Archive for December, 2015
Nog, ( that is me) why don’t you have a Christmas tree?
Oh their great- grandmother still has Christmas in her little lounge full of dancing Santa Clauses .
This fact not lost on them as they decorate it for her every year!
No ! I visit Christmas at my daughter and son- in- law’s. I enjoy their wonderful tree, the laughter of children and family, all the lovely food , but I can leave Christmas when it all becomes too much.
Since the dreadful December when my son died , there hasn’t been any Christmas lights adorning the house, not even a hat tip to the season. However, anger stirred me this year. Almost every post on facebook,the posturing, the Christmas wars , the share if you believe groups, the anti this religion , the anti that in politics , the media , every holier than thou my religion is better than the other’s religion , the tirade and yes the killings against those that do not share a belief ( all in the name of “human – KIND” and whose god is on whose side) really, as the saying goes It got right up my nose …. talk about “lack of ” goodwill toward men –
I decided to decorate for the Winter Solstice and add another “holiday” to the bunch. , why not part of my ancient heritage and my own way of making a stand against hypocrisy . It took no more than an hour to gather the materials from the tree branches, the holly and the ivy found around the garden – heck there was even a version of a jolly old elf for the wreath on the front door .
My mother, at first was pleased –
“Has my daughter finally got the Christmas spirit once more- you so loved Christmas , Loraine?”
was horrified when I said
No! I decided to celebrate a pagan holiday of the Winter Solstice outside.
Realizing I was having a sarcastic pop of my own at the holier than thous with the decorations she said:
Oh Loraine , you can’t do that what will the neighbors think?
They won’t even notice mum, because every single thing used ( including a jolly old elf) is used in today’s Christmas celebrations
However, when a little six-year-old asked why I didn’t have a tree, I told him my Christmas story :
How every year his Uncle Chris would insist on a real tree and he and I and sometimes mummy would go and have some lunch and pick out the real tree, drag it home needles falling everywhere , the grumbling from Pooh Bah! The decorating with all the ornaments that were special to his mummy and Uncle Chris.
And NOW it makes me sad to hang all the ornaments that were from happy times on the tree. Instead, I had given all those ornaments from Christmas past so he and Braedyn could hang them on their tree, which makes me happy. I told him it is time for his mummy and daddy, Braedyn and himself to make their own Christmas traditions.
I will come and visit Christmas at their house. This seemed to satisfy him until
Oh Nog! if you don’t have a tree do you put up stockings?
No! I said ,
Oh! then Santa won’t come and you won’t get any presents.
And as I looked at his little concerned face I said
He, Braedyn and his mum were the best presents ever!
The poor old Captain at Settlers’ Watch has and had issues-
the “fix” is expensive-
but we have managed to stabilize him for the time being. His bouts with seagull and bird poop ate through the finish ( as it tends to do)- In order to stop the rot, so to speak, we had to get him protective headgear ( until we can get the permanent solution).
The Captain’s hat for us has become a fundraiser supported by the “people” of the hat , Lorainites will recognize the familiar faces ;).
to this in just 6 years
But we, Charleston Village Society ( 501c3)
are getting a little desperate, once again when it comes to cash flow and since it is coming to the end of the year and we know you must be looking for tax exempt donations we are the place to hang your hat! No amount too large or for that matter too small!
The people of the hat ask you for your generosity- this area is truly unique in the State of Ohio. Eric Barnes Heroes Walk in honor of the young men, from Lorain, who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan- each with their very own tribute garden , we believe is one of a kind.
Settlers’ Watch, Eric Barnes Heroes Walk, and Admiral King Tribute Site is a huge project and has expanded through the months and years .This site has changed the area and the neighborhood. It has become a place of memory and beauty rather than the dumping ground it once was. The City of Lorain has helped so much , as it is their property, in cutting the grass and cleaning the site of debris, employees who volunteer their time . However, there is only so much they can do , next year the budget constraints will be even harder on this community , the city can only do so much.
Our previous passing the hat campaign was not so successful in bringing in a huge amount of cash- BUT – what was a success was the in- kind donations of plants and shrubs and trees – and man/ woman hours donated.
In fact , one volunteer, Joe our Constant Gardener has contributed thousands of hours. You will find Joe designing, weeding, planting, watering the tender new plants practically every single morning!
Without Joe, I can honestly say the area would not be one tenth the place it is today. In the past few months, thanks to donations and Joe’s ability to grow wonderful, fragrant plants from seeds “he” has planted over 700 perennial, plants, shrubs and trees, watered and cared for them.
We now have the beginnings of a rose garden with over 70 “hardy roses ” the majority of them are award-winning and added 35 new Butterfly bushes of varying types and colours, dozens of Hostas, peonies, wonderful grasses,and profusion of lavender on “lavender hill”.
This does not count the hundreds of tulip and daffodil bulbs and the 2-3 hundred annuals added each spring. It truly is a beautiful walk , especially in the morning sunlight as it shimmers reflected in the lake waters. A golden place where one can truly walk with butterflies
This year also added was the United States Marine Corps flag and area . This area was planted with the Marines color’s of red and gold and red , white and blue plantings and shrubs.
Each of the tribute gardens for the young men who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan have had their respective areas planted specifically for them. Every day, something new has been added this past growing season including the art work by Falcon Eddie Cummins. situated by the tool shed .
The featured work represents the maritime history of Lorain, a hat tip to recycling, as everything at Settlers’ Watch is made up or consists of recycle or repurposed materials, the same as Eric Barnes Heroes Walk and Admiral King Tribute Site. The “tools” that make up the art work denote the tongue in cheek reference to the donated tool shed from the Lorain Port Authority.
