Posted in Changes, Memory, technology

My Swiss Army….Phone

Recently I shopped for a new phone.  In the twenty plus short years, the mobile device that we carried like a bag in our car for making phone calls has morphed and become like a Swiss Army knife.

It was a Christmas present from my husband, my first cell telephone.  I can’t remember the year, but I can remember how excited I was to get it.  I hadn’t even considered getting one.  Its one feature: to make phone calls from where ever I was.  Picture a large receiver with a pullout antenna and a flip out mouth piece.  It awed me!

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Calling someone from my own traveling phone was pretty spectacular.  Of course, I had to punch in the phone numbers.  Most numbers I called were land lines and the only time I turned it on was when I was away from home.  I would have never considered actually using it while driving.

My second cell phone was years between that one.  I remember because I asked John to buy me a phone that wasn’t complicated.  I was intimidated by all the capabilities of the much smaller phone.  It actually did things besides just phoning.  By today’s standards, it was a dinosaur.  The “Roaming” term, we avoided on the phone because it would increase the phone bill.  There wasn’t a ‘data’ plan.

I remember when a camera was introduced on the phone.  That was awesome!  Texting…super wow!  We’d actually consider the keypad configuration when picking a phone.

The capabilities of cell phones seem to top themselves each time a new phone was introduced.  Simply calling from a distance, away from a land line, wasn’t the goal anymore.  We had to ‘connect’ in other ways.

Now it has so many tools!  Honestly, when I pick out a new phone the most important feature for me is the camera.  I’ll go straight for the camera settings to see what it can do.  The rest of the phone’s features is just icing on the cake.  I do consider the price.  I’ll go for the least expensive, best phone I can find…with a good camera!

Recently my mom had to have surgery and while waiting in the waiting room, I did what most people do . . . people watch.  There were families and friends visiting and then there were the readers.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in waiting rooms there are less magazines then there once were.  The culprit, I believe, is the phone.

Is it generational?  Maybe.  I’m not sure the younger generation who’ve grown up with phones as a source of entertainment, would consider picking up a newspaper or a magazine to read, when it is so much easier to search for a topic or hit an app to find an interest.

 

Technology changes our lives.  Once the printing press was a technological wonder.  I remember the first time I witnessed a microwave working.   How awesome it was to watch a taped movie at home.  However, I’m chasing rabbits because I know lots of people could out do me with the ‘Remember when.’  Back to phones!

Not too long ago, a younger teacher laughed when I called it a ‘telephone.’  I’m not sure when the ‘tele’ was dropped from the word.  It was good enough for Superman!  (Even that may be mythified and you can use your phone to research it).

 

Have you considered how many times your phone is touched because of the different uses it has?

It’s my calendar.  I add appointments, meetings, and party dates, times, and locations.  I don’t keep any kind of paper calendar anymore.  Once, I would have had a large calendar on my refrigerator to write on.  I’d take the time to pick one out at the end of the year with really pretty pictures to inspire me.  I’ve let that habit fade away.

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It’s my picture album.  No longer do I have to send off my film to be processed.  The only albums I have now are all the old ones before digital cameras were added to the phone. Some of the old pictures are grainy and have lost their original color tone.  Other photos are in picture boxes or baggies hidden in boxes in the closet.

Before the camera phone, if you are or knew the third, fourth, etc. child of a family, I bet there aren’t a lot of pictures taken of that child.  Parents simply didn’t have the time or energy to find a camera to preserve that child’s history in pictures (unlike the first or second child) unless it was a special occasion.  Not so of parents today.  I even ask Cam when he’s out doing something to send me a picture, so I can see a part of his life.

When Cam was a baby, we snapped away.  When the video camcorder became our norm, we didn’t drag out the camera.  We’d make home movies.  It was when he was a freshman that I realized I had hardly any photos of him between the age of nine and fourteen.  I think that’s about the time that cameras were the norm on cell phones.

The night John passed, Cam took out the phone and snapped a few pictures of John’s tattoo.  It wasn’t as easy to get the pictures off phones in 2007 as it is today, so somewhere that phone is put away with the pictures stored in the memory.  Today, I have thousands of pictures stored in my cloud.  Occasionally, I’ll go to Walgreens, plug my phone in to the picture maker, and print a few special prints to put in frames.

Home movies on discs, tapes, or film are a relic of the past.  No more video cameras to pull out, carry around, and shoot.  If you aren’t born in a time where the cell phone video has always been, you’ll remember how silent everyone would get when the video camera was introduced into the situation.

Afterward, we’d sit around our television and watch what was recorded and laugh.  I still love popping in an old VHS tapes and watching the home movies.  (Yes, I do have a VHS player).  Even more fun, loading the old 8mm film and watching the silent, laughing, silly people of yesteryear.  Part of my wedding reception was shot in super 8 by John’s dad.

Today, simply hold up the phone, tap, record, upload and share.  We can watch or send our videos out into the world instantly.  It’ll be interesting to see how the future generations judge our past videos.  Vacations, road trips, pets, nature, people, wild animals, silly stunts; we record it all!

Grandparents no longer have to wait for the mail to be delivered to receive a picture long distance.  Sharing has become as easy sending a picture across a message.  We post pictures on Facebook, Instagram  (I’m showing my age here because I haven’t learned how to use Snapchat) or some other social media.  Once a picture is uploaded, it’s fair game for whoever wants to share or capture it.  It no longer belongs to us personally.

Cameras…yes, they’re my favorite part of the phone besides using it to talk.  I adore taking vacation pictures and ‘selfies’ of my self on trips. I’m finding myself reminiscing as Facebook shows me “On This Day” from years past.

Then there are the everyday tools like the calculator, memo pad, address book (contacts), phone book, and whatever other type of tool you’d like to add.  I don’t keep a phone book around the house anymore.  I’ll just search for an address or a type of business I want and instantly hit the button for the phone to call that number.  Most of my friends numbers I couldn’t dial if needed because I don’t have their phone numbers memorized.  Funny, I can rattle off phone numbers of family members land lines or old places I worked because my fingers dialed them so often . . .  753-6496.  My favorite…663-1325.  Today, no one could answer.

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Recently, I went out with friends and their daughters.  The conversations that come up with a bunch of women are hilarious.  The phone was part of the entertainment and conversation.  We looked up urban slang and laughed loudly.  I’ll not go into what we looked up.  That’ll remain private!

We use them for banking, shopping, paying bills, and even sending money to our friends to pay our part of a tab.  My church has an app for tithing.  No longer do we need to carry cash, checks, or even a credit card.

