( May. 28th, 2017 08:51 am)

Today I remember my wonderfully unique, loving and quirky Mom on the twelfth anniversary of her passing....
Mom and I had a complicated relationship. We just couldn't figure out how to get along for most of my teen years, and it took awhile for us both to recover from all the storms of that time in our lives together. Thankfully, in my mid-twenties, Mom and I figured out how to get along with each other and, as the years passed from then on, we became closer and closer. I cherish those last years with every fiber of my being.

Mom's Soul, I think, is Out There keeping way too busy as she was known to do--futzing with her flower gardens for a short while while loads of laundry were percolating in the house, then in the house again for some household chores, then a break with friends for an impromptu golf game hastily organized with friends, capped off with a long night of alternating between watching her favorite TV shows and making way tong and incredibly entertaining phone calls to those whom she loved, her ubiquitous insulated coffee tumbler filled with caffeine free Pepsi always nearby. That was a looong sentence for a reason--Mom was seriously always that damned busy!!! :D And on top of all that she'd take time away from all of that to take excellent care of hew only granddaughter whom she doted on like crazy a handful of days every week!!! Man, how she loved spending time with Cassie...Cassie was the apple of Mom's eye, and it was so much fun watching the two of them interact <3

As always, Mom, I hope you get a good quiet moment or three to enjoy some time cuddling and petting on Duchess, Bud, Kitty and Callie and Diva (individually, not all at once, LOL) as you cruise your way through your busy day. I was always amazed by your indomitable, seemingly boundless energy...I love and miss you so incredibly much, Mom.

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Remembering my loveable curmudgeon of a Dad on the 14th anniversary of his passing. It's hard to believe so many years have gone by, but, at the same time, it feels like so many more have come and gone. I'll always proudly proclaim my status as Daddy's girl, regardless of how old I am or how many years' gone that pass that he's not been here with me/us here on Earth.

I don't know for sure where his Soul is hanging out these days, but I'd like to think he's enjoying a couple icy cold brewskies under a sunny 75-ish degree spring day, sitting in an open garage listening to his country tunes, smelling the wisps of lilac bushes he so loved. That was his kind of relaxin', and I so very much wish lots of that for him over the current part of his Soul's journey.

Thinking of you, missing you tons, and loving you even more on this day, Dad...What I wouldn't do for one more day with you here..

( May. 13th, 2017 07:33 am)
I should be crying...but I just can't let it show
I should be hoping...but I can't stop thinking...
Of all the things I should've said that I never said
All the things we should've done that we never did
All the things I should've given but I didn't
Oh, darling, make it go...
Make it go away...

Give me these moments back
Give them back to me
Give me that little kiss
Give me your hand...

( May. 28th, 2016 07:25 pm)

It's been eleven years since that Saturday afternoon when Mom quietly slipped away while my brother and I were gone from her hospital room, but sometimes, like today, it feels like a lot less time has passed. I put it into much better words, of course, on the Book Face in 2009...

"Mom was a hard worker. She was a secretary or office assistant through her working days, and a damned good one. She'd work all day and came home and worked some more around the house. She loved to garden, especially flowers. She hated shopping, but she loved going to rummage sales. She also liked having rummage sales of her own. She didn't have a whole slew of friends, but the friends she did have were like family to her, and her whole family, both immediate and extended meant the world to her.

Christmas was her favourite holiday. She loved decorating the house and really enjoyed shopping for presents every year, though she hated the crowds with a passion. She lived for the look of surprise on a person's face when they opened them.

In addition to decorating the house, she also made pine wreaths and sprays by hand. She did this for as long as I could remember. Grandpa (and for awhile Dad) worked at the cemetary and after the wreaths were taken off the graves at the end of winter they would gather decorations, rings and stands for her to recycle into her own work every year. They were absolutely stunning. She made them for people for their loved ones' graves and to hang on their doors and never charged a cent for them. The last Christmas she was alive she wasn't able to make the actual wreaths, but she still bought a few from her neighbor's grandson who was a Boy Scout and embellished them with more decorations so Dad and the Grandparents would have nice wreaths for their graves. She tried to show me how to make them, but I never got the hang of it, something I feel bad about. I would've liked to continue the tradition...

She bloomed after she retired. She was finally able to devote time to doing things she loved and found new things to do that she loved as well. Mom and Dad bought a trailer in Arizona and "snowbirded" down there for a few years before Dad died. She would spend her winters making new friends from all over the country and taking part in the various activities around the park. Her favourite was learning crafts--her favourites being quilting and making butterflies out of two litre plastic soda bottles (sounds sorta weird, but they were so damned beautiful). She even learned how to shoot pool and a bit of taekwondo! After Dad passed she was able to go down there one last year before she got sick and she was so proud of herself for doing all the driving by herself.

