One (more) and done.

Let me jump in one last time.

First off I had no plans for one more. Our heroine passed peacefully. She waited for ham, cheese, and I to leave the room. Her brother Chris was there at the final moments. I’ll never be able to thank him enough for that. There’s a lot about the moments I’ll keep to ourselves. While we shared a lot, that’s something I don’t have the words or thoughts right now. So…..

Quick backstory, Elizabeth used to love ghost hunters, ghost adventures, ghosts in cars getting coffee, all that. The celebrity mediums, the noncelebrity mediums. She loved it. As did I because I made fun of it the whole time. Ghosts were complete nonsense. How in the world could any sane, reasonable person believe in ghosts.

Fast forward to the roadtrip. Ham, cheese and I split for Clearwater beach just to get out of town. A change of venue. Relax and generally get a breath. So we wake up the first morning. When I say we, I mean me because teenagers wake up at the crack of noon. So I stumble out for a cup of crappy hotel brew. There’s some old guys (80+) celebrating a birthday with a bottle of Jameson. (I wanted to party with those guys but I would’ve brought their cool quotient down a notch). I noticed Taylor Swift’s “shake it off” playing. Our buddy Wayne and Elizabeth were drunk as rats dancing in front of the Hard Rock in Vegas to this song and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Ok. Mild coincidence. We then set out to grab a t-shirt and other nonsense from the trip. We’re in a surf store. We hear Fergie from the black eyed peas. Hannah taps me, we used to hear this every day going to school, what are the odds we hear it at a surf store.

Yeah, what are the odds

So we are now about to leave to go see my uncle Richard and aunt Terri and Jenna. While waiting for the valet another song is blasting through the hallway speakers. Some Amy Grant song. Don’t ask me the name cause that ain’t quite my genre. Nonetheless, Amy f’n Grant? She loved Amy Grant. I sat through a Christmas concert of Amy Grant and would gladly do it again but still….

This was getting weird, even ham and cheese though as much.

So we start to driving. Years ago a commercial came on the tv at a restaurant with songs of the 70’s. Olivia Newton John came on and Elizabeth started singing this song that I thought she made up, “have you ever been mellow”. We get in the truck. We change the station and what comes on, right from the start….

If you guessed “master of puppets” you’re wrong.

Seriously? ONJ? Have you ever been mellow? ArWe all screamed “seriously!!!!” Are you f’n kidding? I looked up. “Well played ma’am”. Hannah then hit a button. Turned it off. We turned it right back…..

The song was gone.

This was not pandora, nor Spotify. Sirius XM is on a stream. Why did it disappear? What the blue hell is going on. We all felt something. Hay was shocked. Hannah immediately started sobbing. I smiled a huge smile because she’s still here in some way watching us.

I’m sure she laughed. Thank god we have someone watching over us with skin in the game.

At the end of her remembrance from me the other day I said something a buddy of mine texted to me right after she passed. I think about it a lot as the past few days I really feel she’s still with us. With all of us. So look, in the end I truly love all of you. And the three of us will be fine in the end. I’ll keep writing. Maybe I’ll start a new one about a dad trying to raise two lunatic daughters. Complete fiction but I’ll come up with something I’m sure. Thanks for the following.

Someday you will read or hear that Elizabeth Reeves is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. She shall be more alive than I am now. She will just have changed her address. She will have gone into the presence of God.

 

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An open letter….

I’m sitting here next to you. Quietly. You’re on meds so you’ll never read this but right now it’s either write or stare at the wall. And I know you’d get on to me for pouring a ridiculous amount of rum into what’s left of my coffee at 1:30 on a Wednesday afternoon. But all things being equal I think the situation warrants it. I’ve already told you but wanted to reiterate that Ham, cheese and I will be ok. You’ve given me two great crutches on which to lean on and I hope and pray (yeah, I actually prayed) that I’m the same for them. Yeah, it’ll be a little different. We’ll still tell Haley to quiet down whenever Hannah and I get stupid and she makes the slightest peep. And I’ll make sure Hannah wears better fitting shorts and will constantly remind her not to say the first thing she thinks of. And I swear I’ll “make good decisions” whenever I go to a concert or a football game with my “boyfriends” as you called them. It won’t be the same but we’ll be alright. We’ll still go to Jimmys for thanksgiving and Easter. Christmas though we hatched a plan that instead of gifts we’re just going on a trip from now on. This year we’re doing it for Christmas but in the future may sit in the lounge drinking egg nog without the nog (re: bourbon) and plan an adventure. And don’t worry, you’ll never, ever be forgotten. We’ll order a Malibu and orange juice and plain, dry, cheeseburger wherever we go and choke down a couple of bites as an appetizer. Think of it as a traveling communion.

