As I am sitting in my dad's living room watching the sunlight beam through the window, sipping my coffee, I am anxiously awaiting for everyone to awake and kick of this special day. The Macy's Day Parade is being recorded, just in case my littlest one sleeps in...ahhh it is Thanksgiving.

I keep catching myself just smiling looking over at my dad sleeping in the family room. He is very still and breathing loudly and it is a glorious site.

Happy Thanksgiving Daddy

When we first brought him home and into hospice over five weeks ago, the nurse told me he had just a few weeks. I wept, a lot. But I told her he was strong.

Since then they have nick named him the grizzly bear. Partly because it would take a grizzly bear to tolerate the meds they have him on and partly because he is so darn strong. He is still getting up from his bed to go to his chair. He insists on using the restroom, by himself. He has such a strong will and I am so unbelievably proud, blessed, and honored to have this time with him.

All he has really talked about since he came home was Thanksgiving, and we have been planning it together since. Where would we have it, what would we have, who would be here...

I am happy to say that it is indeed Thanksgiving, and the most blessed one I have ever had. We are having it here, we will set up tables in a makeshift Thanksgiving feast style around the hospital bed, oxygen tanks, med tables and the like. My littlest one will make her place setting pictures with everyone's name and decide where we sit (papa always at the head of the table of course) and we will do our best to not notice that he really isn't eating much. We will give thanks for all that we have and for me...for this unbelievably special day with my dad.

These past five weeks that I have stayed here with him, I have had so much to be thankful for. Of course for this precious time God has given me with him, hearing the stories, being his caretaker and just sitting by his bedside. But also for my family. My husband Steven, son Sean, daughter Samantha and youngest daughter Tessa. They have been so supportive, have come over every night and call or text me every morning to see if Papa is ok, if I am doing ok, and if I need anything. My husband takes care of our house and our two older ones make sure our youngest one gets to school every morning. They all make grocery and errand runs and take turns staying with Papa if I need to go to a meeting. Tessa writes me a note every night that she cannot spend the night with me and leaves it somewhere for me to find. Or she will set up a Tessa look a like in my bed for me to snuggle with. I am so thankful and blessed to have such a loving supportive family. I could not have done this without them.

My snuggle replacement for Tessa she left for me (Just not the same)

Just knowing that I woke up today to my dad still breathing is enough to make me thankful. But knowing that I am going through all of this with my unbelievably wonderful family...makes me twice blessed.

I pray that you feel as blessed as I do today and that your Thanksgiving day is surrounded by friends, family, good health, laughter and cheer.

Make some memories today that you will remember for a lifetime...I plan to do just that.

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours...

Happy Thanksgiving

We have all heard that old saying "If I only knew then what I know now."
Me and my "Daddy" the fall after his tracheotomy and the beginning of his fight
How true it is and especially at a time like now as I care for my dad.

...I should have spent more time with him.

...I should have not taken his gruff attitude to heart.

...I should have hugged him everyday.

...I should have had him over for dinner more.

...I should have made the time.

Cancer is an unspeakable disease that has taken so many of those I love. I hate to even give it the satisfaction of saying it's name.

My mom battled the disease for many years and now my dad is going through the same thing and he is nearing the end of his life.

As I sit in the living room looking over at him in the other room, sitting in his chair I feel it well up inside of me. These are the last few weeks I will ever have with him.
Daddy in his chair

There is so much that I want to say to him and I know he feels the same. But we don't talk about it. He doesn't want to cry he says. Instead he says, "You know how I feel Terri. I don't have to say it." He tells me not to say I love you too much then tries to get the last one in as I go up stairs. (I usually win at this one though).

It is easier for him, and really, for me to. We are just enjoying the time we have together instead of mourning the time we do not. I make him all of his favorite meals and do everything I can to make him comfortable.

He has been through a lot over the past three years. First the cancer in his voice box, then the lungs, then the bone and is quite literally everywhere. But he fought it as best as he could.

He has gone through all of the chemo, radiation and bone drips...
Daddy at one of his treatments

He's been in and out of the hospital...

Tessa, Daddy (Papa) and Me visiting him in the hospital
Tessa and Papa snuggling
Tessa and Daddy Papa  being goofy -
through it all he has kept his sense of humor.
Papa and Samantha playing cards to pass the time

Tessa, Papa and Sean in a group hug

Tessa, Papa and Sean being goofy.
My daddy always says...
"When I stop joking, that is when you need to start worrying."

And now his home has become his hospice.

Daddy and our Chihuahua's Nikki and Nina -
He asked for me to bring them over and have them
stay here with him and I, he says they calm him down.
As I sit quietly and work on my laptop I glance over and see him staring off into the room. Some days we play backgammon, sometimes we have visitors, some days we just talk, other days the TV gives him some background noise and other days he sits with Nina in his lap.

Daddy with his
favorite little Chihuahua Nina
He is no doubt going over in his mind what he would have done differently, what he should have done, what he will miss and when he will be reunited with the love of his life.

They fell in love and never fell out

My mom passed away 12 years ago and I have missed her dearly, and the one thing that gives me comfort in all of this, is that I know without a shadow of a doubt, they will be reunited.

A collage I gave them for their 45th wedding anniversary
A few short weeks later Mom passed away

Caring for a parent is not something that you ever hope to have to do, but I am so thankful that I have this time to share with him. I feel incredibly blessed to hear the stories of his childhood, how he fell for my mom and how proud he is of me and my husband and how we raised our kids.

There is a constant stream of people coming and going. Which makes me proud to know that he loved by so many. And my kids and husband are here all of the time. I have an incredible supportive family. My husband has taken over our household while I stay here with my dad. They come over for dinner and stay with me on the weekends. They cherish every moment as do I.

Daddy and Tessa just hanging out

We celebrated Halloween together and we pray to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with him in just a few short weeks.

Daddy and my kids Samantha, Sean and Tessa
on Halloween night

Daddy, Samantha, Sean, Me and Tessa on his lap

Daddy (trying to tell me the camera was on), Samantha, Sean,
Steven (my wonderful husband) and Tessa on her Papas lap.
As the days go by, I see him changing. Gone is the lively and constantly joking and often times gruff daddy and instead that is replaced with a frail man who sleeps more and more and gets frustrated when his days and nights get mixed up. He disease is slowly progressing, taking him over and will inevitably slip him away from us. Yet, I want to remember this time, as hard as it is to go through, I want to remember each and every moment. I feel incredibly blessed to be here with him.

I admire his bravery, his strength, his advice, his unconditional love, the years of memories behind us and the eternity ahead of him.

And no matter where he is...I will always be daddy's little girl.

I love you daddy...always and forever.