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Sunday, December 27, 2015

T'was The Day or Two After Christmas 2015

And so it goes...the holiday comes rushing in and then even more quickly it moves on into the history or herstory pages.

I expected to be happy in our new home with or without decorations and sharing dinner with our friend and her pups. I anticipated feeling Momma's absence as the 24th passed without her for the second time. That evening was always very special to me. It was "our" time. It is "my" time now. Not so festive or warm or fun. Reflective though, I found I remembered so many holidays with her and with both parents. Things I hadn't thought of in a long time were running around in my head. Funny things, sweet things and just mundane, ordinary things. Christmas with the parents was traditional and yet always open for new things. Just as it should be, I believe.

For us, now, it is a day without the kids and their kids. A day we text or phone or FaceTime or all three before the three days pass. Christmas Eve, Christmas and my birthday have become the three day holiday. It is now different, not bad, just different. 

We do Christmas with the kids on Thanksgiving with those who can join. It's a nice compromise and it was so much fun this year, it carried me through to the real Christmas. I missed everyone, but not in a weepy or depressed way, just accepted this new way of doing Christmas and was happy going about our preparations for guests. Dinner and company was so pleasant. We did just fine. Merry Christmas was enjoyed here.

My birthday had many moments of eye leakage thinking of all the silly things Momma and Roomy and I had done in the past to celebrate the day she had her last baby and the day I ruined Christmas dinner! It was 1949. So lucky to have so many birthdays with her in our home or before that, in her home. 64 of them with her; 2 without her, so far. I really miss her. I think it's getting a bit less frequent, but when the pain hits me, it's debilitating and I cannot fight it off. I am sure it will remain this way. She was a force in my life and some of my life was completely about being her baby. I miss that, too. 

Today, the day after the three day holiday, I am still very wrapped up in memories of her. Good ones and heart wrenching ones. The tears have been on and off all day and I feel almost empty now as night approaches. It's as though my soul has just realized that this is my new normal and it is not pleased. Nothing in my life can be as it was before September 2014. Everything is changed. Some things are good and the change is easy. Others are difficult. Like my own and her birthday. Both are very painful. 

I feel so blessed to have such wonderful people around me that keep me smiling and keep me in the now. I have to live in my now because that's who I am. It's a little more of a challenge on these days, but I am doing it. I think my kids and my friends understand and make an extra effort. If not, it feels that way to me. My husband doesn't seem to notice, I'm glad of that because he can't fix it and would try. I'm pretty good at grieving on my own in private and in prayer for more strength to face these days with memories.

As I sit here in my new home, Roomy dozes across the way, Miggy is crashed on the back porch and I alone am not listening to the news and writing. This is a good time. It's quiet. I'm ignoring the yapping of the local news guy and am immersed in my own thoughts, which you are reading. I like this feeling of mind purging and the hope that another grieving person will read this and feel less alone. Maybe even get a little strength knowing that lost love really does change you forever on so many levels and that's okay. I've said before that I loved my dad and have missed him everyday since his death in 1978. That is true, but Momma and I were so much more than mother and child. More than friends and much more than care-giver and patient. We were connected by our hearts. We still are. We will always be. It is a different loss. The kind of loss that is forever painful. The kind of love that is priceless. And price for having had that is this never-ending ache.

The one thing that keeps me out of the dark place I might want to fall into sometimes, is that I know how much she loved me. I know how safe and content she is now. I know how young and happy she is now and I know she is with Dad. My faith restores me daily and my God never lets go of my hand. I never walk alone. ~Amen.

Jo




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

VETERAN'S DAY ~ 2015



Look around you. Do you see a Veteran? If you are out in public, chances are good there is one near you. From some long ago war, from a peacetime, from the Viet Nam era. It’s hard to spot them, but they are among us daily. And the newer conflicts have produced an entire generation of new vets. The younger Afghanistan or Iraqi vets. The Desert Storm vets. A whole new class of heroes. A huge part of our society has given that same pledge to serve, at all costs, to protect at all sacrifice, the country they love; The United States of America. 

The contract they each signed gave their lives to their country for the stated amount of time. 

Read that again. “Gave their lives”…100%…some gave that. Some gave their body parts. Some gave their mental health. All, however, who wore that uniform identifying them as property of the USA, gave their time for the security of ours. They belonged to their government for the amount of time they enlisted to serve or were drafted to serve. They lived every day of that service as property of their government. 



