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About Clematis

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  • Location (city, state)
    Sedona, AZ
  • Interests
    Lena (my therapy cat), Playing music (cello, ukulele, classical guitar, etc.), Watercolors, Ceramics, Flowers-growing and painting them

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  • Your relationship to the individual who died
  • Date of Death
  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Hospice Compassus Sedona, AZ

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  1. Grief sure seems to make a lot of people worse...more narcissistic, more crazy, more of whatever they are. I had a friend named Wayne, who was a gifted ceramicist and painter. He was also a fighter pilot in Vietnam and the agent orange and jet fuel exposure he got from decades flying and training pilots caught up with him via cancer, and the second bout killed him in early Dec 2018. He was a sweetheart of a man and had many friends. After his military retirement he devoted himself to art and was very prolific. He had a ceramic studio in a trailer he owned, took classes at the community college, and was very involved in many aspects of the art community. He was also very active at the community rec center, where he exercised regularly. He was friendly, kind, generous, and many people loved him. It was heartbreaking to us all to see him decline suddenly and die. I met Wayne at the community college in ceramics classes, and also saw him at the rec center, and we talked about all kinds of things when we saw each other and texted when we didn't. I loved him, as did a lot of people. At the college, there is a clique of middle aged and older women who have been working in clay for a long time. They socialize together to the exclusion of "new" women artists, but draw in new men, and seem to fawn on them. This sort of thing exists all over the place. You know what I mean... So this group is like a little bully clique at the college. The classes have beginning, intermediate, and advanced students all together, and so there are students who have been there for many years, who work on their own thing, socialize, and sometimes help the less experienced. The man who has taught ceramics at the college for many years - let's call him Tim - has tolerated the bullying in his class for the six years I have been involved there - and no doubt before that. I try to keep my head down, work on my projects, and stay out of their way, which is difficult, because they make demeaning comments and literally push people out of their way. They seem to see themselves as a "top tier" of privileged students who can boss and demean the rest. I usually do hand-building, but decided to give the wheel another try this semester because there is a new teacher, who is an amiable young man who is quite skilled. While Tim has been impatient with my repeated attempts to try to learn on the wheel, the new teacher has tried hard to derive ways to teach me what has alluded me. This is great, but it has been frustrating. Since I am rather relentless, I keep at it on the wheel. Meanwhile, the bullying has intensified in the presence of the new young teacher and since Wayne's death. Wayne had tons of stuff related to clay...finished wares, partially finished wares, clay, tools, glazes, chemicals, kilns, wheels, and so on. Apparently the same is true with his painting things. His son said at his memorial that he really wanted to give as much os Wayne's tools, wares, and so on to Wayne's friends. He as asked repeatedly didn't he want to be paid or have the money to to something, and the son kept insisting that he believed his dad would have loved his pieces and tools go to his friends and people who loved him and his work. But the bully clique descended and things got ugly. The son was in town early this week and the word went around the clique in whispers. I heard this and contacted his son, who encouraged me to come out to the trailer and he would give me a few or Wayne's pieces, which I did. When I got there the whole bully clique was there and they were nasty. One greeted me with, "did you come to pick or help?" I tried to avoid them and talk to his son and look at the trailer and it's contents, which was overwhelming, even after two days of it being picked over and hauled off. These women decided that that they should get all of the stuff together and sell it, and set up a scholarship in Wayne's name at the college. I had heard about this at the college and that they had tried to badger anyone who had anything of Wayne's to pay them for it. So, out at the trailer I talked to his son privately, about his dad, his work, and so on. He offered me some pieces and several times came over to me with a bowl or mugs I hadn't seen, asking me if I would like them. I ended up with four bowls, three mugs and a couple of other odd pieces. When I was walking to the car one of these women was following me, yelling my name. I ignored her, but she pursued me to my car where I couldn't avoid her anymore. She told me, "if you took anything you need to pay for it" and explained what they were doing. I told her that Wayne's son had been very clear about his wishes and how he felt about his father. She went on some thing about how the scholarship was taking things "full circle" and didn't I want things to go full circle. I ignored her and went back to the son, asking him if he wanted me to pay him or these women. He said, "No, no, I want you to have them and it is not my intention for you to pay for them". I told him what this woman had said and he said, "WHO said that?" I told him and he told me to take and enjoy the pieces. So I did. Later in the day I called the college and talked to the dean about the bully pack and their horrible behavior in class. The physical intimidation, pushing, demeaning comments that go on right in front of the teacher...it has been hard to go into class knowing I will face that, and I don't think the college wants that to go on. I told her six or so of the more flagrant things, including one woman who has shoved, dragged me along with her as she walked rather than walking around me. She has also pressed up against me in a group because she wanted the spot where I was and I couldn't move other because other people were standing in a tight group listening to the teacher. So she would stand there, pressed up against me, so I could feel her breast and whatnot against me. Ewww... I have not been silent in class, but protest, with no impact. She also goes up to the sink when I am using it and puts a bucket between the spigot and my hands to fill it, and if I say anything says, "I am just taking your runoff", which of course would be below my hands and not above. Another woman was particularly nasty to me one day (the same one who chased me to my car) and I said to her, "do you have kids?" "Yes, she said". I then asked her, "do you know I'm not one of them?" "Yes", she said. "That's good!" I said cheerfully and with enthusiasm. So, none of this had had any impact, which is why I went to the dean. She was sympathetic and understanding, saying that the new teacher was an adjunct faculty and probably felt uncertain about how to handle the situation, which he had really inherited from Tim. She also said that she had taken a class with Tim a year or so ago, and had been bullied in Tim's class in front of Tim, even though she was the dean. She said she would talk to him and possibly pay a visit to the class. I was late to class yesterday because I work two hours away and sometimes it's hard to get out early. When I got to class, the teacher seemed to be a little tense but didn't say anything - just body language, like a tensed jaw. The class seemed subdued, everyone was very polite, no one was pushing anyone else around, and the three of them didn't say a word to me. That was good. I know this was kind of long, but it seems so typical in a way, of how grief intensifies dysfunction and how people can get into the most awful behaviors struggling over the stuff that a deceased person owned. It is insensitive to the bereaved and disrespectful to the deceased person, whom they supposedly loved so much.
  2. Clematis

