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.