Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


3 Comments

And Whiskers on Kittens…

For those of you that have followed my blogs for a while, you know that last year right before Christmas, we lost another cat. It was the fourth one, with three of them being just since Tim was diagnosed. We decided as much as we love kitties, our hearts couldn’t afford to be broken anymore.

This year I was having a more difficult time than usual knowing what to get Frankie for Christmas. All he wanted was gift cards. That’s fine, but I didn’t have any gifts for him to open under the tree. I started thinking about how a new kitten might make life a little brighter in our house. We have been a bit “dead” the last few months. Plus, I have been struggling with my distant relationship with Frankie and having a kitten downstairs would probably draw him out more. Maybe getting a kitten rather than a cat might make a difference as far as health and longevity. I would still rescue one from a shelter, but maybe get a young one…

Then I would talk myself out of it. I know Frankie would love it, but who am I kidding? I will be the one to clean the litter, feed her, take her to the vet, etc. I can barely keep up with laundry so why add more work?

But I went to the shelter anyway the day before Christmas Eve. Funny how things work out. There was no one in there with us but the volunteers. Turns out I had met her before when selling my first book. She remembered me. A gray kitten caught my eye. But then the one underneath kept batting at us. We got them both out to play.

I asked her how people ever decide. I wanted to take all of them home with me. Then she made the death statement. “I will give you two for one today.”

Damn.

I could barely talk myself into one. No way I can take two of them. People tell me that cats do better in pairs. They keep each other company and all that jazz. Then I even had the morbid thought that if one of them died, at least the other one would be there. Turns out, Frankie made that exact statement to me later. But the truth of the matter is, it didn’t really have anything to do with that. I just couldn’t bear to leave them in their cages. Besides, who am I to argue with a bargain?

While I was filling out the paperwork, about 15 people literally started filing in to look at cats and kittens. I guess it was meant to be. If they had been in there earlier, it probably would not have even crossed my mind to adopt two. But there wasn’t another family in sight while I was deciding.

Christmas Eve after church, we were driving home and I told Frankie he was getting a gift early and it was going to be a surprise. Not knowing was killing him. He pounded me with questions but I led him down the wrong path and let him guess in the wrong direction. I had Colin videotape his reaction when we walked into the living room with the babies.

Now, for you conservative and reasonable parents, you may think this next part was awful. But I got it and it cracked me up. Frankie was stunned. Then he slowly said, “H..O..L..Y S..H..I..T!” He was delighted. And thrilled.

IMG_1149

Meet Matilda (on left) and Herbie (on right). Not my choice of names, but Frankie is the boss on this one.

We had a big windstorm during the night. Taffy (our dog) freaked out all night. Between him and the kittens, no one but my dad got a wink of sleep so we were exhausted Christmas morning. If I wanted to change the dynamic of the house, I was most certainly successful. But they are precious!

As I’m blogging, I am in the hospital with Matthew and his wife. My daughter-in-law is in labor with their first baby. No action yet, but I will be sure to keep you posted. The winds of change are blowing…

Advertisements


1 Comment

Thanks, Lisa!

I have been thinking about how negative my thoughts (and therefore my blogs) have been lately, but honestly have had a hard time coming up with anything positive. Then I got this email today and cried my eyes out. Some of you may remember a blog quite a while ago that was written by David Breth. He wrote a very moving story about taking our Frankie to a hockey game while Tim was sick. I included it in the second book (which came out last week) with his permission. I joke with him all the time because his writing got more response from the editors than mine! Anyhow, I saw his wife yesterday and she bought the new book and sent me this incredible email and gave me permission to share it with you.

“I bought your book to give to David. I knew I wanted to read it too…but WOW! It is soooo good! You are AMAZING! I knew I would have a hard time reading it, but knew I would anyhow. I just didn’t think it would be so fast and I didn’t think it would be now, just seven days till Christmas! I started it last night during my daughter’s piano lesson and only planned to read the introduction…but I could not stop. I finished 38 pages during her 30 minute lesson! I should also tell you, I was looking forward to reading a book I had just renewed at the library, since I was just getting to a very exciting part of the book. So much for my plans. As soon as I started reading yours, I was transported back to those last few months with Tim, and the months after losing him. Not only do I remember reading the blogs when you first wrote them, I remember all those “moments” in your and Frankie’s life too.

