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Waiting…

Twice I have tried writing about this. Twice I stopped before I got to the point of my blog. Those of you who have read “Waiting” and “The Clock Ticks Loudly but The Hands Aren’t Moving” will note that I have combined the two posts here. I will once again try to tell this story. If you have read  my  “About” introduction,  you know that most of my posts are about my life.  Most everything I write are true facts. I don’t want to sound as if I am complaining, or as one might say, whining, looking for sympathy but what follows are just the facts and my feelings as this all unfolds, This story doesn’t have an ending yet so if you are interested in following to the end, be patient. It will come, eventually.  There is an ending or an outcome to every story in one’s life, not always what we want or hope for, pray for, but each story does  come to an end. Here, we have two intertwined stories taking place at the same time and both include plenty of hopes and prayers and yes, patience.

I’ll begin here back at the beginning of “Waiting” so that you can put everything in order and perspective.

Nov. 15, 2016

Its been about three months since Detective Marc called to tell me that they had found his cabin burned to the ground. They had only gone to check because one of the townspeople reported that he hadn’t been seen around town since September. He too was familiar with the man know to most only  as the mountain man  and had noted that he hadn’t seen him on his bike around town for quite some time. There was no sign of him at the cabin. A week later Detective Mark called to say they had taken the cadaver dogs up to the cabin and again nothing. There was no body. I gave a small sigh of relief. Now, he was just missing again.

We rarely knew where he was or what he was doing. Nothing about how or where he lived or if he had family. Now and then, usually with many years between times, he would just show up either at my other brothers house or at Mom or Dad’s, on the doorstep with a backpack in hand. We had come to expect this from him. This time though, it had been too long. We tried to locate him when Dad got sick, having no luck at all.  Dad died, without him there. I was sick at heart for this fact. That was 2009. Then in 2013 he still had not been located. We tried. Mom was sick. Early in 14 she too passed without seeing him again.

After that I just gave up on him for a while. It seemed impossible to locate him. But as each year drew close to December, his birthday and Christmas, I’d found myself praying that he was on one of his cross-country bike trips headed home. This was the time he would have shown up, the time of year when he had shown up previously.  Every year my heart sank when he didn’t come.

Yesterday, startled out of my deep thoughts into reality,  I stiffened as I looked at the number and picked up the ringing phone.

“Hello Detective. Do you have any news?”

“Sandy. We found a body.”

It had been nineteen years since we’d seen him but the tears unexpectedly came swiftly as Detective Marc said those words.  It was 1998 but it felt like only yesterday that he sat on my couch looking out the window as we spoke of trivial matters. I still don’t know if my tears were  because,  if this “body” is him,  he’ll never sit there again, we’ll never talk again ,trivial matters or otherwise, or,  if they were partly caused because I had only just let myself fully understand the depth of  the report from my Doctor,  which began with words like spinal cord, surgery,  immediately, and every other statement that  followed  spoke of “severe,” such as severe impingement and severe deterioration more words like be careful, no falls, no lifting, one wrong move,  wheelchair, for the rest of your life. That is where my thoughts were when I picked up the phone. Now, nothing was making sense and I was feeling totally nauseous. I heard he detectives voice repeating those words . A body, they had found a body. Not too far from where his cabin had been. There was no way to tell if it was him. They would need a DNA sample from me to get a match to see if it was  him. I agreed of course, said goodbye to Detective Marc, and  ran to the bath room and vomited. I saw my older brothers face, as I knew it, then pictured me in a wheel chair and vomited again,  as the reality of why they needed the DNA set in. Still in much of a daze, I made my way back through the house, headed for the back door to call my husband in and try to tell him about the call. Stopping to hold on to the fireplace mantle for a minute hoping the dizziness would pass, I looked up at the old clock. The one that was much older than myself or my brother. The one that Dad had given me as his years were leaving him just as they were leaving Grandpa when he gave the clock to Dad. I remembered him saying that if I ever saw my brother again, the clock was supposed to have been his. That’s what grandpa had wanted.  The clock, as if set to do so at that precise moment chimed the three o,clock hour.

“You stupid clock. I should throw you in the trash.” I grumbled as I ever so slowly moved on to find Steve.   The clock hadn’t run for years. The hands never moved, yet, everyday, it would chime at the three o’clock hour.  At that moment, it was as if time was standing still whilst the old clock on the mantel stood yelling profanities at me with each strike and each slow step I took. My three felt like thirty.

