Reflections of my daddy’s life on the anniversary of his passing


I remember my mama waking me up gently. The boy was sleeping with me and I didn’t want him to wake up yet. I went downstairs to help daddy get ready for the day. It was Sunday so I knew he would get visitors. Here he was at the end of his life and still he had people coming to visit daily.

Everyone loved my daddy. You couldn’t help it as he was so easy to talk to. Even in business, he was respected and did a job he loved for over 40 years.

He was a man’s man and a gentleman. He played sports and seemed to be good at everyone he played. He started playing golf when he was young and we called him the “Yoda” of golf as he was the most serene golfer I have ever seen. We played tennis as a family and tons of games. We learned to be competitive and how to lose with grace. He grew up hunting and fishing. I was in about the 2nd grade before I realized not everyone ate venison and fish as staples like we did.

He was known as the negotiator and for his peace making skills. He was quite calm often in a sea of chaos.

When I was a young teenage girl dating, he was quite intimidating to any guy who wanted to go out with me. He used to interrogate anyone I planned to ride with. He would clean his gun, clean a deer or practice his bow and arrow (he was a great shot) all while questioning the young man’s intentions with his daughter. I knew how much my daddy loved me by everything he did.

I know a handful of times that I made him so mad he wanted to throttle me. We talked about it often. I had so much respect for him because as a teenager, I had a temper and he taught me how to control it. Not that I didn’t get in trouble as a result of my temper and actions, but I knew he loved me no matter what.

He told me he used to have a bad temper when he was younger and all it did was get him in trouble. He learned how to control it and channel it. He learned to read people and anticipate their reactions. He learned how to be kind to others when they all but spit in his face. He learned control.

He also learned kindness and compassion as well as good business practices. A person’s handshake meant their word of honor and you did not break that. He taught me about respect.

He taught me the love of the outdoors and the beautiful of the world.

He taught me to look beyond the outside of a person and see who they truly are. There are many wonderful people and may people who would do you harm. He taught me everyone is equal.

He fought for the equality through his business as this was the south and southerners can be hard to change their ways.

I was the firstborn. A daughter. My brother followed 3 ½ years later. We talked of how the world was more open to men. He saw the differences in how anyone who was considered a minority was treated and he worked to change and made a difference. No small feat here in Alabama where nearly all men of his stature in that time were expected to be a bit more narrow minded, see only one color, one gender and class was everything. He didn’t. He saw the human being where others saw the poor, females and those of a different color or class. Like his mama, my GrandMaMa, before him, he taught me so many things you can’t learn in a book. You have to open yourself and see things as they really are. Then you have to focus on the good and what is right.

We tend to almost saint those who have passed away. I am not doing that, I am honestly sharing how amazing this man truly was.

I haven’t always been the “ideal” daughter. I tended to push the boundaries and tried my parents on so many occasions it’s amazing they didn’t ship me off. I felt I had “failed” at so of life’s big moments. My daddy helped me see that I didn’t fail. Sometimes I had to learn the hard way or maybe in a way that wasn’t the easiest, but he would never see me as a failure. He saw me for who I was and accepted me for who I was. Flaws and all.

That morning I went downstairs with my mom, I saw my daddy. I knew that it was only a matter of time before he left this plane and the pain of the disease that took over his body. The pain and disease that could claim his body but could not lay claim to his heart, mind and soul.

It is clear to me, 2 years later on this very day, every detail about that morning. I remember my last conversation with him. He was so very weak. He was saving all of his energy I realize now, so he could tell his family how much he loved them. He told me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. He asked me to be strong, as he knew I would be.

When I left his room I knew this was the day. I got the boy dressed and talked to my family as we were all there.

I had gone to the store earlier for his medications and was running back again when my sister-in-law called me to tell me to come home then. I am sure I broke several laws but all I could think was “Please hang on daddy, I’m coming.” I knew he heard me. I pulled into the garage and turned the car off and jumped out as my sister-in-law opened the door. “Go, I have this. I love you.” As I ran to the bedroom I passed my aunt and son.

