Monday, July 25, 2016

Happy Birthday, We Miss You

I have been thinking about last things and family.

My mother Joyce Adair Ramer Gochenour passed away in 1990 at age 57 of cancer. Tomorrow would have been her birthday.
Mom as a teenager
My mother was an oil painter, a life time reader, a generous soul who made lifelong friends. She was stubborn and didn't give in.  As a girl she was a real jitterbug queen. My friends all liked her. Mom also suffered with psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, her joints crippled and deformed, her skin condition involving long soaking baths and applications of various creams and ointments. She worried about living into an old age of dependency.
Painting by my Mom
When I was a little girl Mom had long blond hair that she often wore in a pony tail. I realized Mom was younger and prettier than my friend's mothers. I was an adult when Mom asked if I had ever been embarrassed by her condition. I was amazed. No, I said, you were the prettiest Mom around.
Mom about 1960
My dad Eugene V. Gochenour's birthday is August 13; he died of cancer 8 Decembers ago. I have been and will be continuing to share stories of his early years.
Dad at work at Chrysler
And my 'baby' brother's birthday is also coming up next month!

My brother circa 1961
Our son moved into his own home last Saturday, a huge step and we are happy for him, but I have been grieving for days.
My dad and our son
Today we took our Kamikaze to the vet and learned her heart is very enlarged and is the cause of her breathing problems, coughing, and lethargy. She spent five to seven years in an Amish Ohio puppy mill before Safe Harbor Animal Rescue rescued her and we adopted her. She suffers frequent inter-digital cysts and has cataracts. She was like a puppy when she came home with us, playful and joyful and adventurous.

Kamikaze five years ago. 
Kamikaze lived with our son for months at at time. Our Suki and Kamikaze have become great friends. We all dearly love her.

Kamikaze and our son five years ago
Kamikaze and Suki looking for trouble
This week also marks my birthday.
Baby Nancy with Mom and Dad
I am immensely happy. Reviewing books and getting books FREE is a dream come true. Making quilts and sharing with quilt friends in my weekly group is a joy. My husband and I are retired and finally have our own house after years of parsonage living.

But suddenly I realize that life passes with the speed of a bullet and I need to be more conscious of living in the moment and not the future. The future is here.
Gary and I at Adrian College 1971
Living in my parent's house, which I inherited when Dad passed with my brother's agreement, I see our folks everywhere, memories of Mom blotting her red lipstick in front of the bathroom mirror, long talks into the night sitting in the living room, family games of Michigan Rummy at the kitchen table, Dad racking up autumn leaves with our son.
Dad and our son racking leaves
I have memories of our son playing in the swimming pool Mom set up in the yard, the swing she hung from the birch tree, long gone; I see him banging on her pots and pans and playing with the old decks of cards Mom gave him. I recall walking him to the local playgrounds. And visits when he was older, after Mom passed, and Dad trucking us to Belle Isle.

Life will continue to bring change. The ghosts will again become happy thoughts. I am grateful for a wakeup call.