Saturday, December 28, 2013



The year began with a death in the family. My grandma, Dorothy, passed away. Perry’s granny died just a few months before. Our hearts were heavy.


Perry got a promotion. After more than 20 years of working for 14 WFIE in news production and assisting the sales department, he became a digital advertising designer for Raycom, our parent company. Perry still works at the station, but now he’s at the corporate level. I was accepted into the 2013 Raycom News Leadership Class and began a year-long quest to improve my management skills. I’ll celebrate my 10 year anniversary at 14 WFIE in February 2014.


Perry and I saw P!nk and Bon Jovi in concert in Louisville. Mom came along to Bon Jovi, too, of course. I flew to Charlotte, NC for my first leadership class. This was one of two airplane rides I would take this year. The other was to Alabama in June for the 2nd class. I drove to the 3rd class in October, also in Alabama.


Mom and I went to see Fleetwood Mac in Louisville. Perry and I returned to the Florida Keys and stayed in a little mom-and-pop resort on the bay. A few days after we returned home, Bug had a stroke. We didn’t think he was going to make it. His head cocked to the side and he had trouble walking in a straight line. He also started having accidents in the house and being picky about food. But he was still with us.


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers came to the Ford Center. I believe Perry, Mom and l all went to this one. My cousin Sarah’s wedding was in Indy and I did a reading during the ceremony. This was a very hard month at home with Bug. He became extremely difficult to take care of, testing our patience and strength. Vet visits increased, and so did the bills.


More weddings! My cousin, Rachel, and my co-worker, Katy, got married on the same day. So we went to Rachel’s ceremony in Tell City and Katy’s reception in Gibson County. We spent our 4th anniversary in the Leavenworth, IN area. We stayed at our first B&B and had lots of fun on a canoe trip, my first.

This was apparently a low key month. I couldn’t find anything exciting we did on Facebook (my record of all activities) except the annual fireworks show in Newburgh. FB showed me that I had a Blizzard from DQ and took Jack to the riverfront a few times. J


We planned a staycation that included a few days in Brown County, IN where we ziplined for the first time. We also enjoyed some of our favorite libations at Big Woods Brewery. Our friend, Chad, married his partner in Minnesota and we went to their reception at Aztar. Our neighbor, Judy, passed away and we went to her funeral at a local church.


Bug hung in there for five months after his stroke, but one morning, it came time for him to go to the rainbow bridge. We buried him on a Friday on a hill at my mom and dad’s. We spent the weekend in tears and isolation. A week later, we attended the wedding of Perry’s friend, Ben.


We look forward to our trip to the cabin in Georgia every year. This time, it was bittersweet because Bug would not be with us. Just the three of us packed up and headed south. Jack had a wonderful time on the trails and curled up with us at night by the fireplace. When we got back, it was time for “bar Halloween” and we dressed up as Wayne and Garth from “Wayne’s World” which was a big hit!


We celebrated Perry’s birthday weekend by going back to Brown County, IN and later in the month I got a pug cake for my special day. We also had a cookout at home for my co-workers. They were introduced to my mom and dad’s grilled chicken and creek fries, also a big hit!


We went to our 2nd ever Colts game and watched the boys win against the Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. I also took Mom to see “Mamma Mia” at the Centre. Perry and I saw Bill Cosby there just a week earlier.


I have 3 cousins who are getting ready to have babies next year. The Malone family continues to grow.  As for our little family, we plan to adopt…a pug next year. It’s only been three months since we lost Bug and we’re still healing. But we definitely think about it from time to time. We’ll also be visiting new places and stopping by our old favorites in 2014. One goal is to take Jack to the beach or maybe even spend the holidays in Hawaii. We’ll see. We’d also like to do a little home remodeling, but we’d have to stay in one place for a bit to do that. J

We hope you’ve had a great year and the next one is even better! -Perry, Mitzi and Jack Morris

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dream for an Insomniac

You can’t make this stuff up. That’s a phrase we often use in the news. The story is so outrageous, so stupid, so can’t be true. But it is.

That’s how the dream I just had went down. So many people were in it. It was so weird and unexplainable at times. But it happened. And I had to write about it immediately or I would forget. It’s 4:30 in the morning, by the way.
Pmo and I were living in a house (not a van) on the bank of a river, with a considerable slope down to the water. Next to us was another house, but it was a houseboat. And not your typical houseboat. Picture a mobile home with the floor cut out and plopped down on the deck of a boat. I’ll call it butter dish boat. You can see it now, right?

