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Shamrocks

It is on this day that I think about my Mom and Dad.
Saint Patrick’s Day would find my mother in the kitchen cooking her corned beef and cabbage.
And God help you if you didn’t stop by for a plate and a pint.
I miss them both dearly on this day but know in my heart they are here with me as I serve my own
a dish they both dearly loved.
Danny Boy is for me Mum.
Miss you, Ginny.
Blessed be Ireland and all those from County Cork. [my roots]
~m

Dec 21, 2012 - Babies, Christmas, Life, Love, Memoir, Mom, Personal    No Comments

Merry Christmas Baby

Christmas, babies, birth, happiness

 

With all that’s been going on as of late I’m having some trouble figuring out exactly what to write about.
It’s 3 days before Christmas and I’ve obviously been sidetracked from all things merry.
Sometimes it really sucks to be an adult at this time of year as we’re saddled with so much emotional baggage.
With the End of the World (that was supposedly today), a tanking economy,
the movie theater incident in Aurora, Colorado, nukes and threats of biological warfare
to the ultimate tragedy in Newtown, Ct.,
I’m almost out of words, thoughts and reasonable explanations.
At this time of the year why go there anyway?
Memories are much needed solace sometimes.
Like now.

I’m thinking back to Christmas of 1986 when Pamela was pregnant with Sarah.
Her due date was December 30th but she was having labor pains on Christmas Eve.
I remember writing down the minutes between contractions thinking that if I missed one there would be hell to pay.
That Christmas was frighteningly frigid.
With two cats in the house and a wood fire burning we were warm, content but somewhat uncomfortable not knowing when the water would break and the baby would fall.
You can never be settled or comfortable when your wife looks at you with an expression that says,
“Son of a bitch! Merry Christmas! Son of a bitch!”
Christmas Eve went by without a hitch.
I remember Pamela wearing a vibrant red dress that day as we drove to my parent’s house in Oxford for Christmas Dinner.
In my humble opinion, she looked absolutely incredible.
Truth, albeit somewhat uncomfortable.
I loved seeing her with a belly bigger than Santa.
Another truth.
We arrived and began Christmasing with my Mom and Dad, sister and brother-in-law, cousins, grandparents, family and friends.
We weren’t there for more than two hours when I noticed Pamela wincing by the Christmas tree in the living room.
And we were just about to eat.
Son of a bitch.
A ton of really good food.

Pamela said, “We have to go now,” a pained look on her face.

“Now?” I said, really hoping she would say she was just kidding.

“Yeah, now.”

So much for Christmas Dinner.

We left for the hospital as any first parents would.
At 4:13am  on December 26th, Sarah entered the world.

I remember crying, seeing her enter the world.
I remember, vividly.

I left the hospital around 6:30am exhausted and hungry.
I called my Mom and was told to “just come out.”
I arrived to hugs, kisses and the Christmas Dinner that I’d missed the day before.
My Mom and Dad were over the roof in terms of happiness.
Their first grandchild.
Granddaughter.
I ate my turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy and cranberry sauce with a smile on my face at 6:30am.
Dinner never tasted so good.
This is a memory that will stay with me forever.
It was shortly after that Christmas that Alzheimer’s reared its ugly head.

Merry Christmas to all that visit and read here.
I wish all of you peace, love, the spirit of Christmas and the ultimate solace of memory.
Be safe, be well and be happy.
Catch all of you next year . . .

~m

When tomorrow comes

love, family, Alzheimer's Disease, memory

 

I read a post on Facebook from a ‘friend’ tonight.
I have no idea if he wrote it or found it on the interwebz.
That said, it moved me to tears reminding me of my Mom and Dad’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.
It’s called ‘When Tomorrow Starts Without Me’ and is a simply beautiful epitaph and message of hope that should be shared.
I’m missing my Mom and Dad tonight the way they used to be . . .  more than usual.
I’m over remembering the bad stuff.
Moving on.
Please share this . . .
Thank you, JohnD for posting!

UPDATE 8.6
attributed to David M Romano


When tomorrow starts without me
And I’m not there to see;
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today;
While thinking of the many things
We didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me
As much as I love you;
And each time that you think of me,
I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand.

She said my place was ready
In heaven far above;
And that I’d have to leave behind,
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye;
For all my life, I’d always thought
I didn’t want to die.

