Thursday, April 29, 2010

Post Script (better known as PS)

I'm also grateful for a good cry. Although I may not be able to breathe the rest of the day.

Focusing on Gratitude

I had a pity party yesterday. I called my husband and asked if he wanted to attend, but I got the answering machine. I was the only one at the party. It wasn't that fun. I just sang a few bars of "It's my pity party and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want would cry to if you felt like I do!". Sing along if you know the tune. Then again, the party is over for now, so save your pretty song bird voice for next time.

I'm trying really hard to focus on all the good things in my life. Sometimes, like when I'm sick, it's the little things that get me through the day.

I am grateful for:
1. my sound machine
2. bedroom doors (I don't have them at home, our bedroom is a loft type room)
3. that my son had already washed a load of clothes and all I needed to do was put them in the dryer.
4. for the beautiful roses that are blooming all over the base! I haven't seen any other flowers here yet, but roses thrive.
5. cough drops
6. ibuprofen
7. the washer and dryer being inside the house (I have to go outside to get to mine at home)
8. that after today, it's not supposed to be windy for the next several days
9. for my family and friends who have been so supportive and loving
10. for the dream I had yesterday that Teresa was in. I just wish I could remember it.
11. when the kids make me laugh
12. that the puppy will be going to a new home
13. sleep, especially when it comes between fits of coughing and I feel somewhat rested and better after it

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Whining in the Wind

I literally cannot get used to this wind! In TX, my allergist told me if it's a windy day, to stay in the house! Period, end of story. Well, my allergist never had to come to Edwards, CA in the spring to help out after his daughter-in-law died. It's been so windy that I'm getting sick. It was very windy today and it's supposed to be very windy again for the next three days! Of course this is after a couple of days of high winds last week. Now, you may think I'm kidding about this, but when my son and his little family first got here, my youngest granddaughter, CL almost blew away when they were all going from the Commissary to the car after buying groceries! She's a skinny little thing and the wind was carrying her away from her folks. She was a few yards away before they realized there was a problem, her cries for help were being carried away by the wind too, so they didn't even hear her.

The main problem with me getting sick at this time is that my son wants us to take the kids to the San Diego Zoo on Saturday. I love this idea. Unfortunately, I do not get over being sick quickly. I normally develop bronchitis when I get a cough (years of living with smokers -- I do not recommend this!) and the bronchitis cough can last for months. Anyway, in an effort to stay well, I'm going to bed. I wish you all good dreams and happy health.

Odds and Ends

CV is home sick today. She's running a fever and woke us up coughing. I have a bit of a cough too and didn't sleep worth a hoot.

I've been doctoring both dogs for several days now. Sissy, the min pin (miniature pincher) had to have 14 teeth removed! We thought she was going in for a cleaning and one tooth removal, but when they got in there, they could see roots and all kinds of bad things. Needless to say, she's feeling much better and she's loving the soft food she's now eating. Angel (the Chihuahua puppy) had an ear infection. She's doing better too because she's starting to fight the medication. That's always a good sign.

They've been blasting these emergency tests on the P.A. systems around here today and last Friday. It's been so long since I've even lived in an area where you could hear a public emergency test that it's taken me a second to get my bearings each time. The last one was for earthquakes! I've never heard that one before, being a Texan and living in the south my whole life. All I know about earthquakes is to get in a doorway. I'm sure I'd be too busy getting kids into doorways though to fool with it myself.

Today, I'm cleaning out the kitchen cabinets that have thus far been devoted to old children's school papers, toys and other assorted oddities. I've cleaned out two large drawers so far. Found CV's birth certificate in one of them in among crayons and old Valentines and broken party favors. I've thrown away most of the stuff I've laid my hands on. I'm now into the largest lower cabinets. I'll be able to put away all those pots and pans that didn't have homes after I finish this one.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Today I am thankful for:
1. my neti pot -- it kept me from getting really sick, once again
2. for quiet when the kids are at school -- I love these kids with all my heart and soul, but I am not used to three kids talking to me at once with TVs and computers going in the background. Lord help me!
3. for a good night's sleep -- when I can get it
4. for a rest break when I need it between chores
5. good, patient, kind teachers who actually sympathize with what a child has been through when they lose their mother -- Thank God for Mr. Perry!
6. for sleeping dogs
7. for trashmen
8. for wild bunny rabbits who hop into the back yard and make the minutes before school exciting
9. brand new books just waiting to be read -- even if they have to wait a long time
10. for newly cleaned out cabinets and drawers and the sense of accomplishment it gives you.
11. for the very precious hugs and kisses that little JT gives me in that special young child way that he does right now -- it is a fleeting moment that I have already lost with his sisters and I feel slipping through my fingers with him. Oh how I will miss this when it ends.
12. the knitting lessons with CL. It is our special time together. She's very good and will probably be teaching me things in a couple of years.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Something I didn't know about Teresa

