Monday, March 15, 2010

I Fall To Pieces

Monday, March 15, 2010

Occasionally an opportunity comes along. An opportunity to do something for someone else. An opportunity that may make you a little uncomfortable. It's not always easy to step out of that comfort zone, but if we can, if we do, it may just make a difference.

There are times we receive phone calls that can change our lives. Phone calls that a love one is sick or has passed away. What do you say? What do you do? What if it's not directly related to you, but what you choose to say or do can ultimately impact those that are grieving?

Is it uncomfortable to call someone who just lost their pet of many, many years. Yes, it is. You know they'll probably cry and that you might to. But just maybe you can make them feel a little better by uttering two simple words...I'm sorry.

And what if it's our loved one who is sick? They're changing before your eyes. You look at them and your eyes fill with tears. You don't know what to say. So you say nothing? You avoid them? Wrong. You call, you visit, you crack jokes, you sit and watch TV with them, you order a pizza and have it sent their way. You invite them over and you invite yourself to their house.

My friend called me on Friday and said that her father was in the hospital and that he probably wouldn't make it. My heart went out to her. My mind panicked. I didn't want to go to the hospital. Her dad reminds me a lot of my dad, which reminded me of when he was in the hospital and that he didn't make it. But she needed me. I had to go. I left work early and drove to the hospital. I sat with her and we sat with him. I talked to him about Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. I asked him if he agreed with who was voted off of American Idol. He loves these shows. He didn't answer my questions. He couldn't. But we sat with him for a long time.

I went back the next morning and met my friend and her sister. I brought him a radio so he would have something to listen to when we weren't there. My friend asked him if he wanted us to turn the radio on. He opened his eyes, shook his head no and pointed to me. He pointed to me again. She asked him if he wanted me to sing and he shook his head yes. I'm not normally nervous when it comes to singing, but this time I was. I wanted to bow out, make my excuses and leave. He looked me in the eye, I opened my mouth and out came Patsy Cline. After that I moved on to Elvis and his daughters joined in. A little Miranda Lambert and the nurses were standing at the door, smiles on their faces. Sugarland was up next and I tried to sing quietly, but its Sugarland and I had to do Jennifer Nettles proud. So I belted it. I watched him the entire time. He laughed when we messed up the words and cried when we sang well. I asked him if he wanted me to stop after each song and he shook his head no. We sang and sang until he started to fall asleep. It was time for a nap. I think all of us needed one.

I'm happy to say that things are looking up. They just moved him from ICU to a regular room. I'd like to think our impromptu concert helped with that. Who knows? Maybe he got better so we wouldn't sing anymore. We can be deadly on the ears at times!

Difficult? Yes. Worthwhile? Absolutely?

I'd love to hear your stories? Ever done something difficult but extremely worthwhile?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi


Mary Stella said...

What a beautiful story, Barb. I can picture you singing for him and him responding. I just saw a news story yesterday that said when we're old, we hold onto our memory of songs and music longer than other things.

The hardest but most worthwhile thing I've ever done was care for my mother over the 11 months of her illness before her death. It was physically and emotionally hard and I would not have given it up to anyone else for anything. (Except sharing it sometimes with my brother and sister-in-law.)

My mother was a wonderful, caring, loving, woman. Knowing that I was doing everything possible to help her in turn helped me get through each day. I know that in the end her suffering was eased, her pain less, and her passing easier on her because her kids took care of her.

Linda Wisdom said...

What a great thing to do!

I sat with my dad at the end. My mom had sat with him for 10 days and when it was decided to take him off the respirator, I sat with him. He didn't wake up, but I talked about fishing trips when I was little, all the memories.

Maybe he couldn't answer me, but in my heart I knew he heard me.

Elle J Rossi said...

Mary Stella,

I can only imagine how hard that must have been. Many times, people abandon those in need because of how hard it is. I don't judge them, but feel sad that they lost out on valuable time. You helped your mother every day just by being near her, let alone all the other things you did to care for her. We can only hope that someone will love us that much should we ever have to go through something like that.

