Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

Merry Christmas, Dad.

I love you and miss you more than mere words can say.  My heart is aching. 

I love you.

-- Your Frassy Frass

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Miss You a Little, John Michael Montgomery

So, last night Ted and I were karaoke-ing in the living room.  Every song somehow reminded me of dad.  He either sang it, arranged it, directed it or taught it!  I had a hard time with some of them.  Then I was just putzing at housecleaning and Ted sang this next song (absolutely gorgeously, I might add).  I didn't know the song, so I listened to the words.  I was a goner.  It all fit my situation perfectly.  I had to go find them and share them.  Enjoy and take the time to remember...

I Miss You a Little
John Michael Montgomery

Sometimes a song can touch a nerve
That takes me back to you
When I pick up my old guitar
And I play your favorite tune
Every now and then, some little thing
I've buried comes bubblin' up
And once in a while, you feel close enough to touch

I miss you a little since you've been gone
A few little memories keep hangin' on
I miss you a little, I guess you could say
A little too much, a little too often
A little more every day

When I go by our old house
I pretend that you're still there
Waitin' for me on the porch
But there's just an empty chair
Wish I could see you just one more time
Before I drive away
So I could stop and go inside, and say

I miss you a little since you've been gone
A few little memories keep hangin' on
I miss you a little, I guess you could say
A little too much, a little too often
A little more every day
A little too much, a little too often
A little more every day

Have a great week!

Leslie :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

I never thought I'd be adding another blog here, but again, I feel compelled.

Father's Day is tomorrow.  My Dad's not here and I don't quite know what to do.  I don't know what to think.  I've never had a Father's Day that I didn't call my Dad. 

I talked to my mom the other day and was consoling her.  She was having a rough day and was sad.  I told her that everything we do is going to be the first time without dad.  The first wedding anniversary, the first Father's Day, the first birthday.  Once we do that first whatever, that's one more hurdle we jumped.  I guess I should listen to myself.  It's easier consoling somebody else, or making them feel better.  How do I make myself feel better?  It's not as easy.  I guess that's why I took to the computer keyboard.  I don't have much to say, I just had to say that I miss my Dad.  I love my Dad.  I wish my Dad was here.

Happy Father's Day to the best father anybody could be blessed with.  I love you, Popsicle.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How long did you REALLY think I'd be able to stay quiet??? :o)

I kinda figured I had a few more blogs in me.  I guess I always have something to say, just not all at once.  Oh, who am I trying to kid?  I am an Aliverti...

It's been almost a month since Dad passed away.  I can't believe it's been that long already.  It was just yesterday, I swear.  I still talk to him daily, and I have seen little signs that let me know he's here with me.  I go visit his grave and spill my heart to him.  It's hard not to hear his voice answering back, but I know he hears me.  I know he answers me, too.  I just have to learn to listen.

It's been an interesting month, to say the least.  I think I have everything bill-paying/social security/Washington State Retirement related under control.  I think.  Just when I wade through it all, and find that yes, I do indeed actually have a desk under here, something else shows up.  That's the tough part.  I find myself elated that I'm near the end of the flotsam and jetsam that is Dad's desk, and then I'm completely overwhelmed when something else arrives in the mail.  I don't do well when I'm overwhelmed.  I tend to shut down.  Not the most efficient way to handle affairs - I so don't recommend it!  I'm working on that one (I'm almost sure it's the only) downfall that I have.  *smug grin*

Here's a little piece of advice, and I'm being serious here for a moment --  Write down for your loved ones somewhere, anywhere, your financial information.  You don't have to be specific in amounts, but list the banks that you have accounts at, and what type of accounts they are.  Any investments you have, or accountant or financial consultant(s), write 'em down.  Benefits you may be getting i.e. Social Security or retirement, put 'em on paper.  Dad was a meticulous record keeper, but things that he probably never thought to write down because they were everyday occurrences, had to be found the hard way.  This includes things like life insurance policies.  They were probably purchased (or whatever you do to start them) back when the Earth's crust was still cooling, and hadn't been thought of since.  Just write down anything you think might be important to know all in one place.  Oh, make sure and tell somebody where that list is, too.  Works much better that way!

