Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"But I will hold on hope"

My words dried up when dad died.

The farther away from him I've gotten away from him, the less people want to hear about him. About how I feel. I have been mostly silent. But it creeps up on me when I least expect it, baking 10 different kinds of Christmas cookies one night, and suddenly being seized with such overwhelming, cavernous sadness. Remembering Dad reading Capote's 'A Christmas Memory', and needing to find that book, his copy, immediately. Or welling up with tears at the thought of getting rid of a table that belonged to Dad and his family. Someone said to me recently that this holiday must be easier than last year. It's actually been harder. I have passed through the phase of shock and awe, and reality has sunk in. And truthfully, I can't see this ever being easier. I'll always see that empty place at the table.

I went for a walk tonight, for the first time in a very long time. I had forgotten the quiet meditative trance I get into, the lulling drone of the traffic and the gentle clicking of Ed's law's on the pavement. That was always the time for me to think, back when dad was sick. I would mull over things, then come here and blurt them all out. I kept nothing in during that time. Now, I keep everything in. I have tried, in the last year, to throw myself into being busy: into being super mom, PTA, play dates and activities. I have slipped in and out of a persona that feels so unlike me. I think I wanted to prove to myself that I was stronger than the grief. That I could rise above it and be stoic. But it's really not that simple. Nothing ever is. But as ever, I still have hope.

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Monday, July 5, 2010

Dear Dad,

I know, I know. I didn't do anything for the fourth. Look, I had an opportunity to go to someone else's house for a change, and I took it. I didn't grill out, I didn't have everyone over - but I did make a flag cake. However, it only had 12 stripes and I'm pretty sure there were not 50 blueberries. I could picture you rolling your eyes at me. But trust me, it tasted the same.

The kids are getting so big, you wouldn't believe it! Tyler has finally hit 5 feet and is taller than his Aunt Tina, Henry and Addie keep growing like weeds. Addie is almost riding a two wheeler - not quite there yet, but she is so determined! She doesn't want any help, she waves me off and says 'don't watch me, I'll do it myself!' She also is swimming like a fish, and has taught herself to do front and back somersaults, and she does cannonballs in the deep end. Henry is learning how to dive, and he did awesome at his basketball camp. He came home thinking he was one of the team, nonchalantly talking about hanging out with Tyshawn Taylor, and telling me 'Mom, they want me to come back next year.' I didn't tell him that they tell ALL the kids that. He's actually getting pretty good at basketball - sports in general, really. Given our family history, it's hard to imagine, I know. But nonetheless, you'd be so amazed and proud.

Mom got a call from Cheryl at Fringe - they're honoring you at the Festival this year! I knew you'd be thrilled. We're getting a lot of your prints together, and that photo of you at the Flint Hills that I love so much. You are very much missed by all of those people, you did so much for them.

And it goes without saying that I miss you, too. We all do. Mom says the house is too quiet, and I have no one to bake for anymore. No one leaves clipped articles from Newsweek or The Atlantic on my dining room table anymore. There are lulls in conversations at family gatherings that never used to be there before. There is just a huge void without you. I love you.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I truly meant to keep blogging after Dad died, but as verbose as I was during the actual process, I find that I can hardly talk about the loss, much less write about it. The pain is almost worse than before, as I'm expected to move on, and no one talks about Dad anymore. I still thinking of calling him, several times a week, forgetting, ever so briefly, that he really is gone.

What's left after someone you love dies? Love, memories, what else? And how do you ever move on?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"I'm out of step and closing down"

Grief is a tricky, fickle bitch. Just when you think you're okay, you're over it, you get sideswiped.

My kids are a mess, Addie wants Apaa back 'right now!' - she has no concept of death as a forever thing. Henry cries, he acts out, he has trouble sleeping. They both have nightmares. I find myself outraged that there are still people I know - in my lives, that I see on a regular basis- that have never once said 'I'm sorry', or 'How are things'. Zero acknowledgment of the difficult ordeal we all went through. So many want to think that it's over. I should be moving on. And believe me, I'm trying. But this has changed me, in a deep, profound way, and I'll never be the same.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"You have been here and you are everything"

(Cross posted from my private blog)

Well, I've been over at the Cancer blog, and if you know me at all, you've been reading that. I now feel very blog-less, as Dad is gone, and this blog was very centered on workout routines and food obsessions. I am somewhere in between the two, both nowhere and everywhere. I am still very much consumed with what the last 18 months have been to our family, and the ripples are still ebbing out farther away from the epicenter of it all. The rest of the world is in full stride, and here I struggle to get in step. I stumble, trip, sometimes stop all together. I want so desperately to find my normal again. What 'normal' is, continues to evolve for all of us. I still don't sleep, barely eat. I am overwhelmed with my own grief, and yet I have to deal with the grief of my children and mother. I feel compelled to be the strong one, yet inside, I am breaking to pieces.

If I've learned anything throughout this, it's that life is fleeting and fragile, and it shouldn't be wasted worrying about bullshit. I've learned that there are people that step up to the plate when there's tragedy, and then there are those who won't. For whatever reasons, they cannot be there for you. I have been appalled and angry at individuals I thought were my friends, but I have come to a form of acceptance. I pity those who can't trudge through with someone they care about. I find it sad that they will never truly experience the full range of emotion life can bring. It's not just about the sweetness and joy; it's about the sadness, bitterness, and grief. Sharing with someone in their darkest hours is deeply intimate, and I will forever feel a connectedness to those who reached out to me while my father lay dying.

