21 July 2013

Catching Up

If you don't feel you have a personal relationship with me, skip this post...
I'm just catching friends up with my news.

It's been a tough Spring/Summer so far.
My Mother had not been well for several months. Twelve hours drive away in Pensacola, we spent as much time with her as possible while we were in Destin, then drove down a couple times to actually spend a weekend with her in her apartment, which was a cramped, one-bedroom place with too much furniture, made MUCH worse with the addition of our Queen-size inflatable airbed on the floor between recliners and TV cabinet.
Cramped quarters made things difficult. Helpers coming in the door at an unworldly hour of the morning to insure she was properly medicated made us feel like Zombies after a couple days.
Obviously, visiting Mom was not a peaceful sojourn to the countryside.

I've had a little side business I started with an old friend in 1988, mostly teaching others to fly helicopters, doing aerial photography, and other little odd jobs requiring the use of a helicopter.
The two of us fit together well... he did the administrative stuff;

I watched over the helicopter and insured the operations side worked as advertised.
A long-time smoker, he's also been in ill health for the last couple years. A year ago his health really started downhill. He's been in and out of the hospital several times.
Two months ago he died.
His wife wants no part of staying in the business of herding helicopters.
Twenty-five years of plugging along, dreaming of what we could do after we both could retire from other work and devote full-time to our business went out the door. Our little business will wither and disappear.

Mother's health worsened.
She was always someone fun to be around... sharp as a tack with a great sense of humor, she was intelligent and curious, and could participate in conversations about anything.
But we noticed her hearing failing. Then her memory started frustrating her.
She no longer participated in conversations because she couldn't hear what was being discussed and couldn't remember things to add.
She sat silently, smiled and nodded, just to show she was glad simply to be around others.
Three weeks ago my sister called to indicate she was failing.
In three days she was gone.
We buried her a week ago.
I've lost my strongest supporter.

I take comfort in having had her in my life MUCH longer than anyone would have predicted.
Her weak heart needed help, and to that she had a pacemaker installed in 1983.
At that point NO ONE would have imagined she'd outlive my Dad.

She did.
Like a Timex watch, she just kept on ticking.
Her "metronome" pacemaker was replaced with one that measured O2 content in her bloodstream and increased her heart rate as necessary.
The battery in that device failed one morning and her poor weak heart kept plugging until they could install a new battery.
She survived hurricane Ivan and three weeks of no air-conditioning in her new Pensacola apartment, just days after we moved her there.
She was a tough, wonderful creature. Obviously, I'll miss her terribly.

I've kinda had a "one-two punch" delivered to my midsection and I'm still not recovered...
May never fully recover.
Add to my emotional stress the fact I still think my beloved country is circling the drain, and you may understand my reluctance to write here.

It'd be nice to have some good news cheer us all up, wouldn't it?
(If you have any, share in the comments PLEASE.)

03 July 2013

The Procession

Birth. Life. Death.
And if it proceeds as it should, that "life" part should be reasonably long.
It also helps, when the "death" part happens, if the life part also makes living better for others.

Obviously, it doesn't always unfold the way we hope. Some of the saddest days of my career were those when I'd carry a very sick or injured youngster in the helicopter, then observe parents as they watch life slowly slip away from their child.
We naturally grieve when we lose loved ones, but if those departed family members or friends have "run a good race" and frequently put smiles on the faces of others, that grieving is mostly for ourselves, knowing we'll not have the pleasure of their company any more.
When a young person dies we not only lose that personal contact, we lose the promise of what might have been.

I'm headed back to Indianapolis this weekend to reunite my Mother with my Dad.
I'm grieving because I'm selfish and will miss our conversations, the ability to say "Hey Mom, what was that guy's name?"; the LOVE.
But I'm comforted by the fact that Mom's life-parade proceeded as it should have...indeed, lasted longer than anyone could have expected.

Butterfly kisses Mom...
You put smiles on lots of faces.
You ran a great race.