Sunday, December 21, 2014

Compassion, Understanding, Love and Loss

My husband and I were coming home from grocery shopping tonight, just a few days from Christmas. Almost home, we saw a Lifeflight helicopter, ambulances, sheriff's deputy cars, and a whole lot of tow trucks in a nearby shopping center. Our turnoff, a road that's become a busy road during commuting time, was blocked off by emergency and law enforcement vehicles.

Tragedy is never convenient, never something one can pencil in their calendar, or delay. Tonight some loved ones will get bad news.

People always say "That's horrible. Right at this time of year", because the Holidays are supposed to be happy and stress-free. You're not supposed to be sitting in a critical care or emergency waiting room, not knowing whether your loved one will survive. As if a tragedy will give us the month off, which it never does.

I'm afraid every time my sons are out late because I've sat in waiting rooms, or been the family member to break tragic news to the rest of our loved ones.  The Holidays make me especially afraid because of the drunks, the stoned, the stupid. Just because they're my children, tragedy isn't going to give me a free pass.

Having horrible things happen in the Holidays make the ones further down the line those much more painful, sharp anniversaries of loss and devastation. Then there are the anniversaries like Pearl Harbor, which my parents and grandparents honored more, Armistice Day, V-J Day, V-E Day. For us, it's 9/11.

Ash Wednesday lost its religious significance to me when my sister-in-law and two youngest daughters were murdered by a loved one. Our wedding anniversary is the anniversary of my husband's mother suddenly dying of a massive heart attack. St. Valentine's Day means the anniversary my store was robbed. As time goes by, our grieving, our pain lessens bit by bit, dulled by aging memory and sometimes the loss of those who shared the losses with us.

While watching news coverage of the two policemen killed in an ambush in New York City yesterday, I remembered how our family felt when hounded by news crews after the murders in Miami. How depersonalized the loss of a mother, sisters, and nieces became while reporters tried to sneak into the funeral home where we grieved.

So I end this rather dark post with hope that we remember this season to comfort those who are missing loved ones, shelter and aid them, pray for them if you can. In a time of hope, may we treat each other with love and compassion, patience and generosity of spirit. When the anniversaries come, may we help them through their dark days with deeper understanding of their loss.

Thanks for listening, y'all.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dear New Orleans Times-Picayune:

As part of my loyalty to an old friend, I attempted to subscribe to the online version of your venerable newspaper this morning. After several minutes of vague and terrible instructions, I finally threw my hands up in the air and quit. 

I don't know why your web designer would make it so hard to take money, but it makes me rather sad for you. After all the many years of being a New Orleans subscriber, after being gone for fourteen years, I want you back. After you managed to survive Katrina and all the economic downturns, wars, the Big Depression, the oil booms and busts, I want you to survive. I want to read stories about my adopted hometown.

You're not alone in having ridiculously complicated payment pages. If you actually want to survive though, my dear old friend, something has to be done about it. Don't make excuses about how much you've paid someone to design your website. Don't make excuses how others have managed to bob and weave through weird failure messages. Most of us don't speak IT gobbledygook, and have no idea what we've done wrong.

We just want to pay you for a service, not read for free online, but pay you for a service because we want you to survive. Please, make it easier to subscribe, and don't make excuses.


Your old friend, Beabe

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dinner Prep Interuptus

I'm sitting in my den with a load on my mind. DH is laying down, not feeling well, my teen and adult sons are playing video games, and I'm feeling particularly passive aggressive.

My writing time today was spent fighting traffic and grocery shopping. The van was emptied out, and now cloth bags, full and empty, litter my kitchen floor. Chili sits partially assembled in a pot, missing a vital ingredient. The diced tomatoes I thought to use are unusable, and frankly I'm too exhausted to go out and get more.

A ready to cook meat loaf by Sprouts is now the meat entree'. It's waiting to go in, but I'm tired and feeling abandoned by my kids.

The garbage needs to go out, dirty dishes lay about, sprouted after I cleaned. I was told by one son that he would pick up his stuff, laundry laying in a chair, old dishes, etc. Not yet though.

I'm just not feeling the team spirit here. Eventually my husband will drag himself out of bed, and pitch in. He's willing to help out all the time, and does. The kids, will if nagged, but it's Christmas, and I don't want to nag anyone. 

I hate cooking, despite collecting cookbooks, after one too many nights of shopping, cooking, then cleaning. The kids don't get it, and suddenly a lot of take-out's on the horizon until they go back to college.

Years ago when multi-generational homes existed, the meals were shopped or grown, cooked, and cleaned up by multiple hands. It really is too much for one person, and yet it happens. 

When I was a kid in a single parent household, we often ate after 10 pm. My mom taught school and dinner was often late. I look back and wish I'd tried to help, instead of waiting to be fed like a goldfish.

Maybe one day my kids will too. For now I smell half-cooked chili, and sit waiting.