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There are so many apps that make our life more dependent on our phone.  I do my bible devotions, read my email, check my security system, listen to music, plan road trips, check the weather, and keep count of my steps, to name just a few on one screen of my phone.  I don’t even wear a watch because I use my phone to keep track of the time.  It’s my alarm to get up. (Okay, its many alarms to wake up).   I can order food or a ride with just a simple tap.  Tapping….our way of life.

 

I use Google Maps to find my way.  Sometimes it is just across town to find a garage sale or while traveling on vacation.  Early on when it was new, I’d followed that GPS voice where ever she told me to turn.  I now know that she doesn’t always take me the best way, so I’ll ignore her directions to turn and follow my own instincts and make her reroute me.

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I teach my kids at school to read a real physical map for math.  I love their excitement when the Texas map is unfolded in all its glorious size and we use the population information and find the towns on the map.  For some children, it is the first time they touch an actual map because we use the digital one so often.

When Cameron was young, we’d give him a map in the back seat and have him ‘navigate’ us.  I remember driving with him in downtown Dallas when he was younger.  I was lost and he’d tell me where to turn.  Thankfully, we eventually did find our way to our destination with a lot of stress on my end.  He remained calm.

Gone are the days when we can escape from work and people.  It is a decision to ‘unplug.’  There’s areas where ‘reception’ is hard to get.  Mostly, we are reachable.  We compare and share our lives through social media and the phone makes it so that we can do it a dozen time each day.

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Parents today have it easier to contact children.  It makes me smile when I hear a parent call their dependent child to check ‘where’ they are.  In my generation and before, we totally could escape from our parents at least for a little while.  We’d use the line, “There wasn’t a phone or I didn’t have any money to call with.”  Once we were out of the house, we were only with the people we actually were with.  If we had ‘car trouble,’ on the road, we waited for help to stop.  Safety and security has improved with the carrying of the cell phone.

I’ll admit if I go more than four days without talking to my son in New York, I’ll make contact.  It may be a simple text or a phone call where we chat, but it makes my mom’s heart happier.  All those ‘crazy’ what if’s are put to rest.  It’s a ‘parent thing’ for you young ones if you haven’t developed that insane urge yet.

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I guess the funniest thing I notice about phones is how we ignore the people we are with to see what’s going on in other people’s lives.  I admit that I have done it too.  Checked my phone while I’m with other people.  I don’t know why we do it.  Do you?

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The phone isn’t used, just to ‘reach out and touch someone’ (You have to be older to get that one), but a significant tool that moves us along in our life.  So how many times a day do you touch your phone?

“Tele” over a distance.  “Phone” a speech sound.

It’s a wonderful invention that is progressing at an astounding rate.  Its initial use was for conversation.  Remember to use it for that also.  Call someone and invite them over.   Life is better when we actually ‘do life’ with other people.

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Posted in Changes, Memory

With Love, Paul and David

I started with six brothers.  I’m down to three now.  Three have passed on and all were sudden deaths without a chance to say goodbye.

My family is a blended one.  My dad had one boy and my mom had three when they married.  I’m the actual first child of my parent’s union.  Two boys followed me.  I’d like to say that I had the perfect secure childhood, but I didn’t.  My parents flittered job to job which means we moved more times than children should have to.  I was always the ‘new kid’ at school.  The gaps in our education from moving school to school took their toll on us.  I was the only child out of the seven that actually finished high school with a degree and graduated from college.

My brothers are all extremely hard-working, wonderfully smart, and full of common sense.  My parents made sure we all had a good work ethic.  It’s the only way we could survive in a household of our size.  We all had chore lists to do or if our parents were running a theater, then we’d be the janitorial staff, work the concession stand, and could run the projector.    Our parents both worked, which means we took care of each other a lot.  There never was enough money to go around for bills and food.  My parents did the best they could.

I’m looking backward as an adult and making speculations because as a kid, I never knew that.  We were mostly a happy lot.  We played and fought.  Sometimes the fighting got physical and punches flew or pushing happened.   I remember once throwing a toy at my younger brother, Johnny.  He had that small scar on his eyebrow for the rest of his life.  You should have seen us piled up in our station wagon.  I’m sure we were a sight, filling every seat and hanging out the windows when the car stopped!

I remember the good times.  Running around the neighborhood and playing in the woods, swinging on grapevine.  We’d play cowboys and indians or cops and robbers chasing each other and shooting each other with sticks.  Johnny was the one I remember playing with the most.  I can’t count the number of times, we’d play with those small plastic horses: galloping them on the floor and making neighing sounds.  As my brothers matured and drivers licenses happened, I remember riding with Paul and doing donuts in parking lots.  Timmy giving me a ride on the back of the motorcycle.  That happened just once because Mom was furious with him for taking me for a ride.

Sitting around the table at dinner and the boistious noise that ensued as bowls were passed and all were straining to be heard as we talked over one another.  Cleaning the kitchen was always done in pairs or in threes.  No one ever had to clean the kitchen by themselves.  These are the memories that make me smile.

Steven, the oldest, left the house when I was about ten.  My dad signed for him to join the Marines when he was seventeen because he seemed to always be running away when I was a child.  That decision changed Steven’s life.  He was a career Marine, staying twenty-eight years before retiring from the corp.  Steve would stop back in the family while on leave and I remember small gaps of time with him as I grew up.  The last was when I was a junior in high school.  After that, meetings were brief.  He always called me “Sis” never Becky.    I loved that he thought I was special.

David is the baby.  Enough said.  I think he got away with the most.  He’d say that wasn’t so, but I’d have to disagree.  I don’t remember him having to do many chores.  As an adult, David is precious.  He is generous to a fault and has a wonderful sense of humor.  I love his deep laugh and his love for his family.

Between those two, we have Timmy, Paul, Mike, Me, and Johnny.  The boys used to accuse me of being spoiled.  Maybe it was so, but I don’t believe I took advantage of it.  There has to be a perk to growing up in a household full of boys.

I don’t have much to say about Timmy and Mike.  I have to say I don’t like all my brothers.  Love, yes, love is there.  Some people are hard to connect with and the thought comes to mind, “How can I be related to that person?”   Simply personality differences.  Thankfully, the connection happens in a large group and we are a large family.

Johnny, one below me on the ladder of our family, was one of my favorite playmates as a child.  We shared a room when we were young and would hide under the covers when we were afraid of the dark.  We’d play horses and army men. Later, we were coconspirators.  We’d roll our eyes at our grandparents when they made silly comments.  He liked to tease.  When he hit about fifteen, the girls started to find him attractive.   He had the biggest ego.  I used to say, when he passed a mirror, he’d stop and say, “Damn, I look good.”  He left to join the Army not long after I married.  He was gone for long stretches of time and I missed seeing him mature.  When he did come back as an adult, he loved to cook.  He was the adventous brother.

