I know my posts tend to be, “woe is me-ish”. but I’d like to hopefully depart from that… sort of.
I wish I could insert pictures, but for some reason that hasn’t been working for me of late. Pics seem to want to accumulate at the bottom of the post. I’d like to change my site photo, but I’ve yet to figure how to access that feature as well.
So, until I figure out the changes WordPress made two years ago, I keep posting, as is. I know I might start out sounding like I’m in despair, but that is not my intention. So, this post I hope will end up being a departure from that.
I survived my abusive childhood listening to music, you could find me singing out in the wilderness to my hearts content and at the top of my lungs. That’s how I got through life and interestingly it was enough to brighten my day and lift me up. I salute the artists who wrote the songs and the many artists who produced the many films I sought refuge in. In life, if you met me, you would not see a down spirited person. I’m always upbeat and cheerful. I used the tools and gifts God gave me and that is why.
Religion and church offered me sanctuary, a safe haven. Attending meant I wasn’t home and God was pretty neat to talk to. I prayed so much as a child. I was baptized Catholic only to have mother adopt the Jehovah’s Witness religion when I was five, I didn’t grow up learning Christian Hymns, but I love singing hymns. I didn’t learn those until I was in my 50’s when I joined the choir in Alabama. Southerners love to sing. In high school, I snuck out and attended the Catholic Church with my Catholic friends. Being a Jehovah’s Witness was not easy, but it provided me a place to feel like I belonged. The downside of attending the Catholic church then was that everything was in Latin, so not easy to sing to. I attended a Pentecostal Church once as a child when I was being babysat by a neighbor and that was totally different. I would go on to study the LDS faith. Church was my safe place and God my protector. Even as a child, I’d sit in a corner and daily, close my eyes, open the bible and point and that’s where my lesson or bible readings would start and I did this on my own. God and I were buddies.
When I was in Alabama, a friend I’d made there introduced me to jamming in country barns where all the farmers gathered with whatever instrument they played. Those who didn’t play, sang. Then she took me to a FaSoLa gathering. I guess knowing I grew up in California, she oughta teach me my heritage and get a taste of the south. Once a year in summer, there would be this remote, really remote church in the middle of nowhere, where followers would meet, some coming from all over the states and globally. FaSoLa, also referred by some as Sacred Harp or Shape Note singing, uses basically just those shape notes and it is acapella. The one in Alabama would take a whole weekend where everyone brings a dish for potluck. It’s very old timey and the origin of Shape note singing is heartwarming. Dang! I sure wish I could transfer my clips. No matter, check it out.
MUSICALS AND OTHER SONGS –
If you want to know my favorite songs and the early ones I remember singing often, were those that talked about escape. The Wayward Wind, was a favorite. I’d climb a tree and belt it out. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Someday My Prince Will Come, Singing in the Rain, to name a few. I love the To Kill a Mockingbird soundtrack, as well as many animated Disney soundtracks. Soundtracks of the old musicals in general were so cool. Even if I didn’t know the words, I’d love to sing loudly with the one or two words or phrases and lines I knew well. Usually the refrains. Ever done that? I even sang to foreign singers such as Yma Sumac and Miyoshi Umeki.
I got a picture in. lol. A sunrise from my backyard Yay!
When Daddy had his electronic set up, I could sing using the microphone and blast the neighbors, when no one was home of course. I especially liked the vocal range of Yma Sumac and would challenge myself to mimic her songs and hit all those notes. I almost had them, but my voice was still young and I managed fairly well, but not well enough. Still, it was an outlet and it served me well in school, because I always got to do the solos, no one else could handle.
Rock songs were for fun. Musicals like Westside Story, with the typical youth misunderstood lyrics, were sad but catchy and passionate. South Pacific, Oklahoma and sadly, My Fair Lady were just a few I loved. I hate to say and wish it wasn’t true, but I’m horrible at memorizing words, so as much as I would have loved to sing professionally, I’d fail… but I follow along well. I can’t carry a tune on my own but I can read music, so if you give me a sheet of music, I can do it. Some people can belt a song out without anyone giving them that first note, but I can’t. Just so you know, I know my limitations.
If it was a musical, be it with Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Gypsy, Music Man, the King and I, Guys and Dolls, Meet me in St. Louis and Porgy and Bess. Summertime was a favorite and for fun, oldies like Oh Susanna! I can’t dance well, but I can pretend I do.
I remember once embarrassing the hell out of my step-dad when, after watching Westside Story, I was hanging out the window on a warm summer day, singing Officer Cruptke and shouting, “I got a social disease!” and summarily being yanked back into the car, not knowing what it meant, of course. I still get a chuckle out of that memory. When I learned what a social disease was, I too, was deeply humiliated. How could they put that in a song? I will admit, that even though mother was prone to much verbal abuse, my step father was much loved. To see him, he looked kinda grumpy, but when he smiled, it was like sunshine and even though we had a rocky start, he turned out to be a good guy. I can say I loved and respected him and even though I was, by then in my late teens, I at least had enough time to appreciate him and his endurance and care for mother, who was so difficult.
Later in life, of course there were many tunes that I took shelter in. Music and song are my sanctuary.
