Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I hope that everyone had a fine Christmas. Our little men had a great time and got all the toys they desired. They are only 4, but they are already questioning the legitimacy of Santa and his elves. Just the same, they still enjoyed the magic of the season.

I recently took them to Utah for a week while Dave was out of the country on business. Ronan fell out of bed on our first night in Salt Lake City and broke his collar bone - right in two. He had an x-ray a little over a week later, just after our return home and there is no progress on healing, but he shows no pain. He says it hurts all down his arm, his whole arm hurts, but he is as active as ever. He really doesn't like wearing his sling, but he needs to for at least another few weeks.

William has been having some difficulties of his own. He had a high fever most of our trip in Utah and is having some other problems that we need to monitor. Neither of my boys are in good enough shape to travel, so I'll have to make my next trip to Utah on my own. Besides, airline tickets are costly and I don't want to drive over Donner Pass with them in winter.

While in Utah I put up a fabric Christmas tree (Margareta from Ikea) in my dad's room and decorated it with family photos. My aunt and sister sang Christmas carols to him and he came to us the best he could. He was the most alert I've seen him in months. Every visit is heartbreaking, yet also heartwarming. I will miss being able to hold his hand and put my head on his chest, just as I've been doing since I was a baby. When he's gone, though, I know he'll be closer to me than he has been in many years.

I will be headed back to Utah soon. The life support will be turned off from my father any day now. I have mixed feelings about this. I believe it is for the best, but it is tough to not have second thoughts. It's very difficult to plan someone's death. It's very hard to celebrate Christmas and be bubbly and exuberant for those around you, those who just want their lives to continue unaffected by my crises. The boys, especially, need the magic that comes with Christmas. I've done my best for their sake, but inside the cracks on my reserve are getting bigger and I'm breaking.

This is the first Christmas without my father, yet it's also the last Christmas with my father. This middle zone is a very sad place to reside. I've been grieving for 7 months, as have the rest of the members of my family, yet we cannot begin to mourn.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I miss my dad.

He used to call me every day, sometimes several times. Sometimes he'd call to complain, other times he'd call to joke. On the last day we spoke, we had many conversations and somehow I knew it was important to make the time to fully talk to him, even if the boys were destroying the house as we spoke. We talked about many things that day, but mostly Eastern medicine and philosophies. He was interested in trying acupuncture and I told him I'd find him a clinic. We also talked about Buddhism and other interesting religious philosophies. My dad was so smart and so well-read. I loved learning from him.

And then in May the phone calls stopped coming, he was gone. I had lost my father. Technically, he's still alive, if you could call it that. He called me late on May 7th complaining of a terrible headache and feeling ill. He said he believed it was from his new medication, which does carry those side effects. He lived with his wife and two teenage sons, so I thought they were near, but I didn't know they had already gone to bed in other parts of the house.

He had been recovering from open-heart surgery and through his recovery, he fought tooth and nail whenever anyone suggested he return to the hospital through a few complications he suffered. My conscience told me to encourage him to return to the hospital asap, but I didn't follow it for fear that we'd fight about it. Instead, I suggested that he drink some water and try to sleep, and to call me in an hour or two if he couldn't sleep, and at the very least to call me in the morning.

A call came in at about 6:30am. It was my brother, one of the boys living with my father. They found him collapsed on the laundry room floor, apparently after trying to get that glass of water I told him to get. He had been alone that night, after all. Had I known it, I would have either called an ambulance or called a relative to go check on him. I have a hard time letting go of that call, letting go of the guilt I feel for not following my gut. I think we are all carrying out a certain amount of guilt, even though the medical staff caring for him has been assuring us that the outcome would have been the same.

They rushed him to the hospital in an ambulance. He was apparently somewhat coherent, I learned later, enough to ask his wife not to take him to the hospital but to let him stay at home. Dave and I packed up our things and drove with the boys immediately to Utah. By the time I arrived, they had operated on him. They found that he had a subdural hematoma and a clot.

The best I can piece together is that a few days prior to this he may have fallen and caused a slow bleed in the back of his head. Due to medications he was on, the bleeding was made worse and the pressure caused a stroke. He never really woke up. There are times where he seems more alert than others. After a couple of months he was able to open both eyes, but it seems that he cannot see. His pupils appear to be non-reactive.

He is on a ventilator and cannot speak. After a month they put in a tracheostomy tube so that he wouldn't have to have the tube in his mouth. He has been on life support ever since. I've visited as often as I've been able, usually bringing the boys with me and once spending the night on a chair at my dad's bedside. I've read to him a lot. He seems to like Winnie the Pooh stories and poetry by Emily Dickinson.

It's so heartbreaking to see him like this.

