The Journey Home


It seems like a lifetime has passed since December’s post. Early December brought pneumonia for me, and then after Christmas, life proceeded to worse. Chad suffered a serious fall and the next day, Patrick’s friend was killed in a car accident. Chad’s on the mend, and we are attempting to help our son through his loss. As a parent, the challenges of bridging this horrible passage never occurred.

Most generations remember losing and mourning a friend gone too young. I remember those friends lost in high school and college, the pain, questions, and numbness. As parents we sit by helplessly, attempting to ease the grief. While we can certainly be there for support, nothing helps more than letting our young grieve together. Perhaps this is part of letting go; our children need the chance to be with their peers to truly sort things out. As a woman, I also didn’t expect how certain difficult, manual activities provide closure for our men, my father-in-law building his granddaughter’s coffin twelve year’s ago or my son and his friends actually picking up shovels and burying their friend.

When dealing with death, I often think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s glimpse through Gandalf’s words in “The Lord of the Rings”:

“…The journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path…One that we all must take…The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass…and then you see it…White shores…and beyond. A far green country under a swift sunrise.”

I don’t begin to know or claim what’s to come, but I have often found solace in Tolkien’s words and prefer to follow my parents’ words of wisdom. “We all have a journey ahead, a topic worthy of reflection.” The following song, from the late 70s has often brought me peace. Also, after witnessing the visitation, bagpiper’s procession and funeral (and later, watching my husband’s stubbornness and strength to get back to work), I truly understand what Maureen O’Hara meant when she said, “We Irish are a fighting people.”

RIP  Jeremiah

wrestling Patrick and Jer




For the Love of Music-Summer Edition

In the midst of this busy summer, I have been learning a new instrument, the McNally Strumstick (or as my eldest, an accomplished guitarist calls it, guitars for dummies). The Strumstick is what I would call a travel or campfire guitar. Only sporting three strings, it is similar to the mountain dulcimer.

The sound carries more of a “twang,” making it perfect for folk music, country music, campfire music, and general Americana. I have learned seven or eight basic chords, which gives me the freedom to provide my own accompaniment on many tunes if my guitarist is other wise occupied.

If you are looking for an instrument that can be learned quickly by all, is reasonably priced, and is fun for the whole family, check out the McNally Strumstick!

So here is my rendition of “Learn me Right” from the movie, “Brave.” Enjoy!