So Father’s Day has come and gone. Ours was the usual busy day. Our daughter had soccer this morning. She plays on a ladies league. After a 2 year absence due to a torn Achilles she’s finally able to play again. Not competitively like she used to yet. My hubby usually works Sunday mornings but he was off this week so he actually took her . Which was nice for them since he loves soccer and they don’t get much one on one time these days. The bonus for me was getting to go back to bed. Which sounds selfish until you hear that I woke up with some weird allergic reaction to something. When I awoke this morning my eyes were practically swollen shut, I was sneezing like crazy and felt horrible. So I took a nap while they were at the soccer game. I am still having issues, have been all day. The only thing I am aware I am allergic to is straw. I’m pretty sure there was no straw in my bed. Lucky for me my doctor just happens to be sending me to an allergist for some mast cell issues that we’re looking into. So maybe he can figure out what on earth caused this crazy reaction. I just hope they are booking me in soon. Hard to see when your eyes are watering non-stop. Makes driving challenging.
We also had to buzz out to a friend’s barn today. My daughter is an equine massage therapist. Just getting her business off the ground. So I went out with her so she could massage my friend’s Frisian. A good equine massage lasts about an hour and a half to two hours. So we were gone all afternoon. Was nice though, always enjoy catching up with friends at other barns.
So with today being Father’s Day I thought I would share something personal with you. My father passed away 4 years ago. He died of lung cancer after a fairly short battle with the disease. I was his right hand man through his illness. Which was probably odd since we had such a combative relationship. In August 2006 he left my son’s birthday party early. I could tell something was wrong. Tried to talk to him but he didn’t like to burden anyone. He was uber private, almost too private really. Anyhow he called me in September to ask me to take him in for a test. One of those ones where you can’t drive yourself. So I took him to the hospital and he insisted I not stay and just pick him up. I reluctantly agreed only as I could tell he was not going to stay if I did. He did not say much on the way home. About a week later he called again and I ran by the house to make him tell me what on earth was going on. He had been having tests but refused to admit he was sick. I started taking him to all his appointments and began to take care of him. Thus began my taking care of Dad.
By December I was with him every day, usually for 12-16 hours a day. After a lot of tests he was finally diagnosed with terminal lung cancer on boxing day of 2006. He started chemo immediately. He only did two rounds before the chemo almost killed him. He did not respond well. After one failed attempt to force him to stay at the hospital, we called an ambulance the next day. He did not want to stay until I burst into tears (I never cry) and he broke down and agreed. He was there for 2 weeks. They wanted him to go to a palliative care hospital after that. He did not want to go, he wanted to die at home. So me and my aunt agreed to take care of him and allow him to do that. She stayed with him and was his companion. I was his caretaker which meant he hated me, took everything out on me. He did okay for about 2 and a half months. Was able to see family and say his goodbyes. Then he went downhill fast. The last couple of weeks were mostly bed rest. For anyone who’s taken care of a terminal family member you know this poses lots of challenges both emotionally and physically. Somehow I just powered through knowing my time with him was limited. I would go home to sleep for a few hours a day. Throw some wash on, make sure the kids were eating. Then go back to Dad’s.
Two days before he died he had an episode that shook him and me up badly. He was having brain issues at that point and the memory wasn’t always there. After 2 weeks of being bed ridden he got up (much to the horror of those of us there) and went into the bathroom and locked the door, Myself, my auntie and another uncle were sitting at the table while he napped. Apparently I went as white as a sheet when he came down the hall. I tried to get him to open the door. He told me he was getting ready for work and I should be getting ready for school. He thought it was the 1980′s. I finally convinced him to unlock the door and tried to get him to go back to his room. He saw his walker and went up to it, unlocked it and went in 3 circles saying “i gotta go, i gotta go, i gotta go”. Then he could not breathe. He looked at me and I lead him to bed and put his oxygen on. After he caught his breath he took off the mask and asked “am I sick?”. I said “yes Dad you’re sick”. Dad said “am I really sick?” I said “yes Dad you are very, very sick”. He looked at me and asked “am I going to die”. I said “yes Dad, I’m sorry but you are going to die”. He simply asked “when?” I answered “real soon Dad, real soon”. He said “oh okay then”. It was the most heartbreaking, odd conversation I’d had with him. Then we both just burst into tears. It was the only time I laid in bed with him. We cried for a long time. Then I spent the rest of the day sitting on his bed showing him photo albums and talking. The next day we knew it was getting to the final hours. By night-time he was an emotional mess. I finally told him it was time for him to go. He was worried about us, how we’d all get on without him. So I promised to take care of everyone and make sure we all stayed close. He died in his sleep early the next morning. In his own bed, on his own terms, just the way he wanted.
I am so grateful I had the opportunity to share this experience with him. While it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, it was also the most rewarding. I miss him every day. The only thing that seems to ease losing him and losing my Mom years earlier is that we bought their home. So we now live in the house I grew up in. The house both my parents died in. Which might freak some people out, but for me it brings me comfort. So memories of Dad abound today. I found out when going through the house that the man we all thought was cold actually was the most sentimental person I’ve ever met. He kept every picture, every card, every note we ever gave him. So this is me sharing this story with you and urging you that if you still have your folks you need to hold them close. No one can love you like a parent.
So how does one follow-up a story like that with a recipe. Simply and quietly.
BBQ Rib Steaks:
4 prime rib steaks
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Steak rub- I used Gourmet Village Coarse and Chunky Steak Rub
Barbecue sauce to taste, I used Bulls eye Guinness
Preheat BBQ on high.
Turn down to medium.
Season steaks with rub and spices and place on lower rack of grill.
Cook on each side for about 6-8 minutes. (we like well done, no pink)
Now spread on BBQ sauce and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on lower temperature.
Flip and brush other side with BBQ sauce and continue cooking for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove from grill and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
BBQ Asparagus with Shallot/Lemon drizzle:
1 bunch of asparagus, snapped and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil ( I used butter)
Cook on grill for about 8-10 minutes, flipping a few times. Start with direct heat.
Put on indirect heat while you prep sauce.
Sauce- in a very hot pan place butter and shallots and start to cook. Should take about 4 minutes to start browning. Add lemon juice and cook on high for 1 more minute. Now reduce and let simmer while you get asparagus off grill.
Plate your asparagus.
Drizzle sauce over the asparagus.