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Sunday, July 31, 2011

High Summer

We're wallowing in it right now - that hot middle section of the summer season that beats you down to a panting slug ... do slugs pant? I assume they have lungs....  We've had about a dozen days of 90+ temperatures - the plus creeping over the 100 mark at times - and yes. I know. I'm in the south. What do I expect. Well ... I expect this but I would prefer some California weather - cool crisp days and breezy nights that suggest a blanket. Ah well. Secretly (and not so secretly at that, if I'm posting it here) I am proud that I can endure Virginia's summers. And at this juncture, I know my favorite Autumn is not far away.

My favorite 9 year old cousin was visiting last week, the last week of the summer reading club. Our final Tuesday program was the most wonderful play put on by the Traveling Jones Theater - a fast pace introduction to American literature .... something you might think beyond my elementary school age audience. Only you would be wrong if you thought so. Most of these really great stories can be enjoyed on multiple levels - and even Poe was introduced with enough bounce and energy to hold my little guys spellbound
without scaring them.

The whole week was packed with activities because Cousin F and I like to do so many of the same things. In a way it was a repeat of the fun last month - with water color painting and sewing and reading but this week we spent a LOT more time in the river. We also had LD and Cousin L so we could play Marco Polo and Blind Man's Bluff and VirginiaBeach. What? You don't know how to play VirginiaBeach? That's a game invented by BD. First you submerge the canoe. Then two people ... preferably, but not necessarily, under 100 lbs ... sit in it, one at each end, legs beneath the struts. Then everyone else stands around the canoe and shoves it back and forth lengthwise. With each change of direction, the water splashes up into the face of the person at one end, then the other ... and eventually you splash all the water out of the canoe. It's the sort of game that makes kids squeal with delight. It also takes a couple of strong adults to do the shoving ... good upper body workout.

The highlight of the week was an evening at the races ... This was my first, and so far only, Groupon purchase, bought way back before Daddy died, when Sister and I decided it was about time we got together for some fun. We hook up often to care for our parents but it was making our relationship more of a business partnership. We needed a little lightness. Also, I'd never been to Colonial Downs, although it's been open about a decade. As a Groupon newbie I misunderstood the instructions and bought 4 tickets instead of two. Or perhaps the Fun Angels were directing me so that I'd have enough tickets to take both little girls. We had a blast learning how to read the racing form, getting tips from my horsey sister and B-i-L, and eating way too much food.

The coupons came with a free $2 bet for each person. Now, I am not a better - I actually get bored with betting in about 60 seconds - though I loved picking out a horse I thought would win and cheering him on. The girls were fascinated and pretty good at it too, so I was really glad they lost. It's better that they learn early that the fun part is being with friends, watching beautiful animals, and eating good food. We all lost actually and were philosophical about it. The girls got the message.

I took Friday off so I could be with my guests - and we could play and swim and hike and paint and sew ... all of which we did. And then we entertained BH with watermelon and tuna salad. And then watched White Christmas because it was so hot.

We took Cousin F home yesterday. Once I got close to the city I was flooded with memories about the last time I was making this trip ... the last few times ... when we were saying goodbye to Daddy. How weird it feels to realize it was less than a month ago - that it was in July  - that it is still July.  It was a sad feeling, realizing that I won't ever go see him again. There won't be any more snappy quips, no more opportunities to push him around in his wheel chair, no more flipping through photo albums with him. I hate it that those times are gone. I hate it that there are neighborhoods that I won't visit again because ... there won't be anyone to visit. But there is a comfort here too - this feeling of rightness and completion - with Daddy no longer in a failing situation, but somewhere else - his soul set free. I'll probably always feel nostalgic about certain streets and neighborhoods but new memories will layer on top of these tender ones. I know that. Just not there yet.

And now, on August eve, the house is almost empty. LD will be here another day before he heads out west, and we'll be down one man and one dog. How quiet everything will be. How different. Whatever will I do in all this space - with all this emptiness?

Hmm. Well.

Just you wait and see.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

There is Knitting

Lace knitting at that. But only a wee little bit of it. I've got company. I'm also still a little stupid after Daddy's death. Work was wildly busy up till Tuesday. And this is a lovely lace pattern, but the repeats are hard for me to remember. Thankfully (?) I will be knitting 80 more of them so I ought to learn it sometime. It's from Victorian Lace Today but I'm making a rectangular scarf instead of a semi-circular shawl.

