Monthly Archives: April 2015

I Lost My Popular Girl

In going through my wifes amazing playlists on youtube, I came across the following set from Survivor. She had the song “Popular Girl’ listed more than a few times… and it really hit home.

She struggled with self confidence, and I could never convince her… must be a man-woman comms disconnect thing, but the lyrics of the song wow, its freaky. I wish I had stalked her playlists before she passed… so much amazing music, but then again, she was playing it all the time.

In our early years, she would travel with me at times. I remember I was attending OE-LASE (optics and lasers conference) back when, and after the conference sessions, we’d go hang with her peer group. Wow was I out of my league! Los Angeles had been her stomping ground, and she was connected to so many people…  World class indeed, and she had nothing to prove.

In later years, when she could only get out and about on a DOD surplus ambulance stretcher I picked up, things didn’t change a whole lot. We’d be at church and delay locking the place up for hours as folks would chat with her. I remember the Easter 2012 pancake breakfast at the Cathdral, she had nearly all of Bishop Quinn’s posse of seminarians engaged long after the tables had been cleared away.

She very much liked to get a little out of line too… often scaring me to bits in the process. It was never a hurtful thing, but more playful crazyness just shy of the precipice. In my world, not all that far from the good old boy saying, “here, hold my beer and watch this”. Some of the things were scary, and even somewhat dangerous, but the fun part, egads, it makes for some awesome memories, even if I was a bit terrified at the time.

The last verse however is where things diverge, but it could have far too easily rang true.  I knew she was the one early on… but she made me wait, and wait, and wait and wait and wait and wait…..

In retrospect, with each waiting year, my love and passion for her grew… and when we finally got married she ended up my newlywed bride for 21 years, an amazing 21 years.


My wifes alarm just went off

For the last 12 or so years that my wife was bed confined, I’ve been her caregiver at home 24/7/365. The longest we were ever apart was around 7 hours once when my car upchucked and another time when I had to go to my Moms funeral. In order to deal with the often times massive sleep deprivation on my part, I relied on a series of alarms on my Palm Pilot. Ie, its easy to know what to do when woken up in the middle of the night, or day if you crashed, when you get a screen telling you to do A, B, C or whatever as you don’t have to think too much. I then got the wise idea to give her a Palm Pilot of her own… which worked out really well, as she could program things exactly as she wanted, unlike the far too often cryptic messages I used on mine.

As I mentioned on facebook, she passed away in the hospital last Thursday afternoon… a snippet of which is below.

My wife likes to say we’ve been married 21 years, as she does some creative gymnastics (or at least that’s what I call it) with the zero point. Technically as of today, we’ve been married for 20 years and 4 months exactly… Alas, lesson #1 in marriage is the wife is always right, so I concede 21 is reasonable being we are in our 21st year of marriage.
At 3AM this morning, I had to authorize a change in her care orders to comfort only, as curative care had reached its limits. Sadly, while holding her in my arms at 3:45PM this afternoon, she breathed her last while listening to “Behold the Lamb of God” from Handel’s Messiah. One of her favorite pieces of music (we used parts of the Messiah as our wedding music way back when)….

Each anniversary for the last 10, Jan said she wasn’t sure she’d make it to another one… and God blessed us with 21. Pretty amazing.

As such, I’ve got a meeting with her priest this afternoon and have been working like crazy to put the service together. The two tricky bits I’m working on are songs and the scriptures… and then her alarm goes off and knocks me off balance for a bit.

I decided to keep the alarms up and running for a while to maintain a routine. I’m not sure if thats a good or bad thing, but its what I’m doing. I’ve got an artists drawing of her from years ago just beyond my computer too. Grief is hard, very hard… so before jumping back into the funeral work, I figured I’d blog just a bit.

When it comes to the songs, I looked at theological content with a strong leaning towards ease of congregational singing. As the funeral is likely to be during the workday, its pretty likely not too many folks will attend. In addition, over the last few years, our outside activity has dropped to near zero… and folks move on as well, so numbers of singers in the congregation wise will be limited and complex music won’t cut it… but I found some great songs that my wife enjoyed and a couple easy hymns that totally jibe with her Christian walk.

Scriptures are tricky. Electronic Bibles are a great thing, but they don’t lend themselves to timestamped breadcrumbs. Ie, you don’t know when something was read from a timeline pov… so I rolled back to her printed Bible, and based upon the types of bookmarks used, I got a timeline together to assist with sorting the scriptures. Paper towel bookmarks were one of her last inventions when we ran out of post it notes before transitioning to electronic scriptures.

Alas, a bookmark while a good thing, doesn’t lend itself to zeroing in on the content at hand. I’m under some time pressure to get this done, being I’ve got to be on the road in 5.5 hours and need at least a couple hours sleep…

A bit of googling, and wowzers, a reverse lectionary. I can scan through the bookmark pages to church A,B, C years and see what the lectionary gurus thought was an important text. It has allowed me to zero in on key scriptures pretty quickly…. I wasn’t able to do this earlier due to the whole grief thing going on, but am getting back on a roll… I hope I remember everything to bring everything else along.

In other words, the reverse lectionary rocks.


The Joy of Easter Vigil

I’m fixin to blog the 50 days of Easter, so I figured it best to start out on day 1 with a cool bit about the joy of the East vigil. It was easy see the joy on the Bishops face, so that was cool, but it was also expected. Sadly, far too often such joy begins and ends at the altar rail… most folks in the pew tend to be so serious, any joy they have internally gets a  mask put over it.

Alas, there was one person there who wore no mask.. and in the middle of service, probably wore nothing at all, being his mom was gone for a period just long enough for a quick diaper change. Yep, said little person was full of joy, and made it known pretty much continually throughout the service.

I thought it was pretty cool. The fact that I couldn’t hear most of the liturgy, or even a fair bit of the sermon didn’t matter. The joy that youngster exhibited was an easter blessing.

Now… this is coming from a guy who would rather have a root canal than be on the same airline flight as an infant. Years ago, I spent a ton of time in the air. Pre-911, there were some days I was in DC in the AM, Detroit in the afternoon and San Franciso by midnight…. that last thing I wanted in my virtual office in the air was a screaming kid. (Part of this was the annoyance factor, but there was concern for the safety of the infant… they need to be in IATA approved seats, not in a mothers arms, they should only fly in emergencies due to high levels of ionizing radiation, and some are no doubt in more than a fair bit of pain due to the inability to deal with pressure variations)… but at the Easter Vigil, the more the merrier I say.

Luke 18:16 rocks….