And It’s ON!

A few months back my Shishter (not to be confused with my S-I-S-T-E-R) and I were discussing her budding relationship with this handsome feller who had wandered into her life.

My Shishter is 34, never married, quite beautiful, and has always sort of pooh poohed the idea of love. She could’ve probably been married as many times as Tammy Wynette by now, had she wanted to.  She’s always been very picky and would write somebody off if they didn’t possess a quality she wanted in a man or if there was something she didn’t quite like, never looking back or second guessing her decision to dump or compromising her standards.

I’ve always admired her un-clingyness to men and that she wouldn’t go out with one because she “needed” one. She’s very independent, self-sufficient and totally comfortable with herself to not need a guy in her world.

She had met The Fireman, who had been married previously and has three children, two of whom are young adults who still live at home and another one that’s about 5. 

She was telling me of a situation where plans had changed, with the Fireman,  at the last moment, as things have a tendency to do when one is a parent. She wasn’t much crazy about it at all and said something like she didn’t know if she wanted to do this because she liked her “nice, quiet, no drama” sort of life. 

Being the wise old grandmother I am, I said to her “Shishter…you have been pretty fortunate in your life to not have anything really rock your world. You do realize that tomorrow your world could be turned upside down by something totally out of your control, don’t you? You could go home and find your house totally burned to the ground with every possession you own gone or you could get a frightening, life-changing diagnosis.”  I went on and on with my sermon,  because after all, I’ve been through the illnesses and deaths of both of my parents, lived through my 16-year-old daughter telling me she was pregnant, a divorce, blah, blah….I was beginning to sound like the Charlie Brown schoolteacher to myself even.

There was NO way I would’ve guessed that within a couple of months, what I told her was going to, like, really happen.  I was talking hypothetical. Totally. My Shishter has had it pretty good.

Last Wednesday, my dear best friend found out that she has breast cancer and probably next week will undergo a double mastectomy to be followed by chemotherapy and probably radiation. She is 34 years old with no family history. She is totally, completely in love for the first time in her life.  This is not supposed to be.  It’s not a bad dream that I’m hoping to wake up from. It’s real. And it all came down so quick.

She found her lump a week ago Wednesday. She always did regular self checks. This came up out of nowhere.

I have no doubt that my Shishter has the cojones to kick this cancer square in the arse and make it sorry it ever messed with her. She is a tenacious and stubborn girl. I have vowed to fight it right along with her, doing whatever I need or have to do. I’ve told her I will shave my head right along with her. Not that that would fix the problem but if it  makes her feel not quite so alone to deal with the loss of her hair, by golly, I can lose mine too.

Cancer, I hate you. You took my parents, my stepfather, two of my aunts, two uncles, dear friends, but you will NOT take my Shishter from me.

Getting Used To Life Not Being Fair

I was walking through the Kroger yesterday after work and beings it’s Holiday Time, there was a voice on the speaker trying to get people to donate to Second Harvest.
Second Harvest seems to do really good work in feeding the people of Nashville when times are hard. I’ve participated in their various food drives through the years and am always glad to support them and would encourage anybody to help them out.

I could not help but giggle though when I heard the thing on the speaker about giving to Second Harvest. The voice said “Do you know 1 in 8 Tennesseans are at risk for hunger?”

Really? How does that jive with the news earlier this year that Tennessee jumped from 4th place to 2nd place in the nation as the Fatty State?

I am not a statistician nor am I good with numbers but somebody please explain who is right here??? Who is at risk for “hunger?” Define hunger”. Usually, the people I see whipping out the foodstamps at the grocery store do not look like they’ve missed any meals.

The whole thing just made me laugh.

When it comes to matters of a weighty sort, it irritates me to no end because now, I’m at a point where FINALLY, I do not obsess over how I am not as good as this person or that one because I’m not thin. I have birthed 3 children and although I’m not what I think to be big as a house, the weight charts say I am.

I now can boast having some high blood pressure to contend with. Everytime I’m at the doctor, they point out I need to lose weight. I especially love when the doctor’s nurse (who is about one and a half of me put together) calls and says, in regards to my blood pressure management to “Reduce your weight.” Right on, Honey. I’m so encouraged by you since you are so slim and trim yourself. It’s just effed up.

