Wednesday, March 25, 2015

23 Days After Losing My Brother.....

 I can't believe how long it has been since I have posted anything.  Since I have started my second blog livinglifejoyfully I have spent my blogging time at that one. I sometimes wonder what the point of having two blogs is, but when I came back here and read over the posts on this one, I can see the point clearly.  They are two very different blogs.  I tend to have themes and specialized posts and yes some about my thoughts on life.  But this one is more of just that. I feel like it is more of a journal or sharing type blog. There has been so much rambling around in my mind these days, that I felt a pull to this one, just to get some of those thoughts out.

23 days.  It has been 23 days since I lost my brother.  Today, the phone call from that night was playing over in my mind. I didn't want to keep hearing it, but it was there. Those two words that I still can't believe. Those two words I am not sure I will ever be rid of. "John died." I won't share the exact reaction I had to hearing those words.  I will just say, when I was 4 and my aunt told me that my dad died I had said, "Oh you are just kidding me."  This was the adult version of that.

I keep remembering our trip out to his house, us 4 sisters. I am so glad we all went. I think it was important. I needed to be there. To be around his family, to hug, to cry. To be there. It was good to be there, it was hard to be there. I just wanted him to be there. I sat on his porch after the funeral looking out on the view he had looked on many times, wanting him to be sitting there looking at it one more time, with me.

I think about how we went through the usual sibling things.  Not always agreeing on things, not seeing each other or talking for long periods of time. Not even knowing a lot about each other at some points. When I saw him for what was the last time I would see him, he made some comment about being an unwelcome or unloved brother. I just told him, I didn't care about anything other than he was my big brother and that was all that mattered.  And I hugged him.  I am glad I did that now.  It was my last big brother hug. I can't imagine letting go then if I knew it would be the last one.         

Last year he reached out to his sister's and we reconnected.  It was great talking to him by email and messages.  He was planning on coming to see us this spring, and we were all excited. I am heartbroken it won't happen. You can't help but think about all the things that won't happen.  The things we will all miss out on.  I knew him for 57 years, 4 days.  Some of his grandchildren won't even remember him and that is sad.

So 23 days later.  I think about him all the time. I think about his family, his kids, his grandkids, his wife.  And I am sad.

My brother is gone. I don't like it. I am tired of people leaving too soon. It always feels unfinished. 

Funny, how since I came back, I expected, maybe just hoped for, a text or message or anything.  How are you doing? Want to have coffee? Thinking of you. Something.  Maybe as people we don't reach out enough. Maybe I don't either...are we afraid to?  Are we too busy we forget about others? We know that time is short, things can change in an instant. What stops us? What holds us back?  What wrong thing could possibly happen by reaching out. What is so wrong about letting someone know we care? 

Sometimes I am jealous of those that have a lot of friends, that have some good friends, that have the kind of friends that are at the other end of the phone, that text, that share laughs, secrets, time.  It has been something that has always been hard for me. I am not sure why....maybe from a lifetime of not feeling like I fit in, not feeling good enough, always feeling awkward. At times like this, it is the hardest. It is hard to feel alone when it sometimes is the last thing you want to be!

Here is my brother, John. My big brother, as he always signed anything to me..  This picture was taken at a wedding of one of his daughters.  I said smile John...and he actually did for me.  I kind of love it.

Today, the tears still fall.  Sometimes out of the blue.  I imagine they may always surprise me that way.  I miss you, big brother!  I always will.....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Philosophy, Thoughts and Other Ramblings

I feel badly that I have long neglected this blog while trying to get my other one started. It was not intentional, that is for sure.

So today, I felt it was time for one of those random thoughts blog. This has always been the place where I put those kind.

My son and I were watching a science channel and there was a program on about the universe.  It spurned some discussion about beginnings and other things. We marveled at the things they were showing, knowing it was a part of our universe.  Then I asked him, Do you ever wonder where it all came from?  HOW did it all start?  He talked about gases and other things. So I asked.  Then, where did THAT come from?  How would it be possible for there ever to be nothing?  And if there was always something, just HOW is that possible?

I sometimes marvel at how everything works and fits together.  I look outside in the summer at the fields of corn and think about how the seeds get put in the soil and that along with the sun and water allow it to grow.

 I wonder sometimes, who was the first to use it. To figure it out.  Not just about that either. About everything. We have so much around us, so many things, it is sometimes mind-boggling to think that at one point in time much of it did not even exist.  Someone had to think it up, to invent it.  To dream it.

