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Archive for the ‘Dearly Departed’ Category

I posted on a MamaKats Writer’s Workshop about my best friend and about how his mother, in a way, saved my life. The way I meant it was that my life could have gone in a very different direction than it did and I could have been one of those kids who hung out at the handball courts after, and even during, school with crazy long hair and smoking medicinal cigarettes <wink>. Nowadays, it may not mean the same thing but back in my day, the kids on the handball courts were the burnouts and smoked both legal (age restrictions to purchase cigarettes did not exist when I was in High School) and illegal substances.

Mom Miller kept me in line from that. I honestly do not think that was her plan, but it worked anyway. I think her plan was that I was her son’s best friend and the only one of his friends she liked and never banned from going over there… ever.

Anyway, she treated me loosely like one of her own. If you have been reading my posts, you know that my mother passed away almost 8 years ago from cancer. It took me a while to deal with everything and blogging helped a lot with that. No one read those posts, except for my one close friend from downstate. My thought was that if I am going through something like this, someone else is probably going through the same and if I help even one person then I would be glad I helped.

Well, about a week and a half ago Mom Miller passed away from Cancer. Oh Cancer, how I hate thee! I received the text from Mark at 6:32am. I had no idea he was even going down to Florida to see her. If I had I think I would have done what I could to get down there. Not only to say goodbye, but to also be there for the best friend any guy could ever hope for.

I think I feel a little worse than normal because she was up in mid-May. I had pneumonia, but Mark put together a little BBQ for mother’s day, even though it wasn’t mothers day. When he told me I told Erica that I wanted us to go. We went but she was not feeling well enough to go. I wanted to go see her, but they said she was leaving on Thursday but she actually left on Wednesday morning… the day I was going to see her. So I didn’t see her.

Now she is gone. She was tough. She was VERY tough on Mark but I think it was because her and he was very similar and neither wanted to admit it. They had a funeral service in Florida but it sounds like they are having a service and burial service here in New York. She lived here in NY for most of her life. Her two sons and daughter-in-laws are here. Mark’s older brother is in FL, but her sisters and mainly the entire family is here on Long Island.

I feel bad I didn’t go more out of my way to see her when she was here over a month ago. I will definitely be there for the funeral showings and be there for Mark in any way I can. I called him but he didn’t know what was going on at the time and said he would call me later. That was a few days ago. It’s going to be a difficult for Mark and his family, but this process is difficult for anyone.

What did you do to help with loss of a close loved one?

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There are certain things about having a child that we know, as parents, we will have to endure and deal with. We will do our best when that happens but we still have to endure it. Things like our kid falling off a swing or their bicycle. Bringing them to the hospital and help them through the experience, sometimes somewhat traumatic, of having to become the receiver of shots, stitches or even a cast.

But how do we get past when our babies don’t even have the opportunity to be born? It’s hard on every level.

If you are a good parent, you want the best for your child so you stop doing things once you learn you are pregnant. You stop eating cold cuts, certain cheeses, coffee (and for most people no coffee is a sacrilege!) We did it all perfectly correct… or I should say my amazing wife did. She stopped drinking coffee, she hasn’t had anything from her favorite place Quiznos since we found out, and she took prenatal vitamins immediately. Everything was being done as they say it should be done.

I didn’t go to the first sonogram of our 2nd child because I had to work and we didn’t expect any complications. Neither did our doctor. Our daughter was conceived and born without incident. There weren’t any issues which came about in all of the testing.

This time, there was a problem. When I found out I felt I had failed as a husband to my wife because, well, I wasn’t there with her when she found out.

I should have been, regardless of having a perfect happy and healthy baby girl the first time, who currently only has 2 lower teeth and blows raspberries everywhere until EVERYTHING is covered in her spittle. I can assure you, that won’t happen again.

She was 8 weeks along at the time and the doctor was concerned about a finding that we may be looking at a child with Down’s syndrome. There isn’t a history of it on either side of our family, so it came as a shock. We went in for consultation with our doctor and we decided on an amniocentesis. It was less dangerous to possible issues that the alternative. At this point we were around 11 weeks or so along.

The earliest they told us it could be done is 15 weeks and so we scheduled it for February 20th, president’s day. That made us around 15 ½ weeks along and they were hoping it could be done. If not, we would just reschedule.

We went in and our hearts just broke.

During the initial sonogram to set things up and see what was going on we received the horrible news. I will never forget those 2 horrible words or how they were said.

No. heartbeat.

