This began on March 8, 2011.
It chronicles Mom’s journey of almost three years. Thank you SO MUCH for all your thoughts, prayers, cards, flowers and visits, beginning with her February 22, 2011, admission to Howard County General through her years at Lorien until she left this earth for heaven on February 17, 2014. She is now with the good Lord, and reunited with many family and friends who went before her. Regular blog entries ended on March 8, 2014, but periodic updates on news about the family will continue.
Mom would like that.
It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged, so it seems time to catch everyone up.
I had a wonderful visit with Patty Causey in Atlanta just after my last post on September 10. It was a quick Friday – Sunday visit later that week and we managed to get out to the cemetery where Nannie is buried. It’s funny that I intuitively knew where it was (generally speaking), but Patty was the one to actually locate the headstone. Nannie (Mom’s grandmother) was such an important person in my life.
She died on Mother’s Day in 1987, and actually had the chance on several occasions to visit with her great-great grandson, Andy, since he was born in May 1983!
On October 1, Scott and I ventured to Ocean City for my birthday weekend. He’d never been and I hadn’t been there in decades. It was a wonderful trip with daily walks on the boardwalk, a trip to Assateague Island to see the ponies (!), and delightful dinners at the end of each day. The day of my birthday itself wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be. My first birthday without Mom. LOTS of cards, gifts, messages and more. AND, I have a voice mail on my phone from several years ago of Mom and Wayne singing happy birthday to me. I’ve saved it for a long time and this year…it was perfect. I played it to myself and it really helped the day be a good day. I’ll be playing it to myself every year! Anyway, we came back via Baltimore and met Andy and Nina for dinner, and got to meet Nina’s parents (Houssein and Doris) for the first time! SO, nice! They are lovely folks and we were honored that the kids treated for the event. AND…the kids asked me to make their wedding cake! So, I am studying hard for this one!
The next day (Sunday, October 5), I flew to Heathrow for three quick days and intense meetings just outside London in a town called Hemel Hempstead, where we have an office. I stayed in this lovely old facility called Shendish Manor, which was stunning at night. My room was like an apartment; I truly am blessed when I travel for work! Upon my return, after one day in the office, I was off on Saturday to Roanoke, VA to meet my dear friend, Cindy, to jointly celebrate our birthdays.
This weekend included a delightful visit from Clare (middle school/high school friend) and her beau, Bill. Scott and I have been immensely enjoying our time socializing with them since we reconnected in the spring of 2013. Next weekend, we’ll spend time with Mom’s chief nurse, Dawn Merrill and her FIANCE, Eric. That is new news and we look forward to celebrating with them.
With all my social activities, one would wonder how I have time to work, teach graduate school, and more – ha ha! This is truly a year in which I continue to keep busy and look forward to moving into 2015. Clare and I talked about it last night. She lost her dad on Mom’s birthday, at the age of 90. Her relationship with her dad was very special and we both recognize how “raw” we both are…and how difficult it is to realize that the loss is irreversible. Clare talked about her dog Sallie, who is 14 y.o. and commented that she hopes Sallie makes it til 2015 as she didn’t think she could handle another death this year. I’m 100% with that! I’m glad that Clare and Bill will be with us and stay overnight on New Year’s Eve. We’ll get a chance to bring in 2015 together as couples, which will be special.
In terms of the rest of the family, things are pretty good. Andy and Nina are in wedding planning mode. They are looking at venues now which will them help with the date selection process! We’ll see them for dinner on Friday night, October 24 this coming week. Nina’s teaching this fall is off to a good start and she seems to like her class of 4 year olds better this year! Wayne is bowling; had some successful skin surgery with one more procedure pending. Randy had his 52nd birthday on Friday October 17…the eight month anniversary. He is doing well and pretty settled in Tampa, but he still spends a lot of time in West Palm. Whitney is getting grounded out in California and started working at Seasons 52. Arielle is in her last semester of college. I am overdue in having Samantha and Justin over for dinner.
