Saturday, June 30, 2012

the green truck

i know this is not much of a blog when i begin much has happened since i last my past updates i make the point that less is better.. for really not much has happened anyway.. my mom's and dad's birthdays have passed.. as have mother's and father's day.. all was gotten through with relative painlessness.. as has become our custom (my husband's and mine) we enjoyed a variety of cream pies to commemorate his days.. and with the help of some friends my mom enjoyed both of her days..something that came to mind as these days passed is now normal it felt to include him and celebrate him.. death and loss is not something i have gotten over... by any means.. but celebrating him.. on his days..felt less cathartic and ceremonious as they had before.. instead. it just felt not much has happened.. but then why am i here.. blogging away? ok so something has happened..

about a month ago my mom called and ran an idea past me.. how about we sell the green truck.. ok back up.. this truck.. my dad's first truck.. bought in the early 70's.. the truck that took him to and from rodeo adventures.. the truck that took my mom out on dates..the truck that took us camping and on ghost hunts.. the truck we had planned to restore in his honor...the truck that we raced over to my uncle's house one day..just to hear it being started.. yes.. that truck

the truck was not being used nor fixed..and my mom's one income household was struggling a bit.. so how about we sell the truck? as you can imagine my first response was tears.. not something i wanted to even my head i was going to take that truck and restore it.. my brother and i would share ownership and we would once again take it camping.. in my head that truck embodied my dad..we ended the conversation..

about a week later my mom called.. how about we sell the truck.. by then i had thought about it and one thought kept coming to mind..this truck was just that.. a truck.. we held the memories within us.. they weren't locked up in this hunk of steel..and my dad would have never allowed his family to struggle.. he would have sold it himself without a second blessing.. although unnecessary was given.. if the truck had to be sold.. then as painful as it was.. it was going to be okay..

this past week the truck was sold..a day after it was posted on craigslist a couple came and got mom explained the circumstances surrounding this not so easy sale..but more over she felt good about these people.. she felt that the truck was going into good hands..she even called to tell me it was done.. now this is an odd mix of feelings because her second sentence was.. start looking for plane tickets! i have not seen my family since Christmas.. and this summer i did not look as if i was going to be able to come out and see them.. so while my heart was happy.. my eyes told the truth.. i needed to get off the phone and cry... i am so glad that the truck went to good people.. and that it was going to be used and cared for...the way it should be..but i also let go of a dream.. i will never sit on that dusty seat and play with the radio.. i will never practice gear shifting in it.. i will never pretend to fix it laying on a little piece of plywood with rollers on the bottom.. i will never sit in the back and eat orange popsicles..and gone is the hard work i put into sanding down the tailgate.. gone is the time he and i spent draining the gas tank.. gone is the time we spent talking about what we would do to it.. gone is my daddy..

i have so many memories wrapped up in that old green truck.. like the time he put a bunch of us girls into he back and drove us into an old barn at night. just to scare us.. i made the mistake of allowing myself to be talked into jumping out..and off he drove without me..or the time he got a ticket.. for driving too slow..he said the truck was not meant to drive fast..and then cussed out the rookie police woman as we drove had just one bench seat.. perfect to be cozy flanked between him and my mom.. and even when it was just us two i sat right next to him..who needed seatbelts in what felt like a safe and secure tank..
and i think that is why it is so hard to lose. that truck IS my secure.. strong..slow moving and dependable..i can only hope that the people who have it now feel my dad's essence when they drive it..i hope they are surrounded by the many good times had and great memories made.. i hope in some way they get to know my dad through the truck..and i hope they cuss out a few police women and keep it slow!

Monday, May 7, 2012

a mother's loss..

my cousin lost her baby girl after just one week of life i was saddened by her loss..i as well as everyone else am completely at a loss of what to say or one can truely understand what she is going through..when a child is lost so is a life a parent imagines.. so are the first days of school, proms, graduations, weddings..countless birthdays..

i thought of an online friend i connected with through the losses of our fathers and asked her to guest blog her story..she lost her first daughter and has recently done some amazing things in honor of her baby girl..i wanted to post this for my cousin and any other parent out there who has lost a child..i want her and others to see that though there is great pain right now.. in your own time there will be healing..below are the words of a mother who has come out of the other side..

As Mother Day approaches, I reflect back five years ago when I first became a mother. My daughter Nevaeh Grace was born at 30 weeks. Throughout my pregnancy, I experienced many complications with her, but we never expected her to be born early, further adding to her complications. At 20 weeks, we found out my little girl had Down syndrome as well as a condition called duodenal atresia. Although she would need surgery when she was born, she was expected to be healthy.

