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thank you to all my friends for your support

Dear Friends and Clients,

Please excuse the very personal blog post that will follow. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have not been posting much in August. It’s been a long month, on a very personal level.

About 5 weeks ago my father started to have fevers at night and experiencing extreme weakness. At first, we felt he was just having flu-like symptoms. At 72 years old, my Dad who takes no medication for any “old age” illnesses, started to become a little scared. When he was too weak to even walk up the stairs, it was obvious that there was a serious problem.

On August 10th, his doctor admitted him into the hospital because his blood test results showed very low sodium level. Dehydration is what I thought! It’s no big deal!!! 15 days later I would be taking my Dad home with hospice, diagnosed with Intravascular Large Cell -B Lymphoma (an aggressive, 4th stage cancer in the blood and bones).

Dad passed two days later, August 27th at 6:45am at my home, with my mom, myself and my husband at his side.

There are few words to be able to explain what we have gone through. It’s a whirlwind and an emotional tidal wave, that is so surreal you think for a second you may wake up from a not-so-pleasant dream. My father always told me that if he was going to have an illness that he wishes he would be taken quickly. Obviously God granted him his wish. For that, I am grateful.

Through out this ordeal and after; I have had such a tremendous support from my acquaintances and friends on Twitter and Facebook. To all of you, words cannot describe what your kind words have meant to me. Many of you, I have never  met in-person and your  friendliness was heart warming and incredible. Before Dad got too ill, I did tell him how many people were praying for him. He was amazed!

Some people make derogatory comments about social media. I say to them, they just don’t get it. My online “friends” that I have acquired have given me strength, courage, support, laughter and encouragement.

I remember the first night we brought him home, it was particularly difficult for me, because I knew he was really dying. It was late at night and I checked Twitter on my iPhone just before going to bed. My friend and fellow planner, Jennifer, had tweeted to please pray for me & my family because she knew I was hurting. There were about 10-15 tweets from (online) friends saying that they are thinking of me right at that very moment and praying. Of course, I cried ( you know, the ugly kind of crying). And I didn’t feel alone. To all of you: I am eternally grateful. And to our Special Clients: Thank you so much for your patience & understanding during this incredibly difficult time.

It is with heavy heart that I join “the club” of losing a parent. It’s a feeling that there are no words to describe. Since my parents live with us, I keep expecting to see my father walk in and say something. I turn around and expect him to be there. We don’t have bad days, we have bad moments. Probably because we are still in shock at the speed of his downward spiral. If anything this has taught me to not just “sweat the small stuff” but to actually not “sweat the unimportant stuff”.

Today is my parent’s anniversary, and they would have been celebrating 51 years together. I was hoping that he would be alive today, however we will still celebrate their commitment and love together.

dadmomwedding1 thank you to all my friends for your support

I am my Daddy’s only little girl and baby. And that will always be the way it is, whether he is on this earth or not. I hope to continue to make him proud and live up to his expectations in my own way. I’m grateful that my father got to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, see me accomplish professional goals, watch me become a mother, respected my husband and become an intricate part of my son’s life. For that, I am very lucky.

much love and respect, saundra

 

35 replies
  1. Jennifer Dent says:

    So sorry for your enormous loss.

    I have not had to go thru that heart ache and loss and I dread the time when I will.

    Great blog, though. I hope your Mom is able to look back on those mental snap shots in her mind of her wonderful life with your Dad and fill her heart with a little more love than the sadness and loss I’m sure she is feeling.

    ~Jen

  2. Ralph Mucci says:

    Dear Saundra,

    Losing a parent that you love more than anything in the world is never an easy thing. Your dad even though not with us on this earth will also remain alive in your heart by the love he gave you and the things he taught you in life. He will always be proud of you. In your time of loss we wish you and your family peace and comfort in the future days ahead.

  3. Bernadette Smith says:

    Saundra,
    I lost both my parents and it was the hardest thing I ever experienced, so I certainly know what you’re going through and I’m so sorry for your loss. Hospice truly is a godsend. I found it a blessing to learn life lessons amidst the grief and that was oddly comforting. I found then and since that there’s almost no greater feeling than being surrounded by the love and comfort of others, whether its amidst heartbreak or joy. Best to you and your family.

