(I started writing this when we were getting ready to leave the East Coast on Monday… life sometimes gets in my way of writing, completing, posting.)
I know this blog is a way for folks to catch up on what’s going on with my Dad, and this blog is also a way for me to express, vent, ponder my experiences, feelings, emotions, moments, etc.
This morning, we’re heading back home from our brief trip to Conneticiut and Brooklyn, NY. I’m not surprised at the amount of emotion welling up. And the tears flow. The poor gentleman sitting across the aisle from me keeps looking over. It can be difficult having expressions of emotion, especially tears, so public and I’ve come to let go of any concerns about crying in public.
We went to the East Coast to visit my Dad’s oldest brother Jan. Jan was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and a fairly good size tumor – did I hear orange size – is in one of his lungs, putting pressure on his heart. We had planned on making a trip there in May, and received word from his daughter that he was in hospice care and there was a concern that waiting ’til mid-May would be too long. So I had the good fortune of escorting my Dad to New York.
We were greated at the airport by my Dad’s brother Chris, who lives in Conneticiut, and we drove directly to Brooklyn. Jan is staying with his daughter Hallie in a sweet apartment in Bedford–Stuyvesant. KC, the youngest brother, was already there. It was good to have all four of them in the same room. Jan had their attention and told stories of different folks he’s interviewed over the years. And he shared sweet thoughts about his brothers. They all recalled things their Mom would say – Janetisms? – which I will continue to collect and get imput on spelling, definitions.
When we left for the final time on Sunday, my Dad ended up being the last person to leave the room. He hugged his brother good bye, and the sense of finality hit him… I was already teary and then, seeing my Dad, really started crying. The impact of why we were there, hit us both.
I’m so very glad I was able to accompany my Dad. That he had the opportunity to say good-bye and to be in the same space with his brothers again, if for what may have been the last time. No earth shattering revelations were made, just the appreciation of each other, going through what they’re going through. I was also grateful that I was able to connect with Hallie, if for a moment, and my cousins Renee, Julia and Margot, and my Aunt Trudy. I’m so very blessed to be a Hodenfield. And that is one thing my Dad shared that weekend with Jan, that Jan was who told him the importance of being a Hodenfield.
Healing with every breath.
I mentioned in my Good Friday post that two of my Grandmother’s sons were experiencing health challenges… Truth is, it’s more than a challenge. My Uncle Jan, my Dad’s oldest brother, has stage 4 lung cancer. He had been living in Tunis and has recently returned to Brooklyn, NY and is staying with his daughter. My Dad and I are getting ready to embark on a trip to NY and Conn. to see him and his other two brothers. I had hoped to plan this trip for May, when we could be more flexible in our travel arrangements and taken the time to coordinate things more carefully. But time is elusive… evasive… fleeting…
Here’s hoping there will be lots of laughter, mixed in with I’m sure a few tears…
Healing with every breath Dad and Uncle Jan… Healing with every breath….
There’s something about sibling laugther that gets me everytime. My sister and I can have each other in stitches over the slightess remark that would be innoculous to anyone around us. And when my Uncle KC comes to visit, I see my Dad laugh like Bridget and I laugh. The giggles, the uncontrollable fits of laughter… I love it! There are forever in our lexicon phrases, words, and memories of stories that can cause me to nearly pee my pants I laugh so hard. I was lucky to once again witness that again this weekend in my Dad and Uncle.
They say laughter is the best medicine, and if that’s the case, I say “healing with every giggle Dad, healing with every giggle.”
If I were a better granddaughter, I would be at Good Friday services, but alas I am at work on my lunch break. I think about my Grandma – my Dad’s mom – today. I wonder what she would think about how things are for her family if she were here today… Two of her sons have some pretty big health challenges right now. As a Mom myself now, I know how painful and scary it is to have you babies hurt, in pain, sick – and yet you put it aside so you can take care of them.
My Dad is doing okay right now… I think he could be doing better. *Warning: I’m about to stand on a soap box* The Avastin treatments are every 3 weeks. The Avastin puts great pressue on your cardiovascular system. I think my Dad could be walking or excercising more and eating better and I think he’d be feeling better. Currently, the Dr. keeps prescribing patches, pills, etc to control his blood pressure, and I don’t think they’re telling him he needs to change his ways… *okay… stepping off, for now…
Dad did purchase a harmonica a couple of weeks ago. I was sort of surprise, and also delighted by that. I asked him, “A harmonica? You always want to play?” He answered that he’d always said/thought, “When I retire, I’m gonna learn to play one.” Play away Dad! Looking forward to hearing your musical creations! For someone that loves music so much, it’s always been a bit surprising that my Dad doesn’t play an instrument.
This weekend my Dad’s youngest brother, KC, will be joining us, along with his wife Roxie and daughter Ruby. We’ll also have our cousin – I’m not sure if she’s a 3rd cousin – Taylor join us from SF. We’re gonna host brunch on Sunday and are planning an egg hunt in the park across the street, including Peeps in the water feature (thanks to my Aunt Trudy for that tip!) Not being a religious person, Easter to me is a celebration of Spring – a time of newness, freshness, light, sunshine, planting… There’s been some dark clouds hanging around this winter. I’m ready for the Spring!
Healing with every breath, Easter egg and Peep, Dad!