Monday, September 29, 2008

The first time

1. Who was your FIRST prom date?A girl named Kay
2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?No
3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?gin and 7 Up. What did I know at age 12.
4. What was your FIRST job?mowing lawns
5. What was your FIRST car?mint green 54 Plymouth Savoy
6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?I don’t text
7. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?Professor; wondering if she made it home okay.
8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?Mrs. Dustin
9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?San Francisco 47 years ago in a 4 motor prop
10. Who was your FIRST best friend, and are you still friends with him / her?Ronnie-nope
11. Who was your FIRST kiss?Bertie
12. Where was your FIRST sleep over?Probably Grandma’s.
13. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?Julianne
14. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?Jan’s. I was an acolyte.
15. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?got out of bed
16. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?Ray Boltz, then Billy Joel
17. FIRST tattoo or piercing?left ear lobe, still contemplating a tattoo
18. FIRST foreign country you went to?Canada
19. First movie you remember seeing in the theater? Peter Pan
20. When was your FIRST detention?Didn’t have such a thing when I was in school.
21. What was the FIRST state you lived in?Indiana
22. Who was the FIRST person to really break your heart? Linda
23. Who was your first roommate?Other than my brother and parents, my college roomie, Tom
24. With whom was your FIRST date?Bertie

Friday, September 26, 2008

To My Darlin' Daughter!!!

"Happy Birthday to you,"
"Happy Birthday to you,"
"Happy Birthday dear Proffy,"
"Happy Birthday to you."
Have a good one!
JE aka Prof's Daddy

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Like Sand Through the Hourglass of Life

It's been a year since my world, as I knew it, came crashing down around my shoulders. My beloved wife of 38 years was gone. After struggling for what must have seemed forever to her, with multiple health problems, God called her home. Thus, began my new journey into unfamiliar territory called "alone."

This journey that I have been on has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. It has been filled with highs and lows. The lows far out number the highs, but the speed with which this year has passed is phenomenal.

The day after Tilly's funeral, I rode back to Texas with my brother and sister-in-law. There I began the grieving process. They both were super to me, spending time listening to me, crying with me and, too, giving me time alone to think and write. (Before I left, Professor had given me a journal.) I relaxed in the sun and got refreshed, but all too soon it was time to return to the reality back home.

Tilly had always handled the day-to-day running of the house. I had no idea when the bills were due, where to mail stuff, or even what the password to our on-line banking account was. I wasn't sure what was in the cupboards or freezer either. I learned quickly! And I am proud to say that the utility bills and insurance premiums have all been kept current and paid on time. I have had to deal with the mountains of debt incurred during those last days that Tilly was in the ICU unit at the hospital in Ft. Wayne. My mind is still reeling at the exorbitant fees that doctors charge for just walking into a patient's room. The hospital bill alone edged very closely to $100,000. This didn't count the numerous doctors and technicians who bill seperately. I am truly grateful for the medical insurance that we carried. And I advise everyone out there to make sure you have adequate life insurance. We didn't! I will be paying off the funeral expenses for a long time to come.

Along with all the "stuff" I have already talked about, I have learned about grief. The grief that enveloped me was huge. One minute I was thinking, "Oh, I can handle this," and the next minute I was racked with tears and feelings of darkness and despair; a loneliness that was and still is indescribable. I equate it with being in a dark tunnel with no light at the end, stumbling along not able to see or feel anything.

"First" are not pleasant either, but friends and family seem to make them happen. Cousins had me at their home for Thanksgiving. My children were at my house for Christmas. Somehow, we all made it through that holiday, but the pain was there right below the surface for us all. Mom was missing! New Years Eve was spent with my friends da Hubes, and I had a good time, despite the feeling of being a "lone wolf." Valentine's Day came and went . I looked at the cards with longing and a heavy heart. Suddenly the romance was gone from my life. Would I ever feel that way again? On Tilly's birthday, I made a wreath for her grave. I also had Lil Bro and Sistah over for dinner. I fixed Tilly's favorites, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. We toasted her memory. I remember, too, how weird it was to write the word "widower" on a form for the first time. But that was "me" now. Get used to it!

On the advice of my family doctor, I have joined a grief recovery and healing group. This group has helped me a lot. I realize now that I am not the only one who has ever been through this life-altering experience. I realize that it's okay to cry, and it's okay to laugh. I have learned that it is good to talk about my grief, and to talk about my life with Tilly. It's okay to feel anger, and sadness; basically, it's okay to feel the way I do at any given moment. And believe me, those feelings change all the time.

