Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Dark As the Sky...

Quarantine blues are a thing! The other day, I did a google search of various topics. My anxiety has been running rampant for a few weeks and I've been feeling the blues, which led me to to looking up quarantine fatigue. This article offered some insight as to some of what I've been feeling. 

I am tired, worn out, bummed out and just burned out. I know it's safe to go out and do things, but besides running to the grocery store, pet store or Target, I don't go out much. We order in food quite often. I should go to the storage unit and sort through things. Honestly, if we tossed everything out, I'd feel almost better about having so many "things" that we never used or don't need. BUT, there are things I can't let go. One day Lily can go through it all and toss it. I'm sure her generation won't care about Nambe, brightly colored Fiestaware, thousands of antique and vintage Christmas ornaments, LPs, boxes and boxes of books, photographs and other memories that mean nothing to her. I think it's easier to go through other people's things and let it all go. 

That's what I've been doing. Though my mom is still very much alive and thriving for the most part, she will probably never come live with us again and probably won't every be lucid again. I've pared down some of her things-- mostly thing that had been eaten by moths, maybe mice. I feel guilty for throwing out things that meant something to hear once upon a time. She has so many clothes that I know she will never wear again, but I can't let them go. 

Self-care has gone out the window. Not much else to say. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Not My Words, But How I Feel

If I had the capability to compose my thoughts better, I might have written something like this. I was so angry when I saw that a priest is telling Catholics that he will hear their confessions for voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. When will our priests stop making poilitical endorsements from the pulpit or the Twitterverse? Anyway this blog post is making the rounds and says what I feel, probably in much better words. It's worth a read.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What A Wonderful World... Albeit So Different

Has it really been six years since I made a post here? It doesn't seem possible. Well, I don't really want to catch up with all the gory details since then, but the highlights are we moved, changed parishes. We are actually back at our childhood parish. Both David and I spent our formative years at the Cathedral Parish, so in some ways we came home. We are now living in my childhood, family home. That's a complex chapter or our lives too. My mom lived with us until two months ago. We have a 6 year-old daughter. We are in the final days of making it official with adoption day getting closer and closer. When that happens we will have her baptized. 

What else? My pastor has left the church, likely is no longer in town and that was a sad event. But I think he's happy and living a different life. 

Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. How did we ever predict that? We didn't. We couldn't and we are really suffering. However, some people believe in him. Many of my fellow Catholics believe in him and it's astonishing. See, Trump is not a good president. He's not really even a decent man, but he's got the conservatives in his camp. He has many (not all, probably not most) Christians in his camp, but enough to make it a fight. A fight for what? Well, it's election season so it's getting ugly. 

But in a nutshell, racism is bubbling to a high point. People trying to come into America illegally (many escaping violence, hatred, poverty, and other political reasons) are being thrown in detention centers once they cross the border. Children are being torn from parents and placed in custody alone, scared and in what has been called cages. 

People are protesting for all kinds of reasons. Mostly because of racial injustice. It's amazing that there has to be a "Black Lives Matter" movement, but there is because some people in this country don't see the brutality, violence and indignities done to our African American brothers and sisters. But it's happening in this country while we have a leader who just doesn't care. 

Trump has turned back environmental protections, has fought tooth and nail with anyone who disagrees with him. He belittles and ridicules women, the disabled, the media, scientists and others who challenge his decisions. He lies constantly. He tweets up storms of attacks and has no sense of responsibility for anything. As president, he's allowed a virus, COVID-19 to run rampant in our nation. He called it a hoax, when nations leaders around the world took action. He did nothing. He said by April it would be gone. It's nearly September and over 170,000 Americans have died. 

People believe him when he says it's not a big deal. Citizens of our nation, could and should take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Many do not. The simple use of a mask has caused outrage and anger among people and so they refuse to wear a mask or follow any advice proposed by doctors and scientists. 