I had so much to live for,
So much yet to do;
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad;
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.


If I could relive yesterday
Just even for awhile,
I’d say goodbye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized
That this could never be;
For emptiness and memories
Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things
I might miss come tomorrow;
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven’s gates
I felt so much at home;
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne.

He said, “This is eternity
And all I’ve promised you;
Today your life on earth is past,
But here it all starts anew.”
“I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last;
And since each day’s the same day,
There’s no longing for the past.”
“But you have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true;
Though at times you did do things,
You knew you shouldn’t do.”
“But you have been forgiven
And now at last you’re free;
So won’t you take my hand
And share my life with me?”

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here in your heart.


Dear Mom and Dad . . .

mom and dad

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

For every memory lost, every heart broken wide open, every tear shed,
every life forever changed, every second chance missed,
there was always that white light of hope,
a sotto-voce prayer whispered by the many that so loved you.
I am currently living in a world that is profoundly affected by the monster that took the both of you.

This Sunday morning (Pamela’s birthday) I will walk with my wife,  your daughter, Maureen, your granddaughters, Sarah, Jenna & Hannah and Jonathan, Sarah’s friend and love.

I will paraphrase your granddaughter  Hannah’s Facebook profile, “We will walk for you . . .  You may have forgotten but we never will.”

Wally and Ginny Murphy.
Mom and Dad.
Uncle and Aunt.
Grandmother and Grandfather.
The lost and never found.

There were so many things that you missed out on, so many precious moments that you should have seen, so many defining points in time that change young lives and this
insidious bastard took that away, forever.
There’s little to be gained with a ‘what could have been’ mentality but maybe that’s just part of being human.
It’s the way we are wired, methinks.
I take comfort in the knowing that you hopefully ‘see’ . . .

I will be walking on Sunday for the two of you knowing that you can see all of us moving towards a cure for the thing that stole both of you from us . . .  all too soon.

On Sunday morning we will walk to remember two (+1) people we will never forget.
We miss you both dearly . . .

~Michael
~Maureen
~Pamela
~Sarah
~Jenna
~Hannah
~Jonathan

[Murphy’s Law]

Lost Soul

Over the years, I have felt a connection with several Bruce Hornsby songs.
Fields of Grey, [don't watch the video but listen to the song!]
reminds me of my daughter Sarah and my intense feelings of fatherly protection and safety for her.
[this strange phenomenon has happened for all 3 girls, truth be told]
When the song shows up unexpectedly on my Ipod I usually text her to see if everything is alright.
She sends me a text that loosely interpreted  says, listening to Hornsby huh?
I listened to ‘Lost Soul’ a few nights ago for the first time and couldn’t help but associate the words to
a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, the most lost of souls.
When the chorus kicked in I heard a female voice and thought, hey, that’s Shawn Colvin.

Here’s the connection with me and Shawn Colvin.
And here’s the song.

Not sure if this song is speaking to the issues regarding dementia or AD but I took it that way.
‘Lost Souls’ is chilling lyrically and musically sophisticated beyond belief.
Play the video and read the lyrics below and maybe you will see.
If not, it’s still a great tune.
Hornsby is an amazing musician, jazz/classical pianist and songwriter and Colvin just gives me a bad case of goosebumps. (and maybe because she’s a real cute blonde)
I am doing my first walk for Alzheimer’s research on September 25th to raise funds for some badly needed research.
Check back in the not too distant future for more info if you would like to help me meet my goal.
I already have a webpage HERE.
Check it out!
Until my next post, please be safe, happy and well.

Michael

 

There was a man of confused and sad nature
Thought no one loved him that was not true
He said he was a lost soul didn’t fit in anywhere
Didn’t know where to turn or who to turn to

There’s a lost soul coming down the road
Somewhere between two worlds
With an oar in his hands and a song on your lips
We’ll row the boat to the far shore
Row the boat of the loved lost soul

Ever since oh I can remember
We all tried to ease the pain
Took him in when he needed some shelter
Tried to make him feel he was one of us again
There was one day oh I can remember
He sat alone with a pencil in his hand
All day long he drew careful on the paper
In the end just a picture of a man

Of the lost soul coming down the road
Somewhere between two worlds
With an oar in his hands and a song on your lips
We’ll row the boat to the far shore
Row the boat of loved lost soul