This next-door butter-dish boat must have been floating on a man-made pool of water, like a casino boat that’s legal in Indiana but doesn’t actually sit on an existing waterway. There also had to be some sort of canal from this pool of water that led to the river below because of what happened later. I’ll get to that.
In our house, we were getting up to make breakfast and coffee because we had friends stay over: Rachel, Nick and Andrea. I couldn’t find the coffee cups, someone had moved them (I’m looking at you Pmo). I could only find huge cups you would get in a specialty shop. Like the cappuccino at the start of the movie “So I Married an Axe Murderer” if you’ve ever seen that.
I think I finally found the normal cups and was setting them out, but then I realized I needed something else, so I went outside. We had some things in storage right next to our neighbor's property. But at that point, I discovered our storage was actually on the neighbor’s land and not on ours. And when I say storage, I mean a pile of things lying on the ground. Like a pile of trash you would bury at the landfill or a mound of leaves you would set on fire. I suddenly had the urge to move everything back to our property: each item, one by one.  
There was a group of kids playing nearby: tag or flag football or something. They pretty much ignored me. Then I remembered I needed something else from another storage area, which was inside the butter dish boat. Again, why am I storing things at my neighbor’s place and then realizing I shouldn’t be doing that? And why are they letting me? So I left the pile and went to the butter dish.

Once inside the butter dish, I started to pick apart the new pile to move back to our house. For some reason, my boss was there, Scott. He had two brothers who looked just like him, but they had Duck Dynasty beards. Scott’s wife, Shelley, was there, too. They were all helping me get stuff out of the boat and back where it belonged.
All of a sudden, we started to move. And I realized the butter dish was now in the river. I panicked and went to find someone to stop the boat. But it was run by the military (what?) and they couldn’t stop until they arrived at their destination, wherever that was. There was another boat in front of us that was on the same trip. So I ran to the front of the butter dish (there was room to walk around the edge with a railing, in case you were wondering) and yelled at them to stop. They had a megaphone and yelled back for me to back off the front of the boat, or else.

There was a large group of African Americans inside the butter dish. It was either a really big family or some kind of church congregation. I'm leaning toward church because I vaguely remember some pews. Scott, his wife and brothers had disappeared. Instead, there was a little Caucasian girl with blond hair by my side who would not let go of my leg. She had been sitting along a wall with my aunt Betty. They found a phone for me and I called Pmo. I told him what happened: that I didn't have my phone, or money, or anything but the clothes on my back. Yes, I distinctly remember using that cliché. I figured Pmo would panic, too, but he was relatively calm. Almost too calm. 

We eventually pulled into to a town, a touristy place like Gatlinburg, TN. And when I say pulled in, I mean like Venice, where the roads are made of water and there are buildings on each side of you. I thought they were going to let me off the boat so I could get back home. But just as I asked somebody and was about to find out whether I would be free, I looked up at those buildings and woke up.
Where did all of that come from?
Rachel and Nick did spend the night with us last week, but I don’t know what Andrea had to do with anything, except that she was off work on Friday.

The pile of stuff outside? I do have a tendency to get obsessed with something like that and have to drop whatever else I'm doing and tackle the new disturbance right then and there. Last night before I went to bed, I was flipping through an Eddie Bauer magazine, saw a blouse/sweater combo, and immediately went to my closet to match up my sweaters and blouses. If I don't act on an idea in the here and now, I'll forget. Or at least write myself a note.

The pile of stuff in the butter dish? I still need to get my Christmas decorations down from the loft in the garage. That’s definitely been weighing on my mind. And it's sort of in an out-of-the-way place. Like the butter dish boat.
I've also felt an overwhelming need to purge things from this house lately. With our birthday presents from Mom (and the tons of stuff she gives us every time we see her in general), recent trips where we've brought back things, Christmas coming soon, etc., we have or will have quite a bit of clutter. It's not like hoarding where everything is out in the open and you can't find the toaster. Believe me, everything is tidy and put away in its place. But it still suffocates me because I know there are things lurking in a closet/drawer or under the bed that I really don't need and should give away. And valuable things I still need to sell.
The rest of the dream: Scott, Betty, the church group, the military, the little blond girl, Pmo not being too concerned, Gatlinburg…I have no clue. I’ll chalk it up to having a brain that is constantly in action and a sleep schedule that is forever out of whack. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a craving for some toast. With butter.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Hustle

It's about to get seven kinds of crazy at the Morris household.

