Sunday, June 15, 2014

It might be raining, but there's a rainbow above me

My dad died from complications of chemotherapy in August of 2012.  He was the greatest man I ever knew.  He was loving, nurturing, supportive and he was my rock and shelter in every storm I weathered.  When he died I honestly did not know how I would be able to face a day without him.  How do you go on when the one person you've had in your life as your strength leaves you?  His death was not the first time I suffered the loss of a beloved family member.  My beautiful sister, Lisa, preceded him in death so I do know what it feels like to have your heart ripped out of your chest, torn into shreds and then put back because you know you have to go on, only you are not whole, nor will you be ever again.

My father's death was much harder on me than my sister's.  Sometimes I have great guilt over that.  Lisa had been sick for a long time, and watching her suffer was very hard on me.  The day my sister died her long suffering was ended and I found joy and comfort in knowing that.  Like my sister, my father also suffered from cancer.  But his leukemia was supposed to be the slow progression kind that would outlive him.  But this is not what happened.  One chemotherapy session put him in the hospital.  His kidney's started to fail, his oxygen level was off, and despite the chemo killing the white blood cells as it was supposed to do, it compromised my father's system.  He valiantly fought back and went from the ICU to a regular room where he was supposed to come home that week.  Instead his brain hemorrhaged and with the weakened state of his body and a system compromised from chemotherapy he did not survive.

Unlike my sister we didn't have to see him suffer for years.  One minute he was with us talking about being able to go home and how happy he was that he could finally eat a decent meal, the next he was vomiting from the intense pain and excruciating headache caused him.  Then he started slurring his words and his body started posturing as he slipped into a coma. The horror was unimaginable.

The day I had to return back to work after his funeral.  I started falling apart walking out to my car.  I am the oldest daughter.  I was very strong throughout my sister's illness and death.  I was very strong for my family when my father died--but now I was alone without anyone around to see me and I was a mess.

I actually thought I would crumple to the ground my sorrow was so severe, and then I looked to the sky and saw the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen.  It seemed to fill the entire sky and was so bright.  And in that moment I felt as if my dad was reaching out to me.  That he was letting me know that he was still with me, that he would always be with me.  And that I would be able to go on, because I had to go on.

Whenever I see a rainbow now I think of my dad.  I think of how even in death he was still supporting me, holding me help, helping me move on through another horrible occurrence in my life.  Today, on Father's Day, I share this mani with you in memory and great honor for my dad, Alan Lutze

For all of you with dad's still with you on this Father's Day hug them tight and let them know how much they mean to you.

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