Wednesday, May 31, 2023

May 31 - It's Been A While

Well hello there.  It's been a while, I know.  I just didn't feel like posting one morning, or the next morning, or the next . . . and it grew into a month long vacation from blogging.  I didn't miss it at all, didn't think about it, enjoyed not having the 'bother' of it, but I kinda always knew I'd eventually come back to it.  I can't ever seem to stay away.  As I type this, I'm not sure I'll be back to posting every morning like I had been, but I'm here for now.

So let's see if I can get back into the swing of things!

It's a cloudy, kinda dreary looking morning here in Wisconsin, 63 degrees with a chance of rain, and heading for a high of 86.  We hit 88 yesterday and are supposed to be near 90 all week.  That's a little too warm for me, especially this early, but at least it doesn't have the ungodly humidity that we usually get during summer.  We really need the rain.

Thanks to those who commented on my previous post, and to anyone who had us in their thoughts and prayers.  If you haven't read that post, my brother was killed on May 18, in a head-on collision with a 19 year old girl who was distracted by her phone.  The whole grieving process was made more difficult by the anger about the senselessness of it all.  It was totally preventable!  And then it became a complicated mess because we're a smalltown area and so many people knew both families.  For whatever reason, people were pointing things out to us about the other family, maybe out of awkward lack of words in the situation . . . ?  But we really did not need to keep hearing about the local benefits for this girl when there was nothing for my brother.  Seeing FB posts about her, and then to have her services at the same funeral home, right after my brother's . . . ugh.

The anger about the whole thing grew into something that interrupted the grieving process, and then exploded as family members started snapping at each other.  The night before the visitation there was a big blowup on FB and in private messages.  That seemed to be the outlet we needed because the anger part of it seemed to go away after that.

The visitation  celebration of life was nice enough, I suppose.  Funerals and things like that are so hard for me.  I know, they are hard for everyone.  The emotions of others though, it amplifies my own to the point that it gets overwhelming.  I stopped attending such functions many years ago because it's so hard for me to handle.  One thing that really irks me is that sort of expectation that you are just supposed to be there.  'Oh, this person really needs your support,' or 'You need to say goodbye so you can heal,' type sentiments need to be changed or lightened up on.  Some people just can't handle these things.  There are plenty of other people around to 'support' whoever, and I will 'say goodbye to heal' in my own time and way.  I did go to this gathering, but it was hard and we bailed before the end.  And I don't feel it helped me in processing anything.

Still, it was a nice enough event.  His wife and kids wanted to keep it more upbeat and casual, so there was music he preferred playing softly (good old classic rock), and it was requested that everyone wear their green and gold because he was a big Packers fan, or to at least wear something colorful because 'he would not have wanted anyone in black.'  We wore Vikings purple, of course.  They had a basket of Sharpie markers to write messages on the casket.  I hadn't known about that while I was there, but that's kind of a neat idea.

It was a closed casket because, well, he was in a head-on collision.  I did not even approach the casket end of the room, just couldn't.  I sat at the other end of the room and caught glances of the casket once in a while as I looked around at all the people.  It was just so surreal.

Oh, let me say something that might help if you're attending a visitation or funeral.  I was doing okay as long as people kept conversation casual and in normal tones, and did not try to hug me.  I am NOT a hugger.  It was when people would approach with the quiet, sad tone of "How are you doing?" that I would lose it.  So my tip is, if you see that the person you are approaching is maybe smiling in conversation with others and obviously looking okay, DON'T bring in the sad, overly emotional tone or force hugs.  That person might be holding it together by a thread, and if they are laughing and talking easily with someone, DON'T alter that tone.  Give your condolences in a more normal manner.  I suppose, on the other hand, if someone is crying and obviously having a hard time, yeah the tone might be different.  I'm just saying though, if someone is outwardly doing okay in that moment, don't kill whatever strength they may have summoned to get through.

The graveside service was the next morning.  I did not go.  There was a lunch at his wife's house after, and we did go to that.  The mood was a lot more upbeat, there was a ton of food, and we were able to just hang out and talk and laugh for a while.  And now it's back to normal.  I will eventually go out to the cemetery.

We had a scare with my mom in the midst of all this.  She'd had a lot of people stopping in to visit and stay with her in the first couple days after the accident.  When I was there Monday of that week she seemed okay health-wise.  I stopped in briefly on Wednesday of that week and her voice was really rough, sounded like she had a bad cold.  She said she'd been coughing like crazy the day before but felt better that day.  Very early Thursday morning, like 5:00am, she called my other sister-in-law, who lives only a block away from her, saying she thought she might need an ambulance.  SIL rushed over to her, took her to the closest ER, and it was found she had bronchitis.  She was tested for c*vid and it was negative.  The hundred million other tests came back fine.  They sent her home with some pills.  She did make it to the celebration of life, but was worn out and skipped the graveside service and lunch.  When I was back over there Monday of this week, she sounded much better and seemed in good spirits.

Well, I had other things I thought I'd update on but I've gotten long winded about my brother.  If I'm back to regular posting, I'll touch on those other things in coming posts.

Hope you're all well and happy!

Monday, May 22, 2023

May 22 - It Needs To Stop!!!


This is my brother, Gary (and his youngest granddaughter).  He was killed last week Thursday in a horrible head-on collision.  He was 64 years old.  He leaves behind his wife of 35 years, a son, a daughter, and 5 grandkids.  It was a clear, sunny, dry afternoon as he headed home from work.  Another car crossed the center line and hit him.  That other driver, a 19 year old local girl, was distracted by her phone.

This needs to stop!!!

 Not only are we all in shock and grieving our loss, but there is anger in the family too. Trying to navigate these very powerful emotions is not making any of this easier. There was a fund raiser posted very quickly on Facebook, a fund raiser for the girl. The description talks about celebrating the "spontaneous/ enthusiastically spirited way she lived." Wtf-ever, people. This was totally preventable. Her careless actions killed my brother. Yes, this other family has lost someone too, but like I said, this was totally preventable. This was her careless actions.

Witnesses stated to police that she had already crossed the center line at least once before hitting my brother's car.  The preliminary investigation says it was likely that she was distracted by her phone.

My rage is strong.

Earlier this year, a coworker of Hubby's rear-ended a semi . . . because he was reaching for his phone.  He ended up with several broken ribs and fingers, broken wrist and arm.  It could have been much worse, but again . . . leave the damn phone alone!

With all the technology out there, isn't there some way to kill the signal while inside a motor vehicle?  People will argue they need it for GPS or 911.  There is already some way to dial 911 in any instance, right?  And no, you don't need GPS.  If it means saving lives, you can look at a damn map, print directions, become familiar with your route before you leave.  Pull over if you must.  But leave the damn phone alone!

If you have teen drivers, go over this with them.  Pound it into there heads.  Show them this picture:

And if you do it yourself, please stop!!! 

If you are the praying type, please pray for healing as we try to navigate these complicated emotions.

I'm not sure if I'll be returning to regular blogging yet, but I felt a strong need to vent this.