Posted by: JulieAloha | November 6, 2013

A Year to Remember

It’s now been over a year since I posted anything – and it’s been both a rewarding and difficult year, filled with joys and sorrows. I am still essentially unemployed, which is incredibly frustrating as I feel as if I’ve applied to thousands of positions; my unemployment insurance has run out as well, but I am getting by with family support and windfalls along the way. My friend Kellie and I have kept in better touch over the year, having had several lunch dates and a visit to the Seattle Art Museum. Jono and his family and I are still extremely close, I continue to volunteer with his mom, Nancy, at the Lake City Library for the children’s Story Time. Nancy has also been instrumental in securing me some “Computer Tutor” work, a job title made up by one of my new clients; Nancy referred me to an author friend who needed some computer help and she in turn referred me to another friend. I very much enjoy putting my computer know-how to work, particularly as it is helping others. I have continued to work off and on for the Zoo – a job I dearly love! Being an Education Instructor, read as Day Camp Counselor, is amazingly rewarding for many reasons: teaching and learning from kids, the camaraderie and caring of the staff and administration, and the opportunity to observe and interact with beautiful animals from all over the world – what a blessing! I’m still hoping to eventually find permanent work with the Zoo.

However, the year has not been without hardship. It’s been incredibly difficult to be out of work; not just for financial reasons – it’s taken an emotional toll certainly, creating stress which is detrimental to my health, especially my diabetes. I’m still maintaining control of my health, but being without health insurance has made that very expensive and I have had to rely upon my parents for extra help more than once. I am humbly thankful for their assistance; I just wish it weren’t necessary.

The most life-changing event occurred three weeks ago – my dad, my daddy, passed away. It was sudden and very unexpected, although it was understood that his health in general was degrading and he was almost 84. I’ve struggled lately both to come to grips with his death and absence, with my grief and that of my family, and the surprising ease of acceptance; he had been in so much pain and discomfort in the last few years as his diabetes, neuropathy, high blood-pressure, leukemia, and age caused more and more debility. It had become extremely hard on my mom to provide care for him, as she is also getting up in years and has less mobility and energy. And the end came with such speed – he was hospitalized on a Friday, septic, developing pneumonia and kidneys failing; as he gave explicit instruction that he did not want to be put on life-support, no intubation, no dialysis, it was decided on Sunday that he would be reduced to palliative care and he slipped away with grace and dignity the next day. I am still devastated that he is gone, yet so relieved he did not have to suffer long and grateful that he was surrounded by family and love at the end. His Memorial was beautiful, joyful and a testament to his life. My sister-outlaw (no, that’s not a typo) read a poem, I sang a parody of “My Favorite Things,” which I rewrote to reflect his life and was accompanied by my cousin Ann, and mom had the last word. Everyone said it was a lovely, uplifting service; he would have been pleased. But there’s still a hole in my world which time can only soften, but never fill.

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