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Thursday, March 31, 2011

So not fair

My kids did great in their show at school today and then tonight, Jeff and I had the privilege of seeing my nephew's stage performance. I enjoyed both immensely but after each of the shows, I came home or got to the car anyway and had a good cry. Mom would have been so proud. I can see her now repeating the lines Phillip said or commenting on how much better he did than another kid. Mom probably would have come to see Christopher twice. If she weren't sick, if she weren't gone, if life was fair and good people didn't get cancer.

I wonder if for the rest of my life every time something good happens it will be some sad too because she's not here to react. I thought I knew how vital my mother was to my life until she was gone and now I realize I didn't have a clue. I can be fine, going along without problem and then something strikes me and I am so sad with instant tears. Now would be the time for me to play a sad role on stage because the tears aren't hard to get to. The only problem comes when it is time to turn them off. It is that time now, I have breakfast scheduled with a good friend in the morning and then tons of housecleaning to do. The kids each have a friend spending the night so there are sheets to change and rooms to vacuum. I don't want to forget to mention my awesome sister, Cindy, who not only kept my kids so Jeff and I could go to the show, but who brought them back to my house and put them to bed when the show ran long. That's my first grateful thing, next comes an acting family, and finally the Rib and Loin Bar-b-que we had today. It was delicious and a great fundraiser for the school. They sold 1,000 plates.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Jeff is playing some video game that is really booming loud and it is making it difficult for me to think. So if this blog does less than delight you, blame it on him. I'm rather irritable regardless so perhaps encouraging any sort of blame game is a mistake. I am glad my internet is up since a few nights ago lightning came through the fiber line and took out my $900 printer, our router, and the tv control box. Jeff has been trying to get it all working ever since and it has not been pretty. Although, to his credit, I have only heard him cursing a few times over it all. It's possible I may be moving back to the anger stage simply because everything annoyed me today. Simple things that would normally not even cause a ripple felt like tidal waves. Still, I managed not to flail the skin off anyone or even swipe at them with my nails or my car. Including the guy at the salon where we were getting Kelsey's hair done. It wasn't his fault but he was using sandpaper on the wall the entire time we were there. The scrape, scrape, scrape almost made me insane. Not quite as bad as nails on a chalkboard but close.

It was a day when nothing seemed to go quite right. I could give you a long list here but I am too tired to do so. That being said, one of the things that didn't go right was me being in bed by 9:30 so since it is 11:00, I am ending this brief gripe session. Oh yeah, I'm trying to end with stupid things I'm grateful for so let me see-I'm grateful my children are safe under my roof and sleeping, I'm grateful for the asiago bagel breakfast sandwich at Panera, and I'm grateful for the chili I ate tonight with fritos and cheese. Hoping I won't be regretting that last one later :) Huh, not so stupid things after all. That little exercise really did improve my mood a smidge. My shoulders still feel like someone ratcheted the tendons but that is something that probably needs to be taken out on gym equipment or in an exercise class. Here's hoping I can get to one soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tinged Joy (Happy birthday Daddy)

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I let myself cry as hard as I want to. It usually starts small but can build until there is all this pressure right in the middle of my forehead. I have to make myself pull back because I'm afraid my head will burst if I continue. Don't misunderstand, this doesn't happen every day. In fact, it has only happened about three times since my Mom died. Tonight being the third. The first time I burst a blood vessel in my right eye so I don't want that to happen again. I worried for three days I had some kind of pink eye coming on.

 Today was destined to have some bumps since it was Dad's birthday. A reminder popping into my head everytime I had to see or write the date. I swear it seemed like random people kept asking me what the date was just for the universe to poke at me. Not that I wish today hadn't happened. Overall, I'd call it a good day.

Sharon's dog Westin is on the mend. She ended up taking him to a different vet who said he had been "butchered," in his surgery. The new vet put him on different antibiotics and gave him some special food to eat since he'd lost five pounds in a week, an amount equal to a human losing 15 in the same time period.

 The kids did a wonderful job tonight. I feel so proud of them. Both of my sister's families were in attendance ( a fact that made my daughter forget her lines). One of my nephews was missing because he is in rehearsal for a play of his own. I think he is going to try to come to the last performance on Thursday. Then we went out to dinner with Sharon's family to O'Charley's, the delicious butter and rolls a delight in themselves.

 After we came home, the transition between stage stars and kids needing to go to bed quickly turned ugly but Jeff and I prevailed. Then I got to sit down with my Philip Gulley book, one of the last books Mom read. She loved this homespun author who is also a Quaker minister. At the end of the book, a blurb announced Mr. Gulley's willingness to speak a churches, libraries, etc and for just a moment I thought-oh I've got to get him here for Mom.

Then the realization that I can never do that for her hit hard. That's when the tears started. Right on its heels came the wrongness of her absence tonight. She should have been there to see her grandchildren on stage. She should be there to see my nephew in his perfomance this weekend.  Sharon said she and Mom even talked about it and had said, "Well we know you will still be here in March." My crying increased to that bursting point around that thought so I pulled back.

 I attempted to analyze, to control. So why isn't she here? The easy answer is cancer. The other ones I'll just have to wait on until I get an audience with The Big Guy. Tonight, I am grateful for a good husband who vaccumed the stage, my families attendance at my kids' show (and mine since I wrote and directed), and the ability to stop crying before my head explodes and makes a huge mess that I'd probably have to figure out a way to clean up :).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pigs, a wolf, and some aliens

The majority of my thoughts have been centered on the plays Cindy and I are directing. There is so much to keep track of, the costumes, the sets, the props, the actors. Because at this age, the actors certainly need someone keeping track of them. I mixed up green face paint for the aliens tonight and smeared it all over my hand to make sure it didn't cause any kind of reaction. They all looked nice and green by the time Cindy smeared it with make-up sponges on their faces. I think they will do a good job but regardless I am done after Thursday-Woo Hoo. Cindy and I have not even begun to discuss whether we will do this again next year. I certainly know more now than I did when we started. I don't think I am jinxing myself by saying I can't imagine a more stressful time to try to put on a show than what we have been through the last couple of months. Things continue to feel rough.

