Tag Archives: parents

Going out on a limb… part 6.

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This will be the last  I never knew River was such a loon unexplained experienced post. Strange things happen, and sometimes you have to blog about them. Which is what I did after my mother passed…. and now again because  Swinged Cat  asked me.

Weird event #6.

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Wow.

Added: Wednesday, July 9th 2014 at 8:54am by rivergirl

I have one more amazing experience to share with you, and for me…this was the most meaningful.

As I’ve said before, the people who work and volunteer at hospices are angels in my eyes. A more compassionate, caring set of individuals you’ll never meet. They were there for me at the worst time of my life…. even when I didn’t think I needed them. They walked me through the process of death and held my hand. Literally and figuratively. They offered a shoulder to cry on and a hug when words weren’t nearly enough. They shared their stories of helping others through difficult times and it ended up helping me.

One woman told me of a patient who had terminal prostate cancer. He was given 3 months to live and was surrounded by his large, loving, Italian family at all times. They came in rotating shifts, cooked meals, read books and played cards. One afternoon while his favorite grand daughter was visiting he told her he was a little tired and wanted to take a nap. She said, “Okay Gramps. But we’ll be right outside when you need us because we’re not leaving you for a minute.” 10 minutes later, forgetting her purse in his room, she snuck back in quietly and found that he was gone.

He needed to spare them the pain of his passing and chose his time.

Make of that what you will.

When you’re sitting in the hospice rooms… there are books, pamphlets and literature on dying scattered everywhere. They’re meant to be helpful, but for days I couldn’t bring myself to read them. Denial is a wonderful thing.

But as time wore on and things got progressively worse, I picked one up.

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It was written by a nurse who has witnessed numerous deaths in her career. And as hard as it was to read…it was also strangely fascinating. Because I learned that it’s a very defined process, death. No matter what your disease or illness….you will die in clearly recognizable steps.

Reading about the months prior to death I realized my mother had been showing the signs. She’d given up reading, which she loved. She’d given up the New York Times crossword puzzle, which she whipped thru in pen. Her appetite had gone from small to non existent. Her sleeping patterns had changed. These are all part of the process….the pulling away from life.

So I sat, I waited, I cried.

And then it happened. It was an afternoon when a social worker had come to talk with me. At this point my mother had been completely out of it for almost a week. You couldn’t wake her and she didn’t speak.

The social worker had gotten up and walked around the room, looking at all the photos I’d brought. We stood on opposite sides of my mother’s bed and spoke of my father and the strange experiences I related here earlier. I had tears rolling down my face when I told her I knew my dad was waiting for my mom. We turned, made our way to the door…. and then? My mother woke up.

Her eyes were as clear as day… and she found me across the room. I rushed to her side, leaned over her bed and held her hand. I told her I loved her. She looked like she was trying to say something…. but couldn’t. Her breathing became labored.  I leaned closer, kissed her and told it her was okay. That it was her time…and that I would be alright. I told her she would be with dad again soon.

I told her he’d been waiting for her a long time and it was okay to go. I told her he was right there with us.

And then the strangest thing happened. She turned her head, reached out an arm and looked right past me….in every sense of the word. Her eyes went completely glassy. Like a curtain had been drawn. Her breathing calmed, she smiled…and I knew. She’d found him.

She closed her eyes and went back to sleep, but I knew the best part of her was already gone. I’m sitting here with a lump in my throat and tears splashing the keyboard, but I tell you at that moment….I felt such an overwhelming sense of peace.

And grace.

I kept a bedside vigil for many more hours. And reread a passage in the book about what happens when death is near…

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Well, I recognized it…. and it was amazing.

She died later that night. A half an hour after I’d left.

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Going out on a limb ….part 5.

I’m just going to keep putting these out here until I run out. If you’re reading them and seeing me differently, so be it. I’m finding it quite cathartic…. and as Bon Jovi says, It’s My Life.

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Weird experience #5, another from my days in the hospice with my  late mother.

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The Crash.

Added: Wednesday, July 9th 2014 at 5:25am by rivergirl

As I said before, I brought a lot of pictures to my mothers hospice room. I hung them on the walls, taped them to the nightstand and tucked them in the tv screen. I wanted to surround her with love and happy memories.

There were many of me and my husband, and our pets and special times we had shared with my mother….

The nurses and staff loved it. They told me it lets them meet their patients in a different way, which considering the never ending sadness they deal with… I thought was very touching.

Most of the pictures were mine, but there were 3 framed photographs that had hung on my mother’s walls for 50 years… so I brought them too.

Here they are:

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Momma & her father

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My mother and her father on Jones Beach.

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My mother and father on their wedding day at the Stork Club.

