Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A brief reprieve

Road trip2 The past few days have been a bizarre mixture of pain, grief, loss, love, unexpected hilarity, irritation, white-hot fury, amazement at the complete and utter inhumanity I've seen exhibited, gratitude at the extreme compassion I've also seen exhibited, appreciation for those who help others, the comfort of knowing that I have an amazing family and so many friends--both those in real life and those online (also quite real)--who truly care about me and feel sorrow at my pain, and an attempt to reconnect with the inner strength I know I have. There are many other feelings that have gone through my mind, but I know that as time passes, the intense pain will fade, and I will be left with not only the love of my Dad, but the friendship and love that poured forth from supportive friends near and far. I know that I am so fortunate in that regard, and it sort of makes me feel dizzy to know that there are so many people who care. My mind is boggled, folks, and you are the bogglers. I love you all for it. :)

Dad passed away at 7:10 Sunday morning. I will write more about things eventually, but right now there is just too much to do and just a little too much pain to deal with. I've been having an inner philosophical dialogue with myself, and I'm sure that will be reflected as I go forward. Many of these thoughts seem to start out with "Life is too short to..." So many things to think about.

But for the moment, I'm so very, very tired and my brain hurts. I want--I need--to relate a couple of funny things that happened along the way, and believe me, there were more than you might imagine--I'll just tell you about a couple of them. I guarantee that my Dad would have approved, because he also loved to laugh. You know what? I'm smiling right now just thinking about it, so I'm glad I'm taking the time to write this.

First of all, since my parents drove down, and my sisters and niece and I flew down, we drove their minivan back. We left Florida Monday morning and arrived home around 7 pm Tuesday evening. It went surprisingly well, with no major problems. Other than getting a little turned around trying to get out of central Florida (I called it the Bermuda Triangle) and running over a curb when I made a sharp turn to get onto the correct ramp (Who puts a curb on an interstate, anyway? Seriously!), that is. Mom almost fired me as driver, but after I drove the entire time on the first day, including breezing through downtown Atlanta (well, kind of breezing...still pretty busy), I redeemed myself. I handed off the wheel to my sisters Tuesday morning (with the promise to drive later on), and dozed in the back while it was still dark. I woke up when we pulled over and asked what was going on. My sisters were switching...Sue started off driving and was apparently getting sleepy. I looked at my watch...we'd been on the road for an hour.

Yes. An hour. I am cracking up right now. (Let me say here that I love my sisters. And yes, I am totally laughing at them, just like they laughed at me when I curbed it. That was fair game, and so is this!)

Then Diana took over, and she really did great once she got into the groove of things. Got us through Nashville and Louisville and did a great job. However, at one point, I realized that there were numerous cars and trucks passing us on both the right and left. By numerous, I mean everyone. We passed a speed limit sign and then I understood why. I said, "Di. Di? DIANA!"

Oh, have I mentioned that both of my sisters are hard of hearing? That they both have hearing aids, but neither were wearing them on this trip? Yeah.

I finally got her attention.

Di: Yeah?

Me: The speed limit is 70 here.

Di: What?

Me: The speed limit is 70 here.

Di: [silence]

Me: DIANA! You can go 70 in here!

Di: Oh! [laughs and speeds up]

There was a lot of "Okay, where do I go?" Keep going on I-65...see that sign there? "What's the speed limit here?" 70...see that sign there? "Which way do I want to go?" North. We're going NORTH. I-65 NORTH.

I couldn't get to the wheel fast enough. I discovered something on this trip. What I think of as normal driving is seen by some as leadfooted and aggressive! And I really don't think I am. I don't go that much over the speed limit, and I just try to keep up with traffic...and if they're doing the stupid speed limit, I pass them. :D I lived in Indianapolis for seven years, and I threw the question out there: "Since when did people start doing the speed limit on 465?" Really, I'm curious. It was never out of control, bumper-to-bumper, 80+ mph like on the Chicago expressways, but it moved along at a pretty good pace, and on this trip, there were really and truly people doing 55 mph on the Indianapolis bypass. Freaks. It made me wonder if I'm really that aggressive a driver...I guess I'm more aggressive than I realized. And I was in a fucking minivan!

