Friday, January 30, 2009

Dreams,Tears,and Poetry

Last night I dreamed that Jack the Wondercat slept peacefully next to me. It's the first (or one of the first) dreams I had about Jack since he died in October. Anyway, I woke up sad. I was sad all day. Where was the comfortable numbness from shock that had been protecting me all along? It's like the protective mist fog dissipated and left me exposed to the elements. Speaking of, tonight we left libraryland at 6:00 p.m. and it was still light outside. And the sunset was pretty. Tonight I made it to our women's film group at my friend's house tonight. It was great to see everyone. And of course, grief overwhelmed me and I started to cry when I saw everyone.(*Sigh*) One of my girlfriends, S.A., gave me a copy of a poem she wrote about someone. She ran out to her car in the cold, and brought me a poem. She gave me permission to post it here. Here it is: Memory While Life Passes On I am Waiting Here Still Though Time Ticks Forward I Have Found the Will Your Memory is Near Like Grains Through Hourglass The Moments Slip By Too I've Had Pains, Yet Knowing Your Love is Not Through Your Memory is Strong Winter Brings Such Cold And Summer You're Not With Me No More of These Tears of Mine For You are My Legacy Your Memory Always Will Be Like Thread Through Tapestry Tied in a Tightly-Wound Knot You're Embedded, A Part of Me You'll Never Be Gone. I'm Still Singing Your Song. (*Sigh*) I'm off to bed. Goodnight.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Soynut Butter Story

Life seems more humorous after a fitful sleep. I have to share with you the soynut butter story. Last night, Steve and I braved the snow and visited the local supermarket. I was out of diet coke and we needed bread and soynut butter so I could make a sandwich for today. (I am allergic to peanuts and therefore, peanut butter. Peanuts give me migraines.) Anyway, we arrive in the pb and bread aisle. Bread, check. Soynut butter... no soynut butter. Hmmn. We skip over the Skippy, Jif, and the chocolate/peanut butter hybrid quality. Still no sign of soynut butter. Not even an empty shelf for the soynut butter. Hmmn. But, a glimmer of hope... a jar of almond butter sat next to the peanut butter. I thought I would try it and if I developed a headache, then I wouldn't eat it tomorrow. So we purchased it, with my diet coke, and a Cosmo magazine. When we arrived home and emptied the bags, the almond butter had leaked on the Cosmo magazine. Well, the mag was saved, but the almond butter was not. So, no sandwich. Guess our night was spread too thinly. ;) Not meant to eat soynut butter today. But there is a happy ending. Steve took the almond butter back at another location and found soynut butter. Hooray. There's really no moral to this story, except I need to read the Cosmo magazine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mist in the Darkness

I was driving to libraryland today when a song came on the radio: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. I have fond memories of this song. One of my oldest and dearest childhood friends and I danced to this song at my wedding. It was disco 1997 style, but it worked and it was fun. Although the lyrics to the song are technically about a breakup, the words are also about loss and resilience. Plus I love the name of the singer. Gloria. My grief tends to waft in like mist in the darkness. The sadness creeps in at nighttime when all is quiet, those final minutes before I drift to sleep. And when the intensity causes my vision to blur with tears and when I choke, the moment leaves as quickly as it arrives. A gray fog hovers and surrounds me. I have moments of clarity and normalcy in-between the fog. I am so fortunate to have family and friends still surrounding me as I creep forward in the fog. Yesterday was horrible as I had to go through so much hassle and proverbial red tape to unfreeze my assets. Since my mother was on our accounts, I had to retrieve her death certificate, hassle with the bank and the county-city building, and back to the bank. It took most of my Monday and most of my energy. Today was a much better day. It was a productive day in libraryland and Steve and I worked out. Exercise helps with the grief. There were holes in the fog where I could see light.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

hope for the flowers

One of my closest, dearest, and most beautiful friends blew me away. She gave me the most inspiring book. This read, first published a year after I was born (1972), written by trina paulus, is the story of two caterpillars trying to make their journeys through life. The illustrations, simple yet profound, and adorned with the color of sunshine, complement the story of hope and perseverance. A perfect read for rough times. Thank you, E. I love you.

Never Give up on a Cause

I purchased a wonderful book entitled 1001 Ways to do Good by Meera Lester. I love it. And this is where the idea for the Drumming up a Cure for Lung Cancer came from this book: #102. Never give up on a cause.
Thank you, Meera.

