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Whoever said you can’t go back home didn’t know the loving acceptance of such friends and family. As Mom and I pondered the advantages of such a move the thought of where we would be settling brought up a very pleasant memory for Mom. This is where she began her life with Dad. After Dad left the service they settled right there in Oxnard. In fact her first four children were born in the county so in effect she is coming full circle. She’s not starting over, she’s coming back. And it is so comforting to know that the ones who have missed her are standing in line to welcome her home. And I’m more than happy to be part of the package.

For those who love her there is concern. Is she making a move to soon? Will she regret leaving the Oregon home she has loved for so long? What about downsizing to a smaller house and yard? Will she miss what she is about to give up? All very good questions and ones not considered lightly. Unfortunately there are no clear rules and regulations for what to do and when to do it when you lose a lifelong partner. I know because I looked desperately. Long and hard I looked to no avail after Larry died. Sure there are the generally accepted 7 stages of grief and the old adage… wait a year. But those aren’t cast in stone because every heart is different and some people are more resilient than others. Some can see a silver lining where others see a dark cloud. I was the dark cloud kind; lost and sad for a very long time. Mom however seems to be the type of Widow I so wanted to be. Sad but not mired in grief, looking at a life ahead rather than the one behind. Maybe that’s because she has had the past three years to grieve having had the advance knowledge of death. Or maybe it’s just because she is the strong and hopeful woman I’ve always known her to be. Either way I am proud of her because she still has her “get up and go” and it’s become more evident with her decision.

Her choice to leave this “little paradise” in Oregon may be a surprise to some but what is more surprising is that many of the ones who will miss her the most are relieved and happy for her too. They are relieved that she will not have the worry of trying to take care of such a rural property. They are relieved that mom will still have the closeness of family when I need to work. They are happy that she is choosing to surround herself with people she already knows and loves and they are thrilled to see her smiling. And that’s the most important….. She is smiling

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“Home” is any four walls

that enclose the right person.

Helen Rowland

That being said …  there is a mobile home at 25 Faulkner Court, in the City of Ventura, California that is soon going to be a true HOME. A home filled with two “Right” people. Mom and Teresa are moving to Ventura!  My fingers are typing with glee! I can hardly keep them on the keyboard because I keep wanting to clap and wave them up in the air. (Yes, a few fist pumps are definitely in order!)  Yep…they are coming back to California!!!

On their visit here in Ventura, I thought I would tempt them by casually driving them by some homes that might catch their eye. Mom had already stated back in Oregon that she might want to move now that Dad is no longer with her.   So….Yes, I had a plan…but truly, my plan was not wholly self-serving. No really.  I am capable of  putting other’s interests ahead of my own….really I am.. well…I am! (This said with great conviction.)  

Mom’s home in Oregon is wonderful and she and Dad had great times there, as did the whole family…But now that Dad is gone, it just isn’t the same. Great memories are now diluted by great heartache.   Mom is ready for her new start…so why not down in California where she can live by the beach still, and… in warmer weather? Not to mention that the old house is in such a tough rural spot with no easy assess if you are flying in for a visit.  I have countless other reasons why this is a good move for her….but I didn’t even need to push. She fell in love right away with this new place. I guess she was ready to jump and she did just that, bringing Teresa along as her constant companion and adventure-seeking partner.

I AM THRILLED.  Can you tell I am excited? I AM EXCITED….YAY!

Mom chose a lovely Senior Community called Lemon Wood, where Mobile Homes are situated in a tranquil setting, with tons of trees and flowers, babbling brooks and ponds and even a beautiful gazebo. There are walkways that lead you up the brook, pass the ponds and to a Community Center, with pool, saunas, and hot tubs, and even a golf putting area.  The park is secure and gated and some of our friends lives right down the street from the home she chose….how cool is that? 

So here are a few pictures of the place that Mom decided on:

This one is the mobile home in back of the pond

Mom’s New Home

The Beautiful Landscaping

The Club House & Pool

They Evcn Have A Library

The Community Library

 After signing the necessary papers, the house is now in escrow. It is scheduled to close on September 1st…and then we will get it ready for Mom and Teresa to move in and start their new adventures in Ventura. Already they have found some great restaurants, shopping, and other fun places to visit.

