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3 "prep lessons" learned the hard way



I never really thought that I'd go offline for a long time, it was supposed to be a break to deal with Dad, after he fell and hit his head in kitchen. Then he fell a few more times. The doctors couldn't find any reason, no symptoms of a stroke or anything... And the next thing I knew, my father, with his Masters' degrees in Theology and another in History, became nearly 100% uncommunicative. I watched as he held blank pieces of paper before his eyes, 10 or 15 minutes at a time, as if he were intent on reading. I didn't go offline because I needed to tend to him, he was able to be a private pay at a good facility... I went offline because I needed to BE with him. I spent the best and the most difficult months of my life sitting at the foot of his bed at 0530 with my coffee, reading aloud to him. Back for supper, to help him eat... to read his mail... help him into his pj's... and then my moment of "respite" just sitting and watching him breathe as his body continued to curl into what eventually became a permanent fetal position. All those little things that suddenly I did not want anyone else to do for him.


To make a very long story short, he eventually died. And one of the HARD "prep lessons" I learned from that is that people do not react as one expects around death and the dying even with nearly a year of warning. My father's death cost me any but the most formal of relationships with my siblings. I was both FPOA and MPOA and at one point had to physically stand between my father and a nurse with a feeding tube that my brother had called in. We'd ALL had that discussion, that he didn't want such a thing... but when the moment came to let him starve himself to death, my siblings couldn't deal with it. Offline Prep Lesson 1 - do not expect anything to go as planned in the face of death. Decisions made in advance by intelligent and cooperative people can suddenly become null and void because of emotions.


A year later, my remaining sister died. Unexpectedly while in the hospital for a routine gall bladder removal she had a massive heart attack. This was especially difficult because my mother had now lost 3 of 5 children. Her grief was as great as anyone's; compounded by the behavior of my remaining brother and his family. Offline Prep Lesson 2 - Everyone who was mad at you before an unexpected death will be at least twice as mad at you afterward. This was a very valuable prep lesson to be, because from it I learned that no matter how well prepared WE may be to face awfulness... we WILL be affected by those who aren't prepared. I can steel my heart against almost anything... except for my mother. In a survival situation that could represent a real failure on my part. I'm still hashing through that one. I expect in the harsh light of survival reality, Mom will be important, but I'll get the job done. I hope so, at least.


It seemed that life began to settle back down... there were job changes and some issues with the dance studio, but things appeared to be returning to normal, but then I realized that through all of the above listed crap my marriage had fallen apart. My husband and I had more money invested in prep and survival stuff than we did in furniture, by far. Even though we divided much of it, I was still faced with spending thousands of dollars I did not have to replace large gun safes, weapons, ammo, camping gear. Offline Prep Lesson 3 - consider your physical preps a significant asset in your life. Be ready and willing to fight for them, for their loss can cost you way more than a car or replacement furnishings!


So, mostly I wrote this for my "old" MrsS friends, as a way of explaining and apologizing for disappearing. It was a tough 4 years. I thought of you often, but felt immobile... and almost powerless. Me, almost powerless. Scary.


So GLAD to be back! I'm shucked that powerless feeling, I'm re-empowered. I know I'm a little colder than I was before. But, life is good, preps go on.


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Just a quick footnote. My father died from a condition called vertebrobasilar insufficiency. Its flat out insidious. If you have an aging parent who has symptoms that are traditionally associated with strokes, but the doctors can't find brain damage, ask them check this out. Unfortunately for Dad, his veins could not withstand the force of having the veins cleaned out... but others have been saved by this. (the balloon or roto-rooter traditionally done on coronary arteries.)

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I am sorry to hear what you went through. I lost my own father a few years back after a prolonged hospital stay in which I sat with my Mom by his side hour after hour. I know what you went through.


Prepping lessons, learned that way, are always some of the hardest but always best remembered. AND best shared. Thanks for letting us know the why's of you being missing. It's nice to have you back. ((((((Mamacat)))))

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First of all, I'm so sorry for your loss.


I understand, first hand, why you were away. I have been in difficult life situations where just putting one foot in front of the other was a chore. Although painful, I always seem to come out stronger and a little wiser in the end though. Sounds like you did too.


Thank you for sharing your Prep Lessons.

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It is not easy to prep for our final aging days and death. Many ignore it completely. Some 'think' they have everything figured out and leave it at that. But, death is a cruel master, it will effect every single one of us.


Through the years, I have watched the reactions of those around. Each dealing with the grief in diverse ways, rarely with kindness.


Your "prep lessons" are sage advise.


Thank you for sharing.




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So very sorry for your loss, Mamacat. My father passed last May. I'm approaching fifty this year and I still feel like a little girl when I think of my dad not being around. I talk to him every day and I know that he loved me. I was blessed to be with him during his last three days on this earth. I even got an hour by myself with him. It is one of the sweetest memories I have of him. Big hugs to you!

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