Friday, February 22, 2013

Dear Daddy

You lingered long years and days waiting for the trumpet call.
Months back when I asked how you were, you could barely whisper
"I'm just waiting." Those were the last clear words I remember.
Your tired body did not hold out, your spirit eager to go.

Yesterday, I talked to you and touched your soft shoulder.
You shuddered and sputtered, breathing was not easy.
I started to sing. I needed to reach you somehow.
The 23rd Psalm came to me, oft sung to my children.

When I came to the shadow of death verse,
I sang loudly "I will fear no evil for Thou art with me"
And again at the end, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
forever, forever, in the house of the Lord forever. Amen."

"Lord, take him home," I prayed in my heart. And He did!
Your passing was so gentle, almost imperceptible.
Mother said, "You put him to sleep."
We hugged and cried, so grateful to be there, so sad to be left.

¡Hasta pronto, papá!  See you soon, Daddy!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 Week 7: Love, Life, and Letting Go

Happy Valentine's Day (ice sculpture by Stephan)
The theme of Valentine week: LOVE. I heard it talked about on the radio, on TV. All Verses of the Day were about love. The greatest example of all history is that of Jesus who laid down His life for us.

Sunday afternoon I went up to be with my mother and see for myself how Dad was doing. His body is shutting down. He barely eats or drinks and sleeps most of the time. Mother is an example of a devoted wife and is having to slowly let go of the many ways they shared life together. She cannot even feed him anymore. We decided to look into hospice services.

I found a poem I wrote six years ago and realized how long Dad has been leaving us. You can read it here.

Mike has been going in early and coming home late almost everyday, typical of the last week before bagging the robot.

(Thanks Team 1720 for the photos)
I was gone again Tuesday overnight. Wednesday morning we met with the hospice people to sign papers and learn about the program. I think we will appreciate their added support as we prepare for the end.

While there I reconnected with a college classmate after 46 years! We had a delightful conversation over lunch.

Thursday evening daughter Leah invited me over for a Valentine supper. I can't believe I did not take any pictures. I am still enjoying the roses Jimmy gave each of us ladies.

Mother keeps me updated on Dad's condition. We prepare as best we know for the final goodbye on this earth, which will really be an Hasta luego (See ya later). While he lingers, life goes on.We continue with our previous plans until the time comes.

Friday evening Mike made a special effort to come home in time to go see the Taylor Theater performance of Godspell. That was very special.

This evening, Saturday, I went on my own to the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra's Valentines Ball invited by friends to sit with them at table #1. The first hour included special desserts from Payne's restaurant and music from Les Mis by the Indiana Wesleyan Chorale. Excellent!

And now I should probably get back to packing. We are going ahead with travel plans to Arizona, leaving tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mysteries of Aging

Exactly six years ago I wrote the following poem:

Mysteries of Aging

Dad shuffles about
and needs to be led,
grips on tight
fears he will fall.

He cannot hear very well
and says very little,
still smiles and laughs.
A few humorous replies
cover up the confusion he feels.

He knows he does not know.
He realizes he can’t remember.
He feels lost and wants to be told
where to go, what to do.

Worn, weary and distant,
the years have robbed
his mental and physical agility,
not so his wit and gentleness,
nor his ability
--to play Scrabble (and win!)
and keep score for all.
--to play beautiful baritone
--to read perfect Spanish
--to pray fervently...
These mysteries remain.

Rita D. Koch
February 13, 2007

For a long time now Dad has not been able to walk or talk. 
His head bowed, he would look up and smile, the extent of recognition.
Today, he lays comfortably on a new air mattress and sleeps peacefully all the time.
He has not been out of bed for a week and has barely eaten anything, just sips here and there.
We signed papers for hospice care this morning. The additional services they can provide are welcomed by the Grace Village staff. They will keep Mother informed so she has greater peace of mind.

Even though I walk through the dark valley of death,
    because you are with me, I fear no harm.
        Your rod and your staff give me courage.  (Psalm 23:4 GW )

But we don't know how long the valley is.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

2013 Week 6: Birthdays, Memorials and In-Between

Last Sunday afternoon, while Mike was again working with the robotics team, I was so grateful for the added showing of one of the student directed plays at Taylor. As I walked out of the small theater I captured this meaningful scene: the building where I used to work, my old office window in the center; the statues of Samuel Morris in the foreground; the new Euler science building on the right.

