Taking Dad for a Drive

Karen: Daddy, do you want to go for a drive?
Dad: I wouldn’t mind.
(In the car)
Dad: Thank you for taking me for a drive. You’re a good daughter.
Karen: It’s my pleasure.
Dad: Do you prefer to call me “Dad” or “Father”?
Karen: I call you “Daddy.”
(We turn into the local espresso stand. Dad recognizes this as the place where I buy him root beer floats.)
Dad: Oh good! This is exactly what we need right now!
(Back on the road – Dad’s got his root beer float and I have my lavender ice tea.)
Dad: This is the longest time I haven’t seen Mom. I think she’s in Kansas City… or somewhere in the Midwest… helping the government.
Karen: I know she’s doing a good job.

(We reach the Chuckanut Hills)
Dad: I used to do water rights surveys out here when I worked for the USGS.
Karen: That was a fun part of your job, wasn’t it?
Dad: Yes. I always took little detours when I went on these survey trips. (He looks around and studies the landscape.) This is a beautiful part of the world.

(We’ve gotten to Fairhaven now.)
Dad: I wonder how many places are called Fairhaven. It’s a good name. It has a happy sound to it.
(We get all the way to Boulevard Park. For some reason, every single parking space is taken today.)
Dad: Are we going to park here and walk around?
Karen: There’s no parking today. We’ll try to do that another day.
(Dad nods his head in understanding.)

As we’re driving up from the park I spot my old friend, Darryl – Darryl and I made acquaintance on the boardwalk several years ago when we saw each other taking photos and struck up conversation. In the course of our conversation we’d realized that Darryl’s Aunt Gladdie was one of Mom and Dad’s good friends. I stop and roll down the window and introduce Dad to Darryl – and try to explain that Darryl’s aunt is Gladdie. Dad is profoundly hard-of-hearing and I wasn’t sure he understood what was going on, but he smiled and shook Darryl’s hand and we moved on. A minute later he said, “Was he related to Gladdie in some way?” I told him he was Gladdie’s nephew. Dad asked me how I discovered this – “Did he have a sign on him that said he was Gladdie’s nephew?” he joked. And I explained how Darryl and I had met by chance and discovered we had his Aunt Gladdie in common. Dad nodded. In his world, this kind of coincidence is probably perfectly normal. He knows a lot of people.

(We head back down Chuckanut.)
Dad: Do you take a lot of drives with Mom?
Karen: Yes. (I take my late mother on all my drives with me.) But I like taking drives with you, too.
Dad: We don’t talk much. (I can tell he’s thinking about his hearing problem.)
Karen: No, but it doesn’t matter.
Dad: It doesn’t matter because we’re with each other.
Karen: Right!

(We get back to his home. He has a hard time getting in and out of the car these days – he will, after all, be 99 in a month. He tries to shift his feet out of the car and onto the pavement. This is hard work. He sighs and laughs and looks up at me.)
Dad: These days it’s just hard getting up the energy to get out of the car.
(I can tell he’s gathering his energy to lift himself out of the seat and I reach under his armpits to help him. “One-two-three!” And he’s up!)
Dad: Thank you for the drive today.
Karen: It was fun, wasn’t it?
Dad: Yes, I enjoyed it very much.
Karen: I love you.
Dad: I love you, too.

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A Couple More Moz Poems

Found a couple more poems Moz poems that I’d like to share.

Here’s one she wrote for my dad on their 27th anniversary:
Happy anniversary, Dee, my pet –
27 years and we aren’t through, yet.

We’ve shared tears, triumphs, ups and downs.
Sometimes we’re heroes, sometimes clowns.

But always caring for each other
Living as one, yet trying not to smother.

Our individuality, blending instead
to make a family, a home, truly wed.

Love and kisses,
Moz, Mozzy, Colleen

And this one – from Moz and Dad’s Christmas letter, 1974:
I always bite off
more’n I can chew.
I know it sounds corny,
but, honest, it’s true.

The school here, the chuirch there,
the errands to run.
The kids’ things; they’re everywhere.
Sometimes it’s not fun.

The dogs, cats, cows, ducklings,
keep us hopping like mad.
If you don’t hop just right,
things really get bad.

Like rounding them up
in a deluge of rain,
then slipping in poopoos,
it could drive you insane.