My mother, brother and uncle were all around my daddy. I felt like I just slid into base. More like into place. We surrounded him with love as he left this life. Peacefully and just like that he stopped breathing. I know I felt his love surround us. I remember looking at my mother, brother and my uncle. We were all crying. My uncle prayed a beautiful prayer.

To this day it gets to me. I feel my breath stop because that’s what it feels like. Your breath just stops and you wonder if it will ever start again. My heart hurts. 2 years and my heart and my soul can still feel like they are being ripped apart with grief. Knowing I can’t call, I can hear you voice and feel your arms around me undoes me at times. I miss you so much daddy. Your little girl still needs you. I know you have made me a better human being, but sometimes it’s so hard.

Yet I push on just like I did 2 years ago today.

The anniversary is hard. It can be numbing, emotional and static like all at once.

The greatest man I ever loved passed from this earth on February 9, 2014.

At his funeral I sang his favorite song, Amazing Grace. Afterwards, someone asked me how I could do it. That’s easy, I love him and that was the least I could do for him after all he had done for me.

Go tell those you love how you feel. No matter their reaction, just let them know. We never know how much time we have here.

Keep Hope Alive.

 

Amazing grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now I’m found.

Was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear

And grace my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Then when we first begun.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now I’m found.

Was blind, but now I see

 

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The Mid-Week Hustle


Welcome to the midweek hustle!

If you’re reading this, you’re still breathing so be happy!

You may be going through a rough patch, hell, it may be a rough month/year but you are still on this planet breathing in and out, so be grateful.

So many have not made it this far.

I know personally it has been a challenging week for me.

I have been blessed to have wonderful humans in my life to help drag me from the brink and take care of me. Even when I think “I’m fine” and I am being stubborn they seem to keep sticking around.

I spent part of my weekend with my girls in Atlanta and oh how I needed it!

We didn’t “do” much, we did have a birthday party for a dear friend, but as far as getting out and doing things, no that didn’t happen other than dinner one night.

I didn’t go to sleep before 3:00 AM either night I was there!

I wish I could say I was up dancing and partying, however since I was up late 2 nights, anyone that knows me knows that isn’t possible!

I did, however, enjoy awesome, silly conversations with my friends, covering every topic we could think up! From our fashion faux pas, relationship, politics to what were are planning to eat, we discussed it all. We laughed until we cried and kept going. Let’s just say I was not an early riser those days!

I spent the rest of my child free time working, cleaning and with my someone special. We will see where it leads but I have a lot of hope this time around!

The best part of today is my boy comes home!

I have missed that little booger!

He’s went for his final week with his dad and grandparents and I know he had fun as I got updates, but golly gee do I miss him when he is gone.

Also today will be crazy hustle as early scheduling for work and then karate with my boy, then we again go to our happy place at the beach. Another fun family vacation! I wish I had my cousins and brother, sister-in-law and nephew going too as it is a lot of fun with so many helping hands, but we will have fun no matter what.

So I wish to end this on a happy, full of hope kind of note.

Always remember to Keep Hope Alive!

Stay fabulous my graceless friends!

Lady Maos

Falling apart together


*Most of my posts are about life and my thoughts, opinions and ideas, however, every once in a while I feel the urge to write so strong and am always amazed at how it comes out in different forms… this is one of those poems I tend to churn out when I have those moments. I hope you enjoy it. FB aka Lady Mao

Sometimes it feels like you’re falling apart.

So many things, so many false starts.

The deal you thought would surely come true.

The friend you thought you truly knew.

The wish you made upon that star.

The following day a scratch on your car.

Broken promises told yet again.

Then the rare find of an old, lost friend.

Suddenly life seems to be look up.

You find yourself drinking from a silver cup.

Yet you are weary from life, not sure what’s true.

Trusting seems to be hard for you.

Your outlook on life seems so cheery,

Yet deep inside you feel bleak and bleary.

You put on a smile, don’t wear that frown.

Think positive thoughts, don’t stop to look down.

