Thursday, April 1, 2010


Sadness It's been a while since I wrote, I know. I kept thinking that I needed to write something, but just haven't had it in me. (Thanks to those who inquired after me and said they missed me. I appreciate that, I really do.) I had intended to write a joyous entry about passing the health care bill (there may still be one about that); or one about the death threats and epithets being hurled in Washington; or maybe about the Hutaree nutarees arrested in my neck of the woods. I may be down, but I'm still paying attention to politics, and it's actually taken my mind off of the sadness tsunami.

That's not working tonight, so maybe it's time to write some of this out. I'm mostly doing okay, and many times things feel pretty much like normal, but today was a matter of helping Mom go through some of Dad's papers and stuff. First off, it hurt my heart to see my Mom trying to cope with all of these things. She's really doing pretty well, but admitted that it's toughest in the evenings. That's when her and Dad would sit and eat dinner, then watch something on TV, talk about things...the thought of Mom sitting there missing Dad so much is almost more than I can bear. But she is bearing it, so I need to, too.

A couple of things really got to me today, though. When my family went to Washington, DC for the WWII Memorial dedication, my sisters and I got him a little flag pin for his lapel. It wasn't horribly expensive, but it was pretty nice, with little diamond, ruby, and sapphire chips. My sisters were down at Mom's the other day, and they put our names in a hat to see who would get the pin, and it was me. Mom gave it to me today and told me that he really loved that pin, and was so proud of it...always pinned it to his lapel when they went to church or any other place where he wore a suit coat.

Then as I was going through one of Dad's briefcases (he had four, for some reason), I found his nametag from his National Guard days—just a black rectangle with his last name on it. I saw that for so many years on his uniform, always perfectly squared, and I don't think I'd seen it since he retired some thirty years ago.

What really got to me was related to his nametag. I was in the basement, copying a few things, shredding a few others. I noticed his shoe-shine kit sitting there, a wooden box with the slanted foot rest on top. I opened it, and there were the various containers of Kiwi black polish, the brushes and the cloths. The smell of polish wafted up from the box, and I remembered all the times I went down to the basement, where Dad's office was, and talked to him while he polished his shoes, or used Brasso to polish his belt buckles. I was always close to Dad, and even though we had our conflicts (Mostly about music! But Dad, you were so right about Johnny Cash, and I'm so glad I learned to appreciate him the way you did.), we genuinely enjoyed talking to each other. Sometimes I'd smear the polish on his Guard shoes, and hand them to him to polish with the brush and then the cloth. And we'd talk. It's no surprise that when I was 6 or 7 years old, all I wanted for Christmas was a G.I. Joe. I got other presents, but Joe was my favorite.

It struck me that sometimes scents can be as powerful a trigger as sights or sounds. You don't think of an aroma having as much power as the others, but believe me, when I opened that kit, it was as visceral a memory as anything else. It also pleased me to know that although Dad was long retired, he still took pride in having well-shined shoes. He really did always look "spiffy!"

So it was a tough afternoon and evening. But a little while ago, I got an email from my sister Sue, and she said she'd talked to Mom this evening. She said Mom sounded really positive, even somewhat excited, about sorting through some of this stuff and getting a handle on the financial stuff. She is off to the Armory tomorrow to work on getting the military pension and insurance in order, and I know they will take good care of her. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of them recognize Dad's name, either from the Guard or from our large family in that town. I was feeling pretty miserable earlier on, but I believe I worked my way through it, with a little help from my friends. Thank you, and you know who you are. :)

Marvin the Martian Oh, and just so you know that feisty Beth is alive and well, I'd like to say that some recent Anonymous comments (now deleted) on the entry I made about my Dad's funeral were not appreciated. They were catty, bitchy, and apparently designed to do nothing more than stir up trouble, like life is some kind of fucking soap opera. I tracked the asshole down, and with the help of a friend, they were confronted and vanquished. I have no idea what this person's problem was, other than being a lunatic bitch, or what she was trying to accomplish, but yeah...really classy to write shit like that on an entry about my Dad's funeral. If she happens to visit here again, a couple of caveats for her: IP addresses don't lie, and Anonymous comments have been permanently disabled here. If you want to harass me, you're going to have to take the time to create at least a bogus profile in order to do so. But keep in mind the first item, and I'll reiterate: IP addresses don't lie. And if I ever happen to run into you, you might have a few dozen pounds on me, but what I lack in size I make up for in sheer fury, and I've got a tongue like a whip. I will make you cry. I guarantee.

