Fall has always been one of my favorite times of year. (I say that about every season!) The crisp cool air and the vibrant yellows, oranges and reds of the season are so beautiful. The days are beginning to get colder now and the leaves are almost gone. This picture is to remind you of the glory of fall in full bloom.
A we were driving through Custer State Park, there were several donkeys standing around in the road and many people out taking pictures.
This little cutie brought a smile to my face! He or she, just seemed too tired to carry on or to even care that people were out taking pictures.
This guy was a bit shy, don’t you think?
No words for this fellow, except he seemed mellow.
Find joy in the simple things! (even my goofy rhymes!)
Today, I am reminded of the journey home from Portland, Oregon where my sister passed away back to Stillwater, Oklahoma where I lived until two years ago. When I went to Portland to help care for my sister as she was dying, my husband and I decided he would come get me and we would drive home taking our time and visit places we have never been. It was also very helpful to me in the grieving process. My sister loved to travel and go places she had never been before and it seemed to help me to do the same. The difference is that my sister loved to travel around the world and I have not had the opportunity to do that. My travels have been limited to the United States, the Bahamas, and Mexico. It really doesn’t matter . . . . traveling anywhere, soaking in the culture of the places you visit, and seeing new things is basically the desire of those filled with wanderlust. We took many detours along the way home. Two places we stopped were the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore. Both places were incredibly amazing. Here a few of pictures from those places.
I like this photo because it shows what the Crazy Horse Memorial will look like when it is completely finished. It is not expected to be finished during my life time because it is a work in progress. Work stops periodically when they run out of funds.
Here’s a little something I wrote almost a year ago.
December 31, 2013
Today is the last day of 2013. As I sit here, I wonder where the year has gone. Maybe it is because I’m older or maybe it is because as I look at my mother she looks old. Maybe it is because I now have two precious grandchildren. Whatever the reason, it is gone.
Today, my mother and I were looking at old family pictures and had a discussion about how old my grandmother was when she died. She was ninety something, either 93 or 94, we think. We were going to look it up but got side-tracked because my mother said “I don’t want to live to be 100.” She will be 89 in January. I have never given much thought to her age until this past year.
Last winter she got really sick with a kidney infection and lost a lot of weight. When I saw her in May, I thought she looked very thin but she looked healthy. She mowed her lawn and trimmed her hedges all last summer. (There is a story to go along with that statement which I’ll tell on another day.) She seemed to be doing quite well when I saw her at the end of October, but shortly after I saw her she got another very bad kidney infection. She was sick for at least four weeks and is now on the road to recovery however, she lost 15 more pounds that she certainly did not need to be losing. When we arrived at her house December 19, I saw a very frail, old woman that did not look quite as healthy as the last time I saw her. This was the day I decided my mother was old.
I’ve never really been too caught up with the age of people. Half the time I forget how old I am – I did this even in my 20’s and 30’s so it isn’t because I’m older! I’ve always been one to think that attitude has a lot to do with how people perceive your age. Choose an age and just stick with it has been my mantra for years. So, how do we determine if something or someone is old?
In the antique world, when something is 25 years old, it is considered to be an antique. That always seemed a bit “young” to me. When I think of someone being old, I think of someone who is hunched over, walks slowly with a cane, is all wrinkly, has a shaky voice, and can’t hear or drive and in my mind, they typically have gray hair as well! Of course, this makes me think of the little old ladies that went to my church growing up. They all sat together in a row with different shades of blue to purplish hair from the tonic they used to “keep their hair white.” Looking back, most of them were probably in their mid-60’s to early 70’s which really doesn’t seem that old to me. It never really did.
As we were looking through things in the house, we came across a car phone that my mother used when she was on the road. It made us both laugh out loud. It was in a black zippered case. When it was opened, on the left side was a hand held receiver with a curly cord that attached to a dial. On the right side was the battery pack that plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter. It cannot even be used with today’s technology. It is only about 20 or so years old, yet, it is considered outdated and therefore an antique so in this case, old.
I suppose the term “old” is relative. I hope that I’m not considered to be old until I reach the age of 89 like my mother. Guess I better get busy and do more walking and yard work. I think that might be what has kept her young!