The next bit of advice is having Power of Attorney for the remaining spouse.  Dad wanted us to do this for Mom before he passed, so we did.  Once again, Ed was right on (don't tell him I said that - I'll deny it).  Having POA for Mom has made so many things so much easier.  One of the main reasons was because she was co-whatever for everything.  As long as she was on it, we could deal with it.  Mostly.  There are always those exceptions (SSI for example) where you still have to fill this out, copy that in triplicate, notarize it, sign it, seal it, enrobe it in chocolate and put on the next Wells Fargo Wagon passing by.  But I am sure glad we had the POA - I'd still be mired in muck trying to get things done. 

Learn from my experiences - the above mentioned items will make things so much easier.  I know it's a grim subject to think about, but a necessary one.  Of course, this is just my opinion.  Everybody has their own views on things like POAs, etc.  Just do what works for you.

Now, to the reason I really came back here -

Tonight there was a benefit concert for Multiple Sclerosis Helping Hands (MSHH).  This is the show dad was working on pretty much up until the time he passed.  He was convinced he was still going to be singing and dancing on the 27th of February.  He just kept 'tweaking' the program to enable him to continue his involvement.  This meant rearranging music, changing staging, etc.  Unfortunately he wasn't able to fulfill this goal.  The fabulous people involved with this fundraiser did a wonderful thing - they made this concert a tribute to Dad.  The Seattle Jazz Singers and the Fantastic Stardust Follies made it a night to remember.  Dad's showpiece was Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera.  I still shiver when I hear his rendition of this song.  It stopped shows - it was that phenomenal.  Tonight's performance was unbelievable - they had a chair stage left, with a rose, a painting of roses with his Phantom mask attached to it and two candelabras.  The dancers performed to an all-instrumental rendition of the song.  They did not use a vocal track.  At certain perfectly placed moments, they brought attention to the empty chair.  It was breathtaking.  Needless to say I sobbed throughout the performance.  Sobbed is almost too gentle of a word.  Good thing I had a Dad hankie in my hands.  It was such a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man that sang wonderful songs.  I will always remember this night.  It was a night of joyous sounds filling the concert hall.

Dad would have been proud.

I head back to Alaska on Monday.  It's time to get back to my life and take care of my home and family.  It's been quite a time down here - one helluva rollercoaster, that's for sure.   I'm so blessed that I've been able to be here.  I have probably the best husband anybody could ask for and children that understand the meaning of family.  Family.  That's what's really important.  Dad's illness and passing have brought this family together.  I feel a closeness to my aunt and uncle that I'm so lucky to have.  I have a relationship with my cousins that I've sadly not really kept in touch with.  That's going to change.  The Aliverti girls have always been a tight group and they just got tighter.  They're my family.  MY family. 

Yup, I'm blessed.

Take care, and next time you hear from me, I'll be back in the frozen white north.  I'm going to miss this place.  And Taco Time.  Why, oh why, can't there be Taco Times in Alaska???  But, that's for next time.

Good night.

Leslie :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Well, Here it is - My Final Entry, February 10th

Wow.  My last blog.  I have no idea what I'm going to write, but it just seems like there needs to be a final edition.  Where to start?

This has been one helluva rollercoaster ride, these here past few months (apparently I'm channeling a southerner).  I know exactly where I was when I got the phone call that Dad was in the hospital.  I don't remember the date, but I know I had just left the veterinarian's office with my 22 pound wunderkitty, Chevy (AKA Big Block).  Little did I know the path I was going to be led down.  At the time it was no big deal...Dad was just having trouble with that annoying cough and his blood oxygen saturation was too low.  Probably pneumonia and we can fix that.  I wasn't worried.  Dad sounded great, if not just a little inconvenienced.  I figured if he can beat cancer, he sure as shootin' wasn't going to be taken out by pneumonia.

