Sto-Lat, Sto-Lat!!

“Sto-lat” (One Hundred Years) is a traditional Polish song that is sung to express good wishes, good health and long life to a person. An English version of the lyrics are:

Good luck, good cheer, may you live a hundred years.

Good luck, good cheer, may you live a hundred years.

Good luck, good cheer, may you live a hundred years.

One Hundred Years!

If you were in Poland and it was making you nervous that you wouldn’t be able to pronounce the above words in Polish at a birthday celebration, do not panic too much. “Sto Lat” is often accompanied by vodka, which somehow makes the pronunciation much easier!

So why am I writing this post to you today? It was on September 27, 1917, that a little baby boy named Stanley was born to a polish immigrant couple who settled in Lynn, Massachusetts. Stanley was the youngest of 7 children and if he lived to this very day, Stanley would have reached that 100 Year “Sto-lat” landmark. This man Stanley that I am speaking about was my dear Dad!

Unfortunately, my Dad did not live to be 100 years old. He went to heaven peacefully on January 9th, 2009 (about 8 years ago) at the age of 91, while in the comfort of his home. On that very morning just before he passed, my parents had pre-arranged for a visit from their lawyer to their house to sign their updated last will and testament. Ironically, in just less than one hour after the attorney left my parent’s house, my Dad simply sat down on his favorite chair and moments later—- his heart just simply stopped.

My Dad was such a wonderful person who was loved by all. He never complained and rarely talked much about himself. When you would meet him, he genuinely was interested in you and your welfare and would take the time to listen intently to what you had to say. My Dad was the kind of person who loved his wife and family deeply, who was proud of his three sons, and who would always speak from the heart.

I really miss my Dad even after all these years. However, I am comforted to know that he is at peace and that he continues to lovingly watch over us (his family) from his rightful place in heaven.

“Sto-lat” “Sto-lat” my dear Dad ——- you finally made it to 100 years !  “Sto-lat” !!!

 

Unfortunately, unlike Terry’s Blog I do not have many current pictures of my Dad here with me in my RV in Tampa. However, I incorporated into this Blog a photo of my Dad (in his younger years) that you might recognize since it was previously used by Terry as the main character in a couple of his creative short stories.

Also included is the only video that I have of my Dad probably taken about 10 to 12 years ago and a photo although a bit dark of his Urn, favorite hat and a photo of my Dad’s smiling face proudly showing “The Drabczuk smile”!

Also included below are a couple of other personal comments about my Dad:

 

From my mother Stacia (his wife): What can I write about my husband?  He was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I’m sure glad I accepted his New Year’s invitation to go on a date when he called me on Christmas Eve in 1947.  That was the beginning of it all.  In May of 1949, Stan and I married.  He gave me 60 years of the happiest times of my life, but most of all he left me with three wonderful sons – Jan, Gary and Randy.

From my brother Jan (his oldest son): Growing up I always remember that my Dad was there for me. He would come home usually after working overtime and he still had time for me. He was there for both my happy and sad times. Dad gave me the direction, education and love that has made me successful in life. Every day I wish I could be more like him. Wish you were still hear Dad. Happy 100th birthday.

From my brother Randy (his youngest son): I can’t believe my dad would have turned a 100 years old today.  I also can’t believe it’s been over 8 years since his passing.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him.  He was a wonderful father, husband and man of this world.  He was a friend to all that knew him. My dad was the type of guy that could walk into a room of strangers and then walk out of that room with every one of those strangers becoming his friend.   He made everybody laugh.   Growing up with my dad provides me with some of my best memories in life.  He was always supportive of me and encouraged me to excel in everything I did.  No matter how busy he was with working extra hours to support our family, he would still find time in his schedule for me and that made me feel special.  From the simple things in life like coming up to tuck me in bed when I was little or the difficult things like coming to the hospital when I was in a car wreck, I could always see in my dad’s eyes how much he loved me.  Even as an adult, when I went back home to visit, I could always feel my dad’s love.  I only wish I could be half the man my dad was. I love my dad, I miss my dad and I wish my dad a Happy 100th Birthday!

