She’s leaving home

Babies, Dad, daughters, Family, fathers and daughters, Life, Love, Memoir, Personal, Team Winchester, Truth 1 Comment »

love, family, daughters. life

Life is complicated.
As a parent, it’s even more so having children.
Pamela and I were blessed with three gorgeous, thoughtful, creative and extremely intelligent girls.
When one leaves the nest it’s always time for personal reflection.

Have we taught them enough about life?
Have we shown them what true love looks like?
Have we passed on our wisdom as to why Pamela and I are still married after 30+ years?
Have we done our best to teach them right from wrong?
Have we done our level best to show them our unconditional love?

I truly believe that the answer to all the above is an unequivocal ‘yes’.
Knowing that’s true somehow makes it easier to let go.
But know that I am FAR from letting go.

Jenna leaves this weekend.
She has a beautiful place that she’s moving to and she has a great draughthouse that shows great movies within walking distance.
There’s a great market nearby.
She has more DVD’s than Netflix has movies.
She has books.
God, does she have books.
She has clothes. (no comment)
She has love.
And she also has a man that will keep her safe. [he better]
That makes me happiest of all.
She has an amazing future in store and a good head on her shoulders.
Why should I worry, right?
I’ll be looking at her bedroom door on the way down the stairs every morning to see if she’s left for school.
Her room will be empty now but I’ll still look anyway.
And I’m going to miss her terribly.
I guess that’s what Dad’s do. over and over again.

Love you JMM, you’re the one that always makes me cry at Christmas.
You also burp alot louder than me.
Bitches must like loud burps.
Your true home will always be here at Shore Drive and your heart will forever be inside me and Mom.
Gentle seas, and a safe journey,
until you’re home at last.
And Bitches love home . . .

Dad

When tomorrow comes

alzheimer's disease, Angels, coincidence, Dad, Facebook, Family, God, Heaven, hope, Internet, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Poetry, Sad, Truth 2 Comments »

love, family, Alzheimer's Disease, memory

 

I read a post on Facebook from a ‘friend’ tonight.
I have no idea if he wrote it or found it on the interwebz.
That said, it moved me to tears reminding me of my Mom and Dad’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.
It’s called ‘When Tomorrow Starts Without Me’ and is a simply beautiful epitaph and message of hope that should be shared.
I’m missing my Mom and Dad tonight the way they used to be . . .  more than usual.
I’m over remembering the bad stuff.
Moving on.
Please share this . . .
Thank you, JohnD for posting!

UPDATE 8.6
attributed to David M Romano


When tomorrow starts without me
And I’m not there to see;
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today;
While thinking of the many things
We didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me
As much as I love you;
And each time that you think of me,
I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand.

She said my place was ready
In heaven far above;
And that I’d have to leave behind,
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye;
For all my life, I’d always thought
I didn’t want to die.

I had so much to live for,
So much yet to do;
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad;
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.


If I could relive yesterday
Just even for awhile,
I’d say goodbye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized
That this could never be;
For emptiness and memories
Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things
I might miss come tomorrow;
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven’s gates
I felt so much at home;
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne.

He said, “This is eternity
And all I’ve promised you;
Today your life on earth is past,
But here it all starts anew.”
“I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last;
And since each day’s the same day,
There’s no longing for the past.”
“But you have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true;
Though at times you did do things,
You knew you shouldn’t do.”
“But you have been forgiven
And now at last you’re free;
So won’t you take my hand
And share my life with me?”

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here in your heart.


Dear Mom and Dad . . .

alzheimer's disease, Dad, Family, fathers and daughters, God, hope, Irish, Love, Mom, Personal, prayer 2 Comments »

mom and dad

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

For every memory lost, every heart broken wide open, every tear shed,
every life forever changed, every second chance missed,
there was always that white light of hope,
a sotto-voce prayer whispered by the many that so loved you.
I am currently living in a world that is profoundly affected by the monster that took the both of you.

This Sunday morning (Pamela’s birthday) I will walk with my wife,  your daughter, Maureen, your granddaughters, Sarah, Jenna & Hannah and Jonathan, Sarah’s friend and love.

I will paraphrase your granddaughter  Hannah’s Facebook profile, “We will walk for you . . .  You may have forgotten but we never will.”

Wally and Ginny Murphy.
Mom and Dad.
Uncle and Aunt.
Grandmother and Grandfather.
The lost and never found.

There were so many things that you missed out on, so many precious moments that you should have seen, so many defining points in time that change young lives and this
insidious bastard took that away, forever.
There’s little to be gained with a ‘what could have been’ mentality but maybe that’s just part of being human.
It’s the way we are wired, methinks.
I take comfort in the knowing that you hopefully ‘see’ . . .