It was said matter of factly. Sort of like, sorry but we are out of that kind of bread. It was worse each time she said it and she must have said it like 7 or 8 times. Being a nursing student, I was looking at the sonogram and looking for the nachal transparency and nose bones, which are both initial signs of possible Downs’. I wasn’t looking for the heart.

I knew my wife would be upset and very distraught about it, as any parent would be. But out of the 2 of us I knew it would affect her more. She has more public composure than I do, but it did affect her harder.

Obviously we didn’t have to do the amnio which we went in for. I thought I was nervous about doing this and then having to wait for the results to see if we were going to have a child with special needs, this news hit me like a punch to the gut.

Our doctor was empathetic and told us to call with any questions after he explained everything. I was still very concerned about my wife

You see, she is AMAZING! She does everything for others first. When it was thought there was a possibility of our baby having downs’, she thought it was her fault because we were having 2 children less than 1 ½ years apart. No matter how much I and the doctor told her it would not have any bearing on it. She said she understood but I know her and I know she still felt it was her fault because we had 2 children very close together.

With this news, she thought it was her fault because we just recently moved and she felt she did too much. She didn’t do too much. The heaviest thing she lifted was maybe 4 lbs which was a toaster oven. I did all the heavy lifting. And, even though the doctor and I did everything to convince her that it would not affect this, I am sure she still thinks that’s why… but it isn’t.

I explained to her that sometimes, when there are too many issues or an issue that is just too severe that nature just takes over and does what it thinks is appropriate. Some people think its god, but since we are not religious and – since my mother’s death – I am MUCH more atheist then some others, I go with nature.

We left and she totally broke down in the car. I consoled her but it is impossible, under these circumstances, to console her completely. I did my best as her husband and hope I did enough for that moment for her. To let her know I understood as best I could and that I was there with her and for her and that we would deal with this together.

I immediately went to work and told them I wouldn’t be working that day as I needed to be there for her. I work across the street for our doctor’s office so it was within 10 minutes of finding out. The reaction the director had when I told her was absolutely disgusting as both a nurse and even more so as a human being. She just flipped over to her schedule, marked me off, acted like I was causing her a major inconvenience and then said “I guess you are going to do what you have to.” With a sigh.

I thought it was just me overly sensitive in the moment… but my friend from work came with me to assist and said he wanted to punch her for that reaction and how can she show absolutely no empathy or sympathy and she supposed to be a nurse.

We went and picked up our daughter from the sitters. She started crying at a point, which she never does. I am sure she knew mom and dad were upset. Babies pick up on that kind of thing.

We went home and I consoled Erica each time she broke down.

I waited until she was asleep and I was alone and broke down hard. I mean I did break down a little at the doctor’s office and again at work when all my co workers were asking what was wrong, but it was small. I was upset and I let some tears flow but I didn’t break down until nearly midnight after everyone was asleep and I was in a different room. It felt horrible but also needed.

How do we move on from here? Like I stated earlier, we are not religious people, but if we are wrong and there is a heaven… are we going to meet our son or daughter as they would have been had they not died?

We feel guilty. We feel like we took this pregnancy for granted and didn’t really think too much about it until there were problems. I remember with MJ, when she was still cooking I used to put my hand on Erica’s belly all the time and talk to her and make jokes and stuff. I remember saying things like “Hurry up and cook already! We want to meet you!” I feel REALLY bad because this pregnancy I think I only did that once maybe twice.

All I really want to say is this:

Our little Baby, we never were able to meet you… but we really WERE looking forward to it. We were looking forward to being there and watching you grow and helping you in every way we could. Even had you been born with Downs’ we still want you to know, we would have loved you more and more every day. You still would have been our perfect second child. I am sorry I seemed so non-chalant about our pregnancy with you… but I was SO excited when Erica (your mom) told me you were coming! I wanted you to meet your sister and for all the outings and family gatherings you would have seen. You are going to be missed and we are sorry we didn’t seem to celebrate your coming as much as we should have… but all that was coming. We love you and we will miss you every day!

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This week I chose option 2 – when you couldn’t think things could go wrong… they did. The reason for this is because, well, I am pretty tired of hearing about Whitney Houston, I could only come up woth 1 thing that I NEVER want to do, and the last two I think I will save for posts for later this week… maybe.

Usually when I post, I use the first thing which jumps into my mind about the topic and the first thing that jumps into my mind was October 29th, 2004. I remember this day because its when EVERYTHING fell apart all at once, but lets start at the beginning of the day.

