Archive for the ‘Determination’ Category

Change…Good or Bad?


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Change…Good or Bad?

Noun-the act or instance of making or becoming different. 

February will be 7 months since my Dad’s passing. So much has changed for our family. My Mom’s life has of course the most dramatic change. Watching my Mom go through all the changes to her life, made me seriously ask the question “Is change good or bad”?

Due to my Dad’s passing and all the sudden changes that come with the loss of a long time spouse of 58 years; Mom has experienced so many “firsts”. First time sleeping alone in a house. First time eating alone in a restaurant. First time attending a social event alone. First time experiencing the holidays alone. First time cooking for “one” person.

Watching my Mom navigate through all of these “firsts” has been like watching a new puppy learning to walk. So proud! In reality, they really are NOT “firsts” for my Mom.  Of course, over my Mom’s 84 years she has experienced all of the above mentioned “firsts” as young woman maturing. However, after such a long marriage; they surely do feel like true “firsts. Mom has handled all of this with grace and dignity. While Mom has good days and bad days…change seems to be making her and even stronger person. Not everyone can accept, handle or adapt to change. Some just manage…Mom is blossoming into an even stronger human being. Wonderful to watch!

 

 

 

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Good Grief…


Good Grief…

Definition: deep sorrow, esp. that caused by someone’s death

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Is grief good? I have not figured out the answer to that million dollar question… as of yet. It’s been approximately 1 1/2 months since the passing of my Papa. The grief is STILL palpable and seems as though it will never end or at least lesson.

Everyone grieves in their own way. Some outwardly weep daily, some feel anger, while others become introverted with their feelings of loss and may not express grief in public or with others. No one way is the correct way to express grief. No one person has the exclusivity on grief. All ways of grieving need to be recognized.

The question of the day; will the grief really ever end. Or will a band-aide just cover up the deep wound? I’m not sure at this point. I have been told by others who have experienced a loss of a loved one “it will get better, missing them will always be there.” To me, that does not sound like much of a trade-off!

Yesterday the marker (headstone) was placed on my dear papa’s grave. Knowing it was being placed made it all too real and final…as if the funeral did not do THAT! Next weekend I will go visit Papa for the first time. Hoping to find some peaceful closure.

So is grief good? Intellectually, I understand the body must release all the intense emotion in some form. My heart however, tells me something very different. Is the saying “time heals all wounds” true? Not sure…

The loss of a loved one is truly heartbreaking, Anyone have any words of wisdom? Anyone?

Heaven Has A Hell Of A Guy!


Heaven Has A Hell Of A Guy!

July 5th I lost my beloved father to stage 4 Bladder Cancer. He was such a tenacious fighter. This December would have been 4 years of battling this horrific cancer. He did it with such grace and dignity. He passed at home with family all around him surrounded by things that made him happy. While preparing for his upcoming services, I had the task of calling his long time business associates, friends and family. At first I dreaded this daunting task.

By the end of the 100th call, I found that I was in such a better place. The conversations I had with his business associates were so amazing. I heard over and over that they never met a kinder, upstanding, loyal, smart and classy man. I must have heard the phrase ” he was a hell of a guy” 50 times or more. I found myself laughing about stories they were telling me on the phone. People were actually honored and looking forward to being part of his send off to Heaven.

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Even though it is a great and tragic loss for our family, friends and his business associates, Heaven has received a hell of guy!  Will see you in heaven. Save me a seat next to you and we can have a vodka on the rocks and  listen to Louie Armstrong’s record, “”What a Wonderful World over and over and over like old times. Love you forever Papa.

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2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Remember Our Troops This Holiday Season



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The Holiday Season is upon us once again. Another Christmas with our American troops still deployed in the Middle East. I wonder, will the American people ever see all our  troops home? The 2012 election year was filled with so much hate, divisiveness and political bull-crap; I thought it would never end. Every time I turned on the news it was one of the Presidential Candidates campaigning about the war in the Middle East. Each candidate promising they would be the one to bring all of our troops home by a certain deadline.

Honestly, the troops really are no closer to being home for this Holiday Season or any other in the near future. While the economic situation in our country is abysmal, I am sure our troops would rather be back in their own country during the Christmas Season sharing it with their loved ones. Regardless of our economic crisis. The chance to be with their loved ones would be a dream come true.

I do what I can to say “Thank You” and show appreciation to our troops. My donation to the USO several times a year and other giving opportunities often times feel so insignificant. I wish I could do more for these brave people who serve our country and sacrifice so much for us all. 

We all get caught up in our daily lives and tend to forget we have American troops out there fighting for our freedom and the rights of others in foreign countries. These are special human beings who are willing to sacrifice above and beyond. I often catch myself complaining about small issues and my mind immediately goes to our troops in the Middle East. Gosh, am I really complaining about a small inconvenience? This is when I stop…breathe! I take a moment to realize just how really blessed and fortunate I am in life.

We all need to give thanks and remember our troops this Holiday Season.

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Bald Is Beautiful…


This past month I had the dreaded task of taking my papa to his barber and requesting his head be shaved, due to his ongoing chemotherapy treatments. My mom asked I take him, she was not sure she would be able to keep her composure. Oh how I was dreading this, trying to put on a smile as we drove silently down the street to his local barber shop. 

