The Road Back (part 2)

Evenings seem to be the times I think of my dad the most.  Since he became ill this is the time we would talk on the phone. He would talk as much as he could before he “ran out of air”. Since the liver cancer had spread to the lymph nodes around his heart and the morphine caused fluid to buildup in his lungs he was unable to speak for long periods at a time.

I remember the last time I spoke with him. My mom had gotten him a new I-Pad 3 so he could continue to email while in the hospital. His laptop was too heavy for his already weak body to hold. I called him through the FaceTime Feature and showed him my apartment; told him about my day; and how my thesis paper was going. He could see me and everything I was showing him but he didn’t or couldn’t hold the I-Pad correctly and all I saw was his hospital gown for most of the conversation.

It was a great conversation, however, I didn’t know it would be our last. I guess you never know when your last conversation will be with a loved one.

Graceland Mansion

Lisa Marie Plane

During my tour of Graceland and Elvis’ Car Museum I kept earmarking things to tell him about Elvis.

Gold sink on plane

I heard a rumor that the inside of Elvis’ plane, the Lisa Marie, was made of gold. It’s not. The seats are leather and there are television sets all over the place. The only thing that I saw that could have been made of gold are the sinks in the bathrooms.

Jungle Room chair

According to the audio tour, The Jungle Room was decorated by the King himself. He decided to put green shag carpet on the floor, walls and ceiling. He picked a great big round chair that was Lisa Marie’s favorite chair to sit in.

The wall-to-wall shag carpet insulated the room so well that Elvis moved his practice sessions into the room.

Outside the building that housed The Colonel’s office was a swing set for Lisa Marie. Connected to the same building was an indoor shooting range.  I thought it was weird that out of all the places it could have been placed on Elvis’ 13 acres of land the swing set was place outside a shooting range. Different times I guess.

Spent his final morning.

Elvis loved racquetball so much he built a court on his property. The court also contained a room with leather couches and a piano. On the day he died he was at that piano playing songs and singing with family and friends.

Out of all the pictures of Elvis there wasn’t a single one where he had gained weight. It was all the fit or “skinny Elvis”. I was told the family didn’t want visitors and fans to remember him that way. I can see how they would want everyone to see and recall happy memories of Elvis.

Elvis’ Final Resting Place

The Meditation Garden is where you will find Elvis Presley’s grave; along with his mother’s, father’s and grandmother’s grave. His grandmother, Minnie Mae, outlived her son, Vernon, and her grandson, Elvis.

Pink Cadillac

At the car museum I saw Elvis’ Pink Cadillac.  According to the audio tour Elvis was very generous with his vehicles, usually giving them to friends and even strangers. But the only car he would not give away was his mother’s favorite… the Pink Cadillac.

At the end of the tours and museums I picked out a postcard for my dad and then remembered he was gone. I’ve been told that may happen for awhile. It depresses me when I forget he is dead and then remember. But it saddens me more to think that at some point his death will be normal to me.

Visiting Graceland was a great way to wait out Hurricane Sandy. At least so I thought, I spent three nights in Nashville because of the snow from Sandy.

In part three of The Road Back I will tell you some things about our 16th President Abraham Lincoln you may not have known, including he may not have been as poor as we thought.

Abraham Lincoln Bust

(NaBloPoMo: I’m still counting this as a post for November 6th. I got caught up watching the election coverage and posted late.)

The Road Back (part 1)

After my dad’s funeral I was unbelievably tired.  I hadn’t slept more than a few hours a night in weeks and it had been more than a year since I had a full night’s sleep. My dad’s illness consumed my conscious and unconscious life.

But through it all I truly believed my dad had years left even though the doctors kept saying he only had months… then weeks left. I believed that my father who had always been the strongest man I have ever known and who could do anything would beat the cancer coursing through his body.

It wasn’t until arrived in Texas the second week in October and he was already in hospice that I realized that the man who I thought would always be there for me wouldn’t make it to see another week. He looked so frail.

He was given pain medicine but the nurses had to sedate him because he kept moving when he was in pain and the doctors feared he would break one of his fragile bones. When he breathed it made this horrible sound; some call it a death rattle.

I spent days and nights at the hospice.  I wanted to be there for him. Then my mom came and said I had to go home and the doctor made me leave too. She said that my presence could be making him hang on instead of moving on. A few days later my father died.

After the funeral I start getting ready to fly back to NYC when my mother decides she needs to get out of the house for a while. We make a plan to drive across the U.S. Then Hurricane Sandy happened. The Super Storm had already battered the Caribbean and now it was making a beeline up the east coast.

We should have left earlier than we did but we were waiting to see what Sandy was going to do.

Our first day of travel we drove from Houston to Memphis, TN. You can’t visit Memphis without paying your respects to the King of Rock-n-Roll. I had a lot of fun learning about the Elvis but dad was never far from my thoughts and neither was Hurricane Sandy which was heading straight for my home in New York.

In my next post I will let you know if the plane made of gold rumor is really true, pictures of the room that Elvis decorated all by himself and some other facts that you may or may not have known.