MY DAY: My new normal in one month…

New Normal definition: What replaces the expected, usual, typical state after an event occurs. The new normal encourages one to deal with current situations rather than …

It’s now been one month since Mother’s funeral and this new normal is slugging along.

The grief is one thing.

I get it.

The new normal, however, is a category completely separate and oft times puzzling and frustrating. Grief often has familiar patterns; a new normal has no patterns and some days feels as though I’m walking blindfolded on a tightrope carrying two 5-gallon buckets filled with wet peat rocks, and holding a bowling ball beneath my chin.

As Mother entered her final journey, I wrote about my experience watching a parent transition. I wrote these entries to keep our family and friends informed, and to address my participation in her journey.

in mid July, I began receiving messages from individuals who expressed their appreciation for me being able to express my emotions and thoughts as it assisted them in either their future journeys with their own parents, or shed some light on what they experienced. As of this week, the count is now over one hundred messages.

I was fortunate to spend 55 years with Mother. The end of September, I will begin my 56th journey around the sun. This new normal will commence with the procession of important dates and holidays that we shared.

I still find myself searching for Mother’s “likes” and comments on my posts. There are things my dogs will do and I think, “Oh, I need to tell Mother what Erma did with…” This is quite normal for those who have lost loved ones.

Now, it’s my new normal.

So be it.

This is all a part of life’s process. I will gradually embrace it, pieces at a time. I will figure out how to proceed with life, knowing that Mother is still near. I’ve always believed our loved ones never truly leave us.

I am tremendously grateful for my students who keep me laughing, keep me focused, and keep me seeing the pieces of this new chapter falling into place. Bless you!

I was raised to “make it a great day.” And so I shall.


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MY DAY: Football, traffic, teaching

I’m sitting on my front steps waiting for my DoorDash delivery from Frisch’s and the traffic on Shroyer Road is non-stop.

It’s one of the biggest nights in Kettering: the much anticipated Kettering vs Alter football game. The community goes all out for this first seasonal game that sparks much anticipated rivalry.

I can easily hear the stadium announcer and Fairmont’s marching band from my front porch.

Earlier, three students from Alter stopped by before heading to the game. They asked if they could park in my drive since all the high school lots and surrounding neighborhood are completely packed with cars.

This was another fantastic week of teaching and I’m proud of all the effort from students.

Alter’s play, 26 PEBBLES, is filled with a number of my students. Centerville HS’s cast lists for CACTUS FLOWER and FIRST DATE will be posted tomorrow; all my students made callbacks and are chomping at the bit. My sophomore from Beavercreek was cast as a lead in an original play.

The studio is off to another great season.

Tomorrow will include yard work for the holiday weekend and the start of our Holiday at Home festivities.

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MY DAY: Sumner winding down

I love the energy of school resuming, especially with marching band; however, this is my least favorite time of year: the end of summer.

While we officially still have several more weeks of summer, this weekend reins in the season. It’s Holiday At Home Festival time, here in Kettering, and the last hurrah for barbecues, swimming pools, and other familiar seasonal past-times.

This has been a non-summer for me. I’ve not been in a summery mood since Mother’s illness began unfolding rapidly in June. It feels as though I slept all day and missed out on an entire day of beautiful weather and opportunities for exploring. It feels like the emptiness on a Sunday evening.

Still, I’m in no way regretful I’ve missed summer as I spent it the best way I could, being with Mother as much as possible the last few months. I would never think of trading those moments for anything else.

I’m sitting on my front porch waiting for my pizza delivery at 10:45 PM. The night is cool and the air fragrant with a sweet scent I cannot identify.

Weeds have taken command, and the haggard plant appearance that oft accompanies summer’s end is ruling my front yard.

It’s almost time to post a video of “September Song,” a favorite of Mr. Logan’s, and an annual tradition for his granddaughter, Kate Harrigan and me.

Here’s to the end of August.

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MY DAY: Thank you…

My personalized thank you cards will arrive next week.

