A Week Without Facebook ……

…… and I’m feeling all of the feels.

So it’s been a week.
The first two days I felt a huge sense of relief to be away from it.
I was glad to not be inundated with political crap.
I was glad to not find out which friends are racist.
I was happy to have more time to do other things.

After a few days I started to miss posting things.
I would see something interesting or thought provoking or extraordinarily cute and think, “I need to post that”, only to remember that I don’t currently do that.

And then I remembered that I’m a member of a few groups that I need to stay connected with.
So that was a conundrum.
I didn’t take that into consideration when I cut FB out of my life.
So I may be back sooner than I expected.
But definitely not until after the election.

This week has been a week full of feelings.
Relief.
Happiness.
Freedom.
Anger.
Sadness.
Lots and lots of sadness.

I’m sad that Christian friends I’ve known and worshipped with for over 20 years have shown their racist colors.


I’m sad that many places here in my city are starting to board up their windows and doors in preparation for the election.
This is a picture I took today of a store on my block:

Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s have boarded up, too.
Macy’s is now hidden behind a depth of 5 boards.  

How sad is that?
I’ve never experienced this kind of thing over an election.
An election.
A practice of democracy.
Something that usually brings excitement, pride and anticipation.
Not this year.
This year it brings mainly sadness.

I’m sad that I can’t just go off and visit my grandchildren whenever I want to.
A visit now requires testing and quarantining.
And then quarantining some more.

I’m sad that, before I deactivated my FB account, I unfriended a friend.
It was my first unfriending in the last 4 years, for reasons related to, but not solely based on, politics.
This wasn’t political for me.
It was based on racism.

I can agree to disagree with the best of them.
I have more friends than I can count with whom I disagree with politically.
I have more family members than I’d like to have with whom I disagree.
But …… racism.
That’s a whole other ballgame.

When what you think affects what the future may look like for these two loves in my life …… you’re out.
IMG_2907

That’s not even something I will think twice about.
I won’t agree to disagree.
I won’t give you the benefit of doubt.
I won’t listen to your explanation.
I will cut you from my life.
And that’s that.

When I look at a picture of those two incredible human beings …… I feel tremendous joy, immense pride, unfathomable love …… and incredible sadness.

Sadness for the ignorance, the denial, the hate that is in our country.
All based on the melatonin in their skin.

I also feel fear.
Deep, soul crushing fear for what their future might hold.
Based on the melatonin in their skin.

So much love.
So much fear. 
So much anger.
So much exhaustion.

So many feels. 

I Am Done ……

1_0066mcXCWHNgy3HHpSQ1eg

(Source)

…… with Facebook.
This morning I deactivated my account.
I just can’t do it anymore.

I’m tired of the negativity.
I’m saddened and angered by posts of people I think of as friends and family.
I’m disgusted by the ones who refuse to acknowledge racism as they spout it on their pages.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was a post a friend made, posting a meme from a man who said that he, as a white father, had to give his teens “The Talk”, too, so it’s no different than what parents of black and brown teens do. And therefore, it’s not a need based in race.
She agreed and said that she’d done the same thing with her children.
Many other friends “liked” it (or “loved” it).
Some commented that they, too, had done that.
They are all white.

I can’t describe the emotion that was roiling through me.
I was beyond sad that people I had considered friends would espouse this.
I was angry that people I had considered friends would outright deny the racism in our country that makes “The Talk” (to children of color) necessary.
My hands were shaking so hard that I couldn’t even type a response.
Which was probably a good thing because I needed to calm down and gather my thoughts.
I knew that if I didn’t, my words would flow fast and angrily and I wouldn’t be able to stop.
So I waited.

And then all I wrote was something like this: “As a grandmother of two little boys of color, this post makes me sad beyond belief.”
It was all I could trust myself to type.

And then …… I was asked, “Why?”

