Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Medication: Often Trading One Problem for Another

               It's been a year since Jeanie passed - not that I dwell on dates when people died.  Her mom does.  She's always posting the birthdays and death dates of those who have passed on.  Some days are better for her than others.  I think some days may be worse for her than they were for Jeanie.  I can't say for certain since most of the correspondence I've had with them has been through facebook.  I didn't even have that with Jeanie those times that she not only unfriended me but blocked me as well.  Apparently, it was the medication disrupting her otherwise rational mind.  It not only shattered her own emotions, but I had allowed myself to become upset as well.  I may never know the entire scheme of things; I did learn so much more about her at her funeral than I had ever known about her before.

          Biff had tried to explain it to Roland who either misunderstood Biff or perhaps Biff hadn't explained it well enough or really hadn't understood it himself.  By the time it got to me,  there were things lost in translation or miscommunications and until the day of her funeral, I did not know, wasn't aware, hadn't understood that Jeanie had been molested as a child. 

          One of her brothers had announced it over the pulpit.  It was shocking and seemed out of place for a speaker to make that the topic of discourse at a funeral - and yet I understood his emotions and the pain of the entire family.  Jeanie had been traumatized.  It left some thick emotional scars that still have not healed.  It was both disturbing and extraordinary at the same time - not the topic itself but for the love and concern that the speaker not only had for his sister but several generations of children and adults who have also been traumatized by one they should have been able to trust.  A person who should have been there to protect her and care for her.  It was sickening and so much of what he said had a profound ring.  I wondered if their other sister had been molested as well.

          Jenna had chosen to assist in the nursery, which I was truly grateful for as the subject was uncomfortable to me - I knew it would be for her as well.  And yet his talk was truly from the heart.  It was still disconcerting to learn what had happened and his plea to talk about it.  

          I knew Jeanie had been seeing a psychiatrist.  I knew it was for some kind of abuse - though I had thought it had been inflicted on by her ex-husband.  He was never even mentioned. I didn't realize it had stemmed all the way back to when she was five.  A time of innocence that she had attempted to live out again.  How difficult it must have been for the family when she would ask why her parents looked so old.  And where were her siblings?  And who was the stranger named Biff?  And where did the baby come from?  Of course, if she thought she was only five, she wasn't going to believe that Biff was her husband or that she had given birth to the baby girl.  Two of her sibs had already passed on before her and the other two were living in other states.

          We had a few family get-togethers when we would see Jeanie. Twice I remember her feeling flushed and excusing herself.  Two other times I remembered when she genuinely seemed happy. That is who she really was.  Happy.  Full of life.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to know that person.   She would cancel appointments with us.  Sometimes Biff would show up by himself.  He wasn't allowed to take Ally her first year.  Jeanie was quite possessive of Ally.  She would get verbally abusive towards Biff and her mom.  That was the person I saw.  The one that was sick.  The one that had become violent through medication.  I think when she realized who she had become, it wasn't worth taking the medication.  And so she chose to suffer as silently as she could and tried hard not to upset the rest of the family.

          I was included in that "rest of the family" and did not understand what demons she'd been dealing with. I was aware that there had been demon's in Biff's life but did not know to what extent.  I admire Biff so much for putting up with it.  He knew that the outbreaks were not her fault.  He stayed with her and blamed himself for not being there to catch her when she fell.  It wasn't his fault.  It wasn't medicine's fault.  We don't know if it was her death that caused the fall or if she died when she landed or on the way down.  The autopsy revealed that there were seven clots in her lung. 

          Some days her mom is accepting and knows that Jeanie is better off in another world where she doesn't have to take medicine to overcome emotional or physical pain.  She is free.  And she is with a brother and their sister.  But there is still a hole.  A void.  A longing.  An emptiness.

          Biff moved on with his life.  He moved in with Claire and they are raising Ally together, although Jeanie's mom would still like to be involved.  She remains in touch with Roland's sister who is a retired nurse and has been in contact and has had a better handle of the situation than either Roland or I.  Jeanie may not have unfriended or blocked Roland's sister.  They stayed in touch. 

