The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Crabgrass & Picker Bushes

It is the time of the year again when I *should* be getting started with yard care duties. Because of my biology background, I have purposefully selected to refrain from virtually any use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc on my lawn. Therefore, the lawn is certainly not a "showpiece", but in past years I have had what I consider an attractive lawn.

I was never one to be overly self-conscious about the lawn. However, when my father passed away in 1994, I became the sole caretaker of my mother and fathers land. They had two acres of land (my father always loved having a larger property)and to honor my parents, I dived headfirst into becoming meticulous and exacting in lawn care... first at my mother's home and then also at my own home. I spent numerous hours weekly in grooming the lawns, again without pesticides, herbicides, etc. For me, it was a way to honor my mother and my father. I kept the yard and exterior of the house in as good a shape as I could muster so my mother would not have to worry or fret about these matters.

When my mother moved into my home five years ago, I upped a notch the care I gave to the yard because it made me happy having my mother see the yard look pleasant and attractive. Since she did not get out much, her picture to the world entailed the windows of our home, specifically a pair of large patio doors in our family room. I tried to keep the view as attractive as possible for her.

This year, I feel very ambivalent. I should have laid down seed to cover bare spots several weeks ago. I should be and should have started digging out the picker bushes that have sprung up this year and I should be feeling more attentive and active in my efforts. Thus far, I have done virtually nothing. The lawn already needs a trim and I have done nothing to prepare for the task.

I feel a loss in motivation. My prior motivation was to feel the sense of happiness such activity brought my mother. My wife is not overly interested in the lawn and therefore does not feel much differently than I do about it. So, it is as if I have lost my lawn muse, so to speak. I know I will get to it. But it seems more drudgery than ever before. I miss how I felt enthused about the task previously. I am not sure if I can get that back, or if I can, how.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Eight Weeks

Today, it has been eight weeks since my beautiful, beloved, kind mother has passed away. It is something I think about and relive every day.

* * * * *

My posts have been limited this last two weeks as I have been unfortunately required to be on JURY DUTY. Please do not get me wrong... jury service is a vital and important part of being a community citizen. But dammit, to schedule a PROFESSOR to serve jury duty during the last two weeks of the semester is rude and ludicrous. Not only that, this is the THIRD time our county has seen fit to schedule me in this manner in the last decade. I have written letters explaining the situation until I have writers cramp to no avail... the powers that be always deny my request.

What is my request you may ask? It is NOT to be excused from jury service... it is to have my service moved to July or August WHEN I AM NOT TEACHING. I do not know what is so damn hard or unreasonable about that request. The courts are open and trials are on-going.

Because they have seen fit to schedule me in this manner, here is what my life has been like:

1. I call the appointment line the evening before service to see if I am to report to the courthouse.

2. The appointment line says the services of my group are needed but are on STANDBY and that I need to call at 11 am the next day to see if I should report in the afternoon.

3. Therefore, because I do not know what the hell I will be doing the next day, I have to write up in the late evening, paper copies of notes, illustrations, review questions, worksheets, etc for the class I *MIGHT* have to miss the next day.

4. The next day, I do some of my teaching responsibilities, then call in at 11am. On days when my group is then told.... YOUR SERVICES ARE NOT NEEDED TODAY, I go and teach the rest of my class normally... and all the damn work I did the evening before is worthless and shot to hell. Or.... on other days, when my group is then told.... YOUR SERVICES ARE NEEDED... I race off to get to the courthouse by 1pm, the designated start time. In order to get there, I have to cut one of my classes in half... and I pass out all the worksheets, notes and other nonsense (that I normally do not use) to give the students some way to keep up with what the NEED to learn.

5. After arriving at 1pm, I sit around while all the legal people putz around doing close to nothing.

6. Then, usually because of delays in some trial or other, we are dismissed having done not a damn thing, and are excused. If we are excused early enough, I can race back to the University to teach a late afternoon class, or if it is too late, I have a colleague who is willing to pass out that classes' worksheets, notes and other nonsense (that I normally do not use but again had to prepare the night before).

7. Then I go home, and await to make my night phone call to see if I am to report the next day (usually told again that I am on standby).

