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Archive for April, 2008

Sorry Grandma

I just got an email from my aunt. She basically said that my grandma was upset by some of the language in my posting about my dad. I’m sorry for using offensive language grandma. I did consider removing it (I originally wrote that posting quite some time ago) but felt that at that time, it really did describe the emotions I went through in watching my dad die.

But that doesn’t matter. I don’t want to offend anyone with any of my posts.

But I’m not here to curb my beliefs either so that I don’t offend anyone.

My mom always said that she taught us to think for ourselves – and that did not always mean agreeing with what she had taught us.

I can’t sleep. Once again. Could be all the tea (I’m not a coffee fan and we’ve cut out soda, hot tea is very common in Germany). Or just could be that I’m more well, full of thoughts late at night.

Both of my boys are in bed sleeping. It’s so amazing to watch Henry sleep. I’m reminded daily of God’s blessings.

Yep grandma, I am a believer. And a strong one at that. I am a strong Christian woman who happens to have an MBA and works full-time as a SAHM (stay at home mom). I wouldn’t say that the road I’ve been on has been an easy one – and I’m not too sure about how much of my life has been predestined versus what influence I have had on things – but I do know that I believe. I believe that Jesus was sent to save me. And everytime I think of that concept, I get goosebumps.

And for me, my beliefs were that much more strengthened witnessing my father’s passing, my family fall apart, and mostly, by having a son of my own. I cannot imagine for one day, a life without Henry. Sure, I’ve had some pretty rough spots in dealing with postpartum depression. And there were many many times I did not want to be a mom and only wanted to have my dad back again.

But I take it all into perspective – preeclampsia / pregnancy-induced hypertension took away my faith in my body; dad dying took away my faith in my parents; my family falling apart took away my support network; moving overseas took away my foundation – there’s only one thing left – God. He’s the only thing that’s been a constant in my life. And it took one big boat (the QM2 to be precise) to get me (physically) to where I’m learning that (Germany).

Ironically Germany is where Martin Luther began questioning the Catholic beliefs – specifically about predestination and paying for your sins. Even more ironic to me is that (as far as I can tell) only 3 types of Christian churches here – Catholic (HUGE), Lutheran (not as big, but still large), and what Germans call Baptist (though they’re more what I call mennonite’ish – a small(er) population).

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Never thought I’d say that. But I do.

It was a part of my job at Sachs that I enjoyed but tended to minimize.

Now I realize just how much I enjoyed it.

John would smile. I have to tell him.

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Ohio Dates

So, as most of ya’ll know, we’re coming to Ohio!!!!

YEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!

I’m so very much looking forward to going grocery shopping at well, every hour of the day (stores close here between 7:00 and 8:00 pm) as well as being able to do ANYTHING on Sunday (oh yeah, and they are ALL closed on Sundays – in addition to the stores being closed, we’re not allowed to make noise (i.e. no lawn mowing, no loud music, nothing)).

And then of course, there’s the lovely xrate factor (finally working in our favor!).

So, we arrive in Ohio on Wednesday evening, May 28th and leave on Thursday June 26th. We’re planning on spending time between my brother and my sister’s house, with a few days in the first week of June down in Ashland to catch up with friends there.

Hugs and kisses!

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I’ll never forget that evening of August 13, 2005.

A dear friend was visitng BJD (Bubba Joe’s Dad) and I in our Lakewood home, sharing a bottle of red wine. We were talking about our plans to move to Rhode Island – BJD had recently received a promotion and my job was going to allow me to work from home.

Around 11:00 that evening, the phone rang. No big deal, right? That phone call changed everything.

My dad had fallen down / out of his office chair and couldn’t move. BJD and I had to wait until my brother left so he could swing by and pick us up – we’d had just enough to drink that we didn’t drive. We got to the hospital and dad was there, intubated and mostly unresponsive. He had a stroke. His left side was paralyzed.

I always get this weird feeling in situations like this. It’s almost like an out of body experience, where I’m watching everything seperate from my emotions. I remember telling dad that if he had to go it was okay. I remember telling mom that everything was going to be okay.

I lied.

Six weeks later, many ups many downs, he died.

My brother and I were there as he died. It was so fucking surreal. And so fucking unfair. I remember praying with dad the Hail Mary and becoming so angry with God when I said “now and at the hour of our death”. I realized only then the full impact of those words. Ironically, while dad could no longer speak, he was able to move his lips to pray with me.

