Category Archives: God

BIG SPOILER ALERT

(Warning, this is not happy, light reading.  My apologies beforehand… And it’s not a movie review…)

I’ve recently had my future show up at my door. Unexpectedly and knocking loudly. I kind of knew that it was lurking about out there and that sooner or later I would have to open the door and invite it in.  But somehow I had convinced myself that it would patiently wait until I was good and ready to entertain it.

For most of my life I could look out the peep hole and just enjoy the view. There were lots of beautiful sights to see.  Pretty and happy sights.  Then a few years ago, one day I looked out and the picture I was accustomed to seeing seemed a bit dimmer.  Less sharp and clear and somewhat tinged.  Let’s say the colors began to look a little washed out and a sepia effect was starting to bleed in.  If you’re not familiar with a sepia tone, think old photographs.  Not exactly black and white but sort of brownish yellow.  Now picture a sepia rainbow.  There are no brilliant vivid colors, just some lighter tans fading to darker tan.  Hard to distinquish and not nearly so interesting or festive.

I don’t mean to sound all Doom’s Day-ish.  I’m speaking reality. My reality.  And using my normal look the other way tactic just won’t hold water anymore.  There’s no avoiding the inevitable.

It’s called the Circle of Life.  We’re born, we live, and if we’re lucky we have the opportunity to age and then finally die.  We move through the Seasons of our lives from Spring to Winter.  It’s gradual and barely imperceptible.  Mostly.

There comes a point, though when we’re forced to face our immortality.  This point comes in many forms.  For me, a mirror is the vehicle.  I’m not only speaking of the moment each day when I wake up and actually see my face in the bathroom mirror; when I take stock of new sags and wrinkles and skin variations that were or were not there the previous day.  Yeah, that’s not exactly a picnic. But what I’m referring to is the mirror that is my Mom.  She’s where I will be in twenty years or less.

I’ve had to open my door and look reality full in the face.  I was only slightly prepared and accepting it or not is no longer and option but a necessity.

I’ve had to realize that at some point, bounding out of bed in the morning will not be an option.  That one day I may be dependent on someone else to make sure my daily needs are attended to.  That everything about my independence that I took for granted will poof like a soap bubble in the wind.  That my dignity may be compromised.  That seeing, hearing, walking, talking, dancing, typing, and even thinking will no longer be effortless.

It will help, I know, to have a good attitude.  To have loving family and friends around to help me get by.  Good eating habits and exercise may prolong the process and maybe make it less painful or more manageable.  But only that.  There’s no escaping the end result.

I’m not sure how you deal with this, or if you’ve even had to.  But we’re all in this together and even though it’s a very personal thing, it’s something we all have to face at some point.  I have my own thoughts and feelings about what comes after and those will be my comfort and my salvation, if you will.  But you have to move from Point A to Point B and it’s not exactly a downhill slide in the sense that it’s going to be easy.  Reality isn’t exactly a smooth paved path.

Forgive me if  I’m seeming all dire and morbid.  It’s simply where I am right now.  I didn’t want to open that door.  I was content enough to just take things day by day, putting one foot in front of the other and reminding myself to exhale every so often.

I will come to terms with it all at some point.  I won’t like it and I’ll fight it with every cell in my body and every neuron in my little brain.  But right now, it’s too fresh.  Too frightening and too claustrophobic.  I just had to get this out, carrying it around was wearing me out.  I have too much else to do.  And a time frame that’s shrinking a little every day.

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THE ROAR OF THE TREES

“Across the broad continent of a woman’s life falls the shadow of a sword. On one side all is correct, definite, orderly; the paths are straight, the trees regular, the sun shaded; escorted by gentlemen, protected by policemen, wedded and buried by clergymen, she has only to walk demurely from cradle to grave and no one will touch a hair of her head. But on the other side all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course. The paths wind between bogs and precipices; the trees roar and rock and fall in ruin.”
~ Virginia Woolf, ‘Harriette Wilson’, Collected Essays

I read this earlier this week and when I did, it didn’t really sink in.  I was too distracted and busy with other thoughts and concerns. Something told me to go back to it and I just did.  And it more than sunk in this time.  I could have written it, with all that I’ve been feeling lately.  My first thought was, is this exclusive to women?  And the answer, I think is absolutely yes.

