Thursday, June 24, 2010

Not Giving Up

This post is titled 'Not Giving Up' for various reasons. After reading this there'll be a test. Will you be able to find the hidden references? Good luck. And happy reading!

So the story continues on Friday afternoon. With news of my dear Wendy remaining stable and comfortable and promises there'd be someone with her at all times from here on out, I began baking. Huh?! Odd I know, but Friday night Father's Day festivities had been planned since long before all this went down. My only job had been to bring a desert. I found out later that my mom and sister would also bring sweets unsure as to whether or not I would be up to making anything. I don't think they were sure I'd even come. But Father's Day to celebrate my Grandpa that I don't see nearly as often as I should? Wendy would have wanted me to go. She would have insisted.

It was also for my Mom's birthday. Poor girl always had to share with Father's Day. Just as I've always had to share mine with Mother's Day. Anyways, she was turning (50ish we'll say) on the 19th. So I made a yellow cake for her. And covered it in blue icing for Grandpa. And made it five layers thick for the five years I've been without my Daddy on Father's Day. Or has it been 6 now? Seems like he was just here. Anyways, 5 layers was pushing it. What had I been thinking? Well honestly, I had my mind on Wendy.

I made cakes 'til my batter ran low. Then I made cupcakes. The boys made cards for the guests of honor. I didn't offer much guidance so all the cards may have said Happy Birthday. Sorry, Grandpa! It's the thought that counts, right? So we get there and the air is off. WHAT? Remember back at Easter when I swore off returning there until the air had been allowed on? No? Well, I'd forgot too. Everyone was miserable, but the good news is . . . I did just fine. No trouble swallowing as I did at Easter. And I didn't need help to the truck upon leaving. Yay, me! And yay, to the makers of that wonderful spread.

I devoured two plates of taco fixins that night. So stuffed from that and the afternoon's taste testing of batter and icing - I couldn't even eat my own cake. Tragic. Besides my boys, devoted husband, and loving mother no one else had any either. Well, unless you count Jason backing in to it. Or Uncle Scott reaching for something and getting his sleeve in it. Sorry, gentlemen. I won't build as high next time. And not as Smurf blue. Promise. Hope it didn't stain. It had been a good night. And tuff to leave. I was enjoying visiting with everyone even more than I enjoyed the food. And folks, that's a lot! Had I hugged and told Wendy how much I loved her last time I'd seen her? What a lousy friend I'd been.

Once home and having checked on Wendy, we were off to bed. We had a big day planned for our Saturday. First up, a wedding on the riverfront. Then possibly a little horse show time. Then some pool construction. Then maybe squeeze in some more horse show dragging my friend Angel along. We were sure to get bored watching the guys build the pool. And after, maybe Roca Bar for pizza? Maybe board games? Maybe Evansville to visit Wendy? Who knew? The skies the limit. Well, maybe not. The sky Friday night just so happened to open up and soak most of our plans.

We'd all gotten up early that beautiful Saturday morning anxious to begin our day. Phone rings. Show is cancelled due to torrential down pours flooding the arena. WHATEVER. We used to show in mud belly deep during a downpour. Bunch of pansies. Fine - more time for the pool. Jason was set to go get another load of sand to level the pool area when he went out to discover the basketball goal and swing overturned amongst the muddy mess of earth we'd planned to sit the pool upon. Yikes. Guess that's be a no go to unless the sun did some serious drying out before the afternoon.

We work at tidying the house a bit instead. We get on our laptops and play a little Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii. Just kinda waiting around for time to get ready for the wedding. Once off the couch to assist the hubby in finding clothes before his shower he questions me as to exactly what time this was supposed to start. "12:30," I reply, almost sure. With the raised eyebrow I'd gotten in response I returned to my laptop to double check my RSVP information. Yikes, again! It had started at 11:30. The time was currently 11:45. Whoops! Completely my fault. I am so sorry Marcie and Roger. I suck. I'm sooo sorry. Please forgive me. And forgive Jason for being too mad to go to the reception. Grrrrowl. You'd have thought there was a bear on the loose in Park Ridge.

