Dear Mom


Dear Mom,

Last Saturday I was signed up for a computer class.  I grabbed my laptop and headed towards the front door.  As I walked past the front room to turn off the TV, the Olympic Hockey game caught my attention.  The USA was playing.  There are a few Blackhawks on the team and I saw Kane whiz by.  So I sat down on the arm of the chair and watched the remainder of it.   For the life of me, I now can not remember who the USA was playing but I remember that it was an amazing game.   We ended up winning in a shootout.

Sitting there and watching that game made me late for my class.  But it didn’t matter.  As I turned off the TV and stood up to leave, my phone rang.  I thought about not answering it because I was running late, but something prompted me to pick it up.  So I juggled the heavy things I was carrying, freed up my right hand and answered it.  It was Tim.  I could not understand him.  Something about you.  He was talking in broken sentences.   I caught bits and pieces of it.  Panic started to rise in me.  And then, my heart stopped.

I don’t think I could have ever been prepared for that call.  I don’t understand how this could have happened.  You did everything right.  You exercised and ate right.  You lived an active lifestyle…..

The week was a blur of emotions.  The phone calls started immediately.  The txt’s came, too.  And the condolences via social media.  Isn’t it odd how fast word spreads now-a-days?  It’s rather comforting to know that when tragedy strikes, we are instantly lifted up in prayer.  Amy immediately jumped on a flight from Houston to Chicago.  She got in late.  (Well, late for me. You know how I love to be in my pj’s early.)  So I picked her up at the airport and we drove together in the dark to get home.  Home to Indiana.  Home to where we were raised.  Home to gather together with our other siblings.  The drive was hazardous.  I was white knuckled by the time I got there.  I’m not sure if it was because we were driving through whiteouts on icy, snow covered roads or if it was because I was holding onto the steering wheel a bit too tight for fear of what lie ahead for all of us.

Bruce took the week off of work.  He was by my side every step of the way.  Tim, Bobby, Nancy, Amy and myself – along with our spouses –  all found comfort in being surrounded by each other.  All week.

I miss you so much.  I can’t believe I’m never going to see you or talk to you again in this lifetime.  There’s so many things I still want to ask you.  And talk to you about.  And tell you……

Scottie got the job.  Remember I told you about his interview?  You said you would start a Novena for him.  Did you have time to start it?  Bruce and Lauren are going on a long weekend somewhere.  They are waiting to see which flights are open.   Remember the first time Bruce Robt. flew in to see you and take you to lunch?  He talks about it often.  That visit was the first of many trips back and forth to visit you.  In his words, “Grandma is the coolest!!”  Brian has a lead on an internship this summer.  He’s working hard and continues to keep his GPA up.  And he loves the college life.  He has become so independent.  It’s hard to believe he is almost done with college.  You were right.  Time does go fast.  Too fast.

You were taken from us way too soon.  The thought of never seeing you again or talking to you in this lifetime is too much….

Me?  I miss you more than words can describe.  My heart is heavy and I walk around with a pit in my stomach and a constant feeling deep inside that something is wrong.  I know you always told me that your prayer was that when your time was up, that the Lord would take you quickly.  He heard your prayer, Mom.  But I have a huge hole in my heart because I did not get to say goodbye to you.  I did not get to tell you how blessed I was to have you as my mother.  I wanted to be next to you when your time came to leave this earth, holding your hand and telling you how incredibly much I love you.  To tell you that I will miss you.  And that I will see you again one day and until that day, pray for me.  But God had a plan for you and He decides when our time on earth is done.  He decides when to call us home.  And in my heart I know you are in a better place.  You are at peace.

So Please, Don’t worry about any of us.  Right now our hearts are heavy.  But through our faith and in time, our feelings of sadness and devastating loss will be replaced by happy memories of our time spent with you.  I’m going to miss you so much.  I already do.  I can not thank you enough for the strong faith you instilled in me and for the unconditional love you showered me with.  I’ll pray for you everyday.  And I know you’ll pray for me, too.

I Love You,

“We never really get over devastating loss. In the thick of it, we almost stop breathing; sometimes even wishing we could. And we know deep within that we will never be the same. Yet, one day we feel the sun on our face again. We find ourselves smiling at a child or a joke or a memory. And at that moment, we realize we are finding our way back. Changed forever? Yes. But also softer, deeper, more vulnerable and more loving too. And we are breathing again…..”


Moved by Music

sheet-musicI talked to one of my very good friends yesterday for the first time in a few years.  Circumstances and life had managed to squeeze between us.  I had been thinking about her so much the past few months.  Wondering how she and her hubs were doing and knowing that I should pick up the phone to reconnect.

She beat me to it.

I was scheduled to go in late for work yesterday.  I had an hour or so before I had to leave when the phone rang.  I looked at the caller i.d. and could not believe who it was.  My heart jumped a little and I smiled.   I answered and we talked until the moment I had to walk out for work.  It was as if not a day had gone by since the last time we talked.  We picked up right where we left off.  True friendships never die.

