Thursday, January 29, 2009

George Hathaway

Monday, January 26th, I received a call from QH, love of my life, that made me almost drop the phone. His Dad, George, had a heart attack and he was on the way to the hospital. I asked him if he wanted me to go with him and he said for me to go ahead and go to work. I did. It then sounded hopeful that if he woke up right away, all would be good.

By Wednesday, the prognosis was not good. They said he was having seizures which were the cause of brain damage from lack of oxygen. Even though Charlene, QH's Mom, did compressions until the medics got there, it was too late by that time. There was nothing more that could be done and today, Thursday, the news from the doctor was there is no brain activity.

George had a Health Care Directive or a Living Will which specifically states that in the event of such a situation as this, the family and the medical team is to honor his wishes and not recuscitate. This would have been followed on Monday, if the tests had shown what was going on, but the results did not show it until today. So, the decision is for the family to have him taken off life support tomorrow after Charlene's brother has arrived from Idaho. My son, Alex, who is in the Navy, is coming home. I contacted him through the Red Cross and they are allowing him to come home to say goodbye to Grandpa Hathaway.

I'm numb. I go from moments of complete grief where I feel I can't stop crying, to almost sounding normal. I don't know what to do. I am trying to concentrate on doing something to keep my mind off of things, but I keep thinking about him and about QH who is trying to be strong, but I know how close he and his Dad are and how much he is going to feel this loss.
We all are.
I'm so glad that we all had the holidays together again, and that Alex and QH's son, Andy, were there to celebrate them with us.

I'm going to miss his laugh, his large, booming voice in the house, and him telling me about something he read or a book he's reading. He read Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Mother Earth News, farming magazines, and would read a stack of westerns from the library each week.

That's what he was doing when this all happened. He was sitting in his chair, reading a book, then fell right over. Melissa's daughter said she wanted to know what the last book he was reading was, and that he was on a great adventure since that would be the last thing on his mind. He always talked to his kids, his grandkids, his great-grand kids, and if you were just sitting there, he would come over and start a conversation.

We were going to begin the story of his life, writing all of it down for the family and I promise that I will do that. It won't be the same, not told in the voice of George, but I will do the best I can.

When your family and friends take over the waiting room and it's standing room only at the hospital, then you know that you have lived a good life. Many tears were shed today, and many more will follow, but one thing I can say about George Hathaway: He was loved.

Please pray for all of us, this is going to be hard to get through.
Hug everyone you love, forgive those who harmed you in any way and let it go, and get your affairs in order by getting a Health Care Directive/Living Will and a Will or Estate Plan for your family. You may not have tomorrow.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My friend Babs

This lovely lady is Babs. Her full name is Barbara Williamson-Wood. She passed away this weekend from a long, hard battle against Stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer might have won, but it never broke her Spirit, and now the Lakota Writer, is on her mountain in Big Timber, Montana, finally at peace.

I 'met' Babs in a writing group called The Writer's Life. She was a writer, who wrote great books, and poetry. At the time I joined the group, she was living in Florida, going through a really rough time, and decided to move back to Big Timber, Montana, where she had been very happy as a child. She sold what she could not pack to take with her and moved to Big Timber with just what she carried. She found a place to live with the help of one of the group members, and was soon writing again and working on her books. Her daughter, Mataya, soon came with her son to live closer to her mother. I am glad she had some family with her at the end.

I spoke with Babs a couple of times after she had made her big move, and she wrote to me a beautiful letter that I will cherish always. She was funny, thoughtful, and had a heart as big as the sky in her homeland. She always remembered your birthday in the group until she was too ill to take on that responsibility. She said she would write until she died, and I believe she probably did.

I was a little relieved to hear that she passed peacefully in her sleep. I am also feeling guilty that I didn't keep in touch with her more often. I sent her a Christmas card this year, and it saddens me to send a sympathy card to her family so soon.

I just remember my last conversation with her and how she made me laugh, and how I admired how determined she was to make it home. I also remember the joy in her voice, at finally reaching her destination. She loved to drink Drambuie, so Babs, as a toast to you, I hope your next journey finds you more joy and happiness, the kind I hope to have someday in my journey.

Is there someone in your life you haven't talked to in a while? Someone you had a disagreement with? Is it really that important that you let it come between you? Leave the past in the past. Don't keep dragging that around with you. Don't wait for them to make the first move. Pick up the phone, or a pen and call or write to them and make contact. Don't keep waiting for the "right time" because by the time that happens, they may be gone.

Live your life, live your dreams, we only get one shot on this planet, so we might as well make the most of it.

I'll miss you, Babs. Be at peace.

Friday, January 02, 2009

2009: Super-Fine for Me & Mine

On New Year’s Eve, after the ball dropped on television, and we all toasted with our champagne (the kids had soda). After we clinked glasses, and exchanged hugs and kisses, I was asked a very interesting question by Kristen, a dear friend of mine.

“What are you letting go in 2008?”

Now, I have been asked what my resolutions are (I call them Goals), if I think there is anything positive to look forward to, etc., given the current economic times, all the bad stuff happening in the world, but never have I been asked this question.

"What are you letting go in 2008?"

Hmmm. I had to think about it for a minute, but I did come up with an answer.


I am letting go of the fear holding me back from me realizing my dreams and my own happiness. I am letting go of the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of what everyone will think of me, the fear of nobody noticing the great things I accomplish in this new year, the fear of staying stuck in a job I keep only to pay the bills, and the fear of letting that job go to become a writer full-time and giving up that so-called sense of security that a steady paycheck with health benefits brings, even at the cost of my own soul. The fear I somehow don’t deserve to be happy or have success or financial freedom.