I didn't know my sister Teresa's favorite bible verse until after her death. It was Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." I got this version of the verse out of my son's King James bible. The version of the verse that I'd heard before was "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." A little different, but the same meaning. It will always be very special to me. Actually, I think the second version that I've listed may have been Teresa's favorite wording.

Unfortunately, in our grief, none of us thought to include this bible verse in Teresa's funeral.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I've always heard that things are bigger in Texas. Whoever first said that has never seen the crows on Edwards Air Force Base in CA! I tell you, these things could carry off a small child! They're about the size of a Volkswagen Bug with wings. OK, that may be a very slight exaggeration, but they are big! I'm sure the crows are not unique to the base, but it's something that's here that I haven't been able to get used to yet.

Something else that always startles me are the sonic booms! It's pretty cool to see the F-16's flying over head and the occasional Stealth Bomber is really enjoyable for me since I live out in the TX countryside normally. But those sonic booms almost make me wet by britches every single time.

We have wind in TX, of course and I don't like it. I hate it here because it's constant and stronger. At least it seems to be at this time of year. My allergies are in overdrive. Probably has to do with the fact that Edwards is in the desert. So different from home. I'm sure my life is not nearly as different to me as the kids lives are to them and they're still in the same house, at this point.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rough Day

Despite the fact that I've talked to my dear Aunt Joan and my dear friend Beth, today has been a rough day for me and it's only about 3:30 PM. I feel crummy. My foot hurts like a son of a gun and I miss my sister. I laid down for a bit and tried to take a nap after I took little JT to school. I think I dropped off for a couple of minutes, because I started and thought -- I want my sister back -- I want my sister back -- I want my sister back!!!! I've been on the verge of tears ever since.

I miss Teresa so very much. I don't know what to do without her at this point.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Clean Up Begins

Really the clean ups began even before the funerals. You know, the emotional baggage you have to sort through when you lose someone close to you. For that matter, there is very often emotional baggage when anyone you know dies, even if you aren't close to them. Sometimes there is as much if you had a bad relationship with someone on the perimeter of your life, like a coworker or former schoolmate. It takes a while to get through it all. The longer the person has been a part of your life, the more baggage there is likely to be.

The emotional baggage is not all bad or tear filled, but it does take time to process. So does the physical clean up. Today, I started again on M's kitchen. I had cleaned out the refrigerator right after she died. I had to do it then because there was so much food brought to us that we had to put away.

Today, I started on the pantry. I've got the top food shelf cleaned up so far. The kitchen will take a while. M had an odd system. Most of the artwork the kids ever did is in there. There is barely room for pots and pans. The worst part of the kitchen was beyond her control and is out of mine. I can't reach most of the shelves. I even have trouble with the lowest ones. My son is sick right now, but as soon as he's well, I plan to have him take me shopping to get a step ladder. Now, you're probably wondering why I need him to take me. Well, he lives on a military base. I don't have a military I.D. since I am not a military dependant. I can't shop on base or drive off of base and get back on. Well, in all honesty, I probably could drive off and get back on, with some explaining and maybe some phone calls, but I wouldn't have the faintest idea of where to go to shop around here at this point. Sometimes, I really miss TX and the bluebonnets. Today, I miss both -- and my sister.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cousin Mike

My cousin Mike is someone I admire very much. He paid for his own education. Working until he had enough money to go to school for a while and then going back to work when he ran out. He did this until he got his degree. He is now a school teacher. A profession that I admire, but have never wanted to attempt. It's hard work for not nearly enough pay. There are incredible benefits though -- it touches the lives of so very many children each and every year. I know that Mike is one of those teachers that his students will never forget because he's that kind of person. He's special.