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Hot Hot Hot

Too hot for knitting. Too hot for sleeping. Too hot for anything. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Knitting Brain Still Works

And it is keeping me up at night - with Knitting Math Issues!! I have never designed my own lace scarf with knitted-on border before. Someone with a high school education ought to be able to do the math calculations ... just figure for every slipped stitch along the edges of the center panel you knit 2 rows of lace border. As long as the number of slipped stitches divides evenly into the number of double rows in the border you should get a nice flat piece. It's the calculation for the corners that is tickling my brain at night because you need to connect 2 and sometimes even 3 double rows of border to each of several corner stitches in order for there to be enough lace fabric to fan out into nice square-ish corners. So which border pattern you pick plays into how many stitches you'll cast on ... and vice versa.

For 2 nights now I've been dreaming of graph paper and stitch patterns and picking up edge stitches so in honor of my insomnia I give you an old cartoon from the early days of this blog.

If Bess gets 5 stitches to the inch and
She has a 24" circular needle and
She is subscribed to 4 knitting magazines then
How many hours will it take to explain the 10 balls of cashmere on the VISA bill?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Moving Forward

It's been a week now, since Daddy's funeral. A weird, wounded, warm week with all the things that were dropped the week before crammed into days that were already full of stuff. Friends and coworkers have been enormously kind and helpful, reaching out to me, touching me with notes or phone calls, allowing me to do my grieving in my own way - which is to talk about it. Talk and talk and talk and talk and talk - mostly abut Daddy, a little about TheFamily, even some about the greater ring of beyond. One darling friend laughed at me, saying 'I can't believe how all over the place you are when you talk about your father' and boy was she ever right. Because with Daddy there was no one emotion - no one relationship - it was always all over the place. It felt good to have that friend recognize it, point it out to me, and laugh about it. It helped me laugh too.

I had no idea how often during the day I'd store up little things to share with him the next time I visited. I did it all week long, from buying a new dress - he was nothing if not sartorially splendid - to a photograph of my guys cutting down the big pine tree. I'm thrilled by how much of the darker stuff has just melted away. In fact, it struck me last week that it's that way for most of us - we can forget about the dark stuff when the person who wielded it is gone and can no longer use it around us any more. Then, if there were other, brighter things about that person - they remain. I've seen it happen when friends have lost really important loved ones. I am no different.

It was ghastly hot too. So hot you couldn't sleep at night. And then blessedly cool - after a powerful storm rolled in. The weekend has been a sweet chunk carved out of a Virginia summer. I did almost nothing at all. Took a long walk. Ran a vacuum over the floors, ran a couple of loads of laundry through the machine. Flipped through a bunch of lightweight magazines with shiny photos and no text. (Love me some People Magazine) I even picked up some yarn and knitting needles and a little graph paper printed off my computer's spreadsheet program. I am thinking a green lace scarf knit in some Spirit Trail Fiberworks club yarn.

And so. It was the week where you thought "A week ago Daddy was alive" and then "a week ago sisters were here" and then "a week ago ...." I'm glad that week is over. I'll layer new memories on top of last week's and then new ones on top of them and the arc of time that is my life will curve on into the future, feeling like it's straight but really, just a segment of the great round universe. I think I will start today.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Singing Daddy Home

When I got in the car, Monday morning, to drive back to the city for Daddy's funeral, I told BD the one thing I hoped for was to have birds singing when we were at the grave site. That happened once at a funeral for a farming cousin of ours and it would be the most comforting thing to imagine the birds singing Daddy home. Among many other beautiful moments that happened that day, there was a mocking bird who sat in one of the only trees on that windswept greensward and serenaded the entire ceremony. At the end. When we were holding on to our composure with all our might.

The funeral mass was held at the beautiful, in my mind, most beautiful Catholic church in Richmond, St. Benedict's Church. It was the church I went to in high school. It has an organ and a glorious music program and a kind tender music director. Mama was already there when we parked on Shepherd St., dressed and coiffed and ready to participate in everything. She was a little bewildered but mostly wearing her gracious company face. We'd hired a nurse she knows to help but we kept her with us all the time.

