mother


There was a very popular song from the mid-1970s that Paul Anka had done and Kodak used it as an advertising jingle. The lyrics are very meaningful to me- and as I take photographs and look at photos from times gone by, as I reminisce on times captured in the Windows or my mind and heart, well this melody and its’  words- it plays in my head.

“Good morning, yesterday
You wake up and time has slipped away
And suddenly it’s hard to find
The memories you left behind
Remember, do you remember?

The laughter and the tears
The shadows of misty yesteryears
The good times and the bad you’ve seen
And all the others in between
Remember, do you remember
The times of your life? ………..

Reach out for the joy and the sorrow
Put them away in your mind
The memories are times that you borrow
To spend when you get to tomorrow

The seasons are passing one by one
So gather moments while you may
Collect the dreams you dream today
…….. will you remember
The times of your life?

……….
Do you remember the times of your life?”

For me, as this weekend with family enters its last day and a half, the June-2013-029_thumb.jpgmoments already created and those yet to come, I want to remember the laughter, the realization that we were all placed in the places we are now, because of the roads we have traveled. My wish is that everyone has those moments, those “TImes of Your Life”, that can play over and over again as the days become moments in our journey, little monuments or landscapes.

Until later, Mrs. Justa alias Cindy

In life these days things seem to be more impersonal, at a time when maybe it feels like they are not. I have been giving this a lot of thought as I realize the days in my rearview mirror on my journey down life’s road are a whole lot more than the days yet to be traveled. There are things that must be important to me, as one evening I found myself writing things down that were being fed through me if that makes any sense. There are times in my life when I feel like I am the instrument to relay a thought, a poem, a song. I have a list of what I will refer to as some of life’s lessons, this list of “lessons” are words written down, joined together on paper and created in some of those times.

For today one of the thoughts is this.    20 minutes, 2 hours, 6 hours,8 hours or more is a lot closer then Heaven.20181020_104048

This thought is rather eye-opening to me, as there are so many times I am finding this to be true in life. Life becomes chaotic with STUFF. Busy things to do that really seem to get in the way of relationships. We can say a person lives too far away, we can have a good intention for stopping over to a person’s house or meeting them for coffee, but unless we react to the thought, the minutes turn into hours, into days, months and years.

In the blink of an eye that person / those people can be gone. Personally, I have experienced this, as many others have too. I hear people complaining that their parent(s) are annoying, or their grandparents being forgetful or hard to talk to, that their mom is so difficult to be around, or their dad is overpowering, or they live too far away, or “I just don’t have the time”.  Not making that call, not sending a personal card….

At 4 my grandmother died, and as I look back, out of all my relatives and friends that have died, I had the most involved relationship with her for the short years we had together. She lived with us, in an upper apartment in Bridgeport Conn. She was blind, so as a toddler, I was taught to always pick up things from the floor, do not move furniture from it’s set place, all to avoid her falling or tripping. I remember sitting on her lap as she “read” me a story. At the time there was just my sister Karen, Pam and me. My 2 older brothers did not live with us, they were off on their own. We would tell her what book it was, and we would turn the pages as she told the story from her memory of it.

My dad, he was a traveling salesman and the job required him to be gone most weekdays and nights. When he was home though, each moment was priceless to me. At the very young age of 10, I had one of the most traumatic losses in my life, my father died. Since he died there are so very many times I wished he was alive to guide me through life. My sister Karen was in nursing school at that time, and at home, well we had me, Pam and in addition younger sisters and 2 younger brothers. It was an incredible challenge in so many ways. I wish he had been there as my teenage years turned into young adulthood. And even though I have felt his presence, it is not like having his tough love, his insight. I never wished he had been home more, I accepted life was that way, I just wished I had more years of him being home when he could be.