When everything is settled in Oregon and they get down here, they will live five minutes from the beach,  ten minutes from my house, just a few minutes to the Kingdom Hall … and both my sons and  a few of Mom’s Great-Grandchildren are just a few blocks away.  Teresa’s son Sean is right down the freeway. Mom’s neice, Bunny lives not too far, in the City of Lancaster … and … She is close enough to visit her longtime friends in Riverside, South Gate and Covina.

As for interesting places to keep the two of those Galavanting Ladies busy … Ventura’s downtown is great and not far away is Ojai, Carpenteria, Montecitio (where Oprah lives) Santa Barbara, and Solvang. Mom and Teresa have been warmly welcomed into our Congregation. ..they’ve even attended an evening of appetizers and wine in their honor already!  Everyone is looking forward to having them here permanently. Mom will have some great ladies to play cards with. She and Teresa are sure to be a welcome addition to our community … and not only that … having them so close by is definitely going to brighten up my life.

Yes … a New Home will be made, because anywhere where my Mother and Sister are residing will be a place filled with warmth and happiness. A new place to experience new joys and a new setting to help mend broken hearts. Love will grow in that house and it will be a great place for Mom to enjoy her days gardening and playing with her Great-Grandchildren and visiting with family and friends, new and old… and what a great place for the rest of the family to come and visit.

So….the Saga definitely continues in a fantastic and exciting new chapter for Carolyn Cook and Teresa Buster

… and (whispering softly, so I don’t sound too selfish…)

 ME. ME. ME.  (Jumping for Joy)  ME. ME. ME.

It’s almost 5 pm…which means that Teri and Mom should be almost to Santa Barbara and then  …. VENTURA!  Yay.  I am so thrilled that I will get to see them in just a little while… and yes I have chocolate ready.

Yet…my emotions are all over the place. While I am thrilled that I get this visit, the reason for it is not a good one. Mom’s sister, Aunt Ann, who lived in Lancaster, has passed away, so Mom is coming for her funeral….and that puts some more cracks into my heart. I cannot even begin to imagine what is going on in my Mom’s battered heart. She has seen so many of her close friends pass away this last year…then Dad, and now her sister. I just shake my head, and hold my hand over my chest and cry for her losses… and I pray. I pray that Jehovah cup her heart in his hands and hold it together and sooth it with loving tenderness. Guide her thoughts so that they will linger not on the sadness and pain, but on the wonderful memories, on the laughter and the joys she shared with her sister and my father. I beg that he not leave her unattended, but watch over her constantly and when she lays down at night and closes her eyes, please, grant her peace of mind and not turmoil of heart.

Our love goes out to Aunt Ann’s family: our Cousins and their families, who are grieving and experiencing a pain similar to what we just went through and continue to struggle with. They too watched their love one die because of Cancer. Aunt Ann battled lung cancer. I wish that I could say I learned exactly what to say to comfort them, but I have not. Friends and loved ones have written beautiful sentiments and recited scriptures in an effort to comfort us over losing Dad….I appreciate each and every one and know that I have been bolstered by their love and support….but there are just no words. Because death is wrong, it stings and hurts and keeps on taking more of our loved ones away. I hope that Aunt Ann’s family is surrounded by good friends. Our friends were our life support system and still are.  So when I see my Cousins at the funeral, I will do the only thing I can, I will hug them tight….no words I could possibly say can ease their grief, but I do know how much those hugs can help.  I am so sorry for their loss.

And…. I don’t know how long I get to keep Mom and Teri here, but I will do my darndest to try to show Mom a good time. She can make some more memories with her Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren, walk on the beach and pick up rocks and sea glass, visit some old friends,  and I do have some good wine for her and Teri.  When all else fails to keep her spirits up …. I plan on pulling out the chocolate. Mom loves chocolate. Yep…that’s my plan.

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