Keep moving along faster than snail pace.

You might actually get through this life race.

You find hope in the most unlikely places.

You may even find hope in the spaces.

Places you never looked at before, become a haven for treasures galore.

Hope in fellow man seems likely once more, for once it seems there isn’t a war.

At least on this avenue through your passing of life.

Hold on, stay up, don’t give into strife.

Maybe I’ll see you while you’re passing though.

You’ll know then it’s not only you.

We all fall apart but can come back together.

Though this mortal coil may be light as a feather.

Please never give up, don’t forget who you are.

A beautiful human who wishes on stars.

Manic Monday in 3D!


Today we have Manic Monday in 3D!

manic monday horse

This gal is on her way back home from the great northern adventures and visiting with friends and family!

I am sure there will be things that do not go according to plan, Mr. Murphy please take those laws and go!

We’ve no time for all that!

For we are going down the highway of life and living it to the fullest!

on the road

There’s no need for the dramas and the trials today!

Nor for any other!

So yes we have frantic, manic, even sometimes panic Mondays!

That does not mean we do not face them head on and break on through to the other side! Thank you Mr. Jim Morrison!

I urge you to Never Lose Hope!

Never give up!

Always Keep Hope Alive!

keep hope alive

Especially on manic Mondays!

Have a great one Y’all!

Stay Fabulous!

 

Sunday Reflections


sun 8 2 15

As I sit staring out at the beauty of the country side I pause to reflect.

If think of where I have been and where I am going.

I wonder what will happen next.

Life is so full of surprises you never know what is coming.

Some are good and some are plain awful.

I needed to reboot and recharge my mind, body and soul.

I know I recently went to the beach for family vacation, however once I returned and got a job and started working again, I realized how crazy busy I am.

I love it dearly.

I love spending time with my son, my family and friends.

But sometimes I need a time out.

So when I was offered a chance to stay at a friend’s country cottage for the weekend, you can bet I jumped at the chance.

I love being totally surrounded by nature.

I am far enough off the main road that you really don’t hear too many cars.

At night the sky is lit up only from the moon and the heavens.

I bathed in the light of the blue moon.

I slept in and woke up to come out onto the porch with my coffee to watching the humming birds and squirrels.

I hear no one.

I kept my communication very limited so that I can just be in my mind.

Sometimes I just need to drop out.

With the boy visiting family, I decided I would drop out for a few days.

It is bliss, but I miss my boy.

So while I soak up the moon rays, the sunshine and the sounds of nature, I will plan for my re-entry back into the maos.

But for now, I will enjoy just being.

As the sun sinks on another beautiful Alabama day, I bid you a fabulous Sunday my graceless friends!

sun 8 2 15 b

 

 

 

My lifetime love of books and reading


I love to read.

I love to read just about anything really.

When I don’t read I feel like I am lost.

A ship set adrift on an ocean of silence.

I can get lost in a book.

Yes a real, honest to God book with paper pages.

I do read on the computer, the kindle, my smarter-than-me phone and iPad.

I still enjoy the newspaper and magazines.

But a book is what can calm me.

Can make me loose myself for hours. Days.

I get so caught up in them I feel as though I am a part of another world.

I find my moods sometimes run the course of the characters while I am reading.

So reading something soul scathing or “horrifying” can twist my mind.

My train of thought never strays far from the pages I am reading and I find myself talking and thinking in the manner of the characters I absorb.

No I don’t get all psycho crazed serial killer, motherless, faithful, happy human on people… like I said I read a bit of everything!

But I can’t help but wonder how they would think, talk or react in situations or conversations I am in.

It’s like they become real.

Maybe it’s because I started reading at such a young age.

My imagination took me to magical places. Dark places. Places most of my friends didn’t visit mostly due to the things I learned in the books I read.

I read The World Book Encyclopedias and others of the same genre because I had access to them.

Before the internet I remember sneaking into the adult section in the library.

Not to read the love stories or the erotica, though I did read those, but to real the real life stories they didn’t necessarily allow in the kids section.

