judecorp: (downcast)
So Father's Day is next weekend, and I'm finding myself at a bit of a loss.

It's been four years now since my father died, and now it's been two months (yesterday) since my grandfather died. I am so used to at least celebrating /something/ for Father's Day, and now what? It's been four years since I bought anything for my father, and now I don't even have to scout around for that perfect gift for Grandpa. Super sad.

Jen's father is alive (and well), but I don't usually take responsibility for that - she usually gets a card or whatever and I always concentrated on my side of the family. And I can't imagine not having Punk do some little Father's Day thing. I'm sure they will make something at day care (not sure; we started after Father's Day last year) and then what do we do with it?

My mother has been married to a man for 24 years. I do not consider him a father figure. Is that odd? This man has been in my life for 24+ years. I have never called him my step-father, only my "mother's husband." I did not live with them. I did not spend a ton of time with him. I saw my mother on Saturdays and John was often working. He was not parental; it was not his thing. He refers to himself as "Poppa John" WRT Punk. (Not to be confused with the pizza, I suppose.)

Should I send him something from Punk? I didn't last year. I have never sent him anything Father's Day related from myself. But when it comes to my side of the family now, he is the only grandfather-ly person Punk has.

That feels so odd to me. Fatherless on Father's Day. Punk has always been fatherless and I know how to deal with that, because we planned for that... but not for me.

Phooey.
judecorp: (goodbye for now)
Headed to RI to write out thank-you cards for all of the flowers/gifts in honor of my grandfather. I feel like I just did this a couple of years ago. Oh wait, it's because I did.

I'm going to try to see Muddy while I'm down there. I always say I'm going to, but this time I need to make it so.

Peace.

Thoughts

Apr. 20th, 2009 08:11 am
judecorp: (remember it)
It was really powerful and lovely to see everyone turn out for my grandfather's services over the weekend. He was a truly amazing man and touched so many lives. I am so proud of him, and proud to be a member of his family. It's funny, I don't have a particularly large family but I guess it packs a big punch nonetheless, especially when you consider my grandparents.

I feel good knowing that my grandfather never had any doubts about how much I loved him and what I thought of him. I have always been very free with the compliments over the years and have tried to show him how special he was at every holiday (and the days in between). What really touched me is hearing from others how proud he was of my daughter, his great-granddaughter. It seemed like everyone had heard about her or had seen a photo at one time or another. It reaffirms our choice to name her after him, because he truly was a great and significant person.

I have been shaped so much by my grandparents; I have learned so much about love, commitment, faith, and family from growing up in their home. I can only hope that I have done them justice over the years and am not a disappointment. I hope to pass their values down to my own children as well.

It was strange to attend a Catholic funeral after being in a Protestant church for so long. I can't say that I miss the pomp and the rigamarole. There was so much praying intended to help my grandfather get to Heaven, but honestly, if I may be so bold, Heaven was made for people like him. There is no doubt in my mind that he is now seated at the right hand of his God; he spent his life in service to God and his faith was so strong. He and my grandmother have always been such pillars of the church community in which I grew up, and it was for that reason I sought a church community for my own little family. Involvement and service were such a part of our existence as a family, and it had a tremendous effect on me. We are becoming quite active in our own church and it is a true throwback to my life as a child.

I will miss his smiles, I will miss his jokes. I will miss most of all the delight he showed in playing with my daughter. I know that she won't remember these times forever, but I take comfort in the fact that they were able to touch each other's lives, if only for mere moments. In 91 years, he was able to experience a great many things, and I am honored that a great-grandchild was one of them.

I am thankful that he died with little pain and truly little suffering. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
judecorp: (ow)
It's been crazy around here.

I have been in High Tonsil Drama since Saturday, and Sunday I almost didn't go to my grandparents' house for Easter dinner because I felt crappy and didn't want to risk possibly passing on any germs. I ended up going (since my grandfather really wanted everyone there) but never even made it to the dinner table and instead napped on the guest bed until it was time to go home. I feel bad about that, as I wasn't able to sit for dinner with my grandfather, but I had a wicked fever and couldn't eat anyway. Then we all came home.