My mom, she lived for 35 years after my dad died. And no matter how far or close I lived from her, there are times I saw her very infrequently. I regret that more then I can ever explain. She was a wise woman, quiet, offered advice when asked, but gave it sparingly unless she felt is absolutely necessary to say something. She would never ask for company to visit, yet she always had tea and chocolate chip cookies ready for those moments someone came over. I believe she was always prepared for visitors to come by, yet she had things she did when no one came.  She did volunteer work for local causes, she was a pen pal to those who were in life situations where they had little if no communication with the outside world. I guess I used my life situation to justify not taking that time out of my day to visit her more. Years later though, I wonder if she ever longed for that door to open?

My sister Pam, she died at the young age of 47. Alone in her townhouse, she had not felt well and whatever she had, it caused her death. I visited her only twice in her Ohio home.  It was really not too many months prior to her death. Both times were accompanied by another sister, we were on a mission to help Pam from a situation of hoarding. She was such a private person, she never ever indicated to me, in all the years she was there, that she was hoarding. When she reached out and asked for help, her voice had been desperate, and a plea. Something that I had never ever experienced from her. We talked briefly on the phone every week or so, but I never visited her there. She is gone, I can no longer look to make up for lost time.

Family, friends, events. I can not even begin to list those friends who have died, or who I have lost contact with, people who meant a lot to me. Life is filled with “I need to” call so and so, or visit so and so…. and not make them the action of “I am going to “?

Holidays, Sunday dinners, knocking on the door because you know there are open invitations… how many of these things do we totally put on the back burner? Oh, we can come up with a bunch of reasons, we do that, we justify our inactions by sounding like there are great reasons not to do something.

But that moment when you get that message, that phone call, read that obituary and realize that you have missed opportunities that will NEVER come to be. In my list of life’s lessons, the ones that appeared on paper from the pen I held as my hand moved to form the words…. well this is the first of many I have written down … more to follow.

I gotta tell ya, this is now rolling into my least favorite time of the year. The best thing that happened this time of year was my niece and sister were born. But I am reminded every year of the pain too.

I can not help by go back to  1963

100_002710 years old is  supposed to be a time in our lives where the road to adolescence is being paved and laid down… where Barbie dolls and Roller skates are changing to 10 speed bikes and sleep overs. When it is still okay to get tucked in at night, and you want to be brave and not have the night light on…when you knew pretty soon you no longer could sit on dads lap very comfortably, where the dreams of becoming a teenager seemed to be coming more real.

Yes… a time when life begins to change…and for me.. it changed all right.

It changed for our whole family. I’ve written about it before… and yet it all surfaces again..each year. My dad had one into the hospital –he  went in on my 10th birthday with a heart attack.

My mom was VERY pregnant and she would drive to the hospital every evening with the 5 kids in the car, she would leave us in the lobby at the hospital, and she would go up and visit him.
We were not allowed to go up there. So volunteer women would take moments to stay with us in the lobby. They brought us paper to draw on, tried to distract our worried thoughts, my sister was 11, me 10.. the next in line were my brothers 5 and 6 and my sister 2. Night after night –we would wait for mom to come down….and she would drive us home. She was due on Halloween night.  But that night came and went,… and still no baby. On November 1st… dad actually waved to us in the lawn of the hospital from way up on his hospital; floor. He looked like a small image way up there, but knowing the moving image was dad was so warming..so comforting. I remember waving so hard my whole body was twisting..I thought my arm was going to pop off…..

Than on 11-2- we went in and mom came back down after visiting and said we could go up and see  him… he was coming home in the morning… We loaded in the elevator, anxious with joy… gitty..giggling in the elevator.. the laughter kind of echoing… I remember the volunteers who had now gotten to know us pretty well..they had tears welling in their eyes as they saw our smiles…. up we went… the door opened… a wheel chair around the corner and dad was there… there was a window that the chair was put by..it overlooked the city… each kid got to go to him, sit on his lap, hug him, tell him what ever came to mind…. laughter..I remember laughter… …and than the next. I waited in the back ground.. I wanted to be last… I remember the feeling of the strength of his hands as he held me on his lap… he had Old Spice on…I  remember the smell. I remember the secure feeling… a feeling of safety..as he hugged me , kissed me…. and said I will see you in the morning…

The ride home was like floating on a cloud… the anticipation of morning and daddy coming home was more excitement than I have had since than…

