Showing posts with label the mama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the mama. Show all posts

Friday, April 29, 2016

Four Weeks Ago


"Mama's gone."

Four Fridays ago, in the early evening, I walked into the kitchen to let the Husband and Molly the Cat know that Mama's spirit had slipped into the ever after.

I had started making dinner. As I put the frying pan on the stove, I had a feeling and I didn't want to know. The Husband and I had been sitting at the kitchen table, talking about the house. How we needed to replace faucets in the kitchen and in the Mama's bathroom. That one day we would need to replace the linoleum and maybe it would be better to take out the carpet and put in a wooden floor. House stuff that neither of us had ever done or been interested in doing. But, at that moment, it all seemed natural for us to do.

With the frying pan on low, I went to check on the Mama. She was warm, but she no longer breathed. She looked quite content. I like to think that the Mama heard us talking in the kitchen and she felt assured that her house would be in good hands and that the Husband and I would be fine. She could now let go of her physical shell.

Four weeks later, the chirping birds, the neighbor's noisy grandchild, another neighbor's barking dog,  lawn mowers, the wind, the passing cars, and nearly everything sound different to my ears. Is it because the Mama's breaths are no long part of what I hear?

Okay.

Okay.

I was going to write that it's probably time for me to start writing about other stuff. Perhaps. I have not completely thrown the blanket over my head, although there are moments that I want to just close my eyes and not think about things that need to get done. There is so much. Today, I told myself everything doesn't have to be done right away. "It'll work out, right?" I asked the Husband. "It'll work out," the Husband said.

Yes, they do.

Four weeks later, the Mama's name is etched on the gravestone that she shares with the Daddy, and the picture of the two of them is already up. I did not expect all that to happen until later in May. For that matter, four weeks ago, I had no idea if the Mama's name would fit on the marker in letters almost the same size, if not the same, as the Daddy's; who would engrave her name; and if I could afford a photo of them to be put up. So, yes, things work out.

I love the photo of the Mama and the Daddy. That was how they looked in 1976 at the Daddy's 71st birthday party. As you approach their grave site, you can see the Mama's smile from far away. I love that, too.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Mama's Motley Crew of Pallbearers

Photo courtesy of Rosalie Phillips

Except for a few instructions from the Mama, I had carte blanche to plan her funeral services. Would I follow the traditional way, which I regard as much too somber, tight-lipped, not a crack of a smile, and full of smelly moth balls? Or, would I follow my heart and let loose with the joy that is life, living, and, most of all, the deep essence of the Mama who denied it so often while she lived?

Was there any doubt that I would do the latter?

At times. Especially after freaking out when I read the what should be's when it comes to funerals, in particular, Ilocano funerals. One superstition, or tradition, is that no family members shall be pallbearers. Bad luck would be theirs otherwise. Before I read that, I had decided to be one of the Mama's pallbearers. I wanted to go the whole nine yards with the Mama. But, maybe I ought to pay attention to the superstition. Then I recalled I was a pallbearer for Uncle Frank several decades back. Did bad things happen afterwards? Sure. Good and wonderful things happened, too. It's called living.

So, I was one of the Mama's six pallbearers. I asked the Husband if he'd like to be a pallbearer, but he declined for reasons neither of us can remember. While we were milling around the mortuary on the day of the funeral, waiting to head to church, the Husband asked," Do you have enough pallbearers?" I told him to check with the funeral guy in charge of our party, who made the Husband an honorary pallbearer, meaning he could walk with us and help with the casket when needed.

Being a pallbearer is very different today. I think the most carrying and lifting that we did was down the steps of the mortuary and then several feet to the hearse. It was possible that the coffin was placed on a gurney-type thing after the steps, and then we wheeled it to the car. I don't remember. We did wheel it from the hearse to the church and back again. I think we, pallbearers, may have taken it by hand from the hearse to the grave site, which was only a few feet.

