The Owl

Brian’s favorite place in the whole world was our back yard. Many years ago he hung a wooden swing from the massive oak that we fondly call “Grandmother”. That swing eventually lost itself to the winds and rains of time. Christmas before last, our daughter Emma gave me a new swing. Recently I took my book and made myself comfortable. The weather was lovely. Not too hot and no mosquitos in sight.

As I gently swayed back and forth, I set the book down next to me. I began taking in the colors. The ferns so green, the pink in the flowers, the blue sky with its puffy white clouds. It felt so good. For a few moments I was not missing Brian. I wasn’t worried about work or paying the bills. I was just relaxed and happy. After a short time, Brian was back in my thoughts. Out loud, I asked, Brian are you hear? If you are, give me a sign.

Well hawks come to me all of the time if I am looking for an answer or asking for confirmation of something but the owls would come out for Brian. I would rarely see them but Brian saw them all the time. As I sat quietly on the swing, swaying ever so gently I laid my head back and looked up into Grandmothers massive canopy. I was focused on a large low limb when all of the sudden, exactly where I was focusing, landed a beautiful owl. I reached down and picked up my phone. It was almost comical watching him. He would peek from behind some leaves and look straight at me. Then he would slowly tuck himself just behind the leaves and then peek out again. He stayed with me for about 5 minutes. I knew beyond any doubt that it was Brian saying hello through the owl. Moments later I could hear the song of a cardinal and there he was just above me also perched on a large branch. I firmly believe we can receive many signs through nature and the animal kingdom if we just open our hearts to the possibility.

Synchronicity

Before we had even spoken a word to each other, on that night of June 15th, 1973, I turned to my friend and told her “If he asked me to leave with him tonight I would do it.”

Little did I know, with those words spoken, a home was being prepared for us in Jacksonville Florida. When we moved into our home we found blue prints for the pool. The date the plans were drafted was June 15th, 1973, the day we met in Wisconsin, nine years earlier. This would be the home where our children would be born, laugh and play. A home we would share for 36 blessed years. God had a wonderful plan for us. I am gratelful for the home that was prepared, the children that were gifted and now the grandchildren that fill in the empty spaces that came with Brian’s leaving.

Thank you dear Lord for all of it. For if it was your plan that we meet, then it was also in your plan that he was to leave us. I am not angry, just very sad. I am doing my best to look forward with new eyes. To see what this next chapter brings. Thank you Spirit. I am grateful.

The Apron

It began two nights ago when my sister and I were talking about the passing of our mom.  We were both missing her so.  She was telling me that if she could have one thing that belonged to mom, it would be one of her aprons. I completely understood, as that had been one of my wishes too. You see as we grew up, our mom almost always had an apron on.  With a family of 10, she spent many hours in the kitchen. And with 8 little noses, one must have an apron pocket in which to keep a handkerchief. I knew, packed away with my precious memories, I had such an apron.  I decided right then that I would not mention it but would send mine to her without a word. 

The following day while having a conversation with a friend, she shared that she’d had vision of mom on the other side. In it, mom was enjoying walking through a field of flowers and was so taken by them. I confirmed to her that mom loved flowers.  She suggested that I let mom know that I would like a sign from her and to be so bold as to be specific so that I would know that it was her. I began talking to mom but had not yet decided on a specific sign.

I forged through my treasures and there it was. I lifted the apron to my nose and face hoping to find some memory of my mom within its folds. It felt so good on my face.  I decided to put the apron on and take a selfie.  I had to laugh at myself as I draped it over my shoulders.  She should have worn it this way I thought to myself, like all superheroes wear their capes.  For she certainly was a superhero in my eyes.

This morning I opened my container of wrapping paper in hopes of finding something beautiful to wrap the apron in. I wanted it to speak of the love that was contained inside as she removed it from the mailing package. Right there on the top was a brand-new package of tissue paper. Actually, it had been there for a long time.  Now I knew why I had never used it.  It was meant for this special occasion.  A time when I would need the perfect wrapping but could not go out to shop due to the Covid19 “Stay at Home” order. It was so pretty and it was covered in flowers!  Wow, I thought to myself, mom would love this.  

