Hell of a Guy
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Nancy’s 60th…


Here we are in New York City to celebrate The Nancy’s coming of age, so to speak.  What a great place to celebrate a birthday!

This place, “The Big Apple,” the city that never sleeps, aside from those curled up fetal-like against buildings or on benches.  This city that smells of garbage and urine, with trash and rubbish littering every street, where scary looking people who haven’t seen a bathtub in years walk in the middle of the streets speaking languages no one has ever heard.  A city with sidewalks so crowded you sometimes have to scoot sideways to get by.  This is New York City and, though I have no more desire to live here than on the moon, we love it.  We love every minute of every hour we have ever spent here.

New York City represents everything we do not have at home.  Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs West Virginia boasts a couple of restaurants, some shops, at least one hotel, an abundance of traffic signals - three, and a throng of travelers on weekends – maybe a hundred or so.  On the other hand, New York City is grossly over populated anyway, even without the hundreds of thousands of out-of-towners that invade and litter this city day in and day out, coming from all over this country and the world.  This place is nuts: this place is The Big Apple, but it is also the venue of The Nancy’s 60th Birthday extravaganza.

We planned this weekend back in October.  We wanted it to be special, and it is living up to our highest expectations.  Today we will see “The Book of Mormon” and are so looking forward to it.  Yesterday we got to see “The Nance” with Nathan Lane, and really hope to score tickets to see Tom Hanks in “Lucky Guy.”  Last night we stuffed ourselves at Carmine’s on 44th and then made a valiant attempt to walk off our fullness by strolling for blocks searching for the perfect venue for a night cap.  Our attempt didn’t work in our favor as we finally made it back to our hotel room and collapsed our overstuffed, very tired bodies in bed, where it took me about a minute to fall into a deep sleep - all in all, a perfect day, a wonderful day.

This morning, her birthday morning, my beautiful wife remains in bed.  It is her day to sleep in.  She is firmly in control this day, her day.  I am a lucky guy to have her in my life.  May sound a tad corny, but this woman “completes me.” The Nancy is my rock, my foundation.  I could go on but I won’t.  If I do I will surely cry, and it’s way too early to blubber.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Monday, June 17, 2013

Did You Know Kate Warder?


Did you know Kate Warder?  I mean really know her?  She was quite a woman, but could be a little grouchy at times.  Did you know Kate Warder?  Sometimes she could be a little short and blunt with people when she spoke?  She did not hold back; it just was not her style.  Did you know Kate Warder?  If she was displeased with you she could give you a look that went straight through to your bones.  Did you know Kate Warder?  She was very private and could be stubborn, short tempered and moody, but did you really know Kate Warder?  If you did not, I wish you had. 

I first met Kate in 1993, and, quite frankly, it was love at first sight.  We seemed to hit it off from the very beginning; she was always sweet and very kind to me.  She could be all of those things I described above, but it was the softer side of Kate Warder I saw and what most others did, as she hid her pain.  Kate’s health had not been good the last decade of her life.  She suffered the ills diabetes, multiple myeloma and finally a debilitating stroke.

The day before the stroke hit her I got to tell her how much she meant to me.  Something deep within me, perhaps a premonition, told me I needed to tell her.  Kate took the place my mother after my own mother passed away in 1997 and I wanted her to know it, though I think she always did. 

Kate put up a fight the last two weeks of her life, and in the last couple of days she fought for every breath.  Yesterday morning as her life waned it was evident every breath was a struggle.  She surrendered at 10:04 with her husband Joe and The Nancy holding her hands as she crossed from this world to the next.  It was a beautiful moment, but nonetheless a sad one.

Did you know Kate Warder?  Did you see her smile?  Did you ever get hear her laugh?  Did you get to witness how much she loved that guy she called “Dad,” and her own children?  Did you ever see the joy in her eyes as she watched her grandchildren and great-grandchildren?  Did you witness her piety and her love of that little church in Grafton, WV?  I wish you had.  I loved her so much.

Kate will be laid to rest later this week.  To say she will be missed is a huge understatement, so I won’t say it.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Is There A Place Between…


Watching my mother-in-law as she lay in a bed near death; she is at peace and not in any pain. 

Since a week ago today, having suffered a stroke, she has rarely opened her eyes, and responds to questions with one-syllable words – “Yeah” and “No.”  I know she is aware of the presence of people in her room.  I know she hears the conversations as we gather about her, but she is only half here.  The rest of her is somewhere else.

Is there a place in between life and death?  A place where one can see the Face of God in the distance?  We have all read or heard of accounts of people near death seeing a bright light or being drawn to a bright light.  Could this be what Kate is seeing?  Is she being drawn to it?  When will she give in?  Is she between here and there?  Is she with her parents, her departed brothers and sister, maybe other family and friends, too?  I so wish she could tell me.

I have thought about asking her where she is and what she sees. I am curious, I really want to know, but I know she cannot tell me, so I get to imagine it.  Near death experiences are often storied with the dying person’s spirit hovering over their own body seeing all and hearing all just moments away from one side or the other.  Do we get to choose? 

Neale Donald Walsch says we all come into this world with a purpose, and when that purpose in complete our spirits return to the Soul of the Universe, the One Soul, the Soul of God.  I like that explanation, it brings me comfort.

Kate’s time will come, and I still will only get to guess what is that dimension between what we call life and death.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The End of Days…


In cosmic time the length of one’s life on this planet is extremely short, so short, in fact, it probably doesn’t register more than a mere tick on big clock, especially when considering the universe is estimated to be 15-billion years old.  Still, it is very tough to watch someone who is dearly loved move from a lucid state to near comatose one.  This past Tuesday The Nancy’s mother suffered a stroke, and it appears her End of Days is in sight. 

The Nancy and I and the rest of her family, all recognize her mother’s quality of life has hit rock bottom.  She is barely consuming enough to keep a small cat alive or taking in a sufficient amount of liquids.  Her doctor has recommended reducing the number of medications she receives, and giving her only those to make her final moments as comfortable possible.  It is a sad day for us, but for her, a lover of all things God, these might be the best days of her life – for her these may constitute the Best Days Ever as she looks to the Beyond.

I have a different view of death than many; I have no fear of dying.  This poor woman has been battling myeloma and diabetes for many, many years, and it appears with the advent of the stroke they will finally win out.  When we saw her Memorial Day weekend it was evident something wasn’t right.  This past Sunday something compelled me to sit down with her and tell her how much she means to me and to express my love for her.  I have known her for twenty years and never felt the need to express my feelings for her before.  I am so happy I did it.  This woman is the closest thing I have had to a mother since losing my own in 1997.

The world will go on just about the same without Kate Warder, it will hardly miss a tick, but her passing will create an emptiness, a vacuum.  This sometimes grouchy old woman with a heart of gold, a beautiful smile and a hardy laugh, and a million friends, will be sorely missed, and very much so by a guy, this guy, who loves her so very much.

And that is all I have to say about that…