Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It's Complicated

Since my dad died, I don't like the question, "How are you doing?" Because it's a very, very complicated question to answer -- especially to answer basically in passing as you bump into a friend in the store or on a walk or when you arrive at church. What's the 2 minute version of How I'm Doing?  I'm doing fine. I'm doing, I'm busy, I'm laughing, I'm going, I'm organizing, I'm packing, I'm loving... The doing is going fine.

But what's not fine are my thoughts. They're jumbled and confused. The whole answer is: I'm doing fine -- I'm doing everything I need to be doing and should be doing. And that feels normal and good and fine. But my brain and thoughts are not fine. Trying to process how this all happened and work through it is not fine. It's hard. And there's not a lot of time to process. So it comes in bits and pieces mostly when I don't feel ready. Often when a song comes on the radio or random moments a feeling washes over me that I just want to cry. But most of the time I'm in the process of doing, so it's not convenient to be feeling and so I have to repress it.

I find myself talking through the meetings with the doctors and nurses again. Thinking through the timeline of the first time we took him to the hospital and each subsequent visit. (How was it only 3 weeks from "brain bleed" to "doing great in rehab" to "not doing great" to "he's going to die? How was it only 5 weeks from "brain bleed" to death?" How did we go in just two month's time from the shock of "I think a brain tumor means we only have a year!" to "they said we may only have 6 months" to "days or weeks." Also, thinking through the days and what we thought was progress and more time to the moment when we discovered there was no more time. But then there was 10 more days.

I find myself giving people the information that makes them feel better about him dying. "He had cancer. He was 75. It was a blessing he didn't suffer for long. We're grateful to have had time to say goodbye. Everyone's doing fine." But what I'm thinking is: "Remember last year when you heard he had prostate cancer and you said, 'prostate cancer is no big deal?' Well, turns out it was a big deal."
And, "he was FINE until just a few weeks prior. I'm still very unsettled at how fast it went."
"It was the most traumatic 5 weeks of my life."
"His actual dying was intense and unsettling and scary."
"No, I never felt anything spiritual about his actual passing or dressing him in his temple clothes."
"The viewing and funeral and everyone here talking and remembering and laughing was actually kind of fun."
"What's wrong with me?"

The thing is, there's so much to say that one sentence doesn't cover it. And the experience is too important and too personal to tell it half-way. When the telling gets interrupted it leaves me feeling raw. So it's easier to not get into it. Because I need to say all that I need to say or else I can only say nothing at all. So, saying nothing by saying "I'm Fine" is much, much easier.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dad's Tribute

I grew up in a home where we could run and shout and jump and chase, be loud and play, joke and tease. It was a happy place for kids because my mom and dad had few restrictions. My favorite memories as a child with my parents and family include BYU football games and Brick Oven Pizza, going on jogs, tickle monster and epic games of Hide and Seek, seminary student spook alleys in our basement, adventurous trips in a car that was always breaking down or travels through Mexico on a hot Mexican Train. Not to mention, Dad could summon us from anywhere with his incredibly loud whistle!

I loved that he always called me: “La.” I could always count on him making me laugh with his jokes or teasing. He made me feel like I was perfect just the way I was. I loved when he put his arm around me and asked me all about my life. He always wrapped his suit coat around us if we were cold. And if we were hungry he was happy to share his sandwich or would say, “Here! Have mine! I’ll make me another one.” He was the first to jump in a scrub clean my kitchen and happy to change a baby’s diaper. He never flinched at running to the store to buy feminine products for his girls. I will miss snuggling up next to him.

He was always optimistic and lived with the assumption that everyone was his best friend. When we got TP’d he told us children, “Getting toilet papered, means people really like you!”

One of his favorite expressions was: “I don’t see why not!” Can I have a sleepover? “I don’t see why not!” Can we host a New Year’s Party? “I don’t see why not!” Can we build a treehouse or hang a pulley or dig a hole to China in the backyard? Can I walk to the mall in bare feet or ride my bike and not come home until dark? Can I play nightgames and invite the neighborhood or turn the whole basement into a fort with blankets? Can I go toilet papering with my friends? “I don’t see why not.”

