I assisted my father as a chicken farmer up until I graduated from college, I started at the 4 or 5 helping out, raising chickens from egg and down to helping to prep them as food. I learned at an early age to understand and appreciate the food we grew and raised, raising them with care and admiration.Continue reading “Chasing Chickens”
The world is full of love that goes unspoken. It doesn’t mean that it is felt less deeply or that separation leaves a cleaner wound. Its beauty — and its pain — are in its silence. … Some of us are not blessed with revelations or confessions. Love cannot be spoken, only shown. Everything that makes the heart beat must be hushed.
This excerpt comes from a show that I put on in the evenings while I work on the computer, Call The Midwives.
The narrated passage made me cry, it hit home so deeply for me. The years I cared for my dad whilst I dealt with another devastation with my personal life, the love and pain, silent, from both sides, not by choice, but by situation. Just writing this right now brings tears to my eyes. I am grateful to have lived and experience the depth of unconditional love one can have for another, and the pain that can come with it from knowing the finite ending of it. It has made me who I am
In remembering… a year has gone. Still healing from the 4 intense years, and then some. It’s surreal to become aware of the moment you realise that you must take on the role to be a parent to yourself, which I did as a kid at 7 years old, but also an adult, and to realise how far I’ve come. I had become my dad’s parent for the last four years of his life, celebrating the small joys, mourning the continual losses and felt the deep anguish, the entire experience left me the most vulnerable I’ve ever been (teamed with another huge life change in my personal life) and allowed me to grow in leaps and bounds. I learned just how deep unconditional love could possibly go, and just how deep the sense of anguish would feel like when I wished I could do more for him, and even for the others in his care residence, and having to accept that there was nothing more I could do, in my given capacity as a solo caregiver. I had to learn how to power process and stash things away, in order to keep going and taking decent care of myself, such as that it was ok to break down and cry. I also knew that I would somehow be forced to revisit these at a later time… when the time was right to complete the healing and growth process.
The revisiting came unexpected a couple of weeks ago, then subsided. Yesterday another huge wave crashed into me. I realised it wasn’t so much that I miss my father, in fact, I feel at peace that he didn’t have to suffer too long (part of the anguish), that it was long enough in his lifetime. I grieved for the hard times that I didn’t have the luxury to process, times I felt his anguish and frustrations, and how my high level of empathy meant I would feel just too much sometimes. I grieved for the alines I had felt in that journey, how many friends who couldn’t empathise became apathetic, how I felt so hurt and lonely in those moments. I cry for remembering the unexpected people that stepped in, and the moment when a friend told me that it could be because I’ve been so strong, people rather not worry and just chose to believe “she’s fine.”
All of the emotions from then now pour out in bits, as I release them back to the earth. Grieving has been a process of finally acknowledging just how hard it was, all the feelings I felt and fought, now having the capacity and time to process it, and letting it go on a deeper level than just mentally. It made me realise that I had stopped writing after my father’s passing, and now feeling the need to write again… Thank you Vida, for your one time reminder and encouragement to me to keep writing a couple of years ago, when I stopped (dayswithfather.tumblr.com). It still stays with me now, when I start to get the inkling to do so. I have started to write again, to finally share just how hard it was, to have courage and strength to deal with one adversity in the face of another.
I won’t lie, being strong is hard and sometimes a very vulnerable place to be. I have days where I simplify feel tired of being strong. Being strong doesn’t mean that I feel less or am affected less. No, in fact, I feel more than the average being a high sensing person. Being strong doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate or need offers of support and people to take care of me, it means the world to me because that it means that they care and I feel supported. I didn’t receive the support = love from my parents growing up, it wasn’t in the cards, so this was to be one of my love languages, with words, and the other by doing and by touch, I can’t tell you how much it boosts me up when I receive genuine hugs when I’m not in a place to give one.
October 22, 2013
Back to this day last year, I had one and a half days of my holidays, the day was to re-explore the old town of Prague, and then London on a layover of 9 hours. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so pushed through the sense of numbness. It was like a dream, surreal, as I made my way out of the rental apartment, and started my journey. My mind was numb, as I feel today, unable to focus very well.
It’s been nearly 4 months since my father’s death, and I’m in the midst of preparing to probate my father’s will. It’s been a stressful or worrisome process thus far, as the circumstances surrounding my father’s situation is unique to say the least. Even the lawyer stated this each time we’ve talked. I’m very glad to have found a lawyer that I feel trust and connected to, I think this is very important. So below is an account of what’s new as of today.
Update and new thing learned: The Will Act is changing on April 1st of this year. The biggest change affects the beneficiaries under a will. Currently marriages supersede a will. Since father married after the last will was made, the marriage date dictates the spouse to be the main beneficiary, voiding the will, and my executrix standing, as he wanted. After April 1st, a marriage no longer supersede a will, and the will stands. Those of you marrying this year, post April 1st, may want to look further into it, particularly if you have a will and want to include your spouse.
So after all the stress, the change in the Will Act won’t affect my father’s estate and the legal case after all. I still have a fight on my hands, but it’s looking more positive now, as I can sort of prove that it was not a true marriage of love, but rather of convenience, since they were apart for more than one year, before he had to move into a care home, thus illustrating that they weren’t being kept apart without choice.
Now the task on hand is to fight PG&T and the bank on how they could close down a joint account I held with my father, without notifying and stating the legal ramification of that. That was my father’s last try to make sure I would be the executor. Turns out the PG&T thinks it’s weird that banks do this, and that it’s wrong, but they do nothing to change it on both sides… service breakdown!
