I knew I'd have no choice as both Memorial Day & the Tag's deadline crept closer. So here I sit at the campground where we usually parky our carcasses (along with our 2 furrypups & the RV) every year for Memorial Day Weekend. Our outing usually includes at least 3 other sets of Besties' RVs as well. This year's group totals 7 sets plus kids/Grandkids. So that's probably a good thing since it keeps me from my usual crying jags of the past month- more precisely since May 5th when we laid to rest one of the greatest men I've ever known: my Dad (aka Grandpa Rush to my own kids, as well as a few dozen Nieces & Nephews, Great Nieces & Great Nephews).
Donald Frederick Rush Sr (actually he was DFRtheFirst since my oldest brother has his name as Jr, and his Son also has the same) was 87 yrs old, but his death wasn't exactly expected so quickly. Cancer knows no boundaries & strikes whomever it so pleases. Whenever and wherever it pleases. The thought of this dispicable disease rearing it's ugly head again in my life was daunting enough- even with my faith in JESUS that keeps me trudging on. But to strike someone when they're already down like he was with dementia/brain damage after almost dying a few years before when his heart stopped...well, we're talking about my DAD here. From about the time I first met him, he was the parent I was closer to. I think it was because he did the things I really wanted to do- even though I was a girl and even in the 70's, little girls weren't supposed to like football, baseball, basketball, fishing and being outside all the time. But he already had 3 girls he helped give life to and raised, so while he always said there were going to be things we girls had to learn as GIRLS, he also thought we needed to learn sports and things like fixing a roof or helping build a shed. Housework, cooking, cleaning, and chores were shared by ALL us kids, with the older ones being in charge of the younger ones- right down to baths and hair washes... WITH INSPECTION!! .He did quite a lot of babysitting for all his kids and Grandkids, and he also never minded taking on kids who were friends of his kids or Grands- of any gender or age- right down to changing diapers. He'd finished raising me single-handedly as I just turned 15 when my Mother left him, as well as my older brother. (I was the youngest of 10 kids, of which; 6 his own from 1st marriage plus 4 taken on as Step kids from "Mistake #2" as he called it jokingly...although we kids were never allowed to 'mouth' about our Mothers because he said "THAT'S your MOTHER, and you will RESPECT her!")
For more about him as a WWII Veteran in my November 2015 Tag Posting, CLICK HERE
So, as close as I always was to my Dad, when I got sick in 2005, it kinda felt like I dropped off the face of the Earth from everyone- esp my Dad for some reason. Looking back; I just don't think he could handle it all. One of my Sisters (his youngest) was dealing with her own Husband dying of Pancreatic Cancer at the same time my Cervical Cancer was found. It was a rough time for everyone- & they all continued to work full time through it all. My ChiefHubby & Sons taking care of me while another Sister was helping with my BroInLaw. I guess that changes life & we just never got together during, or after. I got better, but Darin didn't. His Dad died not too longer after that of same cancer. And by that time, most of Dad's 5 brothers, 1 sister, and their spouses also died of cancer. With just 2 SisInLaws (one presently struggling with the very same colon cancer) and 1 middle brother....Dad was left as the oldest of all of them. Now there are only 3 I have left, and my bros&sisses' Mom and StepDad. Our Grandparents are all gone as well now. The torch has already been passed on.
I began visiting my Dad on my own again (my entire life previously had been always every week or every other week) once I could drive again. I was just beginning with the 15 Rx meds I am still taking (shots and cancer meds weekly help control the RA). By then, he'd been through quite a bit, too, & was found wandering the highway in his truck. He couldn't remember his way home (man, did I know how THAT felt!), & our older Bro had to be 'the bad guy' & took Dad's keys away. It was very hard to help him understand that we worried about him because we LOVED him! He would get upset about not having his truck and 'being treated like a damned child' one minute, and the next- just break down crying. I'd seen that man cry TWICE in my lifetime, when he began breaking down on me that first of many, many times after....I knew we were in for a long haul. Even, sitting at his hospital bed in Logansport during one of those stays, the Dr wanted ME to help him explain to Dad that he HAD TO STAY at least 2 more nights. There were 2 things that man HATED: having his picture taken... and hospital stays!! I chickened out and was totally relieved one of my older brothers walked in and took it on. And I cried all the way back home.
I think I knew , even then, that the time was coming much sooner than any of us wanted. I'd been going up to check on him once every cpl of weeks or so, up till 2 of my Sisters msgd to talk about taking turns going up to his apartment every day to make sure he ate well, got sleep, and took his meds. We kept that schedule up for 4 months at least- twice a day. All because HE was adamant about living - and dying- in his own home. Some people don't understand how HARD it is to make a person leave their HOME. How does a daughter make her Dad leave all he worked for.... the home he made himself and knows well?? And when it finally happens because he goes to the hospital and finds his life is suddenly going to end SOON...how does a daughter say "no" to her Dad when it comes to sacrifices of time & yourself to take care of him ?? He did no less for all us kids...AND his Grandkids!! He may not have made it to everything we all did, but he LOVED all of us! He sure was FAR FROM perfect, but he was... just Dad/Grandpa. And that's all he needed to be.
So, that's the story behind my May Tag and who the extra 2 copies are for: my 2 older sisters & myself for those last months we shared taking care of him. My heart still breaks from watching the same ugly Colon Cancer that claimed his Father, also takes ours from us as well. But, I wouldn't have traded a single second of that time with him, and I will always be grateful to GOD for sending him into my life when I was 7 years old back in 1973.
|I kept to the same technique as Tim for the basic background of both sides of my May Tag and the extra two copies as well.|
|I chose Silver Distress Metalic Spray to give the tags a bit of that Old Glory sparkle.|
|A hot glue gun helped secure the shells to the front of the Tag's backside, as welll as keep the two Tag sides together to make one 2-sided Tag for each of us.|
|You can see the Paste medium- the texture it added in 'ghosted' stars all over both sides of the Tag.|
THANKS so much for reading and sharing this very important posting with me. I cannot promise I won't feel depressed anymore after this. (Is is possible to be depressed while on anti-depressants for the RA??? lol!) I can promise though, that I will miss this very special man in my life, but I will also keep plugging on and time will heal the wounds so they are not as raw. My hope is that I will see him again, One Day. But that is not ours to judge. We can keep faith and HOPE!!
IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO SERVED:
ALL GAVE SOME & SOME GAVE ALL.
MEMORIAL DAY 2016