Tuesday, January 03, 2012

So, uh...more than a year has passed since I last updated. Well, let's put this bluntly, 2011 was a totally shitty year! Now most people reading this, probably know why 2011 was so crappy, but for any of you who don't know, here are the specifics:
My beautiful sister died July 25th, I got sick and was in and out of the hospital for three weeks, and my wonderful mother in law died in late September. (I keep thinking of that line in the movie "Arthur" when the prostitute Arthur picks up says "my mother died when I was 6 and my father raped me when I was 12", and Arthur's response was "so..you had a relatively good 6 years then"...I guess I had a relatively good 6 months last year...(you gotta laugh).

This is the second time I have lost a sister. My sister Bridget died in 2002 of an accidental drug overdose. Bridget was a gentle but troubled soul. She was diagnosed in her early twenties with Crohn's disease. She had a particularly bad case and had several abdominal surgeries to combat it. She suffered from alcoholism and eventually drug addiction as well. She was sober for awhile, and did get married to (at the time) a wonderful man who unbeknownst to us had demons of his own to battle. When Bridget died, it was almost unbelievable...there was no warning, no early diagnoses of a possible life threatening disease. We knew she suffered and we prayed she would get better. Maybe our prayers were answered, just not in the way we would have liked. Its funny, but I find myself thinking about her more and more as the years go by: what would she have been like? Would she have ever had children? Would she have ever beaten the alcoholism that haunted her? I know she loved my kids. I know that she would have been proud of them. I think about my mom. What that must have been like for her to see Bridget lying in bed, dead. As a mother myself, I do not want to go there, but I imagine that your whole world falls away. To have to then, bury a second child, it seems almost cruel. Erin was diagnosed with breast cancer 4.5 years ago. I will never forget her telling me just after diagnoses that "this will kill me". I remember saying to her that no...it won't. We will have to fight it. Erin was always very pragmatic in the face of her disease. Oh, she was sad and oh, did she fight, but I think that somewhere in the back of her mind was the realization that her life would be cut short. Oh, trust me, this is no freaking Lifetime movie, there was no garage full of gifts for Nora's future birthdays and Christmases. There was no individually addressed letters to all of her loved ones...there was just one letter, beautifully written and heartbreakingly real. She wrote this letter to her daughter on a small manila steno pad, you know the old fashioned kind, people used to have for jotting down small notes. In it, she allows her emotionally steam of conscientiousness to take over and she lets go in writing what she really never did in life. Towards the end of Erin's illness, it was difficult. I believe that there were probably metastases to her brain and that she was affected by this; she used to accuse us of hiding her medicine. Ironically she was right, but we only did this to prevent her from taking too much. Up to the very end, she fought...a few days before she died, she told me she needed a ride to her next chemotherapy session. I knew, but didn't say, that there would be no more chemo. Honesty at this time would be self serving. I will never forget her last words to me...nothing profound, no last word of advice, just a simple "hey, thanks for coming today..." She slipped into a coma and died two days later. Nora, Ted, all of my sisters and my mother were there for the duration. It was surreal in many ways. I miss her every day. Its funny but towards the end, you start to pray that God shows some mercy and takes her. I mean, I'm not saying we prayed that she would die, but if she wasn't going to get well and be the Erin we knew, then please take her to a place where she can be that person. Take her away from her pain. I'm not an expert on grief...who the hell would want that title?! But I know that it comes and goes and that what you mourn is the loss of that vibrant personality..that big laugh...the honesty and integrity she brought to your life. I hear her voice in my head all the time...saying..."Ruttum...knock it off...stop your crying...get on with it".

Which leads me to the death of my mother in law. Like my sister, Jeanie was taken too soon, although unlike my sister, she had the opportunity to raise her children and see them all happily married with children of their own. Oh, how she loved her grandchildren. I had the honor of producing the first three Ruttum "heirs"...I still remember her coming here after our first daughter was born...oh she loved that little girl. She used to walk her around and comment on the fact that "she is so smart, look at how her eyes follow the light..." This theory that she (Mary) was so smart was further cemented when she bought her that tupperware game...you know the one, with the shapes that you put into the ball. Oh, she was amazed that Mary could complete that game so quickly. And yes, my mother in law was correct in her assessment of my first born. She is currently a jet pilot for the Navy...still looking into the light.
Sadly, Jeanie was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at a younger than normal age. For her, it really affected her ability to perform certain tasks; she would stand in front of a faucet and not know how to turn it on. Her memory for people and events did not diminish though and my memories of her will always be of that HUGE smile and that warm laugh and the way she loved to go out shopping and out to dinner. After she died, I put together a slide show presentation of her life. I came across a photo I had taken a few years back, before Erin was diagnosed. It was at Mary's high school graduation party, and we were having such a wonderful time. I will leave you with that photo. And thank you for stopping by to visit. Here's to a better 2012.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A pictorial update:
Delia's 16th:
Mickey's 8th grade graduation:

