Tag Archives: sisters

Total Solar Eclipse 2017

Dogs. Crickets. One Moon. And One Sun.

What more can you ask for?!?

Three Sisters. <3



Troll Sj Kauai

Thank You

There are so many ways to say thank you.

So many things to be thankful for.

When I lay on my bed (and this could be anywhere in the world), one of my favorite things to do is give thanks.

I may pass in and out of “wakefulness,” dozing now and then, and still, what I return to is Thank You.

Thank you to my parents for allowing me to be born through them. Thank you to my sisters for being such good friends and watching over me. Thank you to my husband for the joy of sharing my life with him. Thank you to Fido, our firstborn, for allowing us to experience a playful, ball throwing life. A life which also included a death, his death. That experience I recognize now as a tap on the door of my heart. A waking up to all that matters. Life itself. And death which is such a part of life too. And his kid sister, Rocket Girl, who he led us to when he visited me once while in dream-state.

Thank you.

Life. The greatest gift of all.

Life. All that really matters.

And thank you to You, my friends on this planet. For I recognize in each one of you a Divinity, a Perfectness. For you are a child of creation. For you are Life itself.

And with that gift of life, which we each here are experiencing comes the responsibility (I think) of appreciation. Appreciation of simply being alive. Breathing. Being. Living.

And now, as I return to my day, I once again give thanks.

* * *

I just felt that there are those who may read this and think, “Who is this willy-nilly silly gal who gives thanks for everything? How corny she is!”

To them I say, “Yes, I love corn. Because from corn we get so many wonderful things!”

Cobs once served a purpose we thankfully no longer need. : )

And I’m not talking about the making of mattresses.

And corn just tastes sooo good!

Yes, I love corn.

Yes, I love silly.

Yes, I love life.

And I have this f e e l i n g, YOU do too. : )

Hugs to you all,

-Sj out

p.s. And thanks D’Anne and John for the  i n c r e d i b l y  fluffy and delish pastries!!!

Go In Peace and Worry Not, Hallelujah

date: Dec. 10, 2008

subject: This is VERY long. You may want to print it before you read it . . .