The governors of every state has taken action regarding the virus. Some better than others. My state is has been trying hard to flatten the curve, as it's called. Numbers of cases are decreasing, deaths are still happening but not in extreme numbers and we are doing ok. We can't gather in large groups. Schools are going online, Mass, is online. I never would have thought that the archbishop would have offered a dispensation for in-person Mass. That went into effect in March and continues to be the norm. 

The economy is suffering. Business are closing and the world is different. People are complaining about not being able to go out for dinner, when people are dying. 

Why am I rambling and ranting about this. Because it's an election year and supposed Christians and Catholic leaders are saying he is the pro-life candidate, a good man and should be re-elected. I find it all so disgusting. I find the selfishness of people disheartening and I"m just plain sick and tired. 

Meanwhile, I'm full of anxiety and worry. I want the economy to get better, I want decency back in my government. I don't want to fear going out and i want my daughter to see her friends and have a normal life again. I fear nothing will be ever the same. 

I'm trying to reconcile my spirituality through all this. My daughter wants to learn about God, the Church and that is helping. Still, it's all so weird. The world is different since I made my last post. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

What Happened to Lent?

 Lent came late this year. I thought I'd have time to prepare for Easter, rediscover things about myself, my faith and solve the bigger mysteries of life. Ok, perhaps not the latter but as the Triduum started tonight, I find myself still on the outside looking in.

I don't know when I started pulling away from my parish and ultimately my faith. It helped me get through my illness at least for a while. I think it started to slip away when my dad got sick and there was nothing we could do. I could plea, beg and pray all I wanted but God didn't heal my dad. It was his time. In my rational brain, I know this; I understand this. But I was finally mad. I didn't get mad at God when I got sick. It was a little gift reminding me that life is precious and I have to take care of mine. Well, losing my dad, I've kind of lost sight of myself and I've become angry. I don't know if was when the new priest took over my parish and he wasn't personable, friendly enough, engaging enough. I don't know if it was when our RE director got sick and I lost interest in being a part of the RE program.

Maybe it was when I needed a priest to come to give my dad last rites and our parish pastor never returned the call. I was grateful that our old priest came and was happy he wanted to do the Mass of Christian Burial for my dad, at a time when he was busy and had moved on to another parish.

I felt out in the cold that my parish home wasn't the same and there when I needed it.

Maybe it was all of that. Maybe I didn't really have it. Maybe it was just so shaky that I lost it. Or maybe it's buried so deep down inside that I'm struggling to find it.

Altar of Repose Sacred Heart ABQ. 600 4th Street... Parish Hall behind Church.
Image lifted from The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi FB page here. : 
I do know in year's past that I love the Holy Triduum. I saw a picture of an Altar of Repose
after Mass tonight at another church and felt like I was missing out on something. These three days really have taught me a lot about my faith in the past. We didn't make it to Mass this week as my husband has been sick, but I keep telling him I that I'm going to take him to church one of these years for Holy Week. I know he'd love it. He has a stronger faith than I do most days.

So, I'm feeling a little lost and a little let down and so very tired and overwhelmed right now. It's time to start moving forward and letting go of the fears. I've never quite understood the idea of giving them up to God and letting Him help me with the burden. Maybe as I start taking baby steps forward, I'll start feeling Him lift some of the load.

In other news, one of those evangelical man-made churches sent me a flyer today in the mail offering a seminar about the Rapture. It stated the signs are here, that the world is ending, come see what's happening, and how to get saved. Oh, how I do enjoy a good discussion with Bible Literalists. Ok, I really don't. There are many people are looking for God everywhere and maybe it doesn't matter where they find Him, but I'll stick with my Church. It just feels like home. Maybe it will be a different parish but that's the one thing I like about Catholicism, is that Catholic with a little c means universal. And there is always a place there for me.

Clay Feet

It's been years since I've blogged regularly. I guess I've either lost my faith, maybe I've lost interest in blogging or have let my own dark night of the soul keep me away. I also have had two-and-a-half hellish years, with the last six months or so kicking my spirit down even more. I've let a lot of fears and probably a lot of foolishness on my part keep me from making some decisions-- health-- money and personal ones.