Paul is the glue that holds us together.  He’s the humorist.  Need to calm a situation?  Humor is the best way to bring it back to normal and he’s good at it.  He doesn’t mind being silly and making us laugh until our tummy hurts.  He smart and can figure out how to fix a problem.  He is the hardest working brother I have.  He always has things to do.  His legacy is all the people named after him.  I don’t know how he did it, but there are so many of his kids and grandkids named after him that I tease him that the world doesn’t need any more ‘Pauls.’  He says, “Oh, no!  There’s always room for another Paul.”  He truly is our rock and I love him deeply.

Now there are three gone.  Timmy died of a heart attack.  Johnny died while scuba diving.  His offical cause of death was drowning.  This week, Steven, died of a heart attack.

My mind drifts back when for a brief time we were young and all lived in the same home.  That ended about forty-four years ago when Steven left and slowly, over time, we all moved away from one another.  It was rare when we were all together at the same place.  There are a few pictures with us together.

When Timmy died, we took a picture of us together after the funeral.  It’s become a tradition to do that after funerals.  Today, there were three of us.  Yes, there should be four and Mike is missing out of the picture and I don’t forsee him ever joining us.

So today, David, me, and Paul, took a picture and we smiled and laughed because we know how precious our time is together.

With love, to my remaining brothers.

Posted in Blessings, Changes, Memory

To Cam on Your 27th Year

For Moms … Babies are precious.  Toddlers are cute.  Preteens are awkward.  Teenagers can be exasperating and fun.  College students are inspiring.  Young adults are humorous.  When the other side of mid-twenties roll around, we stop and take stock of how fast time is moving.  I want to say ‘Stop,’ but then I wouldn’t get to move forward and see all those other stages ahead that, I’m sure, will be equally wonderful!

Cam…. It’s hard to grasp that your twenty-seven today.  Looking backward,   I’ve enjoyed all the stages of your life.  Who knew so many years ago, that time would move so fast?  I know …   All those mom’s who’ve gone on before me!

I’m appreciative of the person you are now.  I miss seeing you.  So much to miss; a hug, sharing meals, teasing remarks, your quirky sense of humor, hanging out watching television and making comments, simple talks, and watching you putter around the house and play with the dog.  I miss that Cameron smile.

Today, I’m remembering and treasuring the precious moments of your childhood.   I’m smiling recalling the joy of your birth and the fun of you growing up.

Your love of Trains and Thomas.  Playing with Legos, Pokemon cards, and all night video games.  Being creative making movies, going to church, and band filling your days.  Your first girlfriends and heart breaks.  Your strength as you grieved your dad.  How much I missed you when you moved away to college, but loved hearing about all you learned as you moved into independence.  Incredible determination dealing with kidney failure and the transplant.  Your first apartment.

I am awed by your positive outlook on life.  I never doubted that you would and will succeed in whatever you set out to accomplish.

That being said, thank goodness for cell phones!  I’m so happy that you share with me your thoughts and the decisions you’re making.  I like hearing about your work and what you’re learning and doing.  I enjoy listening to your views on politics and what’s going on in the world.  Believe it or not, I do appreciate your opinion.  It makes me happy hearing about the small details of your days.  I like talking with you about what you’re making for dinner and how roommate living is going.  Descriptions of Zipps and his antics makes me smile.  I can picture him climbing and scrambling around your room being his cat self, slightly annoying.

I appreciate when I visit, you giving of your time and entertaining me around town.  Sitting with you in coffee shops and having dessert is a ‘sweet’ moment in time.  (pun intended)…. walking our legs off and being a good sport about directing me through subways.  I thank you for these sweet memories.

I am simply a proud mom and I love you!  Happy 27th year of celebrating your birth.

Our ‘traditional’ pose

 I know your dad is proud of you too!

Posted in anticipation, Changes, Memory

December Has Arrived

It’s hard to believe how time can fly by so quickly.  Another season is about to change while life seems to be puttering by without any major change happening in my life.  The beginning school months have come and gone and the Christmas season is upon us.

As a teacher, August is a whirl of activity preparing for the new school year as summer fades away.  September seems to drag its feet as new routines are taught and carried out. I become more accustomed to early mornings and working on lessons to be taught and the preparation that is involved seems endless.   Summer, now is only a sweet memory, and the next significant time off from school is the Thanksgiving break, which looms off in the distance.  I swear September and May are the longest months in a teacher’s life!

However, September finally lumbers away.  October, with the anticipation of Autumn activities, moves much faster.  Routines are now established and the classroom runs more efficiently, and maybe I have gotten used to those early mornings.

November arrives and the week of vacation beckons for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Counting down the days in anticipation, makes the weeks fly by.  Finally, the Friday before Thanksgiving came and joyously staff and students left the building, knowing how quickly nine days will fly by with activities.

For myself, I looked forward to staying up late and sleeping in without an alarm to prod me out of bed.  I love to watch morning television shows and laze around without any specific task to move me out of the house.

Just as promised, the days moved like The Flash on a mission and school started again.

Smiling, the Christmas break draws near.  Which brings me back to today.  Tomorrow is December 1st!  Fifteen days to our next extended break.

December… a month I get through.  With it brings all sorts of memories; happy and sad.  We’ve had the normal family Christmases and those sweet moments linger in my mind.

A little blond, Cam, singing carols in front of the Christmas tree.  The joy of his face when he got a bike or a train, and then when older, an XBox.  The passing out of presents and watching one person at a time open them, watching with slow smiles as the gift was received.  Hardly ever being able to surprise John with an unknown gift because…One, I have trouble picking out a gift.  Two because John and Cameron (had) have an uncanny ability to guess what I bought by shaking the gift!  So it was rare that I actually surprised those two.

My favorite memories; eating Christmas dinner with his family with all the noise and teasing going back and forth.   After dinner, the gifts and cards were passed out.  The Christmas card always contained a crisp fifty dollar bill from his parents and afterward, we’d go back to the kitchen for dessert.

I try to remember those sweet memories more than the shattering Christmas week that brought the grief.  It’s hard to believe that this year will be nine years since I held his hand and said goodbye.  Missing never stops, but with time comes healing.  The new normal becomes regular life and with God’s help, I learn to count my blessings because I do have joy in my life.

This year, I won’t be here to visit the graveside.  I’m heading to see Cam in NYC.  My ticket is bought and I’m anticipating spending time with him and seeing the city in all of its Christmas splendor.  Having plans does have a way of brightening the immediate future.

My tree is up and I don’t expect to have gifts under it, but I’m enjoying the twinkling lights and the memories of the ornaments on it as I count down the days until the break.  I’m smiling and listening to Christmas music and December is coming.

 

 

Posted in Blessings, Memory

Happy Birthday, Cam!