  4. Jessica Lynn says:

    dear social media friend,
    i know how hard it was for you to write that post, since I am a member of that “club” of which you speak. as you know, i lost my Daddy in a freak accident and had to drive the 4 hours in the car with my husband to the lake where it happened. those 4 hours were the longest of my life. like you, i am thankful that it happened quickly. however, feelings of selfish-ness always surround me…i just wish that i could have hugged him one last time before he passed. i am sure that your Daddy was grateful for those last 5 weeks that you spent by his side and i hope that you can soon find peace with what has happened. the 50 years that he shared with your mom just amazes me. it is absolutely something that needs to be celebrated, even at a time like this. a glass of wine should do the trick!! :) my thoughts are with you and your family still today as i know the next year or so will be a new and difficult journey without him physically here. xo.

  5. Nadine Poliard says:

    Your post has moved me to tears and few words because it scares me so to think of the day I will have to deal with such a sad loss. But I have no doubt in my mind or heart at all ~ he is SO very proud of you in every way!!
    My sincerest condolences!

  6. Claudia, A Day To Remember says:

    Saundra…

    A blessed anniversary to your parents. It’s always a blessing to have such wonderful parents to serve as role models as beautiful human beings. Your dad obviously did a fantastic job to raise his “little girl” to be a beautiful and successful lady.

    I completely understand you as I lost my mom to breast cancer in Oct. of 2005. It is a nightmare from which you’d like to wake up but can’t. Time is our only friend in this and so as long as you are keeping him in your heart, he will always be there.

    Please let me know if you ever need to talk. While we always have our dear and close friends, unless they have gone through losing a parent, it is something they cannot relate to. Many hugs and prayers to you and your mom for continued strength to go on. :)

    –Claudia :)

  7. Jennifer says:

    I’m so sorry for your losss – I do hope you find peace in his quick passing, as hard as it is.

    My own father has also never been sick a day in his life. This past winter, he caught pneumonia, and the stubborn man refused to get it treated right away (“it’s an old person’s disease, ” the 65 year old man said!). As a snowbird, he ignored it and headed to Florida with my mom. 3 months later, he was being air evacuated home with heart failure. They did catch it just in time, and a lot of the damage has been fixed. Although he’s back to good health now, the event scared all of us. He’s a wedding photographer, and every weekend, when it’s hot and muggy and I know he’s running around, I do nothing but worry.

    I pray for strength for you, for both you and your mom.

  8. Melissa at MasterPiece Weddings says:

    I love you, babe! You know that you are in my thoughts and prayers! As well as your family!

    Sometimes prayer is all we can do for strength, and although the “Social Media Friends” are made fun of… phooney on them… we know it’s the real deal!

    XXOOO!

    Melissa

  9. Candice Dowling Coppola says:

    Saundra,

    Love you girl! My thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family. In a time of such great sorrow and sadness, it had to be very touching to know how MANY people truly love and care for you — ones who you may have never expected.

    <333

  10. Wendy says:

    I can understand the pain you’re in…I lost my dad 2 years ago this month and I still long to see him “walk in the door”.

    I pray that each day gets easier and that you find comfort in the memories you have of your dad. Sending you and your family a great big virtual “HUG”.

  11. Jeannie, Equinox Photography says:

    Hugs and good thoughts to you and your family, Saundra, as you go through this heartbreaking time.

    And, I am with you on the importance of social media connections and friendships. The interaction may not be in person, but those are still *real people* behind those Tweets and FB status comments.

  12. Tabitha Dantzler says:

    I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your father. You and your family are in my prayers. We just had a love one to pass on Saturday from Stage 4 cancer. She started feeling really bad I believe the first weekend in August and so she went to the emergency room. They sent her home, obviously thinking it was nothing serious. She got worse and went back the next day. This time they did testing and discovered she had cancer throughout her abdomen and it was terminal. She was in the hospital for a few days and then they sent her home with hospice. It just seem so sudden, but I guess it was a blessing to not have to suffer so long with it. Losing a love one is never easy. Again, you guys are in my prayers.