I will be walking on Sunday for the two of you knowing that you can see all of us moving towards a cure for the thing that stole both of you from us . . .  all too soon.

On Sunday morning we will walk to remember two (+1) people we will never forget.
We miss you both dearly . . .

~Michael
~Maureen
~Pamela
~Sarah
~Jenna
~Hannah
~Jonathan

[Murphy’s Law]

you and me

Dad, Dreams, Family, fathers and daughters, Kids, Life, Love, Memoir, Old Days, Pamela, Personal, Time, Truth 8 Comments »

 

As life chugs steadily along it never ceases to amaze me
how many small pieces of our lives get shoved away like so many broken summer fans,
once treasured baseball cards and small gifts and such that meant so much at the time of the giving.
From the books we once started and never finished, to the phone calls we were supposed to make but never did,
to all the relationships we took for granted,
we get caught up with life; be it day to day, night by night, or dawn to sunset.
We are all guilty of this innocent abandonment of connection with the things we once considered ‘golden’.
What amazes me is that this purely human phenomenon  happens without our consent or recognition.
I become aware of it when and old friend calls me out of the blue or I hear a particular old song on the radio.
My mind is jarred and my brain gets pickled in a way that makes me realize that I have all but forgotten ‘the old me’.

So, here I am looking at a new beginning of sorts with the love of my life.
We will be picking up from where we left port so many oceans ago.
Our rare romantic dinners were filled with conversations about our three girls, their dreams,
wishes and ultimately our plans to try like hell to help them get there.
Those numerous transient conversations were never about us,
never about Michael and Pamela and how ‘they’ were doing.
I like to think that we were confident enough to know that nothing was being lost in talking about the girls.

I loved her.

She loved me.

It was an unspoken thing.

And I bought dinner. (always)

I don’t say all this in a dark and stormy ‘my-daughters-took-my-wife-away-from-me’ kind of way.
Life happens.
Children are born.
And more children are born.
Priorities are established and life continues on . . .  in a different way.
I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that I was blessed to be married to a woman
that could see the same pictures of life as me.
That doesn’t happen to many people, hence the alarming divorce rate, perhaps.
Our priorities were exactly the same.
Maybe that’s why my Pamela is still the best friend I could ever hope for.
I may even go so far as to say that she still ‘melts my butter’ and truth be told she heals the tattered soul in me.
Although she doesn’t even know it.
That is the beauty of ‘her’.
She just doesn’t know, never has, never will.
Amazing.
I want her to run away with me very soon because I want to tell her how much I have missed ‘us‘.
I think we have succeeded in raising three incredibly awesome daughters.
But now it’s time for M&P.
Destiny is a crazyass thing and what’s done is done and I pray we‘ve done right.
But maybe now is the beginning of the best part of our lives.
As long as I have my true companion, I think I’m gonna be alright.
Actually, I know I’m going to be alright. . .

Lost Soul

alzheimer's disease, Angels, Dad, Life, Love, Mom, Music, Personal, YouTube 1 Comment »

Over the years, I have felt a connection with several Bruce Hornsby songs.
Fields of Grey, [don't watch the video but listen to the song!]
reminds me of my daughter Sarah and my intense feelings of fatherly protection and safety for her.
[this strange phenomenon has happened for all 3 girls, truth be told]
When the song shows up unexpectedly on my Ipod I usually text her to see if everything is alright.
She sends me a text that loosely interpreted  says, listening to Hornsby huh?
I listened to ‘Lost Soul’ a few nights ago for the first time and couldn’t help but associate the words to
a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, the most lost of souls.
When the chorus kicked in I heard a female voice and thought, hey, that’s Shawn Colvin.

Here’s the connection with me and Shawn Colvin.
And here’s the song.

Not sure if this song is speaking to the issues regarding dementia or AD but I took it that way.
‘Lost Souls’ is chilling lyrically and musically sophisticated beyond belief.
Play the video and read the lyrics below and maybe you will see.
If not, it’s still a great tune.
Hornsby is an amazing musician, jazz/classical pianist and songwriter and Colvin just gives me a bad case of goosebumps. (and maybe because she’s a real cute blonde)
I am doing my first walk for Alzheimer’s research on September 25th to raise funds for some badly needed research.
Check back in the not too distant future for more info if you would like to help me meet my goal.
I already have a webpage HERE.
Check it out!
Until my next post, please be safe, happy and well.