There. I feel better. >:]


  1. There's that fiesty, Beth! Hopefully, the beeyotch got the message!

    My dad has a shoe shine box like that too, from his Navy time, before I was born, but he still shines his dress shoes. I guess it is something about men of that era too, and the military thing. It must have been very hard. I know that you will wear that pin and it will always be like a little 'hey dad' moment for you, when you do.

    Now, you know I am not real big on religion, however I will say that I do believe dad is still with you. :-)

    I am so happy that you were able to help your mom. And truly hope that you know I am sending positive energy and thoughts out to you now and daily.

    be well

  2. What a sweet memory of Ezra and the shoeshining. It's amazing how smells can just bring things flooding back. I think of my Dad every time I catch a whiff of whiskey (thank goodness you know the man or else we'd sound super dysfunctional!)

    My heart just goes out to Lexie as she deals with these tasks, and I am so proud of the way all three of you are rallying for her. No one in your family will ever want for love and support -- your clan is a fierce one.

    It makes me all warm & fuzzy inside to know that the pin is with Ezra's baby girl.

    Hugs and love to all of you!

  3. My heart goes out to you and your mom. I still hate that my dad now rattles alone around the house that my parents shared for so long. However, I'm glad to hear your feisty voice as well. You know that I think you rock, girl!

  4. I understand how seeing your mother cope with your dad's death is the hardest part. That was hardest for me, too. It's just heart-wrenching. Healing takes a while, but it DOES happen. Keeep smiling and fighting the good fight against Anonymous!

  5. i am shaking my head over those comments on the post about your dad.

    i wish i could give you advice or knew the right words to say to help you through this difficult time. i am glad you can write about the grief and sadness you are working through, and also glad your family is close so you all can to lean on each other on those days when you really need a little extra. we are thinking of you up here and sending care and concern your way.


  6. Glad you have your chin up, I still miss my dad and feel the pain even after 2 years but it does ease up some with the love of family and friends. So sorry people can be so mean, what a life they must have......hugs, Sherry

  7. I know that I will tell people 'thanks for sharing' when I have read an entry that I feel connected to, but this entry of your I am really glad to have been able to read. There are small things that bring special people who I miss to mind, and I really appreciate how you put your memories together. Mainly because I still can't do something like this and write about them, even to and for myself.

    As far as the 'Anon' comments go... you pretty much can tell what kind of parents raise those teenage bullies and trolls who go from site to site to spread their misery.


  8. It's all baby steps, Beth. A little shoe polish, a nametag or a shiny pin is all it takes. But they bring back good memories, so, while, they may be hard, you'll learn to cherish them.
    A few months after my Mom passed I found a copy of the Portland Oregonian in my dresser--it was their daily paper and I think I bought a copy to read on the plane when I came home after she died.
    I was going to throw it out, but I began skimming through it until I got to the page with the Daily Jumble. My Mom was a Daily Jumble-r, and just seeing that little cartoon brought back all sorts of memories.
    It's funny, the things you forget about your parents, the little things, but when they're gone, those little things mean so much.
    Shoe polish and Daily Jumbles. Who knew?

  9. (Hugs) Strange enough I thought about you with the Hutaree group. I know your dad's passing has to be difficult, only because he was such a wonderful human being. I'm so glad you have those memories and special times with him. It doesn't make his loss any easier, but it soothes the heart to know you both loved.

    As for the hurtful comments. I remember getting some really cruel ones when Paul's mom passed. There is seriously something disconnected in the psyche to be that incompassionate and cruel. There was something on Good Morning America about trolls that went after parents that had lost a child. This sounds similiar. (Hugs)Indigo

  10. Luckily, I missed those comments. Clearly you don't need anyone to stick up for you. Good to see you posting again.

  11. Actually, I thought of writing you this morning. You know you are still in my prayers. Beth, in our faith, we give ourselves a full year to mourn, to grieve. The progress isn't rush. In fact, the first 30 days we are encouraged not to make major descisions because our hearts are crushed. Give yourself that space and time to heal, to be there for your mum and sisters. It is the little things that will bring the flood of emotions, just go with it. When Mark and I lost our baby, we planted a fig tree in her memory. She would be four years old next month if she had lived. A week after the miscarried, we planted a fig tree in her memory. Something green and growing.
    When your ready, plant a tree for your dad.
    Hugs from Virginia

  12. And I am very sorry about the comment made about your dad. I didn't see them. But if you ever need help, I wear a size ten army boot.

