Tuesday, May 25, 2010

So we could remember

Here is a couple photos of Dad's 1978 Cheyenne Chevy!!!

Corwin and Aiden are Scouts!

This is just a picture I took of both the boys in their Scout Uniforms for the Blue and Gold Banquet.

Aiden's Baptism "He's 8"

Well I am documenting that Aiden had the worst birthday day ever!!!!!! His birthday was on a Friday and he really wanted to have a sleepover with a friend. I agreed and we planned on it all week and then I ended up coming home from work on Friday with STREP THROAT!!!!! I went straight to bed and the boys played video games until I couldn't handle the fact that I couldn't even get up and feed my own kids. So I had to call the mom to come get her boy and PROMISED Aiden that we would make it up to him. I called Ben from work and made him come home and take care of everyone.
The next day, we opened presents on my bed while I laid there and then I went to the hospital to get it confirmed that it was strep, and sure enough it was.
Aiden had planned on having his baptism on Sunday February 14th, we had invited family from Tucson and Chandler and Ben's parents had flown down from Boise to be part. Saturday I was not sure what I was going to do, should I postpone it and do it when I got better or just go with the flow. THANKS to a wonderful neighbor Teresa and my lovey hubby Ben, we were able to keep the baptism date.
Sunday morning arrived and I still was not getting better, in fact it seemed as if my throat had closed even more and I was not able to swallow. My mother in law arrived and talked me into going to the hospital again to see if we could get some relief. They were able to give me a different shot and sent me home.
I went to bed for awhile and then it was time to get ready to go to the baptism.
It was so special and so neat, and I am SO glad that I took the opportunity to go and be there with him.
When we got back from the Baptism, my neighbor Teresa brought over some of the food that I had her make(so I wouldn't contaminate everyone). It was a wonderful meal. I was glad also that I had Ben's cousin Cindy make some rolls too. Mom always says, many hands make light work!
I hope that he remembers the importance of Baptism, and that even though it wasn't such a great Birthday, it was a great weekend with Family and Friends.
The next day I was feeling better so we took everyone to Kartchner Caverns and toured and picnicked and hiked.
Looking back, Aiden just went with the flow, he never seemed bothered about all that was going on and falling through.
I hope that Aiden continues to let things just flow and slide off his back. I love you Aiden
PS His friend got to come back after a few weeks and have that sleepover!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

My thoughts and memories of DAD!!! Rough Draft...