Phantom of the Opera got me through many a long trip, but didn’t show up in my life until I was older. My son, Ian and I would split the vocals. I’d do Christine and other female parts and he’d do the Phantom and any male parts. He has a beautiful voice. I miss singing with him. We used to have the best time in Alabama because people were always fighting over him to carry the tenors. I’ll never forget his first time, he sat with someone that was so flat, that he had a hard time tuning the poor guy out and we went home laughing so hard. He eventually got strong enough. Singing in parts is hard at first, but we both loved singing enough to give it all we had. It was fun.
I’ll never forget the time, I tried to keep from falling asleep while driving cross country by rehearsing songs from our upcoming Easter pageant. I’m singing at the top of my lungs thinking I’d stay awake. Trust me, it doesn’t work, you can sing while asleep. Unfortunately, it was raining and I spun out and ended up in a ditch. I remember facing oncoming traffic and thinking, “oh shit, I’m dead!’ as this huge semi, looking like it was coming at me, went past me. Nothing wakes you up quicker. Another thing, my life didn’t pass before me. No, it was just, “oh shit, I’m dead”. Not funny, but funny.
Today, I get lost in songs by Keith Urban, Ed Sheeran and yes even Justin Bieber. I love Maroon 5, the Weekend and have added them to the many old artists, I used to listen to. Peter and Gordon, Beatles, Elvis, Animals, Dave Clark Five, Petula Clark, Louis Armstrong and more.
For awhile I was collecting vinyls and one time I got the mother lode of vinyl at a yard sale, but before I could go through them, when I awoke the next morning, my grandson had already tagged the ones he wanted. Music has given me life, dreams and sustained me through three marriages, raising children, grandchildren and now three great grands. What’s interesting is how much music transcends our generations. It’s something we can all share and love.
Yeah, I want to say, sometimes I sound like I live on the dark side of the moon, but truly I have a lot of good in my life. My life isn’t Donna Reed or Leave it to Beaverish, but I have great kids, siblings and family. Despite some of our rough patches, love does abound, we love to sing and dance in our own fashion and I’m grateful. There’s nothing like it when we get together and Tina tells Alexa to play 60’s 70’s favorites that we don’t all break out in song.
Is there someone in my life? Too soon to tell how that will work out, but who knows? I’m taking a page form my friend Caralyn of Beauty Beyond Bones who always says, “trust God” and how it got her through tough times and how, in so doing, she’s now got her happy.
I’m doing my best to “Be Optimistic”… and not be a grumpy – Another great song (Shirley Temple) did I ever tell you about my nice visit with Shirley Temple Black? And so it goes. There’s always going to be a memory attached, right?
I get much uplifting support from my fellow bloggers, some old, tried and trues and new ones now. I thank you all!
Try singing and I’ll keep singing because it’s how I get through the tough times. Try it!
If you want to be inspired, try some of the songs from The Greatest Showman, I love A Million Dreams, Never Enough and well, all of them!!
The workman on my street, love it when I walk by belting these songs and Keith Urban’s Blue Aint’ your Color or Wild Hearts. They tell me I have a good voice. I guess anything they can hear over their jackhammers has got to entertain, lol. These are easy songs to download and walk and sing. I’ve been known to get a few Kpop tunes out as well. Free yourself up!
As many of you know, I left nearly two weeks ago to be by my sister’s side as she was dying. She passed away on Friday, May 29, 2020. which is Pentecost in the New Testament. I don’t really understand the connection, but her dear friend she celebrated the tradition each year with her, called it to my attention. Over the years, They embraced and began celebrating many of the Jewish festivals and traditions, as taught by her Christian Jewish friends, so it was fitting that that was the day she would die.
Today, I went through some of her old pictures and I will sprinkle them throughout my story. Click on them for more info. Her art and some of her stories are in blog posts I’ve done in the past, so if you ever have a chance or time to go back, and some are way back, I encourage you to do so. I hope you will bear with me, while I share how my trip went and some of the feelings I experienced.
I went to be at my sisters side because she was at mine when I needed her most. I have to say, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. It doesn’t even compare to how I felt when my parents died. Over the years, my blogs have shared bits and pieces of our childhood and the abuse we endured growing up, so their passing was different. It was perhaps one of relief. We knew that mother’s mental illness would be cured and that dad’s judgement for his actions would be in God’s hands. They were still our parents and we loved them despite themselves. We appreciated their good attributes and tried to focus on those and that part of them that made us who we are today. To be honest our feelings vacillated often. We would often remind ourselves to stay positive. She and I worked as a team to take care of our parents as we felt a Christian should.
No, my sister’s death cut deep. If she had not come up to help me care for our ailing parents, I might not be here to write this blog today. She was my rock and my lifesaver. I loved her deeper than I can ever express. Surprisingly, I am composed for the moment as I am sharing this.
I hope you don’t mind but I’d like to share my trip experience which went as follows:
When I spoke to my nephews the doctor had stated, she might not live through the weekend. I was in a quandary because of Covid-19. I vacillated all day. I did not want to be sitting in such close proximity to people in an enclosed airplane cabin which recycles and blows back air from throughout the cabin. I didn’t know what their process was or if it would be safe. I get sick every time I fly, so I know I’m inhaling germs that recirculate. My daughter reassured me that her flight left seats open between people, so it wasn’t until evening that the decision was made. I asked my friend for buddy passes. She responded instantly. However, because of Covid, flight schedules were considerably cut and my choices left me with either leaving my house at 4am for a flight leaving at 6 am and not arriving to my destination until after 9 PM, with a long layover in Seattle or leaving at 11:30am, laying over in Seattle until the next day and arriving the day after that, the same time I would have arrived had I left at 6am, only a day later. 36 hours! So, I had to explore other options. Fortunately, I found another carrier with a flight I could afford that would not leave me in Orlando but get me where I needed to be without hiring an Uber for the rest of the way.
