Archive for the ‘Growing Old’ Category

Hello, there! It’s been awhile since I’ve written. My apologies. Started many times-so much to say! But, oh, that pesky side-tracking business.

Today I must! I will keep it short and simple.

This season and day can be difficult for folks. I know, not exactly a news flash.

Many families are experiencing the loss of a loved one. Some have plans that will not materialize.

Due to finances. Or a sudden bout with Covid. Foul weather. Illnesses. A host of other reasons.

Sometimes things do not work out as planned. And it can be utterly disappointing.

Instead of wishing away the day (because, in fact, by doing this you are wishing a day of YOUR life away) take the time to reflect or begin a new tradition.

Or just peacefully be.

Each and every day is truly a blessing. The older I become the more I realize it.

Don’t squander the gift.

Today, I wish you all a peaceful day.

Catch my hug.

Read Full Post »

So, I recently began my fifty-ninth year on the planet. As my birthday approached I pondered on how to auspiciously mark the occasion.

What I did was this. I donated fifty-eight items. Things that I already had in my possession. I know it sounds big but it’s not. For me, anyway. And, going out on a limb here, probably not for you.

I have a lot going on at the moment, so probably putting more pressure on myself via lofty goals/challenges has a tinge of masochism to it. But that is how I roll. Remember when I did the 100 book a year challenge? Yeah, that was sick. That had me reading the last book on New Year’s Eve!!

Routinely, I cull the inventory in the home. I’m pretty good about it. But there is always more. When different charitable organizations (who pick up at your door!) ask for donations, I usually say, “Yes.” Because then I am totally committed. So, when they contacted me just before my birthday, it was a well-timed call.

I like giving. And I don’t like clutter. I also don’t want to leave messes for folks to clean up in my absence.

For my birthday, I gathered books already read, games not being played, supplies not utilized, clothes not being worn, vases, dishes, kitchen items and more. All things that someone else can use and enjoy.

Totally met my number of fifty-eight. Surpassed it actually. Easier than one would think.

Enjoy your weekend. Keep safe and healthy.

Read Full Post »

You can see that I am cleaning house. I have 118 unfinished drafts in the WordPress folder. So this one is a few years old. But important messages don’t change. 

There have been a couple of deaths lately which have me thinking about things. Yes, about the afterlife. But also about the life experience on earth.

If I had that special wand I would make it all just slow down a little bit. I know that is not reality. But I haven’t always been a fan of reality either.

So, I will be writing, I think, on the subject of these deaths.

My sister-in-law’s father died in March. Without going into an old family history thing I need to explain that before the two families became one, Jim had already been a friend to our family. The friendship goes back generations in Ireland. Neighboring farms, ancestral village and all that.

One thing I am a big fan of is family and friends. I was tickled that the children of two old friends would marry each other.

So, I was a little sad at one more member of the old guard passing.

My sister-in-law has been sharing little stories about her Dad. And when I read them I smile. Or my eyes fill.

Here is one. This is important.

After Jim’s funeral we were gathered for a brunch at a nearby hotel.

It was lovely. Patty (my sister-in-law) spoke about her Dad. In a nutshell it goes something like this. She said he always repeated stories that she already knew. So this one time, she asked him to tell her something she didn’t know. It caused a pause.  In a sort of a “What do you mean?” moment. Anyway, he shared a childhood experience. About returning to Ireland as a young boy with his mother. His father saw them off at the harbor in New York.

Okay, my eyes were filling. Again. Like they did in the church. I know. I know. He was nearly ninety. But someone lost their dad. Doesn’t matter how old. I kept thinking happy thoughts to dry up the tears as I didn’t want anyone thinking I was a snuffling, secret love child of this man.

The important thing of the story is this. We tell the same old stories because they’re comfortable. They might be triggered by surroundings, experiences or holidays. We know our partner’s stories. We know our friends’ stories. We know the stories of our children.

But we really don’t know it all. And it is up to us. To ask the right questions. So, it’s not the same old stories.

Read Full Post »

Good morning! I hope everyone is doing well. At least, okay and hanging in there.

Big sigh, right?

It’s been awhile but I plan to take pen to paper more often. In reality, more like fingers to a keyboard.

I watched an episode from a series recently. Wasn’t crazy about it. But I am just one person with my own opinion.

I was, however, fascinated with the premise of this particular vignette. I’m not sharing the name or actress because you might want to give it a go and I do not want to sully your thoughts.

A woman, whose Mom has Alzheimer’s, peruses through the old family photo albums.

Who hasn’t done that when visiting our parents? Poking through boxes of photos, sitting on beds or sofas, in our childhood homes. Asking, “Who is this?” Or “How cute!” Maybe, “Remember that day?”

This daughter removes photos from the plastic sleeves.

Then she eats them.

And instantly a memory is evoked. She is transported back to the moment each photograph was taken. Brilliant.

Imagine if we could actually relive or feel transported to a different time? When things were carefree. Or so fun and special. When loved ones were still present.