          Our youngest son recently texted a family photo or all three boys and their families.  They are with Roland's sister and her husband and two youngest children.  Even after Biff's outbursts with behavior at times and seemingly lack of gratitude,  I was taken aback to hear that it was Jeanie's parents that were providing room and board for Roland's sister and family as my own boys were unable to make room for them.  (Randy lives in the largest space of the three - our old house in WV - which is teeny) I'm happy to hear that they are well liked and that bridges may be mended.  

        For family home evening the other night, we wrote letters to each of the boys.  I finished my thoughts yesterday and mailed the letters along with Jenna's most recent photo from school.  I am so happy to see all of my boys together again.  Jenna's been a little sad that she is not sharing their lives in person.  I guess we all are.  If only we could get all of them to come to Oregon. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Aiming for the Ideal

            A couple of weeks ago we had the missionaries come over for dinner.  As we were talking, one of elders made the comment that several people don't see us a family oriented church.  I took the opportunity to explain to him why that might be.   Though there is a strong emphasis placed upon the family - even the definition according to the proclamation (see here) seems discriminatory.  We're not all like that.  The average family doesn't fit the mold. The proclamation gives us an ideal that we are supposed to strive for.  

          When I wrote this post, I referred to a couple named Juleen and Al Jackson.  I mentioned how I'd been under the impression that Juleen had believed that the show should have focused more on their story (or families of similar living) rather than explore those that didn't quite fit into the mold of "Mormon living"  - she DID NOT say it that way, rather that is my own interpretation.  In her mind she represented the higher population of what and LDS person is.  In my mind she represented what the "ideal" Mormon "should" be - to a degree anyway.  Probably the family values would fit into the mold of the "ideal" family - not to say they don't have problems.  Everybody has problems. 

          There were times of tension in my mom and dad's house - nothing like the average family.  As Corey and I have both mentioned, our family was not perfect, but by comparison to so many others, it almost seems too good to be true.  Same with my brother, Patrick and his wife.  I know there have been struggles with fitting into the perfect mold - but even so, I think theirs may also be one that many may view as too good to be true.

          I definitely don't fit into the mold - not even close.  Too much tension between me and my middle son - even from this far away.  He says things that set me off.  Even without that added stress, I just don't believe our family (with me as a parent) fit the "ideal" mold.

          Corey and his husband have Christianity and a great love and respect for mankind - but they're certainly not part of the "ideal" family - not according to the proclamation.  They are shunned.  Oh, the Church says "we welcome them" and they may feel it among certain members, but I don't believe the Church as a whole. 

           I remember attending the temple ceremony when my cousin was married to his wife.  She had a large family, and as I recall, by the time Roland and I had entered the room, it was just standing room only.  There was my Uncle Ross and Aunt Fern to support him.  It was the first time I had felt a personalness and connection during the ceremony and not just the routine of going through the motions.  It was special.  It was the most awesome temple marriage ceremony that I have attended. 

          Not all family members are welcomed to the temple.  There have been many invited to wait in the foyer and not be part of the ceremony due to a sacredness.  But when you are on the outside waiting, it is kind of hard seeing that the church is family oriented when all of the family is not together for the great event.  I think that's why all the hoopla with wedding receptions.  ALL of the family members can be included whether they hold temple recommends or not.

          Earlier this year I noticed his wife's name had been removed from a family conversation.  I emailed Corey and asked if he knew the reason.  Apparently the two had divorced the year before.  He forwarded an email that another cousin had sent about the situation.  I read it as though the family was trying to erase the former wife's existence out of their lives.  How would they ever be able to succeed after eleven years of marriage?  She and Michelle's daughter had read the eulogy together at my uncle's funeral. Surely there are good things to remember? I'll admit that I did not get to know her all that well.  It would be easier for me to erase her as part of family, and yet there are things that I will never forget about her.  I will remember the feeling that I had at their ceremony.

          I have another cousin who also got divorced just this year.  Corey did tell me about that one before her name was also removed from the family conversation. I heard his wife just left him.  I don't know what happened. He's now a single parent. I believe his children still lives with him, but I don't know.

