Synchronicity

“Hey, daisyfae!  Your Mom’s been here!”

Studley was on the lanai and grinning.  He had fixed our drinks and headed for the pool, as i finished the conversation with my sister, T, about the latest Trailer Park “scores and highlights”.

daisyfae:  What the hell are you talking about?

Studley:  Look!

On the concrete, next to T’s pool, was a single penny.

daisyfae:  You’re fucking with me, right?  You put that there!

Studley:  Nope.  Came out, set our drinks down and there it was…

daisyfae:  T!  Get out here!  Did you put this there?

Of course she hadn’t seen it.  Her partner, T, didn’t know anything about it either.  Her home is pristine and sparkly clean and modern.  Nothing out of place.  The penny had not been there earlier…

i was rattled.

Mom was a firm believer in “pennies from heaven” – the legend that states that when you lose a loved one, they will often throw you a penny when you need to find it.  A token to know that they are ok, and doing fine on the other side.

She almost got us both killed a few years ago chasing one such token.  We had taken Mom on a cruise to Alaska after Dad died, and she was at her peak “pennies are a sign from the afterlife” frenzy.

i’d rented a wheelchair for the trip because she’d lost a good bit of mobility by then.  Wheeling her across a street in Ketchican, Alaska, she suddenly put on the brakes, Fred Flintstone style.  Jamming her feet to the pavement, she said “There’s a dime!  It’s from your Dad!”

i looked up to see a tour bus headed directly for us.

daisyfae:  Mom, i can either pick up the dime or dodge the bus!

Her feet remained planted, and i snatched the dime from the street, popped a wheelie with the chair and avoided disaster.

My sister and i both remember Mom’s firm belief in the pennies from heaven.  T was rattled, too, and said that the kayak had recently been cleaned near that side of the pool, and perhaps that’s where it came from.

i grabbed my drink and got into the pool.  Studley had already jumped in, and lost his swim trunks.  He was still amused.  Shaking my head, i swam over to him and grabbed my drink.  To say that i was further rattled by what was on the can of Diet Coke holding my whiskey would be an understatement.

heads

There is a promotion by the Coca Cola corporation in the U.S. to randomly tag cans and bottles with names and nicknames – the “Share a Coke with…” campaign.  Of course this was random.

daisyfae:  i’m a fucking scientist…  i KNOW this is not a sign from the great beyond.  It is coincidence – confirmation bias.

Studley [still grinning]: Yep.  But you’re rattled, aren’t you?

daisyfae: ….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A week later, i’d taken a day off of work to head to The Park to work estate-related issues.  That was the day my niece, DQ, surprised me with the little musical fella that Mom had asked her to give to me.

Arriving home, i was pretty beat.  Decided to park him on a decorative “table” i’d crafted from my Dad’s old steamer trunk.  The trunk that holds the few sentimental bits and pieces i’ve kept since he died.

Imagine my surprise to find a single fucking penny sitting on the trunk…  In the spot i had decided to park the music box….

tails

i am a scientist…. both by nature and by training.  i fully comprehend the concept of confirmation bias — we see what we expect to see.  Without a reservation, i can tell you that the penny must have been there for a month or more, and i just hadn’t noticed it.

But yeah… i was rattled…. again…

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Sign language

While Mom was in ICU, and on a ventilator, she was still communicating with us.  She could nod her head, and even tried writing letters in the air.  i made a makeshift white board using a notebook and some dry erase markers, but her hand wasn’t steady enough to write.

We improvised – we played it as a cross between “Hangman” and “Wheel of Fortune”, with a little bit of “20 Questions” thrown in to narrow the topic.  One of us would slowly say the alphabet and she’d squeeze our hand when we got to the right letter.  “A… B… C… [squeeze].  C?  The first letter is ‘C’?” and she’d nod her head.

We’d move to the second letter… took some time, but she was able to tell us a few things.

First thing she wanted to say?  “I love you…”

Later that afternoon, she started writing in the air with her finger.  We played the game again and she spelled “C. O. L. D.” – she needed a blanket…

The next morning, she indicated she wanted to tell us something – she spelled “B. A. B….”

daisyfae:  “Baby?  You’re having a baby?”

Mom:  [glares at daisyfae and shakes her head]

She had been trying to spell out “Barb”, her best friend from church…. so we got Barb from the waiting room to come back and visit…

The last one was tough…  My sister, T, her partner, DQ and i were with her as she started to spell something new….   i used the white board to keep track of the letters, and help us guess what she was trying to say.

We went slowly through the alphabet, and came up with “N…   E…. E…. D…”  First word is “Need”….

Second word… “T”… “O”… “Need to….”

Very much like Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” as he used his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring to decipher the secret message…

Third word, first letter…. “P”

DQ:  You need to P?  But Granny, you’ve got a catheter…

daisyfae:  Do you need to poop?

Mom:  [vigorous nodding]

daisyfae:  [hits the call button to summon a nurse] Sweet wounded Jesus, you poor thing!  It took 20 minutes for you to tell us that….
whiteboard

Quarterly Update: Un-fucking myself

Despite the monkey wrench delivered squarely in my gut in mid-September, i have not forgotten my pledge to gently “un-fuck” myself.  The first two quarterly updates in April and June showed steady progress on my fitness goals, and slowed progress on the excavations…

When my son and daughter came home in July, they were both highly motivated to eat all of the pizza in town, while consuming gallons of tasty beer.  Being some what weak-willed when it comes to food and drink, i managed to gain back 10 pounds of the 25 i’d discarded in the first 6 months of the year.

Happy to say that i’ve unloaded most of that within the same quarter, and can claim a sustained net loss of 25 pounds for the year.  Given two weeks of eating meals from vending machines and gas station roller grills during Mom’s hospitalization, and funerary doings, i’m surprised i haven’t gained any more.

The German language has the most beautiful word:  Kummerspeck.  It means “grief bacon”.  Between the bacon and the booze, it’s a fucking miracle, but i’ve kept up the gym habit, and continue to load my fat arse onto my bicycle seat.  Will stay the course…

As for the excavations?  i managed to clear a bookshelf, and find a home for it, along with a few other small pieces of furniture.  Another trip to donate goods at the thrift store happened, but over all, not much done in this regard.

In fact, as executor for Mom’s estate, i have been hauling boxes and bags of shit back home with me, sorting out piles of bills and legal documents. Feel as though i went backwards in this one – at least for now.  i did manage to find some time this weekend to build some ‘piles’ on the top of the Murphy bed in my office to start to regain some semblance of order… For the past three weeks my dining room table has been a jumble of papers and envelopes and mail and…. stuff…

It will take at least 6 months to get all of it sorted and settled, so i am trenched in on this.  Mom did a good job with estate planning back in February, so it’s not nearly as complicated as it could have been.  But she left me with some rather vexing issues, and all i can do is… wait… think… and keep making piles.

We are moving slowly.  There is no rush to clear Mom’s personal effects, and my niece, DQ is sole owner of the home, so it is entirely up to her to set the pace for such things.  She was absolutely phenomenal during Mom’s last week, and has demonstrated tremendous grace throughout.

As we sat at her dining room table last week, sorting bills and transfers of utilities and the like, she had a few items waiting for me – things she wanted me to have.  Among them?  This little dude…  Mom told her that it was special to me, and that i should probably have it.

i may have been reduced to a blubbering ball of tears and snot…

He kept me company on the ride home that afternoon… Arrivederci, Roma… Good to see you again, kiddo.

Arrivaderci