My dad's service. Friday, June 3, 2011, 9:30 AM.

These are my photos from my dad's service. It was such a beautiful day with two really great airmen from the Air Force to give my dad military honors. They presented me with a flag and Taps was played. What a beautifully dreadful day. 

People have been asking me lately why I post all of this personal stuff. Because I want to remember everything, all of the difficult times and all of the happy times. I cherish my time with my family and friends and want something to look back on, something so honest it's painful at times to re-read. 

Presentation of the flag
"On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of Staff Sargent Donald Baxter."

Kelly ...like a daughter to my Dad.  

Mom and Kelly
Thank God for my Mom, she has been so supportive 

Thanks Grandma Honey for the beautiful roses.  

At the end of the service a man in a golf cart came to get my Dad to take him to his burial spot. We all had a smile realizing that my dad was getting to take one more ride in a golf cart, he was a great golfer.  

Seriously...just beautiful. Even the flag at half-staff 

Mimi and Nolan 

Uncle Bob and Suzie 

Kelly, Me, and Becky
Two of my bestfriends, I couldn't have gotten through most of this without them. 
I love you girls. 


Putting myself back together again

"Pain, you just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers, you just breath deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time pain can be managed but sometimes the pain gets you where you least expect it. Hits way below the belt and doesn't let up. Pain, you just have to fight through, because the truth is you can't outrun it and life always makes more."

Everything is still so painful, but I will tell you it is getting a little easier to deal with. I went back to work a couple of days ago which I like. It helps get my mind off of things that are going on in our lives. I really enjoy my job so it's a nice distraction from the pain in my life. I also really enjoy the people that I work with. 

I've decided that I HAVE to get a tattoo. Suddenly I feel like I want a dozen so that I can remember as many things about my dad that I loved. I don't know why I feel like I have to remember those through tattoos but they will always be with me. This blog is here but who knows, maybe in 50 years I won't have it to look at anymore. (ew, I just thought of myself being 70 years old with tattoos all over the place, haha). I want to get his favorite sayings, the nickname he called me, scripture, and a tattoo of the cross that was given to me by our minister at his service. I know that is too much for me so maybe I can try to incorporate all of them together somehow? I don't know...I'll figure that out later. If anyone knows someone that draws up tattoos just as a hobby and wants to help me out, let me know! 

I've got to run to work now and get some things done. I've got so many things to update about and so many pictures to post. I think when you become a mommy you automatically get three extra hours to every day so that you can get EVERYTHING done in one day. Brilliant! 


Thursday, May 26th 2011, the day I lost my daddy...

I'm not sure how far I'll get through this post before I'll have to stop for a cry break or if I'll just cry the entire time I write this.

Six days ago I got a call at work from my aunt. She told me that my dad had not woken up that day and they could not wake him. She said that the hospice nurses told her to call family because they felt my dad only had a few days to live. I rush out of work, picked up the kids, met Dennis at home and packed a few belongings and we raced to Sarasota. We finally got to the hospice at 10pm and they were kind enough to let my kids in to spend some time with their Grandpa. My dad was in a very deep sleep, nothing would wake him but he was not yet in a coma. I talked to him so much that night, held his hand, and cried so hard. The Mavs were playing that night and Dennis had finished watching the game at our hotel room and texted me to tell me they won. My dad loves the Mavs and has been watching them while in the hospital and hospice. Before I said goodnight I told my dad they won. I knew he could hear me. He had been moving his eyebrows around and his hand would twinge every now and then. It was the most frustrating time, my dad was right there in front of me but I couldn't get him to wake up...I even begged him to wake up at one point. That night my aunts decided they were going to go home to sleep because the nurse told them that nothing would happen that night. I asked someone to stay with me in case something did happen and my uncle volunteered. The nurse brought me a cot and I said goodnight to my dad. I woke up every couple of hours to make sure his chest was still rising and falling...and it was. I just knew he would wake up the next day with his jokes and sarcastic humor.

