We all have things that happen to us that slow our creativity down, or that put a halt to our creativity. I fell behind in my journaling, planning, and overall creative “things,” back in July when my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 aggressive cancer (chemo wouldn’t help and surgery wasn’t an option–so it was just a matter of quality of life during the time he had left), and Mr. Rockstar was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I tried to stay creative. I tried to journal. To Plan. To finish out #onebookjuly2017 and #campnanowrimo. But my emotions, thoughts…my mental state was all over the place. Insert Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, along with the roller coaster of emotions that come with finding out your Dad has inoperable and non-treatable stage 4 cancer, and your husband has a disease that isn’t curable either–I was a wreck!
Still, I tried to maintain some sort of routine, some sort of balance. I tried to be creative. And someday’s I managed to journal, plan, write, art… Other days–I barely seemed to function. The worse my Dad got the worse my emotional state became. My emotions were all over the place. I started grieving well before my Dad died on October 5th. But his death, and my Mom’s subsequent hospitalization (she was admitted into the very same ICU ward as my Dad–within an hour or so of his death she was up there a few rooms down from where he was (he was still in the room, they were kind enough to allow my Mom to say goodbye, for all of us to say goodbye). The doctor’s and nurses all knew who I was–first time they’d had that happen, and they were absolutely wonderful to us.
Fast forward a week, my Mom was in the hospital 8 nights and 9 days. So I was at the hospital for approximately 10 days, because I’d been there the night before when my Dad was helicoptered from their local hospital to the one in Charleston to ICU. By the time my Mom was released I’d already taken care of my Dad’s cremation, and a lot of paperwork for things like insurance, etc. I was on the ball in regards to taking care of my Mom. I was not, however, doing very well in the taking time to grieve for my Dad, taking care of myself (not really), much less housework, planning, journaling, filming videos for Patreon or YouTube, etc. I did manage to do a few loads of laundry somewhere in there so I had some clean clothes to wear when I went back to the hospital (my husband convinced me to go home with him to take a shower and get some sleep–I hadn’t slept but about 3 hours in about 3 days). (I’m sure I was in definite need of a shower by then.) Continue reading
On October 5th as my Dad took his last breath in the ICU my mom was being admitted into the hospital and within an hour or two would be in that same ICU ward… I was a mental and emotional wreck but I held it all together in order to do what was necessary to save my Mom. I wanted to scream. To cry out. To curl up in a corner in the dark… but I could not do any of those, all I could focus on was saving my Mom. She nearly died.
At that moment when my Mom was being wheeled into the ICU from the ER, and my Dad was still in ICU in the room he passed away in, I had both parents in ICU–one alive and one dead. It was overwhelming. The ICU was wonderful to us though. They made it possible for my Mom, as well as our immediate family, to say goodbye to my Dad before the Crematorium picked him up. And the Crematorium was also wonderful–they were understanding and compassionate.
On Friday 13th my Mom went home from the hospital. It was such a relief. Such an amazing thing, and yet as hard as it was for my Mom to go back to the home they built together alone, she did just that… the two of us–me and my Mom–had not had time to mourn my Dad. She’d been in the hospital, half in and out of delirium because of an ecoli bacterial infection, pneumonia, etc and I had been so focused on her that I hadn’t really dealt with my Dad’s death. Needless to say, I crashed. Emotionally, mentally, and physically, but the crashes came in spurts. I was still in “fight/survive” mode…my focus went from taking care of my Mom to taking care of everything else… taking care of the laundry, housework, etc that had been neglected while I’d been staying at the hospital with my mom two hours away. I’d come home 2 of those 7 nights to take a shower and get a bit of sleep. The waiting rooms in the ICU ward are not conducive to sleep.
My Mom is one hell of a lady. She’s such a strong and amazing person…this past week I’ve been working on a memorial video for my Dad’s memorial service this Saturday morning… It’s been hard on me. I had to take a break from it because I just couldn’t…I hadn’t really, truly dealt with my Dad’s death. Rationally I knew he was gone. Mentally I understood but emotionally I had not accepted it. I was almost in limbo, perhaps because I had spent that whole week after his death concentrating on my mom, but once my mom was home and I was home (I live an hour 1/2 from her) things changed. My purpose changed.
