The Hole in my Heart

After having such an incredible day last Tuesday, my world (along with my daddy's, siblings', and our spouses') fell apart on Thursday morning.  I was at school working on my new/old room when one of my SIL called me.  I dropped everything and got to my parents' house as soon as I could.
We knew this day would come, although we didn't expect it to happen as it did. My Mama went to be with her Maker in Heaven last Thursday. God took her the way she would wanted:  quickly, before Daddy, and before her mind was too far gone. Mama was a devout Catholic; there's no doubt in anyone's mind where she is.
I am so thankful that God saw fit to put me into a large family with this mama & daddy.  They truly loved each other:  they were married for 61 years.  She, along with Daddy,  showed all of us children what to look for in a spouse, and how to be a good parent.  They taught us morality and compassion.  They taught us how to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously.  Mama taught us to love music...all kinds of music.  At one time, she wanted to be a concert pianist, but then decided she wanted to eat (she wasn't too hyped up on being a starving artist!).  She also thought about being a nun, but met Daddy and had 10 children.  She was a nurse by training, which came in handy with all of us kids.
She was beautiful...inside and out. She was always smiling (it hit me the other day that people say the same thing about me), even when she was in pain.  She never, ever complained about her hip or back pain unless you asked her about it.  And her laugh...How I loved her laugh.  And her singing.  She was the organist at church for 42 years and the choir director for most of that time.  She & Daddy moved to this area shortly after the Catholic Church we attend began. She & Daddy very rarely missed Daily Mass.  Mom would lead the congregation in singing the hymns during those masses.  The priest told me on Sunday that she kept all of them in line when they needed it!  
Mama loved her family & God:  Her family and the Church were her life.  She was such an incredible woman and amazing mother.  As one of my sisters said:  we knew we were loved...always.  
I know there are going to be times when I think of things to tell her, ask her, or just things I see that I want to share with her.  It's going to be hard to not be able to pick up the phone and talk to her.  I'm going to miss her calling me and asking for help figuring out her cell phone or something on the computer when my oldest brother wasn't around or they didn't want to bother him.  
She is in a much better place:  she's not hurting, and she's not worrying.  I imagine she's up there praying for all of us, and getting started on lists that 1 of her friends said she's already hit her up for!  I know she's reunited with her mama & daddy, and all of her siblings, and they're having quite the reunion, just as all of my siblings were getting together at their house.  That's the way she would have wanted it.  
If you've lost a parent, you probably know the feeling of the huge hole in my heart that I have.  I just wasn't ready for her to go, but then again, I probably never would have been.  I'm just very, very grateful that she didn't suffer through a prolonged illness, because she definitely wouldn't have wanted that.