For years, I beat myself up and always felt as though I were inferior to others. The day I married in 1989, my dress was a size 8. AN 8! Yet, in my head, I thought I was as big as a house.

It might’ve been because several months before that, the first time I went out to eat with my future in laws, we were walking through Rivergate Mall. My then future and former sister in law, who is Japanese and weighed all of 100 lbs, and the rest of them, stopped to get a cookie at the cookie shop.

I did not desire a cookie at the moment. At that point, I was not big on sweets. My then future, now former mother in law asked me if I wanted a cookie. I said no. She said to me, with a sort of “Bless Your Heart” tone…”Yeah, I guess you have to really watch what you eat.”

WTF? That was June of 1989. I weighed 130 lbs and fluctuated between a size 6 and 8. I was also 20 years old and I wanted her to approve of me. I was convinced I was a lard ass.

She further convinced me of my heftiness a year after I married her son.

I ran into her one morning right before Christmas, again at the mall. She said “I want to get you some clothes. But not jeans. You don’t look good in jeans.”

Ahh…the Good Ol’ Days….nothing says “love” and “acceptance” quite like your mother in law reminding you you aren’t Twiggy.

I know I need to exercise regularly. I know this. I know I need to eat smarter. I know I have to think about my health, especially now that I’m over 40 and I don’t want to be 75 -80 years old and being one of those that say “If I’d have known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” 

It especially hits home because the last few days, my thoughts have been with a wonderful family I’ve known since I was a small child who are, at this writing, sitting by the bedside of their 44 year old son and brother in a hospice in Ft. Smith, Arkansas,  waiting for him to die as a result of a brain stem stroke he suffered last week.

John was a good school chum of my sister. We went to church with them when we were really young. I was in Sunday School with his brother and later in the Franklin band with him and his future wife. As an adult, their father was my upline boss. They are such great folks and I’m so heartbroken for them with what they are going through. He was not what I’d call huge but he did enjoy food, wine and life in general. Probably too much.

In your 20’s and 30’s, you eat, drink, smoke all you want and it doesn’t seem to have a lot of effect on your body, at the time. Somehow, though, you cross that 40 Line, and you suddenly have to, like, THINK about all that.

These are things in my brain today…

A Plea To Miranda and Hilary

I gripe often about the current state of Country Music. So much so, I know it’s quite redundant and it makes me sound like I might possibly be running low on my Geritol.  Brace yourselves…for I am about to embark on a positive pontification about a couple of current Country Music people. This doesn’t happen often, nor can I predict when it will happen again. Soak it up, y’all.

I actually LIKE Miranda Lambert. There, I said it. She writes her own songs and chooses songs that have substance, a good beat and are easy to dance to. She can play a guitar. She’s from Texas.  She can harmonize. (Not everybody can. This brings large points with me from any singer)

I looove that Little White Liar song she sings. There’s some other song I’ve heard of hers that I can recall its title at the moment but I like it. I LOVE “The House That Built Me.” First time I heard it, which was not long after my mother died, I proceeded to burst into controllable tears and sobbing.

Admittedly, I have an issue with Miranda and Sheryl Crow singing with my Loretty on “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, namely because she doesn’t say “In the summertime we didn’t have shoes to waaaaaar; but in the wintertime, we’d all get a brand new paaaaaaar” like it was intended by the Good Lord to be done. (I am saying this in the same tone Loretty tells Doo in the movie that “You don’t put no salt in chocolate pie…you jess put shigger”)

Songs like “Coal Miner’s Daughter” should not be sung by anyone who is not the offspring of a coal miner.

Now, Patty Loveless was a Coal Miner’s Daughter as obviously was Loretta’s sisters Crystal Gayle and Peggy (PAIG-gy) Sue.   The kids of all those Chilean miners could sing it and I would be tickled! 

I have come to terms with Miranda and Sheryl singing on Coal Miner’s Daughter just because Loretta wanted them to sing it. That’s that.

Anyhoo, back to the newly crowned CMA Vocalist of the Year-Miranda is a beautiful young woman. One of the things that makes her so gorgeous to me is she is not anorexic like her pal here and looks like she’s eaten this week.  You can’t count the bones in her shoulder area. She looks healthy.

Her pal here looks pale and perhaps a little dehydrated. Somebody give Taylor some beans and cornbread!!! Stat!