Cam,

There are so many tiny moments that I have engraved in my memory of you growing up. Tiny moments printed on my mind.

Just thinking of these times melts my mom’s heart and makes me cry and smile at the same time.  I know your dad would be so proud of you!

It’s these precious moments that I wish I could bring back and experience them all again.

Your small hand reaching out to curl around my finger.

Watching your beautiful blues eyes watching me while you were feeding.

Seeing your first teeth emerge.

Watching you sleep.

Discovering you can sit up alone.

Watching your dad rock you in the recliner.

Pulling you in a wagon behind us.

Small legs toddling around the yard exploring.

Reading you stories at bedtime.

You obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine or any other train.

Waiting for trains to come through the train station.

Watching you play in the flowers instead of watching the baseball in the outfield.

Playing with papa and eating small cups of marshmallows and treats at Grannie’s house.

Driving you around trying to get you to sleep.

Singing Christmas songs by the tree.

Holding hands when walking to the car.

Playing with you in the bath tub.

Listening to your dad make up stories for you at bedtime.

Sliding down the hill on a box on a rare snowfall.

Watching you and your dad play video games.

Birthdays with cookie cakes.

Watching you be silly with friends and so very proud of how loyal you are to them.

Midnight runs to get Harry Potter Books when they were released.

Watching you find your strengths.

Waving out the back window in the truck.

Riding the trains together.

The joy of you and your dad riding roller coasters at Six Flags.

Watching you discover cooking and enjoying it.

Watching you become a child of God and grow in your faith.

TV’s and computers strung all over the house with boys attached to each one.

Going to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings Movie premiers.

Watching you march at football games.

In the car with you when you learned to drive.

Enjoying your laughter.

Watching you perform in plays.

You and your dad making Zoey chase her tail.

Making movies in the backyard.

Waiting on me at Chick-fil-a and cow moments.

Seeing you discover girls and start to date.

Watching you give your testimony on the streets of New York City.

Grieving with you as you said ‘goodbye’ to your dad.

Rising to the challenges far beyond your years.

Driving away from you, trying not to cry, because you were so excited about going off to college.

Listening to your opinions even when we don’t agree.

Watching you mowing the yard with your head phones on.

Talking to you on the phone and so happy when you are talkative.

Trying on hats in Canada.

Enjoying traveling with you and sharing conversations.

Appreciating your sense of humor.

Loving your positive personality.

Watching your bravery and courage through hospital stays.

Listening to your future plans.

Seeing you develop your gifts.

Getting hugs from you.

Laughing with you!

Taking pictures in our ‘traditional’ pose.

As you continue to grow into the man that you are becoming, I am so happy that God chose me to be your mom.

I Love you….and I’m so proud of you!

Posted in Changes, Memory

There Is Beauty In Our Seasons of Life

I’ve been more aware of the different stages in people’s lives around me.

Seasons…

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Most of my friends are married.  I have a few divorced or widowed friends, but the majority have a spouse.  I’m a bit envious.  That’s where I imaged my life would be as I passed middle age now.

Many of my friends are empty-nesters.  Their children are off at college, or graduated and starting careers.  Some of their kids are married.  There are a few with older children still at home, but they are getting fewer.

This past week, I’ve had a friend, Sally, turn 50 and another, Katie, turn 60.  I happen to fall between their ages.  Both are relatively new grandparents.  The love for their grand babies is apparent in the smiles, gushing, and general pride of their children’s offspring.

 My single friends who are divorced split their time with their kids between the other parent.  I don’t know how that feels.  I’m sure sometimes loneliness is their companion, but it does allow for some alone time for themselves.

This week, I had a friend from my single group, go camping with her boyfriend.  Her Facebook posts made me smile.  How sweet it is to discover the idiosyncrasies of another person.  I look forward to that.

I wonder about the few people I know who are haven’t married.  Do they feel as I do?  Precious time slipping away and the longing to belong to another before death comes.  Some singles never feel the need for marriage, happy plugging along with their life.  I do understand the freedom to do whatever with the free time without having to ask anyone opinion.  It’s a ‘me’ centered lifestyle.  I am experiencing it too.  I’m happy to spend time alone when I like and find activities to do when I feel like being with people.

This week, I watched a young couple enjoying the beauty of a child.  Conversations seem to be centered around eating, sleeping, and playing.  I smiled understanding that working and raising a family is a bit stressing, but the joy of experiencing each second is priceless.  How fast the time flies!  When you’re experiencing the daily routines, it seems as if it’ll go on forever, but before you expect it, they’re grown and off, and you’ll wonder how it went so fast.

I love being a mom, but a mom’s role changes as a child ages.  At first, we simply teach and love, but gradually a hand is let go and freedom is given.  Hopefully, we set forth an example to be followed and improved on.  Love is there, but adulthood is too.   I love the man my son is and the one I know he will grow to be.  A thirty minute phone call from Cameron to simply talk about work, pets, and what’s going on in our life connects us when distance separates us.

I’ve enjoyed looking at all the pictures of families doing things on Spring break.  Cooking with their mom, geocaching, cruises, movies, and spending time with grandparents.  So many little snatches of their lives posted, comes together like a mosaic of life.  Frozen memories on a timeline.

Transitions are bound to hit every one’s life.  Mine at this point makes me feel out of control.  I go from eating everything in sight to forgetting to eat.  I try to remind myself that from every situation I’ve grown toward God and that He holds me dear.  This change is bound to bring positive change.

I’ve spent the Spring break week working on the house to sell.  I’ve had a list to follow, but doing one thing on the list leads to doing another task that’s not on the list.  I’ve worked endlessly this week and I do see progress, but I’m so tired and my body is sore from going up and down the ladder, painting, and generally being on my feet most of the day.  My arms have been getting their workout!

Cameron came home for two days.  The first one, we simply enjoyed each other’s company, but the second one, we went through his room, cleaning out closets and trying to pare down what to keep from his childhood and what to let go.  I smiled as a few childhood books that we read to him when he was young was kept as mementos.  He handed them to me and I couldn’t help smiling.  Sweet memories.

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My Childhood Treasures

Going through plastic bins in the garage, I found my own childhood treasures.  As I opened the plastic tub, I laughed!  There were treasures from a very early season in my life.  What in the world possessed me to tuck these things away?

A much-loved stuffed tiger with one eye missing and matted hair.  A very sixties flower print Tutu, I just had to have from Goodwill when I was about five or six because I wanted to be a dancer.  A few dolls, now with very deteriorated eyes, had to go, except one.  A plastic jewelry box with tiny rings and junk jewelry, I picked through.  Baby clothes and blankets, I kept.  I have to admit, I rescued the tutu from the garage sale pile and it’s back in my room.