"Tough!" you say? Well, at one level I can agree with you. But keep in mind that most folks who serve on jury duty simply have another person work for them and therefore it is not overly inconvenient (another exception though... the self-employed have a helluva time too).

But, tell me how I am supposed to find a substitute to teach a senior level neurobiology course or a senior level endocrinology course, or a graduate course in research methods? I can tell you there isn't anyone else around for at least 75 miles from here could teach those... it is the reason I was hired... to bring that information to this region. I could perhaps just cancel all my classes, but why should my ~150 students be so disrupted? Why should they lose out on information they paid to learn?!? And, why should I have to be so overworked and burdened in this process when there is an EASY VIABLE solution that they are too damn stubborn to allow?

AGAIN, DO NOT GET ME WRONG... I believe in the jury system and and I feel it is IMPORTANT to serve. But why the hell cannot they understand that my job is rather specialized and substitutes are not possible and therefore I need to move my service to a time when I AM NOT TEACHING?!?!?!?! Seems simple. BUT NO, IT IS NOT TO THEM.

* * * * *

We were dismissed from jury service yesterday at 3pm and since yesterday afternoon I did not have a class to return to, I then drove to my mother's grave. I brought a single red rose to the grave with me. It was a horribly rainy day. The rain was driving down very hard (which fit my mood, I guess), and it was in the low 50s in terms of temperature. I went out to the grave and with my snap brimmed cap on to shunt the rain, I began to talk to my mother.

I spoke of my sadness, of my fear, of my missing her. I spoke of my shame in myself. I spoke of breaking my Lenten Vow. I spoke of how I wish I had been better and stronger and more valuable for her. I spoke of how empty things seem. I spoke of how I hoped she was in Heaven and was with all my other loved ones who have died... my wonderful father, Aunt A, Uncle C, Uncle K, E (B), R, P, Aunt E, Uncle A, Uncle H, Aunt C, my grandparents, and her grandmother, and all the others who my mother cherished. I stood there and talked for roughly half an hour in the driving rain, crying and sobbing as I talked. Finally, I laid the single rose I had been holding upon her grave. Being so fresh, the mound of soil was still prominent and there was no grass growing upon the dirt, below which her casket and her corporal body lay. I then got into my vehicle and drove home.

That in a nutshell has been what has happened since I last wrote.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

College Students Are NOT Children

I have remained silent here about the killings at Virginia Tech, but I need to speak about several issues that have arisen from this horrible event:

1. Obviously, the deaths of the 33 individuals is horrific and extremely tragic. My sympathies go to all the dead and their loved ones.

2. I am extremely dismayed and disgusted by the vilification of Seung-Hui Cho. He, of course is the killer and instigator of this horrid tragedy... and family and friends of the victims would understandably vilify Cho. But, it is NOT APPROPRIATE for society at large to be acting so obnoxious about Cho. Instead, society should be able to view Cho's actions more clinically... see Cho as a tragic person with a severe illness and/or disturbed past that acted out violently. To call Cho and his family names, or to belittle him with rude commentary relating to his writings, pictures or videos is galling in my opinion. Those writings, pictures, and videos are IMPORTANT documents that should be studied by psychologists to help us gain a greater understanding into what influenced Cho to act as he did. Some of the news commentators and political pundits have made me sick with their behavior in this matter.

3. I am very appalled by the numerous news people and political people who keep calling the students at Virginia Tech "CHILDREN" and have story upon story about how "adults" are calling for stricter measures and even LOCK-DOWNS to keep our "kids" safe. What in the hell are these people thinking? COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE ADULTS... college campuses ARE NOT like high schools or any aspect of the K-12 community. The college or university is a COMMUNITY space... where all people in a community can come together whether young or old to foster intellectual pursuit. THEY ARE NOT CHILDREN, THEY ARE ADULTS.