 I began talking to my mom as I ever so gently folded the apron. I wanted her to know that I wasn’t giving the apron away because I didn’t value it.  Quite the contrary.  I was giving it up because I loved it so much and I knew exactly what it would mean to my sister to have such a gift.  I carefully wrapped the apron first in a lovely lavender tissue, then in an outer layer using the floral.  I didn’t want to put just any old ribbon on it, so I went to a special drawer in my office to see if I might have something.  Just on the very top of some organza bags was a single ribbon.  It was the perfect size and length of white satin.  My heart leapt with joy. I continued my conversation with my mom as I carefully coaxed the white satin ribbon into a lovely bow. Now for a card. It had to be a very special card. I knew immediately! I went to yet another drawer where I had a very special blank card that I absolutely loved. I felt the warmth of mom’s approval and deep love as I penned just one line on the most beautiful little card.  “Because I love you.  Jean”

A short time later, there was a loud knock at my kitchen door.  I got up to answer it and saw a blur of a black truck as it sped away from my house. It looked like Will’s truck.  I opened the door to find a gorgeous bouquet of spring flowers on my doorstep.  There was a note attached.  It said, “Just to say we love you”. 

Then it hit me straight in the heart!  It was a message from my mom.  My friend had seen her in a field of flowers. Now, because I had not set up an agreement with mom as to what type of sign she should send me, she used a connection that she had already made with me the day before through my friend as she spoke of my mom in the field of flowers.

I immediately asked Will if it had been he who delivered that beautiful bouquet, to which he answered that he could neither confirm nor deny such a happening.  Of course, I knew for sure then.  I went on to explain that unbeknownst to him, my mother had whispered those instructions in his ear.  He laughed and said, let me explain how it was on my end. He said that he hadn’t planned in advance to get those flowers but found himself turning left instead of right on Atlantic Blvd. and before he knew it, he had bought the bouquet and was on his way to my house.  I laughed right out loud and said “Will, meet my mother”. 

A Bundle of Love

February 12, 2020

I have never been so aware of life changes as I have been since my husband passed.  It has been a time of reflection upon what was and an opening to the possibilities of the future.  A future without him.

I recently made a major decision that was the most difficult yet.  It was the decision to stay in our home.  It took some time to weigh and measure it.  In the beginning I looked at it as, which would be less painful. Leaving this house where Brian and I had spent the last 36 years or staying and being reminded of the memories of what once was but could no longer be.

When Brian first passed, I was so raw.  It felt as though my heart had been fileted open and the very air upon it was nearly unbearable.  Just 38 days later my house, our home, was burglarized and ransacked.  My already fileted heart now felt the full impact of his leaving.  I remember asking Father Mother God, “Am I to be broken Father?  No my child, Mother whispered gently. Broken open my love, not broken. That is much different indeed.  Being broken open is a glorious happening.”

Then one day, I received a wonderful sign.  On January 30th, Will and I were dragging some trash to the street while doing some renovations to the bathroom.  As we bumped our way out, the storm door banging against our load, I made a comment to him that I had never liked the storm doors on the house.  Within about 10 minutes he had removed them both. It felt so good.  There was such a change in the energy.  Opening the door and just stepping out without the hinderance of the storm felt so freeing. 

That very evening, I heard that small soft voice say, “The storm is over.  You can settle now.  You can rest easy.”  I knew immediately that there was divine inspiration behind my removing the storm doors earlier in the day.  The symbolism was so powerful.  It was that event that really cemented my decision not to sell this house but to stay and rebuild my life. 

Just one week later, on February 6th I received a phone call from Detective Karst at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.  He was calling to let me know that the man who burglarized my house had been arrested and was in jail.  I knew it!  I knew that he would be caught. 

Just days before the burglary I had said a prayer asking Creator to please help the police catch whoever was causing the mischief in our neighborhood. Then wham!  My house was broken into!  My first thought was, I guess I should have been more specific in my asking but then quickly said well, why not me?  I was the one asking for the help.  Why shouldn’t I be the catalyst for this prayer to be answered. 

