Category Archives: Memories

Dia De Los Muertos

This is the third year I’ve gone to the garden to celebrated Dia De Los Muertos.  The first year, Gpa went with me.  Last year, he was one of the people I brought a picture of to place on the alter.

This year, I’ll be celebrating my daughter in laws mother, and my son’s dad. They both loved coffee and hot peppers.

I’m sorry John and Rocio won’t be here to celebrate their parents with me.  But I know they would be here if they could.

I am glad to take some time to reflect on the lives of these two people who have been a part of two people I love very much.  Both left too soon and both are missed.  I plan to encourage John and Rocio to talk to their kids about these two who are no longer here.

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Remembering a mom and a dad during Dia De Los Muertos

Our History with Cookies

Even though I have been resisting going through pictures and other memorabilia, I am glad I am doing it.

I came across this picture of Gpa and I.  I was too young to remember this at all.  But there we are.  Just him and me and a cookie.

Seems kind of fitting that we started out our relationship with cookies and ended with cookies.

Makes me smile when I think about our time together.  And for the PhD’s that say people younger than 15 or older than 75 are not contributing members of society, worthy of care, I say to you, relationships with people in those age brackets are the best kind.

There is more to contributing to society than you have taken into consideration in your report.  Really you need to get out of your think tank and chill out for a while, find out what life is really about. I’d be happy to share a cookie with you.

Cookies, Gpa and I

Cookies, Gpa and I

My House as a Storage Unit

Part of my overwhelmedness I believe is that my house is not a home.  It has become a storage unit.  Not only do I have things that belong to my children. Well of course the one that lives here but the other two as well.

My son has a few boxes in the attic but my daughter has furniture as well strewn across several rooms.

I also have items that belong to those who have gone on.  I’ve been meaning to go through Gpa’s closet and make it a space usable for me.  Every time I open that door.  I see boxes with labels of ‘pictures’ and ‘carvings’ .  I shut the door.

Not ready to go through those items.  How does one get rid of pictures?

I figured it out!  My sister took the pictures that dad had and have them converted to disc. We both have 2 disks with over 400 pictures!

Some I don’t remember ever seeing. Like this one of my dad.  Dad!  Looks like my son.

My dad

Larry Atwell

So the last couple of days, I’ve gone through a box or two.  I’ve got a nice little pile of pictures to scan.  I also ran across a few framed picture collections and I set them aside to hang.

I have a scanner, I am thinking I’ll do the scanning and give the kids and my sister disks of pics for Christmas!

We’ll all have copies of memories AND I’ll have my closet back.

Did I mention there are more boxes of pictures in the garage?

Good thing I’m starting this project now.  Plenty of time to get it done by Christmas.

 

Visiting Mom, Gma and Gpa

In 1994, 20 years ago, my Gma passed away due to complications of cancer.  The girls and I went to visit the gravesite this weekend.  Gpa and my Mom are there as well.

It was a good visit,  a time of remembering.  We also walked around and looked at other sites.  We even discussed where and how we would like to be laid to rest.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been 20 years.  The time has flown by.  Lillie thinks it has to do with fractions.  I asked her to explain.  When we are young, any event or amount of time is a larger portion relative to your entire life.  And as you get older, smaller and smaller amounts.

That made sense to me.  A co-workers 4 year old told me they would be going to the beach for a month.  But in reality, dad said it would be a week.  But for a 4 year old, a week is a longer period of time relatively.

I also went to the garden to get some fall crops planted.  While on a break, I took some pictures.  There are 4 new kitties at the garden because we still haven’t been able to catch April Fool.  I am spending time at the garden close to April Fool hoping to use the trust I’ve built up to catch her before she gets caught by the tom again. The kits will be needing a new home soon as well.  Let me know if you want one!

 

IMG_9401

A Fatherless Father’s Day

With Father’s day being celebrated on Sunday, there’s lots of reminders i.e.  ads, commercials, sales and conversations.