    Help...just lost my little cat

    That is wonderful - I am so happy for you! Send us a pic, if you want to, so we can see her. How old is she? What color? It is exciting news...and good for you. I had a long period once when I could not have a pet (extreme allergies, which improved). It was 15 years with no pet, and once I got Lena I was ecstatic and just wanted to share her with the world. A pet makes such a difference, being happy to see you when you come home, interested in every little thing you do, and being a loving companion. And sharing love with them is a gift...food, treats, toys, playing games, and so on. I love spending time with my cat, buying her things, feeding her, taking pictures of her...
  3. Clematis

    Help...just lost my little cat

    It is so hard to lose a pet, and I totally understand what you mean when it is just you and her really. For me it has been like that with my cat Lena. We used to me a little family of me, my dad, and Lena. Now it is just me and Lena. I hope she lives as long as I do, but that is unlikely. Getting another pet is a very personal decision and no one can tell you what to do. I believe you can never replace a person or a pet and every relationship is a new one. No one could ever replace Joy, but a new pet could help ease your suffering. Joy helped you to cope with whatever you were dealing with before, and a new pet would help you with your life now and you wouldn't be alone. Lena has helped me to cope with the loss of my father. She can't replace him, but her presence in my life has given me love, comfort and solace. Chances are good that I will live longer than my beloved Lena, and there will probably be another cat who will help me cope with that heartbreak, even though no cat could ever replace her. And there is no shortage of cats who are desperately in need of love and a good home. I wish you the best.
  4. Clematis

    Season of Grief - Is this "A Thing"?

    Yay Tillamook! Go Cheesemakers! I don't know anything about Bandon but I love Tillamook Swiss, and their ice cream is fantastic. The people at the school have been nice to me as well. I can't wait to retire too, but not because of the cheesemakers. Today was a wreck of a day...there was a shooting in Winslow while I was there...a guy shot someone in the head. The victim was airlifted to the hospital in Flagstaff, while the shooter was at large for a while. They put all the schools on a lockout or "soft lockdown" for over four hours, so people inside the schools could have a relatively normal day, but no one could enter or leave the schools. Eventually the shooter barricaded himself inside a house with a hostage a few blocks away school where I happened to be at the onset and for the duration. I didn't realize until hours after it was all over that my neck and back was a mass of tension from the ordeal. It was really awful to be so close to something like this going on. And Winslow is a very small town. Teachers in the school knew these people. We all thought this might end with multiple people dead and when I left town the word was the mother of the shooter was sitting at a picnic table with some friends as close to the house there the standoff was as the police would allow her. I'm sure she was terrified that her son would not survive the day, but I just learned the police were able to end the standoff without any further bloodshed. I am sure glad to be home with my kitty...
  5. Clematis

    Season of Grief - Is this "A Thing"?