When walking into my house that day, the contents of my life strewn about without care or concern, I was at first angry.  Angry that someone had gone through Brian’s desk.  Touched his things. How dare they, I thought.  How dare they violate his memory.  As I reached the bedroom where we had cared for him during his illness I was taken aback. The contents of the dressers and closet covered the floor but there in the doorway laid my prayer bundle.  It had been carried from my bureau in the master bedroom and was still bound. Its gold satin cord tied securely, just as I had left it. A vision flashed through my mind.  It was of hands holding the bundle when suddenly the hands flew up as though being burned by the bundle and it dropped to the floor.  I heard that usually small voice, booming now. “No, not that. Here no further!”  I knew that I had been given a wonderful gift.  That small prayer bundle, that was so sacred to me had been protected. The burglar was not allowed to take it and in that moment I felt so loved by God and my angels.  My prayer was being answered but a line had been drawn and I had been spared the sadness of losing my precious prayer bundle. 

As my eyes once again began scanning the destruction and my mind tried to grasp exactly what I was seeing, there it was!  Just two feet from where my prayer bundle had been dropped laid a blood- filled latex glove.  We got him, I thought excitedly!  DNA, we’ve got DNA!  As I looked more carefully, I noticed that one of the drawers that now stood open contained one black Isotoner glove.  I looked about and did not see the right glove.  Just the day before, I had placed that pair of gloves in that bureau.  Now the right glove was gone.  Well, it didn’t take a detective to surmise that the thief cut his hand on the glass as he came through the door and then found my glove as he searched the room.  Although I can only speculate, I can just image God plucking it from the pocket he probably stuffed it into and dropping it just there by my prayer bundle. 

Well that was a very long and difficult night. Megan called to let me know that Trey wanted me to stay in his room that night. He had actually given Will very specific instructions that under no circumstances was I to be allowed to stay at the house that night. He was cleaning his room top to bottom and washing his linens so that everything would be perfect for me. When Will and I arrived at their house in the wee hours of the morning, there was Trey asleep on the sofa. I slipped quietly into his bedroom to find a fluffy fresh bed and the scent of essential oils in the air. A bottle of water was next to the bed and a stack of movies on the dresser that he thought I might enjoy. He had even set up a charging station for any devices I may have with me. But even more wonderful than all of that was the powerful feeling of his love, his kindness and his compassion. And as I laid my weary body down on his bed, his love filled my fileted heart like a soothing balm and I slipped into a restful sleep.

Brian’s Memory Honored Through a Boy Named Blake

Jean’s Journal  –  December 23, 2019

Evening was falling as I collected my things from the car and walked to the mailbox to gather the holiday wishes of the day.  There were several Christmas cards and one overstuffed, letter sized envelope with three Santa stamps and no return address. Although I was immediately intrigued, I first opened the cards.  When I got to the white envelope, I looked carefully at the handwriting but did not recognize it.  Upon opening it, a flat wrapped package revealed itself.  I loved the wrapping paper. It had an old model pickup truck with a dog inside and a Christmas tree in the bed.  Printed neatly on the front of the package in black sharpie was my name.  There was no card or tag.  Curious.  I carefully opened the package to find a thick packet of papers.  Part of me wanted to glance ahead at them to satisfy my curiosity.  And yet the other part of me said no.  Go slow.  I don’t know that I can explain the energy that I felt.  It was almost magical.  Something inside me letting me know this was not to be rushed.  Move slowly.  Savor the moment.

Now, it is important to interject here that I had just returned from dropping gifts to a little family that a group of us are trying to help.  This single mom and her two young boys are homeless after having fled Alabama to escape a bad family situation. 

The first page was a short type written note, which I will come back to.  The second was a copy of a story from the internet about a boy who is living in a domestic violence shelter with his mom.  He had written a very touching letter to Santa that had gone viral. With mom’s permission the letter was made public.  So many stepped forward who wanted to help Blake and others in the shelter that a Santa’s Sack and Amazon Wish List were created. Here is his letter.

The pages that followed this one were copies of an order placed by my anonymous gift giver to that Amazon Wish List for Blake.  Every item on Blake’s wish list was accounted for…well except for the very, very, very good dad.