In the mean time, I wanted to be certain each and every individual who contributed something to my life, these past several weeks, understands how much your thoughtfulness meant.

From “hearts” or praying hand icons on social media, the loving tributes to Mother on social media, the numerous cards, emails, text messages, thoughtful gestures and gifts, friends driving several hours for the visitation and funeral, all the family and friends who visited Mother at Pleasant View Lodge, those who participated in the Life Celebration, Pleasant View Lodge, the Dunnichay Funeral Hone family, Linda Kane and the Pizza King crew, and the countless hugs… oh, I treasure each of the hugs these past several weeks.

My sister, Dena, was the perfect power of attorney, making so many strenuous decisions and advocating so beautifully on Mother’s behalf. Sis was the consummate juggler of Mother’s affairs, running her home and family, and starting a new business throughout Mother’s illness and passing, and I am so grateful for each and every effort on her part. She was magnificent.

Words cannot express my heart’s ever deepening affection and gratitude for the countless kindnesses shown me during the weeks of Mother’s illness and her eventual passing.

Know you are loved…

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MY DAY: In my old swing

It’s mid August, and this is my first visit to Riverscape where I’ve climbed into my favorite swing over looking the Great Miami River.

I spent some time near the river scape pavilion, listening to the swing band and watching some of the couples dancing.

I’ve missed my familiar perch above the river, the gorgeous sunsets, and the breeze blowing off the water’s surface. Tonight could not have been a more perfect night.

One of the reasons for grabbing this swing, the past two years, was to write Mother who was in her first nursing home. I wrote her about the weather, the colors of the sunsets, and about my day.

I don’t feel sad.

Just tired on all levels of mind, body and emotions.

Having this week free from teaching has allowed me to rest, enjoy reading through the many generous comments about Mother on social media, and continually recognizing how blessed I was for 54 years.

And, what is more… I still am.

And it was a pretty pink sunset, tonight… a shade of pink Mother would have loved.

Know you are loved…

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MY DAY: Turning the page…

The first major sign defining Mother’s passing is not seeing her daily Facebook “likes” for my posts, a commentary on a post, and always followed by “I love you” or “Love you.”

It’s almost surreal realizing she’s no longer here. I’ve found myself, these past several days, thinking, “I should tell Mother this…” or “Mother would love this story about… [one of the dogs or students she was always asking about].

The page was turned and now I seem to be staring at a blank page. I know the blankness is temporary and it’s only requiring me to lift my pen, but the weight of the pen, for now, is extraordinarily heavy.

I returned from Indiana, late Friday evening, and spent the large part of Saturday in bed, only rising to tend to the dogs, eat or use the bathroom. Sunday, I taught six lessons and a few on Monday. It was a haze.

The alone-time, since greeting so many on Friday, is rewarding. Even speaking with a waitress was exhausting, yesterday.

Fortunately, I had already scheduled Tuesday through Saturday to not teach. While the timing of this break was perfect, I’ve not achieved any sort of accomplishments.

The one good thing is that I’ve finally achieved “deck time.” It’s been either too hot or raining. My dog sitters have used it far more times than I have.

The sun is setting on this Wednesday. It’s 8:04 PM and I’m exhausted from exhaustion.

This, too, shall pass.

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MY DAY: It’s still Monday

It’s still Monday.

I’m passing through the Oregon District where the mass shooting occurred early Sunday morning.

Television news crews line a section of the street across from where the shootings occurred.

A gathering of folks surround a makeshift memorial for those who died. Tears are still freely flowing.

I’m heading to my regular Chinese buffet haunt just a few hundred feet from the Oregon District, where I will eat and work on Mother’s funeral service.

It’s still Monday, August 5, 2019. Just over 24 hours ago nine people lay dead and 25+ others injured. It’s so damned surreal.

Dayton is now a familiar name in the national news and headlines.

It’s still Monday, August 5, 2019. Just about 16 hours ago, Mother slipped away from this world. It feels like it’s already been days ago.

I have brain fatigue. Emotions are rather dried up for the moment.

It’s still Monday.

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