Sunday, September 06, 2009

Past, Present and the Future

For many, visiting a loved one in a cemetery is difficult, emotional, perhaps painful and even healing. I am no exception to those feelings. Yet, when I go to visit my father in his resting place, I am surrounded with a profound sense of loss but with that comes an incredible sense of peace and rejuvenation. I don't get up to see him as much as I should, as sadly, I do not get back to my home town enough. And, if it were in the winter months, I can't visit my father as he is literally buried under 8 feet of snow, so finding the gravestone is at times challenging. Oh yes, my sister and I have taken upon the challenge to dig around and find it. And those times were filled with laughter at what we were doing, a sense of accomplishment when we found him and that ever present sadness of what we have lost. I should add in too, that we are respectful of those around us too, so upon our dig, or even our summertime visits, we will leave flowers upon the headstones surrounding my father in gratitude for being such good company for him.

In the summertime however, the graveyard is incredible. The view as you sit at my father's gravestone is breath taking as it is silent. You are surrounded by the beauty of nature and the love for others that have passed on and the tribute that their families and friends continue to give to them. It is something that is important for me to share with my children and for them to experience.

Last weekend, we were back in my hometown for a wedding and to celebrate my mom's birthday. My sister and I took the opportunity to take the children up to visit my Dad. Kaelen has been up there a few times however Masyn had never had the opportunity to do so. I let the kids each pick out their own flower bouquet to lay upon my Dad's gravestone and it was then that I knew that this would be an educational visit for me and one that was going to be filled with laughter. The kids were so very excited to be a part of this visit and having the responsibility to decorate Grandpa's resting place.

To access the gravestone, you practically need to be a mountain goat to navigate the hill as my hometown is literally built on the side of a mountain. After scaling the mountain, the kids were eager to give Grandpa his flowers. And upon gifting Grandpa with his flowers, "the questions" began:

Kaelen: Mom, where exactly is Grandpa right now?

Me: Well, he is in heaven honey.

Kaelen: I know, but where is his body?

Me: Um, well his body is deep within the ground, but his spirit and being is in heaven.

Kaelen: So, what you are telling me is that we are standing on his head right now?

Me: Well, if you put it that way, yes honey, we are.

Kaelen: Grandpa must have been big and strong then for us to stand on him like this.

There were many other entertaining conversations and perhaps it was wrong to find humour in a place as such, but I know deep down that my Dad was laughing himself silly. He found the laughter in everything and my son's innocent questions would be no exception. So we went about answering all of Kaelen's questions, cleaning up around my father's grave site and paying respect to others around him. My children must be mine as we didn't have to prompt them on this little tradition that my sister and I have, they just naturally wanted to do so.

I won't deny that I was sucking up the tears when visiting my dad this time. I so desperately wish that he could be actively involved in my life in the physical presence and to partake in my beautiful life. He would be so proud of my children and I am very confident in saying that he and my husband would no doubt be very good friends and get into a lot of trouble together.

Even after 23 years of his passing, the raw hurt and yearning is still there, but I take comfort in knowing that he is with all of us in spirit.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Popsicles and Jello

The time has arrived and past. Kaelen had his surgery done on the 2nd and is doing amazing. His surgery resulted in the removal of his tonsils and after a thorough scope, he also had tubes put in both ears and a cyst removed, that had grown on the site from his adenoid surgery back in March. And, being the trooper that he is, he has yet to complain of pain. Which amazes me because everyone and their dog warned me that he would be extremely sore and cranky for at least the first 5 days. Sadly, in Kaelen's own words, the pain is "normal". Normal in the sense that it is the same kind of pain that he has been living with since his adenoid surgery or perhaps before that.

He is lethargic and tired and is struggling to talk, so doesn't much. The house seems empty at the moment because Kaelen talks and talks and talks, and basically never shuts up. And when he does talk, it is kind of funny because everything is still so swollen, no one has a chance to even understand what he is saying. That is coming from a family whos said boy already has speech enunciation issues and we are very good at deciphering and translating what Kaelen is saying. Now comes the waiting game, waiting and watching Kaelen heal. He starts Kindergarten on Tuesday but may miss that and his big 5th birthday is on Wednesday, which we will of course celebrate ice cream style if needed. The big Bakugan party? It was supposed to be Sunday, but we have pushed it back to two weeks from Sunday, when Kaelen will be healthy enough to be in fine brawler form.

What is next for the little man? Well, in the next month or two, he will be referred to a speech therapist in hopes that it isn't too late to help him with his enunciation issues. We have been told that in some kids, if the enunciation challenge is due to a nasal like sound pattern, it may be too late to teach them how to change that sound pattern. However, Kaelen's issues are more along the lines of being physically hindered from the ability to articulate a particular sound such as "th's" or "s's". He tries and can only 1/4 of the time can actually come up with the sound. All people involved feel that having these past two surgeries, he naturally correct himself. Part of the issue too was that he couldn't hear a decibel range effectively (kind of like muffled), hence the removal of the adenoids, tonsils and insertion of tubes. Plus, the tonsils and adenoids were so ginormous, (the specialist asked me if we wanted to jar them for a badge of honor), they were certainly hindering him from being able to pronounce sounds.

Sigh .... it is so tough as a parent to see your children hurt or struggle isn't it? I mean, you know in the big picture that they are going to be okay and come out with flying colours but, that still doesn't stop your heart from breaking and your eyes from watering, wishing that you could take their place and bear their burden ......