Wednesday, April 20, 2011

His eyes

At some point I realized my phone had over 100 text messages, my voicemail was full. I gave my phone to Jessica, was I required to answer these right now? At 4:00 AM my phone rang, it woke Jessica. It was the eye bank , they wanted Rods eyes. Jessica told them I'd just gone to sleep at 2:00 and she needed to let me sleep. Could they call back? They called again at 5:00, again could they call back? They called again at 6:00 and explained time was of the essence. Jessica decided to wake Rodney, Rodney said yes. Eye bank said they'd need to talk to me to have final verification but that was enough to get the process started. At 7:00 Jess woke me and told me that the eye bank needed to talk to me.

I got on the phone and listened to her; 'very sorry for your loss, sorry to call so early, time is of the essence, this donation would help not one but two people receive their site. It's anonymous but I would get a certificate. I could opt to have my name put on there so if the recipient ever wanted to contact me....'

I listened, I knew the answer but I couldn't answer her. Rod always said I could be empathetic to a fault. Instead I said; "I'm sorry for you! This is the worst job in the world! You have to wake grieving widows in the middle of the night and ask for body parts! How'd you get this job?" She gave me a speech about it was a worthy cause, blah blah I replied again; " I hate making phone calls, this would be a nightmare of a job for me"

Yes of course you can have his eyes, his beautiful, smiling eyes. Should I have told her he needed his reading glasses for everything these days? He even put reading glasses in his sunglasses. Should I have opened his eyes one more time to see them? No not necessary. I realized when I went in the hospital room to say goodbye to his lifeless body, there was nothing I needed to memorize. I knew everything about him.

Rod would've loved to donate every organ, every fiber of his body to help someone else live. Unfortunately they couldn't use anything else. When they were getting out of the kayak, it tipped and he hit his head and was knocked unconscious. He drowned while unconscious. He didn't suffer. It took rescue crews atleast an hour to find him. His body had been without oxygen for too long, no other organs were viable.

Some have said; "With all the crazy adventurous stunts Rod pulled, why was it something so simple that killed him?" I don't know, but it was merciful and painless, that's what matters to me.

It goes without saying that then, when they were asking for his eyes, as now my constant thought is; "Is this really happening? Am I really living this?"

Let me finish this on a lighter note, this is from yesterday;
Luke: "Mom I'm not sad anymore. And there is no way I could cry"

He needed some assurance that this was okay.

Me: "That's great buddy! Dad is proud of you for not being sad. He would be sad if you were still sad."

Luke: "But you're still sad sometimes. Why?"

Me: "Well....I've been with your Daddy since I was Nikka's age. Some day you're going to leave and go have a family of your own. I had planned to stay with Dad for the rest of my life."

Luke: "Well there are lots of wars and rumours of wars and earthquakes and tornados, maybe the Second Coming is coming soon and you won't have too wait long"

That kid has been paying attention in church!

Monday, April 11, 2011

208 Days

Somehow the Dial family is moving forward and we are doing well! We are committed to honoring Rods memory by being happy. The kids are WAY better at that then me. But their infectious happiness is contagious and I can’t contain myself.

Happy that I have my six kids. SO happy I got married at 17 and had those six kids so fast so that Rod and I had the time we did together, and with them. To all of those who didn’t approve of the 17 year old and the 25 year old so many years ago...well now we see why it happened the way it did.

While we are good and moving on, there are still sad parts Im going to share, Im not going to pretend its all sugar and spice. So if you want sugar and spice, stop now! Plus this is really long and you may get really bored.

Friends have played a HUGE roll in our moving forward. They invite and cheer and visit and serve in a way that is amazing. The boys have had some fun experiences and friends make sure they stay busy on the weekends. Rod lived for his weekends, the water and sports just packing it full was a successful weekend. Others have taken that job over for me. Thank heavens!

The boys are good; I think they know Rod made it without a Dad from age 7 on and look how great he turned out. They can do it too. Its easier for them to not deal, I like to talk about Dad. It just makes them sad. They have their moments but for the most part life goes on as normal and we lead our lives how Dad would want us to. Uncle Jerry said it best; “You and Rod have done a great job! Just stay on cruise control and you’ll be fine” Thats what I try to do with the boys.

Nikka got into BYU!!!!! We all knew she would. Everyone seems most concerned about her. She is good. She understands Heavenly Fathers plan, she was a true hero in trying to save her Dad. But she couldn’t interfere with Heavenly Fathers Will. No amount of heroism could’ve changed the outcome. Instead she relishes that she got to spend the last few hours with him. And they had such a great time. And some great conversations.

The first two weeks were SO WEIRD! So sad, so shocked and yet we were having fun because we were all together. If only everyone could’ve been in the car from the funeral to the gravesite. We were laughing and making jokes and talking about how mad Rod was going to be at me for the open casket viewing. He hated those. And frankly he looked bad. He looked like he had gained 40 pounds and had that look on his face right before he was about to bust out laughing, not a great look. In my defense, they tell me 1000 people came through that line and needed to say goodbye. My proud moment, I made sure and greeted everyone of those people.