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The sign that led John to me

At the bottom of the bin, I found the sign that I wore when I met John.  (Yes, I’m a bit sappy!)  His name is to the left of ‘Dorothy.’  After 35 years, I finally threw it away, but I did take a picture to treasure.

Another week and I should be finished and ready to put the house for sale.  I’m glad because I’m emotionally and physically tired. Tears were an outlet at church today.  I could feel them bubbling up on Friday and I should have let them go.  Instead, I held them in and they found their way out when I felt the most vulnerable.  I hate showing that part of myself.  I’m the ‘suck it up and deal with it girl.’

Thankful for Cheryl and Ty who happened to walk to where I was sitting.  (Thank you God, I needed contact).  She held my hand.  Isn’t it funny that such a small gesture can have a huge impact on our soul?  God built us for relationships.  Congregation singing today of “Amazing Grace…My Chains Are Gone” made me think of John.  It helped.

Wisdom comes through the many experiences of our lives.  We learn that wisdom through trials and over coming them.  One of my favorite verses is Romans 5:3-4

And not only that, but we also rejoice in our affliction, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.  (HCSB)

Sometimes, people share that wisdom.  Sometimes, the wisdom is kept internally until it is needed to be shared.   I can’t imagine being a Mom-in-law until that time comes.   I won’t know what it is really like to be a grandparent until that happens.  These are experiences that I’m joyfully anticipating experiencing.

Most of my friends have no idea the state of loneliness widowhood brings.  Divorce isn’t the same, except in its outcome of singleness.  There’s a heart wrenching ache that etched itself in the soul as we are separated until death.  Time does allow an adjustment to dealing with the hurt.  Just as I can’t imagine how hard it must be to say goodbye to a child that is gone too soon or a parent that has taken their last breath.  It’s these experiences that causes growth, and deepening our relationship with our Savior.  We look for guidance and peace.

There are also physical seasons and I’m experiencing them.  Gone are the carefree days of movement without thought and smooth skin.

Menopause…that’s probably a curse from Eve (my opinion only).  All the lovely conditions that come with it the change in our bodies.  My favorite;  hot flashes (sarcasm).  Nothing like the shared knowledge of smiles of women who are experiencing it too.  If you see fanning and it’s not hot…think internal furnace.

Aging…. Graying hair; we either color, highlight, or let it go.  Crows feet and wrinkles; I prefer to think of them as laugh lines.  Gravity; no sense in even going there!  The creaks of our bones and joints as we move and the groans that escape our lips as we bend, squat or sit.  Age spots on the hands!  Yuck!  They once were referred to as liver spots, which sounds even worse.

Eyes that won’t focus until we either hold the book or paper arms stretch way back or as close as we can get it.  ‘Cheaters’ are bought at the store to help magnify.  We look for the ‘fashionable’ kind because we don’t want to look nerdy.   Finally, we give in and actually go for an eye exam, only to find that we really do need bifocals to see.

Life experiences shape and change us, and age makes us appreciate what has come before and what is to come after.  Seasons…life continues and how beautiful it is.

Posted in Memory

My Pounding Heart

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Judge Roy Scream

I can hear the chain moving….making a rapid clicking sound as it pulls the train of cars up the hill.  I’m scared…unbelievably nervous.  My heart is pounding and I feel as if I’ll never be able to breathe again.  I take a deep breath and start screaming, as we wait ever so hesitantly, before we plunge down the embankment of the man-made mountain.

My heart is no longer in my throat.  Looking back at the ride as we walk away, I wonder why a roller coaster is such a nerve-wracking experience for me?  Where some people experience the rush of adrenaline, to me, it is a dread of anticipation.  I don’t think I’m physically going to fall out of it, but that I may actually not live to get off of it.  Why then, do I allow myself to be persuaded to get on the rides that push me to such extreme fear?

Because I think that if I do it a few more times, then the experience may have a different outcome and I won’t be so afraid of rides that even seven-year old children enjoy.  I know this is supposed to be fun, but for me it is a terrifying ride.  I close my eyes and my body seems to feel suspended in air briefly as we careen around loops and make a few more hills.  Laughter echos around me as I feel the air whip my hair.  My head is turned toward my partner, lowered, and I try to keep contact with my arm looped around his elbow and hanging onto the safety gate as if it were my lifeline.  Slowly, I feel the cars break and stop, jerking gently.  It’s over.  Now, I let out a giggle of survival.  I made it through the roller coaster ride.

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SkyWheel

What causes a person to experience fear?  The fear of dark, spiders (That’s me too!), snakes, dogs, small spaces, frogs, and other phobias, can cause a person to shriek, cringe, and have other emotions that are usually out of character for them.  I’m sure that I’m never going to enjoy riding rides that go fast, turn quickly, and plunge.

It’s really not the fear of height because I can go high up and eventually love the experience.  When we were in high school, we went to NYC and to the top of one of the Twin Towers.  I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building, and to the crown of The Statue of Liberty.  I’ve ridden the SkyWheel at Niagara Falls with Cameron and loved it. Of course, it did go at a snail’s pace to enjoy the view.

I wonder if our experiences in our younger life made us internalized fears.  I remember my brother, Steven, jumping up outside a window when I was taking a bath and scaring me.  I think I was about five at the time.  To this day,  I hate seeing black windows without lights being on outside.

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Chased Cathy with these

When I was in second or third grade, I remember chasing my younger cousin, Cathy, with the shells of cicadas, while she fled running and screaming from me!  I laughed thinking it was crazy that she was afraid of empty bug shells.  At the time, I’m sure the fear was real to her, but I have no idea if they still make her cringe

I went on my first date the Fall before I turned sixteen in January.  The boy, (I can’t even remember his name.) took me to a fair.  I hadn’t ever been to one before.  We got on a ride that resembled an umbrella with double seats under it.

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This ride terrified me

I think that was the beginning of my fear of roller coasters even though it wasn’t actually one.  It went around (seemed fast at the time) and up/down and then the silly thing turned around and rotated backward. I hated the feel of my stomach dropping over and over again!  I wanted it to STOP!  Yet, I had no control over it.

Control….we have it or we don’t.  With adventure rides, most of us enjoy the sensation of exhilaration of the loss of control….or in my case, NOT.

In everyone’s life there will be experiences that they’d like to stop, but can’t and it sends us on an emotional roller coaster.

Frodo:  I wish the Ring had never come to me.  I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf:   So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.  
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
J.R.R. Tolkien    
The Lord of the Rings

The loss of our love ones, makes us feel ultimately out of control.  Our lives are changing in ways that we never thought about.  We’ve lost the one that kept our heart safe.  With that person gone, our life feels as if we’ve lost all ways of maneuvering it.  A person never truly feels THAT sense of loss of control until you live through it.