Oh dear Mary do you remember
The day we went walking downtown
As I recall it was in early December
After school had just let out
When I see you on the street in the twilight
I may tip my hat and keep my head down
You show me love but maybe I don’t deserve it
I’ve been called but not been found

There’s a lost soul coming down the road
Somewhere between two worlds
With an oar in his hands and a song on your lips
We’ll row the boat to the far shore
Row the boat of the loved lost soul

I am (II)

I am: in transition and wondering about my future
I think: the world went to hell in a hand basket . . .
I know: I miss writing
I want: new teeth
I have: questions, too many
I wish: I could find some answers
I hate: goodbyes and temporary crowns
I miss: the old me
I fear: insomnia and more root canals
I feel: like I’m on the verge of something, maybe good, maybe bad
I hear: a fan cooling my sweating cueball head (I shaved this  morning)
I smell: a lit cigar
I crave: being 8 years old again running through my neighborhood
I search: for signs of my Mom and Dad everyday
I wonder: about my new neighbor next door and the fact that he wants to swindle me (NOT)
I regret: not finishing college and working retail. I’m so much better than that
I ache: for calm, for indigo breezes and purple sunsets
I care: about the future of my three wonderful girls (I am: so lucky)
I always: look before crossing  Boylston Street
I am not: perfect
I believe: in dreams
I dance: when I’ve had too much Maker’s Mark
I sing: because I can
I cry: more often than I believe I should
I don’t always: look before crossing Boylston Street
I fight: to stay alive
I write: because I can’t afford therapy
I never: wanted to be President
I stole: my wife’s heart
I listen: to things no one else seems to hear
I need: a creative kick in the ass and to play my didgeridoo more
I am happy about: my dear friends from Australia that will be here in less than 3 weeks.

Just updating my life status is all.
This post may turn out to be a monthly occurrence.
Tanks for the nudge, M

~m

Stars

*a repost from a time I can’t seem to forget

This morning, the highway was filled with a multitude of disembodied headlights, each one searching through a seemingly inexhaustible mist, an optical illusion a bit tough to handle at 6AM when you’re still sleeping.
I made it onto the train and stared out the window at the relentless sheets of rain.
The dark and rainy skies made me think of a night many years ago when I went to my parent’s house after a slew of frantic phone calls from my mother.
She would freak out on a fairly regular basis back then.
At the time, she was in the late beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and I was still in total denial.
I pulled into the driveway and saw her silhouette standing in the open doorway.
I remember thinking she looked peaceful standing there
and not the frantic woman I’d just spoken to on the phone.

I called her name.

“Mom?”

No response.
As I walked up the stairs, I could see her staring off into the distance, detached and trance-like.
I stood next to her to try and see what she was looking at when she said,
“Look. There’s million’s of them.”

“Millions of what, Mom?” I asked.

“Stars,” she said, “Can’t you see them?”

In the front yard there was an old oak tree, the leaves still dripping from the heavy rain.
Behind the oak, I could see the front porch light from the Jacobson’s house
up on the hill illuminating the thousands of falling raindrops.
Stars, I thought, it’s raining stars.
I took off my glasses to see the world, if only for a moment, through my mother’s eyes.
A simple oak tree was being transformed into an impressionistic masterpiece right in front of me, thanks to a few misfiring neurons located somewhere in my mother’s brain.

“It’s beautiful, Mom.” I said.

“Yes. It is…” She replied.

I didn’t realize it at the time but the raindrops falling from the tree closely echoed the neurological avenue my mother was currently traveling down.
The drops of rain falling and disappearing into the waiting earth were so much like her failing memory,
a collection of antiquated shooting stars ultimately destined to crash and burn, their celestial beauty gone all too soon.
As we stood silently on the porch, an internal cog clicked inside me.
It was a frightening moment of absolute realization.
My phase of denial had finally come to an end.

~m

Under the Bluebell Tree

There are several things I do know about my nocturnal comings and goings.
I dream in vivid color, for one thing.
Not just fundamental colors either.
My synapses and neurotransmitters treat me to a 4th of July palette of incredible and wondrous things.
My dreams are intensely complex, symbolically speaking, and I have yet to
understand what they truly mean.
I have also been known to get out of bed at 3:47AM to write down many a
soon-to-be elusive thought.
For the past ten years or so,
I have yet to have a dream that included both my mother and father.
It’s always been one or the other.
Given the circumstances surrounding the past chaotic decade,
that makes some logical sense, I guess.
As I said, my dreams have had ‘Ginny’ some nights and ‘Wally’ on the others.
Never together.
Until last night . . .

