Monday, December 28, 2009


My uncle, my dear, dear beloved uncle died on December 2nd, 2004 also from cancer. While visiting the cemetery to leave him some flowers, I realized that I, and I think most people, read the dates of birth and death of every plot we go by... oh, she was so young...

And I realized that the dates aren't what's important. What's important is the DASH. ADALBERTO VIGIL July 12, 1935 - December 28, 2009. His date of birth and death are not what matters. What we did with that dash - with the time between our birth and our death.. that is what really matters. It could be a short life or a long life... What matters is the dash.

My dad was an unbelievable man... he was a wonderful father, brother, son, friend...And the saddest thing for me? That I know for a fact that nobody, not my children, my husband, NOBODY will ever love me as totally and as unconditionally as he did.

I will miss my father every day of my life; and I will be grateful that he was my father and that his blood runs through my veins.


I am so gratful to have been sitting at his side holding his hand when he took his last breath. I truly believe he is in a better place.. a place with no pain... a place where he is reunited with all those he has loved and lost.

He died at 2:24 pm.


He is still alive. He can hear everything we say. He reacts with anxiety when he hears the voice of any of his children. Tears roll down the sides of his face as we talk to him. And he is still alive.

I am tortured by the fact that we treat our animals with more humanity than we treat human beings. If we have a pet, a beloved pet, that is sick and suffering we don't just sit there watching him/her until she finally dies. We take this beloved animal to a vet who gives him/her a shot that ends its life humanely. Meanwhile, we are expected to sit by this man's side day after day, listening to his chest rattling with the liquid that is building up in his lungs; seeing him with open eyes and not knowing whether he can see us or not, waiting for his nails and feet to turn blue to determine whether or not the oxygen level is decreasing, taking his blood pressure to see if it is coming down ... all of this to see if he will die soon.

This is BARBARIC. NOBODY should die like this. Why can't we just bring a physician to end it? To stop the torture for him and for us? Why do we insist that euthanasia is "wrong"!!! THIS is wrong. It's absolutely horrific!

He can hear me. I whisper in his ear that I love him and he looks at me... he groans because he can't respond, he cries from what I imagine is impotence and fear. This is not acceptable. It's not acceptable.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


He is still holding on. Sittng by his bedside, the infamous "death rattle" getting louder and louder it feels like you just can't take it any more. You KNOW you will never forget that sound... the sound of death. But you sit there and you hold his hand and you continue to speak to him. The critical care nurses tell us that his hearing is the last to go. Yesterday he did not speak a word but he opened his eyes when he heard my voice or that of my brothers. We talk to him, tell him it's okay for him to go... that we are okay... that we will miss him but that we want him to go. Fearful that telling him those words will cause more anxiety in him, terrified that if we DON'T say those words he will feel alone. Just don't know what the right answer is.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


We brouught my father home to die yesterday. The trip from the hospital in the ambulance with him was surreal. It doesn't seem like it could possibly be happening.

What a humbling experience this has been. To love someone so much and to not be able to do anything but sit there and hold his hand... the feeling of desperations, impotency, rage, fear... it's all so tangled up and so totally overwhelming. The entire experience has been a life altering experience for me. From terror and disbelief on diagnosis... terror... anger - so much anger... resignation. From praying for a miracle... to praying for more time... to praying that God take him quickly.

I am with him... I just hold his hand. For the past few days he has been saying goodbye to us. Telling us how much he loves us.. how proud he's always been to be our father... how he has never regretted leaving his family behind to bring us to this country... When I was 16 years old I gave him one of those diplomas you find in a Hallmark Store that says "FATHER OF THE YEAR". My brothers and I signed it and gave it to him for Father's day back then. He has always had it in a frame in his bedroom. Today he asked me to take the "diploma" with me. That it is one of his "most prized possessions" and to promise him I would always keep it. It just about broke my heart.

He is saying goodbye. Words that are so wonderful and so awful to hear. My dad has never been an "emotional" or "mushy" man. He's always told us "I love you" but has never been comfortable with overt displays of emotion. To see him at his most vulnerable... to see how this disease has taken from him his last ounce of dignity...

I believe there is a God... I believe it to the bottom of my soul. I believe he will be reunited with those he loved and lost... that his mother will be at the gate with her arms open to him... that his Father will be there to hug him and welcome him home.

I HAVE to believe that. I have to believe this in order to have the courage to let him go to them.

The doctor has suggested a morphine drip which will ultimately stop his heart. My poor brother - Julio - is fighting this. He wants me to feed him... even if he can't eat or hold anything down... He wants me to "make" him sit out in the living room even when he can barely move... He just can't let go. So I have made the decision for us. As of today my father will receive the morphine drip which will help him leave us sooner... will help him move on to the arms of the grandmother I never knew. Will release my father from the pain and indignity of this horrible disease. This wll be my last gift to my dad.

I know I am making the right decision ... I know I am... but it is the hardest decision I have ever had to make.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Karen is one of the wonderful friends participating in the I DREAM IN COLORS journal. Her colors are brown, orange and cream. She chose a theme for her journal - Circus. Not necessarily the Wringling Brothers type but the Circus of life. How do we juggle our lives as women? How do we walk a daily tightrope with all the demands that are placed on us?

I had a really really hard time with this. I don't know if it was the colors, the circus theme or just where I am in my life but I finally got them done today and am pleased with the result.