Look at the gorgeous Hilary Scott of Lady Antebellum, who I ALSO like.

Something about Hilary that stands out is she is a brunette! She has curves. She can sing. Why she thinks she needs those other two guys to have a career, I do not know. 

I implore both Miranda and Hilary…please, PLEASE do not destroy your faces with plastic surgery.  And regardless of what your likely overweight publicists/handlers may try to tell you, you do not need to lose weight.  Even ol’ Reba is starting to get that scary, Mary Tyler Moore-look. Just don’t do it. Reba needed a little help. You girls do NOT. 

I did not watch the awards at all last night. I purposely skipped them. I realized late last night why I really didn’t have a desire to watch and it wasn’t because I feared upchucking over the off-key singing I knew I would hear.

Reason I didn’t want to watch was I knew I wouldn’t get multiple phone calls from Mom saying how much she misses Ernest Tubb and asking why that Sugarland girl kept showing her armpits.


Alive and Well

Ben says I should blog again. I don’t even know that he’s read my blog, that was largely written before he ever came into my life.  He must have.

Thing is, I will sometimes want to pontificate about the Most Wonderful Man in the World but I’m sorta scared to. He is all about privacy. He doesn’t Facebook. I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it, huh?

What have I been  up to lately?

Well, I do have this most adorable little grandbaby who has turned me into a bumbling idiot, as grandbabies tend to do.

It hit me the other day why being a grandparent makes you so silly. 

Arlene Lurlene (not her real name. We call her something different all the time since her Grandpa Smiff first got her name wrong. Heh.) looks exactly like her mother did as an infant.  It’s sometimes frightening because I forget this is a totally different person.  That’s when I realized what makes grandparents so silly over their grandchildren is that you sort of get to relive your child’s infant-hood.  I think somewhere down deep is this idea that maybe…just maybe…you can get the things RIGHT you didn’t get right with their parents? I don’t know.

I DO know that this little 2 month old Darling is a joy. When she tries to “talk” to me, I melt. I love her so much.

Speaking of Mr. Wonderful… he is still wonderful. We have been together a year! It’s been a wild year indeed but I am so silly about him, I can’t put it into words. Not engaged yet nor are we Ring Shopping.  We aren’t in any hurry for that, although I’d like to think eventually we’ll go there. 

Mr. Wonderful makes me want to be a better person in every single part of my life whether it’s in the way I take the trash out or as a parent, he makes me want to be just plain better. 

This is how I know we are onto something great.

Incase You Were Wondering…

You CAN use Nair for Legs on your face. Just don’t leave it there long. It works much better than the Nair for Face. I can see why.

TMI blah blah…I don’t give a rip. This is good info.

Mom was a faithful Nair user since 1984 after her car accident. She developed a bloodclot and could not use her ancient, horrid razor due to the blood-thinning medication she had to take.  This razor was (what am I talking about “was” it is STILL in her Beauty Bag!) one of those heavy, metal ones you have to replace the blades in. I still bear a scar from when I shaved my legs when I was about 10 when I wasn’t supposed to be. I can’t believe those things are legal for purchase. If she would’ve tried to fly on an airplane with that thing, it would’ve been confiscated.
Anyhoo, she had a whole bottle of Nair so I took it to see if it would work for that pesky, unwanted mess that grows on most women-over-a-certain-ages face, whether you admit to it or not. (Then, there are those chicks who could care less about it and we ALL suffer because of it. Ew).

Ten Days Post Mortem

Today just sucked.

I can’t pinpoint exactly what sucked so bad. It wasn’t a particular memory, thought or nothing like that. Can’t think of anything other than the Hole in my heart was screaming at me today.

I had this dream last night.

In the dream, I was in high school at Brentwood High School. The guidance counselor/assistant principal type (not one of the ones that was actually real) had called me to his office to discuss why my grades were so bad. (That part WAS real). This guy was older and he was nice.

I can’t remember what the Dream Version of the Guidance Counselor’s name was or what he said but he was very warm and friendly. I made a snarky comment about something and he said “I like your style.” He said he needed to call my parents to discuss my poor academic showing with them and I said “You can’t call my parents cause they’re both dead.”

No clue what that dream meant. Interpreters? Anybody? Bueller?

I did not want to get up this morning. I just didn’t. If I’d have had a vacation or sick day, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed. I really wasn’t in the mood to work but I did.

