the wednesday story – part 6

17 Aug

welcome back wednesday story readers.

if you’ve missed the past few weeks of the krause family drama, please click here to see past stories.

i’ve decided that next week will be the end of my side of the story.  as you read this, remember there are a lot of interesting viewpoints that would probably like to weigh in.  my mom, karen, karen’s daughter Tracy, my sister, my dad.   I, too, would love to hear their versions.  we’ve all talked about putting a book together. talk talk talk.

contrary to what I said last week, it is not therapy for me to write this.  I don’t need it because the whole situation turned out to be a wonderful experience.  this is going to be quite long but engaging … so grab a coffee or a wine depending on what time of day it is or mood you’re in (tee hee)

REWIND: you have my dad who after 34 years of a (happy, loving) marriage left my (beautiful, wonderful) mom.  got remarried, moved to our childhood vacation island and then got cancer and a 4 month sentence. there, you’re caught up.  but here’s how things began to change…

in a very sad way, I think dad felt guilty for what he did to mom that he acted somewhat relieved to get cancer.  like he deserved it.  but his concern now wasn’t just my mom because he had married this other wonderful woman, karen.  he was in a predicament.  so during his bout with cancer he got the two women together.  first at my condo and I believe it was mothers day.  can you say together:

awkward.

he was very sick and could only lay down on the red leather couch and watch curb your enthusiasm on tv.  ironic that he chose to watch that program.  mom and karen and I made small talk.  like very small talk.  I believe it was even a Sunday afternoon too so we couldn’t even pound the wine to cover up for the… weirdness.  I think mom was perplexed and Karen was very open to the whole situation.

my dad’s diagnosis was esophageal cancer but oddly enough it wasn’t in his esophagus.  after the tumor left him, we had a bit of a reprieve.  during this time we got to take a trip to oregon for a krause family reunion.

my sister and brother went  as well.  and as they said goodbye they never knew if they would see him again so the goodbyes were extra emotional.

the cancer then went to his brain.  we found this out at campisi’s pizza on mockingbird.  we went there and ate dinner – karen, dad and I – and he was dragging his feet on the way out and she and I looked at each other sideways.  he started radiation.  I need to put in a side note here:

dad hated going to the doctor.  hated everything having to do with needles.    however on his first day of chemo for his tumor, the doctor put us in a waiting room.  that room was filled with lots of things you couldn’t see.  fear, hope, love, sadness.  but next door we could hear through the walls that their room was filled with a lot of hurt.  we couldn’t hear anything at first but knew a doctor had just consulted with a family and they were given bad news.  very bad news.  they were sobbing loudly.  my dad grabbed our hands and said let’s pray right now for that family.  and with that he did.  mind you “let’s pray” wasn’t something dad was accustomed to saying.  it was something you typically rushed through at the dinner table before the steak and corn on the cob got cold.  4 months.  

after the cancer went to his brain, we had another blessing.  his brain radiation eliminated the cancer and we got very hopeful.  maybe you who are reading this now was a recipient to his emails that he sent out.  I wish I could find one.  although he was thin and weak we all had a lot of fun.  talking, playing cards, laughing.  this may not be funny to most, but if you knew my dad you knew what a great sense of humor he had.  even sicker than a dog, he had us laughing.  like the time he went to whole foods (la dee da) and was in a motorized card with his cane sticking out the back. he went down the wine aisle and before I could even yell he had spun around and his cane grabbed one of those nicely stacked displays and brought some tumbling to the ground.  he looked at me like a kid and shrugged his shoulders.  sorry.

then the cancer went to his spine and just like that… that was it.

he was 6’4″ and a BIG MAN. not fat, just big.  he couldn’t get up from the couch and we knew something was wrong.  keep in mind, his mind is fine, his body is not working.  it was at this time that karen went to michigan to be with her mom who was also sick.  dad was doing fine and she left for just a few days and then cancer snuck up and got his spine.  katie and I took him to the hospital where he was admitted.  we slept in his room with him.  they put him on heavy duty steroids which made him very paranoid and I will leave it at I spent the worst night of my life in that room.  where was my dad?  I needed my mom.  so I called her the next day.  she came to the hospital.  she sat on my dad’s bed and held his hand.  they started to talk about good times so I left.  I left for 2 hours and when I came back they were both in tears.  I learned later that he apologized to her and told her he had

always loved her and had made a mistake.  

he told her what every scorn woman by a good man wanted to know.  he gave her what she needed to move on with her life.  but this doesn’t at all diminish his love for karen.  or our love for karen.  

dad’s awesome doogie houser doctor came in to see him the next night.  this guy came highly recommended by slone ketterling and md anderson.  he told us both (and my dad was completely fine in the head) that there was nothing they could do.  my dad shook his hand and said “we put up a great fight didn’t we, doc?” and with a tear in his eye the doctor hugged my dad “yes we did”.