This morning I received a wonderful email from a friend, Sox. I will admit to waking up feeling unbelievably sad this morning. Wanting Christmas to just not happen this year - a real life Scrouge I know. But reading this email for some reason made me feel so much better. Sox is right, this is not the most awful Christmas of my life... it is the most beautiful one. Thank you Sox. You have no idea what your words have healed in me this morning:


You know, Christmas is relative. Christmas is a day. Christmas is about love and sharing and being true.
And you have that like you'll never have at other Christmases, I'm pretty sure.

All of you are raw, and open, and full of flowing love for this man.
It seems like an awesome Christmas to me.

I went to your blog and I read your entry about death.

I've attached a Photoshop montage I did about death. You 'get' death. It's only heartbreaking to US who are left behind. Out of selfishness, because we won't have that person around anymore.

Or we could focus on what is good, which is all these wonderful bittersweet days that you have with your Dad.

Mine was in France, he got to the hospital, was there 3 days, I was due to come over to France on the Thursday, he did on the Tuesday.

I know you're taking advantage of NOW. Appreciating NOW.

It's a long, painful, drawn out agony if you let it. Or it's a celebration of this wonderful man, your deep love for him, and the joy to be able to look after him, that somewhere (willing or not, aware or not), he gives you the opportunity to be of service to him.

I celebrate with you the most amazing Christmas of your life.
Big love.


I am always taken aback by the love and friendships of these wonderful wonderful women.

Friday, December 18, 2009


With the love and encouragement of my friend Tracy I made this to give my brothers for Christmas. I am going to frame it and give them each one. I love the idea of the Guardian Angel protecting my dad. Thanks for the love Tracy.


Still struggling to keep sadness at bay. So not ready for Christmas. Thank you all for your emails asking about my dad. He is hanging in there. This picture was taken last weekend. When you look at his picture which I posted in November and you look at him now... well, pictures are worth a thousand words aren't they? I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your love, prayers and concerns,

We are all trying to keep our spirits up. There are a lot of small children in this family that need and deserve a Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


My dad was released from the hospital Thursday. He was rushed to emergency again this morning because he was vomiting blood. Just not good. Part of the process... still horrible. Thank you so much for your emails and your prayers. We really need them. He is really scared. Funny, I would never have imagined my dad scared of anything. During his hospital stay last week we talked so much and despite the horror of this disease, I am so glad we are getting an opportunity to have these conversations.

On a happier note, this is my granddaughter Kaitlynn's very first school picture! She is 2 1/2 years old and attending Kiddie College. She loves it! She loves to have her picture taken (grandma got her used to it).

NEW TOY ALERT: I've been lax about posting new toys but this one is one that I can't wait to play with. (Yes, this one I actually WILL take out of the box!!!) The FLIP is really small (portable) and will let me post videos if I choose to. It can tape up to 120 minutes of video and that is really awesome. I really want it to just take videos of Kaitlynn and put them on DVDs. She is growing up so fast that and we do not have ONE SINGLE VIDEO of her. Can you believe that? Pictures I have enough to wallpaper the entire Empire State Building. But no videos. This new little handy dandy toy will solve that!

Also new this week.... drum roll please..... LYRA Aquacolor Watersoluable Crayons. They are really great crayons but still like the Caran de Ache better. PAN PASTELS ..... LOTS AND LOTS OF PAN PASTELS!!! Absolutely love these things. I got two new sets (20 each) the Shades and the Portraits. If you have never tried these go buy a couple! You will want them all!! I have over 60 of them and still don't have all the ones I want! Received the MicroGlaze everyone is raving about - will be trying that soon.

Finally, a new art book which I am really enjoying. It's called CREATIVE TIME AND SPACE (Making Room for Making Art) and has articles by different artists and their struggles for TIME!!! Sound familiar? Really good read.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Okay, so here's the deal. I have never been a "depressed" or "negative" person. Quite the contrary. I always try to be grateful for what I have and not stress the things I can't change. Obviously my father's illness has rocked the very foundations of my life. I have been drowning in sadness and negativity over the past two months and I've had it. This is not ME and it's not who I want to be. I am also not honoring my father or using my time with him in a positive way by allowing myself to drown in a situation I can not change.

Yes, it truly SUCKS for him to be dying of cancer. Yes, it truly SUCKS that I will lose my father much sooner than I am ready to. But how does this constant state of "mourning" make it any better???? It doesn't. And, frankly, it's selfish. I hate to see my dad suffer and basically wither away to nothing but the reality is that I hurt for ME - for MY loss.

There is no way to describe this situation as anything but tragic - there just isn't. But the real issue here is that I am so LUCKY to have had him as my dad. And to have had him for as long as I have (I will be 49 this month). Many people don't have their parents this long. He has raised three kids that have not given him one second of worry or heartache, he has 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. The day we put our dad to rest NONE of us will have one single regret. Isn't that a blessing in and of itself?

This is the way I have chosen to now deal with my dad's illness. To stop mourning and to just be grateful.

Please take a moment to view this video where the song takes you into the frame of mind we should all live in.


A friend of mine sent me this video today. It's by Tony Robbins. It's a little over 17 minutes and probably the best, most positive and productive 17 minutes you will spend today.

I am not much of a "guru" follower but I am so glad I took the time to view this. Life is hard right now. For me for obvious reasons and for so many others for a myriad of reasons from health issues to economic crisis. This video should be everyone's New Year resolution.