I arrive at the airport and I was relieved that it looked pretty empty. My goal was to get to my sister right away. She was there for me when I needed her so I had to be there for her. I was early as I wound my way through the terminal and sat down. Social distancing was not a problem. Yay! That, however was short lived as more and more people arrive. They announce this will be a full flight. I’m understanding that to mean with the extra seat in between. WRONG! It was full.
My old school N-95
Terminal – not bad here.
They announce they will not be serving food but we can pick up a sack on our way in and we are to leave our masks on except to eat. For real? The two people in my row take their masks off and I thought I overheard the man next to me say, he’d been in an area that was questionable. UGH! No way in hell is this mask coming off. Years ago when I worked at the health department, I was fitted with an N-95 mask specific to me, so I was fairly confident I would be okay. It is not like the ones today but it fit extremely well. The problem was that it had been in it’s package for six years. On arrival to Charlotte, one of the straps broke, breaking the seal. I put a spare one on over that and it kept it in place. To be honest, it was horribly uncomfortable and I hated re-breathing my own air for 8 hours. I was extra careful too because there was a chance I might not get into hospice being from California. Despite my good intentions, near the end of that flight I looked over at the passengers near me and they were all sleeping with masks on, so I sneak a drink and a couple of bites of pretzels or some nutty thing. By the time I got to Charlotte, I was parched and hungry. Not starved, but at my age I never let that happen. I rationalize to eat when I’m not hungry so I don’t bonk later. Before my next flight I bought a sandwich, found a safe place, ate and drank all my water.
Diana and her BFF
My next leg had delays. This time we each got a row to ourselves. The second officer comes out and tells us there are creaky boards in the back deck and some lights going off. For real? The girl across the way wasn’t sure she wanted to stay on board. I’m worried and I’m getting antzy that I’ll never get to my sister in time. I feel like screaming, “my sister is gonna die before we get there” but I don’t, then I debate telling everyone my mission and starting a prayer vigil, but that’s not my style either, though I sometimes wish it were. I’m sure some of that comes from all those years as a Jehovah’s Witness getting rejected for our door to door ministry that’s made me gun shy. I do have faith and I do share scripture, but not like others might. We lift off, finally and I text my nephew with our new ETA.
I was so afraid I wouldn’t get there in time. I let my nephew know, since he’s picking me up at the airport. He said, no worries, he’s taking me straight to her, which isn’t far and open 24 hours. I feel better. My nephew was worried they might not let me in because he’d heard that folks from four states were prohibited. New York, Washington, California plus Connecticut. I’m thinking, yeah, I’m from California, but there are no incidences in the area I live in and I don’t go into the denser areas. I hadn’t been anywhere populated in months, so I have my argument ready.
Diana and I
Diana and sister #2
My sister was my go to girl. She’s the one I talked to and most of the time with no judgement. Sometimes, my brother and I would roll our eyes though, because she could be at times quite self righteous… no, just coming across that way. Now my other sister, she uses scripture for everything and talks in scripture, which I find annoying. Maybe she thinks we’d forgotten everything we ever knew or perhaps she has nothing else to say and finds that a way to connect, which I believe may be the case.
I have step siblings who’ve been very supportive and encouraging as well. One has been surprisingly reasonable and I call attention to it because she can be a little like sister #2. Oddly, for some reason, amid all the updates I send them, they start talking about their cats, or barbecues and recipes. Let me explain. I have two major chat groups I’ve formed for getting updates on my sister. This saves the nephews. One are the siblings, the other are my children and one adult grandchild. Then there’s my brother who would go crazy on the group chat. And, one for sister #2, since any news in the group chat would warrant incessant phone calls. Sister #2 is on the autism spectrum, so communication is handled differently.
With boys & step mom in AL
mom and Diana’s two boys
With sister #2
My kids on the other hand start joking in a sick sort of way. They love their aunt very much. She is their favorite aunt, but when I told them there’s an off chance I might not get in the hospice center because of where I came from, my daughter, the nurse asks if they have the quick test and then says something like, “they’re all gonna die anyway”.
I exclaim “Tina!”
My son, who tends to be a bit stoic say, “I thought the same thing Tina”
My granddaughter, boy do I love that girl, says “haha, that was funny” “terrible but funny”
Mr. Stoic follows it with “Robert Heinlein said, “people laugh because it hurts too much to cry”
Yes, its true. I know my kids meant no disrespect. They are hurting too. They hurt for me, they hurt for Di and for their cousins. I get it and in the next few days, witness it. None of us were ready for this, yet over the past few months we’ve had to make ourselves ready for this eventuality. I think deep in our gut, we knew.
I was thinking how just a few years ago, Diana and I were each other’s soldier while we cared for our dying parents. Mom in 2009, Daddy in 2011. It felt like so long ago, another space in time. We parted in 2014, yet we talked nearly every day for the first two years, then it became once or twice a week. On a rare occasion, we’d skip a week, then we’d pick it up again.