When I was 30 weeks along, I went in for a routine non-stress test. During the middle of the non-stress test, a group of doctors and nurses rushed in and started turning me on my side and putting an oxygen mask on me. I was so scared! No one was even explaining to me what was going on! They informed me that Nevaeh’s hear rate was dropping, and they were admitting me into the hospital for an emergency c-section.

My husband arrived in the nick of time to welcome our beautiful, precious, little baby girl into the world – weighing in at 2 pounds, 2 ounces. I remember I was worried because she wasn’t crying when she was born. But they held her up, and her eyes were wide open, looking straight at me. She was so calm! It was like she was telling me not to worry, everything would be ok. To the doctor’s amazement, Nevaeh did better than they expected. She was completely breathing on her own and was just on room air. I was so proud of my little girl already, and I knew that I had a fighter on my hands!

Nevaeh went through good phases and bad phases. It seemed like she would take one step forward and two steps back. On the day she was going to go in for her duodenal atresia surgery, she ended up with pneumonia. Then she got sepsis, and an infection in her PIC line.

They decided they were going to do emergency surgery to put a central line in, and for the sake of not putting her under anesthesia twice, they were going to do her duodenal surgery at the same time. I remember holding her, telling her to be strong, and that everything was going to be ok.

After surgery, they told us that they had some issues with getting Nevaeh on the ventilator. Her blood pressure had dropped to 10/5. We were just very thankful that she made it through the surgery, and could be on her way to recovery and eventually come home with us!

That night I got a call that Nevaeh’s breathing was not good. The next few days seem like a dream – or a nightmare for that sake. Because her blood pressure dropped so low, it damaged her kidneys. She wasn’t passing any urine, and was essentially filling up with fluid. Because she was so small, dialysis was not an option.

On July 11, 2006, we were called into a conference room by a social worker and told that there was nothing more they could do for our daughter. They told us she was not going to make it. We were completely devastated. Ultimately my husband and I decided not to prolong her suffering and remove her from the ventilator. It was the hardest decision I ever made in my life. I sometimes still question it. Would she have made a miraculous recovery? Did we fail her as parents by giving up on her? Were the doctors possibly wrong? It’s been five years now, and I have finally forgiven myself, and have found peace with our decision. I know it was the last thing that I did as a parent for my daughter.

As I sit here and reflect about the first time I became a mother, it’s hard not to still feel the hurt and pain that I felt. But I can honestly say I also feel peace, love, and happiness. I feel truly blessed to have Nevaeh in our lives for the short six weeks she was with us. Five years ago, I was in a really bad place. I was angry at God. I couldn’t understand what I had done so badly to deserve losing a child. I was sad and depressed. I felt like the whole world should be stopping because my child had died.

I don’t know how I made it through that first year. I guess I just woke up in the morning and took one day at a time. I was determined I was going to be strong and make it through. I was determined that losing my child was somehow going to make me a better person. I don’t exactly know when the hurt and sadness lessened up. I guess it was something that just gradually happened over time. Of course it will never completely be gone, but it is bearable now.

I decided that instead of lying down and letting the grief consume me, I was going to use it and try to help as many people as I could in memory of my daughter. Somehow, I was going to make my daughter’s legacy and memory live on.

Since my daughter’s passing, I have made a conscious effort to do several things in her memory. I always donate to our local Special Olympics in her honor. I did the Buddy Walk to benefit community programs with people who have Down syndrome (and was the top pledge earner). I also started a non-profit in memory of my daughter, where I donate care packages to the local NICU.

Although the first time I became a mother may not have ended like I expected or wanted, I still never lose sight that she was indeed my first daughter. I now have two daughters, age 4 and age 2, and I always tell them about their big sister Nevaeh. She taught me so much in her short existence: she taught me about unconditional love, about strength, about not being selfish, about being a better person. Above all, she taught me that the bond between mother and child does not end. It’s a bond that is infinite.


Thank you so much Nicole for sharing your story. Nicole's blog can be found at

Sunday, April 22, 2012

it has been too long.. UPDATE

i just realized how long it has been since i last wrote on this here has been too long.. in my last entry and letter to my daddy, i expressed how the less and less i am on here the more healed i feel..let this post be a testament to how one never heals from loss...we simply learn to live with it.. adapt and move forward..

time is flying by these days.. i come home mentally and emotionally exhausted from work to a puppy needing loads of attention and exercise..i lay down to sleep being the most tired i have ever felt in my life.. and i love it..oh that's right.. we got a dog.. every time i find him doing something he isn't supposed to i laugh and think of my dad..

we got a dog when i was younger.. a hyper out of control cocker spaniel.. he never was house trained and ended up being a back yard nuisance instead of a pet.. and like many times when parents get their kids a dog simply because the kid wanted a dog.. cuddles, the dog, became my dad's chore.. he bathed him and fed him..we did cuddles wrong.. i know that now..there was not much forethought before we got him..there was no basic obedience training.. there was just an amazing daddy trying to make his little girl happy..