Michael

 

There was a man of confused and sad nature
Thought no one loved him that was not true
He said he was a lost soul didn’t fit in anywhere
Didn’t know where to turn or who to turn to

There’s a lost soul coming down the road
Somewhere between two worlds
With an oar in his hands and a song on your lips
We’ll row the boat to the far shore
Row the boat of the loved lost soul

Ever since oh I can remember
We all tried to ease the pain
Took him in when he needed some shelter
Tried to make him feel he was one of us again
There was one day oh I can remember
He sat alone with a pencil in his hand
All day long he drew careful on the paper
In the end just a picture of a man

Of the lost soul coming down the road
Somewhere between two worlds
With an oar in his hands and a song on your lips
We’ll row the boat to the far shore
Row the boat of loved lost soul

Oh dear Mary do you remember
The day we went walking downtown
As I recall it was in early December
After school had just let out
When I see you on the street in the twilight
I may tip my hat and keep my head down
You show me love but maybe I don’t deserve it
I’ve been called but not been found

There’s a lost soul coming down the road
Somewhere between two worlds
With an oar in his hands and a song on your lips
We’ll row the boat to the far shore
Row the boat of the loved lost soul

Eighty-one

Birthdays, Dad, hero 6 Comments »

 

I continue to remember the day you were born.
5.23.1929
As always, in my mind we are playing catch in the backyard with grass that was green as emeralds.
A juicy hot dog with lots of mustard from Rip’s would follow.
Maybe even a ride on the go-carts, if I was lucky.
With you, I was always lucky.
Miss you, Dad.

~m

Without Dad

alzheimer's disease, Angels, Dad, Family, hero, Love, Personal, prayer, Sad, Truth 8 Comments »

It amazes me the distance that disease can create between people and families.
Alzheimer’s takes everything you once knew about someone and throws it in a closet,
locking the door, throwing away the key.
This Father’s Day is the first without my Dad and I’m trying to sort out my innermost feelings.
I will go to the cemetery tomorrow morning with a coffee in one hand and a cigar in the other
and try to remember the man I once called ‘Dad’.
I miss him. I truly do.
Not as he was in the past 6-8 years but in the days when I could tell him a joke and
he would laugh; when I could go to the fridge and ask him if he wanted a beer; when I could say, “Hi, Dad,”
on the phone and he knew it was me replying, “Want your mother?”
I will be with him tomorrow as he will be with me.

This Father’s Day will feel a bit empty, strange and maybe a bit of a relief that
I don’t have to see his withering body sucking on pureed food through a straw.
Tomorrow I will see him as the guy that never missed one damn baseball game of mine,
always called me ‘Michael’ not ‘Mike’, a man that taught me how to throw a baseball and pass a football,
a man that never ever let me down, a man that taught me what it means to be a man.
I still miss him dearly but tomorrow I will begin re-building in my mind the complete memory
of a longstanding hero of mine.
If I die being half the man that he was, I will be truly blessed.
Make time to visit or call your Dad today.
Happy Father’s Day to all.
Love you, Dad.

~m

Reminder

Angels, Birthdays, Dad, Life, Love, Personal, Sad 6 Comments »

I opened my Yahoo this morning and had a ‘birthday’ alert.
I have many so it’s no surprise when they appear.
I thought, “Who has a birthday next week?”
I opened the email and frowned a bit.
It would have been my father’s birthday tomorrow and I’d totally forgotten about it.
One part of me felt ashamed, one part just felt real sad.
Happy (what would have been 81) birthday, Dad.
I miss you, man, but I also know that you and mom are probably lighting up some serious candles today.
First birthday in heaven rocks from what I hear.
Enjoy the angel food cake, buddy.
And don’t skimp on the chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
Oh, and please light some candles for us too, okay?
Still love you, my frozen man . . .

M

Under the Bluebell Tree

alzheimer's disease, Art, blues, Dad, Dreams, Family, flowers, Love, Mom, Personal, Sacred, Sleep, Truth 9 Comments »

There are several things I do know about my nocturnal comings and goings.
I dream in vivid color, for one thing.
Not just fundamental colors either.
My synapses and neurotransmitters treat me to a 4th of July palette of incredible and wondrous things.
My dreams are intensely complex, symbolically speaking, and I have yet to
understand what they truly mean.
I have also been known to get out of bed at 3:47AM to write down many a
soon-to-be elusive thought.
For the past ten years or so,
I have yet to have a dream that included both my mother and father.
It’s always been one or the other.
Given the circumstances surrounding the past chaotic decade,
that makes some logical sense, I guess.
As I said, my dreams have had ‘Ginny’ some nights and ‘Wally’ on the others.
Never together.
Until last night . . .

