Can we just be DONE with this?

2009 has been a year of ups and downs, and i’m almost done with it and ready to walk off.

There’s some severely stressful times coming for the Bear Clan, as I affectionately call the grouping of myself, Maria, and our lone remaining kitty Burnadette. Maria’s starting her new job in August at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre (PA), I’ll hopefully transition well, moving the household up there, all is enough for any single family to deal with, don’t you think?

But no, we’ve had lightweight illness (I had the flu for a couple weeks), injury (Maria needed knee surgery in March), death of friends (Anthony Sloan), death of friend of family (my sister had the wife of a close friend go), death of a parent (my Dad), death of almost-parent (my Aunt Betsy), and last night we found out my Aunt Millie had passed.

My most strong condolences to the whole Mays clan. I have the fondest memories of visits to North Carolina and family gatherings of Jump and Mays in the Smokey Mountains, from my youth. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Millie were always awesome people to me and I hold them that way in my heart. The families that have grown from them are all cool people – Chuck and Dan and Dave and Amy and all the huge extended family that they represent.

To this day I can remember some flashes very clearly of Uncle Charlie taking me out and teaching me to fly-fish, catching “hawgs” (large mouth bass) at some nearby pond or lake. I’m going to have to take that up again.

Blegh.

Ah well, oh 50 hours until Maria punts out to Ireland on her next academic tour, leaving me to take care of kitty and litter.

Of Loss

Dad in 1962, I was born in 1965 On Thursday I found out that my father, who was hospitalized on Wednesday, was moving to Hospice Care on Friday morning, with “not long” as the prognosis thence.

This was a sad thing, but not unexpected.

Dad had been in and out of the hospital all year and was in pretty frail shape.

The years had not been kind to him. Suffering badly from bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive disorder) this was an illness that caused great issues mentally, emotionally, and physiologically. I know that he felt it, but I can not imagine what is like, to be a “captive of my own mind, unable to control or direct my own thoughts nor body.” The medicines that have been used over the years to moderate this condition were, themselves, another necessary curse. I believe it is only in the last few years that progress is really being made to find ways of dealing with these conditions without causing horrid other problems.

Eventually, on Friday evening, he passed quietly and peacefully onto wherever his next home is.

I am happy that he is now finally finding comfort and rest, and I assume spending time in ways more pleasant than he has desired to do in many a year.

Father was an intensely sweet and caring person.

Before his illness took over completely he was a truly brilliant and elegant man. Classically educated, wordly, voluntarily involved with various services.

His entire adult life he was an educator, eventually retiring after being a high school vice principal for many a year. He was continually involved with theater, both as an actor and a director, this was something he shared closely with my older sister but that I never really tapped into.

While I was in my “service years” – stationed far and away while in the Army it was a very rare week that I did not get a nice letter from Dad and while I was (and am) a horrid pen-pal he was steadfast and it was so very appreciate. I had many lonely times in those years and he was always there, even from a distance.

I would never go so far to say as he and I were as close as he and my sister was, but I love him deeply to this day and will continue to do so I am sure.

Good journeys, my “Bilbo”, see you when I follow you into the West some time hence.

*sigh*

Yet, apparently, this was not enough for the universe to share with me last week.

On Friday afternoon, while at work, I found out that a friend of mine who I like to call “good” and whom I had strangely enough become more friends with after he moved from Austin to Denver, passed away in the night, in his sleep, on Thursday.

As it turns out, Anthony apparently died from a condition related to an enlarged heart, with no more information really available. However the coroner apparently is confident that he died quietly and painless in his sleep.

Anthony you will be sadly missed, for quite some time.

My heart weeps for Anthony’s family, close friends (especially Dave M.) and his Best Girl Carrie.

For those of you not familiar with him, you are still fortunate in that you may get to know him somewhat. Point your web browser at www.anthonysloan.com and spend some time. Then go back and spend some more. Look at his writings, and his travels.

This shocked me. And rocked me. This was not expected, nor acceptable, and is still being worked on to be accepted by my heart.

I feel loss, but I am getting past the frustration and anger at the universe for this. I guess it really is, somehow, the natural order of things. It must be, as Anthony passed, apparently quietly, in his sleep.

In the morning, we ride.

This is how he would want it.

This is how it should be.

This is how it must be.

I have sweet friends

A good friend sent the following to me today, I had to share.

Author’s name witheld to preserve anonymity – but they have written other nice poems before …

Oh where oh where is the sweet Bear?
Stuck at work, I can hear him swear!
His wife and friends miss him so
He misses riding and he moans
Perhaps soon, maybe near
His schedule will be clear
His friend will be ready for a good ride
She misses the torture and the friendship besides
So patiently I will wait, wait is what I must do
‘Cause we are friends through and through
Can’t wait until May rolls around
On their bikes for Monday rides they will be found….

Sigh. Families.

Maria and I spent a long weekend back east just this past, to visit with my family.

My father has been in the hospital for about a month, he’s no spring chicken, but he’s been basted pretty well over the years (prescribed medications for issues). He’s not really in very good shape. Of course, he’s not been in good shape for quite a while by any measure – not his fault just his bad luck. The visiting with him was both good and bad, and it was good for both for my part. I just hope that he remembers that we were there and takes some pleasure from it.

My mom is incredible. Her devotion for taking care of Dad in general is fabulous, in these days of him being in the hospital – working with him, feeding him, looking out for him and his needs with the obviously understaffed facility, well it is just tremendous. Her meticulous recording of what has gone on with Dad over the years gives her a clinical view of him no doctor or nurse can have, and it’s good to see some of them listen to her. How she takes care of herself in these times I can’t imagine, she spends probably ten hours a day or more at the hospital with Dad! If anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, really gets in her way I think I’ll have to drive up to Maryland and ride my mountain bike all OVER them until they knuckle under!

My aunt has also been having her own issues, with her own time in and out of inpatient supervised care. However, last weekend at least, she was in great shape and was finding her entertainment by having her bathroom ripped up by plumbers. The “one hour” job was on it’s second day. Is this normal?

The best bit I guess, is that while the Mrs. is wounded (knee damage, surgery coming) her post-PhD prognosis is looking up with some potential job interviews real soon. Huzzah!

I’m actually really spent at this point. Emotionally. Mentally. Frustration wise. Still processing. Don’t know where I’ll end up.