Thursday, October 14, 2010

An anniversary is coming...

It's been almost a year.


To the day.

That we first heard that she had cancer, not a stroke. That she would not be able to live on her own any more. That she had a "prognosis" not a "diagnosis"...

Things have changed. The world news cycle has clanked along. We are fine, then not. Remember her and then forget. Share a memory, and then hurriedly change the topic.

SO glad that we are normal.

It's been almost a year.

And there are days it is still very hard.

To God be the glory.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Totally pissed off

We did the damn taxes without the Federal ID number the estate is supposed to have because it didn't arrive in time... and not only were our taxes rejected, the damn IRS wants to fine us.

The estate's lawyer is handling it... but I sat and cried for the first time in weeks.

It should not be so flipping hard to take care of the financial matters of one woman's estate.

Oh. And to top of it off... the college has decided since we have "all this money" from the first settling of her estate, we get no financial aid this next year. Yet when we did our FAFSA we were 4 thousand lower in our EFC (estimated family contribution) than last year.

(WTF??? the woman had ONE CD and a life insurance policy!)

I don't need the financial pressures on top of this. And my husband is sucking at handling stress right now, too.

I'm just mad. Sorry for venting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I needed this...

Posted by a friend... melted my heart, which has been very angry lately...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Storm Walking

I understand the grieving process and its effect on the human soul better every time I process another piece of this pie.

I do not understand it all, mind you.

Recently, I heard a song by the Christian band Leeland and the words spoke to me...

When the storm is raging all around me
You are the peace that calms my troubled sea
And when the cares of this world darken my day
You are the light that shines and shows me the way.

Oh the beauty of Your majesty
On the cross You showed Your love for me...

Beautiful Lord... is your mercy that has made me free...
Beautiful Lord...

I am encouraged this day. Hope you are too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

winter and never Christmas

I just pondered some thoughts on joy and grief this morning. Yesterday I found snowdrops growing beside one of the honking big snow piles next to the house.

Snowdrifts.... that seem like they will never melt.
Snowdrops... that remind me that spring will come.

We have Aslan with us... it is the end of "winter and never Christmas"

It's just that right now, there's a hell of a lot of snow to melt. On the ground, and in my heart.

Just being real.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

well, when you put it THAT way...

My spouse was just diagnosed (FINALLY!!!!) with ADHD. I had suspected it when our first child was diagnosed a few years ago, but when he brought up the topic with me, then his doc, our answers were both a resounding YES!

We have done the testing, the meds and the treatment has started. It isn't a magic bullet but drugs are really helping. I told him it was a matter of UNlearning brain patterns he has had for decades. It won't go away overnight.

He looked at me thoughtfully and said, "yeah. kinda like grief."

Well... when you put it THAT way...


Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow poem

I remember that she loved this poem. After tramping around in the snowdrifts this morning, I had to stop and blog it before going back to work.

Velvet Shoes
by Elinor Wylie

Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as a white cow's milk,
More beautiful
Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

snowed under

We have not had the mail or the paper for five days (since we just got hit with 24+ inches of snow in a county that panics with 2 inches!) The lawyer called us and asked why we had not sent back some "time-sensitive" papers. We had to explain...

Nope. No mail. No papers. No deliveries. No power (back on now). And no snow plow either...

We were talking about how a storm of this magnitude would have scared her to death. How we would have worried (does she have heat? does she need groceries?) and wondered if we could get her safely to our house.

I miss her. Still.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Day

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? Where Bill Murray, a cynical meteorologist gets stuck in a "do loop" for what is a nightmare of repeated scenes, do-overs, etc. It's a funny movie, with a undercurrent message of self-improvement, leave the world better than you found it, etc.

Well I found myself in a Groundhog Day loop today. For the second month in a row, the retirement complex has not accepted their assignment as payee for the utilities, once we turned over the key. So the December bills came to us. Phone calls and letters to the village and all utilities brought assurances that "oh yes, ma'am, we'll take care of it."

And in today's mail? (drumroll, please....) All of the utility bills, forwarded AGAIN by the post office because the village has yet to change the payee on the account, and the utilities say that it is the village's responsibility to do that.

Move over Bill. I'm working on keeping my temper, being kind, and explaining the scenario over and over... sigh. Let's not have a Three-peat of this one, shall we??

Monday, February 1, 2010

Deep Peace

I have been wrestling with not being "at peace" and feeling an ache in my soul some days. (Of course, the ache isn't there all the time -- but on the days where the storm is high and there is no peace... my very human heart longs for it.)

