Two Years Later

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Two years ago on July 3rd, sometime around 6:00 in the evening, The Scout was climbing a tree when some branches broke. He fell twenty-three feet to the ground, landing on his back.

He was alone.

He got up and after several attempts, managed to walk home, grab an ice pack and lay down on the sofa.  He was rather stoic but clearly in pain.  The Barefooter went back to the site of the accident and retrieved his glasses for him.

The CT scans have been clear (no bleeding) and visits with neurology and physical therapy have made very little difference. He has seen an osteopath. He has a new neurologist.

Eagle Scout

The Scout graduated from high school last month, miraculously earning A’s and B’s from the few classes he could manage. We are grateful for his 504 Accommodation and the support and understanding from the school staff, teachers and counselor.  Graduation and finally earning his Eagle Scout rank have been highlights of the past year.

This young man does not give up. He does not complain. He would rather be busy and doing something rather than sitting around waiting to feel better. He persisted in looking for a part-time job and spent the last weeks of high school doing both school and work.

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This young man wrote a short story for my Mother’s Day gift this year.  With one of his first paychecks, he purchased a nice steak as a Father’s Day gift.  This is who he is. Even without these gifts, we are so grateful to have our son with us.  He’ll be turning 19 years old in a few short weeks.
We keep hoping and praying for positive change and full recovery.

 

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No longer an only child

Little Foot became a big brother on Tuesday morning.

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We’re all in love with this new little guy.

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He’s already changed in the two days since I met him. We will need to plan a visit soon. ❤

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Tomorrow

First birthday, A July 2000

This sweet boy, my youngest son, is graduating on Saturday afternoon.

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That’s tomorrow… just hours away, really.

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I’m a little verklempt tonight.

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Friends from Virginia and Western WA will recognize him from his grade school years (and also my friend Gary  on whose wheel he is throwing a pot).

 

I blinked and my baby grew up into a handsome young man of whom I am very proud.

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Happy Graduation Day to The Scout, a.k.a, SnakeMaster!

We still cling to hope.

It’s prom season.
In fact, tonight is prom for my youngest son’s high school.
He’s not going.
He’s not into loud crowds or loud music or pop culture, but none of his brothers have been either, and two out of three of them did attend prom.  I don’t know if he would have gone had he not fallen out of that tree.

It’s also the season for announcements of which university the high school graduates are heading off to in the fall.  I’ve seen multiple pictures of my friends’ high school seniors proudly holding their acceptance letters and wearing their new college t-shirts. I get a little jealous pang but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy for them. I truly am pleased for the parents and the students.
My youngest son will graduate (thanks to his IEP and his hard work) and he plans to attend the local community college in September. We are still hoping that by the time he has two years of CC under his belt, he will be recovered enough to go on to a full university.  But there are no promises. I know it, his dad knows it, and I’m pretty sure he knows it.

We still cling to hope.

I have to keep reminding myself that we are so very lucky to have him as whole as he is, despite the constant headache and the times his brain refuses to function properly for him.
Dear God, I am grateful.
At the same time, though, I sometimes grieve for what he has lost.

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What day is it again?

I can’t keep track of the days. “Black Friday” starts earlier each year, gearing up with sales on Wednesday or even Monday prior to Thanksgiving Day here in the United States.  I didn’t have time to shop since I had meetings and work to do on Monday, then work again on Tuesday and Wednesday. I did get to stay home Wednesday morning to do a little meal preparation; pies were baked on Wednesday night. Thursday our holiday guests arrived and we were firmly at home.

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“And a quiet old lady whispering ‘Hush.’

I had thought we’d be standing in line at the big craft and fabric store early Friday morning — and for my beloved daughter-in-law and 70% off fleece and flannel, I would do such a crazy thing — but thankfully that was not on the ultimate agenda. Instead, we slept in, relaxed and then began “Small Business Saturday” one day early by shopping for a new-to-her Pfaff sewing machine in an older shopping neighborhood.  The rest of the day we spent resting, eating leftovers (hello, we had 7 pies plus a cranberry-rhubarb-apple crisp and a fruitcake from Costco), playing card games, and of course spending time with Little Foot. Goodnight Moon has been read countless times over the past few days to my delight.

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Starting the day out right

We’ll enjoy “Small Business Saturday” at a slow pace, with fair trade coffee grown by small farmers, brewed at home and served in glazed ceramic cups from Gary Rith Pottery.  I might make a trip to one of two local shopping neighborhoods.  The little family will pack up and head home, and once the toys and high chair are put away, laundry started, and some general decluttering done, it will be time to contemplate decorating and Christmas gifts. After all, “Cyber Monday” and #GivingTuesday are coming up next, and Christmas is [less than] a month away.