As women, we have the luxury of feeling protected for much of our lives.  I try never to take that for granted.  We owe so much to our men… our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, even our sons.  Not to mention all the other men who touch our lives…  And yet, there are times and situations where there is no such thing as a safety net or someone to “have our backs.”  There are times when decisions have to be made and situations need to be dealt with and it’s entirely up to us to muster our courage and our strength to do what we feel is right and necessary.  How we deal in those times are testaments to our character and either make us or break us.

I have witnessed some amazing accomplishments by women lately, in particular, in the case of my own dear Mother.  She recently fell and injured her upper thigh/hip. This required surgery and spending time in an assisted-care facility for rehab.  All during this ordeal, the “elephant in the room” which to this point has not been spoken of, but was the obvious fact that everything would have been made better somehow if my dad were still alive and here for her to lean on and offer strength and assurance.  Not only would it have made a difference to her, but to my brothers and my sister and I.  It’s a scary feeling to share the responsibility of the welfare of a parent.  If you’ve never been in this position, lucky you.  It’s daunting.  I’m hugely grateful to have a big family and to have the luxury of sharing the responsibility with siblings.  I can’t imagine having to deal with the decision-making alone, not to mention tending to her daily needs, both physical and emotional.

There’s way more I could say on this subject and what I’m feeling right now, but time prevents the saying.  The feeling, though?  That growing up is tough but that growing old is worse.  But I’m concentrating on the gratitude… that my mom is finding the strength to be awesomely amazing on her path, despite the bogs and precipices.

TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY

I was prompted by our friend, Michael, to put a post up in honor of the Christmas Holiday that most of us will be celebrating.  Of course I had planned to get this up sooner or later… Being that today is Christmas Eve, I would have gotten to it sometime today. But thanks, Michael.
I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and to remind you of The Reason for the Season.  Let us remember that we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  I love to picture that Beautiful Little Baby nestled in the manger.

AWAY FOR A DAY

Not that anyone was expecting me to post or anything but I actually did have plans to post the rest of the week.  You see, we got so far ahead at work (hard to believe, I know) that I am temporarily off overtime hours.  For the rest of the week, as it stands now.

And one of the first things I thought of doing with those two plus extra hours a day, was actually sitting down here and pretending it was like old times.

But then something came up and this will probly be all you’re gonna get.

My mom called me this afternoon to share the sad news that her sister, my aunt, had died this morning.  As accustomed as I have become the past several months to hearing bad news, I was not prepared at all for this.

My mom has two sisters and as they have aged, I’ve gotten in the habit of thinking of them as The Golden Girls.  While none of the three particularly resemble Rose or Blanche or Dorothy, their collective personalities are as entertaining and delightful.  I have not been in the same room with the three of them for years but the memories I have of them together are precious to me.   There was never a dull moment or a lapse in laughter when they were together.

One of these days I will post a picture of them and a story or two to go with it.

PD and I will be driving back to my hometown on Thursday to pay our respects and share some necessary Family love.  I need to put my time in at work tomorrow and then finish packing for Thursday.  See ya later, ‘gators.

Prayers appreciated for my uncle, my cousin, the grand daughters, my mom and my other aunt.  Thank you.

DAD’S PLANT (Part 2)

