Saturday, February 27, 2010

The funeral is over. It was so beautiful. My dad would have loved everything about it - the flowers, the music, the sermon, and me and Mandy's eulogies. It was very hard when they closed the casket, knowing that was the last time ever I was going to see his face. But I knew when I looked in the casket, that wasn't my dad. He was gone already.

We have all got several signs from my dad over the last few days. Mine was amazing. Before my dad passed, I asked him to send me a sign. I asked him to send me rainbows like Nevaeh does. On the way home from the funeral last night, there were two vertical rainbows. One on each side of the sun. As I write this I get goose bumps (which is another thing I have been getting constantly since my dad passed). The rainbows were so amazing.

My dad also gave me one last gift. Jason had some revelation at my dad's funeral about life, and how short it is. He said he feels like he has taken me for granted for so long. He rubbed my feet and my legs last night, then we just cuddled all night and talked about the good times. I couldn't remember the first time I told him I loved him, and he couldn't remember the first time he told me loved me. We really need to do stuff like that more often.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tonight is going to be very hard. I am anxious to see my dad again, but I am also dreading it. I know tomorrow will be the last time I ever see his face again. I think that is the hardest part.

We made my dad promise us he would send us a sign that he is okay. Every day I look at everything wondering if it is my sign. Like I saw a field full of geese the other day, which is really unusual this time of year. I do know in my hear that he is okay, in a better place, I just wish he would send me a definitive sign somehow, to heal my own heart a little.

I haven't really cried since my dad passed. I feel kind of cold hearted. I remember it was the same way after I lost Nevaeh. Which means the months ahead is when it is going to hit me, and I will be the biggest mess.

My pastor described loosing a loved one as an open wound. Right now anytime your press anything against it, it is very painful. But over time the wound starts to heal and hurts less, but there will always be a scar there. I like that analogy.

My mom and me went and got are hair colored and cut yesterdday together. It was nice. My mom is my best friend, and I love spending time with her. I think what hurts me the most is seeing her in so much pain. A special thanks to Beth Rusch who worked on her day off to do me and my mom's hair. There are so many special people helping us out during this difficult time. Even the simplest things - my cousin Wendy gave us all massages on Saturday. My neighbor cooked 3 meals for my family, so I haven't cooked all week, which is a huge help. People are sending cards that I haven't talked to in years. My friend Scott is making beautiful prayer cards with my dad's picture on it. It is all so appreciated.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Out of all the books McKenna has in her room, she just made me read a book to her on heaven. How ironic! I forgot we had the book. It made me smile and cry:

God wants to make sure you know about heaven.
It's a wonderful place.
There are no tears there.
No monsters.
No mean people.

You never have to say "goodbye"
or "good night"
or "I'm hungry"
You never get cold or sick or afraid.

In heaven you are so close to God that He will hug you, just like I hug you. It's going to be wonderful. I will be there too. I promise. We will be there together, forever. Remember that...just in case you ever wonder.


Ronald Maass, 61, passed away on Sunday evening, February 21, 2010, with his loving family by his side as God called him home after a brave and courageous battle with kidney Cancer. Ronald was born February 16, 1949, in Seymour. He graduated from Seymour High School in 1967.

The most important part of his life was his wife Colleen. They were married on May 22, 1976; they resided in Seymour until 1999, when they moved onto their dream property in Black Creek. Ron was a true romantic — always surprising Colleen with gifts and flowers. The overwhelming impression they gave to everyone who knew them was that of an abiding love, respect, friendship and a true partnership.

He welcomed two daughters, Mandy in 1977 and Nikki in 1980 — who were the sunshine of his life. And so his journey of fatherhood began, with all its joys, fears, disappointments, and triumphs. Ron was an amazing father. He was always there for his kids and had a knack for making them smile when going through the trials and tribulations of life. Eleven years ago he became a grandpa for the first time and he was thankful he was able to develop a relationship with Taylor, Trenton, and McKenna. He was the best Papa and always had the time to fish, play, or read to his grandchildren. He cherished every minute he spent recently with his newest granddaughter Macey.

