Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Musing - Atticus and the Missing Ornaments

 
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This past week the Christmas decorations were taken down. It was not hard, as there were not many this year. We did purchase a large container of Christmas tree ornaments, 36 shatter resistant ornaments to be exact.  These were brand spanking new, and it would be easy to count the ornaments coming off of the tree. 36 went on the tree so 36 should come off of the tree. The ornaments were used at the bottom of the tree, just in case Atticus felt the need to play with the tree.

We began taking the ornaments off of the tree, 32 ornaments came off of the tree. We counted again. Kevin looked underneath the china cabinet. There were no ornaments there.  He looked under the buffet; there were no ornaments there either. The decorations were too big to roll under the bookcase or the piano. We looked under the couch, the big comfy chair, the desk and the TV stand. No ornaments were found. This doesn’t make sense, they didn’t just disappear into thin air! The whole incident was bringing the Christmas Tree Catastrophe of 2010 to mind and the headache that I get behind my eye was starting. I took a deep breath and yelled “Atticus where are you?”

Atticus was innocently napping on my side of the bed. I spoke his name and he slowly turned his head to look at me. As if to ask “did you call me?” “Where are the ornaments” I demanded, as if he could speak. He can’t, but he wouldn’t tell me where the missing ornaments were if he could. Atticus would blame the dog. The dog that does not go near the tree. Honey does not bother anything; much less steal ornaments from the Christmas tree. Atticus would then remind me that my very own Mama likes him, as well as all of my friends!

Atticus wins this one, the ornaments are missing, Atticus believes that he is innocent, and he knows that the members of Team Atticus are behind him. Atticus has just walked into the room, and is making his way to the big comfy chair to resume his nap. He wins again, or does he? He has forgotten one very important detail – I control the cat treats, and just can’t seem to find them anywhere, not even under the big comfy chair. We’ll see how fast those ornaments turn up now!

Friday, December 28, 2012

What I Learned About Christmas

This year Christmas was different for me. It was not something that I have ever experienced before. But I learned some things.
 
 
 
There are people that care about me, and my family. I never took the time to think about it or question it, but I found out there are. They reached out to us in many ways.
 
 
 
We had fewer decorations this year, and it was okay. The Christmas Decorating Police did not knock on my door and demand that I put out more immediately. There was almost no baking, just a coffee cake. It was okay, in fact it was not important at all. Christmas came anyway. This was not a season of celebration for us, it was difficult. It was a time that I was able to sit quietly, reflect, and accept new reality.
 
 
 
There were hardly any presents, and it was okay. I don't feel deprived of material gifts. There were lots of prayers, hugs, phone calls, visits, emails, cards and people who saw us and just wanted to let us know that they were thinking about us. Guess that you could say that our gifts were not wrapped this year.
 
 
 
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I learned that it is okay if I didn't get the shopping done, and it is okay if there is no baking. The decorating is not essential either. Christmas will come if I am happy or sad.
 It is okay.

Admittedly the tree is down and the decorations put away and I am not sad about that choice. This year I was glad to put them away, and that is okay.
 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday Musing - Finding My Christmas Joy

 
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We are not the first family to lose a loved one during the Christmas season or in the past year. My heart aches for each family that grieves. We each grieve in our own way, and have our reasons for our feelings. I sit in judgment of no one.

That loss forces me to take a closer look at the reality of my situation, and to remember some important lessons that I have been taught by my parents. There are many “no mores” that we will face. Christmas Day brunch was a big deal in my family. Daddy helped Mama get ready for that special event, he made the sausage balls. That is a “no more” for me. There are “no mores” for Daddy too. No more confusion, no more suffering, and no more Alzheimer’s. There is joy in those “no mores”.

Christmas is the time we celebrate the greatest gift given to us. Daddy realized the value of God’s gift. That is where my joy is this Christmas. Because of this undeserved gift, my future is different, and I hope that yours is too! While I was not able to look into Daddy’s heart and see all of his feelings, I did see the example he set for us, remember the lessons he taught us and the things he told us.  My joy is in the realization of God’s gift first and foremost. Knowing where Daddy is, and one day we will see him again is just another reason to feel Christmas joy. My joy is one less victory for the Alzheimer’s Grinch. He has stolen enough and I refuse to give the demon this victory.

There are fewer Christmas decorations in our home this year; shopping and baking have not been done. Time has not allowed these things to be accomplished. There will be little of either. Kevin and I agree that those things are nice, but not a requirement for our joy.

There will be no more sausage balls made by Daddy, but there is no more suffering for Daddy. He has the best “no mores”; he also has His Christmas Joy this year!

