loss in blogging

“Why, then, do I set before You an ordered account of so many things?
it’s certainly not through me that You know them.
But I’m stirring up love for You in myself and in those who read this so that we may all say,
great is the Lord and highly worthy to be praised.
I tell my story for love of Your love.”

St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions


(Robert Cottrill)

I often find myself wondering why it is people feel compelled to “blog.”

Why is it that ordinary people create a personal space,
out there someplace on the interweb, and then proceed to spend precious time writing
about whatever it is they opt to write about?

It really is a rather odd phenomenon.

My own personal story started with retirement.

I started my blog a little over 6 years ago, almost 9 months after I retired from a
lifetime of teaching high school.
I thought a blog made sense because I still had things I wanted to share, or more aptly,
things I wanted to teach.

And so that’s what I’ve decided… there is a wealth of people out there who want to share
and in essence, teach.
They want to teach about travel, food, cooking, health, books, music, art, politics, faith, religion,
or the lack thereof, photography, sports… you name it.

People feel compelled to share and “teach”

When I first started this blog, I touched on a bit of all of that.
I loved to travel.
I was a teacher.
I was an art teacher.
I was adopted.
I loved to cook.
I was a wife, a mother, a Christian…on and on it went.
Obviously a wealth of topics to share and teach about.

On one of my early posts, I wrote something about one of my most favorite hymns,
Veni Veni Emmanuel—or—Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel.
It is a typical hymn sung during the season of Advent.
I always preferred its original Latin context.

After that posting, out of the blue, I had a gentleman from Saskatchewan, Canada
comment about my post regarding the hymn.
It seems he was a retired minister who was in the process of building a blog about hymns
and their history.

He was a living wealth of knowledge.

His name was Robert Cottrill.

I thanked Robert for his comment and from that, a lovely friendship developed.

Robert would touch base, ever so often, via email—informing me about what he and
his wife were up to.
He shared about his son and his son’s family living in Mexico as missionaries and of
his pride in his young granddaughter being a budding artist. And he always included
photographs from around his home.
Snow when we were settling into heat, blooms when we were beginning our decline.

Robert usually posted a new hymn, along with its history, each Monday and I, in turn,
would read and click like to his post.

There wasn’t a great deal of generated likes on the history of hymns so Robert
was always thankful for my interest.

He emailed a few months back that he and his wife had moved from their home to
an assisted living community there in Saskatchewan.
He was upbeat and positive as he shared pictures of their new digs.

I noticed that for the past couple of Mondays, Robert hadn’t posted anything.
And then this morning, out of the blue, his site popped up on my reader with a disclaimer.

Robert’s son reported that after a short illness, his dad had gone home to be with the Lord.

Just like that, Robert was gone.

There has been what seems to be a great deal of loss in the blogging family as of late, and
Robert’s death is just one more peg in the loss column.

His son notes that the blog will be maintained as it offers a wealth of history for
any and all who have an interest in the development and history of Christian hymns.

The blogging world will miss Robert.
May his light, the light he reflected from his love of Jesus,
continue to shine on generations to come

https://wordwisehymns.com

Veni, Veni Emmanuel

Veni, veni, Emmanuel
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.
R: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,
nascetur pro te Israel!

Veni, O Sapientia,
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae.

Veni, veni, Adonai,
qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice
in maiestate gloriae.

Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de specu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri.

Veni, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum.

Veni, veni O Oriens,
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras.

Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios.

Happy Father’s Day part II

DSCN1303

The P.S. to last week’s post “Happy Father’s Day”
Backup to this time last week….

I pulled into the driveway, got out of the car, and made my way to the door. My stepmom unlocks everything ushering me inside. She looks terrible—hunched over and in obvious pain—the effects of a urinary tract infection whose meds have not kicked in. I’ve known that pain!

Dad, who normally shuffles into the kitchen whenever guests arrive, stayed seated in the den, apparently oblivious to my arrival—oblivious my foot, he could see me form the couch! He continued reading the paper.

Gloria and I chat a bit but we both know why I’m there—one more attempt at putting, or trying to put, Dale’s “house” in order—-sorting over bills, finance issues, etc.—pushing him to get his act together —If he doesn’t get things together something is going to have to change. He can’t continue allowing the phone, the gas, the electricity, etc. to be cut off—only to suddenly remember as to why they were cut off, attempting to pay the bills, but first finding the bills, then having the tacking on of the additional fees of re-activation,….. again and again—-not to mention the taxes…

“Dad your taxes were due in April”
“I’m working on it”
“Dad, you’ve been working on it—it’s now July”
“Quit harassing me”
“Dad, I’m not harassing you”
“Yes you are, I can’t get this done with you hovering over me”
“Dad, how “bout I start paying the bills and handling the finances?”
“NO, absolutely not!”