Dear Friends,
Dad died Monday, December 8th at 11:15 a.m. His passing was very peaceful.
As many of you know, Dad went to St. Mary’s Residential Hospice center on Wednesday, December 3rd. Within an hour of his arrival, he wanted to lay down and take a nap. He never got out of the bed again. Late that afternoon he did awake and have one last latte with his best friend, Reese. Our sister-in-law Sheila sat with him early Thursday morning and joined him for his last meal (which he only partially ate, he had enjoyed his real last meal during our impromptu picnic the day before). Afterwards, he had no more interest in food.
Mom stayed with him Wednesday and Thursday nights; Hannah, Friday night; and I, Saturday night. The three sisters then stayed with him Sunday night. As he slept he slowly withdrew from this world. The hospice books told us that he was preparing himself for separation from this world. The books also spoke of someone lingering only if they have any fear of death or “unfinished business.” To ease his release, we each told him in our own way that it was okay for him to go when he was ready. “We are all fine and you don’t need to worry about us. We will take care of Mom.”
The nurses thought that Sunday was most probably the day. Jan arrived from Pittsburgh, and some other family members also gathered. As I wrote to you earlier, in the late afternoon of Sunday, the immediate family and Dad’s best friend gathered around Dad to read his favorite Psalms (121), sing some hymns (albeit in our pitiful but loving way) and share good DAD stories. As you can imagine, as we all spoke fondly of Dad, belly laughs came as well as tears.
Dad’s last night was peaceful. He slept comfortably and even began to snore in his more typical way. I made my nest in his wheelchair with its deluxe $400 cushion–tipped the chair way back and set my feet upon an adjacent pillowed chair. Hannah took the not-so-very-comfortable reclining chair. Jan set up her camp at the table where she was finishing 10 pages of photos with relating copy . . . pictures of Dad as a kid, Dad with his grandchildren, Dad at the beach, etc. (remember, she’s the Creative Memory pro).
Just about when Hannah and I had managed to sort of relax for half a moment, Jan said, “I need some copy.”
“That’ll be Susan,” Hannah replied.
The last thing Jan was designing was a large poster. She wanted to add a few lines about Dad. The first two sentences came easily, then it all just started sounding incredibly hokey and NOT like Dad. I said to Hannah under my breath, “He could also be ornery too.” Hannah burst out laughing and said, “Put that in, I like it.”
We three kept working on it when I said, “Well, we all know that Dad’s not your average bear.” That made the cut too. I volunteered to take the guff from Mom when she reads it and tells us it’s not proper (earlier in the evening she’d told us, “I don’t want any of that digital nonsense at my funeral. It’s just not proper!”)
Dad’s last morning (in this world) was incredibly peaceful and beautiful. Mom and Tony (Tony graciously offered to take Mom home Sunday evening) arrived around 6:30 a.m. Jan has just laid down on the small 2 person couch a few hours prior. So she proceeded to move to a more comfortable couch down the hall in the family dining room, I took her place on the small couch. About an hour and a half later after a deep, deep sleep, I awoke to find myself in the room with just Dad and Tony. Mom and Hannah had gone to IHOP for breakfast. I was awake but just deeply exhausted, so I chose to stay comfortably cozy on the couch with Dad’s tennis quilt wrapped around me (Hannah gave Dad this, his quilt on his 87th birthday on the 8th of March earlier this year.
It’s very colorful with tennis rackets and balls woven into the design, as well tennis type prints throughout). Tony was simply sitting at Dad’s side holding his hand. He then pulled out his ukulele and played a variety of pleasant tunes. He also began singing (something that you who know Tony know he rarely does). It was beautiful.
“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”
When he started playing “Michael row your boat ashore” I couldn’t help but join in and sing. “Hallelujah. Michael row your boat ashore, hallelu . . .u jah.”
Next came, “Daddy loves us and we love him, Hallelu . . .u jah. Daddy loves us and we love him. Hallelujah.” Followed by, “Go in peace and worry not, Hallelujah. Go in peace and worry not. Hallelu . . u jah.”
Tony continued to play and sing. “Oh when the Saints, go marching in. Oh when the Saints go marching in. Oh how I want to be in that number, when the Saints go marching in.”
I contemplated getting up and going to Dad’s side but thought, “No, he knows how exhausted I am and he’d want me to rest.” I then closed my eyes and gave thanks to Dad for his wonderful early birthday gift. As I remembered him singing and then bursting out laughing, “Happy Birthday me again Daddy!” (a unique trait of mine–since childhood I would ask Dad, “Happy Birthday me again Daddy!” and he would), Dad sent me another gift. I don’t know how else to describe it but to say that within my very core I felt my father’s presence. He was within me, yet separate from me. With my eyes closed yet fully awake I saw his right arm (which was also my right arm) rise up and show me how he had held me in the palm of his hand when I was newly born.
And then I knew (I suppose this may sound presumptuous to some, but I really felt it in the core of my being) what he’d been doing for the past four days as he slept, he had been going through memory after memory, looking at it, cherishing it and then moving on.
I stayed in my cozy nest for a few minutes more before Tony sat down his ukulele and joined me. Still reclining and wrapped in the quilt, I draped my legs over his. We cuddled and I told Tony what Dad had just shown me.
A few minutes later, my brother Dayton arrived. He asked if there’d been any changes. “No, not really. He’s resting well and breathing more calmly. But his feet are very cold now.” Dayton checked them and said, “One’s cold and one’s warm.” “It keeps changing,” I replied. Jan then returned from her nap in the family dining room. She readied herself for a shower and disappeared into Dad’s bathroom. Dayton sat down at the table to open his address book for numbers of friends to call. Tony and I stayed snuggled on the couch.
“His breathing has stopped,” Dayton said as he rose from the table and went to Dad’s left side. Tony and I got up and stood next to Dad’s right. We waited and maybe 15 seconds later there was a very short exhalation, more like a muscle spasm really. Dayton rapped on the door and called for Jan to come out. There was one final puff and he was gone.
I cradled Dad’s head and sang, “Go in peace and worry not, Hallelujah. Go in peace and worry not. Hallelujah.”
Mom and Hannah came in the room maybe 30 seconds later. We held hands and gathered around Dad and gave thanks for his life.
I’ve wondered at times whether it was appropriate for me to write such personal thoughts and experiences to you all, but then your replies would come and I’d feel a confirmation of how connected we all are and that you DID want to be informed of the changes . . . . I thank you ALL for “being there” in spirit and remembering my family in your thoughts and prayers. I know I’ll miss my Dad, but I can’t help but feel so very thankful for his very full life, and for the time we got to spend with him saying goodbye, and for his quick departure. And mostly, I am just so very thankful for getting to have him as my father.
And as if this missive wasn’t long enough, I’d like to end with a bit of humour. It ends up that his older sister Hannah was mistakingly included in the “preceded by” section of the obituary (she’s still alive). No one, and I mean NO ONE, caught it before it went to print! (Please realize that Dad died at 11:15 a.m. on Monday and the deadline for the obit was 4 p.m., I think it’s amazing we got anything in there on the same day at all. Well yes, we had a draft written, but still . . .)
So, guess who called yesterday morning saying, “I’m still alive!”
We’re all calling it a Freudian slip . . .
love and hugs to you all,

