“Am I going home now?”

Recent conversations with Dad (Dee Molenaar, aged 99) –

January 6

Karen: Look at all the people here to see you! There’s Joe and Robin and Scott and Pete and Sheila.
Dad: Pete’s here?
Karen: Yeah… right there… (motions for Peter to come up…)
(Pete starts talking to Dad about the drive they took to his home on the Hood Canal a couple months ago…)
Dad: That’s a nice place you have.
Pete: We’ll try to get back there again after the winter.

January 8

Dad’s in bed when I get there.
Karen: Hi, Daddy!
Dad: Hi, Sweetie. Am I going home now?
Karen: You ARE home.
Dad: Oh. Good.
Karen: How are you doing?
Dad: Oh. Well. I was trying to take a breath up to 20. I’d almost done it, too, and then you walked in (starts grinning).
Karen: (laughing) Sorry!
Dad: Where are you going now?
Karen: I need to get home and take care of the dog.
Dad: (nods) Thanks for stopping by! I love you.
Karen: I love you, too.

January 12

Karen: What are you watching?
Dad: The Price is Right. Do you ever watch The Price is Right? It grows on you.

January 16

Karen: Hi, Daddy!
Dad: Hi, Karen. I’m watching lots of wonderful movies here. Movies about wildlife. It’s a series called Planet Earth.
Karen: Oh! I love those shows!
Dad; They’re really good.
Karen: How are you feeling?
Dad: I feel good. How else should I be feeling? I don’t have to do anything but sit here and watch TV.
(The nurse is poking Dad’s stomach and asks him if it hurts.)
Dad: No. Should it?
(Dietrich brings Dad’s mail to me and I hand it to him letter by letter and point out the names of the people who sent them.)
Dad: (Looking at the inscription in the first card I hand him) Elliot and Diane. Have you ever met them?
Karen: I have! They’re wonderful people.
Dad: Yes, they are. (Looking at the next card) The Hardy’s. I was with them when they first met each other on the Juneau Icefield. They’re a nice couple.
(Soon Dad needs to use the restroom. Before he disappears in there…)
Karen: I love you!
Dad: I love you!

January 18
Dad was in his bed, sleeping, when I got to his home. I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek and he opened his eyes and said, “My daughter!”
Karen: I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to wake you up – I just wanted to kiss your cheek.
Dad: I wasn’t really sleeping. I just lie here and think.
Karen: What do you think about?
Dad: I think about my travels and my friends and my mountains. I think about traveling around the equator.
Karen: You have a lot of good memories to think about!
Dad: Yeah, I do.
Karen: I just stopped by to say hi, but I’ll let you go back to sleep now. I love you.
Dad: I love you.
(Dad closes his eyes and goes back to his thoughts.)

Reminder to self: Build up lots of good memories now so you have good times to re-visit when you reach your sunset years.

January 21

Karen: Who are you rooting for?
Dad: New England.
Karen: Why?
Dad: Because that’s where the poets come from.

Scott and Dad

Dad and Scott

 

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“…unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Years ago, when I was a teenager maybe, I remember seeing a Star Trek episode that showed a man who was half-black and half-white in a struggle with another man who was half-black and half-white – they were enemies because of their color – and I remember looking at them, thinking, “But… they’re BOTH half-black and half-white… what’s the issue here?” And at the end of the episode we finally see that the reason they’re enemies is because one of them is white on the right side of his body, and the other is white on the left side of his body, and… yeah… I remember thinking how absolutely ridiculous it all was for them to hate each other just because…

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Waving to the Amtrak

Scenes from Bellingham Bay

Okay, this tickles me: Whenever an Amtrak train goes zipping by I just gotta wave. I cannot help myself. So the other night Andrew takes the family out to dinner (it’s his Christmas gift to us) – and we’re all sitting there (Scott, Xander, Andrew, and Andrew’s girlfriend, Sierra) and Sierra and Andrew start talking about a trip they took on the Amtrak to Vancouver last weekend. And (this is the part that has me cracking up) apparently as their train went cruising by Bellingham Bay last weekend they saw me down on the boardwalk waving up at the cars. “Look!” Sierra said to Andrew as their train rumbled passed, “There’s your mom!” Hahhahahar!  Ain’t life fun?!

(I happened to take a photo of the train that day – little did I know my son and his girlfriend were on there.)

Amtrack train

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Christmas: All Things New

“…Behold, I make all things new.”
– II Corinthians 5

I wasn’t sure what this Christmas would be like for us. Moz is gone now. Dad has been in and out of hospice twice since her passing. A lot of people who were dear to me are no longer here. It has been a challenging year. I wondered if we might feel holes in our Christmas. But this weekend has been precious.