2 weeks was the longest I’d ever been away from him. I didn’t want 2 weeks to come. Then at 3 weeks I wanted time to stand still. I couldn’t imagine another moment with him not in it. And yet I didn’t, I was so torn! The longer he was gone the harder it was and yet the more opportunities for seconds where I would forget and try and be normal. Seconds became minutes, minutes became an hour. Never more then an hour goes by though that I don’t think of him.

One month after; I decided to continue the construction of the new house. With the help from some amazing builder friends, I call them my angel builders, we commenced. Looks like we will be moving in within a month.

We stayed busy through the holidays; Chicago for Thanksgiving. California for Christmas. Christmas Eve we visited the Los Angeles Temple. We sat on the back steps where Rod and I came out after we were married. We shared some stories. We shared some sacred moments where we were reminded that our family IS eternal and the veil is thin. A quick trip to the orphanages to do a small service project right after Christmas. I was numb in Mexico, that was our place. We discovered it while dating, we honeymooned there. I couldn’t work, just stood around. I’m hoping to be more productive this summer on our trip. We planted a limon’ tree in Rods honor at one of his favorite orphanages.

I continue to make regular trip to see Kyria or she comes here, always so much fun to hang out with her. Often I keep it a secret when I’m in Utah so I can just be with her. In January; favorite daughter in law got us tickets to Oprah. She got them without even playing the ‘widow card’ just her cute self. So a quick trip to Chicago for that and to stay in Rodney and Kylee’s amazing downtown apartment.

Elyse is here, lives in downtown Austin so we see her as often as possible. Love having her here.

At 6 months it felt like a tour of duty. People send their spouses off to war for six months and then they come home. But he wasn’t coming home. At 6 months I was helping Luke find a shirt in his closet and got a very small urge to clean the closet. Somehow I forgot how to clean closets and do dishes and make dinner. I’m having to re learn how to do all that with the efficiency that I used to.

Heres what I didn’t know about grief; its exhausting!! I need sleep, lots of sleep. With each passing day, I need less sleep. And I’m not depressed! Though my Dad loves to tell me I’m depressed. But the therapist says I’m not depressed, I’m grieving. Grief and depression are often confused.

The therapist also told me after one visit that I didn’t need to come back. She said my grief was normal, not complicated. Complicated grief comes from complicated relationships. Ours was not complicated. The therapist said; “There is no pathology here” Thank you, I think. But I know what she meant. After 25 years we had figured out our relationship and it was good and it wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t perfect and I’m not glorifying it. We fought, we got on each others nerves once in a while. But we had figured it out. I see old couples now fighting and I get SO mad; they don’t even want to be together and yet we did want to be together and can’t. Or when I hear people say they’ve been married a gazillion years I want to say; “I would’ve been married that long too if given the chance”

I’ve been able to attend an LDS widows conference in Utah that was so great! I also got to have a ladies night out with a bunch of LDS widows. Other widow/widowers are the company I crave. They get it.

I also got a new little dog, who I named Faith. She is 9 months old and still weighs 4 pounds. She is the best widow dog. Cuddly and calm. I'm also getting some goats; "Stan and Ollie" and some chickens. Thanks Grandpa for building the coop. These are all things Rod wanted no part of. He is glad he isn't around for the animal chaos.

Lessons I’ve learned so far:

Our Heavenly Fathers plan is real. The world where we live and the spirit world are very close. We should get our stuff in order because we never know when we will be called to that other world.

Powdered Sugar donuts really do make me feel better. Exercise doesn’t. Now I’m paying for those decisions. Metabolism should be rewarded when someone suffers a loss like we have. No such luck! And that makes me want to curse!

NEVER tell someone time heals. (Even though it seems like it does) In actuality you learn how to deal over time with the pain that is still there, still real.

NEVER judge how long someone should have meals brought in or their house cleaned. In some ways it really felt like I forgot how to do everything. And so cereal is always a good option for dinner. Or thank heavens for subway $5 foot longs. Or the nice lady who still brings me dinner weekly. She says it is so I can watch her kids, which Im really planning on doing when she asks me to. A good trade in my book.

Church is the hardest! My testimony hasn’t waivered, church is just hard.

I was the biggest judge when I felt a widow or widower dated or remarried too soon. I will NEVER do that again. Noone knows how it feels. Rod used to tell me that he would remarry because he loved being married, he wouldn’t know how to live. Plus he watched his Mom be alone for way too many years. I used to think he was just saying that (I thought angrily ‘what a player’ you would be) I also would tell him two things; make sure the kids wear clean underwear and IF you do remarry wait atleast two years to pretend like you’ve missed me. He never had any instructions for me, darnit!

Above is not a disclaimer; there are no plans in my future. I’m just saying until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes you don’t know what you would do. In fact I will probably stay happily alone and busy cleaning out Rods barn and all his tools (tools I think are useless and then I put them on Craigslist and shazam I make some good $$$) and tending to my dogs, goats (Stan and Ollie) and chickens. If I can just train those goats to take me out on a friday night, my life will be fine. Stan seems to be more cuddly then Ollie, so I'll choose Stan for the romantic dates.

Again I’m so grateful for the love and charity of so many through this time.