A Time To Relax

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I hadn’t realized how lonely I have been these past four months.  Work, Parenting, Work, Parenting….that was the extent of my life.  Oh, you could throw in a little housework and a lot of laundry, too.  It’s nice to have some down time and companionship now that T is living with us.

My organization is hosting an event on Thursday night that draws about 30,000 people downtown.  Putting out fires, talking to band managers, the event coordinator, and dealing with my staff of drama queens for the past few weeks has been exhausting.  I am about ready to enter meltdown stage.  Having T here to help lighten my load has been wonderful.  He’s still unemployed, and so he’s been driving in to meet me for lunch each day.  Yesterday he listened to me talk about my morning, and he said, “Please let me know if you need me to do anything.  Whatever you need, I’m here.”  I almost had tears in my eyes, because I knew that he meant those words.  If I need something, he’s here.  I’m no longer alone.  Hopefully, I won’t need T’s help, but that’s not the point.  He offered, and I knew he would be true to his word. Continue Reading »

The Intimacy of Sleeping

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When I was a little girl, I hated to wake and find someone/anyone looking at me.  If I was home sick from school, I was uncomfortable if my mother peeked into my room to check on me.  I hated it if my parents would go out for an evening and come in my room to check on me late at night when they returned.  Waking to find someone looking at me, even in love and caring, was upsetting to me.  It made me feel vulnerable, weak, and helpless.  Sleep was private.  It was something I preferred to do alone, unbothered, and uninterrupted. Continue Reading »

Life Raft




Last night, T told me to get ready.  We were going out for dinner.  He said with a silly smile that  I needed some red meat.  Double entendra.  Em didn’t have plans, so the girls could stay home by themselves.  I agreed that it sounded like a good idea.  It had been a hard day.  I didn’t feel like cooking.  The girls seemed happy at the thought of having us out of the house for a while.  They were both occupied with their own things, and seemed to be looking forward to an evening of quiet….without Mom and Dad hanging around the house.  While I didn’t feel much like going out, the thought of a juicy steak at one of our favorite spots perked me up a little.

I had been a slob all day.  We were heading out for a late dinner by the time I got myself cleaned up and looking presentable.  It was nice, though, because the Saturday night rush had already passed by the time we got there.  We went to a local favorite.  It’s a cozy, intimate place, and has a beautiful evening view of the runway lights at our local (tiny) airport.  To top it all off, the food is always wonderful.  We enjoyed a cocktail and conversation while we waited for our food.  I could already see that this was a good idea as I began to feel myself begin to relax for the first time all day.  My friend T.  There he was across the table, always knowing what is best for me even before I know it myself.

As soon as my tension began to subside, deep, deep fatigue began to set in. The adrenaline had been replaced with exhaustion.  T asked where I wanted to go after dinner, but all I really wanted to do was to go home and go to bed.  He tried to entice me with a drive down by the river to look at Christmas lights.  Maybe we could stop for martinis?  “No, please.  All I want to do is go to bed.”  I can’t ever remember feeling so wilted.  We drove home after dinner, and I immediately got ready for bed.

He was there in bed with me, and I’m not sure where I was.  Yes, I was in bed, but I seemed to be floating.  I rolled over, laid my head on T’s chest, and hung on for dear life.  The headache was back, and I felt like I was swirling and spinning.  I was hot and cold at the same time.  I was sweating and shivering.  Images and emotions flashed at me in my half-sleep.  At some point, I fell asleep.

Around 2:30 a.m., I woke up.  I was tangled in the covers, and my hair felt damp and stringy.  I wanted to get out of bed.  I wanted to wander around the house.  I wanted to stand and look out of a window.  It was December 11.  I picked up my phone to confirm the date.  There it was, taunting me in the darkness, December 11.  I laid there, forcing myself to stay in bed when all I wanted to do was flee.  I’m not sure where I wanted to go, but I didn’t want to be there in the quiet darkness with my thoughts.  If I got up, though, it would be the actions of a crazy woman.  “Normal” people don’t wander around the house in the middle of the night.  I flung my leg across T and grabbed his arm.  Once again, I hung on until sleep came.

This morning when I woke up, it felt like I had won a battle.  I had been victorious.  I hadn’t cried.  I hadn’t wandered around the house thinking and thinking.  I had CHOSEN not to do the things that would feed the fires of grief.  Instead of floundering around in the water, I had held onto my life raft.

