Mere Intention

be vulnerable

Month: April, 2016

Protected: First family reality

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The night before

I’m standing in FedEx Office (fka Kinkos) while my dads funeral pamphlets print at 11pm. Alone. Beautifully designed by CJ over the last months with the intention of being printed on cardstock. The lovely employee, Elle, printed up multiple samples for me on different papers and the stock is very heavy and cracks badly when folded. And it’s hard to fold well. 

I sent a few photos to CJ and her response was simply ‘do whatever is best’ and she means it. 

The last few days are a blur. Funeral home, church, catering, flower shop, clothes shopping, travelers, slide shows, family relations. 

I’m exhausted. I’m emotional. I’m sad. I’m blessed. I’m grateful. I’m trying so hard to be intentional with my energy, to take care of me and how I want to remember and grieve this time. I don’t want it to be too blurry or too busy or to distracted. 

This has come off as selfish. That’s a misinterpretation of self-care at a very deep level. Of protecting myself and my heart and emotions. Of choosing me and not spending energy on what isn’t mine. 

My only exception is CJ. We’re in this together. We have been the whole time. That’s not changing now. So it’s really not an exception – it’s part of my intention. 

Day Three – Morning

I said to my stepdad on Saturday that I suspect my then feelings of okay-ness would be temporary. Maybe like having a baby – you’re euphoric and the adrenaline carries you for a day or so, maybe two, then you crash and are completely exhausted and emotional. 

Well, late last night I started feeling a shift. From just pure relief and ability to breath, to sad. The heaviest sadness I’ve ever felt. My eyes burn, my chest hurts. I don’t want to move. 
Being here at the house, just CJ and me, has been amazing. To be in a home that is honest and true, with no unspoken expectations, and quiet. It is exactly perfect for this transition. 

Day Two

This morning we went to church. Where my dad played drums in the praise band until he couldn’t. With the people who have loved on my family through this whole ordeal. With people that my dad has directly impacted. 

Then a visit to the funeral home to finalize casket and cremation and viewing and cost details. 

I went shopping for a bit. Alone for the first time. 

When I got back, I offered to fill out the last of the paperwork for the funeral home. Information for my dads death certificate.  

And now I’m trying to find a song for the short video of photos that will be played during the service. It’s been years since I’ve been around church music. I’ve listened to dozens…then I played one and lost it. Sobbing. I could remember Dad playing drums for it at church. 

I’ll offer that one.  

You see him there in the background watching me? That’s my dad. Always attentive to me. Always engaged.


I took another light snooze. At 6a was woken up. Breathing changes. Words to Dad. Songs – 10,000 Reasons and American Pie. 

Deep inhale at the end of American Pie. 

One more inhale at 6:34a. 

That was the last. 


Hearing someone you love sob for the one they’re losing is shaking.

Small hours

I slept from 2-3a sitting in a recliner at the corner of dad’s room. When I awoke and went to his bedside, his feet and hands were much cooler than prior to my nap. 

His rattle seems to have ceased and he’s breathing very regularly, though quicker and more shallow than before. 

His heart rate is high. 

Before I slept, I read a prayer aloud and anointed his forehead with oil. 


Bedside. Moments together. Rattling and tears. 

A song I only know from dad playing drums at church – 10,000 reasons – comes on. I like it. CJ says it’s going to be sung at the funeral. We all cuddle in, lay arms and hands and cheeks and let the tears come. 

This song was played at church their first Sunday back after his surgery. She said it really spoke to them both. 


Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I’ll worship Your Holy name

The sun comes up

It’s a new day dawning

It’s time to sing Your song again

Whatever may pass

And whatever lies before me

Let me be singing

When the evening comes

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I’ll worship Your Holy name

You’re rich in love

And You’re slow to anger

Your name is great

And Your heart is kind

For all Your goodness

I will keep on singing

Ten thousand reasons

For my heart to find

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I’ll worship Your Holy name

Bless You Lord

And on that day

When my strength is failing

The end draws near

And my time has come

Still my soul will

Sing Your praise unending

Ten thousand years

And then forevermore


Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I’ll worship Your Holy name

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I’ll worship Your Holy name

I’ll worship Your Holy name

Jesus I will worship Your Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I’ll worship your holy name

— Matt Redman – 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) Lyrics | MetroLyrics 


Nurse came this morning and said the word I was waiting for – transition.

A day of rotating and pain med administration and drops to help with secretions. Of reading and crying together.

How many women can be the most important in a man’s life? His mother. His wife. His daughter. His sister. This is us.

There’s rattling that’s started. No responses. Reality.

16.5 fucking months and we are here.

I’ve never done this before. It’s excruciating. It’s freeing. It’s life shaking. It’s perfect and the worst thing possible.


When to get here was the hardest decision. Months ago a hospice nurse told me that when they say he’s in transition it’s time to get here. No one was saying it. All of the signs of the week pointed to it. 

Having a friend in your life who is a truth speaker is divine and invaluable. Someone to call you on your personal bullshit. Someone to say out loud what you can’t. To make things real instead of not being sure of what to do with what is turning in your mind. Someone to give you permission to fuck up, but to challenge you to choose something better, to push you to find your best answer, not just a rationalized response. Someone who will listen.  No judgement. Nothing but real. Brutal. 

I’m grateful. I’m blessed.