I went to bed too late last night – almost ruined the surprise by telling David I wanted to go read more of your book, but managed to keep it hidden. Today I don’t go in to work till 1 pm and I got to stay in bed and read. Ok, so now I am starting at page 38 and you guessed it. I read David’s telling of the hockey game. Mind you I have read it before, talked to him and you about it, lived through it, and even laughed at how jealous you are of the way everyone calls attention to it. But I bawled my eyes out reading it! I can just hear him telling the story in his voice with all the crazy sayings and wincing yet again at his choice of the words about Frankie “chirping”… but it was so good. Thank you for including it and giving me the perfect gift for him for Christmas!

Keep in mind just yesterday I was trashing him (and all men) at work about how they do hardly anything at Christmas to get ALL THE THINGS done that everyone expects done during the holiday season. And how hard it is to get it all done while they sleep on the couch or chair each night! But in my heart, I know my husband is one of the GOOD GUYS and he will be responsible for all the special moments on Christmas day…and still continue to surprise and delight me and the kids. Thanks for reminding me of that.

I am so proud of him for “being there” for you and Frankie and so grateful you feel and know that! It is something that is so important to him and me that you all know that we as a family love and support you! Whether it is just listening when you call to just “vent” or taking you away on that tough weekend each year to be silly and crazy for a “MOM Break.” We are so grateful to be part of your family and support network. You have taught my kids more by just being you during the pain and loss, and moving on in grief than you will ever know. You CAN DO THIS! Because you are doing this! There may be stumbling blocks, and life is crazy, but you keep going with a smile on your face- and lots of warm hugs too! I am so amazed that you continue to find ways to speak about this to many others whether one on one or in your seminars… and do it so well. When I was a Youth Minister there was a saying- you may never see the garden made of the seeds you are planting, but it will be beautiful! It made working with moody and sometimes difficult teens a little easier. And since then I have been lucky enough to see some of the “seeds” I helped plant, make those same teens into wonderful adults and parents!

You are going to help so many more than just those of us lucky enough to be in your support network. Your beautiful and honest words of how loss and grief “SUCKS” will help so many. You are truly a “GIFT” to my family and me, and I look forward to hearing how much of a “GIFT” your honesty and bluntness will help so many others! The garden you are planting with the “seeds” of wisdom in this book is going to be the most beautiful garden ever…with a hummingbird watching over it!

SO SO Proud of you! This book is even better than the first! And sorry to tell you…I still think there will be more books in you. I know how you agonize over every word, the editing process, and Baby Coop Publishing, but it is worth it! It’s WONDERFUL!”

Lisa, looks like there are at least two writers in your family. I can’t thank you enough. This second book was a struggle and I second-guessed myself all the way through it, no pun intended. I am humbled, and grateful. And my blog readers are thankful for the boost in spirit :)!


4 Comments

Common Sense… A Lost Art?

I really don’t want my signature blog to be about complaints. And yet the things that motivate me to write lately, seem to be about things that irritate me. Do you have any stories you want to add? Here are some of mine from the last 24 hours.

Last night I went to my favorite karaoke place. I don’t get to go much anymore but I used to be a weekly regular. I was saying to someone that I wasn’t too thrilled with the bartender. The last time I was in the there he was friendly and fun. Yesterday he acted like he didn’t even know who I was. Just gave me a bad feeling. But the kicker was the end of the night. Bottom line, my bill was a whole $7.50. I gave him $22 and asked him if he could bring me a ten back. Now, that is about a 70% tip. 70%!! He came back with a five and five dollar bills. Waiters do that all the time. We know why they do it- they are expecting a tip and want you to have change to do it. I don’t really have a problem with that. I actually almost count on it sometimes.

But after I already gave him a 70% tip? I was incredulous. I thought maybe he misunderstood or didn’t know what the bill was. I asked him if he got the tip I already gave him and he just said yes and stared at me. I couldn’t believe it. I was disgusted. He gave me crappy service to begin with, I over-tipped him anyway in light of the Christmas spirit, and then he had the balls to imply he wanted more. I cussed all the way home.