A friend asked me how long it’s been since I lost my dad.  14 years.  Then I realized I don’t talk much about my dad.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say.  I think it is because it feels that I’d have to have to much set up.

Just because I don’t talk about him.  Or write about him much, doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about him.

I will always remember my dad when I see and airplane.  Planes were one of his favorite things.  To the point he flew with the Civil Air Patrol, rented a Cessna to take us on trips and even had a remote control plane and countless models.

But that is just one little piece of who he was and what he means to me.

Father’s day is a day that is a sad reminder that he isn’t here.  It isn’t a time I think of all the wonderful things about him.  All that just makes me miss him more.

My daughter said recently that a friend of her’s told her that other people haven’t had the close family relationships that we have.  that is sad as well.  But knowing that others may never have what we’ve had doesn’t make me miss dad any less. Maybe even more.

 

Names I’ve Been Called

When I was in elementary school,  I told my mom I didn’t like the boys because they were mean.  She replied that they were mean because they like me.  I replied, “Well, I wish they wouldn’t like me so much.”

That was when we lived in New Mexico.  In the fifth grade I got new glasses and a boy called me a ‘four-eyed frog’.  Didn’t remember what mom said that it might mean he liked me.  and EWWW.  So I took off my glasses and got called a ‘two-eyed toad’  Weren’t you a clever boy?

Still didn’t make me like you.

And not all males will call you names you hate to let you know they like you.

Gpa had some pet names for me.  None of them made me feel bad about myself.  Some of them I indulged him because it made him so happy.  Funny how a little thing can make a person happy.

The first one I remember is Laurala.  Ok whatever.  Though this one dissipated as I grew up.  It’d be nice to hear him call me this again.

Buttons is an inside joke.  We used to spend hours at the fabric store waiting on mom and Gma.  Once to entertain me, he had us figure out what the words on the walls were backwards.  So you may think it’s cute that a grandpa calls his granddaughter Buttons, but he and I know he’s really calling me Snot Tub.

I spent a week at their house the summer I had my wisdom teeth out. I was 16 and he was restoring furniture at the Blackstone hotel.  I got to help him.  I do know how to paint.  He started calling me Mosella.  Don’t remember why.  I think he met some sisters working there and liked how their names rolled off the tongue. My sister got called the other name.  I don’t recall what it was.  And don’t ask me to ask her.  She’ll likely not remember and bring up the time he slapped me.

And that was a  joke.  It didn’t hurt.  Surprised me mostly and the joke fell flat.

When he didn’t approve of what I just said or did, he’d say, “Now, Laura…”

I wouldn’t mind it if I heard him say that either.

Not What it Seems

I love ladybugs.  Not sure I like the poem about them.  That is sad. The children are gone and the house is burned down.

I picked up Ladybug as a nickname on the way to my sister’s wedding rehearsal.  Dad and I were driving to Oklahoma, without the kids.  Their dad had changed his mind about letting them go and picked them up from school before I could.

We were distracted about all that and Dad forgot to stop and get gas.  We ran out.  He always had a can in the trunk so it wasn’t long being on the side of the road.  I walked around and saw ladybugs on a weed.  It was covered.

I looked down the road a bit and saw another weed, the same kind.  I walked to it.  It also was covered in bugs.

When we got to the church, I told my sister about the adventure.  Dad said that was my version.  His version went something like, “Laura wanted to stop and look at ladybugs.  And while we were stopped, I put gas in the car.”

At the garden, I’ve learned to appreciate the other phases of the ladybug.  Can’t just kill every creepy crawly you come across. There are more beneficial bugs in the garden than bad ones.

The ladybug larva

ladybug larvae

Ladybug Larvae

e are out and about and now that I know what they look like,  It’s a joy to see them as well as the adults.