Now tell me, how do you thank that person?

Every year I try. I put fingers to keyboard and I find words to say that I appreciate, admire and respect this who served. I look for a way to be humble and spew gratitude on the page. I never quite find enough. There isn’t enough. It’s a gift these vets gave me and to you. It’s a gift because we didn’t earn it. This is why a “Thank you” and a special day to honor those who have served and are still among us, is a particularly good time to make that effort.

Veteran’s Day. The day we separate the current military and the deceased military from those who have proudly and eagerly served and are now discharged from service. Those who walk beside us daily enjoying the freedom they fought or served to ensure. Bless them, every single one of them. 

Buy them lunch, coffee, a beer or anything else you can afford at every opportunity. With a simple handshake, nod of the head and a “Thank you for your service.”

God bless the American Veterans. And Thank you for your sacrifices.

Humbly submitted,
Jo Heroux


Thursday, September 17, 2015

One Year Later




I believe since passing the first anniversary, I have truly turned a big corner. I can't think of a better descriptive phrase.
I find memories are making me smile, rather than cry. I understand on a deep level that I did survive a year without seeing her face, touching her tiny hands or hearing her sounds. She made a lot of little sounds. I still really miss her. I still feel a little lost in this world without her. I also know she is in my mirror, in my heart, in my words often and all around me in her possessions. I am settled in her absence now rather than upset by it. I know she is strong and happy and has found her reward. She will be waiting for me.
I will run to her.
For the days I have left, I will try to be the loving child she raised. I will try to forgive and move on from hurt. I will encourage my children and grandchildren endlessly, as she encouraged me. I will find strength when it appears nonexistent, as she did many times.
I will celebrate and honor her by being the best me I can create.
I will live in the now and count my blessings rather than pine away or wish away my numbered earthly days.

Jo



��JoJo

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Eight Happy Pictures!

Den of the Beastly Bear-Joe

Two blogs in one day...it's his challenge^^^and I took it!

Anyway he challenged me to post eight pictures of happiness. So here we go...


Cooking makes me happy. Especially new recipes! 


This man being the grandpa! They all call him Punkin. I really love that.


Jake...yeah he makes me smile.

The Heroux family...being part of this... :)

My little girl holding my little boy's son. What a pair

My little girl's daughters + friend! Happy Days!!

Being one of them ^^^it's a good thing.

My little boy's little girl. She is very funny!!


So all of these are happy things and I have many more happy things in my life. This was a fun challenge.Here are the guidelines for the eight photos of happiness bloghop:
  1. Tag me in your post.
  2. Link to the creator of the tag. In this case Vidya Sury!
  3. Show off your own 8 photos of happiness and have fun picking them!
  4. You can add a little description of the photos or just let the photos speak for themselves. Easy!
  5. Tag others. Essentially, spread the happiness and make the world a better place!
I am happy to tag the following bloggers! 
No pressure, but imagine actually refusing to have fun!
1) Keri - November Rain
2) Kat - Karen Taylor
3) Susan Cook Bonifant
4) That Susan Williams


Now Go Have Fun!  and comment before you leave, okay? And don't forget to tag me on your post and link back? 

Jo






BIRTH and DEATH DATES




It began for me in 1967. February 2, to be exact. We were in the midst of an enormous snow storm. It had dumped 3 feet of snow the week before and each day following added a few inches more making travel very difficult. Our beloved dog had taken ill and we managed to get him to the vet some 15 miles away between storms. They were doing an exploratory exam of some kind and while he was under a mild anesthetic, the doctor called to tell me, his 17 year old “sister” that he was dying of an obstruction. He wanted permission to euthanize him. He was 14. I had no memory of life without him and I loved him as much as any human in my life. I asked for a few minutes to decide because the roads again were not passable and I couldn’t get there. Mom and I decided not to allow him to wake up only to be put under again. He died that day in the vet’s office without us.

Three days later I was engaged to be married in October. That’s how some people think you get passed heartbreak, by moving on to something wonderful. For me, it didn’t work. I was happy to accept the engagement as a good thing, but it did nothing to fill my heart where Smokey lived and still 48 years later, lives this vital part of my childhood.

In 1969, a mere two years later, I gave birth to my first child on February 2.

