Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad's 75th birthday, and even though physically he's no longer with us, I can feel him all around me today. I figured I'd post part of the eulogy I gave at my dad's memorial service just to give you all an idea of what a great Father he was...we wish you were here to blow out the candles today.

A jingling pocket,
A whiskery kiss.
And hundreds of answers
to “Daddy, what’s this?”
A spot on his lap
for his sweet little miss.
A buddy for life...
That’s my Dad.

A hand on my shoulder.
Some help with a class.
A heart-to-heart talk.
And money for gas.
In difficult times,
A “This, too, will pass.”
An anchor of strength...
That’s my Dad.

A door open wide.
A welcoming smile.
A cheerful embrace
and a “Please stay awhile.”
A love that has followed me
mile after mile.
The feeling of home...
That’s my Dad.

How do you come to terms with the loss of your beloved father? How do you find happiness again? How do you move forward despite your aching heart, emptiness and sadness? It's like I'm in the midst of a nightmare that doesn't disappear when I wake up. I desperately want to find peace within myself about my father's death. I want my faith to reassure me that my Dad is still with me in spirit. I think if I take this time to share the kind of man my Dad was, we might all feel like he is still very much alive.

So many words come to mind when I think of my Dad, but the few that stand out are strong, nurturing, funny, brave and honest...he was a person of devotion and integrity, a man who understood a hard day’s work.

I truly believe that my Dad’s greatest accomplishment in life was his family. My father poured vast amounts of love and energy into our family. He was a devoted husband to our Mom for over 50 years...50 YEARS!! They were partners in crime, and I can often remember sneaking downstairs and “catching” them snuggled up on the couch like two teenagers.

He was a nurturing Dad. He loved us with the passion and the devotion that encompassed his life. He taught us to believe in ourselves, to stand up for ourselves, to know ourselves and to accept responsibility for ourselves.

We knew we were the luckiest kids in the world. And we had done nothing to actually deserve it. It was instead something that we would have to spend the rest of our lives working very hard to live up to. He gave us a lot of tools. We were taught to take nothing for granted. He doted on us but didn't indulge. He had infinite patience with us. He encouraged us to push ourselves, to test limits, to challenge anyone and anything. There were certain basic principles that could never be compromised.

He taught us how to be loving, responsible adults but he also taught us how to have fun. He was a man of few words, but I can remember him taking my hand as a little girl and walking on the beach with me. I can remember when he taught me how to drive a stick because my Mom was too terrified to get in the car with me. I can remember seeking out my father in the sea of parents on my high school graduation day and seeing the pride in his eyes, and I can remember him whispering words of encouragement to me as he wiped my tears away on my wedding day.

He was a loving Pop-Pop and Great Poppy. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren completed him. My Dad just swelled with pride when someone asked him about them. He celebrated when you each took your first steps, lost your first tooth, and had your first day of Kindergarten. He was there for countless basketball, football and soccer games. Always there to cheer on his Grandkids. He was there answering life’s questions for you, and putting his arms around you when you needed a hug. I can remember the day of my Nana’s funeral. I can remember seeing my Dad’s heart breaking as he said good-bye and I can remember my niece’s and nephew’s taking to my Dad like a magnet. I know it was so hard for them to see him in so much pain, and they were returning the favor and comforting him as he had always done them.

He was a devoted Son and proud brother.

In January of 2007 my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. There's no doubt that these past seventeen months, which have been excruciating for my father and for his family and friends, have been for a reason. To me, the Lord wanted to give us all a transition period from life with this wonderful man to life without him. It was a tough road...tough for him to experience, and tough for us to watch.

The fact that he fought so hard right until the end did not surprise anyone who knew him. Seemingly everyday there was something new staring him right in the face, and he stared right back. He didn't ever say, "Why me," or question and complain about the many tests he had to endure or the many medications he had to take. Instead he faced it head on...he knew this was his reality.

He bore the disease in dignity, but it also greatly saddened and frustrated him. He had always been an active man, who took full responsibility and dove into action whenever action was required. For him to have to give in and let others do the work that he wanted to do, merely because a horrible disease was ravaging his body was almost more than he could bear. Even on his death bed, when his family came to see him, on more than one occasion, he would struggle to wake up and "join the party" even though his body wouldn't let him do it.

So you see, the reason I love my Dad is because I am my father’s daughter. What I am is because of him and that is the greatest gift anyone can bestow upon another person, particularly their child. I hope that when my time comes, I am half as loved by my friends and family as he was by his. Because if that is how I am remembered, just like my father, mine will have been a life worth living. All of us here are suffering from the loss of my Dad, but the world will also now suffer from the loss of a great man who had much more to do on this earth. If I could see my Dad one more time, I would tell him that I love him, that I am so proud of the life he led, and I will keep him in my heart always.

So many rich memories
and words of advice.
Unwavering love
and immense sacrifice.
The great guy who makes it
so easy and nice
to point to with pride...
That’s my Dad.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

That's what Christmas is all about...

In "A Charlie Brown Christmas" Charlie Brown asks: "Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?"

Linus steps up and says:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'."

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

That's my favorite part of A Charlie Brown Christmas, when Linus quotes Luke, chapter two from the Bible. I hope you all have a wonderfully blessed Christmas filled with all your favorite things. In spite of everything else we're dealing with at the moment, I feel so blessed and am so thankful for all of you out there, who even while dealing with your own struggles, take the time out to hold me up.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I am not in control...

Settle in because this is a long one...