Sharon's dog is having major complications from his neutering. This is Weston, the golden retriever Mom gave her for her birthday after her dog Cotton was run over while they were at the Mayo clinic this summer. In addition to being a very loved pet, he is a link to Mom. I have a churning in the pit of  my stomach that won't seem to go away. I can't imagine how horrible it would be if he doesn't make it. There is no reason for him to die, at worst he has an infection and yet until he is better it is going to weigh on me. I don't want it for me and I really don't want it for Sharon's family. It's like because death has been so present lately, the shadow of it falls on everything bleaching out bright colors. It has been years since I yelled out, "It's not fair," but I'm getting close to that now. It does seem that we could have some good months at least to grieve in without anybody human or beast having more than a serious cold. It feels like too much.

I got a Debbie Macomber book off the bargain rack at Barnes and Noble. It is comprised of true stories of generosity. The first chapter or so that I have read talk about the importance of being grateful. She shares how we are supposed to thank God for the trials in our lives as well as the positive things. She shared the story about the women in the concentration camp that had smuggled in a Bible and who were horribly infested with fleas. The Bible was a source of inspiration and hope for them. In it, it says to bear all things with a grateful heart (I'm paraphrasing here). At her sister's urging they thanked God for the fleas. They discovered later that the only reason their Bible wasn't confiscated was because of the fleas.

I can't thank God for my parents' deaths and don't think I will ever get to that point no matter how I spiritually mature. The closest I can come is to thank Him for the things he can teach me through it and to thank Him for the strength to bear it. I am grateful for my family, for faithful old and new friends, for the drama class that has stretched me, for my husband and my children's good health, for His continued presence that sometimes I can feel and sometimes I can't, and for the surety that God is there even when I can't feel him at all.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

chattanooga home

My phone rang after church today. It was the Neal's. They are a couple that were stationed with my parents when I was born. In fact, I was named after Mrs. Neal or Nancy as you may have gathered. They were calling to see how Mom was doing. I had to do the deep breath, swallow and then tell them not only had mom passed on but Dad did too. They were very nice about it and shared some stories about Mom and Dad. Mr. Neal used to go quail hunting with Dad. He said in Kansas, Dad went to the Kickapoo Indian reservation and spoke with the head in their tribe. It was a woman and got permission for them to hunt quail on the reservation. He said he and Dad would always go there after that because no one else hunted there. They would always take the woman a gift. Mrs. Neal said and she and Mom would go shopping. I'm not sure who took care of the kids. They both recalled how much Mom laughed. I miss her smile and her laugh every day.

We walked down the aisle and joined the Baptist church today. If Mom had still been alive she probably would have been asked to come up and stand with us. It was the same aisle I traversed at eight before being baptized, in my teens for Cindy's and Sharon's weddings and then again when I got married. It is also the church where both my parents lay in state and my family and I received friends condolences including my friend Leigh who drove all the way from Knoxville to tell me how sorry she was only to have to leave before the funeral. An hour and a half drive for a 15 min condolence shows quite a commitment. It is my friends like that that make me sad that we aren't returning to Knoxville. I have very good friends here too but God just didn't put them all in one place. I'm not sure what his plan is for me here but I hope I'm up to it. This week is the kids play at HVCS and my nephew's play at Chattanooga Christian. I can't believe Mom won't be here to see them. I told Jeff tonight that I always knew even if no one else came my mom would be there. I know God knows what he is doing but my heart is aching tonight.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Are we there yet?

Too many times life gets off track because of calamities. Then when the crisis is over we're left wondering where we were headed in the first place. For years, Jeff and I have been saying we were citizens of two cities because my family was in Chattanooga but most of our life was in Knoxville.  My plan and purpose seemed clear with the private practice and volunteering at the free clinic. Then Mom got sick and everything changed. Now, we are living in Chattanooga but still miss those left behind in Knoxville. I wonder if anyone who leaves their hometown ever gets to a point where anywhere else is considered a permanent home? I am not sure where we are supposed to go from here. I don't mean in the literal sense since I'm not moving anywhere for awhile. There are still boxes that haven't been unpacked from nine months ago. I mean what is my purpose here in Chattanooga?

The Bible tells us as Christians we are citizens of two worlds, this one and the one yet to come. It is so much a part of who I am that it seems odd not to talk about it in most conversations. I experience that disconnect whenever I want to talk about God and his plans with my friends who don't. These people are valuable to me and I want to cherish my time with them not push them away or make them feel I'm preaching. At the same time, I want them to have the peace that comes with knowing who is in control of it all whether I understand it or not. The not portion of that sentence being my most common operating state. So I'm left in flux. God knows the destination but I only have a portion of the map so how will I ever know if I'm there? Maybe it will only come when I get to see Mom and Dad smiling at me, beckoning me to come and stay where they are. I guess then I will be able to kick back, sigh deeply, look over at Jesus, and say, "I'm home."  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, oh you get the drift

Or should I say get the drip since most of the day has been spent in search of a tissue. Not for the obvious reason of the losses in my life but because of seasonal allergies. I spent much of my time outside doing prop/set stuff for the play and now I am paying for it. Nyquil is my new friend. Even more so as it now comes in a delectable cherry-vanilla flavor. Much more palatable. Speaking of drips, the brown spray paint that I used today clogged and now my right hand is painted brown on my middle and ring fingers. At dinner, Christopher looked at my hand, made a disgusted face and said, "What is on your hand?"

I must admit it does look bad and I have tried all manner of things to get it off barring skinning myself. There is brown under my nails and all in my nail beds. To make matters worse I'm going to a new friend's house for dinner tomorrow night. I wonder how odd they would think it if I wore white kid gloves. Maybe I could pretend they are back in style? Somehow, I don't think I could pull it off.

I didn't think I was having much grief stuff today until I told Jeff, "You know I really miss Mom." Just uttering the sentence made me begin to cry. I guess denial has a heavier hand restraining my emotions than I realized. I want to call her everyday. Not because there is any particular need, just to let her know about my life and the kids. I read an excerpt from a book about a lady who lost her Mom called "The Long Good-bye." It was beautifully written and described how I feel exactly. However, don't send me one in the mail because I don't think I'm quite ready. I'm off to bed now. I slept not at all last night so am hoping the exhaustion coupled with the Nyquil will bring me to a peaceful night. Already the scratchy throat has subsided. Go pharmaceuticals!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No routine brings chaos