Politics The other thing that really made me laugh happened during our family get-together on Sunday. A bunch of people came over to my Aunt Marie's, and we really did have a great time. Cousins that I hadn't seen for some time, and they all came out to see my Mom and me and my sisters in our time of sorrow. It was really cool, and it meant a lot to me. They're so great, they really are.

Well, Cousin Beverly noticed a Glenn Beck book on an end table. She said, "Oh, I really like him."

I managed to not have a heart attack, but my sister Diana (a fellow liberal) and I exchanged an amused glance across the room (she was sitting by Bev). Cousin Ron was sitting next to me and asked, "Oh really? Who else do you like?" Beverly proceeded to say, "Oh, I listen to Rush Limbaugh. Then there's Sean Hannity." Ron asked, "What do you think about Michael Savage?" At least he was a little too far right for her.

Good grief. I managed to keep my mouth shut, but it was not easy. Aren't you proud of me? Di and I were looking at each other, ready to lose it. We discussed it later, and we agreed that Ron (who is very ornery, very smart, and a wee bit wicked) had to know from talking to Dad that she and I are on the left politically. We both think that he was probably trying to stir things up a bit. Believe it or not, neither of us took the bait...even me! However, I had to speak up later when some cousins were doing the "global warming my ass" thing. I talked about how it is actually consistent with higher snowfall, and when another cousin said that it all goes in cycles, I said "But not to this extent." I swear, I think he kind of gave a shrug and an eye roll (I would like to specify that he's a cousin by marriage)! Hey, condescend a little bit, why don't you? Then my young Cousin Russell, a freshman in college, spoke up in my defense and said he'd just done a paper on it and based on all the evidence, it is very much real. When another cousin asked, "So are you guys believers or deniers?" I said, "Believer," and Russell said, "Oh yeah, definitely."

It's nice to not feel so alone when faced with a "hostile" audience. Hostile since even though they might give me a big hug and say "Love you, Beth Anne," they know...think Glenn Beck is reasonable and sane. I fear for my southern cousins, I truly do. I hope to have another opportunity to discuss things with them. Preferably after the health care bill is passed. tee hee

So after a brief sojourn to the central Florida Republican enclave of the family, I was traumatized but unbowed. It's one of those deals where I love (almost) all of these family members, and I could never hate them for their views. I might think they're a little misguided for liking some of these lunatics, but I love 'em anyway. I also just didn't have it in me to be too combative. I was licking my wounds, just wanting to laugh, be loved, and get lots of hugs. I did all three, so even though I didn't get to expound upon my political views, I still had me a helluva time.


  1. It's an amazing sign of a close family that in true times of sorrow there is as much laughter (and maybe even more) as there are tears.

  2. Dearest Beth, Glad to see you are home again safe and sound where you can take real time to come to terms with your beloved Dad's death. The tiredness you feel I am sure is just connected to that as well, I can well remember when my darling Jacqueline died is now 18 months tired I was and a friend pointed out it was just a way to make us slow down..Take care and keep smiling
    much love
    Sybil xx

  3. i didnt even know minivans went over the speed limit.

    i think it took a lot of class on your behalf to not be baited.

    just put one foot in front of the other and know that you are in our thoughts.

  4. I am happy that you didn't take the bait before you, since everyone was gathered in peace and love. Reading some of your comments, it must have been difficult.

    Take care of yourself and be well!!