It hit me, at one point during the day, that even though I didn’t feel like being there, it was important for me to be there. As crappy as it is, the doing the regular-stuff-you-don’t-want-to-do is part of the Healing or rather the “Adjusting To Life Without Them” thing.

Maybe tomorrow will be easier.

January 31

New Year’s Day, Mom wanted her Black Eyed Peas. Not THE Black Eyed Peas, as in the band. I don’t even think Mom knew who they were anyway. I barely do so I know she didn’t.

Mom wanted her sacred Black Eyed Peas for New Year’s Day, like she did every single New Year’s that I can remember. I neglected to pick some up from the grocery store before New Year’s Day and they were out of them. Luckily, Ben came to my rescue and had a couple cans and since he was sick in the bed, he didn’t do no cooking that day anyway.

I cooked Mom her BEP’s. Did the cabbage, and she also wanted Pork Chops. I threw in some mashed potatoes cause I just like them. She ate and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it and I was pretty tickled to get to do that for her.

Now, here it is, January 31 and Mom is gone.

I got to thinking today about Mom’s last few months and the way she handled the fact that she was well aware that cancer was in her lymph nodes and spreading but she didn’t choose to take any treatment. I did not blame her then and I do not blame her now.

I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head at how she did this Dying Thing her way. She wanted to be able to enjoy what days she had left. I also know, just knowing her nature, that as a mother, she was thinking of us throughout the whole thing.

Mom took care of two husbands as they withered and died of cancer. Neither situation was pretty. She watched both men go through chemo and radiation and saw how it weakened them. She tried, as much as she could, to spare us some of the ugliness. I can’t help but feel like part of her “denial” was for our benefit. She was a typical mother, “protecting” her cubs, even though the cubs are 43 and 41 (in about a week).

Ben was talking yesterday about his mother’s weight dropped to something like 80 lbs during her final months. Mom was griping in the doctor’s office on January 13 about how she needed to get some of the weight she’d gained while taking steroids off. Photos taken the day after Christmas, she looked like herself, although a more withered version of the lady in the photos we took at Warner Park a little over a year ago. She ate good and kept her weight nicely.

I am reminded that today is the 38th anniversary of my grandmother’s death. Mom’s mother died rather unexpectedly, less than two months after my grandfather died of a heart attack. Maw Maw did not have cancer. I’ve seen her autopsy report (somewhere, I’ve written about the famous conversation of Mom answering the phone telling me she was sitting there reading “Mama’s Autopsy”, like she was telling me that she was sitting there reading a People magazine or something. Heh) Maw Maw had some arteriosclerosis and some other typical conditions a woman in her early 70’s would’ve suffered from. Most in the family believed Maw Maw died of a broken heart. One of the sweetest love stories I know is that of my grandparents.

So, 38 years ago this week, Mom was still coming to terms with losing her beloved father so unexpectedly. They were on the other side of the country, in California and she was in Tennessee. Then, her mother died, going downhill very rapidly. She was there at Christmas and before January was over, she was gone.

How in the world Mom coped with being 2000 miles from her family, with these two little kids, still adjusting to life in Nashville (in 1972, Nashville was not quite as hopping as it is today, folks. She lived in Los Angeles from the time she was a young teenager. BIG adjustment) losing both of her parents so close together….I can’t even wrap my head around that.

I never asked Mom how she did it. She never talked about the effect those losses had on her. She talked a LOT about her parents…”My Mama and Daddy” she called them, with her voice getting a certain reverence and affection that she never used when speaking of any other person or thing. She adored her parents. I wish I would’ve asked her how she did it.

If you have lost parents, you know how it goes-everybody grieves differently. With me, I’m “normal” (shut up, I am too!) the majority of the time, but, I’ve had a couple days where the ache for my Mom is crippling. For me, it comes in almost being sore all over. I’m glad the bad days I’ve had have fallen on the weekend. I work with a bunch of hardened, smart ass construction types. I can’t have those moments around them.

Ben is good at being a smart ass when he wants to be. He was not like that to me yesterday evening when I had a meltdown. He was so warm and wonderful and I’m grateful that he was handy. He understands how I feel. He’s still going through it. I’m glad we have each other. I don’t know that it makes it easier but it’s nice to have somebody around you who knows what it’s like.

