Friday, June 29, 2012

7 Quick Takes

For those of you who noticed, but didn't catch Wednesday's post, we were called out of town suddenly by the death of my sister-in-law, Catherine. She was my husband's oldest sister and was only 47. I chose not to blog about the experience while it was happening because my family needed my immediate and complete attention--that includes my in-laws. So the blog was quiet for a week or so. Sometimes the real world takes priority.

A little about Cathy. I met her when she was a wife and a mother of four young boys. She was vibrant, cute, and outgoing. She was relatively happy, very busy, and a bulwark of her church and family. She played the guitar and sang. She worked part time as a waitress at an upscale restaurant where she also sang on the weekends. Then everything started to change. She was diagnosed with manic depression and began a long downhill slide into addiction. The tremendous willpower she used to power her life became another burden; she couldn't take medical advice, psychiatric advice, or marital guidance. Ten years later, we could all sense that she would soon hit bottom A divorce hadn't been the bottom. Relationships strained to, through and beyond the breaking point weren't the bottom either. Her alimony was running out and she had been unable to return to waitressing or train for another profession to support herself. Losing her apartment might be the bottom, my husband and I speculated.

The bottom turned out to be death by what appears to be an accidental overdose of prescription and over the counter medications. She always played her meds. Always. It's not uncommon among the mentally ill. For her, it proved fatal. For those of us left in the wake, it has been devastating. I have nothing to sum this up, no point to make in order for it all to make sense. This is simply where we are left, this blank and unexpected moment. My husband has a hole in his life, and I am at a loss as to how to comfort him. From here, we simply go on.

Let me move away from that to this: Thursday night saw our community of Amarillo join in prayer for Religious Liberty. It was a lovely ecumenical prayer service called into being by our Bishop, Patrick Zurek, and hosted first by our Catholic Cathedral. The next several months will see it hosted at other churches around town. It was truly a blessed evening, full of song and prayer. One moment that especially stood out to me, as a lover of the ancient musical form of Chant, was that the minister of a local megachurch, Trinity Fellowship, was blown away by the fact that Catholics sing the Bible. Indeed, we do. We pray it, too, especially in Mass.

It is hot here. Those of you east of us are beginning to be hit with our heatwave. To give you an idea of the difference, though, you have to understand that our heat index factors in the breeze and the lack of humidity. Wednesday's temperature was 102 degrees but our heat index was 97. Pretty neat, huh? I don't think that's going to happen east of the Mississippi, though. Brace yourselves and change those filters on your air conditioners so they can do their jobs properly.

My younger son suddenly decided to make a few leaps. Not only did he potty train himself completely during the week long trip, he suddenly began speaking in full sentences, too. The potty training is sticking, but the use of sentences is following the pattern of many of his hard earned skills. We see the full blown skill for a day or two, then it disappears completely for a few months before it is permanently acquired. We have every confidence that this skill is following the same pattern because his one-word speech production has suddenly become a commonplace event, regardless of his audience. We see by this that something major has happened in his language production. He is also strutting. That confidence is a rarity and it is beautiful to see.

All my children are learning by leaps and bounds this summer. Each one of them is now reading. The oldest is now a chapter book aficionado and the youngest is getting fluent enough that she is using blocks to spell out words, real words, when she plays. It is mind blowing. I had planned to school through the summer anyway, but with all the excitement about the world of words buzzing around, I would have had to school, like it or not.

I am blundering through my first week back, distracted and dreamy, with my thoughts very much "back east." One of the ways I am coping is through my favorite literature. Although all is not quite well in the world, Lizzie did marry Mr. Darcy, after all, even though it looked pretty hopeless for a while there. I'm so glad to see that the story didn't have a new ending this time around. I needed that reassurance.


Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 

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