2009. Wow. Sometimes there are things that trigger memories, and it really feels like that event happened just months ago. Until I realize that 6 years have passed. Or 10 years. Or even 15. We are always told have fast time goes by, and for some reason, we never really believe it. That is, until we look back and see that in fact, it really does.
There are so many memory triggers that take me back to different times. The other night I went out with some friends to a bar (that in itself can trigger memories). And living in a small town, I have learned that around every corner there is someone I know. And who do I see at the bar, but my ob nurse when Nadia was born with her husband, daughter, and who I assume to be her daughter's boyfriend/husband. I walked over to where she was and grabbed her arm. We hugged and I was thrown back into the memories of when Nadia was born, and everything else that surrounded it. We laughed about how it had been almost 5 years since she helped me through my labor. 5 years. She was meant to be my nurse that night. At one point in her career she worked in oncology. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer the day before I met her. She gave me tips for surviving through chemo. For those few days, she made everything alright. After she found out Nadia's name, she came back into my room with a baby name book in her hand, yelling, "Nadia's name means HOPE!" What a ray of sunshine on my turned upside down world.
When she left the bar that night, she came over to me and said that she was so happy that I was almost to the 5 year mark, and that she would never forget me. I will go to my grave forever grateful to her for all she did for me those few days, and I will never forget her either.
I got my hair cut the other day, and I was talking to the stylist about all of my radical hair changes. My mind went back to a picture I have somewhere of me sitting on the floor with our dog. My hair was bone straight and went down to probably about my naval. I can't imagine having hair that long now. Not because I wouldn't want it, but because, well actually, I don't know why. Weird.
Amalia asked me to post on how I am doing. To be honest, I really don't know. There are days that I just want to be alone, which is hardly ever possible. There are days that are fine. There are times, like last night at our neighbor's house, where I am just living in the moment and having a good time. I have no clue what I am supposed to be doing, or feeling for that matter. I do feel like I am at a standstill. Kind of stuck on Tuesday, when all you want is for it to be Wednesday, hump day. Like I have gotten through some emotions, but can't get moving on others. Blah blah blah. I seem to be going in circles.
January marks the year anniversary of when my dad was diagnosed. A year. I don't know how last year slipped through my fingers so fast. I go back through my memories of the talks that my dad and I had, and how special they are to me now (well, then too). I can look back at doing what I could to help my parents, and I am satisfied. I have no regrets, but of course not having more time. I still had to work and keep up with my family at home, but I know that I did what I could. There are of course so not-so-fond memories....(STOP READING NOW IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW OF ANY DETAILS OF WHAT CANCER DID TO MY DAD!!!!)the bruises and cuts from when he was too stubborn to let people help him and he fell, picking him up and getting him into the hospital bed, the bleeding mouth sores, his pain, seeing his watch go from fitting his wrist to being able to slide down his arm, his skin becoming a different shade, his legs and feet swelling to the point of being shinny and just out of proportion to the rest of him. His hair got greyer as time passed, and had thinned when he did chemo. His belly got huge, but then started to go down, and down, and down. You could count all of his ribs, and his clavicle stuck out like someone from a concentration camp. I watched his cheeks sink in, turning him into someone that I would not have recognized.
When going to Mayo he would have to sit in the back with the seats reclined to take the pressure off of his bloated belly. The last time I held his hand was after he died. The time before that was after his last appointment at Mayo, in the parking ramp. What a horrible day that was. The cancer had returned, there was nothing left to do. I remember starting to tear up in the doctor's office. Then the tears wouldn't stop. The doctor said we could stay back in the room as long as we needed to, but I knew that my reaction was not going to change. I pushed my dad's wheelchair, tears streaming down my face. Of course, when you come out of the back into the waiting room of the oncology department crying, everyone knows. We went over to the elevators and while I was standing behind my dad, I could see his lip quivering. My dad. My powerful, strong dad was facing something he could not win. And there was nothing we could do to change it. I held his hand in the parking lot as we walked to the car. It was so warm and soft. His hand were always soft. After getting home, I just drove around town for over an hour. Getting no where fast.
Some of the things I wrote are things I haven't talked to anyone about before. Just memories buried in my mind, not really wanting to surface. I watched my dad die a slow and painful death. But now, there are times when I feel him around me. And when I have those feelings, he is not the sick man I last saw, he is the captain of his boat, smiling with both his mouth and eyes.
And that, is what gets me through.