I started out the day as normal. I went to work, and just kept busy. At the time my mother was sick so I was immersing myself in work. I had talked to my boss earlier about taking some vacation time and he told me he just needed to check what was going on that week because he had this tendency of putting his vacation in like 8 months ahead of time. So around lunchtime he called me into his office and he and our other boss were there and apparently they were doing cutbacks and eliminated my position. So I was laid off. The good thing is they told me I didn’t have to work through the end of the day… oh whoopee! I had bills to pay!

So after being mopey and heading home, that is when I broke down. I was sort of having a mental break down because I was not unemployed, had a HUGE amount of debt to pay which I worried about how I was going to pay off every day and I felt guilty because my mother was going through chemo at home and I wasn’t there to help.

I remember pacing back and forth in my apartment and my phone rang. It was my sister. Now my sister and I have a great relationship and I started to tell her what was going on with me and then she broke down. Apparently my mother was in the hospital again and the nurses told her and my father to call me and get me down to Long Island. I remember hearing my sister break down and cry and through her tears all she could say is that she wanted her mother back. It broke my heart that I could not console my sister and I felt guilty for feeling sorry for myself after being laid off. So I told her I would be home in a couple of hours.

I immediately called my cousin whom I have been super close with since we were little and told him what happened. He was supposed to meet me on Long Island the next afternoon just as I had done when his father passed away and I was there for him. Well I arrived on Long Island a few hours later and went to the hospital the next day and for the rest of the week after that.

My cousin never showed until close to the last second and then he left the next morning. I have never heard from him since.

My mother died 5 days later.

It was definitely the most difficult time in my life but we all dealt with it and have been able to move on.

I helped my dad go through his grieving process and started on the path for me to do what I really want to do.

I met the love of my life, married her and have an awesome and gorgeous baby girl with a second baby on the way.

It took some time but I found the silver lining. My dad and I have a REALLY close relationship now. Before this I was good with him but not where I should be as a father/son relationship… but now we are. And losing my job helped me go back to school and start on the path to do a job I really want to do.

Just goes to show there is a lesson to be learned in everything and that everything happens for a reason… even if we do not see it at the time. Do you agree?

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This week’s Writer’s Workshop was difficult at first, but after thinking about it since I had nothing to do while waiting for my car to get repaired, I figured it out.

I remember it like it was only a few years ago. It’s hard to believe it was over 30 years ago that this happened.

I was 10 years old and we were at a family gathering. We did them a LOT when I was younger growing up. My father’s side of the family is from Long Island, my mother’s from New jersey (yeah, we didn’t hold it against her! LOL) So we would all get together at least once a month.

I remember they had rented out a hall and myself and all my cousins were running around the hall having fun, exploring everything. I think it was about 10pm when my older cousin said we were going home. We were staying with them in New Jersey, but the adults were all staying a little longer.

When we woke in, what I thought was, the morning it was my dad telling me we had to go. I had no idea where, but when dad said it was time to go, we left.

We went to the hospital.

Apparently my Aunt Joanie had an “incident” which we later found out was an aneurysm in her brain.

We stayed for a week and then finally went home.

We no sooner walked in the door that my mother received the call… she had gone.

We went back a few days later for the wake and funeral.

I was there with my cousin Tom all week, but my mother wouldn’t let me go to the wake with everyone initially.

Eventually I went and it was hard but not as difficult as I thought it was.

What I felt was more difficult to deal with was the fact that my Aunt’s and Uncle’s were only a few feet from my Aunt’s dead body and they were cracking jokes, laughing and such.

I wanted to scream at them and say “Don’t you have any respect for her. She is RIGHT THERE!”

Of course I didn’t and I remember being upset and annoyed that they were sitting around doing that. I felt it was VERY disrespectful… and I was only 10 at the time.

Of course, many years later and, unfortunately, many funerals and weddings (not much of a difference!!) later I understood.

Everyone mourns in their own way. People deal with pain, anger, hurt, loss all in different ways.

What, as a 10 year old, I remember as Aunt’s and Uncle’s making jokes and laughing inappropriately was actually family relieving their hurt and remembering the good times.

Just because they are gone and it’s new, remembering the good times is still VERY important. I know, when I pass, I hope my family and loved ones throw a HUGE party and have a GREAT time. I also hope they remember me as I was. A guy who laughed a lot, loved his wife and daughter (and future kids) more than anything, and would do anything for his friends and family that he could do.

We miss you still Aunt Joanie!