My heart and gut tell me that I'm going to be ok-- that my General Anxiety Disorder-- is just making me worry, fret and fear more than I should, but my mind tells me the opposite and I think it's making it all worse. I haven't gotten over the breast cancer and I can't think rationally about it nor distance myself. The prognosis was good but I'm terrified it will come back, I'm terrified to face getting a mammo or any other test. I'm just reeling with all kinds of fears. Every little ache, pinch, twist or pain leads me to thinking the worst, but it's all normal. I have checked my breasts just about every day; nothing feels any different, yet I don't even know what is normal anymore. It all looks the same, it feels the same, but I can't get the worries out of my head. I'm living in Limbo, not Hell. Somehow I need to take a step forward, have a follow up and move on-- no matter what may come.

Today would have been my dad's 86th birthday. I still miss him, grieve for him and feel his loss every day. I probably always will. I kind of hope and pray he's actually up there watching over me and taking care of me. I also worry that he is disappointed me in because all the things he feared have happened. I'm managing the finances so poorly. Of course, when the money we counted on regularly isn't coming in anymore, it's hard to stay on top of things. I try to do my best but I still can't handle it all without feeling like a failure.

I also wonder if there really is anything beyond this life.

I try to have faith in God. I try to dig deep into my Catholic faith to guide me to a better understanding of the mysteries that is God, His Son and Holy Spirit. I talk to Him, I talk to the Saints, Our Lady quite often. I talk to my dad, my mother-in-law, though she never met me. I had one moment where I felt her presence. Somehow I think she knew I needed David to come to me-- because without even calling to him--- he came up and held me.

I want to believe that something is there and I want to believe that I will still have that long life I dreamt about having with David. I pray for a child, at this point it will be a miracle. I also pray for peace, acceptance and offer thanks for the blessings in my life.

Still, I continue to struggle and wonder if I truly am a good person. I feel lost, scared and overwhelmed.
I, do know, I am not alone.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So, I Don't Think So...

Bible literalists make me dizzy. Just sayin'.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Keeping On, Keeping On

Sometimes when I’m doing something mundane like vacuuming or doing other boring albeit necessary chores my head starts writing. Sometimes it’s fiction, sometimes it’s an opinion about this or that but often it’s thoughts I’m trying to work through in my head.

Today, it’s the latter.

So, bear with me while I try to articulate those thoughts. I’m welcoming 2013 whole-heartedly. 2011 and 2012 had some good moments, well great ones; I married the man of my dreams, but others were strife with illness, sadness and loss.

As I think back on the last few months, I think mostly about watching my dad as life for him was coming to its end. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, hear him or miss him. As I was straightening up in the bedroom, I heard a voice. If I didn’t know any better, for a few minutes I thought it was my dad. I had the dogs 
outside and the house was quiet as I was dusting. Often, he’d come over to the house when I’d be in the middle of doing something mundane just like I was today. For a minute, it felt like one of those days. He’d come over to the house and usually honk the horn to alert me he was here. He rarely came inside—and when he did, he always complained about the dogs jumping on him or leaving hair all over him. It didn’t bother me. I’d do my best to shuffle them out to the backyard. Still, today, they were outside and I thought it would have been a good day for him to come check on me, but I know those visits are long gone.

Sometimes, I’d get so annoyed with him. We fought like cats and dogs, but he was my best friend. We’d watch Lobo games together; we’d discuss politics and the news. We’d go for rides, we’d stargaze and we’d even stop at Sonic for a root beer float from time to time. No one will ever fill his shoes. No one will ever take that place in my heart. To say I miss him, well that’s an understatement.