Yikes, I came home tonight and was about to go to bed when I realized I had not posted a blog. A couple of nights not typing and the routine is shot. I'll have to get back in the groove quickly. I'm very tired from my "vacation" at the Wilderness resort in the smokies. Not that I expected a waterpark to be an oasis of relaxation but I did think I would rest some. There was a nice hot tub there but alas my time in it was brief. I was a little disappointed in the number of slides but I think when the outdoor portion opens that will change. I didn't think there had been much of a difference in my internal state but then when I got home and went through my mail I realized the grief had weighed less while gone. One of the first things in my mail were magazines for my parents. A tennis magazine for my mom and a Birds in Bloom one for my dad. Something about those two magazines that they will never read again had me almost in tears and that was before I got to the Gideon envelopes. I didn't even open those tonight. Overall, it is good to be home but responsibility does lie heavy. Tomorrow, my sister and I need to get it together for our play next week. Yikes, we have a brick house and some space costumes to finish. Send positive energy my way.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Preachin to the Preacher

Today, I met with the Pastor of Ooltewah Baptist Church (OBC) to find out if my views could be accepted at a Baptist church. By my views, I mean the idea that some of the Bible was contextual including many of the parts about a woman's role. He did not share my view but instead shared why he held his. There wasn't a lot new but he certainly is convinced and I believe thinks if I stay at this God thing long enough I'll come around to his way of thinking. I don't mean the pastor's way, he seems like a pretty humble guy but he truly believes his beliefs are God's way. He answered very nicely by turning my question around to-Would I be comfortable joining the church knowing what his beliefs are on this subject? All In all, I think we came to the conclusion that we could disagree on this point and still serve God in the same church. I could argue my point much more strenuously than I did but I didn't see much point. Not because he is a closed-minded guy, in fact I like him. More because I feel like God wants me in this church and I can do things for Him here. Although, I have to admit the idea of becoming Baptist again makes me swallow hard and pray even harder. Really God?

We leave tomorrow for the waterpark. This would come after I have stopped working out and have begun eating as if it were an Olympic sport or as my nephew would say like a "fat kid trapped in a candy store." Not entirely pc but pretty funny. The days of spring break are already slipping away. Yikes. As I said last night, there will be no blog the next couple of evenings. I think I have decided to do 365 and then end it. Thus, I will have my year to grieve.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No lazy Sunday

I found out this morning at church that one of the elders in the church, a constant supporter through Mom's illness has lymphoma. He has been given three months. I feel so helpless for his family. Everyone is coming together to support him which is why I am glad we are at this church but it is hard. I found myself unable to continue singing the hymn because tears got caught in my throat. Sometimes it seems like getting away might be the answer.

The problem with vacation is getting ready for it. Today, we went t the mall to get the kids sandals. While there, I discovered both of my children were wearing shoes that were too small. So in addition to the sandals we got tennis shoes too. Then we had to get new swimsuits. The mall seduced my wallet and then left me feeling empty. Then I realized I got nothing. I only purchased for the kids. Not that I would have wanted to go through the bathing suit trauma just yet but I am going to a waterpark in two days so it might be worth looking at. I probably should have gone to a spa instead. I could use a pedicure, and a massage, and a good workout or maybe just a whole new diet. Felling pretty unfocused here. How am I supposed to get life done?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Break

We slept in until almost 11 today. Well, with the exception of haivng to get up at nine to apease the cat meowing in my face. I can't remember the last time I laid around for that long. Some regret later at all I could have accomplished and didn't but I'm trying to be greatful instead. Later, I cleaned out a couple of drawers in preparation for meeting with the lawyer to discuss money issues. I figure I need to find all financial papers so we don't miss anything. Unfortuneately, I have about nine more very packed drawers to finish. This doesn't count the stuff that falls behind that I have to pull out drawers to reach.

 The kids got to do a spend the night in Knoxville to begin their Spring Break. I think they were less than glad to see me return today. We only have on big thing planned for spring break, the Wilderness in the Smokies indoor waterpark, but the kids are asking everyday how long it will be before we go. Jeff can't go because he can't get off work but one of my sisters and her two kids are coming so I think we will still have a good time. So there will be no blog on Tuesday or Wednesday night. Just to let you know since the only night I have missed since I started was the night we all spent in the hospital before Mom died.

Had a couple of difficult moments today. When cleaning out, refound a picture of Mom laughing on the trampoline with Christopher when he was less than a year old. It occured to me that it would be such a good think if I started a scrapbook for each of them with pictures of them and my parents. It is a great idea, I don't know that I will ever pull it off. Certainly, not now when I can't look at the pictures for more than a minute or so without crying.

Then, I passed on Mom's wigs today to a neighbor. I know they weren't part of her but it was still hard to give them away. I could easily picture her in one of them. She didn't like it as well as the one we buried her in but she thought it looked more like her normal hair. Before she died, her hair had begun to grow out again. She never wanted anyone to see her without her wig. Mom was so proud even to the end. It was a well earned and well worn pride. I've never known her equal in grace or strength of character. I was thinking today about all the people who overcome horrible childhoods to become something normal or even great. With all the advantages I had, including my parents, it seems like I should be approaching something so much more than I am. I want to be more and do more. I'm just not sure where to start.

Friday, March 18, 2011


It hit, sitting in the theater tonight, next to my husband, watching a romantic comedy. It was this little scene where the protagonist visits his father in the hospital. The hospital bed did it. Seeing this man, who I knew was Kevin Kline and not either of my parents, lying in a hospital bed had my chest beginning to tighten. Soon, it felt like I couldn't get a breath in. In the back of my mind flashed pictures of Mom sitting up in her hospital bed talking the week before she died, then Mom lying in a similar bed, skin pinched back, mouth open, non-responsive, then Dad lying in the same type bed, just lying there when he should have been up talking, moving around, making me sigh because he wanted to go for a walk when I didn't. I whispered to Jeff, "If they don't get out of that room, I'm going to have to leave." Tears rolled down my face and I curled my arms around me. I could tell Jeff had no idea what I even said. After all, it made no sense, this was a comedy. Just before I bolted from my seat the scene shifted. It took me a few more minutes to stop crying. At one point, I gave one of those hiccupy sobs and thought, 'great, the people in front of me are going to think I'm crying at this dumb movie.' It amazed me how quickly the grief came on.

Until that point, Jeff and I had a wonderful evening out. The kids spent the night away so we had two date nights in a row. We went to Red Lobster, talked about the future, had a great time. Then I begin blubbering at the late movie. It seemed like I couldn't get warm again after that. When we got home I took a hot shower using the time to examine the unraveled threads of my emotions before braiding them up again and tucking them away. I told Jeff that I worry something is wrong with me because I am not feeling this enough, not constantly.

