2nd oldest brother’s birthday.  This brother and I have had little contact for most of our lives.  We seemed to have had very little in common for most of our years, and we still do in many ways.  But as we have grown older we have changed and come to realize as many people do; life is short.  The very little we have in common is no longer important, and now that we are becoming older – we realize what we do have in common.

We have the same father, who is starting to diminish due to Parkinson’s Disease.  We have a mother who is doing well, but has had her share of health issues the past several years.  Our parents are in their early 80s and us kids know this and realize as our parents are aging, so are we.  And I guess as many people age; sometimes our thinking changes, sometimes our attitude changes and in the case of my brother who I have very little in common with – so is our relationship changing.

This change came about recently and most likely due to my health issues.  Yes, I know, the recent health issue should not be a reason to bring us closer, we should have always been closer.  I think many families are not perfect and my siblings would agree with me when I say our family certainly is not perfect – far from it.  Being an imperfect family is fine with me and I am okay with my 2nd oldest brother and I becoming closer as I battle with my health issues.

I performed a search about why brothers can be different and not have much in common.  I was unsure what I was looking for with my search results and I certainly was not expecting clear-cut answers.  The results I did receive has our differences coming down to chromosomes and gene sequences.

For my 2nd oldest brother and I; well I think no matter our chromosomes or gene sequences or what very little in common we had; they still exist.  But I believe it is what we have in common that brings us closer together.  Parents, aging, health issues, changes in thinking, changes in attitude – that is what is bringing us closer.

I am good with having the improved relationship with this brother – he is important to me.

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I embrace you and I love you.

So 2nd oldest brother, you may never see this blog or read these words – I am thankful our relationship is better than it ever has been.

Happy Birthday Brother!

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