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Dad’s birthday is coming up.  January 18th.  I can’t believe it going to be his second birthday gone.  Time is passing so quickly.  

Mark drove Dad’s pick up around a few days and it seemed weird to see it parked in our driveway.  I caught myself glancing up at it and remembering Dad sitting out there, cigarette in hand, waiting for the boys to come out, waiting for us to see him and come outside and visit with him, all the while smoking one of his “little friends“.   

In reality when I think of Dad, I think of cigarettes.  The two go hand in hand.  The smell, the sight, I can’t think of him without those damn cancer sticks.

I suppose you could call it a milestone. A marker of time going by. Another summer. The grass still needs mowing, the mosquitoes still biting madly as if they know their time is limited. Dad never got bit by mosquitoes…his skin probably tasted of pure Marlboro. I sometimes miss that scent. How odd, I often think, that I don’t smoke. Growing up in a cloud must have given me enough to last a lifetime. Don’t get me wrong – I tried it. I just didn’t like it. Sometimes I wish I did. Maybe my ass wouldn’t be so big. Lately I find myself wanting to smoke again. Maybe it’s because I’m preaching to the boys so much about NOT smoking. Too late for my daughter…she is smoking like her grandparents used to. It kills me, it really does. She doesn’t realize what she is doing to herself. She used to be such an athlete. I bet she couldn’t run a block now. When she was a baby she had terrible croup. Her lungs are already vulnerable and yet she seems to want to further damage herself. She is 19, an “adult” and in college. I have little influence over what she is doing day to day. I only hope she comes to the realization that smoking is a killer in our family.

How ironic that Fathers Day is one day after the 1 year Anniversary of my Fathers death.  Flag day, June 14th will be one year.  In some ways it seems longer, in others it seems just a few months ago.  There is no “blunting” of the pain, just a gradual acceptance.  No one can describe in full how it is to lose a parent.  I liken it to seeing a beautiful view of the mountains, getting your camera, and being unable to capture the moment.  There is no way to tell anyone else the full blood and guts truth of how you are doing, or how you are feeling.  But, the support of those around, is appreciated AND so very necessary.  Without a hug, or word of encouragement, one would simply dry up, shrivel into a shell, a husk of nerves.

I carry on…sigh…

Just got done visiting Dad’s gravesite…again.  Mark and the kids and I went up yesterday too.  We’ve had such a lot of rain (excess of 6 inches this past few days) that I worried the dirt would be swept away or sunken in.  Everything was as should be though.  A little yucca plant is growing behing Dad’s stone.  I think we’ll let it go there.  See if it grows.  I remember sticking a little green seed pod there quite some time ago.  I wonder if he would be mad.  Anyway, Mom and I got everything decorated and we went to Arapahoe and Holbrook and decorated graves there too.  The weather was hot but nice.  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year.  I know I keep saying that but it’s true.  The whole last year Dad was sick seems like a dream…another world entirely.  I think I’ve changed a lot since then.  I’m someone new…someone I don’t really know.  I can’t explain it and I don’t know if it’s even relative to what happened when Dad was sick.  I just know it’s true.

Last year at this time we were all waiting.

For the shoe to drop.  The final shoe.  Dad was so sick.  He was in the final throes.  Everyday another slipping away of something.  The body betrays you, the mind.  The importance of “things” becomes ridiculous in proportion to the importance of moments.

snapshot:  Dad, in a wheelchair in the cool early morning air, a coffee cup beside him, a cigarette in his mouth.  He liked to listen to the birds, enjoy a coffee and smoke in the morning.

snapshot:  Dad sitting in my little orange bug as we went for a ride through town, to our house, where he gazed at the gaily decorated driveway where we were holding my daughters graduation party.  He would spend the night at home, with my Uncle “babysitting” so my Mom could attend the graduation and a few minutes of the reception.

snapshot:  Mark carrying Dad and placing him into our vehicle so we could take him to the hospital for a “treatment”.

snapshot:  Dad, gone, quiet, still in the hospital bed, my mothers face, stricken, Dad is gone

I had a dream the other night that Dad was alive and very sick with his lung cancer. It was very sad when I woke up. It felt so real. Last year at this time I remember I was starting to get ready for Katie’s graduation and wondering if Dad would be alive for it. I remember thinking how I was going to have a funeral and a graduation close together. It was such a difficult time. I can’t believe it’s almost been a whole year. In someways it feels like a few weeks ago. I have to try and not remember the last 12 hours of his life because it is very painful to me. The disbelief of his final breath. The casual visiting of our family in his room that morning. too many too many sad things…

Mom and I went to decorate Dad’s grave today. Put up spring flowers and took down the roses that mom called “winter”. The wind was blowing so fiercely we wonder if the flowers will stay put in the vase. Mom stuffed them with some paper and we will hope for the best. We drove around then and looked at all the graves. I actually like our cematary. It’s quite old with some really neat old tombstones.
Dad is gone now almost 9 months. I remember the awfulness of it all in waves. There was good too. Lots of good. I never spent so much time with Dad until the last two years of his life. I’m glad we were able to keep Dad at home. It was hard, but why must everything be easy.

Been missing Dad lately. We found a bunch of old pictures the other day. Pics of Mom and Dads wedding, Dad at the grocery store sale, Moms brothers and sisters and Mother in the front lawn of grandmas house. Brought back a flood of memories. Sometimes it’s just easier to get through he days by being superficial.

It’s a sad day really. I think of Dad, gone for 7 months now and I can’t believe it. Again, it seems like a different world, a different time, place. I cried last night and felt sad. Mark’s dad died of lung cancer too. Mark was only 19 and I never got to meet his dad. I worry about my children. Will they be “prone” to lung cancer? Alec has already had a “cyst” removed twice from his lower leg at the growth plate, what does that mean for him? Katie, my oldest, is smoking. I am sick about it. So sick. So very very sick. I don’t know what to do. She is almost 19, in college. She has to be responsible for her own actions. She is not a stupid girl. I have talked and talked and talked about lung cancer and smoking forever. She saw her grandpa shrink slowly every day and die of lung cancer. She smokes. god it hurts to think of it.,,

Thanksgiving gone and already Christmas in few days. Time is flying by. I have been re-reading a book that is about a woman who takes care of her dad who is dying of lung cancer. I hate it, yet I read it. Sounds true to me. Hard to take and hard to put down. In some ways it feels good to know that other people have gone through the same experiences as you have. Some comfort in that. A week ago or so, Mom made a Christmas tree for Dad’s grave and we took it to the cemetery. It fits right over the vase. We also took a greenery type deer and put him there too. It’s so hard to believe that Dad is dead. I have been trying to block out thoughts of his sickness because it is hard to think of him like that now. It makes me feel so very very sad. In fact I can’t really write anymore now.