He asked,"how is it supposed to feel?"
I said, "Like someone has reached down your throat and grabbed a tight hold on your intestines and is twisting them while they pull them out your mouth. Instead, I have a slight stomach ache with occasional nausea." I wonder how that is possible. I don't know why I am not on the ground. Instead, I seem quite able to go on and do daily life. I don't know how Mom was after her mother died. I wish I had asked and I hope I was kind.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Date Night

Jeff and I had our first night out sans kids tonight. Well, not first ever but since Mom and Dad died, aka Part II of my life. Up until this point, I have been someone's child, now I am the first line. This is the first time in my life I've wished for that glass ceiling. Instead, there are schmaltzy songs about holes in the floor of heaven. Anyhow, I digress. The date was good. We went to a chinese buffet that was wonderful. Jeff said it gave him hope for Chattanooga. Up until that statement was made, I had no idea his outlook was so grim. I guess it is fortunate that it takes so little to turn his opinion around. Wait until he eats at the Italian restaurant next to it, then this town will be set. Then we went to see The Adjustment Bureau. It was a great movie until the ending. I found that portion to be so lame that it went form great to good. I also wasn't a big fan of the message. If anyone else sees it, let me know what you think,we'll discuss.

Today, I went to Dew's Pond. There was a lot of work to be done. I did little of it before I had to leave again, didn't even get all the pine needles out of the drive. That will be a trip to be planned in the future with many laborers. Sharon and I were talking about putting some money into the house to update it and make it a bit more homey as much of the nicer pieces have been parceled out to our different homes. We even talked about some bigger remodeling. Obviously, Cindy would need to be involved before that could ever happen but I felt torn about the idea. It makes sense and I'm even a bit excited about the possibilities. The problem is that I can't ask Mom's opinion about whether she would like the ideas or not.

We also talked about the need to repair the dam. Mom and Dad and probably our cousin too, talked about repairing it a few years ago but apparently it was cost prohibitive. However, at some point, it is going to need to be repaired or it will break. Now, that point is many, many years down the road but do we leave it for the next generation to deal with? Those topics and several others were our conversation tonight. It is amazing how much more I like Jeff when I actually spend time with him. I hope he feels the same too. Life gets too crazy not the nurture those relationships that sustain us. That sentence is almost as schmaltzy as above mentioned song but I'll let it stand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

space-the final frontier

I just finished constructing space helmets out of a buckets, a stocking caps, and a ton of duct tape. McGiever I am not since I don't recommend them for actual space travel but I do believe they will work for the upcoming drama debut. I would like to be able to just stay home and do nothing a lot of the time but as the schedule of the class would have it, no can do. If Mom were alive, she'd be over here helping me. I can't name the number of school projects that she sat up typing or helping me construct through the years. I never appreciated that enough. Dad would have been blissfully sleeping since about 10:00 but would be a good for a "Well, hey, look at that," the next morning. If I happened to be up by the time he left for work which was rare. No one could ever accuse Dad of being a slacker.

My brother-in-law says my Dad was never afraid of anything. He told this hilarious story about he and Dad going to Dew's Pond and something being stuck at the dam. John said that Dad just stuck his hand right down under the murky water and began pulling-no fear, no hesitation. But then he looked to John and said, "My arm's not long enough." My brother-in-law didn't say so but I would venture to guess it was one of the few times when he lamented his long limbs. He did say all he could think was how many snakes were down there and if he were going to pull up a snapping turtle hanging from his finger. But he also said with Dad looking on there was no way he could say no. I can relate to that. I am sure at some point in my life I looked at my father and said no but I can't imagine where the courage could have come from. Tomorrow, I am going to meet one of my sisters at Dew's Pond to try to begin some maintenance that has been long neglected. Talk about courage, this is a project that has been too long neglected.

This will be the first time going to Mom's home without giving her a call to let her know how everything is doing. Not to mention, everything reminds me of her. From the picnic table outside where we used to have watermelon cutting parties when my grandparents were alive to the tree that still has the chain grown into it from Mom's swing when she was a little girl. Then I come home and go get my taxes done, pick the children up from school, and work on the stick house for "The Three Little Pigs" production. Anybody remember this tagline? PIGS IN SPACE....... Now the productions are supposed to be different so as long as I can keep them straight our aliens will stay on Mars and our pigs in an undisclosed farming area not too far from here. Everyone keep your fingers crossed that my sister and I can pull this off.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

no real surprise

Jeff went to his doctor in Knoxville today and received his much anticipated diagnosis of walking pnemonia after an x-ray of his lungs. He felt quite vindicated. I felt my own vindication when the dog went through the screen door again after Jeff spent his afternoon on Sunday fixing it despite my dire predictions of a future dog invasion. Also, as anticipated, nothing got done today like I'd planned. My son coughed all night and my daughter said her neck still hurt so both of my children stayed home from school. The doctor's office didn't open until nine but they were able to work them in early. My son is the not so proud owner of a sinus infection and my daughter has a crick in her neck or an "overextenstion of the Sternocleidomastoid Muscle." The former is a bit easier to say. Either way, she is definately going to school tomorrow but I haven't decided about the boy. It will depend on his sleep tonight.

Today, at the doctor's office I had to update Kelsey's records. So many little ways grief hits like looking down and seeing Mom's name as one of the people who could take my child to the doctor. So, here in Chattanooga, I had both my sisters and then a blank. My daughter saw me hesitating over it and asked what I was doing. I told her and she suggested a Knoxville friend that I always used while there. Instead, I filled it in with a friend's name from here without asking her so I hope she's cool with that (Tricia, I'm talking to you). Not that I expect anyone to have to take my kids to the doctor but the idea that Mom is missing on yet another level tweaked the grief nerve. When I filled my son's prescription, I made sure the pharmacist knew my parents had passed. I had a legitamate reason for telling them since I remembered that Dad had some medication automatically refilled. But that wasn't really why I wanted them to know. It is like the more people I tell the more of a reality it becomes. Not that I desire for it to be real but because I know I have to accept it so have to find ways to make it more real every day. Or maybe I desire the sympathy.

Where I really need sympathy was in helping the kids try to do their make-up work today. None of us wanted to do it. I found myself irritated at how long it was taking them. I think it is fortunate that is not my day job or many children would suffer from a lack of confidence in their abilities.

