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.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Do you know what? I love you better now"

“We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so . . . The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”

—C.S. Lewis

Dad died peacefully at 2:05 pm with me and Mom at his side, after nearly 18 months battling cancer in his lungs, brain, and spine. He fought long and hard, as brave as any soldier, and we fought right along with him.

Dad took a distinct turn this morning, his no longer tried to open his eyes when we talked to him, he wouldn't squeeze our hands. Steven had brought our home movies, and we played those and reminisced as we took turns sitting by his side. I watched the images of us as babies and toddlers, playing with my young handsome Dad and adorable cheerleader Mom, and thought of all the people on it no longer with us: grandparents, aunts, uncles, and could feel them all waiting beyond the veil. His breathing had become fast and followed an unusual pattern of building to a raspy crescendo before slowing to nothing. This went on for several hours. Around noon, I noticed his hands and feet were getting cold. His breathing began to slow down, he was still and peaceful. They called his breathing 'agonized', but it was actually very rhythmic and slow. We knew it was close. The end came swiftly, quietly. His breathing simply got softer and softer, and just stopped. Mom knew. 'That's it.' I got a nurse, who confirmed he had passed on, and we hugged him and cried. He is free of his broken body. He passed over with grace and dignity, and it was beautiful. I feel fortunate to have been there with him.

Thank you all for letting me share this journey with you. Thank you for the prayers, notes of kindness and encouragement, meals, childcare... I can never thank you enough. A special, heartfelt thank you to Fr. Gar, your timing today was truly guided by the hand of God. It was a blessing to have you walk in mere minutes after he passed. Details of a Memorial will be planned at a later date, if you wish to know when, please email me and let me know.

I am falling
Like a stone,
Like a storm,
Being born again
Into the sweet morning fog.
Dyou know what?
I love you better now.