JANUARY-While I was in Utah, my dad was not getting any better. Dad had not taken his medication during his trip to AZ and CA and he ended up with Weeping Edema. This is a condition in which your urine backs up, because you are not urinating enough, and then it has no where to go except into the legs. His legs were SO swollen and then oozing. My plan was to go home and help take care of him, but of course he didn't want me to come. He wanted me to enjoy my time with my family. I tried several times to talk him into coming, but he said No. On our way home mom called and said that if I would have just showed up he would have had to just deal with it. I wish I would have. My sister Karyn flew out one night after we left, because she was so worried and went to help mom out. His condition was not good.
Leanne and Alan took their turns visiting dad and reporting to me. There would be days that I was in tears because I felt so helpless. I felt 1200 miles away and nothing I could do. Dad kept reassuring me that I needed to be with my family and raising my wild boys!!!
Karyn would go back to Utah to check in with her family and return to Idaho again when she was inspired. One time while Karyn was visiting, she wrote an email about how she had prayed about Dad and got the feeling that he would not be with us much longer. As I sat in my kitchen reading this email, I started bawling. Ben comforted me and told me that that could be 5 years away, and that's still not long in the whole scheme of things. I was reassured by his comment and felt better.
FEBRUARY- I am preparing for Aiden's baptism, I have family coming in to town and BAM, I end up with Strep Throat. I had just learned that Dad had to go to the VA for a Blood Transfusion, I was so stressed about WHY?, what was really going on?, Friday February 12- Aiden's birthday( sorry Aiden for having the WORST BIRTHDAY EVER), I am in bed. Mom and Dad call, Karyn calls and Leanne calls, all telling me something about Dad having Spinal Cancer. After the Blood Transfusion, a Doctor came in and let him know that he had Spinal Cancer, right after a clergy came in and wanted to know how he felt about the news.
I was so scared, angry, confused. I called my best friend, who is a nurse, for reassurance about what was said. I remember asking Mom, "What does that mean?".
The next week at a Dr's appt. we were told by Mom and Dad, that they were still looking at his back as arthritis. Dad is still being treated for edema and not following orders of keeping his feet up. He is not eating much, says everything takes bland and has no flavor.
I feel that I am on a roller coaster and can't control it. I talk to Dad several times during the weeks. He still seems so upbeat and says that he is doing everything he can.
Dad stops sleeping in his bed. He is in the Family Room sleeping in the recliner, mom is on call 24/7 to help with his every need. I suggest that she look into bringing a hospital bed into the family room so that it will help with his swelling and he can actually sleep in a bed!
The bed arrives and seems to help a little. VA arranges for Wound Care to come to the house to help with Dad's dressings.
At this point Mom has had to call on the neighbors and men in the ward several times to help with Dad. He is so weak now. WHAT IS GOING ON?????????????????
MARCH- I have decided that I need to go home. The boys have Spring Break the 3rd week, so we are going to go up to Boise as a family to see Dad and help take care of him and give Mom a rest.
March 8- Mom is unable to get dad back into bed from his bedside commode. She calls on the neighbors, one neighbor sits mom down and let's her know that she needs to get dad to a hospital to be seen. That she can't be doing this all on her own and he needs some help.
The ambulance is called and Dad is taken to the VA for evaluation. They admit him to the hospital and decide to run some tests.
March 9- I am called with the news, Dad is being admitted to Hospice, he has 2-3 months at best to live. His cancer has spread and metastasized. I am told over the phone and I am DEVASTATED. That can't be, he's my dad. I call him every day while he is in hospice, he is cheerful and happy and let's his kids know that we can't cry. He said,"What ya crying for?", me,"Because you're my dad, I love you and this isn't suppose to happen like this,", him,"There will be no crying, I am here right now and that's good isn't it?" I had to remember that often, that he was still with us and so I needed to be strong.
I arrived the next week to find Dad still in good spirits, he was telling stories, laughing, it was DAD.He had so many visitors and callers, he was such a popular man, just what he wanted, attention!!!! He still had some funny demands. He wanted to be able to see out the windows, his bed had to be so high so he could see the sidewalk, the birds and squirrels had to be fed everyday. I love how he still was so Demanding of everyone, it wouldn't be him if he wasn't like that. I was so glad. My goal while I was there was too get the recipes out of Dad's head and on to paper. I got a few typed out before it was time to head back to AZ. The day I had to leave I went to the Hospice Center and hugged him and kissed him. I remember my mom telling me that she wasn't sure what he would be like when I returned in a couple weeks, I thought she was crazy saying that. I thought, he's just fine, he won't change much in just a couple weeks.