The Memory of Someone Dear: A Poem

It's been the hardest day for me so far. I am looking forward to going back to libraryland tomorrow and moving on with living. I looked at all the wonderful cards that people have given me and I received a beautiful poem from my former pre-school teacher who knew Mom:
The memory of someone dear
Is like a thing of gold
That never dulls,
nor ever rusts,
nor grows the least bit old.
'Tis like a bit of sunshine
That fills an empty room,
Or like a lovely flower
That never fails to bloom.
The memory of someone dear
However long apart,
Is like a soothing melody
That lingers in the heart.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Crab Legs and Drumming for a Cure

Well, my case of the stupid continues, but it can be adventageous. Yesterday, I accidentally dropped my coupon book and my coupons scattered all over the floor. So, I organized my coupon book, tossed all the expired coupons, and found a restaurant gift certificate for Red Lobster. So I called Steve and said, "Hey, we're going out for dinner tonight." And we did. And I devoured the crab legs with a vengeance and a drop of garlic butter accidentally landed on Steve's glasses... a couple of times. (Eating crab legs, especially for me, is not a delicate endeavor.) I think Steve was happy that I am eating more recently, so he can overlook the foodie faux pas. Today I received several sympathy cards and a beautiful book. I am in the process of making a scrapbook album for Mom and will include the cards. I lunched with a friend and then went ice skating. I want to start a Drumming for a Cure for Lung Cancer foundation and contribute to Dr.Hanna's lung foundation. Start drum circles for people of all ages. People can sponsor drummers or drummers can make a donation to play. More details would need to be worked out, but it's a spark.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day

Steve, AKA my human alarm clock, called me as I was sending him an e-mail around 9:00 a.m. that I was indeed vertical and out of bed. The two goals I have for today are the following: 1.) go to the optometrist so my contact lenses would not be held hostage (a good and sneaky incentive for me to make the appointment) and 2.) get some form of exercise. I accomplished both. Here's a great tip from my optometrist: take a warm washcloth, use mild soap or baby shampoo, and run them over the top and bottom of your eyelids. Then wash your eyes with water or saline. This will keep your tear ducts from clogging up and irritating your eyes. Also, taking Omega 3 vitamins are good for your tear ducts, too. Thank you, Dr.R. for the tips, especially in winter where eyes can get dry and irritated. I arrived home from the eye appointment and was wistful that I couldn't call Mom to see how her day was going. (That's the hardest part for me right now.) As I was tearing up, Steve drives up and spends his lunch hour with me so we could watch the inauguration together. What a great ceremony and a positive distraction. After the festivities are over and everyone is wining and dining in the White House, I drive to the ice rink and thought I left my ice skates at home. After a phone call to Steve, I look in the trunk of the car and there they are. With grief, I certainly contracted a case of the stupid. Yesterday was like that too. Let me share with you what happened at the spa yesterday: I scheduled a massage and we arrived at about 4:00 p.m. I first tell the receptionist I could find my way to the dressing area and then proceed to walk in the wrong direction! One of the staff escorted me to the top of the stairs in the opposite direction. Oops. Then, after I have taken the spa steam shower and robed and waiting for the massage, I attempt to turn off the timer. (I am not good with any kind of gadget.) The stupid thing goes off and I about jump out of my skin! I thought heck with it and cranked the timer for an hour (and later told my massage therapist, who successfully turned it off.) Finally, the diet coke in my purse exploded in the dressing room. (*Sigh*) But the massage was good.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally

Finally. I cry. Take that back-- I sob. Finally. I can start to heal.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The New Normal

I am stunned that January is more than half over. And the rest of January can just go ahead and fly by, as far as I'm concerned. Now that Mom is in heaven and at peace, and her wake, services, and burial were beautiful... What now? How to face life and move forward with this so-called new normal? I guess this is where faith comes in.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Flower in the Snow

Due to the bitter cold, ice, and snow, we did not subject our family and friends to the gravesite services. In fact, we delayed the burial until Saturday. No big funeral procession or fanfare...just a beautiful, quiet, private service in the countryside. As we were leaving, I noticed all the beautiful bouquets and roses in the snow. It reminded me of Mom: a treasured flower in the quiet snow.

A Rainbow From Gloria

(Gloria's Rainbow-SF 1.16.09)

My cousins sent me a beautiful email and a photograph of a rainbow the morning of Mom's funeral. This photograph is symbolic of how the service went. It was just like the essence of Mom-- beautiful and elegant without pretense.