Ron was a true outdoor enthusiast and was happiest with a fishing pole or rifle in his hand and his trusty Golden Lab, Chloe by his side. He loved to deer hunt, turkey hunt, and specially goose and duck hunt. He was gifted in woodworking, taxidermy and gardening. Ron found pleasure, peace and joy in nature's beauty. He liked to walk or four wheel around his land, watch the birds from his patio, or sit on the pier of his pond. He was always up for a good campfire and a Diet Mountain Dew with a shot of attitude with his family and friends.

His infectious smile, distinctive laugh, and sense of humor could instantly make anyone feel better. Even during his roughest days of fighting Cancer, he still had a knack for cracking jokes and lighting up the room with his smile. And while the disease may have taken him, it never beat him. He was an amazing man, with amazing talent and a shining, irrepressible spirit. And though he's gone, he'll always keep shining.

Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Colleen, Black Creek; daughters: Mandy Maass and special friend Greg Westgor, Navarino and Nicole (Jason ) Onesti, Cecil; parents, Wallace and June Maass, Seymour; brothers: Dale (Brenda) Maass, Shiocton; Dave (Tracy) Maass, Shiocton; Jack Maass, Seymour; sister, Carol (Stan) Jens, Seymour; grandchildren: Taylor, Trenton, McKenna and Macey; mother and father-in-law, Jack and Louise Damro, Kaukauna; numerous sisters and brothers-in-law: Dottie (Don) Beeching, Menominee, MI; Lynda (Bill) Schuh, Freedom; Carol (George) Miraben, Tucson, AZ; Joyce (Tim) Gaffney, Kaukauna; Mark (Mary) Damro, Kaukauna; Mary Mathews, Boulder, CO; Ken Damro, Florence; Hollie (Blake) Jersey, Menominee, MI; nieces and nephews; his dog, Chloe; many extended cousins; friends; and of course hunting and fishing buddies.

Ron is welcomed in heaven by his brother, Jerry Maass; granddaughter, Nevaeh Onesti; sister-in-law, Mary; and close friends, Kenny, Cindy, and Lynn.

Friends may call at Muehl-Boettcher Funeral Home, Seymour, Thursday, February 25, 2010, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Friday, February 26, 2010, from 9:30 a.m. until funeral services at 11 a.m. at Freedom Moravian Church, W3457 Center Valley Road with Pastor Jason Anderson officiating.

A special thank you to Theda Care at Home Hospice, the Martha Seikmon Cancer Center and staff at Appleton Medical Center. We would also like to thank our family, our many friends and Pastor Anderson who gave us their support and prayers during Ron's illness.
We are doing okay. We are surviving. Our hearts are breaking and aching, but we find peace that dad is in heaven with no tubes, no Cancer. He is young and healthy again.

I just wish I could get the images out of my head of him on his death bed. I want to remember him healthy and smiling. But when I close my eyes I see his sick face and his last breaths. Even though it was peacful, I don't want to keep reliving it over and over again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

God saw you getting tired
A cure was not to be.
So he put his arms around you
And whispered, "Come with Me."

With tearful eyes we watched you
And saw you fade away.
Although we loved you dearly
We could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating
Your tender hands at rest.
God took you home to prove to us
He only takes the best.
It's 12:33 a.m. and I just got home after being gone for 2 days. I just want to wake everyone up and give them hugs and kisses. It just feels like the whole world should be stopping for us right now. Leaving my parent's house was so hard. No longer is it my mom and dad's house, but just my mom's. I couldn't sit there and look at his empty hospital bed. It seemed so quiet without his noisy breathing in the background.

It all happened so fast, that I guess I am still in a lot of shock. All of the sudden he closed his mouth (which hasn't been closed for 4 days), he let out a little moan, the lights flickered, and he took two little last breaths, and just like that he was gone. It was great to see him go like that after all the pain he was in this morning.

The drive home was so lonely. Now the grieving and healing can really begin for us all.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

At 7:59 my dad passed away. He's up in Heaven where it is beautiful. It was very peacful.

4:28 p.m

We are still waiting, and waiting, and waiting. This process is very difficult to watch. Once you think he is getting closer, he gets a little bit better. It is just weird being at his house, waiting and watching him die.

I think I have gained 5 pounds in 2 days. Comfort food is plentiful in the house right now. Donuts and pizza, and soda and wine. People keeps bringing lots of food for us.