Now, I am waiting. Waiting to get DNA results. Is the body they have found that of my missing brother? I probably won’t know until towards the end of the month. I had talked to the Coroner and he told me it took two months to get results back. That will be around the twenty-third. Everyday is torture. The not knowing almost drives one crazy. I haven’t seen him for so long but still, he is my brother and if this is him I will die myself a little more inside. My heart is aching and pleading with me to just hold on.  Along with that I wait too to find out when I will be having surgery. The physical pain that has plagued me for so many years finally has an answer. Well, at least part of it. Some of it is just there and always will be. That’s another story. However, the back pain that I had resolved to be a part of my forever life, now has a possible fix. I took a fall last September and have been going down hill ever since. Problems that had been there for what seems like forever increased to a point of needing a MRI. The answers that came with that procedure were hard to believe. It’ll take a couple of surgeries but the possibilities without the surgery are not an option. Already, my hands feel like clubs because of the nerve damage. It is difficult to write (type) so I have done little of it.  However, I, like many of you, use writing as an outlet. Writing is my salvation. Writing eases the pain and takes away the time that moves so slowly. I haven’t been able to say these words let alone put them on paper. I didn’t know how. I haven’t shared any of his with anyone except my family. I finally decided it was time to write again.  So this is it. This is why my life is in a holding pattern.  All this is why no one has heard from me, why life stands still, and why my heart and my stomach just wrench with complete pain and fear. Fear of the unknown can so completely render a persons whole being incapable of functioning in a normal manner.   So now,  I just wait for the insurance to give authorization and the paper work to all be in order. I wait for the surgeons call to set a date and,  of most importance,  I wait for the next call from Detective Marc.  That should be only a couple of days away at this point. The twenty-third they said. We should hear something by the twenty-third.

Waiting…………..yes absolutely,  waiting………..is pure hell.

 

Whew, I can Breath Again!

Some of you may have read my last post and could possibly be waiting to find out how our open mike event went over. We practiced and practiced, then practiced more. We had it all down. We knew our words, and the music. We were feeling good about the whole thing. Having only sung in front of people one time previously, at our Anniversary Party, we were really quite nervous about doing this. What one should keep in mind about open mike is that no one there is a professional, well, at least most of them aren’t. Some of the performers are really good and some just get by. Most are good but not making a living out of it. All in all though, it’s all about having fun. Are you enjoying what you are doing? Can you perform well enough to do it in public? Is the audience enjoying your performance? To all three of these questions we can say a positive yes. We had a great time. We’ve gotten to know most of the crowd that shows up so they were happy to see us try something. We were applauded and welcomed to come back by the “Boss Man” of the event. The audience listened attentively, in spite of the world series being on (without volume) while we sang and seemed to get a kick out of our performance. Will we go back? Probably. It was fun.It’s all about fun, not fame and fortune. It’s about learning. It’s about meeting and working with other performers and developing new skills. For me, it’s about beating fears and anxiety that have plagued me my entire life. I’m pleased with the result. I’m pleased with our effort and the abilities we are developing. It was a good evening.

Along With Writing……Living Our Dreams

My Dad passed away in March 2009.  For as long as I can remember he played the mandolin. Many of those years, as a youngster, I would hop up on the kitchen counter into the  corner where the two came together  and listen to him, my uncles and my aunts play and sing on Saturday nights. Of course, that was after we all took in the Grand Ole Opry program on TV. While all the other kids, and there were a bunch of us, ran off to play I was always hanging out to listen to the music.   I was really quite shy as a youngster and although I wanted so badly to play guitar and sing, I just simply didn’t have the courage to ask anyone to teach me. I loved country music. I loved the twang of it and the songs that spoke of so much about life. I could picture myself on that Grand Ole Opry stage singing my heart out to a Patsy Cline or Kitty Wells song.  Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette  were two more of my favorites. The songs telling stories of such tragic heartache could bring me to almost tears and reached way down deep into my soul pulling at a heartache I had never understood.  I identified with the singer and the songs as if I had been right there during each  and every hopeless love loss or as if I were the bearer of the news that would tear their world apart. Yes, I loved it all. This love stayed with me throughout my life but I never did get a chance to do anything but listen. However, sometimes, if you wait and keep your dreams in your heart, things can change.  About the same time I took up writing, I mean really writing for others to read, I also started singing, out loud.  Like everything else I did, although I sang often, I kept it to myself. I didn’t sing if anyone could hear me or if I even suspected that anyone might be listening.  Now though, music is a part of our lives. We have a “Music Room.”  Well,  sort of music room.  I guess I should fill in a little here with how that came about.  My husband, Steve, has always had guitars but they stood in the closet and it seemed he never had time to play. When we married, between the two of us, we had six kids in the house, his two three of mine, and our grand daughter.  We also had numerous dogs and soon a small farm, with chickens, ducks, sheep, rabbits and oh, so much more through the years. Eventually Steve was working two jobs.  By that time we had switched to horses and all the activities included with them. He called this time of our lives a “study in intensive manure  management.”  Once in a while he would drag one of his guitars out, sit on the edge of the bed and strum some part of some song and then put it away again. He often thought back to the day when, while working at a clothing store, he met Bonny Guitar and was actually offered a chance to go on the  road and play bass with her band. Because of his situation at that time, he wasn’t able to take her up on it. I know he has dreamed of what it would have been like to tour the country and be in a band.  I tried often to encourage him to get his guitar out and play. Still, he played about as often as I sang.  Then, before my Dad passed away, he gave me his mandolin and I had decided I was going to learn to play it.  That idea didn’t last long because my brother came to go through a few things after dad passed and said he  wanted the mandolin. I didn’t argue. Not wanting to make a big deal out of it or cause hard feelings, I gave it to him. But I still wanted to learn and I bought myself another mandolin. So now I had to work at it, no excuses and if I was going to, so I thought, should Steve. Logically, my next thought was,  if we were going to work at it we needed a place to keep our instruments handy. I looked at him one day and said, ” I need some help moving furniture.”  Like he usually did, he pitched right in without question and helped me. Then it dawned on him that I was moving all the dining furniture out of the dining room and into the living room.

