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Saturday, November 2, 2013

I Want to Live Again; Please God, Let Me Live Again!

  Well, It has been two years since Mom passed and three years since Dad passed too. I am doing well and moving on.

I am at the stage where I want to move on and I feel like Jimmy Stewart on that bridge  in the  classic movie "It's A Wonderful Life."  After  George Bailey sees his life without him,  he runs back to the bridge yelling this..."I want to live, Please God, I want to live again." Remember that scene?  Here it is..

George Bailey pleads with God to let him live his life again.
It has been an interesting grief journey with the death of two parents. I have learned my heart is big and was broken into bits and I am strong enough to pick up the pieces and go on. I have to survive. I tried caregiving again this summer for a career with elderly people.  I got attached to one client who was dying of  brain cancer, and then died.  That was hard again.  The last gig was for someone with Alzheimer's who happened to live 120 yards from my folk's grave, which was in plain site.

   That did it.... too close for comfort for me! I decided I could not go on with caregiving for a job. I am spent, my bucket is full, I cannot take anymore death and heartbreak. I am still weary from it.

Now is the time to get my life in order, and keep moving on in a positive new direction with a new career with the living., not the dying.  I have had enough of death. It is what my parents want for me and I have to for my own health.

   Funny how one journeys through grief and the valley of death with their loved ones. It is a process, and it just takes time to feel good again like crossing over the bridge to returning to life again and living it..... just like George Bailey.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sentimental Journey Home

How often do you get to return to the house you grew up in after you have moved away and see it inside for the first time in 43 years?



I was given that chance last Weds in my hometown in Austin, Minnesota.  I moved away in 1970, but never forgot where I came from. I am the fourth generation to be born in Austin in my family. It's a lovely town!

Things had changed in the house and neighborhood since 1970, but the basement was the same as we left it, except for a wall color change. There was graffiti on the laundry room walls from my sister, Dad and brother in 1967 and 1968 still there!  Our dog Flicka's scratch marks from jumping on the laundry room door were still etched in there from 1968!

Dad's old yukky shower in the basement was still there!  Mom refused to clean it back in the 1960's.  I'd die if I had to shower in there today!

And, then there was my old bedroom, smaller than I remember and updated a little, but the wood flooring was restored like when I lived there after years of carpet was covering it from former owners. The new owner is updating much of the house and making changes.

Dad changing my little brother in 1968

Same spot today in 2013!


1968 Dad and I in the corner in the living room

Same corner in 2013

There were many dinners and goodbyes for my family in my hometown from folks who were really going to miss us. I remember moving day in January 1970 for Denver, Colorado. The house was empty, like someone had stolen everything. We bade goodbye to my grandparents, and I remember driving away and hearing them sobbing. It was heartbreaking.

The memories poured out in my mind seeing my house for the first time since January 1970. The birthdays, Christmases, the pets, the siblings, the parents, the grandparents.

The owner has remodeled the living room and taken out a wall between the formal dining room and kitchen to make it open concept. It was strange seeing the wall gone, the only thing that bothered me.

But, lots of memories in that kitchen!

1969 Mom, little bro, sis Julie and I making Christmas cookies

Same kitchen, changed slightly from blonde woodwork and painted ugly green by former owner 2013. New owner is trying to strip the paint off to make them blonde again!

Our house in 1970

Dodger and I at my old house in 2013!

They say you cannot go back, but this trip was healing for me, as I have dreamed about my old house since we left in 1970.  It was good to see the house again, and see how we lived in the 1960's here, and how small everything had gotten. When you are a kid, things look huge in your world and that is how you remember them.


I did come away with this: I have grown as a person and have been shaped by the places and people I have met since I left here at age 6. My late Mother would always ask "I wonder what life would have been like if we had stayed in Austin." Our lives would have been different that is for sure, but we wouldn't have been enriched with living around the country and experiencing hardship, joys, people, and places to shape who we are today.  Who knows?

Some people are lucky to live in one place all their lives, I always felt after moving around the country 6 times in 15 years.

But, it was a sentimental journey, a sentimental journey home!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Adult Orphans Club

Well, we survived January, and my birthday where I turned 23. I was 24 last year and had a good birthday. I got taken out for an Irish dinner and had a good time by my friends who wished me well and helped me blow out candles on my cake with 23 candles!

