Friday, April 11, 2008

All over the place today

I'm organizing old photos from files, e-mails and cell phone downloads and found two pictures that I haven't seen in quite a while.

This one was taken several years ago after my Dad's second stem cell transplant. He was neutropenic and we could not be around him for more than a few minutes at a time and we had to be covered in sterile gowns from head to toe. (and my hair is not ear length, it was tied back in a bun).


This next picture was taken just a couple weeks before he died. He had to take so many pills several times a day so instead of just throwing them into the pill cup and swallowing them down, he would make little faces and objects out of his colorful pills.


I was sitting next to him as he arranged these pills above and I asked him, "Is that a clown face?" And he looked at me and said, "No it's a lady. Can't you tell?" (of course, I should have known, my Dad LOVED the ladies). And then he pointed to each side of the lady's face and said, "See? These are her earrings."

I'll never forget that. I'm so glad I took the photo even though I felt weird at the time. Snapping photos of the pills on his tray, knowing that my Dad knew why I was capturing these moments on film and trying to smile through the pain wasn't easy. This was the last photo I took while he was alive.

16 comments:

KBL 2 ORD 2 SAN said...

Such a daughter was born to him that the unique act of arranging pills was worthy of being captured. I know he understood. I wish you were here. I would hug you, my tiny friend.

Anonymous said...

20 minutes ago I'm laughing my a$$ off over the cucumber and roomba videos and now I sit here with tears down my face.

Damn girl! Please give out a warning before you post the heavy stuff!

I don't know you personally but I can relate to so much of what you write. Both the happy and the heavy.

hugs,
a reader in the UK

karengberger said...

I found your blog through your comment on Veritably Bare, and just wanted to say hello. I enjoy your sense of humor, have similar taste in books, movies and music. I, too, want to help researchers find a cure for cancer, and to discover what in the heck causes it! Our 12-year old daughter, Katie, passed away last August with cancer, and it is her passing that got me into blogging.

ChiTown Girl said...

My sweet friend...I just finished posting about my daddy, only to come here and see that you're missing yours so much today. {{{hugs}}}

KBL 2 ORD 2 SAN said...

I just read through some of Karen G-Berger's blog. Wow. I'll have to find some time to read the entire thing. Katie, what a beautiful daughter.

Smileygirl said...

I love all my blogging friends (those I know and those I don't!)

Karen I'm touched by your words. And looking at the pictures of Katie on your site blew me away. Absolutely beautiful. I know I've seen her picture before. I remember her face. You mentioned the caring bridge sites, I've become familiar with a few families on there, perhaps that's where I've seen Katie?

Smileygirl said...

Karen, It was Caring Bridge. I believe I signed your guest book last year. Wow. What a small world. Your beautiful Katie is bringing people together across the globe. What a gift.

go Cubs said...

I agree with Anon. Warnings would be best. Especially for those who read while at work. Wasn't expecting that.

It's amazing how your father maintained a positive outlook even during those last days. How he was able to make taking handfuls of pills into a special memory for you shows that he was not afraid. He was brave and sounds like he appreciated the little things too.

karengberger said...

Thank you for checking back. Yes, she has a caringbridge page: www.caringbridge.org/visit/katiegerstenberger. Did you dad have one, too?
I am so sorry for your loss. I loved the pill picture. What a spirit!
Katie was so beautiful, inside and out. She was a spicy, strong, lovely girl who had a great sense of humor and a clear sense of herself, even at 12. She taught us so much on her journey. It has been a blessing to have her in our family. It's just very hard to learn to live without her...but I am guessing you know that, from your experience with your dad?
Bless you.

Smileygirl said...

Karen-
My Dad didn't have a site on Caring Bridge and I'm not sure how I came across it initially, but I was very taken with Baby Lexie's story and from there I encountered many other families going through similar situations.

And as much as I miss my Dad, I guess it's easier to accept since I am the child and he is (was) the father, so the natural progression of life sort of wins out in this case. But my mom lost her first child from leukemia, years ago, and has struggled with this for decades. Seeing what she went through has made me hesitant to have children of my own but then I think, I guess we have to be lucky for the time we have with those we love, be it, parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, and consider each day a blessing because they are not "ours" to have, forever on this earth.

And thinking this way has made it somewhat easier to accept that my Dad is in his forever home, and of course one day we will all be united again and think back to this life here on earth and say, "Wow! Little did we know what true happiness is!!!"

karengberger said...

Thank you for being sharing this. I am so sorry for your mother's loss, and I cannot imagine what it was like for her with her child back then, when treatment options were less than they are now...having said that, you probably know that cancer treatment is awful.
I appreciate your kindness. Thank you for caring about Katie and about us. I do look forward to the time when we are reunited with those we love.
Bless you.

LeighAnn said...

OMG, I am so sorry.

Anonymous said...

My dad passed away last july from cancer, he had been diagnosed 4 months earlier. I never took pictures of him during that time, and i'm glad i didn't... he had lost so much weight...and didn't look like himself...
you made me cry at work

Smileygirl said...

I'm so sorry about your loss anon. I look back at some of the pics with my Dad and it just didn't look like him but he was sick for 6 years so we had a lot of photos/memories we captured during that time.

But in my mind I remember him as being strong and healthy. And I hope that's how you remember your Dad as well.

btw CANCER SUCKS!! I seriously don't think there's anything on this earth that I hate more.

JustMe said...

That is the cutest thing ever - what a wonderful memory to have with your dad!

Debbie said...

awwww, your post about your dad made me cry.

My dad had a brain tumor and went to Stanford University to have it removed. It ended up being the longest 5 weeks of his life, and he passed away there. I took so many photos because I had promised him a scrapbook of 'his little hospital adventure'. I made the scrapbook for his funeral. (After the 2nd week I wasn't allowed to take photos so they were all secretly taken)

I'm glad you got to take the picture of his pills, too cute!