          I'm sure Dallin Oaks wasn't implying discrimination, and yet that is what I heard as he gave the statistics of mothers having children out of wedlock.  I thought of another cousin who many have always considered odd.  She brought her fiancé to Tony's missionary farewell.  My boys had thought him even odder.

           I represented the family by going to the luncheon and wedding reception.  They looked happy.  They divorced after she gave birth to their daughter.  I don't know why.  She said having a baby freaked him out - which is weird as he is the eldest of at least four sibs and sounded like a good brother making sacrifices and assisting in their upbringing.  I had assumed he would also make a great father.

          I remember when she announced her decision to have another baby.  She had gone for artificial insemination.  I don't know if there were any that understood or supported her choice - which may have not been hers alone just as my decision to marry Roland.  Roland and I both know God had a hand in getting us together.

        Tina is quite prayful.  She's temple worthy.  The decision made was not made lightly.  It may have been a struggle for her.  I know her finances have been even worse than ours have ever been.  And yet she went through with it and gave birth to a second daughter.

          I am one who questioned her choices then .  I have since commended Tina for her brave decision.  She provided a sibling for her daughter among other things.  I don't know all.  Perhaps she doesn't either.  She's had a lot of challenges and a lot of hardships.  She is a great mother.  But she certainly doesn't fit the "ideal".

          It's tough being a Mormon.  I can deal with the persecutions outside of the church better than I can with the ones that seem to be coming from our leaders.  In her case, she had the option of not carrying the second child - or even keeping the first for that matter.

          In the case of divorce, you do not have that option to control the decisions of another - and why would you want to?  Things often happen beyond our control that lead us on a path different from that which we planned for ourselves or led us to believe that we were on the right path.  It's bad enough being put in that position.  Single mothers don't need the reminders that they are single.  Sisters who attend church without their spouses don't need reminders that they also don't fit the "ideal" because their partners choose to be inactive. 

          Overall I enjoyed conference.  I really did.  But I had allowed something about this one to set me off.   I suppose it is me not listening to the Spirit rather than how the message was delivered. This is why we have so many speakers often speaking to us about the same topic.  Not everyone resonates with everybody else.  Some talks will touch some people while others allow their minds to wander and as I pointed out before, we don't all receive the same message.  I'm happy that Jenna was able to take away something more positive than I.  I really am grateful for diversity.  All of us need that.   

Friday, June 23, 2017

August Grandbabies

            We met three of our granddaughters for the first time this month.  Devin and Ally will be turning two in August.  That was the time we had initially planned to visit our families in Utah.  I was excited that I would be able to give these two granddaughters their birthday gifts in person and that I wouldn't have to spend extra money on postage.  Looks like I'll be spending the money . . .

            I have made quiet/alphabet books for Jenna, Anna and Ester.  It's initial intent was for something that they can look at during sacrament meeting to keep them entertained (and hopefully quiet) during the meeting.  I started to print out just a few pages, but did not have all of the pages of ready to print as I was still hoping to get updated pictures - though not in the manner they were acquired.  I was hoping for an updated picture of Jeanie as well.  I no longer have that option.

            We met Devin first.  Randy had invited us to stay with him and Carrie at their house (formally ours) and so of course we were introduced to their daughter.  She tends to cling to mom and dad.  She is very smart.  She likes to control any given situation and will throw tantrums if she doesn't get her way.  I've seen her smile for the camera, but most of the photos I've seen of her, she always looks so serious.  I think she looks more like her mom.  She is the same height as Ally, but has lost her baby fat.

            Ally is the opposite of Devin.  All smiles and on the move.  She is a happy hurricane in great need of discipline.  She's quite stocky and absolutely no question about which parent she resembles.  Her face is an exact replica of Biff's.  If she wants something, she grabs it.  If she falls, she picks herself back up again.  She is tough. She loves her dad and her grandpas.  She'll go to anybody, but won't sit still for long (another trait from Biff).

            We spent the majority of Friday with Randy's family, David and Ally, and Roland's sister, Jean, and her husband, Bert.  Bert reminds me of Michael Caine's  character in Going in Style. Bert and Jean had arrived the day before we had.

