Saturday, October 31, 2009

Milk Jug O'Lanterns

It's Halloween and that means it's Jack O'Lantern time. But, since there were no pumpkins to be had ANYWHERE in Yorkton today, unless I stole them already carved from people's front yards, we had to improvise. And it was FUN!

First we cleaned out some old milk jugs, and the boys used markers to draw faces on them. (Glen and I each did one too.) Then I carved them just the same as I would a pumpkin. Except less messy. And way faster. And actually way easier, so not like pumpkins at all really. I used an exacto-knife to start the cuts and scissors to finish.Then we painted them using sponges and acrylic folk paint. I cut a hole in the bottoms and painted the insides with a lighter orange, so they would glow more like real pumpkins when they were lit. I had considered using, and purchased, tissue paper and glue, but the paint worked so well we didn't even try it.
(You may have noticed the boys are wearing their clothes inside out. That was a comprimise, they wouldn't go for my suggestion to paint in their undies, and I don't care that much if they stain the insides of their clothes.)
Then I took a permanent marker and outlined the faces again and stuck some tiny flashlights from the Dollar Store inside the tops. Easy! And awesome, don't you think?
Next year I'll be sure to get our pumpkins early so we can do some traditional Jack O'Lanterns, but I think we might make some more milk Jug O'Lanterns and line the driveway with them over top of Christmas lights. AND I think we'll leave some white and make little ghosts too. (We wouldn't need to paint them or cut them out or anything! All we'd need are some jugs and some black markers!)

Don't you just love when an idea works out even better than you'd hoped it would? I do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Today's Distraction

I didn't dress up Ben and Sam for their first Halloweens. I wasn't going to dress up Hannah either but two things changed my mind:

  1. She's a girl. And this will likely be my only chance to dress up a teeny tiny little girl baby in a teeny tiny little girly costume. Next year she will be a toddler. It's just not the same.
  2. Making a Halloween costume from scratch takes a lot of time and is very distracting. It is especially good if you don't have a pattern or a solid plan when you start, because then that time of night when you lay in bed with nothing to do but think is taken up with planning how to attach things and stuff.
I'll save the big reveal for Halloween probably, but I can't resist putting up a picture of the pants I sewed tonight with no pattern or anything! Check these suckers out:Fancy hey? She's going to be a flower.

And a bonus picture of my adorable niece Abigail looking adorable. (Becky, that flower barrette is from you.) (I can hardly wait till Hannah has that much hair.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'm almost all caught up on my TV watching. (Just two more episodes of America's Next Top Model to go.) This is no small feat, considering the number of TV shows I watch every week and the fact that I was over two weeks behind by the time we got home on Thursday.

I've gotta find some more shows.

I'm not ready to start thinking. I'm also not ready for life to go on. I just can't accept that it's really over. Every now and then, if I'm not really careful to distract myself I feel this rush of panic sweep over me. And then it comes back to me. All of it. And my pulse starts to race and tears well up and I fight the thought with everything in me, but it comes... Dad is dead. My dad is dead. He died. Everything was fine, and then he got cancer, and then he died.

When I let them, the thoughts run through my head like I'm still trying to convince myself. I really have trouble connecting what happened with reality. If I didn't have his camera here, and the newspaper with his obituary, and some of his shirts, and his Riders jacket, I wonder if I could convince myself that it really is all a nightmare? I think maybe I could. I fantasize about it all the time... What it would be like to wake up and realize that the last three years didn't actually happen... And the last few weeks didn't happen... And then the tide of relief that would sweep over me... And I could call Mom and Dad and tell them about my crazy-scary dream.

And the more I think the madder I get. The more I feel betrayed. Deserted. Not by my dad. My dad fought so hard. It breaks my heart to think of everything he went through to try and stay here for us, and it was all for nothing. Because God knew all along how it would end. God let that stupid cancer destroy his body. And it's destroyed me a little bit, I have to say.

I'm scared of what will happen when "life goes on". Reality is there waiting for me and I'm not ready for it. I feel like this state of limbo that I'm allowing myself to hover in is keeping me connected to that time when Dad was still here. Even my cold helps me feel connected. I don't want to be living in the part of my life without Dad, and as soon as I go back to doing the things I usually do... I'm leaving the part of my life that had my dad in it behind. I feel like I'm leaving him behind.

Oh I know, I'm being completely illogical. If someone else was writing this I could think of all kinds of "comforting" things to say to "help". But nothing really helps. Actually, scratch that. It helps when I can manage to totally distract myself. I'm thinking this is probably a fairly unhealthy way to deal with grief, but since when have I ever done things the healthy way? Since never, that's when.