At 11 that night mom went into labor… she called a neighbor to help her get to the hospital … a different hospital.. She called our sister in nursing school to come home and be with us… she got there… it was scary… now mom was going too…. we tried to sleep… and before 7 in the morning the phone rang… oh it must be the baby news… it was a man… He asked for my mom… I said she was not there—she was having a baby… he asked who was there… I said my sister.. she was 19… he heard her voice… he asked her if she was the oldest one there..she said yes… he hung up the phone.. We were all puzzled… I remember sitting in the corner..hugging my knees, rocking back and forth.. in a trance almost… saying in a soft mumble… “Daddies dead/…daddies dead…” I did not stop… I kept saying it… and than the phone rang again…. I remember my sister kind of yelling at me to stop saying that… It was another doctor… he apologized for the previous call..and than he said… your  father died this morning…. The death of my father when I was 10 years old , changed my life forever. …Bam… our life as we knew it was changed …. my sister called the other hospital… left a message to give to our mom who was in the delivery room…. and a miracle happened… the same moment dad died..our youngest sister was born.

And than 35years later—to the day—the time.. our mom died…in her sleep….so that is why this time of year… I like to zoom by 11-3 kind of quickly. I say happy birthday to my sister… the pain and loss I have is separate from the joy of her… but it is tough.. It does not get easy…

So as these days come closer… I find myself not looking forward to the weeks to follow…and than things get better again.

Mom, Dad . I miss you so much… and Dad.. thanks for that hug and kiss on my cheek..had I known it was the last…I would have never gotten off your lap.

Ahhh… the memories are so fresh…. Take time to let those close to you know that you love them, thank them, spend time with them…. for life comes…and life goes… We have no guarantees of anything… Love to all. Mrs Justa.. alias Cindy

Katja's shower 001New beginnings, adventures. We have all had them in our lives. I thought about that today when we did a baby shower for one of our co-workers. It just brought me back about 31 years ago… and than ( if any of you know me from previous post or in real life) my mind started going back into various corners of my past.. opening doors of beginnings I have had. But I am going to refrain from going to all those memories and try to focus on that new pregnancy journey….

Yes , the moment finding out you are pregnant… for both the woman and the man…it is hopefully a time of joy.. anticipation, wonder, fright, uncertainty and I remember even sometimes wondering if I had the mom ability.. It is a huge change in ones life. The first child…

I remember how those first few months seemed like I was pregnant in words alone. Oh I went to the OB GYN monthly..and they told me I was pregnant..but it was not totally absorbed. Than that first moment when I realized I needed to wear maternity pants… and than when it feels like butterflies in my stomach…and it was actually the little guy starting to swim..and kick. Than it was.. HOLY COW I am going to have a baby.

100_0245When ever there are new chapters in life, at least for me..I turn the page super slowly… not sure I want to leave the chapter I was in..and hesitant for what the next chapter will become.  As I watched this person today, it is her first child, she has a sense of confidence and a sense of innocence at the same time. There are lots of unknowns…. and I was just taken back in time. She is due in a couple of months…. hmmm back when I was 7 months—we were frantically trying to get the babies room somewhat ready… we bought a carpet remnant, we painted the walls, we got a crib, and a friend gave us a changing stand that needed the cushion part repaired. My husband had some vinyl spongy type material, and I remember making the cover for it. We did not have a lot of money-so we did the best with what we had….

I was a very tired pregnant woman, and often  I would get up in the morning, say good bye to my husband,and than climb back in bed for the day… only to get up just before he arrived home—to have dinner ready…

oh yeah..I slept that pregnancy away for the last few months. The anticipation I felt  keeps coming back to me,…the wonder what delivery was going to be like, and was he going to have 5 fingers on each hand, 5 toes on each foot… would he be healthy, would he be content, would I be okay being a mom, would my husband be okay being a dad… how would parenting be…was I wise enough, was I old enough, was I mature enough.

