Tuesday, May 24, 2011


(The first paragraph might be a little hard to read or a little disturbing. It talks just a little about how difficult dialysis was for dad so if you'd rather not know, you might want to skip to the second paragraph.)

Dad really hated dialysis. I mean hated it. When I would pick him up on Saturdays from his dialysis, he'd always say (in an exhausted tone) "...aaaahhh! Now I don't have to do dialysis for two whole days. I'm so glad I don't have to go back until Tuesday." This, of course, broke my heart. Every time he'd get in the car and say this, it would just make me so sad for him. His right arm where his fistula (dialysis port) was would be completely bandaged up. Sometimes with dried blood smears down his wrist and hand or between his fingers. I'd open and close the door for him because his arm would either be sore (from where they would insert the needles for access), numb (when he would remember to use his salve so he couldn't feel the access), or just plain weak (from having to leave his arm in the same position for 4 straight hours).

Needless to say, I hated seeing him like this. I mean hated it. For some reason, about a week ago, I started remembering this part of dad's treatment and how much I hated the fact that this huge fistula was in his precious arm. His once strong, healthy, perfect arm. Now also covered with bruises from his being on blood thinners.

But the other night I had a dream about him. Mom, Alisa, and I were sitting on my couch just chatting. Dad walked into the room, pulled his right sleeve up to his elbow, and said in the most playful voice "Looky!!" and held his arm straight out in front of him. No fistula, no bruises. Just like new. Then the three of us started clapping and cheering as loud as we could "Yaaaaay!!! No more dialysis, no more bruises!! YAAAY!!!" And he was sooo happy and was smiling and laughing soooo much. And that made me happy too.

Yay, Daddy! Your arms are as good as new. I love you.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Resurrection Body

One thing that's really been a struggle for me (as mentioned in one of my earlier posts) has been a certain question: What does dad look like now "in heaven"? Does he look like dad? Is he a younger version of himself? Is he an angel? Is he a mist? Is he a sphere of light that floats around and glows brighter the closer he physically is to God? Is he still dad or now just another being in heaven with no distinct form?

Alisa and I were both wondering that same thing while visiting dad's grave site the other day. I asked her what she thought and she said something like "I don't know. I've been trying to understand that too." I'm not sure if anyone else has been thinking about this or not. I guess no one will know the exact, literal, most accurate answer until we join him in heaven but hopefully this helps someone else like it's helped us:

1 Corinthians 15:35-58 (some verses skipped)

  "35 But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come? 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another...41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
  42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor,  it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body...50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable...55 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Daddy, even though your body was "sown in weakness, it is raised in power". Love you so much.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Struggling for Memories

Time has a deteriorating effect on my mind it seems. Maybe it's the rush of everything trying to capture the something that washes by like a tidal wave against a soccer goal. Somewhat disappointed that I could not recount that 'one story' or that 'one memory' to share, I realized suddenly this evening that beautiful jigsaw image is made of pieces each telling its own story. There are many memories or at least snippets. Some of which I choose to lock away forever for personal reasons. There may be some that don't think this is a fair approach but I think all will have something to keep personal.

SO what is it that pops into my mind at this late hour? Music, Saxophone, Creativity and appreciation. My memory(ies) tonight are captured in song.

I give you these to cherish, to remember, to step back into days gone by. Songs that I remember dad playing or listening to time and time again. - Mike

And one more:

April Shower

I wasn't able to sleep very much the week dad passed away. Actually, I was averaging about 2-3 hours a night. I would stay awake late looking at pictures. Once I finally went to bed, I'd just lie awake...WIDE awake and think or cry or pray..then I would get out of bed, usually around 3:30 or 4am and sit in front of the window, just watching the world slowly come to life.

I'd watch the sun slowly come up making everything bright and new. I'd get angry with the sun. I'd feel like it was teasing me just by rising, like it was obnoxiously saying: "GOOD MORNING, WORLD!! It's gonna be another BEAUTIFUL day!! Even though, well.......you know.....but anyway, GOOD MORNING!!". I felt (feel) like every day that goes by pushes me farther and farther away from the last time I talked to him, ate with him, hugged him, looked at him, heard his voice.
One morning, Thursday morning to be exact (2 days after dad went), I decided to take Oliver out for a walk before too many people and cars crowded the streets (like dad said to Laura in her "Three Deep Breaths" post). It was quiet. Cool. Still. Not the slightest breeze in the air.

I was walking, thinking, just missing dad. I was looking at everything around me, trying to find something that I could relate to him. I thought "Are there any pick-up trucks around?" I looked around....no. "Anyone working on a car in their driveway?" Looked again.....not this early. "Any fathers teaching their daughter to ride a bike???" I probably wouldn't have wanted to see that yet anyway.