At first I thought about not responding at all.
But then I decided that no one benefits from people withholding the truth.
And so I told them why it made me sad.
And why it made me angry.
And how I wished that people could look at people through the eyes of Christ and not politics so that they could see the truth.
I explained how the real “Talk” was NOTHING like anything they had to tell their children.
And how lucky they were because of that.


Then some smart ass man decided to attack me.
And that was that.

Last night I woke up at 2 a.m., thinking about that post, the people who had liked it, the ass who had spouted off …… and realized it was ridiculous that FB was keeping me awake.
FB isn’t what it used to be.
So why was I spending energy and time on it?


And then I heard God whisper, “Let it go.”

Honestly, I have trouble letting things like that go.
I don’t always listen when God says, “Put Me first”.
But I’ve been working on that.
And so, in the middle of the night I thought, “Okay, Janine …… you’re currently doing a Bible study on discipleship and putting God first. Walk the walk and stop the talk.”

And so …… I deactivated my account first thing this morning.
Yes, I will miss keeping up with my friends and seeing baby pictures and knowing what’s going on.
But I won’t miss the negativity, the nastiness, the lies, the disinformation, the support of liars or the hurt that comes when friends show themselves for something other than I thought.

I have no idea if this is a permanent thing.
I didn’t delete the account.
I have too many pictures to save to do that!
Maybe I’ll come back.
Maybe I won’t.

Right now, I’m not thinking about that.
I’m thinking of the other things I’ll do to fill what would’ve been Facebook time.
And praying that our country is able to be saved from the path its on now.


I want us to reach out to each other instead of shutting each other down.
I want us to unite instead of divide.
I want us to love instead of hate.

I’m in no way perfect or blameless.
But I hope to be better.
I want to do better.

So, goodbye Facebook.
I’d like to say I’ll miss you.
But I won’t.

P.S. You can always find me on Instagram!

Yikes ……

…… it’s been awhile since I’ve written.

Sorry. I’d loved to say that life had gotten in the way but we all know that’s not really true.

Covid, anyone?

Since I last left you I made a short, unexpected trip back to Waco.

I was there for a week to sign some papers, get my car inspected and re-registered.

You know …… fun!

But I did get to see some of the grands and some of my kids so that was great.

I then came back to NY where I’ve been quarantined again (for the most part). Today is my last day. It’s gone mostly well if you don’t count the last three days from hell.

Not to get visually graphic but I don’t think there were any fluids left in my body by the end of Friday. I wasn’t sure what was going on and then I think I put my finger on it. This happened once before and I ended up in the ER with it about a year or so ago. At the time my theory was shrugged off by the Dr but now I know I was right. Both times I took an Alleve in the morning on an empty stomach. I was fine for a few hours and then wham!

It hit fast and furious and was painful and horrific. The end result (if you get my drift) was blood. A whole lot of blood. Which is why I went to the ER. At that time they just gave me an IV, anti nausea drugs, an antibiotic and sent me home saying it had probably been an infection. I felt better the next day.

On Friday I took the Alleve because I’d been having severe pain in my neck and shoulder muscles. Again, I was fine for a few hours. And then I wasn’t. At all.

Death would’ve been welcomed.

Seriously.

My ribs in the front and back are still sore from all of the empty heaving. Well, except for the two cups of coffee I had after I took the Alleve.

I think I may be off coffee now. And Alleve. At least on an empty stomach.

So there you go. My weekend.

How was yours? 🤣

In other news, I have been more politically active this year than ever. I’ve spent the last week filling out postcards to encourage people to vote. It’s easy to do when you’re stuck inside. And it’s a pretty easy task.

Of course, I make it a bit more difficult when I have to fight the urge to write things like, “You poor thing! I can NOT believe your parents named you that!”. Or, “Wow, you really live in ______?! I’ve always wanted to visit. Do you love it?”

You know, things like that. I’m sure that’s not an issue for most people but then, I’m not most people, am I?

And in even more other news, my Waco house finally sold. I know!

So it’s time to get all of my ducks in a row and make NY official. Yes, it IS about time.

