Friday, August 30, 2013

Taking A Deep Breath

Once a year for MeMa's birthday in October we plan a family stay at the beach.  Unfortunately October weather in Oregon is not conducive to romping on the beach in ones swim wear.  So after our rainy stay at the beach house last year we decided that this year the family beach trip would be in August which affords us some of the nicest weather of the year.  After a rough year there is nothing more therapeutic than the excited voices and squeals of laughter from the Little Terrorists as they pile out the vehicles.  Breathing in the salt air as I open the front door, I can already feel the tension spilling off me, the Little Terrorists zoom past, excitement building as they find their rooms and trade travel clothes for swim wear.  The house is large with three full bedroom suites, large open kitchen, living room, dining room and the attached double garage has been turned into an entertainment room with a pool table, piano and large television.  It is in walking distance to the beach and about six minute drive to the casino.  After getting the house opened up so the breeze could move from room to room we all headed to the beach.

Taeya, Brooklyn and Adrianne test out the water

The tide was out so we had a good look round

We had three lovely days ahead of us that were just what Doc ordered for this stressed out family, we had spent a good deal of time grieving for the loss of five family members in less than a year's time.  I always thought that bad things happened in threes, well, "hello", someone lost count.  But enough of that as we were all here together to take back the wonderful life that we have been blessed with.  As evening approached we switched from playing in the surf to exploring tide pools and  everyone put on light weight jackets, but it was still quite warm.
Started early and left to simmer all day, MeMa's clam chowder.

Besides all the fun and games there were many good meals and one of the favorites is MeMa's clam chowder a carefully guarded family recipe passed on from mother to daughter.  Not one speck of chowder was left over.  After everyone had their fill the father and son clean-up crew got started in the kitchen.......
Our eldest son Nathan and myself, wow when did he get so tall?

........while a rousing game of cribbage got under way in the dinning room.

Card shark Little Lucy was there to supervise the game.  No hanky panky on her watch!

Lucy expelled a few harsh words when her game rules were ignored. Notice the look on her fathers face.

The next morning after breakfast with walking stick in hand, I headed for the beach and found everyone once again enjoying the beautiful sun and water.  Sorry MeMa, your October birthday has officially been bumped up to August.

MeMa, A├║ngelle and Lucy

Taeya getting some MeMa time

The whole gang

MeMa and her boys
Nathan - MeMa - Ian
"The Shell Seekers"
I love this photo of Brooklyn and Taeya walking hand in hand as it was totally unprompted, but you should have seen us all quickly scrambling to get cell phones out of pockets. We needn't have hurried as they walked for ages like that talking and laughing about the days events

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Is it 2014 Yet???

"The writing was on the wall" as the saying goes, and "We should have seen it coming" is another that fits into the years events; 2013 was not going to be a good year.  January 1st we made a mad dash to be by MeMa's fathers side when he passed.  That whole event is still not over as he has yet to be buried in the family plot or should I say his cremains are still residing in MeMa's summer closet with his best hat tipped jauntily to one side of his urn.  After his passing came pre-spring planting of seed trays in the greenhouse making one feel good just getting ones fingers into soil and the excitement that comes when all the seeds start to germinate.  I was able to get everything planted out from the greenhouse on springs schedule.  Then dementia set in rather quickly for my already ailing mother. and then shortly we received the call that my aunt passed after a tragic fall,  so I stayed at my parent's home to care for my mother while father flew to Philadelphia for his sisters funeral.  Four weeks later (July 13th) we are all numbed with my mothers death.  On July 24th after her funeral my twin brother Don and Tony (his partner of thirty years) return home to Phoenix Arizona and we all try and pick up the pieces and get our lives back on track.  The lawn is a burnt out mess, so I concentrate on the borders and the vegetable garden - nudging plants back into growing and flowering.  August 2nd we receive a call from my twin brother that Tony was in the hospital in Las Vegas.  He had flown to Vegas to meet an long time friend and one late evening Tony was not feeling well and the front desk called emergency response who then took him to the hospital for tests.  The result was that he had a heart attack three days prior and needed exploratory surgery checking for blockages.  My brother was already driving there to be with Tony when he called to let us know.  My father flew to Las Vegas to be with them both the next day.  My brother arrived before the procedure started and Tony seemed to be doing well enough, talking and carrying on as he always did.  They first did one side finding several blockages and he was recovering fine in his room anticipating the other surgery when he became frantic saying he couldn't breathe so my brother was removed while the staff put him on a ventilator.  Anthony "Tony" Lobban never regained consciousness and passed from our lives on August 3rd, 2013.  I flew to Las Vegas on the 4th to be with my very distraught brother and our father who was still suffering from the loss of a wife of 61 years.  Las Vegas, "Sin City" or "the city that never sleeps" gives no rights to gay couples no matter how long they have been together.  The thirty years of love and care meant nothing -  so Tony's mother and brother flew out from Ohio in order to sign documents stating my brother had their permission to take care of  Tony's remains.  At the crematorium we were informed that there was a two week period before his cremains would be shipped, "red tape" is what the gentleman told us. "Can't do anything about it."  That afternoon my father and I took turns driving my brother back to his home in Phoenix.  We stayed with him for the rest of the week helping him through the numerous melt downs and helping to deal with many of Tony's things that brought him tears of loss and sorrow.  I worried for my 80 year old father who was dealing with not only Tony's death but my mothers just four weeks earlier.  My sister flew down in the middle of the week to lend a hand and offering her shoulder when memories brought him down.  But life does go on, and my brother said it himself while we were sitting in his garage sorting through papers, "Everything happens for a reason."  Love happens, like life and death itself, we pick up the pieces and continue regardless of the path ahead.  My brother may be down but he has a large family and many friends that love him and will be there to help him gather his life back together.

Anthony "Tony" Lobban
November 21, 1954 to August 3, 2013