So this morning I found a Sunday song posted by Sophia at RevGals and it just spoke volumes to me. And peace, that DEEP PEACE, is nestling.

Thank you for a fresh breath of air. And peace.

Gaelic Blessing arranged by John Rutter

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Tonight we visited the high school to discuss next year's courses for one kid, and ran into several people who hadn't heard the official word that she had passed away. One of them, a neurologist, simply held my hand and said, "I am so sorry. There's no easy way to live through this." And that was all he had to say. It was enough.

You know, that was really wonderful. I didn't have to exchange platitudes about how she is "in a better place" or some well-meaning "I'm sure it will ease in time." Yes, both of those phrases are true (and I have even said them!) But what our friend said was just enough...

Afterwards, a school counselor caught me and told me that our kid had been in twice to talk to her since Thanksgiving and was in a grief group during lunch. She said, "I offered, she accepted. I hope that is OK." I said, "yes, she asked us what we thought and we encouraged it." The counselor said, "you are doing a great job - she tells the group how you process grief together and I can't thank you enough for trying to do that. I know it's hard."

I don't know as we have really 'done' much -- we talk. We look at pictures. Sometimes we cry. And then we go about the rest of the day...

But, the feedback really helped me know that she's doing OK, and we're doing OK too. I feel a bit of relief. We are a "public family" since I am in the ministry, and I know people watch to see "how does the pastor handle it." A little bruised and battle-weary, but we're doing OK.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's been two months...

The paperwork continues to cascade as we hit the two month mark on Tuesday. I started a spreadsheet because
1) her hospital stay is covered by Medicare and secondary insurance
2) her initial nursing home stay is covered by Medicare and secondary insurance
3) the five days she was "private pay" has NOTHING covered except a 20% UCR (usual and customary rate) charge for medications

#3 alone was a whopping $1100!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, after we picked ourselves up off the floor, and took a few deep cleansing breaths, I began to create a spreadsheet. So far I've found over $5000 in bills to us which were either not allowed by a Medicare provider or were not billed to secondary insurance.

It's a good thing I can play the numbers game since I worked for an insurance company. Otherwise, we would be paddleless up the proverbial feces creek.

Two months.

Oh God. I really miss her.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A first...

For the first time since the whole business started in October, I started back to singing in worship again. You know what? For a few hours, with rehearsals and then leading worship, everything faded. The paperwork. The pain. The loss.

I know my heart has not been in the right place. I know that I have been stuck on myself with this pity party that isn't great to be around. I really have tried to be "different" and to be "OK." But I also know that lying about how you feel, and not acting like you feel comes back to bite you.

It's a first that I can do and be what seems "normal" and not be suddenly caught in a crying jag.

I'm really grateful.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I really should take the tree down before I become one of those weird old ladies who has a pile of Christmas decorations in a corner on Easter...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Due Dates

In three weeks...
- I have a round of paperwork due to the lawyer
- my oldest will have been back to college for a month
- my first paper is due
- I get to go back to the dentist to decide if I have to have a root canal

I am not sure which I dread the most.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Whoop-dee-doo. Happy New Year.

So we went to see family and had a second memorial service. It was good to have the service, but just when I felt like I could get through the day without a crying jag, we have to go back through this knee-high muck of pain and loss.

I told one family member that it was what I had heard families say when they had two memorial services, particularly when someone is buried at Arlington National Cemetery and you have to "wait in line" for the caisson. It just brings up all of the old "stuff."

And it sucks.

The Christmas tree is still up. The lights are still on outside. Of course it's minus-something-awful with the windchill, so who the heck is going to take lights down. Let 'em shine on the snow and blow in the wind. But I don't have the energy to deal with the inside stuff. I need to clear it out and de-clutter but I don't feel like it. I guess it's because it was such a struggle to get everything UP that I don't want to take it DOWN.

New Year's Eve I went to bed at 11. I was too tired to stay awake. The kids stayed up and reported that they fell asleep before the ball dropped.

Now the kids are back in school. The house seems empty when they are away at activities (and the older one is back at college.) We spent a lot of time doing nothing together - watching football on TV, playing a few games... mostly just being. I needed that change of pace from crazy-crazy-crazy.

I know that emotional exhaustion is a killer when it comes to having physical energy. This is just a reminder.

Bleah. Whoop-dee-doo. Happy New Year.