Friday, January 25, 2013

The Past Year

I haven't been back for a very long time.....seems there is quite a bit I need to catch up on. The kids really enjoyed going to see Rick and Angelia in Logan, it was always a really enjoyable visit for them even though they were never for very long. We were able to get up to Montana a couple of times while RJ was away on the Kenya deployment as well, it is good for the kids to see their family up there! We went to Logan for a visit for a few days, and Angelia and I were able to go Christmas shopping and knock it all out in pretty much one was really a great day for she and I to spend some time together and Rick had some fun hanging with the boys too. Rang in 2012 and looked forward to February when RJ was going to come home! RJ came home in February, the kids and I had to stay in Utah to finish the school year so it meant that we were separated for 3 months beyond the deployments end, and RJ had to stay in barracks here in Cali (he hated that) When he came home, he came straight to Utah. The kids and I went up to SLC got a hotel room and got ready to pick up daddy at the was really cool to wait at the bottom or the escalator for him to come down...FINALLY after so many months we were all was AWESOME!
I haven't really sat down and thought about this part for a very long time....this is hard right now...I am actually crying...repressing things I suppose. When RJ came home in February, we went straight up to Montana to see his family...and after a nice visit there...we were heading back to Vernal. My mom called and told me that my dad was in a home there in Roosevelt because of a bout with pneumonia, he had been on again off again with pneumonia...he would aspirate when he was eating, because of how his brain wasn't processing things right he could remember how to swallow correctly anymore so he would choke and aspirate constantly. RJ and I stopped so I could go in and see dad before we went on to Vernal. He looked exhausted and oh so thin, it was hard on top of that because as soon as I walked in the door...the nurse acted as though they saw no one from my family...when I know my mom was in there every day to see him. Anyhow, the nurse made me feel VERY uneasy about my father, she made it seem that he was not going to last long and that it was impossible for anyone to care for him...I know that my mom can do anything because she had already been caring for him so well up to this point. It was very upsetting to me...what kind of a nurse bombards a family member that is coming to visit their loved one with information like this. I felt like they didn't really care about him, like he was just another patient and that he was such a problem for them. I was very upset by it. Dad did get better and was able to come home...I am glad for that because I don't believe he liked to be at the home anyhow. They gave us ideas on what to do to help him eat a bit easier, mom was very diligent in trying to care for dad's needs, there was so much that we needed and so much that we didn't have, but we were making it work to the best of our ability...and I know that mom was always so glad to just have him there with her. We would use thickener in his liquids, mom would finely chop up his food, and she would spoon feed him sit next to him every meal to nurse him as best she could.
The last week of April, dad got pneumonia again. Mom got really concerned about lethargy and how dad was I told her to take him to the E.R. Naturally the doctors in the E.R. were a bit more competent about medical conditions than those who were in the home....and I waited at home with my kids as mom and David went to the E.R. with dad...all I had was phone calls and text messages for information. I was quite interested in what was happening and I was concerned.
The entire time I was there with mom and dad, I was trying to find a way to get VA benefits going for mom to have an easier time once I left. I knew that she would need assistance, or she would need to put dad into a I was trying to hard to see what could be done. I didn't realize how difficult it can be to get things accomplished through the VA. It was helpful in small ways such as nursemaids coming in to bathe him and help mom with that part of things...but that was only once a week, and all of the other days fell on mom to was really difficult for her to deal with at times, and she would get extremely frustrated, she always felt so bad for was the way things were supposed to be I think though...because of how everything played out.
Mom was constantly frustrated with how difficult things were (I think mostly because she knew that there was supposed to be more done to help her...and there wasn't) After taking dad to the E.R. the doctor told her that dad had what is called "Aspirated Pneumonia" the doctor also explained to her that he could give dad medicine, and get him better again....and in the near future the same thing would happen again....and when that happened he would not administer medicines and all of that to bring dad back from that again because it was just torture to do so. Essentially, the doctor told mom, that while he could treat dad was inevitably going to happen again later...and the choice was to either treat for more misery for my poor father....or let it run it's course....she chose the latter. After all of this work, the whole time I was there with them trying to get help, led up to this, and once mom had made the decision to bring dad home again....the doctor was immediately on the