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The poor lilacs under almost two feet of snow on December 9th.

The poor lilacs under almost two feet of snow on December 9th.

As I was standing looking out the kitchen window just now, I felt her spirit.  It was like she was speaking to me.   Great Aunt Ruth, our only aunt, but the greatest one as well.  When we were growing up, she and our grandmother lived far away, not like down the street or even in the next town.  75 miles across Los Angeles.  A veritable desert of humanity in between us.  That was way before the population exploded, way back in the 1970’s.  Kind of humorous now, as for us, the next “big” shoppable/doctor appt town is 75 miles from here.  Also the closest I have lived to a Trader Joes since 1991 has been 75 miles.  I loved Aunt Ruth.  I always called her on New Years eve, and her sweet greeting will remain in my heart forever.  She was always so happy when I called 🙂   I wonder now what else she did aside from do amazing knitting, love her Pomeranian dog and keep watch on her sister, our grandmother.  Oh she grew amazing African Violets, which compelled me to do the same.  Now I “grow” or rather tend 100 year old lilacs 🙂

Lilacs of course

Lilacs of course

She lived in the same community as our grandmother.  She lived there BECAUSE of our grandmother.  Always silently sitting by while being told “OH NO Ruth”……which was our grandmother’s way of dealing with life.  Actually not dealing.  Telling everyone else how it is.  Or was, since they both are long since passed.  I digress, sorry.

So, looking out the window, I remember Aunt Ruth’s last visit with me.  She too had a difficult marriage.  Alcohol was involved with him as well.  I think she was one of the strongest women I have ever known.  On her last visit, she told me that she wished she still had her own home, that she would take me and my son and we would have a nice life, a calm life like we should have.  She was sad for me, for us.  She had lived the same life and walked the same walk at one time.  She knew my hopes and dreams.  But at the time I had a 2 year old son with my then alcoholic minded husband . As people, as parents, we end up make choices, wanting to save our loved ones and end up sacrificing ourselves.  Was the end result worth it?  The price of the sacrifice of soul and dreams and youth?  I don’t know.  It is sad how mixed up life can become when love is involved.  How I wish that I knew then, that we never get one day back.  To live in the moment.  That tomorrow isn’t for certain, it is a gift.

At the time I got involved with my husband to be, while I had fallen in love with him at 17, now I was in my late 20’s.  This was a big time in my life.  I was ready to take my California State Horse Racing board trainer test.  I had amazing people behind me- helping me, Henry Moreno, D. Wayne Lukas, Bobby Frankel.  Mesh Tenney, who was Swaps trainer.  Each one advising me and giving me more information which I will value forever.  Then my heart got involved and I stepped away from what I knew and loved,  through what I had hoped was a revolving door.  Instead, that door was shut tight, I was never to return to racing.  I only did so from a distance,  to rescue Thoroughbreds.  In thinking how I let this happen,  I had never known anyone who drank.  I did not know how bad it could be, that people could have a substance dictate their life the way alcohol did for my husband.  That and PTSD – the gift that kept on giving courtesy of Vietnam.  Life and learn?  Not any more for me.  More likely watch where you go and think before you jump.

Leaving the racetrack, moving to central California.  Through the birth of our son and horrible life at a gated community at a lake.  The worst time of my life.  Then, finally, a move to outside that place.  A ranch where I could have the horses on site.  Two homes so I could care for my failing dad until he passed.  Then another move, this time life brought us here to rural northeastern California.  The desert where it snows. My husband was sober and I let him rejoin our family.  Life for the first time ever was promising.  He was healthy until he made a horrific mistake.  He ignored the use instructions for a wood preservative.  Against all instruction, he used it in a closed space, in shorts and flip flops in a spray bottle.  The whole bottle has tiny type, all huge warnings on use.  It is copper napthanate for the record ranching/farming/contractor friends.  Brand name, appropriately called “Terminate”.  Yep, did the job.  The “blue stuff” that people paint on wood that is partly deteriorated, it stops the rot of the wood.  On a human, it is absorbed through the skin and ends up lodged in the liver.  The grand filter of the human body.  And it kills it.  But for my husband, finally sober, useful, kind, musical man he was, it took 2 years almost to finish him off.  Always just a bit too sick for a transplant (and you need to be nearly dead to get one) or a bit too un-well. No one lives for that span of time with a failed liver. No one.  Defied the doctors explanation.  Actually they didn’t HAVE an explanation.  It was almost funny – he was sober a recovering alcoholic for years.  His liver was healthy (biopsy done 8 months before) and life was finally good for us all.  So yes, he died, almost 8 1/2 years ago.  Point being, here in this age of transplantation and organ donation, I have two things to say.

1.  Please consider being an organ donor.  It save lives!!

2.  If a loved one needs a transplant, they  screen the patient for it when the doc is talking transplant and getting on the UNOS list.  THEN if you can afford it, insurance pay for it or not, get listed in other areas!!! No one told us that this was an option.  Organs are distributed by region through different area lists as well.  The time limit on distance/shipping is critical.  Just look into it.  If I had known it might have made a difference.

Ok, off the soapbox now, heard of a person in need and I am always compelled to impart the information I learned.  Maybe for them it won’t be too late.

Life is too short to waste, enjoy yours today!

In the last couple of weeks now we have had in addition to the almost 2 feet of snow, hurricane force winds now approaching 11 inches of rain.  There are tilting power poles on the access road around the corner – one is roped to another to keep it upright at this point.  All in all, the fixing the power company has done the last 10 years is paying off.  Through the worst of it we kept our lights on!  Much appreciated for sure!
A million and one things to get done today, in town, around the place here.
Have a great day all, and remember to tell those who matter to you that you love them!!