I'm glad I was one of the Mama's pallbearers. Mostly because I was physically doing something rather than sitting and observing the casket going from one point to the next. I would've found it difficult to merely sit and not to suddenly leave my perch. As a pallbearer, I had a task to complete. I was not going anywhere to cry.

The Mama's spirit was happily surprised, I like to think, that her pallbearers were four guys and three gals. Spring chickens, we were. The Mama loved and respected each and every one of her motley crew of pallbearers—Ernie, Kathy, Jennifer, Dave, Thomas, the Husband, and me.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Treziak

It's the letter P at ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly meme begun by Mrs. Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green and his ABCW team. Click here to check out the P fun.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Over, But Not Out


Hello Dear Readers and Blogging Friends,

Thank you for your notes full of concern and love during my absence. Molly the Cat, the Husband, and I appreciate each and every one of you. I believe the Mama's spirit does, too.

Yes, it's true. I'm sorry to say that the Mama is no longer with us. She left her aged, tired body behind on April 1, 2016 and is now soaring freely and, I verily hope, peacefully and happily through eternity.

So for today's post I give you the Mama's obituary, which I'm linking with the letter O at ABC Wednesday. Please be sure to check out this weekly meme begun by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green and his ABCW team. 

Frances Domingo Echaore lived to the grand old age of 94. Hollister was her first and only home in the United States, having immigrated from the Philippines nearly 67 years ago with her one-year-old son to reunite with her husband, the late Santiago Echaore.

Born Francisca DeGuzman Domingo, this nonagenarian was born in Urdaneta, Pangasinan on the island of Luzon in 1921 to Ciriaco and Emeteria Domingo. As a child, she loved to climb coconut trees, ride the water buffalo, swim in the canals, and run and skip among the banana trees. She learned at 9 years-old to be responsible when, upon the death of her father, her mother pulled her out of school to care for her two younger brothers. Although her book learning stopped, Frances never stopped learning. She became skilled in dressmaking, cooking, hairdressing, and farming, among many other things. In her early 20s, Frances endured the horror of World War II.

In 1947, Frances married the neighbor's son, a U.S. Army veteran, who had been away for almost 20 years working in Hawaii and California. After their son was born, the young couple decided that opportunities for him and future children would be better in the United States, so Santiago returned to the U.S. and within several months earned money for Frances' and Junior's fare. The mother and child sailed for about 30 days on the U.S.S. Wilson with other U.S. war brides from the Philippines.

In the 1960s, Frances became a naturalized U.S. citizen, of which she was very proud, and she got her first and only job in the seed research industry. She was hired by the SRS Seed Company, which subsequently was purchased several times and became known by other names. Frances turned out to be a plant whisperer. She did not simply have a green thumb. She sported green thumbs and fingers on both hands. Nearly everything she touched grew abundantly. Through her work, Frances took part in getting the stink out of broccoli and inventing the oblong tomato, among other accomplishments.

In 1986, after more than 26 years at the job she loved, Frances retired and enjoyed landscaping her new home, growing fruit trees from seeds of the fruit she ate, and caring for an abundant vegetable garden. Until the last few months of her life, Frances worked diligently, happily, and peacefully nearly every day, regardless of the weather, in her garden. Besides gardening, Frances enjoyed reading, watching game shows, hanging out with Molly the Cat, and, until she could no longer manage the crochet needle, creating elaborate doilies, bedspreads, and table cloths.

Frances always doted on her children and grandchildren. She was proud of them and their successes. Her son, Santiago Echaore, Jr. (Annabelle), retired from a career as a teacher and administrator while her daughter, Susan Echaore-McDavid (Richard McDavid), continues to be an independent writer and editor. Frances had five grandchildren and two great-granchildren.

Along with her deceased husband, Frances lost two daughters, Valentina and Shirley.



Monday, March 28, 2016

A Big Old Cheer!