 

 

 

 

Stories We Tell Ourselves

I was reminded of how long ago mom and Gma had passed away.  It makes me sad to think this year will be the 20th anniversary of their passing.  Why do people celebrate a person’s death.  I think I would still be sad even if I weren’t aware of the time that has passed.  I just wouldn’t know why I was sad and feeling off center.

In the middle of the night Saturday, Toby woke me up retching.  I pushed him off the bed so he wouldn’t throw up on it.  He then went to the door and I knew he wasn’t finished.  I watched him go out into the back yard.  And he was having a problem with one side of his body.  He looked back at me as if I could do something to fix it.

I woke up my daughter and by this time Toby was covered in sweat.  She called and got permission to bring him to work and put him down.  We loaded him up and headed to our last goodbye.

There was an accident that closed the highway.  We got off just in time to not be stuck.  Toby continued to vomit.  It wasn’t looking good inside the car but when we passed the accident, Gena said she saw a body covered with a sheet.  I was sad for the person and the family whose Mother’s day would be sadder than ours.

While we were saying goodbye to Toby, I told him to find my mom and tell her I sent him to be her Mother’s Day present.  She’s a nice lady.  I also told him to find Gpa and have him throw food.  I’m convinced Cagney has told Toby all about the food that used to be thrown from the kitchen table.

It hasn’t totally sunk in yet.  I scooted over on the sofa this morning to make room for Toby.  Oh, yeah,  he’s not here.

I had been thinking how sad Mother’s Day would be without my mom.  But some friends wished me a happy Mother’s Day.  My son called.  I wished my daughter-in-law happy Mother’s Day.  And I made pot roast and sugared strawberries like mom used to do.

The girls came over and we had a great time.

I don’t know if Toby has or will go find mom or Gpa.  He may have people and other loved ones to go hang out with.  I do know that I’m glad he was part of our family this last year.  It was a year he wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t brought him home from the shelter.

Sure Mother’s Day was sad but wasn’t as sad as I told myself it would be. And where it was sad was different than I had told myself.

 

Breaking the Law

I don’t write much about my dad.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just he’s been gone since 2000.   A lot of people will convert Gpa to my dad when I talk or write about him.  I think it’s because we skip a generation.  And that’s not typical.

Recently, I was sharing with someone that when I read Mad Magazine at my mom’s friends house, I was breaking the law.

Dad had forbidden my sister and I to read it.  You  know if he hadn’t of done that, I’m not sure if I would have read it.  But there wasn’t much to do while mom hung out, so maybe. Though maybe not as titillating as an experience.

The worst thing about being subversive is that there was no dialog. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t want us to read it.  If I asked, he’d figure out I had read it. And I didn’t want to find out what the consequences would be if he did find out.

The other thing I didn’t understand is that he had a similar sense of humor.  He’d sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” when everyone else in the office sang “Happy Birthday” and never got caught.

The best thing about sharing the memory; my friend like that by reading Mad Magazine, I broke the law.

One Year Anniversary and Counting

I have had this blog post hanging over my head for several months now.  Gpa died last year in January.  I have been dealing with all sorts of emotions and life events.

I haven’t wanted to talk or write about them.

The first year after a loss of a loved one is hard.  At times it is unbearable, but we bear it anyway.  At times there is surprise there is something to look forward to or laugh at now.  The first year can drag on.  Here comes another holiday or event we used to celebrate but now it’s different.

Then after the first year anniversary of the death, time speeds up.  This year, 2014, will be the 20th anniversary of my mother and grandmother passing away.  20 years! ? ! Where did the time go.  That can’t be possible.

And now for a whole new set of emotions and life events to deal with.  My grandchildren will only know them through pictures and stories.  And they live across the country.  I’m not sure when and where I’ll get to share all the things about these women I’d love for them to know.  And I’m not sure I have the words to convey the very essence of who they were.  After all, a lot of time has passed.

And how does one celebrate the 20th anniversary of the loss of a loved one?