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Rayford Ennis Cook

Yesterday, May 17, 2012, marked a year on the calendar since my Dad, Rayford Cook, passed away in his sleep.

If you are reading this post, you most likely have noticed that it’s been a little quiet on these pages for months.  I haven’t felt like writing, something has been preventing me from releasing the words that have been swirling in my head or giving air to the emotions that somehow still exist despite my heart being cracked and broken. I would guess that my siblings feel the same way. Yes?

Teresa said that grief is self-indulgent and I totally agree and understand…but grief is also powerful and manipulative and unreasonable. Grief is definitely not a quitter. It raises its ugly head and sticks out its tongue sporadically without any forewarning.

In the past, people would wear black garb for a year to signify to the world that they were grieving.  I think that it was probably a good idea. It gave them some latitude and breathing room. People saw their black outfits and knew that they should handle with care and not to expect too much. In this enlightened age, we pull up our big girl panties and go out and face the world. We don’t expect people to give us a wide berth, to acknowledge that we have been damaged, and to tread lightly with their comments.  Instead we paint on our “Public Face”, paste on a smile and pretend that we are whole; however, inside we are doing our best to keep our emotions in check, act properly and make no one uncomfortable. Suffer in silence and just keep moving forward. Maybe we should bring back the tradition of wearing black. It might be easier. Is a year long enough? Is grieving supposed to be gone by now?

Dad has been gone for 365 days. 8760 hours. A Year.  Day by day has passed.

I struggle with writing this…it feels all wrong. I have deleted it several times now…but for some reason…I feel like I cannot let this mark on the calendar go by without acknowledging it here after everything else that has been written on this blog. I must write.  This is not a cry for attention. I truly want none. This all seems in vain…what’s the use? What’s the purpose? I write and Dad is still gone. I write and there is still grief. I write and my Mom is still without her soulmate.What is the use? Why write?

Okay, that being said, thanks for letting me wallow…if Dad were reading this, he would scold me. Dad was anything but self-indulgent. He had such a down-to-earth attitude about absolutely everything, including his own death. So instead of counting all the ways and reasons I hurt from missing him and the void that he has left. I will honor his legacy by letting the memory of my Dad warm my heart. This is my feeble attempt, because, truth be told….there are no words to define him, no words adequate enough to sum up this man, so wonderfully complex and faceted. There just are no words elegant enough to capture his essence or sufficient enough to convey his legacy in its entirety.

So….

I close my eyes and I see him.

He is a regular visitor in my dreams.

I can hear his voice.

I can still smell him.

I can feel his love.

Sophia Remembering Poppy

I can play back hours upon hours of home movies in my mind. I see Dad playing with us, working in his garden, teaching us, and taking us to worship. I see him kissing my mother and touching her arm tenderly as he passes by. I see his head bent in prayer before our family dinners (yes, my eyes were open), and see his legs sticking out from underneath the Ford as he tweaks with the mechanics. I see him carrying his grand-children, teasing his wife, and holding our hands. I can feel his hand in mine as we stand side by side singing praises to our God at the Kingdom Hall. I see him sitting and doing crosswords, reading his Bible and napping on the couch. I see him at the beach and walking on the boardwalk, looking and coveting those fine boats in the harbor. I feel his silence as we sit in the boat and wait for that first bite. I smell his cooking. I hear him singing in the shower. I hear his laugh. I hear his laugh. Thank God, I can still hear his laugh.

This man died and yet he is so alive in my heart and my head and in my hopes.

I will love you always Dad. I will try to live my life in honor of all you believed and taught me. I will Remember. I will hope and I will have faith that I will have you back.

I will Remember.

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Mom has a Facebook Account. Yep …. Mom has a new email address:  CarolCook1931@yahoo.com and also has her very own Facebook page. She is becoming a true Techie. She knows how to play Solitaire already…and she is constantly grabbing my Iphone to check my Facebook page…so I got her one of her own. When setting up her accounts, she chose her own email address and wanted to invite everyone she knew to be her friend. I suggested that she just ask family and wait to be invited by others…She already is friends with over 20 people. Next thing you know, she will be wanting her own Laptop…or maybe even an IPad.

Besides taking over the Intranet … Mom is supervising the remodeling and fluffing up of her new nest.  She should be in within a few weeks. In the meantime, Teresa is dragging us constantly to the Holy Trinity of Home Stores …. HD Supply, Home Depot and Lowes.  Progress is being made. The kitchen cabinets are in and look great. Now Mom’s bathroom is being completed with her very own custom shower…and then a few more items and then she will be moving in. She CANNOT wait. She loves her new place and is so excited.  We will keep you updated….meanwhile check out Carolyn Cook on Facebook or drop her an email.