"I'm not afraid of dying, it's feeling sick all the time I don't want. I either want to live and feel good, or I'm okay with dying." That's what he told me before his heart surgery. He has had a very incredibly difficult last 5 months. My sister has been amazing through it all, spending every moment she can spare to see him and following up with every option and avenue of treatment, also coaching and helping my dad's wife with all of the paperwork.

Now he's back in the ICU with another infection and a clot in his lungs. My sister warned me to be prepared, that it can be any day now. Or, if more treatment is offered, perhaps invasive, he could be like this for a few more weeks, months, who knows?

It looks like I'll be back in Utah in the near future. It's tough with the boys. If I go without them, they don't sleep and they cry a lot, then we spend a lot of time dealing with residual separation anxiety. Also, if I leave them behind, we need to figure out child care. In this area child care starts at about $15/hour. If I take them, it's not easy to spend the time with my dad, though I did manage to spend a few hours each day with him last month, for nearly two weeks thanks to a wonderful aunt of mine.

I don't want him to die, but he can't live, not in his body anymore.

I miss him so much!

Feeling Heavy

It has been a very long time since I've written. It isn't due to a lack of content, perhaps it's due to too much content. I feel heavy with it and overwhelmed. Where do I start?

The boys are in their second year of preschool. Ronan loves it. William seems to enjoy it once he's there, but he protests going every time I mention it and he doesn't want to be apart from me. They'll be eligible for kindergarten next year. Registration is in January. We need to look at the schools, consider all of our options, and probably enter them in the lottery for the school of our choice, if our choice is not to keep them with our resident school (or to wait another year before enrolling them). With the high cost of pre-kindergarten, I'm not sure that is an option.

They love to cuddle and help me, but they also love to turn every situation into something for playing, including trips to the grocery store or wherever. It's tough to reign them in when they are active in their play, which could be anything and any place. I'm exhausted!

There is also much I'm not sure I want to share. I wonder how much privacy to hold and how much to divulge. I'm not just talking about for myself, but for everyone around me. The boys have their lives to lead, their friends will someday perhaps find all of this information I'm putting out there about them. Maybe even their future employers.

However, this is my form of a baby book, scrap book, and journal, and it's the best way I know of sharing our lives with our loved ones who live so far away. We have had a rough past few months and are trudging through difficult times. 2012 may not be the end of the world, but it is a dark time. With my father dying in the hospital and with our home being burglarized over the summer, I'm trying my best to keep my head up and keep smiling, trying to keep up with these two wonderful boys who need regularity, structure, stability, and optimism in their lives.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rapture II

Yes, I'm still here. Time passes to quickly from one apocalypse to the next. Today's apocalypse is brought to you by the same person that brought you the May 21 Rapture. Enjoy it! It's not often that we get to celebrate the end of the world twice in one year. The next one isn't scheduled until the end of 2012, but then we can always hope that another date might pop up in the meantime.

It's been a busy time for us. We've been very active at the YMCA and I've really been enjoying the fitness dancing classes they offer at the Southwest location (Bollywood Fusion and Zumba). The boys started preschool in September - and are potty trained! We've continued our usual outings to parks, museums, zoos, and other fun spots around the Bay Area.

We've been so busy that we decided to cancel our annual Halloween party this year. I'm actually looking forward to not having it - I an focus more on all of the fun activities geared toward these cute little preschoolers (he he, I said moron). We may pick the torch back up another year, but for now we'll enjoy not having to clean up the disastrous mess the day after.

Oh, and did I mention that Beavis and Butthead are returning to MTV?

So, once again the world ended and life goes on.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Judgment is Still Upon Us!

I listened to Harold Camping's "Open Forum" this evening. The boys were amazingly good to occupy themselves playing with their choo choo set while I worked in the kitchen and listened to the Preacher Man explain why the Rapture and great quakes didn't happen on Saturday.

Apparently, according to Camping, Judgment Day did happen. While we were gathered in my back yard with friends, we were judged as to whether or not we are worthy of going to Heaven on October 21st, later this year. I hope we passed!

Camping explained that he wasn't wrong, and he seems to genuinely believe that. He said that he made a mistake in interpreting everything in a physical Earthly sense, whereas God works in the spiritual sense. Judgment Day happened in a spiritual sense, in God's way and not the way Camping thought it would. The world will still end on October 21st and most people will still die a permanent death (as opposed to ascending to a spiritual form).

With all the questions the press posed at Mr. Camping, not one of them was about zombies and how they fit into his plan.

Camping did point out, again, that it's obvious that we are very near the end of times. The clear sign is the acceptance of Gay Pride. How nice. I prefer Christ's teachings of "Judge not, lest ye be judged..."