Merry Christmas to each one of you! Wishing that you each find your Christmas Joy and the realization of God’s greatest gift is a reality for you. May your “no mores” become precious memories and a reminder of your future.

 

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Musing - Atticus' Special Surgery

So sorry, but this should have gone up Monday before last, December 10. That was the day that my sweet Daddy went home. Thanking you each for your kind comments, my bloggy friends are awesome!!! Thank you again and please keep us in your prayers.
 
 
 
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I, Atticus have given Melanie the day off and am writing her column today. The following is an account of what happened when I was taken to the vet to have my “special surgery”. My life was forevermore changed, and this is the real reason that I am content.

I was taken to the vet, and left by the people that I thought loved me. I sat in the cage waiting, this can’t be good. Suddenly someone came into the room and took me out of the cage. I was placed on a very cold table and I heard a voice say “everything will be fine; we are going to make you sleepy Atticus”.  I began to drift off to sleep. Then the Doctor shook my shoulder and said “come on Buddy, we are going somewhere.”

I climbed into the cab of his truck, and the Doctor let the window down on my side. We pulled onto the highway, and I felt the wind blowing my fur. I noticed that there were cats everywhere. The females were pretty and they were all looking at me.

We arrived at a place called Tin Can Alley. Empty milk cartons and tuna cans littered the exterior. We walked inside and sat beside a window. The air was heavy with the scent of cat nip and this cute little calico in the corner was eyeing me. The Doctor ordered a bowl of milk for me to share with the calico. It was accompanied by a small bowl filled with cat nip. I inhaled the scent and felt like dancing. The cute little calico joined me, every cat was jealous. I must have been dancing really well because everyone was laughing.

The Doctor said that it was time to go; it felt like we had not been there long.  The calico waved goodbye to me. I climbed up into the cab and fell asleep. When I woke up, I was on the cold table. The Doctor told me that I would be fine. The room was spinning and I felt funny. Was it all a dream?No more cat nip for me ever!

My life has been different since then. I smile when I think about that night and that cute little calico, we danced the night away. I don’t remember her name but she was something else! I am forever more grateful to the good Doctor, he changed my life. I am happy and content, my life is good.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Musing - Peace for My Sweet Daddy

 
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Early last Monday morning Daddy went home. Mama was sitting beside him as the angels carried him home. He left peacefully and quietly. We have spent years saying goodbye, but still my heart longs for one more time to talk to him.

My head has complete understanding of what has happened my little girl heart is another thing. My little girl heart is still waiting for Daddy to come through the door just one more time. It waits for the times that Daddy stood outside on the porch looking at the stars that shone on a black velvet canvas, twinkling like diamonds and appeared to be so close that you could reach out and grab one. My hands long to slip into his hand, and feel the familiar squeeze. My ears want to hear him talk just one more time.

The last time that I saw those beautiful blue eyes was Saturday morning. He opened those eyes, and tried to speak to me, the words would not come. I talked to him and he looked at me and winked. That wink spoke volumes to me, and I will treasure that memory.  It was his last gift to me.

Daddy is at peace now. The demon called Alzheimer’s may have won that battle, but Daddy won the war. There are some things that the demon can’t claim, and Heaven is a place that the demon is not allowed to enter. I told my Daddy that I would see him later, without the presence of the demon.

Unbelievably there are still so many tears left uncried. Tears for his suffering, tears for my family’s suffering, tears for what we have lost, tears for a future without his wisdom to guide me, and tears cried for joy because his suffering has ended.

My little girl heart waits to see him again. I will slip my hand into his and we will have a different view of those stars. Until then I will hold onto the precious memories he has left behind. I will attempt to follow in the footsteps he left for us. I will remember the advice given to me, and I will laugh at every cornball joke that he would have liked. I will remember that there are things that the beast can’t steal and cherish those things, and yes, sometimes I will cry.

I love you Daddy, I’ll never stop and I’ll see you later.

 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Fire Department Tribute to Daddy

Yesterday was Daddy's funeral. This is a small community and there was a time there was no fire department here, only the fire department in a local town. Our fire department is made up of volunteers. My Daddy was a pioneer of the DHFD. He was the first Chief, and served for a number of years.
 
 
 
Yesterday this department paid a beautiful tribute to Daddy. It was a cold rainy/misty day as you can see in the above picture. Yet this department turned out for Daddy's funeral, taking time off from work and daily responsibilities for Daddy.
 
If you have heard the bagpipes play at the funeral of a fire fighter, then you know the emotions involved as the pipes fade away.
 
