UPDATE - Saturday, September 30, 2006. They say that deaths come in 3's, and I'm becoming a firm believer in that. Since December 2 (just under 10 months), I've lost my mom, brother-in-law, and now my father, who I hadn't seen for over 20 years. It's a long story and the choice was his...well, actually my step mother's, who apparently decided it was us (my sister and me) or her. He'd never seen two of my daughters and last seen my oldest when she was about 7 months old. On September 12th, I got a letter in the mail that had my dad's name and address (which I hadn't even known since he moved since my last contact with him) on the return address label. It was from my step mom, who proceeded to tell me that my dad was very ill and in a local hospital - even gave me the room and bed number. The next evening I stopped by the hospital while my youngest was in her dance class less than a mile away, but only went as far as the nurses' station, where I asked about my dad's condition. I was told he had congestive heart failure and renal failure (needing dialysis several times a week) and that he currently had been brought into the hospital due to some bed sores on his feet and was scheduled for release to go home the next morning. I opted not to see him...it was after visiting hours anyway and I had to get back for my daughter. Three days later I had taken the youngest to another dance class, only this time my other two came along to do some shopping at the thrift store a block away. We finished our shopping and even grabbed a sandwich for lunch and had nearly an hour left to blow. So, I drove further down the main road to see if the bagel place we used to go to was still there. Ends up it had closed down so I circled the block and headed back on a parallel street - only to notice the name on the street was the same as on my dad's return address label. And, despite him being scheduled to go home two days before, they were only just bringing him home as we drove past his house.
So, I stopped. Saw my father for the first time in over 20 years and was shocked at just how hard that time had been on him. He was confined to a hospital bed and on oxygen, not to mention his arms and legs were like twigs they were so thin. He got to see Himeko for the first time in over 20 years and met Kojika. I told him I'd bring Sakura by on another day since she was at dance. We didn't stay long - he was far too tired for more than a short visit. But, before I left he did tell me that he loved me and I was able to tell him I loved him, too. Even kissed him goodbye, not realizing that would be the last time I saw him. The next couple of days I didn't take Sakura to see him because she had developed a cold, but on Wednesday took her there on our way to her dance class. We were too late - he had passed away less than two hours earlier, and my step mother was waiting for the funeral home to come for him. I got to meet the man from Hospice who had been assigned to my dad, so that was nice. Oh, and while I had called my sister (who lives in Wisconsin) and told her about my dad's condition and given her their phone number and address, she hadn't called until that time. In fact, she was on the phone with my step mother as we got there.
So, I spent Friday running errands - getting something for Kojika and I to wear to the funeral and ordering flowers. My sister and her husband came in on Saturday morning for the funeral, and while I always love seeing them, it was hardly a happy reunion.
So, I am now officially an orphan. My sister and I are the only family members left of our family of five, since my brother died of melanoma back in 1981 (just a few months after I got married). Joe was the backbone of our family and I know my dad had a really hard time with things when he passed away. In fact, I suspect it was as much his continued grieving over my brother as my step mother that made him pull away from the family.
My dad was born just outside of Vienna, Austria and lived there until he finished college and followed his father (who had remarried, since my natural grandmother died when my dad was just a few months old) to America. It was rather fitting that they played the song "Edelweiss" as we left the church to follow him to his final resting place.
"Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow,
bloom and grow forever,
bless my homeland forever."
UPDATE - Tuesday, July 18, 2006. My brother-in-law, Gene, passed away yesterday. He had survived just short of three weeks since being removed from the ventilator - surprising, since we had figured it would only be a few days. He first went home, and as he became more difficult to care for there, was moved to a Hospice about a week ago. No word yet on his funeral.
June 18 - I planned on posting this yesterday, but things became completely crazy. Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Kristine Batey (aka Bachan) passing away. It's hard to believe it's been a full year. Time manages to just keep marching ahead, no matter what happens, I guess.
However, I didn't get to the computer much since we also received bad news about my brother-in-law, who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS quite a few years ago. In fact, he had been given just six months to live - over nine years ago. Seems that if you can make it past a certain point, you can actually live a long and reasonably *normal* life. Unfortunately, though, one of the downsides of the *cocktail* of medications he had taken early on was that his kidneys have completely shut down. He's not a candidate for a kidney transfer, due to his medical condition, so he's been going through dialysis. More recently he took a turn for the worse, and has been in and out of the hospital - sometimes completely unaware of who he is.
As of yesterday, he's on a ventilator with his lungs filled with fluid. They've started dialysis and other things to try to bring him through this, but it doesn't look very hopeful. We'll know more later today, but unless a miracle happens, there's a strong likelihood that the ventilator will be disconnected and he will be allowed to die. If the only thing keeping him *alive* is a machine, and he has not real functioning any other way, I know it makes sense. But, I find myself picturing him how he was. I always thought he looked and acted quite a bit like Barry Manilow. And, he was always happy and full of energy. However, the last few times I've seen him, he wasn't much more than a shadow of his former self. Maybe it's a mixed blessing that the girls aren't going to be able to see him like this.
UPDATE - My mother passed away yesterday after suffering a heart attack. I probably won't be on DA much for the next few days.
UPDATE - 10/31/05 - Things just keep on getting worse and worse. My mom seems to be doing all right - she finished her radiation but has had a series of bad colds that are especially rough on her at this point in time. I did find out on Friday that another good friend of mine, Lorraine - :devrainy-gal: - may also have breast cancer. She should find out more from her doctor later today. I swear, it's like it's an epidemic, and I find myself wondering who will be next.
UPDATE - 6/24/05 - The good news - my mom's surgery went well yesterday, and although she's in some pain (as should be expected), things look good. She wi ll be seeing her doctor next week and get her radiation treatment schedule.
UPDATE - 6/17/05 - Kristine Batey, aka Bachan, passed away peacefully with her husband and family in attendence. The Inuyasha fandom has suffered a tremendous loss. I fear n obody can ever hope to fill the empty shoes of my dear friend, Kristine. We're going to miss you terribly, Bachan.
There have been several artworks uploaded to DA in honor of Bachan. I'll try to list any I find here:
- ht tp://www.deviantart.com/deviation/19842928/
When I first joined the Inuyasha fandom, I was thrilled to become friends with Kristine Batey (aka Bachan). Kristine has been the heart of the IY fandom for the past few years. However, due to her medical condition, she has not been active on her Yahoo groups or elsewhere in the fandom. Her website (Hero in the 21st Century) is currently being manned by her husband and daughters. Well, according to an update on her website, this is the status of her medical condition:
"Bachan is currently at a nursing facility where she is receiving rehabilitation therapy. I t is still not clear whether she will recover or not."
I'm sure others will join me in sending our prayers to Kristine and her family. She has been an active member of the Inuyasha fandom for the past few years, and her recent absence on the lists has l eft a void. Kristine sat on my Inuyasha panels at Acen for the first three years (2002, 2003, and 2004), and her presense was felt this year, even though she couldn't be there.
Kristine was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before Acen 2003, and ha s spent the past two years undergoing various treatments in an attempt to keep her illness in check. Recent developments don't bode well, but one thing about Kristine is that she is a fighter. I look forward to her sitting with me on the Acen Inuyasha panel again.