Now if we can just reach a point where we can travel without having to quarantine! Even with masks. I don’t care, I just want to be able to go to Texas often and not have to stay stuck in my apartment every time I return.

And everywhere else!

I hope you and yours are safe and healthy.

Wash your hands.

Wear a mask!

And …… VOTE!!

Saturday ……

IMG_2274

…… in the Park …… I think it was the month after July.

Are you humming it now? Of course, I know that I changed up the lyrics a bit, but only one word.
So go ahead …… hum it!
I’ll wait ……

Good job!

So, yeah …… today was a beautiful Saturday. Some friends from our building and I met up in the Park this evening and had a wonderful time.
Lot of people were out. We don’t have to wear masks while we’re sitting and social distancing, but once we get up to leave they all went right back on.
(So, no negative comments, please.)


That’s really all I’ve got.

Oh, except for this.

If you had a choice, which view would you choose?

This:
IMG_2143

Or this:
IMG_2235

I’m thinking about changing my view, but I think I’d miss the current one too much.
Something to ponder anyway.

I hope that you enjoyed your Saturday, too.
And your Sunday.

🙂

Post Quarantine ……

IMG_2187
…… Day 4.

Another title for this post could be, “My Current Life …… in Pictures”.

So, yeah.
I’m a free woman.
Who managed to make it out of Covid hell, otherwise known as Texas, and into NY without getting the virus.
UNLESS …… they discover that one of the symptoms of Covid 19 is a UTI.
Then I totally had it.
You heard it here first.

So I spent the morning of my first day of freedom walking around the city.
It was great to be out and getting to see my city.
It was also strange.
And eerie.
And sad.
Oh, and I shouldn’t leave out …… hot.
Although I have to tell you that the term “heat wave” …… is totally relative.
Everyone keeps going on and on about the heatwaves the city is experiencing.

Ya’ll …… it’s hard to keep a straight face when people complain about this.
Someone was moaning about it the other day.
The high that day was 91.
In July in Texas that’s known as a cold front.

So anyway, back to walking around the city.
I think it’s the safest time to be a pedestrian since this place was known as New Amsterdam.
I kid you not.
I walked all morning …… with and against the lights. I had to pause for cars only twice. And for only two cars.
I felt like I was on the set of a post-apocalyptic movie.
For real.

Here are some pics:

See what I mean?
Recognize Times Square?
I didn’t think so.

There are so many boarded up, permanently closed stores and restaurants here that it’s beyond depressing.
We all hope that the city will come back.
It always has.
But this …… this is beyond anything we’ve ever experienced.

It’s still home to me and I’m going to support it however I can.
For as long as I can.

Gracie and I have made a few trips to the Park.

She refused to look at the camera.
Such a diva.
There are still people walking and sitting in Central Park, though thousands less than usual.
And those turtles?
I think they’ve noticed the difference.
My opinion is that they’re hungry.
When you walk up to the edge of the water they all come swimming over to the side.
Like they’re waiting for you to throw some bread in.
And when you walk along the edge …… they all follow you.
All of them.
That’s a lot of hungry turtles.
(I could be totally wrong on this. Maybe they just liked me. Or Gracie. Maybe they were lonely and just wanted the company. Although with that many other turtles surrounding your turtle body …… it seems like the last thing you’d want to do is swim amongst all of them. I’d be out in the middle somewhere, enjoying the peace. And space. But that’s just me.)

The night before I got out of quarantine there was a Black Lives Matter bike ride protest that went by my building.
I would’ve loved to be riding with them.

Yesterday I had a grocery delivery so I got to play with some dry ice.
I FaceTimed with Grandson #1 to share this with him.
He was less enthralled than I was.
I love playing with this stuff.
It brings back great memories of theatre days.

Speaking of Grandson #1, he and his brother and mom are doing a staycation of sorts with Daughter #3, her hubby and Granddaughter #1. Also known as my only granddaughter.
IMG_2208
I know.
I could just melt.

Yesterday I had an appointment so I took the subway.
Oh, stop gasping and shaking your head.
It’s perfectly safe.
And almost perfectly empty.


