Done…But not done

Not done writing.

Journaling.

Not done grieving.

Very few reading.

Done blogging.

Goodbye.

Have a happy life.

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10 June 2019, The Lowest High Recorded, Ever… More Death

No, it’s true. It’s official. Yesterday was the lowest high ever recorded in El Paso in June. It was only 72 degrees. I started out the day by edging, trimming and mowing the front yard. It was only 60 degrees when I started at 8:00 am. I knew the weather was going to change later that morning, so I wanted to get a head start. So I finished up the front and took a break. I started moving equipment around to the back yard and it started to sprinkle. So I put the stuff up instead. Good thing, it started to rain harder. It rained on and off all day and evening.

The next task planned was to take Tammy’s dad to Best Buy after lunch and let him see and maybe purchase the Jitterbug flip phone. His 8 year old phone quit working. He liked it. So he got it and we drove to his house and got the phone setup by calling the company. So we left and did some other things. When we got back, I called Great Call to get the number transfered over to the new phone from AT&T. You know, you want to keep the same phone number. Makes it easy. Don’t have to tell everyone your new number. Driving on all the wet roads was so fun…not.

So the next thing is dinner. I warm up the BBQ pulled pork. The precooked stuff. Nuke and eat. Put it on some bread, add a little cheese and away you go. An easy, but delicious dinner. Next, we sit on the couch for an evening of TV and after a while, I run off upstairs to play World of Tanks on the PS4. I get my first battle in and then I’m finishing up the second one, the door bell rings several times….

It’s Vera. She’s all in a panic. She’s Jim’s wife, our next door neighbor. I don’t hear what’s been said, I have the headphones on. Tammy tells me, we need to take her to the hospital where Jim was taken. So, I close up shop, change and get the car out. We all hop in and drive off. On the way, she tells us the gory details. Doesn’t sound good at all: CPR and they used the defibrillator several times. Only takes us 5 minutes to get to the little hospital. We get there and they take us to a room in the back of building. I knew right away that meant he didn’t make it. A nurse arrives and gives us water and we wait. The attending doctor finally comes in and tells us he never responded to treatment. It had been 50 minutes that he had been red lined.

It had been a long painful journey for him the last four years. Long story short. First a diabetic sore on his left foot. Stents put his left leg and chest area. Throat cancer. He beat it. Bypass surgery in his left leg. 9 months of recovery. Sore finally clears up on his foot. Stents put in his neck. He’s actually starting to do better and then he notices he’s out of breath a lot. Now, lung cancer. He started radiation therapy four weeks ago and chemotherapy two weeks ago. His suffering is over and our sorrow begins. That’s my second friend this year that’s passed. So much sorrow for one man to bear.

My friend,

  • Sargent Major James Ryan, 20 January 1953 to 10 June 2019.


© 2019 Roger Holmack, All Rights Reserved

Feel free to leave a comment and/or click on the “Like” star. This grieving father always needs a little encouragement. Thank you. 

High School Graduation: The Endurance Through Special Moments

Well, here we go again. Another milestone in the family. My nephew graduated from high school last night. Sitting through the graduation is an endurance test in itself. I thought it was a little different than the others. We sang to, America the beautiful. Said the pledge to the flags, the US and then Texas. Then a couple of songs sang by the choir and the band played the school fight song. Then a couple of people from the administration speak about the school year and the students future. Then a few students said their speeches and the last one even said a prayer. I was quietly surprised about that. And then, and only then, the long list of names and passing out the certificates. Four hundred in all I think. Ugh! I played thru all my candy crush games while all this going on. Stopped to listen at times. I need to make mind do something besides listen.

Then off to my sister’s home. A little visit with family and friends. Some pizza and cake. Nothing now to occupy my thoughts. My mind wonders off…

  • Amanda’s not here.
  • Not here to make wise cracks.
  • Her single wit makes me laugh.
  • Her giggles are contagious.
  • Makes everyone laugh.

Then I think of all the events she’s missed.

Then I think of the future and think of the things she doesn’t get to do.

  • Have a soul mate.
  • Get married.
  • Have children.
  • Be a wonderful mom.
  • Watch them grow.
  • Teach them things that only a mom can.
  • Watch them graduate.
  • She’s just not going to be here for anything else. It’s not a simple addition of events, but a multitude of the past, present and future.
    • I wonder.
      I wonder if anyone noticed,
      Noticed me wiping the tears,
      The tears from my eyes?

    Congratulations Michael on your graduation.

    © 2019 Roger Holmack, All Rights Reserved

    Feel free to leave a comment and/or click on the “Like” star. This grieving father always needs a little encouragement. Thank you. 

    Good Bye, Have Fun: The Difficulty of Separation

    Since Amanda passed and I’ve retired from my job, I get overwhelmed when my wife and my only living daughter leave for work. Or if they go the store or even when Elizabeth goes to her boyfriend’s house. Or even when they just walk across the street to get the mail. Although, not bad as before, I still wonder about it all.

    • Are they going to return?
    • Is the police going to ring the door bell?
    • Am I going to hear an accident out on my street?
    • Am I going to get a phone call from first responders or the hospital?
    • See our car smashed up on the news?
    • Hear a siren?
    • Are they coming here?
    • Who’s hurt?
    • Is someone dead?
    • Going to die?

    Oh, the anxiety of it all.