Here’s to my dad… “Na zdrowie!”

From my sister-in-law Gail (my brother Jan’s wife): Stanley was always a lot of fun and happy to see anyone who walked into his home. He made everyone feel welcome and could not wait to chat with you. He made me feel like part of the family from the first meeting. I will always love and miss him as his daughter in law. He will forever be missed.

 

From Terry (my deceased spouse, written several months ago): Gary’s father is now gone from this world, and I only had the opportunity to be in his company twice.  From the memories of Gary and his family and the short time I knew him; he was an extremely patient, funny and easy-going man.  A son, a brother, a husband, a father, a respected man.  He is missed and now a memory, but he is not forgotten.

 

A Love Note from Peru

Image Provided by: Harbor Light Hospice

Dear Friends –
I  wanted to share with you a beautiful note I just received from my Cousin Lisa who lives in Lima, Peru. Like most of you …..Lisa has never actually met Terry in person and up until now has never had an opportunity to experience his blog site (which I have now shared with her). However, somehow through the periodic emails that I have written to her she has gotten to know and to love Terry.
Lisa is such a special person and her letter came at such a good time for me as Terry was  cremated yesterday according to his wishes.  I looked over to the empty chair last night where Terry used to sit, and I realized that Terry will no longer physically be with me anymore.  Then after a moment of crying and temporary despair, I was comforted as I reminded myself that Terry truly is in a better place, and although he is no longer here with me in person, I know his spirit will continue to live within each of us for eternity and that we will meet again.
The power of his spirit is amazing. To think, in less than just one week since Terry’s passing, I have witnessed the goodness in so many of you, and although Terry’s body has now been transformed into a simple pile of dust (according to God’s plan) his spirit continues to radiate and to touch others.  In this one example…..his spirit shined a light upon the heart of my Cousin Lisa all the way to Peru!
Love, Gary
P.S.  I will be leaving the Tampa area for a few days to stay at my brother’s in Orlando.  I figured staying in a house verses an RV would be safer due to Irma. I have a blogging friend helping me post these right now, so please don’t be upset if I am not able to respond back right away.  I will learn how to use this soon and hope to carry on Terry’s torch here at Spearfruit.  Please know that I am reading and very much appreciate your comments and notes.
 ———
Note from my cousin, Lisa:
Dear Gary,
I logged into my gmail on Monday, and the subject line of your email pierced through my heart.  I broke down and cried at the inhumanity of this dreaded disease, and I have found myself at a loss for words until now.  Cesar and I both send our most heartfelt sympathies to you and to Terry’s family.  As it happens, one of Cesar’s aunts is losing her own battle with cancer at the moment, but holding onto hope and a good vibrational spirit.
Some of us are destined to be taken away at a moment’s notice.  I may have told you that Cesar’s brother Antonio left home on Christmas Day 2015 and was never seen or heard from again by the family, until his body was found ten days later, in a decomposed state.  Incompetence and/or corruption on the part of the authorities made a mockery of the homicide investigation and added to the pain and sense of injustice.  To this day, there are only unanswered questions and lingering suspicions.  That wrenching from the family bosom, and the mystery surrounding Antonio’s disappearance and death, have left an open heart-wound.  (But Antonio was a fervent Christian who lived his life in happy expectation of the next life, so there is comfort in knowing that he is where he was called home to be.)
Others of us, on the other hand, are destined to be faced with the knowledge of how and when our end of life on Earth will likely unfold.  It is an emotionally, psychologically, and physically cruel transitioning.  And yet, there is the blessing that one is given the opportunity to reflect and to reach out to express everything that needs to be expressed while there is still time and to close any outstanding emotional wounds.  Terry survived his remaining months on Earth with courage and wisdom and humanity.  I thank you so much, Gary, for sharing the reference to his blog with me.  I spent hours reading through much of it on Monday and will continue to go back to read more and to re-read the posts and comments that I already did read.  It amazed me what a sweet, generous soul he obviously was, always brightening someone’s day, always offering a kind and considerate comment.  That, in and of itself, would have made him special to the many people who knew him through his blog.  But his willingness to openly reflect on inner struggles and issues that are common to all of us in one form or another and to reach the core of others through his example clearly made him more than special.  And seeing himself as ordinary made him extraordinary.
The only thing I really knew before about Terry was his fascination with Christmas lights, and it struck me at the time that he must have been a real kid at heart.  Now I am struck by the childlike innocence and trust with which he revealed himself to himself and to everyone else through his posts. I am reminded that Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Terry really did become like a child, didn’t he, in his simple, plain, open, guileless honesty and generosity of spirit, and that touched people and made them connect.  That kind of human unity is divinely inspired.  I don’t think that there is any doubt about where he is now.
The difficult part for Terry has passed.  That is the blessing.  For you, too, dear Gary, the agony of watching him deteriorate and suffer is over.  But the void is real.  You need time to grieve and heal.  However, I have faith that you will meet some of the many people who developed a profound love for Terry, and that common bond of connected souls will make your spirit bounce once again and never let you feel alone.  Terry opened up a new world of good people with hearts of gold of their own, and I know that by reaching out to them, as you have, they will reach back.  Don’t worry about the future.  That is probably one of the most precious lessons of Terry’s mission.  You will find the path that you were destined to follow, perhaps one that you would never have found if God hadn’t brought an angel named Terry into your life.
Gary, it goes without saying, but if at some point you feel the need or desire to get away and would like to come down here, our arms are open.
I love you, Cousin.
Peace to you,
Lisa