Throughout the past few weeks I’ve gotten some art done. Some writing done. I’ve tried to get back into a routine but my focus is off… I am all over the place emotionally. I’ve used creativity, art and writing to help with my grief. I’ve been channeling my grief into doing things psychically so that I can deal with things emotionally as I need to, as they surface. And they have surfaced. Those damn phases of grief aren’t as clear cut as people make them out to be. One moment I’m sad and crying, the next minute I’m angry and pulling apart my whole house to find a few pictures–carrying on like a mad woman because I can’t find them. The next minute I’m a puddle on the kitchen floor. One minute I’m doing well, and the next minute I’m a wreck.
Once I finally got the video finished for Dad’s memorial service I felt relieved, but at the same time overwhelmed with various emotions: sadness and loss, gratitude and love. and anger–fuc*ing cancer! Tomorrow (well today now since it’s after midnight) we’ve got errands to run, bills to pay, a few things we need to get for the service, but tonight I am working on a few creative things. Creative things that help with my peace of mind. The past few weeks have been hectic, filled with stress and anxiety, but one of the things that has really helped me has been the ability to be creative. It’s not a band-aid, however. The wound is emotional and it hurts but I can’t will it away or fix it overnight. All I an do is what I can do, when I can do it. My creativity in some ways has gotten a bit stuck, and yet in other ways is open. I’m rolling with what feels right to me currently. In the now…the present, which seems odd since I’ve been planning my novel for NaNoWriMo, planning my Dad’s memorial service and creating the video, as well as trying to figure out a bit of a schedule for November to fit in all the things like visiting my mom once or twice a week, having Viktor (my beautiful grandson) sleep over at least once a month, Patreon, Youtube, NaNoWriMo, and my FB group.
Thank goodness for the wonderful community of people that have been so supportive during this hard time. From family members, to friends, to my Patrons and YT subscribers and my FB group members. I’ve been so blessed and I am appreciative of all the support.
I’ve missed blogging. I used to blog every day. I miss it. But with so much going on I kept putting off publishing a post–I have 5 or 6 drafts that have yet to be completed. I will get to them. Better late than never, but from now on I’m going to work on having a post that coincides with my YT videos, which are usually on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
When I was 7 years old my daddy died. He was 31, my mom was 28, and my younger brother was 4 years old. We were all devastated. I retreated into a shell. I took to books, writing in my pink dairy, and talking to my daddy in my dreams. My brother became glued to my mom.
When my mom met the man who was to become our (step)dad I wasn’t sure about the whole “new” dad thing. I already had a daddy. He was in Heaven with the angels and God and I was just waiting to be with him, or for him to come back to us.
But he was such a gentle soul, this big and tall bear of a man. He never tried to take my daddy’s place. He stood by the car as he waited for us when we visited my daddy’s graveside. He talked to us not at us, listened to us–really listened, and he genuinely loved us like we were his own children. We couldn’t have asked for a better dad, and my mom couldn’t have asked for a better husband.
Now it’s forty-one years later, in May my mom and this gentle bear of a man were married 41 years, and I am heartbroken… I am losing another father, this time it isn’t unexpected like my daddy’s death (car accident). This time it’s cancer. Aggressive cancer that has taken over my dad’s body and reduced him to a shell of the man he once was physically. And I can tell he hates it. This strong man that I love and who has been a real hero in every way that a person can be a hero, has been reduced to being a victim of extremely aggressive cancer and all that that entails. I am devastated. My mom. My children. My nephews. My brother. Our family is devastated. My mom is losing another husband. We are losing another father. My children and nephews are losing their grandfather, and my grandson is losing his great grandfather–his Papa. His siblings. They are a close knit family and they stick by each other through thick and thin. We are all helpless, and feeling every single bit of that helplessness down to our core.