Dear Friends,

The Mama, the Husband, Molly the cat, and I have rounded the last bend of the Mama's life journey. As we glide through this last leg, please give out a big cheer, throw a kiss, stomp your feet joyously, clap your hands heartily, or do another whooo-hooo of choice.  The Mama sends you big hugs, kisses, smiles, laughs, and much love. She thanks you very much for being part of her life, whether it be directly or indirectly through the Husband, Molly the Cat, or me.

Love,
Su-sieee! Mac


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Killer Wheels


Molly the Cat and the Mama got a set of killer wheels the other day.

Neither responded well to their portable travel wheelchair. Of course, who really wants to use such a chair much else actually own it.

"You think the cat will like that?" asked the Mama when she saw what new tool we brought into the house to help her get around safely. The day before it was a bedside commode, and the day before that a walker. Each purchased just in time for its suddenly urgent need.

When the Mama was too tired to inch her way forward any further, she sighed and allowed herself to sit in the chair and be glided to the other room. Settling on her couch, she said, "Give the cat a turn." I think Molly the Cat sighed too when she sat on the seat. She allowed herself to ride for a few feet.

The killer wheels came into the house only two days ago, but it seems more like weeks. Sigh.

In my imagination, I see the Mama, the Husband, and I charging out of the house and down the sidewalks in joyful glee. Molly the Cat, of course, sits at the window swishing her tail in Have a grand time! See you when you get back. 

I can hope.

It's the letter K at ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly meme headed by the friendly ABCW team headed by Roger Green. Click here to join in or to read the K's of other participants.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Adventure, Nevertheless


We are on a new adventure—the Mama, Molly the Cat, the Husband, and I.

The Mama's body is failing. Thank goodness, her spirit is not.

She's stubborn. That's a positive.

Yesterday afternoon, she faced reality. She fell! "You need to use the walker," I exclaimed.

"No! The dead people used it," she said, referring to the walker gathering dust in the garage. She used it once upon a time when she was healing from a broken hip. Somewhere along the line she let a friend borrowed it, which his wife returned after he died.

"We will get you another one," I said. It was 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Fortunately, for us, we found a bare-basic walker, without the sparkles and whistles, at the pharmacy.

Thankfully for us,  the Mama allowed herself to use the walker. I loved that at one point, as she slowly made her way down the hallway, she stamped her feet and scolded her legs for not working with her.

Last night, Molly the Cat gave the Mama an extra dosage of purrrrrrrrr while she laid on the couch in the living room. Molly first kneaded the Mama's blanket, then snuggled beside the Mama's legs. Sweet, Molly the Cat.

It seems that Molly's and the Mama's appetite are in sync. Mama eats a little bit, Molly eats a little bit. The Mama eats a good bit of her food, Molly eats her food. When Molly doesn't eat her meal, the Mama urges her to "Eat, eat, eat." I would love it if Molly could say, "You first, Madame."

As I'm writing, I can hear the Mama washing her breakfast dishes. (It was a good day for breakfast for the Mama and Molly.) My first thought when I heard the clang of dishes was to stop her and wash them for her. No. It's routine. It's normalcy. It's independence. For her. And for us.

Today, when the Mama is watching her game shows, the Husband and I will rearrange the furniture in her room so that she can move about fairly easy with her walker. She'll strike back at that change of reality. That's good.

I have begun to cry. I do my best not to do it in front of her. So far, so good.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

In the Pink

The Mama flanked by the Cousins!

Indeed, yes. The Mama, the Husband, and I are in good spirits today. I think Molly the Cat may be, too. She got to eat roast chicken for lunch.

The Mama is so in the pink that she did not complain about going to the doctor's this afternoon to get her shot for her anemia. Yaay!

We had an impromptu visit from the Cousins on the Mama's side of the family. We don't see them often, but when we do, it's loads of happy conversation and laughter over a meal. That, I think, was the best medicine for the Mama today.




It's the letter I on ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly meme started by Denise Nesbitt several years ago, and continued onward by Roger Green and the ABCW team. Check out the other participants, and maybe join in yourself, by clicking here.