I no longer fear death. As a child, it terrified me. I could not imagine anything worse than my parents dying, or me dying. I have found serene peace in all of this. Death will come for me, someday, I hope not too soon, but when it does, all I pray for is a beautiful death. It is a journey, a pathway to the cosmos, and I feel immensely and profoundly honored that I could walk that path with Dad. I couldn't follow him all the way, but I stood on the shore and waved goodbye, and watched him drift away. What greater honor is there than that?

I don't know what this blog or the other one will become. I don't know where I'll post or what I'll post about. But I'm still here.

All you hear is time stand still in travel
And feel such peace and absolute
The stillness still that doesn't end
But slowly drifts into sleep
The greatest thing you've ever seen
And they're there for you
For you alone you are the everything
For you alone you are the everything

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scott Hoober, 66, of Prairie Village, KS, passed away Thursday, October 1, 2009, after 18 months of giving lung cancer hell. He was born March 24, 1943 in Washington D.C., to Daniel and Nora Hoober. He attended the University of Illinois and graduated with a degree in photojournalism in 1965. From there, Scott took his first job at the Beloit Daily News, in Beloit Wisconsin, where he met his wife-to-be, Penny. They were married on August 27, 1968, bonded by a love of news and politics, even honeymooning in Chicago during the riots of the Democratic National Convention.

Scott contributed his considerable writing talents to several papers in the Midwest before settling in Kansas and shifting his focus to Media and Public Relations, most notably as Media Liaison for the KCMO Police Department. Scott became a familiar face on both local and national news in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, particularly during the Flood of 1977. He went on to work for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and then ventured on to open his own company, Hoober and Associates.

In addition to his love of writing, Scott held a lifelong passion for photography, a tangible illustration of his ability to be a passive observer to the world around him. Scott was a champion of the environment long before it was in vogue, volunteering for the Kanza Chapter of Sierra Club, and hiking throughout remote areas of the US and Canada. He was also a Boy Scout and member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, and he was Troop Leader for several groups of at risk boys. Scott believed in public service and was a patron of the arts, giving his time to the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the Fringe Festival, and the local Blues and Jazz Club. Scott was also a member of IRES and IABC, and cherished the friendships he had made through all his organizations. His friends will remember his quick wit and vast knowledge of current events as well as history.

Whether it was hiking a challenging trail, dealing with an intellectual dilemma, or facing a terminal diagnosis, Scott faced it all with grit and determination rarely seen in men half his age. A lifelong non-smoker, Scott refused to let metastatic lung cancer get him down, and continued to make the best of life throughout his 18 month fight. He defied all odds in his survival, due to his optimism and the caring and determination of Dr. Karen Kelly and Kizzy Allen, RN, of the KU Cancer Center. It was Scott’s final wish to have his body donated to the Kansas University Medical School, in hopes that he could help others. Scott is survived by his wife, Penny Hoober, children, Steven (Alison) Hoober and Christine Hoober (Bryan Sowell), grandchildren, Tyler, Henry, and Addie, sister, Geri Maskell, and aunt, Charlotte (Chickie) Stone, as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Memorial Service will be held Saturday, October 17, 2009 at one in the afternoon, at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 6630 Nall Ave., Mission Kansas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Scott’s name to Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care. Scott’s family is forever grateful for the care and respect given to Scott in his final days at Hospice House.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Here comes the flood. We will say goodbye to flesh and blood."

I was fully prepared for Dad to die. I had studied the process, all the signs. I knew what to expect, knew what it would look like. I had focused my time up until then on caring for him; I threw myself into it head on, then I could avoid the unavoidable. Everyone says that death is shocking. Even when it's expected, they'll say, you'll be surprised. His death came as no surprise. It didn't take my breath away. It humbled me, saddened me, but it was the expected path we were all on.

I was not prepared for how I would feel after. I had thought I'd feel pain, I had thought I would cry for days and then wake up a few days later ready to proceed with life. I don't feel like I'm grieving, I just feel.... lost. Empty. I am a television set turned to static, all white noise and confusion. There is a huge, gaping hole in my life where Dad once was, and nothing has yet filled it in. My father was a big personality, he adored being the center of attention, and most family gatherings, he was. I still find myself having absentminded thoughts about picking up a pastry from Andre's for him, or rummaging through the dollar bin of dvds to see if there were any movies he'd like. Then I feel like I've been hit in the stomach with the realization that he is really, truly gone. And even though I was there and witnessed it, I can't believe this huge presence is gone.

Dad's Memorial/Funeral/whatever the hell you want to call it is set for Saturday, October 17th at one in the afternoon, at St. Michael and All Angels. I'm working on the obituary, it will be posted in the KC Star probably Wednesday or Thursday of that week. Thank you all for your e-mails, cards, phone calls, and facebook messages (I love technology). They are all cherished and appreciated.

When the flood calls
You have no home, you have no walls
In the thunder crash
You're a thousand minds, within a flash
Don't be afraid to cry at what you see
The actors gone, there's only you and me
And if we break before the dawn, they'll
use up what we used to be.