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Death is complicated

Friday, June 18, 2010

I waited for hours after my brother called me with the news of my father's death for a second call from my brother with information about the burial arrangements. He didn't call.

This morning I got up and started unpacking my camping gear (our troop is leaving for summer camp at 0800 tomorrow morning) and started packing to fly to California for my father's funeral. I waited until 11:00 my time before calling my brother ... I needed the name, address and phone number of the funeral home that would be handling my father's arrangements so I could get the bereavement rate with the airlines.

My brother as it turns out couldn't call me last night because he was at the hospital with my mother. She had collapsed at the nursing home when she went to see my father's remains. She is still there, under observation, because her blood sugar and blood pressure are off the charts. Blood sugar? No one ever told me she is diabetic, but apparently she is.

My mother has decided to have my father's remains cremated. She had asked him which he preferred and he had no preference. She knows about my ear block and doesn't want me to fly right now, and also wants to wait until my nephew can get leave from the USMC to attend the memorial service.

Sean just graduated from boot camp in April and is attending a three month tech school at Ft. Lee, VA. The military does not consider grandparents immediate family and while a commander does have the discretion to grant a leave under emergency conditions it is highly unlikely they would do so in this case. If Sean were at his permanent unit and the unit wasn't busy it might be a different story, but since he is mid-way through a technical school the disruption to his training doesn't work in his favor for such consideration.

Sean will get anywhere between 10 - 30 days leave after his tech school, depending in part on where he is assigned after the school. At this point my mother and brother are thinking about having the memorial service in August, after Sean graduates and I am released from the National Scout Jamboree. They want us both there, and I appreciate their flexibility is considering my ear issue and my nephew's military status.

My only concern in not going to California until August was not being able to see my father one last time. My brother tells me that it is for the best that I don't. He saw my father yesterday and said the difference in just the two days since he had last seen him was devastating. He wants me to remember my father the way he was when I saw him on his 90th birthday ... 26DEC08.

I'm going to go unpack my funeral bag now, and repack my camping bag. There is no sense sitting here all week, stewing in my own juices, when I can be at summer camp with the boy scouts, helping them grow and develop into fine young men. The kind of man my father was.
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  • PICKIE98
    You are supposed to be with the scouts, the timing is just right for that.. Dad is still with you anyway, in your heart,, hospital is caring for mom,,, take all teh hugs you can get, give all the ones you can give and take some alone time while there,,, for Terriejo..Linda
    3573 days ago
    Terri Jo - yes death is complicated as is life. It is so difficult to deal with things when you're so far apart from one another but living closer wouldn't mean things would be easier.

    Take a breath. You have a lot of wonderful memories of your father. Don't beat yourself up and put yourself on a guilt trip (and don't allow anyone else to either).

    Each of us deals with death differently - when I was growing up my parents took me to "visit" my grandparents every holiday - I haven't been to "visit" my parents since 95 even tho they are 10 miles away - I prefer to remember them "as they were" not "as they are"

    Do what you can and don't worry about what you can't. I think going with your Scouts is the best therapy (I actually attended my son's Blue & Gold on the nite of my father's passing - I was in a fog but my son was 9 and didn't understand really what had just happened and this was important to him.

    Have fun with the boys - maybe at one of your evening meals you can open up a discussion about fathers and all of you leaders can share a favorite story about them as they were growing up -and/or maybe open up a discussion with the boys on how they view their fathers.

    Oh - and thank you for my "goodie"

    3574 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3363447
    Yes, if you wander up to see Gerry, stop by me for a pee break to or from.

    I know the boy scouts will benefit from your care and training of them this summer based on the love and care your father gave you.
    3574 days ago
  • ARTIE322
    TerrieJo, I'm so sorry to read of your father's passing.
    3575 days ago
    Terrie - what an emotional roller coaster you have been on today. I think you made the right decision to go to summer camp with the boy scouts. It is what you father would have expected you to do. Take care and try to relax and enjoy yourself. Let us know how the hammock works out!
    3575 days ago
    Terrie Jo, Try to have a good time at the Jamboree your Dad would be very proud of the wonderful things you do for the Boy Scouts, Take Care you are in my thoughts and prayers emoticon , Brenda
    3575 days ago
  • GERRYB54
    I know you were considering coming up to Plainsboro NJ to visit a friend on your East Coast trip, I know the loss of your father must have complicated things, but if you are in the area feel free to contact me, you and your friend are welcome here.
    3575 days ago
    Terrie - Condolences on the loss of your father. From what you say I'm sure you are doing exactly what he would have wanted. And yes it is better to remember him as you do than the way your brother describes him. It wouldn't have change anything. I was there to the very end with my dad and I understand what he is saying, I also know that I will be the one with my mom till the end to. It just works that way sometimes. Have a good time with the boys even tho I'm not sure the weather is going to be the best.
    3575 days ago
    You honor your father by going to camp and working with the boys. I'm sure it is terribly difficult but I suspect you can hear him telling you it's what he'd want as well. God Bless.
    3575 days ago
    emoticon , there's nothing I can say to help make anything easier. I agree sitting at home is not the thing for you. You will be much happier out helping the boys and I think from what you've said about him, it is what your father would want. Don't dwell on the hardships and remember all the good things.
    3575 days ago
  • RENA1965
    Sorry to hear about your dad.. I saw my dad the last day before the coffin lid went on- he had been in the freezer- his skin changed colour I wish I never saw him at all.. He looked peaceful but I couldn't kiss him because he was so cold..
    Good for you going on holiday- I don't hurt over lossing my dad while living here in Denmark I was greatful my cousin made the family wait until I could get a plane ticket home to New Zealand..
    I have great memories of a wonderful dad- the rest of the family know nothing about.. My dad was thrilled to bits to became a granddad to the families first boy baby. . My dad wanted to see his grandson!! My oldest boy and him were together most of the time.. I saw a pride my sister and brother never saw...
    Tuck away the good moments and smile each time you remember your dad..
    3575 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5128667
    emoticon about the loss of your father - being so close to Father's Day, I can't even begin to imagine how you're feeling....adding to that the health issues for you and your mom....

    Will keep you and yours in my best thoughts.....

    3575 days ago
  • 1888MICHELLE
    My heart goes out to you. It's hard, but how wonderful that your mother wants to wait and have a memorial service when the whole family can attend. The Jamboree is probably going to be the best thing for you. Enjoy it and the youth who will be surrounding you.
    3575 days ago
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