The New Year in a New Place ~ Diana Copland: Outside the Margins

Join us as Diana Copland goes Outside the Margins.

Diana Copland OtMThe New Year in a New Place

2015 has dawned with me in a very conflicted place.

I’m losing my dad.  He’s in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease and he was designated Hospice eligible on Christmas Eve.  For those who don’t know, in order to be designated eligible for hospice under Medicare, there are some pretty strict guidelines.  You have to have been diagnosed with less than six months to live.  In addition to that, they require a serious illness that resulted in hospitalization OR a ten percent loss of body mass OR the patient’s unwillingness or inability to eat.  Dad has a combination of things but mostly his designation came about because of a sudden, shockingly sudden decline and a wonderful, compassionate Hospice nurse named Caroline.  For the rest of my life, I will be thankful for Caroline.

I’ve been down this road before, and there’s no reason to elucidate on that further.  Someone said to me once, ‘everyone has their own shit’.  I’ve found that’s true.  And if you look at the struggles other people are going through, and you had a choice, most people would choose the battle they know.  I know I would.  And because of Hospice of Spokane, my Dad will die pain free and with the dignity that’s marked his life.  I’m so grateful for that, I cannot say.

Losing my Dad will be hard.  He has been the center touchstone of my life.  My Dad is, hands down, the finest man I’ve ever known.  There is a line in Sense and Sensibility that has always reminded me of him. When asked about Colonel Brandon, Elinor Dashwood describes him as ‘the kindest and best of men’.  That’s my Dad.  The second to last of seven children, the fact he was five foot nine didn’t prevent him from lettering in four sports in high school. He entered the Army in 1941 and spent 292 days in a combat zone.  He was a half-track commander and if you’ve seen the movie, Patton, where a division gets stuck in the fog?  My Dad was in that division.  He saw combat in France and Belgium and Germany and saw action during the Battle of the Bulge, and his unit was part of the battalion that liberated Dachau.  When he came home, he played minor league professional baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers until an injury ended his career.  He then coached boys baseball and was an MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) teacher for several years.  He impacted hundreds of young people, teaching them how to play baseball, and how to live with humility and honor.  Watching him taught me that what’s important is character; not race, or religion, or sexual orientation.  Character.  And I don’t think it gets much better than that.

He was home on leave in 1942, and he and his mother were walking down the street when he saw a young woman taking tickets in the movie theatre booth across the street.  He turned to his mom and said: “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.”  When he got out of the service in 1945, he did just that.  He and my mom were married for sixty-eight years, and he adored her for every single day of their marriage.  As what happens a lot when soul mates are separated by death, the remaining one doesn’t last very long.  Dad has managed eighteen months.  Frankly, I’m surprised he’s held on this long.

I am who I am and my brothers and sister are who they are because of my dad.  My mom was a complicated person: I loved her, but there were moments when I wanted to punt her into next week, too.  Toward the end of her life she had no filter, and what I hope I learned from the experience of being one of her caregivers is that sometimes the absolute best thing you can do is just shut the hell up.  Dad knew that.  He was the original ‘Quiet Man’, but when he did speak everything he said had value.  I miss that.  Alzheimer’s has stolen that from him, among other things.

So, yeah, soon I’ll lose my Dad.  And I know I will miss him every day for the rest of my life.  I’ll go forward trying to figure out who I am when I cease being my Dad’s voice, his advocate, his number one fan.  I have my kids, who I adore, and my brothers and sister, nieces and nephews.  I will always be a part of them.  But soon I will cease being someone’s little girl, and the thought of it makes me ache.

I’ll always be my Dad’s daughter, but I’ve been honored to be his friend.  I’m going to miss that.

~ Diana Copland

About Diana Copland

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I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

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14 thoughts on “The New Year in a New Place ~ Diana Copland: Outside the Margins

  1. Thank you for sharing this with us all, Diana. The circle has widened greatly in keeping the memory of your dad.
    I will always be my mom’s daughter, having lost her about a year ago. That’ll never change, either.
    Sending you caring vibes.

  2. Oh honey. Big hugs and as many as you need. You will always be your daddy’s little girl, he will just be looking down on you from above where he and your mom can be happy and pain free. Smiling down knowing they have created one of the most wonderful daughters they could have asked for.

    Thank you for sharing with us and know we are all here for you should you need us! We love you

  3. What a beautiful tribute about your father’s life…I can clearly see how important & special he is to you. I lost my father to Alzheimer’s & pneumonia in February 2006…if you don’t mind, I’ll ask my Dad to watch for yours, so they both can continue to guide us. *Hugs* sweet Diana…Tame

  4. You have spoken beautifully for so many of us, Diana. Thank you for your voice so full of truth and compassion. It comforts in that human way that only sharing your pain and loss does. You invited us into your experience and we felt it too.

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