So instead Jason hits Subway for lunch and we are just finishing up when our friends arrive to help. All business the guys exit to the back yard and the mud slinging begins. Seriously they leveled all they could and moved a little sand around, but with soupy mud slopped in the middle there wasn't much more they could do. Plus, didn't it get to 100 degrees Saturday? It would've been ridiculous for them to attempt much more. Sweaty, goobers! Angel and I had been enjoying watching you play in the dirt.

Then shortly after 3:30 the phone rings again. It was Kent. And Wendy had passed. He reported that he had been by her side and that she'd gone peacefully. Without thinking I'd said, "Well, Praise God!" I was happy he'd been there and happy it'd been a peaceful transition. And thankfully, I think, Kent understood. I offered my help again. I told him I was sorry again. And I told him I love him again. Very few tears came during this conversation. Had I cried them all already?

After the men folk showered we headed to Evansville for supper. A slight detour to drop off the kiddos at Granny & Pawpaw's first. For some reason or the other I had an unusually short fuse with them today. And upon our arrival to the restaurant a little boy at the table next to ours nearly caused me to pull my hair out. Had my boys been there possibly they could have strong-armed the loud mouth. Geesh! Even my two sitting on either side of me arguing aren't that loud. Maybe his ignoring parents are hearing impaired or deaf. I dunno. Just thinkin'.

Next we go cross country in search of flowers for my dad's headstone. Wendy would be laid to rest at the same cemetery and I wanted his stone to look extra nice. Plus it was Father's Day weekend. Plus I hadn't spiffied it up in a bit. It was due. So Yee Haw! I exhausted myself shopping for flowers. And by shopping for flowers what I mean to say is being pushed around in a wheelchair by my husband and friends whilst I point at flowers I like and complain about their prices. Exhausting work, I tell ya! Maybe all the activities of the week were finally coming to bite me in my ass. The one that is still sore from Tuesday's fall, I might add. Good night, dear friends. I'm sorry you have such a LOSER for a friend. What a way to spend your Saturday night. Sorry!

Home just a little before 9, I think. I caught up on Facebook and started on flowers as Jason found a movie on Netflix. Can't say as I remember much about it as I was eyeball deep in flowers and emotionally drowning. It was almost 11 when I deemed the arrangement nice enough for Dad. I used deep purple, red and white, with a touch of yellow. I think it turned out pretty nice. I'd pat myself on the back if I had enuff energy. When would the funeral be, I wondered. Lord please give me the energy to get thru this. Amen.

Sunday started much better than Saturday. Sunday school lesson was great. And church service, WOW! After a song that had been sung I became emotional and was compelled to stand and thank my pastor and church family for their prayers for Wendy. I told of her struggling to let go after fighting nearly 15 years and of her leaving behind a 19 year old daughter and an 8 year old son. She'd been most concerned with how her son would take things. I asked them to continue to be in prayer about this and for those trying to help. At least that's what I meant to say. Jason says I became a bit hard to understand. Imagine that! At least I'd found my tears. I was worried I had been getting dehydrated.

From here on out the day gets all jacked up. Jason had planned on taking his dad to a movie. Upon calling to confirm plans his mom wants to go. Fine, but the boys have wanted to go from the get go. I'll take the boys and the rest of you go yourselves. We squabble about things and as I have been denied vehicle access we get in the truck and head to the cemetery to bring flowers and visit Dad and Unk. Then off to Granny & Pawpaw's. We all pile in to the van to spend the day together. Yippee! (Please overlook heavy levels of sarcasm, but this heat with Jason's mood wasn't gonna mix well.)

Chinese buffet, next stop. His mom had already eaten thinking she wasn't getting to go anywhere. And I was eating before a movie again. Period. Chinese, Japenese, Viatnamese or Mexican. Nada. Then we discover the next time both movies started even close to near the same time as the other wasn't for nearly 3 hours. What were we to do for all that time? Mary needed paint so we headed to Home Depot. She thought we should stay in the car, but that wouldn't have been killing any time and the van hadn't even had a chance to cool off yet. It was miserably hot that day. Have I mentioned that yet?