Pink Roses, Continued

I had not eaten enough prior to the viewing, and 3/4 of the way through, I started getting hungry and experiencing low energy. Since most of the visitors had arrived and the viewing room was empty, I excused myself and trotted to the cafe. (Yes, this establishment had a cafe! It was gorgeous.) A kindly staff offered me peanuts and I politely declined (allergic.) So, she warmed up part of her dinner (a rice and chicken dish with garlic) for me and gave me a cup of strong coffee to get through the last hour. It was delicious. While I was consuming the food, another staff member spoke with me. He told me that my Mom's wake was his first day on the job, so he will always remember her. I thought that was really cool. Mom is still inspiring people. Of course, the minute I leave the room, more friends arrive. My sister informed me that I had friends waiting for me. It was so cool to see them. And I am glad we all closed down the establishment: restaurants, wakes, etc. because a dear friend of my sisters and Drfi drove all the way from Chi-town on the ice and snow to visit. Unfortunately, the viewing was over, but Steve and I recommended she follow us to my parents' house. (Sister and Drfi left early to greet family at the house.) If we would have left on time, we would have missed her arrival in the parking lot.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pink Roses

The viewing was beautiful. The funeral parlor that Mom chose before her passing is gorgeous. It is a spacious facility with a fireplace, cafe, huge bathrooms, and an enormous viewing area. There are photographs and family photo albums that were displayed on a wood counter. Mom had at least thirty bouquets of flowers and plants near her, most of them pink or complementing the pink roses near her. Pink was her favorite color. So many wonderful people from the past and present came in despite the frigid temperatures to give their condolences. The evening was surreal. A fog.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Arrangements For Mom

Here are the specifics of the viewing and services for Gloria: Viewing: Thursday, January 15 4:00-8:00 p.m. McGann Hay Granger Chapel 13260 SR 23 (enter off Cherry Rd.) Granger, IN 46530 Services: Friday, January 16 1:00 p.m. McGann Hay Granger Chapel Burial will be in Michigan. More details to follow.

Coldest Night

It's a cold day
and a frigid night.
It's an even colder day
without Mom.
I'm numb.
My heart is frostbitten.

Mom

Mom is now at peace. Arrangements are pending.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday

Mondays are generally rough, but this one takes the proverbial cake. Mom is getting worse but she's still with us. I won't lie... this is such a difficult, painful process...especially for her. We're all keeping a close watch on her to make sure she is comfortable. Time has no meaning. I have to check to see what day of the week it is. I look on the clock and it is already afternoon. I am in slow motion. My reading consists glossing over email messages and Facebook. I haven't read the paper. I can't concentrate enough to read anything (and I usually have two or three books going at once.) I am back to stitching flower patterns on pillowcases. (This is what I do when I can't concentrate.) Steve and Drfi went back to work today. Steve is training to teach courses at IU. He looked so handsome in his library tie. As we all are, Mom is proud of him.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday

No change. Mom is holding her own. She is going to exit this world when she darn well feels like it. And that's my mother. Strong, beautiful, feisty. Yesterday was a busy day for her. Family and extended family (Gravel Lake friends) came over, brought food, and spent precious time with Mom. Steve and I spent the night with her in her room so Dad could sleep. Sis and Drfi had to go back to Chi-town to get clothes and Sis came right back . The snow was falling outside the bedroom window and covering the large pine trees. Snow tears.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Home

This morning, Mom is home and resting. Yesterday was surreal. We waited a long day to make sure we could transport Mom home via ambulance. We left the hospital around 4:00 p.m. Some family left early to get the house ready and to meet the Hospice nurses there. Dad and I stayed behind, he drove the car and I rode in the ambulance with Mom. It was neat because all four of us in the ambulance were women. It was GIRL POWER. And the EMTs were amazing. In fact,we formed a friendship on the way from Indianapolis to Northern Indiana. I have never ridden in an ambulance before. And the kindly EMTs let me sit in the back so I could be with Mom the entire time. And as sad as the whole situation is, it was the most beautiful, precious time we were able to spend together. Outside the windows in the back there was a beautiful sunset that faded into the background. It was kind of like the city's way of saying goodbye to us.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Update: Going Home

We are all going home today. Mom is strong enough that she can be transported home via ambulance. Hospice and other family members are preparing the house and her room for Mom's arrival. I know this is what she wants.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Update from Indy

It's 9:00 p.m. Mom is sleeping. Pray for her.

Writing from Indianapolis, Continued

Yesterday we came down to Indianapolis because Mom was not doing well. We made it down in record time (2 hours and 25 minutes.) Mom is a fighter. She made it through a very rough night and seems to be improving even after this morning. If she continues to improve through tomorrow, we will be taking her home via ambulance and making arrangements so she can rest comfortably at home. Again, thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Prayers

Things have taken another turn. Please continue to say prayers for Gloria and John. I am so grateful for all of your prayers and warm thoughts.

