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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Don’t you wonder how it can be that “just the other weekend” was Memorial Day weekend? It seems to happen with increasing speed…that quick whirlwind to Fourth of July weekend…and then onto Labor Day in the blink of an eye. In Maryland, all seasons are distinct and pretty incredible. But it’s the speed that is turning my head! And yet the focus must be on making the most of every moment. I hope you are doing just that!
I stopped by the Hardy Road house after work yesterday to drop off some beef burgundy for Wayne, and pick up some end of season tomatoes and my copy of the poetry book that Wayne published honoring Mom. It’s entitled “Forever and A Million Years” since that is what they used to say to each other. A very special book indeed.Since I don’t have a grave site to visit, I decided to put it with Mom’s doll from 1939 and my keepsake urn of her ashes. As you can see, I’ve added my favorite doll as a little girl to the collection. I didn’t want Mom’s doll to get lonely. :-)
After visiting Wayne, I went to a Yoga Nidra class. My second one. It’s a yogic sleep class. Incredible. You are convinced it’s only been 10 minutes when it’s actually been an hour. Amazingly refreshing and no one is allowed to snore! Today involves shopping and cooking for a small dinner party tonight, and then church tomorrow followed by a girls’ lunch with Nina, and her cousin/maid of honor Jessica. Andy is out of town for work now and won’t be home until early October. On Monday, Scott and I will do something I’ve never done and always wanted to do. Go to Luray Caverns. Making the most of every moment! Are you? Love, Laura
EIGHTEEN months. A year and a half. Wow. I can hardly believe it in some ways, and yet in others when I contemplate life events such as Randy’s move to Tampa, Scott leaving Total Wine and More, and Andy and Nina’s wedding – I realize that life is moving on. I have to trust the new testament’s teaching in which the dead brother looked back and saw the behavior of his living brother and prayed for someone to witness to him. It means that Mom CAN see us and IS aware of these life events; it’s just that our direct communication is currently not working!
Yesterday, Scott and I had lunch with Wayne and he showed us the “dummy” of his poetry tribute book to Mom. It’s called “Forever and A Million Years”. If you’d like a copy, send me an e-mail to email@example.com. It goes into production this week. Later in the day, I met with Dawn Merrill (Mom’s chief nurse) and Tyrone Snowden (Mom’s respiratory therapist/singer) who sang at her memorial service. It is wonderful to stay in touch with these special people.
Everything is generally pretty good in our world. Andy is away for work for a while. Nina starts graduate school in 2 weeks. Scott’s golf game is excellent and I am not traveling. I start teaching again on September 3. Hope you are enjoying your summer!