Music.  Where did that come from?  When was the first musical note?  Do you ever wonder how there can be so many different songs from such a finite set of notes? I do.

Art. What is it that appeals to so many?  Why does it appeal to us?  What is it about art that can bring out emotions in us.

I wonder why someone thought we needed to capture images on paper and invented photography.  Can you imagine if they had not?  Think of the things 'lost' to us forever.  Imagine if it had always existed, the things we could see now.

We had the discussion the other day about thoughts.  Not what we thought about but HOW we did.  Do you ever stop and listen to the voices in your head and wonder HOW you can hear yourself?  Then I wonder as we sit and read, how we can look at a book and hear in our head what is in the pages.  Not only that, but we can picture in our mind the visuals the words bring to us.

I often think when I hear the news and they constantly report on the 'bad' stuff about how we all at one time were just little babies.  How do some grow up to be so violent?  How can some do such horrible things?  I watch when they report about the wars and things and wonder why people can't figure out that we are all more the same than not?  We are ALL just people!  Never will I figure out how killing innocent people, people you do not even know, can solve anything.

Which suddenly makes me think about languages.  Do you ever sit and listen to someone talking in a language you don't understand?  It amazes me that THEY know what they are saying, while I have no clue!  I wonder just why there has to be so many languages out there.  Why can't there be just one? Wouldn't the world be an easier place if there was?

I often look at math, physics, geometry, science, etc and marvel at how someone, somewhere had to figure it all out.  I wonder just HOW all the numbers and letters can mean anything. Why did they decide so long ago to figure it out.

 So much knowledge in the world. So many things.  It all had to start somewhere with someone.

These are just some of the things I ponder......

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Great Way to Save Some Money When It Comes To College Textbooks!

Disclosure: I can't wait to see what books my daughter will rent with the $50 coupon I will receive for sharing about this wonderful site and idea with all of you!

All of us who have college age kids know that it is very expensive when they attend college, especially at the beginning of each semester.  You have move in expenses, room and board, tuition, personal items, and of course textbooks. I know what a large expense this can be and can remember when I went to college, so many years ago, it was always amazing, and not in a good way, at how much they cost.

But there is a great website out there that can help you and your student save money called CampusBookRentals . You can save up to 80% when renting textbooks, as compared to buying them.  You can use a highlighter or write in them just as if you owned them!  That is a must for any college student.  You can keep them as long as you need them and when you are done and need to ship them back, you already have an envelope to ship them back in! This company has rented over 1,000,000 books in over 5,500 campuses nationwide.
What a great idea!  I am all for saving money when it comes to college!

You can also check out their new program called Rent Back. This is a new program that lets students rent the textbooks they own to other students.  I know when my kids were done with their textbooks and it was time to sell them back to the bookstore, they got a fraction of what they paid out at the beginning of the semester. It was frustrating for them and for me.  Sometimes they would keep them and sometimes they found their way to garage sales. What an ingenious idea this program is. Think how it will help in those expenses while they are at college!

I am a big fan of supporting good charities and also a fan of supporting businesses that do, too. This great business is no exception!  You can look here to see how they are Making a Difference . This year in 2013 they will continue with Operation Smile but also have set aside money for textbook scholarships to help out students!

It is almost time to send our kids to college for the fall semester.  Whether its for the first time or the last time, it is always nice to save money whenever we can! Be sure to check out Campus Book Rentals and learn all about how to help you do just that!

That, my friends, is what is On My Mind Right Now!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Another Fatherless Father's Day

Spending Father's Day without your dad is something you eventually expect to happen. Sometime when you are older. After a lifetime of growing up with him.

This Father's Day will be my 50th fatherless Father's Day.


50 of them.  Most of my life. Without a father.

I was thinking about him the other day.  As much as you can think of someone you don't know or don't remember.  I can't remember how he looked or smelled or sounded.  I 'think' I remember once when he took my friend from across the street and I, for an ice cream cone at the A & W in town.  I say I 'think' because I am not sure if it really happened, or I dreamed it.  If it did happen, it would be the only memory I have of him.  He gave me life.  Half of my DNA is from him. Yet, he is and forever will be, a stranger to me.

A few years ago, I obtained his yearbooks and they were a fascination for me to read! I was surprised, yet thrilled to see he was in Art Club, Choir, wrote for the school paper, was in the football club and he was in drama. I am sure there were other things he was in that I have forgotten.  In high school, I was on the paper, the yearbook editor and have forever loved art. My kids....also artistic. One was always in choir, school plays and musicals, worked on the yearbook. I had kids in Art Club.  My daughter was thrilled to know she had the same talents as one of the grandfathers she never knew!