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If my mom were a blogger I think we would have had a lot closer relationship than we had. Don’t get me wrong… we had a really good relationship, but I think it could have been better… if she were a blogger.

I mean I would have to teach the ins and outs of EVERY aspect of the internet, websites, how to explore the web and a whole lot more. But I think all that would make us closer. I mean it took me about a month to teach her how to use the original Nintendo system and then she proceeded to learn how to kick everyone’s but at Tetris, then Dr Mario! I think once she embraced how much was available on the net she would have LOVED it… but then again, she may have also found the gambling sites and gambled away EVERYTHING and be living with my brother or sister right now! LOL.

I think she would learn what I have learned (and I am still honing) which is that you can express yourself in ANY way you want as long as you can take the negative comments which may follow and learn more about yourself through other’s perspectives. That the things that are bottled up and bothering you can be released through a blog and help ease your mind on whatever may be bothering you.

I think if my mom was a blogger I may have learned about her having cancer earlier and hopefully helped her with decisions, more than I did when it all happened. I would have been better able to prepare for what was not only happening to her, but reassure her that we were all there for her more expressively than I did at the time. At the time I called her every couple of days and even then I skipped some days… but I shouldn’t have.

I would have been able to express my feelings about what was going on. I would be able to let her know that I felt SO guilty about living so far away at the time that I couldn’t be there for her when she really needed me. That I wanted more than anything to be there to help but my life was set up so far away that I didn’t know how I could do it.

I would also be able to verbally console her, which is sometimes so much more than a physical one, when she was feeling sick or weak or scared. And she would have known how scared I was about what was happening.

I also think I would have a place where I could get all my mother’s recipes which some are going to be lost forever with her. I think I would have access to pictures (of course, after showing her many, MANY times how to use a scanner) that I never even knew existed.

I think we would have been closer, understood everything that was going on better, and be able to lean on each other more both in person and online.

OR, she would have blogged about EVERY embarrassing thing me, my brother and sister ever did so she could embarrass us… FOREVER!! I would have gladly taken the later if there was more of the former thrown in!

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This prompt was not too hard to choose. I mean I could write about any of them, but this one caught my mind the most. My entry my not COMPLETELY be as expected but this is my blog so nanny nanny poo poo!

A time someone was proud of me would have been my mother… the day I decided to go to school to become a nurse. The reason I say “go to school to become a nurse” and not Nursing School is because, well, being a dude the former sounds cooler as outlined in the Bro Code!

I originally started blogging in 2006 on my myspace account. I blogged every day for 6 months and then stopped. It helped me deal with stuff I was going through with my mother passing and “things I had on my mind” which for a guy translates to feelings I hadn’t dealt with yet.

Blogging helped me express things I was feeling and be able to assist my dad.

When my mother passed I took some time and then I signed up for some classes I needed so I could apply for the Nursing curriculum at a local college.

I will graduate in May and I am quite certain my mother is looking down on me smiling. I did fail a class and had to wait a year to repeat it. In that year I did a lot fo thinking realized that, although I was down and felt I had disappointed her, this was another thing of something which needed to happen and there was a silver lining which I was missing.

The year 2011 is going to be a HUGE year for me. In May I will be graduating college and be a Graduate Nurse. In June/July my wife will give birth to our first child (which we have decided to NOT know the sex of because he/she is what they are and we will love them unconditionally). And I know this because I know my mother was not disappointed in my failure, she was proud of me because I brushed myself off, gave myself 50 lashes and then jumped right back on that horse.

I WILL BE an RN sometime around August! I will ALSO be a first time father sometime in July! And I did it to make my wife happy and proud of me. I did it to make my mother proud of me and I know she is somewhere telling her angelic friends about her youngest son… who just graduated school and became a nurse AND has the CUTEST kid EVER!! I mean don’t we ALL have the cutest kid ever!

So my time of when someone was proud of me will be May of 2011 when all my stress ended and I graduated. When I finally received my college diploma. When I became one LARGE step closer to becoming what I realized I wanted to do that day in the hospital room when I told my mother goodbye! When I finally become a father for the first time… at 40!!! (I guess it’s a good thing my wife is only 30!)

The things we do all our life is usually to make our loved ones happy and proud. They are happy and proud because they are there with us in helping with our dreams. They support us when we realize our dreams or make our dreams become a reality. We sometimes don’t even realize it, but we also try to make our missing parts of our family proud of us because somewhere we feel they are watching us and we never want to let them down.

Thank you for listen to my ramble/rant!

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