  13. the older i get the less i like most people. Truly. I have figured out they were right when they said that we only really need a few true friends instead of lots of casual ones.

    i love you, Beth. There is no one more real than you, in person or online.

    this is a beautifully written entry. God bless you and yours. I have thought of you constantly lately....i am here for you in any way i can be.

    personally, i'd pay to watch you kick Anon's bipolar ass....

  14. It's too bad some people insist on being assholes. Then again, it makes the rest of us look that much better.

    Hugs to you, Beth. You and your dad have a deep spiritual connection which can never be severed. Hang in there, honey. Happiness awaits. ;-)

  15. Way to go Beth; get it all out!

    I'm actually really happy you took time off from blogging right now. I miss your posts, but I'm more concerned about you taking care of your family's healing process and your headspace right now.

    It will take a lot of time time to sort through all the emotional "stuff." I think it is perfectly normal for you to have seemingly normal days and then I slump; I certainly had those when mom was gone.

    It is funny that you mention the smells. Apparently smells hold more emotional and memory capability than you would ever expect; I too had the same things happen when mom died and when I asked about it, almost everyone I talked to, who had lost a loved one, had similar experiences. Don't be surprised if your other senses do the same thing. Mine certainly did. I think we are super sensitive when we loose someone and it is your minds way of reconciling.

    As always, take care of yourself Beth.

  16. Beth I am so glad that we can be here to share ALL your emotions.. thats what true friends are all about.. Take Care come back again soon..
    Love Sybil x

  17. Your posts about losing your Dad and confronting his stuff are very personal to write, I know, but they are universal for your readers; we've all either gone through it or we will, and that makes it as good for us to read about as it is good for you to write about. I can smell the shoe polish and my own memories are conjured. Some of the stuff from my parents' house got stored in our garage--the most personal things--and have sat there for five years. I've vowed to confront them and do something more appropriate with them this summer. It's going to take a lot of courage to have some of those feelings hit me full force again, but grief is the other face of a coin we usually call love. You help me by writing and it's obvious you help others, too. I've missed you.

  18. Hi Beth,
    Good to hear from you, even though you're obviously/justifiably down. I'm sure it will just take a while for you to get through this. I've been thinking of you ... sending good thoughts your way from Calif.

  19. It's nice to see you posting Beth. I've been thinking of you & wondering how you were holding up. I agree with you about aromas, for me they are one of my more powerful memory triggers so I know where you are coming from.

    Sorry you had to deal with an asswipe leaving comments. If you ever run in to her I have no doubt you will kick the crap out of her either mentally or physically....hell, maybe both!
    Love ya,

  20. Sending you a cyber hug.
    I'm glad that your Mom is managing to cope as well as can be expected and is able to move on and do what needs to be done. It's good that you and your sisters are able to be there as much as you can for her. Yes, scents can provoke some very strong memories. I can remember, though, that the first really big "thing" that got to me after my Dad died was when I called my Mom one day and I heard my brother talking in the background. He sounded SO MUCH like my dad (and I'd never noticed that before) that I actually caught my breath, and it felt like my heart stopped for a beat or two. I went through a few experiences like that as a sound or smell or sight or memory would come to me, and I know you know what I mean. It's good to see a post from you. I hope you keep doing well, getting through the rough days as well as you can.

  21. Good Beth. The healing process is going on. I'm glad.

    Welcome back.


  22. Like I mentioned to u before ur entries are so honest I wish I could do the same. However I have still have my father he is a great man to my self. And for the cyber bully she better hope she does not get caught cause her sorry ass can self prison time.

  23. you telling me your anon posted crap about your dads funeral??thats just sick beth.mentally unstable maybe,spiteful and nasty,love mort xx

  24. Good riddance to her!

    I love reading your memories about your Dad. The shoe polishing one is very personal for me. I always polished my Dad's shoes when I lived at home (he was a fanatic about polished shoes!). It was my chore for years and years. I still have my Dad but I never hear the word shoeshine, or smell shoe polish that I don't go back to those days (and they were good ;)). You do your Dad proud, Miss Beth. You do him proud.


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