Bonnie Meets Clyde

date: December 5, 2008

subject: Dad’s in a wonderful hospice facility now . . .
Dear Girlfriends,
I sent this note to a few of you on Wednesday. I don’t know why, but on Wednesday I didn’t feel ready to send it to you all; but you’re all part of the family now, so I thought I should pass it on . . . An update will follow in a few . . . .
And as some of you know, today is my birthday. I’m on my way over to be with Dad. Hannah’s there now. Things have changed and he has one foot in the next life . . . we’re happy he’s sleeping peacefully. Early Wednesday morning he sang Happy Birthday to me . . . we hugged, he talked about my birth . . . I’m very blessed.
love to you all,
written 12/3/08:
We moved Dad today to St. Mary’s in residence hospice . . . As I was putting Dad’s right leg on the ground in preparation for a transfer from the car to the wheelchair, he said, “I don’t want to go in.” Tears were running down his face. I stopped what I was doing and made room for my sister Jan to sit in the wheelchair, which was right next to the car. Tony sat in the driver’s seat next to Dad and I kneeled in front of him. He talked and cried; we comforted him and hugged him. After a bit he said, “Okay, I’m ready to go in.” He’s so concerned about being “abandoned” inside this place . . . we reassured him that we’re not abandoning him and that if he’s really unhappy there, we’ll figure out a way to be able to bring him home. He said, “I have no doubt that you wouldn’t do that, you ALL have so much gumption.”
My man knew exactly what to say, “Clyde, we all learned it from you. You’re our role model. You’re a very strong man.”
He turned to Tony and said, “Thank you.”
Poor Dad . . . in September he won a 3-hour tennis match in a national tournament and now he’s essentially a paraplegic with terminal stage 4 cancer . . . it’s been a lot to absorb.
We’re continuing to take it one day at a time . . . right now T and I are scheduled to return on the 11th. I may extend my stay . . . I’ll see.
When we left Dad this late afternoon (Mom’s sleeping over with him on this first night in a new place) he was really looking the worse we’ve seen him . . . he was chilled, then got warm and seemed feverish, he just seemed so . . I don’t really know how to say it . . so, uncomfortable. He said he was in pain but he didn’t know where. His hands were so swollen. We left him with his feet elevated and hands resting on his chest. I hope he and Mom have a restful night . . . will keep you posted.
aloha, Susan
(*) What I didn’t write at the time because it took all I had to simply write what I did, was that once Dad had made up his mind to exit the car and enter what he knew was to be his last resting place, he put on his smile and noticed a nice looking, petite blonde volunteer in a Christmas sweater who had just stepped outside of the building into the bright sunshine. She approached my Dad with a huge grin on her face. Dad, ever the flirt, grinned right back.
“Why hello there!” she said, “I’m Bonnie and I’m happy to meet you.”
“Bonnie,” he said, very matter-of-factly, “Well, you know what my name is, don’t you?”
She looked puzzled and replied, “No, I don’t.”
“Well it’s Clyde, Bonnie.”
They enjoyed a moment, which us outsiders can only imagine. And with that, he entered the hospice facility.