I was looking through pictures the other day.  I have very very few from back when I was young. And so very few of my dad. Not a one of them is color.  I hear his eyes were sky blue.  I would like to see a picture of that...I would like more to remember them.  It dawned on me at the time that not only do I have very few pictures of him, but not one of them is me with him.  Not one of them is a picture of father and daughter.  Would it be easier to think of him as my dad if there was?  Would I make that connection more? I don't know.

I often see the question asked , if you could spend one day or even 5 minutes with someone no longer here who would it be?  Of course the answer for me is my dad.  I would love to hear his voice, look into those eyes, know what it was like to feel like a daughter to a father.  If even for 5 minutes.

I often tell people to find the joy, life is too short, tell those you love that you do.  But I truly mean it. And this Father's Day, if you are lucky to have your dad around still, give him a hug! Make it extra long...just for me!

And that my friends, is what is on my mind right now!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be....

What?  Do you know yet?  Have you thought about it all your life?  Did you end up doing what you wanted to?  Did you end up doing what your passion is?

My kids are at that age.  You know, the age, the world expects you to know what you want to do!  I have one who has always known what she wanted to do and is almost through with college so she can do just that.  I think, she is in a minority.  I think, she is one of the lucky ones.

I know I struggled with knowing what I really wanted to do.  I never had the guidance and the backing, nor the encouragement.  I went to different schools, took different majors. I majored in business, was going to be an art teacher, fashion design, thought about social work, pursued accounting at one time, was accepted in to a Commercial Art program that I never went to, and did go to cosmetology school and got a license in that.

So were any of them my passion???  Commercial Art was close.  So why didn't I go, although I had to show a portfolio and was accepted?  I still didn't feel good enough.  To this day, I regret it and wonder what direction my life would have taken if I had gone.

When I went to an actual 4 year college, my major changed so much. I just didn't 'know' what I wanted to do, what I could be good at.  Thinking back, the classes I enjoyed the most, I did the best at, were my English and writing classes.  Yes, I even thought about journalism, but that isn't the writing I wanted to do.

I wanted, and still want to, write books.  Sure, I wrote one, but that was like a big long journal, a story of part of my life.  Yes, I have another one to do, but those aren't the kind I am talking about.  I am talking about writing books of fiction.  The ones you get lost in, the ones you can't put down because you need to know how the story goes, and how it ends. So why haven't I?  Can you guess?  I never felt I wrote good enough.  Lately, the book my sister and I started working on has been majorly on my mind.  I think it is time to find it and finish it and if I have to self publish it, I am fine with that.  I want it done. It feels like it needs to be finished.

So, anyhow, back to my topic.  Here is my question and I hope you will post your thoughts in the comments!

What did you want to be when you grew up?  More importantly, are you NOW doing what you always wanted to for a job.  If you are, it is more than a job, isn't it?  If you are, when did you realize what you wanted to do and how did you get to this point?  If you are not, why NOT?  What was it that stopped you from doing what you really wanted to?  What is stopping you now?

That, my friends, is what is on my mind right now!

Monday, November 5, 2012

More Random Thoughts on Life!

Time for one of those mind dump blogs.  No particular subject, no particular theme.

So its already November....another year flying by.  They go faster and faster.  Sometimes its scary.  I sit and wonder sometimes how we all got to this time so fast....wasn't it just yesterday I was waiting to graduate from high school?  Wasn't it just yesterday that I met Tom, got married, started having babies. Wasn't it just yesterday they started to walk, talk?  Then THEY were graduating high school?  I remember my mom, aunts, uncles, their friends, being my age.  And now, many of them are gone.  It is sometimes scary.

Some days, the days seem to crawl, while at the same time, the months and years fly by.  I sometimes wish I had done more, was doing more.  I wonder if I could, would I change anything about what has happened so far?