Through all of this, my family has been so very supportive. At first, both of my children called me daily; just to check in and see that I was okay. My Texas and Ohio family called frequently to touch base and give me words of encouragement. Now that it's been a year, I think my kids have relaxed and know that Dad is doing alright most days, and that I'm not leaving them anywhere in the near future. I spend lots of time with my son and daughter-in-law, and now my new granddaughter. They fill a great void for me and I admit I would be lost without them. I email Professor almost daily and we call back and forth across the miles between here and Montana often. I know they care...that's the most important thing right now.

My friends have been there for me and have seen me through some of the toughest of times. Of course, some of the couples that Tilly and I did things with have distanced themselves and that's only natural. Others have become closer than ever before. With them, I can laugh, cry, and just be myself.

My faith has been tested this last year. Why not! I have wondered why Tilly died. I have asked God, "Why me," in my moments of darkest despair. But, when I talk to others and they mention losing a loved one, I know I didn't "lose" Tilly. I know exactly where she is. I find tremendous comfort in knowing that she is now pain-free and I picture her singing in a heavenly choir. My pastors and my church family have played an important part in my reaching this point in my acceptance. They have been nurturing, kind and loving. I could not have reached this point without them. I still am singing. It's one of the things that brings me joy. Tilly was my biggest fan, and I can feel her nudging me to continue, even when I would rather stay home.

A year later I am still in the grieving stage. I probably will always grieve. But I am more at ease with the grief. I understand it more each day. That tunnel I mentioned earlier is still dark, but there are days that I catch a glimpse of light at the end. Even though it is dim, or at best just a flicker, it gives me hope.

Peace and Hope,

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Yardwork Challenge

If you have ever noticed in my blog, I have stated that yardwork is not really my forte. I do it, but I don't like it very well. With fall now upon us in Area 52, it's time to cut back the perinnials, trim up the bushes and mow the grass, blowing the leaves that have already fallen into the driveway and then sweeping them into a trash bag.

So, after church, I come home, don my "wife beater" tee shirt, old shorts, and my yard shoes. I get out the weed eater, hedge trimmers, pruners, and shears. And the mower. I like to weed eat before I mow so I can pick up the debris in the grassbag of my mower. I did the back yard. I did the side yard and along the front sidewalk. I decided that my spirea bush needed to be trimmed so I got the hedge trimmers, which are electric like my weed eater. I change the cords around, and began. All is going well. I have about two more cuts to make on the bush, and suddenly my trimmers quit. They are borrowed from Aunt Alice, and I certainly didn't want to ruin them, so upon investigation, I discovered that I had cut my best 50' outdoor cord in two. Glad I didn't get shocked, but pissed that I ruined my chord, I finished up trimming by hand. Then I mowed. Then I restacked my stone wall at the entrance to the alley that runs by my house. The neighbors insist on hitting it every once in a while, and knocking it down. This is an ongoing concern, but if I didn't have it there, people would just keep driving up in my yard and would kill the plantings that I have out there. By this time, I am hot, tired and hungry. I put all the tools away and come in. I go into the bathroom to rinse off my feet and legs, and no lights work. The lights in my laundry room don't work. So, down to the basement I go. I find the breaker that runs the outside plug, reset it, and "VOILA" the lights come back on.

I need to go to the grocery. My milk is gone past due date, the bread in my bread box is green. I noshed on crackers and apple butter, and some microwave oatmeal, and a diet coke. I found some grapes in my fridge that were still alright, and ate those. Right now, I think I will grab a cold beer, and sit on my butt and cool down and maybe take a nap. I have had enough of a challenge from Mother Nature for one day. The back yard will have to wait until tomorrow, for "tomorrow is another day."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Face Lift

I felt like I needed a change. As much as the other blog face was "me" I felt like a change. I wish I could design my own. If anyone out ther knows how, let me know. I like this one and it is much easier to read. Besides that, change is good. Hope everyone likes it. By the way, I have been trying to put together a blog posting of several pictures in a row of my favorite singers. I want to call it Musical Monday. But I keep getting "error on page" when I upload more than two pictures. Maybe I can figure it out, or maybe someone out there can help me out.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I am Grandpa again!

Today, folks, I became Grandpa for the second time. I spent numerous hours sitting in the waiting room waiting, with my son and daughter-in-law just down the hall. It took about 15 hours, but little Kinzie Madelyn was finally born. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 14ozs. and was 20" long. This was quite a feat for Sistah, cause she isn't a very big gal. This is their first child. Mom and baby are doing fine, and Daddy was a real trooper. He was beaming. He called his sister, the Professor, and I heard him say, "My daughter is here." My baby is now a daddy. My how time flies. This brought back some very fond memories of when my children were born. It also was a bittersweet time. With Tilly gone almost a year now, and a new life being born. Isn't it funny how the "circle of life" works?
Peace and Hope...much Hope!