Archive for February, 2010

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. https://secure.netsolhost.com/alivehospice.org/donations-give.php

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.

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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?

Wednesday Morning-10:35 RTFTTF

 Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 10:46am | Edit Note | Delete
I went home last night. I had to because Tara was coughing her head off. My throat started to hurt. Ben pleaded with me to go rest. He said since my throat was hurting, I was wearing down. He was right. I struggled with whether I should go or not but then I realized that when this is over, I don’t have any vacation or sick time. I have to go back to work as soon as possible. I have kids to look after, by myself, since their Dad is traveling out west until the 30th or so. Self preservation…life continues.

I slept pretty good. Ben knows what he’s talking about and understands the being torn. I’m glad I listened to him. He is such a gift.

She’s stil semi-alert this morning although I can see a change from last night when I left. It’s in her eyes. She fussed at me (I know lashing out is normal) for not putting her bed down. I had put it down bout as far as it could go.

I told her Sandra would soon be here to take charge. She laughed with her eyes. I could see it clearer than any other smiles I’ve gotten the last couple days. It was great.

A lady we went to church with for many years is up here, a couple doors down, with her mother. She came by last night. This lady lost her husband to cancer some years ago WAY too early. She was too young to be a widow. People have been so wonderful.

Tuesday Night 9:35-Random Thoughts From The Third Floor

 Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 10:21pm | Edit Note | Delete
First of all, if you have parents still living (“Parents” can be broad…whoever wiped your butt, rocked you when you had fever, endured your eyerolls as a teenager, bailed you out of jail :cough Darrin: cough) you need to right now call them. Or text, email, Skype, whatever. Give em a shout and say howdy. It doesn’t have to be a “You’re The Best Mom/Dad Ever” conversation. Just do that right now. I’ll wait.

I’m serious. I’m waiting.

:Whistling:

:Picking at fingernails:

Done it yet? No you haven’t…go on.

We’re still here on the Third Floor at Alive Hospice’s St. Thomas location. Hospice has got it going on. They do some fantastic work here.

They have volunteers like a lady named Nancy who kept an eye on Mom here for a bit while Tara, Ben and I went to Dalt’s and got us some supper. Nancy does not have to do this. Betchya money Alive Hospice was fantastic to her family at a time like this or maybe she just feels called to do a little something to help people out. Sandra needed to go rest this evening (which she should do).

The beauty of Hospice is you CAN get out, go home and let your little underbitten dog named Judi P. Tatootie out to go potty and lay down. If something should begin to change, they call you. They don’t call after the fact. They have people like Nancy who are here not cause they have to be but cause they want to be. It’s fabulous.

God’s been good today to give me some more presents in these last days with my mother.

Her best/good girlfriend Margie Bowes (who could and can probably still flat tear UP a song) came. They’ve been good friends for over 30 years. They’ve been through lots of stuff together. It was beautiful.

Trevor and Tara have been here with me today. Trevor was beginning to wear down and was ready to go so his Uncle Billy came and got him.

Billy has known my mother for 20 years. He came in her room to see her and her response to his being here was just plain wild. She spoke almost clearly. When he left, she said, stronger than anything I’ve heard her say today other than “WATER!”…”Thank you, Billy.” I think she was very touched that he came to see her. I know he was touched by her response.

After Billy and Trev left the room, Mom asked me where Trevor was. I told her he was going with Billy. I asked her if she wanted me to get him and she nodded yes. I caught them going down the hall and told Trev that Mimi wanted him.

Trevor came to her bedside, put his little hand on his grandmother’s and said “Yes, Mimi?” I don’t know what she was trying to tell him, but I would bet the farm that she was trying to tell him something in regards to his concern about Charles’ potential jealousy of Biff. I told Trev again that Mimi was going to go see Grandpa Collie and was there anything he wanted her to tell him. (Keep in mind, Trevor has Asperger’s Syndrome, mild form of autism. He is not sarcastic and takes everything literally) He said this:

“Tell him my name is Trevor and I said Hi.” Mom smiled and nodded. I also told Trevor that she was going to see Charles, Granny Boone, others….he said “Elvis…Michael Jackson.” She smiled again and mouthed “Michael Jackson.”

