And Then It’s Been Over A Week

The false alarms ceased.

Last Monday night, the 27th, my older sister, the second oldest of us kids, passed away.

Surrounded by those who loved her the most, and the ones she loved so dearly, the meds were shut off and she drifted off into a sleep and then away from us all.

I wasn’t ready for the feelings of loss. I wasn’t ready to see her kids and grandkids feel her loss. I wasn’t ready for the reality, the tears, and the funeral.

Between her death and her burial was the funeral of my uncle. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. I still not sure how to capture the emotions, to make them make sense. I can’t nicely tuck away the hurt, the anger, or the sadness. I also know life must go on. I really don’t want it to.

I hate that so many around me don’t have to deal with it. Even within minutes of learning of her death, I had to endure smiles and laughter around me. Almost too much to bear.

My sister is gone. Never to hear her voice. Never to read her crazy facebook posts. Never to finally spend those moments remembering back when. Back when we were kids. Back when we were young parents. Or now, now that were old parents.

I couldn’t find the words to share this past week. Forgive me. I still don’t exactly know the words to share now.

My sister was a hell raiser. She burst out from our Mormon upbringing and broke all the rules. She drifted in and out of our lives as trouble came and went in hers. She live in, what seemed to me, chaos but brought out of it five wonderful nieces and nephews for us all to share.

Her last days were good and bad, as the ICU goes. Would she make it, would she not? Some moments it felt like minutes left, others like she would be done with it all and be ready to go home and on to the next concert.

Her last night, however, was mine.

After sending the exhausted other people home to get rest, I promised to stay with her through the night and to stay up for her should she need anything, or should something change. Everyone left.

For the next several hours, my sister and I visited, just the two of us, in-between her sleeping episodes. We talked of old times, we spoke of new times, and we laughed at the stupid late night hokie westerns on the TV. She seemed strong, ready to beat this thing, and she made me believe during that long night that there would be others. There wouldn’t be.

In the early morning, things turned. She wasn’t quite as with it. The doctors words weren’t so encouraging. Her voice got lighter and her breathing got heavier.

That afternoon and into the evening, she said her good byes to everyone individually- although at times we weren’t sure if she thought maybe it was just good night she was syaing. She told the group, “I love you all.” And all sounded back, “we love you too”.

And then she was gone from our lives.

My uncle’s funeral was a short, graveside service only- as he requested. The military sent him off with a gun-fire salute, taps, and a presentation of the colors to his son.

My sister was memorialized two days later in tears but with laughter as we reminisced and shared our version of her with everyone else.

I don’t feel either summed up who these people were and what they meant to us. But how can any service do that?

It just doesn’t seem right that life without them just goes on.


Post # 4-007

False Alarm

I thought tonight was the time I would say my final good bye to my sister.

Her kids surrounded her, the setting sun shine through the window, and she seemed so weak and frail.

Yet it wasn’t to be this night.

My sister, always one to do things the way she would do them, rallied and got stronger as the evening wore on.

A false hope? Perhaps. But a reprieve from feelings and a situation I do not feel ready to tackle.

I’ll take it.

Post #4-006

When it Rains, it Pours.

Tonight is an evening of worry and concern. I left early from work to care for my wife who call and asked if I could come home early. She is sick and has been sick more often lately. The last time was a trip to the ER for a long night and no answers. Tonight, it’s just about trying to make her feel comfortable.

Upon arrival at home, I learned that one of my sisters has gone into ICU due to liver failure. Because I’m not sure what my wife is fighting, I hesitate to go to see my sister in her compromised situation.

Emotionally, I feel stretched and drained. And a little helpless. I hope this weekend brings healing.


Post #4-005

Not The Slightest Clue

I have a faint memory that my parents have identified from my description as taking place in 1969. I was 3. I remember a hospital room and being inside an oxygen tent. I also remember being angry at the nurse for stealing my blanket, brought to me from home, when I would fall asleep. I was unconscious to anything else in the world. Never did I imagine that during this same time, that world was much different for my uncle.IMG_20180822_215013

Between the months of August 1968 and August 1969, My uncle Russ was in a far away Asian country fighting in a war. I was in California. He patrolled the jungles and climbed through the mud. I was mastering toddler walk. He fought for his life with a gun in his hands and wits about his head; his hunting skills being used to run point more times than not on his patrols. I fought asthma; my skill set not even mastering breathing.

What a brat I must’ve been all those years. Garnering attention for being sick, being praised for getting good grades, and having love heaped upon me by my grandparents- his parents. He struggled with demons that followed him back from Viet Nam.

Yet he never spoke but kind words to me. He helped me learn how to fish and run a boat. Later on, he played with my kids and doted on them when we came to visit.

I always wondered why he never seemed to be in step with the normal world. A loving wife, a family life, or even a regular job seemed to all escape him.

Our lives took entirely different paths. I got the easy one. He had the hard one allotted to him. I reaped the benefits of the godawful hell he went through. And he never said a word.

In fact I never heard him talk of any of it. Never did he complain or make me feel like I owed him something. It has only been in these later years that I knew anything of what he went through. And only a small part of it.  IMG_20180822_215201

Today I finally saw the photos of a young man in a far away place. I held the Bronze Star, awarded to him for his ordeals.

Luckily, I had been able to tell him how much I appreciated all he had done for me and my family before he passed. But I don’t think I ever had a clue as to how much that appreciating should’ve been.

Uncle Russ. Thank you again. I hope the rest you find meets what you deserve.




In the House of My Enemy

Hey Kids,

Back when I wore the colors of Bountiful High School, there was not a time, save an athletic contest, that I allowed myself to enter the wretched hive of Viewmont High School.

I did not consort with students of Viewmont High School. I did not believe anything good could come from Viewmont High School. And never did I believe I would ever have anything to do with Viewmont High School.VHS_LOGO_002

And now, over thirty years after the end of my high school career, I find myself attending my third and last graduating ceremony of Viewmont High school, surrounded by the Maroon and Gold, and inundated with repeated speakers praising the values and greatness of Viewmont High School.

I guess, in the light of the family that my wife has made me part of, maybe Viewmont High School isn’t as bad as I once thought.


Post 3-153


Hey Kids,

This evening I sit here with no kids left in high school. This is not what I thought this day would bring.

Graduation today was supposed to be the celebration of my fourth child’s last day in High school. Happen stance would lead us to sit next to a teacher whose daughter happen to know that my fifth child had also completed enough online classes to qualify to graduate today as well. Luckily with the head’s up, I was able to watch both my boys “walk”.

I didn’t see that situation coming.

And what was going to be another year of a child in school has evaporated.

I didn’t think this would feel like how it feels. I didn’t think this would happen so soon.

I’m still in shock.


Post 3-146

Open Door?

Hey Kids,

Today the door was opened and to both of our surprise, I was there. Delivering a card of birthday wishes, usually left at an unopened door, my knock was answered.

I saw the surprise fade into dread and then regret for not checking first who might be at the door. Your eyes sunk down, unwilling for the most part to take me in your sight. I understood, maybe more than you know.

But you were polite and spoke with me, answering my questions. I kept them vague and nonintrusive to encourage further dialogue. I savored your words, knowing they may be the last I ever hear. I only wish my words to you were of more value, but you were not there to see me and I dared not indulge.

I love you my son. I miss you. Thank for your kindness of decency, your wish of a good birthday to me, and your respect to give to me a little time.

I will treasure this moment. May it become lost, however, in a sea of others more welcomed in the future.


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