We tried weaning ourselves of being so dependent on one another. She was doing a better job of joining groups and making friends than I. I had a harder time of doing this even though I had always thought of her as the dependent one. She needed me, but I think I needed her more. What she had a hard time with is connecting with her kids. She admired my time and relationship with my kids. I was more open about their foibles and they had their fair share, but to me her boys were perfect and maybe so did she. I saw them as successful in their careers, while my kids took longer to get off the ground. She had these two stud muffin, gorgeous sons and she couldn’t get close to them. She never said, it but I felt it. For a long time I thought it was them, but it wasn’t all them. I see how close we’ve become since all this happened and we’ve talked. I had observed this before. I remember how when she first came up to live with me and help, there were moments of miscommunication or lack of. I’m guessing she had moments of feeling unworthy so it makes sense, it was easier for her to chat and make friends with strangers. No risk there. She loved her boys and I believe they loved her but I think they had a hard time bringing it all in together. At first I thought that was why she didn’t get the help she needed in time. No matter how much I encouraged her to reach out to them, she didn’t. Help came when her grand daughter noticed something wasn’t right with her Nana, when she went over to help her with bookkeeping, because her eyesight had started to go.
So I believed, it passed, she didn’t get the right help at the right time. In speaking with her son, it appeared that early on if she’d gone for help, it still might have been missed. As it was, her symptoms may have lead another doctor down a rabbit hole.
The facility she is staying in is immaculate. I fill out the questionnaire, they take my temperature and I go in. It’s after 11pm.
We go into her room and she is breathing steadily. I marvel at how young her skin looks. No wrinkles. But she’s gaunt. There is nice soft spa music playing. Her son said, someone had brought that in. It was perfect. I talk to her, tell her about my trip and all the chaos going on around her. There is no recognition, just a lifeless body. It is now May 21. 1 AM I tell her I love her and miss her. Around 2am we leave.
On the farm at our
favorite fishing hole
The next day, after little sleep, we go again. I go over all the fun times we had. A little past 1PM, we decide to grab a bite. As we head out to the parking lot, the director runs after us and inquires about the sister from California. She apologizes for not having gotten back to my nephew right away. She tells him California, New York, Connecticut and Washington are prohibited. She asks when I would get there. I hesitantly tell her, it’s me. She asks if I’d already been in. I say, “yes”. Well, because my sister is so grave, she would make an exception. Uh, I’ve already been in there we’re thinking.
I reassure her that the area I’m from has few cases and I took extra measures myself, given where I planned to be. So, she’s okay with that. Perhaps she’s unaware that her forms only ask about foreign travel, exposure to Covid – 19, temperature and cough. My answers were “No” straight on down. Oh, well.
Each day from there on out is the same. Every other day a doctor comes in and every other day a NP. The doctor tells us on Friday the 22nd that she’s hanging on but did not expect her to survive the weekend. The NP tells us this is her favorite room because of the nice music. It makes her feel like she’s at a spa. We tell her Diana was a massage therapist, so it’s perfect for her. The nurse says no wonder and agrees. The second day I go from sitting by her bed to the couch and notice her birth date just happens to be stamped on her bed. It is a yearly inspection sticker, but…? I start to say something and her son says, “yeah, we know”. Huh.
So here we sit by her bed waiting for her life to end. I recount stories of our childhood and we share stories of life with Diana. The teasing her boys used to give her… what is it about boys teasing their mother? I see hubby doing it to his mom all the time. He is still doing it as a grown man. There was so much these boys didn’t know about their mother, but only one is here to hear the stories.
Each day there are minor changes and each day they’d level off. On Saturday though she starts to gurgle. I guess they call it the death rattle? They gave her an injection and we thought this is it. When it increased, I lost it. When my step mom got it, I thought it was because she’d had emphysema from all those years of heavy smoking, but the nurse explained we might see fluid being released from her lungs even though Diana never smoked a day in her life other than maybe one time behind the house as a teen experimentally.
After awhile, I apologized to the nurse and said we had to leave. I couldn’t do it. She understood and reassured me not to worry, I would not be the first nor the last to do so. That night I didn’t sleep feeling guilty I’d run out on her like that. At the same time, it seemed awful waiting for someone to die. We expected a call that never came. The next day, the gurgling had gone away. Then her gaps in breathing increased but Sunday came and went and she was still there. When the doctor came in Monday, she shook her head and said, she had a strong heart. They referred to the gaps in breathing as apnea. I’ve had occasional sleep apnea and that isn’t any fun at all. My son calls and his little girl, Maggie May wants to talk to her Auntie. She’s four, doesn’t understand but wants her to get better, so I put the phone to Diana’s ear and Maggie May proceeds to tell her about her unicorns like only a four year old would. I take the phone up and start to talk to my son, when Diana starts this continuous moan. I hang up and my niece in law calls the nurse. She’s given a shot and it subsides. A couple of days later her breathing gaps increase. The doctor says, she shouldn’t be here and I want to pop her one. In a way, I wish she wasn’t lingering. It was painful to see how thin she was.
May 26 Tuesday. Something felt different and I didn’t want her to be alone. Since I’d been there, three people had come and gone. The nurses and staff are wonderful. I decide this is where I want to come to die. The room across the way is now empty. I let my nephew know I’m not coming home, but they tell me it didn’t matter what time, they would leave the light on in case I change my mind.