I'm also sharing at Warm Heart Wednesday, a meme hosted by Jenny Matlock at Off on my Tangent. Click here to visit.

Monday, January 18, 2016

What's Wrong with People?


"Today is a holiday," I reminded the Mama this morning. "So, no mail. No library. No banks. No schools."

"What's the holiday?" the Mama asked.

"Martin Luther King Day."

"Is this the day he was born?"

"Yes."

The Mama sighed. "The good people die too soon. Poor man."

She shook her head. "The crazy person who killed him. Too many crazy people. What's wrong with people?"

The Mama's question had me pondering throughout the morning. My conclusion, at the moment: Insecurity. Fear is based on insecurity. Anger? A person gets angry because she does not get her way, which puts her in an insecure position. Jealousy is essentially feeling insecure for not having what someone else has. Greed in a person is due to his insecurity that he don't have what others have.

Unfortunately, there are greedy, angry, jealous, and fearful people in this world who manipulate our insecurities for their purposes. I like to think that the majority of us have our heads screwed on straight and can see through their inhuman minds and souls. I have faith that positive light prevails over negativity.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Attempting to Speak Ilocano


Ilocano is the Mama's primary language. It was the Daddy's as well. Ilocano is one of the languages of the Philippines. I'm one of those second-generation people who can understand their parents' primary language proficiently but is a doofus when it comes to speaking it. I don't even think I spoke it before I went to school, which was probably because the Only and Older Brother was already in school when I came along.

Because we've lived with the Mama for over 12 years, I've gained back much of my comprehension skills. It's a good thing. As the Mama has gotten older, she is speaking more in Ilocano without realizing it. Her hearing is pretty bad, which has me thinking that a lot of the time English sounds like jibber jabber to her. I've started using a word or two of Ilocano, when I can think of it. Of course, my Ilocano also sounds like jibber jabber to her.

Doesn't matter. Broken Ilocano talk, here I am. 

Adda iti kayat mo? Is there anything you want?

Awan. Nothing. 

Ado.  A lot.


Today ABC Wednesday starts Round 18, which begins my third round with the meme. Whooo-hooo! This cool meme was started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and continues today under the helm of Roger Green and his ABCW team.  Thank you!  If you'd like to participate and/or check other participants, please click here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Only the Mama!


On New Year's Eve Day I noticed this rose bud. The odd thing about it is that its branch is among several rose branches sitting in a bucket of water that the Mama set aside in early October. She pruned the branches from the rose bushes in the front yard and was going to plant the branches in the backyard. But, then her health sidetracked her.

This is the first time I've ever seen a rose branch in water take blossom. Another surprising thing is that we've had cold temperatures, including frosty mornings, for several weeks. I can only think that the Mama's love for her roses is strong and the roses love her back.

By the way, the Mama is doing better. If you're interested in what happened, you can read about the Mama's health in last Sunday's post.


Today, I'm hooking up with Our World Tuesday. To link up yourself and/or to read what's going on with other participants, click here.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Eden Hills' First Friday's Hunt

I'm participating in a new meme called Friday's Hunt, which is hosted by Teresa of Eden Hills. You can link up until Sunday, in case you're wondering if I know what day it is. If you'd like to join in and/or check out other participants, click here (after you read my post, I hope.)

A is for Artichokes



I'm used to seeing fields of artichokes near the coast. So, it's very strange to see them growing in our area, which is about 40 mile from the coast. I wonder if the artichokes taste any different.


Week's Favorite



Yesterday, the Husband, the Mama, Molly the Cat, and I received a trés cool gift from Cousin Kuting (which means tiny and cute in Ilocano). It's a large sturdy canvas bag perfect for everything that needs being carried. Molly the Cat sniffed it, which I take to mean that perhaps if need be she would jump into it and be smuggled into somewhere that we need to be secretive about. But, that's not the neatest part about the bag. Cousin Kuting printed a photo of the Husband and me dancing on one side of the bag. That's pretty sweet!