Quilting. Ah, the quilting. She was a quick study, learning most of her skills from my Aunt Sharon. Aunt Sharon lived up north about 6 hours away, and Mom would drive up there and spend a few days quilting and talking about everything and nothing. Her first big projects were Irish wedding ring quilts for my brother and I, which she gave us for Christmas one year. Neither of us had any idea she had been making them, even though she worked on them at both at home and at Aunt Sharon's. She later told us how she would have to scurry to put everthing away when either of us would stop by without calling first.:) She gave my niece a quilt right after she was born, which she used til it wore out (the last I knew she still has it, but I haven't seen it in awhile...)

She loved butterflies. She didn't collect actual specimens of them, but she collected all sorts of butterflies in made in different media--porcelain, metal, wood, and the plastic ones she made by the dozens for both herself and friends and family.

She absolutely adored her granddaugher. The angels truly sang the day she was born, she was (and continues to be) such a gift to our family. She took turns babysitting Cassie with her other set of grandparents while John and Karen were working. She absolutely loved spending whatever time she could with her! It was something to watch, the doting grandmother.:)

She and I didn't get along very well during my childhood and adolescence. We clashed like oil and water. I prefer not to look back on those years. In my twenties we finally started to mend those fences, letting each other know how sorry we were for the bad times and how we both did the best we knew how during those bad times. We eventually became quite close, as a daughter and mother should be. It wasn't always rosy, but we were able to communicate through the rough times and move forward.

She died from complications of a very rare blood disease called primary systemic amyloidosis. It's so rare that only about 3,000 people are diagnosed with it world wide every year or some such, if I'm remembering the statistics correctly. What happens is the bone marrow produces too much of a certain protein which ends up in the blood stream. The protein then builds up on major organs, eventually leading to organ failure. It primarily affected Mom's heart, which is what I think hastened her death. She died less than five months after her diagnosis. I was with her the last night of her life, trying desperately to comfort her as she fought death, both when she was semi conscious and while she was unconscious. It was the toughest thing I've ever gone through in my life. It was my final gift to her, and despite the pain I went through, I'm ever so glad I was there for her in those last hours.

Mom was definitely unique, and a very strong, loving woman. I hope I can be half the woman she was.

I love you very much, Mom. As I said yesterday for Dad, I wish you peace and happiness whereever it is you're hanging out these days, and I hope you're with those you loved on this Earth who passed before you and have passed since you left us."

I also post this song, as an homage to her, and the very last night of her life that we shared together, as she went onto the last part of her journey.

"Of all the things we should've said,
That were never said.
All the things we should've done,
That we never did.
All the things that you needed from me.
All the things that you wanted for me.
All the things that I should've given,
But I didn't..."

Do ya think I've a little bit of guilt, this daughter? Yeah...yeah, I do...And I always will, therapy be damned, though she'd kick my arse hard if she were here to do it. I'm trying to get past it, Ma. I really am.

Love you and miss you dearly, Ma. Hope you're having a ball Out There in the Great Beyond...
...since my Dad's soul took leave of this Earth that early Tuesday afternoon. It's a rare day that goes by that I don't think of him for some reason. I love and miss him dearly.

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Here's a long piece I wrote up on Facebook seven years ago on the sixth anniversary...

"I've been thinking a lot about what to write about him today. Do I write about how he died? Do I write about how much I still miss him? Do I write about his life? Do I write about it all? I need to write something...

He was a quiet man with a dry, sarcastic wit that often exceeded his high school education. I referred to him in later years as a big, grumpy teddy bear. He liked to hunt deer and was a member of the NRA. He loved to argue politics. He was a rabid Packers fan. He was a hard worker; when I was a toddler he worked two, sometimes three jobs to support us so Mom could stay at home and take care of my brother and I. He was devoted to his granddaughter. His favourite foods were blood rare steak, peanut butter, and wild green onions (separately, not together.;)) Much to my mother's chagrin at times, his favourite beverage was beer. His favourite music was both Country AND Western, with bits of bluegrass, folk, and classical music mixed in. He loved a good polka, too.:) He read the entire newspaper almost every day.