It’s like they wanted to hide us from the realities of life.

I remember reading Amityville Horror when I was around 12. I had to hide it because I would have bad dreams and it was definitely not something this 12 year old girl needed to be reading with my vivid imagination! I remember I would jump when the house would creak. I was a rebel hiding my books so I wouldn’t get in trouble!

It was close to the time when the original “Poltergeist” movie came out. Yeah, I totally freaked myself out! Between that and Cujo I was definitely on my way to loving horror movies and books were something I could do anytime and almost anyplace.

I learned to read in the car to tune out my brother.

When I got in trouble and had to go to my room I read.

Can’t watch TV? Read a book.

I can actually say I read more than I watch TV.

I went years without cable only watching the occasional movie and TV at friend’s homes. This was when I was an adult!

I also have no choice but to finish a book. I can’t not finish. Maybe it’s my OCD or maybe it’s because I started it and I have to finish it. Even when it’s horrible writing and painful to get through I have to finish.

When I read I learn. I look up things that I don’t understand and still have a dictionary, not dictionary.com, to look up words if I am unsure of the meaning.

Some call me odd and that’s ok.

I would rather read than talk to people some days!

I urge you to read something.

An article, a book, whether printed on paper or electronic reading just read!

In enriches your world!

Have a fabulously graceless day!

 

Songs, music and the patchwork of my life


Anyone who knows me knows I have an issue with matching songs to artists and vice versa. Heck, I may not even know all of the words to a song but it’s got a loop so I will sing said loop and often learn that is not what is being said at all. Also said loop will get stuck in my head and drive me crazy!

That all said I am not the one you want for musical trivial pursuit!

However I do love music and of course songs will play somewhere, the grocery store maybe, and I recall that time of my life.

Like memories, we have songs that can do place you somewhere else in time.

Both good and bad memories, some even bittersweet.

Like the song “Yellow” by Cold Play.

Go on those who really know me be impressed!

I love that song.

I also associate it with heartbreak and the ending of a time in my life that I thought would never end. I also see it differently as it was played at a close friend’s funeral. So fitting really. He was a DJ and it was one of his favorite songs. He was also engaged to my then sister-in-law.

So yes, it has a deep meaning for me.

The boy and I love Queen, pretty much everything as I am educating him as I can and his dad has a greater collection and introduces him to other musical genres as well.

We love “We will Rock You”, “We are the Champions” and “Another One Bites the Dust”. Yes I am all about the classics.

We rock out to those some mornings going to school.

It’s one of the few times he gets to hold my phone! But whenever it comes on the radio or in the store, he squeals out “Mommy our song!” so we sing and dance if possible!

Recently it was “Ice Ice Baby.” Oh yeah word to ya mother!

We had video and a dance party.

A part of me was dancing like I was in a club, yet dancing in the kitchen with my kid! I was laughing at the hilarity of our dance and the memories and knowing I am making new memories with him now from songs I enjoyed.

I have learned I have to pull up the lyrics as some songs aren’t quite appropriate for a 4 year old!

Some radio station was playing NIN “Closer” and bleeped out the inappropriate parts.

He caught that. So he asked me what they were saying. Oh joy!

I actually had to pull up the lyrics because, again, I could not recall them word for word and they play it on the local rock station often.

Talk about getting creative!

The “I want to f*%$ you like an animal” became “I want to play with all the animals”.

“I want to feel you from the inside” became “I want to see you inside” like the house because that’s rational for him, he was 3 when he first heard it. Fortunately through the whole song I make up and sing loudly new words to cover the blank spaces if he asks!

I never thought a lot of the “profane” language in songs until I had my child.

It never really bothered me and it still doesn’t. I just have to really censor what he listens to!

I had to change a fabulous Tool song recently because there was no way I could fill in all the blanks they left out on the fly and he was upset because it had a “really good beat of the rock and roll” as he puts it! Yes it does my son, but I really don’t want to explain why you heard certain words and I definitely am not ready to explain certain adult content to you yet! He may be almost 5 but really I am just not ready to subject some things on him. He will already hear and learn more about the world than I did at 5 because there is so many outlets to get information!