Delia's Confirmation:

USNA, Class of 2010

Mary's Commissioning:

John's 21st birthday:

And there is more of course...alot happens when you aren't paying attention. I'll try to update more frequently. SO much to tell you. Knitting, theater, etc. wow.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Long time...no hear...here's what I've been up to:

Navy Women's Lacrosse wins the Patriot League Championship!
It was a great weekend in Bethlehem, PA.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Ok, so I'm sitting here waiting for the snow. Not just any snow, but THE snow, the one, the Blizzard of 2010. You know its bad when even the meteorologists won't tell you how much we are going to get. Now my sister-in-law lives in Steamboat Springs and she always laughs at us when I tell her how crippling it is out here when we get more than 6 inches of snow. Of course, whenever the humidity goes anywhere above 20% out there, they suffer tremendously. So it all depends on what you are used too.

So, I, like EVERYONE IN THE BALTIMORE WASHINGTON area, went to the store yesterday. I needed to go anyway and was thinking "gosh, there are alot of people out today." Then I remembered about THE storm. There was a man buying (no lie) 10 gallons of milk. REALLY!? 10 gallons. I mean yes, they are using words like "power outages, and no one leave your homes, and near white out conditions", but 10 gallons?

Well despite the imminent snow, Navy Women's Lacrosse is having its season opener today at noon. It was supposed to be tomorrow, but with the aforementioned storm, they have moved it up a day. Should be nice and balmy up at the stadium...NOT!

Anyway, I will post some pictures of the storm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mary and Dane...drunk at the Double T. Yep, I took this picture to mark this momenteous occasion. We had been to a birthday party earlier in the night, and were invited to celebrate with a friend of Mary's who was turning 21. We closed Pussers! I mean, really, when was the last time I was at a bar until 2 am?! I was the designated driver and was driving home when these two clowns informed me that we were going to the Double T Diner. Now, let me tell you, this diner is a pretty interesting place at 2 am. Mary was hysterical making fun of this group of girls who were asking such questions as "hummm, can I get a half of a banana". Good times.

I made this today. A lunch bag. Its sewn from heavy duty cotton canvas. I cut out two rectangles 10inches x 13 inches and then ironed on the embroidery transfers. I used Jenny Hart's of Sublime Stitching fame, design. The person who I made this for is a sweets fanatic. You can see the close up of the cake and the silverware. I used whatever floss I had; the idea was to create a project that made use of what I already had laying around. I am thinking this would be good to teach to the kids; they can get very creative with the embroidery, etc. And, its re-usable!
I sure hope the person I made it for will like it. I am thinking of making one with the Saints insignia. Cool, yes or no?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year. I have much to update and will get to that in the coming days. Here are a few pictures of what's been going on. Check out the pipes! This is a small sampling of the pipes at the United States Naval Academy's Chapel pipe organ. A friend of mine was in town and was able to play this gorgeous thing...you shoulda heard it.
I have also been knitting! I think I've made this hat 5 or six times..For my god daughter...

For my daughter. A late Christmas present, but it was done before the vacation was over, so that's ok, right.
Here's what 2010 will bring:
Mary's graduation from the USNA
Dane's 50th birthday
Our 24th Wedding anniversary
Delia's sweet 16
Mickey's 14th
John's 21st

Here's what I hope and pray 2010 brings:
A swift cure for breast cancer
An end to the suffering of those close to me
Peace in those areas of the world where it is most needed
To push myself to be a better person.

Oh, and one last thing, today would have been my sister Bridget's 44th birthday. It is still very strange for me to think about that and to comprehend that she has been gone for 7 years. I know that today is going to be hard for my parents; it always is. I think that for parents, the mourning is never over; its like in the play "Rabbit Hole" when the mom describes what its like to lose a child; "its like having a rock in your pocket...as the days go by, you sometimes forget its there, but then you put your hand in and say..yep, there it is, and after some time, you don't want it to leave; it becomes a part of you, like an arm or a leg".

Now, about the ravelympics?!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!