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Posts Tagged With: death

Random 5 for October – 665, pies and Free Fallin’

It’s Tuesday! It’s Random! It’s time for 5 Randoms in my world.  Ready?  Set?  Go ->

1 )  665 – that’s 665 days without 1 sick day.  I was last sick (bronchial infection/the flu) in December of 2015; I started the 10 day Grain Detox on Jan 4 2016 and lost weight, the fluff & puff, and regained my health.   Cutting out grains cut the inflammation that feeds illness ~ no more seasonal allergies, colds, flu, sinusitis or bronchitis.   It’s not that hard to do and while I was super strict the first 8 months my life shifted with even more travel and I relaxed and leaned into it.  I still (largely) follow the guidelines and – to my amazement – am never sick.  Amazing!   10 days became a lifestyle.

2 )  Death ~ we had a death in the family last week, Hubbs’ Dad.  He had been estranged from the family for many years, and lived far away from all of us, by choice.   Still, it’s never easy to lose a parent, regardless the circumstances.   Someone asked me what he was like and my answer was, “He was a hard man to know.”   And there it is.   But – to clarify – when I write here about time spent with my FIL, I’m writing about Hubbs’ Step-Dad, who lives nearby.   Fathers come in many forms.

3 ) Seasons ~ it’s October and feels like June, with higher than normal temps, skies like September and heat like summer.   Birds and squirrels are as confused as we are!

2 doors down & Taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

4 ) Travel ~ I have gobs of travel this month – day trips, overnights, and out-of-towns.  Current events make for nervous travelers, watching the crowd, staying alert.    You know what keeps me going?   Too much vacation has to be used again so I’ve booked a week off at Thanksgiving ~  I’ll be reading, pie-making, relaxing and shutting out the world.      It’s good to have goals 🙂

My sister-in-law’s homemade Saskatoon berry pie.

5 )  Tom Petty.  RIP.   So many great songs, all sing-along-able.  This was and is a favorite.   “She’s a good girl, loves her Mama, loves Jesus, and America, too.”   ~ Sigh

And how was your week?

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Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Grief, Growth, Life Lessons, Men, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Travel, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Lions, Lambs and funeral luncheons

Mother Nature has been mercurial again – here March roared in like a lion, with freezing temps, bitter cold, blowing snow and lashing sleet.   All this after a mid-February warm up to nearly 70F.  The latest round felt like a mid-winter spanking. Are we safe to assume March will leave like a lamb?  I’m not so sure.

A friend passed away last Sunday ~ shockingly young, leaving a wife and two children plus a business and employees to take care of.  We struggled to absorb the news and rally around our friend.  As expected, a call went out for food and folks didn’t disappoint.  At the wake Friday night, were crocks full of hot foods like meatballs, macaroni and cheese, Sloppy Joe’s, Fettuccine Alfredo and Lasagna plus trays of cakes, cookies and squares, salads, raw vegetables, fresh fruit, deviled eggs, boiled shrimp, crackers and cheese, a  baked ham and the fixings for sandwiches.

There’s something so comforting about being able to help at a time of sadness. 

Many commented on the abundance of foods and I thought of Mom and my Auntie and all the times they’d done the same. It’s nice to be part of a community that comes together and provides sustenance when needed.

Later that evening, reflecting on the day, Hubbs and I chuckled at how we’d both observed the same thing: older gentlemen – every one of them had a big slab of cake (sometimes two), cookies or brownies on their plate ~ we laughed about how we could see my Dad or his Grandpa doing the same – how they knew enough to”go for the good stuff first.

Co-mingled in the sadness is a lingering feeling of fellowship, the memory of a room growing loud with laughter and toasts to a good man.

And as the wind howls outside here today, no lambs are in sight.

**   How does your family or community navigate loss?  Are you experiencing Lambs or Lions where you live? **

 

Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Grief, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Share, Thoughts, Traditions, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Return

It’s been a month since I wrote last.

1 month.

1 month, 2 weddings & a funeral.

Sounds like a movie title.

Time marches on, life slowly returns to some semblance of normal.

The phone rings. Emails chime in.  Cell phone buzzes.

It’s good to be back;  a routine is helpful to me.

But … other times fatigue hits like a wet blanket.

There’s no logic to it.

Grief.

You’re sideswiped when you least expect it.

Looking at a picture, singing a song, holding something she’d held.

Then I think about the past 6 months and the growth that’s occurred ~ 6 months ago {today}  I was nervously off to meet with some rather tough hombres. Tonight is meeting #4  with same crew. No nerves. Funny how that goes, isn’t it?  She’d smile at that and give me a thumbs up.  I’ll take it, too.