When asked how he felt about the repercussions of the May 21st "dud," Camping held firm that he wasn't really wrong, that Judgment Day happened, the world will still end, but the big difference is that we all get an extra 5 months to live. He didn't seem to feel much pity for the people who dedicated their entire life savings to his radio station and his cause, or those that gave up homes and other possessions, all because they thought they were going to Heaven on Saturday. He said he was greatly relieved that the woman who attempted to kill herself and her two children didn't succeed, because to kill her children would be murder, which is a sin and would keep her from going to Heaven. He would accept no responsibility for the actions of his followers, who did what they did based on his word. He suggested that those who no longer had homes or the means to get through the next 5 months will likely have a kindly sister or someone else who will probably take them in (keeping in mind that if the kindly sister still has a home and the means, she wasn't a Camping follower and is probably not really "saved").

He is right, though. These people did those things of their own volition. He says he does not have the spiritual rule over anyone, except his wife, who doesn't need much ruling since she's pretty good. These people didn't have to take his word for it, he always encourages his listeners to read the Bible themselves and to find the truth through Biblical reading and prayer. When asked if they'll refund any donations made to Family Radio based on a false prophesy, he explained that the money will be put to good use to continue to spread the Gospel until the end of days, but that there is no point in giving any money or property back to anyone in October, since the world will be ending and it will be of no use to anyone. I hope he reconsiders this stance on October 22nd.

About 10 years ago I used to listen to his "Open Forum" during my commute. He blew my mind with his interpretations and I found it amusing. He was unknown to most in those days, but now everyone seems to know who he is.

I really feel sad for him. I'm sure he's going through a lot of soul searching right now. He wanted so badly to be right. Though I'm very glad he was wrong, and I think there is something perverse about people who wish cataclysmic destruction on the human race, because they look down upon the masses as unrepentant. Perhaps it justifies one's own hatred against people who are different. Perhaps they are overwhelmed by the horrific things we see on the news every day. They say "perception is reality" and they perceive the world to be full of pestilence and evil. It breaks my heart that they seem to be blind to all the good that there still is. While they believe that the world's population is only 3% good, I believe that there is only perhaps <3% bad, but even so, there is still some good in every person.

I feel sad for Mr. Camping and all of his followers. I pray that they may see the good in the world as it is, in abundance. They believe that all good comes from God so they need to open their hearts to God, that He might lift the blinds from their eyes so they might really truly see.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

But a Whimper.

It appears we may have been misinformed about the Rapture. Either that, or perhaps the world was worse than anyone imagined, and instead of anyone getting Raptured, we have just been abandoned by the angels.

Or maybe it did happen and we are living in a false reality. We are in the Matrix.

Yes, that must be it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not with a Bang...

Here I sit, on the eve of our destruction, contemplating the End. Two areas have met the deadline and thousands have already been Raptured, perhaps millions. By the time it reaches our time zone I don't know if there will be any seats left. Heaven may fill up.

So I sit and await my demise as I watch the news and write to you, my heathen friends. To those that will be Raptured, I wish you a very happy eternity. Try not to think about the rest of us who are left behind to struggle and burn. Try not to mourn the loss of those that you loved that are soon to be nothing but dust. Were your family members also Raptured or were they lost? Oh well, you'll get over it.

I remember Raptures and Apocalypses of my past. I recall one particular one that happened when I was eleven. Everyone in school talked about it in the days leading up to the end. I didn't really know anything about it, so I just kept my mouth shut and listened. When the eve came, I prayed and feared the worst. I had difficulty sleeping, I suffered nightmares. I woke up the next morning and the world ended. It sucked. I went to school and nobody even mentioned a thing about it. We just went on with our lives as if nothing happened.

The next time I remember the world ending, I was about fourteen. There was no prediction, it just ended. I woke up and my room was different. For starters, it was detached from the house and on the ground floor. I looked out the window and there was nothing but rubble to be seen for miles. I picked up the phone and called my best friend, Anna, and she saw the same thing. I went back to sleep and though everything was normal when I woke up the next time, I felt empty inside. Anna pretended not to remember our conversation when the world had ended. Nobody else seemed to have noticed.

The world ended a few more times. It ended in 1997 for the Heaven's Gate followers. I also recall it ending a few times in 1999 with the Grand Cross, the Grand Alignment (which coincided with the freak tornado in Salt Lake City), then on New Year's Eve when we celebrated the new millennium. For awhile the world was stable, and we were able to breathe easily as we enjoyed over a decade without the world ending. I guess some got bored so they brought on the May 21st date. They just didn't want to wait for 2012. Thank goodness! I have a tough time going without a good apocalypse prediction. Now, not only do we get May 21st, but the Scoopees (Camping's followers) also are giving us October 21st! I wish they could move it to Halloween. That would be awesome!

The local news has been on for over 20 minutes and not one mention of the cataclysmic earthquake that has been rendering our world uninhabitable, not one word about the Scoopees leaving our realm, not one word about zombies. Boring!

Sweet dreams!