:: Funeral Services on Jan. 15th
It was a small affair. I'd say around 15 or 20 people attended. I think all of grandpa's "breakfast buddies" showed up. One of his few remaining Air Force pals who still lives in the area was there with 2 of his daughters (they were all friends of the family, was in my mom's wedding, etc.). My cousin K & her husband weren't there because she had to attend a teaching conference down in Oregon that whole weekend. K did come up on the 23rd to help us clean out more of the house though, so that was nice. Not sure how helpful she was (I can see cleaning clutter is not her thing) but she did contribute what she could. My cousin, R, was there at the funeral and that was a nice surprise because he hardly ever gets time off of work.
The service was very nice and I was put in a special chair to receive the flag. There were 2 officers there from the Air Force who folded the flag and then played "Taps". The one officer then presented the flag to me and the poor guy forgot some of the words he was supposed to say! I felt so sorry for him. But he recovered after a few seconds of silence and finished the ceremony. It was really a powerful moment. I can remember my heart pounding in my chest during the whole time they were folding that flag with ceremonial precision.
Afterwards there was a nice reception and everyone enjoyed the cookies & brownies and talked about old and new times. After a while people left & we all returned to grandpa's house and R helped us go through more stuff. In fact, he had a couple of days off so we went back up Monday & Tuesday as well so we could take advantage of him being there. Plus, it was just nice to hang out with one of my older cousins. It's been over a year since we last saw him. He's like 8 years older than me, but in a lot of ways he's still like a little kid. He's constantly kidding around, being a silly pest, etc. He's annoying but fun. :P
:: House Cleaning
It's amazing what one accumulates in a lifetime. That's what goes through my mind all the time when we're up at my grandpa's house. I knew we were packrats, but I didn't know my grandparents were. Like my aunt's been saying, "And they (my grandparents) had the nerve to complain about the way our house looks?". The things we're finding...it's crazy. Things that didn't need to be kept all these years. Yet the important things that we're trying to find we have yet to come across. We're finally getting some control on the paper situation, though a lot of it is now down here in our and my aunt's house. lol A lot of it is here so we can take our time going through it so we can then recycle/shred/or throw it out. There's still a long way to go on the house, so many rooms to go through. It'll take us a year, probably more. At least we're not going up as much as we were. I think we're cutting it down to twice a week, which isn't too bad.
:: Re-adjusting & trying to get back to normal life
Last week we spent a whopping 4 days straight at home! I can't tell you how wonderful that was. The first time we've been home more than 1 or 2 days in a month. Needless to say with us going up to my grandpa's house so much we've been eating out a lot. Bad for everyone: my weight and it even triggered my mom's gout. My weight is back up to a very high number that I haven't been at in probably 2 years. So I'm starting to turn things around already, trying to make better choices at the places we eat at and not eating as much once we get home. I hope it's working because I still can't find the time or energy to get back to walking yet. I'll find a way, but not at the moment. I'm also trying to get back on a better sleep schedule and getting up in the mornings. I was actually off before my grandpa's death but dealing with his death/funeral and now his house has simply made the situation worse. It's going to take a lot of determination for me to get back to where I was in my sleep hours, but I know it's better for me, so I'll keep trying for every setback I have. I will say that since we've been home more in the past week that I don't feel as exhausted and tired like I was. Maybe part of that is because the funeral and all the hectic prep for it is over and I can kinda relax.
:: Mom & I
Since our major blow-out on the 21st we're doing so much better. By the next day I noticed a huge change in her. She seems happier, her responses to me are lighter, jovial...she smiles more. At first I thought maybe she was just doing it on purpose to make me feel better, but it's been a week now and she's still at it. I guess we really did need that fight to clear the air and release all the tension building up between us. I wonder if some of it is also because of something I told her that night that I'd been meaning to tell her for a long time. We talked a lot of stuff out, opened up to each other...it was good. I'll tell you guys what my big reveal was, but not here, this post is long enough as it is. :P
:: Mom's Cancer
My mom had her last radiation treatment on Tuesday, the 18th. No more Monday - Friday appointments! Glad to have them over. It was getting tiring for both of us. She's now begun the hormone therapy, taking a pill once a day for the next 5 years. She had a bone density test that was fine and she's taking calcium supplements with Vitamin D to counteract the hormone which can deplete her calcium levels. The main side effects are hot flashes and joint pain, so it might give her the symptoms of menopause all over again. Bleh. She had terrible hot flashes for almost 10 years when she was going through menopause. Hope she doesn't have them THAT bad again. Anyway, the oncologist wants her to come back in a month and he'll see how she's doing on the hormone pill. Then he'll have her check in every 3 months.
:: My aunt & her ER visit (A little TMI for some)
So on the 24th my aunt called me and said she needed me to take her to the ER because she was bleeding from the vagina. For a woman in her late 70s, that's not normal. Apparently it's been going on since just before Christmas, but with all that was going on she didn't have time to go to her doctor. The bleeding varied and some days she said there was none at all, however last Monday it was very heavy. I had slept late, so even without eating anything I took her to the hospital. She wasn't in any pain, so that was good. Once she was admitted to the ER they drew blood for testing & had her give a urine sample. After a couple of hours it was determined that her blood counts were normal and that she could go home. They gave her the name/number of a local OB/GYN and we came home (and I could finally eat!). She had this same bleeding several years ago and it was a cyst on her uterus and it looks like the same deal this time. She's already been to the doctor (who she likes very much) and an ultrasound has been scheduled for this week, I believe. My aunt is ready to have a hysterectomy, 'cause in her words she "doesn't need it anymore". So we'll see what her new doctor says after some more tests.
So all in all, things are slowing down to some degree and thus, getting better. I'm glad the funeral is behind us. I did tear up a little during the services, but that's all. Most people who hear what his age was are amazed. I mean, he lived 94 years! Look how many people don't make it that far. He had a good, long life and frankly, I figured he wasn't going to last too many more years anyway. My aunt is still kinda upset that he tried to fix that light when he shouldn't have and that he might still be alive today, but really....he was old, stubborn, and I think looking forward to the end. Not that he wanted to kill himself, but he was done with life and had accomplished what he wanted to do and was ready to be with my grandma again. So I don't really feel sad about his passing. It was inevitable and we gave him a nice send-off, probably more fuss than he wanted, but we wanted to do it right. I still get a little wistful if I stop for a moment while we're in the house & look at his empty chair, but other than that, I've been okay.
Now I'm eager to get back to some normalcy, getting caught up on a lot of things that have been put off while we're up at his house. I'm getting there, but I've got a little bit to go. Thanks again for all your love, patience, kind words, and most of all your support during this time, my friends. I'm so grateful. (((HUGS)))