He’s also taken to overpaying the bills. I know that his rationale is “if I overpay, it’ll fix this little problem for a while and everyone can just leave me alone.” Why don’t I just open the back door and throw all of his savings out to the wind….because at the rate he’s going—there will be no more savings to overpay with…..

I make my way into the den.

“Hi Dad”
“Oh Hi, why are you here?”
“Dad you know why I’m here, were suppose to work in your office today.”

Silence

“Dad, would you like for me to show you the pictures from the vacation?”
“Oooo, yes.”
“Dad, where’s your handkerchief?”
“Why?”
“Cause your nose is dripping everywhere”
“Oh”

Once I finish with the pictures, I ask if we can head on back to the “office” which is actually my old bedroom. Had I known then what was in store, for my once safe haven, I’d have had a priest come bless it as I need all the blessings available now!

“Dad, you ready?”
“No, I need to finish my Coke”

UGGHHH

Finally we make our way down the hall to the back room with Gloria in hot pursuit.

“See that stack of papers on his desk, what is that?” Gloria states rather than questions.

Dad sits down at his computer to “boot it up”

“Dad, that computer is over 20 years old, don’t you think it’s time for a new one?!”
“No”

I begin shifting through the stacks of papers and envelopes. He places a check on things he’s paid. I pull those all out of the stack.

“What are you doing!” He warbles
“You’re messing everything up!”
“Dale, if you’d file the old things away…where are those files Julie put together back in the fall?”

Silence

Gloria and I rummage through boxes and find some of the files we put together back in the fall, files he’s not touched since.

“Dad, if we could clean out your filing cabinets of all the old things, putting all these new files in, you could stay more organized”

—all this while I’m making stacks upon stacks on the floor, attempting to sort out every piece of paper…doctor bills, doctor appointment notices, pharmacy bills, exterminating bills, the yard man’s bill, taxes, phone bills, water bills, pension statements, insurance, some things dating to last year, most things current.

“What are you doing, you’re making a mess, how do you expect me to do anything with you messing everything up?!”
“Dad, all I’m doing is sorting over here quietly, you’re suppose to be getting that computer up and running to figure out what needs paying…”
“Well I could if you’d stop harassing me”
“Dad, I’m not harassing you”
“Dale, all of this can be thrown away”
“No, I’m shredding that”
“Well you don’t have to shred the newspaper…”

Exasperated, Gloria leaves for the kitchen.
Dad gets up with the paper.

“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to go recycle this”
“Oh no you’re not, you sit back down at the computer, I’ll go”

I spend the next 20 minutes in the kitchen with Gloria—the continued thought of a cute little bungalow assisted living running through her mind. I tell her I’ll start coming back once a week if she thinks it will help motivate him. I sadly know he won’t look forward to my coming, but rather dread it–which I hate, so as to why I tapered off earlier… however I know the tough conversation is inevitable.

I go back to Dad who is simply staring at his screen saver of the swimming fish—mesmerized.

“Dad, what are you doing?”
“Waiting for the computer to boot up”
“Dad that’s been almost 30 minutes”
“Well if you’d leave me alone, I might get something done!”

I make my way back to the kitchen to ask Gloria a question.
Dad hears me coming back.

“Dad, have you been watching those swimming fish on the screen saver and not doing the bills?”
“No” with a small chuckle.
“Dad, yes you have, you minimized it, you’re just watching cartoon dolphins Dad!!, you’re suppose to be working”…..more chuckles
“No” chuckle “no I’m not”

I cry most of the way home.

I wish my uncle was still alive. He was my dad’s older brother. The one who was there when my mom died and dad suddenly decided to stop being a grown up. My uncle helped me when I would be at my wits end with dad during those dark days. I think he must have been more like my grandfather—business like, jovial, sports minded, outgoing. Dad is withdrawn, quiet, preferring to be taken care of verses taking care of others—like a dad’s suppose to do. I imagine being the baby of the family, my grandmother did just that, babied him.

My uncle was almost 90 when he died a couple of years ago. His mind sharp as a tack but his body simply giving out. I miss him for lots of reasons.