No matter how much I'd like to think I am, the truth is that I'm not. In fact, not even my wonderful RE and nurse are in control. It's tough coming to grips with that. It's even harder letting go and putting all my trust in someone I've never even met yet...well, face to face anyway.

I'll get all the crappy news out of the way first. Our cycle was cancelled yesterday. Yes, my friends. My body just can't seem to do anything right. Well, that's what I kept telling myself on the drive home from the RE's office yesterday morning. I admit I was a sobbing, runny nosed, hiccuping mess. You know the kind of hiccups you get when you're crying so hard...yep, I had them. Through my tears I cursed my body and I cursed the doctor's who over-stimmed me. I raised an angry fist to the Heavens and screamed "why me"? I had a real pity party for myself. It was quite pathetic.

Here's the dirt, after responding beautifully for six days, and producing the most perfect follies I've ever seen (IMO anyway), the dummies over-stimmed me. I had a perfect, almost 18mm follie on Friday, and by the time yesterday morning arrived, I had two follies at 20mm and two at 19mm, along with two other's at 16mm. Way too many to proceed with the IUI's. In fact, the doctor looked at me and said that the main thing to do this month was NOT get pregnant...the risk of multiples was just too high and if I did by some miracle get pregnant, then "we'd" have to talk about selective reduction. Um, excuse me, but that would NEVER be an option for me. Anywho, after giving him a right piece of my mind and letting the tears flow, I just sat there stunned. The whole reason we're going there IS TO GET PREGNANT! I've become a human pin cushion, taken more drugs in the past two months than I have in the last ten years, had almost every day dates with the "magic wand", and now you're telling me that just because I've produced too many eggs that this month is a bust? Waiting another month, to them, is nothing. But to us "infertiles" who live our lives in two weeks increments, a month seems like a lifetime. So, I got dressed and got the heck out of there. The nurse called later, and I somehow missed her call. She left a message telling me that the doctor wanted to prescribe me Prometrium to bring on my period and that we could start a new cycle right away. And then it hit me....

Who's really in control here? Me? Them?

The answer is....neither. I prayed so hard yesterday. I prayed for guidance, answers, anything. I was scared, confused and felt so alone. I needed something, but what? So, I got myself ready and went to church. Now, I haven't been to church since Dad's memorial in August. And I haven't been to Mass in, oh geez, probably ten years. I got a very bitter taste in my mouth about the Catholic church after my divorce. Oh wait, you guys don't know about that. Yes, I was married before...long story short, I suffered through four and a half years of living hell with an emotionally abusive husband. Anyway, ever since then Church and me haven't been on the best of terms. I mean, I don't really need to go to Church to talk to God, right? I can do that in my own home, or in my car or wherever. So I went. I went looking for that something. And I found it...I found my peace and then I realized that God is in control. There are reasons for everything, and maybe, just maybe this was my something. So I let it all go and I'm letting God make the decisions. Yes, we're upset that this cycle to "them" was a bust, but to us it's not. I'm NOT taking the Prometrium and A and I are trying for our miracle the old-fashioned way this month. Any maybe, just maybe it will happen. But if it doesn't, I'm okay with that too. Because I've let it go and I'm letting God take the reins.

"'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
(Mark 9:23)

Friday, December 19, 2008

A letter from Jesus...

I received the below in an email from my Aunt and it really hit home...I hope you all enjoy it, as it helps to remind us all what Christmas is really about.

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year, and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own.. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that, let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15:1-8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her .

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions (rather than your words) that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am Jesus and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:


Friday, December 12, 2008

At a loss for words...

dis⋅ap⋅point⋅ed  [dis-uh-poin-tid]
1. depressed or discouraged by the failure of one's hopes or expectations; thwarted in hope, desire or expectation; let down.
2. Obsolete. inadequately appointed; ill-equipped.

AF arrived early this morning...four days early. :::sigh::: I didn't even make it to my beta draw on S.unday. And even though I had a gut feeling that the I.UI's didn't work, the disappointment and sadness I'm feeling today don't make it any easier. I know that it's beyond my control, but I still feel like such a failure...ill-equipped. My body, even paired up with all the advances of modern medicine, still can't give me what I want. I know, I know, God has a bigger plan for us, it's in His hands, I need to give it up to Him. All the sentiments I tell everyone else are echoing in my head. I know I need to do all these things and trust in Him, but for today, I'm just going to deal with my broken heart.

For all of my friends out there that are patiently waiting on their own miracle, please know that I'm praying for you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Breathe in, breathe out...

Yet again, I find myslef slacking in the world of blogging. I'm not sure why? Perhaps I could blame it on my crazy work schedule or the busyness of the upcoming holiday. Or the fact that it just never seems like there's enough hours in the day to get all the things done that I want or need to do. It seems like my life right now is similar to hair washing, lather, rinse, repeat. The truth is that I just really don't have much to say. No updates, nothing much to share....I'm (im)patiently waiting for S.unday to get here so that I can go have my bloodwork done and see if this cycle worked. I don't feel any different, except for the fact that I've had very sensitive/painful breasts this cycle, but I ususally get that before AF anyway. I struggle with conflicting emotions every day...feeling positive that the I.UI's worked one minute and then positive that they didn't the next. For some reason I really don't feel too optimistic that they did. I don't know, maybe it's just the holiday blues. I'm still saying my daily novena to St. Therese in the hopes that she sends me my shower of roses.

Sending out hugs and prayers for those of you that are expecting a Christmas miracle...I hope we all get what we're wishing for!

"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed for the Lord thy God is with thee."
(Joshua 1:9)