Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Tears Continue

And the tears continue in our lives.  The Labor Day weekend in September 2009 we went to our friends cabin to pick up our new family member, Clayton Harris.  He was sitting in their front window watching us.  He belonged to a friend but she was in a place in her life that wasn't good for little Clayton and she knew we just loved the little guy.  
So that Sunday afternoon we expanded our little family.  It had been about 3 years since we had lost our beloved Ebby to cancer and we had vowed to not get another dog, but, we so loved this little guy.
We had prepared the week before putting in a new automatic doggy door so he could go out on his own and then, that weekend, we were ready to bring him home.
Once home I quickly thought we might have made a mistake.  He zipped and zagged all over the house, constantly and these were the best pictures I could get.  I was worried.

Then that face settled down and we got the love from the little guy.

He quickly settled and became a very important part of our lives.  He absolutely LOVED the grands.  When Snicklefritz would be on her pallet as an infant he would lay right next to her like he was protecting.  He was very tolerant and loving and still sat next to her and Min too.

Oh how he loved, LOVED this guy.  

Absolute adoration.

And such a happy boy.

Then came his trials and tribulations with his health.
First came the connective tissue tumors on his hip.  We had them removed and seemed to be successful, until...
they started in on his front leg.  Three surgeries to the final one where he lost his leg.  Then a massive infection in the surgery area and more surgery to clean that out and weeks of daily visits to fight the infection.  This guy just kept on ticking, not letting it take him down.  He mastered walking, running and getting through his doggy door.  Still he was happy to see us, to get treats and eat.  
Then a few months ago we noticed a growth coming out of his mouth, his tongue sticking out on the other side, and a stink.  I took him to the vet where Dr. P said it was melanoma and had to come out immediately.  He was whisked to surgery that moment and the recovery was guarded.  Dr. P was very concerned that he would not be able to use his tongue anymore.  Those fears were never realized because by the next day he was lapping water and eating like nothing happened.  
About 5 weeks later we noticed another lump and he was making a mess with his food bowl, that was a sign of the tumor returning.  Back to the vet and he said he would snip it out that day.  That time wasn't quite as bad a recovery and he was ready to eat that evening a little.  Then just less than a month later and it was back again, and with a vengeance.  It was huge and infected and I think possibly gangrenous.  Dr. P said the only thing he could do was amputate his tongue!  We said NO and took the other option, to put an end to his suffering.

Just three days after we laid The Hubby's mother to rest he had to take Clayton in and say goodbye.  Our hearts are just broken.  I miss this face.  I miss petting and kissing him.  I miss him laying and sleeping next to me.  I miss our sweet Clayton.

I'm so over the loss of our loved ones, human and furry.  My heart can't take much more of this, I'm done.  

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Final Goodbye

This lady, oh this lady will be sorely missed.  The past couple of days have been a whirlwind of activity as we prepared to bid our final farewells.  Yesterday was her funeral and a beautiful funeral it was.  The boys, her boys put it all together and picked out the flowers, her outfit and coffin.  It was stunning and she looked beautiful.  Lots of pink.  Pink coffin, pink dress and the coffin spray were pink and dark pink roses that draped over the lid.  She would have been so very pleased.  
The boys spoke, each sharing a story showing her strength, tenacity, her drive to protect and survive.  They were funny stories and showed us how she was always able to smile even though she struggled to take care of those rowdy boys and raise them up to be the wonderful men they are today.  
Our two girls each spoke eloquently about their beloved Mimi.  Their words made me so proud.  Their bond with their Mimi was evident in their words and the love they espoused brought me to tears.  It was just a beautiful service to celebrate the life and an amazing woman.  
After the service everyone was invited to come to our house to share a meal of one of her favorites, spaghetti and lasagna.  I ordered Olive Garden and it was delivered hot and yummy.  The food was devoured as everyone enjoyed visiting from near and far.  Cousins flew in and it ended up being a mini reunion.  How wonderful to see everyone and tell the stories we loved most about this mighty woman.  
So now, we carry on, disperse her belongings to family and tidy up the loose ends of her life.  We will share tears and stories as the hearts heal a bit more everyday.  For me it has reopened that last wound so fresh from losing Daddy so recently.  I may not have sobbed but I've cried silent tears for the losses.  She was a mother to me and I feel that loss.  The past couple of nights I wake up to make one of my many trips to the bathroom but getting back to sleep takes a couple of hours because she is all I think of.  Her last moments of happiness seem to be on my mind a lot.  Last night I told The Hubby that I have two last memories of her but I chose to discard one and keep the other.  

