Monthly Archives: November 2005

Frustrating

Laptops are so nice – and frustrating.  Mine has gotten very slow and I am not knowledgeable enough to have the reason figured out.  So here I am posting from the desktop at home.  It is so nice and fast and free since Leo is away. 

But now I am off to Gatecrashers so my post that I have ready on my laptop will just have to wait.

You might want to check out Gavin’s new site.  Yeah, another blogger!

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We will return to "normal"

Not much blogging has been going on here.  I think things will get back to normal but I have been too exhausted to blog.  I’m usually a very early riser but have found myself sleeping in and still waking up tired.

 

This week has been full – from preparing for Dad’s funeral at the beginning of the week to attending the funeral of Rev. Cliff Campbell, my sister’s father-in-law in Saturday.  It hasn’t been so much the sadness, since both served God and now have gone to spend eternity with him, but it has been, just the same, a highly emotionally draining week. 

 

Then Friday was a long day in the operating room.  Our anesthetist, who is really a nice guy and who I hate to complain about since he is very careful and very kind, is sooooo… slow.  So a good part of the day was spent waiting for him to induce a patient or wake them up.  That took over an hour for each case.  We didn’t get out of there and back to the office till 2:30.  An hour late for seeing the afternoon patients.  No lunch hour.  My partner saw four of my patients for me – thank you Roger!  Everyone had ordered food from Boston Pizza for noon.  We came back to cold strombolis and still had a few patients to see.

 

Then home to get ready for the drive to Alberta for the funeral. 

 

The drive is pretty in the daylight.  Friday night was dark and moonless.  Fog hung heavily over the hills, coating everything with hoarfrost.  It also made seeing any deer on the roadside almost impossible.  It was good to get as far as Loydminster safely.

 

Meanwhile back at the church we had prayer week.  The preparation wasn’t too much work since we used resources from the past two years which Randall had saved but there were two extra take downs for the funerals at the church and two extra set ups.  Final take down will be on Sunday which is also the first Sunday in Advent and our family advent program in the afternoon.  Grey Cup parties in the evening.  Not sure we could have packed more things into this week.  I love the prayer week leading up to Advent, the freedom to just go and sit there in the presence of God and the way the stations direct my thoughts and prayers.  I only wish I could have had more time free from all the other stuff that I had to do.  That is life I guess.  And God is there in the midst of all this stuff, the unavoidable busyness of this week.

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I'm making a list

When I make a major faux pas, I feel pretty rotten.  Well, I made one today.  I assumed that Rachelle knew things.  I made her feel bad by not communicating very well at all.  I am at my worst when I am stressed so I could use that as an excuse.  But mostly I am just not the world’s most organized person and I messsed up.  I am glad she accepted my appologies.  I have to remember that communicating dosen’t just involve me thinking something – I have to say or do what has to be done. 

The past few days I haven’t remembered very well who I told what so that didn’t help much.  Lists – I need to make them and use them. 

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Reminiscing

I think all the details are taken care of.  I would hate to have to arrange a funeral in the case of the tragic loss of a loved one.  I certainly would not go to work in the morning the day before the funeral.  Ah well, today is about over.  Here we sit this evening, sisters and brothers –in-law, sitting around with our kids, visiting and talking.  Rolling in laughter over the time when Dad had Glenn cram his feet into two different sized boots and then could not get them off for all his pulling.  Good times.  Fun memories.  And with our kids around I suspect we are creating some memories for them at the same time.

 

However, we are tired.  Tomorrow will be a long day and stressful a bit at least.  At least for the tributes some of us are giving and the kids doing their music and carrying out their duties for Grandpa.

 

This morning we got the news of the death of my brother-in-laws father as well.  So we go from Dad’s funeral to the funeral of Cliff Campbell on Saturday.  Two pastors, Dad and Cliff, following each other into the Kingdom.  I bet they are having a wonderful time – whole and healthier than they have ever been before.

 

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And now the waiting is over

Tonight, at about 8:10 Dad took his last breath and his heart slowed to a stop.  I am very glad I was there.  One minute there were very weak breaths, then those were done.  One minute there was life, fragile as it was, then it was gone.  Dad just kind of slipped quietly away.

