Soon, there will be a departure of friends from our town. For a variety of reasons , it is time for people to go to another place to live. Some will go to be closer to their family, and some will go to an area that will work better for them now. Whatever the case, this adjustment requires that the heart and emotion that goes into getting to know someone will need a reset. As happy as we are for others who follow their dreams, we will sincerely miss them, and see the holes that are left behind. It is difficult to access how much someone is in the fabric of your life until they have moved away, and then you find that the memories will come to the forefront and fill the spaces. Relationships that are flexible to life have a growth factor built into them and can remain current over time. Those friends that I have known in another time of my life still work and I can catch up with a phone call of what is happening today. The social media of Facebook and the like, provides a great source for keeping current with friends and family that move out of the circle of your life and it is wonderful to have this tool of sharing the everyday. Well, we will celebrate their new path and gather our moments gone by , and truly remain grateful for each soul that has come our way. Each of us has given the other something through the exchange of friendship. So, whatever that something is that I have found with you my friend, I am pleased to have known you and will continue to be so.
The spring season began last week when the weather decided to kick into some fabulous days of 70+ degrees. Then , everyone shows up at the food store with shorts, t-shirts and flips, the car washes are all packed and Rita’s is about a thirty minute wait for all who are ready. The best sign was that wherever you went on St. Patrick’s weekend, there was a celebration. No need to be Irish, just the desire and inspiration from friends and of course a beverage or two wouldn’t hurt anyone. I always take this opportunity to give my Mom a reason to get happy, as she truly loves her Irish heritage. So, this year I took her one of our favorites, some Corn beef and Cabbage. She doesn’t cook much anymore as she is eighty – four years old and has a difficult time standing and walking. In fact, she is not even hungry often now. However, I thought that this would give her some incentive. So, a small piece of meat and a quartered cabbage along with some onion and seasoning is what I left her to work with along with the crockpot. I went about my own celebratory path only to receive her call on Saturday to say that she was exhausted from the labor of her day at cooking this fine Irish meal. And as she spoke I heard the “how tickled with herself” for the effort and the result of how good it turned out. It does not take much to excite or make an Irish person happy or to make them sing, or laugh, or cry; all good expressions of their human nature. I think that basically people in general are this way but I like to put the slant on it because “I am Irish”. It does not matter the nationality, but that the spirit is open to the suggestion for a reason to celebrate. This weekend yielded many bits of our character that expressed this very principle from green ice cream to the Muppets singing Danny Boy. The St. Patrick’s story was a long time ago and most know it and I won’t bore you, but I will say that whatever it was that set the date into motion, most people would agree that with all there is to put us off balance , it is certainly a good enough reason to get happy . The Luck of the Irish to you.
Redhat sisters make the best Krazykins…
Eight years ago a few ladies in town formed a group called “The Chester River Regal Reds” and nothing has ever been the same since. When it first came about , we wore our red hats to lunches , parties and any other gatherings for the fun of the organization as it was a fairly new concept and all jumped aboard. We ended up with a total of approximately 30ish ladies in all. What purpose does this group serve to womankind? Well, first of all we have fun. This requires the attendance of two or more, but most likely fourteen or more on average and the gathering take place whenever and where ever. There have been inside (party ,party, party) outside (Polo, tea) movies to laugh or cry by , travelling (New York City and Longwood Gardens), shopping, eating, shopping and eating events, and I am sure that I have missed a few. The delightfulness of these gathering derive from the hearts and laughter of these ladies that I have come to know. Never was this something that I really desired. Belonging to a large group of women who wear red hats as their symbol and go out to the world and meet with only the purpose of laughter and mostly pure silliness? However, whatever you are thinking, it is truly an amazing experience. It is not the places we go, or the food and drink but the laughter and friendship that remains. I do not believe my life would have been complete without my Redhat sisters and they are the best Krazykins…… It is a treasure in my life.
