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 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
Sometimes, it is time to think and reflect. I’ve had many conversations lately with others about Mom, about the fact that her 86th “would be” birthday is coming up…and about establishing new traditions when those who were central to your life are no longer around. For the third straight year on Mom’s birthday, I will buy 12 long stemmed red roses. I will be sure to eat her favorite foods and will encourage others to do so. But, it won’t be the same. I will never forget what it was like when she was alive. The celebrations! The cards! The fun! When she was my Mom in this life….she was my place to go. My safety net in everything. The good Lord is ultimately that safety net…my creator and Saviour…and yet…My Mom…Wow.
Thanks to the good Lord and a communication channel I cannot fully understand… Mom sent a few words to me in the past couple of months…. “Relax, enjoy your life”…. I’ve worked on it…and then our Pastor Mark preached on it this weekend. The Lord wants us to FLOURISH! So we should… My prayer for you…as you follow this blog…is that you….relax, enjoy your life…..flourish as God intended you to… Smile as you do. Love and my best wishes, Laura
Happy Father’s Day!
Today was a special day. I spent a couple of hours with Wayne, aka Gingo, enjoying lunch at the Mt. Airy tavern and talking about a lot of things. It was just the two of us. This picture is a little dark, but it’s the best I could do with an iPhone in a dark place! Wayne surprised me with an outpouring of kindness and compliments (in the form of special words) on a day when it is HIS day – Father’s Day. I kinda felt like it was Daughter’s Day instead.
We had our ups and downs during Mom’s illness, and during those three years often I felt he questioned my intellect, my caring and my decision making. Today put all of that in the rear view mirror. Once and for all. In the long run, we both wanted the best for Mom and that pretty much sums it up. And it all worked out just like it was supposed to. Mom had an amazing three years and prayer was answered that she’d have the time to reconnect with those she loved and who loved her.
NOTE: this is an edited update of this post. Apparently, there was a misunderstanding and Wayne didn’t want me to post the last picture to the blog. It was kind of dark in the restaurant. ANYWAY, this picture (taken by Randy) is much better and Randy has emailed it to me and posted on Facebook, so I know it is o.k. for it to be on the blog. Ha ha! Plus it is a much better picture of him on his photo taking trip with Randy!
I was reminded that Wayne helped me heal some wounds in my relationship with my Dad in the 1970s. I remembered it all like it was yesterday. The feelings came back like a tsunami. I remember my anger toward my Dad and I remember Wayne’s advice – which I took. Later, he and Mom were so wonderful to Andy during summer visits with all the fun places they took him, plus Wayne took on the big project of building a clubhouse in the side yard. Wayne was also there in so many ways to help me after I moved to Maryland. When I took leave of my senses and married the second time, he built a walkway in his backyard for me to be escorted by my son to the altar. He helped with after care for Andy when my job in D.C. prevented me from getting home at a decent time. He cut down trees, built me an entire basement, and when I escaped a horrible marriage, he welcomed me back into the Hardy Road house with open arms for a full three months. I don’t think Mom ever fully understood how much it meant for me to park in a garage…since Wayne gave me his space and he parked outside. I needed the nurturing and re-stabilization that Wayne helped provide after I “got out” and before I moved into my own place. I also have beautiful wood pieces of art because of Wayne’s handiwork (gorgeous solid oak wine racks, cutting boards, banana stands, ink pens). My son and his bride have a handmade solid oak cradle for “someday”. Wayne was right when he said that he and Mom were meant for each other. Forty years of marriage and I never heard either one say an ill word about the other. Definitely the kind of marriage I aspire to… His focus on her…helping her to travel and see the world, enjoy beautiful jewelry that she never had and giving her the beautiful smile that made the difference in so many lives. Plus Wayne loves my Mom to this day. I know she is in heaven and I know she is aware I am typing this right now. She is watching over both of us. I know I will see her again someday and we will likely talk about this blog entry!
Wayne has been my dad since 1974. I only had my biological father from 1955-1980 (24 years from date to date). He was a good man. I’ve had Wayne for 42 years now, with more years ahead because he is supposed to live forever! Thanks, Mom…. You did good. I love you. And Wayne, too! Happy Father’s Day, Gingo!
