Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...actually I don't have to dream, a white Christmas is a reality! Minnesota is blanketed in snow, again. This morning we had a fresh coating of snow. I shoveled the walks and driveway. In PA where I am spending Christmas, they now have snow thanks to the storm that blew in on Saturday. Hopefully it won't melt before I get there!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to my blogger friends. I know this can be a hard time of year for all of us. My hope for all is a blessed season with the ones we love.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Recession hits Rust Belt towns hard - Washington Post- msnbc.com

My heart aches for the people in this article who have lost their jobs and are barely surviving in this recession. And some people are complaining about a smaller bonus. Go figure.

Recession hits Rust Belt towns hard - Washington Post- msnbc.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Night of Remembrance


It's a clear, cold night tonight, similar to the night almost a year ago that Mom passed away. Tonight I attended an event at Mom's assisted living facility. It was a gathering to remember those who had passed away in 2009. The staff and families of other residents remembered us even though Mom was there only 4 months. We reminisced about each loved one who had passed away which brought both laughs and tears to the group. I was sad to see those who followed Mom to Heaven, and I was surprised to find many of the staff still there. I think that says a lot about the type of care they gave to our loved ones. All of them hugged me and asked how I was doing, how my sister is doing and they told me how much they missed having Mom under their care. Many of the residents live on, cared for by staff and family who love and cherish them. After each name was read and memories were shared, an ornament engraved with the name of the loved one was hung on a tree. After all of the names were read the tree was lit. It was a very special way to remember Mom during this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Always on the Edge of Grief

Today I picked up my mail and opened a card from Mom's assisted living facility. They are having a Night of Remembrance later this month. Instantly I burst into fresh tears thinking of Mom. They are remembering former residents who have passed in 2009 by placing a personally engraved tree ornament on their Tree of Remembrance. Grief is strange, the littlest things can cause it to surface in a big way.

On the weather front, we've had our first snowstorm. We've got about 4-5 inches of snow and it is blowing around causing problems with visibility. It is also bitterly cold, 8 degrees with a windchill of -15. Isn't that exciting? The cold air is pouring in from Canada (can't they keep their cold to themselves?). We aren't supposed to see temps in the 30s for several more days. Winter is here with a vengeance. I thought this was an El Nino year?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holidays

I am being haunted. Haunted by memories of Mom. When I go for my massage, I think of the many times that Mom and I went there for her haircuts and perms. Pier 1 was one of her favorite stores; thus whenever I cross the threshold into that store I think of her and I smile. Places and things cause memories to come flooding back. In my dreams, Mom and/or Dad are usually there and I fight to stay asleep so that I can spend time with them. I lie in bed at night and see the walls that Mom saw every night, and I listen to the stillness of our house knowing that Mom felt that stillness for hours day after day while I was at work and she was stuck at home. I remember her anger about this, but I know that it was best that she not be out driving on her own in the early stages. My greatest fear was that she would become confused and get lost. Or worse. This time is especially hard.

My Mom loved the holiday season. She would bake cut out sugar cookies and we would decorate them. She would make rock candy and we kids would cut the hot candy into pieces that we first rolled in powdered sugar. I remember the burned finger tips we all had from this, year after year. Mom would put the brightly colored candy into glass jars that she decorated and give them as presents to teachers, relatives and friends. She also would make candle holders using broken green and clear glass. Our house was decorated inside and out. Christmas mini lights were strung on our fir tree (which the neighbor kids ripped down every year) and my grandfather's ten dollars would be used to purchase a lovely Douglas fir tree at the local tree lot. Many times I went with Mom to pick out the tree. Later, when we moved to Minnesota, we would go as a family to a tree farm and cut our own tree, hauling it back to the car and bringing it home where it inevitably had to be cut smaller because we had overestimated the size of our living room. Each year we vowed that 'next year we'll pick a smaller tree' but of course we never did. Christmas Eve meant a candlelight service at church around midnight preceded by a party with friends. On Christmas morning we would be surprised by the gifts that Mom and Dad had purchased for us. My brother would search the house for weeks beforehand trying to find the unwrapped presents. At first he succeeded, but Mom was wise to his ways; she would hide his presents at the neighbor's.

May the memories of the holiday season fill you heart with peace and joy.