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Today I cried

9 Jul

The fires view from our home.

It’s difficult for us to be away from La Veta. It’s difficult to read about all the destruction and hear about friends whose homes are destroyed. It’s devastating to know that businnesses and homes in Cuchara lost so much not because of flames but because of no electricity. Think of the freezers in everyone’s homes, the restaurants, the smells they will come home to. It is a true miracle that no one was killed in this huge fire. Over 107,000 acres. I have read some negative posts on FB that there was too much time before the big fire equipment was used. I believe that the fire fighters who were there from the very beginning did everything right to get those affected by the flames evacuated. It was a miracle that they saved Cuchara. I don’t know all the right lingo but the firefighters were digging ditches, making fire breaks, huge airplanes dropping chemicals, the Hot Shots going into the dangerous areas. They saved La Veta by building a huge fire break and of course the winds helped. We must have a new respect for wind because this was the power of this fire. One minute one area would be safe and in a matter of an hour people would have to evacuate. I heard that some firefighters had never seen a fire behave like this. As of now the fire is 70% contained. Our friends Kent and Kathy were evacuated last week or 2 weeks ago from Paradise Acres and they still don’t know today if they have a home or not. Not knowing, not knowing. Can you imagine hearing that for days until you knew for sure. When fire or tornadoes or hurricanes destroy a town or and area, the survivors always say “it was just stuff”.
Why can’t we be sad???? So what if it is just stuff. It seems we all have to be brave and stoic and have the “go on with life” and all the other verbage that is said during tragedies. Well I say, LET’S BE SAD FOR A DAY OR TWO. Let us cry and feel like the world has come to an end. Let us feel sorry for ourselves for a few minutes. Let us cry until it hurts our stomachs to cry anymore. Then, we can go on. I hate minimalizing all the time. This fire was HUGE in damage and losses. Animals, grazing land, food, acres, homes, emotions, anxieties, air was compromised. It has made me terribly sad and I’m not even there right now.
But what do we do? We go on. I make a silly rug. I go out and play a round of golf. I paint a room. But the whole time I thinking we should be home. We are not home because we left when the smoke was bad and we are having my Mom’s memorial Saturday. Family is coming in. There is a service, graveside, lunch, dinner. Then, we go home the next day. I think when someone dies, we should have the funeral then. This was a group decision so it’s okay that it is being done this way, but it’s been 3 1/2 months since she died. Now, there is that grieving coming up again. I just want it to be done. That sounds shitty, I know it does and I don’t like that but it’s the truth.
Today I cried. I can write it but I don’t want to say it to anyone. I’m depressed. It takes me hours to go to sleep at night. If I take something to sleep, I get all squirmy and I’m roaming all around trying to get comfortable. I eat something. I drink something. I turn the tv on. I turn the tv off. I put on a fan. I turn off the fan. I cover with blankie, I uncover the blankie. I read, I play candy crush, I snuggle with Bendi. I listen to soft music. Finally I fall asleep. It is usually around 3. I am in a big depression. My home didn’t burn down. But others did. I have people staying my home who are displaced or need a shower and just to watch tv and rest. Some are living there, some are just coming in and out. I am so glad they are using our home. I want to do much more, and there will be the time where we can really help. I know there will be, but right now it feels helpless and I’m not comfortable with that. I have tried upping my antidepressant but that doesn’t help so I’m just going to feel sad for now. No apologies, no guilt about it, no feeling less than about it, no “yes I know that I don’t have a reason to feel sad because look at what all I have”. It’s depression and it sucks and it sucks for my husband who tries to understand it when I’m edgy and short with him and he doesn’t deserve it. Quiet, just stay quiet so you don’t upset anyone.

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Jbird65 Tour Comes to a End

16 Jun

Oh my goodness. What a fun day to end our 33 day journey of bed surfing. Today we played golf with Chuck and Cindy at Lake Wabaunsee. It was great to see some old friends and see all the updates at the course. Course was beautiful, greens were beautiful. It was in the low 90’s, but a strong wind which kept us from sweating too much. We came in 2nd and won a round for 4 at the Manhattan Country Club. We hope to play that in July. Definitely may be a little sunburned but did reapply sunscreen.

