Tag Archives: death

But the ground is frozen!

We’ve had a break in the weather recently and it has been almost tropical!  By break I mean that it is hovering around 30 degrees.  It’s amazing how 30 degrees can feel like a heat wave after surviving the brutality of below zero temps.

My youngest is still at the age where he enjoys the outdoors.  He remains undefiled by Xbox or other indoor electronic crack.  He is a fresh air loving, peace dealing, one with nature kinda dude. This weather “break” has been a slice of heaven for him and he spends most of his time outside.

Yesterday wasn’t any different as he frolicked  and slid across the remaining ice. I smiled as I watched him perfect his tuck and roll maneuver…a  necessary skill to master in our home.  He eventually approached the back door and said with deep concern,

“Mom, Winston (cat) won’t get up…even when I knock on him he won’t move…he just keeps sleeping!”

Winston

Our cat is the most tempered Tabby that I know of.  He is the definition of patience and has often been dragged, choke hold style across the yard by nature boy. He was also hurled off of our upper landing, by our then 5yr old daughter, when she wanted to test the claim Animal Planet made that cats will always land upright! HOWEVER, nature boy’s description of the tempered tabby was pushing the patience threshold.

“Knock?” I asked. 

“Yea, he’s hard. And his eyes are open – they are a whitish blue!”

Nature boy has had very little exposure to death.  He will not even kill a bug because it is “a living creature.”  See, I told you we had hippy (click to read) in our gene pool somewhere. The only dead creatures he sees are road kills or the maimed and mutilated rodents that the cat delivers to the sacrificial altar.  They are usually bloody and often decapitated with their entrails hanging out.  

A stiff cat that you can knock on like a door screams death but it was clear that nature boy wasn’t thinking rigor mortis.

I walked out on the porch and sure enough…beloved Winston was rock solid.  Our tempered tabby of 9 years was dead.  My youngest looked at me with the “my mommy can fix anything look” and I felt so helpless.  Winston could not be fixed, he could only be buried.  

But how do you bury something when the ground is frozen????  I can’t dump him in the woods.  He deserves better.  I discussed it with the hubs and he quickly black bagged Winston until first thaw, I guess.  But now that I think about it, I better check to see where he put that black bag because the last time he blacked bagged anything it was a racoon and it ended up in my freezer! 

Don’t ask.

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White-Out to Tears in under 30 seconds!

I was sitting at my desk when a young girl said “Please pass the Opti Fluid.”  Opti who? Was most likely the look I wore.  I’m sure my face dramatically contorted to a “HUH?!?” expression because she repeated “Opti Fluid” and motioned in the direction toward my right.  I followed her gaze and spotted a bottle of WHITE-OUT….WHITE-OUT was Opti Fluid!  Plus it helped that the words ‘ Opti Fluid’ were right on the bottle.  I quickly grabbed the bottle and chuckled somewhat relieved, “Oh, you mean WHITE-OUT!”  

Granted, I know that White-Out is a brand but since when did people begin to refer to the stuff by other names?  Opti Fluid?  Seriously?  It’s WHITE-OUT!  Am I so old that White-Out is no longer the verbage of the youth? 

This got me thinking…about a lot of things…but mostly about my Pap.  I think of him almost daily.  Sometimes I smile, sometimes I tear up a little, sometimes I feel a huge lump forming in my throat as I choke back the tears and sometimes I spew fountains of saline and snot from the orifices of my head uncontrollably.  However, the latter is happening less and my head and those around my head (in spewing distance) are thankful.

He was born in 1928.  He recently went onto GLORY in Oct 2010.  That’s a lot of life experiences.  That’s a lot of White-Out now being called Opti fluid.  I can only imagine the changes he experienced during his life time and I would love to ask him about them but….I can’t.  I would love to sit and listen to him talk about his life and the magnitude of wisdom he gained by living it.  I would love to hear how it was “back in the day” just one more time.  I would love to hear him talk about his tools and all of the many jobs he performed with them.  I would love for him to show me what he was building and excitedly explain the project to me step by step as he often did.  I would love to ask him the many questions that my mind automatically generates as a “Oh, I’ll have to ask Pap that…” but then suddenly remembers that, I can’t.

I wish I would’ve taken notes when he told me of his life memories because some of it is difficult to recall now.  He knew so much.  He did so much.  He experienced things that our current culture could never understand nor fathom.  Yet, he was always willing to try the newest fad or activity of our day.  Take dancing for example.  I’m sure in the 1920-30’s dancing was entirely different from 2000’s right?  But that didn’t stop him.

Shaking a tail feather!  Not only was he dancing with the youth of the day but doing it in style with a glass of vino!

