Archive for the ‘family’ category

Older … Sadder … Wiser

September 4, 2017

SWI am aboard a Southwest flight from Cleveland OH to Orange County, returning from funeral services for my sister-in-law, GeorgeAnn, who passed suddenly from a massive heart attack last Monday.  There was a viewing on Friday night and on Saturday, a brief memorial service at the funeral home and grave side, then a luncheon back at the funeral home.  Everything was beautiful and in keeping with GeorgeAnn’s personality, upbeat, a celebration of her life rather than an occasion for grieving.   Personally, I am a crier.  When I lose someone, I need to cry and I’d rather do it with loved ones than alone at night or in my car at the park.  I didn’t know GeorgeAnn as well as most of the people attending so I went with their lead and only teared up a few times.

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Tell Them … Again

August 31, 2017

This week, my brother’s wife, GeorgeAnn, passed away from a heart attack.   Just over eight years ago,  my sister-in-law, Sandy, passed away after weeks of fighting to recover from cancer surgery.   One passing sudden, taking your breath away, the other slow, agonizing … but the shock is the same, a loved one taken too soon, at least from our perspective here on earth.  And in the case of GeorgeAnn and Sandy, two truly good people who brought love, light and care to the lives of family and friends.   Back in 2009, I wrote a short post titled Tell Them, wondering if Sandy knew how much we loved her, how special she was. The message of that post was this: Tell them. Tell the people you love just how much they mean to you and tell them how you think they’re special. Don’t wait. Don’t be wondering someday if they knew.

So, here I sit in mentor OH, waiting to attend GeorgeAnn’s viewing tonight, wondering if I’ve gotten any better at this business of letting those I love know how much I care.  George Ann was funny, quirky, outspoken and compassionate.  She was a natural caregiver who cared for friends and family during difficult times, including my sister, Pat, and she was the light of my brother’s life.  She literally saved both my sibling’s lives in the past few years.  Did I thank her enough?  Did she know how much I loved her?  Perhaps.  But I’ll pass on the same message: Tell them … again.  Tell the people you love just how much they mean to you and tell them how you think they’re special. Don’t wait. Don’t be wondering someday if they knew.

The Wrong Girl

March 31, 2016

savyPerhaps the high point of our visit to Utah last week was getting to see our granddaughter, Savannah … aka Savy … perform with her cheer squad, the Elite Academy Heat.  The competition was held in the massive Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake on a huge, multimedia stage in a room as large as an airplane hangar.  The official word was that no video taping was allowed but can anyone really prevent parents from video recording their kids in an age when nearly every device can record videos?   Before each performance, a group of parents from the team performing would make its way to the front of the stage to take pictures and videos.  I decided to do the same for Savy’s. I’d brought my Panasonic Lumix camera, which takes very good videos and offers the choice of a viewfinder or the view screen as a means of seeing what I’m recording.  As Savy’s team was announced, I moved to the edge of the stage and decided to use the viewfinder because that usually allows me to hold the camera more steady (at the expense of a tiny-tiny image). (more…)

Departure Day

March 29, 2016

mountainsYesterday was Departure Day for our eleven day visit with our daughter, son-in-law and three grandkids.  That is the most time we have ever spent under their roof, which to some may not seem like a big deal, but for my wife, Muri, and I it was.  We are a strong-willed bunch, from the the oldest (that would be moi) to the youngest (that would be sweet but strong-willed Savy girl).  Muri and I have always needed alone time (that would be quiet alone time) even from each other, a need that seems to get greater as we age.  That is hard to come by in a house with three beautiful, rambunctious and chatty children, not to mention their chatty mother.  And we all know how seniors love their routines, don’t we?  And how they get grouchy when their routines are interrupted or unavailable.  So, in spite of how anxious we were to see those grandkids, we approached the week with some trepidation.  Did my daughter and son-in-law felt the same way?  You’ll have to ask them. (more…)

Cheering

March 19, 2016

cheerIt is interesting to me how things I said to my children as a father with Younger Eyes comes back around to Older Eyes via his grandchildren.  Recently, my grandaughter, Savannah, joined a competitive cheerleading team, The Elite Academy Heat.  Originally, my daughter enrolled her in dance but Savy wanted to cheer.  This week, we are here in Utah visiting and we got to see Savy’s team compete.   As we were waiting, Savy asked her Mom, Why didn’t you do cheer, Mommy?   My daughter told her a fact I hardly remembered … Papa said I couldn’t.  Hmmm.  She then leaned over to me: Don’t you remember?  You said you thought girls should do something more than stand on the sidelines cheering for boys while they play sports.   Oh, yeah, I remember that guy … in fact, I’m still him.   But Savy loves cheer (as cheerleading is called these days), and her team isn’t cheering for anyone … they are competing against other teams.  I guess Older Eyes can live with that.   My daughter couldn’t resist adding one more bit of information.  You know the high school cheer team did this kind of comptetition in the off season.  I guess Younger Eyes was wrong.  Nothing new.
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The Price of Happiness

February 27, 2016

dollarThis week, my wife, Muri, and I spent the day at the Disneyland Resort with our grandkids … and their parents.  You can’t call it Disneyland anymore because there are now two separate parks, Disneyland and California Adventure, strategically positioned adjacent to each other so that you can hop from one to another. Provided, of course, that you are willing to pay a premium of about $40 above the $100 it costs for a single park ticket to make it a Park Hopper.  We did.  My daughter, son-in-law and grandkids did two days but Muri and I were fairly certain our old legs couldn’t handle that.   Let me say this before I start being a curmudgeon … we (and they) had a great time.  Even when a sore back keeping me off some of the better rides, I enjoyed watching the kids enjoy themselves.  Now, the curmudgeonly part.   The two days at Disneyland for them, a day for us, plus parking, food and souvenirs set us back something north of $1500. (more…)

Throwback Thursday – Bright Lights

January 7, 2016

Here it is, the first Thursday of (gasp) 2016.  That makes my birth year, 1944, sound like is was very long ago.  Yes, I know.  It was. So for the first Throwback Thursday of the year, I’m reposting an anecdote that happened on the day of my birth.

mom letterOne of the treasures I saved from my father’s house when he moved to assisted living is a letter my Mom wrote from Casper, WY, where my father was stationed at the Army Air Corps Heavy Bomber Training Unit.  The letter begins, Dear Mother and Dad, This is an extra special important letter so I’ll send it to the two of you  (You’d best sit down, Mom).  It continues, You two have been married too long to be just Mom and Dad.  Don’t you think it’s time you were Grandma and Grampa?  My Mom was telling her parents that she was four and a half months pregnant with me.  Of course, they didn’t know I was me yet, so they’d nicknamed me Stinky, Jr.  Thank goodness that it was Buddy that eventually stuck as my nickname.  The letter says, I hope we do have a boy … with blue eyes and a dimple in its chin … not the other end like me.  Hmm.  I have brown eyes, by the way.   In the letter, my Mom went on to ask if it was OK for her to come home and live with her Mom and Dad while my Dad was shipped overseas to Italy to fight the war.   I’ll have a Pullman all the way home, she said … for free, too.  The Army was paying.  Trains playedbud and dad a big part in my Mom’s travels when she and Dad were first married.   There was even a running family joke that my real Dad was a porter.  All you have to do is see a picture of my Dad and I together and you’ll know the truth. (more…)