Dad didn’t order a Burrito, but a “Burrito!” And he didn’t love Mexico, he loved “Mexico” and served his mission in “El Salvador!” I loved hearing him speak Spanish to anyone who looked like they would understand. I was proud that he spoke so well and used it so frequently. If he guessed that someone spoke Spanish, he asked them where they were from and struck up a conversation – genuinely interested in learning as much as he could and making them new friends.

He loved my friends and especially loved getting to know them. He actually took it a step further and essentially interrogated them so he could get to know the REAL person. A friend just messaged me remembering the first conversation he had with my dad. First Dad asked him all about his job, where he was from, his education, etc. And then, within the first 10 minutes of meeting, Dad asks (as he probably stared intently in his eyes), “Now tell me about your wife. What about her first attracted you to her?!” So typical Dad!
I always looked forward to get togethers between our family and my dad’s brother Ron’s family The two of them would get comfortable, stretch out, and tell stories that made each other and the rest of us laugh and laugh. They enjoyed each other so much, I knew that was the relationship I wanted for me and my siblings.

He let me get my own testimony at my own pace. He wasn’t nervous or concerned that my pace wasn’t fast enough. He didn’t check in with me to see if I was paying my tithing, saying my prayers or reading my scriptures. He trusted us to figure life out. As a result I grew up feeling my dad would love me whoever I became.

It was unique raising children at the same time he was. Sometimes I’d confide, “I’m really worried.” His response was always, “You have great kids, Angela. You don’t have to worry about a thing.” He saw our potential and never questioned if we were maximizing it – in both us and his grandkids. He loved us just the way we were.

As a teen I remember saying, “I’m planning on going to the Telestial Kingdom” 
  He stopped short and just looked at me: “Why would you say that?” 
  “Because I’m not perfect and I never will be.” 
  “Angela! Of course you’re going to the Celestial Kingdom! You don’t have to be perfect – you just have to keep trying.” 
That was honestly the first time I realized that it actually might be a possibility. He helped me understand the nature of God. God didn’t expect perfection.

In 9th grade seminary he offered the 30-day challenge to gain a testimony. He asked if I was going to participate. And because I was a teenager, my response was more confrontational. “I don’t want to get a testimony because you tell me I have to. I’m not even sure if I believe the Church is true.” I wondered if this might elicit some anger which at that age I was good at provoking. Instead he was enthusiastic! “That’s wonderful! If you’re starting to wonder about whether the church is true or not, it means you’re starting to think for yourself and not rely on other people’s testimony! That’s the first step!”

It wasn’t the reaction I was expecting, but it opened me up to the idea that I didn’t HAVE to believe to be on the right path. That it was okay to have questions and unbelief and doubt. That those doubts were actually a normal beginning.

My dad blessed my life and the lives of my husband and children. I remember him saying, “If you don’t marry Dan, I think you’re mom will. And if she doesn’t, I will!”

Most importantly I loved his jokes and that he could make anyone laugh. This last month has been hard as some days he was so, so sick. On our first trip to the hospital, Diane was nervously explaining to a Valet as we arrived at the hospital that Dad couldn’t even get out of the car and he was “dead weight.” Literally paralyzed on one side, unable to move and barely able to speak, Dad’s head is on my lap and he whispers in his joking voice “I really wish she wouldn’t refer to me as dead!”

Then up at the hospital the nurse is explaining that she’ll have to give him a catheter and check his colon for a stool sample. He still couldn’t speak, but his lips started working and he seriously got a twinkle in his eye. And Diane and I just looked at each other and busted up laughing – he is totally trying to make a joke! This is killing him that he can’t think clearly enough to make a joke!

