Friday, September 24

365 days!

I am learning that the beauty of having your very own blog is that you get to write whatever you want. I realize that should go without saying, but today it really hit me that I have this little piece of the world where I get to say whatever I want, whenever I want to, and can take as long as I want to do it. 

Kind of a freeing thing. 

Today's post is an important one for me, because today it has been one year since my dads accident. I have thought long and hard about what I might share. Because since my dads accident when we all get together we chat about things regarding his hospital stay, but we don't talk details. I think its because all of us would just rather forget those months, and because my dad does not remember, we are not terribly specific. 
This blog is for my children though, so one day when they are older they can learn more about me, so I decided to share an experience from that time, as unpleasant as it might be. 

I mean no disrespect at all from this post, I am writing my truth, with love.

My father and I had not been really close before the accident. We actually had not spoken in 10 months prior to it. I am not sure of the exact reasons. We both just never called each other, maybe I felt misunderstood, maybe he was just really busy with work. We did not live close, it was awkward? I don't know. But I do remember one of the last times we spent time together, just him and I. It was a few summers ago and I went out to the farm for the day. 
He had just started working for a company that sold drilling bits, and that day he was loading his stock into a trailer. It was hard work, and a welcome distraction to the often trying task of finding a topic to discuss.  Conversation was not easy with us when we were alone which was infrequent...making it even harder.

That afternoon we somehow began talking about his parents. My fathers parents Joan and Fred Reimer died years ago. Both to cancer. 
My grandfather Fred died shortly before I was born,  I had never met him. I do have a picture of him by my kitchen sink when he was around my age, maybe a little older. He is throwing a snowball at my very young father who was running in the opposite direction and they are both smiling in it. Amazing how such an old camera was able to catch a moment so clearly. I love this picture, it makes me feel closer to my grandfather, almost like I can hear him laugh, or I can feel his pure joy in that moment playing with his child. I won it from my dad a few years ago. We bet on the sex of one of my unborn children...I won. 

 My Grandmother Joan died when I was in Grade 6. I remember her well. She was so slender and so beautiful and I always felt loved when I was around her. I remember she always had beautiful long nails, and curly white hair. I remember once faking a knee injury when I was staying with her. I was young and I more then likely wanted/needed to have extra attention. Of course she knew it was not as serious as I pretended, but she was so kind and made me feel like I mattered. Making sure I iced it and I rested. I have happy memories of her. I still have a pink sweater she made me (in my closet) waiting for the day Nora will fit it. I have saved it all these years so she could be a part of my kids in some small way.

On this particular summer day helping my dad I was telling him about how I thought I had once felt the presents of my grandfather. I told my dad that I felt like I knew him...sort of?? To some this might sound weird, and its okay if it does. I have believed for years that life does not end with death. I guess it is arguable that it is a hope rather then a knowledge, because I have never visited the "other side" but I believe death is not the end. 
My father became furious with this topic. I really have no idea why he was so mad I thought he believed something along those lines too, but I might have been wrong, whatever the case he got very angry and we argued for a bit about it. I felt stupid and I tried to change the topic but the tension was there and the day was ruined. And I felt like it had been my fault.

The reason I am telling you this is so you have a clearer understanding of our dynamic. 
After my fathers accident he had a breathing tube in for a long while, and in time, when he was more stable, he moved to what is called a step down room, where he was still under 24 hour watch by a nurse, but there were 4 people in a room instead of just him and the RN in the beginning. 
The step down room was horrible, to me, it was some of the worst time my father spent in the hospital. He was not completely "out of it " any more, but still did not talk, and had this glassy look in his eyes. It was hard to watch. It was made worse with 3 other people around with all of their noises and buzzers going...Blah...just awful.

One night I had gone to visit him in the step down room (he had been in the hospital for a month or so by now) and when I arrived he was physically sitting up. This was not in its self abnormal, but  it was late at night because at the time I had 4 small kids to care for, a volunteer work that was not going well, so I could only visit later in the evening after my family was asleep, and that was often when dad was sleeping ...but this night when I arrived he saw me when I came in, he tracked me with his eyes. I came over beside his bed, and said hi dad and he held my hand. 

I would normally tell him about my day, tell him about the kids and be chipper and happy, but on this night I was just very sad. I think I was just feeling a little defeated regarding a woman I had to deal with in my volunteer work and she was causing me a lot of grief. I had been arguing with my aunt about things she said, I missed my brother Dawson, and was feeling sad that there was not more I could do. Also that there was a very real possibility my father was going to be  this way forever. So when I sat down I just started to cry. He still had a hole in his throat to breath because his jaw was wired shut, so he could not talk and tubes were coming out of everywhere, but he just stared at me and held my hand. I just cried, and cried hard. 
I told him how sorry I was, and how awful I felt having argued with him. I asked him to forgive me for having been so prideful and not calling him for so long. Mostly I just needed him to know I was sorry and that I loved him. 

I am not sure why I asked this at all, but I said to him. Dad, has grandma and grandpa come to visit you?
He looked up at me and then looked over at the corner of the room. 
I turned to look over and of course there was nothing there. I said, do they come visit you here? Have you seen them? My father slowly nodded his head once yes.

I am in no way claiming anything, nor did I see anything. All I know is how I felt, and I felt like my father was being honest. I believe this life is not all there is. I felt so peaceful in that room, I know what I felt, it was a very real and good feeling and definitely not a feeling that I had felt in that awful room or hospital anytime before. 
I was comforted, feeling like maybe he was being watched by loved ones when one of us could not be with him. It made me feel like maybe things would be okay.

My dad is back at work full time now. 3 days shy of one year since this all began and he is all better. 

I do not know much, and the older I get the more I am willing to admit that. But there are a few things I do know for sure;
I know that death is not the end. 
I know that family is the most important thing. And that relationships matter.
I know that prayers are heard, and sometimes for reasons unknown, are answered in the way were hope for, and sometimes not, but they are heard.
I know that this last year has changed my father and our family. And change is good.


I am grateful for my dads 2 friends who he was hunting with who saved his life when they rolled him out of the water and did CPR.

I am grateful for the ground crew, and fire fighters that picked him up out of the bush, then  for STARS air ambulance for flying dad to the hospital,(I will no longer call you the air clot, and I will always donate at calender time)

I am grateful for the medivac crew that flew him down from up north.

I am grateful for all the RN's and staff that took care of dad for months

I am grateful for my life. Really and truly grateful. As hard as it is some/most days. Life is so good. And I am a very lucky girl.

I am grateful for beautiful and healthy children whom I love deeply. 

I am grateful for love in all its forms.

I am grateful for the feelings I am having while writing this.

And lastly, I am grateful for Tylenol because I am going to have one hell of a headache in the morning from all this crying.



Amy said...

Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. I know, speaking for myself, it's hard to share personal moments and feelings like that; to put deep emotion out for all to see. I'm so glad you did. Life can feel so raw and unjust, but you just helped renew my hope.

Anonymous said...

Oh Joelle, thank you for this post!
My mom died last July, and I miss her so much. I never doubt that she still exists, but I can't see her or talk with her.
She was in hospital last year for a car accident, and before that for colon cancer surgery. I stayed with her, and your post brought back strong feelings from those times.
I'm glad you and your dad got a second chance.

Anonymous said...

this is a really beautiful post. I think it will be amazing for your kids to read your stories, deep and personal, yet with your unmistakable personality. Love it.