The emotions are complicated at a time like this; a death that is in many ways a relief from a disease that began to take Dad away years ago.  However, there was a strong bond that withstood the ravages of the disease and the last few years have let us take time for him as we prepared for this sort of inevitable day.  It is hard to part from someone you really love, even if they are going on a journey to a better place.

So, my Dad, Thomas Lloyd Dice, born Aug. 24, 1919 in Prince Albert, died today, Nov. 18, 2005.  Eighty six years lived to the full.

The end of a long chapter of my story.  The beginning of a whole new chapter of his – the eternal life begins.

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Waiting

This week has been different.  When I went to work on Monday, I let my staff know that my dad was not doing well and that I may have to take some time off during the week.  Now here we have made it through this long week, and it has really been a busy one in terms of work, with no cancellations. 

We wait for death as we do for birth.  There are forces at play in both situations that we do not understand or control.  We like to think we control our bodies but for the really important events, the coming and the going, we wait.  We take what we are given, whenever and however it is given, and we deal with it. 

It is hard to describe what it has been like this week.  It has been tiring as I have gone to see my dad before and after work and have carried on with the rest of life as well.  My family have been gracious; taking care of the meals and stuff, letting mom spend time with Grandpa.  They haven’t seen much of me.  But we all know there are few days left to spend with Dad.

So, today, I have the day off.  I will help start the funeral arrangements.  There will be time to sit at Dad’s side watching him move closer and closer to his time to go.  His breathing last night was so shallow.  Things are shutting down.  His grip is getting weaker.  The signs of impending death are getting more evident.  It may be today.  It will be soon.  The process is inevitable and since the place he is going, confident that he is going to be with the God whom he loved so much, is going to be so much better we hope he will not stubbornly cling to his failing body for too much longer. 

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Almost Done Here

My dad has become very weak and frail over the past few weeks and now is close to being done with his time here on earth.  Leo and I went up to see him yesterday afternoon.  For the first time in my visits to him, he hardly responded at all.  On Remembrance day he was sitting up (propped with pillows) and talked to us if we aroused him from his sleepiness.  Yesterday he hardly opened his eyes.  His hand still squeezed mine but there was little other response.  He has lost interest in eating and drinking.

 

I chose one of my favorite Psalms to read from – Psalm 37.  Then I prayed for him.

 

His skin is transparent, like parchment paper.  His strength is gone.  His body seems like it has simply worn out.  He needs a new one.  And soon …  Soon he will be really at home where he will be really renewed and well.  My mom is already there, and Logan and many friends and relatives who have gotten there first.  That will be good.

 

But we will miss him.  I feel this bittersweet sadness inside. 

 

Some of my early memories:

         He was a good driver and I knew that when I was little.  Sure of that, I always felt safe to fall asleep.  Had to learn to stay awake when I became the driver.

         If I wasn’t really asleep, I would pretend so that, when we got home, he would pick me up in his strong arms and carry me in to my bed.

         It was my dad who prayed with me when I decided that I wanted my life to belong to Jesus.  I still have the image of the camp chapel, of him sitting next to me as we prayed, etched in my memory.  I was only four.  I also remember the multitude of times when I went to him in future years when I was unsure of my faith and he reassured me that God would always be with me.

         He would come in to my room and pray with me when I would wake up at night with nightmares.  He assured me that God was there with me and quoted me the Psalm that states the God does not sleep nor slumber. 

         There were times when his confidence and stubbornness got him into trouble.  He would explore roads that sometimes led to nowhere.  We would get stuck and spend hours getting out rather than call the nearest farmer for help – and sometimes would still have to do that after all.

         He liked to take pictures.  I remember the bears we stopped to photograph.  He got out of the car to do it.  He got back in just in time chased by the bear.

 

And the memories go on and on.  Some good, some of more difficult times.  All part of remembering who he was.

 

He was a man of great faith and compassion.  He served God with all he had and in all that he did.  It was hard to watch him lose his sharp intellect as the Alzheimer’s disease caused the mental deterioration of the past few years.  It was hard to see him become dependant and weak.  But for me it has also been a time of blessing; getting an opportunity to simply love him back for no reason other than that he is my dad.   

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