So we go in (yes, of course Jason's pushing me) and we meander thru must of the store. We pick out a much needed bathroom sink and faucet for our master bath. Happy Father's Day, Baby! Sorry your day has sucked. Surely you and your dad can try going out just the two of you again. Why had it sucked, you ask? Well, plans had been shot again. Remember Saturday? Then the food wasn't all that good. Then pushing me around a store? He could do that everyday. Plus Home Depot. Did I fail to mention the boys hate Home Depot? Well, they do. At least for now anyways.

We return to the sauna, no wait, I mean van. What next? There was still an hour and a half or more to go before the movie. "GameStop, GameStop," the boys chanted. And Granny said, "Home." And home it was. Kenny thanked Jason for lunch and disappointed it hadn't been more, we left. I wanted him to go back and get his dad and me and the boys would just go another day. But he said, "No." He reasoned his boys wanted to spend the day with their dad too. And they did. So we played the Wii a while and watched Netflix 'til late. I could barely keep my eyes open.

Please Monday, be kind. And praise the Lord - it was. I kept my feet up and relaxed, attempting to prepare for the upcoming visitation and services. I prayed the most for her son's understanding and acceptance. Still as late afternoon approached I found myself counting down the time until Jason's arrival home. I had planned on sneaking off to bed early. Nothing set in stone by any means, but it had sure sounded nice to me. As hot as it was, though Jason had talked about taking the boys fishing. Either way, Gooch and I planned to nap. Or not. What's this? A change of plans. Can you believe it?

Jason comes home early and we're off on another adventure. "Four for 'Toy Story 3' please," I said. A medium popcorn combo with one coke and one diet, two hot dogs, an icee with both flavors, a bag of Reese's, cotton candy and a bottled water later we settled in just in time for the previews. The men folk, slightly ahead of me as per the usual, though more so today because of my stop at the butter dispenser. Yay, me! Call me crazy, but I like a little popcorn with my salt and butter. GREAT MOVIE! Several times, I almost teared up. Lucky for me the well was still dry. Thanks, Disney.

Then we headed across town to Gander Mountain for fishing stuff and a part for the boat. I sat this one out staying inside the truck. Then as close as we were to the big Dodge dealership we couldn't help but drive thru a couple of their lots. Why don't we just buy somethin' already? Geesh. Was that a belly growling I heard? 8:45 and we hadn't had supper. I voted for Steak-n-Shake, but Pizza Hut won out. They were open 'til 10 so we'd have to get serious. And we were --- seriously starving. Well at least the male population. The food was exceptional and our waiter, WOW! He was a keeper. Sure hope Jason tipped him well.

Both kiddos fell asleep on the late ride home, but as soon as we got in the house both of them wanted to stay up. Party on, guys. I'm out! And I was. I don't know when or even if they'd gone to bed. I was a goner before my head even reached the pillow. Had I sleep walked upstairs? Tuesday morning was a mess. Not that I'd even know what it's like to have a hangover, BUT I felt like I had a hangover. Nothing but Coke had been drank the day before. No alcohol whatsoever since falling from the truck. What in the world was wrong with me? Everything was so heavy . . .

Thank you boys for being so patient with me. They just kept coming in to my room asking me if they could go downstairs yet. "What's wrong, Mom?" they whined. I didn't know. 9:30 I finally found myself upright. Barely. Then downstairs and settled in with breakfast just after 10. Finished and cleaned up just in time for lunch. Yay, me. Mom of the year front runner, I am not. I really needed to start getting ready for visitation already at the rate I was getting things accomplished. Eyebrows needed done. Legs shaved. Shower. Teeth. Clothes.

I need a Facebook break. To heck with time management. Oh, no! Dr. Sclafani has been refused IRB approval? No way. This couldn't be. I went to where he responds to questions on ThisIsMS and, "Nooooooooooooo!" Things ain't lookin' good. Why kick a girl when's she's down? I mean, really?! Today? This had to be announced today? Damn. I post this too, as others waiting on him just as I have been - need to know. Do we wait longer or do we forrage elsewhere? I messaged Jason the uplifting (NOT) news. And before long, Jason had come home early. First order of business. ADVIL, please! Then he took the kiddos to his parents' and fetched things from upstairs and you know what? Jason rocks! We'll just have to tackle those issues later once we've got this one behind us. Good advice. And the Advil? Had I taken any Advil yet?