4. The idea of making a college campus like a grade school or high school and not allowing anyone but a select few on it would be akin to having a city be shut down by martial law because of a shooting spree. It is NOT APPROPRIATE. In a city near where I live, the population is roughly 55,000. There are murders that happen perhaps once or twice a week. Should this city be shut down and people be in lock down every few days because of a murder? It is insane to think about that for the city... and in the same way it is insane to think about that for a college or university. In the Virginia Tech incident, closing the school for a week to clear matters made perfect sense, but the severe criticism of the administration because they did not shut the campus down after the first two shootings is LUDICROUS!!!!! To shut down the 25,000 student campus after a pair is murdered IS JUST LIKE shutting down an entire city after a murder... it is FOOLISH AND INAPPROPRIATE.

Enough on this topic for now.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Rapid Review

The lack of posting the Thursday and Friday resulted in several people writing to me out of concern. I am doing ok. Here is a brief run-down of what had transpired between Wednesday and today:

Thursday... I was the host of our Department's Annual Poster Session. This is a very big event for our Department that displays undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research and is a way in which we try to communicate our efforts for "the greater good" to the larger University Community. It is a way in which we try to merge our research that is published nationally and internationally with our local community of people. Of the several posters my students had, I was pleased with all of their efforts.

Friday... This was the Campus-Wide Honors Program Presentation Day, and I had two students present their research as part of their work in the Honors Program. Both students did wonderfully and their research was well received and well presented. This also marked seven weeks since my beautiful mother passed away.

Saturday... I again went to the inner-urban church (for the first time since my mother's passing) that I spoke of in February instead of my regular parish. It was nice, and I was hoping to feel renewal of my faith. However, while I enjoyed the Mass and the Homily, I did not feel that greater connection I used to experience. I still struggle greatly with faith at this time. I would like to believe again, with the joy and the happiness I once had, but I am not there and I am not sure if I shall be able to get there again.

Sunday... My wife and I cleaned the house stem to stern.

I am a bit on edge because I have to begin jury duty on Tuesday. It is utterly asinine to have Professors be required to serve jury duty during the last 2-3 weeks of the semester. This is the THIRD time our damnable legal system has called me and they put me in the same damn block of time each and every time I am called. It infuriates me. I think jury service is wonderful and appropriate, do not get me wrong, but no matter how I try to explain and try to ask that my service be moved to a month where I do not have active classes... the idiots refuse. So, the next two weeks may be unreasonably difficult.... perhaps tomorrow I shall write about how I try to handle classes while serving on jury duty. It is a nightmare.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


The saddness I feel about the loss of my mother is exacerbated by my own significant loss of faith. Whereas I used to feel I had very strong faith in my Roman Catholic beliefs about life and the afterlife, the passing of my mother and the events surrounding said passing have significantly diminished the level of my faith.

Whereas I used to believe that there was an afterlife, and I used to feel comforted in that belief... with its inherent hopes of seeing those I love again even if they have died... is no longer something I feel strong belief in. I have prayed and begged for a sign from Mom so that I may feel comforted, but none arrives. And, I know that I *SHOULD* be able to have faith without proof, but in all honesty, right now I do not.

I have been wanting to visit a priest and talk with him ever since my mother's death. I would like to talk with him about my feelings, my decreased belief, and ask for help in trying to understand why these last several weeks have happened.

Unfortunately, the type of priest I need is one who is very thoughtful, and one that is able to discuss things deeply. In the recent past (say the last 10 years or so), I have known well, two priests who would fit that bill. Unfortunately, one, Fr. Davey, passed away near Christmas, and the other one took an assignment overseas for two years and is not available. The priests I currently interact with are not particularly suitable because either a) they do not display thoughtfulness or depth (just like people in general, some priests are deep, some are fairly superficial), or b) they are priests I do not know hardly at all (some, I have been to their parish only a few times and do not know them well, or they themselves are too new to the parish for me to know much about them).

I have thought about this a great deal and I will be continuing to try to find the right priest to talk to. If I could find the right priest, here is the basic gist of the conversation I keep thinking I would have.... I have played this over and over in my mind numerous times. The dialogue is of course primairly my own as I do not know what the priest may say:

[ I would arrive at the priest's office, most likely the one at his parrish, not at his home. He would invite me in and I would sit in one of the chairs present as he sits behind his desk. The room is sparsely furnished, but there are a few religious touches of course and a fairly large open window to the side. ]

Me: "Hello Father."

Priest: "Hello (PipeTobacco)."

