Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Sword

It's now 3:50am and I am wide awake. I have been awake for hours and can't shut down my brain. I tried to catch a few winks with my loving family all curled up around me to protect me from any bad dreams I might have.

I lied in bed just thinking about my life. The movie that played in my brain was on a slow speed. I saw in my minds eye Dad and I fishing as a little girl in Long Island where I was born and raised for 21 years. I flashed through all the excellent restaurants him and Mom took me to. We were elegantly dressed because back then, that is what you did. I heard Dad laughing at me because as a child I always had to check out all the bathrooms in restaurants. There was usually a "helper" in there handing you a crisp, clean towel to wipe your hands on. I would always report my findings when I returned to the table. I also had to test the taste of the water. Dad was always so interested in my "reports" and then he would chuckle.

Dad signed me up for piano lessons for many years and even bought me my own piano. I sucked! I still can't read a musical note to this day. Finally after many years of misery the teacher suggested very gingerly to Mom and Dad to "stop torturing everyone and let her quit." Thank goodness they finally listened.

Over the years Mom and Dad signed me up to try many activities in life. Swim team, diving team, tennis team, basketball, etc. I sucked at them all. I'm not ashamed to say it. I truly and honestly, 100% sucked!! And on top of it all, I can't draw a stick figure either.

My best memory from my childhood was that I really believed that 1 + 1 = 3. Don't ask how I ever came to that conclusion because I don't know. I was REALLY young. It remained a running joke between me and my Dad for the remainder of his life. It was always brought up in conversation and he would tell anyone he would meet. Did it embarrass me in my adult life? The answer is NO. I was proud that my Dad remembered this quirk about his little girl. He talked about me with such pride in his heart.

I have many of my Dad's qualities embedded in my soul and there is no doubt that I am a Hagen thru and thru. But I am more like my Mom in many, many ways. Mom was the nurturing one. Always there to lend a hand to someone in need. Be it a friend or a stranger, she was forever helping.

I found my love for Special Olympics thru my Mom. I was always helping her when she volunteered for the handicapped. She was the one who would always visit you in the hospital and cook a meal when needed. She was the one taking care of her parents when they were sick and dying. She was the one helping out Dad's mother and handicapped sister. I was always right by her side. This is where I believe I get my compassion from.

When we moved from Long Island to Rochester, NY I didn't know a soul. I joined the fire department. I fought fires actively for almost 8 years. To this day, I am a 34 year member of the department. My Mom was always frightened and worried about me when the sirens went off. Dad was always the one who would wake up, turn on the house lights so I wouldn't trip running down the stairs and out the door. He would sneak in a kiss and tell me to be safe. He was proud that I was a firefighter and puff up his chest with pride.

I spent 20+ years as a County Coordinator for Special Olympics. I learned to be more patient, to just go with the flow and often spoke of their motto. Everyone is a winner! Dad and Mom were once again proud that I had so much compassion.

I took care of my Grandmother (Dad's Mom), my handicap Aunt (his sister), my sister-in-law (Rolf's sister), my best friend as she was dying and also Rolf's Mom who is still with us with full blown dementia. Compassion is my calling in life I guess.

I thank God every day that I was good at something. That something turned out to be compassion!

My life list could go on and on. Taking care of Dad since 2008 is right up on top of my list. It was our pleasure to take him in when I knew he couldn't go on without Mom. It came with many up's and down's believe me. Being a care giver is no easy task. But we made it through the best of times and we've made it through the worst of times too. I've thanked Rolf every single day for loving my father too. I couldn't have done it without his help and cooperation.
My guy's hanging at the Home aka Happy Acres

When Mom was sick and dying Dad kept telling me over and over, that "sometimes we just have to throw ourselves onto our swords." In other words, the pain is there, the pain is great but we just have to keep going on. And that's just what Dad, Rolf and I did.

When that slow movie was playing in my head this morning, I could hear my Dad as if he was standing over my bed telling me it was all going to be OK. To just throw myself on the sword and it will all work out in the end.

Yesterday was just way too much to handle. From receiving the phone call at 7:39am to come to the Home quickly to running down the hallways pushing the Director of Nursing and police officer aside I just needed to get to my Dad. He needed me there one last time to throw myself on my sword. I knew he was already gone. But I ran down that hallway like I've never run before. My sweet and loving Dad, left in his sleep to join Mom on the other side.

