Category Archives: family

Thanks, Veterans

Today is an American holiday that is often overlooked and just another reason for banks, schools and post offices to close. Too many of us take for granted the reason Veterans Day exists at all.

The sacrifices that the men and women in the U.S. Armed forces make are tremendous. The risks they take to go to war go well beyond the physical dangers. They risk losing relationships and missing out on key events in life that the rest of us can’t imagine missing; birthdays – births for that matter – anniversaries, holidays, celebrations and just day-to-day living without the fear of dying.

Some of them return with permanent, visible scars and many return with lasting emotional scars that we cannot see and may never understand.

Thank a service man or woman today for the leadership and bravery they possess. I’d like to personally thank my brother Ken, who has served in two wars and just passed his twenty year anniversary in the armed forces.

ken-iraq

I’m glad your home, brother.

Fun With Kids

If you are going to have kids, you get the right to have some fun with them for your own entertainment, right? As can be seen here, my husband and I (and a few in-laws) had some fun with our three-year-old recently as he attempted to act out a never-in-this-day-and-age scene from a marriage…between Superman and WonderWoman.

Hey, babysitting is expensive – we’ve got to create our own fun.

Been busy, just not here

I haven’t written here lately because work has been taking off like wild fire, I’ve been traveling a lot and I’ve been writing on other blogs, including a new one: This Mommy Gig with two other women I met online at Twitter. We’re adding other women, too, and giving “working mom” perspectives from around the country. I am taking my mommy rants over there, as a) being responsible to someone else makes me do a better job and b) it’s more fun with a team.

You can also read me here:
Training4Dublin – my Marathon Training blog with my husband as we train for the Dublin Marathon in October 2008

Women For Hire’s Be Gutsy Blog – run by ABC’s contributing Workplace Editor, Tory Johnson (I’m “Balanced Woman”)

PerkettPR’s PerkettPRsuasion – my own company’s blog on PR, social media, technology, client, industry and agency news

Or connect with me here:

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

I’ll be back here if the mood strikes me and it’s a topic that doesn’t fit into one of these other blogs.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you on the other sites, too.

Good People Day – Papa, That’s You

I participate in a micro blogging site called Twitter (if you’re on, you can follow me @missusP). If you don’t know what Twitter is… and you want to learn more, you can read more in various blog posts, online articles or by simply typing “What is Twitter” into any search engine.

Anyway, one of the users I follow, Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee… better known as the Wine Library TV celebrity) has made an Internet plea for today to be “Good People Day.” I’m pretty skeptical about such things…but then I thought of one of the best people in the universe, my Grandfather. If we’re talking good people, I must share his story (which is a post I’ve been meaning to write anyway so this is a good push).

Everyone knows traditional marriage vows include “til death to us part” and “in sickness and in health.” Likewise, we know that today, few people actually keep these commitments (with 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, sadly, these promises have become almost meaningless). My grandfather is a rare, focused and stubborn man who took these vows to a level of commitment few people ever know in their lifetime.

My grandmother was diagnosed with “dementia” (read: Alzheimer’s) in her mid 60s (just like her mother before her). My grandfather watched several heart-breaking years as this horrible disease crept up on her. She knew it at moments when she couldn’t remember her own address, her name, or how to get home. After it overtook her, he tried for many years to take care of her on his own. He had watched his mother-in-law go through a terrible nursing home experience that had soured him greatly.

If you are at all familiar with Alzheimer’s you will understand why he couldn’t keep this care up on his own. Eventually, with the help of family and friends, he did put her in a great nursing home. But, unlike many people in this world who dispose of ill loved one’s like they might drop of a dog at the pound… he remained present every single day.

Every day my grandfather, aka Papa, would arrive at the nursing home at 6 a.m. He would help my grandmother (aka Mimi) get dressed, brush her teeth, comb her hair, etc. He fed her breakfast, lunch and dinner. He made sure she got her “exercise,” took her outside for sunshine, read to her, painted her nails and spent every single day for over a decade taking care of her at the home. He put her to bed before leaving for the day and, although she didn’t talk, eat on her own or show any other signs of interaction, she always puckered up to kiss him back when he asked nicely.

Papa; Mimi

This is not a typical arrangement. The hospital staff knew this and let him “do his thing” – awed by his love and dedication. He befriended many of them over the years – becoming a constant presence in their lives just as much as he was in Mimi’s. He’d teach them about his favorite subjects like jazz music, funny quotes and new books to read. He’d bring them gifts like CDs, flowers, books and more. He brightened not only the lives of my grandmother but everyone in that hospital, every single day.

The level of this dedication could often be misunderstood. Some worried that he spent too much time at the home.. not enough time focusing on his own needs. But this is what made him happy, this is what he promised to do. I know very few people that have upheld such promises in such a tremendous way.

My grandmother passed away in November 2006. My grandfather still goes to the nursing home on a regular basis to visit other patients, friends he’s made along the way, and even use the hospital gym.

I hope you will agree, that’s a good – no, great – person.

Death and Forgiveness

I found out over the weekend that my Grandmother died. For many, a grandparent dying is not a big deal. Often it’s an excuse people use when they are lying about an absence in a college class or important work meeting – or even to gain sympathy in a reality TV show.

The death of my Grandmother signifies the end of many things for me. When my brother called to tell me, I was stoic. I hung up and I sat with it for a while. Then I cried.

I cried for the loss of a life. I cried that it made me think of my own vulnerability. I cried about the anger I’ve had toward her and have been carrying around for nearly 20 years. I cried that I had hung onto it for so long and didn’t forgive her while she was here. I cried for my father who has now lost his second parent and is conflicted with emotions due to a tumultuous relationship with his mother that affected his entire life – including his own children. I cried for many experiences lost and I cried for the good memories I did have – homemade Tapioca pudding, a dog named Tammy, a lakeside home and May Day celebrations (a lost tradition that she taught me about with May poles and May baskets – I remember the neighbors being quite perplexed when I went door-to-door at the age of 7 handing them out).

As I rearrange my work schedule this week and head West for the funeral, I think about what to wear. I laugh for a moment when I realize I’ll be wearing a business suit – because in a way it’s appropriate – the funeral is a business transaction for my soul. The relationship was complicated and many things were left unsaid and undone – memories that can’t be changed, conversations that will never take place.

The finality of death can jolt you. Many times only for a moment. Others for a lifetime. I think about the fact that I didn’t call her on Thursday when my parents told me Hospice had come…

Perhaps she will forgive me, wherever she is, as I forgive her… finally.