A Special Thank You from Gary

To All of Terry’s Beloved Blog Friends:

I just want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and everyone of you who have been faithful followers and supporters of Terry over the past couple of years.  It was because of your thoughtfulness, love, genuine concern and continual encouragement to Terry that truly gave him the strength and the drive to write and post his wonderful blogs each day and to share his life with you.  He did this no matter if he was having a positive day or a day with a lot of health challenges as a result of his cancer.  Needless to say, this has been a very tough time, but you all have helped tremendously to lessen the stress.  It was so sad to witness my husband and best friend transition from a person with so much vigor and in the very best of health to one that eventually became totally dependent on me for even his very basic needs.

As the weeks and months progressed, he continued to get more discouraging news about the progression of his cancer, but he remarkably remained positive. The poor guy, in his last days, was living with so many drainage tubes attached to him (one in his abdomen for his urostomy bag and the other thru the middle of his stomach due to the inoperable bowel obstruction). He also had one PIC main IV line into his left arm for his total parenteral nutrition, as he no longer could eat anything by mouth, and the other IV line was attached through his main power port for his morphine pump.  Also, he was on continual Oxygen thru his nose as well.  Each day, I continued to keep up my strength and my hope that Terry could beat his cancer and that it would miraculously go into remission and all would be okay.

Just reading your daily comments to Terry each day was a tremendous help to keep up my strength as it gave me great comfort to know that there are so many wonderful folks out there that really cared about us and Terry’s challenges.  I can’t express enough in words my heartfelt thanks to you all.  As most of you probably know,  Terry passed away in our RV on MacDill Air Force Base on Friday, September 1, 2017 at about 2 PM.  I was there continually with him the entire time.  I held his hand throughout the prior night and could not sleep a wink with fear that he would pass through the night, however God wanted to let Terry awake yet one more morning for one more chance to brighten our day.  Although Terry was having difficulties speaking early Friday morning, I was able to do a quick video and to give him the opportunity to say to each of his immediate family members by name that “he loved them”.  I wish I could have done a last video with you his fellow bloggers, but Terry was just much too weak and it was so difficult for him to speak. In fact, after doing that brief video, Terry no longer spoke another word although he continue to breath at a slower rate.

