New Year, Old Memories

By: PugetSoundPost , 4:27 PM GMT on January 05, 2013

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January 23, 8:45 PM

These photos were taken in the woods right behind my mom's retirement home, on the day after her memorial service.

I wasn't writing much for quite awhile, but we were having interesting weather for over a week. Lots of fog, quite dense at times that never cleared during the day, and it was cold. Highs in the lower to middle 30's, lows in the 20's. In fact, the less than one inch of snow we had two weeks ago was still around in little patches on the ground yesterday! An amazing little snowfall! But on Sunday afternoon, there was a tiny break in the fog and the sun came out briefly, piercing through the hazy fog still lingering in the trees, and this photo was shot. It was rather a miracle that Mr. PSP was even able to get it, as we were busy moving my mom's things and not really looking for photo ops, and he was "in the right place at the right time", which was only brief anyway. It sure seemed like a wonderful tribute to my mom.

Meanwhile, it has been such a busy time, and hard, of course, too. I can hardly believe all that has happened, and that January is winding up. It went by me with my eyes closed, I think. Things are settling down, but there is still a lot to do. Out of town family has gone back home and now I am trying to get my house back in order for our own lives, and I also still have a lot left to do for mom. A lot of her things are gone now, but a lot is now in my house. Boxes are stacked all around and they all need to be gone through and sorted/organized and a lot of decisions remain on what to do with them. It will take me probably the rest of the year (hope sooner!) to really figure it all out. And, soon I need to start in on all of the legal things that need to be done. It is a long process to wrap up a life, and especially when it is the last one of a married couple. My mom's situation is pretty straightforward and "simple", but there are still things to do. My initial call to the lawyer today went unreturned, so already there is a delay, even if perhaps a little one.

People seemed to appreciate the memorial we had on Saturday. We tried hard to make it special and honoring and I think we did do that. Our graveside service (just immediate family) was in the morning, and that day was like the others, very foggy and cold. It was 28 degrees at the time we were out there in the cemetery, with frosty fog hanging in the air. Seemed like a scene from a movie, almost. But it was a meaningful time and good to have the family together for that.

I am not finished with memorials - I have another one to put together for next Tuesday. This one will be in the assisted living home where my mom lived. The staff there seemed to really want us to do something for them. The residents, and friends of my mom, can't typically get out too much to attend something too far away, and also staff is interested, so we will do a shorter version of our other memorial for them. It is nice they care enough about my mom to want this.

Winter seems to still be here. The fog is finally gone now, but our rain is back. Today was the first rain in two weeks, and it has warmed just a bit. Back up to around 40 and today we have had .32" rain. The next week looks similar.

January 17, 4 PM

Such a busy time and weeks, kind of matching the fog that is presently outdoors. I haven't been around much, but will stop in for a little update here. We actually have been having a bit of winter season that has lasted longer than expected.

We have had snow on the ground now for over a week - not much, but patches are remaining from our little snow from the middle of last week. A cold snap settled in and hasn't left. Our temps have been steadily in the 20's and 30's for over a week, with no precip since the snow, some sunny but chilly days, and days like today of persistent fog that is not going to clear. The lowest temp of this spell was 21, several mornings ago. Lots of frost and icy cars. High pressure has blanketed us with an inversion trapping cold air at the surface with little mixing at all. We are now under an air stagnation advisory, which started earlier this week and is slated to continue until next week. The next rain is nearly a week away. Soooo, for now, no wind, no rain, sun sometimes, fog sometimes, and frosty air. Our current temp at 4 pm is 36, after a high today of 38. This is the recent theme.

My mom's memorial service is coming this Saturday. I'm hoping and planning for it to be a wonderful tribute to a wonderful mother. It has been a busy time of planning, organizing, and also moving and closing down my mom's home (a small apartment in a retirement facility). That part is not finished but it is getting close. By the end of this upcoming weekend it should be finished. Very hard to realize she is really gone.

January 10, 6:30 AM

A little bit of snow last evening! And a lot of rain yesterday! It was a chilly, gloomy, wet day yesterday. The temperature dropped through the day from upper 40's at midnight to mid 30's by late afternoon. So that 1.36" precip yesterday was mostly rain until it turned to snow before dark. We ended up with about .75" snow - turned things white. It wasn't widespread at all, but for once when it was quite localized, the locale was over us!

Cold temps are coming in the next couple of nights. Teens and 20's are predicted. Chances of flurries as well at times, then possibly a little bigger snow on Saturday. Our bit of winter is here.

Still sorting photos, planning events and wondering what to do with all of mom's things.