Upon walking into the barber shop I quickly noticed the mood was upbeat; it was your typical old fashion barber shop where all the men hung around in over sized chairs … shooting the bull. Oscar (my dad’s barber) greeted my papa at the door. Oscar said, “What are we doing for you today Ed?”  Papa replied, “we are shaving it off.” Oscar sat him down and let papa know it was not his first time doing this procedure. He had other clients who were cancer patients. He let my papa know he was in very good hands.

I felt my eyes watering up as his barber took the first shave of hair off the back of his head. I quickly pulled myself together. I knew if my papa saw I was upset, he would be too. Suddenly the barber said “see that dog over there laying down next to the guy, that dog sings you know?’ Oscar quickly made one little howling sound and the dog started his operetta solo. We all broke out in laughter. That’s when I knew it was going to be alright.

Without missing a beat, I said to my papa, “you look like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family TV Show. All you need is a light bulb in your mouth.” Papa replied “ha-ha-ha you’re so funny.” I tried to get him to place a light bulb in his mouth and let me take a photo of him … that was a BIG NO!  I said, “you know papa there are many handsome men who were bald … actors Yule Brynner, Telly Savalas, just to name a few. Lets not forget Mike Meyers as the famous “Dr. Evil.”

You can’t help but place your pinky finger to your mouth and utter the line “One Million Dollars!”  I could have broke out into character from “The King and I” and repeated etc … etc … etc. Or a Kojak famous line “who loves ya baby?” But I held THAT back. The more famous bald men I pointed out the more I laughed. All the sudden I found the situation not as “doom and gloom” as perhaps I first anticipated. I looked at papa and said “you look pretty handsome, nice shaped melon.” The barber turned my dad’s chair around, so he could take a closer look at his new hair-do in the mirror … or lack of one! Papa replied “Oooh my God.”

I quickly pointed out to my papa he now has the chance to wear his beloved USC cap more often. I could not wait to get him home so mom could get a glance at her bald beauty. Mom saw us walking up the from the driveway. 

The door opened and mom broke out in a huge smile. Mom said “oh my you look so cute.” She immediately kissed his cheek. Mom admitted to being nervous about taking dad to have this done. But upon our arrival back home she felt relieved. My mom went to the bathroom to get some sunscreen for his head. She started smiling as she was rubbing his shiny little head with sunscreen; I knew then we were all OK. Funny, never in a million years did I ever think I would be taking my papa to have his head shaved due to chemotherapy treatment. Life is strange sometimes. I guess it is true what they say, who are “THEY” anyway?? Some of the hardest life experiences make for some of the best memories.” Remember Bald Is Beautiful!

Tricks Or Treats … The Great Pumpkin!


Tricks Or Treats … The Great Pumpkin!

Fall is the beginning of my favorite time of the year. It’s the time of the year which signals the Holiday Season is just around the corner. October brings back so many special memories. I love all the different styles and colors of gourds and pumpkins to choose from in October and November. My mother is the “MacGyver” of arts and crafts; making a centerpiece from two matches and dry twigs. A talent she handed down to me and my siblings. However, we are not nearly as talented as my mom. I can hold my own when it comes to creativeness for sure … but mom is the queen! Especial during fall and winter, The Great Pumpkin and the Christmas Fairy defiantly arrive in full force in all of our homes.

Some of my favorite childhood memories in the month of October was gathering around the BIG console TV and watching the seasonal iconic TV special “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” How I loved this special, which still plays on TV to this day the week of Halloween. As an adult, I still wait for this TV special every year with anticipation. Not to mention the special “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”  I wonder why these specials still mean so much to me; perhaps it represents a wholesome period which once existed on TV?  Which by the way, try to find anything on TV today to compare with these wonderful specials. In my opinion, they don’t exist. I watch every year and come away with the same warm and fuzzy feeling after having watched. I watch every year hoping to see the Great Pumpkin appear in the pumpkin patch for Charlie Brown and his little friends. Of course, he never comes, always hoping the ending might be different. I still laugh my butt off at the end listening to Sally’s diatribe towards poor Linus for wasting her time on Halloween. Classic!

Growing up as a Southern Californian kid was a fabulous experience. Halloween was another fantastic memory and time in my neighborhood. I recall being able to choose any type of Halloween costume; the weather  was so perfect we did not have to wear jackets or sweaters. What is the point of a FABULOUS costume if covered up with a heavy winter jacket! I used a pillowcase for my Halloween bag, because of course it held more candy. We must have hit 100 homes on Halloween night yelling “Tricks Or Treats!” I think we all felt so grown up. It was a big deal being allowed to go out without our parents. Of course, we always had someone’s oldest sibling with us to supervise the evening. At the end of the night we all dumped our pillowcases out on the floor to separate the bad candy from the good. I hated (and still do) the candy corn!  GAG! That was the first candy to go in the trash or get traded. Such great memories!

Sadly, the only kids I see now at my front door these days on Halloween are accompanied by an army of parents. Who can blame parents … in this crazy world. Most of my neighborhood kids go to Halloween events held by their local church or school. These events are safe and secure and the parents feel very comfortable in allowing them to attend. Now my doorbell rings less often during Halloween. I miss the voices of excited kids screaming “tricks or treats!” I wish children today could step back in time and experience the  Halloweens I had as a kid. I do believe they would enjoy it so much more.

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