Me. "I was hoping to talk with you today about some spiritual issues that have formed a very tangled knot in my mind. Many of the issues are jumbled together and so tightly intertwined I do not think I will be particularly successful in giving them to you linearly or even particularly coherently. I apologize."

Priest: "It is ok, let's just see how it goes."

[ I close my eyes for a moment, and take my hand and pull it down along the lower half of my face, across my moustache and beard, pulling gently on both as I sigh audibly. Opening my eyes, I then reach down into my jacket pocket and pull out my pipe, tobacco pouch and lighter and lay them on the desktop so that the priest sees them. He does, and looks at them quietly and then back up at me. ]

Priest: unknown comments at this time

Me: "I believe I am here because of feelings, emotions, and thoughts I have following the death of my mother."

Priest: unknown comments at this time

Me: "My mother was a very special person, and she was a very vivid and important part of my life. She passed away in early March, and she had lived with my family for nearly the last five years."

Priest: unknown comments at this time

Me: "The loss of her is something I am having a great deal of difficulty with. As would be anticipated, I miss her terribly, I miss her voice, I miss her smile. But most particularly, I miss that incredible connection a mother and child have... she knew me better and longer than anyone else alive. I cherish who she is and I grieve the circumstances of her death, and feel wholly forlorn and in many ways I feel very lost without her corporal presence."

Priest: unknown comments at this time

Me: "Her death was unexpected. I had taken her to the hospital less than 48 hours before, thinking she would have some general medication adjustments like had happened numerous times since she had become so frail following a heart attack that occurred from a dislodged clot of plaque following angioplasty in February of 2000. Unfortunately, this time, she died in the middle of the night and no one was with her other than hospital staff."

[ I pause a moment. For even as I write the above it is very difficult. ]

Me: "Her unexpected death leaves me very angry... angry at myself for things I could have and should have done... and extremely angry at God for doing this, in this way, at this time. I used to be a person who had strong faith in my religious philosophy ... Roman Catholicism. But now, all I feel is hurt and angry and alone in my thoughts."

Priest: unknown comments at this time

Me: "Prior to her passing, actually a few days befor Lent had started, I had been thinking about what I would "do" to try to grow in knowledge and depth during Lent. I decided to abstain from my pipes and pipe tobaccos... a long standing hobby of mine that I relished. My abstaining had been going well, actually. Even better than I had expected. I was feeling happy about this effort, and I was feeling happy about my life and my family. I felt I was really trying to grow in religious understanding through my efforts. "

[ I look up at the priest, but I suspect he will say nothing and will just continue to listen. ]

Me: "Following the death of my mother, I continued my fast from my pipes initially, but as the realization of the reality of her death penetrated deeper and deeper into my heart, I grew more and more angry. I PURPOSEFULLY stopped my abstaining from my pipes on the third day after her death SPECIFICALLY to show God my anger, actually my rage and my hurt in what He had done. I purposefuly and systematically BROKE my Lenten vow. Again, not because I was struggling with the vow (for I was not), nor was I feeling any uncomfortable side effects (for I was not). I broke the vow because I wanted to show God how angry I was and how mean and cruel I thought He was."

Priest: unknown comments at this time

Me: "I see God now as a cruel taskmaster... if I see him at all. I do not know if I have much belief anymore. Sometimes I feel that there may be no God, no afterlife, and that the thoughts of and hopes for heaven where I might be able to see my loved ones again seems a figment of my imagination. When I struggle to try and regrasp my faith, I often see it as pointless and perhaps even if it is real, why then would this path that God created be fraught with such times of cruelty and harsh, bitter heartache? It does not feel or seem at all valuable or appropriate or meaningful for us to slowly experience death upon death of those who love and care for us... to experience that emptiness, that cruel feeling of being in a void. Why would He do this in this way? This causes me to doubt everything I previously believed in."

Priest: unknown comments at this time

[ As this post is long, I think I shall conclude here at least for a while. I do have more I wish to say to the priest so that he may help guide me into some sort of meaningful understanding of these events and my feelings. I shall perhaps tackle that later today or for tommorrow's post. ]


Tuesday, April 17, 2007


My wife and spent some time this morning talking and crying together about the weekend and about Mom. I think we both were able to expel some emotions in a positive way. I love my wife and she loves me dearly... and we both were very apologetic and understanding about the disagreement this weekend.