    The district in Oregon picked the wrong person and she was miserable with having to stay in a small room proctoring an evaluation, and she also doesn't know what she is doing. Yet. Not my fault. As to talking to various staff about whether a SpEd student should be tested, well by law it is a team decision and involves discussion. The school psychologist is an essential part of that discussion. But this is the district that had one school psychologist for five counties for years and are trying to get up to speed. I think they have a way to go... The other district in Oregon loves me and everything about me. That is pretty great. I love them too...they are the district with the cheese I happen to love. And ice cream... Meanwhile I am stating busy learning Hebrew. And trope - that is pretty exciting!
  6. He does. I just want to have contact with Hermon and to help his other friends have contact with him because I believe it would be good for him. It's good for anyone to feel love and connection. Also, of course, I miss him. I talked to his son Steve on Monday and he told me that he talked to his dad and Hermon asked Steve "Do I live here now?" Steve told him yes, he does. "Why?" And Steve told him, "Well, Dad, you walked away from your house and a lady picked you up and they took you to a hospital and you had to come here because your memory is too bad to live alone anymore." He said he went on to assure his dad that he is living with people who love him and are taking good care of him. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to make up such an enormous lie (telling a guy who clung desperately to his home that he had walked away from it). It seems like gaslighting, and with a person who is already tremendously confused that seems mean. But there is nothing I can do about that, and I told Steve I was glad he told me that because I can do my best to avoid it by telling Hermon when I talk to him that I really don't know how he came to live there and not his home. The only hope I have of continuing to be Hermon's friend is to play it Steve's way. And after telling different lies to me and Hermon backfired when I talked to him, I think Steve now has the picture that he needs to tell me the "party line" if he expects me to stick to it. I have a friend who is having a similar situation to the one you had with your mom. She is living with her dad, who had dementia but won't go to the doctor or entertain any discussion about his memory or inability to do everything he has always done. She seems particularly distressed by his freely spending money he doesn't have, and is worried that they will lose their house and everything else.
  7. Clematis

    Season of Grief - Is this "A Thing"?

    I sure wish he were here. He was so supportive and I surely need it. I feel totally surrounded by people who see me as a big target. I have people in Oregon making up stuff about me even though I have barely begun to work there. The online company just notified me that one district doesn't want me to work there due to "concerns" about my professional judgment and decision making. Three incidents...one was that a woman with severe ADHD was assigned to be a proctor for my testing. We tested for three hours in one day, split into two sessions with the second after an assembly and lunch. She reported that I had tested this student for seven hours in one day, which would be very inappropriate for the student. Due to her ADHD she may have found three hours of proctoring an evaluation to be torturous, but three hours is not seven hours, even if the proctor did feel she lost her whole day. The other two things were similarly distorted. One was asking the primary support person something she did not know - and she didn't know who would know the answer. The third was about a student who has been in Special Ed for seven years and has never been tested. I suggested testing her, but when they resisted I told them I would go along with whatever they wanted me to do. I had basically suggested that it would be good to at least consider following federal law. So if someone makes up something about me or grossly distorts the truth, that means my professional judgment is impaired? This company told me that they hoped this would be an isolated incident but if there were any more reports of problems with my professional judgment, I would be out the door altogether. How do I keep people from making stuff up? I think it is out of my control. And the SpEd secretary in Winslow is upset with me because I have asked that they please let me know in an email if they have some work for me (a student to evaluate) before I take a drive that is 1-1/2 hours each way to find this out. They also figure that it is ok to not tell me if I have a student to evaluate in the morning if I am going out there in the afternoon for a meeting. So if I have a meeting at 3:00 in the afternoon and drive out there at 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning, and there is nothing for me to do all day, that has me sitting in my car of hanging out at Wall-Mart for six or seven hours, that is ok with them. I think that's no way to treat anyone.
  8. Clematis

    Season of Grief - Is this "A Thing"?