This is the station at Columbus Circle.
Those stairs are never that empty.

Hey! Look what I finished:
IMG_2190
Surprised?
Me, too.

Here’s an example of part of my day today.
I’d love to say that this is a unique situation, but it happens to me on a daily basis.
I was on the computer on a Zoom call this morning.
When it ended I checked my email and remembered that I needed to get some papers and info gathered up for my attorney.
So I walked into my bedroom where my filing cabinet is.
I pulled out the papers that I needed.
They’re right there, on my bed.
IMG_2220

That’s as far as they made it because for some reason I decided to walk into my bathroom.
Here’s a similar picture, but pulled back a bit so you can just make out the entry to the bathroom on the left. That’s to give you some perspective.
You’re welcome.
IMG_2221

The next thing I know, this is happening in my bathroom.
And in my half bath:


I cleaned out the litter boxes.
Why?
I don’t know.
Because they’re there.

This little scenario is also called, “If You Give Gigi a Job”.
And don’t laugh too hard.
I know several of you who can totally relate.

Of course I can’t end this post without showing you a picture of Grandson #3.  With his Dad, who, when we went to Italy for 2 weeks back in 2015, ate pizza every single day. Sometimes twice a day.
He knows what he likes.

IMG_2189

That’s all for now.
The last two days have been kind of quiet because I walked so much earlier in the week that my feet have blisters.
They’re in shock (my feet, not the blisters).
They haven’t walked this much since January.
When I was last here.
I hope they toughen up soon.
They’re keeping me down.
Damn feet.

Have a great weekend.
Stay safe.
Social distance.
Wash your hands.
And please, for the love of God and all that is holy, wear a freakin’ mask.
IMG_2185

Thank you.

Quarantine: Day 13 ……

…… or, for my friends who are Broadway lovers ……

bsp-static.playbill

 

It really has kind of flown by.
In a slow motion, isolated kind of way.

It really hasn’t been that bad.
I’ve managed to get a lot of reading done.

I’ve done some painting.
Ha!
Nothing big.
Just this.
You may remember it from last year.
I hadn’t worked on it since then.
IMG_2162

This painting will be the death of me.
No, not really.
But it is going to potentially make me go blind.
I mean, LOOK at that bottom right section!
Can’t see it closely?
Here:
IMG_2163

Yeah, I know.
We’ll see if I finish it.

Okay, I just went to my pictures to find the first picture of this painting that I posted.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t last year.
It was in November of 2018.
So I got side tracked.
It happens!
This is what it looked like then and what it still looked like a few days ago when I started on it.
IMG_4122

I also have this out to work on:
IMG_2164

Don’t fall for that.
It’s been out since I left in February.
(Are you starting to see a theme here?)
I haven’t touched it since I’ve been back.
Well, I started to.
I mean, I sat down at the table and looked at it.
For about 20 seconds.
Then I heaved a sigh, got up and that was that.
No, I have no idea why.

But hey …… I have kept these alive!
IMG_2165IMG_2166IMG_2167

Aren’t you impressed?
You are if you know me and my past desire to not have anything extra alive in my house.
Six kids was enough.

Look closely …… I know it’s hard with that amazing view capturing your attention …… but do you see those yellow butterflies on some of the plants?
Those are gnat traps.
I came home to find gnats had taken roost among my plants.
Don’t even.

Anyway, just in case you’d like to know …… those sticky little devils are very, very difficult to pull off of a dog’s butt.
Or so I’ve heard.

Especially after said dog sat down on her butt with it attached.
I’ll just leave the rest to your imagination.
(It wasn’t pretty.)
(Or so I’ve heard.)

Okay, that’s it.
I’m sure I’ve made you laugh at least once so I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

But, always being generous with you, my readers, I’m also going to leave you with this, in celebration of only having one day more, my all-time favorite Carpool Karaoke.
You are very, very welcome.

Quarantine: Day 5 (6) ……

…… but who’s counting?

