About Barbara Anne Hough

This began on March 8, 2011, and it chronicles Mom’s three year journey at Howard County General and Lorien Mt. Airy.  I’ve been posting to this blog LONGER after her death than before!    So hard to believe.  And yet, almost 40,000 hits?!  Wow.  Thank you~!  I know Mom is happy that the blog continues communications with family and friends.  She was such an extrovert and I know she is enjoying knowing her legacy of connecting people lives on!  Love, Laura


Hi there everyone…I realize I haven’t posted much in the past few months.  Good news is that my consulting business is going great guns.  More success and more enjoyment than I could have ever imagined, without traveling around the world to random places as I’ve been doing the past 12 years.   Got word from Johns Hopkins Hospital Wilmer Eye Institute (read varsity team) that I do not have glaucoma, despite two years of various “eye professionals” telling me I was “suspect”.  (read yay!)  My son is safely home from his most recent deployment…more deployments than I can count on one hand now.  And he and Nina, along with grandpuppies, Laika and Cosmo, are blissfully happy.  Scott has happily made playing golf his full time job.  Wayne continues to do well, with good days and bad days, and we see him regularly.

Four years ago, less 12 hours, Mom passed away at Lorien.  I was there, along with Wayne – her beloved husband of 40 years, Mary, her best friend of 70 years, and Scott, who was able to get there for me…and likely her, too.  I don’t know what memories trigger this loss more profoundly.

The last family meeting with providers at Lorien was on Valentine’s day.  Mom tried to give a blanket to Joanne, the social worker, who was cold.  Then she took out a denture and began waving it wildly.  They are so delicate, I was able to get her to give it to me, so I could wash it out, and ask her to put it back in.   She did.  She hadn’t been out of bed for a couple of weeks and a bed sore was forming.  She hadn’t wanted lights on or drapes open for several weeks.  Many medical difficulties, too.  I talked to the psych doc about increasing her anti-depressants.   I have my three inch binder to remind me of every blood draw, every meeting, every anything.  Scott says I was a “basket case” when I came home that evening.

On February 15, I went to visit for my usual Saturday morning 9-10:30 am.  She was in bed, lights out and curtains drawn.  She kept telling me how tired she was and asked me to head home at 10:15 am.  I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.  She NEVER did that.  She always wanted me to stay and stay and stay.  I didn’t leave at 10:15.  She sighed in exasperation when I didn’t leave and stayed until 10:30…but we always said the same thing to each other before I left.  “You are the best mother in the world.”  “And you are the best daughter in the world”.   Thankfully, I have that memory.

I did not go on Sunday, February 16, but got the call at 7:35 am on Monday, February 17 that “she was unresponsive”.  I got myself together, called Wayne who got there by 8 am, me by 8:35 am, followed by Mary and Scott.  She was sitting up, but truly non responsive.  The head nurse came down to the room.  I stepped out and she said we were doing great in reading to her, touching her and holding her hand.  She told us that hearing was the last sense to leave the body.  I asked if she was dying and she said yes.  I asked if she was going to die today and she said yes.  I returned to the room to be with her.  We stepped away for her to be cleaned up at 9:30 am.  When we returned, we circled the bed and all told her that we loved her.  She sighed.  Breathed her last breath and was gone.

This year is particularly tough for some reason.  I’d hoped to head over to the eastern shore to a place she and I went and a place she drove by for many years on her trips to O.C.- I’m not sure why – but I haven’t/wasn’t able to get it out of my mind as something I wanted to do.  It’s a long weekend, so I may drive over by myself on Monday, just be there, and then come home.  A former employee/direct report of mine (Dawn Oram) lost her mom this week on Valentine’s evening.  I will go to that funeral this coming Wednesday.  It is likely what may have pushed me over the top.  Dawn and her mom were so close (too).  Yesterday when I got the text from Dawn, I just sat in my home office and cried for 20-30 minutes.  It felt good to do that…and then what?  Likely my idea to go to the eastern shore took legs again.  Why not?  I don’t have a grave site to visit.  Maybe I’ll just drive myself over to the Sunset tomorrow for a crab cake.  (Mom’s favorite place in Glen Burnie).  Who knows.  I’ll figure out something on this wintery President’s Day weekend.  At least in retrospect, the weather was not a factor in getting to her that morning nor in the assembly of over 125 people to celebrate her life that following Saturday.