There needs to be better support for families or loved ones that need to lean on the PG&T services, while under extreme duress especially, on protecting the client and their family assets. #BIBO
If any of you are going through needing or wanting to take care of an elderly parent and getting things organized as best can be. Feel free to mssg me. I’m happy to give some tips on what I was never told and have had to figure out and cope with on the go. Things I wish I had been told prior to my dad’s passing… Living wills, PG&T vs. Private Commitee, care advocacy for dementia/alzheimers parent, etc…
It has been a blurry 3 weeks, since the tail end of my trip away and leading up to my father’s funeral this Thursday.
Father’s body is now in the wait for cremation and soon his remains will reside on my home until his birthday come January, where my sister and I will scatter his ashes into the Pacific Ocean… The last few days leading up to the funeral and post, have been surreal to say the least.
I had hosted a casual funeral, a viewing without ceremony and formality. My father was almost always happy for company and very casual and laid back, so it was fitting. I had wanted it to be a cozy, loving, environment, for those who knew him to remember the man he was, and for those who didn’t – came out to support me – to feel comfortable in sharing this life experience with me and my family.
The funeral viewing went smoothly, minus one or two bizarre comments from family directed at me. Unfortunately these still stand out in my memory, as I process the feelings and thoughts that had resulted in what was said. Its inappropriateness shocked me, but then I realized post event that these people sadly have not let their ego guards down, and are still living in their fear and guilt driven worlds and the wrong attitude on what Love vs. Burdens mean. Little do they realize that I have all the family I need around me, I kept ones who were openly loving and grounded with me through my dad’s difficult journey with dementia, Alzheimer’s, Transient Ischemic Attacks (mini strokes), Atrial Fibrilations, and later diagnosed, congenital heart failure, which were the cause of swellings, weakness, and hard of breathing. Yes, sometimes I felt alone in the journey, from the supporting role, but I wasn’t because my dad was there… maybe not in spirit or the same physical self, but he was a being that still lived.
Being told “You are the one who loses”, to the one(s) who thought that, you are wrong. I gained, so much that I get emotional when I think about what I have gained through the last 4 years. I gained deeper unconditional love for my father and sister, it gave me strength to be there for them, even when I wasn’t feeling so strong. I gained deeper empathy and resolve to advocate for those in need, and coach those in need where I can. I’ve come to understand the meaning of life, the true depth of it, and gained a stronger mind in the process. I am more at peace than ever before, I am a better listener and communicator with those around me, more freedom speak from the heart and mind. I’m even better at letting people go, especially those who are no longer a fit, instead of wanting to help or please everyone.
Some people think that I am in mourning for the death of a parent, but in actuality, I’m grieving the four years of emotional hardships when I couldn’t afford the time to process and grieve then, I chose battles carefully and tried not to burn myself out. I had four years of slow grieving for the slow loss of my father, and now that the journey has ended, I’m am at peace with his death, it is a blessing, he is free. He has given the ultimate legacy to his family far and wide, everyone has reminded of his quiet and kind nature, as well as his humble and giving nature, all due to his death. This is the silver lining that death of a loved one brings, reminders to the living, a wake up call, to live your life out of love and authenticity.
Thank you to the friends who could come out, thank you for showing me love and support when I needed it greatly. It is a surreal experience made better by love and support, special thank you’s go out to those who went the extra mile and making sure I ate well and came to just keep me company, even when I wasn’t sure what I needed.
For those who are still in the journey with their parents or beginning it, do it out of love and not responsibility. For the love will permeate and be returned to you in unexpected ways.
I’ve been on hiatus for a while. I found that I needed to take a break and thus withdrew for a while… dad seemed to have settled into the new care facility well and for the first time in the last couple of years, I felt less guilt in wanting to step away from it. It’s more to do with his physical health degenerating now, which I’ve found in some ways harder to process and deal with.
With dad having issues associated with congestive heart failure, it has been a bit easier for the nursing staff to understand and empathize with his difficulties in feeling well, and thus having great mood swings. His heart is getting weaker bit by bit… Hands and feet get colder often, he struggles with anything more than a short stroll, water retention is an issue for extremities as well. Due to these, he is weaker overall and less stable, and often has him just wanting to sit on the ground as his strength gives out…
Its been a week since Dad was put into a wheelchair for most parts of a day. No more phone calls to report an ‘unwitnessed fall’.
It feels odd, at times I feel a slight guilt, though I know it was the necessary step to take. Its not easy having the reaponsibility to sign away a parent’s right to be, the seemingly one last bit of their freedom. But he is safe and my moments of worries for his well being have been drastically reduced. It was upto 3-4 times a week. Never knowing when it would be the call that he’s hurt himself badly from a fall.
Thank you allowing me to share with you. It’s always cathartic for me to write here, once I can reach into my writing frame of mind… it’s an ebb and flow sort of thing. For those of you that follow along because you have chosen to take on the challenge of being there physically and mentally for your loved one, I hope all has been well, and that you are getting the support you need in this journey. Kai xo
After many months, on and off, if not over a year in length, the challenge to get my dad’s medical conditions addressed has finally found some results. The recent tests has my father diagnosed with Congestive heart failure. Its a relief to know what he has been suffering with, and that he will be taken better care of and more appropriately. On the flip side I’m saddened by the outlook, another wave of grief has hit. It’s a bitter sweet discovery.