Through all of this, relatives stopped by. They brought food. One of my cousins constantly stopped by with home-cooked food for my mom. She was a Godsend. My mom’s sister and brother-in-law also came by and stayed with Dad when Mom needed to go somewhere or they took her when I stayed. My other uncle and aunt brought Communion and another of my cousins came up to Santa Fe to help when she could. I had friends who did what they could do as well. Those friends and family will forever remain in my heart and have my gratitude for what they did for us. I had family disappoint me as well. There are moments of anger and frustration that I regret, there are feelings of bitterness I cannot let go and quite possibly not forgive. The messages that never came, the family who didn't attend the Mass and the  excuses that were never given, those will always sting. Maybe in time I'll let it go. Maybe in time I'll forgive, but for now, I don't have charity in my heart for them. It's probably a sin but I'm not ready to let it go. 

Our former pastor was a blessing. He came over when we needed a priest and couldn’t get someone to come over to perform the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. He did that, and also gave Dad the Last Rites. It was a powerful scene. At that moment, I didn’t question or doubt my faith. Watching Dad as he received the two sacraments brought my mind to ease; he was aware of what was going on and participated fully in the moment. Peace seemed to wash over him and we were all comforted. It certainly meant more to me to have a priest, one that I knew well, come out to our house to pray, give my dad the sacraments than I ever imagined. I, too, felt some peace that day.

When Dad was lucid, we talked about everything and nothing at the same time. We fought. He was frustrated and didn’t like feeling helpless. But he recognized that we were trying to help him and do our best for him. He didn’t like being dependent on anyone else to help him with his day-to-day needs. Because he was strong, stubborn and difficult, we got additional help. Mom and I couldn’t have cared for him on our own. We tried. After a few falls, it was obvious that he couldn’t help us lift him or move him, so we knew we needed help. He had some wonderful caregivers and we are grateful to have had them.

He’d call out for his loved ones who’d gone long before him. He’d say a litany of names: Antonia, Celida, Elizama, Mama and Papa. He called for his brother and he’d ask if someone was dead.

Often, he'd say he saw little kids in the room, sometimes gangsters and thugs who tried to rob us. He even told David he thought I was drunk and there was some guy passed out on the floor.

I think he saw Angels. I wanted to believe he did.

In the end, our Hospice team was outstanding, especially our nurse and caregiver. Her name was Charlotte, the name of David’s mother and she was gentle and kind. She was young but wise. She was with him when he died and she handled it all with grace. I think it’s somehow appropriate that someone named Charlotte was with him at that moment. We were prepared. I’d expected him to go the night before but he held on just one more day. Both Mom, the dog and I were away and I think he knew that was the time. He slipped away in his sleep and I think was at peace. I want to believe that his soul lives on and that somehow he’s in heaven watching over us with David’s mother sitting beside him. I think had they met in this life they would have been fast friends, so I hope in the next life she was there to show him around.

And when the day came, we knew he was no longer suffering, no longer in pain and at peace.

There are still feelings and emotions I have yet to work out. As I started writing this earlier today, I had focus and a grasp on things I wanted to say, but as daily distractions hit, I lost a lot of that. Later, I will have to come back and try to write some more. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Have No Better Words

It is not quite time for the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which is celebrated December 28 on the church calendar, but what happened on December 14, in Newton CT was tragic and senseless. There are no words to explain what happened, so I found words of prayer instead. 

A Prayer To The Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms. 

Holy Innocents, you were killed because one man was filled with hatred, pray for those who hate that God may touch their hearts and fill them with love. 

Holy Innocents, you experienced a violent death, pray for all who are affected by violence that they may find peace and love. 

Holy Innocents, you were murdered at the hands of men who probably felt they were merely following orders, pray for all who act against their consciences that they may turn to God for strength to do what is right. 

Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them. 

Holy Innocents, those around you certainly felt helpless to prevent your deaths, pray for all who feel helpless in their circumstances that they may cling to God for courage and hope. 

Holy Innocents, you did not know Jesus during your brief lives, but now you praise Him for all eternity, pray for all those who do not know Jesus that they may open their minds to His voice and their hearts to His love. 