Off in the gossamer covered distance I could see them standing together,
holding hands . . .  smiling . . .  still.
They were underneath a tree of great age that was surrounded by what looked like
thousands of these tiny purple flowers.
I was physically moved (somehow) closer and I immediately noticed that they both looked happy,
healthy and totally at peace.
My mother was wearing a royal blue, knee length coat.
My father, a crisp white shirt and grey pleated trousers.
I smiled at the sight of the two of them, so obviously happy together and said,

“What are all these flowers?”

My mother smiled and said,

“They’re bluebells, Michael.  Each flower is a dream of ours that somehow came true.
No more sad, just more good.”

She turned (in slow motion) and kissed my father on the cheek.

They stood underneath the bluebell tree as small white flowers began falling like an unexpected springtime snowstorm.
They faded into the distance, transforming themselves into a Monet-like watercolour.
I faded into my dreamworld distance as well.

Before I went to bed last night, I had never heard of a flower called a ‘bluebell’.
I found it quite appropriate that the beautiful flower is not quite blue but purple – a color closely associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Thinking back on the dream I found it odd that my father never said a word,
though he appeared to be quite content.
Maybe the serenity I saw in his bright eyes told me all I needed to know.
I feel that their hearts have healed after all these godforsaken years apart.
Although mine is still on the mend,
I now believe that there are better days ahead for them
and for me . . .

*a little something from the wonders of the internet regarding ‘bluebells’

“Bluebells have long been symbolic of humility and gratitude. They are associated with constancy, gratitude and everlasting love. Bluebells are also closely linked to the realm of fairies and are sometimes referred to as “fairy thimbles.” To call fairies to a convention, the bluebells would be rung.

Bluebells are widely known as harebells in Scotland.
The name originated due to the hares that frequented the fields covered with harebells.
Some sources claim that witches turned themselves into hares to hide among the flowers.
Another name for bluebells is Dead Man’s bells.
This is due to the fact that fairies were believed to cast spells on those who dare to pick or damage the beautiful, delicate flowers. The people of Scotland are fond enough of the flower to continue this tradition
in the hopes of protecting the little flower.”

M

Just like Chaplin

alzheimer's disease, Dad, Easter, Family, Food, Ghosts, Holidays, Life, Memoir, Personal, Sad 5 Comments »

Some thoughts from many years ago (2006)
Seems like yesterday . . .

We had my father over for Easter dinner on Sunday.
My sister wanted to pick him up and bring him over; something I believe she had to do.
I think she fears there won’t be many more left to share.
Sadly, I would have to agree.
Actually, I would have agreed over a year ago.
I have to give her credit for going through the rigmarole of getting him ready,
seated safely in the car and bringing him over to our house.
I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.

My father has a difficult time walking these days reminding me more of Charlie Chaplin than the man I once called “Dad”.
It’s an unfortunate physical side effect of a brain at war with total neurological disintegration.
We eventually got him into my living room and plopped him down in my favorite chair:
one, because the chair is just so damn comfortable
and two, because when we finally let him go, it would be impossible for him to miss it.

We all sat down to eat and my sister and I filled his plate with ham,
green beans and Au gratin potatoes, all of which we cut up into pieces to make it easier for him to feed himself.
And feed himself he did.
He ate everything on the plate.
Either my cooking was really good that day or where he’s currently staying is really bad.
Whatever the case, it was wonderful to see him enjoy a meal.
He didn’t speak a word as he ate.

My wife caught him stabbing at an empty spot on his plate.
She gently rotated his plate to where the food was and he was none the wiser.
Mission Accomplished.

The rest of the afternoon went off without a hitch.

After eating, we ushered him back to my chair where he fell asleep; perhaps shuffling through his own little world of monochromatic movie screens and silent dreams . . .  a sleeping Charlie Chaplin.

We woke him an hour or so later and got him back into the car.
As I fastened his seat belt, I looked at him as he peered over the rims of his glasses and I said,
“No Boston Marathon for you tomorrow, young man.”

I’m sure he didn’t understand a word I said but knew enough to do a little chuckle and mutter, “Yeah”.

He plays the game so well most days so why the hell can’t I?

For me, the Easter cupboard was somewhat threadbare in terms of holiday revelations
and personal epiphanies but I did get to marvel over the way my Dad still gets through his days.
In many ways, he’s graceful in a way I may never be.
As long as his surreal movie keeps playing,
I’ll continue to watch him as he shuffles through his seemingly silent and black and white world,
just like Chaplin.

~m

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