We are beginning to make our vacation plans. It looks like we will be going somewhere the last week of June. The whole family is going but part of us did not want to go to Hilton Head because they felt it would remind them too much of Mom. I had thought that might be one of those sweet aches, feeling closer to the person in the places that remind you of them but in the end, maybe vacation isn't the place for that. We are trying to figure out which beach to go to. There are about 16 of us but we'd like to get a house so we're having a bit of trouble. Wherever, I am relieved we are going to go together. I feared that once Mom no longer arranged the family vacations that they too would begin to die. It seems like it is more important than ever that we move closer in together to help absorb the daily shocks that so wear on our spirits.  Sorry this felt a little scattered tonight, lack of sleep does that to me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The best laid plans

I thought my confession of last night would force me to make a list today and get those thank-you notes knocked out. That was my plan. To take the kids to school, go to an exercise class, breakfast with an amazing friend of mine, and then do thank-you notes until I puked up goodwill and charm. None of those things occurred, which in the case of the projectile goodwill isn't such a bad thing. 

Kelsey woke me at three in the morning saying her neck really hurt. I was suspicious until I said she'd have to take some Tylenol and she did with no complaint. This is a girl I literally have to restrain to give antibiotics. Then, after she got in bed with me, she proceeded to snuggle against my side regularly bringing her knees up to beat me in the kidney's while she slept. If that weren't enough, she also would roll to the other side and drag the covers with her, brrr. The good news about the twilight type sleep I had was that I dreamed about Mom. In my dream, she was sitting on the edge of the bed wearing her white, terrycloth robe, with her hair all messed up like she had been in bed too. I was telling her about my rough night and that Kelsey hadn't slept. She smiled and made some kind of a joke. It was so nice to see her again with wrinkles in the right smiling places. I missed her when I really opened my eyes. 

Kelsey still hurt in the morning so Jeff took Christopher to school on his way to Knoxville. My friend couldn't meet which was fortunate since I couldn't either. Exercise class was out so I went back to bed in another room since I had not slept well since Kelsey joined me. Just after I drifted off, Kelsey's voice woke me.


I staggered out of the bedroom to find her looking like a trauma victim with tissue stuck in her nose and blood smeared on her hands and face, and matted in her hair. The nosebleeds have begun (something that occurs each allergy season). Only in this case, she hadn't managed to get up in time and it had gotten on the sheets and through the mattress pad. I tried to sound sympathetic but all I really wanted to do was go to sleep. I stripped the bed and washed out the iron smelling stains with cold water like Mom had always taught me. Is there a woman alive who doesn't know how to get blood out of sheets after puberty? Poor Kelsey, meanwhile, kept crying out when she would turn her head the wrong way because her neck still hurt. 

I went back to bed while she took a shower but then the phone calls began. Three of which were from Jeff and we got into a rousing argument about his health. We did resolve it, finally, on the third call. So I spent a non-productive morning continuing to return to the bed only to never really sleep. The day wore on and the most I got accomplished was canceling one of mom's credit cards and paying off her Verizon account, sending a much needed update to my drama class parents, and attending a Colledgedale city planning meeting to try to prevent them from building apartments behind my neighborhood. Oh, and I did make my appointment to get our taxes done. Just for the record, those last five things are on the list that I have not yet created. So when I do make it, I will put them on there so they can be crossed off. I guess that could be considered progress. Tomorrow, Jeff is out of town again so I plan to begin going through the filing cabinets. I wonder if that will actually occur? Anyone want to help? Hello? Anyone? Bueller?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

task list

I may have mentioned I write fiction. That title above is a bit of fiction because I haven't actually created any sort of list. Instead, I am allowing all of the things I need to do to scramble around in my mind, pile-driving each other down into the far recesses of the brain until that loser idea resurfaces accompanied by a feeling of panic because it was forgotten. I am afraid to make the list for fear I will be so overwhelmed by the vastness and complexity that I will end up screaming and never stop. Excuse me, my penchant for melodrama is showing. In fact, what would probably happen if I made the list is that I would begin to do each thing on it until it was done. Adding certain things that are already done just so I can look productive by crossing them out. Because, after all, if I'm keeping track I want to get credit for it all.

The downside of having lost such beloved parents is the number of thank-you notes that need to be written. I realize that, especially at this time in my life, people aren't waiting to cross receiving my thank-you note off their own lists but it is a matter of what Mom would want. And she would definitely want the written thank-you. I am really bad at doing them. I know for weddings the limit is a year but what about funerals or birthdays? I am embarrassed to admit that my daughter's birthday is July 5th and since we moved right after, those notes have still not been written. The list of guests and corresponding gifts is hanging on the bulletin board in my kitchen so I am reminded each day of this vast shortcoming. This delay came from the best of intentions. I wanted to do a change of address form, with my daughter's email, and an update on how everything was going, maybe even include the pictures of the child at the party with the thank-you. None of these things has occurred. The only thing that has happened is that I actually purchased the notes. Unfortunately, I used them for Mom's funeral.  Then my son's birthday was in January. Clearly, I could not write his thank-you notes without having written the daughter's first.

Now, you all know my secret shame. I even had one friend help write notes after Mom's funeral. Still, I am not finished or even close. Then Dad went and we are still getting cards about Gideon donations every day in the mail. I am not suggesting this is my responsibility alone. My sisters are more than shouldering their share. It isn't even all about Mom. I sincerely want to let people know how much I appreciate their gifts, or their time, or their food. Sometimes, it feels like people are already forgetting about Mom and Dad so I like getting those cards that let me know people are still making donations in their names. They are still missed. I could go pyschobabble on you and suggest that not writing the notes is a way of avoiding the acknowledgement that their lives are finished but that doesn't explain the children's birthdays so I think I just have to acknowledge my procrastination.

I find I'm wanting to work my losses into every conversation. I want to make sure people know that I am different now, that nothing in my life will ever be the same. At the same time, that seems so very something I don't like to do. Jeff is going back to the doctor tomorrow. He made it until nine tonight which is the new ten. Still, I ended up sitting by myself until I came up here to troll on facebook and then write this. Think  how many thank-you notes could have been done in this period. You can't really feel sorry for someone who does this to herself, can you? 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

lonesome nights

Jeff went to bed at eight tonight. He continues to say he has fluid in his lungs and then will breathe out until this raspy noise emits from the back of his throat. Because of the cough, he and I haven't slept in the same room since Mom's funeral. There have been several times that I wake in the night realizing something is wrong and it would be nice to not be alone. Then again, I am glad not to be woken by the coughing on those times I can get some sleep. He and I have started "jokingly" calling each other roomies. I wonder if this is how a marriage begins to disintigrate, beginning with the best of intentions?  I feel so disconnected from daily life anyway. It's like in order to function, I have to step away from the interaction instead of getting closer.