Yes there were many stories to share, many moments.  Many laughs, many tears.  Many kind words, much emotion expressed.  So much.

Like the passage I read at her funeral .. .there’s a time for all things under Heaven.

And as she’d want us to, we laughed. We cried. We sang. We danced.  We remembered. And, as she’d nudge us to, we carried on.

Ecclesiastes-3-4

Thank you for your kind words on the passage of my Mother.

Your kindness gave me the strength to square my shoulders, smile broadly and speak openly about her at the memorial.    She was with me and so were you.

PS ~ our last conversation was personal and political, we bantered about Rump and Billary ~ I can’t tell you how much I love that 🙂

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Grief, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Mom, Politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

‘Till next time

There’s no other way to say it than to say it: Mom passed away last week.

She’d been up & down and things weren’t getting better; but we’d been there before, collectively holding our breath.  And then the little bit would rally and surprise us all, over and over again.

Oldest sister sat with her last Sunday and they talked frankly about things; thankfully Mom made her own choices about being moved from the nursing home to the hospital.  “No way,” she said emphatically.  But the meds weren’t working as they had before.  Sissy asked if she was tired and Mom said yes, yes she was.  Sissy told her it was OK to rest that she would sit with her and she did. She asked about calling the others. Mom’s response was a typical Mom response, “Don’t believe that’s necessary.”  Sissy did anyway and they all visited the next day.  The morning after that, Mom slipped quietly away.

Even when you expect it, there’s no way to prepare for the loss of someone you love. You can’t.  All you can do hold on as hard as you can and brace yourself for the waves of grief that are sure to come. Some are Tsunamis, some are ankle nippers.  You try not to drown.  I’m still there, some days floating, other days gasping.

I had booked flights for my nephew’s wedding at the end of July; our oldest son’s wedding is this Saturday.  It was so like her to slip off before all that – not wanting to cause a fuss. It was so like her to put space between those milestones so as not to tamper anyone’s joy.

Tickets have been changed, I’ll leave sooner.

She wanted to be cremated and for us to hold a service “when it made sense.”  That was also so her. We laugh about how, even now, she’s still ‘large & in charge.’  Sobs come through our stories.

We’ll have a service at the grave site then a gathering in the town hall with several hundred people followed by a lunch. There’s no church big enough!!  And not having everything this week or next gives people time to come.  And they are. By the droves.  Not just locally but from all over Canada & the U.S. as well.   Mom was well-known and loved; friends & family want the opportunity to tell their stories and pay their respects.  I’ve tried to help where I can, making phone calls, sending photos, and just being part of things.  But I know when I step off the plane that grief will hit me in the face like a wet towel.  Drafting her obituary last night stung but I was  honored to do so.

As sad as I am and as much as I’ll miss her I know she’s free.  She’s with Dad on a date night, holding the winning ticket to a fast horse, enjoying a hot Rye, her purse just a-swinging.    I smile knowing Frankie’s tucked up under Heaven’s kitchen table getting fatter by the second; she always called that dog “the Gentleman.”  Her Mom and Dad are there, she’s with other pals and family.  Farm dogs, barn kitties and ponies we’ve lost along the way are all snuggled up close to her. How can we be sad at that?

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses - and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses – and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

No, the sadness, that’s for us. The sadness comes in knowing we have to wait to see her again. And I’m not that patient.

But mixed with the grief is the gratitude: for all who she was, all that she did, and how deeply we loved her.

I’ve lived far from home for 32+ years. She and I enjoyed many happy visits, there, here, other places, plus other trips and adventures. We had a thing: we never said “good-bye” we always said, “’till next time.”  The last time I was home with her, when it came time to leave for the airport, she stood to hug me and laid her head on my chest. We stood quietly like that, her head on me, me supporting her, and her hugging me tightly. I’ll never forget that hug.  Breaking apart we looked each other in the eyes and said “till next time.”   She smiled and I smiled and headed out the door.

Soon my siblings and cousins, aunties and friends will gather – we’ll share her stories and we’ll sing her songs.  We’ll find ourselves saying the things she would have said. We’ll sip on a Rye and we’ll reflect on the gift of a Mother happy to be one.  On the gift that was her.

related:

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran  

angels-kiss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

It’s the cliches that cause the trouble

10 years have passed since he left us. 10 years.