Now, instead of people or things, I just wanted there to be something, anything in nature that I could look at and be reminded of him through. I thought "Daddy, I wish we had the chance to share something in nature together that will always remind me of you." Just then I was walking under a line of trees and out of the still air, came a sort of swirling rush of wind, causing the trees to sway and completely shower me with hundreds of spinning maple seed pods (which I think of as helicopters). They were landing on Oliver's back and head and in my hair and all over the street. I reached my hand out, caught one, gave it a kiss, then tossed it back up into the air and watched it disappear among the others. Then I said "thank you" to dad.

Yeah, maybe it was a coincidence. But maybe it wasn't.

Daddy, you flew helicopters, drew helicopters, even built little model helicopters.
Now you'll be remembered through them too. Love you, daddy.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dad's T-Shirts

Dad had a collection of t-shirts with some of the funniest sayings. I'm going to start a list here and as we remember them, we can add to the list.

Here are some of the sayings from his t-shirts:

1. "Welcome to America. Now speak English." lol

2. "My Kids Think I'm a Bank"

3. "You Might Be a Redneck If..." (I'll have to find this one and write down the list of things it had on there..funny stuff..)

4. "To Be is To Do - Socrates
     To Do is To Be - Sartre
     Do Be Do Be Do - Sinatra" :)

Will add more as we find/remember them. :)



5. "Liberalism is a mental disorder" (I'm actually wearing this t-shirt right now. Dad apparently didn't care much about offending anyone. haha.)


Saturday, May 7, 2011

"I'll Never Forget Your Pops"

Yesterday I was out in the front yard of my mom's house and an old friend of the family happened to be driving by. When he saw me, he pulled over and got out of his car to say hello. We talked for a little while and he told me how sorry he was to hear about Dad. Then he told me a story that really lifted my spirits that day.

He said, "Man, I'll never forget your Dad. I remember one time when I was just a kid at church, some of the bigger kids were bullying me, telling me I couldn't sit next to your Dad at lunch. Then your Dad said, 'Don't listen to them, Lawrence, you come sit right here beside me.' I'll never forget your pops." I could tell it got to him as well to even hear himself tell that story, because he had to put his head down for a few seconds.

As we said goodbye and he got back in his car and drove away, it dawned on me, what an impact my father had had on so many different people--young and old, male and female, whatever.

He definitely had a way of making every person he met feel special; my sister Laura described his ability to do this so well in her last post. He always rooted for the "underdog", he always made sure people were treated fairly around him and he never played into any of society's "games" about the "haves" and the "have-nots" as he would like to put it. He was the real deal.

I was so thankful our friend Lawrence shared that story with me. It was a quick, two-second story, but it really reminded me of Dad's heart. So thanks to my friend Lawrence. And thanks to you, too, Dad. :) Love you so much and missing you still.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Three Deep Breaths

As many of you know, Dad had a way of making each of us feel special, like we were the most important thing to him and that he cared for us more than anyone else.  He had special songs he would sing with us when we were little or little nicknames he’d give us…mine was Bunky.  Of course I knew deep down that he had enough love inside to go around and loved all of us so much.  But from as far back as I can remember I cherished any time I could spend with him, especially our one-on-one times. 
One memory in particular was when I was about 14 and I went to visit Dad at Ft. Belvoir.  I brought my friend Sheree along so most of that visit had to be shared.  But one morning, I woke up and saw Dad at the kitchen table putting on his shoes (Sheree and I were sleeping on the living room floor).  I asked Dad where he was going and he whispered, “For a walk.  You want to come?”  Of course I replied yes and hurried to get up.  He put his finger to his lips and said “Shhh, don’t wake anyone else”.  As we walked, he told me how he liked to go for walks early in the morning, before too many people were out and about.  He told me that before the cars started crowding the streets and polluting the air, I should take three deep breaths to fill my lungs with clean air.
I’m sure we talked about so many other things that morning, Dad always had great words of advice, but for some reason, the “3 deep breaths” stayed in my mind.  If I find myself out and about early in the morning, or even just thinking of him now, I remember that walk and breathe deep.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oliver, stay!

As many of you know, Tee and I have a dog named Oliver. He is HUGE! We're not sure what breed he is exactly, but we're pretty sure wild stallion is mixed in there somewhere. What you may not know is that Tee and I almost made the HUGE mistake of giving him back to the seller that we bought him from.