Since this blog is about death and dying I will take a moment to mourn the death of my flashdrive. Yes, I said my flashdrive AND for me it is a tragedy. It had all of my journaling on it along with all the information from every class I have ever taught. Oh, and my resume`. For most this may seem trivial but for me it is not.
The loss of my journal is probably what bothers me more than anything else. Originally, it was on my home computer then I transferred it to my laptop. Because I worked between the two computers, I put it all on my flashdrive and took it off of my computers. BIG MISTAKE! Don’t do that, ever! I have learned a huge lesson . . . always back up your work! That being said, I’m sad. Very sad. Seriously sad. The journals I wrote while my sister was dying were on that flashdrive. The things I wrote after she died and beyond were on it, too. I’m not sure I can ever replicate what I wrote previously or if I would even want to do so. There were emotions, feelings, thoughts written which will never be replaced. It is similar to loosing pictures except these were snapshots of my thoughts. We have taken the departed to a computer shop to see if possibly it can be revived. So far nothing, but I am not giving up hope until I am told it is gone!
So, today, I’m mourning the loss of my flashdrive. It holds some precious memories and it makes me terribly sad they are gone. I’m angry at myself for being so foolish as to think a flashdrive could live forever. In the meantime, I’ll try to reach into the far corners of my brain and see if I can pull any memories of former musings back out again.
Have any of you ever done something like this?
Here I am looking once more at what I wrote six months ago and again I am wondering why I haven’t been posting as much as I did in the beginning. No reasons really. It appears to be easier to not write when you forget to do it for a day or two. In the beginning, my goal was to post every day except Sunday. I did really well for a while then, it waned. I have decided to start the New Year with the hope of posting at least once a week.
When I posted yesterday and the day before, the reality of not blogging in over a month hit me square in the face! I knew that I had been extremely busy but I didn’t realize that it had been so long. I could offer excuses but what good would that do? So, here I am one year later, still trying to finish sharing my journals about the journey of death and dying. As I think about this I feel rather torn. Do I finish what I started or do I move on? After much debate with myself, (quietly, not out loud, so I really can’t be crazy, right?) I have come to the conclusion that it must be finished. The emotions and struggles of dealing with the death of my sister need to be shared if for no other reason than to bring closure for me. The reason I started this blog in the first place was to be able to help me with this journey of death and dying that was forced upon me. By forced, I mean that I really did not have a choice in the matter. Well, I suppose I could have just stayed home rather than going to be with my sister in the end, but for me that was NOT an option. One year later, I still have the same questions. Why do we not discuss death? Why is it something that is typically considered to be hush-hush? Why we are afraid to talk about the end of life and what happens to a person as they reach the end? Is it the fear of the unknown? Are we ashamed of the emotions we might feel and the tears we might shed? There are probably as many answers to these questions as there are people who read them. If I were to guess I would say that maybe it is related to our own life stories. What we have experienced in life influences how we perceive life and life circumstances. With all of this being said I shall forge ahead and continue sharing my journal pages of the last year. Maybe it will help someone else in their journey.
Tomorrow we will be back on the road again. Hope you decide to join me.
When did face book become a political hate forum? Has anyone else noticed the inordinate amount of postings related to politics which have surfaced over the past several months? Has anyone else noticed how much hatred shows in those posts? The name calling rivals that which was heard during recess while in elementary school. (Insert your favorite insults here.) One would think that a group of allegedly educated, civil people would be able to discuss political issues without slinging slurs back and forth to each other or resorting to childish name calling. Democrats and republicans are equally guilty of only accepting that which their respective parties have on their agendas. Where are the days of reading and researching the issues and making informed decisions based on not only the facts but also what is best for the good of all regardless of what party supports it? When did we become so wrapped up in supporting a specific political party we are unable to see the forest for the trees? I, for one, am becoming rather tired of people from both political groups blaming everything which is wrong with our country and society on the other party. Maybe everyone needs to take a deep breath, count to ten and try to think of ways we can make compromises both parties can live with; nowhere is it written or promised that you always get your way or things are always fair. Life is not fair. In our early years of school we learn to be kind, to take turns and to use our words to tell people how we feel. THEN, we are told to come up with a solution all persons involved can live with which often means we must negotiate and compromise. Isn’t that a novel idea? I suppose the question I have for all those people who feel the need to badmouth others for their political or religious views is this: “why can’t we all just be friends and find a way to get along?”