I call my cousin, my uncle’s second oldest son and the closet thing I have to an older brother. There is a planned intervention set for tomorrow morning. I’m to go back to dad’s making certain he’s on track but my cousin will meet me. My dad will listen to him more so than me. I don’t think he’ll tell Jimmy to stop “harassing” him.

Dad told me again last week he’d not discuss assisted living.

“Dad, Gloria is tired and doesn’t feel good”
“I Know”
“Don’t you think it’d be easier? You pay for yard service and you don’t even go outside. The roof is starting to leak, the termites on the porch, not to mention those stairs to the basement—ya’ll can’t keep going down to wash the clothes…”
“We have the maid, she helps”
“Dad, not enough……….”
“NO, I’m not leaving this house end of discussion”
“ Well I don’t know if it is Dad……”

I always thought he’d be there when my life fell apart. When that’s suppose to be, I’m not certain, but that I just always knew he’d be there. He would help me sort my messes. He’s always been the financial savvy one of the family—managing both of my grandmother’s estates…he should have been a banker and I think truly wishes he had been. But he has always been conservative—preferring to “sit on” something rather than taking chances and gambling…..organized where I was not so….

Funny how life is—I’m finding myself in a place I did not expect, not a place of comfort—please don’t think me not up to the task because I am—certainly so–it’s just that I’m not real happy about it—actually really quite sad about it all….but such is life………

…to be continued

the following quote by St. Bonaventure is taken from a lovely blog I follow…
http://teilhard.com
by William Ockham.
I had commented on Mr. Ockham’s latest posting about today being St Bonaventure’s feast day—and how Bonaventure was the brains, while Francis the heart of the birth of the Franciscan movement…..Mr. Ockham responded that whereas Bonaventure was a “doctor” of the Church and an immense theologian—he was also a mystic—the following quote came to me, just after I finished my writing about Dad, with tomorrow’s impending visit weighing heavily on mind and heart….providing that wonderful calm before the storm–giving me pause—and allowing me the opportunity of knowing that even though I may be sad and fretful, it’s all going to be okay!!!

“We must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. This is a sacred mystical experience. It cannot be comprehended by anyone unless he surrenders himself to it; nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it; nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world, should come and inflame his innermost soul. Hence the Apostle says that this mystical wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit.
If you ask how such things can occur, seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in the understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; seek the bridegroom not the teacher; God and not man; darkness not daylight; and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervor and glowing love. The fire is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem, fired by Christ in the ardor of his loving passion. Only he understood this who said: My soul chose hanging and my bones death. Anyone who cherishes this kind of death can see God, for it is certainly true that: No man can look upon me and live.

Let us die, then, and enter into the darkness, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all the fantasies of our imagination.”

thank you William for reminding me………….

This time I don’t think chocolate will make it better…..

DSCN1255

“Happy Father’s day! It’s not much…”

“OOOO Chocolate!!” (coming from a beaming face of an 85 year old)

“OH my Lord, Dale you can’t eat that, remember what the doctor said…”

“Dad why aren’t you taking your medicine?”

“Can I have the chocolate now?”

“Dale, my gosh…no you can’t have the chocolate…remember what the doctor said??!!”

“I thought he said that if I started feeling better in a couple of days I could go back to eating what I want.”

“Dad you have to go to the gastroenterologist on Tuesday.”

“No, he said if I felt better, I could………”

“My lord Dale! NO! Right here in front of Julie, I’m telling you……”

And so went the last visit to Dad’s.

“Can’t you tell he’s lost weight?!”

“Yes.”

Dad, how much weight have you lost?”

“I think about 10 lbs.”

Hummm…

“None of his clothes fit. I need to take him to get all new pants”

“Well had I known he needed pants, I’d have gotten him pants instead of the movies and chocolate….”

“He won’t take his medicine, he’s not helping himself”

“Dad, why aren’t you taking your pills like you suppose to?”

Blank stare

“Dad do you want to go to a home?”

“Julie must be a fly on the wall here Dale—she’s simply repeating what I told you this morning…”

And he finally turns and looks at me….

“I won’t leave this house but in a box”

“Well Dad, you’re working your way to that box very quickly”

Jump forward to yesterday.

The phone rings

“Happy New Years!”

“Happy New Years to you too Dad, but I think it’s the 4th of July”

“Oh yeah, 4th of July”

“I wish I could have spoken with you yesterday but seems our phone wasn’t working”
(note, I call often only to get no answer…if he’s eating, wobbling to the bathroom, out to a movie, or watching the latest breaking all day news coverage, he won’t answer)

“Why wasn’t your phone working?”