our second dog found us.. or i should say found my brother..he was a stray that claimed my brother and our front yard..he did not have tags but was well behaved..unfortunately he did not get along with cuddles and one of them had to go.. at this point i was moved out of the house and it kills me to admit cuddles was already a distant memory.. he obviously had some arthritis and it was apparent in his old age he was losing his sight and hearing.. so tommy was "adopted"..tommy was a good dog but eventually ran away.. maybe to claim some other little boy somewhere...

when my dad was sick and i had gone home to arizona to be with him for his last months i half joked about getting a dog for the family.. i say half joked because i knew he wouldn't go for the idea but i really did think and still think that the house needed a prompts were met with a mix of anger and exhaustion.. this man was not going to be responsible for another dog and that was final!

but i got one over on him.. i finally got my dog..but i did it was thought about long and hard.. and i was prepared to give him the attention he needed.. i was prepared to train him and create a gentle companion.. so at 7 months old we still have a long way to go.. but i think my dad would love him! and would be relieved that he didn't have to take care of him.. his daughter is finally responsible!

the dog has had another affect on my healing process as well..other than the exhaustion he causes (helping me not to dwell).. he also forces me out.. into the woods.. into nature..where i feel closest to my dad.. we walk for hours.. sometimes we stop and sit in the stillness of it all..and i hear him.. i hear his voice in the wind blowing through the trees.. i hear him in the chattering of squirrels and the soft footfall of deer.. my dad is out there.. and on days that we are not at the dog part.. so am i

i only had the time to write this entry as my 4 legged little guy naps before our sunday hike..soon we will be out there.. looking for my papa!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2 years and one day

dear papa,

yesterday marked 2 years since you have been gone... and guess what.. we made it once again in tact.. of course the whole day and day before i was entirely conscious of what day it was.. and of course i missed you just as i always have.. but the pain was absent.. the emptiness in my stomach.. the feeling of the ground being pulled out from under me.. wasn't there.. just the realization that we made it two years.. then there was hope...
the first year you were gone felt like a walking nightmare.. my head and heart just couldn't move forward.. i felt stuck.. it was a really hard year to say the least..
the second year felt.. for lack of a better word.. different.. you were missed for all 365 days.. but we all woke up from the nightmare and began to live again...albeit with some difficulty but no where near like it was the first year...
now we are beginning our 3rd year.. and i feel hopeful..i know that this year i will begin a real career.. mom will find some kind of fulfillment.. my brother will embrace responsibility and adulthood.. i feel this will all happen because our grief will not hold us back this year.. and this is what you would have wanted.. the best for us..
in everything i do you are with me.. every moment of my day i think of you.. every holiday or quiet time.. you are missed.. that will never change dad.. but know that your family is okay.. feel free to look down on us now.. we are ready!

your daughter

Saturday, December 24, 2011

christmas 2011

how many of you remember my dad during his one really fat year? out of no where he got super fat.. then the next year it was gone...some men buy sports cars or get hair plugs in a midlife dad ate.. apparently..anyway..this photo is from that for me. well.. footie pajamas don't do any one much justice..haha...

so this is christmas.. our second without my papa.. i never thought we would get here..there is evidence of healing in all of us..i see it mostly in the way we have been able to remember and celebrate without too much pain.. he is missed.. and thought of daily. hourly really.. but without that ever present lump in the back of the chest.. well..for the most is an amazement that we as humans are able to over come what felt like the end of our world.. and we do so.. for him..

this year we celebrated christmas a day early.. so last night..the 23rd was our christmas eve.. and as i write this i am waiting for famiy to arrive to begin our christmas day..some people are bucking this slight change.. but i am loving it.. it is extending christmas a whole day!

some events of note have taken place since i last updated.. my brother was in a car accident.. his first.. and for a while we thought his truck.. my dad's truck.. would be deemed :totalled:..thank God it was not.. and we got it back this week! my brother asked a few days after the accident what i thought dad would say.. well.. my dad was patient.. and a man of few words.. and the accident wasn't his fault.. and was in truth.. an accident.. i am not sure my dad would have had any words of wisdom to say at all... maybe a tisk or two at the state of the truck.. but that's it..

we do that a lot.. my family.. we wonder and day dream of what it would be like to have him here.. what he would say..what he would do.. even in the middle of some pretty vulgar toilet humor.. of which i am quite partial to..we laugh harder knowing he would laugh...