I held his hand for yet another four hours and then at 2 PM his breath was no longer and he was then on his way to Heaven.  Terry truly will be missed by me and there will be a deep void in my life, and I know that there will also be a deep void experienced by you all that got to know him so well through his blogging.

I am going to keep his blog site open and continue the annual membership, and maybe someday, it I can get technology savvy, I might one day “carry the torch for Terry” and carry on with his blogs (although Terry of course was much better at this than I will be).

In the interim, I want to share with you my personal email:  gdrabczuk@gmail.com and my cell phone number 214-405-7114 should you want to email, text or call. I would love to here from you anytime that you are able.

Love to all,

Gary

P.S.  At Terry’s request, upon his passing I was finally able to share his precious blog with his entire family so they could read and enjoy what he wrote throughout the last few years and of course all your wonderful and encouraging comments which will provide them with some comfort that Terry was loved by so many.  Also, I was debating if it would be a bit disturbing to send this short video with the last words spoken by Terry where he was telling his family that he loved them (the video was condensed a bit because of its size), but since you all were there with him through all his ups and downs, thought it might be special to you to experience this video.  I also wanted to share a nice photo showing the tribute he got from a couple of airmen on MacDill Air Force Base as Terry was removed from our RV for the last time for further transport to the mortuary.  Terry, as most of you probably know will be cremated and his remains will be divided between myself and his Mom.  Thus, he will eventually have two resting places, one in Midland, TX when his Mom passes and the other with me at my resting place in Arlington cemetery when it is my time.

 

Also,  I know Terry will be shaking his head right now as I share a bit of trivia with you about him, but I have to do this….  When Terry was growing up in Midland, TX, he used to live right next door to the the former first lady….. Laura Bush.  Okay…..to take this just a bit further, when I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts I lived right next door to Nathaniel Hawthorn’s house…..The House of Seven Gables. So both Terry and I had famous next door neighbors.   Okay enough with this trivia !  Need to save some for next time.  Have a great Labor Day !

 

 

Brotherly Transformations

Still more came to visit.

As mentioned in this past weekend’s posts, I had more family visitors.

The trip was planned for some time, and I did not foresee myself being in the hospital.  But there I was and here they came and we made the best of it.  This family visit involved my oldest brother, his wife and their daughter and son.  Gary, the usual host with the most; never skipped a beat and helped make the best of their time here when not visiting me in the hospital.  Really, who wants to go to Florida and spend their time at the hospital?

Image2

Image Provided by: Kyrene Foundation

With the arrival of Monday came my brother and his family’s departure.  We were not able to spend a great deal of time together, but that time together was important for all of us.  They needed to see and visit with me just as much as I needed to see and visit with them.

As with all the previous family visits, there were tears, honestly, openness and the knowing that this time spent together could very well be our last time together.

Monday morning, it was only my brother to come visit me one more time before heading back home to Texas.  This brotherly time together, just us two together and talking about our relationship through the years was important.  This time together to share a hug and say, ‘I love you’ without feeling embarrassed and uneasy is what I believe to be the conclusion of a lifetime brotherly relationships and brotherly transformations.

We both came full circle in this relationship of ours and we departed knowing the love we have for each other is strong, real and sincere.

image1

Image Provided by: vord.dvrlists.com

The previous years and years of what use to be our brotherly relationship was transformed on Monday.  A new brotherly relationship like none other we had experienced over the years.

Why wait until the last minute for these transformations?

I have no answers; I guess that is just life.

I love you brother and your family and thank you for visiting me.

You are important to me, as is our brotherly transformations.

Weekend Spent with Mom

You may remember in my post last week ‘Who is next?‘, I wrote the following –

This coming Friday, my twin sister and my mom will be visiting.

Image1

Image Provided by: Pixabay

In today’s post, I write the following –

Because I will be spending time with my mom this weekend, I decided to take it easy here on WP.

I disabled comments for this post; I hope you don’t mind.

