A rollercoaster year. Ups, downs, turnarounds! Friends, family, children and grandchildren in the center of it all. The biggest news is that I
sold the home, Paul and our children and I shared for 35 years, to our son
Matthew and his wife Becky and their twin daughters.
50 years of art, memorabilia, furniture,
heirlooms – all of it precious to me for the memories it evoked – had to find
new homes, either in my newly created downstairs apartment, given to
children or disposed of. 3600 sq ft of Paul’s and my life needed to go into a
750 sq ft apartment! At first it was very hard…..what to keep and what not
to…..but as I got into the process it became easier and easier, helped in part
by the children who wanted specific items.
Thankfully the most precious
items were wanted. After I had made the hardest decisions and removed those things I thought would fit into my apartment I announced a give away
and opened the front door. For 8 hours I watched as neighbors, friends and
strangers searched through the rooms and walked out with my memories. I
put out a jar for people to make donations to the labyrinth at Lord of the
Mountains created in memory of Paul. At the end of the day it held about
$300! So much for the public’s collective view of the value of what I
thought was so precious! My favorite recipients were two families near by
who were supporting and providing housing for members of their families
who were immigrants. The dozens of towels, sheets, flatware and table
service for 12, mega pots and pans needed for our large family were whisked
away by grateful neighbors. Matthew and Becky (who moved in September 1)
and I are still working to make sense of and find a place for stuff still in
boxes and on the floor of the garage. Every day we make a small step of progress.
Oddly an “up” for me was my Mother’s serene slip from here to
eternity. She was so joyous at the anticipation I could not help but be joyous
On the other hand, my brother’s death hit me very hard. I grieve,
grieve, grieve, the struggles he endured and his decision to slip away with
Up again! My devotion to the Community Dinner, championed by me
in 2009 and calling in the servant side of the Elks Lodge, Rotary and Lord of
the Mountains, has served 150,000 free meals over almost 11 years. It
remains strong. Fortunately it no longer requires my daily and weekly
devotion! It is now staffed by a professional cook and an angelic host of
volunteers. I still attend when I am in town, work with the bookkeeper and
grant writer to make sure the money continues to come in, marveling at what
Summit County, together, has done for the homeless, elderly, indigent and
working poor. It remains one of my proudest achievements.
Still higher! Another project I championed years ago was building
schools, clinics and homes in Manchay, Peruoutside of Lima. I remain
grateful to Frank Bumpus and his dedication for taking it over and making it bigger and more effective then ever I could have imagined. Under his fund
raising expertise and talents almost 50 homes have been built for special
needs families. I love getting his news. You can see all he has done to take
my “baby steps” vision to new, incomprehensibly high heights!
donation in Paul’s memory, who loved to go to Peru with Frank and take up
a hammer, will be appreciated. https://www.thefamilyofmankind.com
Ups and downs in the same day, week in and week out, month in and
month out, year in and year out! Life without Paul is becoming “normalized”, if such a thing could occur. I am still triggered by something someone says or I see or hear, and the tears well up. Less often and more
easily overcome as time goes on. Moving into the downstairs apartment was
very helpful as I no longer see Paul sitting at the table drinking coffee or in
his recliner reading. His appearance in my dreams is sometimes sad, but
more often, quite joyous. In the middle of the night we come together and
part, come together and part. Much like a continuation of our dance of life.
The hardest part is trying to imagine a place more heavenly then earth, with
family, grandchildren, friends, travel, hiking, theatre....... I not only miss
Paul but miss this joyful life for him. I oftentimes cast my eyes up to the
skies and proclaim inside, “You better be having a great time wherever you
are, because I sure am having a great time where I am!”
Up and up! Another image seen less and less is me! I have lost 40 lbs
and have gone from size 14-16 to 8-10. Walking sometimes as much as 20
miles in a week, working out at the rec center, being very careful of my diet
have all been major contributors. For me weight loss started at the grocery
store. If I don’t buy sugar and empty carbs I can’t eat them. Now, if only I
can drive by Costco without stopping!