However, we do find ways to maneuver and we find our feet.   We are still breathing in and out.  Our life, although now totally changed, is still going forward.  If you are a Christian, you still have a purpose to fulfill because I believe God uses all things for the good of His purpose.   I am confident, my love one, still lives.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NIV)

We can’t control other people’s’ reactions, but I can control how I react.  For Instance, I can choose to be POSITIVE … JOYFUL … BLESSED!  I know sometimes, I don’t always rise to the occasion, but I don’t let myself stay low.  I still feel as if my life is somewhat off course, but I am still here until the Lord calls me Home.

There are other things that I’m discovering that I Do like to do.  I have discovered that I enjoy kayaking, dancing, sailing, road trips, and writing.  These are newer experiences that I’ve done since being single.  I’m sure I’ll continue to discover more things that bring me joy.

What makes it even more special is that I’m looking for new things to try!  God has given me the gift of a joyful heart and that makes me want to continue stepping forward.  Scary things will still make my heart beat quickly.  I may never enjoy a roller coaster, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever ride one again.  My life is different and sometimes, yes, I feel like I’ve lost the control of how I wanted my life to be, but I do know the ONE who balances the whole world and I’m secure.

With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.                Romans 10:10 (HCS)

Wherever we go…..  Whatever we do…..

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
John 20:21 (NIV)

Posted in Changes, Memory

Music and Memories

This week I was asked if I liked music.  Like music?  I don’t think anyone can just like music.  Music plays such an intricate part of my life.  I’m sure most people can relate a time of their life to different lyrics or melodies.  It’s almost like having a timeline of music and your life intertwined.  Certain songs can transport us back to different times in our lives.  Songs can bring smiles, tears, laughter, and rush of memories as we listen or sing along. 

I’m sitting here watching a Barbra Streisand concert on PBS.  She started singing The Way We Were and I felt the tears start to flow for different reasons.  One, John gave me the movie for a present and I remember watching it with him.  Two, I can so relate to the song of missing a loved one. 

When I was very young, I went with my mom to watch Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand.  I remember mom playing the record so much that I memorized almost every song on that album and I can sing every lyric from that record to this day.  Dad loved listening to his Eight Tracks.  I can also sing almost every Marty Robbins or Bobby Goldsboro songs.  In fact, I found both artists on records at a garage sale and bought them.  




Crocodile Rock by Elton John and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce makes me smile.  Both songs were fun to sing!  Leroy Brown has a ‘cuss’ word in it and I remember very clearly not saying that word when I sang along. They were released when I was ten or so.  I got my first radio from Canton when I was about that age.  There’s nothing like having control of a radio and dancing around while singing into a make believe mike.  In a large family it seems like everything was shared, but the radio was all mine!

Isn’t it funny how you know words for songs that you grew up with as they play on the radio?  However, if someone asked you to recite the words without the music, you’d have a hard time coming up with the correct words.

Like most girls, I loved The Osmonds (Donny), The Partridge Family (David Cassidy), and The Monkeys (Davy Jones). I can’t tell you how many Teen Magazines I shared with friends and dreamed about the young boys on the cover.  Puppy Love . . .  I Think I Love You . . . . Daydream Believer . . . 

I loved the songs that told stories.  Oh my goodness!  I sang all the time in the bathroom.  Everyone sounds better when they sing in the bath or shower.  


Do you remember any of these songs?  I bet you do!

*Killing Me Softly With His Song          *Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree

* I Am Woman       *Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

*Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves       *You’re So Vain  

*The Night That The Lights went Out In Georgia      *Bennie and the Jets  

*Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me        *Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)  

* I Honestly Love You        *Billy, Don’t Be A Hero  

*Philadelphia Freedom    *Rhinestone Cowboy 

I discovered Disco when I was in 9th grade.  There was a teen club downtown and I had so much fun going a few times.  My brother, Paul, was old enough to drive me there and pick me up.  I had a pale blue shirt with a satin sheen.  It had  large billowy sleeves and a large collar.  I thought I was so cool when I went dancing in it.  There were so many kids trying to emulate John Travolta . . . including me.  Donna Summers and the Bee Gees filled the radio waves!   

Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

I married in the early 80’s and Disco crashed and burned and was replaced by Hall & Oats, Michael Jackson, Neil Diamond, Air Supply, Styx, Phil Collins, and so many more.  I remember when MTV started.  Watching the videos that came out with the songs was so entertaining because most of them seemed to tell a story.  I think I had the TV on practically all the time when I was home by myself.  Life seemed so much more innocent back then.  I remember when the song by Robert Palmer Addicted to Love came on.  It seemed so incredibly sexy.  It’s very tame by today’s standard.  

Early in our marriage we went to two concerts.  One was Barry Manilow and the other was Air Supply.  When I think about it Air Supply sounded very much like the Bee Gees!

Cameron arrived in 1990 and by then I had discovered that I enjoyed Broadway plays and motion picture soundtracks more than listening to the radio.  It was also when everyone had a “Walkman.”  It was portable music and we toted our cassette tapes or CD’s around with us and we used earphones.  I’d take Cam for a walk in his stroller around the neighborhood listening to The New Kids on the Block.  They had the best beat for walking!  Boy bands were huge.  I loved listening to Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, Meat Loaf, Areosmith, and Mariah Carey. 

Somewhere in the new millennium . . . I turned old.  I hardly ever listened to the radio except for ‘classic’ channels.  Yes, that would be music of my generation.  I don’t like songs that I can’t distinguish the words being said, or songs with inappropriate lyrics.  Most of the songs that I recognized from the 2000 are songs from crossover country artists or songs from Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, and Madonna.  No Usher or Destiny’s Child for me.  That’s okay because I enjoy songs that I can sing with.  

I’m sure this is the same generation gap in music that happened to my parents when I was a child of the 70’s and 80’s and they listened to songs from their generation.

Cam and I have reached that music generation gap.  He sometimes plugs his itouch or phone in on car trips.  Besides a very few bands, I can’t even name the band playing.  It makes me smile.  It’s nice that somethings are consistent through different generations.  

These days, I listen to mainly Christian Songs.  I find peace and encouragement listening to worship songs.  Give me Casting Crown, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Mandisa.  Emotionally they touch me.  I smile and sometimes I cry, but they give me a chance to worship our Heavenly Father.  Whenever, I hear a song that speaks of the beauty of Heaven I usually cry and when I hear a song that was sung at John’s funeral, I take it as a ‘hello’ from him.  It makes me feel connected to him.  That’s the beauty of music and the emotional connection of it to the heart.