Off in the gossamer covered distance I could see them standing together,
holding hands . . .  smiling . . .  still.
They were underneath a tree of great age that was surrounded by what looked like
thousands of these tiny purple flowers.
I was physically moved (somehow) closer and I immediately noticed that they both looked happy,
healthy and totally at peace.
My mother was wearing a royal blue, knee length coat.
My father, a crisp white shirt and grey pleated trousers.
I smiled at the sight of the two of them, so obviously happy together and said,

“What are all these flowers?”

My mother smiled and said,

“They’re bluebells, Michael.  Each flower is a dream of ours that somehow came true.
No more sad, just more good.”

She turned (in slow motion) and kissed my father on the cheek.

They stood underneath the bluebell tree as small white flowers began falling like an unexpected springtime snowstorm.
They faded into the distance, transforming themselves into a Monet-like watercolour.
I faded into my dreamworld distance as well.

Before I went to bed last night, I had never heard of a flower called a ‘bluebell’.
I found it quite appropriate that the beautiful flower is not quite blue but purple – a color closely associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Thinking back on the dream I found it odd that my father never said a word,
though he appeared to be quite content.
Maybe the serenity I saw in his bright eyes told me all I needed to know.
I feel that their hearts have healed after all these godforsaken years apart.
Although mine is still on the mend,
I now believe that there are better days ahead for them
and for me . . .

*a little something from the wonders of the internet regarding ‘bluebells’

“Bluebells have long been symbolic of humility and gratitude. They are associated with constancy, gratitude and everlasting love. Bluebells are also closely linked to the realm of fairies and are sometimes referred to as “fairy thimbles.” To call fairies to a convention, the bluebells would be rung.

Bluebells are widely known as harebells in Scotland.
The name originated due to the hares that frequented the fields covered with harebells.
Some sources claim that witches turned themselves into hares to hide among the flowers.
Another name for bluebells is Dead Man’s bells.
This is due to the fact that fairies were believed to cast spells on those who dare to pick or damage the beautiful, delicate flowers. The people of Scotland are fond enough of the flower to continue this tradition
in the hopes of protecting the little flower.”

M

Gone

[photo courtesy of Kelly]

I’ve been mulling over in my mind the past several weeks wondering if I could
crystallize my many thoughts into one fine black point.
The little voice inside my head just said, “Are you really serious?”
Since the night I wrote ‘Boxes’ my world has changed dramatically.
On one level, there is this welcome sense of relief regarding the final end for my father and his long fought ordeal; another level acknowledges a deep sadness knowing and accepting the fact that he is truly gone.

I took a ride yesterday afternoon to North Cemetery where my mother and father are now buried.
It was unseasonably warm with a cobalt-blue sky, a Cape Cod-like sea breeze and enough
brilliant sunshine to make me start daydreaming about the summer months ahead.
This place where the earth now wraps its arms securely around my parents has become
hallowed ground for many reasons.
For me, it is a tangible point of communication, a visible portal to somewhere I’ve never been,
a place where special things happen and are accepted for all that they are.
It was no different yesterday as I stood staring at the rose granite bench bearing the names:
Virginia A. & Walter M.
Best friends, I thought.
The engravers had paid a visit and finished the stone.
The circle was now complete.
I was alone in the cemetery and sat down on the sun-warmed bench, stretching my legs out into the sunshine.
To my right was the small flag stuck in a holder that now marks my father as an American veteran.
I was sitting for less than a minute when the wind picked up.
The tiny flag began waving gently and touched my arm.
“Hey, Dad,” I said, smiling at the thought.
The flag continued to wave, touching my arm, my soul, my heart.
It was sitting there that I began to finally accept the finality of these past few weeks.
The stone was done, seeds were planted and tears rolled down my cheeks watering the dry earth below me.
As I stood up, the breeze ceased and the flag drooped down.
I kissed the palm of my hand and placed it on the warm rose granite bench that now held their names.
“You’re finally home, Dad,” I said to an empty cemetery.
I got in my truck and drove away a different man then when I originally came in and
for the first time in many years, something felt right.

~m

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