Just another sad event

On Tues., July 8, 2014 my friend Rick died.  He didn’t die peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones as we often read in obituaries; but rather on a street, alone.  And herein lies  why it is so sad………….

Rick received a closed head brain injury quite a few years ago when the ATV he was riding on collided with a pick up truck that was going the wrong way on a clearly marked trail; Rick almost died.   Strong man that he was, he recovered and was able to walk, talk and sort of resume a normal life.  He really wasn’t competent to make legal decisions but his employer (the big blue oval) said that he had to return to work when in fact he should’ve been medically disabled and given disability.  He worked for a few more years and his employer kept demoting him as he could no longer handle his job.  Eventually he was offered a buy-out & retirement which he took and started being at home, every day, all the time.

He had some medical issues, suffered a few seizures when sleeping; otherwise he was a happy go-lucky guy – he just had no “filters” so to speak and often spoke exactly what he was thinking; which could either be hilarious or hurtful depending on the situation and what he said.  He liked to go on walks and was known to go dumpster diving behind stores.

One year for a few weeks Rick and his wife came and attended a financial class near us.  Since it was at night and we went too, they would come down for dinner, we’d all go to class and then they would come back to the house, play cards or watch TV and then spend the night.

The lady teaching the class was just a tad snobbish (at least that is how she seemed to us) but Rick never cared about that; he would still talk to her every week.  So one week he showed me what he had found while dumpster diving; it was a carved onyx donkey.  (I collect the stuff, and it was a nice piece)  He took it to class and was going to show her his great find.  For grins I said make sure you tell her where you found it after you show her.  He said alright, he didn’t care if people knew he went into dumpsters, and headed up to the front of the room to show her. I sat in the back of the class to watch what happened.

I could see him show her the piece, talking quite animatedly about it and she took it from his hand and was really looking at it, telling him how nice it was; I had a great view of her reaction when he told her where he had found it.  I thought this lady was going to throw it at him.  She rapidly dropped it in his hand and stepped back a couple of feet.  As soon as she could get away from him she came flying back to the back of the room and right into the Ladies’ room.

I slowly sauntered in there on the pretense of using it before class and saw her furiously scrubbing her hands. When she saw me in the mirror, I could tell that she was ready to explode – it was so hard to keep a straight face and inquire why she was so upset.  To her credit she didn’t say anything bad about Rick and never let on that anything was wrong; she just said that she had gotten something on her hands and needed to get it off.   For the rest of the sessions she wouldn’t touch anything that Rick brought to class.

Rick loved to joke around and kid.  If he liked you, you knew it.  He adored his wife and always told me how much he loved her.  Some of his favorite times were when he would come visit us and spend a night or two here.  He loved the way that sweet hubby cooked and would always praise him about his cooking skills.

On July 7, 2014 Rick died, alone on a street within a half mile of his house and on the 30th anniversary of his wedding to his much loved wife.

If you have ones that you love, let them know it – the more the better; you never know when your last day on this earth will be.

First day of spring

and what did I do?   Well, the wife of my father’s best friend died last week and her funeral was today.  So we got up at the crack of dawn and made the 2+ hr journey to be there for her funeral.   We were almost to I96, which would get us there in under 2 hrs so we would have time to pay our respects to the family, when we saw the electronic sign announcing that the road ahead was closed due to an accident.  So I got off on the next exit and went south to pick up I94, which would take us a slightly different way and be slightly over 2 hrs.

The weather was cold, it was starting to do that snow flurry stuff and if I couldn’t “hot foot” it down the road we would be late.  And of course we hit 3 almost total white-outs on the way, as well as those folks who won’t drive the speed limit and won’t keep out of the passing lane either; needless to say, we were walking into the funeral home just as the organ started playing the music for the start of the service.

Afterwards we briefly met with the family and then headed out to the cemetery.  It was cold and it was snowing but I didn’t mind it one bit.  Snug in my long johns, thinsulate hiking boots, extra heavy coat, ear muffs and my hands jammed in my pockets on top of my gloves and mittens; I was as warm as hot toast.  Of course the hiking boots did look a little crazy with my dress pants, but hey, at least I was warm!! The pastor said a few more words, we prayed the Lord’s prayer, he said the 21st Psalm and then that was that.  I took the rose that was offered and went back to the vehicle where sweet hubby sat because he doesn’t walk so well on uneven ground covered in snow.  I just couldn’t stay and watch them lower the casket; I can’t handle that just yet.