Today started out great as well. I’ve already mentioned I’m burning the candle at both ends so I don’t appreciate a bunch of nonsense added to an already daunting list. Frankie’s bus came over 30 minutes late this morning. The roads were pretty bad. I got a call from the school later that said Frankie was absent from school. If you are a parent, you know what that does to your heart. I called administration and politely but firmly asked them if they thought their policy made sense to take attendance before their buses even arrived. She thought that was probably a bad idea and patched me through to the proper school office.

The next woman I talked to was brilliant. I asked her the same question and I was told they extended homeroom but took attendance anyway. Frankie’s teacher called the office later and said he was at school so he had already been marked “present” (like that was the important part). I still suggested that perhaps they should indefinitely postpone attendance- or at the very least- postpone calling parents and alarming them until after all the buses had arrived. It was great that they changed their sheet of paper, but did it not occur to them to call back the parents they had called prematurely and apologize for their mistake? Her response was to ignore me so I hung up on her.

Really. How about some common sense?

Reminds me of a few of the chapters in my second book when I talk about some of the craziness I had to deal with, with different agencies after Tim died. By the way, it got released this week!! Check it out when you get a chance. It’s called “Life After Death, On This Side of Heaven.”

Anyhow, I never used to get mad about stuff. Or if I did, I just made the best of it. Now I verbalize my responses. Some would say, “Good for you.” If you are that special guy in my life, you would even say, “You’re welcome” because he has taught me the benefits of anger and sticking up for myself… lol. But I’m sure lots of people would tell me to chill out (no pun intended). Feel free to comment, but beware. If you fall in the latter category, you might just get a call from me :). Just kidding… (sorta).


2 Comments

December Madness

Who doesn’t have a bit of lunacy in their life during the month of December? I know I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. This morning I woke up and thought I must have burned my proverbial fingertips from doing it one day longer than I could handle.

Thanks to Snovember (actually, my friend said it was more like Snopocalypse) the last couple of weeks have lots of added time spent in cleaning up the messes. Trying to clean up frozen leaves and repair frozen lawn patches was pretty much futile. The inside of the house has been chaos. You know how it is when you are doing repairs. Drop cloths, pans, brushes, sanders, blah blah blah are everywhere.

While I was looking for supplies, I realized I had about two million paint cans in my basement. In all my brilliancy, I thought it was a perfect time to get those organized and patch up all the spots around my house that I’ve ignored. I patched about 10 nail holes in my stairway, sanded, patched, sanded and was finally ready for painting. Yippee. But then I discovered the paint had dried up. Now I have big patched spots that can no longer be ignored.

That’s ok though. An organized, Type A like me has dutifully kept a computer record of every freaking paint formula that has ever been used in my house. I just dreaded making my 60th trip to Home Depot for the week. Guess what? They have changed over paint systems. Doesn’t matter how much information you have, the formulas and names have all been altered so there is no way to re-create the color. Are you freaking kidding me?

Poor Colin had to dig through the garbage and find the can. While I was out doing other fruitless, dead-end errands, he brought the old can to Home Depot for me. When I got back there, I found out they were able to dig up enough old paint to do a color match. Still haven’t done it even though I have the paint now. I can’t believe how the days fly by. I am busy from 6 AM til 10 PM every night but the list never seems to get smaller. Can you relate?

That’s just one story. I could write about a dozen more. So on top of Christmas shopping, having Christmas at my house this year, repairing the house and yard from storms, and owning four businesses, I also am trying to release my second book. You may wonder why I would time it for now. Am I glutton for punishment? Well, considering that my original release date was in March, I’m just a tiny bit behind the eight ball… LOL.

The graphic artist is changing the last five errors I found now as I write. Still hoping to get it downloaded before the 5 PM Friday deadline. Otherwise, they are closed on the weekends so we are looking at next week.

But hey, I am an expert on cutting and pasting, so all is not lost. I have very long to-do lists that I know how to cut from today’s date and paste them on tomorrow’s date. Is that skill marketable?