Fabulous cousins were arriving - even beloved Haile cousins - warming my heart and sucking up some of the sadness. Darling men, who I last saw as boys, trekked the miles across state lines to hold us and hug us. And there were children at the service. I know of nothing that makes such a difference, when I'm staring at death, as the sight of youth, with its promise of a future, dressed in Sunday best, ready to participate in real life passages.

Sister B played hymns from the choir loft and in those old style churches, violin notes soar out over the sanctuary like angel voices. It's odd - in all the years I went to St. G's I was never once asked to play my violin for any service - and at that time I was very good. Funny the things that you think of when you go back to childhood haunts. But then - I remember the 'hip' masses were all Folk Masses and we all sang Michael Row the Boat Ashore to guitars. Ahh well.

There was an ocean of nostalgia beneath the surface of the whole ceremony. Father Kaufman gave a nice homily that talked about the generous heart and made no false references to my sainted father... who might have risen from the coffin had he done so. It would have been much nicer if he hadn't used a personal microphone. That church does not need amplification and it was big enough and empty enough and made of enough stone to echo his voice back onto itself to the point that most of what he said was unintelligible - like it was to me, when I was tiny and mass was still said in Latin (and I thought the priest was offering dominoes for breakfast).

My cousin J spoke about Daddy, weaving stories of his own with tales he'd gleaned from the rest of us. He is a superb speaker and fortunately, his microphone had less reverb so I hope people could hear him better. I could. Mama could not.

After the ceremony the cortege snaked through the city with a police escort, first with a Richmond squad car and then at the county line with three motorcycles. Daddy would have loved that - being escorted. The cemetery is way out in the western part of the county where we were greeted by both the singing bird and a full military honor guard of 8. The heat was fierce and there was a breeze almost strong enough to be called wind.   It blew so hard against the flag the soldiers had a difficult time folding it, even having to unfold it and try a second time. But eventually they were able to present it to Mama ... before everyone baking in that noon day sun was completely singed.

When all the ceremony had been fulfilled, we drove to the Capital Alehouse out on West Broad where we'd reserved the back room for the afternoon - and things fell into a traditional Bono Funeral Reception - or Irish Party - whichever name you prefer. We are not a solemn sober kind of family. We are loud. We are boisterous. We are really all pretty vivid, now I come to think of it. We had a fiddler - my sister - who played the songs and gigs of Appalachia and Ireland. We had boys lifting beer and toasting Daddies of the world. We had lots of food and a signature family desert made of chocolate and whipped cream. We sent Daddy off with laughter and tears and memories and more hugs than a teddy bear. We did it right for him. We did it right in honor of him. We absolutely know that he's been reunited with his brother and his sisters, his mother and father, with Earle Corcoran, his best friend from WWII days. And without a single doubt I know ... God is nigh.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake, From the skies.
All is well,safely rest,
God is nigh.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The family will receive friends 5 to 7 p.m.

Henry Bonosm.jpgAnd there were friends. So many friends came last night to pay respects to Daddy, to comfort his children and to reminisce about this flamboyant man.  Fifty of us and more gathered lovingly, with tears and smiles and even some laughter - which is quite a number to bid goodbye to a man who was not a public figure but who had lived almost 87 years. They came from all walks of his life:  Neighbors, some he had not lived beside since 1977; Colleagues from work - though he'd been retired since 1979; Army buddies; Friends; Family; Brothers of brothers-in-law. 
Each had a story to tell, unique and precious. I was amazed to hear from an elementary school girlfriend how much impact he had on her - although - once she tweaked the misty shroud of time, I remembered those moments, those times, which were so pivotal to her. Yes. He did have a way of making you feel special. I was touched to hear from a high school girlfriend how much she loves the old photos of him. It's true. I am so lucky to have them - and to be able share them. My opinion of Daddy was confirmed as workmates and army colleagues told of how efficiently, kindly, cleanly and thoroughly he organized things - how he made it easy for other people to do a good job. It's true. His work ethic was phenomenal and his teaching skills were beyond compare.
This gathering together before the ceremony of burial was an enormous boon. I had no idea how much these loving people could lift the hurt and sadness from my heart. I know that Daddy loved to gather people around him, so his spirit must be pleased right now, even though he always growled that he "didn't want a funeral". I always laughed at him and told him if he didn't want one, he better be prepared to come back and stop us, because I was planning to make it an Event. 
Which we are - the sisters and I. But it will be an event of love and ritual and tenderness and thanksgiving and sorrow. An event of gratitude and honor - of  respect and acknowledgement. We will give Daddy back to God with a tearful sort of gladness, knowing that in the grand scheme of things, the time we'll be apart is really very short - nothing more than the time it takes for one snowflake to fall and join the great swath that covers the forest.

