“Do not let these instances define, or govern, your life.”

Today marks the second anniversary of my mom’s passing. She, undoubtedly, would ask how the second year went. It went well. Many good memories abound. Mom would be pleased.

She knew about the ranch project – when it was an idea, then bringing forward the plan. Though we had wanted to bring her to North Ranch, mom passed on the idea several times. She was quite satisfied with the array of photos, with photos of the interior and the wildlife among the last batch three weeks before her passing. We are certain she would’ve loved the place. “Are you sure about living out there?” she’d probably ask with a smile.

On this second anniversary, mom would lend a piece of advice. “Do not grieve more than needed. Life is for living. Live it to your best.”

Love you,  miss you.





While much has changed in a year, much has remained the same. The everydayness of life has continued on – working hard, relaxing, a little playing, laughing. She, herself, would admit 2016 was a difficult year. “Yet, you cannot let these instances govern your life,” she would undoubtedly say.

It is exactly one year since my mom passed away. The last few days of her life were long and hard. Simply, you knew her time was very, very short. Only she knew when was when. Both Laurie and Andrea, after long hours at work, would stop by for nearly 30-45 minutes to visit with her and dad.  A little worry had crept into their voices. It was expected since we were talking family.

With her concerns increasing, Laurie consulted with her geriatrics professor from medical school. His advice was sound, “you’re doing well by keeping her comfortable much as possible.” Laurie wished she could do more. When her and Andrea asked if she was okay, mom would always reply, “Yes, I’m okay. I feel fine.” We were pretty sure she was trying to allay our worries and concerns.

In the year since, it has taken some time to adjust. We’ve had our moments when we said, “make a mental note and tell mom later.” Or, the girls saying, “we need to call grandma and tell her what happened.” Then, in a flash, we remember. Moreover, we are glad mom’s passing seems not to have affected dad a great deal. If it has, he’s not telling but we know he misses her much.

While our counting of days phase is largely behind us, mom would be very glad that we have remembered her. Hopefully, she won’t ask if we learned anything from the counting.

Love you, miss you.


An update to our previous post, “A Subdued Start” –

My mom has recovered nicely from her run-in with the flu bug which struck her last week Thursday. It took a few days for her to regain her strength and appetite. With everything moving in a positive direction, we’re beginning to enjoy the start of the holiday season. All we need now is warmer weather.

A Subdued Start

It’s been said, “The world isn’t interested in the storms you encountered, but whether or not you brought in the ship.” While the purpose of this quotation is to motivate, it totally misses the mark. It is about getting through the storm. A storm batters. It challenges the spirit and tests the character of those affected. Whether one emerges whole, no worse for wear, it is important to know how to weather the storm. If one is floundering, many others are in position to offer their help, whatever it may be.  In my previous life, our credo was to do the right thing, every time, all the time. If someone asks for your help, you help by offering your best effort. You don’t have time to stand around mulling over the situation. If you don’t offer help, then no one will come to your aid when you need it.

My family and I have encountered such a storm over the long, holiday weekend. It began in the late morning hours of Thanksgiving Day, last Thursday. I checked in with my parents, in advance of dinner, which we were privileged to host. Andrea’s parents already had called saying they didn’t want to venture out with the deteriorating weather (icing conditions), perfectly understandable. Laurie’s dad, Ben, was staying in Texas to celebrate the holiday with Cindy (Laurie’s sister) and her family. Since my parents do not live far, I would pick them up drive them here, and drive them home sometime after dinner. That was the plan.

When I arrived, my dad had his hands full. Mom was having a very bad case of the chills. She repeatedly asked for our help though we were both at her side covering her with a pair of quilts and a heavy comforter. We even heated towels in the dryer to cover mom. The 30 minutes of witnessing this episode is one I would not want to revisit. Dad and I saw the distress in her eyes, on her face. With Laurie and Andrea called in to handle an emergency at the hospital, we depended upon ourselves to take on the storm. Laurie and Andrea saw mom late in the afternoon, doing what they know and do best. The culprit may have been a minor flu bug. Though mom was frail already, this has challenged her considerably. She is slowly recovering her strength. Similarly, her appetite is sketchy at best.

Though our holiday season is beginning very subdued, we hope to reclaim some of the joy often found at this time of the year. We have good friends who have offered, and are offering, many prayers on a continuing basis. Also, mom’s one-time nutritional counselor is more than happy to offer any kind of help on the appetite front.

The seas remain very rough, but we are confident we will find our way to calmer waters and safe harbor.


About the photo

A heavy marine layer and rough surf at the beach, in late June 2015, near Dana Point, CA.

Mom and Apple Pie

Call it a slice of Americana.

Apple pie is considered to be the favorite pie of America, above all other pies. It’s very versatile when served – warm or cold, with or without whipped cream or ice cream. A favorite drink, hot or cold, can be added. Moreover, one does not need a holiday or special occasion to have an apple pie.


The mom part, my mom is celebrating her 84th birthday today. She is in good health and good spirits, which all is that matters. Since longevity runs in her family, there are many good years ahead. We’ll just walk a tad more slowly, and take a few more naps.

My mom’s favorite pie – lemon with a nice meringue on top. With, a nice, tall glass of margarita.