'Tis a busy time of the year for us, not unlike most families across this nation of ours. Last weekend we celebrated a co-worker's new job in Mississippi and did a whole lotta leaf rakin'. This weekend, we'll take it easy and try to knock a few tasks off the immediate to-do list. But next week starts the holiday zipline toward New Year's Day and what I like to call, January boredom.

Next week:
Dad's birthday (technically it's Sunday but I'm counting it 'cause I need to go buy a present)
My birthday (35! I think we're going to dinner) followed by Thanksgiving at my cousin's, Thanksgiving with Pmo's family (just him going), baby shower (just me going), dinner and game night with our Folz and Lyman friends, overnight stay in Indy then a Colts game!
Thank God I have that next Monday off.

Looking ahead:
Christmas party at Burdette Park
Bill Cosby live at the Centre
Mamma Mia! also at the Centre
My cousin's birthday party
My friend's son's birthday party
Mom's birthday
Christmas gathering with Pmo's family (actually three separate events)
Christmas with my family
New Year's Eve shenanigans

Not to mention making a Christmas gift list, buying said gifts, wrapping them, putting up fall décor, getting out Christmas decorations, taking Dad's cooker back in the truck, giving Jack a haircut...

I'm tired just thinking about it. But like I said, then January will get here and we won't know what to do with ourselves. Besides getting ready for February sweeps. Oy.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Life After Bug

The house is so incredibly quiet without Bug.
But the memories are everywhere and screaming loudly.

We expect to see Bug in the backyard, on the big dog bed in the living room or wandering around the kitchen. There's a plethora of blankets we had to launder and keep in rotation because of his accidents, which I've whittled down to just a few. All of his supplies and medications are gathered on the kitchen table to take back to the vet. And just imagine all of the pug decor around every corner of this house.

Two food bowls have been decreased to one.
Two leashes still hang next to the door in the garage.
Two pet taxis remain stacked on top of each other.

I plan to take Bug's cage down today and put it away. Jack doesn't like to stay in it. He prefers his little dog bed on top of the real bed in the back. Jack has taken over the living room dog bed on occasion this weekend, so I think I'll leave it where it is. He was rarely was on it because it became Bug's favorite spot after he couldn't get on the couch anymore. We bought it after our first trip to the pet friendly Georgia cabin. Bug grew attached to the one there so quickly.

We have a new routine to get used to and an old one to forget. No more having to rush home and feed Bug to give him his insulin shot and making sure plans for the evening worked around that same task. Trying to figure out what kind of food he would find acceptable to eat. Taking him out every hour on the hour because he had to pee. Picking up his meds every two weeks from the vet, and in between if needed. I took the reminders out of my phone calendar yesterday. And cried.

I canceled a trip I was going to make to Indy this weekend, and we tried doing some normal things Saturday to take our mind off it. But thoughts creep in, they always do. I pretty much woke up crying. Pmo got upset cooking breakfast, because, of course, we had bacon. We both lost it at various times of the day for different reasons. Luckily, when one of us breaks down, the other is calm and comforting. I'm not sure how it works that way, but we're lucky it does.

I have a picture album with pugs on it that I bought at a consignment store I'm going to fill up soon. Right now, it has a bunch of older pictures of Bug because I rarely print off pics anymore. They just go on Facebook and Instagram. But it's a project I need to finish now more than ever.

I've always said I was going to write a book about Bug, and I've never been more motivated. So I think I'll be spending my free time jotting down notes and going through Kleenex as I recall his stories. I have no idea how to even go about getting published, or if there would even be any interest, but I have to do it for myself at the very least.

I'm overwhelmed, to say the least, with the support we've received. I always thought I might be bugging (pun intended) people with all of my Bug pics on Facebook and blogs about what it was like to take care of him. Apparently, that wasn't the case. Seems his crazy antics and cantankerous attitude were universally accepted, and possibly admired.

In time, I know we'll get used to Bug being gone, and probably get another pug, but we're absolutely in no hurry. We need to mourn just as much as we need a break. Bug was a handful, there's no way around it. Whereas Jack is fairly low maintenance. And suddenly, we have a strong urge to take Jack with us everywhere we go. I don't know if it's that we don't want him to be alone, or that we weren't able to give him that kind of attention before because of Bug sucked up all of our energy. We always thought Jack would love walking on the beach, and I think our next trip to the ocean will have to be a pet friendly one.