It’s Snowing Out There In the Gloaming

 Fri at 4:42pm |Mom loved snow. She especially loved snow when it was falling.

Back in the days we used to get decent snows in Nashville, she would be so excited when there was snow in the forecast. She’d sit up all night and watch it. She was crazy about the snow. Might’ve been all those years living in Southern California…I don’t know but she loved it.

She’d have absolutely loved this snow today. I don’t think she’s “missed” this snow though, no sirreee.
I think she has the best view of all from her vantage point and is enjoying it immensely.

Still doesn’t make me wish I needed to go check on her and get her a can of coffee.

And The Ironies Continue…

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 6:52pm 

I am a twisted person. I know this. You know this. Jesus knows this. Because of that, He will forgive me for giggling at the irony of hearing, from my former mother in law, of the passing of Shirley Collie Nelson today.

I am sad to hear that Shirley has passed away. I always hoped to have the chance to meet her. She was a fantastic singer, too. She was also married to my Dad, pre Barbara. Dad and Shirley’s divorce caused something of a scandal way back when.

I am not giggling because she has passed on. I have communicated with a niece of hers before. I know that Shirley helped to raise Willie’s oldest three children and that she leaves lots of friends.

How ironic that two of Dad’s wives should die in the same week?

Biff has been reunited with ALL of his wives. Heh.

The Box

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 10:19pm |

So we went to the funeral home today to pick Mom up. How appropriate the funeral home is behind the Krispy Kreme! AND it’s a hop, skip and a jump from the bowling alley Mom used to bowl at on Thursdays. The ironies just never cease. Not really, but I thought it was funny.

It wasn’t weird at all. It wasn’t a thing where I’m consumed with the thought that Mom is in a little box. No, it was more like I had a box with, say, her jewelry or her makeup bag in it. You go in the door and the lady that owns the place, Heide, is very warm and friendly and it’s like she’s welcoming you into her gift shop or something. It’s like you go into places like that on a daily basis to pick up your mother’s earthly remains-not like it was anything out of the ordinary.

Like most people I know who make their living in the funeral business, the Crawfords have a great sense of humor (I guess you have to to be in that business) and we exchanged some funnies about why I was there. The guy asked me if I was going to talk to her. This posed an interesting question.

I’ve said before I don’t feel a really strong connection with graves (other than historical signifigances cause I do love to go to cemeteries and photograph things) where my family is concerned. The Bible tells me that my Mom and Dad are in Heaven enjoying their Rewards. I believe that just as fiercely as Ted Williams’ daughter believes that someday she, her brother and her dad will be unfrozen and be a happy, thawed out family. We’ve already covered that here so I shall not bore you with that tangent again. You get my point.

I’ve never really “talked” to my father. Not a thing wrong with that but it’s not something I’ve ever done. I think about him a lot. Every single day, he is in my thoughts. I didn’t think I would address the Box directly.

Tara and I take the Box and get to the car. The first thought is “front or backseat?” We went with the backseat.

We drive along and we turn a corner and the box slid on the floor. I said something like “Keep still, Mom.” Tara decided to put the Box in her lap after that. I asked her if that was going to freak her out, traumatize her and scar her to the point that she’ll need serious therapy someday. She assured me it wouldn’t.

We went back to Mom’s house. I put the Box in Mom’s chair and put some boxes of Marlboros on top of it. That was her favorite place to smoke. I need to put a can of Folgers next to it. We put a coffee cup on the table next to her chair, with her glasses, her lighter. Sily, maybe but we laughed and we figured somewhere, Mom was laughing at it, too.

We sat there for a good while in Mom’s den. We retold things to each other from the last couple weeks. Seems like every other sentence we’d say how we couldn’t believe that less than two weeks ago, Mom was there and now she’s gone. Seems to be the thing to do.

I’m going to work tomorrow. It will be good to be back in the routine and start the task of living everyday life like before, although life is not exactly like it was before. Even so, life goes on. As it should.


 Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 4:06am |
Numb pretty much sums it up.

Trevor and I went with Ben and the Girls to the Flea Market. It was the perfect thing to do. It was so great to be moving around and doing something regular-ish.