I talked with the Social Worker for Hospice this evening. They want to know about the person they are caring for-what they did for a living, what kind of personality they have, the names of the family members. The person in the bed is an individual; a real person with a real life. They do not view them as some semi-vegetable that’s barely hanging on. Very, very cool. Yet another thing that makes Hospice wonderful.

Mom’s work supervisor came this evening. She brought two uncashed checks they found in Mom’s stuff at work. After the mugging, Mom did not want to do Direct Deposit anymore. I guarantee you, she left those there on purpose, probably thinking we could use the money for something. I don’t know.

A number of her work peeps have been by the last few days. I don’t know these people but I can tell you it has been gut-wrenching seeing the sadness in their faces. They adore my little mother. She adores them. It’s fabulous.

Ben came up this evening. I know it’s hard for him to come around all this. His own mother’s passing from cancer is still so fresh. Yet, he’s here. He took Tara and I to eat and then by Target. We talked about the irony of all this…

Mom had said to me in the last few weeks how she hadn’t been to my new place and she wanted to get over there and see it. She said “You moved just about the time my back started hurting.” BUSTED! She was hurting for quite awhile then cause I moved August 30. Ben’s mother died on August 31. Ben and I were first made aware of each other through (his Baby Mama and former wife) Melissa on his birthday, September 22. We went on our first date on September 24 and knew right away we had found something rather special.

All of these things…I can’t imagine getting through this without Ben’s support, love, and being able to share his experience with me. God knew what I was going to need (and what Ben was going to need) come January 2010. We said on our second date that it was like we’d found our most favorite pair of blue jeans in each other…comfortable. Home.

I also see an irony in the passing Saturday of Carl Smith. Carl was a longtime friend of Dad’s. They went back to the early 50’s back when both were married to their first wives. They traveled together on the Philip Morris Show in 1957. Goldie was also a friend of Dad’s and later became a close friend and confidante to Mom. Two of Carl’s kids Dean and Lori Lynn are dear friends of mine and Sandra’s. Always been something special between us. I hated that I did not get out to Franklin for Carl’s visitation and funeral.

Tonight she’s still talking here and there. Asked why she’s not remembering anything.

This sucks.

Yet More Random Thoughts

 Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 10:43am | Edit Note | Delete
I’m at home this morning. I have two of my cubs with me. Probably should’ve sent Trevor to school today but I need him. I need his Trevor-ness.

I slept last night fairly decently for the first time in a number of days. Sandra stayed down there and she slept decently too, even in a recliner. The reason being is it’s quiet in this room. No beeps. Nobody coming in at 3 am to take Mom’s temperature or blood. Hospice is fantastic.

This experience is changing the Mother Daughter relationship between Tara and me, I think. I’m watching her mature in front of my very eyes as she experiences this from a 16 year old’s point of view.

I knew that Mom’s calling Tyler by his name yesterday would mean a lot to him. He was debating whether or not to return to the hospital because he wanted to remember his Mimi the way she was as opposed to on her deathbed, unresponsive, etc. She lit up when she saw him yesterday, clearly speaking his name and looking at him. What a gift for him, her first grandchild.

I have a video of Tyler’s first birthday. He’s sitting on top of this HUGE, wrapped present, in all his one year old, chubby baby glory. He smiles big, looks at Mom and says “Mimi.” First time he said it.

Tyler was such a gift to Mimi during the days leading up to my Dad’s passing and in that first year after.

I told Tyler last night if he wanted to stay out of school today and come back down with us, he could. He said he would but they are blocking for the next theater production today. He has a pretty decent sized part in this production. His Mimi would tell him not to miss that because of her.