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It's not often that I write about things this personal, but I felt the need to let this one out!
"Sticks & Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."  Well, maybe not physically, but mentally, the scars can last a lifetime, and can mold a person into what they are today.  It can affect their friendships, and how they relate to other people.  Believe me, I know.
I know people who have such good friends that they call them "sisters".  In the past I have jokingly said, "I don't have friends, I have sisters", since I have 5 sisters & 4 sisters-in-law (which I count as sisters).  I feel like I have "acquaintances"; some stronger than others, but there are very few I would count as true "friends".  If I have something that I need to talk to someone about, 90% of the time I go to my sisters.  The other 10% of the time, the people I might talk to I could count on 1 hand.
Since I've kept the tv off during the day this summer and have been busy with house-things, I've had time to reflect. Why am I like that?  Why am I a tad bit jealous that I know people who have such strong bonds to other people outside of their family?  The answers all keep pointing to a few statements made to me in different stages of my life.
1)  "Leach."  This one probably stuck with me more than any other.  When I was in jr. high, I formed a friendship with a girl who was a year older.  I would seek her out during lunch (our lunches overlapped) and talk to her for a couple of minutes.  One day, I was walking up to her, and a girl sitting beside her said, "Here comes the leach."  I was so naive at the time, I had no idea what that meant, so I looked at her and asked what that meant, to which she said, "oh, nothing.".  My friend, on the other hand, was so very sweet to ignore her and talk to me for a couple of minutes.  Once I found out what a leach was, it tore my heart out.  And I vowed to never be called that again.  For that reason, I don't like to call people unless absolutely necessary.  And, I rarely invite people to go out to eat or to do anything.
2)  "I wouldn't think anybody as big as you would be afraid of spiders."  This happened in elementary school by a girl who I thought was beautiful, and very popular.  Now, mind you, I have always been tall for my age, and, I guess, a bit "thick"; you know, "big boned".  I took that to mean I was fat, which I wasn't.  (I'm a bit amazed that I didn't end up with an eating disorder.)  Ever since that remark, I have been self-conscious about my size.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that with birthing babies, being that size is a good thing!
3)  When we lived in SC, we belonged to a Supper Club through church.  One day, a lady told me that one of the ladies that had been to my house said that my house was dirty.  Which it wasn't because I had spent all day cleaning.  To this day, I have NO idea what that lady was talking about, but I didn't appreciate her saying things like that to other people.  I never confronted that lady about it; I'm a very non-confrontational person.  It did, however, cause me to be over-sensitive about who I let in my house, and when I let them in.
4)  Another incident in elementary school:  I was delivering papers for my sister, and as I walked up the driveway to hand a paper to a lady, she asked if I was a boy or girl.  She covered herself by saying that she thought I was a girl because I was too pretty to be a boy.  I've always worn my hair short (the longest it's been is to my shoulders) because a) with 6 girls, mom wasn't about to fight with little girls' hair) and b) I look much better with my hair short.  I rarely wear hats, unless it's obvious it's a ladies' hat (I wore a pink one walking this morning).  A lady I knew in SC said I should get a cap with the pony tail already in it, and I told her that then I would look like a guy with a pony tail in a hat!  
Bottom line:  Think twice before you open your mouth to say something...not only to a child, but also to an adult.  Even though you might think it's just a passing statement, it may have an affect on a person's life.
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Roman Hodgepodge

1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. He's quoted as saying, 'Experience is the teacher of all things." So what has experience taught you lately?
Having your house clean makes you motivated in other areas of your life.  It's amazing how much more motivated I am to get my room at school ready.

2. Where did you last 'roam'?
I happened to roam to a lot of stores over the past 2 weeks!  

3. Speaking of 'Rome'...pizza, pasta, gelato...you can only pick one, which would you choose?
Gelato.  Nothing else needs to be said.

4. 'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.
Rome wasn't built in a day.  I've done a lot of cleaning and throwing stuff out in the past week.  I just concentrated on 1 room a day, and it all got done.

5. What's a movie you've seen or a book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?
"Under the Tuscan Sun"  (wonder how many people are going to say the same thing?)  I eventually want to read the book and get the "real" story.

6.  Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago, on July 17, 1955  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?
I've only been to Disneyworld.  Buzz Lightyear was pretty fun, but how can you not love Pirates of the Caribbean or It's a Small World?

7. It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung?
My ankles and lower legs are still trying to recover from our last camping trip!  The biting flies and something else had a feast on my legs!

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
Yesterday was a very, very good day!  Besides it being payday and being able to get some stuff for my Speech Room at school, 3 things happened:
1)  I got my lab results back:  my cholesterol & A1C were lower than last time, so Go, Me!  :)  I may not have lost much weight this summer (about 10 pounds), but the walking and eating right appears to be paying off!
2)  A coworker & I received word that our Poster Session Proposal for the National Convention was approved!  In 30 years of being a Speech Pathologist, I have never been to the National Convention.  We weren't expecting it to be approved; we had resigned ourselves to tweaking the proposal and getting it ready for the Schools Convention for next year.
3)  OS is moving back south in September!  He is going to be working for the company where he previously worked.  This is a wonderful place to work.  He'll even be able to take his dog to work with him!  He'll be a couple of hours away from us, but that's much better than being 2 time zones away!
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