So yeah, I’ve had the plant since my dad died April of 1998. It was the only plant from the dish garden that survived so I was very careful about tending to it. In fact, when we would go to the family park each year for our family reunion, PD fills up jugs with water from the creek there and I would use that to water it each and every Saturday morning. My dad probly played in that creek or fished in it and I figured he might appreciate some of that “down home food” for the plant. I got to the point that I would be devastated if anything happened to the plant so I tried numerous times to take cuttings, hoping they would root and I’d have a “back up” if anything ever happened to it. It took me all this time but I now have two full-sized plants and a baby that I’m tending with love and care.
The really cool thing about this plant… All of a sudden one day after I’d had it for awhile, it bloomed. Little wee tiny white flowers. I don’t remember how long the blooms lasted the first few times. But after a time, I noticed that there was no pattern to when it would bloom. After another time, I noticed that it would bloom when there was something good going on in the family, such as when a baby was born or a marriage, different milestones in the family. I started to interpret the flowers as Dad’s way of saying to me “This is good.” After a few years, I got used to it and could predict when I could start watching for the flowers. You can understand, I think, why the plants have come to be so important to me.
I have a cousin who grew fascinated with the plant a while back when I told her that it bloomed right before she told us she was expecting. A couple of years later when she found herself once again in a family way, she would call me from time to time to see what Dad was “saying.” As it so happened, she called one day and I reported that the plant was indeed in bloom but I was amazed this time, to see that the flowers were not white, but lavender. She laughed and told me she knew why. When I asked how she could know such a thing, she told me that she had painted the baby’s nursery lavender that morning. So of course, the next time I see her, I’m gifting her with the baby plant. I know she’ll appreciate it and take good care of it. And I think Dad would like that.
dadplantH_09
There have been times that my mom was struggling with health issues or some other type of stress. I love to be able to tell her that the plants are blooming and that Dad is saying “Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”
I’m sure there are those out there who may be skeptical about this kind of communication I have with my Dad. But I don’t care, it’s between him and me and that’s all that matters.
It’s Saturday morning, time to go water the plants. : )

DAD’S PLANT (Part 1)

I have been meaning to share this with you for a few years now. I imagine that you’re wondering why it’s taken me so long and why I’ve finally decided to give it up… I have to admit that it’s kind of personal, that’s part of the reason I haven’t written about it. The other reason is that, well, it may be kind of hard to believe. But I think you know me well enough by now to know that I wouldn’t lie to you and that it’s perfectly normal for me to have weirdness.

This story is about a plant.  Which has since become three plants.  If my dream comes true, that number could grow to a whole terrarium of plants.  

“Where did this plant come from and why is it special? you may be asking by now.

When my father died in April 1998, many wonderful people sent beautiful flower arrangements and dish gardens, as people are wont to do when someone dies.  A few days after the funeral, me mum was divvying up the plants to assorted family members.  I became the owner of a beautiful and large dish garden.

The only surviving plant member from that dish garden has been with me for 11 years now.  That fact in itself is incredible, considering that my thumbs are not only not green, but utterly colorless.

A couple of years ago I finally was successful at (what is the word?)  Propagating? [ Whatever it is called when you make one plant into two and they are both alive and well.]  The main reason I did this is because I become totally terrified at the idea of the plant ever dying and I figured if there were two instead of one, my chances of saving at least one of two were way better than if I only had one and killed it.

I lovingly refer to the plant(s) as “Dad’s Plant(s)…”  for two reasons.  One, if it weren’t for my dad, I wouldn’t have the thing(s), and two, because I have never found out what the real name of the plant is.  It’s not because I can’t look it up or even that I’ve tried, because I haven’t.  I’m weird that way, some things are just not important to me.   Due to the amount of explaining that will be necessary for you to understand how important these plants have become to me, I will show you what they look like now and continue with the story another day.  If you know what family this plant belongs to, feel free to tell me.  I will be impressed.  I’ll probly forget two minutes after I go away from this page, but I will be impressed, nonetheless.

Here they are, the original (top) and then he and his brother for your thoughtful consideration:

Original Plant

Plants One and Two

BITTERSWEET WEEKEND

Had an extremely lovely time with my family this weekend.  I am so very very lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.  I’m going to be concentrating on that fact with every inch of my being.

You just never know what’s around the corner.

I just learned of the death of someone I don’t know.  I don’t really have any business writing about this.  But this man’s son was killed not long ago and I can’t imagine the grief the surviving members of this family is experiencing right now.  It’s shaking my faith to the very core right now and that can’t happen.  When I’m not feeling strong in that respect, nothing feels right.  I can’t talk about this anymore.