After Oliver's first night home, Tee and I were debating on whether or not we should keep him. You see, it was a very loooong first night. Complete with a lot of pooping, peeing, and whimpering. Tee and I decided that we just weren't ready to be parents. So the next day, we brought baby Oliver over to mom and dad's house to ask them what they thought about us possibly taking him back. It was so hard for us because he was just so darn cute. That, and we hated the fact that we brought him into a loving, safe, forever home only to rip it away from him. Lord only knows who would've ended up with him (poor thing).

Anyway, mom and dad were trying to convince us to keep him. I don't remember much about the exact conversation but I do remember Oliver sleeping soundly in a basket in front of a cozy fire and the four of us sitting around him, just watching him and talking. Tee and I were so torn.

Ollie woke up and looked around for a place to potty so Tee took him out. A few minutes later, Tee burst into the room and said "Dee, I told him to go peepee outside and he did! He went outside, he went outside!" (this was the first time in 2 days that he didn't go in a house). Right after Tee said that, I looked over at dad. And dad said "If you keep him, he will be a great dog." Just like that. Like he just knew.

Well, to make an even longer story short, we kept Oliver. Those words that dad said still ring in my ears even to this day and everyday I look at Oliver and I'm so glad we decided to keep him....I think "he is a great dog". And he loved, loved, LOVED his grandpa.

You always knew exactly what to say, daddy. I love you.


Monday, May 2, 2011

A Happy Dream.

Last night, I had a dream about Dad. He came back to "visit" for a few brief moments and he looked so happy and well.

He was talking to us about different things, I can't really recall all the details today.

But one thing he said in the dream did stick with me.

He said, "I've got to get back there (heaven). MAN! (in his excited voice) They are taking SUCH good care of me there."

And that was it. He looked so happy, and he looked really, really good.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

I'm sorry, this got rather long !

About a year ago I was in the middle of a tumultuous and emotionally draining phase of a dating relationship. I confided in some of my friends about it from time to time when it was really bad. At that time I called Alisa a lot because Diane and I were kinda not speaking (ok, we were flat out not speaking). One day I had a very bad phone call with my boyfriend and I felt awful. Once again I talked to a friend about it and afterwards I felt no better. I felt like I needed to talk to someone older, perhaps a man (with some insight into the workings of a male brain) that had a different perspective. Although I appreciated the advice and kind words my friends gave me I felt like in a lot of ways they didn't understand, after all these are all girls the same age as me and prolly not that much wiser than me on the "facts of life".

I wondered who I could possibly speak to and lean on and gain wise words from. I really wanted to speak to an older man, a sort of father figure but I couldn't think of anyone. My own father and I were not close and even if we were he was deceased, I had a stepfather, nice enough guy but for some reason I'm not comfortable talking to him. I thought about Mr. Peters. I hadn't seen him in awhile cause I had moved to northern VA and plus I wasn't on speaking terms with his daughter so that could prove to be awkward.

But I gave in and called him anyways, I had to talk to someone.

I can't tell you what Mr. Peters said to me during that phone call (cause I don't remember) but I do remember this small thing, "Tina, I love "love." (he said this with much enthusiasm in his voice). "And I don't know about the ins and outs of your relationship with him but from what you tell me it sounds like you love him and he loves you" and he went on to speak and said that I just needed to let the relationship takes it course and that even though tough times were upon us now that hopefully we would overcome it in time and that on the other side our relationship would prove to come out stronger.

At the end of the phone call I felt lighter. I felt like I had gotten the different perspective that I needed and he had calmed me down about some stuff and eased my soul. And I really needed that at the time.

As I get older I am learning more and more about myself and one of those things is that growing up without a father present has been in a big factor in shaping who I am. When we were younger I was always jealous of Diane and Alisa, they seemed to have the perfect family, parents intact. I told myself not having a father was unfortunate but not a big deal either. But looking back I realize how important it is to have a dad. Thankfully my mom did the job of both parents as best as she could and I love her and thank her for that. But I am also very glad that I became friends with Diane and Alisa and that Mr. and Mrs. Peters are my second set of parents. I'm glad I gave that phone call to Mr. Peters and I am so thankful that he was willing to talk to me and let me lean on him.

Mr. Peters, you are the kind of father that I always wished I had and I am blessed to have known you and blessed to be a friend of your family. I wish I took advantage of your listening ear more often and I wish Brandon had the chance to meet you too, I think you two would have gotten along well. When I told him what happen I guess he had already heard so much about you and your family that he wanted to come with me down to NN. Sorry he couldn't but he really wanted to, it was the first thing out of his mouth after "I'm sorry." when it happened. We have overcome the challenges of the beginning of our relationship, just like you said we would, and it turns out he loves me, just like you said it sounded like he did.

I will truly truly miss you.


p.s. just incase you are wondering, Diane and I are speaking and friends again, apparently it was just a bump in the friendship