And Then It’s Been Over A Week

The false alarms ceased.

Last Monday night, the 27th, my older sister, the second oldest of us kids, passed away.

Surrounded by those who loved her the most, and the ones she loved so dearly, the meds were shut off and she drifted off into a sleep and then away from us all.

I wasn’t ready for the feelings of loss. I wasn’t ready to see her kids and grandkids feel her loss. I wasn’t ready for the reality, the tears, and the funeral.

Between her death and her burial was the funeral of my uncle. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. I still not sure how to capture the emotions, to make them make sense. I can’t nicely tuck away the hurt, the anger, or the sadness. I also know life must go on. I really don’t want it to.

I hate that so many around me don’t have to deal with it. Even within minutes of learning of her death, I had to endure smiles and laughter around me. Almost too much to bear.

My sister is gone. Never to hear her voice. Never to read her crazy facebook posts. Never to finally spend those moments remembering back when. Back when we were kids. Back when we were young parents. Or now, now that were old parents.

I couldn’t find the words to share this past week. Forgive me. I still don’t exactly know the words to share now.

My sister was a hell raiser. She burst out from our Mormon upbringing and broke all the rules. She drifted in and out of our lives as trouble came and went in hers. She live in, what seemed to me, chaos but brought out of it five wonderful nieces and nephews for us all to share.

Her last days were good and bad, as the ICU goes. Would she make it, would she not? Some moments it felt like minutes left, others like she would be done with it all and be ready to go home and on to the next concert.

Her last night, however, was mine.

After sending the exhausted other people home to get rest, I promised to stay with her through the night and to stay up for her should she need anything, or should something change. Everyone left.

For the next several hours, my sister and I visited, just the two of us, in-between her sleeping episodes. We talked of old times, we spoke of new times, and we laughed at the stupid late night hokie westerns on the TV. She seemed strong, ready to beat this thing, and she made me believe during that long night that there would be others. There wouldn’t be.

In the early morning, things turned. She wasn’t quite as with it. The doctors words weren’t so encouraging. Her voice got lighter and her breathing got heavier.

That afternoon and into the evening, she said her good byes to everyone individually- although at times we weren’t sure if she thought maybe it was just good night she was syaing. She told the group, “I love you all.” And all sounded back, “we love you too”.

And then she was gone from our lives.

My uncle’s funeral was a short, graveside service only- as he requested. The military sent him off with a gun-fire salute, taps, and a presentation of the colors to his son.

My sister was memorialized two days later in tears but with laughter as we reminisced and shared our version of her with everyone else.

I don’t feel either summed up who these people were and what they meant to us. But how can any service do that?

It just doesn’t seem right that life without them just goes on.

 

Post # 4-007

False Alarm

I thought tonight was the time I would say my final good bye to my sister.

Her kids surrounded her, the setting sun shine through the window, and she seemed so weak and frail.

Yet it wasn’t to be this night.

My sister, always one to do things the way she would do them, rallied and got stronger as the evening wore on.

A false hope? Perhaps. But a reprieve from feelings and a situation I do not feel ready to tackle.

I’ll take it.

Post #4-006

When it Rains, it Pours.

Tonight is an evening of worry and concern. I left early from work to care for my wife who call and asked if I could come home early. She is sick and has been sick more often lately. The last time was a trip to the ER for a long night and no answers. Tonight, it’s just about trying to make her feel comfortable.

Upon arrival at home, I learned that one of my sisters has gone into ICU due to liver failure. Because I’m not sure what my wife is fighting, I hesitate to go to see my sister in her compromised situation.

Emotionally, I feel stretched and drained. And a little helpless. I hope this weekend brings healing.

 

Post #4-005

A Cat’s Approach

When life gets too frantic or it seems like everything is so important that each moment might bring the sudden strike of doom we so fear; remember the cat.

When the stress builds up, stretch and yawn like you just don’t care who’s watching. Relax, take a nap if you need to; and don’t let any serious work get in your way of making your mark.

cat

15th Centtury manuscript marred forever in history by a cat looking for attention.

Post 4-004

Not The Slightest Clue

I have a faint memory that my parents have identified from my description as taking place in 1969. I was 3. I remember a hospital room and being inside an oxygen tent. I also remember being angry at the nurse for stealing my blanket, brought to me from home, when I would fall asleep. I was unconscious to anything else in the world. Never did I imagine that during this same time, that world was much different for my uncle.IMG_20180822_215013

Between the months of August 1968 and August 1969, My uncle Russ was in a far away Asian country fighting in a war. I was in California. He patrolled the jungles and climbed through the mud. I was mastering toddler walk. He fought for his life with a gun in his hands and wits about his head; his hunting skills being used to run point more times than not on his patrols. I fought asthma; my skill set not even mastering breathing.