“Seems someone forgot to pay the bill”

“DAD—AGAIN?!”

“Don’t fuss at me, it’s all taken care of…”

“Dad, how did this happen again?”

Don’t fuss at me, Gloria’s son and daughter-n-law came over yesterday and fixed it.”

“What do you mean they fixed it?”

“She helped me set it all up where it just gets pulled out automatically”

“Dad, I thought that’s what you were already doing. Dad it’s not their place to help you do that–its mine—Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Please don’t fuss at me…”

“Dad I’m not fussing—put Gloria on the phone”

“No, both of you will fuss at me”

“Dad, nobody is fussing, I just want to talk with Gloria”

“hello, what? I’ve been sick”

“….they just showed up, when they couldn’t get us on the phone or my, what do you call it?… cell phone. And it’s a good thing; they got the phone mess straightened out. It just had me all upset again and plus I’m sick. I told them you’ve been to sort his files and they’re in a mess again. I told them about you going to the bank and we thought things would get better…”

Much more conversation— “…Gloria, what about maybe assisted living?”

“Yes, I think that would be good– but I don’t like the one’s with elevators, those big high-rises. Something cute, like a little bungalow. I don’t want to live in the middle of Buckhead or Sandy Springs.”

“But that’s where ya’ll are now…”

“Well, I don’t know…”

I’ll drive up on Tuesday, is that okay”

“Oh yes Tuesday will be fine”

“I’ll work on his files and the papers—plus maybe we need to really talk about getting help—the house, the yard, it’s too much….”

“Yes, that will be wonderful”

And so began and continued the latest conversation.

He’s getting worse–more so mentally, not so much physically—but for this latest and should have been avoided bout of colitis…. The Alzheimer’s? Is that it? He just wants to be like a little kid—being catered to constantly. Never leaving the house or even getting up out of his chair. He’s now even shaving in his chair. Ugh….

“Hi Dad, what are you doing?”

“Oooo, I’m watching Flash Gordon!”

“The 1930’s flash Gordon Dad?”

“Oooo yes!” Complete with grin…
And he refuses to discuss moving, my taking over finances, or anything that is along the lines of grown-up responsibilities…telling my cousin the financial manager…”I don’t want Julie involved”

Why is that? Is it because he doesn’t trust me? Doesn’t want his “little girl” doing such? I don’t know. I’m almost 54, I think I’m grown up enough to help.

“Dad, have you spoken with your accountant yet?”

“No, but I’m working on it”

“Dad, you’ve been working on it”

“Don’t fuss at me”

And so it goes….I’ve tried stepping back—swooping in to tidy up and fix the disasters, little by little—getting things to a point of rolling along again, then BAM, he’s back in another pickle… the latest in an on-going litany of perdiciments. Bemoaning that everyone is fussing at him and to just leave him alone.
It is time to do and say the things he doesn’t want me to say and do…he refuses to leave the house. The house is too much. Even if there was a “sitter” who came in daily or even was there 24/7—there is still the maintenance of the 60 year old house, the leaks, the termites, the basement, the attic, the yard, the encroaching and changing growth of the city…. I don’t live there so I can’t just pop over everyday to check on them. If something happened, it’d take over an hour, with good traffic on the interstates, for me to get to them.

We need to sell the house and they need to move to a small assisted living community.
Or so I think that is the best idea. The most cost effective— or is it? What do I know?

There are no brothers or sisters to help in any of this—just me…and I don’t really know what I’m doing. They have been living very independent lives. My mom died almost 30 years ago and he and Gloria have been married almost 20 years…. it’s just that he’s stopped being a grown man—preferring to not be dad or pops…but a little boy who just wants life to be light, happy and continuously carefree. Which would be fine if he was willing to turn loose of all responsibilities concerning finances, allowing me to help—help paying the bills, etc.…

He’s my dad and I’ve never told him how things were going to be. Oh I’ve suggested strongly but not the “put the foot down you’re going to do as I say or else” kind of telling him what do to –because—he is my dad—you know, the dad who is the one who calls the shots, not the daughter…

I know he doesn’t want to leave the house. He’s lived in it since 1960. Gloria was good to come into a house that had the ghost of another woman. She’s made some changes but it’s still not the kind of house she ever wanted…but she knew he wouldn’t leave.

However now, I think there’s no choice.

I’ll go Tuesday and we’ll see.

I suddenly have a headache. This entire week of rain and gray gloomy skies has not helped how I’m now feeling today about all of this……the sun would at least help me feel a little hopeful.