Monday night, I couldn't sleep because my stupid tonsil hurt so much and was so swollen, and had caused my soft palate and the rest of my mouth/neck to be swollen, and advil and tylenol weren't cutting it, and it was miserable, so Jen told me to go to the ER. While I was at the ER (got there at midnight), I read a book and had to get a CT scan, which was crazy because I had to take out all of my piercings. With no mirror. Score! And then the CT scan showed that it appeared that I had multiple abcesses, so the ER doctor (who was actually quite cool) said that he was going to stick a needle into my peritonsillar area to drain it. (Don't read anymore if you are squeamish).

So I move into this dental-type chair and first he shoots me up with lidocaine and then proceeds to try three times to suck out pus. No pus. He says he has a rule that after three times, he stops. But then he wanted to do one more time. Still nothing. And then he called me the most awesome patient ever for not even flinching and being a rock star. And I got some IV antibiotics and got sent home with instructions to call my ENT doctor in the morning.

I got home at 4:30, fell asleep around 5, and Punk woke me up at 6. GOOD TIMES. I was even more swollen than before, probably from all of the poking around, and could no longer swallow and it was very difficult to talk. I called the ENT doc with a lot of effort and they told me to come in right away. He saw my CT pictures and tried AGAIN to do the needle-pus thing, twice. He also got nothing, and oh my god, by that time, I was so DONE with needles. But he said that since I couldn't swallow, couldn't take my antibiotics, and hadn't eaten since Saturday, that I needed to be admitted into the hospital. Yikes!

I drove myself over there (Tuesday morning), got admitted, and had Jen call my new job to tell them I wouldn't be in the next day for my medical screening. It took forEVer for them to get me into a bed and then they tried SIX times to get an IV (it's not that hard, people) with three different people. And then I watched a marathon of Top Chef and waited for Jen to come by with all of our tax stuff, because we still had to do our state taxes. (Whoops.) I was pretty much the laughing stock of the hospital, sitting in my bed doing taxes. Good times.

Anyway, I got a bunch of antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory, a steroid, and a bunch of other stuff. But while I was in IV hell, I got a call from my uncle that my grandfather had died that morning. And there I was stuck in the hospital and not able to go see my grandmother or anything. I pretty much told all of the staff that I was leaving the next day no matter what (although I needed to get the doctor to agree). But I started feeling a bit better and by the end of Tuesday was eating solid food, so it was all good.

The ENT doc visited me twice in the hospital on Tuesday, once at about 8pm! And then he came again around 8am on Wednesday. On Tuesday he showed up with this weird camera that goes up your nose and down your throat. I seriously hope I don't have to repeat any of these procedures ever again. Freaky. But yeah, when he came on Wednesday morning, he said things were looking much better but that my palate was (very bruised) - probably from all of that needle action, dude! - and that I could leave. WAHOO!

I got home, took a shower (thank you, Jesus), made a couple of calls to reschedule my medical screening to next week, and went to see my grandmother. Then stopped at the flower shop to order funeral flowers, came home, and got to hang out with my kid for a while.

Tomorrow's the visiting hours, with the funeral and burial on Saturday morning. I've never had to navigate a wake/funeral/burial with a toddler. Should be interesting.

I am thankful for the ability to be out of the hospital and that my grandfather had a long and prosperous life, and died peacefully during a nap in his own bed after having a nice big breakfast. God bless you, Grandpa. I love you very much.
judecorp: (getting harder)
It's amazing how quickly it happens.

Photos. )

Sigh.
judecorp: (i'm special)
1. My grandfather is really declining. He sleeps most of the day and night. As far as I know he isn't in any pain, but everything wipes him out. It's really sad because he has always been so lively. Lots of people have been coming to visit him (friends and relatives), and he recently had a priest visit him for confession and Anointing of the Sick. The fact that he asked for these things pretty much sums it up. I'm going to have Punk make him a picture and bring it to him this weekend.

2. Speaking of Punk pictures, I recently mailed some of Punk's artwork to my mother. It was one of my good deeds and it really made her day, so that's good. I am not terribly close with my mother but heck, we don't have a lot of family. And Punk's her only grandkid so she deserves a little fridge art.