at that point karen was heading home and we called hospice.  everyone jumped into work at the logistics.  but it was me there with dad on his last night in baylor.  he was a little out of it now.  because he was acting as if nothing was wrong.  like it was just another day.  the next morning, ambulance drivers came to pick us up and drive us to his apartment.  I remember this day like it was yesterday.  they rolled him out of our temporary safe home and past all the sweet, sweet nurses that had been with us and I walked behind him clutching his pillow and sobbing pretty much at the top of my lungs.  I felt safe here, now we were going home to die.

dad came home and fell into somewhat of a coma.  karen invited my mom over and karen’s daughter and family came over to say good-bye.  it was the first time I had ever met my “step-sister”.  but here is what I’ve been dying to tell you.  karen reached out to my mom.  my mom reached out to karen and one day they spent THE WHOLE DAY talking.  karen apologized to my mom.  my mom accepted her apology.  today my mom and karen are best friends.  more on that later….

I want to tell you about an experience I had during this time.  after all, what good are experiences if you can’t share them on your blog?  we are all Christians in my family.  we know where we are going when we die but what I experienced one night was… interesting.  we decided to pray hard for dad.  not to save him but for God to be with him.  it was night and I suspected he would go any day.  we all gathered around his cot in the living room.  we all had flash backs in our heads of better times.  it was karen, mom, jimmy, katie and me.  we put on some music and held hands and we just were silent praying around dad.  it was then that I felt another presence in the room.  it was just something that I knew.  I knew Jesus was there with us.  in fact, I lifted my head and just smiled.  what a savior and what a comfort and soothing hand on our shoulders.  

the next day, while I took 10 minutes off and went to whole foods to get something to eat with my mom after being up all night watching my dad’s chest go up and down, my dad died.  I wasn’t there.  I had stayed up all night holding his hand.

here are some pictures for you:

9 Responses to “the wednesday story – part 6”

  1. Katie Krause August 17, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Holy Crap! I can not read Wednesdays post at work! Such a good story. and I lived it! I remember dads last piece of advice to me when he was in the hospice bed at the apartment:
    “Don’t sign anything in a Bar. and don’t just sign something fast because you think you are taking to much time to read it. Take your time and read it.” His eyes were closed the whole time he was taking to me. and he was holding my hand. I thought that was random, cute, touching, and a little funny. Who know what was going on in his mind. Very interesting.

  2. Susan August 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    xo

  3. Alex Harland August 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Alright, so I’ve been waiting for some time to myself to actually get a chance to check out “The Appreciator.” Good God woman can you tell a story- I’ve just inhaled Parts 1 through 6. Through it all I hear your voice, smart, witty, loving and inspired. For me someone’s writing is essentially the equivalent of what a home’s interior might reflect about the occupant- the little private parts of their world that you might miss if you don’t look closely enough. And I see so much real love and strength, and a capacity for forgiveness and courage that is truly inspiring. I know what I’ll be doing every Wednesday night after I’ve got the kiddos off to bed and am nursing my decompression glass of vino… Kudos Amy- woot woot!!!!!
    PS Has anyone ever possibly mentioned to Katie a slight resemblance to your father?!?!?!

    • amyefulford August 18, 2011 at 12:01 am #

      geez – coming from you that is a HUGE compliment! thanks so much, my friend. looking forward to seeing you this friday – you are coming, right?

  4. Phyllis Taylor August 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Hello Amy! I started reading the story you wrote about your father and it brought back a tremendous amount of memories. However I cannot access what you wrote between the first and sixth parts (help me out here). I enjoyed looking at all the pictures. You and your family were a part of my life once upon a time. Keep up with the blog and I will try to follow it.

    • amyefulford August 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

      Hi Phyllis!! So good to hear from you! You can read it all by clicking on the right side under “regular features” wednesday – storytime and it should pull up all stories! let me know and i can email them to you too.

      Great to hear from you!!

  5. Judy Moore August 24, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Well Amy, You have told the story perfectly and I must say I lived it again as I did side by side with your mom. You are a wonderful, christian family that shows forgiveness is such a blessing. A hospice nurse told us when caring for Dave’s mother that men wait until everybody is gone from the room to die and women want to be surrounded. So don’t for one minute fault yourself for not being there. I have seen this many more times. God bless all of you. You are a fabulous story teller!! I love you mother. Hugs, Judy Moore

    • amyefulford August 25, 2011 at 12:02 am #

      thank you so much judy! that is so so nice to hear. thanks for being such a great great friend to my mom. i’m so glad you’re in her life!

  6. Sally Sommers December 30, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Wow! I don’t know what made me come finish reading this story tonight, or why I didn’t read it all back when I first started reading it. But you are such a good story-teller, it’s an awesome story, and I loved how you all prayed…and you experienced God’s presence. And I still can’t believe how your mom and Karen became friends. That had to be God’s power, right? Would love to hear their side of the story.

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