Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Allan - January 17, 1953 - July 30, 2013

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I let you know that Allan passed away yesterday.  He went in hospital on the 14th for what everyone thought would be about five days.  His sister and her husband, Jean and Doug, timed their arrival for when we thought he would be released, but that time came and went and he was not showing improvement.  We spoke almost daily and the day before I left for NC he wished me a safe trip, knowing that I would pretty much be incommunicado since cell reception is bad in that area.  While I was away, he was taken to ICU to have fluid removed from his lungs and stomach.  He never recovered from that.  His kidneys, liver and lungs no longer responded to treatment.  I am still in shock and I know Jean and Doug don't know what hit them.  Neil and Paula have been stalwart.  Having been in Spain for a while and learning the language, much of the heavy lifting has been done by them.  Neil has been the one having to deal with weepy people like me and he has done it with great strength, dignity and caring, for which I will always be grateful.  Mostly, though, they were all there for Allan, which means more than they will every know.

In younger, happier times.....
All of this happened within two months of his retirement.  He had just received his shipment and did not even have time to get settled. It is almost too much to take in and I am just sad to the core.  It has opened a floodgate of tears that just seems to come in waves.  Part of it is the pent up sadness of what is happening with my mother, but this sudden loss of Allan has cut to the quick.  it is just so very sad.

Allan often said that we had a better divorce than some people had marriages!  I don't think it took either of us long to realize that we had too many good memories that would be wasted if we couldn't continue to share them with each other.  Whenever we were together, there were some sad and melancholic moments, but they were usually far outnumbered by wonderful memories and good laughs. 

As I look around the room (and the whole house!), I am reminded of places visited together and wonderful experiences shared.  One of my favorite memories was our trip to Goa at Christmastime, which started with a 19 hour delay in the Bombay domestic airport due to an airline strike.  You can imagine how that went over!  Well, it was all made right when we got to the beautiful Fort Aguada Hotel and were given a little cottage on the hill above the hotel  It was wonderful! Every evening around 7, the breeze would come up and we would listen to the palm fronds rustling as we walked down to dinner. On our first night having dinner out by the pool, the hotel Santa over-imbibed and was fired.  For the next few days, the hotel was frantically looking for a new Santa, when someone approached Allan.  He was reticent but yielded to persuasion and bribery.  So, on Christmas day here comes Santa/Allan cruising through the palm trees on a motorized sleigh to deliver gifts to the kids.  It was wonderful and, with the exception of an older kid who blew his cover, we both enjoyed a Christmas that won't be forgotten. Each trip seemed to have at least one good story, mostly due to Allan's outgoing, gregarious nature.

He was here last August.  My mother was with me and well into her dementia.  He offered to stay at a hotel, but I suggested we play it by ear.  He stayed in a hotel the first night and then came here.  He was gentle and caring with my mother.....and very supportive of me, which I will always treasure. Since then, he would listen to my sage/woes and say, "Sweetheart, you know you're going to have to do something."  I would agree, assure him that I knew that, but it would have to be as i was able to do it.

It never dawned on me that might be the last time I would see him.  If anything, I thought he would settle into retirement and we might see each other more frequently, but I guess that's what makes this such a shock.  That, and the knowledge that I've lost someone who will leave a huge void in my life. That void is shared by his father, whom he loved dearly, his sisters Margaret and Jean, and their families, and his friends.  To you all I send my deepest condolences.  I keep telling myself that Allan is at peace.  He has laid down the struggles and pain of this world and is at peace.  I hope that thought and the fond memories we have of him will comfort us all in time.

Allan will be remembered for his joie de vivre
and generosity of spirit to those he loved.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

$@it Just Keeps Happening!

Well, as it turned out, we had a very nice 4th of July.  Belfair Gardens put on a fun celebration from lunchtime until around 3PM.  You can see that Mama started out with her head in her hands.....why enjoy yourself when you can be miserable!!  But, it was so festive and the staff in such a celebratory spirit that she couldn't keep up the sour mood.  At the end of the day she actually acknowledged that it was a good day.

Since then, she has had about three good days, with most of the others spent in bed during the day....angry and agitated with anyone in her path.  There have been a few days that I didn't visit...and she was so nasty today that I don't think I'll go tomorrow.

I have gone to one caregiver"s meeting held at BG..  It gave me more of an opportunity to meet and talk with other family members whom Ive seen there frequently but with whom I only had a nodding acquaintance.  And, as you might guess, their stories, concerns, questions were on a par with mine.  I think we will be able to offer moral support to each other and help each other out when needed. In any case, after the first meeting I concluded that my frequent visits may actually be slowing my mother's adjustment.  That, along with her current angry martyr behavior, has made it easier to "detach" a little.

Back to the 4th of July....the day didn't pass without celebrating with friends.  My friend Cheryl and her two roommates have a fabulous house right on the May River.  It's in a regular community (not a gated community) and the house itself is great......and they found it on craigslist!!  Anyway, it was a wonderful evening.  My "young friend", Gayle, and her husband Martin were there from New Jersey and we spent most of the evening catching up. She's a freelance writer and does some interesting things. The hostess, Cheryl, is the lady with the braid.  One of their neighbors had sprayed for mosquitos earlier in the day and the other put on a fireworks show that night.  There was about 15 minutes of humidity and then a breeze came up and made a perfect evening.  It was the first time I'd had a relaxing time with friends in a long time.

On July 2nd I went to the dentist to see if a filling had fallen out of my upper back tooth on the right side.  As it turns out, the silver filling had fracture the tooth; which, as I learned, is a fairly common thing. He deadened it, drilled out the filling and sent me down the street to have it removed by an oral surgeon. We concluded that the tooth might have had a lot to do with the sinus-infection-from-hell that I had sometime back.  Well, today I had the last tooth on the left side pulled.  It, too, fractured and actually came out in two pieces.  The dentist said he had only one other time seem this happen so quickly.....I'm hoping there are no more silver filling in my mouth!!

Monday I'm going to NC to arrange to have the items in my mother's house auctioned, the house cleaned and put on the market.  I'll get clothes that I think will be useful for my mother and a few sentiment items...small items.  She has a lovely, carved Duncan Phyfe sofa which I would like, but it really doesn't go with anything I have....I already have four sofas....and I would have to get it from there to here. I'm not looking forward to any of this but it has to be done as the  money is needed for her care.  Needless to say, she doesn't know about this or, somehow, she would be even more angry!  I will  be relieved when this part is over.

With all of this happening, I requested to have my jury duty postponed.  I explained things and said that I saw the need to do my civic duty but, considering the circumstances, I would like to do it when I could focus and think more clearly.  Thank goodness, they agreed!!

Now something to cheer you up after that dismal account!

And my personal favorite......