I’ve heard my mother in law talk about how the weekend after her father died, the family loaded up and went to Greensboro to see the Statler Brothers in concert. The whole family-her brothers, their kids…just seemed to be the thing to do. Her father dropped dead at the kitchen table while eating breakfast one morning when he was in his 50’s.

I find myself thinking how just a little over a week ago, Mom was doing her regular, Mom thing. Yes, she was hurting but in between the pain, she was doing her thing.

She was so bothered by the earthquake in Haiti. She said last Friday she had to turn the tv from it because she couldn’t stand it.

We watched Tabatha’s Salon Takeover a couple weeks ago and this particular episode was at a salon in Covina, CA. She mentioned how she used to get her hair done in Covina.

Last Thursday, she sat at the table and wrote out checks for her bills and handed me to mail them, which I did.

The taco soup she made two weeks ago is still in her refrigerator.

Her house still smells like her. So does her car. Turned the radio on in her car today and it’s on 650 WSM, where it always was. There’s a bottle of water in the car that’s still half full. There’s still a tube of hand lotion in the car.

There’s a spot of hair color on her carpet that a little over a week ago, she said several times how she couldn’t believe that she had spilled it and was so disgusted with herself for doing so.

A little over a week ago, she ate spaghetti I made with Tara and Trevor. She ate a big plate full. Her appetite didn’t go until she couldn’t physically feed herself anymore. Last Friday, when she went into the hospital, she wanted a cookie. She wanted Ben to bring her a cookie. Ben brought her two big things full of cookies.

The more we think about it, we realize she was in pain for quite awhile before she let us know. Her lungs were in worse shape than she let us know, too. I think she probably could’ve used oxygen on a regular basis. I guess she was not going to be seen with a tank and was determined not to.

Some months ago, before she got mugged, I looked at her one day and I can remember thinking how withered she looked and I bet there was more cancer. It was a passing thought but it was the same kind of thought I remember having that day in 1991 when I realized how sick my Dad was.

He showed up to my work one day, out of the blue, to take me to lunch. I don’t know how long it had been since I’d seen him but I saw a remarked difference in his appearance. It shook me so, I had to go into the restroom to collect myself.

She talked to a cousin of hers a couple weeks ago about her Aunt Helen who is the last surviving sibling of her mother. She has dementia and Cousin Rick called Mom to see if it was ok with her that he had Power of Attorney. It was fine with her. She told stories of Aunt Helen and we talked about how she was a modern, independent female who was way ahead of her time-the Black Sheep of her family.

Mom’s health declined over a good period of time, gradually, but then it all went downhill fast, in a matter of days.

I can’t believe my mother is gone.

This Ole House

 Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 8:50am |Warning-this may contain what some consider irreverent humor about mortal remains. If that might offend you, you might oughta just quit reading now.

Irreverent humor about mortal remains is something the Collie’s just do. I guess it’s cause we’re either

a)trying to cope with our grief through laughter

b)because of our strong faith and belief that the Tomb is empty, we don’t associate with This Old House cause like Brother Stuart Hamblen said so eloquently in that classic song he wrote of the same title(Dad LOVED to tell the story behind that song because it does explain death pretty well) “Ain’t gonna need this house no longer ain’t gonna need this house no more, ain’t got time to fix the shingles aint got time to fix the floor, ain’t got time to oil the hinges nor to mend the window panes, ain’t gonna need this house no longer, I’m gettin’ ready to meet the Saints”. The body is just the shell. It’s not the person.

c) we are just plain wrong and twisted

d) all of the above.

I go with D.

So anyway, people are asking about arrangements for Mom. Mom was cremated. We are planning a Memorial Service (tentative date February 13) for her. We are planning a wonderful shindig to honor and remember Mom. She loved a good Celebration of Life service. She loved good music, good stories…this is what we’re planning on for her.

Flowers-Mom did not like us to send her flowers. That’s not saying Mom did not like flowers. She did but she felt that flowers were a waste of money because they are so stinking expensive and are dead within a few days. We are going to do the “In Lieu Of” thing because I know Mom would’ve wanted that.

Memorials can be made to Alive Hospice. These people took care of both of our parents during their illnesses and take care of so many. They don’t just care for the patient but they care for the families. Anybody that’s ever dealt with Hospice knows what I’m talking about. They are simply sent from Heaven. They cared for Mom so beautifully and with such dignity and respect those last few days of her life.

