Archive for parents

The Beginning of a Beginning

Posted in Random Stuff, Stuff with tags , , , , , , on January 1, 2013 by brianestover

We use Dec 31 as a marker to end a time period. But it’s really just an arbitrary marker. Things most likely don’t get better or worse just because you’ve rolled into a new year. If you’re in some complicated project or completing a task, the changing of the year really is just another day. Most things don’t abruptly just end because one second ticked away. It’s easy to use the 1st of the year as the beginning of a training log or a starting point for something. It’s a great time reference. It gives you an anchor to set goals, it’s very black and white. That was then, this is now. Boom, start of a new year, start of a new something.

I always have some trouble with the new year and the start of things. As a coach I think in seasons starting with the down time that begins after the final race. Seasons could have 47 weeks in them or they could have 58 weeks in them. Where it ends for me is after the last race. I’ve been labeling schedules with 2013 for over a month now. The work now is for 2013 and beyond, not 2012. Sometimes I’ll have two or three seasons planned out due to an athlete’s goals, with the calendar year only as a reference.

2013 will be a little different for me, at least I think it will be, a little bit anyway. I filed what I think is the last of the estate paperwork, something I started on July 22, 2011 when my Mom passed away. That seems like an eon ago yet it also seems like it could be classified as just an age ago. It’s definitely been an era of the most continuous bit of stress I’ve ever dealt with. Sometimes a lot of stress, made more difficult by things out of my control or people getting in the way, sometimes the stress has been lessened by the overwhelming kindness shown by people I’ve never met. On the whole I’m a big skeptic of the human race, but several people over the last 17 months have restored a little sliver of faith. I can see an end to this process. Unless I’ve missed something, there are two or three things left to do, most of which consist of me signing my mother’s name, then writing the word by, then signing my name then writing the word executor.

There is a weird thing that bad stress does to you. I can look back on some very bad stressful times of my life – divorce, my dogs passing away, the death of one of my favorite people, going through a few rounds of layoffs. I look back at those periods of time and realize all that stress, all the shit that comes with it really did help prepare me for what I was going to have to do. Making the decision two times to put your dogs down is nothing to explaining to your mother, the person that gave you birth, that had been there for you for 39 years, and as a RN knew, had seen the consequences many times of the decision that you were about to make to pull her NG tube. The tube that was keeping her alive. You, her son, were about to condemn her to death sooner than she probably would have died. And she knew it and you knew she knew it. Then you have to explain that not only to her, but to your family why you are doing it. Since there was a communication gap due to neurological problems from the shunt, she was unable to 100% communicate if that was the right or wrong decision. I still grapple with that decision. What did Mom really think of my decision and thought process? Did she think I was wrong? That I should have waited? Did she think I just wanted the process to end? What did she think? While I didn’t realize it then, having to make the decision about the dogs helped frame the thought process. Sometimes in life though you will never know if the decision was the correct decision or if you made a decision that directly impacted someone’s life and they disagreed with you. It sucks.

As I look back on the process of wrapping it up a few things come to mind. Look losing a parent is never easy but the paperwork involved with death makes living so much better. Don’t die, it’s really the best advice I can give you. If you insist on disobeying my orders get all your paperwork signed, notarized and handed out to those who need it. Only then should you even consider kicking the bucket. Here’s another tip: live in the same time zone as the person who is going to be the executor or executrix. While flying back and forth the country numerous times has it’s perk’s, it’s not all glamour. All that flying did allowed me to get back in touch with some friends, which was great. I spent a lot of time in NC hanging out with friends that I rarely get to hang out with. It was also a time saver. Instead of continuing to spend a ton of time online looking at dogs at the shelters, then having to drive there, pick out the one you want, drive back a few days later to pick them up, I just inherited a dog. It’s pretty cool to have a dog that think’s your her best thing other than breakfast & dinner. I think the biggest thing it’s given me is the ability and confidence to know no matter what, it’s all going to work out. My Mom’s dying allowed me to shed the silver shackles that bound me with no fear of failure. The reality is I’ve made the two hardest decisions a lot of people have to make.

