Friday, February 24, 2012

A Very Important Wednesday Night And A Slideshow Of My Dad's 99th Birthday Party

Last night I was looking at pictures, videos and slideshows I have stored on my laptop. I found this slideshow I made of my dad's 99th birthday party in September, 2011. I thought I had posted it on my blog, but it doesn't seem to be the case.

I wondered if I should watch it.

Was I doing ok enough to watch it.

I decided I was.

About two weeks ago.....it was a Wednesday night...I was alone for the night...Tom was at choir practice...and I had watched the video of the ballet (my previous post) a number of times....

That video touched me so deeply...it found and opened the closet door of so many feelings over the last two years...feelings I simply haven't had time to feel...life has been too busy and too full....I handled it all...some might even think I was amazingly functional...

And, I was....I did everything that I needed to....things came one on top of the other...each and every one was anything but emotionally neutral...no...there was nothing emotionally neutral about the last two years....

On that Wednesday night...the night I was alone...alone in my house...sitting in my chair in the basement...out it came....

I didn't plan it...I didn't know it was going to happen....

I started to scream...I screamed loud and long...I screamed from a place in me that I didn't know existed....it came from the depths of me...there were no words....there were no thoughts....only screams...and then it stopped....I cried some tears....and then it was over...

I have felt different ever since....

I watched two other videos online that affected me too. One was the video of Ben Breedlove made prior to his death. If you haven't seen it, you can type Ben Breedlove into google and it will come up. I also watched a video of Ben's sister giving a eulogy at Ben's funeral. She talked about a conversation she had with Ben the night before he died.

In essence, what she learned from Ben, who had courted death a number of times in his young life, and even visited heaven...died and came back..was that heaven was beyond description, filled with peace and calm, and a place he didn't want to leave. He said to his sister, something to this effect..."Heaven is God's gift to us and our being alive and living life is our gift to God."

I thought about that. And, I knew that my mom, dad and Briana...all who have died in the last two years were in a wonderful place. I knew they were safe, whole and happy.

I thought about Sarah getting cancer. She is two years cancer free now. I thought about everything in life that has been given to me. I thought about that I am alive. I thought about how I live my life...and I mean LIVE my life...not just be alive.....and how that is my gift to God.

I kept saying over and over to myself..."I am alive...I am alive...I am alive..."

I am alive and how "I be alive" is how I give my gift to God.

Life has been different ever since the night I screamed. It just is. It doesn't change.

It feels like I have been in a dark tunnel for two years and on that Wednesday night screamed the door of the tunnel off, walked out and closed the door behind me. It is the only way I can come close to describing what I experienced.

It is possible for me to look at pictures of my dad now. I haven't been able to since his death. Some bring a tear, some bring a smile, and I often reach up to my laptop screen and touch his face with tightness in my throat. I GET to hear Sarah's voice. I GET to hug her. I GET to go to lunch with her, and I GET to listen to her plans for the life she GETS to have...

And, I GET to thank God for this new life that I GET to have. That new life comes with a sense of gratitude... a sense of freedom and a newly understood sense of responsibility. Yes, responsibility...responsibility to be thankful on a daily basis and live MY life to the fullest and give it as a gift.

I guess that was a lot to write about.

And, now there is the slideshow of my dad's 99th birthday party. His younger brother, Ernie, (95) was there and we did a joint celebration for the two of them. The cast of players at this party was his brother, daughters and their families, cousins, nieces, nephews, the social worker who has known my dad for years and gotten him involved in some senior activities etc., and two of his neighbors...lots and lots of family and people who loved him. In one group picture Sarah is holding up her phone to represent our son, Adam, so he and his family (they live in SC) could be part of the party too.

Some of the pictures with lots of people in seem to be the same picture, but they aren't. In each similar picture you can see different people laughing because of what was being said or faces that were being made. I have to tell you too...the last song, Tennessee Waltz, was my mom's favorite song. I can watch it and feel warm and glad the family got to do that. Family was his world. I love you dad. Thanks for the life you gave me. Love, Judy

video

8 comments:

Esther said...

WOW, WOW AND WOW.