Billie and kids have landed safely in Atlanta and are on their way to Lake Lanier to see their Uncle Grant and Aunt Sandi. Then they will all travel to Amelia Island. Very proud of Billie putting this trip together.

We had such a great time on this trip visiting our friends who are located all over this country. Visited places we’ve never been to like Cape Charles, VA; Joelton, TN; Milford, MI; Green Lake, WI and Currie, MN. We were treated like royalty and we were very thankful that Bendi and Jumper could travel with us. We only stayed in motels twice.

TIDBITS:

Get out there and travel. I promise the grandkids, your home, your plants, your pets will be okay. Call the pet sitter, call a neighbor to get your mail, water the plants and check on the house. Send the Gkids postcards. Life is getting short.

I know I don’t want to live where there is big city traffic. It’s too much to deal with and I don’t know how people deal with it on a daily basis.

I did like being in downtown Chicago and using the mass transit and see what it is like to live in the city. It is funny how loud the sirens are even though you are on the 25th floor!

Everyone must go to a game at Wrigley Field. It is iconic, and original and fun. Do it even if you don’t like baseball. Highlights of game: Homerun by Rizzo, an overturned call and the restroom attendant hollering at the ladies to “Flush your toilet, we are not on the 1st floor with automatic flushers!! Flush your own toilet!!!” Seeing Cracker Jack and Red licorice ropes sold by vendors. Watching the scoreboard be changed by people behind the board. Loved it. Riding the Red Line to see the game.

Cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and see the Peninsula where Cape Charles and other towns are. I didn’t even know there was a peninsula that was part of Virginia.

Don’t be afraid of looking up an old friend from high school or college. You will be happy to reconnect and have them back in your life.

Don’t plan every minute of trip. We only had 4 places we HAD to be on a certain day and even then we were flexible with activities; Old Newcastle, De; Old Alexandria; a scenic drive through Virginia Wine country; Eastern Market in Detroit; seeing a beautiful town of Green Lake WI; golfing at a sweet 9 hole course outside of Currie, MN; golfing on an Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus course even if it kicks your ass!
Do fight over the check!! Our friends were soooo generous and many times would not let us pay even though they were letting us stay with them, but we did have some arguments. 🙂

Do buy something that may be extravagent but may be the only time you will ever see a vintage sewing table again or an aerial view of the Chesapeake Bay again.

Realize that you may not be able to do everything there is to do in the area and run yourself down. We had very pleasant day trips and nothing really felt hectic. Denny and I like to just experience the area, the culture, the local stores, visit with the guy sitting on the bench in town or the lady on the subway.

Don’t fret about the weather. Our travels were always showing rain but when we arrived none of our plans were rained out which was really great. Do pack for different temps. We left MN wearing sweat shirts and ended at the end of the day in shorts and summer tops.

Do listen to Audio tapes. We used to do this with the CD’s but now it is very easy to download and were able to hook into Bluetooth. We had great fun with our mysteries and I don’t think we solved any.

Do FB your journey. Your friends will enjoy what your are doing. Don’t be afraid of TMI. I’m known for that and sometimes it can be very funny. (Sometimes too gross??)

I had a little gift for everyone we stayed with as a thank you.

Treasure your friends. People who know me well know I can be overly sensitive about friends, being excluded, losing friends,  etc. But…the new Jbird65 is pushing the negative out of her life and embracing the love. I feel soooooo lucky to still be on this earth at 65 and I don’t want to deal with immature thoughts. I am sooooo lucky to have a husband who loves to travel too and drive for millions of miles and let me and puppies sleep and relax.

Do take alllllll of your medicine with you. You may not need it all but you may for various issues.  l had one of those plastic drawers and it was full. It was easy to carry in and out.