“What are you doing?” he finally asked.

“Well, I think we need a place to play our instruments so, I’m making one. Can you and I move the piano by ourselves?”

“Not easily, but we can if it’s not too far.” he replied

So with that we got  the piano moved around the corner and into the dining area. We rearranged the stereo equipment, the record and CD cabinets, and brought in a couple of chairs, the kind you can sit on to play. It was almost done. We brought out the couple of old guitars and stands that we had and sat them among the chairs.

“TA DA!”  I was overjoyed with myself .  Then we actually started playing something every day.  After all we had done, how could we not.

It was shortly after he retired and one day while out and about  we went to the music store as I had picked up a saxophone for our grandson and it needed reeds. Just planning for his future in music, I said to myself. While I was getting the reeds, Steve busied himself looking at guitars. He really wanted a bass. His had been sold long before I came into his life. So I told him, I hadn’t gotten him his retirement gift yet as I wasn’t sure what was best. “What about a bass guitar?” I asked. “What about that “Fender” up there?”

“No, that’s too much money for one guitar.  At my age, I don’t need that expensive guitar but how about this bass over here and then I could get this Telecaster too?”  He was on a role and enjoying this moment to the max.

“Okay with me,” I said

“But I don’t have a bass amp,  so maybe just the Tele  for now.  No bass today. ” he replied quietly, his face showing the disappointment behind his words.

“So how much is an amp? Let’s just do this and get one. I want you to be able to play music. You’ve wanted to all your life and it’s time for you to do something that has been in your heart to do.”

As I was speaking the salesman was rounding up amps for him to choose from and we walked out of that store that day with two very happy men grinning from the purchases made. Steve, thrilled with his retirement gifts and the salesman from the commission he would get for that sale. It should have been a pretty nice one.

We continued  setting up our, so-called, “Music Room”  both of us excited with each new idea. We made wall coverings to put hangers for the instruments on. We found a few more instruments for extremely good prices on some on-line auctions. I ran across a round back mandolin and managed to jump into the auction at the last-minute and get it for almost nothing. Just for fun we purchased an old bugle to add to the atmosphere of the room. Steve cut out music notes which I painted black and white to go with the rest of the decor in and we hung them around the guitars and mandolins. I had taken a picture of Dad’s mandolin which we hung center stage of everything else. Then, we played together, we sang and we were having fun. More guitars, a drum set and some antique instruments came as we developed our interests deeper into the music. The drums were for our grandson and this year he will be able to start lessons.  I also picked up, over several months time, a ukulele for each of us ( that’s six to be exact)  and I  am determined to learn and teach this to the kids too.

Now, earlier I mentioned how things can change.  That change came, for me,  with all these instruments, the room change, and the desire to inspire my husband and grand kids. The real change came, not in our surroundings, but in me.  I have opened more windows in my life. I am letting others see who I really am.  We are now having a jam session at our house on Saturday nights. Friends come over and we play and sing. I’ve started taking mandolin lessons. Steve and I have also recently started going to the Senior Center. At first it was so he could play with the band there. Ah, but then, we sang. Now we go to an open mike on Wednesday nights where Steve has been playing the bass. But this coming week will be different. This coming week we plan to sing. We are almost ready. If my nerves don’t  get the best of me we will do this. Never having been a very open person, dealing with anxiety most of my life, fear of crowds and numerous other things has kept me pretty much in the background of everything going on. But this week….if everything goes right, well, not if, because it’s going to go just fine. Putting  this down on paper, having actually said it out loud, sorta seals the deal, right?  I have to do this. I will do this, and although it’s not the Grand Ole Opry and I certainly cannot compare myself to Patsy or Tammy,  I am singing, out loud and others will be listening. It’s taken many, many  years for me to fulfill this dream but I figure, it’s never to late to do something that has always been in your heart to do. Of course, my suggestion to others would be to find out why you aren’t fulfilling your dream and make some changes while you are young. Had I known the things I know now, I sure would have and who knows, could I have been up there on that stage? I’ll never know but what I do know is I am enjoying myself and being myself. Not only that, other people are liking what I am doing but more important than anything else, I like what I am doing and who I am becoming.

So,

Part of our "Music Room" including the picture of Dads mandolin, hat & clock. My "go to" Mandolin is the white Washburn.

Part of our “Music Room” including the picture of Dads mandolin, hat & clock.   My “go to” Mandolin is the white Washburn.

I’m a little nervous, but anxious for Wednesday to come and see how this all turns out.

Wow, I may not be able to take another breath until it’s over.

 

Loss

 

It’s difficult to write these days

Simply have no words to say

no words for what I feel

too much loss becomes unreal

minds and bodies shut down

the fight seems too profound

let go, no,

064

 

 

 

 

 

 

but the alternate

eventually,

 

takes it’s toll …..

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