|July 3, 1948 to January 13, 2019...I will miss you, Daddy.|
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
it is about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Anonymous
My Dad certainly taught me this lesson time and time again throughout my life. He lived this quote repeatedly during his 13 year battle with cancer, whether he was tethered to an IV pole for many hours at home while he voraciously read or whether he took a break long enough for a small excursion. He kept dancing despite the rain. A treaty was called Sunday night and his spirit parted ways with his cancer ravaged body. We are thankful that he is now at peace but so sad to have lost him from our earthly lives.
This week was filled with life lessons that may not fit into my lesson plan books, but they are the real lessons that we all must learn. My children were amazing troopers through the last two weeks as we became aware of how serious my Father's condition was and traveled to Washington, DC to be at his side. I am amazed at how much they have grown and how well they dealt with an extremely difficult ongoing crisis day in and day out. All of the children said their goodbyes to Grandpa at his bedside and showed great strength and love to those around them. They listened to their bodies and used their voices to express when they could do no more and needed a break. They behaved themselves and sat in the very noisy hospital cafeteria for hours on end over the week (often by themselves). This is all very impressive when you consider the level of special needs that two of them have. They certainly rose to the occasion and all of those lessons that I have taught them about self care, sensory tools to get them through sensory overloading situations, patience, perseverance and grace have truly been assimilated into their brains. In addition, all three did a great job picking up the slack when others could do no more. I am so very grateful for my wonderful children.
One afternoon after a long visit to the hospital, we decided to go to a Starbucks in Washington, D.C. that is 100 % employed by deaf and hearing-impaired workers. Anne signed our order of four hot chocolates and two iced coffees. She was able to make the order flawlessly and really enjoyed interacting with the employee. It is marvelous to see her love of signing taking flight. She also ran into a deaf worker at Target and was able to sign what we were looking for and get directions to the right aisle. The video below is a snippet of her order at Starbucks.
I started reading Karen Andreola's new book, Mother Culture for a Happy Homeschool, before leaving on our trip. I just love this author and how she brings Charlotte Mason's philosophies to modern day life. In the chapter titled A Walk Will Do You Good, I found reinforcement that the walks my family takes together and apart are so important to our health. One quote really resonated this week. "Walking can level out a mood, relieve the doldrums, calm stress, soothe all vague perplexities." One of the light moments in this very heavy week was a chilly walk the morning after a fresh snow. We don't get nearly as much snow in our mountains as Washington, D.C. does, and when we do, the roads are a mess. With the lack of sidewalks in our hometown, walking along a snow covered road is sometimes dangerous. But the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area does a marvelous job of taking care of their streets and we had a lovely walk to a shopping center that ended with lunch at Panda Express and then another walk back to the house. It was definitely one of the stress relievers that was so desperately needed.
We are back home for a bit. We will return to Washington, D.C. in a few weeks for the memorial and to help clean out the very full four room basement that was my Father's man cave. It is filled to the brim with books, memorabilia, family photos and photography equipment. There is a great deal to untangle and organize. It will likely take more than one trip.
Since Wednesday, we have done some of our out-of-the-home classes and Anne returned to her part-time job. The rest of our hours have been filled with rest and processing our grief. I guess I needed a sense of control and organization, because I have spent hours reorganizing the linen closet that has been bothering me for more than a year. I have also been doing lots of laundry. It feels good to be busy but not overwhelmed. I am so glad that my husband and I agree on owning only the possessions we need or love. It makes for a much less hectic household.