About Barbara Anne Hough

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.

Laura

I hope your new year is starting out well.  Here I find myself getting ready to turn the page from January into February.   It’s almost TWO years since I last saw my Mom.  Sure, I wave to her picture each morning as I come down the stairs, but THAT’S clearly not the same.  Life is continuing on.  Andy and Nina are doing well.  Nina’s graduate school studies are progressing nicely at Johns Hopkins.  Andy’s career, albeit one we don’t get to fully understand, keeps him busy and happy.  Andy and Nina’s pup (toy Australian shepherd) is just the cutest and they are excellent, doting puppy parents.   Scott does seem to have retired, although he might not have officially “called it” yet.  Wayne got his January shipment of tomato seeds and is excited to begin the 2016 crop.  Randy and Hope (albeit separately) are gearing up for tax season.  Hope has a new boyfriend, Bob, who I’ve yet to meet and give the thumbs up or down!   My teaching at Catholic University will come to a close in mid-2017 as the school I teach in will work to change accreditations allowing only full time faculty as professors.   My day job at DAI continues to excite and upcoming travels include a second trip in 2016 in March to the U.K., a side trip to Ireland and then a foray to Ghana.

My sadness is that I want to tell Mom all about everything!  I SO SO SO miss being able to talk to her.  Time is distance in some ways.  And I’m not happy about it at all!  Year one was getting through the firsts.  Year two was dealing with the reality of the loss.   I have to figure out something to distract on February 17 this year.  Last year, I just got on an airplane and flew to Beirut!   No such luck this year.

Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers… Andy will be traveling away for work soon.    Wayne in holding down the fort in Mt. Airy awaiting the BIG melt after our 3 foot snow blizzard.    Me….I’m just staring down the calendar….     I’ll post again soon…

Merry Christmas!  A Child is Born!  Last night, I found myself wondering how they celebrate Christmas in heaven.  Ever wondered?   Well, I also wonder whether heaven is as warm as our Christmas holiday season this year.  I’ve had the front and back doors open to our home, and no fire in the fireplace for about a week and a half.   And it’s supposed to stay this warm for a while longer.  I am not complaining, but it reminds me of the fifteen  years I lived in Florida from 1977-1992!

This was the second Christmas without Mom and the first Christmas since 2010 that I didn’t go to Lorien on the day.   Instead, we seem to have begun some new traditions.  I guess that is part of “Rebuilding and Remembering” (from the Dr. Kenneth Haugk books).  Christmas Eve lunch with Wayne at the Hardy Road house.  Along with Scott, Andy, Nina, and Mom’s friend, Mary Hackman.  Laika got to meet Lacy, which went pretty well under the circumstances of a 6 month old puppy with a 15 1/2 year old dog.  I brought Shrimp Creole, Mary brought a salad, the kids brought French bread, and Scott brought a pie…  Wayne did a lovely job of setting the table with Mom’s best dishes.  I sat in her chair.  It felt good and bad all at the same time.  Christmas Eve 2015 Christmas Eve dinner was at my house with Scott, Andy, Nina, Nina’s cousin and maid of honor, Jessica, and Jessica’s daughter and flower girl, Haven.   I tried a new recipe and it turned out fairly well.  Salmon wellington, preceded by an old favorite, cauliflower and caraway soup.  Christmas Eve 2015 by the treeChristmas day was at Andy and Nina’s house!  Another first!  Scott, me, Andy, Nina, Laika, Jessica, Haven, Nina’s parents (Hossein and Doris) and Nina’s brothers (Darius and Bijan).   Andy made the most amazing brunch.  A French toast and apple strata.  Bacon fried pancakes.  Egg, potato and pepper casserole with Old Bay!  YUM!   Then gift opening – again!  Ha ha!   This panorama isn’t the best, but it does a good job of capturing all the activity in Andy and Nina’s lovely home.  Followed by my goofing around with my new All Clad pan!  Scott on the left and Doris on my right.  Christmas 2015 panoramaChristmas with the new panAll my best wishes for peace and love during this Christmas season of remembering the birth of our Lord and Savior.   And for a prosperous, safe and happy new year in 2016.  Love, Laura

Hi there!  As we look to the home stretch of 2015, I am planning for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at our house with Scott, Andy, Nina, Laika (their new puppy), and Nina’s first cousin, Jessica and her daughter, Haven.  Lots of food, so if anyone is in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by!  :-)   I’ve wrapped all the Christmas presents purchased so far, written the holiday letter and addressed 50 or so cards to mail.  We’ll “put Christmas up” during the Fri-Sun after Thanksgiving.  It’s a 2 or 3 day extravaganza with three trees (2 big and 1 little), plus all the other decorating.  As I was writing the Christmas letter, I was reflecting on all the relationships, and how nice it is to stay in touch with people during this special time of year.  I look forward to cards, notes and emails.  I will probably e-mail the holiday letter to as many people as I send cards to this year.  The tradition of ordering Miles Kimball pre-printed cards has given way to holiday letters and sending electronic communications because we often no longer have actual mailing addresses!

