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!


Tina said...

It's been 3 years and 9 days since my dad passed away. Our dads are a lot a like, family is their #1 priority! Lucky for us, we are in the same family.
I'm not gonna lie, there was a while there that I was pissed at the Man upstairs for taking him, just as I was pissed He took my cousin. But when you think about it, He really does have a plan and everything happens for a reason. I still find myself being selfish and wanting him here with me, but He must have needed him more than me.
The impact our fathers have made not only in our lives, but everyone around them, is tremendous! The only thing we can do is be proud of them, proud of what they made us, and live up to their expectations!
You know Bob and Jim are having an amazing time and have had some pretty wild parties... When it's time, Bill will fit right in!

Anonymous said...

I am so VERY sorry for the family to go through this. I believe in God and even the devil which I believe are our diseases. As I read my tears flow for your pain. I know that pain of watching a parent, my mother, die slowly. I know the pain of watching your father slowly cease as we know them. Mine has a birthday tomorrow and is in a nursing home. Hospice is wonderful when you have compassionate people who help. Hold on to each other and make the hugs last. I can not know what YOU are going through just give a hug to you......Mary

Anonymous said...

Dr William Wood is an amazing man who has touched my life in ways I can't even explain. He truly is an angel and a one of a kind human being. Our friendship grew over the last 16 years. He watched me go through many things in life as you would while watching somebody grow from 23 years old to where they are now. He never judged, never pushed his thoughts, yet had a subtle strength and wisdom like no other. At some very hard times in my life I remember him saying this to me and this has stuck with me for literally years...."Kathleen, you are too smart to play dumb". Great words to live by for sure. I have watched him handle situations in life that weren't fair and down right heart wrenching....I have never seen anyone in my life handle things with such strength, compassion and true grace. Bill you have touched the lives of everyone you have ever known. You are by far one of the greatest people I have ever met and I am blessed and honored to call you my friend...Kathleen Patchin

Anonymous said...

Wow, where do I start? Perhaps, when I was a youngster playing with the Woods' kids, growing up with Teri and her brothers, getting to know her mom and dad, referring to him as Mr. Wood. Fast forward many years to the time that we both sat on the pastorial council for the church where I learned from his example, listening, praying, analyzing, reflecting before making any major decisions - referring to him as Dr. Wood. All I know is that he loves God and loves his family and would lay down his life for both. What an inspiration to the rest of us! What an example to the rest of us! And what an example my friend, Teri, is of a dedicated,loving daughter, whose spirit, I'm sure reaches through the physical world and touches her dad's spirit, calming him, assuring him. I thank God for His gracing me with the time I had with Mr. Wood, Dr. Wood, Bill Wood and I thank Him for Teri and her brothers. I love you. Joanie

CJ McIntosh Gibson said...

Terrye, because we live so far away I didn't know your Dad as well as I would have like to. The one thing that always stood out though was his commitment to family. He showed it in so many ways, from the seemingly small, like just being there to talk to, to the monumental, like building houses. Even as a child, he amazed me. It has been difficult even at such a long distance to see the pain parkinsons (small p) has caused the Bergwalls and now your family. As your father nears the end of his struggle, my Mother is now really beginning to struggle, so this disease isn't done with our family yet. I only hope we can face it with even half the courage all of you have. We may be far away, but our thoughts are with you!

Bill said...

I don’t really remember anything specific Dad told me about life. That would be too easy. What I do remember was what he showed me. He was an everyday example of a life of humility and integrity. I remember the love of a man waving from the end of the driveway while filled with sadness whenever his grown kids would leave home once again to return to their lives. I remember a quick wit, a sense of humor, and a sparkle in his eye from the simple joy unleashed while watching the laughter of his family. I remember a kind man at peace with himself and with the world providing a spontaneous gift of a necklace to Helen 13 years ago. A necklace that remains around her neck to this day and the likeness of which is now permanently displayed on hers and my ankle. Invaluable simply because it came from Dad. I remember a patient man who defined goodness with countless hours of volunteer work. I remember a man who displayed an unrelenting faith in God. I remember a strong but gentle man, never swayed by negative emotions or circumstances but rather displaying an always calming and positive self control. While watching the youngest of his five children resting in a coffin, he finds the strength to see the positive in such a situation. Through an unending stream of tears flowing down an unspeakably sad expression he utters the words, to no one in particular, “it’s ok, we still have four.”

Of my too-many-to-count blessings, being able to call you “Dad” is among the best. The lessons I’ve learned from your guidance benefit me every day of my life. Of the countless ways you are a part of me and the many things you have taught me, perhaps the best and most enduring is teaching me how to be a dad. Dad, know that in this way your influence will extend to the next generation and beyond.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Anonymous said...