Back at their church we were fed lunch; now usually I don’t complain to often about food given freely at church meals, but this had to be the most bizarre luncheon I have ever attended.   We had Swedish meatballs in a white gravy on noodles, cool baked beans, some pasta dish (I skipped that one), tossed salad – no dressings, assorted jello salads, cheese slices, rolled ham or beef slices, rolls and dessert.   Our own church does a meal after a funeral, it is basic – meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes, tossed salad and dessert.  The dishes today mostly didn’t go together – it was almost like a pot luck kind of thing, except their ladies’ group organized it.

After we ate, we did a little visiting with the people that we knew and then started the long drive home.  We had to get gas because “hot footing” it there meant the vehicle ate more fuel than it should’ve.  Then we started back the way that we came because we were going to stop in at the little one’s fiance’s apartment and drop something off for them. Had to leave the freeway twice on the way home and run parallel to it.  Once was for a one vehicle and a jack-knifed semi-truck accident, the other was for an accident where one vehicle had hit the base of the overpass/bridge.  I swear whenever the weather is the least little bit off, people drive like idiots!!  I saw more people swerving, slamming on their brakes when no one was in front of them – then I would get up next to them and they would be talking on their cell phone or texting, one guy was just stuffing his face with food.

Now we are home and should be up in bed; but sweet hubby is sleeping beside me on the couch and I had to let you know all about my day.

Being at a cemetery on the first day of spring and standing there in a snow storm, well, that is actually pretty sad.

Hope you had a better first day of spring in your neck of the woods!!

If I could

turn back time.  Yes, we all remember those song lyrics – ok, maybe those of you who are musically challenged don’t – at least most of us remember the chorus – If I could turn back time………….

Just read my last entry and thought, I wish I could turn back time.  When I wrote that 18 days ago my father was only in the hospital and no one had told us yet that he was close to dying; in fact we didn’t even hear that until slightly more than 3 and 1/2 hours before he passed away.  There was just no time to prepare; we tried to digest it while we ate lunch; we tried to deal with it while telling his sister-in-law, while discussing with her how to tell my sisters that they had given him 3 to 10 days; and we even were still dealing with it when we came back to his room to find that he had already passed away while we had sat in the family lounge waiting for his dialysis to be done.

Of course I went out to the funeral home’s website to see if anyone had left a comment on the guest book only to find that my ex-husband had left a really snarky one there about how he had wished that he and my girls had gotten to know my father better while he had been married to me.  Really?  Seems like he wasn’t all that concerned about much to do with my family anyway.  Always had reasons why we couldn’t go to reunions or family get-togethers; to the point that we stopped getting invited to attend.   I was looking for comfort or a memory that had been shared and I got snarky.

I remember growing up and my grandmother would always tell us she loved us – every time we walked in or out of her house; whether it was to go to the store or for the drive back to our house 3 hrs away.  Her reasoning was that you just never know if that will be the last time that you get to tell someone that you love them.  And I sit here and I try to remember if I had said I love you when I was leaving after our annual Christmas dinner or did I just say thanks for dinner Dad and good-bye?

For those of you that know me, you know that my relationship with him was not always the best.  As my parents’ marriage deteriorated so did their relationships with their kids.  Some of us just moved away from the pain and bitterness that was constantly spewing and others, it seemed, just didn’t let it faze them.  Only if you really knew each other did you know how the other was affected.   For me it was easier to just listen to my mother complain and say some of the worst things a parent could say to their child about their other parent; it wasn’t till years later that I started trying to seek out the truth – not that I ever found all of it; just found enough to perhaps balance out some of the things that got said.  And enough to realize that totally walking away was probably not the wisest thing I have ever done.

So, I can sit here and be all full of regrets, not that that will change anything; or I can take this as one of those life lessons that smack you in the face and learn from it.   I learned before that one should take time to find out both sides of a conflict before making a decision and that one should never rush into the decision.  I also thought I learned that one should always say I love you before leaving those you love; just in case and so you don’t have regrets.   Maybe I didn’t learn that one as well as I should’ve; if I could turn back time maybe I would find out that I did or maybe if I didn’t; at least I would be able to say it while he still could hear me.

In Rememberance of John Rosenbauer

Born: December 18, 1962
Died: August 25, 2007

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Rest in Peace, Our Brother, Our Friend

see also: More on John G. Rosenbauer