And despite what people say, time doesn’t heal everything – it never gets easier, missing someone you love. You just get through it and, over the years, you get used to the ache that remains.

For those of you who didn’t know my Dad, let me tell you a little about him. His name was Lloyd.

He put cookies in his pocket & kept licorice and peppermints in the truck. He didn’t go anywhere without a favorite cap or a little grin on his face. He loved people, but he had a soft spot for children and animals, especially dogs. He taught me where to find Saskatoon berries, to appreciate the land we farmed, to be fearless, to drive a stick shift, to read the sky, and to dance while standing on his toes. He taught me girls could do anything but that it was perfectly OK to look like one, too, and without too much makeup. He taught me that doors should be opened for ladies and that if someone came into the yard and honked they could just keep on driving. He taught me to be helpful, to fix what I could, to re-use what I had, to preserve what was good and to let go what wasn’t. He taught me real men cry, cherish their wives, tickle their children, and are playful, gentle and loyal. Dad loved to dance, kid around, make up silly songs and laugh; most of all, he loved his wife and every single one of us kids and all grand kids and greats, friends, family and neighbors. He was a man of few words. He didn’t need them I suppose. His actions spoke volumes. He showed up.

my Dad as a young man; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

Dad as a young man; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

As much as I long to hear his voice and see his kind face, I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for the gift of a kind and loving father. Who gets that? We did. So lucky.

“You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?”
― Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

Who are you missing today?

Categories: Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Men, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

But if there’s love, dear

Oh there was love, poppet.

Just wish it would have been enough.  RIP RW.

 

Categories: Family, Grief, Life, Love, Men, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Worth it

Every so often, another writer’s post touches my heart in such a way that I think about it long after I’ve stopped reading.

This one did.

It’s one man’s story of faith.  Of love. Of moments that matter.

Moments of grace and humor and serendipity.

One man’s story.

Read it here: http://richripley.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/the-touchstones-of-our-heart/

somehow this picture belongs here.  Google.images.com

He’ll understand why bacon is here! Google.images.com

Categories: Beauty, Blogging, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Grief, Growth, Home, Life, Men, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Our hearts are thumpin’

My friend, Lynette, passed on last night.

I wrote about her recently.

We knew it was coming but that doesn’t make it easier.

We’ll miss her.

Her laughter, the kind that fills a room.

Her helpfulness, always willing to lend a hand and befriend those without one.

We always knew when she arrived to a party, her signature, “Whoop whoop!” gave her away.

Come to think of it, she didn’t just liven up a party, she was the party.

I’ll miss her.

Her warmth.  Her hilarity. Her humanity.

The good ones always seem to leave us too soon, don’t they?

So today, I’m grateful for a country drive and the chance to sing along to a favorite song of hers.

Rest in peace, sweet friend.

Hey, where did we go
Days when the rains came?
Down in the hollow
Playing a new game,
Laughing and a-running, hey, hey,
Skipping and a-jumping
In the misty morning fog with
Our, our hearts a-thumping
And you, my brown-eyed girl,

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Friendship, Grief, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

I got it

Listening to our grand-daughter, MJ, I can’t help but chuckle every time she says these three words: “I got it!”

Jumping into the pool … I got it!

Opening her juice box … I got it!

Putting on her sandals … I got it!

You name it, she’s got it.  And as someone who’s soon to be 3, this is an important phrase to learn and commandeer so cheerfully.

Thinking back over the past three weeks, I reflect on the hours spent sitting with my friend at her mother’s bedside.   Cancer.  Terminal. Time for Hospice. Nothing more they can really do. Just keep her comfortable. It won’t be long.

Short sentences, spoken in hushed tones.

We watched as she and her husband moved her Mom into their home and set up “shop” in the living room, right in the middle of the action.  Near the kitchen and the TV and the dinner table, exactly where she wanted to be.

Hubbs and I visited often, sitting with them all and sometimes the guys would slip out back to stand under the stars and get away from the inevitable.  And sometimes we did, too.

This friend is the child in her family who takes care of everyone, makes sure holidays are organized, helped others pay their bills, cooked and cleaned for her Mom and worked a full-time job. She’s been the go-to gal and her stepping forward and taking on this next step was not a surprise, as daunting as it was.

I visited with her and her Mom every day of my vacation and last Monday before I left for St. Louis.  Truthfully, we were amazed she was still hanging on.  But spirit does that sometimes; sometimes there are words left unsaid and work yet to be done.

