Day 181

Honoring a Veteran

Vet's Pride

Did you know that my dad served in Vietnam? He is very proud of his time. He worked as a Communications guy… ended up a Sergeant before he left. There are alot of things around the house to remind us. His license plate was notated, we bought him books about it, he watched a ton of shows about it and is a life-long member of the American Legion. We found some of his old photos from when he served. Amazing shots into such a different part of my dad’s life.

He’s been waking up lately talking about it. Most of the conversation isn’t real. We think that he is seeing things related to his experience. His nurse specifically asked us if he was and said that this is common.

Did you know that Agent Orange can cause Lung Cancer? Now, my dad also smoked for years. But, to think that we have people who serve our country and might end up not being served by it? My dad applied for benefits from the VA when he found out. It was his final way to try and set up something to help take care of the family.

We have still yet to hear. Every day we get the mail, he asks if we heard. Every day, we say no.

Photo taken with: Nikon D700, Nikon 50mm f/1.8

Day 180

The Ever-Vigilant Companion

Angels All Around

My mom hasn’t left dad’s side in days. I mean she showers, goes to the bathroom, comes out to the kitchen and stuff. But really, she won’t leave. We’ve offered her time to sleep elsewhere or to go and read a book, but she continues to stay in the room.

Dad wants it that way. She holds his hand, reads the Bible to him, sings in the Oldies. She runs out to get him drinks and/or food. She adminsters his meds. She tucks his “hospital gown” back on his shoulders. She massages his legs, gives him lip medix or just a kiss.

I’m not sure how she does it all day. And she’s been doing it for months. I guess that this is the definition of “for better or for worse.” I never really thought too much about those words until this week.

This is truly the worst and she is truly the best.

Photo taken with: Nikon D700, Nikon 50mm f/1.8

Day 179

Watch Pots Boil Over

Coffee...

It seems like all we’ve been doing today is watching. By mid morning, my dad told us that he was ready to go and it was time. We huddled around praying, telling him it was okay to go, singing, crying. We sent the kids to Nana’s house. Then he told us he didn’t know how and got very agitated. The rest of the day we’ve sat around waiting for the inevitable. He’s frustrated, we’re sad/hopeful/frustrated.

It’s not that we want him to die. However, we know that it’s his time. We know that it will end his pain and suffering. We know that he’ll see family and friends of old. And most importantly, he’ll see God. Why wouldn’t we want this for him?

Lord, please help this end soon for his sake. He wants it.

Photo taken with: Nikon D700, Nikon 50mm f/1.8

Day 178

Kids Bring Joy

4 Wheelin'

Thoughout this hard time, these kids have been fun! They are playing, kissing, tickling, sometimes screaming, but overall have been great to have around. My dad wakes up every time they come in the room – gives Maggie “five”, waves at Sam. Whenever he hears them in the other room, he asks “Sam’s crying… are you going to get him?” And today he told us he was breathing for Sam and Maggie, not for himself.

Photo taken with: iPhone 4.

Day 177

Memories for the Future…

Sam's Trucks

The last time that my dad was able to get on his laptop was to order these trucks. He saw them on TV somewhere and wanted to make sure that he got them for my nephew Sam. Sam is only 10 months. He is having us put them in his room on some shelves that he built for Sam. “Give them to him when he can understand their value and meaning.”

PeePaw — He’s going to love them. We all promise.

Photo taken with: Nikon D700, Nikon 60mm f/2.8

Day 176

David and Johnny!

Let us out!

Sam and Jonathan III

Today my cousin Jon, his wife Laura and their 1 year old Jonathan came to visit. My sister and Sam were here and the babies started to play. Well, Sam mainly tried to beat up Jonathan. But in the end, I hope they had fun?

Anywhoo… I always say that Sam looks like me. Jonathan definitely looks like his father. When we were little, we were the only two boys in the family for a long time. So, grandma always used to dress us the same. We did look similar for awhile. Then I got fat and Jon got tall. Damn it. Get a load of this picture!

Oldie, but Goodie

Sam and Jon!? Or David and Jon?!

First 2 Photos Taken with: Nikon D70, Tamron 28-70; Second Photo circa June 1979.

Day 175

This kid has been smiling for 63 years the same way. Even now, while battling an aggressive cancer, he wakes up and gives us a cheesy grin. He dances to the oldies playing, tells old stories, talks alot about his tools. He tells us he loves us. And then he goes back to sleep.

I’m amazed at the grace he has in death. His doctor (of years) said that he was a leader in life and would now be a leader in death. No truer words have been spoken.

Smiling until the end…