What a brat I must’ve been all those years. Garnering attention for being sick, being praised for getting good grades, and having love heaped upon me by my grandparents- his parents. He struggled with demons that followed him back from Viet Nam.

Yet he never spoke but kind words to me. He helped me learn how to fish and run a boat. Later on, he played with my kids and doted on them when we came to visit.

I always wondered why he never seemed to be in step with the normal world. A loving wife, a family life, or even a regular job seemed to all escape him.

Our lives took entirely different paths. I got the easy one. He had the hard one allotted to him. I reaped the benefits of the godawful hell he went through. And he never said a word.

In fact I never heard him talk of any of it. Never did he complain or make me feel like I owed him something. It has only been in these later years that I knew anything of what he went through. And only a small part of it.  IMG_20180822_215201

Today I finally saw the photos of a young man in a far away place. I held the Bronze Star, awarded to him for his ordeals.

Luckily, I had been able to tell him how much I appreciated all he had done for me and my family before he passed. But I don’t think I ever had a clue as to how much that appreciating should’ve been.

Uncle Russ. Thank you again. I hope the rest you find meets what you deserve.

 

Post#4-003

 

Salmon-chanted Feeding

First a word. In this case “first”.

And then another, and another, and another. Before long, there’s a sentence. And then a paragraph, even if an improper one. And just like that, the writing has started all over again.

So much has happened since my last post, it would take like a year to fill it all in. So I won’t. However, this year won’t be so lucky, nor undocumented.

So welcome back to both you and me. I’ve missed you.

At the time of this writing, an uncle is finishing his run. Any day now the call will be received of his passing.

An unprecedented effort is currently being spent in the Pacific Northwest to preserve a particular Orca, J50, and the pod to which she belongs. Antibodies and dewormers are being injected. Live salmon are being released to secretly feed the young whale, and everyone involved is hopeful that the plight of this one whale turns people’s attention and care to preserving the ecosystem of our oceans.

Upstairs, new neighbors are moving in. A new start in hopefully a healthy apartment staircase community. One never knows at the start where the series of events leads. Will it be good, or will it be bad?

Where am I in my career? Definitely not the start. I’m too old to call anything a start.

The end? I sure hope not.

The time to relaunch? Yes. It’s time to pick up the race one more. I’m not Whale J50; but I’m hungry for salmon.

 

 

Post 4-001

 

 

The Race

raceThe race of man is no race at all. From birth to death, time appears to not matter. Man spends it as if it had no value or no end.

It’s only when time is expired that man begs for more. Wishing and regretting while the final ticks whisk away; it’s too late.

Now is the moment to realize there is no time; there are only things to do.

What will I do? Let my wishes expire or act upon them and see them realized?

The race is mine and it never ends. Until it does.

 

Post 3-163

 

Happy Place

Hey Kids,

Sitting in the dark, with the wind to my back, and the kayak bobbing up and down in the waves one has time to think.bullfrog sunset

The water was too rough to head out so I tied the boat to the string of large tractor tires that form a wind break around the marina and took advantage of the artificial reef it also created.

Between the fish that fell victim to the jigs I threw out, I watched the full moon rise. It reflection and the lights of the marina flickered across the rippled surface of the water.

My thoughts focused on the beauty of it all. The smell of the lake, the warmth of the air, the coolness of the water, and the pull of the fish. There’s a simplicity to it. There’s a complexity to it. There’s a feeling of being part of it.

That is my happy place.

 

Post 3-162

There Might Be An Occasional Gap

Hey Kids,

I don’t even know where to start but I’ve missed a few days.

I got so busy and lost in the things I had to do on the boat, fishing until the wee hours of the night, and the traveling, I never took the time to blog.

Monday meant back to work, meeting my brother and his visiting son, and total exhaustion.Alfred2

Tuesday, today, started out with an attempt to the gym. It didn’t end up so well. Maybe it’s just a case of out of shape but I fear my reaction to the minor physical strain might be something else. I’m no doctor, but I know this morning wasn’t good.

I ended up not going into the office and spent the day resting. Each time I stood, I got dizzy. By the evening, I feel better but I worry. If it continues, I’ll have to go see a doctor. For now, I’m hoping for simply a bad day.

But the streak is broken and unrecoverable. I think maybe the blog every day is beyond what is truly possible. I enjoy trying, so I still will because I enjoy it.

On to tomorrow. May the health be better, the writing interesting, and days missed few.

 

Post 3-161