Actually, things have improved since Day 2 (3). I don’t really know why, but it could be the Italian margaritas.

It’s likely that, in spite of being a pariah, I really am in my Happy Place.
I love my apartment.
I love my plants. (And for those of you who’ve known me IRL for awhile …… can you freakin’ believe that I just wrote that?! I know! I don’t know what came over me, but in the Fall of 2019 (SO very long ago) I decided that I wanted to have some greenery in my apartment. Live greenery. And, I don’t mind saying so, I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping all of them alive! I KNOW!)

Anyway, in spite of being a prisoner here, with a dog, I’m doing well.
I’ll just add here that I’m doing well …… IN SPITE of Son #2 sending me videos like this (be sure to turn up your volume):

Yeah. He’s killing me.

So far all of the kids and grandkids are doing well and are Co-vid free.

By the way, I realize that I’ve neglected to post much about my other grandchildren, so I’ll correct that here.
But here’s the latest picture of Granddaughter #1:

IMG_2115

Yep. 5 months. Dang.
She’s the cutest, is she not?

So while I was going through my pictures today, I discovered that Grandson #2 had purloined my phone one day last week when I wasn’t in the room.
He tends to do that.
A lot.

Here’s the evidence:

Those are all separate pictures.
He’s consistent.

But, he did stretch himself on the last picture.
He evidently decided to go for a more “artsy” look:

IMG_2048

Yeah. How he managed to go from color to black & white is beyond me.
I don’t even know how to do that.
I’ll have to ask him to show me the next time I’m in Texas.

You know how everyone (by “everyone” I mean the media) keeps saying that “we’re all in this together”?
Well, I think we really are.
Today I received evidence of that.

I was very surprised (read “shocked”) to get a delivery today from a very special friend:

IMG_2151

Beth and I are friends because our husbands are dead.
Sorry to put it so bluntly but it’s the truth.
We always say that we wish we didn’t have a reason to know each other, but since we do …… we’re awfully glad that we do.

She welcomed me home (and told me to hang in there) with these lovely flowers and delicious chocolate covered strawberries.
She totally rocks.
Full disclosure: she only ordered one box of strawberries but for some reason they sent two.
Two dozen chocolate covered strawberries.
I’m a fan but still can’t manage to eat that many.
I sent one box downstairs to the guys/gals at the front desk who have to keep running my deliveries up to me.
You see, during this pandemic (should that be capitalized?) all deliveries in our building have been cancelled. You have to go downstairs to get everything. Delivery people aren’t allowed to come upstairs.
Unless you’re under quarantine.
Then the desk/door peeps have to bring everything up.
Like groceries.
Food orders.
Amazon.
And anything else I may or may not have ordered.

So yeah.
I gave them some strawberries.
Upon reflection it doesn’t seem like much.
But hey …… I’m very generous at Christmas.
So there.

Well, that just about catches you up with me.
I’ve organized some closets.
I’ve cleaned out quite a few cabinets.
Thrown out lots of expired stuff.
Like medicine.
And food.

I’ve watched some TV, but not a lot.
I’ve read.
I finished a good book that was mentioned in Real Simple last month.
It’s called The Last Flight by Julie Clark.
It’s no Pulitzer Prize winner but it’s a certainly a page turner.
(She wraps everything up too quickly in the end but I still liked it overall.)

I’ve played Animal Crossing.
I work WAY harder on that island than in real life.
Quarantine, you know.

I’ve played with Gracie.
Not enough for her liking but then it’ll never be enough for her liking.

I looked longingly out the window yesterday when the high was in the low 80’s.
I’m sure it’ll be in the high 90’s when I’m finally let out of here.
But it’s still my happy place.

So there you go.
Live quarantined in NYC.
I don’t think I’d trade it for anything.

Except maybe for time with my grandchildren.
But don’t tell my kids that.

Quarantine, Day 2 ……

download

…… and this is going to be more difficult than I had anticipated.