I have my memories (although murkiness does set in the older I become) but I’d gobble photographs up, in a second, to truly feel cherished moments from the past.

We could also take the opportunity to gnaw on the “not so carefree’ photographs. To remind us of the things we don’t want to feel or repeat. And learn from them.

I wish you all a weekend of cherishable moments.

Read Full Post »

A couple of weeks ago, a woman I worked with back in the AT&T days, passed away.

Suddenly.

One evening she was posting loving birthday wishes to her grandchild on Facebook. The next day at noon I was receiving texts from friends telling me that she had died.

Fifty years old.

Shocking.

But that is not the message I want to share in this post.

One of our mutual friends posted a thing on Facebook. On March 18th.

“For those who still have their mother.”

“Got some gossip? Call your momma. Bad day at work? Call your momma. Huge accomplishment? Call your momma. Someone hurt your feelings? Call your momma. You’re sick? Call your momma. Can’t remember how to cook something? Call your momma. Etc. “

You get the idea.

B. commented, “I needed to read this today. My mother and I had an argument a couple months back and we haven’t spoken. I think I’m going to send her a note today.”

A few of us responded with encouragement. Do it!

I said, “Better yet-call her!”

B. loved the feedback and said she would.

I privately messaged her that evening. Asking if she talked to her Mom. And she said, “Yes, it’s all good now. Thanks for the encouragement.”

Without going into details she said it was over something silly. And that she needed to accept her mother as she is and that she loved her.

And then she said, “My mom is 84 and lives in Florida so I would hv hated for something to happen and not hv reconciled.”

😦

Who would ever have thought that the fifty year old would be the one to leave so soon?

Another reminder. Life is very short. If you need to reach out to a loved one-there is no time like the present.

Because we don’t want to wait until there is no time.

Read Full Post »

As the young folks say, “It’s been a minute.”

This means that it’s been an extended period of time. And I haven’t written anything since July!

It wasn’t malaise. Although this country (world) has truly been on some kind of a roller coaster! Politics aside for the moment.

I hesitate to blame it on writer’s block.

Some type of low grade depression?

Maybe. My friend Karla figures most of us are experiencing a touch of that in the past year.

Anyway, whatever it was, today is the day.

This past Wednesday I was very busy. Three things that day had me thinking profoundly.

They are three very different stories and deserve their own space. So, another time!

But I was thinking about the fragility of life. One day someone is here and then they are not.

A childhood friend and I were messaging the next day. We had a mutual friend who had died suddenly Tuesday/Wednesday at the young age of fifty. Someone I worked with many years ago and one of her high school friends.

We chatted about life, families, acceptance, etc.

S. works at a nursing home and told me about a recent interaction.

One day, she sees a resident just wheeling around in his chair. Eyes closed.

Asks him, “J., buddy, what’s up with your eyes closed??”

He replied, “I’m exhausted but I am not sure how many days I have left on earth so I can’t spend them in bed.”

Bang. There it is.

She told me that he has arthritis and is in pain 100% of the time.

Also told me he smiles 100% of the time.

None of us know how many days we have left on earth.

If we wake up in the morning we are blessed with a choice.

How do we want to spend this day? This gift?

Read Full Post »

blmbristol

Black people are telling us they are exhausted. Of racism. Of having to comfort their children. Of schooling them on ways not to get hurt or killed. Of fearing for their safety.

I’m white and I’m already exhausted just after the last month. I can’t imagine what they must feel.

I’m going back and forth with people on social media, in person, etc. and this is what is getting to me. People are so steadfast in their opinion and not budgeable (not sure if that is a word but I like it and it’s staying) in any way.

But wait, Mary, you are also stubborn and have strong views! You’re not really budgeable either!

That’s only partly true. I am prone to a stubbornness on some matters and I am passionate. But I am budgeable.

Every day I am trying to grow. Reflect. Help. Listen to others who are begging to be heard. I read.

I am fifty-five years old and I am trying.

I just don’t understand the inability or lack of desire to engage in thoughtful dialogue. Or to do anything at all.

Our vice-president, when pressed during a meeting, resisted saying, “Black Lives Matter.” He instead said, “All Lives Matter.”

Leaders have an impact.

My cousin in Northern Ireland (a place once riddled with violence, oppression, prejudice and a minority Catholic population) told me that change has to start from the bottom up and not the top down. It has become quite apparent that this is true.

So there is hard work ahead for all of us.

Cousin also told me that it does no good speaking to people who already think like me. Also true.

So there is hard work ahead for all of us.

What can we do? How can we help our fellow citizens?

We can start by doing something very simple.

Listen.

Read Full Post »

How can I (or anyone) take action, to help my fellow countrymen/women, in a positive way?

First of all we need to be honest. And that is really, really hard.

Racism is alive and well in the United States. I don’t have to tell you that. Just turn on the television.

Someone asked me, at a socially distanced barbeque, what percentage of Americans I thought are actually racist. I quickly pulled out a 99% and I included myself in that number. The person who asked the question-along with my husband-did not agree with me.