Jack probably feels smothered right now. I've been petting him constantly and holding onto him a little too tightly this weekend. He's never been a big snuggler. Jack's a dog's dog who likes to run and play and do typical "dog" stuff. Bug, on the other hand, was his own dog. No doubt about that.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


I find it much easier to communicate through writing than speaking. I suspect most people are this way. Sitting at a desk with pen and paper, or in a chair with a keyboard and computer screen, along with time to think about what you're going to say, and the ability to go back and edit, is much easier than thinking on your feet, spouting out words and not being able to take them back.

I think that's why I don't blog often. I know it's going to be a time suck because I can't just sit down and start writing. I have to have something to say: a topic, an outline, a clever way to end it (hopefully). And I know it's going to be a time suck because I'm a perfectionist. Clarification, not everything I do is perfect, I just want it to be.

Enough blogging about blogging, or not blogging.

Over the weekend, I caught a glimpse. A glimpse of what my life could be like, maybe should be like, or would be like had I made different choices or if I was another type of person. Saturday night was more like what life IS like. Drinking, eating, dancing and hanging out with a small group of people at a winery. And the subsequent headache the next day.

On Sunday, Pmo and I went to church with his family. That's where the glimpse began. These thoughts always get stirring when I'm in a church. Surrounded by families and such. Normal life. The formal clothes, the kids running around, the pleasantries, the rituals, and of course, the sermon.

Next, we trekked over to Pmo's mom and stepdad's house for an impromptu visit. (Hello, Mike, if you're reading this.) Somehow, we quickly got into a conversation on the crisis in Syria and other worldly topics. Then we went out to lunch together and then Pmo and I headed back home.

I categorize these two events, church going and political discussion, as a glimpse because they are things Pmo and I rarely do. I could get into a variety of reasons why we don't, but I don't want to speak for him. However, it's interesting when we do experience these out of the ordinary situations and it certainly gives us something to talk about later.

There are plenty of churches near our home, should we find one to join?
We're not getting any younger, do we really want to have a baby?

And then there's politics, which we're just not that passionate about. It's not that we don't care, I think, we just focus on other things. Things we enjoy, things that matter to us, things we can control, to an extent.

In the end, I'm pretty happy with our way of life and I think Pmo is, too. I know who I am, what my priorities are and I wouldn't change much. But I'd like to think I'm open to different experiences and other ways of thinking, whether I agree with them or not. They surely give me material for my blog. What else am I going to write about, world peace?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Turn the Page

I will turn 35 in a few months. Life decisions are knocking on my door and they won't go away. Even when I close the blinds, turn down the TV and hide in the back room.

Right now, my career is stressing me out more than anything. I applied for, a promotion I'd guess you'd say, and didn't get it. Which is fine. But now I'm faced with contemplating the choices I will have to make down the road in order to move forward. That's a good thing, I suppose, to have some options rather than none. However, the end result will most likely mean relocation, and I just can't talk myself into doing that at the moment.

Pmo and I love our home. We love our yard. We love that we don't have a cookie cutter house right on top of two others. We love the neighborhood. It's not that we have a bunch of get-togethers, block parties and whatnot. We only know a few of our neighbors, in fact. We just like where we are. We're very content, so why rock the boat?

Years ago, a move was no big deal. I moved to college, went back home for a bit, then on to Owensboro, Bowling Green, Madisonville, Evansville and finally Newburgh. Next month, we'll celebrate five years in this house. A place where the four of us became a family. Where Pmo learned to live with and love the dogs. They, in turn, abandoned me for his affection :)
But, it's just a house, right?

Another avenue I have yet to explore is that damn biological clock. I hear it's ticking or something. I don't know. I really don't pay much attention to it. However, I don't feel any different on the baby issue now than I did the last time I wrote about it. No overwhelming urge to hold a little piece of me in my arms. No great sadness because I don't have a child already in my life. I think I'm staying the course on this one, but it may just be up for discussion until that blasted clock finally goes off. Then I won't have to worry about it anymore.

Certain life events have made me consider having a child. The death of my grandma, the death of Pmo's granny, Pmo and me not getting any younger and what-do-we-have-to-show-for-it type thing, the reality that my branch of the family might very well end with me. Then there's what little I know about parenting: little sleep (I don't do well with that), lots of patience (I'm even worse at that) and selflessness (so I like my free time, sue me). 