He was finally working at a job he really loved when he died. He worked at a nursery, sitting on a tractor all day cultivating between the rows of the planting yards and mowing the nursery's vast lawns. My brother hooked him up with the gig, and they worked together from time to time. It's where he died, of a sudden cardiac event, not totally unexpected, but a shock nonetheless. I'm glad it was quick, and at a place he wanted to be.

I've always been a Daddy's girl. Our relationship could be rocky, but I still could safely say that I had him wrapped around my little finger. On my wedding day, we danced to "Daddy's Little Girl" and he sang to me while he danced. When the song was over, he whispered in my ear "I meant every word." (Mom later told me he sung that song to me a lot when I was a wee sprite, but, sadly, I don't remember it.) Though my marriage eventually failed spectacularly, I will always cherish that moment.

The grief of his death diminishes as the years pass, which is a good thing. He wouldn't want any of us to grieve his loss for so long. But I still miss him, especially on days like today. The almost healed scab of grief lifts a little on days like today...

Despite his faults, he was a good man. He wasn't always the best father and husband, but I think, generally speaking, he tried to do his best by us. Though I didn't always feel it and I daresay I never expressed it, I was proud that he was my Dad. I still am.

Later on I'll hoist a beer or two in his memory. He always scoffed at my snobbiness when it came to beer, and I'm sure he'll be scoffing as he watches over me tonight as I toast his memory.;)

I love you very much, Dad. I wish you peace and happiness where ever it is you're hanging out these days, and I hope you're with those you loved on this Earth who passed before you and have passed since you left us."

Sigh. Where did those thirteen years go off to? :/
Another shocker this morning when I woke up. Such an incredibly gifted and prolifically talented man. He was one of my favorite contemporary actors. And now he's gone. FUCK CANCER!!!

Found these clips on the You-Tube for a little levity to help assuage my deep sadness.

Alan Rickman-off with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jimmy Fallon

Alan Rickman Takes Jimmy Fallon to Task for His Impersonation... ;)

Rest well, Mr. Rickman. You will be dearly missed...
David was one of the many British Music Icons that I worshiped as a young teen, discovering him during his "Let's Dance" period in the mid '80s. Many memories came to mind yesterday upon learning of his death, but the big one that did was the following video clip. Cable TeeVee didn't come to our somewhat rural neighborhood until spring of 1987, so it was public airwaves for us. I WANTED MY MTV SO BAD!!! LOL! My alternative choice until then was a UHF channel (was it channel 50 or 60 out of Aurora, IL?) that mostly played B-list and classic end music videos. David Bowie's "Fashion" was one of them, and it became a fast favorite that I waited for in the rotation with baited breath... ;)

It's not even one of his best songs, but it's just...so...yeah...I loved it, and still love it.

Listen to me, Don't listen to me
Talk to me, Don't Talk to me
Dance with me, Don't dance with me

That about sums it up for a weird and awkward new-wave girl in the 80s, doesn't it?

This Something Positive strip is from Father's Day a handful of years ago--I wish I would've documented exactly when, dammit. Anyway, it's about dads who dote on their adult daughters. I had one of those dads, a curmudgeonly sort of doting, but doting none-the-less. I miss that so much...

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I'll never stop wishing that there were more photos of Dad and me with me as a "grown up". This is one of the few I have, and the only one I have scanned to my PC right now. Regardless of how things ended up with that marriage, that particular day in my life will always remain a Special Day because my Daddy helped Make It So. He talked softly to me as we walked down that long church sanctuary aisle, him calming my rattled bride-to-be nerves. Later, we danced our Daddy/Daughter dance to "Daddy's Little Girl", him singing every word softly and gruffly into my ear. After the song was done, he told me "And I meant every word of it, honey." To this day I can't listen to that song without shedding tears...of happiness, love, and sadness that he's no longer with us...

Dad walking me down the aisle, first marriage, 10 September 1994

Happy Father's Day in Heaven, Dad. I love you and miss you dearly.

I'm still proud to call myself your little girl...
( Jun. 7th, 2015 10:59 am)
Earlier this week one of my childhood neighbor's daughters randomly posted a picture of her eldest son on her Facebook page. Nothing weird about that, really--it's her kid, she loves him and is wanting to share pics of him with her family and friends, right? And she somewhat regularly posts pics of her kids and grandkids, so no big whoop, right? Gods, I haven't seen hide nor hair of Tim since he was a young adult hanging over at his grandparents' house when my parents were both still alive. He looked great in the posted pic! Nice! Good to see his smiling face!


Turns out, he's gone. His Mom, April, posted a link to Tim's current hometown's paper's obituary for him on Friday morning to her Facebook timeline. Tim died at home, on 2 June 2015. He was 39 years old...