What could I say to him now that I haven't said to him everyday since 2008. I sat quietly in a chair next to his bed holding his cold hands. I cried and cried and cried. Just like I'm crying now. I can't stop. We had a very special bond him and me and that bond even in death shall not be broken. I stayed as long as I could until the police tossed me out of the room. It's protocol for this Home to have the death investigated. I didn't want to let go of his hand but knew I had to. The County Coroner then arrived and did her thing. They questioned all of us there. It was a long couple of hours sitting there waiting and being interviewed. I had to explain all of Dad's medical history to them. They finally cleared the scene. We don't know why he died. There could be many reasons especially with all his health problems or something to do with the nasty fall he took the other day in his bathroom. We are very thankful he died peacefully in his sleep and that's good enough for us and the only answer we need.

Brother Bob and I helped the funeral director load Dad up for transport. Yes, throwing ourselves on our sword again. I picked out dress clothes for Dad. Mom would be mortified if Dad arrived wearing his nightgown. We took some family pictures down off the walls and put them in Dads hands. We followed him out the door and went home.

We got to see Dad one last time yesterday afternoon at the funeral home. He looked so handsome all dressed. I know Mom was smiling and saying "that's my girl. Dressed him well."

Today Dad will be cremated. And when they are ready, they will put Mom and Dad together in Mom's beautiful urn that sits upon my fireplace. My brother will also have his small urn and they will be mixed in there together also. What does not fit between the two will be given to us so that we can scatter their ashes together in top secret location, in stealth mode. Hell, we don't want to go to jail for littering! It will be yet another day to pull out my sword.

What does the future hold for me now? It will be endless phone calls, straightening out Dads affairs and estate, the cleaning out and the selling of our beautiful NY home. The house that Rolf, Dad and I (plus Lily and Muffin) lovingly called HOME since 2008. It was a wonderful stopping place in our life's journey. I shall miss this place because of so many fond memories are here of my Dad. How we liked to sit on the deck and watch all the critters and family of deer who also called our property home. So many, many memories of a loving family of 5.

Today I will write his obit for the newspapers (NY & FL). How do you write something short about a man who lived so large.
This is the picture I would like to use for his obit

Have my work cut out for me with packing up this house. I tried to go into Dad's in-law unit yesterday and just walked in and walked right back out. It was too soon. The pain is too fresh. Today we will return to the Home and clean out Dad's room there. Wasn't even there 30 days but he made a lasting impression on everyone with his smile and his jovial personality.

Rolf and I will eventually become Florida residents as we will buy out Bob's share of the house there. It will be hard to go back to that house too now that Dad is no longer there. But it was always his wish for us to live there. And it will be an honor.

I miss him more than I can express in words. I was always and will forever be his little girl. He was always and will forever be my Dad. He was my hero, my friend and so much more.

If you could see into my heart right now, it's not pretty. It's angry, it hurts because it's in a million little pieces. I'm lost, just plain ol'e lost! I need my Dad right here by my side to guide me. He always could help me figure out what to do. But that ain't gonna happen anymore. I'm on my own now like a lost soul. I AM a lost soul.
Our last picture together - July 4th, 2015

In a few days I'll cheer up and remember Dad and the wonderful life he lived and gave us. I will remember fondly our last breakfast together the day before he died. I brought him Dunkin Donuts and his face lit up like an 87,000 watt light bulb. We sat and ate and chatted for a few hours. The two of us were never at a loss for words! We hugged, kissed and said I love you to each other before I left to go home that afternoon. I spoke with him again that night and he was happy because the nurse brought him cookies for dinner as he wasn't too hungry. Brother Bob also stopped up with another favorite, a Frosty from Wendys that night. He was on cloud nine. What an excellent last meal for my Dad. We chatted on the phone for a few minutes before he said he was exhausted and wanted to go to bed. Little did I know it would be the last time I would tell him just how much I really loved him and what a great Dad he is. He told me he loved me too and what a great daughter I have always been and thanked Rolf and I for taking such good care of him. Perhaps he knew his new journey awaited him.

Lily knew when I came home yesterday that something was terribly wrong. She has always been that way. She is in tune completely with my soul. Telling Lily & Muffin that Grandpa died was something I needed to do. It's what I did with Muffin when Mom died. If you remember, Muffin was Mom and Dad's dog first. I can tell any expert out there, they knew exactly what I was saying and they felt the grief too. We are all grieving and are sticking close to one another for support.

I know I've said it many, many times in the past and I will say it again. My Blogville friends are the best in the world! Most of you have been on this journey with me for many years. I have life long friends because of blogging and for that I am thankful. I thank you all from the deepest part of my heart for ALL of your love, support, words of wisdom, humor at just the right time, sharing smiles and tears together and most of all just letting me bend your ear with my life stories. Dad always loved that I was a blogger and I would often show him the blog's and read the stories to him. He said it was pretty cool! A very special thank you to Miss Shelle at Simpatico for the heartfelt post about Grandpa Bob yesterday. And to Agnes aka WHN, lot's of bleach baby!