    • saundra, event engineer says:

      OMG Tab, that is almost the same thing! Just out of the blue! *sigh* I know now that be given 6 months is for the family, not the person who is sick, weak and tired.

      Thank you all for you wonderful notes. You are keeping my spirits high today.

  13. Ashley Baber says:

    Saundra,

    I too have suffered the loss of loved ones. I know how difficult it is. I love your post. Know that time does make it a little easier– and that your Father will always be proud of you.

  14. Amy O'Kane says:

    Thank you for sharing this piece of the story. I am sorry for your troubles and hope you are finding the support you need offline- and on. :)

  15. Sandra says:

    I’m so sorry that you’ve had to join ‘the club’. What a life your father had, and to be blessed with a daughter such as yourself. You know he’s smiling right now. xo

  16. Eve says:

    Dear Saundra,

    I am do sorry for your loss. Death is of a loved one is the most difficult thing in life to deal with. The cruel and acute absence of our loved one leaves us with sharp pain in the chest; and we simply cannot understand how this could ever happen.

    Keep strong and grieve in your own way. My prayers are with you and your family in this trying time.

    (I have been following your journey through this painful time on Twitter. I didn’t comment, because I felt that it was inappropriate since I never met you. I am glad others did follow the same line of thinking and supported you.)

  17. marialexandra says:

    I’m not even sure how to start my comment, I am so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know your dad had passed & was even still praying for a positive outcome after you got the diagnosis. I am terribly sorry, and my heart goes out to you and your mom.
    Your post was so touching, I teared up & felt your loss.
    I’m at a loss for words but just wanted to pay my condolences & let you know my thoughts and prayers remain with you & your family. May your father rest in peace.
    Take care,
    Your twitter friend,
    Marialexandra

  18. Marni Gold says:

    Saundra, I’m so sorry you had to join this ‘club’. Its a terrible thing to lose a parent but just know he is still there with you. He brought up a wonderful, smart woman and a fabulous person. Though he’s not there with you he’ll always be there in your heart. I know my father is :)

  19. Amanda says:

    Saundra,

    I am so sorry for your loss. The emotions are to endure. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Be strong and you all can support each other to get through this. It is very true what you said about “not sweating the unimportant stuff” I think we all need to remind ourselves of that more.

  20. Eric Graf says:

    Saundra, what a beautiful tribute to your father and his legacy. I’m so sorry for your loss. It seems that the lessons we learn in death help us to live as we ought (Ecclesiastes 7:2). “Don’t sweat the unimportant” is the corrective slap we all need to hear.

    Happy Anniversary to your mom and dad. Love that wedding picture!

  21. Bernadette says:

    Saundra,
    I read your post and chills ran through me as so much of what you have written is exactly what I went through. I lost my Father March 10, 2008 as well to cancer. He was also 72 yrs old and although he fought hard, his illness and terminal diagnosis came way too soon. It was hard to watch him suffer. Later that December, my parents would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary…A dream I had as an event planner to host a wonderful day for both my parents. Unfortunately this would not come to be but instead I held a fundraiser in his honor for the palliative care centre where my dad spent his last days. I too was Daddy’s little girl and my Father was the Wind Beneath My Wings, therefore that was the name of my fundraising event.
    It’s been 18 months now since his passing and I still feel a huge loss and emptiness inside him. My Mom as well is so lost with her lifetime companion. But I know that my Dad is in a better place now. We had this little family nickname, the butterfly so now I know that everytime I see a butterfly out there, it is my Dad’s way of blowing me a kiss.
    May you find strength to get through this loss. I know it’s not easy. God bless.
    Bernadette

  22. Kawania @ Howerton+Wooten Events says:

    You know what? People like you are the reason that social media has such strong positives.

    You amaze me Saundra.

    It is obvious that your father’s spirit is a blessing that will reach far into your son’s life. So cool.

    My heart ached for your loss, but rejoiced in the small blessings that you mentioned in your post.

    Hold on to the happy memories of your father, and know that so many of us care about you.

    Love & Soul Always, Kay

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