            Roland and I had run some errands on Saturday and Jenna had spent the night with Anna. Biff returned with Ally before Roland went to get Jenna.  At least four of us were at the table playing cards while one or two adults kept watch over the two girls.  When Roland went to get Jenna, he took Carrie with him just to give her a  break.

            We did not meet our youngest granddaughter, Liz, until the following night when we were at the viewing.  I snatched her up and held onto her the entire time my brother and family were waiting in line.  I visited with them and did not let Liz go until Jean insisted she have a turn as well.  I guess it was a first time for her meeting Liz also.

            I wish we could have had the time to spend with each family as we had planned.  Sometimes life will throw you curves and there's nothing you can do to change that.  But you can choose your attitude toward each curve.  Sometimes it can be smooth, but often there are bumps in the road. This hurried roadtrip (I don't want to call it a vacation because there wasn't much about it that lived up to my definition of "vacation") seemed to contain a lot of bumps.  Still trying to smooth over them all - but it takes time.  It will take longer for some more than others.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

In an Instant . . . Plans Change

Biff works as a security guard
He gets bored patrolling and
calls us often.
Just a week and a half ago
he mentioned an upcoming weekend getaway.

His in-laws were planning on taking him,
his wife, and the baby.
Biff had looked forward to
Spending Time in the pool
with Jeanie and Ally.
He had made arrangements for
getting the time off from work.

He was home when Jeanie fell.
He couldn't get to her quickly enough.
The autopsy showed that she had
a clot in her lung.
Perhaps that is what caused her
to fall.

We had planned to visit with family members
in Utah the second week in August.
We have two granddaughters turning two
that month.
Carrie had called Jeanie on a Monday to ask
if she wanted to celebrate the girls' birthdays
at the same time
before our return to Oregon.
The following Monday we were all at
Jeanie's funeral.

Biff held Ally over the casket for
one final view.
Ally held out her arms and called, "Mommy"
one last time.
I watched Ally watch the lid being closed
over her mother.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wheeler Farm

        I grew up in the Midvale East 4th ward (Church boundary) and each year the members would drive to storm mountain for an annual bbq dinner and ward party.  There were always a variety of activities offered to each age group - though the teenagers (for the most part) would forego any planned activity and try their hand at hiking to Doughnut Falls - and often succeeding.

         Before Kayla was born, the location had changed from Big Cottonwood Canyon to Wheeler Farm - which actually was a shorter drive and more family oriented, but not totally a big hit with the teenagers.  We hadn't taken into account that Wheeler Farm was a safer and more practical area overall.

I have seen this photo attached to two blogs; I don't 
know who to give credit to for taking it. I think it's
a great representation but I will remove the picture
if the artist asks me to.  

        I think I appreciated it more after I became a mother.  I have many scrapbook pages of Jenna and Wheeler Farm all from different years.  Her most favorite thing to visit was (and I think still is) the farm equipment.

         On Friday, Randy had suggested that spend some time there as it is free and it would perhaps help Biff to cope and move on.  It was the only overly warm day we had this last week.  It was the only day when the wind wasn't blowing. 


        Tony and Rochelle had been unwilling or unable to meet us as her brother was getting married the following day and then moving out to Pennsylvania.  Bittersweet memories of when Tony and Rochelle moved to Texas right after they were married. 
in addition to the tractors, Jenna has always had her picture
taken as she looks through window in the clubhouse
closeup of her and the two nieces who accompanied us

There were many things I hadn't seen before including this; 
Jenna was in Granite School District the entire time we lived in Utah

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Life Changes . . . and Connections

        Before we moved to Tri City, I had a premonition that one day Roland and I would be involved in helping to raise Ally.  It's not that I was trying to write Jeanie off into the next life - although it wasn't unexpected.  There was concern that she would die before Ally had finished school.  Ally will be two in August and therefore has not even started school.  And just because I had that premonition doesn't mean Biff will be packing up and moving to Oregon any time soon.  It may not be in his plans to come to Oregon at all - unless Roland talks him into it.  Biff does have other options - or will have. 