Mom thinks it is funny that at 80-years-young she now has an email.>>Who woulda thunk?

Bat Party

Please note…that Mom’s phone has been disconnected and now the only way to contact her is through Teresa’s cell. If you do not have Teresa’s number…email her at teresabuster@live.com and she will send it to you.

NOW…..

The Estate Sales are over. Yay!!!  We were quite successful at trimming down. Furniture was sold, knickknacks carted away, the RV was sold and the garage is cleared. We met a lot of nice people who were very pleasant and just a couple of lookieloos who would not have been missed. Overall it accomplished what needed to be done.

Roger and Elena came down for the weekend. Roger participated in the 2011 Tuna Tournament that helped support the Food Bank and he brought us home twelve pounds of fresh Albacore.  Teresa arrived home Saturday after working for the week in Phoenix.  We picked her up at the airport and joined Roger for a steak dinner following his tournament. We had a very nice evening laughing together and enjoying each others company.

Sunday after the meeting, Mom’s Congregation gave her a Going-Away Party. Roger and Elena joined us, as well as Ryan, Kaila, and their children. We all gathered at Lake Marie, where Roger barbecued the fresh Albacore…IT WAS DELICIOUS and everyone raved about how moist it was. Burgers and hot dogs were also cooked and everyone shared in the feast that everyone had contributed to. Elena, Teresa and I all collaborated on a fresh Peach Crisp that turned out really yummy and was received quite well at the party. Everyone enjoyed the afternoon immensely. Roger and Elena went home after giving Mom, Teresa and I really nice long hugs and promises to visit in Ventura soon. (THEY HAD BETTER).

Friends referred a really nice family to rent Mom’s house, so that is a big relief…and things have been moving along pretty smoothly. It’s kind of ironic how things have been falling into place.

Until today….

Today Mom, Teresa and I were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off. (Stop for a second, close your eyes and visualize that…got it?)

Our plan is to move on Saturday. The list of “must-dos” is incredibly long and we are going a little Bat-Crazy…as in literally. Now visualize this: bats have invaded the attic, so we were on a quest to find this special wire mesh to keep them out and of course no one had it. Finally, the seventh building supply place in Coo’s Bay had a suitable substitute. Teresa was ticked.

We also needed to get some paperwork done at the DMV … well it turns out the DMV does not handle what we needed anymore, so we had to contact another Governmental office … and you know how red tape goes….sticky, sticky. (Turns out it wasn’t so bad). More chickens running around took place.

So all in all, our errands took us to seven building supply stores, one lawyer’s office, the DMV, one office supply store, a pharmacy, two Dollar Stores and three grocery stores…and one stop at an automotive place for a battery for the Ford … and oh yeah … one stop for lunch and another later at McDonald’s for some sweet tea. That’s a heck of a lot of running around.  I think we finished our list for the day…Yay. Now there is the list for tomorrow, Thursday, Friday and we are off to Ventura on Saturday.

So, helpful friends from the Reedsport Congregation, (Mike, Brian, Sarah, and Jonathan) showed up to combat the bats tonight.  Chuck and Myriam Harvey & Larry brought some fantastic chili verde, spanish rice and beans…we contributed enchiladas and salad and wham bam we have a bat party, complete with cheesecake, with blackberries. The guys and Sarah got up on the roof and took off the ridge, let the bats fly away at dusk and then went back up and stapled down the elusive mesh.

Larry Fitz & Chuck Harvey

Myriam Harvey

 

Jonathan, Mike & Brian

Do yourself a favor and do not visualize the next few sentences. The wonderful volunteers reported that there was a plethora of bats who left a hefty residual of deposit material that Sara said smelled like stinky musky poo. Brian said it is not as potent as old cow manure in a pile, but like cow poo that has old straw on top of it. Mike says it smells like bat poo, just plain old bat poo, which has a distinctive smell all its own. Well…we are grateful that our friends are so willing to help…and that their sense of humor remained intact. Hopefully the bats will now fly far, far away and poo somewhere else.

Sarah & Mom

So instead of beavers and ducks today….we had headless chickens and bats. Now let’s hope tomorrow is a little less hairy. We are almost done packing and cleaning. Randy will be here on Friday to drive the Moving Van down to Ventura and we are leaving on Saturday.

In true Cook fashion…we are sure to have more stories coming your way.

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