Shortly after I got back home, family members began to arrive to celebrate together Leah's 40th birthday on the 4th. Lots of love felt...

...and the obligatory Koch birthday song.

Mike did make it back for the celebration. The Super Bowl was on too, but were we watching? I found this photo on my camera. Someone must have been playing with it.

When we woke up, game and party were over. What happened, I thought I was knitting.

Monday at Stephan's, after the meal, father and son put their heads together for the design of the ice sculpture for the Long John Jamboree in Yellowknife, North West Territory, Canada. (In the promotional video, you can see Stephan at 1'37" and 1'41" and their prize winning sculpture from last year at 1'43".)

Notice the three elephants used for inspiration. Stay tuned for the final concept and sculpture coming in March.

Tuesday I got to see the house father and other son, Sam, are working on. It is torn up as much as it will be, preparing for better things to come!

I looked around, took pictures, dropped off the parts delivered that morning. Errand completed I went across the street for a quick visit with the littlest grandkids, so grateful to see them healthy and happy now!

Jude was playing with his toys and watching Diego and Dora out of the corner of his eye. :-)

I borrowed a photo from Team 1720 that represents the many long hours and days Mike spends designing and guiding the coming together of this year's robot. Only a week left and still issues...

For the TLMacdonald Photography challenge of the week, "These are a few of my favorite things", I had a difficult time narrowing down my choices, but finally settled on my 2013 journal because it represents so many things I cherish. I select a representative photo for the cover, a family photo for the back and a favorite picture for each month, then order it through Blurb. I so enjoy the quiet hour in bed every morning writing about the day before, planning the day ahead, meditating on a verse of Scripture and praying over the family members.

Many special photos this week do not belong in this blog, surrounding a very special event--the memorial for a colleague, my friend's husband.
One more for this post--the annual photo taken around the time of our anniversary, this time at the Taylor Sounds Valentine banquet this evening. Wonderful music, great friends, and good food, and best of all being there with my beloved.

Another very full week is over and we know not what the next will bring. Every day Mother calls to update me on Dad's condition. He seems to be failing fast. We wait for God's perfect timing.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2013 Week 5: Birthday Bookends

The week was bookended by two family birthday celebrations. The anniversary between the two was minimally acknowledged, a bigger celebration to come later. Michael continues to work every day, intensely focused on building the robot and remodeling Sam's 'new' house.

Sunday, January 27th
Happy 8th Birthday, Elijah!
Glorious Sunset
This week's photo challenge--the color red. (See TLMacdonald Photography) I went down to the Klaytivity display area and chose this set of Mike's ceramic creations.

Opposites Attract

Wednesday after tap class, Kayla and I both walked over to the Red Barn next door to see what Grandpa Mike was up to.

 I think he was happy to see us.

Thursday, our 43rd anniversary was briefly acknowledged before Mike left to work with Sam.

French Toast Breakfast
I enjoyed watching the snow as I wrote the weekly report.

In the evening the water aerobics ladies went out to eat so I joined them this time, grateful for any opportunity not to eat by myself. Afterwards some were going to a jamberry nails party. I went along.

Crooked fingers, but look at those nails!

Michael meanwhile, busy at robotics...

That's how we spent our anniversary. Don't worry, we have a special trip planned after robot-bagging day two weeks from now!

Friday a dear friend, who lost her husband this week, asked me to drive her around on a couple of errands. We had a good day together, like old times.

While at the mall we stumbled across a very special shop, Hearts4Africa, drawn by the anti-trafficking messages as well as the attractive wares from other countries.

We met the dynamic owner, Rhonda, who travels and speaks on behalf of the 27,000,000 enslaved in the world today. Statistics and stories are appalling and remain mostly unreported--hidden crimes.

Saturday the plan was to celebrate Leah's 40th birthday with a ladies tea at Aunt Sue's Tea Room, home of yet another Garfield statue!

Happy Birthday, Leah!

Those of us who were able to make it had a lovely time.

Later, a special little guy stopped by with his daddy to brighten our party!

Just a note about the poor quality of the photos: I noticed in the last few weeks that my camera has a damaged lens and photos are hazy in the center, so I've been using my cell phone mostly for now. However, I'm not happy with these images either.