Lessons in Grief, Part 2

A Place to Visit

Up until my mother, Shirley Chester, died and was buried in the Boston area, I never really understood visiting graves.  I wasn’t compelled in any way to go look at headstones with names and dates that would just end up making me sad.  Maybe it’s because I know that’s just a physical place where their body resides but their spirit is beyond that rectangle of earth.  Since I believe that they’re still around, in a mysterious form somewhere beyond the mortal consciousness, I preferred to “pay my respects” by just talking to them and telling them how much I miss them.

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Things I Like Thursday – Christmas Movies

Last week was a Hanukkah recommendation, this week it’s Christmas!

2 reasons:

  1. I’ve just needed some Feel Good/Happy Endings stories
  2. I’m writing a Christmas romance and I guess the holidays are on my mind.

First up, Single All the Way, the first gay Christmas movie produced by Netflix, starring Michael Urie and Philemon Chambers.  It’s a friends to lovers trope with a bit of love triangle thrown in as tension. 

Peter loves his family in New Hampshire but the thought of going home single again drives him to extremes—he talks his BFF and roommate, Nick, into posing as his lover.  When that ruse quickly falls apart, mom fixes him up with her hunky trainer, James.  In typical romance fashion, wires get crossed, feelings get hurt and they all live happily ever after.

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Happy First Heavenly Birthday, Ma!

My mother would have been 88 today. 

I took the day off and streamed the first few episodes of the last season of Grace and Frankie, because we both loved it and she didn’t get to see this final season. 

At one point, I was thinking about birthdays past and how it got harder over the years to come up with presents for her.  As she lost more of her sight and mobility and the list of things she could eat got smaller and smaller, the defaults became DVD’s, books on CD and jewelry I made for her.

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Things I Like Thursday – The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

So, I’m either late or really early for holiday reads but who cares.  I loved this rom-com about a Jewish writer of Christmas rom-coms whose life turns into a rom-com when she’s pressured into writing a Hanukkah rom-com. 

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is hiding her Christmas stories from her parents and her chronic fatigue syndrome from the world.  Jacob Greenberg runs a multi-million-dollar event business in Paris that masks his fear of abandonment.  They broke each other’s 12-year-old hearts at a Jewish summer camp 18 years before and have been archenemies ever since.

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Balancing Act

Anyone else having issues balancing their financial life in relation to their advancing age?

Making decisions lately has taken on a very different type of calculation, one that includes the question, should we save or should we spend.  If we spend money now, are we taking away from money we’ll need in 5, 10, 15 years or, Lord willing, beyond?  And if we don’t spend it now, will we regret not spending it later?

For instance, after making the decision that, barring a stunning lottery win, we’d be aging in place in our current home, we’ve been having a little work done.  But do we fix only the immediate needs and let the small stuff slide?  Balancing today against tomorrow, what if we need the money spent on a luxury today for necessities tomorrow?

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Things I Like Thursday – The Mom’s National Park Passport Book

As I was cleaning out The Mom’s apartment after she passed, I found lots of things that warmed my heart, made me laugh and made me cry.  But one of the most special things I came across was her National Parks passport book.  She loved the National Parks and visited as many as she could, usually with organized tours. 

Flipping through the pages, seeing all the stamps that represented trips and locations that she got to see, it just made me so damn happy.  I brought it back across country in my purse and now it lives in a box of precious items to be grabbed in case of evacuation (living in Cali, you need a designated box or two in case of earthquake, fire, flood).

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Lessons in Grief, Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve written. 

My mother passed away March 6. 

Grief keeps its own schedule:

Not showing up when expected, like when I ordered the date to be carved into the headstone she shares with my grandparents.

Visiting at odd times, like when I tried to deal with a check written in her name.

But always at one o’clock on Saturdays, the time I used to call her every week.

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Things I Like Thursday – 2 Word Game Apps

I’m not a competitive person.  When I play a game, it’s usually for my own enjoyment and personal best.  I don’t pay much attention to metrics like scores or the time it takes to finish or solve.  I have Spider Solitaire and Mahjong  on my phone and they’re my go to’s when I’m watching tv – they don’t take much attention and I can keep track of the plot as I listen.

I have two word games I play, though, that need undivided attention.  One is new and one I’ve been playing for a while.

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Faces of Ukraine and Russia

I used to watch a sub-titled South Korean soap opera in the 80’s, that encompassed several generations of families, including Western influenced young adults.  And though the characters were fictional, I had experienced the lives of people half way around the world who, when North Korea started rattling their sabers, I could reference.  I may not have known specific South Koreans, but I knew some of their stories and how they lived and so they were not faceless unfortunates spotlighted for three minutes on the evening news.  They were people just like me, trying to live their lives in peace.

I’m having a similar, but much more authentic, experience now with Heygo.com.  I’ve mentioned Heygo, the virtual travel site, before.  I’ve taken tours with Olga Dudakova in Kyiv and Anna Levina in St. Petersburg and though they are not friends in the tradition sense, they are the people I immediately thought about as night after night of the evening news showed Russian troops gathering on the borders of Ukraine.

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