Holy Innocents, you died as infants and toddlers, pray for those who are in danger of dying before they are even born through the horrors of abortion that their mothers may recognize the sanctity of all life, turn to God for help, and give their babies a chance to live. 

Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God's love forever.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anger is Just Part of Grief

There have been a lot of messages of condolence, messages of love and sympathy for the my dad's death. There have been people who have been kind, helpful, generous and loving. And there are people, who never once acknowledged his death to either my mother or me. There was one, half-hearted comment on a FB post, but it wasn't to me. 

Naturally, there were family members who who couldn't attend his rosary, funeral or his reception for one reason or another, but they sent a card, a note or called to offer their condolences. We knew not everyone could attend. It was the day before Thanksgiving. However there are family members who did not even attend the funeral and for that,  I am not ready to forgive. I should do the Christian thing and let it go. I even talked to a priest, albeit briefly, about it. But the anger still prevents me from letting it go. 

I've thought about being passive aggressive and sending one of them a thank you note for the food she sent for the reception and then stating how hurt I was that she didn't attend the funeral, but I should let it go.

I suppose it's not my job to educate the clueless. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm Numb; Going Through the Motions.

Funerals are a big business. We went to the funeral home on Wednesday. We went through the litany of forms to fill out for the arrangements,  then there is cremation or burial, prayer cards to pick out, questions about flowers, do we want a video and a memory book and more?

We nixed the limo. Mom chose cremation and I decided against the video and memory book.

It's all part of the package. It's to help create memories. It's all sales pitches.

Well, by Friday, I started to freak out about having my father cremated. It's perfectly acceptable according to the Catholic Church, but not to me. I started stressing over the thought of it and I just couldn't do it. I was honoring my mom's wishes. Dad never talked about what he wanted, so my mom decided that sounded best. But then, I spoke up and we decided to have him buried. It didn't make any of these any easier. He's still dead and never coming back again, but I found some peace knowing his body is still whole. I certainly don't want cremation for myself and could not make that choice for him.

So... trying to change funeral plans on a weekend when the cremation is set to take place the following Monday-- after the Rosary earlier in the evening. I made a few phone calls, sent emails and first thing Saturday morning the director on duty called me back and said it was no problem to make the changes. When I talked with Stephen, the day of the Rosary, he said he completely understood. He was very kind and accommodating. he made us all feel at home at the mortuary on the day of the Rosary.

I didn't know what to expect for the Rosary. We arrived at 4, the allotted time for family and close friends. My cousin came up from Silver City and other family came and visited from the 4-5 p.m. visitation.

There were people I never expected to see there, distant family, one of his caregivers and some of my friends came to show their support. It was overwhelmingly good. There was a lot of love for my dad there and it meant a lot to me that so many dear friends and family came. One of my other cousins came, but didn't stay for the Rosary. She had a good excuse, at least she believe it and left.

We had a break on Tuesday. The funeral was Wednesday and incredibly lovely. I was so glad we had it at the Cathedral and Fr. Adam was able to celebrate the Mass for us. Again, faces I didn't expect to see where there and sadly, faces I expected to be there didn't come. I don't know why they chose not to come and honor my father's memory. If it was because it was at a Catholic church, if they were truly busy or just felt unwanted/unwelcome. I will never know because I won't ask them. Their absence said it all especially as they showed up at the Burial as if nothing else happened that day. Stephen, our funeral director was awesome in how he kept us moving on time at the cemetery and we didn't have to interact with too many people until after the burial.

I thought the ceremony at the National Cemetery would get to me. We had a full honor guard but it was very moving and poignant. I think my father would have liked it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And There Was Heartache

A week ago my beloved father died...

You'd think that it just happened. The loss is deep, heartbreaking and all-consuming. The pain is great, the yearning huge and the tears never ending. He'd been sick for nearly a year-- he was strong and determined-- but in the end the cancer that he tried to beat won. When the end came, I think he found peace. His last 24 hours, he slept peacefully until he finally drifted away.

