In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: relationships Page 1 of 7

We are Married!

Julie and Rick stand before the officiant.
Photo by Taylor Campbell.

So when I was a kid…

When I was a kid, I was told many times to turn down the music. Even when I had speaker cables running to the basement, so my music and my sleeping parents were separated by an empty level of the house, I still recall my dad coming downstairs and asking me what the hell I was doing. I just kept boosting the volume … until it was too loud.

These days I don’t listen to music quite so loud as I know it could do to my hearing, and I no longer feel any need for rebellion. Rather, I just listen to music. Sometimes it does need to be louder, granted.

So when I moved in with Julie some months ago, I fully expected to have the roles reversed. I’d be the one going downstairs in the middle of the night. But to my great surprise, it hasn’t happened, and it’s not likely to ever happen. Her kids have their TVs and computers, but no stereos. The closest they come is their phones, but they listen with AirPods and other headphones.

From the hallway looking into my ‘study.’ You’re looking at the back of one of the Magnepans … which sounds exactly like the front.

Far from me telling them to keep it down, they are the ones coming to me, telling me to turn it down! It’s mostly the subwoofer the kids want turned down, and it’s mostly the main speakers Julie wants turned down. The kids are a level lower. And one of my Magnepan speakers sits right in front of the door, so since they radiate sound equally forward and backward, it’s like I’m pointing the speaker out the door into the rest of the main floor, where Julie is doing something that doesn’t involve my music.

I get it. Others are doing their own thing and don’t want to be interrupted, but it’s strange that after all these years of living alone, I’m again the one being told to turn down the music.

Goodbye Mom

I’ve had such a difficult time even contemplating writing about this even though most of you already know. My mother died on May 14.

She had a number of health issues plaguing her in her final years. It came to the point that she was under palliative care at home for the last month (or so) of her life. In fact, in addition to the twice daily visits from caretakers, she was scheduled to have a nurse come to spend the nights with her to take care of her. The nurse was to start the night of May 15, so that didn’t happen.

When my father died some years ago, Mom told me that he was lucky because he went very quickly. He rode his bicycle to get the mail on Friday and was dead Monday. She said it wouldn’t be so easy for her. I’m glad that she was largely wrong. She died in her own bed at home. If how she looked was any indication, it was a very peaceful departure because the next morning, I peeked in on her and thought she was sleeping in. Only when I tried to wake her for her medicine an hour later, was I shocked to find her cold to the touch.

Mom and I, quite some time ago.

Many years ago she told me, with a hint of apology in her voice, that I would be the one to find her. She was right.

In the time since then, my sister and I have dealt with almost the entirety of her estate, including emptying her home. It was more work than I could have imagined. It was more difficult than I would have ever imagined. I continued to live in her home for three months after she died and that was not good. There wasn’t a moment I wasn’t reminded of her, and while I certainly won’t ever forget her, being submerged in it was not good for my mental well-being.

I’ve since moved in with my fiancée and things have improved for me a great deal. That’s not to say that the grieving is over, because it’s not. I miss her so much and I don’t think that will ever change. She was my mother. She gave me life. I love her and I always will.

The baby book, via e‑mail

The other day on my way home, I was listening to CBC Radio. The program host was talking to the mother of a ten-year-old girl…and this mother had the greatest idea.

When her daughter was born, she created a Gmail account in the girl’s name. When things happened in the girl’s life, mom and dad would describe them in e‑mail messages to the girl’s account. Not only was it like a journal that the parents didn’t have to keep track of, anyone they gave the address to could also contribute. And of course, anyone could include photos and videos in their messages as well.

The instant the parents gave the girl the log in credentials, she had a journal of her life from the beginning, complete with photos and video, written by her parents and their friends and relatives. What a gift!

Now tell me, isn’t that a terrific idea?

† I tried to look up the show and who it was about. I couldn’t find that information so I’m going to continue without attribution.

Mom, again

In this latest instalment of ‘crazy shit my mother says,’ I’m sitting and watching television when the phone rings. Mom picks it up and from her side of the conversation I figure out one of her medical specialists is calling to book an appointment for next year. Given that it’s March, it’s a long lead-time, but not unexpected for reasons I won’t get into here.

Before she hangs up, she says to the medical admin person in a cheery voice, “Okay, I’ll see you then … if I’m still alive!”

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