At just 10 after 4 the funeral home's parking lot was packed. WHAT? It only started at 4. Jason drops me at the door and I enter to find a line had already formed stretching well out to the middle of the lobby. Yeah, right?! I may have gotten a couple of dirty looks, but I argue that anyone who has assisted the nurse with the newly deceased's cleanliness and comfort just days prior to this event should be granted free passage inside the viewing. Hell, I even argue I should've been granted cutsies in line, BUT not wanting to offend anyone I simply made my way inside to a seat and sat down.

Now that I think about it, what did the line matter? Everyone receiving the line had already seen me at the hospital days prior. And for the family I didn't know, well, I've known Wendy 12 years now. Where you been? How come I don't know you? Never heard of you? You think I'm letting you sit in front of me? Okay, okay. I know. Displaced anger. Yada, yada, yada. Nevermind. Disregard this paragraph. Once the line finally shortened to within the viewing room Jason got in line and I followed him along the open chairs. Weakling! I know! Aunt, Uncles, and parents had been standing in the receiving line too, but my only interest was seeing that beautiful woman finally at peace. Finally without that crinkled brow expressing pain no matter how hard she'd fought to hide it. I know you girl, don't try and play me!

I hug her daughter and tell her what a wonderful job she's done all evening greeting everyone. And I remind her how proud her Mom would be of how everything had turned out. Dang! It's like I'm talking to Wendy they look so much alike. Then to Wendy. WOW! She was beautiful. The transformation made from just three days prior was miraculous. She'd always been beautiful to me, but I had been dreading hearing how bad she looked. Some people just don't think before they speak. Even if she had looked bad WHICH SHE DIDN'T, no one who loved her should have to hear about it. This ordeal was hard enuff, thx. This bitch session also goes out to all those who thought my Dad had on a wig. HE DID NOT. As a matter of fact that gorgeous head of salt and pepper George Clooney like hair cut had just been touched up by yours truly 2 days prior to his death. He can't help it he was really, really ridiculously good looking.

More displaced anger. Sorry. Forgive me please. So I make it to Wendy. Both hands on the casket. She is a vision. So much of an angel on Earth, I can't even imagine the impact she'll have in heaven. If I could've I would have stayed there with her awhile. But the line had been growing again and I'd spent so much time with her already. I'm a big girl. I could share. And Kent was a big boy. He could handle the truth. My hands on each of his arms, I look into his eyes and confess, "Kent, I haven't seen her this beautiful since your wedding. She is stunning." And with that he tells me about my picture with her from their wedding. What? I'd forgotten all about posing for that. Immediately I searched it out, remembered it, and having wanted a copy way back when. You better bet I'm gettin' me a copy now! We stayed the entire time. We'll see you in the morning, Darlin'.

And at about 6 Wednesday morning I just couldn't sleep any longer. I laid in bed trying to return to Sleepytown 'til 7. It was no use. When the mind was as awake as it had been - the body battling to sleep was futile. I gathered my clothes and went downstairs to catch up on Facebook, maybe do some farming. Bored, fast I decided to watch a movie on Netflix and attempt to curl my hair. 9:30. Hmmm, wonder if the hubby needs a wake up call? Need it or not, he got one. I'd hoped to get there by 10. I'd hoped for a seat. I hadn't even thought about a spot in the procession line 'o cars. Crickey! Was I gonna have to drive? Worse yet was I gonna be sittin' alone during the service? Only time would tell.

This time I walked in with my cane. I was a bit more confident this time having outlasted all the dirty look givers from the night before. I went straight for the casket which had strangely been left unattended. That was fine by me. I wouldn't mind saying bye without an audience. "I love you, Sweetie." And then I just stood awhile, apparently staring. Enter Kent. I asked how he was holding up and added a hug then returned to my Wendy telling him he was lucky he got to stand here with her. I told him if it wouldn't be unacceptable, I'd stand right here over her 'til service started. He said he wouldn't mind pointing out I'd spent many hours just watching her at the hospital. And I guess I had. But that entire time I was thinking happy, wonderful thoughts of her. Of things we'd done together. Secrets we'd shared. Plans we'd made. Dreams we'd had. And I thought of her HOMECOMING. Of her seeing Jesus. Did her Mom come to greet her? Had she danced with my dad? I hadn't been staring for staring's sake. It had been my way of dealing. And of helping her transition. Thanks for the dance party! I'm up for it again whenever you are.