He is resting more comfortably now. They doubled his morphine again, and since then he has not been thrashing or moaning. Which is good. That was the hardest thing.

I feel bad for Jason. He has had the girls now since yesterday morning. It looks like I will have another long night here. If he is not doing really bad first thing in the morning, I will run home quick to help Jason get the girls ready for daycare. Thankfully my mom and I are close in size, and I have been showering here and borrowing her clothes.


The nurses are here right now. They said it could be at anytime now. His blood pressure has dropped to 72 over something. His oxygen level is now at 57. His nailbeds are starting to turn blue. We just pray he goes fast. He can no longer communicate with us.

8:15 a.m.

Please everyone pray for god to take my dad, and for his suffering to end. He's in a lot of pain this morning. His breathing has been very shallow since 4:30. We didn't think he would make it through the night, but he did. There is a little piece of him not ready to go for some reason. Please pray for his suffering to end.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

10:38 p.m.

We called my dad's brothers and sister and our pastor out. My dad has been having a lot of trouble breathing. We are not sure he will make it through the night, so we called everyone here to say their goodbyes. For some reason my dad won't go yet. There is a tiny piece of him here that is not ready to go. He had a lucid moment a couple of minutes ago where he looked me in the eyes and said he loved me. I'll never forget that. It will be another long night with no sleep.
My dad is showing more increasing signs that the end is near. This is so hard to see him like this. I feel like I am forever going to be haunted of the images of him like this.

I just said my final goodbye. I told him to give a big kiss and hug to Nevaeh for me, and to tell her we all love her and miss her. I told him that she will show her papa around heaven. I told him to go be with his brother Jerry and friend Kenny, and to cause lots of ruckus up there - just like the good ole days. I told him to send me a sign when he gets settled in - to let me know that he is okay. I told him to send me rainbows like Nevaeh does. I thanked him for being such a good dad, and that I loved him.

I am scared. I am scared because I don't know a world without my daddy in it. I am scared for how this whole process will end.
The nurse just left. She told us that it could be a few hours to a few days now. His blood press keeps decreasing, and he has the start of a fever, which is also normal at the end. He is showing lots of signs that the end is near. The nurse told us that he can still hear us, so to keep talking to him. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. Please keep praying for us.
It is 4:00 p.m. Today has been very hard. Everytime I look at my dad he is getting worse and worse. This afternoon he got very confused and beligerent. He thought we were all on a train and it was 1949. He needed to know what year the quarters were on the railroad tracks. He has not been making any sense which has been very scary to watch. Hospice called in an order for larazapam, and hopefully that will calm him down. They said this is the normal dying process, and sometimes the pain makes them get mean. The nurse will be here at 5, then I will update again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tonight was honestly one of the worse, hardest nights of my life. Nothing prepared me for how bad my dad looked. In less than 24 hours - I cannot believe how horrible he looks. If I wouldn't know it was my dad, I wouldn't recognize him. Yesterday he wasn't on so much morphine, or in so much pain. He just twitches and stares into space. My mom told me not too be scared, that it is the morphine making him do that. My mom is an honest to god saint. I don't know how she does it. I know that once my dad is gone, and her role as caretaker is over, this is going to hit her very bad. Anyone reading this that knows my mom, please be there for her the next year of her life. I know from experience, that after your loved one dies, and the hustle bustle settles down, people tend to forget that that is when they need friends and family the most.

It's 11p.m., and I felt bad leaving my mom alone. That has to be so scary.When I was there my dad had an accident, and me and my mom were trying to change him. It was a horrendous experience. Never would I have thought that my dad would be so doped up, that he wouldn't mind his daughter changing him. It was horrible. But I did it because I love him so much. He was in so much pain when we were trying to role him over. I was trying to lift him up, and he was just looking into my eyes in so much pain. I tried talking to him, reminding him of good times, trying to get his mind off the pain.

I pretty much know that any sort of sleep is out of the question for me tonight. Every time I close my eyes, I am haunted by my dad's frail, fragile body, and his gaunt eyes looking back at me.

Me and my mom were listening to different songs tonight, trying to pick out music for my dad's funeral. What a surreal experience. The funeral is going to be so hard. He planned his funeral, I have his obituary wrote - and not it is just a waiting game. All I can say is how surreal it is. It seems like it should be a nightmare.
My dad is going downhill very fast. His blood pressure gets lower and lower everytime they take it. The nurse guessed that he probably has a week or less left. That is all that we have been praying for, is for his suffering to end. Please just keep up in your prayers at this devastating time.