And let me just say right here, while we’re talking about this, if you don’t know what your parents final wishes are, PLEASE find out what they are. If they have not made arrangements, PLEASE do yourself a favor and tell them to make said arrangements NOW so you can carry them out for them when their day comes (and it will come, boys and girls whether you want to think about it or not) so you don’t have to mortgage your home to give your folks a nice burial. It is not pleasant to scramble around when death is impending, trying to figure out what to do. Trust me on this one.

Also, for yourself, make your wishes known. I told Terry the other day, if he wants to be buried and all that, he better start paying on it now so the kids won’t be stuck with it.

If you don’t want to ask them face to face about it, do the Sharon Way and text them or email them. I wish I’d have been more firm about getting Mom to tell what she wanted. Mom did not make her Said Final Arrangements. She talked about being buried in some necklace once. She mentioned being buried at Woodlawn, Williamson a time or two. The day of her surgery last May, she stood in her den and said (she wasn’t even being funny or silly about it) “If something happens to me, just have me cremated.”

Last Friday night, I called Woodlawn. A BASIC funeral, we’re talking generic, Dollar General brand funeral STARTS at 12,000. That doesn’t include the “A La Carte” items you can get. (Yes, that makes me laugh. A La Carte. HAR!) And, the Not-Very-Friendly-Or-Warm-Guy I talked to the phone at midnight added “We don’t do payment plans unless you pre-arrange.” So, this funeral thing is sorta like it’s cheaper to get your tickets ahead of time rather than at the door.

Needless to say, we said “screw the funeral” idea. Mom wouldn’t have wanted us to go into debt over her burial, of all things.

We aren’t sure what we’ll do with the ashes. For the time being, Mom is going to get to come over here to Inglewood and hang out with me. Eventually, we’ll either scatter them or bury them or heck, might just leave her on the entertainment center and put a pack of Marlboros on top of the urn.

I asked Ben what sort of criteria one uses when Urn Shopping. He said “I don’t know but I’ve got a couple of old moonshine jugs.” He is so funny. Mom would’ve loved that.

Those ashes aren’t her anyway. She doesn’t need that old body anymore cause she’s got her a new one.

Friday Afternoon-I Dreamed Of A City Called Glory

 Friday, January 22, 2010 at 3:18pm | Edit Note | Delete
So Mom got checked in to her new Home at 7:45 this morning. She’s probably still having reuinions with people.

The first picture I have in my head is of Mom and her sister Pat. Pat showing her around “Bobbie…you gotta look at this” just the way they used to do when they’d go to antique stores, showing her all the beauty of Heaven. They’re just gigglin’ like crazy as Pat points out this person and that one…”Remember him?”

I bet they’ve met up with their older sister Tee Wee and the cackling has commenced accordingly. I also imagine their sister Alice (Little Tuh Tuh) who died when she was 18 months old, before Mom or Pat were born, right in the middle of them in her rightful place laughing right along with them.

I bet she’s run into her brothers Jack and Byee. Byee’s probably a little tipsy (as per usual) and Brother Jack-Handsome, Smilin’ Jack danced a little jig as their Baby Sister came into view. They probably took her over to the “Hero” section of Heaven so Big Brother Son could see the newest arrival.

I picture the brothers and sisters taking their Baby Sister over to where their parents are…”Henry!” says Rosena. “Look! It’s Bobbie!”

Somewhere in the family mix, Mom runs across her nephew Freddy, his sister Sheri (whom Mom had the honor of naming) and his brother Alan, as well as her great niece, Ashley and great nephew, Steven. All of these passings hurt Mom’s heart terribly. She couldn’t even express the sadness over these.

In the middle of all this family reunionizing, Grandma & Pop Collie appear and Grandma says “Dad….it’s Barbara. Barbara, how much you weigh?” (Ok so that was a question Grandma Collie reserved for her grandaughters but this is my random thought so I’ll leave it at that. Har) Charles & June, Cousin Doug, Orville, Mandi, Mary Collie, Josh and Junie…they’re all kissing her smack dab on the mouth, cause that’s what the Collie’s do.

In the Smoking Section-there sits Judi Kirby and Goldie Smith. Yee haw! We can smoke all we want to now! Goldie’s got all the latest Heavenly gossip for her and Mom to catch up on but she’ll have to get back with her cause she’s catching up with her sweetheart, Carl, who just got there last Saturday.

