Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Death, three years later

P1010382Three years ago yesterday, my mom died from complications of COPD. She had been fading away for the few years prior to that, and since my brother and I had researched the disease, her death was more of, “Oh, it’s now” rather than, “OMG, NOOOOO.” My father, on the other hand, was devastated. He still is.

The last time I saw her was at my niece’s wedding three weeks before Mom died. She had saved all her energy for the weekend and it took everything out of her. Her body was frail, almost bird-tiny, and she had almost no reserves of energy. My sis-in-law arranged for transport wheelchairs for both of our moms for the wedding activities, and that allowed Mom to be present for rehearsal dinner, family visiting, the wedding ceremony, and reception, with the whole family (except bridal couple) gathered at the same table. We were all happy, looked wonderful, shared the joy of the day and the enjoyment of each other’s company. And we all said goodbye when she and Dad left to go home. We had our goodbye, even though we didn’t know it was the final one.

I lived half way across the country and didn’t see her often. We talked every day at 6pm my time, 5pm her time, for seven years, since she was hospitalized for a serious infection following an emergency appendectomy when she was 76. Note that she diagnosed herself with appendicitis reading Google search results. I am her daughter in more ways than one.

Three years after her death, I’m living in her house, cooking in her kitchen, caring for her husband of 62 years. And I listen to Dad tell stories about her every day, which sometimes makes me crazy because I hear the same ones, word for word, many times. Yesterday we went to a memorial service for a friend and it allowed us to heal a little more.

 

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Gym & Remembrance

Today was my first day back at the gym since my infection surgery at the beginning of August – and I’d been away for most of the five months before that as I healed from the plastic surgery.  Although I’ve been walking, it hasn’t been much and certainly not up to pre-surgery activity.

So we started again, my trainer and I.   Because I still have the open wound (yes, after 7 weeks it is still open, though greatly healed), today was more about movement and not lots of weight or pulling motions such as lat pull downs which could pull on my wounded area.  I doubt I’ll be sore tomorrow, usually my clue about how well I worked my body, but it did feel good.

It’s scary to see how easy it is to gain weight back.  Oh, I’ve done it lots of times before (it’s my pattern) but I don’t like watching the scale and the way it has been nudging up a few pounds.  I know what to do to turn it around but have lacked the focus to actually do it – and all of this time away from regular exercise has not helped.  So it was particularly important that I had the appointment today, to get back on track.

On the other hand, it was definitely NOT good to be in the gym on 9/11 with memorials and interviews and related movies showing on every on-screen channel.  I was on the treadmill ten years ago in my Boston gym, watching as the planes hit the towers on one screen with Top Gun air fights on the next screen over.  It looked as though we were watching military scrambling to go after the people who struck the towers.  Unsettling and vivid.

I have only watched one of the myriad 9/11 shows this week.  I overloaded on all the coverage 10 years ago and cannot watch now.  I remember it all without seeing it again.  The one I did see was about baseball and the role it played for New York in the days, weeks, and months after the towers fell.  HGTV has been playing most of this weekend when the TV has been on.

At least we had power.  After Irene came through, almost 70% of Connecticut was without power for at least some time, including many of my staff.  My director’s house had major structural damage from a big tree crashing into the roof.   Roads were closed from flooding all over the state.  Schools ended up using “snow days” before the doors even opened for the year, due to power outages, flooding, and/or damage.

But I was fine here, other than leaking windows and losing cable for 8 hours (and with it, my internet and phone).  I have a good supply of lanterns and batteries, and those will come in handy later in the year when the warning is to prepare for a blizzard.


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Memorial Day

Memorial Day is about far more than cookouts, car sales, and the unofficial start of summer. It’s the day we remember those who have given their lives for our country. Whether we agree with the wars that were fought, men and women still died and their service should be remembered and honored. Life is precious and their deaths left great grief and pain – and respect for why they died.

Take a few minutes today to remember and give thanks.

My grandmother died on Memorial Day in 1960. She didn’t fight in a war, she was just a loving, plump lady from New Jersey who lived for her family, friends, and God. Every year on this day I call my mom and we remember her together.