Since smiles are so far in between right now...I wanted to share this video. It makes me smile.

I feel like I am being pulled in so many directions right now. I am just trying to keep it all together. I am trying to be an employee, a wife, a mother, a caretaker, and try to be there for my mom. It's exhausting. I feel like I am failing on so many levels. I wish Jason would understand. I wish he would offer and force me to take more time for myself, or offer to pick up the kids so I can go by my parents. He doesn't get it. And don't get me wrong, he's awesome about picking up the kids or taking them, but it's my own guilt that makes it hard. If he offered, it would make me feel better about it. No update on my dad yet. The nurse was there when I called, so I am waiting for a call back.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We are pretty sure that the cancer has now spread to my dad's spine and bones. He is in a lot of pain. They now doubled his morphine dose. They said if his pain gets worse, another option would be for him to go into Cherry Meadows, which is a hospice center for acute pain. We want him to be able to stay home, but we also don't want him in any pain. So I guess we will cross that bridge if we get to it. His nurse also thinks that my dad probably has a lot of internal bleeding. He is now also passing blood clots through his iliostomy. He is down to drinking a couple sips of water and eating popsicles. I just keep praying that this nightmare ends soon. It is taking big toll on all of us emotionally and physically.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My dad seems to be getting progressively worse. He had a lot of rectal bleeding today, and I was on the phone all morning with hospice. My dad just wanted my mom. I had to call my mom to come home from work. I am sure that he is trying to protect me, and I know he wants to go out with some dignity left.

Hospice is bringing a PCA pump this afternoon. He'll have a continous flow of morphine, and can push the button when he needs an extra dose. That's all we can pray for now, is for him to be in no pain, and not too suffer. His hospice nurse suspects his cancer is advancing very quickly now, which is why there is all the bleeding. I asked her how long he has, and she said she wants to see him this afternoon before giving us her guess. At this time, I just pray, pray, pray for God to take him fast.

Heart Breaking

Today is Wednesday, which means it is my day to take care of my dad. Even though I am use to him being so sick, it is still a punch in my stomach everytime I walk in and see my dad laying in his hospital bed. My heart aches so much today seeing him like this. Little by little, this horrific disease is taking my dad. It's so hard to remember the times when my dad was not sick. Yesterday I was digging through pictures of my dad, and I didn't even remember him looking like that. I have gotten so use to seeing him look sick and gaunt, that I hardly remember what he looked like healthy. I hope that after he is gone, that these bad memories dissapate, and the good memories come back. I don't want to remember him like this.

I find myself just holding his hand and watching him sleep, while I silently weep beside him. This is by far the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. No one should ever have to watch a loved one wither away like this. It's gotten to the point that I dread coming here on Wednesdays. But I can't give up. My dad has always been there for me, and now when he needs me most, I will be here for him. No matter how hard it is. I am trying to cherish the time I have left with him. But I am also praying to God to just take him quickly now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy 61 dad. After I called you this morning to wish you happy birthday, I got very sad knowing it was the last happy birthday that I would ever get to wish you. I also realized there will be no more happy father's days, or merry christmases, or any other holidays. That makes me sad. How will our family ever go on, dad? There will always be a missing piece at every family gathering. 61 is way too young to die. I feel cheated. I should have at least 10 more great years with you. I feel very fortunate that you got to witness every major milestone in my life. I will always remember our father daughter dance at my wedding. Do you remember we danced to "Wind Beneath My Wings"?

Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and ev'rything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I've got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it,
I would be nothing with out you.

Fly, fly, fly away,
you let me fly so high.
Oh, fly, fly,
so high against the sky, so high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you, thank God for you,
the wind beneath my wings.

It's true dad - you are my hero. And I would not be the person I am today without you. I will find a way to continue through life without you - and I know that you will be with me every step of the way. You'll always be with me. And someday when we meet in heaven - I want another father-daughter dance.

