Sunday, August 29, 2010

We'll miss you dear friend......and other good friends.

I have been blessed with some really great friends in my life. As many of you already know, one of these special people is moving to the country to help her Mom and continue her ministry in a very rural environment. One of her close friends will be moving with her but I wanted to do something small and intimate just for her. I let her pick some of the menu and make up the invitation list so I would know I was doing what she wanted. We almost put it off several times because it hasn't been an easy time for either one of us but I decided I should go ahead as planned. I'm working on the "putting off" part of my personality so this was a good test. Roseanne's daughter-in-law - Katarina- made the cake and we all loved it. I told her I wanted a woman's figure dressed in coveralls with her book bag over her shoulder and she pulled it off perfectly. Roseanne ordered and brought a gorgeous fruit bouquet that was delicious. It came in a lovely container Gerl will be able to use for other things. Eileen wrote a poem from me to Gerl and framed it beautifully - it made me cry a little and Gerl loved it. Eileen is such a giving person and I'm happy to have her back in my life. Gerl told me to tell anyone who asked to give her gift certificates to Lowe's and I thought - "Oh No - that just isn't going to happen". So Eileen and I went in together and gave her a nice gift certificate to Ann Taylor's. Eileen also contributed toward the food which was very helpful because I tend to overdo it when I host parties. We had my famous Wine Punch, Italian Marinated Vegetables, Smoked Mozzarella Pasta, Cheese, Chicken Salad Croissants and Chicken Salad, Lobster Dip, Crackers, Cake and Fruit. This is the least amount of food I've ever served but it appears that was okay because almost everything was eaten with just enough left over for me to wrap up for Gerl. I also bought some lovely flowers - two were already arranged and the others I arranged myself. Okay - you all know my weakness for fresh flowers so I'm not apologizing for going overboard there. Others gave Gerl money and she would say, "Okay, this is going to help pay for my new toilet"...we just laughed because we knew she wasn't kidding. It was a small intimate gathering to say we know you are doing this for the right reason but we are really going to miss you. Keith is planning a bigger party and I'm sure the congregation will do something also but we have been wanting to get a small group together for awhile and this worked out well. Her leaving means there is going to be another big hole in my life and to be honest, it is getting real old. My life is starting to look like a piece of Swiss cheese. I worked hard to pace myself and did pretty good. I'm learning the hard way that when I "push" myself too hard, it backfires and I'm down for the count to recover. Roseanne was such a big help as always and ended up staying overnight with me. We stayed up very, very late and she sneaked out the next morning right before I woke up. It was nice to be together so we could get caught up on the dramas of our lives. I've been fighting something for days and have determined it is a type of migraine that is also affecting my stomach but will not go away. Ruth came over last night and we ate Las Palmas and some cheesecake for dinner. We also sat up late talking but I didn't last as long as I did the night before. Today she got me started making the pieces of the flowers for the quilt I'm going to make. I'll have pictures of that as I move along. BigD got home from his fishing trip right about the time she was getting ready to leave. I'm having to "baby" my tummy and headache and am now having a TMJ issue in my right jaw. Ruth said it is from stress - somebody just shoot me and put me out of my misery. I listened in to the meeting today and heard a talk by one of my favorite old friends who was a guest speaker. Eileen made a great comment for the WT study. Ruth wasn't sure if her son and his family were going to make it up today or tomorrow but when I went on FB to "snatch" a picture of them, I saw where they are on their way. They are coming up to see Ruth's mom and brother. Ruth has been in town for three weeks helping her brother who is very, very sick. We are supposed to have them over for dinner one night before they leave Thursday and then Ruth's hubby is driving up for the weekend and we plan to get together while he is here also. Hopefully Kurt, Leah and Page2 will be here for the long weekend but they aren't sure if they are coming down yet. I called a florist in GA to have some flowers delivered to Bentley while he was in the hospital and Page sent me a telephone picture of them saying they were really pretty. I really expected them to be "more". Oh well, sometimes you have a great experience and sometimes you are disappointed and besides, I did it because I wanted them to know they were constantly in our thoughts during this stressful, scary time.Bentley went home from the hospital a little too early and had a setback but after a visit to the ER and getting better pain meds, he seems much better. She has SO much on her plate until after the first week in October I worry about her stress level. She is one of the smartest women I know so I'm counting on her getting more rest and maybe a few massages before the back to back long flights begin. I hate the happy, relaxed look on her face in the picture from our beach trip a few weeks ago was replaced by so much stress. She sounded good when we spoke yesterday so hopefully things will calm down and she can actually enjoy some of her trips.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh Well .... another night like that...