Fear is the biggest obstacle I have created for myself and it will be the hardest one to disassemble and destroy.

I have a fear of spiders, which I probably won’t get over. I will try to avoid them as much as possible in 2009.

I have a fear of riding motorcycles. Actually, it stems from a 3-wheeler accident I was in when I was 15 years old. That is one I intend to work on this year, since it would be nice to ride with my honey on the motorcycle, either as a passenger with him or on my own.

My dear friend/coach/mentor, Beth Ann Erickson, overcame that fear this last summer. She bought a scooter for herself and her husband, and she took a motorcycle safety course to obtain her permit and license to ride. In the State of Minnesota, if the scooter is able to reach speeds up to 55 mph, then you need a motorcycle license to ride them legally on the roadways, especially if you are going down a highway.

She and her son took the course together. She was not about to quit since she was setting an example for her son, and she really wanted to ride that scooter to the lake near her home. Her biggest fear was the fear of an accident.

Guess what? It happened! Her husband was following her on his scooter during a drive and ran into her and the scooter.

Her greatest fear realized! Oh, no! This is why you don’t take risks, why you play it safe! See? Bad things happen when you throw caution to the wind and are willing to take a chance instead of sitting on the bench! Her family told her to get rid of the scooter, because that’s why she got hurt. She asked them if she should get rid of her husband too, since he was the one riding the scooter that hit her! J

What did Beth do?

Once her knee was better (just a bad sprain, really), and the scooter was repaired, she got right back up on the scooter and went for a drive.

Beth is the one who got me thinking about fear in the first place. “If you’re not doing something that scares you a little each day, you aren’t really living,” is what she said in one of her newsletters.

“Feel the Fear and do it anyway,” is a favorite quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. When you do that you overcome the fear that is holding you back.

I remember the first time I tried riding a bicycle with no training wheels. I was terrified. I fell, over and over and over again. My knees looked like ground chuck before I was done, but the fear was replaced with the determination to keep trying and not give up. Just one more time, one more try, one more push. Down I went, and back up I went. All day long. Until, I finally did it. I rode that bicycle, balancing on the two tires. And the rest is history. Soon, I tried with “No Hands” and was balancing and riding my bicycle with the just the power of my legs. I’m sure if I were younger, I would have tried popping a “wheelie”.

I have allowed fear to rule my life for so long. I have procrastinated and delayed my happiness because it wasn’t what was expected of me. Me, be a writer? Me, be successful and make a great living at writing? Ha! Stop daydreaming and get back to your “REAL JOB”. Stop being so SELFISH!! You have a degree, why aren’t you using that?

The truth is, my “REAL JOB” sucks!!! It pays the bills, yes, and I am grateful that I still have that paycheck coming every other week, but I have no sense of purpose. I have nothing that makes that job fun. I feel my self and my soul dying a little every day I go to work. I shut off my true self and become this “zombie” that just goes through the motions until it’s time to go home.

I have been told that I don’t work well with others, that I have an “anger management” problem, an attitude problem, that I am replaceable at a moment’s notice and that all the years I have spent sacrificing and working for the betterment of the company is not as important as the bottom line. And there is no sense of “team” effort. Nobody helps anyone else out, but they expect help when they need it.

For example, at work we have a new coffee maker in the break room. If you forget to shut off the warmer, it stays on and the coffee gets all burnt in the bottom, and that is not pleasant. The old coffee maker had an automatic shut-off. My shift, Second Shift, is the only shift that drinks coffee. There are three of us. I guess the darn thing was left on a couple of nights in a row, and instead of just saying, “Hey, you might want to shut that off before you go,” I was scolded by a supervisor that if the coffee maker was not shut off in the break room, then he was going to recommend that it be taken away.

Really? Why not just shut it off if you see it was left on?

“Not my responsibility, we don’t drink coffee on our shift, and blah, blah, blah.”

Seriously! Heaven forbid you take a second of your time to do something for someone else. They nitpick over every little thing. If we don’t make enough boxes, or there’s a part on the floor, or the coffee maker was not shut off, then watch out!! Why?

They can’t do something nice for someone else just BECAUSE!! They are AFRAID that nobody will do something nice for THEM IN RETURN!! Does there really have to be a PAYBACK every time you show KINDNESS?? I’ve always thought being Kind was it’s own reward.

Some days when this stuff happens, I just want to tell them all to GROW UP and walk out. I have fantasies of just leaving. But I don’t.

The fear keeps me going back there. The fear of no money coming in, and the fear of no health benefits. What if I get sick? No health insurance? Can you say “Financial Suicide”? At least I’m getting a paycheck, but like I said, is it worth my soul?

No, there is a time for everything. When it is time, I will know. When I have a few things in place and established, the day will come when I will give my 2-week notice and be gone from the factory forever. Then the responsibility of the coffee maker will fall to another soul. In the meantime, I’ve decided to donate an air pot to put the coffee in when we make a pot of coffee and that will solve the problem of the coffee maker being left on. Make the coffee, put it in the air pot and then shut the silly thing off. Done.

So, this year will be the year I “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

If I fall flat on my face, I’ll get right back up. If I determine a better way, I’ll take that path. I’ll have multiple streams of income in place so I don’t have to depend on a paycheck every other week. I will do what it takes to succeed, and if I have to fail a million times to get there, then I’d better get busy! The last 15 days flew by while my son was home, and I have a new year ahead of me, but I know that will go by fast and before I know it, I will be writing another Happy New Year post in here again.

I hereby declare that 2009 is going to be Super-Fine for Me & Mine!!

May blessings and abundance be with you all in this New Year!

And may you all “feel the fear and do it anyway!”