Jeff seems to be almost fascinated with his poor health, I guess in the same way I will go into the bathroom and stare at my face when I have a cold sore. He's pretty sure it is walking pnemonia. He had that ten years ago and I guess once you've heard the word pnemonia applied to you, the echo of it follows every coughing illness. Although, it seems like after going to the doctor three times they would have diagnosed it. Then there is also the part of me that is so tired of him being sick. My ability to provide compassion is at an all-time low and what little is left goes straight to the kids. Not to suggest I have ever been that good at caretaking. My mom was always good at reminding me to be kinder. Many people in my life have complimented me on my thoughtfulness or caring. If they are right, will I be able to continue being the nice I've always been without her? Or will I slip into some kind of selfish cocoon where all I see are my own needs or the lack of them being met? I know I haven't done much for anyone else since mom and dad died. Do you ever feel like getting back into things or do you just have to push yourself? Too many questions, you'd think after being a grief counselor for years, I'd have at least a few answers.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Sliver of Soap

So many things and so many memories. Tonight, in the shower, I realized we needed a new bar of soap. When we were cleaning out Mom's apartment, we found a ziploc sandwich bag with a sliver of soap in it. My sisters and I laughed because we knew Mom would have replaced the soap in the bathroom because a visitor was coming but kept the little piece for herself to use at some time in the future. Growing up, you had to use down until you were practically rubbing your washcloth on the dish. Now, Mom probably wouldn't have ever gotten around to using that soap since it was out of the bathroom, no matter how long she lived, but she kept it anyway, just in case. Sharon smiled about the soap and said, "I love her."

It is the idiosyncratic traits of people that make them who they are. My sisters and I could sit down and tell everyone each of the things about Mom that drove us crazy. We'd also tell you, on the same breath, how much we wish she were still here doing them. Like the soap, or the fact that she never kept enough extra toilet paper in the bathroom, and her tendency to be completely penny-pinching when you ran to the store with her money and almost meeting  you at the door demanding change and then at another time, giving an incredibly extravagant gift for no reason. I know my children are going to miss her generosity. It seems like every time she came over, until the last months, she would have picked up a little something for them. This has led me to buying way more for them since Mom died than I ever would have before. It's like I don't want to tell them no about stuff because it is something I can do, whereas I can't ever give them another grandparent. Now, I realize the danger of this trend and I will be pulling back before I have little monsters. But, for now, it's fun to see them smile and we haven't had to resort to living on credit, yet.

The gym membership is, in a way, a nod to our loss as well. It has a pool the kids can swim in since they can't go to Nana's pool anymore. Even in the last few months, she would have them over to swim every couple of weeks while I went to boot camp. The first time, they swam over there, Mom and I discussed at length not letting Kelsey go underwater in the hot tub because of that horrible story a few years ago where the little girl's hair got stuck in the drain and she drowned. So the next time I dropped the kids off, as I was leaving Mom said, "Hey Nancy," and when I looked over she gave me a a big smile and flashed the pair of sewing scissors she'd tucked into her towel. I really miss that smile. When she had a joke or something funny she always made sure to share it, even as sighed and said, "mom," in that voice of the long-suffering child.

So what did I do about that little piece of soap in my shower tonight? No, it isn't in a plastic bag but it's still sitting there, right under the new bar of soap. I guess I'll have to wait on a guest before I get rid of it or maybe I'll save it so my kids can roll their eyes about their mom after I'm gone.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just a phone call

It was a phone call in May that told me my mother had a tumor. It was a phone call that summoned us to the doctor's office to find out it was cancer, and it was a phone call that told me my father died. It seems I might stop answering the phone, doesn't it? But then there are those other calls, my sisters' calling to check on me, my Knoxville and Chattanooga friends texting and calling to make sure I am pulling through it all. Tonight, I got a wonderful phone call from a long-standing friend, Christine (notice I didn't say old friend to avoid any confusion). We chatted for a couple of hours about entertainment news, life, husbands, stuff and I laughed. It felt good to laugh but I'm different than I used to be. I don't know if this is permanent now or not but under the laugh was a layer of sadness. We touched on it a bit but not enough to make me cry.

Today was a cry day. I got excited because of our decision to join the YMCA. The kids loved it and danced around in the lobby of the place singing the song of that title. I reached for my cell phone to tell Mom about it only to remember again that she wouldn't answer. The bad thing about the light at the end of the tunnel is the more I see of it, the more likely I am to be taken off guard by the realization that she is gone. Jeff has been working on an All-Meds crisis since early this morning. It would be nice if he could be available but it is also nice to have income so I can't really complain. Not to mention, I am heading to bed and he is still working. We're still eating our leftovers from the meals people have so lovingly given. Mom's bread did not turn out though. But I made myself sick sampling it to see if I could fix the problem. I can't call Mom for a fix anymore.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gotta love my man

You may recall my relief that my mother's voice, that I could not remember how it sounded, came from the on-star recording in her car. This morning my husband reclaimed his hero status by making three calls to on-star so I could keep my mother's voice on the car. It is not their policy to do so. The first person he talked to said no, the second said, yes but he'd have to talk to someone else. The third person said it was highly irregular but when Jeff told them I'd lost my father too, he said he would make it happen. In my gratitude, I broke out sobbing but felt so loved. So now I have to keep that car for the rest of my life.

It seems my day of rest yesterday did me good. I didn't feel so tired this morning and I slept fine last night so I must have needed it. I am sad to say that I will no longer be doing boot camp because I couldn't get the instructor to respond to an email so starting tomorrow I am going to join a gym. I hope I will be as consistent with it as I have been with the other. I like feeling like I am in good shape. Not that I am eating right.

Tonight, I endeavored to make my mother's sour dough bread with her starter. Last week, Kelsey cried because she would never have Nana's bread again. Her recipe says you can add sugar or salt but I don't know if she did either. So I made three batches tonight. One has salt in it, the other has sugar in it, and the third, neither. I felt a bit like I was back in middle school doing a science experiment as I labeled each batch of dough. According to the directions, the dough will bake overnight and then I will have to knead and roll it out tomorrow. The majoirty of these concepts are foreign to me so I hope I can carry it out.

Someone at church asked about Mom's bread because they said the pastor wants to start giving bread to everyone who visits the church. I tried to figure out an angle today on how to get it called the Sandra Graves ministry. Mom would have certainly demurred at such a suggestion but it would fit her since she nurtured so many. I'm off to bed soon. Hopefully, to either have no or good dreams.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

and the next stage is...