Here it is 4am and I'm still awake. Thought I would put a few more pictures like these gorgeous flowers Eileen sent me when Ann died. I thought they were too beautiful for words and wanted to save it. Eileen calls me Naomi - from the story of Ruth and Naomi. So sweet of her to see me that way but she is such a strong person and I feel confident she is going to do very well. We were encouraged to take as many of the small roses from the grave as we wanted because it was so hot that day, they would not have lasted long at all. I put a few in my newest little vase and think they are so sweet. They held a very special meaning for Ann and Tad. I do think about Ann every day just like I knew I would. She has been on my mind pretty constantly for the past three years - especially after I was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago. Even though we didn't get to see each other often, I feel the space that she used to occupy and know it is empty. I was always trying to think what would be the best time to call and sadly, sometimes missed the phone calls when she would call me and I would be out but I know she thought of me often too after I was diagnosed. When I was with her on my first visit up to see her, I leaned over to kiss her goodnight and looked down into her face and told her I could see each one of us (me and my sisters) in her face and she smiled at me. As you know, my brother-in-law wrote a lovely poem with the title that is the name of my Blog - Belma's Pearls. My sister asked him to write her a similar poem for her graveside service. He thought it was going to be hard but said once he started, it just flowed and is as lovely as the one he wrote for Mama. Some of you know that I use middle names or nicknames on my Blog but my oldest sister's name was Barbara Ann....

The First of Belma’s Pearls

Barbara was the first of Belma’s girls,
The beginning of her Precious Pearls

She lived an interesting life
She fit no category
She was Tadashi’s wife
She wrote her own story

She flew the friendly skies
She wore the silver wings
Adventure filled her eyes
She loved her wanderings

She loved her Mom, she loved her Dad
She loved her siblings too
One of the greatest friends they ever had
We all know that is true

And then one day she met her man
That’s when she settled down
To raise her favorite loving clan,
Her ultimate happiness found

She loved them all, but none not more
She loved them all the same
Both her bouncing baby boys
She cherished every name

And then Surprise, Surprise!
A bouncing Baby Gran
‘Love to have seen our Barbara’s eyes
With our cameras close at hand

They gave Barbara room to do her thing
They loved their loving Mother
And she loved the job of Mothering
More than any other

Barbara introduced me to my wife
Away back when
An additional joy to my life
Big Al’s my closest friend

Thank you Barbara for all you were
Thanks for the memories too
And when the great reunion occurs
We’ll be back with you.

Miss you Barbara Ann

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good News.....