The weekend was a challenge neither of us expected, for we both felt we had been making progress in our grief... and we were both hoping for and planning for a fun time together. It seems we both lost sight of communicating effectively with each other during the weekend.

We are both trying to arrange our schedules to see if we can meet at home earlier in the afternoon to be together.


Monday, April 16, 2007


I had a very, very rough weekend these last few days. And, the hell of it is, I, in no way, shape, or form had anticipated any of this. I feel so desperately alone and isolated. It feels as if I am in an infinite void.

In a nutshell, what happened is that I was helping my wife prepare for a party. We were having the party in a small room in the basement of a school my wife has access to. It is convenient because of the cooking facilities and makes it easy to have a larger group than would be comfortable in our home.

The day before the party, I was attempting to help my wife decorate the room and without knowing it, and truly without meaning to, I made my wife very angry at me. She did not tell me why she was angry until after the decorating was concluded and told me I had usurped her ideas for decorating and "took over". It was not my intention in any way to do this. I was simply trying to be a good worker bee and help out.

Things did not improve in the evening, because of a batch of cookies that did not turn out as hoped. I began to feel very alone, and terribly sad and isolated. I went to bed alone (my wife stayed up watching a movie).

The next day, a Mass was being said for my Mother at her primary parish (across town) where her funeral was held. So, we went to the church. It was a very difficult time as there were many distractions. By the time church was done, I was feeling more out of sorts than I had when I woke up. They did not even mention my mother's name even once. That hurt. Following the mass, I spoke with Sr. Helen and gave her the just shy of $600 in gift intentions we had received in the time since my mother's funeral. My sisters were there with the nun as well and they got into a long discussion of how to use the money. To me, all the chatter was annoying and did not matter and I grew more frustrated the longer it took.

At the party that afternoon, I felt so angry and so scared and so enormously tired that I could barely speak and truly did not talk to anyone unless they purposefully forced me into conversation. I tried to hover around to appear as if I were participating and ducked out of the crowd whenever I could figure out how to do so. I needed to be by myself to cry and to let my anger and resentment out. Unfortunately, my behavior upset my wife and she also did not enjoy the party.

When we eventually arrived home, my wife and I had words. I ended up laying down in the bathtub and crying and sobbing uncontrollably. I felt utterly alone, I felt as if I were to never feel love again. I felt I had reached a cavern where I would never be able to escape. I felt so empty, so very, very harshly isolated and alone. The despair made me feel hollow and lifeless. I just laid there in the tub, sobbing until my eyes stopped producing tears.

How can this be my life? How can it be that I could be so mistaken? Why is it that even with the truest and most sincere intentions to help, to do good work, to try to make things better..... why is it that I failed so utterly? How can I know how to do anything or be anything if I cannot even understand that simple idea? How can it be? How can I be so wrong about everything when I try so hard to be good, try so hard to be kind, try so hard to be understanding?

Why, God, why do I have this as my life? Why cannot I have peace and contentment? Why do I fail at everything about life? Why do I not know?

Please let Mom talk to me, please.


Friday, April 13, 2007

42 Days

It has been 42 long days... a total of 6 weeks now, since my beloved mother has been alive. I must admit that life has found a "new normal". But that "new normal" is one that feels so much less than I had before. Yesterday, I went to the restaurant that my mother and I had frequented for so many years and ate dinner with my sister and her son. It was nice, but, I had really wanted to talk more deeply about Mom... about HER value to me. I felt it was not the right time because my nephew would have felt out of place. After the meal, I went by myself to the cemetery and placed a flower and a note on Her grave. It is still so cold here (below freezing last evening, with a biting wind), I did not stay more than a few minutes. Here is what the note said:


I want you to know how much I miss your physical presence. I want you to know how greatly I miss our being able to talk together.

I miss the day-to-day interactions we were able to have as a family.

We all miss you greatly. J. and T. both miss you and R. and I especially miss your loving presence with them.

We love you greatly, and our lives are less without you.

Please know how deeply I miss you.