    It's a year later and I think it is most definitely a "season of grief". Today is my father's birthday, and three years ago on this date...well exactly two months later he would be dead. We didn't exactly know that, but I was scared. Things seemed to definitely be going downhill. But then again, there had been so many times before when things had gone downhill and then he had improved almost to where he had been before. Down five steps and then back up four steps. Surely it could happen again. But it didn't. He was getting too tired of struggling to keep trying. I kept hoping and urging him to try to...try to do what I don't know. We were at the end and now I am going it alone without his companionship and backup. I so wish I had those ten years to do over. Not that I'd do anything differently. What more could I do? Enjoy the time more? I did enjoy the time I had and I treated it like it could be the end. I honestly can't say I would do anything differently. I just wish he was still here with me. Every day...
  9. Yeah, Steve is on the right path, but somewhat misguided in the way he is going about it. He tried to get his dad to stay at his house, the "ranch" with an 8-foot chain link fence around it, and that would have been a good idea in saving money, but his approach was to lie to Hermon (and me) in saying it was only temporary while his former caregiver was recovering from surgery. Hermon figured this out and escaped after a week, with part of the result being that he trusts Steve less than before. Hermon lacks the cognitive capacity to accept the reality that he really cannot go back to living in his home, but I think out of respect for his humanity it is worth trying to give him a chance. A year ago Steve was adamant that Hermon not be told that his daughter Billie had died, and wanted everyone to tell Hermon that she was out of town visiting relatives. This was not a credible lie, even to a guy with dementia, because everything had been removed from her room, especially the bed - due to bedbugs. Also, BIllie's son wanted some of her things. Hermon kept going down the hall and calling me in tears, saying "I think Billie's gone". I would say "yes, that's right - she's gone". He would ask me what happened and as I began telling him about the alcohol and her liver, it would come back to him and he would cry a little and then move on. It seemed to me like a rather normal processing of grief. We all forget our loss in the beginning and then it comes back and slaps us back into reality. Hermon wasn't much different. Steve also wanted to not tell Hermon that he wasn't able to drive any more and so Steve took the car he wanted and disabled the other. He thought Hermon would get angry and thought lying was a way to avoid that. Nevertheless, Hermon would go out in the garage and notice that one car was gone and the other would not start. He would go into a rage and call either Steve or me, yelling about how Steve had stolen his car and disabled the other and he was going to kill him. When Steve got these calls he would panic and ask me to go and check on his dad. When I received these cars I would tell Hermon as sweetly as possible that he was not supposed to be driving and in fact his driver's license was expired. I would tell him as kindly as I could that there was really no one, including me, who thought he should be driving, and offer to pick him up and drive him wherever he wanted to go. After some time, Hermon became familiar with these little talks about his not driving and he was not nearly so upset. I know that taking one's parent's keys away or somehow convincing them to stop driving is really difficult, and I think Steve was rather gutless in avoiding this and by his avoidance delegating it to me. Now he is faced with the even more difficult task of transitioning his dad into a care setting, and he's not handling that very well as far as I can tell. I'm not sure that lying to Hermon is working, and treating me like the enemy is probably a mistake because I could probably help him. I think he is suspicious of me because he is doing something suspicious. I think part of his agenda is figuring out how to get the "ranch" into his own possession so that it does not end up being sold to pay for Hermon's care. I figure he is playing his cards close to his chest because he is trying to pull off this transfer without his brother or anyone who might be assessing Hermon's financial situation discovering the truth. Meanwhile Hermon is being told he is just staying someplace temporarily while his caregiver recovers. If he really could believe that, it might be ok because he would gradually settle in. But when I talked to him ten days ago, he was asking me, "Is this a nursing home?" I think he is figuring out the truth and is understandably upset about it. My biggest fear is that he will put this together and escape in his attempt to go home, and since he is not in a secured facility he might die of exposure trying to get home. It's getting cold. I hope I'm wrong.
  10. I think Steve is really scared. His dad has raged at him off and on throughout his life, and I think he is terrified that his dad will turn on him and rage on him that Steve is stealing his money and his phone and controlling his life and has removed him out of his house without Hermon's permission and so on. Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth in all that, and Hermon used to say over and over that the worst mistake he ever made was turning things over to Steve. It is also true that it was or would soon be necessary to remove Hermon from his house and sell it in order for him to have the money for where he is going to live next, and he would never have been willing to agree to that. Therefore taking him out of his house without his agreeing to it does seem to be necessary. But Steve had a year of my helping Hermon to stay in his house - I had hoped that he would prepare something more sensitive than the way he has gone about it. As to the isolation, I suspect that the staff is trying to control the situation and keep Hermon calm while he gets used to things. It's really hard to imagine that Hermon isn't angry and scared, and it seems likely that the staff is glossing things over for Steve since Steve has allowed for that by his lack of involvement. I figure he is in some amount of denial in his hope that Hermon will just kind of forget that he had a