Going Home from Indy:)

I had to think for a moment: what day is this? Yes, it's Tuesday, January 6. Happy birthday, drf!Good news! Mom is doing better and back into the posh cancer ward with her own room. We are hoping she will come home this weekend. Thank you all for your positive prayers, thoughts, and words. They are working. We are fortunate to have people in our lives who care so much.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Evening in Indy

I'm writing from the lobby at the IUPUI hotel with Steve. He's going to B&N to get a new crossword puzzle book for Dad. Dad and I have almost filled an entire book full of puzzles in the hospital room. It's amusing how we fill in crosswords. I check off the numbers after I discover the word. Dad does not. Dad will sometime fill in fake words to fill it in to make it fit. (And admittedly, I do the same thing until I find out the right word.) That's why I now do crosswords in pencil with a large eraser. I asked Steve on one of the crosswords, "Could a female chicken be considered a poultra (instead of poultry)?" Steve looked amused as he replied, "That would be a hen." Three letters, one-two-three. Yup. He's right. In times like this, you have to maintain your sense of humor--and your humility. Mom is stable. Fighting off pneumonia as a nice side effect of the surgery. Not that she doesn't have enough to fight off. But she is expected and WILL recover. She's strong. We spent six hours with her today and more tomorrow until Dad comes back up. It's very surreal to see her this way. But she is holding her own.

Monday, January 5

Mom is improving. :) She is stable but fragile. They're going to try to get her up and moving around this morning. It will be good to be with her. Steve and I are going back to Indy this morning so Dad can come home and take care of some bills, etc. Thanks to sweet M. for coming over last night and making us dinner. I'll keep you posted as I know more information. Love, Lori

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday, January 4

Steve and I traveled home yesterday. I was torn about leaving, but know Mom rests better when we're not in the room. She's still at IU. She was moved to another ward to keep her heart monitored and regulated. Dad's hanging in there. He's a rock. We're so lucky to have him. Steve and I will go down there this week to stay with Mom so Dad can take care of stuff up here (the bills and stuff Steve and I can't do.) Steve's been great, making sure I eat enough,etc. I finally got a full night's sleep. It helps to sleep in my own bed with the purr machine (Latte) on. I will go back to bed to try and rest to ward off the respiratory infection that's trying to return. Later, we'll go to my folk's house and take off the ornaments off the tree, etc. Love, Lori

Friday, January 02, 2009

January 2 in Indianapolis

I slept, but not much and not well. I woke up with a sinus headache. Steve and I ate breakfast at the hospital and then came over to the IU cancer ward. It's the damn waiting game for Mom to get her vertebrae operated on to alleve her pain. We all take catnaps in her suite and then we take turns going downstairs to eat lunch. I didn't have much. Mashed potatoes and vegetables. I made a happy face with one of the potatoes and the vegetables. Took a photo of it on my cell phone and may post it later. It was pretty cute. Mom and I kick Dad out of the room to go eat and get out for awhile to shop for extra clothes. I asked Steve to go hang out in the family center. Mom and I hang out for a bit and the tech comes to take Mom to the operating room. I go with her and we wait downstairs. After Mom is wheeled into the operating room, I try to find my way back to the suite. It's like a lost red rat in a proverbial cage. People kept giving me directions but I was lost and frazzled and exhausted and so worried. A young woman took pity on me in my tears and guided me back to the room. Steve missed me, as he was waiting downstairs. Thank God for cell phones. I had both with me so Dad couldn't call. (People were calling while we were taking Mom down.) She's back in the room. Seems like the procedure went ok. I'll post another blog later. Love, Lori

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year 2009 From Indy

Hello, I'm writing from Indianapolis in the hotel lobby. There's groovy jazz music accompanying me as I type. More details on the NYE soiree to be posted later, but here's what happened in a nutshell: 1.) Received tough news from Indy. Mom has cancer on five places on her spine. One vertebrae fractured. Needs surgery to relieve pain on spine. She is comfortable. 2.) Mom insisted: our NYE small soiree still went on. Note to self: follow up on EVITE with an email or phone call. Many bounced back. Damn firewalls. I'm sorry if any of you locally were missed. That's what happened. 3.) Soiree went well. I was a pirate and drank a plethora of rum and champagne. Did not pillage for treasure but foraged for food in my kitchen. Plentiful. Was thankful that I did not have a hangover this morning. Played Rock Band until 4:30 a.m. Went to bed at 5:00 a.m. Up at 9:00 a.m. 4.) Steve and I drove down to Indy (IUPUI) tonight. Dodged one deer. I honed my backseat driving skills. I was annoyed imaginary car brake on passenger side did not work. I was surprised that Steve did not threaten to tie me on top of car or place me in trunk. 5.) IU medical center is wonderful. New, posh, and state-of-the-art. I'm grateful. The hotel is beautiful and remodeled. We get a discount because we are related to a patient. Added benefit. 6.) I'm running on less than eight hours of sleep in two days and Steve is dozing off next to me, so I should sign off soon. I wanted to keep you posted. Please say prayers for Mom. Her name is Gloria. She totally rocks. Love, Lori

Labor Day Weekend: Library, Gaming, Rock Band, and Kayaking

Isn't it interesting how a simple, one-line post on social media can inspire a person to write more about it on a blog? Yes, that is w...