Her hubby is a total music guru.  Music pumps through his veins.  He was born of parents who had it in their soul and were “in the biz”…so to say.   He is artistic and soulful.  I connect with him on this level.  Passion for music is a common bond that he and I share.

I grew up in your typical 60’s/70’s colonial style home.  It was decorated n Harvest Gold and Avocado green hues!  It had a dining room which was connected to the kitchen –  which in turn, led to a living room.

Back then living rooms were large.  The largest room in the home.  And they were used.  Not just for holidays, but year round.  When company came over.  To sit in after supper.  For privacy when boyfriends came over.  A place to be when listening to or playing music.

My love for music started at a young age.  It was always the backdrop in my home.  My parents had an old, wooden consul stereo that stood in the65magnavox001_zpsc995c740 corner of our dining room.  It looked like a piece of furniture.  Like a dresser, sort of.  The top lifted up and you’d place the album onto a turntable.  The speakers were built into the front of it.

Back then you’d spin vinyl records.  33’s.   They were large.  And thin.  And came in cool looking album covers with a cool picture on the front.  Usually a picture of the artist who had recorded the songs.  Or a band.  Or some creative image relating to the album title.

My parents had loads of these.  I loved those albums.  My sisters and I would flip through them and look at the covers.  Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Tommy Dorsey, Peggy Lee, Doris Day.  And of course, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

wcMy mom owned one from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.  It had a picture of a girl in a wedding dress made out of whipped cream on the cover. His music was loud and brassy and jazzy.  I Loved it.

Often, after supper, my dad would disappear into the living room to listen to his music.  He especially loved the 40’s pre and post war genre’s.  The haunting melodies telling a tale of someone shipping off to some war and someone being left behind to wait.

He had lots of records.  He saved them all.  In the evenings, you could find him stooping over the vinyls – choosing which to play.  He’d put it on the stereo and his face would light up.  He knew all the words by heart.  And, he’d sing them.  Enthusiastically.  Usually with his hand over his heart.  Putting on a big show for us girls.

on-the-beat-records-london-03During my teens,  my weekends would be filled with trips to the record store.  They were once a semi-hangout for teenagers, a place to escape parents, burn allowances and absorb the latest trends in fashion as well as music.

You’d walk in – loud music playing over the store system.  The end caps smartly displayed the new album releases.  The employees always had the allure of being cool and hip ~ veritable music authority’s on all genre’s of music.

I loved those stores – the scent of plastic wrap & laminated cardboard, the posters hanging from the rafters, the sounds and the people.  I never got tired of the endless browsing.

These days?  If you re lucky enough to find a record store,  know that it is fast becoming a temple of nostalgia for shoppers old enough to remember “Frampton Comes Alive!’’

I love how music can take you back in time instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment.

I have come to believe that there are two kinds of people in this world.  Those who are moved by music ~ and those who are not.  I’m lucky enough to have inherited a great passion for music – probably from my Dad.  Or, maybe I was born with it in my soul.  I tend to bond more closely with friends who also have a passion for music.  There is a truth behind your actions and emotions when surrounded by the music you love.

My dad was moved by music.  I am moved by music.   It is a wonderful and most treasured gift that I will never take for granted.


out with the old, in with the new

My Dr has me on a 2 weeks medical leave from work due to my recent surgery.  He has me on bed rest.  I think this is a little excessive.   After my first surgery I was also under Drs orders to take 2 weeks off to recoup.  By the second week I was getting cabin fever.   I decided to sneak out to the mall.   I was suppose to be at home resting. I jumped when my phone rang.  I looked down and saw Bruce’s number light up.  Oh, Nuts!  If I had answered it he would have heard the mall music in the background and all the people milling around me.  So I screened his call and let it go to voice mail.  I felt incredibly guilty.  When I called him back,  I confessed immediately.  He did not have to interrogate me very long.  The huge, blazing hot interrogation lights were not needed.  He asked me what I was doing and I sang like a canary.  “I was at the mall!”  “Margaret, I knew I should not have gone to work today.  You’re suppose to take it easy and stay home.”  The lecture was more painful than the confession.

It’s the weekend and Bruce has projects in the works.  Today we are getting a new mattress delivered to the house for Scottie.  He is still sleeping on his original boyhood mattress.  It’s small and needs to be replaced.  I was not ready for a weekend project and am under Drs orders to stay home so I was not able to go get new bedding for his new bed.  Bruce and Scottie are taking care of the details.  This makes me nervous.