home and a life. People with dementia remember the distant past much better than they remember the recent past, and so this idea seems kind of crazy. But I have to go along with it for the time being. I think Steve is afraid of a lot of things. I think he is afraid of his brother looking over his shoulder, I think he is afraid of what his dad's future will mean for him and his family and his future finances. Steve has been living for the past 15 years on a piece of property rent-free that is valued at about $500K and he hopes to inherit it and not have it go to his brother or his father's care. Hermon meant to give it to Steve, but if he uses his POA to segue in into his ownership he may be in a lot of trouble. I think Steve also has some apprehension about me, although I have worked hard to help Hermon for the past year and that ultimately is of benefit to Steve as well. I think ultimately he is suspicious of others because he is worthy of suspicion. My intention all along has been to help Hermon, but it isn't easy, and I think his sons see him as the goose with the golden eggs. So did his (now deceased and former alcoholic) daughter, who was seen on numerous occasions selling his stuff when he was at church. What a mess! As for me, I am working on plans to have someone outside my family have my POA and all that. I have a good friend who is a sweet and kind person...very smart and also happens to be an MD. She would be a much better choice than either of my sisters. My dad's attorney would be good for a backup to Susan.
  11. Thanks to you both. It has been very difficult. I really don't understand this strategy of cutting him off from everyone, really including his son, until he "settles in". I somehow find it hard to believe this is how this sort of transition is typically handled, but I don't know. I wish I did... Meanwhile, the only thing I can do is to play ball the way Steve wants it played and to continue to behave in such a way that Steve sees me as an ally and confidant so that he doesn't shut me out altogether. I think it very likely that Hermon will "settle in" and then I will be able to have contact with him. I have very gently reminded Steve that if he wants me to stay away from certain topics, he really needs to tell me what they are and he can't really blame me for not having guessed somehow what Hermon knows about his situation and the degree to which he is being kept in the dark. I certainly disagree with all this, but have to go along with it if I want to keep in touch with Hermon.
  12. I still miss my dad, who died almost three years ago. I also miss my friend Hermon, who disappeared from my life a few weeks ago, courtesy of his son. Hermon has dementia and I spent the last year doing everything I could to help him stay in his home as long as possible. Hermon's son Steve got a woman to trick Hermon to get in a car to go have lunch, which was actually on the way to Steve's house three hours away. Steve tried to keep Hermon in his house on a small ranch with an 8-foot chain link fence around it. Steve and his wife were in no way prepared to keep a very healthy and strong man who wanted to go home. After about a week Hermon got over the fence, was captured, taken to the ER, transferred to a psych hospital several hours away, and then placed in an assisted living facility that does NOT have a locked unit and does NOT have a memory unit, which Hermon probably needs, sad as that is, according to a previous assessment. I talked to Hermon on the phone after he had been there for about a week, with his son's blessing, but now Steve does not want me - or anyone - to talk to Hermon, because he thinks that Hermon will soon forget he had a life before, friends, a cat, a home, and all that. He figures if Hermon is out of contact with everyone, he will just settle in and forget everything else. When he was still in the comfort and oriented to his surroundings, he would go into a rage about or at Steve about every day, saying that giving him POA was the worst mistake he had ever made in his life, and raging about how Steve was stealing from him and so on. I figure that is still probably going on, even though he has almost no contact with his son, and the staff is probably reluctant to be open about this, because their occupancy is at about 75%. It seems that Hermon will figure out that the reason he is suddenly living in Steve's town is somehow due to Steve. I also figure Hermon will keep trying to get home. He has no idea Steve is going through Hermon's stuff getting ready to have a big garage sale and then sell Hermon's house. Hermon will need the money to pay for his care at this point, but it seems cruel to have not told him anything about what is going on or where he is or why. Hermon reportedly thinks he is staying at a hotel or maybe someone's home while his caregiver recovers from a hysterectomy, after which she will continue caring for Hermon in his own home. Is this a normal strategy? Lying to someone about why they are no longer living in their home and keeping them in a situation of no contact with anyone from their past? Is this something that facilities do on any frequent basis with elderly confused patients? Does is ever work or do the people just disintegrate and become more confused? Is this ever a good strategy to capture a person with dementia and shut them up with no contact with the outside world? It seems really cruel, but I don't know what that is likely to do to a person who suffers from dementia. Perhaps someone else knows. I find it to be very disturbing, and maybe it is... The other thing that bothers me is that Hermon really has no contact with anyone outside this facility, and so no one really knows what it going on there. Steve told me that he has only talked to his dad twice in the three weeks he has been there, but calls the staff and asks them how Hermon is doing. The staff give him glowing reports about how Hermon is doing well, is happy, busy playing dominoes, and so on. I remarked that there is a financial motive for the staff to give Steve good reports and people in all kinds of facilities do better when family and friends are "looking over the shoulders" of the caregivers by way of frequent visits and contact. I don't think Steve believed me... Any comments from anyone who has had experience with elderly relatives with dementia living in facilities where they don't want to be?
  13. Clematis