The Amazon receipts showed the following:

1 of: Camping Survival Compass

1 of: Merriam Webster’s Elementary Dictionary, New Edition

1 of: Timex Ironman Classic Watch

1 of: Chapter Books:  Legend of the Star Runner and The Dangerous Book for Boys

1 of:  Stuffed Teddy Bear in Taekwondo Uniform

The simple type written note that the sender wrote went as follows.

12/21/2019

Dear Jean and Family,

Merry Christmas.  Hope you know how loved you are.  Came across this letter from a little 7- year old boy at a domestic violence shelter asking for a very, very, very good dad and some gifts. 

What better way to honor your husband and you and your love.  Wanted to make sure that you know that his memory will not only live on in your immediate family but also in the works of others.

We see you and hear you and acknowledge your loss.  We love you so.  The best way to honor him would be to bring joy to someone else in a quiet way.  This is our attempt to be thoughtful and generous like him.  Hopefully one Christmas surprise wrapped in Christmas paper.

Love,

A fellow keeper of light

I so wanted to share this blessed happening in my writings, but now that I am here in this chair, I don’t know if I can.  How do I put into words the magnitude of what this kind gesture has meant?  I really don’t know how to begin. 

I am always delighted when Spirit orchestrates such lovely happenings.  Events that are so obviously Divinely Inspired are certainly no accident.  As I look back over the last couple of weeks, sadness has often gripped my heart. Holiday preparations sparked many great memories of the 45 Christmas’s that Brian and I have shared but with the memories come the painful reminders that there will be no more with him at my side. 

With this gift comes comfort. Knowing that even though Brian is no longer in the physical, through this “Fellow Keeper of Light” his legacy of quiet thoughtfulness and generosity has been carried on. 

I will forever treasure this Christmas gift. And many years from now, when I too am on the other side, this envelope will be found amongst my treasures.  This amazing soul heard the whispers of Spirit and through a 7-year old boy named Blake, has kept my husband’s memory alive in a truly kind and thoughtful way.  Thank you.  

Joyful Service

Jean’s Journal – December 23, 2019

Part 1

To say it was an extraordinary day is an understatement. For the energy that filled and surrounded me as I walked through it was one of joyful service.  You know, it’s that feeling you get when you know that you are doing something really good for someone else?  Well, it aligns you with a higher power and a sort of cosmic cooperation occurs. It is the best feeling in the world! Well, today was one of those. 

It began when my friend Shellie told me about a homeless woman and her two boys who had fled a bad family situation in Alabama.  She knows of my great network of friends and colleagues, as we have worked together in the past to help someone in need.

I got to work on an email and Facebook post to enlist the aid of these great folks.  AS it is the day before Christmas Eve, we had to move fast.  Shellie wanted to be able to provide them a wonderful Christmas complete with Santa and we only had til 5pm to make it happen. 

I immediately began getting offers of assistance from people all around town.  Shellie, Melissa and Andy were busy collecting, shopping and wrapping as well! People began sending me money through Cash App and I ran to the bank so that I could cover those deposits with cash.  I had to run to our Medco office in Orange Park to take care of some business and on the way met another wonderful friend at CVS to collect a gift card she had purchased.  When I got to Medco, there was a card with a donation waiting for me as well!

I was on my way back to Jacksonville when I got a call from Brooks.  They needed me to deliver some things to them from the Medco office.  For a moment I panicked, but then just took a breath and asked God to help me get everything done that I needed to do before 5pm.  I quickly exited on Old St Augustine Road so that I could turn around and go back to Medco (in Orange Park.)  Just at that time, I received a text from my friend Julie saying that she would like to make a donation.  I just laughed in amazement.  Julie was calling from her office on Old St Augustine Rd.  The detour I had made put me right on her street.  God is so amazing! 

I was at Julie’s door in minutes.  She was so excited as she told me how that very morning, she had realized that she had not yet made a charitable donation this Christmas as she and her husband usually did at this time of year.  She wondered, should she stop at a church to see if they had someone in need that she could help.  She silently asked God to guide her. Julie explained that she rarely looks at Facebook during the day but while on break today she had and that is when she saw my plea for help.  Wow!  Talk about divine guidance!