Crazy. Last night as Jeff put the kids to bed, since I had by then alienated them all with my snappiness, he called me to the back room. His hearing isn't great and all he could hear was some scratching and clicking. He thought it might be more critters. I came into the room and identified the source immediately. The intercom system, which is a reminant from when the house was built, emitted the strange sounds. I turned it down in my son's room but was unable to stop the scratching, static hisses in the main system in the kitchen. I jokingly said, "Hey Mom," to the system and then started to think what if that really was my mom trying to communicate with me. Quickly, to forestall the blatent nervous breakdown approaching, I turned off all the switches and turned down every volume I could find. The sounds did not stop.

I went off to bed wondering if maybe the sounds could be taken for dashes and dots. Sometime in the next thrity minutes while I lay awake in bed, I considered looking up Morris Code on the computer to see if there was some kind of message coming in from the otherworld. Then it hit me, my mom and dad are both in heaven. They aren't wasting their time trying to get some message to me from there. If anything was trying to get through it wasn't from above. So I prayed hard for protection for the family and the noises stopped. Do I think this was a coincidence? Yeah, most likely. On the other hand, every horror movie starts with people dismissing what seems like an obvious danger to those of us watching. So, I'm glad I didn't try to decode the message. What would I have done if it said something? Well, besides write a book about it, of course.

The night was spent dreaming about Dad's funeral. Nothing really happened in the dream. I was just there all night next to the casket. This morning when I woke, I didn't feel well. My stomach insisted sometime in the night I had ingested a brick. Since I knew that wasn't possible, I assumed it was a stomach virus coming on. I cancelled my plans for breakfast with a bestie and after the kids got off to school, climbed back in the bed and stayed there.

I stayed in the bed all day long, not getting up to even shower until right before the kids got home. I screened calls and made the mistake of answering one or two that I shouldn't. So it seems I barreled right from the anger stage to depression. But have no fear my friends, the irritation was back tonight as my husband's raised eyebrows at dinner attested to. My stomach is better but I am still so tired. No static on the radio tonight and I hope no one's funeral is on schedule to play in my dreams.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Snappy the Clown

One of my friend's from graduate school and her boyfriend at the time (now husband) used to have this shtick where when one of them would say something biting, the other would say, "Well hello, Snappy the Clown." Or some variation of that theme. Today, I feel as if Snappy the Clown is my new identity. He doesn't always express himself but he is in there muttering snide comments about the most mundane of things. Lest anyone begin to fear that I have been possessed by the clown from Stephen King's "It", this is a little different. Mostly, because there is no clown and I don't live in Indiana or wherever it is that he always bases his novels. It is just that pesky second stage of grief, anger.

Jeff's boss is on him to be in the office in Knoxville. I know this is only the precursor to him insisting we move back. His indifference to my pain makes me want to fly through the sky and land on his head like I am the house and he is the witch in "Wizard of Oz." Or maybe I'm the tornado. Tonight, a very well-meaning mother from my drama class came up to ask if we still needed help with any of the things that I had sent out in an email the week before. There was a big part of me that felt pissed that she didn't even mention my parents. So I said, thinking maybe she didn't know, "I haven't gotten too much done since then because of the funerals." She nodded and said, "Well, I've been working a lot but can help with anything."

It was a very nice offer from a very generous person. I am certain with everything in my being that she is a kind individual who cares very much for the pain of others. But even knowing this intellectually, all I could stew about was that she hadn't offered condolences. I kept going over in my head that my mother and father have both died. My poor sister is carrying the brunt of the class right now because I am also mad that I even started the class. I would never abandon the kids who have been working hard but I hate the optimism that allowed me to think that a class that lasted nine weeks was a good idea. Who knew that it would be in that exact nine weeks that pancreatic cancer would rip my mother away and that my father's Alzheimer's would rapidly hit the final stage where he could no longer swallow? Who does that happen to? Well, it turns out it happens to me, my sisters, and everyone else who loved both mom and dad.

Jeff is still struggling with illness. He has now been to the doctor three times and thinks he may have fluid in his lungs. However, I did not go to the doctor with him and he seems to be unable to explain what the diagnosis was. The doctor gave him an antibiotic and an inhaler with the instructions to return in a week if his cough doesn't improve. So now I am mad at her for not being more clear. Is he a new asthmatic? I'm irritated with him for not asking more questions. And truthfully, I want to roll my eyes each time he has what is probably a very uncomfortable coughing fit. My daughter asked me if her Dad was going to die tonight which made me mad at him again. She shouldn't have to worry about whether he is going to pull through this one or follow after her grandparents. So when I got home and he was asleep on the couch I hissed at him, "She thinks you might die so try to pull it together." At which point, he rolled off the couch and went through a very dramatic dying scene that I might have found amusing at any other time but just made me want to kick him. To my credit, I didn't. Jeff is a wonderful and loving husband but I think he is beginning to feel he can't do anything right. A feeling that I am not doing much to remedy.

Hello, second stage, I hope you don't hang around too long. I'm not liking this side of myself much.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cleaning out doesn't mean moving on

Today, after church, the sisters (and family) met at The Lantern to clean out Dad's room. Each article of clothing that I stuffed in the black plastic bag tugged at my tear ducts a little. But none of it made me cry. I'm pretty sure I haven't run out of tears so I hope they aren't waiting to build up again. One of the things that was tough about Dad's funeral was that there were fewer people there than at Mom's. While I anticipated that might happen, it was still tough to see. So, it was a relief when a couple of different people at church told me they hadn't known it was Dad since the paper listed him as Roy (his first name) instead of Marvin (his middle but usually used name). I'm going to give everyone the benefit of the doubt that they didn't know. These posts are going to be winding down. After all, the earthquake has happened and now I'm just dealing with aftershocks. One of these days, if anyone checks in here, it is going to read The End. Not of me, of course, just the blog. Thank you all for caring.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

When do you stop posting?