Now I have the beginnings of a new period of my life. Even though it’s January 1 and the beginning of a new year, my new beginning isn’t tied to the calendar. I can see it well above the horizon, close at hand, but it’s not quite here, yet.

Home Sweet Home

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , on March 26, 2011 by brianestover

I’m back home for a few days. Although upon reflection it’s not really home. My parents no longer live in the house I grew up in, I don’t have my room anymore, there are only a few people from the days of yore that I still talk with, most of my friends in NC live in other cities, my grandfather has passed, my Nana has Alzheimer’s and has to live in a nursing home.

Besides the familial ties to the area, there are no other connections that bind me. As my parents age, and their decline becomes reality, the pull to move back to be around just in case still tugs at me. My sister lives in AUS and it’s a bit far for her to make a quick trip back to help out if something happens. Do I move from a city I rather enjoy back to an area that has several shortcomings? At least shortcomings from my point of view. It seems the women here come in large or extra large. There is nothing wrong with that if you enjoy large and/or XL. I happen to enjoy XS, S and have the ability to range up to medium if needed. The dialect gets to me as well. Don and Dawn are pronounced the same. The long O of my birth place does not exist here except in a transplant. There is no Mom or Mother here but lots of Momma.

On the other hand housing is inexpensive compared to my hometown. One can buy quite a bit more house for quite a bit less money here. There are seasons other then nice, warm and f*cking hot out. The roads for riding are pretty good, not a lot of bike lanes but not a lot of chip seal or cracks in the road. The BBQ is better then any I’ve had in AZ. My favorite place to run in the world is here. These trails seem to teem with all sorts of wildlife. I’ve seen deer, turkeys, squirrels, birds, snakes, turtles, geese and ducks on my many runs. Rarely do I see anyone out running on these trails, which is a shame.

When I’m here I tend to go a bit overboard on the running, this trip being no exception. While my goal is usually to average about an hour a day. Right now I’m sitting on two runs – just over 3 hours of running logged and just under 24 miles with three days left. The quads are reminding me though of all the downhill braking and stutter stepping I do to avoid tripping on a root. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have to hit Salem Lake for a less quad busting run.

It’s weird being back for the first time since Granddad has passed away. The house is different without him here. I’ve been helping Mom clean out his stuff. While she goes through his papers, I’ve been going through his clothing. So many times I’ve come across an article of clothing or picture that triggers a good memory. A few times it’s been overwhelming. He owned over 30 flannel shirts. He dressed grunge before grunge music became cool. He was skinny as a teen ager. Knees that stuck out, his chest was more rib cage then anything. His arms were ripped, not big, but sinewy. Every pocket had an unused Kleenex in it, a habit my Nana stared him for him. He wasn’t allowed out of the house without a Kleenex in a pocket many years ago. In one of the binders I found was their first ledger. Rent was $14 per week. Their first mortgage payment was $54.50. The telephone was $6 per month. They had ~ $80 left over every month from his paycheck. I knew he smoked cigarettes before his first heart attack. It was pretty cool to find some pipes that he had used and some of his always sharp pocket knives that I forgot existed until I saw them.

I also found one of his dog tags, pictures and letters of commendation from WWII. He was a Navy navigator on a bomber stationed out of the Aleutian Islands. My grandfather’s don’t talk much about their WWII experiences. My Poppop has only told me that he was a mine clearer with the Big Red 1. Some of the pictures of my granddad perched on his bomber showed 4 Japanese flags for fighter planes his bomber downed. I guess I never really thought of my grandfathers having actually having been shot at and having to shoot back. As that generation dies off, I realize what an incredible amount of history, told and untold, that dies off with them.

It was nice finding pictures of my Babcia, I haven’t thought of her in a long time, she died on the day of my First Communion. My Grandfather had to fly her body back to PA from GA. Uncanny her resemblance and that of my granddad especially their nose.

Mainly I realized though how much I’ll miss him.