Celebrate



For the past two months, the Mama has been getting shots to build up her red blood cells because her anemia got dangerously low. It was very tough going the first six weeks. The medication took a lot out of her. She lost her appetite. She could barely walk and everything—joints and muscle pain, hearing loss, and so forth—that was physically wrong with her seemed worse. She mostly slept.

This past week was one of the best weeks for the Mama and that's cause for celebration. She looks great. Her appetite is back. She sleeps less during the day. She has more energy and is looking around for things to do. She hasn't gone outside yet—the first winter that she hasn't played in her garden every day—but that's okay. It's very cold and when it isn't, it's raining. And, she's being her normal complaining self.

Cheers for the Mama!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Warm Hearts


“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
~Anonymous, Greek proverb

I read that Greek proverb this morning on Facebook. It reminded me of the Daddy when he planted peach, pear, apple, persimmon, cherry and fig saplings around the backyard of his and Mama's house. "These trees are for the grandchildren," he said. I recall thinking how lucky those kids would be to climb the trees. The Mama moved before the Only and Older Brothers' kids were old enough to try them out. I like to think that other kids did.

The proverb also had me thinking of the Mama and her wonder of planting the apricot and avocado seeds from the fruit that we've harvested from her trees. This year two of the second generation apricot trees bore fruit. I have no doubt that all the other apricot and avocado trees will do the same one day. It'll be one crazy fruit forest out in the backyard when the trees grow up.

I love that my parents are among the people in the world who have the heart and vision to plant trees for the future. I shall continue on the tradition.




Heart Warm Wednesday
is a new weekly meme hosted by the kind-hearted Jenny Matlock. Click here to read posts by other participants. There's still time to link up, it you'd like.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Jade Plants and a Rose


I didn't notice the good-luck jade plants growing next to the Mama's red rose bush by the patio until I started playing with this photo in Photoshop. Now, why did I think the jade plant in the front yard is the only one sporting white flowers? Silly me.

The red rose was what caught my eye the other morning when Molly the Cat and I went out to stalk a squirrel we saw tiptoeing along the fence. A bird distracted Molly from the squirrel. Not good hunters are we. Which is just as well. After all, what would we do with the squirrel had we caught it.  Fortunate squirrel.

From the Husband, the Mama, Molly the Cat, and Me, Su-sieee! Mac:   
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Another Jabberwocky Down!


"Oh, frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"

We slewed a Jabberwocky, my friends. We did!  Hooray, Hooray!

We being the Mama, the Husband, and me.

Today's Jabberwocky being the Mama's annual Christmas shopping trip to J.C. Penny's.

Once upon a time, the Mama walked back and forth across the mall. Today, it's an effort to make it through one department store. We all wondered if she could even make the walk from the sidewalk to the door. She does not believe in canes, walkers, nor wheelchairs.

On wobbly legs, the Mama plodded slowly through the crowded aisles. I was her eyes looking at sizes, prices, and colors. The Husband scouted out the store: What are the other departments on this floor? Where are the cash registers? Where is glassware? Which is closer, the elevator or escalator?

The Mama sat often. On boxes, on shelves, and on chairs. The Husband stood guard and kept her company while I sought items to bring back for her to check from the comfort of her seat.

Yes, indeed. Today was a warm-hearted adventure. The Mama did well. The Husband did well, as did I.  Together, we can handle the jabberwockys.

Today, I'm linking up to Warm Heart Wednesdays, hosted by the wonderful Jenny Matlock. Click here to join in or check out more posts.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Warm-hearted Rose


We've had frosty mornings for the past two weeks now. I'm pretty much used to it now. Yesterday, I noticed a rose bud waving as I was raking leaves in the backyard. Then I noticed several more here and there around the yard. They are the Mama's blooms.