3. The weather this past weekend was positively brilliant and we spent a lot of time outside. I can't wait for actual spring and summer so we can fill Punk's days with lots of outings. On Saturday, I took her to a local cemetery just to walk around and step in puddles. It was her first time and she is definitely hooked. On Sunday, we went for a little walk with some friends over on the Hampshire College campus. We took a nice, long walk and then went to visit the cows on the campus farm and also stopped at the campus sugar shack. Within about 1 minute of our Sunday walk, Punk tripped and totally bit it on the pavement. She has road rash on her cheek and lip. Poor little clumsy thing. :(

4. She knows my name. Tonight, she was hollering through the monitor when she was supposed to be sleeping: Mama! Mama! Mama Jude! Mama Jude! Jude!

Ridiculous bragging. )
judecorp: (downcast)
I tried to call my grandfather on Monday, but he was sleeping. I called back this morning and got to talk to him for a while.

He told me that it's probably time for me to take over control of our joint bank account. I always said that I never cared about that account because it always seemed to mean so much to him to take care of it for me. (It's a CD, and he always liked to go to the bank and find the best rate or whatever.) I knew that I had plenty of time to mess with it.

He is starting to make preparations already. I don't like that one bit.
judecorp: (i'm special)
We spent the weekend in Washington DC seeing folks from the IVP. It was a very good time. Folks came from as far away as Australia and Ireland. Makes our little trip seem like nothing at all.

It was an exhausting weekend because Punk insisted on waking up before 6am every morning. I am hoping it was because it was light in the room and NOT some new trend. BUT, she went to sleep on her own for naps and bedtime every night, and never went to bed later than 8pm. She even slept through an evening of MANY screaming and running toddlers and preschoolers. I was shocked.

Got home to find out that my grandfather does indeed have cancer and it is indeed terminal. But isn't everything terminal when you are 91? No idea on the timeline of things, which irks me because I am a super planner. Also, he still has not told my grandmother and is waiting until at least she is out of the nursing home to tell her. (So if you are my cousin and you are reading this, SHHHHH!)

I think having a child who goes to bed early and gets up early kind of isolates you in a social setting, because we were so exhausted so early and were going to bed by 10pm, and therefore missed a lot of adult fun. I hope people liked us anyway. We got to share the guest rooms area with [livejournal.com profile] hopemcg and [livejournal.com profile] meglett, arguably two of my most favorite people, and their delightful daughter. So there was that.

Mama brag, feel free to skip. )

And now? Vampires and bed.

Tumor

Feb. 5th, 2009 07:12 pm
judecorp: (downcast)
So it looks like my grandfather most likely has cancer. They found a tumor between his pancreas and his liver, and there is suspected "something" in his liver also, as well as perhaps his lungs. How long this has been going on is a mystery, but it is believed to be the culprit behind his stomach discomfort and incessant heartburn. Why his primary care doctor was not all over this is beyond me, but it really doesn't help to be upset about that.

Right now I have zero information outside of this, so I don't know if there is any sort of prognosis or whatever. I know there is no plan to try to remove the tumor on the pancreas and I'm pretty sure his body's not terribly equipped to withstand aggressive treatment. He is not telling my grandmother right now. (She is currently in a nursing home recuperating from bowel surgery.)

He is 91 years old and I know that he has been blessed with a long and mostly healthy life full of family and travel. I am trying to focus on all of the time we HAVE been able to spend together as well as trying to make the most of any time we have to spend together in the future. It is a gift and I have been trying to cherish it.

But I'm really not ready for him to die any time soon.
judecorp: (goodbye for now)

dadgrandpa
Originally uploaded by judecorp.
Jen and I had just moved to Boston a few weeks prior, but we splurged and spent gaggles of money that we didn't have (we didn't have jobs yet) to get 4 tickets to an afternoon Red Sox game - Father's Day presents for my father and grandfather. Grandpa, Dad, my brother and I caught at least one Sox game every summer with the Freemasons and numerous games in Pawtucket (Red Sox AA team) when I was a young person. The Masons stopped taking trips when I was a teenager because it was getting too expensive.

At the time, it seemed so important to do this, to buy these tickets and convince my dad to drive my grandfather up, because we didn't know if we'd ever get another chance to go to a game with my grandfather. He's 88, after all, and though he is pretty healthy you just never know. We didn't want to miss an opportunity to have a Fenway Father's Day with Grandpa and regret it later.

I didn't know how wrong and how right I was. The Sox finally won a World Series in 2004 and the team was positively on fire. The crowd was crazy. We had a great time. It was the last Father's Day gift I would ever buy for my Dad.

And I think it was possibly his favorite.

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