Pulling Through Autumn

"Sit!" "Stay!" "Stop!" "Get off of there!" "Stop biting!" "No!" "Down!!!" This is all you would hear as I was walking Lola this morning. It's like all the trees magically turned into different colors. Bright red, orange and yellow leaves were all scattered on the lawn. If the wind picked up a leaf into flight, Lola would run after it as if it were a squirrel. The air was crisp, the sky had a dark gray tone to it with sunbeams darting through different directions. October 1rst... October is our favorite time of the year. My dad's favorite time of the year as well. As I walked further down the lawn with Lola, yelling out, "Don't eat that" and "Stop barking at the cat", I felt like I was being watched - even worse off, being laughed at. I had an overwhelming sense that Dad was nearby, chuckling over my frustrations with "that damn dog" as he would jokingly call her. A couple of months ago when Dad was still here, he would laugh at Lola running around the yard, barking viciously at a moth or just going insane over a slight change of the wind, and of course, my frustrations with her. He'd yell out loud, "Wouldja' look at dat' dog? It's not even a dog - it's a rat!" She was only 7 lbs then - tiny Chihuahua size, and today she is almost 15 lbs and filled out. The Rat Terrier in her is definitely standing out now. I stood there in the middle of the lawn while Lola was running 90 mph around me and "hearing" Dad make fun of me as he always did. My eyes welled up with tears as I remembered him telling me in a dream, "Don't cry, don't cry baby." I truly believe my dog feels my sadness at times.

Where are you? I miss you...
The absence of Dad is really starting to sink in for all of us. Strange how our bodies have a self-defense mechanism that prevents us from fainting or just losing it altogether once someone you love passes away. But it's true. We were all numb when it first happened - hate to say even relieved because of the pain we all witnessed him go through was absolutely heart wrenching. And now that a little time has passed, life seems so strange without him. It feels incomplete. I'm mostly worried about my mother. She's been crying an awful lot. I know it's normal, but my sisters and I have been trying to do everything in our power to get her mind off things, take her out, or just even sit and watch a movie with her. We don't want to prevent her from grieving, but she feels like she has no worth anymore or anyone to take care of. Jokingly I asked her, "When you gonna make your famous chicken soup, ma?" Her face lit up and she asked, "You'll eat it? It'll go to waste because Daddy and Wayne (his best bud) used to finish it."  I reminded her that her soups never go to waste. In fact, her soups are so good, we all think she should open up a soup restaurant - like the soup nazi on Seinfeld. We all take turns trying to take her out, spending quality time with her and trying to make her laugh. No matter what, at the end of the day, like I always say -- it's only her and her thoughts. It's only her and all the memories that she has to sort through. That's tough. And it's going to be tougher on the holidays. 

Today's first day of October and my heart is breaking a little more. October reminds me of Dad. How he loved this crisp weather. Although, he didn't love it so much while he was sick. Even on a summer evening he'd say, "Ohhh it's so cold!" His illness made him hate the weather he once loved. He'd shiver in the midst of summer and beg to go back inside. If you walked into the room he always stayed in, it was hot and stifling, and there is was still claiming he was cold. I have to keep reminding myself how much pain and misery he was in for the past couple of years, but my mind goes back to the "healthy" days. It's strange how the mind can play tricks on you. I have to remember why I felt relieved of his passing -- the end of his torturous days. His quality of life was shit. His quality of care by hospice was shit. I'm still dealing with anger issues regarding their lack of care and compassion. They left our family struggling to help Dad of doing the things hospice should have been doing. They didn't treat him with dignity or at all really if you want my opinion. I guess it doesn't matter now. All that matters is his peace, my mother's peace of mind and my entire family healing right now. We can only do the best we can for Mom, to the best of our abilities right now without neglecting our own lives, our own needs as individuals grieving ourselves. I think we're all doing a helluva' job keeping it together. And that's how we roll: pulling through no matter what the circumstances are. 

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