Come Back To Me

Cradle Catholic, Cafeteria Catholic, devout Catholic, Roman Catholic, and for those who want to do the very minimum, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.  At one time or another I have been all of the above.

I won’t go into the scandalous cover-up orchestrated by the Vatican.  I will say that the pedophile priests make me sick to my stomach and my heart aches for all of the abused.  All of it being done in the name of God.  There are a lot of Catholics who have abandoned the Church because of this, and I understand and have nearly done so.  What I am trying to explain is why I have decided to stay in the Church.

Because I am a Cradle Catholic it is all I know, it is home. After having been away for the last three years, I started going again sporadically. One Sunday in November I went to St. Ambrose in Parchment, my home parish, and felt a real peace there. Walking down the same aisle I walked to marry my Husband Sam, that my Son walked to receive his First Communion and Confirmation, and the pews I sat in with my family for so many years. My Mom and Dad and Sam. The choir did an exceptional job that day and it moved me. I seemed to hear in my mind the hymn “Hosea”. https://youtu.be/i1ntir3qgdY

When Mass was over, I went over to our choir director and told her I wanted to come back to choir and sing and she welcomed me back with open arms as did the rest of my choir family. I was home. It was a small miracle, The Lord touched my heart and lead me back to where I belonged. I am singing at 11:15 Mass and love it. I know God loves all of us, all we have to do is believe and try to be a better person. We will fall and he will pick us up, it doesn’t matter where or if we attend a certain church, as long as we are trying, he knows and will answer our prayers and give us the strength we need to get through this life.

Bottom line is I am a different person since all this happened, I love my life and look forward to making a difference with everyday I am given.

Braving My Wilderness

I just finished reading “Braving The Wilderness” by Bren’e Brown.   Her book speaks to the Wilderness as  the state of Civility in America  after the 2016 Presidential election.  But that’s another blog post.

My Wilderness is being a widow.   New territory in my life as of 6 years ago.   Bona-fide member of “The Dead Husband Club”.  It probably sounds crass, but it is the ugly truth.  It is my reality.  For the better part of a decade I have been stumbling around, trying to make my way through a terrain that is both rough and lonely.  No one really understands what it is like until you have gone through it.  I take this a step further by saying that it is unique to the women, the widows that find themselves without their mate.   Why? you may ask..don’t men find themselves in the same situation?  Here is the bitter truth.  Not much has changed in the last 50 years in regards to men being the determinate in who they go out with.  If (God forbid) a woman makes the first move, it is viewed by them as being too forward..that is if the woman is of a certain age.  You see when a man has white hair they are distinguished, women not so much…younger women are attracted to older men and visa verse so there goes my dating pool. POOF.  That and the fact that women outnumber men.   When I go out, and this is true with most of us, the first thing we do is look at his ring finger.  Not always telling, but a good start.  Another rub is that it seems everyone is coupled up.  I go on vacation, couples; church, couples; bars, couples; paired up people everywhere.  But I digress.

It’s difficult to put yourself out there.  I’m not a loner but I need to start frequenting Singles events.  Oh yeah, for older singles.  That and taking the opportunity to be with  some of my single girlfriends close to my age.  Please don’t get me wrong, not looking for a husband, just a companion.  I don’t mind my own company, but come on, a little bit goes a long way….When people ask me if there is anything they can get me, I want to quit answering “yeah, a man”.

 

thinking woman in white jacket and white scoop neck shirt blue denim jeans sitting on brown wooden bench beside green trees during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

For the past two years I have spent part of the winter in Florida.  I found a pet friendly rental in Madeira Beach and drove down with my Golden Retriever Honey and a friend to help me drive.  Last year went without a hitch, except said friend forgot her drivers license.  This year not so much, and it seemed that last week in Florida is when it all started. 

The Sunday before we were to head back to Michigan, I experienced what I thought might be severe gas, or a heart attack (pick one)….After two hours of waiting for it to go away, I relented and went to the ER.  They first had to make sure it wasn’t my heart (EKG, Blood work, and oh,  a Nitro pill under my tongue just for good measure.  (Thanks for the giant headache)  Well as you might have guessed, yup, my Gall Bladder.  Emergency Surgery on Monday, released Tuesday afternoon, left for Michigan Wednesday morning.  In hindsight that was asking a lot of my body not to mention my mind.  We made it to Atlanta that night and found a pet-friendly place to stay.  Score one for us.  I won’t get into the “add a quart of oil immediately” light that came on just as we were going by the airport in ATL.  Rough night trying to sleep, hurt to lay down, or move or get up.  But I made it and was ready to roll out of Atlanta about 10:30am.