    This is something I never use to even give a second thought to. Now it can dominate my thoughts during my day. A sad truth to my life after child loss. To over come some of this, we’ve come up with ways to help. Before my wife leaves for work, she tells me I should be home after work. Sometimes, she tells me that she’s getting her nails done or do something else after work. Will be home later than normal. Elizabeth does the same. When a plan changes, phone calls come in or a text. Usually a text from Elizabeth and a call from Tammy. Anything out of the routine gets reported back. It’s necessary to keep my sanity. Otherwise, the worst-case comes to mind and I become overwhelmed.

    So when they leave: I say, “goodbye, have fun.” At least, I’ve said goodbye and hopefully they’ve had fun. I use to always say, “later.” But now, there’s not always a later.

    © 2019 Roger Holmack, All Rights Reserved

    Feel free to leave a comment and/or click on the “Like” star. This grieving father always needs a little encouragement. Thank you. 

    Days with Deep Darkness

    After Easter, where my hope is finished, come more days of dispare. As you know, this past Sunday was mother’s day. Then in a few weeks, my birthday and then in June is father’s day.

    One might think that only mother’s would morn on mother’s day, but that’s far from the truth. I can tell you, father’s suffer equally. The days leading into mother’s day, I would talk with my daughters about what to get mom. Then we’d head off to the store to get mom’s gift and then pick up some flowers too. It was a father daughter’s affair. As they grew older, they’d do their own thing, but I would always talk with them. I do that because the girls are more in tune with mom than I am. I did talk with Elizabeth this year, but where’s Amanda? Half of the routine is gone. Amanda is not here to talk to, be with, celibrate with…it’s all empty.

    The same thing, I say again, ..the same thing.. happens with my birthday and then father’s day. These are not like storms when you’re not sure when there’re going to come. These storms come the same time every year. You’d think on all the fours, it would be easier, but it still hits hard.

    • The anticipation
    • The anxiety
    • The guilt
    • The anger
    • The sorrow
    • The merry-go-round of emotions goes faster and faster
    • The missing
    • The tears
    • Oh, the tears
    • The why’s
    • The if’s

    Turns the brightest days into deep darkness.

    © 2019 Roger Holmack, All Rights Reserved

    Feel free to leave a comment and/or click on the “Like” star. This grieving father always needs a little encouragement. Thank you. 

    Easter: Hope Fueled by Learned Faith

    Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 NIV

    It’s that time of the year again: Easter. That time when Christians celibrate the resurrection of Jesus. It starts with Jesus’s ride into Jerusalem on a colt, Palm Sunday and then it’s finalized by his resurrection on Easter Sunday. For me, it was always a time of self reflection. A time to look at my sinful life and attempt to make corrections. An impossibility on my own, it always seems. Hence, my need for Christ.

    However, a big however, Easter was Amanda’s original due date. But, she was born a couple of weeks early. It’s a good thing that she was born early. She would have been over 9 pounds if she would have stayed in for another couple of weeks. Poor Tammy in birth. Tammy reminded her almost every year that she was supposed to be born then. Now there is no more repeating that. It’s just a memory. No more making new memories.

    There are a few early years where the kids colored eggs and then later where just the plastic ones filled with candy. Then even later, mom just hide their baskets filled with little goodies. We still have those baskets. You know, a chocolate bunny, candy and maybe even a movie or two. We celibrated Jesus’s resurrection along with the fun of the easter bunny. I grew up the same way. I learned the difference between the two. We have many pictures of the kids looking for eggs. Many wonderful memories that bring tears.

    Growing up, I learned about the contrasts between the two. I learned the fun of hunting for colored eggs and the truth about Jesus’s death and resurrection. The hope of my salvation. I also remember mowing the back yard and running over one of the “not” found eggs. Oh, the smell of rotten eggs. As I grew, I learned more and more about the torture of Jesus, his hanging on the cross and his resurrection. The Romans torture methods were truly horrifying. I remember reading about it, seeing shows on the history channel and different pastors speaking about it. His suffering was great. To make that scene visual, watch, “The Passion of the Christ.” It’ll truly bring tears to your eyes.

    If I hadn’t learned so much, grew so much in my faith and experienced so much, my hope would have vanished under the weight Amanda’s death, my beloved daughter. My hope is that one day I’ll be in heaven and will have the pleasure of speaking with her again. I have the confidence that my hope is fueled by my learned faith. My rock, my cornerstone, my hope…Jesus.

    © 2019 Roger Holmack, All Rights Reserved

    Feel free to leave a comment and/or click on the “Like” star. This grieving father always needs a little encouragement. Thank you. 

    The Fourth

    No, I’m not talking about the fourth of July. I’m not talking about fireworks bursting in air. Not talking about everyone in the country eating grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and apple pie. In fact, I don’t think more than a dozen or two even know what fourth I’m talking about.

    You see, it’s Amanda’s fourth birthday in heaven. She would have been 24 this April 5th . I’m sure she’s having a grand old time up there in the Father’s house. But down here in my house, there is no celebration, no birthday party, no birthday cake, no going to out to eat and no unwrapping birthday gifts. The only gift we get to unwrap is that of sorrow, sadness and tears.

    But, in memory of Amanda’s birthday, we’ll have some McDonald’s chicken nuggets and some chocolate cupcakes. That’s the best we can do. If you want to join in, that’s fine too.

    Happy fourth heavenly birthday Amanda.

    © 2019 Roger Holmack, All Rights Reserved

    Feel free to leave a comment and/or click on the “Like” star. This grieving father always needs a little encouragement. Thank you.