Wow…in another week, it will have been seven months. I’m continuing to read the “grief books” as I call them, written by Dr. Kenneth Haugk. The first and second one continue to speak to me. I wasn’t fond of the third one and I’m not ready for the fourth (and last) one because you are supposed to read it at “eleven months”.
I recently attended a full military burial at Arlington National Cemetery for the father of one of my direct reports (head of training). Yet again, I was reminded of the impact of loss. There always seems to be reminders after reminders that Mom is not coming back. Scott and I went to Mt. Airy last week and picked up Wayne to go over to the Mt. Airy Tavern for lunch. All so familiar. One of Mom’s favorite places. I always order the crab cake or Tavern burger because that’s what Mom would do. We had a nice visit, including going back to the Hardy Road house and getting on the floor to play with Lacy…who is now 14 years old with a cataract obstructing vision in her right eye. Surprise – Mom wasn’t there! So, I sat in her place on the loveseat because I feel closer to her sitting there. It’s actually better than going to a gravesite, but I suspect someday (hopefully well into the future) that option won’t be available to me.
On to cheerier news… this weekend I will travel to Atlanta to visit Patty Causey. Patty worked for me in a temporary capacity early in my days at USP (2007) and we reconnected thanks to social media. She is a blog follower, Facebook-er and all around incredible person who has provided me with encouragement consistently and relentlessly. I posted this real-time, but she not only figured out how to visit mom and introduce herself, she sent cards, she burned CDs of music and went out of her way to be an inspiration to us all. I’m excited to see Patty – for the first time since we worked together – and reconnect in person this weekend.
I continue to burn the candle at both ends. Teaching two graduate classes this fall, redesigning another one, working 10+ hours a day at DAI, and traveling! Two more work trips to London before the year is out…as well as fun trips to Atlanta (this weekend) Ocean City (for my birthday), Roanoke (to see Cindy), Fayetteville, AR (to see Kara and Mark), plus enjoying visits/meals with Gina, Clare and Bill, Susan and Andrew, Mary Hackman, Brenda and Bill, Kori/Chad and the kids, meeting Nina’s parents…etc. etc.
I really believe the Lord is running my calendar and wants me to see/feel/know that in addition to His love, I have the love and support of a lot of people who are here for me in this upside down year of 2014. I also want to thank each of YOU…the most incredible blog community EVER for your comments, e-mails, cards, flowers, donations, words of support and love. You’ve been there in a very special way…for mom, for me and for the entire family. Thank you!
Makes me think of Nannie. August 15 was her birthday. Mom’s mom’s mom. Born in Carrollton, GA in 1888. She was so beloved…coming to live with Mom and Daddy when Mom was pregnant with me…to help with the new baby. She stayed 14 years. I must have been a lot to take care of – ha!
Mom died six months ago today. This morning was tough as I was reliving that day. The call at 7:30 a.m.; the drive to Lorien, arriving at 8:35 a.m. Talking to Mom on one side of the bed while Wayne was on the other; Mom sitting up, eyes glazed and unresponsive. Getting through to a couple of folks so they could say their goodbyes by phone. Then…coming back into the room after Mom’s “clean up”, telling her I loved her and at 9:45 a.m. watching her take her last breath. My friend, Clare, said her dad’s passing on August 2 was just as peaceful. Eyes open. Last breath. Mouth opening up…as if to call to the angels.
Scott and I took Wayne to lunch today. We spoke of it being six months. Wayne said, she’s still my wife. I still love her as much, if not more. I said, she’s still my mom and I feel the same. We went to the new Seasons 52 at Columbia Mall for what turned out to be a much shorter lunch than planned because Wayne’s plumber called that he was there early to fix the water which wasn’t working at the Hardy Road house. But we did have enough time to eat, see his pictures of the trip to Glacier National Park, and for Wayne to give me a box of “things”, plus some LUSCIOUS tomatoes! YAY!