        His mother comes from a rather large family, and although half have now moved on to the other side, he does have family in Wyoming.  One aunt wrote me to say that Biff is welcome to stay with them.  At first it puzzled me.  Why would she offer to put up this young man that she doesn’t really even know?

        She and her husband have two daughters.  One of them had actually been named after Biff’s mom.  His maternal grandparents had raised their eleven children on a dairy farm. When Roland had gone back to visit, he went out with the family to milk the cows and feed and whatever other chores are involved.  They thought he was a hard worker and had actually offered him the farm for his future.  But Roland was a city kid.  He was having fun at the farm, but wasn’t confident or even had an interest to take over.

        I hadn’t thought much about it until now.  I know there was a brother who lived in Ogden who had planned to move their with his wife and take over.  He had coached the high school wrestling team and taught classes during the school year.  By summer he would take off for three months to go boat fishing in Alaska.  I believe it would be the last Alaskan adventure he had lined up before the move back to Wyoming.  Only he went to his bed sometime during the time that the fishing boat was in the water.  One of his comrades had gone to wake him and learned that he had passed during his sleep. Wyoming wasn’t meant to be for that brother.

        But now I wonder, maybe the request came not just to assist Biff, but allow Biff to assist them at the farm.  Biff said cows just happen to be Ally’s favorite animal. 

        Before he and Jeanie were married, he spent a lot of time in Syracuse with her family.  He practically lived with his in-laws before they were married as we'd see him less and less.  Because of Jeanie's health, and then her mom's health, and I'm certain that finances were a factor, they had never moved out from her parent's house.  I would think it would be awkward for all of them to have him continue living there. But I don't know. 
       My brother-in-law Bill is really good friends with his late wife's family and keep in touch.  Even Kayla has become friends with her family. I know I have mentioned on at least two posts, that Roland and I have actually had more contact with his late wife's family than his own.  So there are possibilities. 

        I sent an email to his mother's oldest sister (this is not the same one as the one in Wyoming) to let her know.  She was actually the first person I contacted - even before my own family. I can't even explain why - except that it felt important to let her know.  Perhaps Ally and Biff could stay with her while he's adjusting to transition.  I think she lives the closest of all of his relatives - including his brothers.  Perhaps that's why I felt impressed to write her.

        Of course I had to tell Kayla.  Both of our husbands have been in Biff's shoes.  Biff was six when his mother passed away.  There will be a viewing tomorrow night and the funeral is set for Monday.  Two locations so far apart from one another.  Probably an equal driving distance from the ward where our three boys finished junior high and graduated high school. I had asked the bishop to post a link on the ward page in facebook (as I, myself do not have access to it) He wrote back to say not only would/did he post it to the pages (plural) but would announce it in sacrament meeting as well.  I hadn’t expected that.

        There are so many thoughts flowing through my brain right now.  I hope to get at least half posted.  May Biff find the strength that he will need to carry on and proper guidance and assistance from the rest of us.  We all have been truly blessed.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Role-playing Helps Prepare

           As I was growing up, I can remember doing a lot of role playing with my family members.  What would you do if you were in this situation?  How do you think you would react?  What would you do differently? . . . I can't speak for my sibs, but I believe they felt prepared as I when we were approached with a given situation.  We didn't have to analyze because we already had the answers.

          For example, when we had been approached by the doctors in the final stages of mom's life (before we knew they were the final stages)we were faced with a decision.  We could have put mom on dialyses and had her leg amputated.  Long before she got dementia, mom had been quite vocal about not ever wanting to be on dialyses.  With her state of mind, she really wouldn't have known whether we honored that wish or having even requested it. She wouldn't have understood a missing leg . . . she would never be able to comprehend why it was missing no matter how often we explained it to her.  The decision we made was unanimous.  A no brainer - for us anyway.

          I did have one brother-in-law question how we could have made the decision to put her on hospice as quickly as we did.  We didn't think of any time involved.  We reacted to what we had been taught.  We worked together as a family.  We were of one mind.  Apparently a lot of families don't have that.  It boggles my mind that we are not the norm.