Dad, I love you so much. In your words you told me each night as you tucked me in to bed and bounced the bed up and down so even our last awake moments were fun and funny:

Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mission Miracles

From Marty's Mission President after I sent the e-mail telling him my Dad had passed away:
Sister Shaeffer,
Thank you for sending your email. It was a wonderful blessing that I just happened to be with your son today and was able to speak with him just five minutes ago and share the news about your father passing away with him. He is a wonderful young man. He understands the Gospel and understands the plan of salvation and knows that he will be with his grandfather again. We were able to give him a wonderful priesthood blessing. He is in good hands and knows that his grandpa is wearing a missionary badge now on the other side and will be helping him. We are sorry for your loss. We love you all and will be praying for you.
Pres. Egan

From Marty with more detail:
Hello dear oyatachi! That just means parents by the way
Sounds like it was a tough week for everyone at home, but also that it was extremely spiritual, there's a reason that Grandpa had to go home now, because the lord does nothing except it's for the benefit of us, just his way of thinking is so beyond us it's hard to realize all the reasons for why things are happening. I'm glad I was able to get the video to work, and that his last memories of me are good ones. The last time I was with him was at my setting apart which is a pretty good final memory.

So we had interviews with the president on Saturday, we do them once a transfer now. He came down to Okinawa the night before, there was a baptism of one of the sisters investigators in our ward that he came to as well, the baptism was very spiritual and I actually got to be in the circle to help confirm her as part of the church. It was pretty awesome. Being worthy to hold the priesthood is one of the best feelings in the world.

So after our interview finished we went home and started cooking dinner and my comp got a call from President Egan and he asked if I was there and wanted us to come back to the church really quick. At this point I was pretty sure I knew what it was going to be about and I didn't really know how I was feeling. He sat both of us down together and started telling us that he was reading his emails and was glad that he had read them right at the time he did. He gave us a really spiritual message and I think it was the first time in a very long time that I've actually cried. He said that he knows exactly how we feel. His 91 year old father just suffered a heart attack and they are pretty sure he's not gonna make it. He did say that he's excited for him though because it had been over 50 years since his father had talked to his father. We talked a little bit more about how Grandpa adair gets to join me out in the missionary field and it was just really nice to be able to hear that from him. He then had my companion be the voice for the blessing and him and my companion both did it for me. It was really spiritual. 
The cool thing was that our presidents wife, in our interview (we interview with her right before the president) more of a chat than an interview, but we were talking a little bit about the spirit world and she told me of a story of a mother who was in a really bad accident and they didn't think she was gonna live but she did. She had a bunch of problems after that but was still the same person just really handicapped. Her son later went out on a mission and was having a really rough time for a little while. The parents were talking and were thinking about what they could do for him, and she says, I know what I can do. Then she died. She was able to help him from the other side. We kinda just talked about how much there is going on on the other side that we don't even realize, and that right now, Heavenly Father needed one of his most elite spanish speakers in the force, and I know that he's already helping me from up there.
Anyways I'll have some more of my week's experiences on my weekly email. Love you guys! Take care