Well, say now! It’s Christmas!
I’ll strike a good chord,
Let petty things vanish,
and put up the sword.

Things never were better,
to that I’ll avow.
Got a gall off at college
learning “why, where, and how.”

The boys are still growing
and marching in bands
They like to go skiing
at good “Crystal Land.”

Dee’s painting and painting
mixin’ the right hue.
His new maps are progressing
and his hours are too.

I’m singing at weddings
and sometimes at church.
I hope to plant dogwoods
and maybe a birch.

Dear friends, everywhere,
I’m thinking of you.
So please don’t be mad
at my letters so few.

Seasons greeting to all
and to all a Good New Year.
Love, Peace, Joy, and Power
to all of you dear.
– Colleen Molenaar

 

“Daddy, Mom passed on peacefully…”

Update on Dad:
I stopped in to see Dad this morning and he asked how Mom was. (Yesterday he’d asked if she was back east. He’d said he hoped she didn’t think he’d abandoned her.) I told him fine. He looked at me, skeptically, and said, “It feels like people aren’t giving me a straight answer to this question.” He is very sharp. At that point it was impossible to lie to him, so I got close to his ear and told him Mom had passed. He asked me what I’d said. I told him I loved him and hugged him and left.

I came back later with a new pair of pants for him. Mary from The Mountaineers was there and Dad was busy at the dining room table drawing a picture of Rainier on some watercolor paper she’d brought him. He asked how Mom was. I told him fine. I asked him how he was and he said he’d be happier if he knew how Mom was. I asked him if he’d like me to write him a note about Mom and he nodded his head yes. I wrote something like this:

“Daddy, Mom passed on peacefully in her sleep at my house last week. She loved you very much. She still loves you. She knows you love her, too. We all love you, Daddy. You’re not alone. We’re all here for you.”

He asked how “the boys” were doing. I said the boys were doing fine and wanted him to be happy.

I wrote to him that he had been able to see Mom before they brought her to my house. I told him an attendant had wheeled him up to Mom’s room so he could say good-bye. The attendant said it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

Mary and I were hugging him and he was holding my hand. I found a paper napkin and dabbed tears off the end of his nose. He asked if Mom had died in pain, and I said no, she’d died peacefully at my house. I’d been sleeping next to her. He wanted to know what she’d died of, and I told him her heart had gotten tired and stopped.

I told him about the memorial celebration for her, and he nodded his head that he wanted to come.

I asked him what I could do to help, what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to go to bed. So Mary and I helped him get back to his room. He told me he loved me before I left.

I think he might ask again – and I think we’re going to have to continue to be truthful with him, and help him get through this. He won’t let us not tell him the truth. He is very brave.

moz-and-dad-wedding-day

Moz Molenaar

December 26, 1927-
February 21, 2017

Colleen was born the youngest of ten children to Christian and Ida (Miller) Haag on December 26, 1927 in Pasco, Washington.

She graduated from Pasco High School in 1945 and went on to attend the University of Idaho (where she ran on the track team), the College of Puget Sound (UPS), and the University of Montana, where she earned her degree in musical performance in 1951.

During the summers between college she worked in the souvenir shop at Mount Rainier National Park, where she met her husband, Dee, who was a park ranger there.

Colleen “Mozzy” Molenaar was a treasure. She was fun and feisty and had a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humor. She taught her children that God is Love, and taught them to look for the good in people.

She was a gifted singer and had once been accepted into the Portland Opera Company, but decided, instead, to marry Dee and move to Colorado to begin a life with him.

In her younger years she spent much of her time in the mountains with Dee, hiking and climbing (she climbed to the summit of Mount Rainier twice!).

In her later years she enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading (her tastes were eclectic), caring for her animals (goats, llamas, and cats) at the family home in Port Orchard, keeping her bird feeders filled, watching Carl Sagan talk about the cosmos, and spending time with her children and grand-children.

In 2016 she and Dee moved to LaConner to be closer to her daughter.

She passed away peacefully in her sleep at her daughter’s home in Bow, Washington, on February 21, 2017.

