(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.