Been doing Zumba lately and it is hard, and my left leg is tight and won't move, but getting better at it. I do it every other week, but tonight I did water aerobics.

My water aerobics instructor I have known since I was in college in the 1980's, and she became a member of the adult orphans club in one day; she lost BOTH parents on the same day on my birthday weekend. Gee, I thought I had it rough losing mine in one year, but Kathy's pain is harder than mine.

I didn't go to her parent's double funeral, but texted her and held back when she was ready to talk. Today she called me and we talked for about an hour and I listened. My friends did that for me when I needed it after losing my parents. Shared some of the things I learned and told it was okay to just stay in bed with the covers over your head for a day if you need to. I did that one day. Told her it was okay to be mad at God as he can take it.

Kathy and I both agreed that the funeral industry is for the birds. She spent nearly $14,000 for her parent's funerals in one week. And, she is now in debt.

We agreed the funeral industry has screwed people royally with what they do and how they charge to drain, display, drive and ditch the body. My parent's funerals came to nearly $20K, including the plots with the screw job by the funeral industry. In the old days before the screw job artists, you could just dig a hole and that was it. Now it is coffin, vault, vault liner, cost for digging a hole, getting a death certificate, etc. etc. cost, added cost, fees, and more horsemanure piled high to screw people. Costs more to die than be born. What is wrong with this picture? Plenty!

We used two different funeral places for both my parents, one was reasonable, and had personal service. The other took us to the cleaners with wanting $3k up front and they did a horrible job on my Mom's face and hair, to the point, she was unrecognizable for the price tag of $10K!! I should have not let my older brother buy their farm on the package as he was taken for a ride and he picked a tacky casket that had praying hands in the lid!  I about killed him when I found the cost of everything. My Swedish mother would have killed him too for that casket when she wanted just a plain, pine box. I did let the funeral director know how I felt afterwards and how he took us, and his attitude was "tough crap kid." Bastard!

Both funerals were held in the church instead of the junk of being displayed in the funeral home etc. That was the best way to go. But most funeral directors are shrewd bastards, if you ask me.

Mom teaching me how to swim in our Minnesota lake in 1968.
This is where I feel most at peace, in the water in this lake.

When I go, I just want to be cremated, and a little spread on my parent's yard, their grave and the rest of me dumped in my favorite lake in Minnesota so I can be free with the loons. That will be what I want. I don't want to be in a cemetery.

While I continue to make strides in recovering from losing my parents, getting on with my life, at least I can be there for a friend in need who is just going through the grief and initiation as the newest member of the Adult Orphans Club.  It's a club I wouldn't wish on anybody, but we all become members of it sometime in our lives.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, we survived 2012, and now it's 2013.

I went to the local casino and took in all the smoke and excitement of people playing the slots. Didn't play any slots, just people watched. Many of the people looked like they had those Elvis black velvet pictures hanging in their houses with the black lights. It was interesting to people watch, one lady in a walker nearly ran me down in an aisle. And, nobody was winning anything, those native-Americans who run the casino laughing all the way to the bank!

Casino people are smoking people and have Elvis pictures at home!
We got party hats and little horns and then the free champagne came out. Little did I know it was Brut "Fre."  Non-alcoholic!  Yuk!  Brut with no poop! My buddy and I were there and took it all in, many drinks of the non-alcoholic bubbly and didn't get hangovers.

My resolution for New Years is to lose weight. I have gained some since my folks died, and it's from the grief.  Now that it is subsiding, I need to drop some pounds.

So I decided, since I work at a hospital gym, I am going to take ZUMBA!!!

Come on Jimmy, lift those legs and arms!
What did I get into the other night?  AH MY GAD! 

It was fast, I mean, REALLY fast! Jimmy about died!  Heart rate up, sweat everywhere, dancing, going crazy! Women around me were fast, and I was like a bloated duck.

I got a cramp in my leg, then another in my side, and then kept going while drinking water.

I found you have to stretch before you do this class, who knew? 

Next week I am going to try again, but stretch.  I have stuck to my resolution, what is yours?