Thursday, April 30, 2020

Remembering the Good

Hi Friends,

It’s funny what a person will remember about someone after they leave this earth.  It’s been slightly over one week since my sis-in-law, Denise had of change of address from here on earth to heaven.
It seems almost like a lifetime since last Tuesday and then I realize it’s only been 9 days but I feel like my heart and soul has traveled hundreds of miles and saw and felt so much.

There have been gut wrenching moments but mostly what I see both for myself and for my brother, Barry is the kindness that have been bestowed upon him. Things like the restaurant owner who sent her folk’s over to Barry’s home with his fav item from their menu, just in time for dinner (Jill, Ralph & Mary you are the best!). Or the carefully prepared soup that is tailored around Barry’s food allergies by dear friend, Lisa.  Or the buddy who dropped by with beer and a willingness to lend his ear and have a nice chat. Family and friends have stepped up and have wrapped Barry in a cloke of love and care. And that makes big sis very happy.  I have also been included by family & friends reaching out to send cards, touch base by calls, texts, a yummy baked goodie left on my kitchen counter by friend Vicki, and a therapeutic walk outside with Jacie.  We may be socially distancing physically, but not mentally.

I have been witness to incredibly beautiful moments, like the night after Denise’s passing, when my other  brother, Doug, sis-in-law Edie, and I had an impromptu dinner together at Barry’s home. It just felt so right and so good to connect, it was the needed balm for wounded hearts.  Or the day I sat with Barry as he was making funeral arrangements and while he was looking at urns, that he stopped, looked at me and the guy at the funeral home and says,  “there is this special wood at a local supplier that a fungus in the wood made a unique pattern. And Denise had loved that wood and had wanted something made out of it, but she didn’t know what.”  Barry said he was going to make the urn out of that wood for her.  It was the most touching and sweetest final act of his love for his wife.  It was so incredibly beautiful. And I said that it was absolutely the most perfect way to honor Denise.

The thing that stands out about Denise is that she held her faith and loved ones very close to her heart.  She was devoted to God, her family and her circle of friends and cherished them like nobody’s business.  You knew where you stood with her, she was generous to a fault and lived life in a bigger than normal fashion. RIP my dear friend and sis-in-law, Denise. Forever loved, forever missed.

And while none of us are perfect and that we may drive each other crazy with our idiosyncrasies - what I have love is that we all honor the wonderful qualities of that person that is no longer here.  The good rises up and the faults float down.  I need to remember to do that more with those that are living in the here and now.  Focus only on the positive qualities, yup that’s the plan.

As always thanks for stopping by and make sure to let those beautiful people in your life know how much you cherish them.  Xoxoxo   Gayle

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Forever a Beautiful Soul - Denise

A beautiful set set on a sad day 

With a heavy heart I learned that my dear sister-in-law, Denise passed away on this bright, warm and sunny day.  And the thought that registered was that the day she passed away was just like her personality, bright, warm and sunny. She was one of those people who lived a vibrant life.  She had a heart bigger than Texas and as my youngest daughter said, it is hard to believe she is gone, as she was always here for us.

And it’s true, Denise was generous to a fault.  I remember the kindness she showed me during some of my very darkest days seven years ago.  She was one of my “go to” people and I shall forever be grateful for her light on a dark pathway. When you have  a larger than life personality it leaves a big hole for those of us left here on earth.  I know she is now in heaven as she had a faith that was beautiful. She made life for so many beautiful with her wit and laughter coupled with a sinere love of those she held near and dear.

Last Thursday, she had been on my mind, so I baked her favorite lemon scones, picked some fragrant yellow daffodils and texted her that I felt she needed some sunshine and was going to drop them off.  So I took them over, stayed 6’ feet away and she had said she wished she could hug me and I said I did too.  That was the last time I saw her. It was a good memory.

Today as I was helping my brother get the word out, I had called a long time friend who had said that Denise had been on her mind and she had been wanting to send out her a card. I could hear regrets and knowing that she wished she would have sent the card.

I just returned from having dinner with my brother and mom.  Numbness tinged with shock is where we are right now.    I poured a glass of wine, light a fire even though it’s a bit too warm for one, I wanted the comfort.  I put on Mercy Me on my Bose and let the words fall out.

