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Thursday, January 26, 2012

1.2.3. breathe.

2011 was a year i could live without doing over.  such pain.  and stress --- and heartache.  i keep telling my kids that the only way not to hurt so bad is to never love so much.  but can you honestly fathom living your life without loving with your whole heart?

i know i am not capable of loving less than that... unless i don't love you at all.

my father-in-law passed away on december 30th.  after twenty months of a courageous battle against cancer, he finally is at peace once again.  {bitter sweet, you know?}

my only adult experiences with death were those of my great-grandparents ten years ago.  the funerals were in a small town in Pennsylvania.  the type where it literally feels like you go back in time when you cross that township line.  THAT kinda small town.  i hadn't seen most my family in years... so even though i was {awkwardly} a pall bearer, it still felt like a fun family reunion more than a funeral. 
my grammy and pappy were people we hadn't seen in years.  the pain of their death wasn't as devastating.  my grammy had alzheimer's... she hadn't been herself in 10 years.  my pappy died shortly after she did.  they say that is very common with the elderly.  but given the distance of the previous decade, the loss was ultimately less painful because i hadn't spoken to him in so long.

my point is..... i never fully experienced emotional pain with death.  i experienced some regret, but not full-on emotional pain.

(although, i take part of that back... we had to put my dog of 13 years down back in november.  that certainly was some heavy emotional pain.  but even then, that's dog-pain.  not people-pain.  and in this instance, there certainly was a difference.  jiggah and i just weren't uber-close, though i definitely was sad and depressed that day he died. and for several days thereafter.)

but people-pain... yeah.  not so much.

my father-in-law was a fantastic man.  he loved me as though i was a daughter by birth.  and not only did he show me love in that way, he vocalized it to me.  over these last few years, given the state of my relationship with my own dad, i definitely felt a stronger bond with my FIL.  ironically, those were also the years he was much shorter with me in temperment!  i felt the love.  i mean.... you don't snap at the people you DON'T love, right?!  ain't that some shhhhhh....

here's something my brother-in-law wrote about my FIL:
In memory of Col. Herbert Hamako, a great American and a wonderful father-in-law. He was unjustly put in an internment camp as a child during WWII, yet loved his country and went on to serve a distinguished decades-long career in the US Air Force. Herb passed away this morning surrounded by his family. I'm grateful that my daughters got to spend so much time with him. We all will miss you, Herb.
ain't that some SERIOUS shhhhhhh....

my father-in-law passed away with all of his children surrounding him.  i've never experienced anything like it, yet to wonder if that happened to my own father right now, who would be there in that way?  the dedication my brother and sister-in-laws have shown throughout these 20 months has been something i can only wish for all dying members of our society.  the respect, the love, the faithfulness and dedication.  it was beautiful, however painful it may have been, up until his very last breath. the care my sister-in-laws provided those last few nights was top-notch, and always full of love regardless of how tired they were becoming.  on that last night i tried my best to get up for the hourly dispersion of medication, but i found myself only making it for every other, not even realizing there had been one in between.  i don't know how the girls did it.  they were amazing.

that last morning with my father in law was quite peaceful.  all his children and my mother-in-law sat or laid on the bed with him, holding his hand, stroking his face.  and the rest of us stood around them watching.  waiting.

when it happened all of our hearts must have skipped a beat.  i shook.  my legs just couldn't stop shaking, and the pure emotional pain of the end took over me.  my son put it best...

i don't know if i am more upset because my grandfather died or because my dad's dad died.

sitting in that room with all of these people you love, watching them suffer the loss of their husband or father, it makes it all the worse.  i cried for so many reasons that day, but mostly because i will truly miss him.  what an awesome human being.


it's been almost a month since he has passed and life certainly has slowed down.  we miss him dearly and speak of him often around the house.  we are all looking forward to the spring/summer when all of the family can reunite to spread his ashes, and perhaps, smoke a cigar and drink some grand marnier in his memory.  i think he'd like that.

i also think he'd like the fact that my work sent me a bonsai tree in his memory, which the kids aptly named "HERBIE T 'MAKO"... after their "amazing grandpa." 

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