For me, as  many know, this was the year of the big six-oh (October 3).  I can only imagine Mom asking me how it’s possible that she has a 60 year old daughter.  Then, I remember in our final goodbyes that she talked about how much she was going to miss me because we’d had 58 years together.   Sigh.  Time continues on…    I feel her though.  I talk about her and sense that I am accurately guessing at what she would say to many things that happen and unfold in life.  To honor Mom’s feelings about birthdays, i.e. they are national holidays,  I plotted to make my 60th into a massive celebration via September to December events with family and friends. We celebrated with Andy and Nina at their house in mid-October, which was lovely. I have five close friends turn 60 this year and whom I’ve known for a long time … so, in September, I met Betty Ridgely Taffe (47 year friendship) for dinner. In October, Scott and I took our bucket list trip with Clare Martone (47 year friendship, albeit with a gap) and her beau, Bill. My actual birthday was in Athens.  We were on the rooftop of our hotel overlooking the Acropolis which was lit magnificently as we rang in the actual day.  In November, I met Jan Senn (52 year friendship) at Nemacolin, and then Gina Hall (31 year friendship) in Orlando and Cocoa Beach. I’ll cap it off in early December in Chicago with Cindy Wright Coto (37 year friendship). I feel so blessed to have these incredible women in my life.  I sense that Mom is applauding.

I wish you and your family a lovely, delicious and fantastic Thanksgiving!   With love, Laura

Today would be one of those days where I’d either call Mom on the phone (pre-Feb 21, 2011) or go to Lorien (post-Apr 28, 2011) and just talk for an hour and feel better after experiencing Mom’s encouragement.  I know today’s “funk” won’t last, but it sure feels heavy right now.  Mom would listen, ask questions, but not try and solve my problems, issues, concerns, etc., but just by listening, she’d help me get to my own resolution.  GOSH, I miss that.  She was so wise even though at times, I’d be talking about topics she didn’t fully comprehend.  Mom always made it real.   Today’s issues, you ask?  My incredible impatience with the U.S. medical system in getting Scott’s gall bladder surgery scheduled…combined with his seeming patience with it all.  A senior manager, who reports to a senior director…and then to me, who can’t seem to manage a recalcitrant employee despite all efforts of coaching and mentoring.  A great deal of uncertainty in the next five years of my career.  New corporate structure.  Change of control options.  Bi-furcation of domestic from corporate.  I’ve watched SO many top professionals deal with this level of uncertainty in the swan song of their careers and always wanted (and tried to orchestrate) the crown jewel, career-wise, for them.  I am feeling WEIRD about this myself now.  And I don’t have a “me” to orchestrate for me!   I just turned 60 y.o.  I committed to ten years of service to the CEO when I joined in 2010.  I’m in it because I said so, and because I love it.  The good Lord has always provided a way, though.  He’s pretty good like that.  Maybe, I can get Mom to nudge Him?   (ha ha)   Well, for those of you reading, first of all, thanks for doing so.  Second of all, who are you encouraging today?  If I could use it, maybe so could someone else in your life.   XO

Talk about ups and downs.  Our two week dream vacation to Athens, the Greek Isles, Turkey and Istanbul had its high points and low points.

High points.  Views of the Acropolis from our hotel roof.  Delicious food in Athens.  Great time with our dear friends, Clare and Bill.  The charming island of Mykonos.   The captivating city of Istanbul bridging Europe and Asia.  Blue domes of Santorini.  The holy place of Ephesus and the Virgin Mary’s house.  Bill  being selected to dance with the belly dancer on board ship.

Scott and Laura in AthensClare and Bill in AthensThe Acropolis and Parthenon at Night (4)Mykonos (4)Bosphorus Bridge separating Europe and Asia

Santorini (9)Ephesus (33)Virgin Mary's House (6)Low points.  Scott’s gall bladder attack on day eight of our trip (day six onboard) causing us to off board the ship.  Three days in a Turkish hospital with IV infusion therapy.  Me needing to “see the manager” in another country and garner resources from my wonderful company in the U.S., getting me a physician team in Frankfurt on call 24/7 and translation help, learning enough Turkish to get by and communicate.

I could repeat those high and low points for emphasis, but suspect it isn’t needed.   We’ll go see Wayne on Sunday to show him our pictures.   These are a couple of the highlight pictures.  I spent part of today going through pictures taken with my Nikon and my iPhone.  Lots to organize!

Love, Laura

Today was just lovely.  Following a spa day for me and golf day for Scott yesterday, we went to church last night and began preparations this morning to have Wayne and Randy over for lunch after THEIR picture taking day yesterday on the Eastern Shore.  How do you get the eagle to DO this anyway?  Randy flew in for a quick 48 hour visit so was happy to get time with him and have him bring Wayne over for lunch.  I suspect everyone is full after a cauliflower and pear soup, grilled salmon, roasted broccoli, homemade applesauce, and spaghetti squash with tomatoes/pesto sauce.   Scott and I are headed to Greece, the Greek Isles and Turkey soon, so look for more pictures shortly.  Happy fall!

2015-09-27 Eagle2015-09-27 Wayne and Randy2015-09-27 Lunch

Boy, today was hard.  Facebook sent me a memory from two years ago.  See below on the left.   I shared it on Facebook…and I can’t stop staring at it.  I haven’t seen this wonderful face for almost 19 months now.  I saw so much of Mom during her final three years.  Makes me wonder if I did enough to see her before she was sick.  Life was always so busy.  That face wasn’t the face I grew up seeing.  It was the face I cared for…and did my best for as daughter, caregiver and medical system advocate.   My memories had shifted since February 17, 2014, to the face in the second picture.  Sometimes even to the third picture with me.    2013 (Lorien), 2009 (Mom’s 79th) and 1987 (Randy and Hope’s wedding).  They are all Mom.  And whichever one I could have back, I’d take it in a heartbeat.

Mom on her 79th birthdayMom and Laura 1

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