So I'm going to Walmart while my Cafe World caramel apples cook. I'm going to buy some DVD's and some Halloween candy to put in packages for the boys to take to school next week. Then I'm going to do some laundry while I watch my DVD's and play Cafe World and package up the candy. I figure all of those things should keep me distracted enough to stop thinking for the rest of the evening.

And tomorrow I'll find something else, until I'm ready to think again. If I ever am.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I hurt my ankle a few months ago. It still hurts. Every now and then the boys bump it, or I forget that it's injured and I hurt it again.

When I first hurt it, it was impossible to forget because the pain was so intense, so I was careful to guard it. You never would have found me sitting on a bench in the mall with it out there for people to walk into, and if you had, and if they had bumped me, I wouldn't have been mad. That would have been dumb. It wouldn't have been their fault. Why should they have to watch every step they take around me? Why should they even know that I'm hurt? It would be ridiculous to expect other people to guard MY injury.

And yet, that's what I'm doing. I'm out there in the world expecting people to understand how badly I'm hurt. I'm expecting them to be careful not to hurt me further. I'm expecting them to remember a hurt that they aren't feeling, at least not most people, and not in the same way.

It's not working out very well.

Obviously, an invalid in a room full of invalids is probably pretty safe from further injury. You can expect other invalids to creep around carefully... Making sure not to bump into others... To protect each other. But healthy people move much faster, and without as much caution, and why shouldn't they?

Sigh. All this to say, I'm taking a break from facebook, and a bit of the world, for a while. It's unreasonable of me to expect people to tip-toe around me, to think about me and my family every time they post something... Every picture, every status update, every comment. My injury is too new. I'm way too sensitive. And it's not fair.

I'll keep posting here on my blog, because here I can ask people to be careful. To think about every comment before they post it. To tip-toe around my hurt.

I guess that's all for now. I really do love you all.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Above The Clouds

Last week when I flew out of Regina it was rainy and cloudy. Of course, it didn't take more than a few seconds after take-off for Hannah and I to be flying through sunny skies. And when we flew home it was the same, only in reverse. One second we were surrounded by blue skies with a soft cushion of white stretching out endlessly below us, and the next second we were dropping back down into reality. Only, I'm not most of the time. If I seem fine it's because I'm still up there.

I can't believe he's really gone. Such a trite saying for such a complicated state of being. Oh, I know he's gone. I was with him when he left. It's impossible for me to pretend that none of this ever happened. It happened. But somehow, I've got this feeling that it's all a mistake. That somehow there is still a possibility that it could get fixed and we could get him back. That once again, I am completely over-reacting, and all of this can be put right. Because it feels completely and totally wrong.

And yes, I get that it really has been fixed and I will see him again someday, I get that. I get that he's all right and that all of this is under God's control. But it doesn't help. The only thing that would help is to have my dad back. Not someday. I want him back now. I don't believe he's really gone. And I want him back right now.

We've been trying to write a tribute. We made it through the eulogy, but the tribute is eluding all of us. I think it's because the only things that are racing through our minds are things that are too depressing for a tribute. Mom's things are made up of a "He'll never get to" list. My list is a "no more" list.

No more phone calls with him on the other end making nothing but crunching noises to tease me that he's eating garden cucumbers and I'm not. No more bareback wrestling matches on my bed with my boys. No more fishing trips. No more listening to him hum under his breath while he drives. No more whisker rubs. No more hours spent wandering through the power tool department at Canadian Tire. No more humming a song under my breath to see how long it takes for him to be singing it. No more watching him pull his car into my driveway while my boys jump up and down with excitement beside me. No more having a person to call when I need advice about our van, or plumbing, or how to hang a jolly jumper. No more listening to Ben on the phone for an hour chatting up his grampa. No more bonfires in the backyard. No more Hockey Night in Canada on way too loud because my mom and I are talking through Don Cherry. No more hunts for one of his seven pairs of reading glasses. No more tools spread all over the place with my boys "helping". No more watching my babies sleep peacefully on his chest.

This list goes on forever, and the "He'll never get to" list is just as bad. It might even be sadder. It has things like walking Ang down the aisle and finding out that one of his grandkids accepted the Lord on it.

Of course, none of this really seems real to me yet, so it doesn't hurt as badly as it could. Don't get me wrong. It hurts. The last two weeks have hurt as badly as I could have ever imagined. And if I seem fine, if any of us seem fine, it's only because in that moment it's not real to us. In the moments when it comes crashing back onto us, moments like when we discover a can of beans he bought and won't get to eat, or a stack of movies that we won't get to watch with him, or a picture of him so full of life and happiness, in those moments we are completely shattered and we feel like it will never be okay again.

Which it probably will be. I suppose. But it will never be completely wonderful again. Not the way it was before. Because the thing about my dad is that he made everything funner and happier and more exciting and just... More. He filled up our lives.