Another favorite of mine is “Me and Bobby McGee” by the late, great Janis Joplin. I am a huge fan and even do karaoke with that one and a few others.

It reminds me of my youth and life in general.

How I once could just GO if I wanted to and how people can slip away in the blink of an eye.

It also comforts me to sing and it’s one of my go-to songs.

Like “Amazing Grace”. I always sing it acapella but can play it on the piano.

It was one of the first songs I learned on the piano and my daddy’s favorite song.

I long ago stopped singing in public, other than the occasional karaoke or family/friends gatherings, but I sang that song in front of a few hundred people at my daddy’s funeral last year.

He had asked me if I would sing it at his funeral and I promised I would.

I sang acapella and I sang it to him, to my family and friends.

I blocked out everyone else and just sang my heart out through my tears.

I still sing it now, I have sang it to the boy too since he was a wee one, but it can be bittersweet.

I’ve gotten better singing it to him, I don’t cry as much, but sometimes the tears still happens.

He will always take my hand, kiss me on the cheek and tell me, “You know Pops and I love that song and we love you singing it, right Mommy?!” To which I cry a little more but they are happy tears. And somewhat a little bittersweet too.

I guess you could say music is the patchwork in my life that fills the void with sounds of my memories.

Have a fabulous day!

The Knitting Circle


“Will the circle be unbroken Bye and bye Lord, bye and bye There’s a better home awaiting In the sky Lord, in the sky”

 I haven’t sat in a knitting/crocheting circle in at least 30 years.

I had forgotten the fun and comradery of the ladies in these groups.

It’s more than just about knitting a scarf, hat or gloves.

It’s about sharing time together.

Everyone is genuinely friendly and seem to care about the others and their lives.

They all love a project and love to share what they are doing.

They even give you instructions on how to do this!

How do I know this you ask?

Because this week I officially became a part of one of the best knitting guilds around.

And the best part is I am just learning how to knit!

I thoroughly enjoyed taking the lady I am caring for to her group.

I thought I would sit away from the group and write or read.

However I was introduced and the conversations started did not stop!

Somehow within 45 minutes of my being there, I was handed a pair of knitting needles and told to “follow her”. Her being the lovely lady who was in charge of the group. She led me into another room with a closet that held boxes and boxes of yarn.

I was told to “pick one” and the one that “spoke to me.”

 knitting

I am so thrilled!

We are making items for the Salvation Army and I will now be contributing a scarf!

For the record I will be going once a week with “Miss Candy” as it seems I am now a part of this lovely group.

Pictographs of knitting has been found on cave walls and the walls in the temples of ancient Egypt.

It has been around for thousands of years.

I learned so much from these ladies who were knitting for various reasons, a baby blanket, scarves for others and self, fingerless gloves and a few other items I did not get to examine yet.

These ladies are magical with their hands, two needles and a ball of yarn!

I somewhat feel like I am back in school as I was sent home with my starter knitting, my needles, yarn and bless them, written instructions for the most basic scarf!

They were so patient in teaching me and honestly, every one of the 14 ladies present made a point to tell me hello and say they are thrilled to see “the younger generation” taking a shine on an art that some feel is dying out.

I can see what they mean.

Home Economics used to teach knitting, cooking and home making.

Now there is “culinary arts” but not a lot of knitting and home making.

Schools don’t want to look as if they are not with the times and I get that. I really do.

But when they are cutting funding for basic things like physical education and how to live, not just sex education, they are in a way cutting off the very fiber of what has been taught for generations.

Sitting in the knitting group I fit in.

No matter what my age is, I am with kindred souls.

Knitting is good for the soul.

You can knit pretty much anywhere you can read a book which was always my escape.

But a bonus is you can talk and knit if you like. For someone like me this is a wonderful thing to keep my hands busy and my mouth busy at the same time too!

