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Dad’s Autopsy

Posted on Sep 6, 2016 in Blog |

Appropriate, Clear, Normal, Unremarkable, Usual Appear too many times, Used in circumstances I consider unimaginable and unacceptable. Too many measurements and percentages Objective Absent of emotion. “Organs glisten” So does the morning dew, But I cannot associate the two Listed Causes of Death Sepsis and Luminal Thrombus Relieve my guilt, certifying we did all we could But do not soften the searing intensity of my grief It confirms what we thought It denies what we feared It details the physical condition a man left this dimension in to proceed to another. It is void of spirit and emotion. An autopsy provides data for information and analysis. My friend who advised me against reading the document, Reading it himself and Translating only the necessary information, Is as good a friend as he is a physician. He knows I need spirit and emotion to describe my father. He knows there is more to any person’s life (and death) than data. An autopsy does not measure Dad’s: – generosity – compassion – integrity – commitment – thoughtfulness – passion – determination – kindness – service to others – impeccable standards – love for and dedication to his wife, his daughters, his sons-in-law, and most assuredly his grandchildren Nor does the autopsy illustrate or display Dad’s: – southern drawl – panache for telling a good joke – extensive reading interests – political savvy – stellar ethics – adaptive social skills – admonishment of mediocrity – firm, welcoming handshake and the smile and eye contact that followed – deeply rooted spiritual foundation – genuine gentlemanly manner – lavish mentoring The autopsy also doesn’t give me directions to or the combination to Dad’s version of Fibber McGee’s closet. The autopsy does not gauge how: – deeply loved – thoroughly popular – intensely indispensable – widely respected – infinitely admired – sorely missed – highly decorated – straightforwardly appreciated – and yes, again, deeply, deeply loved My Dad Was, Is, and Ever will be. Sharon Rainey September 5, 2016 Share...

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Dad and Me, Ten Years Later

Posted on Jul 24, 2016 in Blog |

I wrote the following piece for Dad for Father’s Day, 2006. I found it in his files the week before this past Father’s Day among other pieces I had written. I didn’t have the courage to post it until today. Dad And Me June 18, 2006 – Father’s Day I am very fortunate to have two loving parents who provided me with a ‘normal’ upbringing. Some of the threads that, together, form my ‘fabric,’ include my childhood memories. On this Father’s Day, I thought you might want to see what I saw and what I remember of you and me. You were a corporate executive, working six days a week for 30 years. So while the hours that I saw you were more limited than those with mom, I still hold many glimpses of my childhood (and adulthood) like photographs of our relationship. Memories from Texas: – I wasn’t more than five years old. You came home from work; I ran up to you, quite pleased with myself, announcing, “Dad! I learned a new word today!” You were putting your coat away in the closet. I think it was your suit jacket. But you were just putting it on the hanger and putting it into the closet when you replied, “You did?! What is it?” With my excitement just beyond containment, I proudly enunciated, “Damn!” The color drained from your face, your smile evaporated. I don’t remember what you said after that, but I remember being puzzled by the look on your face. – You held me over the wall of the dam so I could see the water coming out while Mom shrieked, “Earle, put her down. Earle, this isn’t safe.” – I remember standing in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store; we all got to order double scoops. I got chocolate mint chip. The total cost was less than one dollar. I remember you paying with that dollar bill and getting change back. – I remember standing outside of our car, looking at the Grand Canyon. It is just one view that I remember, but I remember you standing in front of me, to the side, looking into...