Thanks for reading this and listening.  I needed it.   Love, Laura

Merry Christmas Eve to all!  It is such a delightful time of year.  The celebration of the birth of our Savior.   Gift giving to symbolize the gift we all received on Christmas morning over 2,000 years ago.   A time to gather with family and friends to be together and enjoy traditions.   And the fourth Christmas without Mom.

I was reflecting the other day on how family traditions change over time.  When I was growing up, the big tradition was gift opening after Christmas Eve dinner and Santa on Christmas morning – later, there was sleeping in once I decided I couldn’t stretch out my belief in Santa any longer…  Ha ha!  After Mom and Daddy divorced, there was another phase, followed by college and my moving to Florida.  Then, there was the phase when Jim and I were married (1982-1992) and Andy was a little boy, and Christmas rotated between MD, FL and KY.  My return to MD years brought another phase with me doing much of the hosting.   Tomorrow, Andy and Nina will arrive with the grandpuppies at 9 am, joined by three of Nina’s cousins (Jessica, her daughter Haven, and Jessica’s sister, Natalie).  Then mid-day, Nina’s parents and brothers will arrive.  Supper around 1 pm.  We invited Wayne, but he wants to stay home, so Scott, Andy and I had lunch with him on Friday.  What about you?  Have you thought about how your traditions have changed over the years?

I’ve been in the kitchen for the past eight hours and am happy to be sitting down…and happy to think about how festive tomorrow will be for everyone.   But alas, it is time to head to the shower and get ready for church at 5:30 p.m.  Ahhh – the chance to focus on the real reason for the season.  No, it isn’t the solstice!  Someone said that on social media a couple of days ago and I’m sure my eyes rolled out loud!   I am thankful that Andy is home safely from deployment; that family and friends will gather in good health and fortune tomorrow, and that little baby showed up to save us all.

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope this is a blessed one for you and yours.  Love, Laura

Hi all,

Fall transitions!  After decades of running his CPA practice, Randy Hough, decides to take a full time CFO job with one of the largest concrete manufacturers in the U.S. (in Florida).  And, after decades of full time HR leader/ executive roles with various companies, I stepped down from my job at DAI to launch an HR consulting practice in the D.C. metro area.  I can’t help wondering what Mom would think!  I suspect she’d be applauding as she was always supportive of whatever we wanted to do.  As for Randy, he just turned 55 y.o. and said that thirty years of tax seasons was enough for him.  As for me, I just turned 62 y.o. and have always had it “on my list” to consult toward the end of my career.  In November and December, I’ll put the finishing touches on the business plan I started in March, get the website developed and be ready to launch the LLC in January.  I also am working to establish affiliate relationships with existing consulting practices so I can be an independent contractor with them.

Wayne is doing well; however, having understandable sadness over the loss of Lacy (the 17th year old pup).  He misses her a great deal as the two of them had their routines alone since February 2011 when Mom went into the hospital.  We are expecting Andy home from deployment shortly, so the anticipation is building for his return, followed by the holidays.  I’ll do better about posting pictures!  Scott continues to stretch out the golf season and carded an 87 today.  He consistently shoots in the 80s (note: he gets daily practice), and actually shot a 79 during one round this fall.

I hope all is good in your world and thank you in advance for prayers for Andy’s safe travel and return home.    Love, Laura

WHAT?  I checked into today to the blog only to find ADVERTISEMENTS on the home page.  I didn’t approve or consent to them.  What does google tell me?  I have to upgrade my wordpress.com and pay eight cents a day for ads to NOT appear on the blog.  Disgusting.  That’s all I have to say.  I won’t give into that, so unless the ads are offensive (let me know if you think they are…), I’m not going to be blackmailed into having them removed.  That is all for a Monday!  Good grief!  Laura

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that Scott and I went to northeast Baltimore two weekends ago to tend to my father’s grave in Moreland Cemetery off Taylor Avenue.  We do that every couple of years and I take fresh red roses.  Afterwards, I realized it was possible to do something over Labor Day weekend that has been on my mind for several years – make the 4 1/2 hour one way journey to Scottsburg, Virginia and tend to the Lacy family graves there in Oakland Cemetery.  No fresh flowers this time.  We came up with a contraption that involved blue plastic tumblers, water bottles, marbles and silk flowers.  Scott dug holes and I did the flower placement.  Anyway, I hadn’t been to that part of Virginia since my grandmother died in the middle of December of 1982.  I was 4 months pregnant at the time.