He came to see me after the death of my sister, his cousin. During our visit, he said something that I thought was quote worthy -- "Common sense is not all that common.". I thought I'd just share that with you today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I didn't have access to my computer and my photos when I wrote most of the posts about M and Teresa. I've added a few photos of each of them today to a couple of the posts. Feel free to scroll on down if you'd like to see them. They are not the best or most flattering and they would not have liked for them to be here, but they were both forever dodging and ducking to avoid a camera. So let that be a lesson to you.

Beyond Tired

I'm so very tired, physically and emotionally. I can only sleep 3 to 5 hours at a time right now. I'm fairly sure that after a day with my grandchildren that will change though. They will wear me out -- in a good way. I'm having trouble retaining a thought and then verbalizing it. It sifts through my mind like so much sand in an hourglass. I know that will get better in time. Right now, I'd really like to curl back up and go back to sleep for a bit. Instead I'm about to head for the airport. I'm really looking forward to seeing my son and getting a hug from him and the children. I miss them.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More Sweet Memories

Teresa and I grew up in a time when there were no VCRs, DVDs, cable TV or satellite channels to watch. If you wanted to see a movie, you saw it at the theater or on TV with all the commercials. The 4 or so TV stations we had in Dallas back then, even went off the air at some point during the night, right after playing the National Anthem while showing the flag gently waving in the wind. The Wizard of Oz was one of our favorite movies and it came on one time a year. It was a BIG EVENT to us. It always came on after The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night. I can just see Teresa and I, freshly bathed and on the floor in front of the TV just waiting for it to come on. The flying monkeys scared the bejebers out of me! I found out a couple of nights ago that Teresa used to sing Over the Rainbow to her daughter B to get her to sleep at night.

My birthday is January 7th and Teresa's was June 16th. After our parents divorce, our father could never remember what day each of us was born on. He remembered each of our months but he'd mix up our dates. He'd call me on the 6th or the 17th and I'm sure he did the same kind of thing to Teresa. We talked about it recently. She always thought that was endearing. I was the one who was initially irritated by it, and then later, I found a way to also just roll with it.

Maybe it was because our birthdays were always a little bit of a sore subject for me. It was never Teresa's fault. When we were young, our relatives always seemed to give Teresa a birthday gift for my birthday when they saw us at Christmas time. Of course at her birthday, only she got a gift. It brought out my little green eyed monster. Then, one year, she got to choose whether or not she wanted a birthday cake or a watermelon for a "cake"! She picked a watermelon and I was forever jealous of her summer birthday. Even now, I'd like nothing better than to celebrate my birthday with a Texas Rangers baseball game and watermelon. Ah, that would be great! Hard to do in January.

Our parents divorced when I was 10 and Teresa was 8 years old. Momma went to work. We stayed with various neighbors for a few years and eventually were old enough not to need a babysitter. Times were safer then too, so we were still fairly young when we were left alone, but it was OK because we knew we always had good neighbors nearby to go to in an emergency. We had an emergency one summer day. I think we were watching TV and one of us looked down at the living room floor and there was a red, yellow and black striped snake on the floor! Now there are 2 snakes in TX with those colors. One is a king snake, which is nonpoisonous and the other is a coral snake with is one of the more deadly snakes in the state. We managed to climb on furniture to get to a phone book to open and throw on top of the snake. I stayed there watching the phone book to make sure the snake did not get out from under it and Teresa ran across the street to get Mr. Burns to come help us. He worked for the parks dept. of the City of Dallas and came home to eat lunch every day with his wife. He came right over and got the snake out of the house and chopped it's head off with a hoe. By the time I got my courage together to go out and see what kind of snake it was, all of the parts has slithered off. I think it was a coral snake though. I remember the colors being bright and the king snakes that I've seen photos of aren't bright.

Well, those are all of the stories I can think of today. I can't promise you I won't think of more. Teresa's funeral was nice, but difficult. These stories are helping me. Thank you for "listening". Tomorrow morning, I head back to California to help my son and grandchildren with their grief and home life. Right now, I'm going to rest and pack in the morning. Love to all.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Eulogy for Teresa

I am two and a half years older than my sister Teresa. My middle name is Lee. And of course when I got in trouble, I was called by my full name -- Sharon Lee Davis!!! Well, My sister's middle name was Jeanette, but for some reason she would be called Teresa Jeanette Lee Davis!!! Then she grew up to marry a man who's last name is Lee. So, her name became Teresa Jeanette Davis Lee. I've always thought that was ironic and a little funny. Here are a few memories I have of my sister. It's actually pretty long, but I hope you will indulge me.

