Monday, May 29, 2017

We said goodbye again...

The Memorial Day weekend came and went. I'd like to say it went fast...well sometimes it did, but it seemed to drag to me.

The Niece and I took off bright and early on Saturday morning. We made our traditional stops on the way to Odessa and arrived at the cemetery around 2pm.

Seeing Mom's headstone next to Dad's really jolted me that this is real. I mean, I knew it was real, but seeing Mom's headstone made it REAL.

We dropped down into Odessa and found the family sitting around in the hotel picnic area. It was so good to see the St. Louis family. I hadn't seen them in so long (while I hate the reason why I was seeing them). Hugs all around and quick catch ups.

We hung there for an hour or so until we went to dinner at the local restaurant, Chiefs. Mom bought dinner for the family again. Well, her estate did. We all knew she'd try to buy it if she was alive, so why not.

After dinner we took off up to the cemetery to fix the headstone and make sure it was all pretty. The local headstone guy put the headstone too close to Dad's and so I had the middle brother move it back a bit.

On Sunday we all woke, hung out at the hotel and chit chatted. Around 11 ish we went up to the cemetery and had a little memorial for mom. Biggest Brother read a little something and then we opened the floor for stories. My two favorites, Mr.Braspir and the bathroom and how we got the crap hats.

Following that, we went and sat around at the hotel and shot the breeze. The Family is a talkative bunch.

In the afternoon we had our little picnic at the hotel. We were going to move to the park and then decided we might as well stay right where we were. We BBQ'd burgers, ate a ton of food and had a good time just being around each other.

These people...I love these people. Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins galore, friends who are family and a couple of dogs. What's not to love?

After the BBQ started whining down, a couple of us took off to Irby to pay our respects to where we scattered BigBro's ashes.

Back at the hotel we sat around for another several hours and just talked and told stories. We all knew the next day was going to be the final day. I couldn't help but sit and wonder what tomorrow and the next day would hold for me. I knew it was going to be hard...and I still am not sure just how hard.

Monday morning we headed up to the Bohemian Cemetery to celebrate again.

Even now as I write this I just cannot believe what I'm looking at. How did this happen? How did I get to a point where my mother was no longer with me?

The Niece and I took off immediately after the service because we knew traffic would suck. We roasted all the way home in Sparky...

And now I need to hit the ground running to get myself prepared for Ireland next weekend. I hope I can do it...

Friday, May 26, 2017

MMemorial Day

A thousand years ago our little gang of friends played in a volleyball tournament in Chelan over Memorial Day. The t-shirts we got had Memorial Day spelled wrong - Mmemorial Day - with an extra "m". For the longest time, when memorial day came up I'd think of this and say it as "mem-morial day".

Since that time, Memorial day has become our weekend to say goodbyes to loved ones. I swore when Dad died I'd not go back to Odessa for another Memorial day. Then Ric died. I said the same thing. In fact, just last year I mentioned it to mom and she said, "You will when I die." I joked with her and said, "You think I will."

When I said that to her, I never thought I'd be sitting her the Friday before Memorial day planning her memorial. Ugh. I hate everything about this.

I had a "moment" this past week. This week has been relatively stressful at work. That coupled with me tamping down my grief finally came out in a horrendous way. I left work on Wednesday. I got no further than a half a block and I had to pull over. The sadness and grief was so overwhelming I couldn't drive. I sat in a parking lot and had my moment. Dried my eyes and continued on my day.

I've been told I'm in a survivor bubble and have been warned that this weekend may be what bursts that bubble. I think that added to my little moment too.

Still, everything is planned. I'll take off tomorrow morning with the Niece and we'll head East. It's supposed to be beautiful so Sparky, a hat, some sun screen, the Niece and I will head out. I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends. I just wish it wasn't under there circumstances.

On a bright note, Ireland is just a week a way!

Friday, May 19, 2017

14 sleeps

Two weeks from tomorrow SIL and I will be on our way to Ireland. This trip was planned last July and it has sped up and surprised me that it's just two weeks away. I'm both excited and exhausted thinking about it. Exhausted because I have to get through Memorial Day first...and then who knows if this "survivor bubble" I'm in will explode or not. (I've bought my trip alcohol so I should be fine.)

Tonight after work I decided to read, thoroughly, the trip plan and am so dang excited about going now. Here's what's on our itinerary.

Day 2 (Day 1 is all travel)
Arrive in Dublin and meet "the gang" as I'm going to call them.

Side bar: In case I didn't tell you, this trip is through a company called Grand Circle Travel. It's a land tour. All we really have to do is show up.

After we meet the Gang...we have a walking tour around our hotel by our Program Director.

Side Bar: I'm just going to say now that the Gang will have one of the following and will eventually annoy the h-e-double-toothpics out of me

  1. The person/couple who's always late
  2. The know it all
  3. The whiner
  4. The ugly American
Any who.....
After the walking tour we have some free time in Dublin and then we have a Welcome Dinner. 