Anxious to see the mountains tomorrow.  Peace

 

Back in La Veta

26 Apr

Thank you Denny for driving for 2 days so we were home by 6 tonight. Nothing too exciting about the trip but one blown over motorhome from strong winds. That has to feel so scary. We’ve already unloaded the jeep and can relax. It’s a beautiful sunny evening with meadowlarks and other birds singing away. Totally different songs than the tropical birds in Brownsville. The most exciting event was stopping at one quilt shop that had everything on sale for 50% – 70% off!!. I bought several items and was very excited. Tomorrow is my day to really organize my sewing room I am only here until Tuesday evening. I will leave on the train for Topeka on May 1st and get an injection for my back on the 2nd. I am desperate for it. Then, Jbird65 Girlfriend party begins. Becky, Mary, Judi and Jacque and I are meeting at Jacques for 3 days for major slumber party. There will be crafts, pedicures, yakking, movies, eating and drinking. Jacque has the perfect place for this adventure.

Had so much fun last weekend with Cindy and Juli when they came to Bville for 4 days. We did so much with the major activity being golf. They appreciated the warm weather and it really cooperated the whole time.

It was a rather odd winter in Bville with our illnesses and Mom passing away but being able to not rush back to open the rv park and staying into April was great fun. I also am for the first time totally free of anything pressing to do. I talked to Becky, th new owner of Circle the Wagons and told her that I wouldn’t be able to make items for the shop. I couldn’t believe the freedom I felt for the first time in years of not having some project looming over me. It’s wonderful.

Now I do have to worry somewhat about our lack of moisture this winter in La Veta. The mountains should be packed with snow. Let’s hope and pray some big spring wet snows come soon.

Excited for what we have coming up in the next several weeks. Hopefully trading in the jeep and motorhome for SUV and small camper. We’ll try doing that weekend after next. Then after quick trip to Holiday Island and Manhattan, Ks and Topeka, we’ll head out on our couch surfing trip. We will be visiting friends in Nashville, Indianapolis, Cape Charles, Manassass, Michigan, Wisconsin. This is puppy friendly trip so Bendi and Jumper will be with us. Denny will be attending the Indianapolis 500!!!!! We’ll be out about 5 weeks.

Thats it for now, just wanted to get a little caught up. Hope everyone is ready for a great summer and hopefully all the snows are over for those up north. Peace

Forget Me Not

29 Mar

 

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I love those 3 words. I love them because they remind me to remember our loved ones before they became ill and were different people than what we were used to.

Mom passed away very peacefully last Tuesday night. I knew it was going to happen. I said good bye to her 3 weeks ago when she could still converse. I  cried when I left the room and that evening in the motel room. Then, I haven’t cried since until tonight. My kids, nieces and nephews have been posting many family photos and some of them were from several years ago; before her big fall, before her heart attack, before a cracked pelvis, before she was all hunched over and had to have assistance everytime she had to get out of her chair, before she had to drink thickened water and eat pureed food. She use to enjoy her evening glass of wine and loved to play bridge. She was happy and had a full life. I had forgotten the Mom in the photo and only knew the Mom who was uncomfortable, needy, afraid, in pain, bladder issues, tummy issues, wouldn’t leave her room anymore, didn’t participate in life. I would be irritated with her because I was angry she gave up. She still had a great mind and kept up with the news of the day. She so wanted Hillary for President. But, she gave up. She lived in a facility that was 90 percent dementia/alzheimers patients. She had the staff, my sister and company that she could talk to, but that was about it. I was frustrated with this new Mom. I didn’t feel good about myself being frustrated with her, but we had a nice routine when I would visit and for the most part it would be nice. She was 98, how could I have such negative feelings?? A very difficult time for me personally. Then I saw this photo today. Immediately I thought Mom!!!! There you are!!! I have missed you so much. I remember that family reunion. I’m sorry you had to go through these last few years. I hated how long it took you to transition these last few weeks. I just wanted comfort for you and it was so difficult for that to happen. I felt like you were afraid to die, maybe you weren’t but maybe you were. I hope you are with Dad, and brother John and niece Juli, and Billie’s Justin, and the rest of your family. It’s comforting to think that you are.

s.