The very first memory I have of my sister and I together is of us as very tiny children, crossing the street we lived on near White Rock Lake to go into the "forest" to pick black berries. The "forest" was only a few trees according to momma, but I'm sure it was quite an adventure at our tender ages and for all I know, momma may very well have been with us, but that is not how I remember it. That would not have been as adventurous.

My next memory of Teresa is holding her little three year old hand! I tell you, I loved that sweet little hand. It is one of my all time most precious childhood memories. One of my favorite memories period.

I can't remember exactly how old we were when daddy decided that we needed to have a ranch full of animals. Now this would not have been so unusual if we lived in the country, but we lived flat dab in the middle of Dallas, TX and I can tell you that there were not many people who had livestock of any kind in Dallas in the mid 1960's. Our next door neighbor's, the Neal's had chickens, but they were literally the only people I knew who had any kind of livestock. That is until daddy started bringing home chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and a goat. None of these lasted all that long. Most of them died by smothering in their food or getting eaten by the dogs or something like that. The remaining turkey was getting pretty big though and looked like he'd live to be ripe old age. Right up until he made his fatal mistake. He scratched Teresa one day and it was a pretty big, bad scratch too. She was crying and making a fuss and daddy asked her if she wanted him to kill that mean old turkey. She didn't even hesitate before she said yes. Well, to be honest, I didn't blame her one bit. We both stood at the back screen door as daddy strung that turkey up and chopped his head off. I didn't even have time to think it was gross before I realized that Teresa was laughing her little head off in this really evil, wicked little laugh. I think she scared me a little that day, but I forgot about that as soon as I got to eating on that turkey. It happened fairly close to Thanksgiving too so we thought it was really great that we got to have turkey twice so close together.

We grew up in a time when kids felt safe to wonder around their neighborhoods. We'd walk up to the shopping center together. We played in our yards in the summer with the neighborhood kids until after dark, playing hide and go seek, tag and catching fireflies. I remember we used to lay on the grass and pick out shapes in the clouds and sometimes get lucky enough to find a horny toad. We played pretend games a lot. In our games I got to marry David Cassidy and she had to marry Bobby Sherman. I was the oldest, so I got to pick. We would play Monopoly and card games and we had a lot of fun doing those kinds of things. We played our 45's on the record player and danced and sang to them. We had some good times.

Teresa and I also used to fight like cats and dogs. We never really did this when momma was home, I don't think, but momma had to work so eventually we always did fight at some point. Teresa always had these beautiful, long, graceful fingers and these amazing finger nails that were really strong. I mean she was 8 years old with these hands and nails, it was just weird!  The worse thing about it though is that she knew how to use them in our fights and use them she did! She would claw plugs out of my arms. At which point, I'd really get mad and try to choke her or start banging her head into the floor, all the while telling her she better not call momma when I let her up either. And that little stinker always did. Fortunately, she was the only one to ever draw blood. I never really hurt her. She really should have been a hand model when she grew up, her hands were that pretty.

There came a time when we didn't get along as well as we had before. She became this neat freak and we drifted even more apart. Surprisingly, not because she was so neat and I was a slob, but because we were just so different from each other and we didn't see our similarities. I got married at 18 and she was still in school. I had my son when I was 20 and she had just graduated high school. We weren't communicating well at all. Years went by with us never really hitting the mark in that area, but we kept trying. We wanted to be close. We wanted to be friends, but it never failed that one of us would say something that the other misinterpreted and we wouldn't speak for months. It was extremely difficult on both of us, our mother, our husbands and our children.

During this time, Teresa had married and started her family. B came along first, thankfully at a time when we were actually getting alone pretty well. I got to baby sit B for a while and Jay and Teresa would take our son on outings. Teresa loved being a mother and aunt. It wasn't long before she and her little family moved out of state and our closeness became strained again by distance and the constraints of time.

I don't know which came next, that she became pregnant with R or that she found out that she had scoliosis. I do know that she put off the surgery to repair her back because she wanted to have a child and that child was R and that she put off the surgery again to have another child -- S. This was her choice because she wanted these boys so very much. She was in extreme back pain, but it was worth it to her because she was lucky enough to be a mom to three beautiful children. Her children were her greatest joy. Of this, I am absolutely sure.