Maybe I should use the word biased and not racist. Everyone has some bias. Not our fault. It’s in our politics. In our growing up years. In our society. Inherently. We don’t even notice it.

There lies the rub. We don’t even notice it.

We need to notice it. In order to create change we need to take notice and start questioning.

Not too long ago there were only white males in power or positions of authority. We (white people) didn’t even think about it. Until we did. And made changes.

I will share a story from my beloved father’s own mouth. He wasn’t telling me out of pride.

My mother, a bright lady, was a Registered Nurse. She skipped a grade in elementary school, graduated high school and was soon in the nursing program at a Rhode Island hospital. She loved her job and her nursing friends. I can still remember one evening, while I was upstairs in bed, hearing them while they laughed and smoked. I think that is probably the first time I also became aware of someone who was gay. One of Mom’s nurse friends.

Mom worked on the first heart/lung machine in Rhode Island. She also taught others. Pretty cool stuff.

My Dad was always so very proud of her. Almost to his dying day, if he was at a Drs. appointment-hers or his, he always mentioned that she was a nurse.

In the 1960s, when my parents married, three kids quickly arrived on the scene.

So, back then, life gets a bit tricky. And my mom was going to have to quit or cut back hours.

Dad told me, that a male Doctor from the hospital actually called him on the telephone. Asking if Mom could still work. Dad nicely and respectfully told the Doctor that they had a growing family.

When I was listening to my Dad tell this story I was sort of shocked. My stomach kind of lurched. I felt terrible for my mom (although she did work as a nurse part-time for years before going full-time again) -that the decision was not really hers.

I appreciated my father sharing that with me across their dining room table. I also appreciated that in the 1950s and 1960s things looked a whole lot different for women.

Did my Dad’s views change as he got older? Of course, they did.

Why?

Because people took notice and things changed for women.

But how many years had passed before someone noticed?

Now is the time for all of us to pay attention and listen.

Most importantly it is time to take notice.

Read Full Post »

I trust that you have all established some type of routine in this time of Covid. I sincerely hope that you are all healthy and well.

Today is “Juneteenth.” This unofficial holiday commemorates the day, in 1865, that a proclamation was finally delivered in Texas. It was announced that the slaves were free.

When I say slaves I mean Black people who were taken from Africa and brought to America.

Taken.

They weren’t packing their bags for the long journey, double checking their itinerary and looking forward to exploring a new place.

These people were stripped of everything. Their homeland. Their families. Their Moms and Dads. Their children. Their religion. Their culture. Their language.

And then abused in a foreign land for decades and decades.

I am currently doing research on a family that had ties to a town called Falmouth in Pendleton County, Kentucky. The amount of “Mulattos” in any one family (on census reports) is astonishing and sickening. Because we all know what that means. We are not talking about love stories. Women were raped and impregnated by their owners or other white men. That’s a fact.

So today is a day which should be a cause for celebration. Weirdly.

And yet, the African-American experience is not even taught during the academic year in all U.S. public schools.

I am going to continue to write about this issue in each posting. It is time for me to reflect and figure out how I personally can take action to promote positive change.

It is time for all Americans to reflect.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

To my Black friends and fellow Americans-I hope this year brings positive change in your lives and the lives of your families. I stand with you.

Read Full Post »

One thing that I am sure you all noticed once this pandemic hit. The amazing amount of emails sitting in your in-box. Basically businesses sending a “How we are responding to COVID-19” message.

Started off slowly. I received an email from the following:

The Optometry Center in Texas where my daughter (now twenty-eight years old and hasn’t lived in Dallas since she was in ninth grade)once had an eye exam.

A mom group selling spirit wear. Also from the grand old state of Texas when my daughter was in Middle School.

Tempo Air. Again from our Dallas days. Those fellas were in high demand at our house and regularly scheduled.

Realtors from our Southern California years. Left there in 2012.

And then came the onslaught.

Megabus. Airlines. Parishes. Restaurants. Delivery services. Theaters. Groceries. Charities. Department of State. Blogs. Blood Banks. Social media sites. Tourist spots. Hotels. Inns. Travel sites. Local shops. Schools. Universities. Sports teams. Cultural groups. Gyms. Genealogy sites. Museums. Petition groups. Social justice causes. Voting information. Banks. Craft sites. Auction houses. Utilities. Book stores. Clubs.

Etcetera!

Not just me, right?

I’ve received correspondence from anyone (and everyone) I might have nodded at or greeted in the last fifteen years!

Honestly, why does the government even need an app to track our whereabouts? Here’s my email address. This is a contact tracing of my life. Just gonna leave it right there.

There is a positive side to this. Besides taking me on a trip down memory lane! It provided me with an opportunity to get organized. I unsubscribed from many of these lists and then deleted the mail. Took the time (a little bit each day) to bang these bad boys out, resulting in a much tidier in-box. Saving me time in the future.

Feeling better already!

Have a lovely weekend and stay safe.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »