Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Equal Opportunity Posting

So, as everyone must know by now, I love my cats...Miss Marplestein and Dulcinea.  They are simply adorable and bring so much pleasure to my life.  I posted the other day about Dulcinea getting into my 'unmentionables' drawer.  Well, not to be out done, I must post about Miss Marplestein.  Now, she is much more demure than Dulcinea.  The other night, I looked up, and there she was, just sitting on the wall enjoying the Christmas tree lights and decorations.  Yes, I had to snap a picture or two and yes, I just had to post.  She was so intent she didn't even notice the camera.  I wonder what she was thinking or was she just wishing upon the star?

Both cats have loved the tree this year - have enjoyed sleeping under the pine canopy, especially when Henley is visiting the neighbors.  All is peaceful and quiet.  Merry Christmas to my baby girls who bring me such joy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Great Love Story

Today, sixty years ago, the union of two beautiful people took place in Heilwood, PA ~ it was the beginning of a great love story that would last through the years.  I am thinking of my parents today, with all my heart.  This, of all days, must be the most difficult for my mother. 

They were two young people, from very different walks of life. One was an only child, a latch key kid even way back then, the other one of six from a traditional family.  One was a city boy, the other a country girl.  One grew up thinking she was adopted (as many of us do!), the other grew up the center of attention, the apple of his family's eye.  And yet, they were similar in many ways:  both had lost a parent early in their life; both had a strong, Catholic faith, and both were naive and innocent in the ways of the world

And yet, they managed to find their way to Washington, D.C., meet, and fall  in love.  My mother always says they were 'just two young kids who didn't, know what we were doing!'...Obviously, they knew enough.  After seven children and 17 years of marriage they hit a rough patch that nearly ended the marriage.  But their faith and love for each other kept them going and they found strength in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.  Together, their spiritual life flourished.  They founded a prayer group that grew to over 400 people; they sacrificed their time and resources to help so many; they opened up their home to anyone who needed shelter. And their love for each other, their devotion to each other, never faltered. 

They were a prime example of what love and marriage is all about.  In watching them, I knew what kind of husband I wanted, I knew what kind of marriage I wanted.  I saw and learned that even after 50 years together, there would still be disagreements, growth...that marriage is ever changing and ever sacrificial.  Their devotion to each other is a pure example of God's unconditional love. 

In almost every picture, which are vast, they are hugging or staring into each other's eyes.  Their love was undeniable.  And even in their older years, during Dad's last days, the most precious site was to see them holding hands, loving each other.  I grew up hearing 'Where's your mother?' so often...if Mom was out of sight for even a minute or two, he needed to know where she was.  They left love notes to each other and called each other 'Hon' or 'Honey'...And there were rarely apart.  They each felt their place was with the other...nothing else mattered.

Together they saw their seven children grow and have families of their own. They saw their 14 grand children all grow to young adults/adulthood, and they witnessed the birth of six great-grand children. Yes, sixty years ago today, a great love story began. Death has separated them physically, but the love continues.  I have no doubt Dad looks down and sees his beloved, only he now knows exactly where she is.  How blessed I have been to share in one of the greatest love stories ever...I love you both!  The following lyrics reminds me of them...Ella Fitzgerald's 'Now It Can Be Told':

All the world's great lovers have been glorified
History placed them in a romantic set
In between book covers they are side by side
But the real thing hasn't been written yet

Now it can be told
Told in all its glory
Now that we have met
The world may know the sentimental story

The greatest romance they ever knew
Is waiting to
Unfold

Now it can be told
As an inspiration
Every other tale
Of boy meets girl is just an imitation

The great love story
Has never been told before
But now
Now it can be told





Saturday, December 24, 2011

Distractions and Other Things

So, my 'baby girls' continue to be a delight.  They amuse and amaze constantly.  And today, when I most needed a distraction, Dulcinea provided.  She has taken to scratching at either the linen closet or my underwear drawer...if she does this long enough, she opens the closet or the drawer, and climbs inside.  Today, we came home from our walk and there she was, sitting in my underwear drawer - and she had tossed some of my 'unmentionables' onto the floor!  A good laugh indeed and just too precious for words.

I can't seem to focus on much...everything I think about leads me back to Daddy...and I can't seem to decide what I want to do; my mind switches from one thing to another and I can't make decisions.  Do I want to go to church - but if I do I'm afraid the first note of the first carol will open a floodgate.  Do I want to go to my sister-in-law's family - but if I do, I'm afraid all the laughter and togetherness will make me miss him even more than I already do.  Do I want to just stay home - but if I do I can't stop thinking about him and crying.  My husband is so kind and gracious, so loving and supportive.  I knew it would be rough, but...Daddy, I know you're up there celebrating Christmas with the real thing; I know you are looking down with love upon all your family.  But I do know that as much as we want you here, you are quite happy and delighted where you are.  And I know you know this, but we all miss you terribly.  I think of how much you loved Christmas, loved our traditions, loved your family gathered around you...I love you so much and miss you even more.

Thank goodness for distractions and other things on this first Christmas without you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Randomness

So many thoughts have been raging through my head today, so forgive me if none of this makes sense - it is pure randomness...my thoughts put to paper, or put to blog.

Eleven months today.  I marvel at the complexity of grief.  How is it my mind knows something is real, yet my heart has such a hard time believing, cannot comprehend.  His absence is still surreal.  It's so hard thinking of him in the past tense - I can't.  My heart won't let me just yet.  I miss you so much.

I guess this relates somewhat to my last blog about growing up ourselves.  To my niece who has chosen her own lifestyle:  your choice.  You've chosen to smoke pot, drink excessively, party...you've chosen your sexuality. You've chosen not to keep a job - all the other things you're doing are just too important to hold down a 'stupid' job - seasonal or not.  Just because your parents will no longer tolerate your irresponsibility and don't approve of your choices, does not mean they do not love you.  Be an adult.  You've chosen what you want; they have chosen their lifestyle and beliefs which are far different from yours.  That's okay.  You can still love each other without approving of the choices made.  Maturity.  And you need some fast.

Christmas is fast approaching.  We've decorated outside, and the tree is up with lights glowing.  The manger is on display.  My heart isn't in it.  I know there is more to be done, but it seems so overwhelming.  What keeps me going?  Wanting to have a beautiful Christmas for my niece. 

What makes a life extraordinary?  Is it creating a multi-billion software company, or discovering a cure for aids, or becoming president of the United States?  Sure, all those would qualify as extraordinary.  But isn't the life that gives to the poor, or being faithful to a spouse, or working each day to support a family - aren't all those lives extraordinary?  I believe what we sometimes call 'ordinary' is actually quite extraordinary.

Funny how even as we age we can still make new friends.  And in this day of cyber space, friends are found everywhere.  I've 'met' some great people through this blog, through the games I play...it's a wonderful feeling to 'meet' someone and feel you've known them forever.

Random thoughts, I know...just some ramblings of an old, romantic soul...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grow Up Ourselves

Ah, is there such a thing any more?  Seems in today's world, everyone wants to blame someone else for their problems.  'I'm this way because my parents spanked me' or 'I'm afraid to love because I was jilted 20 years ago' or 'I can't succeed because my teacher gave me an 'f' and it made me feel inadequate'...yadda yadda yadda. So, life isn't perfect...get up and move on, and instead of blaming take responsibility and move forward.

The other night we caught part of a movie - Death at a Funeral.  The original, British version, not the remake with Chris Rock.  It's quite a comedy, as only the British can do.  At one point, the son who feels inadequate in so many ways, gives a speech about his father (a secret life of his father has just been revealed and is quite shocking)...and his speech struck a chord with me.  Below is an excerpt of the speech:

"...Life isn't simple, it's complicated. We're all just thrown in here together, in a world full of chaos and confusion, a world full of questions and no answers, death always lingering around the corner, and we do our best. We can only do our best, and my dad did his best. He always tried to tell me that you have to go for what you want in life because you never know how long you're going to be here. And whether you succeed or you fail, the most important thing is to have tried. And apparently no one will guide you in the right direction, in the end you have to learn for yourself. You have to grow up yourself"

Life is complicated and there are no definitive answers.  There are no specific guidelines for how to live life.   Our parents can guide us, the Bible can guide us, but in the end we have to learn on our own; we have to grow up ourselves.  Grow up ourselves.  Stop blaming, stop making excuses and move forward...grow up ourselves.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Today is your birthday.  I have no doubt you are celebrating, for the first time in many years, with your Mom and Dad, Grammy, Aunt Marie and Uncle Ed, your in-laws, and so many of your friends:  Uncle Jack and Aunt Arline, Ed K, Bill M, Sam D, Mary Grace A...just to name a few.  I'm sure you're all gathered around laughing and praising God.
But I miss you.  I say that alot, I know, but it's true.

This morning, my love quote was the following by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux: "We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place in ourselves for those who love us."  I thought of you when I saw the quote and knew I had to use it.  And then I found this photo - of you, Mom, and Rudy - which, to me, encompasses what the quote is all about...Tommy said that "St. Bernard rocks! One of the most bad-ass Catholic saints ever!"  He also said that you were, and I quote 'a Catholic bad-ass!" Have to chuckle at his statement, and knew you would appreciate it.


You were all about love, unconditional love.  I felt it so often.  You knew just what to say, or what not so say...you were able to feel each moment and act accordingly.  You always provided a resting place for those you loved...within your strong, loving arms.  This picture speaks of love and comfort, of peace and rest.  

We all miss those strong arms of yours, Daddy; the big hands that could comfort so tenderly.  These coming months won't be easy.  I think of today, and realize you went into the hospital a year ago tomorrow.  And then it all began, and slowly went downhill.  It's not easy thinking of the last two months of your life...and just now I am hearing the lonely train whistle, and it makes me think of you and the poem I wrote a few years ago.  The train whistle always reminds me of you. 

I love you.  Thank you for the gifts of love and rest you provided to me, to your family and to so many others. You rock!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reflections of Love

At our wedding mass, during the homily, the priest stated that often times it was hard to stand and unite two people in marriage, knowing it most likely would not last; he was happy to celebrate our marriage because he knew we had a good chance of surviving.  And he was so right.  This past Wednesday, on the 26th of October we celebrated 15 years of wedded bliss.

Our life has had its share of ups and downs, good times and bad, but overall the past fifteen years have been the best of my life.  After our marriage, we continued living with my parents.  My Dad had health issues, and we were able to help them when needed.  When my father-in-law started having health issues, we then decided to move in with him (and a brother-in-law).  My husband had given himself so selflessly to my parents, never complaining; I knew it was my turn to step up to the plate.  It was a difficult decision, and probably the most difficult time of our marriage, but I knew I had given my husband a gift - being with his father in his end years.  My father-in-law passed away in 2005, my brother-in-law moved out of the house, and we were finally alone for the first time in our marriage. 

Both my husband and I were older when we married...he was 40, I was 38.  Many people thought we would have difficulty coming together: two people set in their ways, etc.  Yet we surprised them all.  I think our age worked for us.  We both knew the grass was not greener on the other side.  We had experienced life.  And most importantly, we knew how fortunate we were in finding each other.  We knew the precious gift we had been given. 

We have traveled to many places, have seen many wonderful things, met some wonderful people. In November 2007, we retired and moved to Florida.  We love our life and continue to grow together.  We continually learn new things about each other, and we know the importance of communication.  Some of the wisdom given to us during our Pre-cana teachings (Catholic pre-marriage counseling) has stayed with us.  We learned that marriage is a circle, as symbolized by the wedding band; that negativity begets negativity, just as positivity begets positivity - it all flows together.  We also learned that 'communication, communication, communication' is the key...and after 15 years, we are still working on that aspect of our marriage.  We realized we often 'hear' each other speak, but we don't truly 'listen'.  A work in progress.

Life continues to throw obstacles.The horrendous ordeal my family has struggled through the past two and half years.  The two trials. The sentencing. It’s been an emotional roller coaster.  My one niece is now living with my husband and I, so once again we are sharing our home.  We feel that our gift is to give love and support to our family.  We do so when we can.  We feel that in giving, we receive. 

Sadly, in January of this year, my beloved father passed away.  I am dealing with his death as best I can.  The grief comes and goes.  As always, my husband is a constant source of love and comfort.

Our wedding day remains the best day of my life. And I am so happy that Monsignor Bob was right all those years ago...we did have a great chance of surviving, and God willing there will be many more reflections of love in the years to come.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mambie Pambies

I must be officially old.  Seems this young generation - the X generation - is nothing but a bunch of mambie pambies.  Mind you, I am well aware that this does not apply to all, but what is it with so many of these kids, or young adults, nowadays?

And the term 'young adults' must be used mildly.  They think they are adults, yet they have no clue how to debate, how to hold a decent conversation.  If you contradict or disagree, they pout and curse you, or heaven forbid, 'defriend' you; they call you old and a bitch.  Yep, I am now at that stage of my life where I am old and a bitch.  But you know what?  Thank the good lord!  I can say what I want to say and not have to worry about someone liking me! 

These so called 'adults' want to have their opinions and they want you to agree with them.  If you differ from what they think then we don't know what we're talking about.  Or I'm a drama queen.  They can cuss all they want, they can steal, they can do drugs and party, they can have their sexual preferences...and I'm just supposed to smile and say 'hey, that's really really wonderful!'.  If I dare say 'hey, I'm worried about you', or 'don't you think it's time to get a job?' or 'don't use that language with me', I'm considered persona non grata. Don't they realize that part of being an adult is to listen to other opinions?  Debate.  Fight about it.  But at the end of they day, we're all adults.  We have different opinions and that's okay...move on.

One of the great things of being my age is that I have my own opinions...people can say what they want...sure, I'll listen, but in the end my opinion is my own.  Doesn't matter...I don't have to cuss the other person out, I don't have to be nasty, don't have to defriend them...

If this is the quality of 'adults' we have, God help this nation.  I fear we have raised a generation (and again, this does not apply to ALL, as I know some very well adjusted youngsters) of mambie pambies who don't want to work, who want everything their own way, who have no respect for others, no compassion for others...yep, we are in a heap of trouble!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nine Months, and Counting

It is nine months today since you breathed your last breath.  Nine months, and I still grieve your death.
I miss you.  I miss your smile, I miss your laugh, I miss your hugs - I miss you.

Why is it getting harder?  I go about my days, my weeks, and life goes on; and yet, there is an emptiness that I cannot deny.  There are snippets of joy, moments when a genuine smile appears on my face - but it is only temporary.  My life is gray.  Everything 'just is'.

This morning I awoke and my thoughts are of you.  I remember the day you came home.  We were celebrating your homecoming, joyful you were back where you wanted to be.  We had 'welcome home' balloons, and many of your loved ones were there to greet you.  We went down to meet the ambulance and we walked alongside the gurney; we settled you and made sure you were comfy.  All this, knowing you had come home to die.  And that thought is what I cannot escape today.  You came home to die.

What a blessing to have those days to say goodbye.  But it wasn't enough.  I would give anything to have you here again, to kiss you, to hear you call me 'Poopsie', to hear you say 'give Terry a tweak for me'.  How I would love to call home and have you answer the phone, only to hear 'dammit', and the phone go dead b/c you hit the wrong button!  I'm thinking of the upcoming months - your birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  Those days were so special to you, and you loved to have your family gathered around.  How will it be this year?  We'll be scattered and apart, and you won't be here.  I know going back to Maryland this Christmas won't happen...the memories of your last weeks will be too hard and we'll all be processing things in our own way.

I know you are in a better place.  But selfishly I want you here.  I want to cry in your arms and feel the comfort that only you can give.  Nine months and counting, Daddy...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sentence

The final curtain dropped last week...he was sentenced.  He will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Some may think this is a joyous victory, but it is not.  There are conflicting emotions, and it's very difficult to sort through the debris.  Yes, justice has been served and I am happy he will pay for what he did.  And yet, this is a man who was part of my family, someone I loved and called friend and to think of him spending the rest of his life in prison...well, it makes me very sad. 

Some may think the sentence too harsh.  I do not.  He took two innocent lives and damaged them, imprisoned them in their own home...now he will serve the sentence he imposed on them.  Had he shown any sign of sorrow, any sign of remorse for his actions, perhaps he would have been spared; perhaps I would find some compassion for him.  He chose to remain silent.  He chose to proclaim his innocence till the end. He chose not to look at his daughters, he chose not to apologize - nothing.  And that silence resonates far more than anything he could have said.

There is still anger at his betrayal, how he duped my husband and I into believing his lies.  There is still regret.  But knowing he is behind bars, knowing he will never again be able to hurt another child brings some comfort. I do pray for him.  We pray for him. 

And to know his daughters will thrive and move forward, and he will not, is the best justice that could ever be served.  It brings hope to a horrific time in our family's history.  My nieces are free.  My nieces smile, they laugh; quite simply, they now live. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Puppy Love


Henley Patches Stewart Hooper

'And they call it puppy love...'  Ah, yes, and how true it is!  I am in love with a sweet, little puppy called Henley!  He is a Jack Russell Terrier mix, not quite two months old.  Henley came home to us on Monday, 15 August.  He is just the most adorable puppy in the whole wide world.

Has it been an adjustment?  Absolutely.  Have the baby girls adjusted?  Not quite, but they are making progress each day.  Are we happy we made the decision to get a puppy - no doubt in our minds!  Perhaps my nose was a bit disjointed at first - I've only been asking for a puppy for two and half years, since we moved down here.  My hubs was dead set against it and nothing changed his mind.  Quite amazing that only one month after living with us, my niece was able to change his mind...hmmmm...

Who cares?  I have my puppy.  I am Mamma; Luna is Mommy; of course Terry is Daddy.  All three of us have fallen in love.  The cats will follow, I'm sure.  Have I said that he is adorable?  Have I said that he is the smartest puppy ever?  He already knows how to sit, he is close to knowing his name (of course we just finally decided on the name yesterday!), and he is pretty much house trained.  What more could we ask for?

So, Henley, welcome to our world!  Puppy love is fantastic!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Daffodils

Life has been busy for the past month or more and I haven't had time to write much of anything.  But this morning while perusing Facebook, a question was asked 'What inspired you to start writing poetry?'  Thought I'd share my response here on my blog.

Back when I was 9-10 years old, I gave my Mom a little book for her birthday or Mother's Day; it had a bunch of poems, with pictures.  One was William Wordsworth's 'Daffodils'.  The picture was a beautiful array of yellow daffodils that mesmerized me; the poem and the photo touched my spirit in a way that cannot be explained.  I wrote my first poem shortly thereafter.  Certainly not a masterpiece, but there began my love of writing.  Here is the poem:


Daffodils by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Daddy's Sonnet


Six months today.  Sometimes it feels longer, other times, seems like yesterday.  I miss his daily. 
With the encouragement of some of my poet friends, I thought I would try my hand at a sonnet - this is my first ever sonnet...dedicated to Dad, my hero.  



Each day I recollect your loving smile,
those precious days before your dying breath;
Sweet memories stored neatly in a pile,
to comfort me when thinking of your death.

Alone, together, privately to grieve,
I wept and held your hand in mine, still strong;
My heart did know that you'd be called to leave,
I prayed with you and sang our favorite song.

“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee’,
your spirit loving each and every word;
You were all ready, waiting to be free,
‘I love you, Daddy’, last words that you heard.

My hero always, till the end so brave
This child now thanks you for the love you gave.


P.S.  I did use some poetic license; 'the last words you heard' = the last words he heard from me.  The picture was taken in Ireland, 2001.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

You

Happy Father's Day, Daddy..

It's the first Father's Day
since, well,
since never...
for 52 years this
day has been about
you.
And it still is.
I am thinking of
you,
loving
you;
though I cannot call,
I cannot present
a gift or card,
my thoughts are of
you.
This Father's Day
you
are celebrating with your own Dad,
something
you
haven't done in many, many years.
You
are not here physically
and yet
you
are all around ~
in my heart,
in my mind,
everywhere...
you.


Copyright © Kristina M. Hooper, 06/19/2011     

Slice of Heaven

Someone posted a challenge on my poetry site - what is your slice of heaven?  The first four lines was his original challenge, the remaining is my response.  This is dedicated to my husband, my love...he truly is my slice of heaven and has made my life so rich and wonderful.  Though not perfect, he is perfect for me.  To you, my love.



 Slice of Heaven

Consider your own slice of heaven
what would you want it to be
hand in hand with one you love
 or
Exploring love's mystery...
to be with one
who knows me, both
inside and out;
who knows my faults
and foibles,
knows what I'm about;
someone to greet
my mornings,
an easy, open smile;
someone to kiss
every night,
our
own deserted isle.
When chips are down,
he's always there,
with open arms
and hugs to spare;
through good times
and bad, how two
lives can blend;
my slice of heaven...
is my husband, and friend.

Copyright © Kristina M. Hooper, 06/19/2011







Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Days



As the twilight of your life unfolds
and death steps in to take his hold
I cling to you, hand in hand
and gaze into your eyes;
soon, I know, you’ll leave,
then I shall grieve...
until then
we are
one.

  Copyright © Dulcinea, 06/13/2011

This is how we often saw them - hand in hand...and so they were until his end - five months ago today. I love you Mom and Dad.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Books


Some friends and I were having a discussion today (on facebook) about books vs. kindles, etc.  The conversation reminded me of this poem I had written some time ago.  My love of books came from Dad...he had such a vast library and I loved browsing through his shelves.  Books are a part of me.  I love the feel, the smell; they bring a comfort to my spirit and soothe my soul.  Perhaps that may sound a bit odd, or a bit over the top, but it's true.  When I am troubled, I love sitting in my library.  I love to look at the books - the shapes and sizes, the titles.  Some are old, some are new; some are worn, some are not.  But each one is special and unique.  And now that Dad is gone, my books are a connection to him. 

Old Books
Safe haven,
rich aroma
of old books,
greatly comforts,
soothes my soul,
hard to explain
indescribable solace.

Copyright @ Kristina M. Hooper

This is a whitney, or an attempt at such...lines 1, 3, & 5 are 3syllables; lines 2, 4, & 6 are 4 syllables, line 7 has 7syllables...may or may not rhyme


Friday, May 13, 2011

Learning Curve

As many of you know, I started a new job about two months ago.  I'm a front desk clerk at a local hotel.  It's an interesting job and fits my personality - I get to meet new people, talk, flirt, help...Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think there was so much to learn about making reservations, etc.  Of course, as is my way, I think I should know everything already and get frustrated with myself when I mess up, or say something I shouldn't. My co-workers are patient and kind, teaching and guiding me.  I still have much to learn.

However, I thought I would share a few things I have learned in the short time I've been in the hotel business:
  •  Don't use the 'I'm new' card.  I have found out very quickly, and much to my surprise, how many people will use that card against you.  Instead of sympathy and understanding, they will try to nail you, or try to get something they didn't pay for.  
  • I have learned to speak with authority, even though I don't know what I'm talking about, or even though I may be wrong.  To sound timid, or to look nervous, only brings out the fangs in some people.
  • Do not book through expedia, hotels.com, book.it, etc.  If you want a good room, and friendly service, call the hotel directly.  Why will a hotel bend over backwards for someone getting a room at a ridiculously low rate?  Trust me, they won't.  
  • The old adage, 'You catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar' is very, very true.  People, if you are calling a place, and need someone to help you, don't give attitude or act like the person helping you is just a low-life working at a hotel.  The quickest way to be told 'we have nothing available' or to be given an astronomically high price is to be rude and nasty to the individual trying to help you.
To be honest, there is a sense of 'I have the power in my hands' and sometimes it feels damned good to tell a smart-ass they can't have something.  I am learning, and it feels good to stretch the mind again...but thank goodness there is a learning curve!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mom




Today is Mother's Day; a day to celebrate the woman who gave us birth, the woman who loves us unconditionally and sacrifices for us on a daily basis.  

This Mother's Day is especially poignant...I just talked to my Mom...she is remarkable, strong, full of strength and courage.  I hear her speak of how she is filling her days, how she feels Dad with her, how the Lord is using this time to teach/guide her...still learning lessons even now.  I simply love her.  She is a great woman, and though she may not be perfect, although she may have made mistakes over the years, she is  still a shining example of what motherhood and wifehood are all about.  Love, Sacrifice, Compassion, Care.  

This poem, a nonet, is dedicated to you, Mom.  Thank you for all you've done, for all you still do.  May God continue to bless you and give you strength.  I love you with all my heart.

Mom 

I admire and respect you so much
the little things you do, and such
deep the well, your giving heart
wisdom you do impart.
My hero, my friend,
your love transcends.
Always there,
to care...
 Mom

Friday, May 6, 2011

Miss Marplestein

Miss Marplestein, cute as a button
So, I have two cats, or as I like to call them my 'baby girls'.  Actually, in June they will be six years old, so they aren't quite 'baby girls' anymore, rather 'young ladies'.  Factualities aside, they are and always will be my baby girls.  They are near and dear to our hearts, and have a place in our household.  They are like our children (although my husband
would deny it).  And, they are strictly indoor cats.  They have only been 'allowed' outside with Mommy and Daddy, firmly in our arms.

Miss Marplestein is a red tabby.  She is long and lean, and has an angular face - to me, simply adorable.  She has very meak voice, soft and sweet.  Miss M is a Daddy's girl.  She loves her Daddy - loves laying next to him, loves cuddling with him, loves sitting on his desk.  She follows him everywhere. 

This morning, we're drinking coffee in bed with Miss M by our side.  We get up, have our oatmeal, and I dress for work.  Just before leaving, I realize it's still quite dark in our TV room, so I decide to open the blinds.  As I'm opening, I see Miss M outside - yes, outside!  I think to myself, 'is this a reflection in the window?' 'how did she get out there?'...all these thoughts are going through my mind.  It was just a shock to see her out on the patio, looking at me like 'hello, you got a problem?'.  Of course, I quickly picked her up and brought her to safety, in my arms, cozy and warm.  Don't think she liked it though.  Seems the screen in our bedroom window was pushed out.  Not sure if it just 'fell' on its own, or if it had a little prodding from my baby.  Methinks it's the latter.

Then this evening, she's sitting on Daddy's desk, as he's trying to play his game.  As on any desk, there is a pile of papers, books...very slowly, she drops her head and starts to push the debris in her way.  We're sitting there watching her!  Bam, several papers and a book drop to the floor.  Then she sees her sister, realizes if she drops any more she'll hit her, and stops, just waits.  Soon Dulcinea moves along, and Miss M didn't miss a beat...again she dropped her head and pushed until the remaining papers were on the floor.  Then she just licked her paw, stretched across the desk and gave a little 'meow'...It was just the cutest thing ever!

Needless to say, I love my babies.  Just thought you'd enjoy these little escapades and something lighthearted for a change.  Here's to love, here's to pets, and here's to my Miss M!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Missing Him

Ever since the stone was placed on his grave, I've been having a rough time.  Perhaps the stone was a symbol of finality for me.  The grief is constant, always there, and I find myself crying over the smallest thing.

Then last night I was watching The Biggest Loser.  It was the 'make over' week, where the contestants glam themselves up, showing off the weight they've lost.  One of the girls was reunited with her father.  I lost it.  Seeing the love on the father's face, seeing how proud he was of his daughter, seeing them hug - brought it all home to me that I will never see that look on Daddy's face again.  I will never feel his hug again.  Not in this lifetime.  The dam broke and the tears spilled forth.

What's more to say?  I miss him so much.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jumbled Thoughts

My emotions are high, and they are mixed.  Anger, hurt, dismay, sadness - a deep, deep sadness.  And hurt.

I didn't think I was much bothered by what transpired yesterday, but when I awoke this morning my heart was heavy with such sadness.  This is gonna be a jumble of thoughts because I have so many coursing through my brain right now.

First and foremost, hurt and betrayal of a nephew.  To be called such a vile name in such a vulgar way...words coming from someone I have only loved throughout life.  The sadness is deep, and try as I might to blow it off as rantings of a sad, angry person, it isn't easy.  I remember the sweet boy from long ago, and for so long I have tried to defend his actions/his anger; I have tried to believe there is still that sweet boy buried deep inside...and now?  I don't know, and what's worse, I'm not sure I even care anymore.  Horrible thoughts for an aunt, I know, but words wound deep and leave lasting scars.

And then I wonder is that how I am seen?  Do others see me as such?  Do my other nieces and nephews see me as someone who just meddles in their life; as someone who only has negative things to say?  But isn't the role of an Aunt to guide and help? What if his words are true?  How do I know and how do I change?  I don't consider myself to be negative...With this particular nephew, it's rare that I have anything to say about his life. I am confused.  To disagree with his thoughts about religion, his lack of respect, is that negative?  Am I not allowed to disagree with his choice of words; he has freedom to believe what he chooses, do I not have that same freedom in return?  And because I speak of my beliefs, is that negative?  Does that call to be insulted beyond measure?  From a nephew?  I think not. 

But I think the saddest part is the lack of respect.  I would never, in my wildest dreams, talk to my aunt the way I was spoken to.  I would never speak to anyone the way I was spoken to.  And yet, it seems so few really care what he said, or how he said it.  His friends laugh and call him crazy.  Is that what our society has come too?  Such a lack of respect for elders, for anyone?  When did it become acceptable to use such vulgar language?  Do our young adults care for anything?  When did respect become a laughing stock?  How will these children/adults learn if no one steps up and calls them out, if no one says 'enough is enough and I will not be talked to in such a way; I will not be maltreated!'  My God, if this is the new generation, we are in a heap of trouble.

I want to pray for him, but it is so hard.  I want an apology, which I know I will never receive.  I want to forget that this boy that I have loved for 30 years can simply toss aside such devotion for a few chosen, crass words.  How can it be so easy for him...why is he so angry?  What happened to change him, to have such little regard for me, and for those he claims to love?  

And so...I am heartsick.  Filled with so many emotions ~ some scare me, some just make me very, very sad.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Depth of Love and Sorrow

"Who can explain how the mind & heart works or what the depth of love & sorrow is?"

My mother wrote those words to me the other day.  She was trying to explain her reaction upon seeing the tombstone on Daddy's grave.  The words hit home, and hit hard. Who can explain?  When I saw the picture of the tombstone, I was deeply shaken.  Seeing his name in stone, and the dates, made it all too real that yes, he is gone and he is not coming back.  I don't know how to explain my feelings.  I know he is gone, but there are times when I think of him, when I hear his voice, that my mind forgets and I think he's just not 'here', not present; perhaps still in the hospital or nursing home.

I arrived at work, turned on my phone to call my husband.  My sister's message popped up, along with the picture.  The tears came fast and hard...I just wasn't expecting to see his name.  And the flowers that were placed upon the marker made it even more poignant and tender.  How I want to be there, to sit and chat; maybe feel his presence?  It hurts that I can't place flowers on his grave, caress the stone.

But then I think of my mother...and the depth of her grief, love, and sorrow.  How can one go on after spending 60 years with another?  I imagine the quiet and stillness of the condo is sometimes overwhelming for her, moreso than the noise and clucking Dad used to make.  My grief is still fresh and raw, yet nothing compared to what she must feel.  She feels his presence and the deep emptiness at the same time.  One of the last gifts Dad bought Mom was a little vase with some flowers.  We don't know how or why, but for over a year the flowers have not died.  Rather amazing, actually.  When Dad was last 'sick', one petal fell.  The other day, Mom looked down and there on the carpet were a bunch of the petals...why are they now falling?  Perhaps it's Dad sending a message to Mom - letting her know that he is still there, with her, beside her?  I choose to believe so.

The tombstone marks his final resting place.  He is not there.  I know he is in heaven, laughing and chuckling, receiving all the answers he ever had questions to - instant knowledge.  How he must be relishing all the information he's receiving!  Funny how the mind can know one thing, but the heart feel another...because my heart feels he is still here.

Who, indeed, can explain how the heart and mind works, or the depth of love and sorrow?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thrice

So, I woke up this morning with the phrase 'thrice, you've come into my dreams'. 

Can't think of anything more to add, but the word 'thrice' has been in my head all day.  An interesting word, to be sure.  Just say it 'thrice'...meaning three times...What would four times be?  Is there a word?  Mmm...don't think so. 

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed, have had a headache all day, but thrice I have counted myself  lucky to be married to the man who is my husband.  Yes, thrice, I have looked upon his countenance and thought 'what a lucky woman am I!'...

Thrice.  Thrice. Thrice.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cherry Tree Love




My oh my
who do I see,
hiding in
the cherry tree?

Mom and Dad,
love still in bloom;
ah, inhale
love's sweet perfume!

Copyright © Kristina M. Hooper, 03/27/2011

Inspired by the love of my parents, and a friend, Martin, and his Cherry Tree series...
for more, visit poetsforintegrity.org


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Words

Do people realize how they can hurt with words?  How something simple can wound so deeply? 

I admit to being a bit emotional; and I admit that I can get my feelings hurt easily...but be that as it may, why aren't people more careful with their utterances.  Truly, some people open their mouth and the arrow is out before they can stop.  They move on, but the wound remains...open and ugly.

And I do believe that some people don't realize what they say, how they hurt.  Others, on the other hand, know exactly what they're saying and shame on them.  Physical wounds can heal.  Bruises disappear.  But the damage of words, and the power they hold, sometimes last a lifetime...and sometimes they are the deadliest wounds of all.

'Loose lips, sink ships'...loose lips can sink hearts as well.  Take heed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pug Mahone!


 
 Please read the title in your best Irish accent possible...and to that add 'top o' the mornin' and 'erin go braugh'...these were favorite sayings of my great-uncle Ed.  He was Irish through and through and very proud of his heritage.  St. Patrick's Day always reminds me of him.  

One may ask, 'what does pug mahone mean?'...not quite sure we ever really got a definite answer, but I do believe the definition is somewhere along the lines of 'kiss my ass'...That was Uncle Ed.  Uncle Leddy, as we called him when we were little.  He was a great man...more of a grandfather to my siblings and I, than a great-uncle.  He and Aunt Marie - Aunt Aree...

The two of them were truly the only 'grandparents' any of us truly knew...my last grandparent died when I was only 6 months old, so I never knew them.  Aunt Marie and Uncle Ed filled the bill, perfectly.  Whenever they would visit, Aunt Aree would have boxes, or bags, of Chicklets in her purse...the first to find them got to hand out the bunch - whoever was first to the purse, was in control!  If you didn't like a certain sibling, they didn't get their Chicklets till last...!  Poor Aunt Marie...sometimes we were more excited about the darned Chicklets, than we were to see her!   And every Christmas there would be Santa sleighs on the Christmas tree...each of us would get a sleigh with five silver dollars inside.  

Uncle Ed fell in love with Aunt Marie the first moment he ever saw her.  He was on a bus, she was on the street...He told his traveling buddy 'that's the girl I'm going to marry'...They were married as close to 50 years as possible without actually celebrating the day.  Aunt Marie was buried on or about their 50th wedding anniversary.  They lived in the same apartment for those 50 years; the magical apartment that held many mysteries for my siblings and I.  The closets, the hallways, the incinerator, their bedroom, Uncle Ed's desk...the elevator!   And every time we would visit, we would knock on the door, and Uncle Ed would stand behind the levered door and say 'who's there'?  We would all say 'Uncle Leddy, it's us!'...

Memories that are rich and full of love.  So, on this St. Patty's Day, I raise a toast to the greatest 'grandparents' who ever lived - to Aunt Aree and Uncle Leddy - top o' the mornin' to ye!   


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Little Death



Every time you walk away
I die a little death;
a piece of me disappears,
heart stops, as does my breath.

My lonely soul held captive,
imprisoned by your grace;
come love, return, rescue me,
unveil your winsome face.

Then once again I shall live,
forever in your spell;
leave me not, my lady fair,
close by you let me dwell.

Copyright © Kristina M. Hooper, 03/08/2011


 Inspired by my husband...early this morning he gave me the line 'every time you walk away, I die a little'...challenged me to write something...
so, this is to my love...
For more of my poetry, and work of other wonderful poets, check out poetsforintegrity.org 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bacon


It happened today over bacon, of all things.

The day started out normally.  Went for an eye appointment, then we decided to have breakfast out.  I ordered my usual creamed chip beef, my husband ordered his usual pancakes, eggs, and crispy bacon.  The bacon, of course, was for me.  We were laughing, chatting, enjoying the time together.

Our meals came out, and I ate one piece of delicious crispy bacon.  As I moved on to the next, I thought of Dad.  I thought of how much he loved bacon; and how one of his last meals was bacon.  My husband attempted to cook him bacon, but even dying, Dad knew his bacon, knew good bacon from bad bacon.  Dad's critique of my husband's bacon was 'mediocre, not quite as good as Mom's'.  All of this came flooding back in an instant, and the tears started; I couldn't drink my coffee, I couldn't talk. The lump in my throat felt like my chipped beef had just stalled and wouldn't go any further.  Then I started thinking of his last days - did he know how much he was loved?  What was he thinking during those last days, when he couldn't talk, just slept?  Did he know how much I loved him, how much we all loved him, or did he simply think we wanted him out of the way? What were his thoughts?

I remember one day sitting with him.  I started crying, and he called me to him, he hugged me.  He said 'Poopsie, you're not okay with this are you?'  I tried to tell him I was, but I was going to miss him so much.  He told me that he understood, that he knew I had to cry my tears; then he caressed me and told me he would always be my side.

All these thoughts came in an instant, as if a dam had broken...and all over a slice of bacon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Misty Flats

When Daddy was in school, the nuns used to say to him 'Thomas, Thomas, you're wandering the misty flats'...I thought of those misty flats the other day and wrote the poem below. This is for you, Daddy.



Wandering the misty flats,
searching high and low;
what do I seek, here and there,
I do not even know.

Something pulls my soul to roam
the meadows far and wide;
a constant ache deep within,
a need I cannot hide.

Her mystery speaks to me,
dark secrets are revealed;
upon the moors, solitude,
where heart and mind are healed.

As I wander misty flats,
your presence feels so near;
alone I walk, wrapped in love,
with nothing more to fear.


Copyright © Kristina M. Hooper, 03/08/2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Remnants


Thursday, Mom will leave here and return home, to her empty condo, loneliness.  She is scared and nervous, yet feels Daddy is calling her home.  I awoke this morning with the first lines of the poem...this is for Mom.



emptiness
where you once were
remnants of our
life
your easy chair
the lonely bed
we loved as man and
wife
i wander now
through every room
touching this and
that
your laughing pig
your hearing aids
your favorite coat and
hat
all i have are
memories
these walls don't feel like
home
scattered pieces
everywhere
your're gone and I'm
alone

Copyright © Kristina M. Hooper, 03/08/2011



Thursday, March 3, 2011

Treasures

A friend of mine wrote the following poem and it touched my heart; made me think on all those friends who are treasures in my life.

Treasures

People are treasurers who often cross your mind,
who in your life have shined with warmth of
love, spark and light.

No matter how long since you have met,
each one is a cherished gem who
gleams and glows in memory,

bringing special measure to
each other as lifelong treasures
providing fulfilling pleasures. 

a.t.sole'ful
copyright Martin 3/2/01 

You can find this poem, along with many other wonderful poems, at poetsforintegrity.org.  Browse the site with a 5 day honorary membership.  A great site with many talented poets.  Check it out.

 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Grief

I am told that people grieve individually...no one grieves in quite the same way as the next person.  I am finding this to be true.  My one sister seems to cry all the time, can't stop.  I, on the other hand, haven't really cried since the funeral.  Does this concern me?  Yes, it does, to a certain extent.

Do I feel guilty because I haven't cried?  No.  I know I loved my father tremendously.  I know we had a beautiful relationship and I have no regrets where he is concerned.  What I have a 'problem' with is that I don't seem to be feeling anything at all.  I see my mother's emotions...I see her cry, and I am not affected at all.  I'm not even sure I'm missing him right now.

Up to the point when Daddy died, I always imagined I would be a total mess at his death, and afterwards...like my sister.  These emotions, or lack thereof, confuse me - but having never dealt with a death so close, I don't know what to expect.  Some say that perhaps my distance the last two years (the move to Florida) plays a part - yes, could be.  Some say that perhaps my relationship was so good with him, that I'm not feeling the grief so much; or because we had those two weeks to say goodbye that I did my grieving then.  Who the hell knows? 

All I can say is that something is going on.  My mind is not functioning as it normally does.  And there is a sadness.  Will it hit me down the road?  Am I still in a kind of denial stage?  Grief is a strange thing.  I find myself wanting to feel more...wanting to miss him so much I cry, or just ache...and it's not happening.  Yet deep in the night, I wake myself up from my dreams...dreams in which I am sobbing, a deep, deep sorrow...and I can feel the real tears start...that's when I wake myself up.  And that leads me to believe that I am not dealing with this all that well; that somewhere deep inside, my grief is quietly waiting and someday, over some small thing, the dam will break.

I do miss my father very much.  I miss his voice, his chuckle...Grief, I find, is not my friend.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Day

Thinking of 19 January, the day we buried Daddy...

Today we put you in the ground,
church bell chimes, the only sound;
with angels gazing all around,
your resting place here is found.

We listen closely, preacher speaks,
each in sorrow, comfort seeks;
as gentle tears flow down our cheeks,
thoughts of you, the years and weeks.

Courageously you passed your days,
filled with love and tender ways;
lone trumpeter, as Taps he plays,
honors you with thanks and praise.

The flag upon your casket crowned,
folded neatly, tightly bound;
loved ones passing by your mound,
moments frozen, so profound.

Eternal peace at last you've found,
today we put you in the ground.

Copyright © Kristina M. Hooper, 01/30/2011





Saturday, January 22, 2011

Leaving You

Tomorrow I am leaving you.  I will leave this condo, full of you and your 'stuff', with a heavy heart.  For I know the next time I visit, things could be different.  This could be the last time I see parts of you - your closet, full of your clothes; your office, full of your books, your pens, your piggies, your holy relics...all those things that made you YOU, that made you the wonderful husband, daddy, poppop, friend you were.  All these pieces of you that are making it so hard to leave.  There will always be a part of you here, and this is where I will come when I want to feel close to you.  You are gone, but you will live forever here...and so goodbye, Daddy, I am leaving you tomorrow.  I love you.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Missing You

It's 3:00 in the morning and I can't sleep, I'm missing you so.  Yesterday was the first day without you, the first day I couldn't see you, or pick up the phone to call you.  I drank my coffee out of your piggy mug, I wore one of your sweatshirts...but those are just things and hold nothing of your love or warmth. 

You have been here all my life; what do I do now?  This is a new phase and I'm not sure how to handle things.  I do realize that I now have two fathers in heaven I can pray too; but I would rather have you here to give your wisdom, your thoughts, your hugs. 

So what's it like up there?  Did you see PopPop and Grandma?  Noni and Grandad?  Did you see Grammy and Aunt Wawee, Aunt Marie and Uncle Ed, Jack and Arline, Ed, Bill, Sam, Chris, Joe?  What do the angels look like, and more importantly what does the throne of our Lord look like?  Did you see us there, crying over your body?  You waited till you were alone, then left...I wonder why?  Did you hear me singing to you early in the morning, holding your hand?  Do you see how much you are loved, how many lives you touched?

The world will be a different place now.  We have lost a great man, the most wonderful father in the world, and the most devoted husband.  Don't worry, we will take care of Mom.  And just think, now you will always know exactly where she is!  No more asking 'where's Momma?' 

It's early morning down here and I can't sleep...just want to let you know that I miss you beyond these measly words, and that my heart aches for you.  I love you.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sorrow

Below is a poem I wrote a couple years ago when Dad was in the hospital...rather sums up what I'm feeling right now...the poem is called 'Sorrow'.

railroad








Lonesome whistle sounds,
slowly down the track;
and in my heart I wonder,
will you be coming back?

Lonely whistle haunts,
speaks unto my soul;
a grieving deep within,
which no one can console.

Kristina M. Hooper

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Remembrances

So many memories are floating through my mind these past days...memories of my Dad, and just how he seemed to always know what I needed:

I remember when I broke up with one of my boyfriends (which was probably in answer to Daddy's prayers!), he came over to my apartment and sat with me, consoled me and held me while I cried.

I remember when the engine blew in my malibu classic.  The repairs went on for months, and Dad insisted that I handle everything myself...he said it would teach me to stand up for myself...it surely did.

I remember when I had my first accident, sliding on ice.  I got to work, called my Daddy, crying, saying I didn't want to drive home - asked if he would come get me;  he said 'no, if i come and get you, you'll never drive in snow/ice again; you need to get back in the car and drive home'...as always, he was right.

One particular Christmas I was having a very rough time - just very sad and depressed; I wanted an Oxford Dictionary, but knew it was too expensive for 'Santa Clause'...after everyone opened their gifts, Dad said there was one more that was hidden behind a chair, and it was for me.  I opened it, and there was my dictionary...still one of my most cherished possessions. 

There was a time when I was very upset about something happening at work.  Mom knew something was wrong and was insisting that I tell her; Dad simply hugged me and said 'when you're ready to talk, i'm here'...of course, I started bawling and blubbered the whole story.  Again, he held me and consoled me.

So many memories.  One of my nieces told me today that I was a female PopPop...that my words of wisdom, and my hugs always made her feel better.  I couldn't ask for a better compliment.  And although I somewhat doubt her words, what an ideal to aspire to.