The days stretched into weeks.  I kept asking if he needed me to come down there.  His answer was always the same, "Not yet."  As it was nearing Christmas, he wanted me to stay with my family in Alaska.  It wasn't necessary for me to be in Edmonds.  A few days passed and I asked again.  This time there was a little hesitation in his voice.  I could tell that he was getting worried.  Of course, he wasn't worrying about himself, but worrying about Mom.  You see, he had taken such close care (even closer than usual) of Mom since her strokes 10 years or so ago.  She really didn't have to do much for herself.  It was his honor and privilege to take care of her.  He saw that she got her daily medicines, and that she ate well.  He was worried that if he wasn't there, how would she do on her own?  I told him I would come down and he did sound a little relieved.  BUT I could only come down on one condition, he said.  He made me promise to wait until after Christmas.  I made that promise and then made reservations for the day after (ha!).  I couldn't find a loophole this time (dammit!) so I had to do what he said, therefore I waited until a few hours past midnight and I was on my way. 

That conversation took place about a week and a half before Christmas.  I have to say that was probably one of the hardest times of this whole journey for me.  I didn't really know what was going on with him, and as it turns out, neither did the doctors.  This simple pneumonia (or what I thought was pneumonia) wasn't turning out to be so simple.  They really didn't know what it was or what was causing it, therefore they didn't quite know how to treat it.  In essence, they didn't know what "it" was.  After several different medications, they concluded that his lungs were probably damaged from the years of chemo.  Made sense, I supposed.  They finally figured out the meds to deal with it and I thought we were good to go - on our way to getting home.

The docs deemed him well enough to be discharged to a rehabilitation facility.  You all know what happened from there on out.

Why am I telling you all this?  I don't know.  I guess it's just important that you know how this journey began.  Dad was optimistic, of course.  He knew he'd beat this slight nuisance.  Hell, he'd beaten three different kinds of cancer, this was a walk in the park!  Of course, he was constantly asking how we were doing.  He put more importance on everybody else than on himself.  Ed was being Ed.

Two months later we buried my father.  He beat the bilateral pneumonitis that initially hospitalized him.  He beat the VRE blood infection.  He beat pancreatic cancer.  What a fighter!  I know I've said that before, but it can't be said enough.  What this man went through on what was ultimately the last journey of his life, I can't even begin to fathom.  The uncertainty of finding the original infection.  The uncertainty of being able to walk again.  The uncertainty of not knowing when you are going to go home.  The uncertainty of his hair growing back (hey, we all have different concerns *wink*).   All this while sleeping in a strange bed that made a crinkly sound when you moved and using pillows that wouldn't hold a good plumpin.'  Yet that indomitable spirit never faltered.  Ed was being Ed.

His memorial service was beautiful.  I can't even begin to describe the feeling that overcame me when I saw all those familiar faces there to pay their respects to my Dad.  I have never, ever felt so much pride, coupled with so much pain.  The thought of never seeing my father on this earth again still hasn't quite sunk in.  The world without Ed Aliverti?  Incomprehensible. 

I look back and in retrospect, everything was how it was supposed to be.  Great grandson Dylan Edward arrived early.  If he had waited until his due date (Feb. 12th), Dad would never have 'met' him.  He was born beautifully healthy and not a tiny baby by any stretch of the imagination (6 lbs. 3.6 oz, 19 1/2" long).  He was supposed to be born when he was, no matter what the calendar (and the doctors!) said.  Meeting Dylan was one of Dad's long term goals.  He made it, just not in the way we thought it would be.  Ed was being Ed.