Last night I heard Bruce telling Scottie that he needed to clean off his headboard, which is also a bookshelf, and take the bed apart so they could carry it down the stairs.  Shock!!!  That is what was in Scottie’s eyes.  All of his boyhood treasures are crammed onto that bookshelf.  Things that to the rest of the world may look like clutter but to Scottie, each item has a memory attached to it.  After an hour or so behind closed doors in his room, he came out and announced that he was going to leave the twin sized bookshelf/headboard as is and just lean it up against the wall next to his new, much larger, bed.  The weekend project was off to a good start.

This morning I woke up and came downstairs to find a mattress and box spring in the middle of the foyer.  The delivery men are suppose to be here sometime today.  Until then, we will all just squeeze around them.  We have no linens for the new bed.  The guys are going to pick something out later.  We started to look online last night but could not agree on anything so Bruce asked me to “trust him.”  He is going to go out today and pick something out with Scottie.  I should be grateful for a husband and son who are able to pick up the slack while I am recovering.  They are both so “hands-on” for this project.  It really just makes me nervous.

The phrase “out with the old and in with the new” can bring feelings of melancholy to so many.  Why do we save things?  For most of us, we worry that regardless of how unlikely, we might want to use it again someday.  Our belongings and objects carry sentimental value.  They are an anchor to a memory of the past.  We wonder, “Can I really go my entire life without seeing this again?”

All of those thoughts ran through my head as I watched Scottie struggle with boxing up his bookshelf items.  I realized that not everyone wants to or even needs to get rid of stuff.  He is a sentimental soul.  He is a middle child and therefor a peacemaker.  He is non confrontational.  He has always been easy going.  People are drawn to him and like him immediately.

As I walked back up the stairs and passed his room this morning, I peeked inside and saw a big open space ready for the new bed.  His walls were covered in framed sports memorabilia and posters.   On his dresser, among the clutter of paperwork and clothes, were framed pictures of he and his many friends.  On one wall was a shelf filled to overflowing with trophy’s.  And of course, leaning up against a wall in the corner was his old bookshelf headboard.  I walked over to it.  It was  filled with novels, yearbooks and all kinds of mementos.   There were a stack of cards and among them was a  funeral card for his childhood friend, Benny Newsome, who had died 8 years earlier in an automobile accident at the age of 12.  There was another one for his best friend’s mom, Cheryl Kaim, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer last year.  I remember going to that funeral with Scottie.  It was a heartbreaking day for him.  To the left of these items, there was a large program that caught my eye,  It was the program to his grandfather Lambert’s  funeral from last January.  He was such a special man.  He had a special bond with all three of my sons and their cousins.  All the things that had extra special meaning in his life surrounded him every night on that bookshelf.  So for now, it’s a new bed in an old room cluttered with boyhood and high school treasures.  Sometimes it’s just In with the New.

do you want to walk today?

pathBlogging is so 1999 and yet here I am getting in on the fad 14 years into it.

My good friend Bonnie thinks I should write. She’s always encouraging me to do new and exciting things. We take long walks together. Actually, we used to take long walks together before both of us were sidetracked with health issues. But I will save THAT for a different day. During our long walks we usually talk about things like our kids or our husbands or our common friends. Sometimes we dig deep and talk about the world and discuss how we can make a difference. It usually involves some kind of fantastic book that we’d write to leave our mark or some kind of mission work like building wells in Africa. I don’t know why we always fall back on the Wells in Africa thing when we both know that Bonnie would never agree to get all the shots needed to travel to a third world country and I would never agree to travel anywhere that does not have 5 star hotels.

We promise one another that what is discussed on our walks, stay on our walks. We swear each other to secrecy, occasionally allowing a particular interesting factoid to be shared with our hubby’s. Our hubby’s should be honored that they are the exception to the secrecy rule. When I know that I have the green light to blab to Bruce, suddenly I don’t want to. What fun is there in being ALLOWED to gossip? So I usually get home, Bruce asks me what we talked about and I say, “oh, not much.” He rolls his eyes and then wonders how the heck we can walk for an hour or two and not discuss anything worth repeating. Every now and then I will toss him a morsel of news. He never really thinks it’s as interesting as Bonnie and I found it.

If we were to take a walk today, we’d probably talk about Valentine’s Day and what our plans were. After dissecting every way possible of how to spend it in a fun way, we’d both eventually confess to wanting to stay home and get in our pj’s early and finding a good show on tv to watch. To validate not going out, we would discuss, and agree, that we’ve both had our fair share of overpriced roses and that we do not want the added calories of chocolates. We are both in the middle of a love affair with dieting.

Bonnie would eventually get around to saying how blessed we are to be able to take walks together while pointing out all of God’s beauty in the nature around us. I would eventually get around to telling her I was tired or had a cramp in my toe or something awful like that. Our friendship works well because she is glass half full and I am glass half empty. We balance each other out. We tend to see the world through similar eyes and we both know how blessed we are to have the friendship that we do. Even tho I tend to prefer perfect weather conditions before agreeing to walk, I would not trade the hours and hours she and I have spent together on our journeys, discussing life and living it.