It was a beautiful morning when we left, but there was rain in the forecast.  We figured we would be home around 10:30 that night.  Just on the other side of Chattanooga it started to rain and when I say rain, I mean cats and dogs, pitchforks and hammer handles.  I mentioned to Kathy that we had the same exact weather in the same exact place last year on our way home.  She concurred.  We continued through the mountains and it continued to pour to the point you couldn’t see, but were afraid to stop, fearing  we’d get hit, so we kept going hoping it would let up.  Well it finally let up just short of Nashville. ( I’m telling this story for a reason.)  The pavement was very wet, cars were stopping and going stopping and going.  A recipe for disaster.  Bingo!  That’s right, rear ended…and guess what?  It was raining again.  I get out of the car (ouch) go back and look at my car, no real damage, talked with  the young lady, who’s Dad was her insurance agent, traded information and called my agent.  Much to my dismay, because it happened out of state she wanted a Police report.  Really?  Was she kidding?  Nope.  Called them, sat in car for an hour + police came, out of the car (ouch) had to move my car to another location where we weren’t tying up traffic, they gave her a ticket and me my police report and we lost almost two hour 

And we are back on the road, and it is still raining.  But we are out of Tennessee, “whew”.  As we go through Kentucky it is still raining and the traffic is quite heavy.  Did I mention it was still raining?    Driving along with the rest of the traffic, I was on the outside lane and came up over a knoll and guess what?  Yup, cop in the median.  I looked down at my speed and the cruise was set on 78mph so I backed it down to 76 and remained calm.  I checked my rear view mirror and the lights were on and he was on the road.  “What are the odds, Kath?”  I asked.  Well apparently pretty damn good, cuz before I knew it I was pulled over  and I gave him my license and registration and he told me he clocked me going 94 mph..Kathy and I had to pick our chins up off the floor.  I said he had to be mistaken, this car has never gone that fast, it wouldn’t know what to do at that speed.  Then he told me he doesn’t just pull people over for no reason and by the way was this my car?  I told him it was and didn’t he notice that the license and registration match?  I really wanted to argue that I wasn’t going that fast, and by the way didn’t he notice that my last speeding ticket was when I was 21?  46 years prior, evidently he didn’t.  So he took what seemed like an eternity to write me up and return to the car.  I knew I couldn’t argue, I wouldn’t look good in an orange jumpsuit and I wasn’t going to fight it because I sure as hell wasn’t going back down to that God-forsaken state again.  I was officially defeated.  It was a perfect trifecta, emergency surgery, rear ended, and speeding ticket for 24 over.  If that isn’t a message from God himself, I don’t know what is.  We made it home about 1:00 am, I am still licking my wounds and as God is my witness, I will never drive from Michigan to Florida and back again, EVER.

 

 

 

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When I Am An Old Woman…..

Some timweekend-of-dec-2-2011-005e ago (it seems like a life time) I was given a collection of poems and short stories entitled “When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple”.  It was close to my 50th birthday, when my dear friend Janine presented it to me.   I read it and  tears came to my eyes thinking of my Mother and how as time went by the signs of age were taking their toll on her.

October 1st it was time to say goodbye to my sweet friend Janine.  After a battle with cancer, as is so often the case, she lost.  We met 20 years ago when we were both selling real estate and worked in the same office on Centre St. in Portage.  We hit it off right away because we made each other laugh over silly things (practically everything that came out of our mouths).  We “got” each other.  To say we were friends is a vast understatement.  We were cheerleaders, confidants, comedians for one another.  We laughed and cried, shopped, decorated, drank vodka tonics.  If her husband Andy was home she would tell him to make me one of his famous Bloody Marys.  I shared EVERYTHING with her and she NEVER  judged, she understood.  On one of our shopping trips we were in Steketee’s  and saw a contemporary rooster she loved, I went back and bought it for her.  It moved from house to house with her, (we were a lot alike in that respect), until she decided I should have it,  not too long ago.  It sits quietly on my kitchen cupboard and brings back memories of our time together.

I still have that book and I took it out to leaf through one more time.  When I was 50 it was fun reading through and imagining  what we would be like when we were old.  It’s the optimist in all of us.    Janine I will miss you every day.  We never got the chance to grow old together.  You are my forever friend..

THE ORPHAN

                                                                            There’s no umbrella now                                                                                                                                 to separate you                                                                                                                                                    from eternity.

                                                                           Meanwhile an army                                                                                                                                           marches behind you                                                                                                                                           in the rain.

                                                                           Your friends are dead                                                                                                                                         or dying.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 You’re a survivor                                                                                                                                                 with all the loneliness                                                                                                                                       of  survivorship.*

*Excerpt from “When I am an Old Woman I shall Wear Purple”

The Reason I Breathe

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It’s about 6:00 am on what looks to be another gorgeous day in southwest lower Michigan and I am doing my usual routine.  Take the dog out, make coffee, and check the news to make sure the world hasn’t blown up while I was sleeping.