Yep… today brought back those moments of pregnancy—right to the surface. I truly wish the best for her..and I hope she gets at least 1/2 the joy I have from my blessing of being a mother…for there are absolutely no words to explain how very much being a mom has made me complete. I can not imagine what I ever did in my life before I was a mom…I feel so very blessed to have been given that responsibility… I hope she feels that too.

Love to all, Mrs Justa..alias Cindy

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Life can be a jumbled bunch of puzzle pieces- they begin to look alike but do not fit in the right places.

I was going over a health care plan with a friend who is looking to see if her live in boyfriend would be covered under her plan. They are expecting a child and she was wondering if she could go with a family plan…. 

Well we scanned over the eligibility part of her plan, and we got thrilled to see it covered spouses, children and domestic partners. We thought this is great. He is self employed, a really hard working guy, and has not the money to afford a single health plan on his own.

We started to read the details of the plan ..only to find out the those pieces of the puzzle we thought fit…well they do not fit. Why???because to have domestic partner coverage—it has to be someone of the same sex.

I was floored…. I am not criticizing people who chose to live with lovers of the same sex—and the way of the world is more and more rights for the gay and lesbian people..but to discriminate on a heterosexual no married couple ! This plan  makes the heterosexual committed live together couples impossible to get health insurance..but if you are homosexual and live in committed to one another—than bam—health insurance is a non issue. And if you are a woman, you can have coverage for a child— but only for the other parent if they are another person of the same sex… I am amazed—I mean how is this right? The intent of this is not to say if homosexuality is appropriate or not… or if living together heterosexually is okay without marriage… but the scales on this health plan are definitely unbalanced.

Pieces of puzzles in life—dec 2011 001it is nice what they line up, they interlock, and start to make a picture. Like at Christmas time, when the cards come in and everyone’s life’s pieces are shared with a moment of cheer.They interlock together in emotion, in the moment of realizing there are people out in the world who care for you and you for them….

There are so many loop holes in life though, as I look at the news..at the percentage of nay-sayers, ..at the evil and hatred in the world… I feel we have puzzle pieces that fell out of different boxes..and to not get caught –someone picked them all up and threw 100_6282them in the same box. Patience will help to get each piece together… wisdom and looking for sunshine behind the darkness. We need to try less hard to make the fairness in the world, for just like in this person’s insurance issue—we have worked so hard to show a smaller percentage of people they are treated fairly—that we totally overlooked a much larger percentage.

There has to be a way to balance the scales, to work for the good of all, and to bring opportunities for good work to all… Oh what a blessing that would be… May you find pieces that will fit together…Love Mrs Justa alias Cindy

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Well the winds are still whipping, but they are coming so hard that any snow we got here at the house has blown across the pavement on the main road. The roof is pretty much cleared off, and the driveway and steps are pretty slick- kinda like they were sand polished with all the blowing of snow.

We were lucky though…we did not get the foot to 1 1/2 feet it sounded like we might. I have no idea how much snow came—cuz the wind took it away.

This just might be the last100_0264 doozy of a storm- heck March in Thursday…

I could not believe all the laundry I had to do.. gee! I did all the throw rugs, the weekly laundry, sheet towels and stuff, and a comforter.

I just heard the dryer go off for the last time.. Phew…

Now I can focus on not listening to the dryer singing it’s little jingle every time it is done. it is kind of a peppy song, like a clown song…

100_0268Needless to say..my work out was here…. cleaning, steamed all the linoleum floors, laundry , standing crunches , toe touches and the KETTLE BALL>

Now this little guy may not look harmful- but after doing reps up , down, sideways, over the head, swinging squats..well I am a bit sore.

I kettle balled during Marks nap, and during cooking time for dinner… so I got it in 2 times today… I can not believe how ruthless this contraption is !

Tomorrow is the gym though… need to get some cardio in. The weather should be better – and I am thinking bike, elliptical and treadmill for tomorrow. This week I ended up doing lunch time walks on the days I did not hit the gym…I prefer the gym… I really love going to the gym.