I met Mr. Wood when I was just 8 yrs old and best friends with Terrye. He was like a second father to me. He was so gentle and kind, and I never remember him getting angry. He nicknamed me Crittlebird and Terrye Tweetybird, and those were to be our names as we grew up. I loved spending time at the Wood's home and God knows I was there enough. I loved all the boys and we had some great times!!!! His kind and gentle ways impressed me even as a child. He was always so quiet yet so much going on in his eyes. Then when I was 14 or 15 the Woods moved to Mass. and took me with them to visit. I remember Mr. Wood taking us to the Univ. he was attending and how hard he worked for his family. I had such a great time in Mass. that it started a love affair with the East Coast. I thank the Woods for that. Then I was an adult and went to work for Kaye and all of a sudden Mr. Wood became Bill to me. Although I will still say it was hard for me to call him Bill and not Mr. Wood. He still was the most gentle and kindest human being I have ever met. Quiet yet so much in his eyes. He was kind to me during an illness I had while working there and I remember one Saturday I was downstairs and in a lot of pain. He came down and saw how much pain I was in and gently told me to go to the hospital right away. That was Mr. Wood, kind and gentle always. The last time I saw him was after church at Easter, I happened to be in West Branch. I was so happy to see him and Kaye. I hugged him and asked if he remembered me, I could see in his eyes that he did not (sad for me). Then I told him about his nickname for me and Terrye and I saw a light flicker across his eyes and I do believe for a moment he remembered me. I hugged him again and wished him well. I am so glad to have gotten that last time with him. I will always think of him as Mr. Wood, just because he deserved the respect. He will always be remembered as my second father and the Woods will always be remembered as my second family. I know you are all suffering and there is nothing at all to say to that. Just know that I have many, many good memories of your Dad that will go on as long as I live. I pray that he passes gently into the night, that would be his style. His memory will go on forever through many people. I am praying and thinking of all of you during this painful time. And in my mind when I think of your Dad I will always be Crittlebird!!! It was a pleasure and honor to have known and loved your Dad. Mr. Wood you will be missed!!!!!!! Love, Crittlebird

kayla said...

To my dearest Grandpa,

There are so many memories that I have as a child up to a young adult of you and are times together. The few that really stick out are the orange cookie jar always full of cookies for us. Also your bear hugs that was so full of love. That twinkle in your eyes when you were joking with us. Your love for all of us even when we would run around your house like a bunch of crazy zoo animals, which my sister and I still do from time to time. You just looked at us and shook your head and laughed

This disease has tried to take control of you over the years. Your strength to fight it off has amazed me. As I have watched your strength through everything, and your stubbornness not to let it take you without a fight. It pains me to see you losing this battle. In the end I will be happy to not have to watch you go through this horror that has taken are other family members. Even though I will soon not be able to see your face or give you a bear hug. I will know that you are in heaven happy safe and healthy and a guardian angle that you already are and always have been. I am so proud to say that I am your granddaughter and will hold and treasure a piece of you where ever I go. I love you so much grandpa.

Love always

Suzy Park said...

I remember your Dad happily dancing away, non-stop, at Mike and Yunmi's wedding, many, many years ago. I think he even outlasted your brothers on the dance floor. What a fun and playful spirit he has, and one I can see he's passed on to Mike (and all of you) in a really wonderful way.

Anonymous said...

I too had a lot of help from Hospice when my dad passed away. I was angry that he couldn't eat or drink, and would just have to starve to death. But, then I realized it was the body's way of shutting down, getting itself ready for it's next adventure. If he has lived a fullfilled life with a loving family and tons of memories,which it sounds like he has, God is waiting for him. Parkinsons does kill, I don't care what anyone does Alzheimers...But the hardest part is watching the end of life. I've heard that hearing is the last sense you lose, so talk to him often and tell him just as often how much you love him. I hated losing my parents, but at least I knew they were no longer in pain...they are together and happy in a new life.

Marilyn BAise said...

I only had one chance to meet your Dad. He was so kind. He such a dry sense of humor. It has been my pleasure of loving his son. Bill such wonderful son in law. I know he must have been a great dad it shows in his children.

My prayers are with your family. Remain strong.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine how it feels to lose a parent. I watched my gramma and grandpa die and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. Your dad is very lucky that he's had all his family there to take care of him and that you guys all loved him so much that you all did it for him, out of the goodness of your hearts and unselfishness. Many people don't have that. Diseases like parkinson, dementia, alzheimers, they are so sad. There is no cure. All you can do be there, which you have. The good thing is, your dad will be going to a better place, no parkinsons, no pain. He knows there's a God, and he believes. You all will be in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

Steve Bergwall said...

Terrye; I'm sure you know that I can feel some of your pain. When my mom was going through her last days with Parkinsons and the complications brought on by that horrible disease, the sadness was overwhelming. I could not accept that someone so important to me was so diminished and would be leaving this world soon. I think of her every day and quite often when something out of the ordinary happens my first thought is to "call Mom" but then I realize that she already knows what has happened and is on the job praying for all of us.

Terrye! You will lose your father's body but you will never lose your father just as I have never lost my mom. They will meet in heaven and join with the rest of our family that have gone before us.

Cathy and I will keep you and your family in our prayers. We have always had special affections for your parents. Bill and Kaye have been supportive of us and we love them deeply.

Steve & Cathy

Anonymous said...

I remember an Uncle - and Aunt - who took me into their home for girlscout camp in the summer. When I look back on my childhood those were some very happy times for me. I also remember Uncle Bill and Aunt Kaye spending time with my mother when she was in assisted living in West Branch. It wasn't always easy then (3 1/2 years ago) for Uncle Bill to get around, but he obviously loved his sister Margaret and wanted to spend time with her. I remember standing next to him at her graveside when she died - from something other than parkinsons. And most recently I will remember visiting with you Terrye and your mom while your dad reclined in his chair with his eyes closed smiling now and then at some story one of us was telling. Like my mom, and Aunt Sue, Uncle Bill will always be in my memories.
Anne T.