Thank you for stopping by today to read, and even though you are unable to leave a comment, you can still ‘Like’ my post.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

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)

Image2

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.

Image2

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

her words, her love

2015, I started my blog on the 13th, so I missed Mother’s Day because it was on the 10th of that year.

2016, my post ‘about you, moms!‘, was dedicated to you the moms who follow my blog.

2017, I dedicate this special day to my mom.  I have written many posts about her and the importance of her is my life.  To recognize her for just one day is not enough.

Image2

Image Provided by: got-crossfit.com

I wrote in last year’s Mother’s Day post –

I have written several posts about my mom and her importance in my life.  You can read more about her in these posts ‘Thanks Mom!‘, ‘Magnificent‘ and ‘Happy Birthday Mom‘.  She also has been mentioned in other posts as she was my main support during my years of major depression.  She is important to me and I truly think she is the best mom in the world! 

Since last year’s Mother’s Day post, I have also wrote this post about my mom ‘My mom, she worries‘.

My mom does worry as I think most moms do about their children.  She knows I am sick with a disease that is significant.  And at times on our phone conversations she will cry, I do not want her to, but she does.  I know I am important to her just as much as she is important to me.

But, 2 days ago, this past Friday, it was my turn to cry.  I called my mom because I needed her.  The pain level was high that day and I was having difficulty dealing with it and being optimistic about the future.  I cried on the phone to my mom and told her I was feeling tired and weak and worn down.  I don’t know how I was going to continue on.  I was showing my weakness to my mom and I told her I always want to show strength in dealing with my cancer and the affects it is having on my body.

image3

Image Provided by: WallpapersCraft

She told me no one can bear this much weight without showing some weakness every once in a while.  She said to let it out, let go of the frustrations and worries.  As I cried, I felt comfort in her words, my mom’s words have helped me many times in my life, her words, her love; they provide me something that no one else can give me.  That is my mom, my biggest supporter and encourager; she has always helped me during difficult times in my life as she continues to do so today.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

drowning

14 years ago today, Gary and I met for the first time.

If you are interested in how we met, please take the time and read my post ‘The Hit – The Last Chapter‘.

We usually do not celebrate the anniversary of the day we met or the anniversary of our marriage.

We are happy we are together, though sometimes living in a small RV at times can be trying.

Sometimes, it seems being close together 24 hours a day in close quarters can appear like one is drowning.

Just kidding, I just thought that statement would be a good segue.

I will end this post with a song; to understand why I picked this song, you would need to read the above-mentioned post.

One More Try

There are countless posts on my blog written about life; the whys, the what’s and the reasons.

Why do we live?

Why do we suffer?

Why do we die?

What is the meaning of life?

What is it we need to do?

What is the meaning of death?

Reasons to live life to the fullest.

Reasons to stop and smell the roses.

Reasons to not fear death.

I have many questions, I always have, and along the way I feel I received some answers; but then again, more questions came from those answers.

Many times, I publish posts about certain topics and will include a link to other posts for those that might be interested in reading them.  My posts about life, the meaning of it, death, learning and other topics from my mind can be found in the category ‘Attitudes, Feelings and Views‘.

I always stated this blog is about me and my life; and many posts I have written mention my faults and weaknesses.  I am far from perfect and at one time in my life I thought I was supposed to be.  I overcame that thought and realized I just will put forth the effort to be a better person each day.  Each day I grow, sometimes just a little bit; but I grow.  Each day I move forward; towards being a better person and towards death.

Last month, I published a post ‘Faith‘, where I wrote about the impact of George Michael’s album had on me at a difficult time in my life several decades ago.  His album Faith was important to me at a time I needed something to hold on to.  During many times in my life, I have needed some sort of faith.  Depending on where I was in my live; what trials and tribulations were taking place or the demons I had around me – sometimes faith appeared when I least expected it.   Many times, faith was a message that came from someone else and over the course of my life, that message came in the form of a song.

