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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Gratitude

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It has been a rough couple of weeks for many reasons.  Even as I have been exhausted and stressed out, I have tried to remind myself that while these aren’t the best of times, things could certainly be worse.  I know.  I’ve lived through times that were much worse.

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One Snowy Day and Night

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In keeping with my quest to figure out how to make my life happy and rewarding, I spent some time examining my own actions with regard to those people who are the key players in my emotional life.  I wasn’t very pleased with what I observed about myself.  I am an island.  I have relationships that I enjoy with work colleagues, but I never let them become personal.  I have relationships with my family that I love.  We are a solid, steady, and kind foursome living in this house.  T and I, along with the girls, enjoy each other’s company.  We have created an atmosphere of harmony.  Our home is a refuge of peace, and I treasure that feeling of sanctuary at the end of the day.  As much as we love the boys, the four of us notice that the zen peace of our home is off kilter when they visit.  As much as we love them and enjoy their company, we always treasure the return to our quiet routine of four.  I suppose this is a good thing.  It means we have adjusted to their absence as a daily fixture in our lives.  We love visiting them in Chicago or Milwaukee.  Now that we all live closer together, we see them more often.  It’s when they come here, to our home of four, that we feel a shift in our peaceful routine. Continue Reading »

Reunited!

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T quit his job.  Yep.  His last day was Friday.  By 6:00 p.m. he was home.  Home here with me.  After four months of living apart, we’re under the same roof once again.  Two empty houses sit back at home.  Neither one of them are sold.  Although we have an offer pending on my parents’ home, we’re not taking that for granted.  Four previous offers have fallen through at the 11th hour.  T had hoped to have a job offer prior to quitting his job and moving here.  Hopefully, he will by the end of this week, but that hasn’t happened yet.  Finally….finally…finally after months of living apart, T took a GIANT leap outside of his comfort zone.  He said a mental “F*&# it” and joined his family.   Continue Reading »

Too Many Goodbyes

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I called my son Andrew last night, and I told him, “I hate this whole f’ing growing up thing!”  He said, “Whoa, Mom!”  He knew what I meant.  We had been talking about his brother’s visit home last week.  While Andrew wanted to hear all about it, he hated the fact that he had not been able to come home, too.  He said, “I wish that I could be part of the antics, Mom.” Continue Reading »

Happy New Year

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I held Lola’s hand to cross a busy street in Milwaukee.  As I hurried her along, she said, “Mom, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.  We go slow in the country.”  I immediately smiled at her words.  I don’t know where she has heard that phrase, but I do know that she was speaking the truth.  No matter where she is, now or in the future, she is a country girl.  I was so proud to hear those words, at that time, and in that place.  What my little daughter’s words reminded me was that fact that the things we instill in our children stay with them no matter where they go,  or how far away they are from home…or from us. Continue Reading »