I know that Grandpa Bob will be missed by many of you also. He'd just tell you to get over it and go throw yourself on your sword! And.... when you were done with that he'd probably tell you to go eat an ice cream in his memory.

Yup! that's my Dad.




  1. Omgosh this made me tear up. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your dad was such a handsome fellow in that picture.
    Sending you a huge hug and some Maddie kisses, Maddie's mommy. Xxxoo

  2. I had to get a box of tissue after I started reading this beautiful heartfelt tribute to your Dad. You do have so many wonderful memories of him and it's those memories that will get you through the tough times ahead. That early phone call brought back memories of the call I received when my Mom passed away. The only difference is my call came at 9:15 on a Sunday night. The shock, the helpless feeling, and memories of that unknown at the time "final" goodbye came flooding back to me. But we do eventually heal after throwing ourselves on that sword. And the good memories bring us back to life. I'm sending all my love to you and your family at this sad time.

  3. Oh Kim, I am so sorry to hear about your darling Dad. We loved hearing about him and always loved his smile. He sounds like the perfect example of what a father should be. How beautiful to look back on your life with your family and remember all the love and amazing times you had together. It certainly doesn't stop the tears and heartbreak, for of course having such loving parents is why you cry so hard. Darling girl, the pain will ease but for now hold each other tight and know there are people around the world thinking of you and your family. To have known the love of parents and felt so cherished by them is a treasure to keep in your heart.
    Love to you all. Carol (and Stella and Rory)

  4. What an amazing post!!! It us not easy to pour out your heart when you are hurting so badly. But we will say it again - YOU are such a wonderful daughter. Your love for your parents is HUGE - so big that it makes the hurt even more painful. But love is your essence - God bless and take care.

    Hugs, Mom Kathie and The OP Pack

  5. Oh, Kim. We are so deeply sorry for your loss. So very sad. We are thinking of you and sending all our love. Daily. You are amazing. We loved reading about Grandpa Bob.

    Our love to you and the pooches and your family.
    Renee & Tootsie

  6. You are so lucky to have such wonderful memories of your dad. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Millie, Walter and Cindy

  7. We are so sorry for your loss. Mommy remembers when her father was dying, he said "you need to suffer to be saved." That phrase always sticks with Mommy, similar to your Sword phrase. Big hugs to you.

  8. Good Morning Kim, I had to read this and shut the computer off and then come back to it. My heart hurt with all your sadness. I read somewhere the saying," with great love comes great grief..." I have thought of that many times after reading about someone's loss two and four legged. Thank you so much for sharing the story of your life growing up with your momma and daddy. It sounds like you had such a wonderful one, and what loving parents they were to you. You know you have been blessed two fold with all that love, and look at the way that you have passed it on. I imagine you Mom wings shine brightly every time you give a piece of your heart away. As far as dear grandpa bob, well we just feel like we have walked right beside you in all your stories, and that we know him even more because of them. That was a grand gift to us. Your family is in our hearts and prayers today Kim. Hugs Stella Rose, Maggie Mae, Angus Mac and Momma
    p.s. Momma remembers one time after Sammer went to live in the heavens you told her it was just fine to be mad, she will always remember you validating those feelings, it helped her a lot.

  9. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your post was so heartfelt and made us feel like we truly knew your dad too. He had an amazing life, and his legacy will live on forever in you!

    Casey, Jessie, and the Momma

  10. I am so deeply, deeply sorry. I will tell you that this was one of the most beautiful tributes I have ever read. Your Dad is proud. You could use excerpts from this for your Dad's obit.
    I know at least part of your pain, I was a "Daddy's girl" too, lost mine in 2001. It was one of the most horrific things I have ever experienced. The pain is beyond awful. One good thing is he passed peacefully in his sleep. Your Dad was not in pain. That is a blessing.
    All of these beautiful memories you have so skillfully written, WILL bring you comfort one day. Right now it is all too raw, but they WILL bring you comfort.
    Your Dad sounded like one in a million, you were truly blessed. He is smiling down on you with love. I send my most heartfelt sympathy. xoxo

  11. just stocked up bleach foryou too!

    Beautiful tribute,from one Long Island girl to another!

  12. This is my first visit to your blog and I came because Madi put up a post on the POTP blog. I sit here in tears now feeling your sadness and your aloneness over the loss of your beloved Dad. I am so very sorry for you and your family. What a man you described and I dare say he would be so proud of the daughter he raised in you. Just always know you carry him always inside your heart. Wishing you comfort and grace in the days ahead.