So, Wayne and Randy have an exciting week ahead. On Wayne’s 80th birthday (Thursday, June 23) they both fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a quick trip to take pictures. Both are photographic geniuses. I couldn’t be more excited for them both and wish them a wonderful time making great memories. Ahhhh. Happy Father’s Day to all… Love, Laura
Sometimes a picture is worth a 1,000 words. My second grandpuppy. Born on the Mother’s day that I wasn’t able to talk to my Mom or my son…. Thank you, Lord! Here he is. COSMO. He is the half sibling of Laika. He’ll leave his mom…and come to live with Andy and Nina and his half sibling in the middle of July (eight weeks post birth). Cuteness doesn’t get any better. All else is good…Family beach weekend ahead. More on that to come. Love, Laura
As a Baltimore girl, it is particularly sad to learn of the death of two horses at the Preakness today. I’ve never been to a horse racing event; however, I recall Mom telling me of her first trip when she was 14 years old. She placed a bet, through her adult guardian/family member that day and won a 7:1 return. Mom’s lucky streak in gambling started early continuing with Bingo and Blackjack later in life. Hope there will be no additional tragedies today at the track…
Mother’s day was difficult this year as it was the first time in my life that I wasn’t able to talk to either my mom or my son. Andy continues to be away (out of the country) for work and although I still have Mom on speed dial in my phone, it only reaches Wayne at the Hardy Road house…not quite directly to Mom! On the “up” side, Andy was able to send me some beautiful flowers that arrived the day before, I heard from Nina and others, as well as got two lovely orchids from Nina’s cousin, Jessica and her daughter Haven. Part of the orchids were a thank you for doing Haven’s 2nd b’day cake. See Peppa Pig below. I am sharpening up my cake decorating skills in anticipation of SOMEDAY having a grandchild courtesy of Andy and Nina. Not yet in the works though.Since my last post, we’ve been to Dallas for a family wedding, I’ve been to Boston to accept a corporate award for my company for the best use of a share plan in a private company, and I attended a three day conference on mergers and acquisitions in New York City. I have three weeks before I have to go to the airport again – ha ha! It will be for fun, though. The plan is a beach week in Florida with Scott’s kids and their families (Kori plus 5, and Scott’s Andy). We recently finished a five day grandpuppy sitting for Laika. Nina went with her parents and brothers to get them set up in Atlanta to begin PhD studies this summer, so we got to care for this sweet puppy.
She is SO good! We just adored having her. All nine pounds of toy Australian shepherd. On this quiet rainy weekend, we will head over to the eastern shore for dinner, church tomorrow and then a movie. Nice and relaxing. Before the beach trip, we plan to see Wayne as he will leave to celebrate his 80th birthday with Randy right after we get back. They are taking a photo trip to New Mexico together. Mom would be so happy to know that!
I hope everyone is doing well as this L O N G and very wet spring continues in the mid-Atlantic. With love, Laura
Happy Easter to all! I am remembering that first Easter that Mom was sick and in Howard County General Hospital. She had her hair done by Jeff and I did a quick video of her wishing everyone Happy Easter and posted it on the blog. That was FIVE years ago. Wow. As I came down the stairs today on the way out of the house with Scott to go to 8 am services, I looked over at Mom’s picture. I wondered how they celebrate Easter in heaven! Something to ponder!
I am happily home from my three country, three week work trip to Ireland, England and Ghana. Pictures speak volumes. The first picture is me, one of my direct reports and friend Beth, and a wonderful gentleman named Dr. Patrick Lukulay. I hired Pat at USP in 2007. He wrote a book about his move from a small village in Sierra Leone to corporate America. It’s called “The Executive In You”. Great story. You can buy the book on Amazon if you like. It was wonderful to reconnect with Pat over dinner in Accra. Cork, Ireland was lovely – a proud competitor in the “Tidy Towns” contests. The second picture is from the lobby where we stayed in Clonakilty (west of Cork) and the third is from Inchydony Resort. While in England, I was pleased to go to the England/Wales rugby game (won by England) as part of the Six Nations match. The final four pictures are from Ghana. The memorial park honoring Ghana’s first president (July 1960). The view from my room at the Movenpick in Accra. The palm oil mill in Takoradi that is part of our project there – teaching farmers how to use all parts of the palm nut (oil, fuel, food). Finally, the metal house. So many families live in small spaces in unbelievable heat and humidity. Ghanaians are a proud people; however many are poor. I saw more unfinished commercial and residential buildings. The oil and gas industry boomed there until recently. Nonetheless, especially in southern Ghana, the people are mostly Christian and their faith can be found on billboards, signs, cars, shops, everywhere. Truly humbling. It was a good work trip…now I am recovering physically from the demands of travel. Happy to be home! Thanks for reading! Love, Laura