When I left my home in California, I really wasn’t anticipating staying away so long. When I left the weather in Florida was 91, it cooled off a few days later and add the fact that her room was air conditioned, I was freezing to death. My light linen pants and short sleeved shirts weren’t cutting it, so I brought in blankets. Eventually I bought sweatpants and sweatshirt at Walmart.
That night, they bring someone else in across the way and she is wailing and moaning as well. That’s when I noticed Diana moaning. I close the door. I call the nurse and tell her, but I hear them saying the person across the way had vomited, so they’re fighting to keep her from aspirating. It is now night and the staff is lighter. Even so, someone comes in right away to give Diana her shot. They are quick, but the nurse across the way calls for help. Fortunately, there is a male nurse on duty. Later, when the door is opened briefly, I see them walking a tall, large, (not fat) woman. There are several interruptions in the night and I’ve not slept hardly at all. When morning comes I shower and put my same clothes on.
At some point, I realize my body feels like it went to war, so I decide to go home. She’s somewhat stable and my nephew will arrive shortly. At this point, we have been staggering visits. I’ve still not seen nephew #2. I ask if I might see him, but no, he’s too busy with kids and work. Those words were often my sisters excuse for why she didn’t spend more time with them. Work and kids. It always upset me that she wasn’t being included in that dynamic. Nana’s can watch kids and love spending time with them. I didn’t know how much of it was her or them. I learn later, he was struggling over the fact that he had no solutions for her condition. He has a strong science background and a professor at the college, so he was in a quandary over what happened and why. The thing is, and I knew in my gut this is true, when you “play” with the brain, anything can happen and the why can sometimes be elusive, to never be understood or discovered. I get it. He was also hoping for a miracle. I guess we all were.
Before I left, a new nurse had come in to administer her pain med. Over the last couple of days, because of the moaning, her meds would be upped. However, her heart was still strong and her urine clear. The nurse says it tends to get darker near the end.
I slept a good part of the day. I just couldn’t get my strength up after my previous night. I realize that despite my good intentions, I just have to understand my limitations. So far Diana has disproved every prediction they’ve made. No two people die the same, that was the only verifiable truth. We all die differently. I wondered how much longer. My family and husband have been supportive. Everyone constantly grateful I could represent them.
At one point on the first Friday I was there, my husband tells me his brother, who had just had a quadruple bypass just before Diana went in for her surgery was having to get four stents in. His arteries were already calcifying. I fretted that day that we would lose them both on the same day. Then, if that happened it could start a chain reaction. My mother in law would be devastated, her husband at 94 would get upset for her and our whole house could fall. As it turns out, the stents were put in and he goes back to do two more in a month. So far, it looks fine.
Thursday May 28, My nephew and his wife stayed with me most of the day. Even though they only allow two visitors at a time, they gave us a pass. We apologized to one nurse who sweetly says, “What? I don’t see anything” We were grateful. I had my reservations about leaving Diana that night, but I knew I couldn’t stay the night again. She was different, but I had to trust.
In the morning on Friday, when I came in, I sorta knew. Her eyes were veiled and it was like she was already gone but she was still breathing. My nephew came in a little later. A couple of hours later they changed her position. My niece in law comes in to switch places with nephew but he doesn’t want to leave. He feels it too. When she starts to assure him it’s okay, she doesn’t mind staying, I look over her shoulder and say, “She’s not breathing”. It takes a moment for that to register. I look at the clock. 11:37am. I get the nurse and she verifies that yes, she has passed on.
For ten days, I talked to her. The last two days I prayed over her and told her how much I loved her. How I didn’t want to see her go but that I knew she’d be okay and better soon. I asked God to take good care of her as I knew how much she trusted he would.
I did research. I learned that the first to go is the brain, but hers was pretty much already gone. The last MRI showed her frontal lobe completely dark. Then each major part takes turns. Despite how strong her heart had been and the other parts of her body that hung on for so long, there was no chance of any organ transplant unless they were in the hospital. Hearing is the last to go. Her urine diminished but never changed color. The skin on her limbs did mottle hence my biggest clue she was close. When they administered that last dose, she cried out. I asked why. The nurse said, every five days they have to change the portal. Hers had been changed last night, so yes, she probably felt it initially but only for a moment since they’d given her a pain shot. She went minutes later. When her death was confirmed I bawled. My niece in law bawled. Nephew calls his brother who comes running. He had been visiting most nights after the kiddos were tucked in bed. I felt bad for his kids, that they would never really know their Nana. The other grands were in their late teens, his are only two and four. He said his goodbyes. By then we girls had regained our composure. Son, #1 had been hugging us both while remaining strong. Son #2 also hugged me, but neither shed a tear.
I remember when parents died, we didn’t cry until two weeks later. I understood when there were times #1 son wouldn’t respond to my chatter, that it was how he was keeping it together. Sometimes, I can’t talk either. Sometimes being alone is hardest.
I rushed to make my return flight home so that I wouldn’t be an added burden to my sweet sisters#1 son, should I completely come unglued. Our mourning was derailed when we heard on the news about George Floyd and all that mess. For a moment I thought Diana why couldn’t I have gone with you? I don’t want to be here anymore.
Oh girl, if you only knew what has been happening while you were sleeping and now are gone. We would have had so much to talk about and analyze. We still dissect these events and make it all better. I did talk to her today, but she didn’t answer.