 

Growing Up

DSCN3483 (2)Last weekend the oldest parts of our church building celebrated 100 years as a place of worship. (The side in which I work was built in 1926, but the sanctuary was built in 1917 after the original church building from 1888 was destroyed by fire.)  With such a celebration happening, it was a treat to have The Engineer, The Author, and Little Foot come for a visit.  All that wasn’t the reason they came for a visit, but the timing was lovely.

It had been a month since we had seen them. Little Foot is growing up so fast, and if it’s possible (I think it is), he is getting cuter every month. The second anniversary of his birth will be in just a few more weeks. This boy melts my heart.  That bear is nearly as big as he is and it is his favorite toy. He talks to Bear and gives Bear turns playing with other toys. It’s really sweet to see.

Boxes make the best toys

The box with the coffee order for work arrived at the perfect time to be a toy for the weekend.

 

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Look! No Christmas decorations on the mantel — it’s a miracle! (Don’t worry, they’ll return.)

This evening SuperDad and I watched Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand in “The Way We Were” and then clicked on the director’s commentary. Not only does the film make more sense when you see the parts that were left on the cutting floor, but watching it allowed us to hear more of that haunting music and Barbra’s incredible voice. It’s such a story of choices. In a strange comparison of sorts, my 18-year-old baby boy is off camping by himself in the snow several hours away. He drove himself there after school in his truck, sent me a text from the nearest town and told us not to worry prior to Monday night.  He only plans to be gone two nights — there is school on Monday — but if his post-concussion syndrome (headache, lack of ability to focus) is bothering him, he wouldn’t be able to drive and would wait to come home.

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One of The Scout‘s senior pictures, taken on a day he wasn’t feeling well.

Not worry? Me? Hahahahaha… Um, no — I’ll be worrying if we haven’t heard from him by sundown on Sunday, preferably by seeing him in person at home. He’s solo hiking and snow-camping in the wilderness without cell phone reception. But what do you do? He’s a legal adult and a very responsible kid person. Still… he’ll always be my baby.
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Seeing Rainbows

Life isn’t sacred.

Life is precious and wonderful. It can be tedious or exciting. Life, as Glennon Melton Doyle says, is brutal and beautiful… brutiful. But life isn’t sacred. Sacred means holy, set aside, reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object.  I’m not saying that life can’t be those things, but general everyday life doesn’t qualify as sacred. However, there are moments in one’s life that are sacred. Birth, when a baby takes its first breath, causes those present to catch and hold their own breaths, waiting for that first cry as air fills the infant’s lungs. Death is also one of those sacred moments; being present as someone takes a final breath is a holy experience and a sacred honor – one which I count myself blessed to have witnessed.

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My husband and I discussed some of this a few weeks ago as he prepared to undergo an angiogram. We were filling out paperwork for his Advance Directive in the event things went horribly wrong. He didn’t want to have life indefinitely prolonged via medical support if there was no hope of recovery. We did the hard work of discussing how long I should wait for him to come out of a coma or allow him to be on life support, should those things be in our immediate future.

We experienced sacred moments yesterday. It was a beautiful morning: the smoke was finally clearing from our skies. I wanted to visit friends who were camping in a lovely Riverside spot before they left to journey home, so SuperDad and Moses and I drove the short distance to the state park. I walked the first half-mile with them, smiling at how happy our dog was to be sniffing everything. We parted on the bridge; man and beast continued on their favorite hike together while I returned to where my friends were camped. About 30 minutes later, when I was expecting their return to us, SD called to say the dog was having trouble breathing (this was not terribly uncommon and usually righted itself within minutes) so they were resting before moving on. Ten minutes later, a second call let me know that Moses wasn’t recovering well at all, and could I get a cart to meet them? My friend J and I asked the camp host if there was a cart available but she did not have one, so we drove to my house for our folding wagon, quickly returning to the park with it.  We met SD and the dog on the trail: Moses had slipped into a coma. We gently moved him to a blanket and lifted him into the cart. The trail back was rocky and uneven, and the decision was made for SD to go retrieve the car while J and I walked with the wagon along a smoother path until we could all meet up. At a stopping point in the shade, J reached down and pet the dog; she noted that his heart was beating quickly. By the time I reached down to feel his chest, Moses’ heart had stopped. There was no trauma, no misery – just a quiet ending. He was having a joy-filled morning, walking on one of his favorite paths in the woods until with a final wag of his tail, he laid down to rest. SuperDad was there to give him water and keep him company. When Moses took his final breath, he had a loving hand placed comfortingly on him.

Death is sacred, and in those important, holy moments of yesterday, there were people to bear witness to it. Aside from the fact that he was a 14-year-old Labrador retriever – that makes him the human equivalent of 98 years of age, so clearly his time had come – I think that is why I am so at peace with his passing: he was ushered out of this life with loving hands. Moses now at the proverbial Rainbow Bridge, where he is free to sniff whatever he wants to his heart’s content. We weren’t his first family, so if the legend is true Moses will have at least two joyous reunions in the future. There are some wonderful dogs I know of who went before him, and I imagine there is quite the dog party happening now.

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