My dad became ill in September of 1978. He was hospitalized for 7 weeks and passed from a fungal infection on his brain, a complication of aplastic anemia. He was 56 years old when he passed on October 23, 1978.

My daughter has two daughters. I am lucky enough to say that I was there, in Nashville, in time to see the cord cut on the first one on November 2, 1999 and the entire labor and delivery of her baby girl on October 22, 2001. Just a day short of the anniversary of Dad’s passing.

My second child was born on September 9, 1970. A day free from any sadness or any memory other than the time Dad was hospitalized, but the day itself, was entirely his own. It is one week exactly after his step-father’s birthday and easy to remember now.

Last year, 2014, my Momma passed at 2 a.m. on September 9. Two hours earlier and she would have missed his birthday. His birthday is still so special to me that in my heart I feel I lost Momma the day before. It was the middle of the night. That Monday was my last day with her. That goodnight, I love you, see you in the morning, was Monday, September 8, 2014. This memory and this perception allows his birthday to still belong to him. I am, today reliving my last day, normal in every way, with her. She was very sleepy and napped in this very chair where I now sit writing this, on and off all day. She ate her lunch and half of her dinner. We talked and we laughed in between naps. We sat on the deck for a few minutes in the warmth of the afternoon. We talked about taking John out for his birthday. She wasn’t sure if she was up to that because after work dinners were hard for her. It was a normal day. It was a day burned now in my mind, my heart and my prayers. I am so glad I didn’t know. There was no real warning. There was no illness. There was no suffering. She simply got up between 1:30, when I went to bed, and 2 am, when she called my name two times. When I saw her collapse in the hallway outside my room and where I held her as she slipped away into God’s care and Dad’s waiting arms. Where I felt, heard and tried to hold onto that last exhale. Where I cried and rocked and loved her into the next adventure. Where I began to let her go.  That was Monday in my mind. It was Monday in my heart and still is.

This past March Mike and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary in Michigan with his family at the funeral home. We were celebrating his oldest brother’s life. He passed a few days before. 

My paternal grandmother passed on her own birthday which fell on Thanksgiving.

I lost a wonderful friend and writing mentor to heart disease the night after the birth of our only grandson and in the hospital right next door.

And last on this strange list…Sadie, our furbaby of 13 years died this year on Elvis’ birthday. A day I used to celebrate with his music.

The circle of life has been pounded into me most of my adult life, as you can see. 

I wonder, am I the only person this seems to happen to? Do any of you have lists like this? 

Please share your stories, if you have them.  


Jo

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Longing...Revisited

On this day in 2011, I wrote on this subject. I wrote how I don't spend my life longing for things past nor for future things. I wrote how I visit my memories and dream my dreams, but I live in the now. I do.

Today, however, I am not that same person. 

Life changes us and my life has drastically changed me in the last four years. Then I lived in Michigan. I had two furbabies and my momma lived 2 miles down the road. I took care of their needs and I worked a couple days a week in the salon. My Roomy worked full time and we were busy people with good lives.

Four years. What a difference such a short time can make. We now live in Florida with one surviving furbaby and Momma has been gone for a week shy of a year. Sadie has been gone a week shy of 8 months. We have been in our new home a little more than a week shy of 8 months. The few months following the death of Momma and again or still following Sadie's death, I longed. I longed for the ache to leave me. I longed for the happiness of how blessed I still was to be enough. I longed for a time of peace that didn't hurt. That time has finally come.

I do not long for things past. I miss them, I remember with love and appreciation all things past and all the loves I've been blessed with, but I don't long for those days because it would only bring darkness into my day. I am where I am meant to be and I am the person I am meant to be. I am, once again, in the Light. I am a blessing to some and a source of irritation to others. A curse, if you will. 

The person I am now is not as grounded. I am not as useful to anyone. I don't really have a purpose now. I have a life. I take our senior pup, Jake to the Doc as needed and make sure he has what medication makes him pain free and able to function and be a happy boy. Then I look at my children and grandchildren and I know that they were and are my real reason for being. I was given life to honor my parents, siblings and give birth to extraordinary people who gave birth to more extraordinary people. Maybe one of them will be President one day. Maybe one will inherit my ability to love without conditions. Maybe they all will.