Up to the moon! What I am seeing more of are Matt, Becky, Caroline
and Emelia. The girls bedroom is above my apartment and my favorite
sound in the whole world is hearing their tiny 2 ½ year old feet hit the floor at
6:30 am and run through the house. I provide day care for them an average
of 20 hrs a week. Love, love, love it. When friends ask me when I am going
to get a life, because I am not as available as I was to do things with them, I
exclaim, “What do you mean?!?!?!?! Get a life. My life right now is
preponderantly Caroline and Emelia and I am the most blessed person in the
world to be able to be part of their lives!” They are the most joyful beings on
earth and I treasure every moment I get to spend with them.
Other times well worth spending have been with friends and family.
Last spring I went with a friend on the river boat cruise that Paul and I had
planned for our 50th anniversary. We went from St Petersburg to Moscow
and loved the trip, loved the insights into Russia and Russian history gained, lit candles,
loved being wined and dined on a lovely boat. Cruised the Hawaiian Islands with another friend. Very relaxing and enjoyable.
To the moon!!!!! The best times, however, were spent with children
and grandchildren. Instead of everyone coming to Summit County for a
summer vaca we rented a motor home and went to Rocky Mountain National Park. Ruben and Cassie, Rebecca and Alexandra, Rachel and sons Derek
and Andrew. A great time was had by all! We hiked and hiked in and
around the most amazing vistas in the United States. Two high points: The biggest thunder storm any of us had ever seen and Rachel, Derek, Rebecca
and Alexandra’s successful climb of Long’s Peak, one of Colorado’s
legendary 14,000 footers! They left about 3 am and summited about 11 am.
A huge accomplishment for everyone!
As is her tradition, Rebecca brought Alexandra for a week of skiing in
January. A wonderful time that is too soon over. Rebecca continues to work
on the James Webb Space Telescope and Alexandra is taking on advanced
placement classes as a freshmen while regularly advancing her skills in
Jujitsu. She loves the rough and tumble of it all and can be very aggressive!
Jon and I spent a lovely Halloween and Dia de los Muertos in San
Antonio, Texas. What a wonderful city. Went to the Alamo, ate and walked
for miles at a time on the famed river walk.
Matt’s still flying….though pretty much grounded keeping track of
Emelia and Caroline. Becky continues as pharmacist at the hospital.
Working their jobs, enjoying the girls…..and moving in to their remodeled home keep their lives busy.
Rachel, Kellie, Derek and Andrew keep up their busy sports and work
Cassie went on a High School Choir Tour to Italy over Spring break.
Sang in Venice, Florence, St Peter’s (Rome) and the Sistine Chapel! The last
was very impromptu and a little subversive. They gathered in the corner,
began to sing and continued to sing as the guards ushered them out! Cassies
next trip was to Destination Imagination International Finals, again.
Competing for the last time after 7 years together, their team did
Our next trip was in July, for Cassie’s “quinceanera”,
turning 15. Instead of a big party I took her to Mexico with Guillermo, Jon’s
partner. Had a great time exploring ancient temple sites in and around
Mexico City, a special interest of Guillermo’s. Ruben and the Mountain
Lyon Café are going through all sorts of changes. Through thick and thin
(ups and downs) he is sticking it out.
Jesse has come as close to a clean break from his addictions as he has
done in many years and moved in with me Sept 2018. I was so grateful for
his company in this big old house! Sometime in January he and his girlfriend
decided to make a go for it and live independently…..in their van. He had a
good job with Wendy’s, assistant manager of his store, making good money.
Sometime in December he slipped away, back into addiction.
Amber, Jason and Justin live in Denver, just down the hill. Jamie is
joyfully working as a Sous Chef in an upscale restaurant in Winter Park . Don’t
see or hear much from them.
Robert remains missing since Dec 9, the week after Paul’s funeral,
2017. Homeless people are very elusive.
Sometimes it seems odd to me that that world can continue to turn. I
have had such profound personal losses but they pale in comparison to the
suffering the world’s ruling autocrats are inflicting on the poorest of the poor. It seems to come down to one person after another rationalizing
cruelty and then multiplying that by thousands of others in positions of
power. How were these powerful predators raised that needlessly causing suffering is sought out and deliberately created. In years to come, the adult
actions of these traumatized children will come back to haunt us, returning to
society the fear and anger engendered in them by the way they are being
Every Child Needs a Mother like Mary
Lyrics – Deb Hage, Music – Christie Reinking
Love to you all!