There is so much to say about my father, yet the words aren't flowing. He was a passionate, kind, strong-willed, stubborn, generous, loving and wonderful man. As we prepare for his funeral tomorrow, I sit here quietly reflecting on my father's life and feel such a huge void in my life. I am not alone as I grieve and I am not alone in my loss, but my world has suddenly gotten a whole lot smaller. My father, that larger than life figure, is gone. I still see his face when I close my eyes and I can still hear his voice in my head, but to know I cannot touch him physically anymore breaks my heart.

My faith is weak, yet I believe that there has to be something beyond this life, beyond this vale of tears. I think, as I was watching him slip away these last few weeks, I caught a glimpse of what just might be beyond this life. I think he could see that there was something beyond this world; it was like he was reaching out to his siblings. The loved ones that have gone before him. Maybe he could see his mama and his papa. Their names rolled off his lips like a litany of prayers, it seemed like  he could see them calling out to him, yearning and waiting for him as he reached out and tried to touch them off in the distance. Thinking that gives me peace anyway.

I have great memories of my father. We'd spend hours star gazing, going for rides, talking on the phone or watching the Lobo game. He was passionate about sports, politics and loved the Golf Channel and used to watch General Hospital. On Saturdays, he loved getting up and going to breakfast at the Village Inn. He taught me all about love, morality and respect. We argued like cats and dogs but we always made peace. He was stubborn and opinionated and knew how to do everything, yet he taught me so much. He was just and kind. We always managed to have a laugh or two. Sometimes, I felt like the son he always wanted, but honestly,  I think he liked having a girl better. He treated me like a princess, yet I grew up independent and strong because of him.  Yes, he spoiled me rotten, but he also taught me about the value of work and an education. He always wanted the best for me and even when I failed, he never failed to tell me he loved me. I am a better woman because of my father and I cherish him deeply. He cried on my wedding day, but I think he also know that I was marrying a good man, a man who like him, I loved and adored. And I know he was happy that day as well. 

So tomorrow, we celebrate his life with a Mass of Christian Burial and then we lay him to rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. I'm not ready for it; I'm a little saddened by the thought of it, and I'm a little scared. I know I can "live" without my daddy. That's the nature of life; children usually bury their parents, but I'm just not ready to let him go.

Here is a slide show I put together in his honor.

And this is the obituary I wrote for him.

Roman Jose Salazar, 84, a life-long resident of Santa Fe, died peacefully Tuesday, Nov. 13 at his home after a lengthy illness.

Roman was born in Española, NM, on April 17, 1928.  He was the youngest of seven children. He came to Santa Fe as a young boy to live with his brother Ramon and wife, Dulce, so that he could attend St. Michael’s, where he attended from elementary school through high school. He excelled in football and basketball and was captain of both teams his senior year. He was also a member of the Sodality of Mary. He graduated in 1947. He received a scholarship to St. Mary’s College in Moraga CA, a small university run by the Christian Brothers. He received a football scholarship, but the intention was for him to play basketball as a walk on. He played a season of football, but was sidelined after a knee injury. Soon after his second semester of college, he returned to Española to help care for his sick mother. He then worked at various jobs, mostly as a carpenter, until he was drafted into the US Army in 1951. He served for two years and was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal in 1953.

He enjoyed the life of a bachelor until he finally found a soul mate, in Theresa Olivas. In 1965, they married and few years later, they had one daughter, Maria Feliz. They had great adventures as a family. He enjoyed playing sports of all kinds, but found his passion playing golf. He spent many years happily playing the links at the Santa Fe Country Club, winning many tournaments with his best friend Lee.  He also enjoyed watching Lobo basketball and attended as many games as he could at the Pit with his daughter.  He retired from Public Service Company of New Mexico in 1988 after nearly 30 years of employment.  He loved tending his garden, most especially the greenest patch of lawn in town. He enjoyed spending time with friends and family. Wherever he went he always bumped into a friend.