Breathing

11 Mar

I have been back in Brownsville since Wednesday night. Wednesday was a full day with a 4:30 am wake up for a 5:30 shuttle in Ventura to LAX airport. Carolyn graciously drove to this early pickup.  It was a fun shuttle because we drove the Pacific coast through Malibu and other ritzy towns. Interesting man sat next to me on shuttle and he was a chef on an oil rig!!. So many careers, so many opportunities in this world. Flights were on time. I haven’t been on Southwest for several years so I like their simplicity and paid extra for A spots. Bumpy flights to Houston and to Brownsville. Was very happy to see Denny and puppies.

Had an early rise for Thursday morning so Deb and I could drive to Mission for golf tourney. I am so happy to have a golf buddy who likes to play tournaments. I have missed that kind of golf for years. We didn’t play our best but we enjoyed the tourney and the visiting during the drive. I’m very enthused about golf right now.

Have spent the weekend getting unpacked, reorganized, cleaning and now ready to begin an embroidery job of shirts. Then it will be time for fun sewing when the weather is crummy.

An update on Mom. She is still alive and staying in the Circle of Life Hospice facility. My sister Jolene is staying with her for the time being. It’s a confusing situation because we don’t know what is going on with Mom since many days are up and down. The doctor assures us that we all die in different ways. The good thing is that once the catheter issue was fixed she is more comfortable and doesn’t need as much medication. You can be in a hospice facility under respit care which she is. So….as of now she is lingering as they say and is getting good care.

My trip to Ojai, California was very rejuvenating. First, Ojai was in the midst of fires and you can see the burns everywhere. I stayed with Carlene whose home faces the mountains. She said it was so scary and she evacuated for 1 week. I spent 2 days with Carlyn Braddock whose book  called “Body Voices” is what I am learning. Many of you know that I have had many strange episodes in my life with my body. Weird allergies, hives, rashes, itchiness, stomach issues, migraines. This list does not include surgeries and injuries. I went to Carolyn’s workshop last November to help me with issues that had flared up the last 2 years. It was very helpful and healing.  As I began reading her book on the cruise, I realized how much deeper I needed to go to truly embrace this 65th year and on. I will be calmer, do more activities for fun, quit putting pressure on myself with deadlines of projects and keep searching for new interests. I will breathe and I will listen to my body. The most empowering statement of those 2 days was “Lack of self-esteem keeps me in the victim position”. I will also change my reactions to situations that in the past could make me depressed, feel less than, overly emotional. Keeping that statement in my head will help me. (Maybe a tattoo??) I enjoyed spending hours on the beach talking, walking, visualizing, writing on the sand and letting the ocean wash it away. One exercise is to pick up items off the beach and throw them in the ocean with your thoughts that you want to let go of. It was so interesting that when I was done throwing my rocks into the ocean this huge wave came rolling toward me, like a new energy was coming my way. It washed over my feet. Loved it. Now it’s time to listen to my body and nurture.

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Let’s talk Js life while someone is experiencing end of life

26 Feb

Sooooooooo…I am still in Ark with Mom in hospice.  Yesterday, last night and this morning I thought we have entered another stage of dying. Mom was sweating so much, very uncomfortable tummy, nauseated, could barely lift her head, not wanting to eat, serious bathroom issues, told the doctor “I just want to die😞😞😞”. He tells her “we want to help you with that but we don’t push”. He also told her to eat whatever she wants and enjoys. I sat with her and held her hand, nurses came in and gave morphine, nausea meds, gas meds, anti anxiety meds.  I called her hospice nurse and told him what was going on and he recommended Klondike Bars for her, (I’m thinking I can’t have morphine but I love Klondike bars!). So I text my sisters with this dire news. Told Judy, “no you can’t bring Poppy’s bible and read to her because we must be quiet”. I tell Jolene “Bob doesn’t need to say good bye, because he’s heading back to Chicago today, she’s too weak”.  Jolene and Bob come in and Mom is able to say goodbye to Bob just fine. I take off for a few hours. I buy the Klondike bars on my way back and the nurses put them in the freezer. I go into Moms room and my sister Judy is sitting next to her, Mom is raised up in her bed, putting chapstick on and having a good ol’ time.  (Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm I’m thinking to myself. I bet Judy is pissed because I said don’t bring bible.). I ask Mom if she would want a Klondike bar and she said yes.  I get it, I bring a bowl and a spoon because that’s how I have to eat them because I get covered with chocolate. So as I’m handing the bowl and spoon to her she say “noooooo, I’ll eat it with my hands!! “ Yikes. She ate almost the whole thing without dropping one piece of chocolate!! (Mmmmmmmmmmmm I’m saying to myself again, this is not the person I was with this morning). She continued to stay awake as sisters and I are visiting. Soon I hear that Mom ate some lunch!!! WTH. She has only had ensure and only half of those for last 2 days.  So…..I’m really staying pretty damn calm down until…..the nurse comes in. She is going to ultrasound Moms bladder which is just a topical thing but Mom sees the blinds are open. So I say I’ll close it, I twirled the little handle til blind closed and Mom says “ that’s the wrong direction, they need to go up!” This woman is supposed to be dying. Why the hell do the stupid blinds matter!! That made me want to rip the whole blind off the window. Thankfully Marjay and Jolene were still here and were able get me rational again.