That fateful day, Easter Sunday the one I toss aside is the moment of the stroke.  I, instead remember her sitting at the kitchen table at lunch eating her plate of ham, potato salad, green beans, shoving it all together with her beloved roll into a lump, never minding if it is all mixed up.  That is how she ate everything.  If there had been Jello and mashed potatoes on that fork she loved it.  She ate with gusto that day and drank several small glasses of pink wine, laughing and oohing and awing over sweet Min calling her Mimi for the first time.  She was at her happiest at that moment sitting across from me at that table.  I chose that memory to hold onto.  I didn't go to the hospital to see her, I didn't look at her in the casket.  I just do not want to have that be my last picture in my mind.  I choose the vision of her across that table.  

I love you Gloria as my mother-in-law, my mother.  


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Purging I Will Go (and more)

Tulips, red and pink tulips.  Yesterday one of the health people who sat at Gloria's bedside for many hours sent flowers to us.  I think the girl actually went to high school with one of the grandsons and not on Gloria's care but she cared for the family and spent time sitting.  She sent the tulips because during some of the rantings that my mother-in-law was rambling on about was that her favorite flowers were red and pink tulips.  It was so thoughtful of the sweet friend and classmate of Jason's.

For the past several days I am finding myself bored, yes bored.  I don't feel much like painting and am spending a lot of time just sitting on the couch staring out in space.  These losses lately are almost more than I can stand.  I'm also finding that I am angry.  I'm angry at a lot of people and things that are happening in my life and the WORLD!  I'm finding it tough to have a voice, not finding my voice, and to be able to express it.  Honestly I feel my vocal cords are tied, so to speak.  If I open my mouth I am quickly shut down for expressing my opinion and I'm finding that almost intolerable, which is making me quite angry at everything and everybody.  Yesterday I had a luncheon with some of my high school friends that I haven't seen in well over a year.  While nearly through with my meal one says something about NOT being vaccinated, not going to get vaccinated!!! My mouth dropped to my lap.  (Luckily I wore my mask and the restaurant was nearly empty and I was at the end of the table pretty far from the others that were saying this stuff!)  They went on to pop off about it being experimental, they already had Covid and were never sick, some saying they've never had vaccines...blah, blah, blah...I said WHAT!!!!!  Then I said, "that is why...." but I couldn't finish that statement.  I didn't want to get into an argument, and it was going to be one.  I acted like my phone got a text and that I had to go to handle some "funeral" stuff for The Hubby and I was OUT OF THERE like lightening!  STUPIDITY, and I will not be going again to any of the luncheons they have for a very, very long time.  

Now...on to something else.

With the help of my girls I've been purging various things from my house.  (This act has some issues too.)  One of the things I've been wanting to do is purge my cookbooks.  I had probably close to 100 cookbooks and I most never use them.  Oh, I do enjoy reading them when I get them but I almost never use them.  
There are some exceptions:  Pioneer Woman, Barefoot Contessa, Jamie Oliver and I have The Cake Bible and Pie Bible that I gave to Momma and Daddy many years ago.  There are, of course, a few others that I have kept that I do use and cherish.  I also have some extremely old ones.  One of them I checked is 121 years old and I believe came from my Grandma's.  I even had duplicates of several of Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa) cookbooks.  Not sure how that happened.  Those boxes in the first photo are gone, BYE-BYE!  The Hubby carted them off very quickly.  I had THOUGHT about having a garage sale but he apparently had other thoughts and took action before I had a chance.  This is another place where I'm having some issue.  Yes, I do have a few "collectibles" around the house.  They are not invasive, well, maybe my books and Longaberger baskets could be seen that way.  But, the books are on shelves, not lining walkways down the hall and the baskets were in a closet on shelves.  It is my house too and these are my things that I love.  The Hubby is just too quick to agree to get rid of stuff, MY STUFF in particular.  He sees no value in my things, and chooses to take it all to Goodwill without thought to what I want to do with it.  I am not a hoarder at all but I can see where a person could go off the rails with that.  It kind of takes me back to an incident that happened just before I married The Hubby.  