I kind of half-joked with Daughter #2 before I left that I’d probably be fine for about 3 days and then start to go nuts.
I didn’t even last the first day.

images-1

And by nuts I mean slightly depressed.

I was doing okay and then Son #2 sent me a video of his son, Grandson #3. He’s almost 4 months old.
If you’re not FB friends with me (or follow me on Instagram) then you don’t know that Saturday night my lovely daughter in law slipped in her kitchen while carrying him. They both fell and his head hit the tile floor.
I know. Trust me, I know.

They took him to the hospital and found out that he had a small skull fracture. So they were transported to the children’s hospital in Austin. They said that his vitals were good and he would be okay but they wanted to keep him overnight.
That was one rough overnight.
For everyone.

I think I did a good job of remaining calm for my son, who was not. Understandably.
He was not allowed to go into the ER to be with his son and wife.
That must’ve been beyond horrific.

But I was not calm later that night.
I couldn’t sleep.
All I could think about was his head hitting that floor.
And I was scheduled to leave for NY the next day.
It was a long, lonely night.

But, that beautiful baby boy was released the next day, with a scheduled visit to see his doctor in 4 weeks.
He has a huge bump on his head but otherwise seems his very happy self.
What a very huge relief.
For everyone.
Since he was okay I decided to go ahead and head to NY.

So back to the Quarantine.
When I saw the video of that cooing baby whom I love so much, I longed to be back in Texas.
Ugh.
Who would’ve thought I’d write those seven words?
Not me, I can assure you.

It’s not that I hate Texas, because I don’t.
I just love New York.
I like Texas.
See the difference?

So I’m only a little over halfway through Day 2 (though technically it could be considered Day 3, since I arrived on Sunday. But NY is taking this thing pretty seriously. I had to fill out a form on the plane that gave them all of my info. I briefly thought about not turning it in, but didn’t go with that thought, thankfully. Governor Cuomo (!) gave a press conference the very next day, stating that anyone entering the state and not turning the form in will face a summons and a fine. Yikes!)

This is lonely.
I mean, Gracie is cute and fun and all that, but that only goes so far.
I can’t leave the apartment at all.
I can get deliveries. The doormen bring them up, knock on the door and then run.
I haven’t seen them run. By the time I open the door they’re out of sight.
That’s why I think they run.

download-1

I kind of feel like a pariah.
Yuck.
Pariah’s must feel very lonely.
Unless there’s a group of them, of course.
Then they must get sick of each other.

I digress.
So I’m only on Day 2(3) and I can’t imagine how I’m going to make it to 14(15).
It may involve a lot of alcohol.

Or yelling out the window.

If you live in NY and want to come yell back and forth with me, please let me know.
I’m on the 20th floor, but traffic is unusually light outside so we should be able to hear each other.

Unless you’re wearing a mask.
Uh oh.

images

Who’s Your ……

download

…… emergency contact?
Or, in other situations …… who is your driver?

There are few things these days that can send me back to the dark days after Jim’s death, but this is one.

I hate this question.
Because in most cases, wherever I am, I don’t have an emergency contact.
And that sucks.

Later this week I am going in for a …… brace yourselves for TMI …… colonoscopy.
(Don’t be jealous.)
And because we’re all in semi-quarantine and there’s no normal anymore, I didn’t have to have someone come to the appointment with me.
I needed a driver …… someone to bring me and then take me home.
So Daughter #2 was going to fill that role.
But today, when I went in to pre-register and take the Co-Vid test (oh my word, the fun) I was told that the driver needed to come in with me and wait for me.
Daughter #2 cannot do that. She has two small sons to tend with.

The only other people I know who live in Waco are my parents. Who really don’t need to be sitting in a hospital, even with a mask on.
I felt horrible to have to ask them.
But I did.
And of course they will be there for me.

But damnit, they shouldn’t have to.
Jim should be here to do this.
And it sucks that he isn’t.

These are the days when the loss of him feels immense.
Actually, more immense than immense.
These are the days when I feel that I’m more than single/widowed.
I feel alone.