As we as a family will  group tightly together because that is just what we do.  The out pouring of words from so many fill the air and it’s comforting to know that Denise was loved.  Tomorrow, our new normal without our beloved sis-in-law will be the reality. I know that road and it’s hard. I will be there for my brother and niece. We all will, that is the beautify of family.  And slowly the tears will dry and we will get on with the everyday living.  It once again makes me realize that life is so very precious and that we truly only have today.  It reaffirms to listen to that small voice when it says you should reach out to that special someone. And as my good friend, Sondra said, grief is the price we pay for love.  And I am forever a better person knowing my dear Denise who was loving, caring, funny and had the best way of kicking you in the back-end when you needed it.  I will miss her.

So please hold those close to you and let them know you adore them. Take the time to see them as it may be the last time. I know I never want to have regrets so I’m going to work extra hard to ensure those I love know that .  So I’ll close as my head hurts, my eyes are beyond tired and my soul is bruised.  Death is a hard road bump in life and I need to be strong to help my family.  Take care and say a prayer for us and also say a prayer to keep you and yours safe and healthy. All my best, Gayle

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Permission to Pause

Daffodils brighten the day 

Hi friends,

I know I have been missing in action on the blog for a couple of months.

I thought to myself the other day, the words have been backed up and are ready to overflow. Much like in my mind’s eye like that over-head bucket in the local swimming pool where water keeps pouring into it until it reaches capacity and then spills over.  That’s me right now.  Words and emotions have been pent up and now the bucket of thoughts and feelings has spilled over.   To be honest, it’s been a bit of a struggle for me as January 30 I received a call in the middle of the night that my elderly dad was being rushed to the hospital due to another stroke.  I hadn’t realized the emotional impact on myself as well as my brothers in the events to come. After the hospital stay, he was placed in a nursing home to work on recovery with the hope for him to go back to living on his own. Of course a nursing home was not where he wanted to be and the mental and verbal tug of wars with him left me depleted. We all knew in our hearts that he would never return to living on his own, but wanted to try everything.  So I hunkered down and Mr. Right (Rod) cheered me on both mentally and physically when I needed it. My brothers and I drew closer and stand united in working to keep our dad safe despite his insistence he isn’t mortal, normal rules don’t apply to him and can live on his own.  Ugh, it’s been a journey.

With the onset of COVID-19, I am one of the lucky ones who is able to work from home.  And I must admit this has been a bit of a blessing as it gave me permission to pause and nest at home. I look at it as sort of a mental reprieve to force me to stay home, reconnect on priorities and quietly let my tired brain rest and let my soul lead the way.  I am more than guilty of creating my own chaos in life and running around in so many directions.  Mr. Right tries his best to help me balance life, but I know sometimes I am hellbent on getting something done and push forward when maybe I should take a step back and pause.  Let’s just say he has his hands full with me and he is a willing subject.  =)

So I look at this time as a re-set and to re-define priorities. More like a much needed kick in the ole behind!   I look at how my father lived his life and I am a student of life, ever watching and learning.  I take in what I want to embrace and recognize the things that I don’t.  I see the example from my father’s life of what not to do. And for the most part I think I’ve been fairly successful in not repeating a pattern of forsaking family, friends and seeing the beauty in life. It pains me to see that he now is experiencing his life choices.  It’s interesting in a way how someone’s life can be a template of sort of what to do or not to do.

This mental resting has been good, I’ve been cleaning out the cobwebs in the heart and soul, much like my closets and I have to confess, it feels good.  There is more reorganizing both in life (and closets) that I need to do and that’s okay as I am now up for the challenge.  I look forward to having the sun on my shoulders, I plan to write more, and to relish my time with those I love.  This forced distancing has made me realize just how much I miss that quality time with my people.  So as you read this, I hope all is well in your world.  I hope that that this “pause in life” is being put to good use. And when life returns to normal, that you have a clear vision of what is important, who is important and to take any steps you need to get you where you need to go.  Keep the faith and trust that the journey will lead to what is good and where you need to be.

Mr. Right and I working in the greenhouse on a cold Spring day. The warmth of the greenhouse warms up the soul in anticipation of warmer and better days to come
My way of showing love... care packages to my neighbors

I’m sure there is more to come on this topic and I hope I get to hear from you.  I love knowing and hearing from you so drop me an email at care and stay safe.  All my best, Gayle