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Old 03-11-2016, 04:06 PM
Location: Alaska
256 posts, read 197,457 times
Reputation: 239


I would like to start a place that we can share memories of our loved ones that have left us too early. Not only do people love sharing stories, but we also love hearing them.

After spending time reading through this forum, I realized there is one thing many of us have in common, other than grieving. We have wonderful, funny, and beautiful memories about our lost loved ones. This is a universal message that appears in most threads.

Recently lost my father and father-in-law to the same cancer within 20 months of one another. So with this said, I will start and hopefully others will follow through.

Let's celebrate their lives!

My father-in-law was a meek and humble man who only worked one job his entire life. Cancer took him last April, and one of my regrets is not spending more time with him. However, that does not mean he didn't impact my life or leave without burning memories into my life.

Shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer, my wife wanted family pictures for her birthday. So we packed up our gear and two kids, one was two yeas old and the other was four months old, and drove down to Homer, Alaska (where me and my wife met).

It was mid July, the sun was nestled high without a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was roughly eighty degrees Fahrenheit. Me and my wife arrived first and did pictures at a nature center with just our kids, and then met her parents in town. We did pictures with them at Homer's Island and Oceans Visitor Center. There is a little path that wraps around the back and down towards the beach.

The day was perfect! Once we finished taking pictures we had lunch on the Homer Spit, and took a family walk along the beach snapping photos of my son with his Papa playing.

Doesn't sound like much, but those two had the biggest smiles on their faces and that is a memory that will be burned in my mind for the rest of my life. It was amazing! We only have a few photos of my wife's father with his grandson. My mother-in-law lost her house to a house explosion back in late January. So these little memories mean everything.
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Old 03-11-2016, 04:59 PM
Location: Los Angeles>Little Rock>Houston>Little Rock
6,488 posts, read 6,600,981 times
Reputation: 17327
That's a nice story.

I will start out with the story of my first husband's death and continue later with happy stories.

What Happened to Don (my husband) (8/2002)

**This is an attempt at recreating my entire blog from the beginning in August 2002. **

originally posted August 2002

Mon. 11/12/01, he was complaining of a stomach ache and left work early. I asked him to pick Connor up from after-school day care which would end up being the last time they really talked to each other.

Tues. 11/13, he went to see the family doctor who thought he was having a reaction to some tetracycline he had been taking. The doctor sent him home saying he would call in a prescription for pain and something else, Don could not tell me what it was. Sometime later the doctor called him at home and told him to get to the ER. I guess the Dr. had second thoughts, don't really know. Don called me at work and I came home to take him because by this time he was in too much pain to drive. We went in to the ER and had to wait quite a while because there was a gun shot victim on the way in by ambulance. The victim died and I happened to be right there when they told his mother that her only child had died. That was very distressing to me and I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Anyway, they finally got to Don and determined he had a raging case of pancreatitis and decided to admit him. They did not do the ultrasound test until the next morning.

Wed. 11/14, I went on to work and planned to come to the hospital as soon as they had the test results. Around 1:30 a nurse called me and said that Don was in respiratory distress and that they were moving him to a monitored room and that I should come right away. By the time I arrived, they had 8 people in the room with him trying to get him stable enough to move to the ICU. I heard one nurse say that "we've got a patient going bad on us". I did get to see him as they wheeled him out of the room and he looked terrified. I asked him "what are you doing?" and he just gasped "I don't know". That turned out to be the last time he spoke to me. When I got down to ICU they had a chaplain waiting for me and I knew it was bad. Then a doctor came out and said that he was gravely ill and had lost over half his blood volume. The next time I saw him he was on a respirator, heart monitor, the works. He was very agitated and wanted to tell me something, but he could not speak. He kept trying to make hand motions that I would understand, but neither I nor the nurses could understand him.

Thurs. 11/15, by this time his kidneys had completely failed and they could not get his blood pressure up enough to give him anything to help him. There was so much fluid building up that he could not get rid of and the pressure of all the fluid and blood in his abdomen was causing his lungs to fail also, not to mention straining his heart.

Fri. 11/16, they decided to try one last thing to save his life which was cutting open his abdomen, leaving it open, and draining out the infected blood and fluid. For a while it seemed that it was helping...his pressure was coming up a little and they were able to give him more meds to try to stimulate kidney function. Then he just started to go downhill again.

Sat. 11/17, He died around 1:45 PM, his body couldn't fight anymore and his heart stopped. I had already given permission not to take any extraordinary steps to keep him going. They could not do CPR because his belly was open from navel to breastbone. As I walked into ICU I noticed that the curtain was closed to his unit. The really nice nurse was standing outside the curtain and saw me walk in. As I approached her she started to cry and just said “he’s gone darlin’”.

I keep wondering why they waited until the next day to do the ultrasound. If they had done it right away could they have stopped the bleeding? I don't know and I guess it does no good to speculate.

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Old 03-11-2016, 05:19 PM
Location: Los Angeles>Little Rock>Houston>Little Rock
6,488 posts, read 6,600,981 times
Reputation: 17327
A memory of my mother...

The Great Geode Hunting Trip (08/18/02)


My mother adored geodes and had several of them purchased on driving trips at roadside stands. She even checked out a book from the library on geodes and how and where to find them. This particular library book is the reason everything went wrong. She failed to notice that this book, on which we based our entire trip, was published at least 40 years prior to the date we checked it out. Terrain does not change that much in 40 years, but it changes enough to make a big difference to two very clueless women on a mission.

We spent a few days assembling our tools and deciding what to wear. We had a small pick, a small shovel, a snake bite kit, ½ gallon bottles of water, and some snacks such as Hershey bars and nuts. We were sure there would be someplace to stop for a nice relaxing lunch close to the digging site, so we did not need much food. As it was early in the spring, we wore Levis, long-sleeved shirts, and desert boots.