I went back to AZ with mixed emotions. I had told Ben when we moved to AZ that my parents were very important to me and that if anything happened to them, I would do whatever to go back to Idaho and be with them to help. My job had agreed to let me go on an extended leave and that my job would be there for me when I got back. That was a huge relief off my shoulders. I was asked to be released from Primary, which I was sad about. I had really grown to love my calling and brace myself for what awaits me when I get back! I had the decision of who I was going to live with, Mom or my in-laws? Where were the kids going to school?
It all fell into place and I knew in my heart that I needed to come home and be with dad.
I agreed to live with my in-laws and place the kids in Valley View so they could walk to and from school. My job was waiting for me, and Ben was very supportive in this process. He did admit that he was being selfish and didn't want me to go, but he knew that I needed to go.
APRIL 2- Ben and I are loaded and heading to Idaho. The car is packed to the brim. We arrive April 3rd in Boise and I head down to see Dad. He has changed in those 2 weeks since I saw him last. I still had called him almost every day while I went back home, but he looked different. He seemed more confused. He seemed more tired.
April 4- Easter!!! Karyn and some of her family are here, Leanne and some of her family have arrived for their Spring Break. Dad was more confused today. His Korean pictures that were all on slides were put on DVD's by PBS and a dear friend. Mom and Karyn had the DVD on when I arrived to see Dad. He was able to answer to who was in the pictures and what was going on during the war. Dad was getting increasingly irritated by being so confused about the pictures. Mark Whitworth, Mom and Dad's neighbor, and Home Teacher, stopped by to see Dad. Dad was not doing good and was starting to hallucinate. I found it to be so interesting to hear what he was saying. "Mark, what are you doing here? You shouldn't be here, this is not for you. You are my good neighbor and this shouldn't be happening. Please Lord, don't do this to them, don't do this to me. They will be sad, they don't deserve this. No, No, please don't Lord, don't do this." I looked at Mark, with tears in my eyes, and said, "I want to see what he is seeing, he acts as if he can see the end of the world happening, he has a foot in both worlds right now and I can't get him to tell me what he is seeing."
Dad needed more medication as the day went on. We decide as a family to have Easter Dinner together. The Spencer's took on that big task of feeding everyone. It was the best Easter Dinner, ever!!! The food was great, but the family was the best! Later, after dinner, we all at some point arrived back to the VA. Dad had gotten worse while we were gone. His bladder spasms had gotten so intense, he tried to get out of the bed and had to be restrained. They put a port in his arm so they could administer his drugs. They increased the morphine. Everything I had heard about morphine was not good, he would hallucinate more and sleep more and not really be with us. I didn't want this, I wanted to be able to talk to my dad. I saw this as this is the end, he doesn't recover from this and this will be it.Leanne and I spent a lot of the evening trying to remember songs, mostly Primary songs, to sing to him while he slept. Sometimes Leanne would pick a song and he would moan that he didn't like that one and we would have to change to a different song. I think he like listening I remember telling Ben that my dad doesn't even know who I am anymore. I didn't like that feeling.
Monday morning- Ben and I take Corwin and Aiden to Valley View and enroll them in school. They seem excited to go to a new school and I am just crossing my fingers that it's not a huge adjustment for them.
Ben and I leave them at school and head down to the VA. As I arrive one of Dad's nurses pulls me aside and let's me know that Dad had a really bad night and had taken a turn for the worse. She then let me know that Dad would not make it through the week. I said, "WHAT? You're kidding?" She shook her head and told me to go take a look.
I cried, I wanted him to feel my tears, I wanted him to hear me and look at me and tell me to knock it off, but he didn't, he just laid there. I spent all day there. At times he would wiggle back and forth from an itch on his back and Leanne and I would shove our hands under him and just rub and he would moan, mmmmmmmmmmmmm. At one point he was having a spasm and I just lightly touched his stomach to ask him if it hurt there and he slapped my hand away, "OUCH DAD, Ok Don't touch his stomach."
One time when Leanne and I were massaging his back he leaned over and grabbed the side rail, I said,"Look he's grabbing the side rail", I then asked him if I had gotten all his itchies out, his last words, "YES/NO". I told him ok, Yes I did, but No I didn't get them all! I tried!!!