He is preceded in death by his parents Pacomio and Vincentita Salazar; brother Ramon Salazar; sisters, Cleofas Salazar, Antonia Martinez, Celida Maestas, Elizama Brazeal and Romancita Salazar. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Theresa Olivas Salazar; daughter Maria Feliz; son-in-law David Duran and beloved poodle, Noche. He is also survived by special friends, Lee and Sara Sanchez and their children; many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.

Public visitation will be 5-7 p.m. and a rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at Berardinelli Family Funeral Service, 1399 Luisa Street, 984-8600. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21 at the Cathedral Basilica, 131 Cathedral Pl., 982-5619. Interment will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the National Cemetery, 501 N. Guadalupe St., 988-6400.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to the Tuition Assistance Fund at St. Michael’s High School, 100 Siringo Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87505.

I love you and will always miss you, Daddy. 
Peace and love to you on your new adventure. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's Over

My dad died today at 1 p.m.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day

Back in the days when I blogged here regularly, I would post a reflection or commentary on the event of the church. Today is All Saints Day, a feast day in the church. A Holy Day of Obligation in fact.

Today, Fr. Adam, our former pastor, came over to the house to perform the sacrament of healing for my dad. He also gave him last rites.

It was a powerful sacrament to witness. The anointing of the sick is an amazing sacrament. I can attest to that. But the last rites is even more powerful. Dad was aware of all that was going on, but he wasn't having a good day. He seemed to be grateful that Fr. Adam came out. Getting a priest out to the house was a challenge. For whatever reason, our new pastor, Fr. Dan never replied to my message asking for someone to come out. Another priest I admire is out of town and won't be back for another week or so, so Fr. Adam took time and came out.


Nonetheless, it all brought peace to our family and I'm grateful to be able to have such powerful, amazing and beautiful sacraments.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Care and Comfort.... Hardly

We fired Presbyterian Hospice today. Little did I know there were more than five Hospice services in Santa Fe. I was fed up with all that they couldn't do-- when we were lead to believe they could do so much more. I had it with our "case social worker" too. She infuriated me to no end. When she called to "check" on things was the day I decided to fire them. I didn't want to talk to her anymore, so I just handed her off to David who explained how unhappy we were with their services and were lead to believe they offered more than we did. In the end, they seemed to push medication more than anything. It really upset me to the point where I started looking around at other places and made a few phone calls and set up an appointment with someone else.

I'm glad to be done with them. We've transferred our Hospice benefits to Del Corazon Hospice. And I hope for however long Dad has left, he will be cared for, happy and comfortable.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Knock at the Door

So it's been far too long that I've actually sat down to blog. In the years gone by, I've had ups and downs with my faith, with my church and with how I feel about all of it. I've also felt that way about people in my life. I've had ups and downs with my own health and that of loved ones. I've lost a wonderful dog and am bored with my job.

In a nutshell, most of 2011 and 2012 have been both good years and bad years. I had hoped all the difficulties of these two years would wane as the days went by, but I find the difficulties becoming an old friend.

I think as I return to blogging, I'll probably fill in all the gaps about heartaches and healthaches that have affected my life. For now, I'll start with my dad and where we are. Last November his lung doctor sent him for a routine chest X-ray and discovered a small mass on his left lung. It wasn't officially diagnosed as Lung Cancer until January of this year. We were pissed at the lack of follow up with his lung doctor. He said he'd schedule tests, but a follow up CT Scan didn't get set up until the end of December and it was inconclusive, so another follow up didn't get scheduled till sometime in January and that lead him to getting the PET scan which showed the tumor. It was a bit larger. The aforementioned lung doctor was supposed to set up meetings with oncologists, but never did. I had to set up the appointments. Needless to say, this should have been taken care of back in December. We were into Mid-Febuary, but treatment was within our grasp. We saw a surgeon who recommended against it, but there was a radiologist in Albuquerque who said it was worth a shot. He took a week's worth of intense radiation, ending on his birthday, April 17.