I worry as always, about many things.  I always have.  I worry the most each day about Jamie.  If you remember, he is now on anti-seizure medication since having his second grand mal seizure in February of 2011.  I will remember every single minute of both of them. Every single one.  We listen always for the sound of him hitting the floor, running if we hear anything like it coming from his room, heart beating, afraid to look, relieved that he is fine and it was something else. Always hoping and praying, it never happens again, but worrying it will, knowing it can.  The other night, he came out of his room at about 6 like he often does, when he asks for water.  But this time, immediately, I knew something was wrong.  When he TRIED to say water, it was jumbled, I asked him what he meant. He could not form ONE SINGLE word!  Not one.  Oh my God, there was that feeling again. What was wrong?  I knew it was probably a smaller seizure, but worried it was a stroke.  What if he was never able to communicate what he needed again?  What if he didn't get better?  Daniel heard right away and was out of his room immediately!  He asked Jamie who he was....he could not say.  He asked him what they were going to get for supper Friday night, as it is always the same, and he could not answer. We took him to the ER.  They took blood...well after trying forever.  Poor kid.  No infection.  We are waiting for a med level and will be back to his week!  They said he had a petite mal seizure.  Sigh. Damn.
DAMN!  I want him to be okay always.  He has so much to deal with anyhow, I just don't want him to have this too.  So I worry some more.  I worry with his size and our history, if he will awaken each morning. Every single day.  It is hard.  Some days I want to cry. Sometimes. I still do.  I know he is happy and that is important.  But still, I worry.....  and pray.

So last month was breast cancer awareness month.  NOT a money grab month like some think.  I know the research is being done.  I pray for a cure.  When I was diagnosed, my surgeon knew what it meant, as his wife, who was 2 years younger than me, was a 3 year survivor at the time.  A couple years later when I was a co-chair at the Relay, she had been diagnosed again and was undergoing treatment.  Having kids in the same grades and activities, we saw them often.  Last week I read her obituary in the paper.  She was only 52.  13 years of fighting it.  My heart broke.  There are a few deaths you read about, hear about, that have the ability to knock you off your feet. This was one for me. My heart aches for her family.  It just is not fair.  I often think...  there by the Grace of God, go I!

So the election is tomorrow.  No matter who you are backing, please exercise your right to vote.  I will not use this blog to talk politics.  Besides, if you have me on Facebook, you already know how I feel.  I voted early for the first time!  My kids are voting! Husband is voting!  I am proud they are all concerned enough about this country, this life that they vote!!

So much more thoughts rambling around in my mind, but I think I will save them for another day.  Lucky you!

I will just leave you with my usual positive message.  Life is too short!  PLEASE treat people right, tell the ones you love that you do, be kind. Find the joy.

That, my friends, is what is on my mind right now!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I know, you have already probably heard more than you want to on it.  And frankly, I am quite surprised I am writing anything about it, too.

But! It is something, I am obviously aware of ALWAYS! Every day is breast cancer awareness day for me and so many others.  More and more people I know are being diagnosed. It wears on my heart always, hearing of the struggles of others.  Some have it so much harder than I did.  Sometimes you feel guilty about that.  There is a LOT of why me, why not me, why them, why anyone associated with a breast cancer diagnosis, and I imagine with any cancer diagnosis. The only thing I DO know of is MY journey.  What it was like, what it still is.  At my last doctor's visit she said to me now, that it has been 10 years, it is considered a part of my history. Maybe in a medical sense, and I hope it always remains in my HISTORY, but in my life, it will never ever be part of my history only.

I was talking to a good friend the other night, who is upon her ONE year anniversary.  The worry, the struggles, the wondering, the unknown, they seem to be there whether it is a new diagnosis, it is one year out, five years out, or for me, ten years out.

Yes, I still worry. I don't want to, I try not to. But it happens.  I find, with being a survivor along with other things that have happened in my life, starting with losing my dad when I was 4, that I worry far too much. About just everything.  I know that things can and do happen in life that can change your world. And many of those we have no control over.  So why do we worry more?  Because we know just that. We try not to, but it is something that happens...

So October is here once again, and now we will hear so much about breast cancer.  Over and over.....  IF it helps just one, if it encourages one to get a mammogram and that helps save a life, then the barrage of stories is more than worth it.  I remember how very hard it was to hear so much at the beginning, I remember screaming at the tv that I did not want to hear anymore, that dear GOD, I live it every day, I don't want to be reminded even more.

I just hope in all the statistics, all the medical stories, everything we hear, that the media and even us, remember that every single diagnosis is someone....  and that someone is a daughter, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, wife, friend.  There are people behind all those stories...

and my wish, is of course, that they will figure this out and it will not be an issue for anyone in the future, that no one has to go through the diagnosis, the treatments.  And the worry.

One more matter how far from diagnosis we may be, it is still nice to know that people care, people remember, and that we are never alone!!!

Thanks to all who went on the journey with me so long ago, you can never know how much a call, a card, a hug can mean!