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.
Happy New Year’s Eve Eve. Here are some pictures to share of the family and festivities. First one: Andy, Nina, Laika and Cosmo. Second one: Natalie (cousin), Doris (Nina’s mom), Bijan (Nina’s brother), Hossein (Nina’s dad), Scott, Darius (Nina’s brother), Nina, Haven (Nina’s niece), Jessica (Haven’s mom and Nina’s cousin). Third one: our tree. Fourth one: Wayne out with us for pre-Christmas lunch. I hope you are making great memories this Christmas! Love, Laura
I promise to post happy pictures in the next week of time with Wayne on the 23rd, Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch. Really, I will.
And yet….yesterday, someone posted a video on FB entitled “A Christmas Message from Heaven”, written and narrated by a Brit named Steve Wentworth. I can’t seem to post the video here, but if you are interested, I’m sure you could google it. I watched and listened and cried. Here are the words.
As I look down from heaven
On this special Christmas Day
I’ll try to send you little signs
That I never went away.
I see you when you’re crying
I feel your loss and pain
So hold onto the knowledge,
That we’ll be reunited once again.
So even though you miss me
At this special time of year.
The greatest gift you give me
Is your smile instead of tears.
So when Christmas starts without me.
Know we are not far apart.
For whenever you think of me
I’m with you in your heart.
The third Christmas without Mom. I don’t want her back to be in pain or to endure the life at Lorien. People were great to her there, but I’ll never forget her saying to me once, “My world is this room”. She had more visitors and more oversight of her care than likely most who will ever stay at Lorien. And yet, that was not the life Mom enjoyed for 80 years. I want her back to be happy and healthy. I want her back to give up cigarettes when she was a young woman. I want her back to be present in all that goes on – the ups, the downs, the whole package.
I’ve settled into another holiday season without her, but I just plain don’t like it. Still seems surreal. The distance (in time and presence) between me and Mom is palpable. Pastor Mark did a good job this morning with his sermon in which he talked about anticipation and preparation for a “December to Remember”…that has nothing to do with any new car, by the way. I felt like if I can get closer to the Lord, maybe I can get closer to Mom. I have my faith and comfort in where I will be for eternity, and yet I’d just like some more of what that video talked about. Some little signs from Mom. I know many of you who will read this will be relate as you’ve lost someone very close to you. I pray that you will have some little signs, too. Love, Laura
Hi Everyone – this is an update from yesterday’s post about Tyrone Snowden’s first album, A Glorious Day. I wanted to understand how people can BUY the CD, as well as download songs. Here is his reply. See the CDbaby link if you want to buy his CD. P.S. I guess this is shameless promotion; however, I can hear my Mom applauding as I type….
Hi Laura, thanks for helping me get an education. I have an answer for you. CD Baby is the only one that you can get a regular CD from. The rest of the partners (Amazon, iTunes, You Tube) only do downloading. So when you go on to the CD Baby website, you’ll see two tabs. You’ll see download and you’ll see cd-rp. Click on the cd-rp and it will take you to an address place where you can put in an address where you would like for the CD to come to. I hope this helps. Thank you for the question as always. Thanks for your support and helping me get through this stuff. Love you, Tyrone. Use www.cdbaby.com/cd/tysnowden2
After the most divisive Presidential campaign in history, or what seems so, cute pictures of puppies are the order of the day. Regardless of what side of the vote you were on, let’s pray for our country and for its future on the world stage and at home.
Updates on the family.
Wayne is doing well and seems to be getting a handle on the correct mix of Rx that he should be taking. He is working closely with his doctor on this and reports he feels better than he has in years. Not bad when you are 80 y.o. Randy is planning a trip to MD in December and I am hopeful, we can plan a large family gathering with him, Wayne, Andy, Nina and us. Andy and Nina continue to work on decorating their beautiful townhome and got a theater set up just in time for football season. Nice timing. Andy’s work continues to go well and offer exciting challenges which he enjoys. Nina is finishing her internship this semester and will earn her Master’s degree in School Counseling from Johns Hopkins University next month. She already has a two month assignment in the spring to cover for her mentor, who will be going out on leave. Scott’s son, Andy, is in his final year of his PhD studies at the University of Michigan and is heavy into his job search process. He just spent a few days with us last week and it was delightful to have him home. We have fingers crossed that he ends up in the mid-Atlantic region. I am finishing my final semester teaching graduate school at the Catholic University of America. After ten years, I am happy – and relieved – to give it up. My disappointment in the nasty attitudes and lack of commitment of my current cohort of graduate students is overwhelming, and my patience is being fully tested. Time to bow out. Things at DAI continue to be interesting and challenging. All good. Scott continues to love retirement and continues to sharpen his golf and tennis game.
We are all looking ahead to the holiday season that is fast approaching. Thanksgiving will be a two-parter. Wednesday night at Nina’s parents’ house, and Thursday afternoon at our house. I suspect food comas will abound shortly thereafter. Plans for Christmas aren’t solidified, and yet I’m sure they shortly will come together.
I am excited to report that Mom’s respiratory therapist, Tyrone Snowden, has released his first album – A Glorious Day. If you attended Mom’s memorial, or watched the video on You Tube later, you know the story. Tyrone was also Mom’s singer. She’d ask him to sing whenever he would come in to do her respiratory care. His rendition of Amazing Grace was one he sang to her often and he sang it one more time for her at her memorial. I was so pleased that he came to do that when I asked him. Tyrone sang to Mom all the time, and often entertained her guests.