It just occurred to me as I was selecting categories for this post that “God” and “wtf” should not be used on the same post…

Update:  found this news article.

I HAVE THIS FRIEND…

… who’s pretty darn cool.  He’s got some wonderful insight into life and things.  He’s a talented photographer and has a wicked sense of humor.  He’s a Southern boy with great hair.  He’s got a beautiful family and a spiritual side that makes me jealous.

Only thing is, he’s got to be the center of attention at all times.  Sometimes his whining gets to me and just to pacify him, I decided to devote a post to him.

I know he knows I’m just jerking his chain cause we’re “tight like that…”

Make him feel as special as he is and go over and say hey to Joey.

SCENERY

Today coming home from work, I noticed a very old man sitting on his front porch.  He was withered and pale and looked a little shell-shocked and as I turned to look at him something moved inside me.  I admired what it may have taken for him to be there.  All the events of his day leading up to that moment in time… Who washed the clothes he was wearing and prepared his lunch?  Was it difficult for him to get out of his bed this morning?  Had he watched the news and what did it stir inside him?  What did he think about the cars whizzing past his house driven by much younger people in a hurry to get to the gym or the grocery store… What kind of life had he led?  Did he have family and friends to love and be loved by?  Maybe an old dog asleep beside him on the porch…  Had someone called him today to make sure he was doing ok…  Had he fought in a war or been injured or lost friends or won medals?  Had he ever been in love?  What was his favorite TV show?  Did he play hooky from school ever?

Was he happy or ravaged with regrets?  I could not tell from his expression.  He was just there.  His gaze revealed nothing to me at all. His posture could have been effortless or painful. I could not tell.  His elbows rested on the arms of his chair and his hands were folded on his lap.  For all I know he could have been sitting there, expecting someone like me to notice him and his sole purpose was to give no indication of his condition.  Maybe that’s how he gets his kicks.  Or maybe he was defying me.  I’ll never know.  Or that crazy part of me could become obsessed to the point of marching up to his door and demanding to know his name and life story.  Not likely.

Now, after having tossing these thoughts around in my head, I can’t help but feel a deep respect for this man.  Simply because he was there.  And what he’s endured.  Some might think, yes, but maybe he was a bad man.  Maybe he was the meanest s.o.b. on the block.  If that were the case, I would curse the events in his life that caused it.  No one is born bad or mean.  We have choices, yes, but who’s to say…

I will look at that house every day now for a couple of weeks to see if he’s sitting there.  If he is, I will give him a name.  I will start to notice if he’s wearing the same clothes, if he’s sitting in the same chair.  I will be concerned if he’s not there.  I will catch myself after a time and realize that I’d forgotten to look for him for several days.  Before much more time passes I will forget about him.  Maybe years from now something will trigger the memory of the image of him as I saw him today.

One day I could become him,  sitting alone on my little porch watching the world go by… a prisoner of my thoughts in a fragile and aged body.  Will anyone notice?

11 YEARS AGO TODAY

MY DAD

It occurred to me today

and it hurt me to my soul

I can’t hear your voice in my head.

So many questions I wanted to ask you and we ran out of time. Those last months we tried to make up for the days we couldn’t have. A hundred years wouldn’t do.

I would give a year of sunny Sunday mornings just to sit with you once again; to listen to you tell a really long joke, to watch you try not to laugh, to see you look over your glasses and complain about the gas prices. To see you sleeping in your chair, to watch you nibble on a baby’s ear, to hear you sing “Lucille,” to watch you run your silver comb through your hair.

The last conversation we had ended in “I love you too, Winker”.

But I didn’t know it would be the last time you’d say it to me. The next day you were zonked out on morphine and breathing slow and raspy. I took your comb and combed your wavy, now white, hair and told you it looked good. I knew there would be no answer. But two single tears rolled down your cheek. One was yours and one was mine.

No breath came then.

I said “I love you Dad” and put the comb in my pocket.

This is for my Dad who died along with a piece of my heart April 29, 1998.

(Repost from April 29, 2006)