And this one:

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A very old photo of my mother, in her 20’s, and her first love… Frank.

He was much older and very wealthy. He introduced a young, naive girl born to Austrian immigrant parents who lived in a cold water tenement flat…. to a world of art, culture and high society. They were together for many years, but never married. In 1957 he broke it off and introduced her to a junior partner in his firm….my father. They were married a year later.

I grew up knowing all about Frank. It was no secret she loved him and it in no way diminished the love she felt for my father. First love is first love. It never bothered me.

Now fast forward 50 odd years and her daughter is sitting alone with her in a hospice room waiting for the end. I cried. All day, all night, on and off for days.

During the first afternoon, I was sitting on the rock hard couch thinking about her life, my life and everything in between. I thought about my dad. About how much he loved her and what a good marriage they had.

And then I heard a crash.

The picture of my mom and Frank had fallen off the wall.  It fell face down on the floor and the glass was smashed to bits.

No one had slammed a door, no one had knocked the wall from the next room. There was no seismic shock or tremor that rattled the building. No airplane flew too low and shook the windows. It just crashed.While all the other pictures stayed right where they were.

Apparently while my mother loving Frank didn’t bother me….it clearly bothered my dad. And he told me so in no uncertain terms.

The photo stayed face down on a side table until I brought it home after she passed.

Call it coincidence if you want….

But I know better.

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I must be getting old.

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I don’t yell at children to get off my lawn, but I fear it’s just around the corner. Why do I think this? Because the other day when I was reading an article online I saw this…

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And my first reaction was disgust. I not only wanted to seat that little boy properly at the table…. but felt a serious need to slap the pleased, over indulgent smile off his mother’s face as well. Harsh, I know. But I was raised back in the Mesozoic era with something called manners. Please and thank you, no elbows on the table. If my mother had seen me with my knees on a chair, face down in a plate of food? She would have snatched me bald headed.

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Junior eating a funnel cake with no hands isn’t cute…. and trust me, it will not serve him well in the future. Neither will the belching or farting you find so amusing. No joke, we once had one of these grown up children at our dinner table. When he was finished eating, he took off his shoes and started cleaning his toenails.

Not cute. Not at all.

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I’m going out on a limb here….

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I’ve been meaning to share this with you for a while now… ever since Swinged Cat  asked me about it in the comments of this blog. 

“It” being strange and/or supernatural events. If that’s not your thing, no problem….  feel free to skip the next few posts.  It wasn’t my thing either. Until it happened to me. Not so easy to ignore then.

As most of you know I lost my father when I was 14.  I was an only child of older parents and a total daddy’s girl.

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Dad and me, baby

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His loss shook my world to it’s core. Heck, I’m 57 years old, and to be honest I still haven’t gotten over it.  Anyway…. back in 2013 my best friend gave me a very odd Christmas gift.  “An Evening with Spirits” which was an hour long private session with a psychic. Now before you roll your eyes (like I did) it should be noted this was her daughter’s old college friend and not some loon on the street corner. She’s traveled world wide, studied numerous religions and spiritual disciplines, worked with the most respected people in the field ( you’re eye rolling again, I know…  because I did it as well). But I assure you, my girlfriend is the most down to earth, no nonsense, grounded New Englander you’re apt to meet so if she said this woman was the real deal and forked out a major amount of money for a reading? I had to go along.

The following is copied from my old blog site, and while I normally don’t do that type of thing…. it was written right after the experience and was a harbinger of things to come. Read on if you’re interested.

A Twilight Zone moment….. For Friends Only

Added: Saturday, January 26th 2013 at 6:38am by rivergirl

Friends only because I really don’t need a larger crowd of people thinking I’m crazy.

As you know, I’m using my unique Christmas present this weekend and will be visiting the psychic I posted about earlier. Me…. seeing a psychic. And they say pigs don’t fly.

So… yesterday I’m sitting on the couch reading an interesting book about Tibet. It was full of legend and lore and spirits and demons…..which got me thinking about my upcoming reading. Basically I was wondering if it would be amazing or a total waste of time.  Contact with my late father would be a dream, but we all know how rarely those come true. Still musing, I put the book down and looked up at our mantle where an antique English clock of my father’s sits.

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It’s a pretty little thing that my mother gave us 29 years ago when my husband and I moved into our first home.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Hasn’t for the entire 29 years we’ve owned it and since it has a rather special pedigree….

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I never wanted to take it to just any clock maker to be fixed. Call me lazy, call me cheap… but there you have it…. it doesn’t work.

Until yesterday when I was sitting on the couch thinking about my father and the damn thing started ticking.

I’m not kidding…. I almost had a heart attack.

My jaw dropped, and I think I was shaking.