I can’t think though of a better adventure or a better partner to have run with the last 20 years. We had some great times. Jamaica, Mexico, Vegas, that really crappy hotel in Tampa we stayed at because I wanted to go to a rays baseball game. I know you really didn’t care to go but neither did I really want to go to an Amy Grant concert. The first time we went to Disney with each of the girls. The recitals and programs. I’ll remember it all forever. As will the girls. You’re like a bad stain on a white shirt. Even if we wanted to forget you we never could. Nor would we want to. Because it’s our favorite shirt. And we’ll wear it out. Even with the holes and stains and ill fitting collar that has worn out it’s welcome, it’ll still get worn. And you know me with old shirts. We had a great ride you and me.

As far as this last year, I told you at the jump, we’re a team. We’ll fight this thing to the bitter end together. We had help from friends and family and my god we needed it. I’m not sure where we’d be had we did like we said one day in a fit with everyone and said f’ it, let’s move to arizona. Hindsight being 20/20 definitely for the best we stayed. And we have the best group around us anyone could ask for. And they’ll be here for as long as they can stand us. We, well mostly you, gave it hell and we left no cards on the table. As you know I like to bring it back to sports and we were facing Michael Jordan’s Bulls. And we went down swinging. So I’ll leave it with this. Don’t be scared. At all. And I won’t be. Because I and the girls will thankfully have somebody watching over us with a little bit of skin in the game. And lastly……

I love you more.

This is a hard one

Yeah………

So I left the house around 10am on Thursday. Just checked up on our heroine between looking at jobs. She said she felt a little off but to me, she sounded and looked pretty good. The hospice nurses/social workers had been there for the majority of the week and everything seemed to be fine. We’re supposed to have good days ahead right? That was the plan. Meds has been decreased to a more suitable level, we were going to get the drain tube so they could relieve the pressure of the always brewing gut stew at home. Things were starting to come together. The nurse was coming by later to drop off some DNR paperwork for us to have onhand if/when the worst happens. But we aren’t going to need that for a while. So off I went to st augustine to look at a job. Well…….

Elizabeth calls and puts me on speaker with Barbara the nurse. She was super nauseous, weak, hurting, all that. Ok. We were going to the inpatient hospice wing at the hospital to get this under control. Elizabeth met this decision with no resistance. We stayed the night and her assites/gut stew was draining from the hole where Dwayne the drain was inserted pretty good. When it has no place to go, it’ll just find somewhere and show itself the door. So the nurses here (whom I cannot say enough good things about) the next day began to see if they could move up getting the drain tube put in from Tuesday to Monday. That got done (more on that later). We spoke with the doctor between the parade of family and friends coming by for support. It’s hard for me to even type this, things ain’t good kids. There were some hard truths that we knew but out loud they were crushing. She doesn’t want to be in pain anymore and who can blame her. She doesn’t want myself or ham and cheese to see her this way, struggling. But we pressed on. I crawled into bed and took a nap with her. She’s lost enough weight where I could slide my giant tuckus right beside her in this small bed. I left and came back and between then she had decided that Monday was no good, that with our history of things and procedures at Mayo that she wanted to be certain exactly what was happening. So I agreed. While she needs it later it’s ultimately her call. So after all the family and friends left ham and cheese came in and we all stayed the night in the room. Today has been quiet. The girls went home to clean up and Hannah is going to work then to her boyfriend Carsons house. He’s been here with her the majority of the time and even though it’s only been a short time I love that dude. No matter where the road goes for him and Hannah he’ll always have a special place in my heart for being there for her (and his family as well). Haley is going to stay at a friends house so I’ll have the air mattress to myself.

So now the tough part. She’s not really eating. It was all we could do to get her in and out of the shower today. She has no strength. I know that she “wants all the info” before getting the tube but that may be her way of saying fuck it. So we sit here. Not feeling good about anything. Ham and cheese just came back by and we had some laughs. I’ve told friends that came by that were upset leaving, we’ll be alright. And we will. I had a pretty good partner for twenty years to raise two awesome human beings. Am I scared? Yeah. But I know I’ve got them to lean on as they do me. I just deleted a sentence as I wanted to be positive and put a good spin to end this, but truthfully it sounded ridiculous sitting at the end of the hallway on the fifth floor of hospice. So I’ll just leave this here and hope we can get out and go home together for one last run. Love all you waveriders, prayer warriors and savages. It’s been a good uphill battle with you guys behind us. Peace and love. Later