Today was another sad December 11th.  My mom has been moved from the hospital to a skilled nursing unit.  It’s depressing, even though the facility is nice.  She lays behind a curtain on her half of the room.  This is what her life has been reduced to, a room,  a bed behind a curtain.  As I watched her laying there, mumbling in and out of sleep, I wished for my dad once again. To see her like this would have made him so sad.  If Dad were alive, he would have been able to keep her at home. He would have been able to care for her in a way that I am not able.  My children, my job, my responsibilities have not allowed me to become the full-time caregiver my dad once had been for her.

I sat with her in the darkened room.  I wondered what her mind was thinking as she slept.  I hoped that the thoughts in her dreams were better than the reality of what her life has become.  I hoped that she was remembering the things that once made her life worth living.  We didn’t talk at all today.  She drifted in and out, and I sat in a chair…watching and thinking.  We had once been a little family, Mom and Dad, and me.  Those days have passed.  So many things have passed.   Too many.

I drove by the old house on my way home from the hospital.  I had to stop and go inside.  For just a moment, I stood there in what was once a living room.  Think of that word!  Living room.  It was once a place where people lived.  It had once been full of life, love, family, and conversation.  I gently touched the place where I had found my dad two years ago.  I touched that spot, but I remembered other times, happier times, and I was thankful that this is where he had taken his last breathe, in the living room, in a place he loved, in the comfort of his own home.



Mattress Love

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I can still remember the day.  T and I were standing in my girlhood bedroom.  Literally, it was my girlhood bedroom.  I was 19 years old, and I still slept in that room each night.  On this particular day, a Sunday afternoon, my grandparents were standing in there with us.  I’m not sure why we were all in my bedroom.  I suppose they had laid their coats on my bed, and they were probably getting ready to leave  for the hour-long drive back to their home.  They had been to my parents’ house for Sunday dinner.  They often made the drive for dinner after church on Sundays.

T and I were newly engaged.  My grandparents had a gift for us.  It was a check, and they wanted us to buy a nice bedroom set.  I remember that word:  Nice.  They wanted us to have a good quality set of bedroom furniture that would last us a lifetime.  I can still see their faces.  This was important to them.  That it be nice.  “Don’t get anything cheap that won’t last. ”

With that check, T and I made our first purchase as a couple at Leath Furniture Store.  All of the bedroom furniture was in an upstairs floor of the old building.  I think of that day of furniture shopping often.  That building is in the historic district that I now manage.  I did a walk-through of the building several years ago.  At that time, I was trying to find a new owner for the abandoned, rundown property in our downtown.  It’s now a successful nightclub.  Strange to think that the bed I sit on at this very moment was once upstairs in the Private Party Room.

T and I knew exactly what we wanted in our “first” bedroom set.  We wanted cherry wood and a four-poster bed.  Kinky?  🙂  I remember the middle-aged sales lady that assisted us with our purchase.  First we picked out the bed and dressers.  Then it was time for the mattress.  I was so shy and uncomfortable as she insisted that we try them out.  T and I reclined for all the world to see on the same bed!  We chose a Cadillac of a mattress.  It was the latest thing, chiropractic approved.  What was unique about it was the thick layer of foam that molded to your body.  We just liked how soft it felt as we laid there.

That mattress was a good, old thing.  Our children were all conceived right there.  They slept with us as newborns.  I nursed them in the middle of the night on that mattress.  We grieved and cried over the loss of our two, little babies.  We cried as our oldest son, Andrew, was in intensive care fighting for his life.  We dreamed there, both in our sleep, and as we talked deep into the night.  We made love thousands of times.  We argued thousands of times.  We laughed; we worried.  That mattress saw it all, and at the end of each day, it was where we found our respite from the trials of the day.

Twenty-seven years later, we have now spent a second night on our brand new mattress.  The first night sucked.  Midway through the day, T called me, and in a serious voice asked me if I really liked the new mattress.  I confessed that I did not.  Over a thousand dollars, and neither of us had slept worth a darn.

We tweaked things a little bit the second night.  We tore all the bedding off and added our “egg crate,” the wavy chunk of foam that had been on top of the old mattress.  We also lowered the bed frame from antique height to the normal height.  The new mattress is so thick that the bed had sat well above my waist.  I had to hop up to even get into bed!  That’s not saying a great deal considering the fact that I am only 5’1″.  These changes made night number two much, much better than the first night.  It felt more like the “old bed.”

The new mattress is going to take some getting used to.  It’s not our old friend.  (We have saved the old mattress.  It’s at my parents house, but that’s a different blog post!)  I am suspicious of this new mattress.  Will I die on it?  Will T?  The old mattress was fruitful.  Our life and our family bloomed from that mattress.  I think I will have a soft spot for that worn out piece of foam for the rest of my life.