I made a quick stop and filled a huge gift bag full of laundry detergent, dryer sheets, paper plates, bowls, napkins, cutlery, various toiletries, Christmas candy and a tin of popcorn.  Kids need candy at Christmas to be sure!

Well 5 o’clock came and I arrived at their hotel with our gifts and $500.00 cash!  Our plan had been to go to the office and pay up her hotel as far as we could.  Upon seeing the condition of the place, my heart sank.  My first thought was, oh my God, we have got to get them out of here! We all convened in the front parking lot then went to their room at the back of the hotel. I must admit to being nervous about the surroundings and yet I knew that God had been orchestrating things so far, certainly he would not let anything happen to us now. 

Lucretia and the boys came down the outside stairs to greet us.  They were excited yet very respectful as introductions were made.  Then we all set to work carrying the many bags and boxes to their room.  Michelle had brought a folding table and all of the packages were neatly arranged upon it.  As the boys looked over the stack of gifts, we all stepped outside with mom.  We wanted to let her know that we had some cash to pay on her hotel and yet we first wanted to ask her if she would like us to help her find better accommodations elsewhere.  She explained to us that it was not easy to find a place that she could afford and that she did not want to uproot the boys again until she could move them into an apartment or rental home.  

I really loved and admired this small statured young woman.  She smiled and was so grateful for the help we brought to her through the kindness and generosity of strangers.  She carried a quiet strength in that slight frame.  Small but not weak, that is for sure.  She spoke of her faith that God was in control and that everything was going to work out just fine.  This didn’t mean that she was going to rely on others to take care of her but that she was going to work and move forward one step at a time toward a better situation for her and her boys.

After leaving mom and the boys, we all stopped at the office  and paid for their lodging for the next two weeks.  It’s a shame how much even a bad hotel will charge someone who has few options.

I drove off feeling warm and wonderful about the help we were able to provide, the joy of toys, clothes and shoes for the boys as well as some wonderful gifts for mom.  There was also a small lit tree and a Christmas dinner from Cracker Barrel upon which they would feast.  Right alongside of this happiness rested a feeling of great sadness that we had to leave this sweet little family in such surroundings. I could not help but be grateful that I was not leaving my daughter and grandchildren in this place.  But “they” are all our daughters and grandchildren in the eyes of God aren’t they? We are all one in his eyes.  We are all a part of that Divine Spark. I drove home in a slurry of emotions.    I arrived home feeling joyful and yet somewhat incomplete.  Unfinished business.

It came like a dream, before it had been dreamed…

Journal Entry – Sunday, Oct 13

Well it has been an interesting day.  We all made it through the anniversary of Brian’s passing, difficult as it was.  I purchased some lovely small urns and filled them with Brian’s ashes knowing that the family would all be here today including Dontae and Will.  I have been thinking from time to time about what would I do with Brian’s ashes when I was ready to release them. 

Before he passed, I asked him that very question.  He said that he would like them spread in the back yard as he always loved it there.  I responded that if I did that, I would never be able to leave this house as I wouldn’t want to leave him there.  I told him I could manage leaving some, just not all of him and he was ok with that.  Of course, my thought was to take him to the mountains but that is my love really, not his. Last night I went outside to enjoy the full moon and it was beautiful.  As I laid in bed later that evening, it came to me, like a dream before it had been dreamed.  I was to take him to the harbor.  Brian loved the Duluth Harbor and Canal Park.  He spent so much time there when he was young.  It was his favorite place.  And there is no questioning the timing as I am to leave for Wisconsin this Thursday to see my family. I drifted off to sleep, happy knowing that this is what Brian would want. 

I awoke early and remembered the message I had received before falling asleep.  Brian spent many hours watching web cams on the harbor over the years.  He knew the schedules of many of the ships and loved watching them come and go.  Not only did he know them by name, he even knew them by the sound of their horns. I found it quite amazing.  I went to my computer and googled Duluth Harbor Web Cams and it brought me to a site for a bed and breakfast.  They have a web cam and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was one that Brian had once enjoyed.  Suddenly I realized that I had been led to that site for a reason.  If I were going to take Brian’s ashes to Minnesota, I would need a place to stay.  This lovely bed a breakfast, called Solglimt, was right on the shore so I could watch the ships, sit quietly in front of a fireplace or on a private deck. It would be a place of comfort at the end of a difficult day of remembering and letting go.