          My dad had always wanted to prepare for our finances should he be taken away.  He wanted to explore options with insurance and burial plots.  My mom never did.  To her, preparing or talking about death always seemed like a morbid topic.  He had reminded her that if he were to go first, she would have to deal at it alone.  But she wasn't alone.  She had been a den mother and one of her former scouts became an attorney and volunteered his time to straighten out her finances with every insurance company I guess dad had ever talked to.

          Both Patrick and Kayla had gone with my mom to the cemetery to pick out a plot.  When I came home and asked how it had gone, my mom and Kayla both started laughing as they related their experience.  It sounded as if they had been in a sit-com series. We were in pretty good spirits throughout the whole ordeal.  Mom was such a trooper.  I guess we all were.

          After my dad had passed away, mom said that one of us would have to take over the finances in the event that she should die.  We all voted for Patrick to have that obligation.  Only when it came time, the stress that came with it was too much on his health.  I couldn't do it because of my situation with Roland and his ex.  Fortunately for our family, Corey grew up responsible and  has allowed himself to step in.  I am fascinated with his organizational skills and willingness.  Wow.  What a tremendous blessing he has been not only for his sibs, but now his cousins as well. 

          Corey does a lot of role playing too, I would imagine.  It's been his profession, though I don't know how much of it has prepared him for where he is now.  How awesome it is that we all hold respect and high value for one another.  I wish it were the same for Roland's family.

          Roland just wrote to his brother with the suggestion of having mom update her will and give him (his brother) power of attorney.  The sister that is supposed to take over has not had the best of health and should not be in that position.  Also he (Roland) senses a feud coming amongst the sibs should mom pass. I highly doubt that all four sibs would be able to meet with an attorney all at once.

          I just don't relate to squabble and possessions.  When we met with my mom's attorney, none of us had any financial secrets.  I was a wreck and said to the attorney, "I know that this is probably a quite unusual request, but would you mind if we started with a word of prayer?"  I think Patrick said it and it really had calmed me down.

          We were told that the meeting would last at least three hours.  Apparently the lawyer had figured in some squabbling time.  But Kayla and I were there for only an hour and a half.  The attorney said he had dealt with a family like ours only one other time.

          I am so grateful for the role playing that my family has taught me and my sibs that we have been prepared.

Friday, March 4, 2016

A letter to Roland's eldest daughter

Dear Frances,

            I am posting this letter to my blog as we don't have a current address for you - not that we ever did.  Your mom didn't (and probably still doesn't) want us to have any contact with you - even when we were living in the same state and it was court ordered.

            Even if you should come across this blog and read this post, I don't know if you'll know that you are Frances - as that is not your actual name, but rather one I have assigned to you through this blog.  But I feel impressed to write this.

            The last time we saw you was just over eight years ago - just before Tony left on his mission.  Jenna was only four at the time.  Unfortunately she does not have many memories of you or your other sister.  I have several pictures that I have shared with her, and I have always tried to speak positively of you and Pamprin. 

            I've been thinking a lot about you - mainly because of Jenna.  Not only do you two share a physical appearance, but personality traits as well.  At least the person we did have opportunity knowing about you before you moved away. 

            Like you, Jenna likes art.  She prefers drawing to painting though.  She loves crafts.  Last year she received an easel for Christmas.  Dad had sketched a picture of her in blue crayon.  I was impressed enough to frame it and hang it on the wall.  Every time I see it, I see you.  Or I remember the girl that you were, rather.  I realize you're an adult now and may not look so youthful as does the sketch.  Actually, Jenna looks older than the face in the sketch.  And taller.  Tall like you were at that age - perhaps not as tall as you are currently.

            This morning I was watching a National Geographic series called, "Unlikely Animal Friends"  I remember how much you loved Animal Planet and how much you enjoyed learning.
              There was one story that focused on a dog named Sunshade and her guinea pig friends named Meatball, Sesame, Squeaky, Ketchup and Dumpling, and I remembered how you were always naming stuffed animals after food. 