A Thanksgiving to Remember

date: Nov 29, 2008 at 9:16 PM

subject: Aloha from Tennessee
Aloha Girlfriends,
The notes you’ve sent have been beautiful. Mahalo.
Here are excerpts from a few of the emails . . .
Sending much Love & Aloha from California….take care of yourself
and loved ones.Peace be with you and Tony,
Fond Aloha,
I am sure there will be no better medicine for your dad then to have you there. 
I am so sorry to hear this news of your Dad. It is a good idea for you to be home with your family now, and I am sure they will find that being together is a huge source of strength for everyone . . .
These are the toughest of times….Even when the principals involved are intelligent, knowledgeable, fully aware of what is happening and as positive, pragmatic and prepared as possible, it is still an unbelievably difficult path to walk down.  I know your father is brave and courageous…it’s great that he knows he is well loved and honored…Please tell him of his “fan club” in Hawaii (your mother too) . . Know that you and yours are in our  thoughts daily  and forever in our hearts.
Take care of yourself, Susan and hold Tony close when he arrives in Tennessee . . . This is a most important chapter in your life.
Much love,
Chocolate ice cream and smiles truly can make a world of difference… I am very happy to hear about your dad encouraging the lady and making others laugh, laughter is such good medicine! I especially enjoy the visual of the orange top and Tabasco pants!! It must be so incredibly hard to keep ones spirit up with what he is enduring, but having you there obviously brings joy and consolation. What a “ride” you guys have been on, with all the back and forth about where he was to go and all. Hats off to you and Hannah for insisting on the therapy that your dad should have been receiving, and look where it took him! . . .  I can picture all the family gathered together in that updated kitchen to give thanks for everything your dad has brought into this world, a celebration of his life  . . .
Okay, I really am there with you on the “sharing the moment with chocolate ice cream!” And no, it doesn’t get any better than that! We all love you, support you, and are there with you in spirit, holding your hand in the hard moments and celebrating every joyful sharing! Wishing you many more special happy times with your dad and your family,
Love you bunches,
there in spirit,
Wonderful story of courage and caring . . . Our team is like the Verizon ad. We got your back girlfriend.
This time with Dad is such a gift . . . that has NOT been lost on all of us.
Thanksgiving Day was an absolutely perfect day. Tony and I went up to the hospital early. The sky was clear, clear blue and the cold temperature of last week (20’s and 30’s) had disappeared and was replaced with a pleasant mid to high 50’s.
Dad was sleeping so peacefully when we arrived that we decided to let him snooze for a while. Did I mention that his window faces the “strip” (the college hang-out of bars and restaurants) with the Smokey Mts. in the distance? As both Tony and Dad dozed, I sat in Dad’s wheelchair and gazed out over the buildings to the mountains. The calm was very pervasive. The peace, all-consuming.
Then suddenly it became time to rise and shine. The skeleton crew at the hospital was comprised of some of the best of the best. The mood was cheerful and happy for Dad that he got the “green light” to head home for the day. Tony trotted off to get the car after we got Dad dressed (and most importantly, catheterized). The transfer to the car didn’t got quite as smoothly as when the PT was looking over our shoulder, but no harm was done (Have I mentioned how Tony has just shone at this position of “captain” of the transfers? His experience with his Dad years ago has come to the front of his memory and his experience has proved to be invaluable). It felt good to sit in the back and see the 2 most important men in my life in the front of the car.
“I’d really love a latte,” Dad said once we pulled out of the hospital porte-cochere. In two shakes we found an open Starbucks (surprise, surprise) and I bopped in to place an order. Lo and behold they even sold a New York Times. Now I could gift both of my 2 favorite men.
Standing in line I noticed a father and son in bicycle riding garb. That’s nice, I thought. I glanced up and thought, I know that face, don’t I? “Excuse me, I think we might have gone to high school together . . .” Before I could finish the statement, he shouted, “Susan!” It was Preston, an all-round nice guy, always had been. He and his son had ridden to the strip from west Knoxville. After some fun hugs and general joviality the coffee was ready and I joined my guys.
We gave Dad a small tour down memory lane, part of the campus, the main boulevard with all the high falutin houses, his son’s pest control office/house, the old house we lived in when I was born, the house his brother used to live in. We were just about to turn right up the steep hill to Mom and Dad’s house when he yelled, “Keep going! Turn left, here. Here!” Safely landed in the Bugg’s driveway, Dad was immediately surrounded by lots of Buggs, the good kind.
Dr. Bugg (retired head of the Physics Dept. at The U of Tenn.) turned to me and asked, “Head nurse Susan, he requested a glass of red. Is that okay?”
“I reckon,” I replied.
More hugs and hellos followed and the party expanded as more neighbors joined us. Soon my Mom even came down the road to join in the fun.
Fortunately before we could wear Dad out before he even made it into the house, the cool air decreed that it was time to move on. The glass was returned (still have full) and Tony drove the patriarch home as Mom and I dragged ourselves up the steep hill.
The rest of the day was right out of a movie; family gathered one by one. Hugs, kisses, quiet tears and LOTS and LOTS of photos (my sister Jan found her calling with Creative Memories).  The family had arranged the dining table so that Dad could still sit at the head, the food turned out perfectly . . . it was just a wonderful day.