Recently, my husband and I began to discuss our plans for the winter. Where to go, how long, stay in one place or visit different locations and different friends? All of them good questions with multiple answers. As you know, all of us have options and sometimes it is difficult to separate and pinpoint what it is the best one. I sometimes use the Ben Franklin approach which requires us to use logic and count up the pro and then the cons to this question and then go with the pros on the subject. Well what if there are an equal number of answers or if in these times things are just to risky to move forward with what appears to be the right answer? The gut instinct is another useful tool for deciding something that comes betwixt to the mind. The relationship to the mind is the most important tool that we have in our possession and the choice to be honest will always take you to the place you want to be, but not without a cost of compromise to someone or something. In my case, it would be my cats. I am not a person who dotes on the animal verses people, however I am responsible to them and their care. If you have had or have a pet/pets then you will probably relate to my feelings on this matter, if not then it may be a stretch for you to wonder why animals who sleep 17 hours a day would need any more than a bowl with food and water, plus a pan for production. It is just not that simple. There is a strong bond between the owner and the cat and a sense of abandonment comes daily when the cat notices that this person has not been around lately so the animal becomes anxious. This will lead to other behavioral activities which are not all to the owners liking and will cause chaos in the household. The guilt of leaving these animals without proper care in the winter months has cost me sleep and many objections to our plans. The thought of transport became even more worrisome because people who had tried to take their cats, who are indoor and never go out accept to the vet, on a two day journey in the car needed to medicate them. Well, this was not helping to make the decision we needed to make so that plans could be secured at our chosen destination. Then, I found a card that addressed this problem. It has the subject of a cat ( not mine) on the front. As I gazed upon this picture, I then interpreted this:
The stunned, frightened, and fixed look of this feline denotes instinctual uncertainty, and shock of whatever lies ahead.
On that note , I realized that I was truly projecting my feelings ( as they say in psychology land).
So I have found a wonderful person to mind my cats, our trip is planned and all is right with the world. Of course, I probably still need to address the question of “How did I come to this place”?
I put off writing anything about Nancy until I had time to digest the run of events leading up to her death. However, I truly do not believe that I will ever digest this matter as it was too rapid for the heart to process. As most of us that knew her understand, it was slow leading up, but then escalated quickly and became a fierce and frightening emotion that disturbed all involved. I was in direct contact with Mac each day and tried to understand what and why they were doing this or that to her. Mac going back and forth to Univ. of Maryland from the time she had been taken there by a medical helicopter. I agreed to take the burden of the cats from his worry knowing that even in Nancy’s sickly state she would be upset if they were not cared for properly. People began to call with regularity and so I recited what Mac had told me each day and throughout the day. Sending an email to all of those who were concerned every day. None of this made any sense at all. They continued to poke her with all things available and going from the heart to the thyroid to the lungs to the intestines finding nothing that couldn’t be fixed and moving forward to the next area of attention. Each day I ask mac if she could have visitors and when she would be coming home and he would respond No to all, saying that she was too weak and not up to it. I realized that they did not truly have a grasp of the bigger picture, and that each doctor held a piece of the puzzle but was not connecting the dots to this very scary situation. The heart was in rhythm, the thyroid reduced, the blood pressure ok and they still worked on how to get her up and functional enough to go home. I emailed many people who knew Nancy and Mac and as the list grew to about 65 people , I knew that the word would spread about her condition. Everyone was concerned, worried , prayed and we could do nothing. I spoke with her daughter Jennifer who was confident that they would get her back on track. Then, a call came at 3 am from Mac to say that she had suffered a massive heart attack at 2 am and it was unsure the outcome as they were doing CPR at that time. He feared that she had not had oxygen to the brain for at least 25 minutes and that this could cause damage. We offered to go there but, he said no as it was not certain the outcome. The outcome was damage of a vegetative state. The next call I received was from Jennifer from Nancy’s room. She relieved Mac for he had been under strain for far too long. There were other details of what took place and so Jennifer recited them and hoped for a miracle. She was still convinced that her mother would come back. Her brother Stuart, was on the way to arrive by the evening. The family would go to that place in the human spirit that determines what we cannot change, and then makes us accept it without any understanding. I call this the “gristle of life” . I received the call from Jennifer at 8:36 am the next morning of whatever day. As it happened, Jim and I were about to leave for our 13 day cruise and we were attempting to pack and prepare for our trip abroad but the bodies were moving through the motions and the spirit could hardly function with the knowledge of our dear friend. It took a week before the meaning of this event penetrated my brain. I was at a show on the cruise and the performer was doing an Elton John number “ I’m still standing”. I could not believe my ears, and the thought of going home without my friend their squeezed terribly hard on my heart and would not let go.
Nancy will be known for her love of people for which she lived by with parties and dinners every day or any day. In fact she had a party planned on the day she passed.
Nancy and I would talk about our lives and we were pleased to be at this place in time. I am glad to have had the pleasure of knowning her.
She talked and laughed , and liked every person she met , and everything she ate. She had a great love for animals as well, especially her piggy’s. Christmas was all year long, as her birthday was Christmas Eve ( the above picture was taken at her surprise bday party a few years back) , and so to us she was a wonderful gift.