Finally got some good news yesterday afternoon!!! Bentley came through his surgery, woke up enough to acknowledge Page and she said he would be in ICU the rest of the night. I felt relieved that the surgery was over and they thought it went well but it was when we got a text message this morning with a picture of Bentley in his room that I realized I had still been holding my breath!!!! I cried a little at that happy face. BigD just said he knows all the exercising he has been doing really paid off. I know they are both so relieved - it is all they have been able to think about for so long and now that worst part is over. Haven't felt great lately - some stomach issues and little headaches here and there but today I think I'm having what some call a 'silent migraine' without the aura. Today I had migraine pain - probably because of the pressure of a storm system that was moving through. Either way - I've been home all day but the good news is I had a visit from one of my favorite of all time people - Keith! I love this picture of him from one of our beach trips in 2007. He was very encouraging to me as always and got to speak to Page when she called about Bentley being in his own room! I really miss him since his work schedule changed. We also talked about our close friend Gerl whom we both adore. He adopted her as a second Mom when her own son died at a very young age and they are so close. We are both having a hard time realizing that she will be moving an hour away next month. We understand the why but that don't mean we have to like it!! I'm having a small, intimate party for her Friday night - I let her pick most of the menu and all of the guests so I feel confident she will have a good time. I can't let myself even think about what it will mean once she has moved - she has been such a stabilizing part of my life for a long time now - especially with my ministry - I hope I can rise to the occasion and do the same for her now by not forgetting her and making the extra effort to go down and work in service with her from time to time when I take her "frozen dinners". "private joke" I love this picture I took of her a few years back when we went to TN to work seldom worked territory for a week. She was very happy to hear that Eileen is already planning our Fall trip to her beach house - we can't wait! I don't know if Eileen will ever understand how special her beautiful little beach cottage has become to us. We talk about our wonderful time there all the time and are looking forward to our next visit. I have been encouraging Eileen to go down soon - she still has a lot of paperwork to do with her brother since her Mom's death but I know she can almost smell the ocean right now knowing that pretty soon she will be in her special place again. Well - I have tons to do tomorrow and Friday - you know me - Type A with huge letters - put it all off until the last minute. That's my middle name. I'll put up some pictures of our beach trip soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Found this leaf on the windshield of my car on Sunday - hopefully it means cooler weather isn't that far off. Went to the graveside service this morning for Eileen's Mom, Ginny. After I grabbed a bite to eat, I started driving out toward the country to wind down and decided what I really needed was a little "scoota-pootin" as Mama would call it. The AC in the car was blasting, some soul music was playing and I was totally enjoying the freedom of not having any idea where I was. Maybe I just needed to be alone enough to cry some. It was nice to see so many lovely older homes and landscapes before I pulled out my GPS and headed back toward home. Ruth came over to let us know about her brother - not good news. It turns out his cancer is in more places than we thought. They did some tests and should know something next month. Ruth asked me to ride back home with her for two weeks or so. As tempting as it is, I can't run away. As hard as it may seem, I just have to work harder to be even more·sil·ient/riˈzilyənt/Adjective
1.(of a substance or object) Able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
2. (of a person or animal) Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
To be honest, I'm not feeling too resilient - feeling a little "brittle". I'm not sleeping well at all and should be in bed but laying there just makes me feel sadder so maybe if I write something down, it will ease my mind. I spoke with Page earlier and they were getting everything ready for Bentley's surgery....I started to say in the morning but it already is morning isn't it? I love this sign that was in a beach house we stayed in with some family several years ago. I need to make one for my house only it would be a lie - I can't remember the last time I "felt" like my house was really "clean". Let me see, I got up early, prepared and printed invoices for BigD, got dressed real quick and took salad fixings over to Gail's to put together for the pioneer school lunch, cut two cakes into slices and put them on individual plates and helped her pack her car, ran back home, threw on a dress and some lipstick, drove to the cemetery and got lost in it because it is so stinking big, went to lunch with two friends, went scoota-pootin, got pedicure, picked up groceries, drank some wine with Ruth and then ate a bite. Went to bed and couldn't sleep but can't clean while BigD is sleeping so guess I'll just go back to bed and try to go to sleep again because I have a full day in service tomorrow. Hopefully things will be better once it isn't so hot and "brittle".

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not much to say...

I got an email from dear Fran checking to see if I were home and mentioning my blog and the lack of any new entries along with her good wishes and prayers. I totally enjoyed being with her for a few days last week. I let her know I was home from the beach and had received many cards from so many friends and family that were just hearing about my sister.

I know that it is hard for some of you to imagine - me not having much to say but honestly - there aren't enough pages for the words that have been going through my head (and heart) these past few weeks or so and they wouldn't be that interesting to anyone else. I just need to work through the different emotions and stages and stop putting it off. I also need to get back to a routine......or is that an oxymoron? Do I take the time to really grieve or do I get back out there............everyone has their own opinions .......

I miss the smell of the coast - the sound of the birds wheeling over the water, the sound of the water lapping against the dock........I miss Ike......I wish I could talk to him right now......