I want him back. And I can't believe that he's not coming.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dad's funeral will be held at West Portal Mennonite Brethren Church on Monday October 19th at 1pm. There will be a lunch at West Portal following the service. The internment will be at the Osler Community Cemetery at 4pm. Friends and family are invited to gather at Martensville Alliance Church afterward for an informal time of sharing and fellowship starting at around 6pm. A potluck-style supper will be served.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Dad left the arms of his loving family to rest in the arms of his loving father today at around 5:40 pm. Angela was on one side of him holding his hand, and I was holding the other and stroking his hair and singing "Be still and know that I am God" to him quietly. Mom was beside me. He gasped twice and was gone just like that. Even being there, I can still hardly believe this happened.

We know he's not hurting anymore. We know he isn't sad or lonely. But we are hurting. There are no words to describe the anguish of that moment and all of the moments of letting go that led up to it. But we are together and we have family here with us to help.

I told Dad many times today that it was all right. But it's not really.

My Dad

Things are quiet here right now. Dad is resting comfortably. I sang to him a while ago and he was moving the mouth like he wanted to sing too. He hasn't said much today, but last night he told us all that he loves us "a lot". Over and over. "I love you a lot. I love you a lot. I love you a lot. I love you a lot."

All day yesterday while we waited for Ang and Johnny he kept talking about a wedding. He was wondering who would watching Hannah during the wedding. And talking about Ang and Johnny coming to get married. We couldn't figure out what he was talking about.

When Ang got here she told us that she had told Dad when she left that he had to stay alive because she still needed him to walk her down the aisle. Oh Dad, you are so sweet for worrying about all of us.

He is confused sometimes, but he understands what is happening and I know he's thinking and planning as best he can... So that he can know we'll be okay.

His breathing is very slow and getting slower. Each breath is very labored at times, but he doesn't seem to be in any pain.

That's all from here. Mikey should arrive sometime tonight.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My Dad

Things are bad.

Dad isn't doing well. At all. He is SO tired. He keeps saying he's done and he's sorry. We tell him that there's no reason to be sorry. No one could have done this better than he has.

His cancer has taken over his whole body and destroyed most of his organs. There are new cancer cells which have mutated and are growing rapidly and are impossible for the doctors to treat. This is an incredibly rare, and very aggressive form of Multiple Myeloma and in a strange way, makes us feel a little better. The "what if?" game doesn't apply here. Without a miracle completely from God, there's nothing we could have done, or can do to change things.

It may be time to let him go, but how do you let go of someone who makes your world make sense in a way that only a dad does?

And the rest of the family is still trying to get here in time. Please pray for them.

Unless there is that beam-of-light type miracle we are going to have to say goodbye to my dad. Very soon. Too soon for me. My brave and amazing dad who makes everything better. I wish with everything in me that I could make it better.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Don't Read This if You're Already Depressed

Dad isn't doing very well. So neither am I. Obviously.

Everything, other than crying, seems like such an effort. And all the things that make me happy don't seem real. All that seems real is the possibility that this time next year I'll be wishing to live this horrible week over again, because at least it's a week with my dad alive and here in this world, with some hope that he'll stay here for a while yet.

I take pictures of the kids, and smile at friends, and do all the things I ordinarily do, but all of it is completely empty. The only thing that is really filling me right now is dread.

I need for him to come home. I need him to be lying on his couch watching a cooking show with an iced tea on the floor beside him. I can't even remember what it felt like before all of this started. And when I look at pictures of people doing ordinary things like celebrating birthdays, or having babies, I try to imagine how I'd feel if I was that person and every happy thing wasn't shadowed by this dread.

Will Hannah ever know her grampa? Will Ben and Sam have a grampa to go fishing with next summer? Sammy is so little. They're all so little. Too little to be without him.

I'm too little too.

I'm flying out sometime this week to see him and to hopefully help my mom. Dad doesn't like being alone at the hospital, and my poor mom needs someone else there so she can sleep and eat and shower. My gramma is coming with me.

I can't bear the thought that I might also be going to say goodbye.

Hopefully all this dread is for nothing. Hopefully this week he'll start to feel better. Hopefully they'll get him stable and by the end of the week we'll be talking about putting in the new dialysis line and bringing him things to tempt him to eat. Because right now, he's not eating anything, he can't really. He's tired and he's suffering and I can only hear him getting weaker by the day and it's reminding me way too much of when Grampa died.

Maybe that's too much info for a lot of you. If I were you, I'd prefer to think that Dad will be fine until I absolutely couldn't deny the possibility that he won't be. But, like everything else, I find myself having trouble feeling like much matters besides Mom and Dad. And I know the only people who I would worry about upsetting already know all of this and are feeling pretty much the same way I am anyways.

Please God, have mercy on us and make him better so he can come home to be a grampa and a dad and a husband.