We have had so many wonderful visitors this year ( although it is still Lorain’s best kept secret ( garden) This year, the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Poker Run made the area “Stop One”.
We have a lot left to do – the maintenance of the carvings and removing them from the tree lawn has been on going – This winter they will be refurbished and replaced on plinths in and around the site. This takes a lot of work and the chemicals etc. all cost money.
If you can see your way to helping to fill the Captains Hat – 100% percent of your donation goes to the project.
Make checks payable to Charleston Village Society- ( Captain’s Hat in the memo line)
1127 West 4th Street, Lorain, Ohio 44052
and just as important are those volunteer hours – if you can donate a few hours for working in the garden or adopting a flower bed on a scheduled basis -we would love to have your help!
Wont’ you please consider a donation and for those that pledged this would be a good time to honor that pledge 😉 Thank you to all those that have worked so hard and donated this year!
I haven’t had the strength of will to write this blog since November 11th. I use this place as therapy, as a way of documenting the rights and wrongs , the history of the place on the planet I find myself on any given day. There are over 60 categories and nearly 1,500 posts since I began in 2008. There are 59 draft posts in waiting….. but I am spent. It will take everything I have to write this post – not to do so would be “giving -up” in my world fraught with conflict.
I am not alone in the terrible place losing one’s son to cancer – watching hourly as life slipped away – the dying days – scared to sleep , scared to leave your son’s side just plain terrified of that day you know is coming when his strength gives out, fighting back those thoughts and ignoring your own eyes as you wait in the hope…. . Helpless as “so called” medical professionals in a teaching hospital used your son as a lab rat, the distancing from reality.
Then the terrible aftermath – the walking zombie like for days- your brain fighting against reality, not knowing how to function in the world you find yourself – your body trying to recover from the days of hopelessness, the anger toward those that in their selfishness and hypocrisy took away dignity, compassion in their need to control.
Pleased that you have more of your life behind you than in front of you – believing in your heart of hearts you will not survive for more than a few days the terrible gutting pain of grief- how could anyone bear this agony for any length of time ? Grief is a terminal disease of the heart and mind but with any chronic disease one finds ways to deal – some medicate, some use their faith as crutches, some choose counselling , some just exist and wait, some write……..
I have managed to get through your dying days for 5 years- the tricks of the grief trade coming to my aid when in public, the knowing where triggers lay, the avoidance of anyone or anything that can bring me crashing to my knees at any given moment . You deal with the grief of being, crippled , unsure still questioning. You survive the daily onslaught and live your life, not as imagined, but as it is.
Maybe it is because for the first time the days match up with the dates of your end of days– Chris. Starting with Nov 11th – the days leading up to that Thursday of Thanksgiving when a Dr. found me alone in the waiting room to tell me you were dying- the hope on the Friday as the nurse told me
she had no such information and she would have been informed- back to hope
– the dreadfully ignorant people who flocked into that waiting room with their recipes, food and cackle. Looking to your father for strength, he , who was as helpless as I . The knowing I couldn’t physically keep up the vigil I had been keeping by your bedside for the two weeks – the sound of the vent- they visit me waking and sleeping.
Has this change to the cycle added more to my pain and remembering? I do know this year is the hardest yet and unbearable resurgence of the pain of being. . Those first weeks there was the anesthetic of “disbelief” this was happening . , the hope that I would wake from the nightmare and an anger that kept me upright.
Could it be that this “real world” where religious beliefs, differing across the planet, causing more mothers to weep , the zealots crying out once more – “test their beliefs before we show kindness and compassion”
In a spell-binding speech before a crowd of French knights, Urban exhorted his adherents to win back “the land of milk and honey” and avenge the Turkish atrocities allegedly perpetrated against their fellow Christians. He cited several of the gory details sent to him by Alexius Comnenus and ended by bidding them fight “for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of imperishable glory.” No matter his actual words, “Kill Moslems indiscriminately!” is what the crowd understood him to say and chanted back Deus le vult! Deus le vult!” (“God wills it! God wills it!”)
four men armed with assault rifles and shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great!
““You’re a Christian – I mean, you can prove you’re a Christian,” he said. “You can’t prove it, then, you know, you err on the side of caution.”
Have these cries of intolerance, the platitudes spewed in the media and social media brought home the ignorance and hurt caused to your family by those that pray and prey.
Those who preach and ignore basic doctrine of human kind. Could it be it has played a part these many “end of days” .
What I do know is that for some reason I am “remembering ” hours and happenings that I had pushed into the deepest part of me, they are surfacing and with them the rawness of the time. Could it be I am more able to deal with these memories now, does my body and brain think I am stronger now- it is time for me to “deal” with them as they surface or is it that I am worn so thin in my defenses I can no longer hold them back?
Reaching out in the months after my son’s death, I found others of my ilk and I have borrowed words from one who articulates the grief from a place of knowing… a mother’s knowing …..
” the real horror of this “grief process”…It is not a process at all–it is a state of being; it only looms larger, more all consuming as time passes–not the reverse as we are led (told) to believe. The emptiness more glaring, the loneliness more overwhelming. Who could ever understand the way this nightmare grows and covers everything? Who could even admit this? “
I have only been able to write this post in stages, tears blur the keyboard and the screen , I can only hold my breath so long before the welling in my heart is unbearable and the body goes into “save mode” I need to gather strength from your sister and nephews in order to write. I need to see the laughter, the innocence and tangible love that remains…
I love you and miss you Chris with all my broken heart and body……..