Tuesday, April 23, 2024

April 23--All Over the Place

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.  --Buddha

And today's Notes from the Universe by Mike Dooley:

Adversity, challenges, and bumps in the road, Leta, are often the first signs that a great healing has begun.

Thinking of you,
The Universe


    I'm safely back home in the Land of Oz. I am not at peace. Just when I felt like I was making progress on my lengthy depression, I feel like I'm back at square one. I miss my brother something awful, and I was hoping to have more time with him. (Though I am happy that he is at peace.) I don't feel like doing anything, and I have a lot on my schedule. When I am feeling so overwhelmed like this, I know I need to focus on the single, one, only next thing in front of me, not the whole to-do list. If this is all leading into "a great healing," I'll take it!
    Knowing humor helps me, I offer this comically sad commentary on the dumbing-down of America: the apparent need for instructions on the toothpaste tube:

    Are there instructions on packages of toilet paper!?!?!!! 
    Stick a fork in me, 

Monday, April 22, 2024

April 22--The Memorial and the Aftermath

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.   --Mother Teresa

    Being around friends and family for a memorial service is a great reminder that we belong to each other. Even if we don't see each other all that often, there is loads of history and love there connecting us. 
    My brother's memorial started with a three-shot military salute (which is considered "21-gun"), and the presentation of the U.S. flag to Arlie's eldest son. Arlie's three kids offered me the flag, an overwhelming gesture of love, but I wanted it to go to someone who will likely be around longer than me. It is tradition to give it to the eldest son. Then they played Taps, which completely did me in. 
    My niece had a bunch of us in the family write a couple sentences about fond memories of Arlie, and his grandson Nick held it together enough to read them during the memorial. The minister spoke briefly (that's a good thing). I would guess that between the visitation time and the service that nearly 100 folks passed through. I'd bet that nearly half those who showed up were Arlie's AA buddies. It was a fitting celebration, even though it barely touched on Arlie's amazing life. 
    So now it has hit me... since I'm the last one living from my family of birth, I'm the next one to pass. I am fully aware that this is logically a big "DUH!" But for someone who is having a hard time with aging, especially having just witnessed my brother's dreadful decline, this idea is quite troubling. 
    Arlie has always been the main reason I went back east to visit. He was my bro that I love and wanted to always stay in touch with. We talked often. Will I still feel the same draw back east? Certainly my niece (Arlie's daughter) and I are very close, and we will continue to meet up for fun. I must remember the quote above: we belong to each other.
    I'm just feeling very melancholy right now. Getting back home (final leg today) will help. 
    The processing shall continue...

    In honor of Earth Day, I offer this Native American proverb:
Treat the Earth well: It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

April 21--On the Move

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day.  --Ralph Waldo Emerson

    This is a great quote for the day after the memorial service for my brother. We are up early to get on the road home. I'll write about the service and celebration later. 
    We had clear weather and an easy trip today to Wentzville, where we are staying with my husband's parents. It was quite nice to split the nearly 600-mile drive with my husband. I listened to the Cubs game, one of my favorite things to do, but alas, they lost. 
    So much drive time leaves one open to considerable contemplation. I'm beginning to realize that Arlie's passing has way more ramifications for me than I could have imagined. That's tomorrow's topic. 
    Thanks for being patient with me.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

April 20--Joyful Reunion

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.  --Ursula K. LeGuin

    The family is reunited in Ohio, at least part of it--Arlie and Sue's descendants, and several others on Sue's side, plus my husband and me ("Queen of the Miller Clan"). Though our reason for being together is the sorrow of losing Arlie, the reunion has been quite joyous. There is ongoing laughter, dog romping, photo-sharing, and reminiscing. As expected with this group, a card game capped off the evening. 
    Arlie had a glorious life journey and today we celebrate that. 
    More tears and laughter forthcoming,

Sue and Arlie at the beach ❤

Friday, April 19, 2024

April 19--The Silence of the Heart(Ache)

The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. That's where you need to go.  --Elizabeth Gilbert

    Whether I wanted to or not, I have spent much time this past week in the silence of my heart(ache). I know my brother is in glorious bliss and peace, and I'm trying to hold that feeling, but alas, sadness takes over sometimes. Just like with my mom and dad, I'll pick up the phone and call Arlie before I realize that current technology won't do the job anymore. 
    Today we will arrive in Ohio for Arlie's memorial service on Saturday. My niece's tennis group is funding supper for the crew from a nearby Chipotle restaurant. What a kind, wonderful and supportive idea! I have brought along a man-size handkerchief for the service, and I have no doubt that I will soak it. I am grateful that no one asked me to speak, because I wouldn't get two words out before completely losing it. 
    It is a much-easier drive to Ohio with two drivers and a happy pup.

Barney would like to drive...

Thursday, April 18, 2024

April 18--Releasing the Resentments

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.  --Buddha

    I am eternally grateful to the 12-Step programs for bringing the awareness of resentment to my consciousness. Being free of resentful thoughts is an ongoing practice for me. 
    Resentment and blaming (R&B) go hand-in-hand, and I feel like I have been indulging in too much of those behaviors recently. They hand our power away to whomever we are resenting or blaming. It's letting those folks "live in our heads rent free." That only exacerbates the R&B cycle. 
    I had an experience yesterday wherein an older woman had brought her mother to the dentist where I was having a filling done. The mother was apparently nearly deaf, because the daughter and hygienist kept yelling at her. This is a repeat of the behavior that was ongoing with my brother, who was hit-and-miss about wearing his hearing aids. If you have hearing loss, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! It is exhausting and unfair for those around you to have to yell because of your hearing deficiencies. 
    OK, I'm stepping down off my soapbox.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

April 17--How About Both?

Either peace or happiness, let it enfold you.  --Charles Bukowski

    Grief, losing a close family member, most definitely messes with one's peace or happiness. I can't say that I'm peaceful. I'm distracted, and there's a level of stress involved with that, as my usual ability to multi-task is currently failing me. I can't label myself as happy, though unhappy doesn't really apply. My brother has infinite peace and happiness now, and that is worthy of celebration. 
    Soon I will be attending Arlie's memorial service. There will be loads of family and friends there, some of whom I haven't seen in a while. Despite the tears, the whole shebang is based in love for this wonderful man. May I remember to let both peace and happiness enfold me and all who join me. 

From last October's trip to England