I get another lesson on Friday when I take Miss Candy to another appointment and you can bet I am looking forward to it.

I hope you all have a fabulous Wednesday!

Judge Me


Judge Me.

Please.

Point out my flaws.

I know them much more intimately than you ever will.

I know their origins, their beginnings from before my existence.

Point out the error of my ways.

How you think I wronged you so empirically that I am beneath you.

That you are superior and have no flaws.

My faults, yes they are many.

You could fill volumes with my sins.

Pointing that one accusing finger at me while you forget 4 are pointing back at you.

Who are You to judge me?

I just want to know.

I have committed no “crimes” yet you decide to play jury and Judge to sections of my life you deem are not up to your standards or are wrong to you.

Unlike you I will admit them. Apologize when needed. I will work to not make them again. I continue to improve upon myself.

Unlike you.

So please, Judge Me.

 *My “observations” on those who judge others are it seems to trend that those who are the loudest and more often those who have great pain and suffering within themselves. They tend to see the flaws in you than run far deeper in themselves, and it scares them to even admit to it a little bit, because that would mean they are not as perfect as they perceive themselves to be. That would be tragic. So they judge others.

This is only my observation.

So Cheers My Graceless Friends!

 

Courting Nostalgia


Currently I am courting nostalgia of only 2 short years ago.

I had dropped an email into the wrong file and I clicked onto another file, still not the right one but this was much, much better.

I tumbled into my memories from where I was and what was happening in my life.

I stepped back into a world where my loved ones had not departed this plane and my big love dog was loping around the house to dance party time. The boy was yet to be potty trained and I was on the wild ride of life.

I was learning how to be a single parent.

I was employed and one of my best friends and I had reunited for another go as roomies.

I was preparing to head north for our yearly trek for the annual pig roast at my sister’s home.

I was driving back and forth from Tennessee to Alabama to spend time with my family, my parents, and my daddy.

So much of my life felt like it was on hold or in a holding pattern due to circumstances beyond my control.

Two years doesn’t seem like long but now seems like a lifetime.

I dig deeper into my memories.

I remember laughing hysterically with my roomie, my boy, big dog and the kitties.

She taught the boy goofy games and silly things to do and how to eat with clothespins.

I remember going to the lake with my family and watching my son and my daddy “fish” together. The boat ride we went on and how I knew that time was precious and I took none of it for granted.

I remember the trip to Pennsylvania with 3 adults and a kid in diapers and how we laughed so hard we cried and even had to pull over, a flawlessly executed maneuver in major traffic, so my girl could get sick and then felt better. Our trip was sorely needed and I got to see my sister, brother in law, niece and nephew along with the rest of my Yankee family.

No I did not take this for granted. Not one minute of the time.

The movies in my mind of this time of my life seem almost like old black and whites now.

I allow them all to wash over me and assault me for I will never forget them.

I hold them close to my heart, these precious memories.

For you see, my wonderful roomie passed away peacefully, but unexpectedly in her sleep one night. I still miss my sister and the woman who was tiny yet impossibly strong and would give you the clothes off her back and help anyone who needed it.

My strong daddy, my rock, finally lost his brave battle to the insidious cancer that ravaged his body in the end. I miss him daily and sometimes so much that it pains me physically.

Big Love aka Jethro aka our fur bebe doggy passed because it was just his time.

My career path has changed along with my state of residence.

My son is now well potty trained along with growing up to no longer be considered by son as my “little” boy.

One of my happy constants is our annual pilgrimage to PA for the pig roast with my sister and the Yankees.

But as I dip my toes into the memories of my past I remember the happiness, the conversations, and the love.

I pull from my family and friends, old and new, and new again.

I harness the love, hope and prayers and I make it through another day.

I watch my boy grow into a young man, slowly but it’s happening far faster than I would like.

So I slide back into this warm pool of my past.

I close my eyes and hear the laughter, the advice, feel the love and happiness, taste the worry but always I keep hope alive.

The bridge from then to now is my hope.

Have a fabulous Sunday!