Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Final Months of a Beautiful Life

This week I am in New Jersey helping to care for my dying grandfather, a man we call Bumpy. Bumpy has always been the pinnacle of strength in our family, a man we all look up to and ask for advice on how to navigate life. Growing up Bumpy taught me many important lessons, including how to correctly tie a bow tie (always a distinguished gentleman) and how NOT to put your elbows on the table during dinner. His steadfast and adoring love for my grandmother is still going strong, even as he is too weak to stand for more than a few minutes at a time.

In order to leave us all something to remember him (not that we won't have a plethora of memories) in the past month Bumpy published his own book of letters. This collection is a treasure trove of various letter he has written to friends and family members over the years, a true testament to who Bumpy is. We all received countless penned letters over the years, it was truly a gift of his. Bumpy had a way of writing letters that made the recipient feel incredibly lucky to have such an interested correspondent.

Watching my grandfather come to the end of his life has been an enlightening time for me. Our family is incredibly lucky, and to die in your own home, with your wife of 65 years by your side, surrounding by all of your loved ones and with all of your faculties intact, is an enormous gift. It really is beautiful, may we all be so lucky.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Daily Fear of Sending Your Kids to School

I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to blog about today. It's been a while, I don't have a computer so it's hard to find the time. I have a lot on my mind, but mostly I am weighed down with the heaviness of what our country is going through, day after day, week after week, with the amount of gun violence in the USA. As a mother of school-aged children, I don't feel safe sending my kids to school, or really anyplace else right now. Kids are getting shot and killed in the place that was designed to help them grow and learn, and NOBODY IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Children in this country have literally been dying for years and we are so tremendously damaged as a society that we actually have stopped noticing when this happens.

It is terrifying to parent like this. I would give anything to pack up my family and move us to a country with gun control laws, but at the same time that seems so impossible to orchestrate and carry out. What do we do as parents? What can the mothers do? We have to stop this insanity and we have to make people listen. I feel powerless and it is consuming me and every one of us.

In our own  personal lives Jon and I continue to slog through each day with its individual rewards and challenges that come with managing the blended family. So many needs on a daily basis, and it often feels like none of them are going to be alright, but I hope I'm wrong about that. I feel like 85% of my life is just keeping them alive and the rest is a crap shoot. It's hard to find the joy in that idea, but somehow we must keep on trucking and hope we don't get in the way of somebody's misplaced rage.

We need help as a society, help beyond help beyond help, and so far there is not even a glimmer that anyone with any power at all gives a shit about any of us. If someone has a tactical solution for how we can effect some positive change, I am all ears and on board to fight this shit.