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The Best Part of My Day

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 in Blog |

From my latest column at Women’s Voices magazine: When our son Stephen got into the car from school each day, he was quick to tell me the worst part of his day. It often involved another student making fun of him or not doing something the teacher wanted them to do. Stephen was an ardent rule-follower, so when someone else broke the rules, it was quite disturbing to Stephen. Almost as a self defense mechanism, I started asking Stephen, “What was the BEST part of your day?” He would think hard with the initial answers usually being “lunch” or “recess.” When I started ruling those options out, he looked more closely at his interactions with others. And eventually, he started finding more “best parts” of his day. When I started treatment for advanced Lyme disease, there were days and weeks that were absolutely miserable. Stephen would come home and ask me how my day was, and I immediately went to the worst of my day. With a small grin on his face, he would ask, “Well, then what was the BEST part of your day?” The student had become the teacher. For my birthday last month, I didn’t do anything in particular. But the best part of my day was eating lunch with my husband and two employees. The food was delicious, but it was the time we spent laughing, talking, and connecting that made it really special. Two days after my birthday, I watched my 58 year old husband Jeffrey endure a heart attack. For 36 hours we went from a little cough to bronchitis, to a possible pulmonary embolism, to a heart attack, to a heart attack and a blood clot, to the catheterization lab where they placed four stents, three of which are in the “widowmaker” artery. The weird part of this is that throughout the entire crisis, I was the calm one. Let me rephrase that. After I watched him have the heart attack, with his blood pressure up at 213/175, and thinking he would die at that very moment; AFTER that, I was overcome with the most mysterious but completely grounded confirmation that...

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Sharon’s Annual Christmas Letter 2012

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 in Blog |

Dear Loved Ones (that includes all friends and family!), I started this letter as Jeff and I flew back from a week’s vacation in Naples, Florida for Thanksgiving week. It seems more difficult each time to return to ‘real life.’ Eight days alone together was just the recipe for restorative healing in the physical and mental realms. It is the first time in decades that I can remember sleeping 9-10 hours nightly with no interruption. Listening to the gulf waves easing onto the beach became like breathing to me, each wave, each breath as deep as the horizon in front of us. Paradise. Heather – Heather continued her studies at George Mason University. And on December 20th, less than a month away, she will walk the stage to accept her Bachelor degree in Mind and Body Wellness. She has applied (and with her almost 4.0 GPA, I think she will be accepted) for the Masters in Social Work program also at George Mason. Heather also finally took the plunge and resigned from her position at the hair salon in order to teach yoga full time in addition to finishing up her undergraduate degree. It has been an honor to watch Heather find her passion and accomplish her goals. Her journey is just beginning in some ways and I can’t wait to see how she changes the world that she touches! Heather had back surgery in June to repair a ruptured disk that had probably been there for two years. She had to stop yoga for six weeks. But she did everything the doctor told her to do and she has made a full recovery. Back surgery is no small deal; so we are all relieved she came through it so successfully. Heather was also named an Ambassador to lululemon. Her photo is on the big wall at Tysons Corner. This is a very high honor among yogis. ? Joey – Joey and Cortney are still together and planning a 2013 wedding. They are still in Simi Valley, CA. They have moved into a small house and Joey has started his own vegetable garden. He had some knee problems this...

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Sharon’s Christmas Letter 2011

Posted on Dec 8, 2011 in Blog |

Dear Loved Ones, Usually, I look forward to writing this annual letter.  It gives me a chance to capture the highlights and reflect on the low moments to see what wisdom I can gain and utilize for “the next time.”  It gives me the opportunity to openly thank those who have been especially helpful.  But this year, I have dreaded this task.  Most of you already know why, and for the rest of you, it will become clear in a few paragraphs.  I use this letter as an imprint of our memories, so there are some things I want to say first . . . 2011 was a year of changes. In January, Heather left myNeighborsNetwork after working for me for almost four years. She took a job as the salon manager at Tangerine Dream Beauty Bar.  She continues her studies at George Mason University and expects to graduate in 2012 with a BS in Mind/Body Wellness.  In the meanwhile, she also earned her yoga teaching certification.  She is currently teaching power vinyasa and flow yoga.  She is also preparing for a trauma certification course at the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, MA in January.  She seems very happy in her life and it shows. Stephen was notified in January that he had been awarded a regional Gold Key Award for a computerized self-portrait he made (see photo to the right: that’s the winner!).  It was a big deal.  And we are very proud of him! A few days later, Stephen made it to the big 18.  We celebrated over a series of days and meals. On March 1st, Stephen was accepted into his first choice college, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Just after Valentine’s Day, Joey asked his girlfriend, Cortney Jones, to be his wife.  She accepted.  They came out over the summer for a quick trip and introduction to his East Coast family.  They are tentatively planning on a 2013 wedding in California where they are currently living (Simi Valley).  In March, Joey underwent major successful back surgery.  He is now able to work and is enjoying his new job at Milgard Windows.  Having a job in...

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