BJD was picking up mom, per the doctor’s request. My sis was also on her way.

But my brother and I were there, watching dad’s breathing becoming slower and less troubled. We watched his face pale and his body fail. We stood there, with tears falling so gently, as our world crashed all around us.

~~~~~

Being the control freak that I am, standard funeral home stuff wouldn’t do. I wrote the little handouts that they give out. I burned CDs with music (no crappy funeral music for my dad, nosiree!!! Jeremiah was a bullfrog and my dad was a dancin’!) I wrote, rewrote and rewrote yet again his eulogy.

And I cried. I couldn’t believe that he was just dead. I mean, dead. Gone. No longer here.

At the end of the funeral, when they let the family have their last goodbyes, I couldn’t move. My oldest niece sat next to me as everyone took their turn walking up to dad. I just sat and started sobbing.

She gently took my hand and gave me the strength to go on.

Amazing. I will never forget that feeling she gave me.

Well, dad was buried on September 30th. Green Day has it totally right … wake me up when September ends. It still brings tears today when I hear it, not all the time, but sometimes.

Soon after, BJD and I took a long weekend to visit with a friend and her 3 kids in Kentucky. We took our little guy Mischka with us – he’d also been to visit dad when he was in the nursing home for a week. Mischka did great on the flight. We had a fantastic time in Kentucky – and it was nice to be away from it all.

That was the weekend we both quit smoking. I knew that I never wanted to go through what I witness my dad go through – being intubated and reintubated all due to damage he had done so many years earlier due to smoking. Some of the damage was just irreversible – he had quit 20+ years prior to his stroke.

But the big surprise was that I had just gotten pregnant!

Whoohooo … normally I would have been ecstatic. But all I wanted was my dad back. And for people to stop telling me to be happy that life runs in a full circle. What crap. I was sad. And I felt so guilty because I was sad instead of happy.

My pregnancy went A-OK for a long while … BJD and I even took a wonderful vacation in Mexico – highly recommend the Riviera Maya to anyone – in March. But by Good Friday, a co-worked mentioned to me that my face looked swollen. Somehow I knew that wasn’t good.

So I called my OB who offered me an appointment. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time – plus I was working my ass off for my company and loving it. Plus it was Good Friday and I was helping out at church that evening. Too much to do to see a doctor.

Hah.

The nurse suggested I stop at a drugstore and get my BP checked out – and gave me the info that if my bottom number was greater than 90 to go in immediately.

Hah again.

I stopped at a drugstore, after work, on my way to church. Their machine wasn’t working. So I quickly bought an automatic one and got to the car, installed the batteries and tried it out. I don’t remember exactly what it read. But, uh, yeah. I didn’t believe the reading. It was something like 150/100. I took it a few more times and it was still really high.

I went to church, helped out, explained to BJD what the nurse said and went home and rested ALL weekend (and of course, as I mentioned before, I am a control freak – so I checked my pressures and STILL didn’t believe they were as high as they were!)

I had helped with my mom to arrange Easter brunch out in Avon, Ohio. It was supposed to be really nice. Instead, my BP wouldn’t go down and I was scared. I was 28 weeks pregnant (barely) and finally BJD convinced me to call the OB. I did. And instead of him telling me to just take it easy he said he’d meet me at L&D.

I was put on bedrest for PIH (pregnancy-induced hypertension). Instead of beginning my lamaze classes that week, I was allowed to NOT work (well, actually my OB said to quit my job, me, yeah right), to lay down and rest and well, do nothing.

I tracked my BP 3x daily, did kick counts 2x daily, took my blood sugar levels 4x daily (oh yeah, then I ended up testing positive for GD (gestational diabetes) oh what fun), and all this while remembering to take my BP meds 4x daily and writing it all down for BJD to fax into the high-risk MFM lest he forget me. (Yeah, great MFM I had – told me that if I didn’t fax it into him weekly he’d forget who I was.)

Well, Easter Sunday was spent in the hospital. 5 weeks later, I had my baby shower. The next day I ended up in the hospital, waiting to be induced. Turns out BJ (Bubba Joe – aka little man) was no longer getting what he needed. I had preeclampsia. He was born at 34 weeks weighing 4 pounds 5 ounces.

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