            You created a bear that you named "Jelly Bean" and Jenna had a dog that you named "Graham Crackers" which she still has and still calls "Crackers".  Jenna has other stuffed dogs which she has named "Fudge" and "Brownie" and has given other food names to various stuffed animals.  And so you share that in common.

            I remember when Jenna was born, how excited you were to have a baby sister.  The first time you saw her you said, "She looks like me."

            "No she doesn't,"  I thought.  "She looks like me."

            I was wrong and you were right.  Both of you look a lot like your Dad's sister, Aunt Linda, who has passed.  We tried to give you a bit of family history (as you had asked for it) before you returned to the island.  I think dad has found more information on his side.  Not much on your mom's side.  I, personally, haven't been looking.

            I'd like to send you pictures, but again, I don't know where to send them.  But if you look at the photos that I've taken of Jenna, I'm certain that you will see the resemblance.  I wish she would like vegetables as much as you did.  She seems to have acquired the same sweet tooth that was always present whenever we saw Pamprin.

            A lot of family growth has taken place since we last saw you.  You know that Tony got married and had a daughter.  She (Ester) just turned four yesterday.  And so you share the same birth month.  And just in case you don't remember - you and Jenna are ten years apart with ten days between your birthdays.

            Your brothers Randy and Biff also got married.  And so you have three sisters-in-law and now three nieces.  Randy's daughter, Devin, will be 7 months old in less than two weeks.  And Biff's daughter, Ali , just turned six months.   They all live in different cities in Utah.  Dad, Jenna, and I, in the meantime, have moved to Oregon.

            Dad decided to move us here to improve my health - similar to your reasons to moving, I think.  I can certainly breathe a lot better here than in Salt Lake.  That's for sure.
            We'll be going on our ninth month since we moved.

            Besides leaving family, one of the drawbacks in moving to Oregon, has been with Jenna's education.  For the last five years we had her in a dual immersion program where she was learning Spanish.  She doesn't have that opportunity anymore, but is playing the clarinet and going to middle school currently.

            When you first moved, your mom told us that you were learning Japanese.  Is that true?  Can you and Pamprin communicate in Japanese?

            Your brothers, Tony and Randy could communicate in Portuguese - though different dialects.  You may remember that Tony went on his mission to Brazil, but I bet you didn't know that Randy served a mission in Portugal. 

            I remember you once expressing a desire to go on a mission.  I didn't know if you were serious, but have wondered if you actually did take that opportunity.  Or if your mother would have even allowed you to go. 

            I'd like to reconnect through Facebook if possible.  I am so grateful to have this form of social media.  Through it I am able to watch my grandchildren grow.  I think I would miss out on most of it otherwise.  Life gets busy.  People don't correspond with one another the way they used to.

            That's all I have for you right now.  I'm sorry for any misconduct which I may have displayed whenever you were around. I'm sorry that I hadn't allowed myself to deal better with the situation at hand.  I'm sorry that you didn't get all the correspondence (if any) that dad and I tried to send. We really did try.  We have not forgotten you.

             I hope things are going better for you.

                                             Sincerely,   LaTiesha

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I Miss Playing Games

            Growing up, I enjoyed playing games.  Sometimes I would play games with my brother.  Sometimes mom and dad would join in.  They taught Patrick and I how to play a card game they called “500”

            Patrick won almost every single game that he played.  When we played 500, we would play three games – switching partners every game.  If Patrick didn’t actually win all three games – it was because I had lost all three. 

            Winning wasn’t important.  I was fortunate enough to learn that early on.  If I felt like winning was the only reason to play – I would never play them.  I enjoyed playing games because for the most part, it really was fun just interacting with my family. 

Whenever my family members would get together for whatever holiday, we would always play games.  And that is what I looked forward to the most.  It’s a family tradition that I’ve had with my sibs and have tried with my own children. I remember laughing whenever we would play games like “Awkward Family Photos” or “Pit” and just enjoy ourselves.  