  5. You are home safe and sound now. That's the important thing. I enjoyed visualising your journey. Hair raising and funny into the bargain. Nice too that you plugged into family again and appreciated the diversity of their views.
    God rest your Dad's soul.
    May you all remember lighter moments with him and smile often in his memory.
    Jeanie xxx

  6. (((Beth)))
    I've been out of the loop here lately. I'm deeply sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. (Big Hugs my friend) You take time and good care and I love ya :) I know what feels like to lose a parent (or both) and it's truly heart breaking.
    I'm so very proud of you for keeping your lips zipped! I'm not so sure I could have, but usually I'm pretty good at not taking the "bait". Hubby gets very upset if I get baited at family get togethers, but the mention of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh (vomit in mouth..excuse me)can usually get my zippered lips unzipped. And your sisters are way too funny! Made me laugh :)
    Beth, you take good care and know I'm thinking of you.
    Big Hugs, Gayla

  7. It's nice to know my "soul sister" is a fellow steering wheel nazi! I can't stand when other people drive!!!

  8. Love the stories, love the laughs.
    And I'll bet your Dad was in the car laughing at "the curb" and the slow driver, and in the house laughing while you bit your tongue.
    It must have helped to have the laughs in such a time.

  9. Dearest Beth: first hugs and love from Mark and I. Death and funerals, like weddings brings out the best and the worse in folks because emotions run high. While I am not sure you were being baited, I am proud you kept your mouth shut. Right mourn your heart is tore and hurting. Give yourself the place and space to mourn and cry, to laugh and remember. The affairs of the world Glen Beck, Obama, etc aren't your concerns right now. You, your mum and family are.
    Your loving loving frum friend, Laini

  10. First of all, it's good to hear a report from you. We've all been thinking about you. Second, you found people doing 55 mph on 465? Wow. They must not be actual residents of Marion County. We know better. ;)

  11. Welcome home my friend. I wish it were under better circumstances. I am sure memories will flood your thoughts in the days ahead.

    As I've said already, my condolences to you, your mom and sisters.

  12. I - 70 is the name of the interstate, it does not mean "I can go 70" :-)
    You should have settled in, grabbed the remote and said: "It's time for Rachel Maddow!" and refused to budge for an hour.
    Blessings to them anyway and to your Dad. I'm glad it was peaceful and you are now soulmates with Kieth Olbermann, whose Dad died on Sunday.

  13. It was a joy reading your entry ~ echoing some of the others...I didn't know a minivan could go 80! You've been in my thoughts & Prayers and I will continue to keep you close. All my love to you.

  14. I'm sorry your Dad has gone, but I'm so glad for everyone's sake that he did not linger. You are to be highly, highly commended for your self-possession when the Beckies turned up within your own ranks; it says big things about your sangfroid in a highly emotional situation that you were able to refrain from debate. Your Dad would likely be very proud of you for that.

  15. First, let me say as someone from the NYC/Northern NJ area that you people from Indiana drive like freakin' animals on crack!!! Seriously!!

    Ok that said... I am glad you were surrounded by people who love you (even if misguided) and I am glad you are savoring the laughter. It helps us heal. {{{hugs}}}

  16. Lots of love surrounding you Beth. Just take it easy and deal with things as they come along. Glad to hear you didn't take the bait at the gathering. You'd be right at home with Stan driving.

  17. You have a lot of Love around you ~ Keeping you in my thoughts ~ Ally x

  18. I'm so glad you were surrounded by friends and family - even if some of them were of the "Glenn Beck Fan Club" variety.

    Hang in there...


  19. not been reading so only just saw your dad had died deepest mort xxx

  20. Beth, I am so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. He has always remained "Dad" in my heart, and I'm sure he will be missed by all who knew him. Please give my love and sympathies to your Mom and your sisters. God bless and strengthen you all as you say good-bye to a wonderful man. Someone sent me a poem the other day, which I think your Dad would have enjoyed. Have you ever seen it? Here is a link:


  21. I like to avoid the label "believer" when talking about science. It's one of the ways science deniers try to pull us down to their level. If they can get us to use the word "believer" when talking about science, they can feel comfortable in their delusions that "science takes as many things on faith as religion." Whenever someone asks if I "believe" in any science related thing, I gently correct them. I point out that it is not a matter of belief, but that I have examined the available evidence, and based upon that I accept what is being described as factual. If more evidence becomes available, I will examine it as well, and modify my opinion if and as necessary.

  22. That's our Beth!!! I commend you on your ability not to go for the low hanging fruit! Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

  23. I'm proud of your restraint. I would not have been so laid back.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?