Monday, May 30, 2011

New Kind of Memorial Day-Honor the past, savor the present

I love three day weekends. This one is no exception. Saturday and Sunday were fabulous days. And, it's going to be even better today.

I am thankful and honor all of the veterans who served our country. Whenever I think of Memorial Day, two people always come to mind. My father, Joseph, a World War II Navy veteran and his brother, John, a Marine who gave all in the Battle of Saipan.

As a child, the tradition on this day was to visit the cemeteries for all of our relatives and place flowers on the graves. Then we would grill bratwurst and enjoy a meal with our family.

Today, I am fortunate to have my daughter from Palm Springs on her way to Arizona to uphold the grilling tradition. Along with her boyfriend and my other daughter, I was looking forward to fun, family time.

But as fate would have it, my nephew Steve just happens to be in Arizona for a few hours today. So I am heading to Casa Grande to pick him up so we can spend some time together. I haven't seen Steve since last July when I was in Oregon. It wasn't exactly how I planned to spend my day. Who would miss a chance to spend time with family? Not me.

So, my message today is a bit shorter than my previous Memorial Day blogs, but not any less heartfelt. I honor the past and savor the present on this commemorative day.

(In picture above, Fred Bauer, Joseph Dalhaimer, Clementine Dalhaimer Bauer, Gottlieb Bauer, Zeaman Dalhaimer, in front Susan Dalhaimer Oehldrich Schmidt).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

If the world ends today...

I have to admit, I don't think the world will end today. But, if it does, have you considered these perspectives:

1) We will be re-united with all of our ancestors.
2) Our genealogical quest will be over because all of our questions will be answered.
3) We no longer have to buy lottery tickets and dream of the big win.
4) Dog poop will not be a factor in our landscape design.
5) We only get in half of our weekend.
6) All those little home repairs we didn't get to, well, we just didn't get to
7) While our current physical world may end, our spiritual world continues
8) Isn't that why we are here anyway?
9) So, why did so many people want to leave this world hungover?
10) Isn't the real point to live everyday fully, be kind to and love everyone? And for every hour of every day, treat others as we would want to be treated? Don't we always want to respond to others as if it is the last time you will see them?

Because you never know when any one's world will end. So enjoy and love every minute of it. No matter how long it lasts.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Bittersweet May 7, 2011

Bittersweet is the word for today, May 7, 2011. If I said I was looking forward to it that would be a lie.

The week was ordinary enough with some fun on Wednesday for my daughter’s birthday. I enjoyed planning and preparing food for her party. It reminded me of how my Grandmother Bauer single-handedly made all of the food for her Christmas Eve Open House. The process is a lonely but extremely gratifying when the guests arrived. So it was with my small gathering. My refrigerator is now empty, not a leftover to be found.

By Friday I was ready for my work week to be over, to have free time and relax. Perhaps to draw or write or something to distract me. But in the back of my mind, I recognized my dread. Could even a bit of fear lay there unacknowledged?

When I arrived home last night, I walked Harrison and afterward I sat in my chair exhausted. Whether I was truly tired or dreaded the thought of today, I don't know. Thoughts can be funny that way. They linger and linger then fade away only to be revived at the oddest times.

I live in a great house, even if it isn't completely paid for. I have a good job and can get out of bed every day. My green thumb has been put to good use this spring. I have killed only one tomato plant. The elephant's food and strawberry plants are doing great, knock on wood. There is so much to be grateful for.

But, the weekend is bittersweet for me. Many people are looking forward to Mother's Day. I am not. This is my first Mother's Day weekend without Mom. And, today was her birthday.

Now I am not ready to hide in a closet and know I am certainly not the first person to experience loss. There are many people who never lived with their mothers, who didn't have a chance to spend most of their life with them. Or, unfortunately, their mothers were not like the kind, loving woman my mother was. But my thoughts turn to her often.

My eyes tear up as I remember the one year anniversaries of hospitalizations and doctor appointments. I realize this is a private journey with grief. My first year without my mother has its road bumps and I’ve hit a few curbs so far. Such as when I saw the Mother's Day card display and inadvertently headed to it wondering which one I would pick. I stopped flat in my tracks and headed the other direction. So how can I best explain how I feel about this weekend?

One of my hardest struggles is that so much of what I did - the writing, sharing family histories, and the genealogy - was just so much more fun with her. I miss the conversations we would have about each blog and the joy each memory or new discovery brought to her. I loved how she learned to use the arrows on the computer, but still had to ask me every time which key to push to scroll down to read the entry. Often I experience a writer's block because I realize I will no longer see or hear her response to my work. Of course, I do believe she knows what I write and what I do. But, to imagine her response is not the same as to witness it.

So, it is bittersweet. It is a beautiful spring day here. I will have breakfast at Liberty Market this morning, do errands and maybe jump in the swimming pool this afternoon. I will go through my day remembering her.

And in the late evening, I will sit on my patio and raise a toast of Kahlua Mudslide with milk to Mom and the time we had together. And do my best to keep writing.