Yeah, So many people loving the great weather thought it a good idea to go to the beach, the parks and other places to get away from home. Problems is…
Just like we did and yes there were more people out than we expected or were comfortable with when we went out but guess what? The next day there were so many more that the police had to close off parking lots to those places in hopes of discouraging the crowds and masses that were tired of being cooped up.
There were so many people on the boardwalks and sand, that practicing social distancing became nearly impossible. But… no one turned away. So, closing off sections became necessary. They have now announced that there will be an $1,000 fine for those who don’t heed the crowd abatement rule!
It’s interesting, but people react in several ways. Those that thumb there nose and say, “by golly, no one tells me what to do”, there’s those who feel too much is being made of this and feel everyone is overreacting. There will be those frightened half to death and are trembling in their shoes and those who will draw inspiration from all this and vow to be more creative or more faithful. We will see those who believe it’s the end of the world and in some ways it just may be the end of the world as we know it. That it will have an impact on each individual, there’s no doubt.
One of the things noted on this mornings newscast is how many people are eliminating electronics and finding ways to engage with their families and children. They admit to major adjustments being made. Yes, they’re noticing some dissension and discovering how little they’ve been interacting with one another because of their busy schedules. Husbands, wives, children will find new ways to get along… I hope. So, yes we may start looking at things differently or… we may just go back to how things were.
In the meantime, communities are finding ways to stem the tide.
Our community has opened up our convention center with cots for the homeless in our community, so they will not be wandering the streets spreading the disease around. What they didn’t say and I want to know is, is it even impacting the homeless? I thought it was a travel related disease. We got it because someone traveled somewhere else and brought it here. I really don’t know the answer to that.
My doctor explained that it is called a “novel” virus because so much of it is an unknown. We don’t know what it will do next. We don’t know enough of it’s characteristics. Even though the news focuses on certain ages, it is affecting all. So, don’t tempt fate!
Now if that isn’t motivating enough… Please read this:
Obviously, I am not out and about, so my information is coming to via the news and other sources. I too, must do without and staying in. My husband makes a post office drop each day and if I need anything he stops at the grocery store to pick it up. The crowds are not what they once were, he says. Today, we took a short walk and only saw one person across the street.
Even my gardener is gone, grass is overgrown and we can’t mow because we have no lawnmower. I’m still hoping he will show since he really doesn’t need to be in contact with us or anyone else other than his partner brother. Of course, it has been raining. A lot. He has a partially started project in our backyard and a wheel barrow collecting water and we, suffer a weedy, muddy backyard and overgrown succulents that have all but consumed our padre statue. I’m not Catholic, but I believe it is a Saint that guards critters. We found it at a yard sale some years ago and thought it was cool.
We, in the meantime must wait for this to be over with. Everyday, we learn something new about this virus or we hear of another fatality. My hubby said he saw a stat that those numbers will start to grow exponentially. So, we wait.
What I think too, is that no matter what steps anyone in power does, when all is said and over and done with, the criticisms will be, they didn’t do enough or everyone overreacted. They will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t no matter what they do. Be kind.
So in the end, let’s be fair and considerate and do the best we can to help make this go away as quickly as possible.
My buddy at PhicklePhilly has a great post on his blog site right now and it’s worth reading. The only reason I didn’t reblog, is I wanted to tie in my two cents worth. As some of you may know, my replies can, at times, be quite lengthy. So this is kind of it. The tie in to his story, I mean. All my favorite blog friends know my response can sometimes be a story of their own. What can I say? I’ve lived a long time and lead a rather full, if not colorful life. I like all my blogging friends because they almost always have something that triggers a memory for me into a response of some sort and I hope they don’t mind.
Today, though … This hit home, mostly because of last night. Or, errr, by now the night before or I should say Thursday night?
Excerpt from PP:
“Monday I went to breakfast, wrote, talked with friends and loved ones, had dinner, and watched my shows. I, for once… had nowhere to be.
Tuesday, pretty much the same.
Wednesday, More of that just living and breathing thing. Daughter came home. I was happy to see her. She went to the supermarket and bought a bunch of food. She cooked dinner for the two of us and we actually sat and ate, and chatted like a real family.“
What it triggered is, sure, being house bound sucks in a way, but on the flip side, what a time to get reconnected, to plan and do things you’ve put off doing because you’ve been to busy. Life as we’ve known it has changed and that could be a good thing. Maybe getting back to basics was a long time coming. Sure, for some it’s going to be economically hard, but we are survivors. Americans are survivors.
Most of my siblings and kids are not working right now. I’m not working either. My hubby doesn’t put his foot down about most things, but he did this. As an Uber/Lyft driver, he doesn’t want me out there exposed. Especially since, many of my passengers are generally in the service industry or business people who travel a lot and have contact with a good number of other people; their chances of exposure are exponentially greater. Plus, I am in that at risk age group.
My hubby now works from home, so he’s okay for now, but that could change at any minute. My TX son’s new job got put on hold, so he’s home supervising his kid’s schooling. His wife, a teacher, is out distributing food. My SLC daughter is an RN, so she’s working.