We had three extra years with my Dad.  Of course, there is never enough time, but I'm so thankful to have held onto him for just a little while longer.  The things we were able to do, the memories we were able to make.  For this, I will be eternally grateful.  I saw him officiate at my daughter's wedding (yes, we had to call him The Very Reverend Ed Aliverti - his words, not mine!), ride the train to Whittier and then board a glacier cruise to see 26 different glaciers.  Of course, the latter was during a torrential rainstorm where the rain was falling from left to right, but bless their hearts, Mom and Dad bundled up and had a blast!  This trip was in honor of Caitlin's (my youngest) 21st birthday.  We still laugh at the fact that she was less than perky on this excursion.  You see, in spite of our warnings, she stayed out a little, um, late the night before.  I believe the glaciers looked suspiciously like the inside of her eyelids, to her.  But I'm veering off subject (not unusual, if you know me)...

Now I've come to the part of our program where I thank you, the many friends that cared so very much.  Not only for Dad, but for my Mom, my sisters and I, and our entire family.  It was said in my Uncle's beautiful eulogy that Dad had many families.  Truer words were never spoken.  Each and every one of you was so important to Dad.  Your stories were his stories.  He revelled in every single one of them and was so proud to be associated with you.  He taught, announced, sang and danced.  Every one of those aspects were part of what made him who he was.  For that, I am eternally grateful.  I was raised by one of the best men you will ever hope to find.  I can only aspire to be half the person Dad was.  Thank you all of you.  You lifted us up when we needed it, and continue to do so.  The words 'thank you' just don't seem adequate.  Just know that they come from the heart.

What I've learned from this journey is hard to put into words (so far, that doesn't seem to be an issue).  Grace, hope, faith and love.  That's all Dad needed.  He taught me up until the very end.  Ed was being Ed.

God bless all of you.  You've made this journey a little easier.  I now close my final blog with a slightly melancholy heart.  I'm going to miss you.  You take care, and drop me a line now and again to let me know how you are doing.  I will continue to use the address.  You use it, too! 

"I.  Have.  Spoken!"

There it is...Leslie is being Ed.

Good night.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let the Celebration begin!

As I sit here on the eve of Dad's funeral, I'm torn between sadness and joy.  The reality of Dad's passing hasn't quite set in just yet.  Probably because I haven't really had time to sit and reflect on the wonder that is Dad.  We've been busy making the preparations, which has been a multi-day process.  Thank goodness we have the fabulous Beck's Funeral Home and Holy Rosary Parish.  They are taking on the colossal project of celebrating Dad's life, and doing it with great compassion and patience.  I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed and I don't even have to take care of the details!

Tonight's (self-imposed) task was to find pictures for the memory table.  How do you winnow down 77 years of an extraordinary life into a few pictures?  Where do you even start?  I just picked and chose a few that I thought represented who the man was.  I could sit here forever picking out more and more snapshots.  Instead, I had a Kit Kat bar.  Ahhh, the Kit Kat bar.  It was one of Dad's favorite candybars.  He would take my girls down to (then) Olson's grocery store here in Edmonds and as a treat they'd get a Kit Kat bar.  It was their little ritual, one that I never quite got invited to share with them.  I didn't mind.

I'm looking forward to this celebration.  It's going to be filled with tears - lots of tears.  But the tears won't necessarily be tears of sadness.  There will be tears of joy mixed in.  I'm sure I will run the gamut of emotions tomorrow - from the highest highs to the lowest of the lows.  Somehow, I can hear Dad's voice telling me not to cry for him.  I will celebrate him.  Remember him.  Love him.

Goodnight --


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ed's Obituary

Good morning --

Dad's obituary is in today's Seattle Times and Everett Herald (links below).  It is also slated to run in tomorrow's Walla Walla Union Bulletin.  When I have that URL I will post it under seperate cover.

Seattle times

The Everett Herald

Have a blessed Sunday.  I hear there's some football game today.  Are the Seahawks playing? 

Leslie :)
p.s.  Go Saints!  Not necessarily a fan, but if I have to root for somebody, I'm going with the team that's never been to a Super Bowl (at least that's what I've been told)...