My family lived in a small two bedroom house for a family of five.  My sister and I shared a bedroom and a bed.  I was 19 getting ready to marry and in the living room I had a trunk that I had recently refurbished.  It was a trunk that came from Jay, and was in one of the barns.  It belonged to my Greatgranny's sister, Melissa, who died after her appendix ruptured at age 16.  I cherished it, still do.  It was beautiful when I finished and was full of some of my things to take into my marriage and memorabilia from my childhood.  The Hubby and I had rented an apartment a couple of weeks before we were to be married but were NOT living there because it was being painted.  My father (probably drinking) became enraged about the trunk in the house one evening and wanted it out immediately.  The problem was the apartment wasn't really ready but he was yelling in my face and threatened to take it to the trash.  He was going on and on about some of my other things like a few of my books (I only had a few at that time.)  He was absolutely unreasonable about it.  I was distraught.  He was almost wanting me to move out right then for some reason I felt.  I think there was even talk that I move to Granny's.  I ended up taking it all to my Granny's and moving it to her garage until we could move to the apartment.  This incident has plagued me for years and I often feel that The Hubby is doing the same thing my Daddy did.  I feel devalued and well, angry.  I have dishes that I love that were my granny's and his mother's that he is on a tear for me to get rid of too.  This hurts, it hurts a lot.  I'm in agreement that it is time to declutter my cabinets but frankly why is it all MY stuff!  Why is he after me, like a child to toss out my things, things that I value, not monetarily but with memories and ties to the past.

Back to purging my recipes.  Now that the cookbooks are purged it is on to the mountain of recipes that I collected over the years.  
I've ripped, cut and glued so many recipes to little index cards. I have four index boxes and another basket of loose ones, not in any kind of order at all.  So yesterday I started going through each and every single card purging.  If I ripped it from a magazine then generally I am tossing.  I have some criteria that I will keep though:  a list of few ingredients, still looks like I want to cook it, handwritten.  Those that are from magazines and I keep I plan on trying and if they're good I'll keep if not, then out they go.  My goal is to possibly make the recipe, take photos and have either a blog or a Facebook account that has nothing but these recipes, maybe a recipe a day or something.  It's an idea and I hope I can make it happen.  It has been suggested that I scan all the recipes and I may but honestly I love going through the cards.

I also ran across this little jewel, a Strawberry Shortcake spiral notebook.  Actually, I know the lady that created Strawberry Shortcake.  She lives in Tulsa and is in my art group.  When I opened the notebook I found it had several pages of handwritten recipes that were in Granny's handwriting.  There were some of hers, family and some of her friends. Best of all it was Granny's handwriting.  I will never get rid of that.  
THEN I saw this one from Mrs. Boggs.  If you are a lifetime Tulsa (or Broken Arrow) person you would know of Boggs Farms in Bixby (not Jenks where Granny wrote that.)  Mrs. Boggs lived on the huge property in a two story house and there were fields and fields of veggies that she grew and sold.  It's where we got our Silver Queen corn, green beans, tomatoes for canning, okra, peppers, cucumbers, etc.  We even got to go in the fields and pick sometimes.  I will try this for sure.

My question, how many more of MY THING are going to have to be tossed to the trash heap before he is satisfied.  It's a feeling of my self worth being challenged.  

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Legacy Left

September 30, 1927- April 17, 2021
Gloria, Mother, Mother-in-law, MiMi, Greatgrandmother...
One of the most elegant, gracious, passionate women I have ever met.
She loved her boys with such an beautiful intensity.
She was stunningly beautiful and was a presence when she walked into a room.
She dressed so elegantly and flowed into a room that took your breath away.

Gloria my sweet mother-in-law for over 46 years, you will be sorely missed by everyone who were lucky enough to be in your strong orbit of life.