I miss hearing my children's voices in othe other room, I miss Mama and Daddy.......I miss my sister.......

Friday, August 6, 2010

No more pain......

I have been struggling with whether I wanted to write in my Blog for awhile but someone encouraged me several times to please just jump in and do it. I guess it is appropriate that I'm awake after 1AM - sleep hasn't been coming easily these past few days/weeks. Most of you already know my sister died early 1:44AM on July 28th. She loved butterflies and several years ago, her son caught this picture of one on her hand. He printed it out and she sent one for each of us girls to have and I love it. Her grandson wrote a letter that he read at her Memorial about her love of butterflies and how there were so many in their yards (they adjoin) the day she died. He wants us to think of her whenever we see a butterfly. BigD and I got on the road Monday, July 26th and Lolo called when we were about half-way to tell me not to rush because she felt like Ann was waiting for me. When we finally got there later that evening, I rushed over and sat on the bed. Lolo said she hadn't really talked and was pretty unresponsive. I took her hand and spoke to her - telling her I was there and she opened her eyes, looked at me and smiled, put her hand on my face and said, "Hey honey". Lolo was surprised she spoke so clearly but then she went right back to sleep. I tried to sit up with her but the exhaustion of the trip plus no sleep kept slipping up on me. Lolo made me get some sleep but the next day I was able to be with her along with Lolo until the end. She went very peacefully and I was so proud of Lolo who had been taking such good care of her all these years. She is such a special young woman whom I have come to love dearly along with her whole family. I love this picture of her and Naoki when they were dating. This was one of the pictures Naoki pulled together for the video that streamed at the funeral home during the visitation. The pictures brought back so many memories and I hope it brought comfort to her family. One of my favorite is this one with her boys when they were small. I love the happy look on her face as she is cuddled. A lot of our family were able to make it along with our friends - many who came straight from the convention in Raleigh. Some provided food for the night after the visitation and then the next day after the burial down home with our cousins who live there. I think the cousins all enjoyed seeing each other again - it had been three years since Ann and her family had come down for the family reunion. Several sisters brought me fresh flowers and my dear Eileen had some of my favorites (roses and irises) delivered. Gail and her sister-in-law brought the large bouquet in my pretty pitcher and Rie came by with her sweet little boys and brought me the yellow roses and daises. Yep - those who know me - know how much I love fresh flowers. I hate that I lost the pictures I took of the gorgeous ones Eileen sent. I'm sure it will turn up in another file somewhere. Poor Lolo - her dear friend sent her some gorgeous sunflowers (one of my favorite) but she is allergic and couldn't take them home in the car so I "had" to take them for her. :-) We also took some of the sweetheart roses from the gravesite - they were picked out by my brother-in-law and had a special meaning for them. One of the requests Ann made was for my brother-in-law Wayne, to write her a poem like he wrote for Mama and my niece. He did a great job and maybe I'll share that later. I've kept myself so busy that today it is like I hit a brick wall of emotion. Hopefully that will get better soon. As I was sitting in Ann's room, I would look across her bed at a picture she had on her wall of Mama when she was in her 30's. Mama was such a pretty woman and that was one of my favorite of her pictures. Right after Ann took her last two soft gentle breaths, I looked up into Mama's eyes and felt both comforted and a deep sadness. From now on, I will not only think of my Mom every day, but I will also think of my oldest sister every day and miss them both. I've told my friends that Ann was a true Southern lady who knew when it was time to leave the room/party and that was true. It was also true that she was going to do it her way. No matter how long she lived away from her home, it was here she wanted to be brought back - to be beside Mama. I am so happy I not only got to know Ann better through these past 16 years since Mama died - especially these last 3 as we talked more often since she was diagnosed; but that I also learned more about my childhood home and the earlier years of my family's life. I will treasure the fact that she trusted me to carry out her end of life wishes regarding her visitation and funeral. She had suffered for so many years with her rheumatoid arthritis (since she was 23) and after she died, I looked at her left hand - the one that gave her the most trouble and realized - no more pain Ann, no more pain.