Thank you for sharing your story,
SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Elle J Rossi said...


He absolutely heard you. Not only did you help your dad when he needed you most, but you also helped your mom. And I'll bet that talking about those memories helped you a little too.

I thank you too, Linda, for sharing your story,
SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Beth Ciotta said...

Way to make me cry. That's a beautiful and important story, Barb. I'm so glad you could be there for your friend's dad. I must have meant the world to him (and her).

The hardest thing I ever did was stay with Tommy (my stepdad) when he was going. Yet I found the strength because I felt like I needed to be there with him even though he wasn't conscious. I talked to him about country music and BJ talked to him about angels. As hard as it was I'm so glad I was there.

SIS Beth

Tori Lennox said...

What a wonderful story. You made me cry, too. I'm glad he's doing somewhat better. May he continue to improve.

Sisters-in-Sync said...


Yes, that was an incredibly hard, yet still beautiful time. I think of it as beautifully sad.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Sisters-in-Sync said...


I didn't mean to make you guys cry. Thanks so much for the well wishes. I'll pass them on.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Chris Behrens said...


That is one of the most moving stories I've ever read. Darkly beautiful, to say the least. My thoughts and well wishes go out to him. Sometimes simple human kindness can do more than any medicine invented by science.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I too spent my father's final hours in the hospital with him, along with pretty much my entire family, which in and of itself was very moving . The hospital was about 2 or 3 hours from where I lived at the time, and I wasn't aware of how dire the situation was until I got there. There was no time to prepare as he was expected to be okay when he went into the hospital and passed away after being taken off a respirator only a few days later.

We never had a great relationship but I wouldn't have wanted anyone else for a father, and not being able to have a conversation with him before he passed was tough, but I did talk to him in the hospital and I know he heard me.

In addition, he passed away while my mother, wendy and I were not at the hospital, and that was also tough but I think that was the way he wanted it. To this day it was the hardest thing I've ever gone through but at least I know that he wasn't alone at the end.

Chris Behrens said...

I forgot to mention above that this happened the day before Thanksgiving.

Elle J Rossi said...


Having family around at a time like that is very moving. Sadly, sometimes that is the only time family members get together. And rest assured, you did have a conversation. Your dad was just being a great listener. It being around the holidays must have made it especially tough.

Thanks for sharing,
SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

SIS BJ said...

Hi Barb

Wonderful story. Being with Dad in the end was the hardest thing I have ever done. The look of awe on his face at while he took his last breath was well worth it.

Sisters-in-Sync said...


What a very moving story. I know that it meant a lot to Pops for you and the girls to sing to him. I believe that music is such a healing thing anyway. You were very brave to do it and I'm positive that he loved it.

I'd like to think that I'm the sort of person who would be there for people when they really need it. It is a difficult thing to sit with people when they are dying, but knowing the comfort that we must bring to them in their final moments is well worth it. All of us being together as a family, I'm sure, gave our beautiful father/step-father the peace that he needed to move on.

Wishing Pops a very speedy recovery and hugging you for being the beautiful person you are.

SIS Bren

Elle J Rossi said...


I'll agree. That was the hardest thing I can remember going through. The only thing that made it easier was having so many family members to lean on.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Elle J Rossi said...


If you could have been there, we would have had some wicked harmonies going on!

You are that type of person. I think you would sit with a perfect stranger if they were in need. More of the world should be like that.

I'll pass the well wishes on,
SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Alyson Reuben said...

Elle, so sorry to be posting late!

As you know I recently lost my Papaw to lung cancer, so I understand how much it hurts to see pain clouding the eyes of a loved one.

I would've loved to have seen and heard you cheer your friend's father up! It's very likely that the impromptu concert made him feel better both physically and emotionally. After all, singing is good for the soul!

I hope that he quickly regains his strength and makes a complete recovery!

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