I jumped up to make sure I wasn’t hearing things and I swear by all that’s holy the stupid thing was working.  After more than 29 years.

WTH!

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Crazy lady hearing things? I’d be the first to say so if it hadn’t happened to me. The clock ticked for almost half an hour, and naturally stopped right before my husband got home from work.

Other people talk about experiencing weird things like this and I scoff. But I’m here to tell you when it happens to you? All bets are off.

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Pandemic humor.

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Because we all need to laugh more often.

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I don’t know, but FFS…. someone send her back.

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How exactly does one do that?

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We’ll all be doing this come January.

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Yes.

That sounds about right.

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Guess it’s been a rough year for everyone.

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Oh, those Brits.

Ever helpful with the good advice.

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Here’s hoping your holiday is happy, safe and free of tactical response teams.

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For those of us who have lost special fathers…

 

Father’s Day was celebrated this past weekend and for me, it was bittersweet.

I was the quintessential daddy’s girl and lost my father when I was 15 years old. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, miss him and wish he’d been able to share more of my life.

So when I saw this segment on the evening news the other night?

I wept.

If you’ve lost your father, or your mother, or a loved one period…. watch it.

If you have a heart, I think you’ll be moved.

 

 

Because sometimes favors can make you cry.

 

My SIL called a month or so ago and said she was redecorating a room in her house. Living in Texas makes her homesick, so she asked if I could make copies of some of my father’s Maine paintings and mail them to her.

My late father was the Vice President of a Wall Street brokerage firm who relaxed as a weekend artist. He loved nothing more than sharing his work…. so I happily agreed.

Sadly, my father died a year after he retired and only had a short period of time to paint when we moved from New Jersey to Maine. We were very close, but that particular year was hard for me. It was transitional…. and moving to a rural Island where the only way off was by boat was a huge culture shock for a 15 year old city girl. I was knee deep in silly teenage angst and didn’t spend nearly enough time with him.

Something I will always regret.

So when I started pulling paintings?

 

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I was a wreck.

 

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My father died  41 years ago….

 

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But I cried like it was yesterday.

 

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Grief.

Sometimes it never lets go…..

 

 

 

Cape Cod Day 4 … a special moment in Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard

 

When we left Edgartown I saw a sign saying Menemsha, and something in the deep dark recesses of my brain sparked.

 

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To be honest, I didn’t even know why until I got there.

 

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The art wasn’t familiar.

 

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Neither were the warnings about jellyfish and nude bathing…. two things that should never be experienced together.

So while the husband made a new friend…

 

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I walked around wondering why this particular place had called to me.

 

 

Wind?

Just a wee bit…

 

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It was a lovely spot.

 

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And as I wandered…

 

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I realized what I was doing.

 

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I was walking in my late father’s footsteps.

 

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He was an artist….. and had painted this very spot.

 

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That’s why we were there.

 

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Because all my life….. I’d seen the word Menemsha on a few of his paintings and never knew what it meant.

 

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I lost my father when I was 15.

Much too young…

 

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We missed so many things.

 

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But for a moment, on this day….

 

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He walked with me.

 

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And my heart was full.

 

 

 

 

Who knew they could break your heart?

 

We had a really wet, cool fall last year with a really wet, cool spring this year…. and it was rough on the landscaping. The blueberry bushes look punky, the rhododendrons are spindly and we had 2 deaths.

While garden deaths usually don’t make me cry, these did.

For those of you who don’t know, my mother died July of 2014 from Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, and it was rough. I’m an only child and lost my dad when I was 15. I never knew my grandparents.

She was my family. Pretty much all of it.

Mom hated the fuss of funerals and wanted to be cremated. Said it was up to me to decide what to do with her ashes. Since she loved spending time at our home and enjoyed our gardens, I planted a tulip tree with part of her nourishing the soil.

 

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The tree had been growing well since then, but didn’t survive the winter and spring. We had to remove it…. and I cried.

Cried.

Silly, I know. And yes, I can always plant another one, but somehow it just feels…. wrong.

Then there was the beautiful red rose our neighbor gave me to mark her passing.

 

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It was stunning, and always filled with riotous blooms.

I would walk by, think of my mother and smile.

I mean damn…

 

 

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The crazy thing would even bloom in the snow.

I figured nothing would kill it… and then we had a really cool, wet fall and a really cool, wet spring.

 

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Yeah.

The beauty that I’d been enjoying for years…. gone. Just like my mom.

And I cried.. again. I couldn’t help it.

But I decided to replace the rose.

 

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With this flashy lady.

 

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The blooms looked almost painted….

 

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Which made sense when I removed the tag.

 

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I’ve always loved impressionist paintings, so that felt right.

 

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Fingers are crossed this one does well.

I think my mother would have approved.