 
 
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Our fire department did an excellent job, and I am proud of them for what they have done. These men will never know how much their efforts were appreciated, thank you is not enough. Recognizing my Daddy for his efforts was emotional for me, but so deeply appreciated. Thank you Henry and each one of you for what you have done. You will never know what this meant to me.
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daddy Went Home Today

Early this morning, Daddy went home. No words to describe how I feel right now, conflicting emotions are in my heart.
He is no longer suffering, for that I am grateful, but my Daddy is gone. I feel like a lost child at this moment. My little girl heart is broken.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bittersweet

The time that I have been dreading is coming. Daddy's difficult battle with the Alzheimer's beast is coming to an end. His oxygen levels are low and his physical body is weak and fragile. Daddy was always so strong, as a child, I believed that he was the strongest man in the world.
 
 
 
Daddy, Mama and me
 
This morning, I walked to his side and smiled and said "Good Morning", he tired to talk to me, and couldn't. I bent down and kissed him and told him that I love him. He looked into my eyes, trying to speak, no sound would come, his lips moved. He looked at me and winked. I wanted to dissolve into tears, but smiled instead. Daddy was letting me know he understood my words and loved me too. He tried to smile, but was not able to.
 
 
 
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Uncle John, Gran, Mama, Daddy, Granny and Granddaddy

My grown person brain understands what is happening. My little girl heart is breaking, and longs for the times that I waited for Daddy to get off of the tractor, and ran to meet him. It longs for the times that we stood on the porch, my small hand in his, looking at a nighttime sky that looked like black velvet with twinkling diamonds, and looked as if you could reach out and grab a star. It longs for warm evenings on the porch swing, watching fire flies, or winter evenings spent by the fire toasting marshmallows. It longs for the times that he taught me to do things, build something, check the oil in my car, or any of the million things that he taught me to do. There were so many questions left unasked. I listened to what he told me about the weather. I listened to the wisdom this descendant of a farmer had to share with me. He explained everything to me in a way that I understood. Why do birds fly, how do seeds grow, what kind of bug is that and what does it do,and he told me stories about his life too. As an adult, I asked questions still, and he patiently answered each question. At this moment I would gladly sit on the planters sowing seeds for our garden, as he drove the tractor. I would help him tear down that head, even if I got grease underneath my nails, and I would shuck corn, as we did every year. It was an opportunity to spend time with him, I did enjoy it and learned so much from Daddy, but I am left longing for more of those times. I am finding it difficult to be a grown up about this. My head understands, my heart feels differently about the situation.
We have spent the past few years saying goodbye, it should be easier than this. I guess that no amount of understanding the situation will make it easy to go through. A cure for this disease will not come fast enough. How many victims will the beast take before a cure is found? How much hurt will be imposed before it is stopped?
 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Musing - A is for Atticus

 
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It is time to pull out the Christmas decorations again. That is fun and exciting, but the memory of a certain feline that climbed my Christmas tree year before last still haunts me. Perhaps we will have a woman to cat conversation before the tree goes up; the Christmas Tree Catastrophe of 2010 is etched into my memory.
 
Mama and I were discussing some things and I mentioned the idea of using some crocheted ornaments on the tree. Mama kindly offered to share some of hers. The generous offer was declined, not because it wasn’t appreciated, it was. It’s just that Atticus will know that these ornaments aren’t mine. It would be best to purchase my own. Atticus would be unable to control himself if he sensed that these ornaments weren’t ours. The end result would be tears for me and fewer ornaments for Mama, while Atticus enjoys giving himself a long innocent bath.
 
When Mama looks at Atticus, she always says the she thinks he is gorgeous. Atticus hears that remark, and you may notice that he smirks and chuckles under his feline breath. No doubt that he is thinking about how he has her fooled. If Mama sits down, he jumps into her lap, and pretends to be the sweet, loving, and innocent boy that she believes he is. Atticus is never without a plan, and he knows that this is another victory for Team Atticus.
 
My daughter knows differently. After reading an article that ran last year, she called to offer her support. She was on Team Mom! Katie works very hard to make her Christmas Trees pretty. Each ornament is carefully placed on her trees. Yes, you read that right, trees. It is easy to see why Katie is on Team Mom. If you are not on Team Mom, I don’t even want to know about it.
 
Atticus is napping peacefully in my lap as this is typed. Perhaps he knows that something is bringing attention to him, and all is right in his world. It is a good thing that he can’t read or type; he would take over this column, rename it and begin to take over the local paper. Next would be his plans to take over the world. The one thing that he does know is that the “A” on our note cards does not stand for our last name, it stands for Atticus.