My traveler GA daughter, just got home but even after self quarantining in SLC, won’t be going back to GA to work either. And, possibly, in time, my SLC granddaughter or My SLC son, both in the hotel industry. They are senior enough, but even their work hours have been cut back. What’s worse, is my SLC RN daughter just closed on a home in December! All of which, she shares expenses with the SLC granddaughter and my SLC son, her brother. So, the only one with a decent paycheck is her… for now. Here’s the bunch of them having their last dinner out before the shut downs.
Even so, we are all in good spirits.
I’ve been chatting BS with siblings, keeping up with nephews and my sister and having long chats with the kids.
Because of our normally hectic work schedules, we seldom get to visit all at once or for any length of time, but last night the kids and I had a great time chatting til late. It went like this:
6:50 pm Group Text and try to keep up. lol
Me: The governor just announced a total lock down for the state as of tonight… unless seeing a doctor, needing medicine or groceries. I guess those workers are exempt. But… masks are being distributed.
GA (daughter): thanks for the update.
Me: lol he’s such an idiot… then he lists all the thing you can still do. get food, meds, play outside walk the dog, etc. basically what we’re doing now. He predicted 56% will get it with 20% hospitalized. Ugh! (my thoughts- How about scaring the shit out of us?) He did say to be kind to one another. I told GA, she got out in time.
RN (SLC daughter): Who’s he and where are you…FL or CA?
TX(son): Yikes! I had just landed a new job… now I’m a first grate teacher indefinitely. All schools here are closed, probably for the rest of the year.
Me: CA and FL (nephew) said they’re next, expecting it soon.
RN: OMG TX! That sucks!
TX: I’m ok. Just wish everyone out there would be a little more considerate. I think we were a little too primed by all the apocalyptic entertainment. (laughy face)
RN: lol Hey but we kinda know what to expect in an Apocalypse now!
TX: Yeah… people are starting to buy guns here now because they think they’ll be the next shortage (sad face). I don’t think we’ll EVER have a shortage of guns in TX… or really anywhere in our country.
Me: Yeah, I heard that was happening.
RN: That’s funny, bc I saw a gun store the other day and based on all the shelves at the stores being empty, I actually had a split second thought of… “Hmmm. guns are probably next… should I get one?” But… the next day we had a 5.7 earthquake… so I b like… get the hell out!
Me: I thought that too…
TX: (laugh emoji here) I have a pig with a hard head. I’ll bet he’d fight an intruder for a burrito and his head would probably stop a bullet. If not… bacon??
Me: (laugh emoji) I would think your job secure – You still working RN?
Me: Poor piglet GA mute your phone lol ( she just got off her flight from Amsterdan to LA to SLC, so I knew she was tired)
RN: Hehe… when all you guys are confined to your houses I’ll be able to get in my car and drive straight into the heart of death.. 3 times a week!
TX: He’s not poor, he’s indestructible. (Laugh emoji) He ate a pound of glue and borax with giant pieces of sharp plastic glitter… didn’t even give him indigestion.
Be praying for you RN. Seriously
RN: OMG! Def eat the pig… all I have is a cat and I already warned the family that I’ll eat him if necessary. (oopsy emogi)
Me: Well, when I worked at the health department, I was fitted with a CDC quality face mask specific to me. I’m so glad I kept it!
My cat is sickly and skinny.
TX: It’s all the same after it’s fried. I’m sure that’s an old proverb of the south… probably
Me: And all my neighbors have lost their dogs in the last few month. You’re on a roll TX. (You have to understand, this son is the least communicative of all the kids)
RN: I’ve had a fit test bc we have 4 TB rooms on our unit… meaning negative pressure rooms… so we were slated to have COVID pts… until the earthquake.
I’m fattening mine up.
TX: That sounds pretty serious RN
Definitely need to fatten them up first. Pigs are great for that. Feed them almost anything. They get big fast and they taste great!
Me: No way! Utah has a low COVID rate, so far. Or at least it did.
Better not let the kids hear you!
TX: They can’t hear text (wink emoji) Hunter will pick up on sarcasm from a mile away though.
Me: Well the shelves were bare, so we’ll be eating lost of chili with beans.
RN: Or fried scrawny cat
and so it went. later my other two and grand daughter would chime in with
GD: OMG. I went shopping today again. I’ve spent more on this month then I have ever, honestly. It’s nuts.
TX: Really? Shockingly, there were a lot of frozen pizzas here. Plenty of chips and dip too. Good excuse to eat unhealthy I suppose.
Me: Our butcher meats were all gone.
RN: Right!? And I thought cereal would be all gone
Me: Ice cream still there.
RN: EAT HEALTHY BUY VIT A,D,AND C
TX: The Asian markets were the last hit here. Might be some stigma there. Poor Asians. (Tearful emoji)
RN: don’t drink… hey Ross (her ex) grab me another beer while you’re out there! Ooops
ME: You’re in GJ? (That’s where her ex lives)
GA: RN you can always stop by Larry’s when you’re in GJ and grab one of mine. For free. (She’s referring to her gun broker who was trying to sell some of her guns)
Gun that is … as long as you promise not to aim it at me.
RN: (to TX) Don’t worry about them, they’re usually healthier than any of us. (to GA) A bit risky (to me) yes.
TX: I’m sure they are. Now I have a hankering for kimchi darn it
Me: Love it! Where’s SLC Son?
GA: Haven’t seen the stores yet. Just got to Utah. Not looking forward to tomorrow.
