Losing

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My friend Glenn’s prognosis isn’t good.  There is absolutely no hope.  None.  Nada.  I have been in constant contact with him since his diagnosis, and absolutely nothing good has happened.  He can’t swallow, so a feeding tube has been placed.  It boggles my mind how quickly he has deteriorated.  A trip to the Mayo Clinic only brought him a second opinion that was just as bad as the first.  He said that at least a consensus on his diagnosis has removed the need to make decisions.

This past weekend, I called the boys to tell them.  Those were difficult conversations.  The kids consider Glenn a part of our family.  The boys were shocked, quiet, and deflated.  In many ways, Glenn has been a larger part of our family than many of our closest relatives.  We’re all in disbelief that such a senseless thing would happen to a man who has already had too large a share of misfortune.

There is never a time when I think of him that I don’t hear his voice.  I knew his voice before I ever met him in person.  We had been hired as a team, and our first contact was over the phone.  I remember exactly where I was the first time he called me.  I was filling up my car at a gas station by our local airport when my phone rang.  His Jersey accent was strong, and his gregarious personality came through loud and clear.  I was smiling ear to ear during the entire conversation.  I knew immediately that I would enjoy working with this man, and I was right.  There was never a cross word exchanged between the two of us.  We were a team immediately from the moment of that first conversation.

I have spent some time considering this unique friendship, and I know that I have been blessed to have had such a good friend in my life.  Glenn is the brother I never had.  He’s the brother I wish I could have had.  He has interfered in my personal life without asking and without being asked.  He has given me advice.  He’s known my deepest secrets, and he never judged me harshly.  He has worried along with me, and he has shared joyous times.  He has spent holidays with my family and evenings around the fire.  He came to concerts when I was playing and to my kids’ graduations parties.  He often over-stayed his welcome, but he never expected to be treated like a guest.

He kept his eyes on my kids.  He told me what he had seen on Facebook that I may have missed (or had been blocked from seeing.)  While this annoyed the kids at the time, years later they have understood that he was simply looking out for their best interest.  He cared.  No one asked Glenn to adopt our family, and we probably never lived up to the family he deserved to have, but he adopted us nonetheless.

And so now I am the annoying friend.  Not a day goes by that I haven’t asked how he’s doing, if he needs anything.  I remind him that I love him, and that I’ll be there for him in any way possible.  Tonight he told me to sit tight.  He said, “As things progress, I’m going to need you.  For now, just pray.  I’ll need you soon enough.”

My heart is breaking at the thought of a world without Glenn.

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Wild Variations

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One thing I have found is that if I am not able to maintain some kind of regular routine in my life, I quickly lose perspective in all areas.  I question myself and lose confidence.  I question others and wonder about their motives, or I perceive imagined slights.  (What did he/she mean by that???)  I become overwhelmed by anything even slightly resembling clutter.  The pile of mail on the kitchen table makes me feel like I’m very close to being eligible for my debut on “Hoarders.”  Worst of all, I see a look of wariness in the eyes of my staff.  (Oh, no!  She’s on the warpath!)  Thankfully, while my family notices my craziness, they don’t seem bothered by it. They usually just roll their eyes and ignore me. Continue Reading »

Listening For Calm

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There was a time when I saw music in my head.  As I fell asleep at night, I would listen to my iPod.  I had a special “Sleeping Playlist” that I listened to each night.  I became so familiar with the songs that I could see the music as I listened.  Notes would dance across my closed eyes as I fell asleep.  Their gentle movement up and down the staff lulled me to sleep.  I drifted off as I became part of the music.  My mind was clear, troubling thoughts rarely intruded to interrupt my slumber.  It was just me and the music.  I was at peace with myself and the world around me.  That allowed me to appreciate the beauty and the composition of the music. Continue Reading »

Thanksgiving? No, More Like Malaise

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November sucks.   

This morning T reminded me of the other Thanksgivings that have been full of sadness, loss, or disappointment.  Of course, through the years, some Thanksgivings have turned out just fine.  If you were a statistician, though, you would see that our family has shockingly high odds of Thanksgiving misfortune.  One Thanksgiving, we sat by the bedside of our dying daughter.  A few short years later, we sat in the Emergency Room.  T, a VERY pregnant me, and one-year-old Luke were waiting for stitches to close a particularly bad “boo boo” to Luke’s head.  Luke had fallen into a bookcase just as we were getting ready to walk out the door to go to Grandma’s house.  If you throw into the mix the number of years when one kid or another just happened to be sick on Thanksgiving Day, our track record really sucks.  T and I talked about all of these things this morning.  He said that while he doesn’t believe in my November superstitions, he’s beginning to wonder if there isn’t some merit to my dislike of November after all. Continue Reading »

Gratitude

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Andrew called home on Monday night asking for some advice.  Why might water be leaking from his freezer?  While we suggested that perhaps his freezer door hadn’t been properly closed, that was only wishful thinking.  On Tuesday morning, he called to tell me that he had gone to the fridge for a glass of milk, and everything was warm.  He called the building super and was told that a repairman would be sent out the next day.  The next day???  I wanted to hop in my car immediately and bring my son a cooler and some ice.  He doesn’t have a cooler in Chicago, and he doesn’t even know anyone to call to borrow a cooler. Continue Reading »

Fail

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I saw my crazy therapist today.  It hadn’t been a good day at all, and I literally broke down the moment I sat down on her couch.  My head was spinning, and I couldn’t even articulate exactly what was wrong.  I suppose her office has become a safe place.  She is kind.  I was able to let the cracks in my veneer crumble away.  I think she was shocked, because I am usually in control.  Usually our conversations are logical, even methodical.  In the past, we have analyzed situations and scenarios for a deeper understanding.  Today was all emotion; no control; no logic.  Today, I was not in control.  I’ve had enough of control.  Today I simply spilled my guts and let the pain, confusion, and frustration that hold me hostage rise up to the surface.  I think she was shocked. Continue Reading »