Today, I'm linking up with Warm Heart Wednesday, a new meme hosted by the lovely Jenny Matlock. Click here to read joyful posts.



Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Search for the Missing Teeth


"Are my teeth over there?" asked the Mama, as she slowly shuffled towards the kitchen.

Hence, began an all-day search for the Mama's dentures.

We went through her clothes pockets, looked behind and under things, moved things from here to there in her bedroom and bathroom, the kitchen, the hallway, and the living room. Several times.

The fortunate thing was that the Mama had not gone outside into her garden that morning.

The plus side to the Mama misplacing her dentures was that she found her cute, green hand towels and she reorganized her bathroom. I also think she was mentally stimulated by the challenge. I thought I could see her brain cells tightening as she recalled more of her path between the kitchen and her bedroom.

So, where did the Mama finally find her dentures?

Precisely where she put them. In her vest pocket, which was on her bedroom closet floor. The one piece of clothing she normally wears that we had not thought to look through. Oh well.

I'm actually grateful that the dentures went missing. I discovered we could all keep our sense of humor and be all low-key about it all. That hasn't always been the case. Also, the Mama has been a lot more in the moment since then. And, she was able to smile big for the camera on Thanksgiving Day!



I'm linking up with Warm Heart Wednesday, a joyful meme hosted by the lovely Jenny Matlock. Yes, yes, I know it's past Wednesday. That's the cool thing about the meme. You have several days after Wednesday to hook up.  If you'd like to participate and/or read other warm-hearted posts, please click here.


Monday, November 16, 2015

The Mama's Happy


Today is a sunny day, but quite chilly because of the wind factor. According to the thermometer, it's about 52 degrees in the sun.

Molly the Cat came inside about 20 minutes ago. How about the Mama?

The Mama says it's colder inside, even with the heater on.

She'd come in if the garden happened to be inside.  Maybe.




Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cheers!

Is it coincidence that there are dates in both the Husband's and my family that are common? Or, is it synchronicity? I prefer thinking it's the latter. I also prefer not figuring out how it's so.

That said, November 15, for example,  is special for both the Husband and me.

November 15 is the Husband's Dad's birthday. Jim would've been 97 years old today. Happy Birthday, Jim!



November 15 is the Mama's and the Daddy's wedding anniversary. They would've celebrated 68 years together. Happy Anniversary to the Mama and the Daddy!





Friday, November 13, 2015

Changes Made by Ms. Molly by Golly


See Molly the Cat. See her sleep. She sleeps on what once was the Mama's favorite chair to sit when she read the newspaper or her novels and biographies. The once-upon-a-time favorite chair of the Mama's is now one of Molly's favorite places to nap.

I don't think the Mama cares that Molly has taken over her chair. There's no more daily paper to read. We stopped it because it cost over $80 a month for mostly advertisements and selected pieces of old news. We still get the weekly local paper, which the Mama reads on the sofa between watcher her favorite games on television.

Maybe the Mama will reclaim her chair from Molly if she decides to read her books when the weather gets too cold and wet to go outside. We shall see. 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Happy Zone


Today ends the round of Alphabe Thursday hosted by the wonderful Mrs. Jenny Matlock. It's also the final round of the meme.  Jenny has decided to retire it due to her health, which I hope the doctors can resolve very soon. Thank you, Jenny, for being you.

My theme this round has been the Places I've Been. Hence, for the letter Z, I give you some of the places that almost always put me in my Happy Zone.


In the Water


~ Photo taken by the Husband.


In Hawaii


~ Photo taken by the Husband.


In the Mama's Garden




At a Library (or Bookstore)




Wherever the Husband and I Dance


~ Photo taken by Lisa Q.


Any Where Tilda-Hilda and I Ride




Around the House with Molly the Cat




Any Place with the Mama




And, Most of All, Everywhere with the Husband


~Photo taken by a friendly woman amused at our antics.


 There you go, my letter Z for Alphabe Thursday. To join in or to read other Z posts, click here.