I have been blessed to have had three wonderful parents. My Daddy, my Mom, and my Dad. My Dad has taught me so very much about life, unconditional love, resilience, family, determination, and he is and will always be a hero to me. My father is dying of cancer. It’s basically a matter of when, no matter how much of a fighter my dad is, the cancer has taken over. I truly wish there was going to be a happy recovery story. I wish that Cancer didn’t suck. Like most people, just hearing the word “Cancer” made me cringe. It’s one of those words that leaves a bitter aftertaste when you say it. And now the man who has been a real life hero to me, to my children, to our family is dying of Cancer. I am past the denial. The diagnosis a few weeks ago was bad enough, and then the news that it was inoperable, but since then my dad has went downhill quickly. It’s like his body sighed and said… “okay, we’re done fighting…let’s rest now.” Only my dad is fighting it. Is that worse or better? It’s heartbreaking is what it is. I want him to be well. I want him to get a shot. To take a pill. To get some damn help and get better. But I’m not sure that’s going to happen, and today I realized that. Reality set in and it sucks beyond words. I know that my words will not do him justice, but I feel like so many people shy away from the truth of what happens when someone becomes chronically ill, when cancer sets in. My mom took care of my disabled grandfather for over a decade and in the end cancer got him as well. We are not alone. I will never be alone. My daddy, my grandparents, my family, my dad, my mom, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my friends, are with me. We’ve all been through something, and because death is inevitable will all go through things in life that are heartbreaking. My dad would not want all this attention. He loves me and is proud of me, proud that I am who I am and that I doing something with my life that makes me happy, but he really wouldn’t want all the attention. He’s a humble and proud man.
My Dad is such a wonderful person. He’s laid back. Generous. Compassionate. Hardworking. Honest. Honorable. Loyal. My Dad has taught me so much about life, love, unconditional love, resilience, family, determination, and so many other things. Things like, I am stronger than I think, worth more than I think, smarter than I thought, and I can do anything I put my mind to. That though there are some things that are not probable, there are very few things that are impossible if I put my mind to it. He is one of my biggest fans, my strongest supporters, and I would not be the person I am today without him.
I have not given up hope that today was just a setback, but I am realistic enough and tough enough to know that it might not be a setback. A few weeks ago my dad was tired, and he’d lost weight but he could stand and walk on his own. A few weeks ago, my dad could still walk without assistance. A couple of weeks ago my dad was still able to do all of those things. Today broke my heart and I’m not going to show the photos I took today right now. Maybe later. Right now I can’t bear to look at them. I’ve finally stopped crying. Am I crying because I know I’m losing my Dad? Yes. Am I crying because my mom is losing another husband? Yes. Am I crying for all that my Dad is going through and will go through? Yes. Am I crying because of all our family is going to endure? Yes. My Dad knows he is dying. Most of us, my family, have now accepted that he is dying. Reality is setting in, or has set in. Have we given up? No. Has my Dad given up? No, I don’t think so–it’s not in his nature to give up. BUT I do know that right now I have a chance to tell my Dad how very much I love him, what a wonderful and amazing father he has been, how grateful I am that he came into our lives. We were blessed the day he and my mom met, the day they married (or as my brother said back then, “we’re getting married.”
For 41 years, my dad has done his best by all of us. I’m thankful for the blessings that he’s brought to us. I know he knows that I love him, but I’m not sure he knows just how very much I appreciate him, how much I value him as a person not just a dad. This is my chance to do that. To honor him with my words, although my words do not do justice to this man–my dad is a real life hero. He is a hero to me and he always will be.
I know the struggle has only just begun, not just for my dad but for all of us. Everyone who is close to my dad. I reach out across the divide of miles, things that keep us busy or keep us from reaching out to one another to say: “Life ain’t always peaches and cream, baby. You gotta make it happen if you want it.” I can hear him saying that to me throughout the years. I can also hear him telling me “there’s no such thing as can’t.” And my favorite, “You catch a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar.” He’s right.
My dad is a hero to me, and many others, and he always will be. Right now I have a chance to tell him and show him how very much I love him, how very much I appreciate all that he has done for us. And how very proud I am to call him Dad.