I rarely feel that way.
So yay for that.
But when it hits …… it sucks.

I am grateful for the life I have.
It’s good.
I’m good.
Almost all of the time.

Just don’t ask …… who’s your driver?

If Jim Hadn’t Died ……

Jim smiling

…… is a thought I sometimes follow down a rabbit hole.

Life would be different. Extraordinarily different.
But not in the ways some people might think.

If Jim hadn’t died we would’ve left Texas within two years. Yep. After more than two decades we would’ve moved on.
His job would’ve required us to live in one of three places: L.A., Pittsburg or Atlanta.
We would’ve chosen Atlanta, hands down.
I’m glad I don’t live there …… now.

If Jim hadn’t died …… our two youngest sons wouldn’t have finished high school in Texas. Which might have been a good thing. But who knows?

If he hadn’t died …… I wouldn’t be living in NY. Not full time anyway. We had briefly discussed moving there for a year, just to experience living in the city. We both thought it would be cool. His word.
And that’s what propelled me onward to NY after 5 years. His word.

If I hadn’t moved to NY then Daughter #3 wouldn’t have met her husband there.
And my first granddaughter wouldn’t be here.

Son #2 wouldn’t have married his wife and grandson #3 wouldn’t be here.

And most likely, Daughter #2 may not have gone down the path that she did, seeking to help children who’ve experienced trauma, had she not dealt with her own.
Which means that my first two grandsons would not be part of our family.

All of that is too depressing to think about. For long.

If Jim hadn’t died I never would’ve met the amazing people who have become my “tribe” …… my fellow widowed peeps.
The people who literally saved my life and let me know that I could, indeed, survive this loss.

Here’s where I might lose some of you. I hope not, but these are difficult times and I want to be open and honest.

If Jim hadn’t died and my first two precious grandsons hadn’t joined our family …… I might never have ventured outside my “bubble” and would still be thinking that there’s no such thing as “white privilege”. I would still think that anyone who’s down (mentally or socially) just needs to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live the American Dream.

But he did die.
And my bootstraps broke.

Had he not died I would be a less compassionate person.
I would still talk more than I listen.
I would seek to be understood more than seek to understand.
And I still would not understand that the American Dream is totally out of reach for some people.
Many people.
Most people.

I wouldn’t have seen that my grandsons will have to be raised differently than my white sons.
I wouldn’t have known that we’d have to talk to them about how they’ll have to act differently if they’re pulled over, or are going on a job interview, or jogging in a “white neighborhood”.

These two very young children have already taught me more in their young lives than I learned in my first 5 decades.

If Jim hadn’t died …… we’d be having interesting dinner conversations about today’s world.

One of his relatives asked me the other day, “What do you think Jim would think about everything that’s happening today?”
I’m sure most of his family wonders what he would think.
Especially of me and of my children and our political views.

He would be as horrified as everyone about the state of our country today.
But the 7 of us know, without a doubt, that Jim would never have voted for the current person in the White House.
He loved his daughters too much.
He respected women too much.
He valued integrity too much.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

If Jim hadn’t died …… I’d never have met (IRL or virtually) most of you.
I wouldn’t be writing this particular blog.

If he hadn’t died I wouldn’t have met the wonderful friends that I have in NY.
I wouldn’t be longing to get back there right now.

If Jim hadn’t died I wouldn’t have been challenged in some ways, grown in many ways, or leaned on God so hard.

Am I saying that I’m glad that Jim died?
Of course not.

But am I glad that so many good things came out of his death?
You bet.

I’m human.
I make mistakes every day.
I let people down.
I don’t always do the right thing.

But I’m growing.
And learning.
And stretching.
And am okay now with being uncomfortable.
Because I think that it’s in our uncomfortableness …… where we learn the most.
About ourselves.
And about others.

If Jim had not died …… my life would have been good. The way it was.

If Jim had not died …… I might not have known that I could be better.

If Jim hadn’t died ……