  13. What a beautiful post expressing your love for your dad. He sounds like a wonderful guy and he was proud of you, even if you "sucked" at playing piano. Music and sports have their place but compassion is a gift! You've evidently been gifted an abundance of it to share with others. There will be many tears ahead, but also many smiles as those good memories of your dad make you laugh and lift your spirits. Thank you for sharing.


  14. Such a beautiful tribute to your Dad. My eyes filled with tears several times while reading it. I am thankful that I have been able to keep in touch with you and your family. After all, you are my sister I have never had the privilege to meet.

  15. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad! So sorry for your loss! Just take one day at a time and hug your pups a lot. It really helps. Take care.

  16. What a wonderful post for your Dad. He sounds alot like my dad who passed away in 1999. The greatest gift my dad gave me was unconditional love
    hugs and love
    The PugRanch Mom

  17. So sad. Your post is such a beautiful tribute to your amazing dad and your whole family. He sounds like quite a guy - who loved well and was well loved. Prayers for you and all who care about him to heal quickly. xoxo

    Love and licks,

  18. What a truly beautiful and loving post about your parents. You were truly blessed to have such a wonderful life with them. Hoping each day gets a tiny bit easier. Hugs.

  19. Crikey Kim ..... such a beautiful post. I hope it helped to write it down. What a wonderful man your Dad was and what a wonderful person you are. You certainly are blessed. I'm facing your situation at this very moment with my Mum (96 years). I hope I have the strength to handle it, when it happens, as you have done. You may not have had too many so called talents when you were young but music, sports and art are not the be all and end all of life. You have talents most people would give their right arm for. My heart goes out to you .... Charlie's Mum, Lynn.
    Crikey Grandpa Bob ...... I don't know that I'm going to go falling on any swords in the near future. Sounds a bit painful to me but I'm sure going to eat lots of icecream in your memory ... love and sloppy kisses to you Kim, Charlie.

  20. Sometimes I feel that Blogville is a small community where we all live right around the corner from each other, how I was that was true, because right about now you'd hear a knock on your door and I'd be able to give you a hug. I will continue to pray for you and your family in these trying days to come. Hang in there.

    Aroo to you,
    Sully and Robin

  21. Ma had to stop reading after the furst paragraph cause her eyes started leaking. She will come back and give it a proper read tomorrows, butts she wanted you to know that she is thinking of you and your family and sendin' lots of AireZens (from Me) and good vibes and thoughts and prayers and {{{{hugs}}}}
    Ruby ♥

  22. Oh dear Kim...my heart goes out to you. I am so very sorry to hear about Grandpa Bob. This is a beautiful tribute and I am sure it was written with a lot of tears. Wish I could give you a hug right now. My prayers are with you and your family now. Blessings, Jeanne and the girls

  23. Hi Kim, Rolf, Lilly and Muffin. Our thoughts and prayers are with your entire family with the passing of Grandpa Bob. We have read over the years all you have done for Grandpa Bob and all he has given each of you. Your strength and drive to provide care has shown your incredible love. We have watched in admiration as you persevered through one challenge after another yet have kept your humor and love. We know there is not words we can say to ease the hurt and pain now. But, will pray that given time, the hurt will ease and be replaced with great memories.

    Baxter, Baxter's Mom & Dad

  24. What a beautiful tribute and thank you so much for sharing that. I am so glad you have all those wonderful memories to cherish. My prayers are with you.

    Anne and Ziggy

  25. First of all, thank you for sharing that with us! We are so sorry that your dad has passed and know that these stories will be running through your mind for a long time. It is a wonderful thing to have the gift of compassion and to have it to a great degree! Many in this world lack compassion or are too busy with their lives to express it or share it with others. Although music is beautiful, so is compassion. You were taught well.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  26. Kim, I loved your post sharing so much about you and your Dad and Mom. The Christmas picture is precious. You look so happy and not a worry in the world because you are safe by Dad and ready for Christmas, just as it should be. I am glad Lily Belle and Muffin seemed to understand. I only wish Lily Belle and Muffin could have visited at his new place but I am sure you told him about her foot problem. Your last words to your Dad and his to you is a blessing indeed. I would have enjoyed meeting Grandpa Bob!
    Jane and Sambo

  27. Kim this is truly beautiful....bless your heart. I send you hugs and please know you are thought of daily.
    You are so right what a beautiful last day Grandpa Bob had
    Hugs madi and Cecilia


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