I decided to email the inn to let them know of my plans.  I felt it would be easier if I explained my reason for being there before my arrival.  Just a short time later, I received a reply.  My heart skipped a beat when I saw the subject line.  It said simply, ” Brian.”  It was then that I realized the proprietor of the inn was named Brian.  The note was from his wife, Mary.  It was short and very sweet.  She said that she thought it was a wonderful idea to bring my Brian to the harbor.  I had shared that Brian and I had been together for 45 years.  She closed her note by saying, “you had 45 years with your Brian and in March it will be 45 years for me and my Brian”.  Coincidence, I think not.  A beautiful synchronistic confirmation of what I was to do and where I was to go?  Absolutely.  Thank you Spirit.  Thank you, my love. 

SAM, I AM

It was when my husband passed away that my children first suggested that I get a dog.  One month later it came up again when my house was broken into.  Although I love dogs, I did not want to make any major changes in my life right then.  More recently I put it out to Spirit that I was ready for a dog, but that I was going to wait for the perfect one to come to me.  I was going to rescue rather than purchase as there are so many out there in need of a home.  I began making a long list of all of the attributes that I would want in a dog.  I would prefer older to younger, medium size versus large, calm, well trained, content to be home alone when I was at work, would enjoy regular trips to the mountains and would be sweet and loving with the grandkids. 

A few weeks ago there was a posting on FB that said something like, your dog is waiting for you at the Humane Society.  Hmmm…is that a sign?  Then a day or two later, a posting for the Mega Pet Adoption event at the fairgrounds where they would rehome hundreds of pets. Hmmm…sign two?

Then last week I went to one of my communities to drop off brochures.  As I walked toward the building the thought popped into my head to ask my daughters if they would want to go to that event with me.  Just outside of the front door, a lady sat with a little dog under her chair, enjoying the afternoon.  She smiled and we said hello.  When I came out of the building, her little dog came out from under her chair and stretched to reach me.  I asked what the dog’s name was and she replied that it was Judy and assured me that it was fine to pet her.  

So how long have you had Judy, I asked?  Well, my children insisted that I get her when my husband passed away. I just giggled to myself.  Hmmm…third sign!  I told her, that’s so funny, my children have been wanting me to get a dog since my husband passed away.  Just do it, she said. She went on to tell me how much Judy has helped her in those difficult times.  Just do it, you will be so glad you did, was her advice. Do it, you will never be sorry. She repeated that many times during our brief visit.

Soon it was time for me to get back to work.  I told her that if I got a dog, that I would take a picture and bring it back to show her.  She was happy about that.  I began to walk away then turned back and asked her what her name was.  She replied, Jean.  Oh my gosh I said, my name is Jean too!  We both had a laugh and off I went. 

As I walked back to my car, I was going over it in my head.  OK, so you are standing in front of a woman, also named Jean who has a dog that she got after her husband died because her children thought it would be helpful.  And she is telling you over and over how her dog helped her through that period of grief and after. Hmmm…sign number 4? 

So yes, I called my daughters and they said that they would love to go to the pet adoption event with me.  And that is exactly what we did last Sunday.  As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a volunteer named Becky.  She asked what we were looking for and I began going through my long list of what I thought was important.  When I finished she asked if she could introduce me to “someone” and off she went.  When she returned she had a large brindle dog with white feet and markings.  His name was Sam and he was so sweet!  Lily, my four year old granddaughter who is usually afraid, connected with  him immediately.  He was gentle and calm the entire time.  Becky told us that he was about 6 ½ but they did not know his history.  He has many broken and missing teeth, some skin issues that were resolving and heartworm.  She was excited to tell us how she had him in a Halloween costume and paraded him about all day on Saturday and he didn’t seem to mind a bit. She was afraid he wouldn’t be adopted because no one really noticed him in his crate.  He just laid there, so people passed him by.  After spending some time with him she took him back to his crate and we took a walk about to look at the other dogs. 