My life has changed in so many ways during the last five years.  The death of my husband of almost 30 years after a three year battle with cancer, the death of my sweet Waylon the Corgi dog  a year ago, who had been with us the last 13 years, and the death of my Mother this past November.  Not to mention two moves, from a home that I loved on Lake Allegan, Atlanta for six months and now I am  back in Kalamazoo, MI in a condo that I am trying to make my own.  There is a pattern to my itchy feet, it seems the longest I can stay anywhere is 24 months then I have to move on.  It’s true, it actually happens.

Trying to make the best of it, I find I am missing a very important part of life,  my immediate family.  Perhaps this is fueling my restlessness.  Most of my friends and family that are in the area still have their spouses, and their families  in the area.  I missed Christmas this year with my Son Andrew and my Grand Kids, due to an epic fail of a kitchen renovation at their house.  It was the first Christmas I missed with them EVER.

Let me also add that at my age, the only thing that is constant, is change.  Turns out we don’t live forever and as we get older, we lose our friends and family and pets  and must adjust to a new normal and quite frankly I am sick of it.  But that does not mean it will stop so in the meantime I want to be happy, healthy and enjoy the time I have left here.

Which brings me back to the blog title subject, my Family.  Moving back down to Atlanta seems appealing to me so that I could maybe have Sunday dinners for us or coffee with Andy on weekend mornings and get to know him a little better as a person, and that is when he opens up to me when we are together, over coffee at Starbucks.  The Grand Kids  are growing up and doing their own thing.  Addie is a sophomore in High School and accomplishing everything she tackles and Max is in his second year at Kennesaw State and thriving.  It would be nice if I was a little closer so I could get a hug every once in a while.  Maybe just figuring out how we could see each other more often, on a more regular basis would be an option.  I am also looking to live in a more moderate climate.  So win-win right?  Maybe for me, but…..

We learn to live without some things.  This is a tough one.

 

 

 

 

They Will Know We Are Christians?

 

If I re929eb-thumbnail-aspxmember the hymn correctly the rest of the chorus goes “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love and they’ll know we are Christians by our LOVE.

What the hell has happened to our country? (rhetorical question).  The divide between Black and White, Christian and Muslim, Democrats and Republicans, Liberal and Conservative, I could go on and on.  Have we become so rude and callous that there is no room in our hearts for humans that identify with something that we do not?  All I see is Hate.  Hate in the name of God..How screwy is that?  Very.  The Christian Conservatives want to rule the country according to the Bible, and the Progressives want to give the entire country free everything..a nice thought, but how?  There is nothing but gridlock in Washington.  Congress could not even agree to have a moment of silence for the victims of the nightclub shooting..

The point I really wanted to get across is that if we truly believe that we are Christians we will honor God’s  most important Commandment  (according to the bible) “Love one another as I have loved you.” (paraphrasing)  “Love your neighbor as yourself” etc. No one has all the answers, but even Pope Francis says “Who Am I to Judge?”

In my opinion, if our country keeps going in the same direction as the last eight years, we will have nothing but a big mess for future generations.  We need to quit hating for our differences and start loving for our sameness, members of the human race.

 

 

Where Are You Christmas?

119ef-christmaseve2008003“Where are you Christmas?”  ” Why can’t I find you?” goes the song.  In writing this I am not suggesting that I am the only person on earth feeling this way.  I am merely reflecting on how I feel this Christmas and the memories from Christmas’s past.

This picture of Mom was taken the Christmas that Sam surprised me by flying from Portland to Kalamazoo in a blizzard, via Lansing, after they tried to land in Kalamazoo 3 times, taking a bus to Kalamazoo, and finding cab at midnight to Parchment,  walking in halfway through Midnight Mass, like a scene from “Train, Planes and Automobiles”.  The man truly loved me.

Memories keep us going, memories unite us, memories keep loved ones alive in our hearts. But life moves on whether I like it or not, situations bring changes,  and when I start to feel like the changes are way too much for me, I take a Xanax and go lay down.  I call it coping.

This year may be the first Christmas I do not spend with my Son and Grand Kids.  A remodeling project has left their home in shambles and they aren’t even sure where they will celebrate.  No ones fault, just circumstances.  We will get together to celebrate, whether it is December 25th or July 4th.  It doesn’t matter,  they are healthy and happy and that’s gift enough for me.

I will miss helping my Mom put up her Christmas Tree, the smells of candy being made in her kitchen, singing with her in the choir, and just knowing she was there if I needed her.  With Mom not here now my parents are gone and with the loss of Sam,  well he was always there…One thing about change, it is consistent.

And what about the weather?  Last warm one like this is 1987 when Sam rode his new Harley Soft Tail home from Perry’s on Christmas Eve.  Memories…….