I sing in the shower and yes, I still sound awesome in the bathroom!  Music is the time machine that moves us back and forth from our youth to the present.  Do I like music?  No, I LOVE music.  It’s the lifeblood of my memories.  

Posted in Changes, Memory

Saying Goodbye to John

When a tragedy or accident happens and you hear it on the news, sometimes you wonder…”Why?”  It makes us reflect on our life.  When something happens to someone you love, we question, “Could I have done something differently to change the outcome?”  I struggled with that very question during the time John was in the hospital and a long time after his death.  Although I know God is sovereign, it took a while for me to admit to myself that it wasn’t about me.  It’s about God and His sovereignty and my faith.  To believe in God means believing the whole truth… all His words, not just the bits and pieces that I choose to claim. What happens in our lives sometimes doesn’t make sense, but I choose to believe God knows His purpose.  He is sovereign.

Christmas was once my favorite holiday.  I found joy in the spirit of love that surrounds the season.  I enjoyed putting up all the colorful decorations.  I couldn’t wait to put up the tree.  It was our tradition to put it up Thanksgiving evening from the time we celebrated as a married couple.  When Cam was born and we bought a video camera, we taped ourselves every year.  When Cameron was big enough to hold the enormous camera, he took over recording us.  

We eventually stopped doing that, but years are strung together on a tape somewhere under my cabinet.  When we moved into our house, every shelf that was available was decorated for the festive season.  I don’t do that anymore.

John started getting sick the last week of November.  The first week of December, he wasn’t feeling any better.  Our church was presenting our last year of “Festival in the Forest’ with the choir singing.  John didn’t attend any of the performances that weekend because he didn’t feel well.  He did make a doctor appointment, but he still didn’t feel better.  A second doctor visit the next week still didn’t help.  He had been off work for about a week being ill.  His breathing was labored and on December 9th, he was feeling so bad I talked him into going to the hospital.  We went to the emergency room around noon and didn’t get to see anyone until almost 6:00 that evening.  Even being an employee there didn’t get him in any sooner.  There seemed to be so many sick people in the lobby waiting.  When we did get in, he was admitted to he hospital.  

John had pneumonia and they started him on breathing treatments and medicine.  That night when we got in the room and the doctor came and visited with him, I remember us very clearly telling the doctor that his sister, Vicki, had died from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and we were concerned because she had started with Pneumonia also.  

I have so many regrets about this time.  One being John didn’t want me to take off work to stay with him in the hospital because I had already taken a week off to be with Cameron in early November when he was admitted to Dallas Children’s Hospital with Pneumonia.  If I had known how short our time was going to be, I would have stayed with him every second.  Two, I would have made sure his family would have been up there more.  His mom came to see him a few times.  That’s the terrible thing about hindsight, it can’t be undone.

He wasn’t getting any better and he was still out of breath on oxygen, so the doctor decided to do a lung biopsy to see if he was having any of the same type of inflammation that Cam was experiencing in his kidneys.  I remember his nurse was a friend that he had there in the hospital.  She was so sweet and told me she would take care of him during the procedure.  That was a Friday.  I took off for the procedure, but except for that day, I visited with John after school, and stayed with him on Saturdays and Sundays.  

On the last Sunday before he went to the ICU, we spent the evening together watching the Cowboys play.  It was a gift from God when I look back on it now.  We ate, people came visited, Cam stopped by and overall it was a good day of being together.  I kissed him goodbye and told him I’d see him tomorrow after school.  

About 2:00 Monday afternoon, John called to tell me they were putting him in ICU.  My heart dropped.  I couldn’t seem to get there fast enough.  I called a friend on the way and ask her to pray with me.  I turned the radio up sang with it as much as I could.  John was in a room in ICU and he seemed to be doing okay.  I stayed with him and he seemed much better.  I called work and told them I’d be out until he got better.  I left that night feeling good.

The next morning after Cam left for school, I got to the hospital around 8:15.  The first thing John said was I’ve been waiting for you to help me with breakfast.  I laughed at him being so helpless and he said he couldn’t eat with the IV and the oxygen.  So, I fed him two bites of scrambled egg.  It was about that time the doctor came in and gave us the news that John’s stats were so low that it was time to put him on a ventilator.  

We both knew what that meant.  We had been through the experience before with Vicki.  I immediately broke down and began to cry.  My heart regrets that I didn’t ask for a few moments alone with him.  I wish I could have frozen time.

John was trying to comfort me.  He was trying to tell me where the insurance papers were kept and who I needed to call.  My brother, Paul, came in around this time and I definitely needed someone to be with me.  I stood beside the bed holding John’s hand as the hospital staff started bringing in the equipment and preparing him.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I held his hand and he said, “Becky, I don’t want you to watch this.  Go..Go now.”   Those were the last words John said to me.    I kissed him quickly and stepped into the hallway while they hooked him up to a machine that would regulate his breathing while they put him into a drug induced coma.  The ARDS flare had started and there wasn’t anything to do, but wait.

That was December 18th.  I don’t remember who I called, but I do remember the friends who showed up to offer words of love, comfort, and support.  Friends who came and prayed and brought food.  Because John worked for the hospital, they never made me leave his room even when it wasn’t visiting time.  I spent 24 hours a day there.  I held his hand and I questioned every nurse that visited about the knowledge of the doctor.  John and I had a conversation about him once and I remember we questioned if he was doing enough for him.  We decided to keep him, but I did have my reservations.  During this time, John stats wasn’t getting any better.  I battled with a nurse over calling the doctor when his stats went into the 80’s.  I prayed and watched his stats on the monitors.

I do have a sweet memory.  Cam came and talked to John on Wednesday.  He was talking to him and said, “Hey Dad, I’ve been driving your car.”  I swear John smiled at that and raised his eyebrows like he’d like to talk back to him.  It made us smile.  It was one of our bright spots.  Another time, one of the nurses saw that John’s whiskers were growing out.  I had a picture of Cam and John brought up to the room, so the nurses could see that John was a person, not just a patient.  The nurse saw the picture and took a razor and shaved John like his picture, so he looked his normal self.

It was John’s third day on the ventilator, when I noticed something strange happening to his chest and cheek.  It seemed to be expanding.  I called the nurse in (she was one who knew John from MRI).  She said that his lung had burst from the pressure of the ventilator.  I lost it.  I remember screaming and loosing all control until someone helped me to stop.  That ICU nurse told me to call his original doctor and tell him I wanted a second opinion and gave me another name of a doctor to ask for.  She dialed the phone for the original doctor and I asked for another opinion with the new doctor’s name.  After his page, he came immediately.  

This next part is a blur for me.  They had a flurry of activity in John’s room and I was asked to wait outside in the waiting room.  I later learned that John had coded and they got him back.  They brought in a new ventilator and the new doctor switched his position downward, so the gravity would help him with his lung expansion.  