So seats are filling. And news on the street is that pallbearers are to sit together in the room just off the viewing room. Man, I really hadn't thought this out. Had it been more important to have Jason at my side or to have him honored as a pallbearer? I'm such a drama queen sometimes. Kent sat in the front row, soon never to see his wife in this earthly body anymore. How dare I bitch about my husband being just across the room? Get over yourself, Angela! And as luck would have it - enter Wendy's best friend with her daughter. Her husband was missing in action too. She asked if she could sit next to us and I said, "Yes, please!" Her daughter had been a welcome distraction in the moments leading up to the service as quite often when I hear a song that had been played at my dad's funeral I lose it, however this time I'd made it tear free. Thank you, you gorgeous little doll baby, who worked so diligently at finding a spot upon her mom's lap that she'd be allowed to keep. Adorable!

The third row is where we watched from. I listened intently to each of the two pastors that spoke. Both message were very well put. I think Wendy would be ecstatic. The younger of the them even made a few joking mistakes allowing for a kind correction as to the facts from Wendy's son, which in turn caused the crowd to erupt in laughter. Besides the quoting of Facebook posts, and the mention of using Skype for Wendy to take part in church more often - the Winston Churchill reference stuck with me the most. There had been several good Bible verses mentioned but those had been somewhat expected. "Never give up." was the quote I'm smitten with.

The pastor, having addressed her children by name, several times throughout the message, did so yet again after giving a bit of background on Mr. Churchill. He said, "******. ******. You must know that your Mom NEVER gave up. NEVER." He continued, "What she did was LOOK UP and MOVE ON." Can I get an Amen? Amen! My dried up well, found a reserve. Keep it together, Angela. Another song. Happy thoughts. And it's time for dismissal. Row after row filed past Wendy and then to Kent and crew in the front row. Would I be able to do this? I was going to try. Maybe it'd be smart to just forgo the bending and hugging part of it. I'd play it by ear. God would give me strength. My turn. And I made it. Kent, bless his soul, even stood so I wouldn't have to risk bending. Next stop, a bend to hug a now standing little man. I told him I was very proud of him. And told him he'd have to come over soon as we were getting close to having our pool up. He said he would. Cool. And thank God I got back up from that position. The daughter, hopefully understanding of my situation got her upper arm rubbed, a smile, and an "I love you."

And then to the graveyard. Phooey! We didn't get to cruise by Dad. Worse yet I parked in the shade near the pond and Wendy was to be buried, nearer the top of the hill. Yikes, for real this time! Cane in hand. Right leg refusing to cooperate. Sun beating down. Dang. I went as far along the grass as I could at the foot of the hill as my husband completed his duty as pallbearer. (OK, so it's more of an incline than a hill - I know - there's a hill at the New Harmony cemetery - but still - whatever!) And Jason to the rescue. He descends the hill to get me. And God bless them, somehow or another there was an open chair under the tent out of the sun with the family just for me. Wow. And just as I sat, the pastor began to speak. How sweet was that? And I got a rose given to me from the casket spray. Blessed, I tell. Absolutely blessed. Now if I can make it back to the truck w/out falling I'll be home free. And I did. [insert exhaling a huge breath of relief here]

Next stop, Wendy's church for a meal. We almost didn't go, but I'm sure glad we did. It was delicious. And there was so much. I see many leftovers in Kent's future. Wonder if he'll need any help with those? Prolly not, but I'd offer for sure. Thank you General Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon. You did an awesome job and seem like a great church family. May God continue to bless and keep you.

And then we went home. [insert super mega huge sigh of relief here] And a nap? No? Jason off to work I tried a nap and failed. Too much to reflect upon I suppose. I'd hoped to be nearly comatose by the time Jason returned with the boys. No biggie. I got there soon after their arrival and slept great. I woke up in the same spot I'd gone down in. Complete, uninterrupted restful sleep. Praise God! I sure needed it.

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