Friday, July 8, 2011

He's Gone

Quietly, peacefully, just as we'd picked the final prayer for his funeral, my daddy slipped away on Wednesday night. It feels as if a force greater than gravity has gone from my life - as if I could float away myself any moment now. There was so much that was good about his last hours it's almost wicked of me to resent death so much but I can tell, just below the surface, there is a bubbling emotion made of  grief, loss and a kind of adolescent sulkiness.  I'm tamping it down with a sledgehammer made up of images of my vibrant daddy trembling and drowsing and gasping for breath. Never - ever - in a gadzillion years - not for my most elemental yearning to keep him with me - would I ask him to linger in that state. And with all my consciousness I am pulling up the good - no - the grand memories of him ... and a few of the not so grand.

I suspect that a Daddy is always going to be a monumental presence in his children's lives but I can't imagine anybody's father looming larger than mine did. Everything I can possibly think about Daddy has to be prefaced by the bigness of him, although he was not a big man:. 5'7" on his WWII discharge papers and 165 lbs. But my goodness he had a personality that rivaled King Kong - often in more ways than size.

My very earliest memory includes him - though only as That Man in the Front Seat of the old 1940's car I was riding in. I asked mama about that memory once and she said it was Christmas 1953. I was 15 months old. And I don't remember him so much as his voice scant months later, singing Down in the Valley to me and making everything "all fixed".  But he was the first man I ever loved and he set my standard for handsome men   worthy of my admiration: bald and with glasses. Later, of course, he helped define so many other things for me: energy, courge, a grasp of money, physical activity, love of animals, vibrant participation in life. He even taught me how to drive a car .... with no tears! He was a doer - a man who jumped in and got going - part of that 'can-do' generation who shaped the 20th century and he swept us along in his wake.

We knew he was the Big Boss in the family, though the Little Boss, Mama, kept a more constant eye on us. Like the principal in an elementary school, he was The Man you didn't want to be brought up before. But he could fill your world with magic and often did. He sang dreadfully - tunelessly and without rhythm. I once asked Mama what kind of dancer he was. "He's an arm-pumper" was her reply. Yep. That's how he danced. I saw my cousin dance just this way at his daughter's wedding and such a wave of love washed over me. When I was about 2 I fell and ruptured the artery above my left thigh. Treatment was long and intense and required driving into the city on Monument Avenue, which was quaintly paved with cobblestones once you crossed the county line. Those stones made the car tires hum and as soon as I heard that sound I knew we were going to that giant doctor who was going to tear 40 miles of wickedly sticking tape off my belly. I'd start to cry and Daddy would start to sing Goober Peas, in an attempt to distract me. That road, that song and the sound of tires on cobblestones still make me tear up, almost 60 years later. Memories.

He was the bedtime story reader. Uncle Wiggly, Ozma of Oz, Twinkle-toes the mouse, all of them filled my imagination with the thrill of adventure. I had a hard time learning to read - didn't actually begin reading till I was well into 3rd grade. My sister, who was reading at some prodigious age like 3, had already set his expectations pretty high and here I was not even meeting basic public school standards. I remember bringing him a book and asking for a story. I also remember his answer, "You're in school now. You have to read yourself". It was a devastation. It also didn't last - because he read the next volume of Uncle Wiggly after Santa put it under the tree for me.

We lived in a little starter home off Skipwith Avenue. They all came with unfinished attics and sometime after the 3rd baby was born he bought a Craftsman table saw and finished off a bedroom for my big sister and me. It was all pine paneled and he built window seats and closets. I was so proud of him. This was proof that My Daddy could do ANYthing. His workshop was on one side of the stairwell while my sister and I slept on the other. He would work on these projects at night and the searing sound and the sweet scent of saws cutting through wood were a beloved lullaby accompanying me into Nod. In subsequent houses there were no empty spaces where he could craft our nest and though they were all nice houses, I always thought it was a shame they came already complete. That same table saw restored my older sister's 18th century Deleware home and then built the house I live in now. It's on the back porch still.