    Season of Grief - Is this "A Thing"?

    I talked to the rabbi of my synagogue this past Shabbat after Torah study about Yahrtzeit, and asked her if it is only observed the single day the loved one died. She said yes, and that it is observed by the way it falls on the Jewish calendar. Then she asked me what I was thinking of and I told her it really feels like a whole two month cascade of his final two months from his last birthday until his death. She nodded thoughtfully and encouraged me to honor my feelings in remembering and honoring him, commenting that this is still relatively recent. Three years seems like forever and yesterday at the same time...
  14. Clematis

    Season of Grief - Is this "A Thing"?

    And now it is three years since my last season with my dad. People tell me, "Oh, the holidays are always hard for people who have lost someone." Well, the holidays are hard for almost everyone. This is not just the holiday blues. It seems like almost everything reminds me of my dad's decline and my gathering panic climaxing to my inevitable loss of him from my life. Or, I am reminded of the things we did and what life was like when things were good. Thursday I was in Flagstaff and I went to Michael's and Sprouts in a little shopping center. This has not been a particular trigger, but suddenly I had that same feeling like I couldn't breathe as I thought about how we used to go to Flagstaff together when he first moved out here. He was taking banjo lessons and I was taking violin lessons at the same place and time; I arranged this before he even moved. After our lessons we would go to this Mexican restaurant in that little shopping center... But he really was going downhill, even in the beginning; I just didn't want to see it. His Parkinson's was already making it hard for him to get his hands to work and he eventually quit the banjo and even the ukulele, which he had played since he was a teenager. I sure loved having him here and in my life. I have lived most of my adult life living alone, but before moving to Sedona I was not so alone. He moved her a year after I did, and even for that year I was totally focused on him and getting him out here. And then it was just me and him for a decade. I do have some friends, but none of them are in Sedona. But if I had it to do over, what would I do? The same thing. I would spend every moment I could with him. There is really nothing I could have said or done that I didn't, and anything I wish I hadn't said or done - well I had plenty of time to make amends and did so. Maybe that is a blessing, that I have no regrets really, only grief. I don't know because the grief is such an anguish. It was such a joy after all the many years of isolation from my family and a fair amount of social isolation, to have a companion for any and all occasion - or for no occasion at all. And he always had my back and was supportive and on my side. Most of the time he was not very vocal about it, but he was there. I learned after he had died just how much I had meant to him and how proud he was. I lost my dad from when I was little, the mentor of my youth and young adulthood, and my best friend and constant companion of my middle years. He really did become my significant other, and we had a spiritual connection that didn't even realize when he was alive. And here I am...