After Mom passed, Tyrone asked me to be his coach. I have no idea why, and I told him that I didn’t recommend it as I have a reputation for being pretty tough. He said that is what he wanted. So, for the past 2.5 years, we’ve met, we’ve talked and more. He has done a great job of getting his health better managed by dropping a good deal of weight. He’s managed his personal life much better and has really leaned in to using his voice for good. Along the way, I helped a bit with funding some studio time, and he pursued getting his LLC and named his company, Pure Snow Records. And now, his music is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD baby and more. PLEASE google “Ty Snowden A Glorious Day” – listen, and buy his music. You won’t be sorry! http://redmp3.su/album/3914921/a-glorious-day.html
I hope this update finds you well and looking forward to this joyous time of year. Much love, Laura
I just love this time of year. The crisp air. The changing leaves. The anticipation of the holidays to come. Our fall vacation was an epic fail, though. Thanks to Hurricane Matthew. Our coastal SC and GA get away didn’t happen at all. Instead, spent time with family last weekend (lunch with Wayne on Saturday and puppy sitting and time with Andy and Nina on Sunday). Then a relaxing Columbus day and three days in Ocean City. Back to work Friday afternoon, unfortunately for a colleague’s funeral, dinner with friends last night and church/movie/football today. We made the most of Plan B! And I’m over half way done with my Christmas shopping! Yay!
The funniest thing happened on Monday before we left for the beach. I’ve been wanting a new black leather blazer as the one I bought about 15 years ago wasn’t particularly high quality and was so worn that I gave it away in a recent donation. I’d been pricing them and shaking my head over how much they cost! $450-$500! Yikes. Later the SAME DAY, I was putting some things away in the coat closet and ran across Mom’s London Fog raincoat. I’d forgotten that I had it. Then, I felt something soft and supple next to it. What did I pull out? Yep. Mom’s black leather blazer. I’d CERTAINLY forgotten that I had that, as well. I put it on and presto – it fit beautifully. Who says that our loved ones who have passed don’t connect with us? Ha. THANKS, MOM! I smiled to myself when I wore it to church this morning.
Hope you have a great week ahead! Lots of love, Laura
It’s been a month since my last post. A month of wonderful travel. Barcelona for a staff member’s wedding. London for a week of work meetings. Then several days in Chicago for work meetings. Lovely weather, too – so nice opportunities to get away. I’d not been to Spain before and Barcelona was my city of choice if I had the chance. It’s also been a month of a good deal of no-travel work, time with family and friends, and a look to the fall, and hopefully weather that will move into crisp days and beautiful leaves. I hope your summer has been great so far as it winds down to its final weeks. So, let me take you with me for a bit. Antonio Gaudi was a famous Barcelona architect who died in the mid 1920s, but not before putting his stamp on his home city. The first picture is at Casa Batllo, a house he designed and where the wedding reception was held. His most famous work is in the next two pictures, the Sagrada Familia or Holy family cathedral. It has basically never been finished. The detail of the outside and the light in the inside are both breathtaking. Gaudi also designed the unsuccessful Parc Guell, which was to be “homes of the rich and famous” away from the water up a BIG hill overlooking the city. People didn’t want to be that far away, so after several homes were built, it fell into disarray and eventually became a tourist destination. The next picture is of the Old City in Barcelona. I took a walking tour which was fantastic. I couldn’t resist the next one of our Board members during our London meeting taking a picture from the glass elevators at the 40th floor when we went to Sushi Samba for dinner. Lovely view up there, but funny watching everyone take out their iPhones. Finally, a picture of my beloved son and the sweet new puppy, Cosmo (who was born on Mother’s Day this year) – both appropriately dressed for the start of Ravens football season. I hope you are enjoying these last days of summer. Love, Laura
Mom’s 86th birthday! Wow! This is her third birthday that I haven’t been able to celebrate with her feet on this earth. But as you know, I have been working on new traditions. Last evening, I arranged a dozen long stemmed red roses and they are beautifully on display in my kitchen. I will make HER mother’s crab cake recipe tonight for dinner. The recipe card is in my Mom’s handwriting, which always warms my heart.
I went to yoga class last night and looked around the room, having about an hour of quiet time before people began to arrive. I began my yoga practice at this lovely private studio about 5 weeks before Mom passed away. That yoga studio was such a help to me in finding peace during the weeks and months after Mom’s passing. Also, thanks to yogi master, Beth Beard, who was one of Mom’s respiratory therapists. I now alternate between Beth’s Tuesday night class and Mandy’s Monday night class. Not sure I am any better at yoga than I was in January 2014, but likely so incrementally! Last night when I got home from yoga, I was convinced that Mom was waving to me on my deck from this beautiful sunset on the eve of her earthly birthday. If you are a FB friend, you already saw this…I intend to continue celebrating this week as I head to Barcelona for a wedding of one of my staff members. The Basilica of the Sacred Family, Park Guell and Old City and many other venues are on my itinerary during my three day stay. Then onto London for work during the week of August 8. I am blessed to have a job that allows me to travel, sometimes even to nice places! 😀
Family-wise, Scott and I got to puppy sit for Andy and Nina on Sunday so they could go to the movies (Star Trek, of course!). Doesn’t get much cuter. Cosmo is 6 lbs and likes to sit on your feet. Laika is about 9 lbs and a little more refined and elegant.
Wayne is doing well. We visit about every month and sometimes Scott stops by after a round of golf in Mt. Airy. His tomato crop is outstanding this year, but it pretty much is every year. Randy’s recent e-mail says he is working 70 hrs a week and just put 800 miles on his car for a client in an attempt to catch up for the time he’s taken off from work to go on his Alaska trip and the photo trip to New Mexico with Wayne in late June.
I hope you are enjoying your summer and as Mom would say, “Relax, enjoy your life!” Love, Laura