RN: Ga, if you an J come near the house GD will shoot you before I get a chance! (kidding of course) They’re quarantining you guys aren’t they?
SLC son: Like 49 cases, 0 deaths so far (referring to SLC)
Me: Wow! big change from last week.
SLC son: Yeah, well that’s exponential growth for you.
RN: UT quite good, but… really we are just behind the curve
SLC son: Exactly
Me: It seems areas impacted worse are those with large international airports and traffic
SLC son: And we tend to have a pretty compliant population with strong community focus.
And Washington is the worst. I’m convinced it’s their lack of adequate sunlight.
RN: That’s one way to put cult followers ( a series of of emoticons with different expressions of laughing)
Me: (laugh emoji) did I bear comedians? Love it!
Anyway, the ramblings became more nonsensical and crazy but with everyone still somehow knowing which line was directed at them. It was like we were all together with giddy, silly bantering.
After a bit more and some in between, (I didn’t put it all in) we signed off.
While this was going on, my siblings and I were also enjoying some communications along with a separate one with my nephew in Florida. We may be in different states but with technology we can still keep in touch and with COVID-19 it was like we were in a room all together, talking over each other as families tend to do and which hasn’t happened in a long time. It’s all good.
Stay positive, Stay safe and yes, Be Kind. It’s a good time to reconnect with family and friends.
My TX son just said, National Guard is coming in. He’s thinking they’re getting ready for a lock down. Interesting. I hadn’t heard that anywhere else. I mean about the National Guard. Oh well, it is Texas.
Your heart and mind is saying what you know you need to say but your mouth is sealed?
When it comes to a Christians ministry, not every moment is the right moment.
I have found that God always knows when the time is right and gives you the words when you need them.
A friend I know claims to be atheist, but even so I can drop a pearl here and there before her, hopefully to give evidence that God does exist. I do it rarely now because God lets me know. If you don’t listen to when God says, “Go!”, it can backfire and the walls go up. The time is obviously not right. So I wait.
Am I wasting pearls before her? I don’t think so. For one, I don’t preach at her because what would be the point? That would be casting pearls before swine.
She’s obviously not ready for that.
I’m a different kind of Christian. I tend to be subtle.
Have you ever been around a person who, that’s all they talk about, as though just saying “Jesus this or Jesus that” makes them sound holy? Sometimes they go on and on like a broken record and in some cases they talk about their own salvation and how righteous they are? That’s not me. I don’t see my salvation as guaranteed. Oh, the price is paid, how a Christian lives their life is evidence of their acceptance of it’s value and I do appreciate that. But we’re living in tough times, how will I hold up? I stumble and fall sometimes but that doesn’t nullify my salvation. I believe the Bible talks of one unforgiveable sin and that is blasphemy of the holy spirit or blaspheming God. (you might be asking, is that what Peter did when he denied Christ? No, but that’s another discussion. )
A scripture that comes to mind, (Matt 23:27) is one of many where Jesus is talking about their resemblance to white washed tombs, appearing clean on the outside but in reality full of dead men’s bones, speaking specifically to the Scribes and Pharisees (the religious leaders of his day) condemning them for their superficial piety, but could apply to anyone that says “look here, I’m not like this person or that one”.
These leaders were sanctioned by God but had “proven false to their power”. (2 Tim3:1-5)
Years ago I was engaged in a ministry to reach people in remote areas to teach them the word of God. I’m not saying that to sound noble, but at the time I may have thought so. Many of the people we spoke to were Native American still steeped in much of their customs and in my mind at the time needing salvation. What I found was that like all indigenous peoples they had/have a deity, a god or in some countries several gods as most natives in all countries do. Where am I going with this? It goes back to something I remembered learning as a child and that reinforced something I’d never considered those many many years before.
It is evidence.
In the early 60’s when still a child, National Geographic did an article on the discovery of the Tasaday Indians in the Phillipines in the forests of Mindanao. What I found fascinating is that in this remote area and without a Bible they believed in God and better yet, these people had in their lore the story of the great flood! In my young mind, all I could think of is what better evidence to support the Bible could there be than that?
Even the Koran has a similar story line. It’s like the story was changed to fit their culture, but it’s what brings a commonality to us all. I know there will be some Christians and non who will be offended by that, but it is not intended to do so.
I remembered marveling at the pictures of this tribe who proved to me that God does exist. Do you remember when God became real to you? It cemented in my mind that God is real and His Word true. How else did they come to know these things? How else is there that common thread?
Since then, I’ve read other articles, but no one has called attention to that tidbit of information since. It has long since been swept under the rug and forgotten, but I didn’t forget reading it. It rooted my faith.
I think at some point, everyone will have their “Come to Jesus” moment in a unique way.
I’ve heard some people, say they saw angels, heard God and any number of other miraculous moments, but it doesn’t have to be a flash of light or anything supernatural. When the time is right and your heart is open, God’s message will arrive and suddenly, you’ll know. And in some cases, you will discover that you knew all along.
It may not come through the Bible or your best friend or a relative who has been preaching to you and at you for however long. When the time is right God will light the flame and it will simply be.
I thank all of my followers and hope you enjoy this post, which as most of you know is totally different than most. We all stemmed from one source. It is not meant to offend anyone but hopefully to bridge the gaps of our differences so that perhaps in time bring about a union and peace among all.