Please know how much I wish I could have been able to fix your illness.

Your love means so much to me.

Please try to have God allow you to give me a vivid sign I will understand to know that you are safe and happy in heaven.

- Your Son

* * * * *

At the Grief Support Group meeting I went to on Tuesday, the topic was "Grieving in Your Own Way". The meeting was good and was helpful... mostly because the descriptions of and the great diversity of ways in which typical, acceptable grieving occur matched the wide scope of my own heartache. I also found that I have been doing many of the things that are suggested to help in healing:

1. Take life "easier". I have culled out many of my typical responsibilities and commitments and focused more on family and on my grief.

2. Let the grief "flow". I do not often try to hold back or ignore my feelings of sorrow and grief, and that is apparently a good thing for healing.

3. Share your grief with family. I do this, especially with my wife, who has been wonderful in helping me feel safe and comfortable in sharing my sorrow.

4. Write about your grief. As the few of you who remain readers know, I have been using my blog as a space to write about my emotions and it has proven helpful.

* * * * *

Now that I have basically shot my readership to hell because of the morose nature of my posts, it may not really matter what I do or say here because very few people stop by anymore. I can understand why they do not stop... grief is hard... but at the same time, I feel a bit lonely because I had hoped more of you readers would have been able to stick with me through this process. But, again, I DO understand.

For those of you who have continued to share with me by reading of my thoughts, I sincerely, deeply thank you.

* * * * *

I think I may try to go visit my elderly father-in-law this afternoon.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Three Scenes of Death

If my last evening is any indication, today will be a bad day. I hope it is not so.

I awoke roughly around 3am from a nightmare where my family had purchased some hardwood flooring planks and they were sitting in our garage. In this nighmare, an unknown assailant broke into our home and took some of these planks and carved them into spears and began to systematically kill each of us with these spikes. I was last, after having found everyone else, and as I raced out to call emergency services, the attacker began to thrust his spear at me and I awoke.

At roughly 5:30am, I awoke from another nightmare. This one was more disturbing in that it was one of those dreams that seemed so true and so real that you were not sure if it was a nightmare or reality. In this nightmare, one of my oldest friends, Joe, died after falling off a roof of a home he was installing a new roof upon. In the nightmare, I did not immediately learn of the death, but instead heard of it the day following the accident, when it was mentioned on the radio newscast.

These are the first "dreams" I have had and can recall since my mother passed away. They were exhausting.

Finally, when I awoke for good this morning, I turned on NPR for a few minutes as is typical for me, to help me awaken and start the day. Within a few moments, I hear on NPR that the author, Kurt Vonnegut, has died from injuries suffered in a fall. This death saddens me, for I have appreciated Mr. Vonnegut's work greatly. I was actually fortunate to attend a university presentation of his in the mid-late 1980s and it was quite enjoyable.

This has been my morning thus far. Please hope and pray for me to have a happier day with safety for me and my loved ones.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Few Words

I thought I would have the inspiration to write today but I seem to have little to say. The few items I have include:

It is cold here again. We are getting roughly 5-7 inches of snow. It is a bit tiresome in April.

A student wrote to ask about my Lenten vow of refraining from my pipe. The brief answer is that I purposefully quit this vow after 12 days. I was filled with such anger at God after my beloved Mother's passing that three days after she died, I purposefully picked up my pipe to show my anger, resentment, and lack of joy I had towards God. I am not as angry now, but I am still not sure where my faith is at the moment. It feels nebulous.

I feel vaguely devoid of emotion at the moment.

That is about it.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Grief Support Group Meeting #2

Today was my oldest child's birthday and also the date for the second Grief Support Group meeting I attended. I am unfortunately very bushed physically and emotionally, so I shall write more about it on Wednesday.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Lack of Muse

I have a true lack of muse today as far as writing goes. So, I will make a list of my thoughts for your perusal and then have a brief essay about what I have been contemplating:

1. I miss my mother greatly.
2. Easter was rough because it was the first major holiday without Her.
3. I feel exhausted because of my undulating emotions.
4. I still have little motivation.