phone getting hospice care for dad at our home...once that was put into place...everything that happened from then on, was no longer a cost concern for mom...everything was covered and paid for to treat dad the best we could at make him as comfortable as that he could be at home with those he loved. This was a very difficult time for us all........of course.......we were not as prepared as we thought we were. The hospice people were very very kind, they were extremely good at their jobs, and it was INCREDIBLE to have such great things happening for what we were preparing as a family to have happen. I proceeded to let everyone know what was happening with dad the best way that I could...all of my siblings were notified of what was happening. My sister Carey, had been planning a surprise visit for mom for Mother's Day...she was coming down in the Month of May for a visit anyhow so it was amazing...Carey constantly said "my angels" I think it's the gift that all us girls have, passed from grandma or something...when needed kicks into high gear and we just know things. Hospice care, is also known as "end of life care" There was a lot of information that these people gave to us, they talked with us...they helped us....I can't express how much this means to have this type of thing's a WONDERFUL gift to have when this type of thing is happening.
May 6, 2012 Dad passed away. Myself, my brothers (David, and Boyd), and my mother were in the room with him. I stood at the foot of the brothers were to my right...and my mother was holding my dad's hand to my left. We had been pulling watches throughout the night because we knew that the time was nigh. I simply couldn't sleep.....Dad had been moving his mouth as if he were having a conversation with someone and sometimes it would seem rigorous even. It was a very emotional, surreal, exceptional, peaceful, and heartbreaking all at the same time, the moment when we knew that dad had passed on. His mouth stopped moving...we all stood up, and were watching very dad took a breath and seemed to almost smile as he exhaled and his spirit slipped away. I will never forget that moment as long as I live...and I will always feel blessed to have been able to have been there for the months preceding that moment.
I will never forget the night before dad passed when my big brother John came and shaved was....inexplicable. ♥
There was a lot of time that I thought WHY did we pack our stuff up and do this move...why did they have to shorten the deployment and we were going to have to spend time apart? Things happen the way they do for a reason...I don't know why the deployment had to be shortened...perhaps to test our resolve as parents for what is best for our children...whatever it is...the reason for us packing up, and my going to Utah...was in part because of a suggestion from my friend Jennifer, and also in part because of my emotional hiatus from what happened after Marcus was born. Being there with my family was one of the GREATEST blessings I could have ever asked for...had I been in California for all of this, things would have been so very difficult for mom, and me! I know that we both were there for each other for very much the same's something that I am never going to regret...I will always be grateful that I had the opportunity to be there, and enjoy the months that were the last months of my father's life. There is an ironic twist to this story...RJ was in California, he was living in the barracks, and he was hating every moment of it...but he was doing it so we could move back after the kids got out of school at the end of May. RJ's grandmother got very ill...she and dad were seemingly in the exact same spot at the exact same time.....RJ was on his way to Montana the night before his grandmother and my father passed away. He got to see his grandmother hours before she passed....and he proceeded to come to Utah when I called him on the phone to inform him about Dad. He told me "I'm on my way baby" I know that things happened like this because it was incredible to have my husband there for support so soon after.
We buried dad on May 11, 2012 (My 34th birthday) It was the only choice we had for RJ to be able to get back up to Montana for his grandmother's funeral and to be able to stay for Dad's as well. It was difficult, on the bright side...I will never forget that day...I will always know the day we laid dad to rest.
Steve, Carey, Cheryl, David, John, Sharon, Boyd, Heather, Bethy, Richard, and Nathan. All of us were together for the first time in many...MANY years. It was incredible, Steve, Lynne, and Carey all said that it was the happiest funeral they had ever attended. We were so very happy to be able to have everyone together...not only that...we were also happy that dad was no longer suffering...and that he could watch over us with his other family members that he had not seen in so long. It truly was a good day.
RJ came back to Utah a week after his grandma's funeral and we packed our stuff up and left a few days later to move back to Cali. It was hard to do the same time...I knew things were going to be alright....and that we had to get on with things because we had to get back to Cali for RJ to go back to work. Here we are several months's January now...RJ left on the 1st to Japan for another deployment. Roughly 8 months this time...hopefully this our last....EVER! A girl can dream. Anyhow...I know I skipped stuff but I got the most important things in there.

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