The Touch of Your Hand

alzheimers


I was afraid to go up to my father’s casket and say goodbye. I was a kid, having just turned 12 years old the day before he passed away from a sudden heart attack on a family trip to an amusement park.

From afar, it looked to me like he was just taking a nap on the couch, but the problem was, his chest was no longer rising and falling.

My mother put her arm comfortingly around me. “Come on,” she’d said, “I’ll go with you. It’s okay, honey.”

I was so scared, but I trusted her without a doubt.

We knelt there together, the two of us. I stared down at his handsome face, a slight smile playing on his lips, like he was planting green peppers and tomatoes in the most amazing garden up in heaven.

“You can touch his hand.”

I hesitated for a moment, but then I went ahead and tentatively touched him lightly with my fingertips. His skin felt like cold marble, icy and extremely disturbing to such a young girl who loved her daddy as much as I did. I quickly took my hand back before I started crying.

“He’s so cold,” I’d admonished to my mother, a bit queasy.

“Yes,” she’d replied softly. She didn’t need to explain further.

I’ve never forgotten that significant moment in my life, going on close to 33 years ago.


Now at the adult age of 44, although her hand was indeed bitterly cold, I hadn’t wanted to let go of it. I was the last one to leave my mom before we journeyed to the cemetery for her interment next to my dad.

Someone called my name, I don’t recall who, but I hesitated before I finally placed her hand back where it belonged and somberly walked away.

The emotionally distraught part of me wanted to jump inside the casket with her, but the logical part instinctively knew that I had to continue to live my life.

My job here isn’t done.

I’d promised her before they took her back to surgery, which I think we all knew wasn’t going to end well, that I’d fight my fucking hardest to stick around this place, even when my mind lies, telling me that everyone would be better off without me. She truly understood that it wasn’t my fault, but an unfortunate symptom of my mental illnesses.

If she could suffer as she did for so many years and could continue to keep breathing for over 12 hours without machinery, how could I not see that as a clear indication (sign) that life is precious and worth fighting for?


I asked my daughter if she wanted me to go up with her to say goodbye and to hold the gentle hand of her gramma one last time. She shook her head.

“I held her hand while you went to go rest in the family lounge,” she’d replied, tears welling up in her doleful blue eyes. “I even fell asleep for a bit. I’ll never forget how she felt, like I just couldn’t get her to warm up.”

Lukewarm is better than glacial, isn’t it?


Life is often filled with full circle moments.

A mother comforting her daughter decades later, offering to go up with her to say a final farewell to her beloved gramma. To protect her by offering solace and unconditional love during such a grief-stricken time, even when her own heart was pulverized.

I’ve never realized until now how much we must have given our mother a renewed purpose in life after my father passed away, leaving her with two young children to raise by herself. I’m sure that she must’ve had a desperate moment or two of wanting to give up, but she stuck around because it wasn’t her time to go yet.

I’ll strive to carry on her legacy of grace and courage.

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Birthday Greetings from the Child

These are the series of memes that my daughter posted on my Facebook timeline, which is notable due to the fact that this was the 1st time that she’s ever done so.

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Can you tell that she’s my kid?

44 Tidbits of Knowledge

In honor of my upcoming birthday, I’m sharing 44 tidbits of knowledge that I’ve acquired since the day the doctor who delivered me smacked my bum as I entered this world.

You guys ready?

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Hurry up! This isn’t gonna drink itself!

Cool.

  1. Life is too short for cheap lunchmeat or toilet paper.
  2. Teach yourself how to notify a person to go to hell with just your eyes.
  3. Don’t be afraid to cry or show your emotions.
  4. If you love someone, tell them whenever you have the opportunity.
  5. Decide to write a post like this when you’re in your 20’s, it’s a much less daunting task.
  6. Don’t stay with someone who makes you struggle all alone in this life.
  7. Follow that gut instinct, it’ll rarely steer you wrong.
  8. Disappear for a few days and then take notice of who goes looking for you.
  9. Chocolate milk really does come from brown cows!!

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    What the fucking moo?

  10. Believe in the nonsensical.
  11. Only apologize for the things that you’re truly sorry for. (This takes so much practice to conquer.)
  12. I’m sorry.
  13. See? Fuck.
  14. Life is a whole helluva lot easier if you have a good sense of humor.
  15. Do kind things for strangers, like letting them cut in line at the store when they only have 3 items and you have 20.
  16. It’s never too late to start over again.
  17. Although it’s wonderful when someone wants to take care of you, know how to take care of yourself just in case they decide otherwise.
  18. Anger is a kickass motivational tool; use it wisely.
  19. From a plaque that my mom had on the wall from my childhood home: My house is clean enough to be healthy, but dirty enough to be home.
  20. A hug from the right person has healing powers.
  21. Life would truly suck without animals and music.
  22. I had my daughter when I was 22. Half of my life has now been blessed with her existence.
  23. Go ahead and take that nap. You’re not lazy!
  24. Hold onto 16 as long as you can, change come around real soon, make us women and men.
  25. Swearing in and of itself isn’t bad; it’s all in how you use it.
  26. No matter where life takes you, remember where you came from.
  27. Please do not tolerate any bullshit.
  28. DON’T SETTLE.
  29. There is so much more to a person than what they look like.
  30. There is beauty in imperfection.
  31. If someone breaks your heart, swaddle it up like a baby and rock it gently.
  32. And let other people take turns helping you rock.
  33. This list is hard work…only 10 more to go!
  34. I am eating pretzels with honey mustard right now.
  35. A sink full of dishes can sit 48 hours and the world won’t stop spinning, I promise.
  36. If you want to find your tribe, start a blog.
  37. Set boundaries like boobytraps.

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    Easy as pie!

  38. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. -Doris Day
  39. There’s a song lyric that’s just perfect for every occasion.
  40. Let the simplest things in life bring you the most happiness.
  41. Pick a few aspirations and then try to stick with them.
  42. It’s perfectly alright to fail, just dust yourself off and when you’re ready, try again.
  43. The human body is often disgusting. For example, have you ever sneezed while eating a bowl of cornflakes?
  44. There will never be a band like The Beatles ever again.

Phew, there I did it.

Do you have anything to add to my list?

Thoughts, queries?

Bueller?