The heartaches I've endured have been to teach me humility and gratitude. Lessons I have learned and live comfortably with now. I am nothing special and the world will go on just fine when I am gone, but I am loved by enough people that I will be missed and remembered. The sound of my voice is still comforting to some and my ear for listening and maybe sharing encouragement is still requested. That's who I am now. And my writings will keep me alive for those who come after I have moved on.

I am also a voice for the four legged house pets people take in and then drop off at the shelters or neighborhoods because they are too much trouble or expense. I advocate with my writing and my actions for furbabies to be family and loved and IN your home with the rest of your family. I preach good nutrition and not grocery store dog/cat food. Homemade or high quality food made in the US under controlled conditions, purchased through independent pet stores or online from the sources. Your babies are worth it and their health is all you can give them besides love and shelter. 

So longing? No, I don't have time for that. I'm too busy now with retirement and finding out what I want to do with the rest of my days. I may just spend them enjoying the fruits of my labor, but I will for certain not be spending them longing for something I cannot have or already had.

Four years later I am still longing only to live.

Jo


Monday, August 3, 2015

SUNDAY AFTERNOON THOUGHTS

It's sunny and it's warm and there's a nice breeze. I should be so happy today. It's my perfect kind of day and I am in Florida in the house that screamed "Home" to us when we first walked through last November. This is the life I have thought of and dreamed of for so many years and it is now MY LIFE everyday. But today, it's just not enough.

I can't shake the heaviness today. It's August 2. Oldest son's birthday and he is in Tennessee. The other boy's birthdays will be here shortly and they are in Michigan. Then the grandkids birthdays start again. We have already missed four of them. Two of them are in Seattle, so we're used to missing those. The other four will all happen from September to November and we'll miss those, too.

That's part of the heaviness. The rest is harder to fix. Eventually we may be able to be at all the birthdays or at the very least visit each family for one of them alternating each year.

Today I pulled out a bunch of paperwork that previously I didn't want to take the time to go through. Some was ours and some was from Momma's move from the apartment to our house. I had put it all in an easy to access spot for sorting one day and today was that day.

I found insurance papers I had forgotten about for this house. Reminding me that both house and car will be due in December for 
renewal. UGH  I found pictures that were Momma's and I had put them in an envelope when I packed that sort of thing to move her. Other pics were in that envelope that I don't even remember seeing for years. Don't know when they were stuck in there or maybe they were already in there and I added the rest? Who knows. But I enjoyed seeing them and remembering.

I also found a big bag of cards. I am not a card saver. I didn't think  was, but apparently over the years I have saved a few. I read every one and cried over the memory of most. Many were from Momma. With handwritten thank you, love you so much, how do you do it all, what would I do without you...messages. The cards were mostly mushy and lovingly chosen. I was with her as she bought cards and each one was selected with love and lots of attention to the message. Sometimes funny and sometimes just so perfectly worded it was as though she ordered them. I became lost in my own past. I stayed lost for a few hours. I saved each of these cards because I won't ever get another one. I was lost in all that I lost. I was lost in all that I had and for a few minutes, I had her back. I was one with her thoughts. I could see her signing and sealing each one and then running her hand over the front, which had the name of the recipient, with a sort of hug. I saw her do this so many times. I was completely transported to the time when she still was.

 I miss her every day. She walks through my mind every day. My thoughts are never far from "when" or "that day" or "she said" or "she needs" or "guess what she did?" My life is so different now. My days are not structured by any means. I'm not a routine person anymore. Sometimes I don't even get groceries; I just pick up what I need and do it again a couple days later. I used to have a laundry day or days, now I do laundry when my basket is full. I seldom even know what day it is and I don't care because they're all the same.

So for those of you who thought I was really doing well with my grief, I am, usually. I am almost always reasonably happy and managing each day with joy. However, these days, like today, I am a mess and I am truly lost in my own pain and sorrow. I believed I would be much stronger by now, 11 months next week, and maybe even smiling all the time I think of her. I want that. She is smile worthy. Her memory and her affect on my life is smile worthy. But the pain is still in control. The days that I miss her the most are just there when I wake up and seem to stay for a couple of days. Again, I've said this so often, the depth of pain might equal the depth of love. 

Rest easy Momma, I'll get this under control one day at a time. I miss you and will carry you in my heart always. There is no other way.

Jo