Sons and cousins, aunties and friends stopped to see her one last time and I’ve pondered on how difficult those visits can be.  How tough it is to say what you mean to say as emotions are strangling your words.   I listened when my friend shared moments of awe and wonder:  her Mom rocking a baby she’d lost years ago and asking where those little girls went, the ones who’d been playing near her just now.  When I thought she was sleeping her eyes would pop open and she’d smile at me and say, “Nice dress, where’d ya get it?”  Then we’d laugh and we’d cry and we’d laugh again.

I watched the fatigue etch my friend’s face as days turned into weeks, surviving on coffee and snippets of sleep.

I saw the love in her eyes as she tenderly washed her Mother’s face and helped the Home Health Aide change the sheets.  The sounds of game shows and gospel music permeated the room.

When I got back into town Friday, it was Hubbs who’d committed us to visiting that evening.  Hubbs –  who’d rather be outside for the rest of his life than be in and face what was transpiring – but he did, because somehow he had a feeling and he was right.

And, as was our pattern, we hugged and comforted and laughed and cried and when asked how her Mom was my friend asked, “do you want to come see?” and I said “yes I do.”  We saw the shift those four days had taken on her, on all of them.  The time was nearing and it was soon.

And that’s when little Miss MJ’s words came to me.

I leaned down, placed my hand on her Mother’s arm and whispered, “I got it.  I got your girl and I will help her through this; I don’t want you to worry about it … we’ll make sure she’s OK.”

I don’t know if she heard me but I like to think she did.

My friend heard and we hugged as she cried and it wasn’t long before my tears matched hers.  And as we stood there facing what was to come, we saw her Mom relax a little.  Sitting down, we said a prayer for her homecoming and for strength and courage in the days ahead.   And with that her Mother, by now resembling a little baby bird, grabbed her wings and flew on home.

* * *

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Psalms 23:4

* * *

Have you ever witnessed death? 

How did the experience affect you?

Categories: fear, Forgiveness, Grief, Growth, Life, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

The pain of not knowing

I received word tonight of a colleague’s terminal diagnosis. Of how they’re not discussing treatment.   Of how there are no months or years, just days.

We’re not close, we’ve never even met. But I like her. She’s kind, responsive, and possesses a crisp New England accent that makes me both smile and pay attention when I hear it.

I envisioned her as tall and willowy. I don’t even know if that’s true.

I wish we’d met.

I wish I knew how I’ll grieve someone I never quite knew.

It’s like that, isn’t it?

Working, blogging, connecting.  We form ‘relationships’ with people we don’t know; we grow to count on them and they on us.  We learn the inflection in their laugh, how they sign their emails a particular way, and the sorts of things we differ on.  We learn who they are without ever meeting.

Her name is Susan.

And I am struggling to understand how not knowing her can make me weep even more.

“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’ And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you…”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Categories: Faith, Friendship, Grief, Growth, Life, Personal, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

I was fine…until he cried

I can handle a lot. I’m emotionally strong, and it takes a lot to get me weepy.   

This past weekend, the hubbs and I were chatting about his mom’s sudden passing last year. How unexpected it was. How sad we were. And how she gave the two of us one last really good day … and how grateful we are that she did.

We were both talking about that horrible week last year. About her long battle with M.S. and his Step-Dad’s devotion to her.  We talked about that week before her passing; her husband in and out of the ICU and then surgery, about our trying to figure out care options for her while trying to do our jobs, too.  We talked about who was wonderful and supportive to us and who acted like a selfish jerk.  We talked about leaving her house that last day and knowing, deep in our souls, that this might be it. That the end was coming and that we were not ready but that she was.  We talked about that phone call the next morning, about making calls to others to tell them that no – he was ok, he’d made it through his surgery, but that we’d lost her in the process.  We talked about planning the funeral, picking out a dress for her, and how grotesque it felt to choose a casket.  We talked of our wonderful friends who opened their hearts to us and lifted us up in prayer and food and hugs and beer.  We spoke of the absurdity of certain people’s behavior and those unbelievable moments of clarity when plans came together effortlessly, even when they shouldn’t have.  And then I saw it. His head tilted ever so slightly to the left and he looked up at me from where he sat. I could see the tears forming in his eyes, and his resolve to hold them in.  I saw those broad shoulders tremble and heard him take in a deep breath.

And then, simply, quietly, matter-of-factly, he put his head down and he cried.

That big-shouldered, hearty hunk of a man of mine let the tears flow.  It was necessary. It was gut-wrenching. 

And I was fine .. until he cried.

Categories: Faith, Gratitude, Grief, Life Lessons, Love, Men, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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