Tim was born when I was on the cusp of turning seven years old. He was one of the first newborn babies I can recall holding for any length of time, his were the first diapers I can ever recall changing and the first bottles I can recall feeding. I knew him fairly well in his young years when he and his Mom spent a lot of time with her parents next door to us. He was a sweet kid back then. Then the teen years came, along with Some Troubles for him. His young adult years were a bit unsettled, too, based on some of what my Mom retold from his Grandma. I worried about him, though I rarely saw him. There was an odd sort of bond there, established somehow in my heart, when we were so very young growing up together...even with my craggy childfree heart, it seems, "helping" to care for that baby/child all those years ago stuck with me...

There's going to be a memorial for him in my hometown tomorrow afternoon at the cemetery where my folks are interred. I'd go, but my Bridget Mobile is acting a bit wonky lately and I'm a bit wary of making the 80 mile trek on my own with her...so no go... :/ I'll be sending sympathy cards as soon as I get the prayer cards I ordered later this week--it's a carrying forward of something my Mom did with her sympathy cards that I wanted to do for both my Uncle Ron's family and now for Tim's family...It's the Footprints in the Sand poem in case you were curious...Yeah, my agnostic curmudgeonly old self sent away to a Catholic ordering house for wallet sized prayer cards, LOL. That *was* lightning you saw and thunder you heard... ;)

Rest well, Tim. May you find your peace in the next part of your soul's Journey that you weren't able to find on Earth... <3
( Jun. 5th, 2015 08:59 am)
Got some sad news on Monday afternoon from cousin Greg: our Uncle Ron George passed away on Sunday night. Thank God for Facebook Messenger and for hooking up as friends with one's cousins on social media--my brother and I have long since not been published in the Kenosha phone book (I obviously moved away and my brother ditched his landline), and the George side of the family is so notoriously bad for communication...we all love each other to pieces, but with busy lives and all of us being relatively shy and keep-to-ourselves sorts of creatures, we don't communicate much unless Something Happens in the Family most times. Anyway, because of FB messenger, Greg was able to ping me (and I think my brother) and let me (us) know the news and we talked for a while on the phone. He was also able to give me one of Uncle Ron's daughter's phone numbers so I could get more information from her, too. Thanks, Greg, ever so much for thinking of FB to get ahold of John and me!!

Uncle Ron and Aunt Darlene relocated to Arizona when he retired, so seeing them both was a yearly thing at best after they moved. My mom was close to Uncle Ron, and he came out from AZ to be with her in what ended up being her final month of life, caring for her when my brother and I were both at work and unable to be there for her. It was Very Special of him to do that for her, and for us, and for that we are eternally grateful. I couldn't thank him enough before he left for home after she passed...

I'm sad that, after Mom passed, I largely lost touch with her side of the family. She really was the social instigator of the family, and without her...yeah...Anyway, I've now got two George cousin's current phone numbers, so I'll be trying harder to keep in touch a little more often than when somebody among us is ill or dead...For family being so important to me, I'm woefully uncommunicative, aren't I?

Anyway. I hope and pray my Uncle Ron is getting his due rest in A Great Place Out There and that he runs into my parents and his folks sometime soon. That he's healthy once again and cracking those corny jokes...I love you, Uncle Ron...

Here's a pic of my Uncle Ron. It perfectly captures how I remember him--smiling with his whole face, with a glint of mischief in his eyes...

Uncle Ron
...to Heaven, for my Mom. Today's her birthday--she would've turned 74 today had she lived. For the first time in the ten birthdays that have passed since she's been gone, I did not find myself in the birthday card aisle looking for a birthday card for her. That's progress and a sign of healing grief, right? :/

I'd like to imagine she's kvetching with all her loved ones up there, including my newly arrived Uncle Ron, whom we lost last Sunday night (I'm going to post something about that in a bit). She'd never say she had a favorite over her two brothers, but I think Ron was her favorite of her two brothers, LOL, and they were quite close when she was alive--despite a several years' age difference. I'd also like to reckon that she's going to be golfing today, tending to her flower beds, and watching some of her favorite old (and new for all I know, LOL) television shows. ;)

The picture below gets so much mileage because I love it so much, and also because I have to get offa my duff and get the few other pics I have here with me scanned in and on my PC...It's just...*her*...She could be a wacky broad, and I so loved that about her...