The box contained three pair of my baby shoes (really, Mom!), three Cosmopolitan magazines from 1970 and 1972, Mom’s business card as “Ann Taylor” when she worked at Betty Gray Personnel, some reprints of headlines/first page of the Baltimore Evening Sun between 1917 and 1963, and MOM’S DIARY FROM 1947. I’ve read about a month’s worth and plan to read it all. I used to write in a diary. I wonder where those darn things are? Suspect they’d provide some insights into my teenage thinking, just as my Mom’s 1947 diary is already doing for me! Pretty amazing! I hope everyone is enjoying the summer! As for me, I’m ready for autumn. It’s my favorite time of year. Love, Laura
I was doing so well yesterday. Red roses (conquered). Memorable dinner (delicious). Great time at the ball park (Nats win 11-0). Scott. Andy. Nina. Good memories coming out. (YAY MOM!)
Then at 9:52 p.m., my dear friend, Clare texts me. It just says, “Dad’s gone”. I lost it.
Really? Clare’s dad dies on Mom’s birthday. Clare’s dad was 90 y.o. and had been in hospitals and care facilities since December 2013 and she’d been the medical POA overseeing his care. She and I talked often by FB and face to face (thanks to regular get togethers and vacation time together) about her Dad’s medical status. Clare is my high school friend from Glen Burnie High…we’ve known each other since middle school days and got reacquainted while planning our high school reunion. Last fall, Clare and her beau, Bill, stayed with us for the weekend and the four of us went out to Carroll County and we had a lovely visit with Mom on what was a delightful day. Clare and I had dinner together three days after Mom died. It was an evening to remember. That Saturday, she and Bill came to the services for Mom and the supper afterwards. Such a blessing…
I couldn’t sleep very well last night and I’ve spent most of today so far by myself intentionally. Scott had to go to work to catch up on 4 projects. I watched my church service as I didn’t feel like being with anyone. I took a 2 hour drive. I’ve done a bunch of things around the house to feel productive. Also have started re-reading my grief books. I realized that going to Clare’s dad’s services, whenever they will be, will represent the SIXTH funeral/memorial service THIS YEAR that I’ve been involved in…
Mom (February). Colleague at work Rob Toatley (March). Mentor David Kornreich (April). My assistant’s dad Henry Cruz (May). My training director’s dad Roy Shaul (July) and now Louis Martone (Aug).
I think I am going to go get on the treadmill and walk…walk…walk.
P.S. LATER….. two and a half miles on the treadmill and a sweet note from Hope, along with a well-timed FB message from Cindy… I love how the Lord looks out for me.
Mom would have been 84 y.o. today. She would have LOVED to know (I guess she does…) that Samantha and Justin got married yesterday. They “eloped” which was planned, but a wonderful picture snapped by her friend Colleen Wynn made it to Facebook of their kiss after their vows. It looked perfect. Wayne and Randy are on their way to Glacier Park in Montana today, so a lot of “doin’s” for sure.
Earlier today, I talked to Mom’s BFF Mary Hackman and we commented about not buying a birthday card for Mom this year. Mom RELISHED counting her cards, as well as all the lunches and dinners with friends and family to celebrate what was usually her birthday MONTH…at least before the Lorien days. I struggled with what to do today to honor her and went back and forth with ideas. What I settled on was making her favorite meal…at least one of them. Scott, Andy, Nina and I are going to have dinner together and I am going to make…. Filet Mignon. Lobster tail. Caprese salad. Roasted asparagus. And yes, of course, bananas Foster for dessert.
Another thing. Red roses. I used to LOVE giving and receiving them until June 13, 1980 when Daddy died. He was in the funeral home for three days….long wake. And every day, I put a fresh red rose on his lapel. I loathed red roses after that and only bought them when I went to Baltimore to visit his gravesite. Scott knows to never send me red roses because of what they represent. It might be time to figure out how to once again give red roses…to Mom. It aligns with what I think about red roses in some way, but maybe it can help me remember and honor both of my parents.
Love you and miss you, Mom!