It never occurred to me when I began writing this blog that I would lose both my parents so quickly. I certainly thought I had at least twenty more years dealing with a father with Alzheimer's. So now, I wonder when do I stop the blog? I won't stop writing because that is what I do. But does anyone really want to read about the grief process which will no doubt drag on to everyone but me who feels like I'm walking through wet concrete so therefore celebrate each step. My sister said my last post should just contain the words, "The End." But if I had been going to do that then maybe after dad's funeral. The world is going to expect business as usual beginning Monday. After all, the funerals are over. People will still cluck at me sympathetically but really how long will the patience last with my inactivity?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Good-bye Dad

Today was Dad's funeral. I think I was more present or maybe just more practiced. When you do two in just a couple of weeks, it is easy to remember the routine. All of my grief seems to be still at the cerebral level. When I remember or miss something about Mom or Dad, I cry. Other times, I'm not thinking about them and everything seems okay. I know it is just a matter of time before that deep level grief hits. The kind that weighs down your chest and makes you feel like your body is being physically attacked. Or maybe it won't happen. Maybe all of these prayers are keeping that soul wrenching pain at bay and I can just begin to heal. I know many people are lifting all of our family members up to the Father. I spoke today at Dad's funeral. Something I regret not doing at Mom's. I could have talked all day but there never would have been enough words. Below is basically what I said. 

Dad seemed to always have a song on his mind. He didn’t always know all the words but that was okay he’d just hum the parts he didn’t know. You’d always know because he’d be singing along and then so do, do, do or some variation of that. Whenever we would go on long trips, Mom and Dad would sit in the front and sing. Dad had a deep, rumbly voice and Mom had a clear, higher one. They would encourage all of us to sing along but if we didn’t want to, they would sing duets (usually funny ones).   I can’t remember all the words to a lot of them now but that’s okay because I know how to hum too. 

Everyday, when he  came home from work, Mom was usually in the kitchen and before he did anything else, he would walk up to her and say, “Hey good-looking,” and give her a kiss. I rolled my eyes at this but knew it meant everything was all-right. Well, except for those days when I knew she had something to tell him which would get me in trouble.

When we were little, we used to have this game, where after Dad would come home, we would say, “play rough, Dad, play rough,” and he would growl and run off and hide somewhere in the house. My sister and I would clutch each other and creep through the house waiting for him to jump out. When he did, we would scream and he would tickle us. As an adult, I think about how tired he must have been some days coming home, ready to go for his run but I don’t remember him ever saying, “I don’t feel like that today.”

We had an easy time when we were little, the wheelbarrow rides, the wrestling around, tossing us high in the air. It got harder when we were older but there were still ping-pong games, and teaching us about cars, and all throughout life always pointing us to God.

When I was a teenager, I remember sitting in his lap, crying about some boy who broke my heart. Dad patted on me and said, “The only hands I trust you in besides mine are God’s.” That is who he always trusted. He would tell stories about how God worked in his life.

Mom and Dad weren’t perfect but I do believe they always did the best they knew how to do. They loved us through all our mistakes. Dad and Mom demonstrated unconditional love to us in a way that allowed me to understand how God can still love us no matter where we’ve been or what we have done. I hope to pass that on to my children. I want to add, that even though Mom and Dad both got sick at the end of their lives, the greatest testament to them will be if every time you think about the loss, you point to God because they always did. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Once Again

I am so tired that my body feels like I am carrying extra weight across my shoulders. I think I may have written that before but don't feel like going back to check previous posts. My apologies if this one is redundant. Then again, having one parent's funeral less than two weeks after the others feels repetitive. I need to expand my vocabulary to see if there is a word that means repetitive but of an extremely tortuous task. It isn't really a sleepy tired more a desire for the last month to have been a bad dream. Tomorrow, we are having the family over here for lunch after the funeral so today was spent cleaning. Two of my friends here in Chattanooga came over to clean today, Tricia and Amy. I know I would have cleaned without them but also that I would have been so much more stressed. Instead, I felt loved. It was also wonderful to see my Knoxville girls, Ashley, Joy, Karen, and Kim. Becky was unable to attend due to breaking up a dog fight and possibly breaking her foot in the process. No one can say her life is dull. I am sad that tomorrow will be the last day we celebrate the lives of either of my parents. While I don't relish funerals, they are a way of saying 'look how great this person was and how much they will be missed.' What am I going to do to commemorate that after tomorrow. It doesn't seem conceivable that I could just go back to daily life because that life has taken a hard left and now I have to figure out this direction. Those of  you who know me, realize that direction is not one of my strengths. For now, thank you for your prayers. I am still considering speaking at the funeral but don't know what I will say. Thank you to everyone who was able for coming tonight.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Love Eternal

Funeral Arrangements for my father are settled. Family visitation is from 4-8 at Heritage Funeral Home on Thursday night. Friday morning from 10-11 the family will receive at Ooltewah Baptist Church followed by Dad's funeral at 11:00 a.m. The military burial will be at the National Cemetery at 12:30. Below are his words he wrote to my mother so many years ago on their fourth anniversary. They are together now. 
July 18
“ My precious love,
This day, 4 years ago, was the luckiest day and the most meaningful in my life, not to mention the beginning of the happiest days of my life.  I would do it all over again without a moments hesitation and would give quite a lot to have the opportunity right now – but since that opportunity is not open – I re-pledge every word of the ceremony with a deeper conviction and meaning that comes with 4 years of living with the one you love so tenderly, sincerely, passionately, and completely. 
Although there have been several months when we were not physically together, there has never been a moment when you were not more than a fraction of an inch away from my fingertips and I have reached for you many times.  Even with the separation of half the world, you are still my inspiration for achievement of greater things, my example for the pure and meaningful life, and my companion which gives meaning and joy to life.
I know not what God has in store for me in the future but I do know that whatever it is I want you to be there with me and if you are with me then I have been blessed so much that anything else will not matter.
 I am really looking forward to talking to you in the morning if the weather and other circumstances permit.  Till then, my love travels across the waves in a great rush.  Hope you can handle it.
                                                Your Husband,
                                                & proud of it”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Tonight, my father passed away. He was resting peacefully, or so I was told. Even though I spent days and hours in his room, crying to him, telling him all the things I loved about him, praying for him, he died in a two hour period in which I was gone. One of his sisters was still by his side. She called and told us. We also found out tonight that my nephew and his wife are expecting a baby, so sad and happy are all meshed together. A lot of me is numb but the part that isn't keeps producing tears even after I think I must have already emptied the available tear reservoir. It seems the ducts must be calling in reinforcements. I know God can use all things for good and I'm making myself available for that but right now I am really tired.

There were a lot of things about my dad that made me roll my eyes in his life and I miss them all now, well maybe not the look when I got in trouble, that was scary, but all that other stuff. Even his predilection for wearing stripes and plaid together with black socks. He also used to do this thing when I was watching cartoons or movies where he would root for the bad guy just to make me pitch a fit. I guess he pulled a fast one on me in the end by going when I wasn't looking. I love you Dad and I'm going to miss you.