By the time she finally had the surgery, her ribcage was very twisted, almost totally toward the back of her body. She had lost height. She was in severe pain and getting the point of real danger of her ribs possibly damaging her organs. It was a pain that I truly still can not imagine. My sister was so very strong and courageous. She was an amazing woman to be able to handle the medical problems she had. The surgery was so very involved and difficult by then that she ended up in a medical journal. All of this was done during the time that our father was terminally ill. I was able to come help her for a few days after the surgery, but I had to get back to help our dad. During his illness, I was his main caregiver. I just couldn't be there for Teresa like I wanted to. I was torn by it all and bitter that I was being torn.

Our relationship was probably the worst when we needed each other the most -- when our father was dying and Teresa was recovering from her surgery. Neither of us had had an easy relationship with daddy either, so that complicated things. I couldn't seem to tell her that I just needed to talk to her. To hear her voice. To be able to vent. I could never say that I wasn't asking her for anything more than that. I would contact her with that being the full intention of what I was going to say and somewhere, somehow, it always went wrong. It was just a horrible time. Daddy died on December 1st of 1995.

Teresa and her family came up to the house after daddy passed. It was good to see them, but I don't remember how we felt about each other then. I know the rough patches were not over yet -- not emotionally between us or physically for her. Right around New Year's, Teresa had to have emergency surgery to have the rod removed from her back that was put in during the scoliosis surgery. She'd developed a life threatening staff infection. Her spine had not fused at all. It would twist again and cause all the pain that she'd had before and the worse news was that the surgeon said he would not redo the surgery.

I can't remember when Teresa and I became close again. It wasn't instantaneous, but we found it in our hearts to forgive each other for all the hurtful things that were said and imagined between us. We became as close as we had each hoped and wanted to be all of our lives. We finally had our sister friendship and we really enjoyed each other. I will be forever grateful for that.

Teresa also got to have her scoliosis surgery when she moved to Colorado a few years ago. It was very successful. Even more successful than the doctor had thought it would be. She lived the rest of her life relatively pain free and happy. My neat freak sister became one of those talented women who could drive down an alley and find someone's castoffs and see the treasure that it really was. Sometimes she'd fix them up and sell them. Other times she'd keep them. She had a knack. She was beautiful. She was strong. She was someone I wanted to be like in so very many ways. I'm going to miss her more than I can say.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In Memoriam

My beautiful sister died suddenly yesterday. Teresa Lee was a strong woman. She'd had scoliosis and three surgeries late in life for and because of it. Three beautiful children and a good marriage to Jay. Teresa and I had not always had a good relationship, but thankfully, a several years ago we grew very close. We finally had the loving sister friendship we had each always wanted. She was courageous. She was a fighter. She stood up for her beliefs and she told you what she thought. She loved hard. She was a truly good person. I'm going to miss her more than I can put into words.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Off Kilter

There comes a time when spell checker can't help. When all the notes you make to yourself aren't enough. When you forget who you've thanked and who you need to thank. When you realize that you were in a daze when people did things that you need to thank them for. Life can get so off kilter when there is a sudden, unexpected death in a family. When it's the death of a young woman who is the mother of three young children it's just devastating. I still feel as if I am in shock.

I knew my daughter-in-law M had many problems and being hooked on prescription medications and being bi-polar were just a couple of them. I said (and worried) many times, that she would over dose one day, but somehow I never really expected it to happen. I'm still in shock over all of this. At the changes in my son's life and the lives of his children. I'm even shocked at the change in my life. I don't know if my son will ever find another woman to love and bring into his family, but until that should happen, I'm the main female or "mother" figure in the lives of his children. I accept this role with love and I hope grace and even gratitude. That may sound odd, but I'm grateful that I'm here to do it and that M wanted me to have a close relationship with them from the start. I do. I'm close to these kids. All three of them. I love them dearly. And they love me. I have a new purpose in my life and I pray that the good Lord will help me to help my son raise them to be as good a person as he is. I pray that I do not overstep my bounds. That I know the correct thing to say at the correct time. I pray that all of our lives start to slowly get back on a more normal track again.

To those friends of mine who read this, please know that I appreciate everything -- large and small -- you have done for me, my son and the kids. To my extended family, I thank you also. I cannot begin to express how much the kind words of encouragement from friends and family have helped me so far through this. I've had wonderful emails and phone calls that have literally lifted me from the pits of despair. There are no words to thank you for these things. I just hope that someday, I can pass on the same kindnesses in some way.