As his career prospered and income rose we moved to bigger houses, first into Chesterfield and then into the city proper. We were a part of the great wave of baby boomers who flooded Chesterfield county in the late 50's and early 60's. There weren't schools enough for all us kids nor were there other public services we take for granted today. No library. No rescue squad. No fire department. When I was 9, a stupid woman started a leaf fire in her yard and then went inside to take a nap. That fire got loose and threatened to burn the whole county down. All the daddy's who were working in the city at the time got called home to help fight that fire. Mama was supposed to pick me up after school that day and I waited and waited and waited for ever for her. All the buses had gone and most of the teachers too, when the principal came out and told me about the fire and that my mother was coming. When I got home, Daddy was black with soot and I remember my little 9 year old chest swelling with pride. My daddy was a HERO. More proof that he could do anything.

My daddy also paid $10 for me! Yes. It was Easter of 1960 and we were in Miami FL in some hotel with a swimming pool. It was almost the family joke that I was 'afraid' to learn how to swim and yet that was where all the kids were - where all the fun was. At one end were the big kids, swimming and playing and at the other end were old mothers with babies. I was way too old to stay with the babies so I figured if I could just stand close to the deep end I would at least look like I was playing with the kids my age. Suddenly I slipped and sank to the bottom. A little boy noticed and dove down to pull me up. What a commotion. I am sure there were tears and lots of fluttering adult activity but what I remembered was my daddy pulling out his wallet and selecting a $10 bill, which he handed to that little boy. Immediately I stopped crying, full of wonderful amazement that Daddy thought I was worth a whole ten dollars!!

He also made me learn to swim that summer. There were tears and he was both stern and firm, but at the end of the third day I could swim well enough to pass muster and I have adored swimming ever since. I realize, as I write down this oft' told story, though, that what he also gave me was a huge boost into freedom. Oh Daddy. How many many wonderful tools you gave me. How grand my life has been, for lo these 40 years, all because of you.

And my goodness, I'm glad I am seeing that because ... La, how we fought those last few years of my adolescence. It was so hot and so bitter that we went several years barely speaking to each other. Well. That much personality clashing with this much personality was bound to be hard. And I never thought - till just this moment - about how much grief he was suffering as his children grew up and left home. I certainly remember how hard it was for me to let go of my one chick. He had to let go of 4 of them. No wonder he held on so tightly.

He also taught me how to handle money - a story I'm sure I've told here. It is so funny because it began when he stupidly, clumsily, and with no plan for how to conduct this conversation, asked me if I "knew the facts of life". When I told him I did not and he uttered his first revealing words of "The Conversation"  I stopped him immediately, in dismay, sure he had been about to reveal to me the secrets of fixed rate mortgages and how you get a bank loan to buy a car and how would I ever convince someone to hire me for a job that paid real money. On safe and familiar ground then, he did open that Ali-Baba's cave and taught me everything he knew about money. Another fabulous gift that has made it possible for me to choose whatever lifestyle I wanted. Another reason to thank the good Lord for giving me such a daddy.

He was a man of indefatigable energy. He worked countless hours - at his 40 hour a week job with the IRS, in the Army Reserves for 30 years, and as an adjunct professor of tax law at the University of Richmond's night law school. He was so popular that the day students began selecting his class instead of the regular day classes. At some point the university decided that nobody but a lawyer could teach these classes and let him go - although by then he was a G-12 in the appellate division of the IRS and probably knew more about tax law than anybody in Richmond. Just another example of the tyranny of academe. Around the time he retired my brother-in-law gave him an old printing press and he immediately created a little business printing things like t-shirts and hat labels for a local company. By this time he had left the city for the rapidly sub-urbanizing Powhatan County. He had 15 acres where he could keep horses and dogs and small tractors and hay balers. He could be busy all day long doing just what he wanted to. I believe these were the happiest years of his life and there were a lot of them. He retired at 55 and was active until about 23 years. Once he was receiving social security he took up sky diving and had something like 15 jumps. He had his knee replaced twice so he could continue to ride horses into his late 70's. He volunteered on county committees. He taught dog obedience lessons. He gave horse riding lessons to countless numbers of children. He was a substitute grandfather to his great nephews and nieces. He was a stellar grandfather to his own grandchildren. He took LD along on his karate lessons. He told me some of his deepest and darkest WWII stories. He was constantly offering his children money, even when they didn't need it. His dream was to win the lottery so that he could leave his children wealthy. I would laugh at him and quote him "Un insensé et son argent sont bientôt séparés" 