As I was going around100_0270 the house dusting, cleaning and doing laundry… I came upon this guy..he is perched on the head board of the twin bed Brandon sleeps in when he has been over….it is like this little guy is watching over him while he sleeps. As I looked at the face I thought how nice it would be to have the comfort of that cuddly little face staring at me. It is as if to say everything is okay…

AS I moseyed around I saw another comforting little face… 100_0271this one is lives in the crib.. Same comforting look though… watching the world to keep things safe as the sleepiness turns into slumber…

It brought me back to my younger days when my mom and or dad ( on the very few days he was not traveling for his job) would come in my room , sit on the side of my bed and tell me a story.  Than as they got up to leave, they always bent over and gave me a hug and kiss, and tucked me in…the comfort of being snug in the bed.. sheets and blankets taut ….a crisp pillow hugging my head and shoulders…. and knowing I was loved….

It saddens me to think there are kids out there without that experience. It comforts me though to also know there are children who will have the same memories as I do…Bedtime is a special time..it is the gateway to sleep… the ending of a day.

I hope you have a good night…. here is a cyber tuck in…

Love to all.. Mrs. Justa alias Cindy

GRR the TYPE A’s were hovering today..100_2555 and came out in full force this afternoon. GRRR> On my way home tonight, it was light snowing, the road looked like someone sprinkled confectioners sugar all over it, I was taking my winter slower route… ( as I save the interstates for the buttheads) …and low and behold.. a butthead must have gotten lost… cuz he was on my back bumper –so close I could not see his headlights. GRRR>.. if I was younger I would have put my flashers on and off-to make him think they were brake lights… but I just pulled way over as soon as I could. The butt head reved his accelerator as he zoomed by me… I wanted to tell him the expressway was the other way..but he was gone in an instant. But for today—the TYPE Aers are not going to get the best of me.. nope… I have the art of dying on my mind…

I was thinking today, on my way to work , about this woman I work with. She had called me and said that she was not going to be in for the week, her mom was dying and she needed to be with her mom.100_3131 In life… we need to keep our sights on what is truly important, as this was to her. She had called me Monday morning and Monday evening, and she was telling me that her mom was alive, but digressing. . She had said most of the brothers and sisters were there, but one brother was due to be in within the hour. this morning she called me..her brother arrived and was able to talk to his mom, sit by he…and 50 minutes later she passed, with her children at her side. It reminded me of my many experiences working with dying people, and how some would wait to die until all their family had arrived. It was really beautiful to watch in a very sad way. Because a parent’s  love is sometimes so strong , that they can hang onto that last breath until they are sure they waited for all their kids, grandkids.The dying person was not normally responsive, but their sense of hearing was last to go.Some patients waited to die until the family came and left them alone for a moment. I know it was. It was as if they needed to die in privacy.

I remember long long ago, at the bedside of my mother-in-law ( she was always my mother-in law even though my husband had divorced me years before…… she did not divorce me—nor I her)  – she had been weakening and it was apparent that her days in 100_3125_editedthat hospital bed  in Rochester were numbered.  It was actually a few days before her death, and I was alone with her in her room. She asked me to sit next to her, and she started almost poetically, softly  telling me what songs she wanted to have played at her funeral. She gave me bits of information about what she wanted said. I was touched that it was I she spoke to, yet I felt kind of weird that she told me and not her son ( my x husband)..but I think that was because she wanted to protect him from hearing his mother talk about her death. 

I had everything written down, and when I met with him that evening in the lobby of the hospital, I took a deep breath, a few gulps, and told him I had something he needed to know. It was awkward in a way, but it was important to reveal this to him… so I did. And today, this moment in my past came to the surface, as I thought of this woman from work, and the moments she spent with her mom, as her mom slipped to her eternal home, and how these moments will stay in her mind forever.

  I went into nursing way back when,for many reason, one was because I never wanted people to die alone, or without dignity… and the mom who died last night—she did not die alone… nor did she die without knowing she was at peace.

Life is the gateway to death …. we have no guarantees how long we will live.. but to be able to die in peace… that is the ultimate experience.

I am just kinda melancholic tonight, as I remember the experiences in my past…and think about this woman ..hmm… life is strange  isn’t it?

Peace to all, enjoy each moment…. Love Mrs Justa alias cindy

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