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dad's Obituary

Our love, our Dad, our truest friend and hero, Michael David Adair, Sr. returned to his Heavenly Father May 19 at 7:20 p.m. surrounded by family at his home in Holladay, Utah. He was born April 27, 1942 in Salina, Utah to Wanda Jensen and Joseph Smith Adair and is married to Diane Done Adair, the love of his life.
“Our love” was a romantic, a lover of every soul and saw the good in everyone. He was a wonderful listener and validated your opinions and thoughts even when they didn’t agree with his. He was an eternal optimist, believing that everything would always work out. Everyone was always welcome in his heart. Come as you are and leave feeling loved.
He was the definition of hope and a true believer in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and their desire for us to be happy.  He loved the words of Jesus, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.“
He was told in his Patriarchal Blessing that he would learn to speak the Spanish language without an accent. During his mission in Central America he fulfilled this part of his blessing. Because of his mission, he developed a lifelong love of the Latino people. He travelled all over Central and South America developing forever friendships through exploration of Book of Mormon lands and later in life with his work doing security for The Church. He treated all he met with love and dignity.
He was influential in bringing thousands of souls to Jesus Christ as a seminary teacher at Olympus High and Olympus Jr. through his testimony and love of the Savior. No one loved teaching so dearly and taught with such great enthusiasm. He would spend hours and hours preparing lessons. It mattered so much to him that every student would feel the Spirit and look to Jesus. He was a champion to those that felt unsure or felt like they didn’t have a place. They all felt safe with him. Many seminary teachers looked up to him as a voice of integrity and voice of truth. He spoke with passion, love and forgiveness.
Every day was filled with laughing, jokes and adventure. He loved road trips, taking the “scenic route” and never taking the same road twice. He looked forward to hikes in the gully of Tanner Park with Diane and their three dogs who at the end never left his side. Car rides to see the changing of the leaves was one of his favorite things. He loved painting with acrylics and creating pictures he knew would make people happy. He also looked forward to planting flowers in the spring and fall to make his yard beautiful.
He is a father of nine, and absolutely adored his children and grandchildren. He spent his life loving and leading them to find their own paths and their own testimony. He often said, “I’m so grateful that during my retirement years I’m raising three wonderful boys. I’d much rather be doing that instead of playing golf.” He made time for each of his kids and you never felt rushed with him. He handled the role of parenting and grandparenting at the same time masterfully, always giving everyone individual attention. We will miss his endearing call to his children and Diane saying, “Hi, My love!” We will miss him grabbing us by the elbow to let us know he cares about us. He was so outgoing with everyone he met.
Mike made my dreams come true, giving me three amazing boys and brought me into his family of six children. We all love each other so much. He filled my life with such hope, joy and adventure. I always had such a settled feeling with him. We love the little things – sitting on our patio with my legs stretched across his lap talking, reading or just being silent.
We will love you and miss you forever!
Mike is survived by his wife, Diane Done Adair, and children Luke Adair, Max Adair, Sam Adair, Angela (Dan) Shaeffer, Michelle (Brent) Paul, Michael (Katie) Adair, Sheree (Jared) Winger, Rebekah (Matt) Nugent, Rachel (Jeremy) Lyman, and 23 grandchildren; brother Ron (Barbara) Adair and nieces and nephews who all love him so much.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, May 24 at 11:00 a.m. at Olympus 3rd Ward, 4100 South Camille St., Holladay UT. Viewing is Tuesday, May 23 from 6-8 p.m. at the ward and Wednesday, one hour prior to the service. Interment Larkin Sunset Lawn. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Humanitarian Fund.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

What Dan Did

My dad's first night home, Dan volunteered to spend the night with him so the rest of us could sleep in our own beds.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Wednesday Started Out Normal

I went to the house for a meeting and then in the middle Diane called and my Dad's right side couldn't move again. Early that morning when they realized my dad couldn't move, she prayed for help and within seconds, my brother, Michael, stopped by. He said he had just dropped off Jacob at school and decided to stop by. It wasn't a coincidence Michael. You were an answer to her prayer.

He helped get my dad in a wheelchair and then down the stairs. He advised Diane to call Acute Care. She did but hadn't heard back. She called me while I was at the house. Fortunately, the hospital called back while I was on my way over.

My dad was having a hard time sitting up straight in his wheelchair. He was talking softly again. His right side couldn't move at all. It was exactly like the last time his brain was bleeding. Luke and some friends and a neighbor came over to help lift his wheelchair down the stairs. The neighbor was a dear friend of my dad, Christian, and as we were about to drive away, I got out and ran and asked him to give my dad a blessing. It was a beautiful, sweet blessing asking for him to receive strength and also for him to understand the Lord's plan for him.

And then we headed back to the hospital.

The same wonderful people were working. They started the blood work and sent him for a CT scan. The scan compared to the last scan after the craniotomy showed the blood area had gotten bigger. This time it was fluid and blood. (When blood breaks down it turns into fluid.) They said because of his advanced state of cancer, they couldn't perform any more aggressive life saving measures. We talked about hospice and I called the boys to come up to the hospital. Diane grieved. A social worker came to speak to the boys and Diane and talk about grief. We asked if he could be given steroids like the previous weekend to help with his lucidity.

I texted my sisters and brother, Uncle Ron and Dan. Between everything happening, it was hard to communicate effectively. Just quick updates.

In the afternoon the boys and I left to get to their house to get their bed taken apart and the room ready for the hospital bed coming.

They arrived home by medi-van. Uncle Ron drove down from Logan to meet them. Diane and I talked with Hospice while Uncle Ron took care of my dad.  The steroids definitely helped. He regained some strength in his right side and was able to communicate with everyone.

Then everyone started coming by to give him a hug and tell him they love him.