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Happy 74th birthday, Mom!! I love you and miss you. I'll be keeping an eye out for any and all butterflies you might be sending out to say "Hi" to let me know you're doing alright. Hoping you've been resting well...
( May. 28th, 2015 10:04 am)
Ten years ago, on a sunny and warm Saturday afternoon, we lost my Mom to her battle against the evil disease of primary systemic amyloidosis. She was a week shy of her 64th birthday...

Mom and I had our moments, that's for sure. We didn't always get along--our relationship was colored by emotional, physical and verbal abuse during my late childhood, teen, and young adult years. Somehow, though, we ended up coming to a sort of understanding with each other and ironed out most of our differences sometime during my mid-20s and began to have a more positive relationship. The last ten years of her life were basically the best times we enjoyed together as a mother and daughter. I treasure all that time we shared together relatively peacefully...

Death is a strange thing. I still find myself, even this long later, having the urge to pick up the phone to call her to talk to her about my latest adventures with my cats or find myself wandering down the greeting card aisle around Mother's Day or her birthday wanting to pick out the Perfect Card or realize I'm holding something I want to purchase as a Perfect Gift for her for some occasion...but she's not here for any of that any more and hasn't been for...like...awhile, now...

I still "talk" to her from time to time. She still comes to visit me in my dreams every once in awhile, which is sorta freaky, LOL. Every time I see one of her beloved butterflies I always say "Hi, Mom." because I take them as a signal that she's trying to say hello from Where Ever she is now.

I wonder, like I wonder with my Dad--what if she were still alive? How much different would things be? What would she think of my life choices--would she support them or would she be upset by them? Would she still be as active as she was before she fell ill or would she be slowing down by now from something else? I don't let the "what-ifs" dog me for long, though--they'll drive you mad if you let them hang around for too long.

Mom--Thank you for being my mom. I'm ever so glad we were able to figure things out and have a wonderful and decent mother/daughter relationship at the end of it all. I think of you often, and I love you very much and miss you very much, too. I try not to dwell too much because I know you wouldn't like that very much...but it's hard not to on days like today...

Try to get in at least one good round of golf today Where Ever your soul's hanging out these days today, tend to those wonderful flower beds I know you've still got, and I really hope you see some of your beloved butterflies floating around nearby as you do all that stuff... <3

A couple of pics of my incredible Mom...that I just shared on Mother's Day, LOL

Mom in AZ back in spring of 2004...
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Mom on the golf course, some time in the early '00s
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( May. 27th, 2015 10:20 am)
Twelve years ago, right around this time, my father collapsed at work while waiting for his mower's blades to get sharpened so he could go back to work on his mower at the nursery where he worked part time in his retirement years. Despite heroic efforts to revive him by his coworkers (including my brother, who was one of his supervisors at the nursery), EMS, and the ER department, we officially lost him around noon that day...

Dad had many flaws. He was a total curmudgeon, especially in his final years when his coronary disease was worsening and he was unable to do as much as he wanted to do, but he was really A Good Man who always meant well. I loved him with all my heart, as all Daddy's Girls do. Yes, I was a Daddy's Girl; generally speaking, I had that man wrapped around my little finger. ;) Did I take advantage of that? You bet your sweet bippy I sure did! ;) I learned to not, though, at least not so much or as often, as I got older...

Gods, do I miss that man...The hole in my heart remains enormous for missing him...

Dad playing the chef during deer hunting season sometime in the 80s.

Hope you've been resting well, where ever it is your soul's been hanging out Out There since you left us. Wish you'd visit me sometimes like Mom does, but I understand if that's not your style.

I love you and miss you very, very much, Dad...
...since my friend Terry decided he couldn't live anymore and took his life.

We never met in person; we were "only" internet friends. But we seemed to "get" each other and despite not being the most chatty of internet friends, we were always somehow there for one another during both the good times and the rough spots in our lives. I loved his snarky wit, his incredibly kind heart, and his intelligence. His last kindness to me was posting cross links from his blog to mine of Diva kitty's obituary post, and re-posting a lovely picture of Diva in a memorial to a cats forum on google +. That really touched both mine and J's hearts. Then, only three days later, I found out *he* was gone, too...

I still find myself finding myself wondering when he's going to post the next funny as all fuck thing on his LJ or to google +, then have to remind myself he won't be because he's gone and never coming back. Then I get sad for awhile. But not for long. I try to remember the good stuff, the funny stuff--not the sad and bad stuff that inevitably took him from us on that gods awful day a year ago today.

I miss you, Terry. I hope your soul has found its peace out there in the Great Beyond or wherever it is you are Out There. Gods knows you deserve that peace...