A song from George Michael’s album Faith is titled One More Try and includes the following lyrics –

I’ve had enough of danger

And people on the streets

I’m looking out for angels

Just trying to find some peace

‘Cause teacher

There are things that I don’t want to learn

And the last one I had

Made me cry

This song One More Try is about a relationship with another person.  But could it also be about a relationship with God or ourselves?

There are many different teachers in my life who have taught many different lessons.

Times in my life god and believes taught me.

I have taught myself.

My mom, dad, husband and many others have taught me – including George Michael.

And though I have learned many things in life and improved myself and became a better person with each passing day, year and decade – I still have questions.

As I continue to ask the questions and continue to make mistakes and stumble, I am given one more try.

That teacher; whoever or whatever it is – continues to give me one more try.

(Note: my responses to your comments will be delayed this week.  Please understand I continue to be in recovery mode and am moving slow.)

that word

Earlier this year in March, I wrote a post ‘What Does Love Got To Do With It?‘, that included the following –

Again I ask; what does love got to do with it?

Love has much to do with family.  Love has everything to do with people we are meant to spend our lives with.

I love my parents and I tell them ‘I love you’.  I love my siblings and I tell them ‘I love you’.  I love my sons and I tell them ‘I love you’.  I love my husband and I tell him ‘I love you’.

Per psychcentral.com article ‘Is Love Losing its Meaning?’ –

This is a heavily debated topic. People often try to define love in terms of romantic euphoria; however, the word “love” generally is used so loosely that its meaning can become diluted. The truth is, “love” often is used to describe other emotions or strong feelings. Using the word “love” just saves us the trouble of having to figure out what we’re actually feeling. We can say we “love” anything, but what does love really mean to us?

In today’s post, I write the following –

I wrote the above post because I felt that word ‘love’ is used too much to describe feelings towards something.  Notice the word I used ‘something’ rather than ‘someone’.  I will be honest, I usually do not use that word ‘love’ toward someone else other than my family and spouse.

My post ‘Results‘, included a video of me discussing the results of my recent tests after chemotherapy and the announcement of my upcoming surgery.  I received many comments including from my good friend Jodi over at The Creative Life In Between.

Jodi’s comment –

Love you Terry!!! You look wonderful despite what you must be going through! Stay positive sweet friend. You have spread more love than you will ever know! xo

My response –

Thank you Jodi, interesting choice of words ‘Love you Terry’, I will need to write a post about that – I know it sounds confusing at the moment! You are special and I am extremely fortunate for friends such as yourself!

Jodi’s response –

Interesting? Just the truth.

I will repeat what I wrote above – I will be honest, I usually do not use that word ‘love’ toward someone else other than my family and spouse.

This recently changed; because I did use that word ‘love’ towards you the readers of my blog.  You never heard it, because I choose not to publish it.  What was I thinking when I spoke that word?  Where did that word come from?  Why did I not let you hear it?  The answers to the questions are; I was not thinking, just reacting – The heart – I felt awkward.

For my video posts, I usually record a video one time because I know what I want to say and the words flow freely and easily.  The video in my ‘Results‘ post took 6 recording attempts.  There were 3 attempts where other people walked near me and I stopped the recording.  1 recording was me walking and I felt it rushed.  Another video was good and that is the one included in the previously mentioned post.  My first recording I liked, even though there was a bit more surrounding noise than I prefer.   The main reason to not use this recording was because at the end I was not thinking and just reacted from the heart and after viewing the video, I felt awkward.

The ‘Results‘ post was published and the comments were made and Jodi used that word ‘love’.  I used that word first; but you never heard that word.

I believe I used that word first because I truly care about you and I truly feel you care about me.  I see now I can use that word ‘love’ for those I truly care about; not just my family and not just my spouse.

I can use that word ‘love’ towards friends as well.

Here is my first video I choose not to use – (FYI: if you want to just hear me speak that word, start the video around the 3:25 mark)