Lynda said...

Hi Judy:

That was an amazing video and the music brought back memories for me as well. My Dad's favourite song was the Tennessee Waltz.

Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures of your family.

Hugs and take care.
Lynda

Kathleen said...

Judy,

Your dad looks like he had been smiling his whole life. He had a beautiful face and smile.

Kathleen

Sandy said...

Hi, Judy
Hope all is well with you and yours. Congratulations to Sarah on her two year anniversary. I was reading your blog. When I read about your screaming, I was reminded of when I did that.

I'd had my blood clot surgery on Jan. 19. On Feb. 19, I had my mastectomy. On Feb. 23, the daughter of a very dear friend had died after a long, long battle with brain tumors that could not be stopped.

A couple of days later, I was home alone one morning for a couple of hours. I decided that since I could finally take a shower by myself that's what I'd do and maybe I'd feel better because of actually being able to something for myself all by myself.

I turned the water on, got in the shower, shampooed and conditioned my hair. Then, with the hot water coursing over me, I looked down at my chest and suddenly everything came crashing down .... the surgeries, the death of my friend's daughter, facing 6 months of chemo and possibly radiation, having to take several medications for five years....and I collapsed emotionally. I beat on the walls, screamed over and over and over at the top of my voice "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" and sobbed uncontrollably. Even now as I write this, the tears begin to form. I vowed then and there that I was NOT going to let all that had happened take control of my life, my very being. After a while, I began to settle down. My throat was sore from screaming, my eyes sore from the flood of tears, and I was out of breath. I turned off the water, got out of the shower, dried off, dressed, and went to sit in my recliner.

So many thoughts were going through my mind. Finally, I picked up the little notepad and pen I keep beside my recliner and started listing a plan of attack. Eventually I dozed off and slept for several hours. When I awoke, the first thing I saw was my list. Right then and there I knew everything would be better and that I would be able to handle whatever came along.

The next day I had an appointment to see my surgeon. She looked at me and said, "You finally cried and yelled and let everything out, didn't you?" I replied that yes, indeed, I had .. in the shower the day before. "Good," she said. "That's what you needed to do before you could move on with your life. Until you did that, you were just existing, not living. Now you are starting to live."

Since that day, many things have been better.

Thank you for posting what you did. God bless you.

Love and hugs,
Sandy

Diane said...

Dear Judy,

I am so sorry to hear that you have lost your dad. We never know just how much time we have with those we love and no matter how much it is...we want one more day, one more hour.

I hear what you mean about now missing your mom since your dad has passed away. Somehow as parents...she was still there as long as he was. I so understand.

I haven't had my scream fest yet...but I know it is there...

I wanted to acknowledge your pain, and your release. I wanted to let you know that I am still listening, even if I do not often respond.

Hugs....one for you and one for Kara and one for our Sarah...

With love from South Carolina

Diane

Lois said...

Hi Judy, I totally enjoyed this! I love the passion!

Hugs, Lois

lisauk said...

Your very lucky Judy in a lot a ways really …

Listen ..just to have the photographs an things on cameras of ya dear mother an father of the most precious things you can have to keep for you an all the family

..Its passed on for years to come Judy in another 40 years time, your children,& grandchildren will be lovingly looking through all this Off and their Parents & Great Grandparents.

I have 3 photos of mine Judy ..We couldn’t afford things like that then …

Just want you to scream if ya want Judy ..Cry if you feel like it when things feel sad …its a passage in life we all had to walk through at one stage Judy .

I love the blog , has always the love shone through it all I envy your family so much Judy …

Lots a love from the uk ..to add to all the rest ….xxxxxx

Susan said...

Judy, This is so touching What you said resonnated deeply with me. I can see how huge the loss of your father leaving has been to you. My father passed away 43 years ago; yet, I still feel a strong longing in my heart to hear his voice, feel his touch, laugh with him. I could see the same relationship you have with your father. How fortunate we are. I really enjoyed the slide show. I even saw a Luther College T-shirt on one of the little boys. That's my alma mater. Thank you for the gift of your words and the insight into your very joyful family. Susan