I want to find a way to live in joy again. I want to experience joy, but I also do not want to limit my love and thoughts of my mother. What I want to be able to do is to find a way to continue on with life and be happy and excited about life, but at the same time have rich, vivid, cherished memories of Her and not have those memories always be accompanied by sadness.

I want to find a way to do this.


Friday, April 06, 2007

"Good" Friday

Today in the Roman Catholic Faith we are experiencing what is called "Good Friday". It is a day in remembrance of the crucifixion of Christ. It is a very solemn day. Sunday, of course is much the opposite... that day is Easter Sunday, the day of enormous celebration in the Roman Catholic Faith because of the resurrection of Christ.

Today now marks 5 weeks since the passing of my beloved mother. While the agony of the lack of her human presence has diminished as I have grown unfortunately used to this change in reality, the emptiness I feel is there as I suspect it shall always be there.

She was and is such a dear, precious lady. I so would love to talk to her again. Even though it is not the same, I think I will conclude this essay with words I wish I could say to her again:

Mom, I want you to know that I love you very deeply. I want you to know that I worked hard to try to keep you comfortable and healthy and happy. Please also know that I was blessed and privileged to have had the opportunity to have you live in our home. The manner in which I look at and live life is something I am very indebted to both you and Dad for, and I wish I could have more time on this Earth with both of you. Please know how much I have tried to be a good son for you and how I have shaped my own self to a large degree on the values and beliefs you have instilled in me. I hope to keep working and striving to give you reason to have pride in me. Your caring and love for me is something I desperately miss in the tangible sense, even though I hope and pray that I will be able to feel your care and love for me while you are in heaven as well. I miss so greatly our gentle conversations and quiet times of chat. They mean the world to me, and you mean the world to me. Please know I love you and miss you.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

No Words

Not many words from me yesterday or today. I simply feel very sad. This weekend will be the first major holiday since my mother's passing. Easter is normally a celebration of the excitement of life and of spring. It does not feel worthy of a celebration this year.

The grief I feel is both acute and chronic. I miss her voice, I miss her smile at me, I miss the way we could could have fun, casual, deep conversations about silly things. Mostly, I miss HER.

God has not found me worthy of receiving any sort of message or sign from Her so far. I am suspecting He will never grant me this comfort or this wish.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How Did I?

Something that I am sure happens, but I cannot recall how, is that when someone we loves has died, we do eventually figure out a way to carry on. I know that this occurred after the passing of my father, and it occurred after the passing of two uncles and an aunt... each of whom was very special to me. But I do not know how I became able to carry on.

I suspect that some form of amnesia develops in our mind that causes us to forget or at least put away that feeling of harsh horror that follows the passing of someone we love.

Part of me thinks perhaps this "amnesia" is required for us to cope and survive, but at the same time, I feel deep seated resistance to this idea in regard to my beloved mother... I do not want her to become diminished... I do not want her to become "tucked" away into just a small little creavice in my mind. I want to keep her vivid and real and current with me.

I do not know what to think. Perhaps more tommorrow.


Monday, April 02, 2007


I am a different person than I was one month ago. It has been one month since my beloved mother has passed away. She died on March 2, 2007, and that day shall always remain a time of sorrow. In the intervening month, I have basically returned to my typical day-to-day activities, but their hue, their value has changed considerably. I am not sure yet what it is I am becoming or have become since this change, but I do realize I am a very different person internally. I hope, that in my effort to honor my mother's life and memory, that who I am becoming will be a person who shows love more deeply, lives life more completely, and helps others more fully. I hope that as I evolve into the different person I am, that I will "do good" for her.


Thank You

To the many friends who took time out to comment to me as I expressed my grief over my mother's passing, I wish to thank you greatly. Your words, your thoughts have been helpful. Below, I list alphabetically those friends who have commented during roughly the last two weeks. Please give their sites (if they have them) a look. They are all good, kind people. If any of you who did not list a site have them, please write back so that I may enjoy some of your writings. Here is the most recent list:

Adam - I wish you had a link I could post, and I would enjoy speaking with you, a fellow pipe smoker.
Gail - I wish you had a link I could post.
Laurent Grégoire
Kathleen - I wish you had a link to post.
Shan - I wish you had a link I could post
Weary Hag