The first year that I started my blog was in 2012.  It hadn’t occurred to any of us that it would be our last year with mom – our last Thanksgiving with her.  My last Thanksgiving with her.  I think Corey would have returned from Las Vegas to share the holidays with her one last time.  I think mom’s death has been harder on him than any of us. 

Sunny had invited the family to an early Thanksgiving dinner – celebrating with mom and her children and their children the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day.

Each of us had brought several games to play – though Richard, Jenna, and I played just one before mom got antsy and overwhelmed with the huge amount of people that were gathered together – less than 20, I believe – and wanted to leave.  We took her to the theatre and saw “Brave” which she enjoyed.

On Thursday we had another Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, but there were only five of us.  We were just about to play a round of “Spades” when Randy and Carrie dropped by.  We redealt so that Randy could play (Carrie just wanted to watch) so we could play in teams.  Some of us have fond memories about the game and the smiles that it still gives us – some of us anyway.

As I briefly explained in this post, my mom had dementia.  We had to explain the rules of the game each time we dealt the cards.  Mom did try, but really wasn’t getting it, but that’s what made the game fun – I thought.  I love it when we are all laughing.  Winning’s not important when you’re having fun.

Last year I remember playing board games with Roland and our three daughters-in-law.  That was fun.  Memorable.  Don’t imagine they’ll be playing games this year as two of them now hold my newborn granddaughters (that I still have not seen in person)

This year we’ll be spending Thanksgiving in McMinnville.  I don’t know if there will be any game playing or not.  It’s not important.  We’ll be spending the holidays with friends.  It will be a great holiday if we allow.  I am looking forward to another “non-traditional” Thanksgiving. (see here)

Christmas may be a tough holiday – especially for Jenna who misses her cousins and her brothers.  Christmas will be different for each of them, too, as well.  Changes occur.  Life goes on.  

I miss my family.  Don’t miss the snow.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Labor Day Weekend is for Family

      Facebook has added a new feature.  If you would like, it will give you notifications of what you posted each date however many years ago.  Roland, Jenna and I had spent the day driving and spending time with friends in McMinnville. I happened to check facebook with only an hour left on September 5th - or else I would have missed reminiscing some great posts of years past.

      In 2010 I posted that I enjoyed spending the day playing games with the family.  At that point Bill and Kayla were not married.  Corey and Kayla were both at home and Roland and I decided to visit.  Patrick's family had also come.  They were about to leave to go home and make dinner, but I had actually made a huge chicken salad sandwich which I had put on a loaf of French bread and cut it into pieces, but there was still plenty left for Patrick's family.

      Ellen and Candy loved the chicken salad and ate it all up.  I was happy that I didn't have to take any leftovers home.  I was grateful too for the extra time it had given us to play games.  I have always enjoyed playing games with the family.

      One year later I had posted how much I enjoyed the Walden Family reunion. I was introduced to the Walden family after Jenna had turned one.  They are related to the boys by their mother.  Very hospitable people (mentioned in this post

      Jenna, Biff and I had planned on going to the reunion in 2013 but for whatever reason did not go.  Labor Day was on September 2nd.  Mom had gone into the hospital on the 1st.   I was scheduled to teach a class to the youth.  I heard my phone go off during my lesson.  I knew it was about mom. 

      On September 5, 2013 I posted the following: "This post is for those interested in the welfare of [June Cannon] - who was doing so spectacular before Sunday morning, and a freak fall sent her to the hospital. . She is now in hospice at St. Marks room 3W21. They are making her as comfortable as possible. Those who would like the details can message me and I will let you know. Or if you are friends with [Peggy] or [Corey] you can learn more details on their fb pages."  Still with family - but not a fun way. My mom passed away five days later.

      This year Roland will work on Labor day this year. He will take off Wednesday - which is our anniversary. Celebrations this year won't include the same group of people. Two of my sibs remain in Utah, one in Las Vegas. 

      On Saturday we went to McMinnville to spend some time with Beth and Graham - who loaded our trunk with food.  Graham also parted with the clarinet he had played which had remained in the closet since their arrival in McMinnville.  So Roland and Jenna are able to practice together - even if Jenna leaves her instrument at school. Here are a few of the pictures that we took.