May 21, 2010 – BACK TO THE REAL WORLD…

05/21/2010

I’ve plunged back into the working world as of 3 days ago and find myself moving along at a fairly decent clip, all considered.

Prior to that, I was like a wounded animal limping through the haze.  Those first few weeks after losing Daddy-O were foggy, painful and just plain surreal.  It’s weird when your world instantly loses one of its constant beacons; you lose your way and have to numbly find your way back to reality – albeit a new, revised reality.  And then you have to get used to that new place.

Nine days after the funeral, during this hazy process, my roommate and I escaped to Vegas for a quick getaway.  Quite frankly, looking forward to that trip actually helped me get through the funeral proceedings in the first place.  Then, once in Vegas, I distinctly felt myself disconnect from the regular drama of my life, and I was thankful for the tangible, much welcomed and much deserved break.  I figured I would get back to mourning a few days later once I touched back down in Detroit.

Surprisingly, though, back in Detroit, I discovered that I had healed a lot between Vegas and home.  Maybe it was the onslaught of neon lights and casino noise or the cool drinks and cloudless skies or simply the fact that I was nowhere near home and so no one knew I was mourning.  Whatever it was, I was able to act normal and literally be carefree for the first time in years!  It was an amazing sensation.

When I returned home to Detroit I found myself shocked – and then saddened – when I realized I had actually somehow recovered beyond my expectations in that one short weekend.  I suppose that after 3 years of pre-mourning the loss of my dad, I was somehow, somewhere deep inside, more prepared to move on than I thought.

That’s not to say that I don’t miss him LIKE CRAZY and sometimes still cry when I think about him!  The difference I’m speaking of is that I can talk about him sometimes without crying – which, I believe, is quite an amazing feet.

When I consider that my family and I could have been dealing with my father having this horrible disease for another DECADE – like millions of families do! – it absolutely blows my mind.  I have NO idea how people survive years and decades of this heart-wrenching disease.  I suppose that’s exactly why 40-percent of Alzheimer’s caregivers die before their failing loved ones.  I mean, seriously, WHO can take all that??

What I have now is scattered feelings: I feel blessed to have been Frank’s daughter, I feel sad because I miss him, and I feel lucky to have been released from this madness.

I find myself listening to oldies music at every possible opportunity – in the shower, in the car, while working.  The music feels like my last tangible connection to him.  Like, if I just smile big enough… and sing loud enough… and think happy thoughts enough, maybe Daddy-O will shine down on me, smile, and dance back…

(NOTE: Frankly Speaking: Alzheimer’s subscribers didn’t receive an email alert upon my last blog entry a few days ago for some reason.  If interested in reading that entry, scroll down one entry on my website to read my dad’s amazing eulogy as delivered by my cousin, Karrie [McLean] Martin.)

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4 Responses to “May 21, 2010 – BACK TO THE REAL WORLD…”

  1. Judith O'Connor said

    Oh Joleen, your posting brought music to my soul, & the fact that your having a sense of healing already would never diminish the scope of your love & loss. I feel this is a direct answer to the massive prayers that surround you & your wonderful family. Your prayer warriors have not forgot ANY of you. We hope (& pray)you’re able to dive back into a normal life with all the gusto you can muster up. You can now channel & focus all your efforts to move forward. Much love, The O’Connors

  2. Estaminais said

    Fortunately there is research going on (like stem cells) that may one day serve the cure this disease.

    • How interesting that you work in stem cell research in Portugal!! I so look forward to the world putting together minds and ideas to come up with the solution to cure/prevent Alzheimer’s and other diseases! Something has to change and the world has to be ready to start thinking outside of the box if we truly want to find a solution as quickly as possible. Thank you for sharing the hope! 🙂

      ~ J

  3. Patti Matsumoto said

    I miss my Dad like crazy too. Its been 10 months. I, too, feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful man as a Dad. Enjoy the beautiful memories.

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