Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Recap

This will forever go down as The Summer of "I Got Nothing Done".
Garden? Planted, weeded once in awhile, harvested- yeah right! Not yet.
Critters? Minimum amount of chickens, no pigs, 2 steers (to be butchered within a month). So there will only be a small amount of chickens to winter over.
Household projects? Stove restoration - still sitting on the front porch. Greenhouse? Still sitting in my head, although I think we have all the windows we need now. Back deck? Still there, still unfinished, still no steps or railings or cute little planters.
And on and on it goes.

Why? Because I got nothing done - or did I?

My Dad (my hero, my superman, my Daddy) is dying of parkinsons. Could be days. Could be weeks. Knowing the strength of my Dad's character, will and personality, could be months.

This is what I know about parkinson's (no respect for this disease, so you get no caps! Deal with it!)
The experts all say that no one dies from parkinsons, but that it's just a miserable way to live until something else kills you. I respectfully, now, disagree.
My dad can no longer eat much. He can't stay awake long enough to eat enough or even drink enough. He is quickly losing the "swallowing" instinct so chokes frequently.
How does this not kill him?
He's been totally and thoroughly degraded, humiliated and broken down by this disease.
How does this not kill him?
His body is ravaged to the point where he can no longer walk, talk, communicate, think, or even spend any amount of time awake, let alone spend any time at all in this world that I still live in.
How does this not kill him?
There are no more "good" moments for him, he is just lingering.
How does this not kill him?
So, while I don't have the appropriate letters after my name to make a statement like "parkinson's does not kill...." I disagree.

So, what did I do this summer? Between my mother, my daughter and myself, along with the awesome, wonderful, bestest (not a word? don't care!), most compassionate people on earth who fall under the tent called "Hospice", I have spent lots and lots and lots and lots of time with my Dad. Time that will never be wasted. Time that I can never get back with my home and farm (again, don't care). Every day I still learn something new from this man who most would only see as a shell. Every day I gain time, more valuable than all the gold on earth or in heaven, with this man who when I was a small child, did the same for me.
Because he's still there. I defy you to look in his eyes. Deep into his eyes, into his soul and tell me he's not still there. He is.

Whether he has days, weeks or months left, we will still continue to give him our best, to give him everything we have, while our heart breaks. While we watch him slowly slip away.

Because he's my Dad. And he would have done it for me.

And when it's my time to linger at death's door, I can only hope that I can pull it off with a shred of the amazing strength that he has shown. And when I am able, when he's asleep, I will tell him to go. That's it's ok to go. That his parents, siblings and one of my brothers are waiting for him. That he's done his job here on earth in shaping the lives of myself and my brothers, who are 4 of the most amazing people I know. And that it's time for the next chapter of his life, to make his Heaven into an equally amazing place.

I love you Dad!

Monday, August 16, 2010

4 Red Leaves!

This totally goes on the "What In The World" shelf. The other day (date is important here), I found, under my maple tree, are you ready for this? 4 RED LEAVES!

"So what?" you might say!

"???" I say! (complete with silent waving of arms and expression of disbelief on my face)

"What does finding a few red leaves on the ground have to do with anything?" you might say.

Well, for one, it means that fall is coming. You know. Fall. Autumn. The season before all of the white stuff falls from the sky and covers everything for months and months and months. And it gets really cold. Yeah, Fall, you got it now. It's coming. Soon. The Maple Tree says so.

"But it's only August", you might say.

"I know, right?" I say. (I love that new "saying"), it fits so well. Kind of like when my teenagers started the "whatever". "As if". thing.

But back to reality.....Yeah. Red leaves in August.

Everyone I've told this too just about shrinks in horror. With all of the dire warnings no doubt contrived from NASA, NOAA, the Farmer's Almanac and Uncle Joe. But to tell the truth. It happens every August. Right after the blackberry season. This is the first tree in all of Michigan to start the color show.

Before long, the whole landscape will look like this:

Yeah, I get it, it's gorgeous, and Michigan rakes in big bucks from tourists looking for color tours in mid October, but it's a harbinger of whiter, colder times. When all of the reds, yellows, golds and half of the greens turn into varying shades of grays, browns and whites.

When the whole world is covered in white. When Jeff Foxworthy, the famous comedian states, "You might be from Michigan if you sit on a frozen lake and wait for your dinner to swim by". Yeah, good times!
But before you get all "awwwwww, these pictures are gorgeous, I wish I lived there....", note that the REAL result of these red leaves falling and the soon to be white stuff on the ground is the end of motorcycle season. Go ahead and say it now..... "awwwwww......"