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 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
Hi everyone! Well, I would love to report that Spring has sprung; however, it hasn’t. Three to four inches of snow yesterday morning. Sigh. So, I am going to leave the country until Spring is here! You might think that is a spontaneous decision; however, it has been well planned. I have a three country work trip ahead starting on March 8. Three days in Cork, Ireland. Five days in London, England. Seven days in Accra, Ghana. Two days in Takoradi, Ghana. When I get home on March 25, Spring WILL HAVE “sprung”. Scott will hold down the fort while I am gone… This will be one of the my longest work trips, and with wide swings in climates. At least I will be home for Easter, which seems early this year.
Scott and I visited with Wayne last Sunday. Scott to watch basketball with him while I prepared some of his favorite foods (salmon, broccoli, etc..). We had a nice visit. Randy will be coming for a quick trip in early May. Randy and Wayne just planned a BIG trip to Santa Fe (photography) over Wayne’s upcoming 80th birthday on June 23. A great way to spend the milestone birthday. We just celebrated Nina’s 27th birthday recently…speaking of birthdays. We also got to visit sweet puppy Laika at the same time. :-) Pictures below. I hope you have a wonderful month of March… and let’s hope the daffodils and tulips are here soon. As I look at this date…I can’t believe it’s been almost FIVE years since I started this blog. WoW! Thanks for reading. Love, Laura
Wayne called at 10:20 a.m. I was in a meeting. I told my staff member (direct report), I have to take this. Within 30 seconds, my direct report (Daniel) walked over and grabbed me a Kleenex as I talked to Wayne for 8 minutes. We can’t believe it. We can’t believe she’s gone. She fought through so much…bouts with pneumonia, repeated trach replacements and more. Wayne was staying in today. Said it wasn’t good to go out. He’s been to Lorien on Friday and delivered 21 little boxes of chocolate. Mom would like that.
I was wearing a red necklace today. Why – ? because Mary Hackman wore a red scarf to Mom’s services on February 22, 2014. Because she and Mom went to a funeral of a teenage friend in the 1940s and Mom remarked on the depression and sadness and told Mary to wear red to her funeral if she died first. I’ve clung to my red necklace today.
I ate my filet mignon tonight (Mom’s favorite), and I decided I will wear red on each February 17…in some form or fashion to honor Mom and to honor her feelings that funerals shouldn’t be so sad…
Thanks to many of you for the private messages, texts and e-mails about how you honor those close to you. It has meant a lot. I appreciate each of you for helping me though another transition and I’m happy to be there for you in any way that I can. With love, Laura
Mom actually died on February 17, which is two days from now, but in 2014, it was actually Presidents Day Monday. So, today felt sad. I called Wayne and we talked a bit on the phone as Scott and I were headed back in the snow (!) from Kent Narrows. We stopped and spent a couple of hours with Andy, Nina and puppy Laika as a side trip on the way home. Always lovely to see them.
On Wednesday, February 17, Scott and I are going to go out to dinner and have filet mignon. Mom loved filet. I told Scott that I certainly didn’t want to celebrate the anniversary of Mom’s passing, but figure out some way to remember and honor her. Just letting the day go by didn’t feel right. Food and a toast of a nice glass of red is my choice this year. As you know, I escaped last year on February 17 by hopping on a plane and heading to Beirut. It is easier to think of what to do on her birthday than to contend with the anniversary of her passing. For those of you who are keeping up with the blog, and there seems to be a number who are, I have a question for you…. What do YOU do on the anniversary of a loved one’s passing to remember? Do you have traditions of some kind? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to post a comment to the blog or send a private e-mail if you prefer. firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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 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. All 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