small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day

looking back

I write this post through a stream of tears and a background of emotion-inducing instrumental music.

The past few days have been the beginning of many rough days to come. I’ve been remembering back to a year ago more intensely recently and it makes my heart hurt to see how much things have changed since then, as well as how fast things changed from the end of June to September last year. Now begins the memories of Dad’s rapid decline and all the suffering we all endured. 

A year ago I had just finished a two week stay in KC with George helping the family get paperwork organized, provide some emotional support, and to bring some joy from a little 8 month old. That is when I started to see how the cancer and treatments were affecting the daily life of Dad and my family.

We did have many positives in those two weeks, however. We were able to go down to Pomona lake with most of my dad’s side of the family and I was able to fish with dad for one last time. I also was able to learn from Grandpa and Grandma how to make the batter and have a fish fry. Priceless moments I will cherish forever. I think we might have known that it would be the last real family campout. And even though I’m deeply sad that it is a reality, I’m extremely glad we were able to spend that precious time together. Looking at the pictures from that day bring a smile before the tears come, which I think is a blessing. 

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A year ago today my family was visiting me in South Bend. We survived a long car ride and Dad was able to experience a road trip with his grandson. I looked at his Facebook page from last year and it was so wonderful to see the photos he posted of George and the captions he delicately typed. I remember the struggles we had with Dad’s treatment (the electrode device on his head) and trying to help with his nausea and lack of appetite. It was so hard for all of us because we wanted desperately for things to be like a normal trip but they just weren’t. The reality of Dad’s decline was really starting to rear it’s ugly head.

But, again, despite all of the suffering we were able to still create amazing memories. We went cherry picking together! Dad even picked some himself and shared some beautiful smiles and laughs with George. We were able to spend a day at the beach near Lake Michigan, which I know was one of his favorite places on Earth. We also visited his favorite Irish pub and reminisced about all the memories we had made there. We even drank margaritas together at a wonderful family dinner at Texas Roadhouse. All of these I look back on now as ‘lasts’.

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All ‘lasts’ except our visit to the grotto. Which in my mind that was not his last visit because he meets me there every time I go light a candle for him. 

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In closing this post, as my crying subsides a little, I am looking back on this time last year with tears and smiles. I want to make sure I remember the good with the bad as a reminder that light can and will shine out of darkness. 

 

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