And what about fashion?  I can only imagine how they dressed in the 1920-30’s.  But he didn’t let fashion stop him.  He was always sport for whatever came his way.

In Israel he met an Arab and dressed accordingly!

At the airport he sported a straw hat.  Yes, it was much different and slightly more feminine (I don’t think farm boys wore straw hats with pink bows and lived back then) than the hats he wore in his day on the farm but it was a straw hat no doubt.

And being a farmer he knew A LOT about land.  All land and any land, if it had dirt, he knew it.  Because of his connection to the land you could often find him out and about on the land….looking, thinking, observing…even in other countries…

Exploring the aqueduct in Israel with the trusty walking stick.
 

I didn’t realize what I had in my grandfather.  I did, but not fully.  Isn’t that the way it is though?  Doesn’t the saying “We don’t realize what we have until it’s gone” capture it perfectly?

I urge you to appreciate what you have before it’s gone.  Value those who are older in your family.  Take time out of the craziness we call life to visit them and really listen to what they have to say.  They are full of wisdom and sadly, this wisdom often dies with them.  An entire way of life perishes when they do.  I wish I had my Pap back for just one more day….one more hug…one more goodbye.  But this wish cannot be granted.  I have to cherish the pictures, the memories and the beautiful person that he was until we meet again someday.  

Looking over the Sea of Galilee during a boat ride in Israel


In the meantime, I can look forward to becoming a creature of wisdom myself where White-Out will always be White-Out!!!

Got 7 Habits?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families: Building a Beautiful Family Culture in a Turbulent World [Book]

Have you ever looked at those families and thought “Wow, they have it all together?”  Me neither.  I bet they just “look” like they have it together, right?  I bet they too get into a cramped vehicle (like the one I am trying to love but still dislike) and experience untold horrors similar to the told ones that we experienced recently on our way to light up night! 

Ok, so let’s pretend, for the sake of this post, that they drive a roomy 8 seater vehicle, don’t have kids hurling insults in the back seat and really do have it together.  In that case, I can guarantee that The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families is in their library arsenal.

This book is awesome and practical.  It has things that the average Joe can actually do. It is filled with easy to understand and common sense ideas, such as the emotional bank account, and creating a family mission statement. He talks about the importance of family communication, togetherness and one on one time.  Your basic stuff that is easily overlooked.

After my Pap died I realized that there was still so much I didn’t know about him…so much time that I still needed to spend and invest…so many questions still to be asked that will remain unanswered.

Life moves fast.  Let’s make friends with effectiveness and make our time count.

Life…

…has been a whirlwind.  I am suddenly thankful for every precious moment.  I have not been able to write anything recently because of the flood of emotion and the crazy schedule of trying to maintain normal.  As I sit here it is well after midnight and tomorrow comes too early for my comfort level.  My cousin called recently and chuckled rather sadistically as she asked if she woke me up at 9am.  She then proceeded to state that she wasn’t sure if I trained my entire family to sleep in until 2pm or if that was something that I got to indulged in alone.  Ha, HA – gone are the college and newlywed era and, with them, the days of 2pm wake-ups!

I did want to share a few photos I captured of the passing of my beloved Grandpap.  Now, the disclaimer is that my eyes were swollen shut from crying…literally and 99.9% of the time my vision was a blur.  I could barely see plus, it is not really proper to whip out a big ‘ol camera at a funeral so I had to be lightening quick.  However, I wasn’t really concerned with offending people at this moment in my life.  I was mourning and wanted to capture some memories for my family later on…when the pain isn’t as raw.

Here goes…..

Gathering   memories
 
                                                                                                                                                                         
A small portion of his life
                                                                                                                            
The family he loved created….              
                                                                                                       
With the woman he loved
                                                                                                                                     

63 years of life together…Life
                                                                                                                            

Life:  Past and present.  Grandma comforting the boys… 

                                                          
and in return being comforted by family.
                                                                                              
Remembering the good times.

 

Finding it difficult to say goodbye.           
                                                                                                                               
The procession of a life’s journey                         
                                                                                     
A glimpse ahead

Being carried by and…..

…holding a little more tightly on to those we love.

                                                                                                                         
A temporary tombstone and residence for the body…for the dead in Christ shall arise first!!

Walking into their home alone for the first time to begin a new chapter…                                                     

as the songs of life go on…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                              
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
 
But we will never forget those who help compose our life songs!
James Lloyd Brown 1928-2010
We love you.

James Lloyd Brown

The smile we knew and loved

We are wrecked over the death of a wonderful man. Life is a gift. Laugh often. Love hard. Give freely. Make life count.

Good-bye pap. The void is so large. The hurt is so deep. I miss you already.  Thanks for making a difference.  We love you more than you will ever know.