I’m back in the room, she is uncomfortable, waiting for meds. I love her, I can’t be mean, but this hard and it is sad and confusing and I don’t know what else to do but be here. I’m still praying “Please God, let her be in peace, let her not feel this pain, let her go!!! And now I cry again because now she won’t let me hold her hand.

 

Let’s talk End of Life

25 Feb

Many of you know that I’m in Springdale Ark with my Mom in a hospice facility. (why can’t all hospitals be as gracious and caring and fast when the button is pushed in hospice facility?). Mom is very ready to go and has been for many months. Her mind is good, her vitals are okay but body very weak. She is totally bedridden now. She had a busy weekend with cousins, granddaughters, great grandkids visiting and is very tired today. Sometimes this helps those in the end stages of life feel like they have said their good byes. Here are my experiences of being at the bedside of family dying.

My grandmother Betty had Alzheimer’s and died  in 1987. She was in Presbyterian Manor and they called me and said “you must come, the end is near”. I was with her when she died but didn’t know enough and was freaked out enough that I really didn’t know what to do.

Dennys Dad Pat passed away in 1999 from cancer and had hospice come to their home. Denny and I spent every night with them for his last 6 weeks. That’s when we learned about dying and the stages of dying that happen. Leola called us and said “please come”. Denny was holding his hands and he passed away. We feel he wanted to wait until we arrived so Leola wouldn’t be alone.

Dennys Mom Leola. We received a call in the middle of the night that she had a massive heart attack in the long term facility she was staying at. When we arrived at 2 am her was beating 180 bpm sand breathing was very very fast. The doctor said she may last another hour. Earlier that day she knew that her grandson Mike and wife Cathy were flying into see her that day. She waited until they arrived at 6 pm that night to pass away 20 minutes later with us all around her.  Her spirit was mighty.

My brother in law James had melanoma that had spread throughout his body. I spent 3 weeks with him. Hospice visited him at home. I really saw the stages with him. Hospice will tell you let them have whatever they want to eat. He just wanted pork rinds!  He ate those for a few days til he became bedridden and passed away.

My Dad had Alzheimer’s and lived to be 92. He had a heart attack and was placed in a facility. I spent every night with him for a week. He took total control of his death which was interesting, although I almost did him in by having the recliner on his oxygen hose.  He was in hospice and he went through every stage in 6 days. I was confused why he hadn’t passed away yet because he was very ill. The hospice nurse said sometimes they want to be alone. I told him good bye that morning and said see you tonight. Fifteen minutes later when we arrived at the motel the phone was ringing and he had died. Interesting.

My brother John had undiagnosed bone cancer a year ago.  By the time he entered the hospice facility the doctor told us he had about a week.  He died the next day as I held his hand.

Everyone has their own journey.  My Mom’s is on her journey.  We’re not quite sure what all is going with her frail body but we know she is ready. Will it be this week, next week, next month?  All we do know is that we will be there with her during her stages.