The girls and I talked about the pros and cons of adopting Sam.  I was concerned about future vet bills when hearing about his health issues but I just couldn’t walk away from him.  He had been in a kennel for 3 months and he was so sad.  Most of the other dogs were barking and going crazy while he just laid quietly.  Well, so much for my list of qualifications! I had considered so carefully what I thought would be best, but in the end, I had left it up to God.  I was reminded that sometimes gifts come wrapped in packages that we don’t expect.  Sam was certainly a different package, but God has placed him in my care.  He is my charge and we will help each other heal.

The Best Worst Day

Megan and Lily Jean

Journal September 21, 2019

Thank you Lord for the best worst day!

Yesterday was such a difficult day from the moment I attempted to put my feet to the floor.  There it was again.  Vertigo.  And it was back with full force.  I was shocked.  I had just been to treatment for it the day before and in one session the vertigo was gone!  I hugged my therapist, who was wonderful by the way and told her I was so grateful but that I would not be seeing her again.   

As I awoke my first thought was, finally, a day without the nauseating spinning.  So, you can imagine the feeling of dread that came over me as I nearly toppled “ass over tea kettle” as my mama used to say.  I was so sure that I had turned a corner and that issue had finally passed forever.  

I felt sick to my stomach, had a horrible headache and my mouth was throbbing and painful.  Oh yes, that is the other thing.  Did I mention that I had 3 wisdom teeth extracted last Friday.  It is never a good thing when you hear your surgeon say that yours was the most difficult case he had ever had.  The teeth had to be broken up with a chisel and then removed.  Not good.  The days that followed were even worse as I developed dry socket.  Now if you are not familiar, that is when the bone is exposed to the air and causes quite horrific pain.  Therefore, my days started with going in to get the sockets repacked to hasten the healing and lessen the pain. 

Yesterday one week, post op I had to return for the packing as well as go in for a vertigo treatment.  I never expected it to turn out to be one of the best days ever.  My daughter Megan and granddaughter Lily Jean came over first thing to take me to my appointments.  Lily Jean has the soul of a healer beyond a shadow of a doubt, coming down from her mother and I. (And no doubt other lifetimes as well.)

So many times, throughout the day she would hold my hand, lay her head on my shoulder and offer me her doll to hold. It was so touching.  And when they returned me home, we sat at the table for them to have a bite to eat while I faced a handful of meds and herbal supplements. Lily looked at me with such love and compassion and asked if she could give me my medicines.  With great love and care she popped each of them into my mouth and I knew that extra healing would come with each one, for her love was added to each tablet. 

So, Lord I get it!  Thank you for the gift of vertigo and dry socket, for if not for those events I would not have been given such a gift as I was through that precious little girl who was named for me and for her great grandmother.  I am so very grateful for it all. 

Love on a Rooftop

This was Brian’s favorite photo of me. He always told me so. It was taken in 1973, when I was just 18 years old. We had moved into our first apartment in Minneapolis. He had left the band to go back to school so he could go into studio recording. I worked two jobs, one as a waitress and another at a Scandinavian bakery to help put him through school. We were barely scraping by but were blissfully happy. One of our favorite things to do on our very limited budget was to climb the ladder to the roof of the apartment building and watch the sunrise. Brian always went first to help me up. He took this photo as I reached the top of the ladder. I can still remember the day.

Brian kept this picture on his desk at home and at his various jobs all of these many years. When he passed, Fototechnika returned his personal effects to me. This photo was in the package. I never really gave it much thought before but today as I walked by it, I looked at it with new eyes.

I wasn’t a pretty girl. My hair was straight and fine, my teeth too far apart. I couldn’t help but wonder, what did he see when he looked at that old picture that would cause him to keep it so close at hand for 45 years? I will never know the answer for sure as I never thought to ask, but I hope that he saw the love in my eyes. I hope that it reminded him of those early days of counting change to pay the rent and thought, wow that was so worth it. I hope it made him happy that we had made it all of these years in spite of some really difficult times. And I hope it reminded him of all of the fun we had. If I could have one last wish tonight, I would wish that I was on that ladder looking up at his smiling face just one more time. I love you Brian.