I love you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Today we were suppose to have a surprise party for my dad's birthday. The phone rang at 8:30, and I just knew it was going to be bad news. It was my mom saying we had to cancel the party. My dad was bleeding and passing blood clots through his rectum. My mom had to confess to my dad our plans, and he said he was just not up to it.

I ran to my mom's house for moral support. My dad looks horrible. He hasn't been out of his hospital bed since yesterday afternoon. He is going down hill very fast. The nurse said the bleeding is just part of the normal process. I can't take watching my dad fade away. I just pray for god to have mercy on him and take him fast now. I will miss him so much, but I can't watch him suffer anymore.

I ended up with a huge migrane today, the worse I've ever had. Totally not how today was suppose to go at all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thank you

Here is a message from my mom regarding the raffle:

I just wanted to thank all who was involved in the surprise benefit that was put on for myself and my husband. It was the most overwhelming evening of my life. There is no way for me to know who all had part in this and to be able to thank everyone, so if you know of others please forward this thank you on to them.

The support and caring that we have seen through this whole ordeal will never be forgotten and will always be close to my heart.

The donations were overwhelming also. There was a total of $4005.00 in raffle tickets for the 50/50, so the winner will get $2002.50. The winner was Bernie Fritch from Freedom.
There also was $1150 in donations. My daughters were even amazed and didnt think that they would ever be able to raise that much money.

Once again thank you for your kindness and caring.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today is Raffle Day

I am very excited for tonight's raffle drawing. So far we have close to $2,000 bucks for the drawing, and $650 in straight donations. I think my mom and dad will be plesantly surprised. It will be nice to put a smile on their face for awhile. They do know of the raffle because of some people leaking it out. But they still don't know how much money has been collected. My mom will be coming for the drawing. We wish my dad could be there. He had me tape a message with him yesterday to play tonight.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I am with my dad today and having a really hard time. He can barely hold a conversation because he drifts into sleep. He has been sleeping all but 20 minutes today. It is very hard seeing him go down hill. His urine is also really funny colored today, and he is very clamy and sweaty. I checked and he doesn't have a fever. My mom said that her and my dad are pretty sure that the cancer has spread to other parts of his body now - due to pain he has been having. I am so very sad, even though I have been mentally preparing myself for him getting worse.

Last night I asked McKenna if she was getting sick, and she said "Papa sick." Then she said "I like my papa." It breaks my heart. She still loves her papa so much, even though he hasn't been able to hold her for months. I hope papa's love will stick with her forever and ever.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It occured to me today, that last year at this time, my life was still "normal". My dad was still healthy (in a sense, but was not yet diagnosed with cancer). It's amazing how fast life as you know it can really change. If you would have told me last year at this time that my dad would be dying of cancer, and I would have a brand new baby girl, I would not have believed you. I close my eyes, and try to go back to the time when my dad was healthy. We were all so happy. This past year has been very trying and emotional for us all. I can't even imagine what my mom is going through. Yes, it's my dad - but this is her life partner, husband, and best friend.

I get to go spend the day with my dad again tomorrow. As hard as those days are - seeing him so sick and frail, I have truly come to treasure them. I have told my dad things and have had conversations with him that I never thought possible.

As the days pass by, I wonder how much longer before my dad's health takes a turn for the worse. I guess today he has a small fever. I know what looms ahead, and I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Everyday I call my mom for the status report on my dad. Waiting to hear the bad news that he is significantly worse. I am a little scared that something major will happen when I am with him alone. I think it is the anticipation of everything that is the scariest.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A sense of peace has come over me regarding my dad. I haven't cried since last week. It is nice that a sense of peace has come over my dad too. He has been planning things out. Last night the funeral director came over so they could plan everything out. I've come to realize what a rare gift has been given to us and my dad. We will never have to question that we are doing things the way my dad would want. We know that his final gift to us is taking care of all his funeral preparations.

My dad started hospice yesterday. My dad now has a hospital bed in the house, which I hope will make him more comfortable. They asked my dad if he would quit breathing if he wants to be resucitated. My dad said he did not. It surprises me a little. That the man who fought so ferouciously, has come to this much peace this fast. He continues to amaze everyone. He is truly one brave and courageous man. He has shown me how to live, now he is showing me how to die. He is truly my hero.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Macey's Baptism

Macey's Baptism went very well. I am very thankful that my dad got to be part of it.