have a wonderful holiday readers! use christmas..not as a gift giving tinsel ladden day.. and not even as a commemeration in a religious sense.. just be with those you love.. and love a little honor of my daddy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

life getting in the's a good thing

i have neglected so much lately... social life.. this blog...most of my house responsibilities..and so much more.. and for what? i can't think of what it was that had me so occupied.. i did start a new job.. the shift in my natural sleep all day schedule really threw me for a loop.. but really my neglect had to do with life getting in the way.. and that's a good thing.. i don't want to dwell on my ongoing grief to the point where i need to unload on this blog on a daily basis.. and i like the informational sprinkled narrative that it has become... that is not to say that i am not entitled to break downs.. and that those break downs will not become public at some point.. life includes grief.. the emptiness is still there.. i don't suppose that will ever go away.. i can' live with that.. but i appreciate the pain coming in shorter waves and spaced in such a way that i can live the life my papa would have relished in watching me/us live...

fall has brought so much to attention.. the dying leaves look so beautiful just before they fall.. they become mulch for the grass growing below.. it is a grand display of the circle that is life.. i really did not mean to make that sound so sappily poetic.. really i didn't...but it does bring to mind the beauty behind's hidden but it's there.. because if we don't let death bring us to the depths.. we become more beautiful.. if we chose to learn and grow from the pain we can nourish everything we fall upon like the leaves on the grass... ok now i am just making myself sick..blah blah blah...

so this past week marked dia de los muertos... we have never had that type of mexican culture where we would have celebrated in this.. i think it had much to do with us not being catholic as well.. but it is a wonderful thing to see and take part in..if you never have.. i don't make alters.. but i do bake.. and paint.. and fold flowers every year... i like the idea of it.. the symbolism of it.. the celebratory part of it.. if you are not familiar with day of the dead do yourself a favor and learn about it.. it is not the Americanized "mexican halloween" the craft stores tote it to be.. it is a celebration of those who have passed.. it celebrated the sweetness of life and it's brevity... i find a lot of comfort in ceremony and symbolism... maybe because i live so far from my family and miss out on the daily ceremony of family life..that i feel the need to hold onto what is around me and familiar..anyway it's not something i have thought about too consciously...

my aunt called me the other day to ask some advice (i am an autism whisperer of sorts)...anyway.. toward the end of the conversation she made mention of my papa and compared me to him... it was so nice to hear and while she may not have known was something i needed to hear that day.. it wasn't a hard day..i was just feeling a bit far.. a bit lost.. patient a wise is what she called me.. and i can only hope to have half of what my dad had..

so it has been quite a few weeks... and much like every other day in the life of this papa's girl... my dad was entwined in it all...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cancer Groups- a special message

i was recently contacted by a man who asked to post a message on this blog to get the word out on some information he felt was important.. because all of my past guest bloggers have been family.. i will be honest in saying i put this poor guy through the ringer because i would never endorse certain information.. i finally got around to reading this guest post and some of his personal blog.. and i feel confident in sharing whatever he wants to send out to you all.. he has nothing but postive things to share and this particular message is about fellowship and support via groups...

fyi.. if you would like to guest blog..about cancer and/or loss.. please email me at

David Haas is a cancer patient advocate and his blog can be found at

Have you just found out you have cancer? You may know someone who has survived. Are you in cancer remission? You may be going through chemotherapy or radiation treatment. If any of these things are true in your life, you may feel as though nobody can relate to what you are going to. If you become involved with a cancer survivor group you will have the chance to talk with or write to someone who has been through the same things as you. You can learn how to best treat your disease and get advice from those who have been there, who can teach you how to best fight the negative side effects you may be experiencing.

There are a variety of cancer survivor networks available. The Cancer Hope Network is one such network. Through them you can be matched with someone who has been through cancer treatment, who may be going through something similar to you. This group can match you with people who have gone through anything from a common cancer like breast cancer to a very rare cancer like mesothelioma. You can receive emotional support and encouragement online or over the phone. Actual cancer survivors will tell the stories, will tell you it is possible to live a full live despite having cancer. You will not be talking with someone who is a professional therapist, but with someone who knows just what you are going through.

There is also support provided for caregivers and links to different agencies that might be able to give advice on treatments.

The Cancer Information Network provides links to a variety of support helps to cancer victims, including a letter from a survivor of lung cancer, a link to the Cancer Hope Network, and links to other agencies that provide support. There are also links to sites that give information on treatment, legal issues, financial resources to those with cancer, and support resources for caregivers.

There are numerous other support agencies, including US & Too for those with prostrate cancer at, with links to many support groups, information about the disease, and more.

The American Brain Tumor Organization lists support groups, provides inspiring stories, advice on how to manage fatigue, rehabilitative medicine, speech pathology services, and many other resources.

While having cancer can be devastating, there is help available.

By: David Haas