Scotty, the sons, my youngest brother, niece, nephew, and special friends, Sierra and Michael, came together for caroling through the neighborhood, a rousing game of “spoons” around the kitchen table, some improv in the family room, brunch at Skylark’s, a walk along the boardwalk in Bellingham, and precious time with Dad. There were moments when I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face. There were tender moments that filled my heart. It was magic!

I think losing so many dear ones this year has made me appreciate all the more the time we have to spend with those we love.

Snippets –
(On our neighborhood caroling adventure)
Oldest son: I think we totally crushed Joy to the World. We nailed that one, don’t you think?

Dad to youngest son: Are you still running?
Youngest son: Yeah (nods his head and gives the thumbs up).
Dad to youngest son: This is beautiful country. Do you like living in the desert?
Youngest son: (none of us are in the desert, but Xander doesn’t miss a beat…) Yes. (And he gives the thumbs up.)

After I’ve taken Dad back to his home.
Karen: Merry Christmas, Daddy!
Dad: Thank you, sweetie! (Dad hasn’t called me “sweetie” for a long time and his use of the term really touches me.)
Karen: Good bye.
Dad: Good bye.
Karen: I love you.
Dad: I love you!

Merry Christmas, my friends!
Karen

“Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

A New Christmas

Endings that are new to me
this Christmas.
Beginnings that are new to me, too.
I miss Moz. I grin as I watch Sparky
the new kitty scamper around
the Christmas tree, chasing
his big sister, Clara – experiencing
his first Christmas. I decide
to make cookies, open up my recipe
book, find the recipe for boiled
cookies and see it written in Moz’s
handwriting. I’d forgotten
she’d given me that recipe.
Moz never got to meet Sparky.
He never got to meet Moz.
But they both celebrate Christmas
in this house  – one in the past,
one in the present.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Sparky's First Christmas

A Tourist Going Through Life

The oldest son asked, “Mom, do you feel like a tourist going through life?” I thought about it for a second – and the idea of it made me smile. I told him yeah, I do. And then I asked him why he’d asked. He said because I always seem to be so happy wherever I am – taking pictures and exploring and checking things out. I think this is one of the nicest things anybody has ever said to me.

 

 

Drives with Dad (10-11-17)

Over the past year or so I’ve been chronicling the drives I take with my dad (now 99). This morning I thought I’d share the most recent adventure with my WordPress friends –

“I’m Running for President”
October 11, 2017

Picked Dad up for a drive to Urgent Care this morning.
As we’re getting him down the stairs and to the car –
Dad: I’m running for President.
Karen: (involuntary grin – Dad appears to be in fine form this morning) I’d vote for you!
Dad: Do you really think I’d make a good President?
Karen: I think you’d be great!
(As we situate him in the car.)
Dad: I don’t want to bring my walker. I don’t think you can be President if you have a walker.
Karen: Roosevelt had polio. He used a brace.
Dad: (nodding his head) That’s true. But he had a lot of people backing him. (An old receipt starts to work its way out of my car as Dad moves his feet in – I pick up the receipt and shove it back into the car.)
Dad: I don’t think anyone would vote for a President with a messy car.
(I start laughing.)
Dad: I wonder how many other old men in this nation are trying to get into a car right now.

As we drive to Urgent Care Dad talks more about his campaign for Presidency.
Dad: I think you should run for President. You’re a teacher. What more do you need to be? (Thinking.) I wonder how many other daughters are driving their fathers around right now?

I help Dad out of the car and into the waiting room at Urgent Care.
Dad: Do Peter and David  know about your attempt to make me President?
(I shake my head no. I don’t really know how to respond to that one.)
Dad: How do we know when the joke’s gone far enough? When do they eliminate me?
Karen: (I assume Dad’s talking about being eliminated from the presidential race – but he’s talking really loud and everyone can hear him, and I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings.) Daddy, no one’s going to eliminate you.

We have a wait. Other people who arrived after us have now been called to the back rooms. I ask the receptionist if maybe Dad’s been forgotten. She goes to check for me and discovers his chart is missing, and there was some miscommunication somewhere – one nurse thought the other nurse was looking at Dad, and the other nurse thought the first nurse was looking at Dad. Everyone’s very apologetic and Dad is quickly brought into the triage room. Soon he’s been diagnosed and given a prescription and we are on our way. I stop at Dairy Queen to buy him a root beer float – he has earned it, for sure. He focuses on his float. He’s no longer talking about his bid for the Presidency.

I drive him back to his home, and we unload him. I bring a package in with me that his nephew, Brad, sent him and read to Dad the enclosed note from Brad. Brad has sent him a screen dealy that is loaded with a memory card of thousands of pictures taken by Dad. Dad is smiling – really grateful for this gift. I tell him I need to get back to school now.

Dad: Thank you for driving me around this morning.
Karen: I love you, Daddy.
Dad: I love you, too.