January 8, 7:10 AM

My sister has arrived after a long saga of earlier holiday travel, then greatly complicated by sweeping, difficult illnesses in their household, not allowing her to get here until yesterday. A snowy cross-state drive was tricky, as most of the geographical area of the state is now white. It isn't white on this side of the mountains, but there are some chances to see a little snow around here later this week. I'm not really very anxious for it at all during these next two weeks. So much to get done. Errands and tasks to do with my sister to plan our mother's memorial (Jan 19) as well as start the sad task of sorting and moving her out of her assisted living apartment. That is what I dread the most to do in the coming days and weeks. Closing up my parents' lives once and for all. I actually have done this several times before with a previous generation, but this will be the hardest of all. But must get to all the tasks, and we will start this morning. Some things have been started while I have waited for her arrival. Mr. PSP has been wonderful to start the ball rolling, mainly getting a lot of photos organized, and he has made a nice short video presentaton of my youngest daughter playing bagpipes for my mom just this fall that we will use. So, we are underway, but more photos to sort and people to see.

A rainy and windy day is on its way today, with temperatures in the 40's. A typical winter day.

January 5, 8:30 AM

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since I last wrote here, and just about none of it from rain.

Life for me took a very big turn this holiday season, and really started to skid off the tracks on Christmas Day. Sometime late that evening, my mom fell and hit her head. She was found just about midnight and that started a heart-wrenching cascade of events for me, and the whole family, ending just this week, on New Years Day in the afternoon, with her passing into the presence of our Lord, because of a brain hemorrahage that was just too difficult for her. She was 80 years old. I just didn't expect this path for her, even though life was slowing and various struggles were getting harder for her, and the road ahead was narrowing considerably for her. But also she seemed to have stabilized a little in recent weeks and she kept saying she was stronger than previously this year, and in some ways she maybe was. We had her at my house for Christmas Eve, her first outing since Thanksgiving, and she had a good time with us. Then on Christmas Day my family went to spend time with her in her place, leaving her about dinner time. Then, just a handful of hours later, her course was set into eternity. What a week it was.

She was a wonderful mother and so kind and sweet to us all. She loved her family dearly and was our biggest cheerleaders. She and I spent a lot of time together. We were a great team, helping her through a lot of tough things in recent years, and always being there for me, and for us all. I miss her greatly and she will always be a huge part of me. But God has healed her and taken her home in His perfect time. Love you Mom! You are the best!

I have hardly noticed the weather in recent weeks. But it has been fairly dull, I'd say. Very little rain for some time now. As the New Year broke, we were blessed with some sunshiny, but crisp, days. Clouds are back now, and rain is coming back too, although it is dry so far this morning. I even see a little chance maybe of snow later next week. Not sure I am very anxious for that. We have a lot to do soon. A memorial for my mom is ahead, plus everything else required to "close up" a life.

Here are some abbreviated stats for us I quickly put together for December and 2012.

December Stats:

Average High: 45
Average Low: 37
Total Rainfall for December: 7.01"

Total Rainfall for 2012: 49.13"
Total Rain 2011: 34.82
Total Rain 2010: 43.85
Total Rain 2009: 37.19
Total Rain 2008: 30.99

Total Snowfall for 2012: 11"

January 5
Sunrise: 7:56 AM --- Sunset: 4:32 PM (PST)

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16. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
12:18 AM GMT on February 02, 2013
PugetSoundPost has created a new entry.
15. BriarCraft
11:56 PM GMT on February 01, 2013
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 93 Comments: 4661
14. PugetSoundPost
11:08 PM GMT on January 28, 2013
Thanks for the encouragement Briar! I actually wrote the life story for our earlier memorial and several people commented how they loved it - I guess I should take them at their word. For the memorial tomorrow, I was thinking I should maybe make this part a little shorter - it is a different group of attenders, and actually kind of all over the map for attention and interest, I suspect. So, I started to cut down the length (the original version took me 17 minutes to read, according to Mr Tech (Mr PSP) who has quite a video production made now for our keepsake) but actually I have only been able to "cut" a lot less than I first thought I could. I edited the original and looked for cuts, didn't find too many, so then decided to just start all over, thinking that if I took a different approach I may be able to be more sweeping and make it shorter. After two paragraphs I was exactly where I started, length-wise, and much of it word for word to the original. I have given up on this and will just read the slightly shorter version. It will be maybe 3- 5 minutes or so shorter. If I just start slashing, what will be left? What meaning will it have if it just turns into a dry list, and almost boils down to "she lived, she died". That does not honor my mother, and would be far less than my best for her. So, we shall see how it turns out.