Oh La! More memories flood back over me. Daddy is the only man - really, the only person, I would ever have let go out and buy me clothes. Not that he did, mind you, but he did for my little sister and he had the most excellent taste in clothing. He was always dapper. He had superb taste. He knew what made a woman look her best. He had no opinion about size or shape - he admired all women so long as they were well turned out. I always dressed up to go visit him. Even if I was in jeans or shorts, I'd be sure my hair was coiffed, my outfit was accessorized, and my make-up was just right. He loved him some well dressed women.

Could I ever really tell all about Daddy? Probably not - and probably I'll try again and again over the next few days. But this year there have been a few events that hinted the end was near. The feeling that a divine hand was putting things in order for him shivered over my mind several times. He and I went over a pivotal event in our relationship last September - a dark thing that we both thought was behind us. But after a good look, we both saw ... at least, I hope he saw too, that it was not so dark and certainly way way behind us and that it had nothing to do with how much we both loved each other. At Christmas someone with an important connection to his greatest war loss reached out to him, all the way across the country, and stroked his heart. And in May he and mama were both at the same rehab center where they had lots of time together.

But in June his health began to collapse. He had congestive heart failure. He had fibrous lungs. He had a kidney infection. The doctor t'sked and shook his head. The sisters and grandchildren flew in from afar. The people from hospice came to ease the transition. We snuck his dog into the hospital and nurses promised to guard the door. Beloved great nephews and nieces flooded his room with their vibrant energy and passionate love. He slipped into sleep. And then he stepped through that final door.

Oh Daddy. Please. Go build a bedroom for me and I'll see you when it's ready for me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gathering the Clan Together

In the end I decided to go back to the city and I'm very glad I did. By the time I was ready to come back home all the sisters had gathered, there had been hugs and jokes and though we can't all visit Daddy in a phalanx, I know he'll be pleased to see each of his daughters over the next 2 days. 

We haven't given Mama the full scope of Daddy's illness - who would, if they have to then leave her alone to brood? She knows that if the far away sisters are worried enough to come it must be a serious situation. Typically, she did not ask for details and I hope she sort of forgets about it. She is all but bedridden with a fragile constitution. Nobody is going to take her to the hospital for fear of the health consequences. 

And besides - he's such a fighter he could rally. We don't really know exactly what tomorrow has in store and I, for one, am prepared to be fooled by Mother Nature, Modern Medicine and That Dad of Mine. After all, this is the man who took up sky diving when he was in his 60's!! With a guy like that ... there's no telling.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Riding the Roller Coaster

I don't do rides. I don't go to theme parks. The only things that move that I get on or in are automobiles, canoes and air planes. One of the routes I take to TheCity takes me past Kings Dominion and from the highway you can see the roller coasters - often in operation, with the little train of cars doing loop-the-loops and making their precipitous drops. Ugh. No thanks. Life will give me enough roller coaster rides - I don't need to seek those kinds of thrills.

And that's just what life is giving me, and my sisters and niece and nephew. Daddy is seriously ill, on top of being seriously old and seriously infirm, in the hospital in Richmond. The doctor told my sister he wouldn't be going home and I don't think they say stuff like that lightly. Last weekend he was in ICU with more plugs and ports than an Internet Server. Tuesday LD had a lively 2 hour visit with him in his regular hospital room. Friday he began to fail. Saturday he looked like the end was on us. Yesterday he was a little better.

The far-away sisters will be in Richmond by this afternoon, if only for brief visits. The custodial daughter and I made more grim arrangements yesterday, though the experience was calm and friendly. She and I make an awesome team. It is much easier to pick out flowers and prayer cards when you are not weeping. The reward was a visit to Daddy where he could talk a little and laugh at funny stories we told him. A quiet laugh from behind an oxygen mask, but laughter just the same and that always lightens the heart.

Today I may just choose to step off that roller coaster and stay home. I know I'll be back on the road again at least once this week - because sister and I have a final appointment to keep. And I will want to visit Daddy again. It may be that leaving him to enjoy special alone time with the other sisters would be the right choice. Or it could be that I am a shirker. At this point I don't know and haven't decided.

Right now I'm just hangin' in there.