Oh and Biff? Well, she’s been walking along with him already. When Mom was about to make her big entrance, Biff had the whole Hee Haw Gang lined up, giving them instructions on what to do when she entered- “There she is……Miss America….”

These are the things I’ve been thinking about this morning. I know she’s having a ball. She wouldn’t trade places with us for nothing.

I miss her already.

Thursday Afternoon 4:02 RTFTTF

Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 4:10pm | Edit Note | Delete

She was a little agitated this morning so they gave her something for it. I just got right up to her and said something and she made a noise so I think she can hear me.

I’m sitting here looking at Mom’s face and I’m telling ya, she’s as beautiful as ever.

The doctor says her stats have changed today.

I’m sorta starting to feel like I did when I was a little kid (again!) when on Thursdays, Mom would go bowl. She bowled in a league with Polly Simpson, Goldie Smith, and I don’t know who else. They bowled at that old bowling alley over off Thompson Lane, next to that old tunnel, before you get to the Krispy Kreme. You know, the one they widened but used to be really narrow and you always honked in it? Over there.

She’d go bowl and leave me in the “nursery” with these two, old, batty women. I HATED IT. The one old woman looked like Lady Elaine on Mister Rogers, that puppet that lived in the merry go round. They were mean. They probably really weren’t, but, I hated being in there. I’m sure I pitched a fit when Mom would drop me off in there. I wanted to hang out with Mom and the Bowling Ladies.

I’m really feeling some separation anxiety about now. I don’t want my Mom to leave me.

Wednesday Night-9:20 Random Thoughts

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 9:48pm | Edit Note | Delete

Mom is still kinda alert although I notice she’s awake less and less. When she wakes up, it’s usually a plea for water.

I have decided that there will be no more attempts at Hallmark moments at the bedside. Me and Mom don’t roll thataway anyway and it IS kinda silly to get all like that now.

Mom told me when I was about 14 that she knew how I thought cause she thought the same way so she was always a step ahead of me. This is still true, even today with our current circumstances in place.

There were things I didn’t say to my Dad that I’ve sorta regretted plus, when you see somebody you love suffer and struggle like this, you want them to understand that you’re ok with them going.

I told Mom today she was “good to go” and she said “Go where? What are y’all talking about?” We told her she could go home if she wanted to. “When?” Whenever you are ready. She said “Let’s go.” We were laughing about it and Mom said “I don’t think that’s that funny.”

Mom was not speaking of that “Home in Gloryland that outshines the sun”. She was speaking of her little house in West Nashville.

I wonder what’s going through her mind in those moments she’s awake? I wonder if she’s caught glimpses yet of the Skyline? Her face makes movements, like one does when they’re dreaming. I can’t help but wonder. I sho ain’t gonna ask her though cause she will set me straight.

Mom is a private person (yes, I realize I’m documenting these steps of her journey with y’all. I didn’t mean to do this, it’s just sorta happened) and there’s lots of parts of her life that she has never shared with us. I mean, look at that gorgeous woman there…that young woman in the photograph was not a girl who had a hard time getting a date, I tell you that right now.

she’s mentioned things in her life like being present when Eddie Miller and Don Sessions wrote the classic “Thanks A Lot” and writing the words down for them as the song was being born; the time James Garner winked at her in the Phoenix airport; sitting at a table at the Foothill Club in Long Beach with Patsy Cline;seeing Hank Williams, Sr. perform in her hometown of Alexandria, LA; The thrill of seeing people like Kitty Wells, The Wilburn Brothers and a ton of other country music legends in shows that came through Lousiana and then, many years later, getting to actually KNOW these people and hang out with them; waterskiing with a young musician named Glen Campbell; she worked at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft (as did her father), a bank and for the phone company; she remembers when they were filming one of my favorite movies “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” on the street in Long Beach; And those are the things she’s told us. There HAS to be a lot more.

She’s going to carry lots of things with her when she checks out. That’s perfectly fine. I’m sure she’s not going to reveal certain Heavenly secrets beforehand. I think even with her impending transition, she is teaching us much the same way she taught us (or didn’t teach us) certain things growing up: by learning for ourselves and walking our own journeys.

Ultimately, that’s what we all do in life, isn’t it?