Mozzy is survived by her husband of 62 years, Dee; her daughter, Karen, and son-in-law, Scott Terrell; her son, Peter, and his partner Sheila (Lindula) of Hoodsport; son David Molenaar of Olympia; and grandchildren, Andrew and Alexander Terrell (both of Bellingham), Claire Molenaar (Denver, Colorado) and Casey Molenaar (Olympia), and numerous nephews, nieces, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents and nine siblings.

Colleen’s family is grateful for the wonderful people at hospice who helped her through this transition. Special thanks to hospice nurse, Renee.

Thoughts from Moz’s grandson, Casey: I have never seen such an amazing soul, one that the world has had the great misfortune to lose today. No matter the situation, she ONLY gave out love and nothing but and she has been a huge part of my understanding of love and has instilled its importance in me. I believe that the thing I heard from her the most was “God is love” — and that statement, in the entirety of its meaning, looms inside me and will continue to for the rest of my life.

I am thankful to have had such a giving and goofy woman in my life…There aren’t enough words to describe this wonderful lady. I will miss her very much, as will I’m sure every single person who has had the pleasure of meeting her. And truth be told, as I reflect, I am happy; I was fortunate enough to know her and call her a big part of my family.

Thank you for teaching me that love is EVERYTHING.

Something happened this weekend…

Something happened this weekend that really touched me. The eldest son and his girlfriend came over to watch the first Harry Potter movie with us. And when it got to the part where the students were being divided into their different houses, I asked the son about this – did the different houses each represent a different trait or characteristic or something? He said that one house valued intelligence, another courage, a third valued kindness, and the fourth valued ambition. I asked him which house he thought he’d fit in and he said the one that values kindness probably (which was cool to me because the eldest son is brilliant – but he chose kindness over that). He asked me where I’d go, and I said maybe the scholarly one – or the kind one.

And then we sort of mulled over the idea of any of us going to the house that values courage and we decided that, yeah – we’d probably all be okay with that one, too. “I’ve climbed mountains…” I said – trying to blow my own horn  – “and traveled and had adventures…” and then – and this is the part that really touched my heart – the son said, “And you’ve gotten in the middle of a fight and stood up to bullies before.” And his girlfriend asked, “Really?!” – trying to picture me doing that.  And the son said yeah, he’d seen me walk into a ring of gang members before and seen me try to yank one guy off another one.

And this is true. I did do that. I saw a young man sitting on top of another young man, pounding his head into the parking lot pavement when I came out of a movie theater once – and, without thinking, I walked into the ring of spectators watching this happen, and tried to pull the attacker off his victim. I yelled, “Stop it! You’re killing him!” And one of the spectators said, “Lady, you better be careful. This guy could have a knife!” And I turned on him and asked him why he was just watching, why he wasn’t trying to help. And then I put my hands on my hips and announced, “I am a teacher!” – like that was going to make them all stop. And the guy who was smashing the other guy’s head into the pavement sort of paused, and looked up at me for a minute, and then went back to doing what he was doing. Pretty soon the police came out and took care of it all.

But… I didn’t know my son had appreciated me doing that, or had admired it. He’d been watching me from a distance with his friends and their parents – he was only nine or so at the time – and I always kind of wondered what he’d thought about it all. Had he thought I was crazy stupid to get in there and try to break that fight up (which I probably was, in retrospect)? Had he been embarrassed by me?

And last weekend he told me I had made him proud that night.

Isn’t that cool?

Youngest Son

So the youngest son got to decide what CD to put into the player as we’re driving through Seattle. He picked one out of my collection and plopped it into the player with a big grin on his face. Mamma Mia. Yup. So there we are sitting at a busy stoplight in Seattle – cars jammed all around us. “Slipping Through My Fingers” comes on. He cranks up the volume to, like, the loudest loud (an “11” on the Spinal Tap scale), rolls down the window, and rests his tattooed arm on the top of the window frame. Then he starts beating his hand to the beat of ABBA and nodding his head up and down to the song – like he’s really into it – and I am just dying with embarrassment and laughter – cringing and laughing so hard I have tears pouring down my face. The kid cracks me up. I cannot imagine being part of a family with no sense of humor.

Wikipedia Dad

The other day I had to take care of some business on behalf of my dad. At one point I needed to know his birthday – I can never seem to remember when Dad’s birthday is – it’s either this day in June or the next day in June – and I was ready to give him a call to find out, when I realized all I needed to do was go to Wikipedia.

Whoaaaah…. right?