Friday seemed like a good day to leave, so I took a day off school and Mom took a day off work. We packed up our 1970 Pontiac Safari station wagon and headed out to the Mojave Desert with the infamous library book and the maps therein.

After we finally arrived in the area portrayed in the map, we had a very hard time finding the road that would lead us to the prime digging site. Eventually we found what appeared to be the correct turn off, but we were hesitant to make the turn as the small road was unpaved. After sitting there discussing it for a minute or two, we both said “oh, what the hell…let’s do it”.

Off we went, down this one-lane, unpaved road, deeper and deeper into the Mojave. Bumping along down the road we both noticed that we had not seen another person or vehicle in quite some time. Perhaps twenty minutes later the road became very rough. So rough, in fact, that we came to a dead stop. We were in the middle of a dry creek bed with our tires sinking into the gravel.

“Hey Mom” I said, “I think we’re in trouble”. The car would not move forward or back. If she gave it some gas the wheels would sink deeper into the gravel. Eventually we got out of the car to take a look. The wheels were buried in gravel up to above the hubcaps.

“So what are we going to do now Mom?” She says, “I don’t know, yell for help maybe?” “Yeah right, there is no one around for miles.” “When was the last time you saw a person or car?” “Well ****” she says. We decided to have a snack.

An hour or so had passed when we figured we had better start walking. We gathered up some essentials and started off. We took some water and the snake bite kit and left the rest in the car and headed off…geodes be damned, this is a matter of survival.

The Mojave is a beautiful place filled with ancient wonders and horrors. One of these horrors is called the Cholla cactus, also known as the Jumping cactus. The spines on a Cholla jump out at you at the slightest touch. The spines are barbed, similar to a fish hook, and imbed themselves in your flesh.

Along the way, I happened to step in a bed of Cholla. The barbs shot through the sole of my desert boot and into my foot. Screaming bloody murder, I immediately sat down then and there to determine what was wrong with my foot. Upon doing so, I sat in the bed of Cholla. At that point, all was lost.

Bending over a boulder, I asked Mom to remove what she could from my posterior…luckily, she had some tweezers in her purse. My right foot was in pretty bad shape as well. We spent a while plucking barbs out of my foot and my boot. More than an hour was spent on this event and darkness was not far off.

On we go…I am tired and hurting and no longer have the strength to carry the water bottle, so I ditch it in a bush. Mom does the same. It is very dark by now and we are getting scared when suddenly we see what looks like a campground over a rise. We keep walking and see that the campground is occupied.

Quietly approaching the campsite we decided we had better see who was there before asking for help. We crawled behind some manzanita bushes and checked it out. There was a big campfire burning surrounded by seven or eight shirtless men. Whoa, we both whispered at once…this could be a problem.

We must have crouched behind those bushes for 30 minutes watching and listening to laughter, grumbling, belching, and farting. Finally, we decided there was no getting around it and we had better announce ourselves.

What a commotion…men jumping up startled and concerned and Mom and I trying to be brave and forceful.! There were beer cans all over the place, but we didn’t see or smell any food, which would have been welcome. These were all very good men and we were blessed to find them.

First, we were given a beer. Then they loaded us up into a truck with a winch and headed off back into the direction from which we came. They found our car, towed it out to a paved road, put us in it, and gave us directions to the nearest motel.

Rested up and fed, the next morning, we headed home empty-handed. Upon arriving home, Daddy asked how was your trip and why are you home so soon? Reluctantly, we relayed our story. Daddy’s response was “You went a hundred miles into the desert to pick up a rock you could have picked up in your own back yard…and you didn’t even get the rock.”

“Well Daddy, we had an adventure that we will never forget”.
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:17 AM
Location: New Mexico
5,106 posts, read 2,918,142 times
Reputation: 9418
I enjoyed Maggie2101's remembrance. I think that these types of remembrances are helpful and writing about memorable events or occasions is therapeutic as it connects the mental memory to physical action and a permanent record.

I am a writer and an occasional visitor to this forum due to the loss of my wife -- now nine years ago but still sadly missed. As a writer, I was recently involved in a project called the "Late Orphan Project" that involved 25 writers putting their thoughts and memories into words. This project focused on those among us who have lost one or both parents after we reached adulthood and had an adult's perspective. The contributors, using poetry or prose, expressed a wide range of emotions and reactions to the loss. The project resulted in the recent publication of a book: "These Winter Months" (full disclosure - I have an essay in the book).

There may be other similar projects that focus on loss of a spouse or loss of a child. I don't know of any at this stage - but that sort of project might be beneficial for those who can express in writing in a public way what they remember and how they were changed by the loss. Writing these stories helps preserve the memory. This thread seems to do some of that.
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:00 AM
Location: SW Florida
9,109 posts, read 3,927,959 times
Reputation: 18777
I wrote down a lot while waiting with my father when he was dying in Hospice. I will have to find it and maybe share it here.
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Old 11-15-2016, 10:31 PM
Location: New Mexico
5,106 posts, read 2,918,142 times
Reputation: 9418
The ''Late Orphan Project'' is looking for new submissions to be compiled and published in a new anthology.
Write about your memories or how the loss of a parent, as an adult, influenced you to change your life, or not change. Our parents have a profound impact on our lives and, as adults, we can look at their lives and contributions through the prism of our own experiences as grown children and sometimes as parents, too.

Writing about our loss is often a very positive and therapeutic thing. It also, sometimes, brings balance, closure, and reconciliation among family members. Check out the web page for details.

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