When my mom was 35, I was 5 years old. She didn't have a job the entire time she raised me. Still doesn't to this day. Sometimes I think the way we've lived our lives couldn't possibly be any more different. But then I think, what if she had made a decision not to have me? I wouldn't be writing this right now. I wouldn't be worrying about my career and lack of maternal instinct because I wouldn't exist. And maybe I'm biased, but that's a bit sad. Am I missing out on meeting an awesome human being because I'm too selfish with my time and energy? Not that I'm awesome. But my kid might be. Oh, you get what I'm saying, right?

Only time will tell which page I will turn next and where this story will take me. I figure the only thing I can do is be true to myself and do what makes me happy. What else is there? Now if you'll excuse me, what my self needs now is sleep ;)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lead On

I just completed my first news leadership class. I traveled to North Carolina on Wednesday and returned home Saturday, after hitting up the P!nk concert in Louisville. I met some great people within the company and learned a lot already.

It was also exhausting. Staying awake for 3-4 days straight is no easy task when you're a vampire. I did get a nap in after I got to the hotel on Wednesday before dinner. But after that, no more naps. And the flights weren't long enough for me to fall asleep. Thursday night, I crashed right after dinner. I had no energy for Facebook or reading or anything I usually do in my "free time".

The plane rides were interesting for someone who rarely flies and had never flown alone. I had two instances where pain shot through my forehead or jaw during the descent. The forehead one was awful. I thought fluid might pop out of my head and I was close to bawling. Other than that, everything went pretty smoothly and I'm thinking about flying to the next class in Alabama in June.

This week, I'll be gone again at the end of the week. Bon Jovi concert is Thursday. In Louisville. What can I say, I can't stay away. Pmo and I will be taking Mom with us on this one. Then things should calm down a little bit until next month. Another concert. Another trip, this time to the Keys!

Speaking of concerts, Tom Petty is coming to the Ford Center in May. Gotta search for a presale password!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Whatta Week

I just finished my Saturday morning ritual: getting up super early ('cause I can't sleep any longer), taking the dogs out, giving Bug his meds (except his insulin shot 'cause he'll wake up Pmo), watching Jack trot back to bed, cleaning up the kitchen ('cause I'm worthless on Friday nights and need to get it breakfast-ready), getting the coffee ready to make later, starting a load of laundry and settling down in my chair with Diet Coke/cream cheese/crackers to sort through the mail and newspapers with the hope of making time for my Kindle. Sometimes I blog, too. Just so happens I have plenty to talk about this week.

First of all, this guy I met at work nine years ago, and married about four years ago, GOT A PROMOTION! Pmo will now be working for our parent company, Raycom, as a digital advertising designer. He's very excited and I couldn't be more proud of him. He will still work out of 14 WFIE so we don't have to move. And if I were to take another job within the company, he would most likely be able to move anywhere with me and keep his job. He could even work from home.

Speaking of other job opportunities, I also found out this week that I was accepted into the 2013 Raycom Leadership Class. This means I will go to several management training sessions throughout the year as well as participate in monthly webinars. 15 people were nominated company wide (about 40 stations) and 8 were chosen. The goal of the program is to eventually advance the "graduates" into higher management. My first trip is to Charlotte, NC next month. I have to fly because I had a prior committment that would be a conflict if I drove. I haven't been on an airplane since 2007, that was for work, too. And before that, only a few other times.

Finally, a Bugton update. He's had a rough week. On Sunday, he was trembling and felt slighty hot. On Tuesday, he couldn't quit coughing. On Wednesday night, he had an accident in the house. And on Friday morning, his paw was bleeding from a swollen bulge between his toes. We now have medication for that. Of course, all of this didn't make Pmo and me happy campers either. But that's what taking care of an elderly dog is like. There are good days, bad days and incredibly frustrating-try-your-patience days. The big guy turns 12 on Monday, by the way.

As for Jack, well, he's bored and has cabin fever. But he still smells good from his "spa day" at the vet a few weeks ago.

Other than that, Pmo and I are gearing up for a very busy couple of months: four concerts, a trip to Cincy and a vacation in the Keys...all by the end of April. Not to mention our new work duties. But I think we're ready to get back into the swing of things because January was pretty uneventful.

Bring on spring!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Birds, Stars, Flowers and Godwinks

I just finished this book called "Godwink Stories: A Devotional" which I discovered on The Today Show. Okay, it was the Kathie Lee and Hoda hour. Sometimes I like to dip in, just to see what they're blathering about. Don't judge me.