At 5:30 am one of the nurses did her rounds and my dad was alright, but still in a deep sleep. At 6:30 am another nurse came in and woke me up when I could hear her yelling to the other nurse to bring a stethoscope. Then as she tried to find a pulse and breath sounds she looked over at me and said, "I'm glad you were here....he's no longer breathing". I jumped out of my bed and ran to my dad. The nurse told me he had just passed away within a minute or two of her coming in because he was still warm. I grabbed his hand and sobbed. I yelled over and over and over again, "daddy daddy daddy no no no". His hand was so warm, I felt like I could make him come back by begging him. I held on to his hand for a long time and it slowly got more and more cold. I would go and hold his hand off and on throughout the entire day as family gathered at his bedside and ministers came in and said prayers with all of us. As it got closer to the time that the funeral home was coming to get my dad I grabbed ahold of his hand and laid on his chest, sobbing again. How could the funeral home take my daddy? This was my dad and I was NEVER going to see him again. I couldn't let them take him. I laid on his arm and chest until they came and when they came I looked at them and laid back down on my dad's chest and cried even harder. The lady from the funeral home came over to me and squatted down next to me and began to cry with me. She told me about her father passing and she knew I didn't want her to take my dad but that this was no longer my dad and he will stay in my heart. They seem like simple words to most people but at that moment that was exactly what I needed to hear. But still, it cut deeply to know I would never physically see my father again. I put my fingers through his hair and remembered the time when I was a little girl and I had put makeup on him and put his hair in pony tail holders and then let him answer the door for the pizza man looking like that. We had some great times. As she got my dad ready to go  I constantly ran back to my dad and gave him more and more kisses. My mom held on to me as the lady from the funeral home left with my daddy.

The people at the hospice were so amazing, when they found my dad was no longer breathing they brought in candles and flowers at the feet of his bed. They sent me a card in the mail and all of the nurses that took care of my dad in those few days that he was at the hospice signed it. They hugged me, rubbed my back, and offered their support. They are wonderful people.

Things since Thursday have been a blur but I have realized the people that are truly there for me, and unfortunately realized that some of my family are not included in that. I wrote my dad's obituaries for the Dallas Morning News, an Ohio paper, and Sarasota Herald. I've planned my dad's service and I have started cleaning out his house. My dad's service will be Friday at 9:30 am and will be beautiful. He will have military honors and I will be presented with a flag. I have two of my closest friends flying in to help me for the rest of the week and my step-mother in law has been here for the past several days to help me and Dennis with watching the kids and doing other things. They are all so amazing.

I feel so lost without my dad. It seems like it's just been several days that I haven't spoken to my dad and not that he is really gone. Things are only going to get more difficult the closer we get to the service on Friday. Thank goodness for the people that are the closest to me right now.

Oh look at how she listens 
She says nothing of what she thinks 
She just goes stumbling through her memories 
Staring out onto Grey St. 
And she thinks...hey 
How did I come to this 
I dreamed myself thousand times around the world 
But I can't get out of this place 
There's an emptiness inside her 
And she'd do anything to fill it in 

But all the colors mix together 
To grey, and it breaks her heart 

Oh how she wishes it was different 
She prays to God most every night 
And though she swears He doesn't listen 

There's still a hope in her He might 
She says I pray 
But they fall on deaf ears 
Am I supposed to take it on myself 
To get out of this place 
There's a loneliness inside her 
And she'd do anything to fill it in 
And though it's red blood bleeding from her now, 
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart 
When all the colors mix together 

There's a stranger speaking outside her door 
Says take what you can from your dreams 
Make them real as anything 
It will take the work out of the courage 

She says please 
There's a crazy man that's creeping outside my door 
I live on the corner of Grey Street 
And the end of the world 

She feels like kicking out all the windows 
And setting fire to this life 

She could change everything about her 
Using colors bold and bright 
But all the colors mix together 
To grey 

And it breaks her heart...Oh and it breaks her heart 
To grey, Yeah...