John’s kidneys shut down.  I had seen that with Vicki.  They came and put a picc catheter in so that they could start dialysis.  It seemed to take forever before the specials came in to do it.  I sat and watched his blood cycle through the machine.  It did seem to help, but his kidneys never functioned again.

Another consideration was John’s heart.  It was beating so fast trying to compensate for what was going on with his other organs.  I talked to the doctor who discussed with me the consequences of it beating so fast.  I signed a paper saying not to break his chest cavity or resuscitate him should he go into cardiac arrest.

On December 22, I knew John was going to go home.  I sat in the small conference room inside the ICU and cried.  The infectious doctor that had been checking on him came and sat with me.  I’m not sure why because she got on my nerves.  I had also dealt with her when Vicki was in the hospital.  She asked what was the matter.  I thought that the stupidest question to ask someone who has been staying in the ICU with a loved one.  So I told her that I was preparing myself for my husband to die and I was trying to figure out how to tell Cameron.  I told her I didn’t know how I was going to live without him.  She listened to me, squeezed my hand, said a few platitudes and left. I don’t know if anyone was in the ICU waiting room, but I needed someone who loved John like I did, so I called his friend, David.

 David came and sat with me in John’s room.  I held John’s hand while he shared sweet John stories.  He told me how strong John was and what a sweet man he was and how he influenced his life.  I needed that.  I needed someone who loved him to be with me.  About midnight, David left.  I called Cam and told him that his Dad was going.  I called my friend, Arlene, to go pick Cam up (he was staying with John’s parents that night).  I asked Cam not to tell them he was leaving.  I called Mike, John’s brother, to tell him to go over to his parents house because he’d need to be with them to let them know later.  

Cam came and we sat beside John and held his hand.  John was still laying face down, so we couldn’t see his face.  We sat there and talked and cried until about 3:00 A.M.  Cam took a picture of John’s tattoo.  He had a large one of the Star Trek ship “Enterprise” going into warp speed on his upper arm.  We called Pastor Tom, who prayed with us over the telephone and cried.  (I loved that man).  Although John’s death certificate says he passed away at 3:30 A.M., I’m sure he left before then, but the machine was breathing for him.  

Then nurse came in (the one who had shaved him) and said if we would go out, he’d turn him over so he’d be face up.  We stepped out into the hall, and John’s brother, Mike, was in the hallway.  He said he’d had been over at his parents when John came and told him to go to the hospital because we would need him.  I’m not for sure if it was a dream or not, but I know Mike needed to say goodbye.  He hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye to Vicki before she died.  John and I had stood beside her bed along with Jessica when she passed away, but Mike had been with his parents.  

We walked back into the room, John was swollen from being face down.  I had accepted he was gone.  He was pronounced a few minutes after Mike got there and said his goodbyes.  I remember thinking it strange that all the nurses were gone from the nurses station as we walked by, but I know now they were giving us alone time.   I know Arlene took me home.  I remember calling Darlene and I remember thinking I’d never be okay again as I laid on the couch and slept.  December 23rd is not a day I celebrate.

 

We survived the next day of going to the funeral home to make arrangements.  Mostly, I was numb.  I bought John new clothes to wear for his funeral.  I was shopping on Christmas Eve and the stores were full of holiday shoppers.  I didn’t want him buried in a suit because he hated wearing them.  I cried the entire time.  Arlene and Carol stayed with me for days.

 Cam and I attended our Christmas Eve service at church.  I felt the need to be in the Lord’s house.  That is a constant that we did as a family before John left and still do every year since and I find joy and peace in that.

John did have a beautiful funeral the day after Christmas.  The church was full of people showing their respect and their love.  I hardly remember much of it, but on the first anniversary of his death, I listened to it on CD.  It was a sweet service in honor of him.  

Christmas is hard for me to celebrate.  Not because I don’t want to celebrate the joy of the birth of Jesus, It simply is the month that I relieve the sorrow of  losing John.  I know that he is in Heaven with his family and worshiping God.  I’m sure of that.  If I wasn’t so selfish, I’d rejoice in that more, but with his death our life changed.  The separation is hard, but both Cam and I have learned to live with it.  

We started new traditions and made new memories.  We celebrate the joy of the birth of Christ at church on Christmas Eve.  I look forward to the day when my joy of the holiday returns.  It has gotten so much better.  I now can walk through the aisles of decorations and I have even bought new ones.  I sing Christmas songs.  Time will continue to heal my heart and God will continue to heal my spirit.  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.   For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:16-17 KJV

Posted in Changes, Memory

November 3rd…He’d Have Been 51

I won’t lie.  Today has been hard…emotionally hard…and long.  A birthday of a loved one who has passed is the total opposite of regular birthday.  There are tears instead of laughter and loneliness instead of gathering.

I took flowers and put them on his graveside.  I sat next to the headstone and watched the flowers sway in the breeze, and swept the ants away from the granite.  I cried.

I know that he’s not there.  I knew he wasn’t in that body when we buried him.  I rejoice in that and the beautiful place he now resides in spirit with our Heavenly Father.

But I’m here and he’s not.  I can’t help how I feel.  I expect it to get easier every year, and today I almost made it to the end without falling apart.  I know that Jesus knows how I hurt because Jesus too, wept over the loss of a friend.

Today, I attended church, sang in the choir during two services.  I wasn’t blessed with a beautiful voice, but God bestowed on me the love of singing.  I wish I could express how singing lifts me up and makes my soul leap.   I find comfort in the words of praise and message in hymns at church.  I lunched with lovely friends who hugged me in comfort.  I spent time with friends in conversation,   However, my heart is still saddened.  I have prayed and asked Jesus to lift me up and help me over today’s brokenness.

Why should today be any different from normal days?  I don’t have the answer to that.  I just know today I feel his loss more.  Birthdays are suppose to be special days to celebrate each other through another year.  The anniversary of his passing is also hard to get through.  When he left me and made that tremendous transformation to be with God.

“So, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  For we ‘walk by faith, not by sight.’ and we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord.”  

2 Corinthians 5: 6-8

In one hour this day will be over and I’ll put back on my big girl panties and I’ll suck it up and move on.  Tomorrow, I’ll once again be smiling and teaching.  I’m thankful that this day fell on the weekend where the day could be mine alone to do as I wanted.

I’m sad that I didn’t hear from any of John’s family.  I can only imagine that they grieved their loss of him today also.  No, it wasn’t a joyous day.  No kidding about being another year over the hill, bodies falling apart, and pointing out wrinkles.  No laughter, no cake, and no candles.

In heaven, I can only imagine that everyday is a celebration, filled with peace and singing.

I love you, John.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

John 10:27-29