Day 3:
A tour of the city. I'm assuming this will be via a big bus. During this tour we'll stop at Trinity College. 

Y'all, Trinity College has THE library I've wanted to shoot as a photographer for decades. Here's photo from the Interwebs...I only hope I can come close to something this breath taking. 

Photo stolen from some fantastic photographer on the Interwebs

Also at Trinity College, and probably a bit more interesting is the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells contains the 4 Gospels in Latin, are extremely ornate and are from 384 AD. 

After we finish that tour we have the afternoon free. My plan, and SIL is riding shot gun on this, is to find this store called Celtic Whiskey and do some Whiskey tasting. My Kidd Valley buddy provided this gem to me and I cannot wait to see it. 

Day 4
What trip to  Dublin would be complete without going to the Guinness Stonehouse. I've heard its a touristy tour, but hey...I'm a tourist. And we get free Guinness. What's not to like. 

Leaving Dublin we'll hit Glendalough and the Glendalough Monestary and some place called Avoca before we end up in Kilkenny for the night. 

Day 5
Kilkenny starts with a walking tour, Kilkenny Castle and ... wait for it...a Hurling demonstration.  I just hope I don't hurl. hahahah...After that we'll have the afternoon free to wander through Kilkenny. 

Day 6
It's off to Cork. On the way we'll stop at Cahir Castle and then Waterford. Yep. THAT Waterford. I'm not a huge crystal fan, but it will be interesting to see. Once we arrive in Cork we'll get a walking tour and dinner. 

Day 7
Cobh (pronounced cove). We'll see St. Coleman's Cathedral which has the largest carillon in Ireland. (Yah go ahead...look up carillon...I'll wait...and I had to look it up as well.) "The 49-bell Carillon of St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobh is the only such instrument in this country and is the largest in Ireland and Britain."

Cobh is also famous for being the last place the Titanic docked before it's fated trip. The Lusitania sank not far off this island too. 

Day 8
The ever so popular Blarney Castle. And no, I won't be kidding the Blarney stone. Gross!

We'll also hit Killarney where we'll take a horse and carriage tour through a forest. 

Day 9
We're going on the extra tour for this day and taking a trip to Dingle. Kidd Valley buddy said Dingle was worth every we're doing it. 

Day 10
Ring of Kerry and Killorglin. Basically an all day driving tour with some free time.

Day 11
Galway. On our way we get to stop and do/see THE second most exciting part of this trip ...a working Sheep Dog farm. Yes! Weather permitting we'll get to see how they train and work the border collies. Love this. 

Oh and we'll get to see the Cliffs of Mohr!

Day 12
Walking tour of Galway and the rest of the day on our own.

Day 13
More side trips. We've decided to do the Connemara side trip to see more of the country. There's a monestary on this side trip that's supposed to be beautiful. 

Later that evening we'll do the farewell dinner. And by this time I'll probably be ready to come home. I always say (and I think Mom/Dad used to say) ... "it's always nice to go on vacation but it's always nice to come home."

So yah...that's the trip. It'll be here and gone before I know it. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day Mom. Wish You Were Here

It was hard to put into words how much Mom meant to me when she was alive. Now, it's even harder. So instead of trying to put into words...I'm posting this...

Video of Mom...

And this....

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Here We Are Again

Here we are!
A month after the last blog post....
Almost 4 months after Mom passed...
The eve before Mother's Day...

What now?

First, the last 4 months have flown by so fast I can barely believe it. I know time flies when you get older, but good gracious it's as if those full months were nothing more than mere minutes.

I sold the Catalina house this last week. Proceeds heading to the Estate fund and hopefully I can start paying off Mom's estate and move forward just a little bit. One more check box checked. It's a relief, to be sure, to have that house sold. Oddly, I thought it would take longer to sale that house than the Voyager house. Who knew?

The rest of the Estate is what it is. Every day I do something related to it and have gotten used to the idea that this isn't a fast process.

Not looking forward to tomorrow. I've chosen to spend the day by myself. I'm not one to want to be around people when I know I'm going to be overly emotional. It's funny how everyone says grief is individual and unique for each person, then they try to NOT let you grieve the way YOU want. I know most have good intentions and I wouldn't change the support I have for nothing, though it gets a little exhausting. I now understand what Mom and SSIL had been saying when they both lost family. Funny how experience gives you perspective.

In other exciting news...Ireland is just a short couple of weeks away. I'm so excited. I'm a little anxious because I've not done any of the typical Jenn planning that I normally do, but I'm learning to go with the flow. I plan on spending a good portion of this weekend getting caught up on research of what we'll be doing. We got our final paper work and credentials in the mail yesterday and seeing those made me realize this was real. And happening in T minus 15 days...

Before we get to that though we have to go through Memorial Day. This one will be tough. Seeing Mom's name on a headstone isn't going to be something I thought I'd do so soon in my life. But I'll get through it. There will be many family members there to support me...and some alcohol. Seriously, it'll be a tough weekend, but one that has to happen and one that will soon be a memory.