Fast forward to 6 p.m. It’d been 7.5 hours since he was catheterized and he’s supposed to be “drained” every 4 to 6 hours. It was time for either to take Dad back or to get down to business. Tony asked, Dad said he’d think about it. Jan asked and Dad said,” I guess I should go back.” But darn it if that Jan didn’t intuit what Dad really meant, “I’d like to stay but I don’t want to put ya’ll out.” So she proceeded to say what needed to be said with charm, style and a heap of real compassion. The next thing we knew, I was crouched in middle of Mom and Dad’s huge bed next to Dad. Hannah was standing next to the bed opening the catheterizing packet. I found myself repeating what the nurses had told us over several instructional sessions, “Don’t touch anything else with that hand now that you have the sterile glove on, and on and on . . . . “ Hannah took a big breath, asked Dad, “Are you alright with this?” He simply nodded as he kept his eyes tightly shut. Okay, Hannah began and
we all began to coach her (much easier to do than the REAL thing!). I looked up and to my right and felt like I was in a tiny amphitheater. There was Mom, Dayton and Jan. Dad’s wife and four children were all with him as we watched BIG sister play the role of head nurse. Amazing. We never could have predicted such a scene. Maybe that one of us would need to do this. But that ALL of us would be there???? And it was all so positive. Only words of encouragement were shouted out on this stage. But when’s it going to come? When’s the urine going to start to flow? We all watched and held our breath as she slowly, slowing kept inserting the Christmas red tube. “There it is!” we all shouted in unison. You would have thought that the Martians had just landed, that’s how loudly we yelled. Then we could relax and just want for Dad’s bladder to empty.
And the next scene is the clincher, the scene-stealer. Once Dad was cleaned up and made presentable, Mom crawled up beside Dad, each was lying on their side and facing the other–two long lost lovers so happy to finally be together. “Now this is what I’ve been wanting, “ said Dad. We unplugged the phone and crept out to give Mom and Dad an hour together before we had to make ready and return to the hospital.

Sigh. Yes, there was not a dry eye in the house.

Oh, and to add to the moment, my girlfriend Katie called right during this fabulous scene of family taking care of dear old Dad. Thanks Katie for calling right then. You somehow added a sense of reality and connection to the world at large, plus, we both know that you’re my third sister . . . .
Love to you all. Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings and please excuse me for not proofing or even re-reading this before I hit send.