By May, when he had a follow up CT scan we learned that the tumor was contained but not cured and that the cancer had spread to his liver and adrenal glads. We then moved to three doses of a chemo in the hope to slow it down. Dad tolerated the treatments. In fact, the steroids he was given gave him an extra burst of energy and he was feeling pretty good. But then, here we are. Three weeks ago, we started hospice.

We have been told we have at least 6-8 months with Dad. I'm hoping that we find time to spend together that is enjoyable, meaningful and happy. We fight a lot, but we also are incredibly close and the best of friends.

This weekend one of my cousins from Silver City came up for the weekend to see Dad. She was always close to him. Her sister lives here and she drops by quite a bit to visit. One still remains Catholic, the other has become an born-again Baptist.

Religion always causes tension in families. My dad is one who believes once baptized a Catholic, one is always a Catholic. He, of course, doesn't preach it nor does he lecture that to my cousin, but he certainly doesn't appreciate her subtle ways of trying to save his soul. I tend to be more contentious about it, but I've never confronted her either. It's her choice and she is happy, but I'm getting to the point where I might need to say something.

As we were doing a few things at the house today, helping Dad get comfortable in the new hospital bed, there was a knock on the door. I answered it. There were two strangers at the door. They were Hispanic, friendly and one introduced himself as my cousin's pastor and the other was just a member of the church or something. I probably immediately rolled my eyes upon introductions because I already knew what it was about. Time to save some Heathens!

The pastor asked if they could come in and meet my father and pray. I politely told them no thank you. While we appreciated the gesture, we were a Catholic family and would call our priest when we felt like it was time. I did not let them inside the house; I did not engage them in a religious dialog. I said we were strong in our Catholic faith, we had our sacraments and thanked them for coming out but dismissed them.

Then, when the door was closed, did I say how I really felt. I felt offended, irritated and angry, not at them, but at my cousin for sending them. She should have known better. The many times she tried to get her pastor to come over or to tell my father that he needed to be saved and he said was saved through his baptism, had his faith and his own way of believing that she didn't need to worry about trying to save him, but take care of her own soul instead.

Again, she knew we were Catholic. She attended my Wedding Mass, she knew we attended Mass regularly and that my father believed the same, but she doesn't believe Catholics are Christians in the true sense of the world.

My dad has a silent faith, but it's strong and I know he believes. He stopped going to Mass with us about a year ago-- his aches and pains getting the best of him-- but he truly believes. My cousin doesn't see that. She only sees the world through her narrow view from her Bible, and literally believes it's her duty to save souls. I don't believe that it's our job to save anyone's soul. I think we need to worry about ourselves and focus on living a good life through faith, works, charity, humility, kindness and love. I also believe we need to teach our children our faith, baptize them, catechize them, share with them our sacraments and love of Christ through His Church. We need show them and others the way of Christ through how we live our lives, by our actions, not by sending others to proselytize or demand that we find Jesus to be saved. I'm sorry but I find that offensive. Jesus is never lost. We lose our sights on Jesus sometimes, but he is always there, always living in our hearts, even when we don't think he is there.

And even if he didn't say it, the words credited to St. Francis about preaching the gospel at all time and by using words if necessary is a fitting way to live the Gospel. It is by doing for others and loving others that we show our love of Christ--that we show the world our Christian Faith. And maybe I don't show it often enough or maybe my cousin was just doing what she thought was right, but it certainly set me off and has made me think twice about my own actions regarding my faith.

I admit I've grown weary at times and I'm feeling on the edge. I'm not even sure I'm strong enough to get through the days ahead but we'll see. Maybe my faith is still there, coaxing me to go on, but it's a very private thing for me and I just can't outwardly show that I'm a Christian. If you know me, then you should know that I am a Christian by the way I live my life. And right now my life is focused on my dad. Maybe I'll find some strength as the days get harder and maybe I'll discover just how much I can do.