Sometime in the afternoon, the nurse asked my sisters where our handsome brother was, we told her that he was in Washington and would probably come later in the week. She said, "Oh no, you need to get him here now." My sister's called Alan and told him that he needed to come. We were all shocked, she had said, later in the week and now she wanted Alan to come now.
Mom called Cecil and Craig Grow to come down and help give Dad a blessing. After Dad's blessing, our husbands all helped give each of us a blessing and mom too. One thing that really stuck in my head about mom's blessing was that she had a place waiting for her in the celestial kingdom. How true that is. I knew there was a reason why I always teased her and called her, THE CHURCH LADY!!!
Amy and Cheryl and Uncle Bill all came to visit and we had dinner in the Dining Hall at the VA and visited. When it was time for Uncle Bill to leave with Cheryl, he stayed by dad's bed and held his hand a little longer. Uncle Bill told Dad something and then left.
As night came we were all sitting around waiting for Alan to arrive. John and Mom headed home to pick up Alan and let Mom go to bed.
Alan's plane arrived 11pm, he got to Dad's room aroun 11:45. We sat around and talked and Alan decided to share Dave's weekly letter from his mission. He read it and then said that David had sent a special part about Grandpa. As Alan read it, I was listening carefully. We asked him to read it again.
April 6-12:45 We sat around talking again and then we were trying to decide who was going to stay with Dad, since he had had such a terrible night before and we needed to make sure that the night staff was giving him his medication right on time so he wasn't suffering. Alan said he would stay, Karyn was going to stay and I don't remember if Leanne had decided to stay too. I really wanted to stay, but I had started Accutane not that long ago and really needed to get home and take my dosage and then return to be with everyone. As we all agreed who was staying, John said he would drive me to my in-laws.
1:00amI reluctantly got up and went over to say goodbye to Dad, I kissed him and hugged him and told him that I loved him and that I would be right back. Tears streamed down as I thought that I wouldn't have much time with him. His breathing changed. I questioned everyone why he was breathing like that and we called the nurse down to let us know. She informed us that he was guppie breathing, we all said, what is that? She said that he would probably breathe like that for a few more hours before he passed on. We asked if we should get our mom and she said, no, not yet, it will be awhile. We all stood around the bed watching him, the nurses came in and started looking at his hands and feet for modeling, I was holding his hand the whole time and saying he is still warm. The nurse then said we should go get mom. John left to go get her. The nurse moved his oxygen from his nose into his mouth and he took a few deep breaths where he would hold them and then that was it, he was gone. The nurse got the stethoscope and said, he's gone. I said,"THAT'S IT? HE'S GONE" and she said, I'm sorry. I was crushed, my heart hurt so bad and there was nothing I could do. I cried uncontrollably. Everyone was bawling. It was the worst feeling, ever.
I was so worried because my mom wasn't there when he passed. She hadn't been there when her mom and dad passed away and so I told her that she would be there when Dad passed away and she wasn't. How would she take it?
When mom arrived, she didn't know Dad had gone. We quietly told her and she looked startled, but not for herself, but for her kids. She was worried about us. She said that all was ok, her and dad had a long talk before he got really sick and they had said their goodbyes. I felt a little comforted by this.
We spent about an hour with Dad, holding his hand, looking for warm spots to just feel him again. We sang and cried.
The mortician arrived to take Dad away. I didn't want to let him go, it would be FORVEVER before I could see him again. My thought was I will have to wait 50 some years before I can see him and I dont know if I can wait that long.
The VA had a small ceremony in the hall before they took him away. It was nice. We then spent the early morning cleaning Dad's room. He lived there less than a month and had accumulated a lot of stuff, just like HOME!
I miss him terribly.
Today I struggle to hold back the tears, the flood gates are always open. My heart is truly broken.
Dad was an amazing Dad!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

Skiing 2010

This year for our Annual Ski Trip we decided to head to Utah in January for the long weekend. Ben and I met up with Gordon,Doug and Caressa at The Canyons. I am not a GREAT skier by any means and The Canyons whomped me good. I have agreed(for Ben's sanity), that I will never ski there again!!! I am hoping that the kids get really good and can join Ben there soon so he has someone to ski with.
My favorite place right now to ski in in Sundance. It is just the right pace for me. Ben says that in just a couple years he thinks the boys will have outgrown it and will want to go experience more skiing somewhere else. I figure that Liam will stay at Sundance with me for awhile, so I will have someone to hang out with.
I love the opportunity that we have to go to Utah every year and spend a week with my sister Karyn and her family.