Calpoppy, so nice of you to stop in as well! The photos were just perfect for timing and situation and we are using one on the bulletin for tomorrow. Certainly a gift from God at a difficult time. It is interesting how a moment, or photo, can become so meaningful and change everything so quickly. It has been a pretty hard month, but I think things are turning a bit now, toward the better.
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 185 Comments: 988
13. calpoppy
8:45 PM GMT on January 28, 2013
I know you are busy, so just a fly by to see how you are doing!!! I love the picture that Mr. PSP took!!!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 61 Comments: 4308
12. BriarCraft
12:09 AM GMT on January 28, 2013
I think that photo would be a very fitting cover for that memorial bulletin. Hard to cut down on the story of a lengthy life, especially when you don't just want to read a dry list of events. Maybe try to pick a few really special highlights and tell them as anecdotes or stories, in the style that you write many of your blog entries. You've got the ability to put it all together nicely, once you decide which things to tell. I know you'll do your mother's spirit proud.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 93 Comments: 4661
11. PugetSoundPost
11:02 PM GMT on January 25, 2013
Very well said Briar! My head was not there - too busy with last minute moving out of things, and actually not even outside to look, but he did a good job and the photos have proven quite useful - we will use one on the cover of our next bulletin for the memorial next week in the retirement home. Seems very fitting. Now to cut down the lengthy life story I will read there!
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 185 Comments: 988
10. BriarCraft
9:42 PM GMT on January 25, 2013
Mr. PSP was not only in the right place in the right time. He was in the right head space, to think about capturing the moment. Glad he did.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 93 Comments: 4661
9. WatchinTheSky
10:39 PM GMT on January 24, 2013
Looks like we have the same chances for rain for the next few days! A bit cooler for you ;) I'll guess you get much more total rain, though.

Nice series of photos, congrats to Mr PSP on the AC! Timing is often the key. Nice tribute, indeed :)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 137 Comments: 2524
8. PugetSoundPost
4:49 AM GMT on January 24, 2013
Thank you everyone for your well wishes and encouragement! I hope to get back into a better swing soon, but as I wrote above, there is still a lot going on. But that is how life goes. Hope you all are enjoying this month and time of indoors, just waiting for better days ahead!
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 185 Comments: 988
7. BriarCraft
1:09 AM GMT on January 24, 2013
I hope the memorial service was all that you wanted it to be. Also the closing down of her apartment, a sad but necessary chore.

Now that is past as well as that dreary, dank fog that went on for so long. Hopefully it's a sign that things will be improving for you. Time for your life to settle down into something comfortable and uneventful.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 93 Comments: 4661
6. calpoppy
6:02 PM GMT on January 20, 2013
You have had a lot of chapters opening and closing in your life!! My mom has been gone for 27 years and I still miss her! After my boys were born we were more friends then mother/child.

Take care!!!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 61 Comments: 4308
5. JanesVacation
2:26 PM GMT on January 20, 2013
I read about the memorial for your Mom this weekend. What a sad time for you and your family. Give yourself plenty of time to recover from such a huge loss. I hope you and your sister were able to close up her apartment together.
Member Since: June 21, 2008 Posts: 279 Comments: 1682
4. SBKaren
2:44 AM GMT on January 18, 2013
PSP - I was so sorry to read of your mother's passing. It sounds as if you were quite close, with a close family as well. What a blessing to have so many family memories .

My mom, who is 85, and lives alone, has macular, so she gave up driving a few years ago, and now listens to books on tape. I am her wheels and eyes for bill paying and such. In the last few months, she has been going through so many things and weeding out things that she has held on to for too long, and knows that when she goes, we won't want (she has asked). They have personal memories for her, but not us. I'm thankful that she is doing it now, as I know how much harder it will be to do later.

It sounds as if you have a wonderful memorial planned for her.

No doubt closing the door on her place for the last time will be an emotional one. Just remember its only a place, she will always remain in your heat.
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 200 Comments: 14762
3. JanesVacation
1:48 PM GMT on January 12, 2013
Hi, stopped by to see how things have been going. We are very fortunate to still have our parents living so I have no words of advice to offer about sorting through a lifetime of "stuff." My parents believe they are doing us a favor by sorting their own things lately. I have to laugh because their home is as filled as ever from corner to corner. They seem to have only gotten rid of the things that are more than 30 years or so old. Things that we would have immediately put in the garbage! (I don't need my report cards from high school.) My parents have lived in the same home for almost 60 years. I can't even imagine sorting through it.

Weather here is mild and dry. Haven't used the snow shovel a single time. Last winter was mild, but this one is even warmer and drier.
Member Since: June 21, 2008 Posts: 279 Comments: 1682
2. BriarCraft
12:14 AM GMT on January 08, 2013
Not a happy New Year for you at all. So sad.

I've experienced the death of a loved one that was unexpected and others that were long and difficult in coming. Each is heart-wrenching in its own way. Nothing but time will ease the pain. That said, such a quick passing, free of suffering, is a blessing in it's own way. Your mother was lucky in that respect and you all were lucky in that you got to say good-bye in a happy way. After the pain and sorrow pass, you will be left with that happy memory. No compensation for a new hole in your life, but we all have to take what consolation we can find, wherever we can find it.

Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 93 Comments: 4661
1. WatchinTheSky
9:23 PM GMT on January 06, 2013
So sorry to hear of the unexpected turn for your Mom. Not the way to end a year, but she has been made whole and it seems clear she was a bright light for your family for such a long time.
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 137 Comments: 2524

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Weather has been a lifelong passion for me; while my husband and 4 kids all in college and beyond, one now married, have patiently gone along with me!

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