I wondered what we would find on this trip since my research failed to identify anyone who was still in charge of running the cemetery.  We got a reservation at the Quality Inn in South Boston, VA, where my grandparents used to live, which is about 15 minutes south west of the cemetery, and we made the trip.  South Boston is a small town of just over 8,000 people.  We rode by my grandparents’ old apartment, now quite a run down property.  The Powell Funeral Home was right where it always was, and the town seemed frozen in time.  Pictures often speak 1,000 words so I will move onto those. in a moment.  Oakland Cemetery is a quiet and peaceful place, and full of moss and mold.  There are dozens of Lacys buried there, as well as those connected by marriage to Lacys.  There are eight Lacys specifically in my lineage.  My grandparents Roy P. Lacy, Alice Lacy and Edward (Eddie) N. Lacy.  Roy and Eddie were brothers and my grandmother married them both; the former marriage from 1928-1943 (his death) and the latter from 1952-1980  (his death).  Alice is buried between Roy and Eddie.  Our Aunt Lillian (Lee) was a sister of Roy’s and Eddie’s, so three of the seven children of that generation are in a row.  Then, there are Roy, Eddie and Lee’s parents, John M. and Emeline P. Lacy, my great-grandparents.  John M. died in 1912 at the age of 44, leaving Emeline, then 38 y.o., with seven children to raise, born between 1899 and 1911.  Then, my great-great grandparents, aka John M. Lacy’s parents, MT and Martha Lacy.  He served in the Civil War on the Confederate side.  We have other relatives who served in the PA Cavalry on the Union side.  Truly a house divided.  MT lived into his early 80s and Martha into her mid 70s.

Our before and after pictures follow starting with two pictures of the final work followed by the youngest generation progressing to the oldest generation.  I think you can tell the before pictures from the after pictures pretty easily.  While we were working, an older gentleman stopped by in his car to talk to us.  He’s lived in Scottsburg all but ten years of his life.  He knew the Lacys well and talked about them with honor and respect.  It was amazing to hear his stories.  Scott’s and my work was a labor of love and we were happy to do it.  I could feel Mom over my shoulder a couple of times while Scott and I were working here Sunday morning…She was smiling.    Love, Laura


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I am excited to report that I have not traveled, except an overnight to a friend’s house, since July 14.  It’s a miracle!  Ha!  It has been wonderful to sleep in my own bed so consistently and enjoy a concentrated bit of normalcy.  Today was one of those days.  Great early Hatha Yoga class.  Chores around the house.  Great massage.  Then, head to northeast Baltimore to clean off/around Daddy’s grave and put flowers there.  Since Mom was cremated and not buried, we then headed to her favorite restaurant in Glen Burnie to honor her.   We hear from Andy fairly regularly and are counting the days until his return in several months.  Nina is working as lead teacher through the summer at the Montessori School where she used to teach before grad school.  Scott’s Andy is away on a long trip on the African continent and due to return in early September to begin his new job in Chicago.  Scott has hurt his back so he has put his “sticks” away for a bit.  Of course, he won’t go see a doctor or massage therapist.  I’m sure he’s waiting for the magic pixie dust to make it all better.  Well, at least I got him to take some Aleve.  (smile)

Before I forget….our Ravens have won their first two pre-season games.  I hope your summer is going well!  XO  Laura

Hi all!

It has been a while since I posted; however, my schedule would make you shake your head.  When I posted last, I’d just returned from Nairobi.  Since then, we attended Nina’s graduation from Johns Hopkins (Master of Education)… hosted Carol and Jim (Scott’s sister and brother-in-law) for Memorial Day weekend…I had a weekend in Roanoke, VA (with friend, Cindy Coto)… there was a great week in Boston/Cape Cod (Scott, Andy and Nina)…I was in Chicago on business, and there was a lovely long weekend in Northwest Arkansas (with Scott, Kara & Mark Rago).  I leave this coming Monday for a week of training in Harbor East/Baltimore.   ALL GOOD, and yet my suitcase and I are very good friends right now.  Also, since my last post, we celebrated Scott’s birthday, Wayne’s birthday, and Father’s Day.  And, Andy began a four month deployment.  Sigh.

Maybe these pictures tell the story better.   Graduation!  Nina and Andy…Carol and Jim…Cindy and Laura…followed by Boston (Freedom Trail, Granary Burial Ground, Old North Church, Make Way for Ducklings, U.S.S. Constitution, Bunker Hill, Lobster!), Plymouth, Thoreau’s house across from Walden Pond, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, Chatham, the Chihuly exhibit at Crystal Bridges (Bentonville, Arkansas), cooking with Kara, and WYLIE, the Rago’s cute Scottie puppy !  Enjoy!  Love, Laura