The book is one of several by SQuire Rushnell. That's not a typo. The "S" and "Q" are both capitalized. Anyway, here's his definition: "A Godwink is what some people would call a coincidence, an answered prayer, or simply an experience so astonishing that it could only have come from God." Some examples: finding an inspirational letter (when you're feeling blue) in a parking lot that was meant for someone else but has your name on it, or two brothers who used to be dressed alike as kids and haven't spoken in years show up wearing the same thing at a family reunion. SQuire also calls it "divine alignment".

I'm not very religious. I don't think I'm gullible. And I'm not sure what I believe in. But I like to read about faith, God and spirituality every once in awhile. I also enjoy conversations, but I'll only talk with certain people. I don't want to be preached to, pushed upon or barked at. And I can tell who's authentic and who's putting on airs.

As I was coming to the end of this book yesterday and about to go to sleep, I think God may have had something in his eye.

First, I heard one bird, chirping, outside my window. A sound I am accustomed to in the summer but haven't heard in months. Because it's January. And flipping cold. I listened for a bit then got up, looked outside and by then a whole flock had gathered in a tree. Then a group of geese flew overhead, squawking.

Next, while I watched the birds, out of the blue, my iPhone started playing music from its dock on the nightstand. "Stars" by Grace Potter. I hadn't set my alarm for 2:00 p.m. or whatever time it was. So I started to freak out.

Then, the doorbell rang. A box of flowers was delivered from one of my friends.

This all happened within a matter of minutes. One after the other. I was just blown away. I'm usually asleep at that time anyway. Or at least I should be. But I was so close to finishing that book...

I realized later that I must have hit the "nap" function on the dock when I was trying to clumsily put the phone on it from my bed, and that would explain the music going off. The flowers are easy to explain. I was expecting something (didn't know what or when) from my friend because she had asked me for my address. And the birds, well, I guess they're not totally unheard of in January.

But all of those things converging at once? In rapid succession?

I was so taken aback I decided to look up some Bible verses on birds, stars and flowers. Just for fun.
Here's what I found.

Psalm 11:1 - "In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?"

Genesis 1:16 - "Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day; and the lesser to rule the night. He made the stars also."

Song of Solomon 2:12 - "The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."

Take what you will from it. I won't try to interpret the verses, though the flowers did "appear" on my porch and the birds were sort of singing. I just thought it was interesting enough to share. Now I'm going to start a new book. And get some shuteye.

Get it?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This Time

A week ago, I spent the better part of Sunday in the ICU waiting room because my grandma had been admitted the night before. I had visited her in the hospital several times over the years. But this time was different. She hadn't been doing well for awhile. She'd been fighting bedsores and all but given up any activity besides moving from the chair to the bed and vice versa.

My family had been called in very early that morning, so they were there for some time before I learned about the situation and arrived. The prognosis was grim and we were given "the options". We parted ways that afternoon, but they were called in again very early the next morning. And I left work early to join them this time.

The decision was made on Monday to let her go. We waited until my aunt and cousin made it over then went back to her room. They closed the curtain, took her off the ventilator, then let us back in to watch the other machines eventually tell us she was gone. I held my mom's hand and cried. Grandma's breathing continued for awhile, then slowed, then came to a stop. The lines on the screen went flat. The numbers dropped to 0.

I wasn't there when Grandpa died. I was 20, in Terre Haute, with my best friend, partying like it was 1999. 'Cause it was. This time, I was 34, with a front row seat. It was weird, it was emotional, I didn't want to do it, but I knew I had to do it. There are two things I'll remember vividly. Walking in that room at 5:30 in the morning, looking at Mom with tears in her eyes saying, "I think this is it." And walking out of that room after Grandma had passed and looking back to see Mom patting her leg and saying "Love ya, Mom."

The visitation was almost overwhelming. When you move away from home, you don't fully understand the scope of what it means to have spent 87 years in the same place, with the same people, and all of those faces coming out of the woodwork to pay their respects when the time comes. And I thought I had done all of my crying until I heard them play Alan Jackson gospel music at the funeral. He was her favorite singer.

Things like this make you face your own mortality. But it's making me face other mortalities. My parents. My husband. I don't want to bury them. I will most likely have to unless I go first. It also makes me question my life choices. Where I live, my lack of reproduction, what I've done (or not done) with my life. I can't get too wrapped up in that, though. Everyone does the best they can, right? You gotta do what you gotta do.  Focus on the good. Deal with the bad. Cherish the memories. Life goes on.

Rest in peace, Grandma.