Commuting with Julie – Blessings

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I might need a car repair, but it’s not the most important thing in life.  And, OnStar rocks!  They’re always very helpful, as is Frank Boucher Chevy.


Eggs and Moms

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I’m staring in the fridge and we have six eggs.  The sell by date (or is it use by date?) is April 17th.  I’m wondering, can I hard boil these eggs and everything will be okay?  Or, do I have to toss them, because they’re pass their time. (Hmm, like my eggs).  Anyway, I think if I could call Mom, she would know, but I can’t call Mom.  And, that makes me wonder if Moms are given some sort of gift regarding food.  My mom knew how long you could leave chicken in the freezer or how long to cook a ham steak per side.  She knew how to steam veggies perfectly or, she knew how to tell me how to steam veggies.

My mom would tell me how long to boil rice or keep leftovers.  How to reuse almost anything.  And, now, that link to knowledge is completely gone and I wonder, why didn’t I write any of this down?

I went into the bedroom to get dressed, missing Mom like crazy.  She had all the answers, even when I didn’t want to listen.  She knew what to do.   Do Moms get some sort of book to memorize so they can answer these kinds of questions for their kids?

Then, I remember, my wife is a Mom, maybe, she knows.  And, I ask her and she doesn’t have a clue.

Now, I’m wondering if this magically knowledge just occurred in women of my mother’s generation and the rest of us are out of luck.

And, I’m still wondering about those eggs…

In a Month

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In a month, the first anniversary of losing my mother will pass. Here I sit, a month away from May 14, and it feels like it was last week and not last year.
Mom and I had a contentious relationship. Over the last few years, we had grown much closer, which I think makes the pain of losing her worse.
When I took my grandsons to Memphis, there was a hundred things I wanted to tell Mom. The top of the list was Danny singing on Beale Street. Mom and I often sang Karaoke together.

I know Mom would have enjoyed hearing about Danny and watching his video.

Sometimes when out shopping or on vacation, I’d find a funny sign for Mom, such as “I gave him the skinniest years of my life” or “My house was clean last week, too bad you missed it.”Last week when Cheryl and I were in Cedarberg, I saw a bunch of signs for Mom and my heart tugged at every one of them.
At her wake and funeral – where 250+ people passed through to pay their respects – I was told time and again that it would get easier. They lied. I think it gets harder. You collect more stories to tell, have more questions to ask, need more time. Ironically, while I don’t doubt my brothers’ pain, I sometimes wonder if I hurt more because she and I talked more? Nearly every work day, I would call her on my way home and we would talk – sometimes, it was five minutes, sometimes my whole hour and a half drive home.
I’m pretty sure that my mom is very surprised right now to learn that her most independent child, the one that seemed to need her the least, really needed her the most. She was more than just my pain-in-the-ass mom, who drove me crazy and with whom I would fight. She was my closest friend with whom I could discuss things I don’t discuss with anyone else. And, I miss that. She left way too soon. We had so much more to say.


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Betty and everyone
Family Photo

On this bright, beautiful summer day it is my sad honor to announce to all of you – my readers – that Betty passed away.  She left us at 4:00 PM on Thursday, June 23.  The weather this week, here in Wisconsin, has been awful.  It’s been rainy and cold.  It was like Mother Nature was in mourning along with those of us who loved Betty.

I’m going to miss her laughter, the way she answered the phone, “Hey, Baby!”  I’m going to miss her advice and her sweet disposition.  I’m even going to miss when her disposition wasn’t so sweet.  I’ll miss the way she would ask after my mama and Daddy.  I’m going to miss her stories about her friends and family.  I’m going to miss being called Sharon, because I remind Betty so much of her friend Sharon that sometimes, she’d slip and call me that.  Sharon must be a wonderful person. I’m going to miss how she, unlike some people (and you know who you are), praised my cooking.  Betty told me that I made the best barbeque and that’s something, because Betty was a wonderful cook.

Betty said to me very recently, “Julie, when you enter a room you light it up.”  I may light up a room, but Betty lit up the world.

So, I could sit here this morning and cry.  I could tell all of you that life just sucks, but that would be unfair to Betty’s memory.  Instead, I’m going to thank God that He allowed a light like Betty’s to burn in my life.  That He blessed me with a wonderful friend and second mother who was an amazing person.  Yes, knowing Betty for just ten short years wasn’t enough time, but it could’ve been worse – I might not have known her at all.

When I walk into Jerri and Preston’s home these last few days, it was hard.  I am having a hard time believing that Betty’s spark and her light has been extinguished.  Time, they say, heals all wounds and it will take a lot of time for the emptiness left in my heart to be filled.

But, filled it will be – Betty showed me how.

Be kind to others.  Accept their differences.  Love EVERYBODY.  Don’t take any shit from anyone.  Call a spade a spade.  Say you’re sorry and offer forgiveness.  Tell the people you love that you love them every single day. And, above all else – don’t assume the fat lady is pregnant.

I asked Jerri if I could post something about Betty – she wanted me to wait until all the phone calls could be made – and she said  I could, as long as I asked you all to raise a glass in honor of Betty.  So, let’s all raise our glasses to this wonderful lady.  I know a lot of you reading this didn’t know her, but if I live my life right, you’ll know her through my actions.
One final word, my roses had buds on them earlier this week.  One of them had started opening and I told Betty that when it opened, I’d bring it over to her, so she could have the first rose of the season.  Well, it hadn’t opened by Thursday morning, with everything going on, I forgot about it.  Until Thursday night.  When I came home, that rose had opened and is the most beautiful thing you ever did see.  It has some buddies, too.  I believe it is a sign, from Betty, letting me know she’s all right and not in pain.  Thanks for the sign, Betty.  I love you.

Pray for Betty – UPDATE

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Thanks everyone for your prayers.

Instead of brain surgery, the plan is now that they will biopsy Betty’s lungs. This will give them a better handle on the type of cancer that Betty has. If she has large cell cancer, it can be treated with radiation.

This is good news. The procedure is way less invasive than the brain surgery and means that Betty can go back home sooner.

Let’s keep those prayers coming!