Tag Archives: family

Life is Like The Walking Dead

Yes, I freely and proudly admit it.  I am a Walking Dead junkie!  I am completely 100% addicted to the show and fortunately for me, there is NO CURE!  Friends turned me on to the show last year and after seeing a couple of episodes from Season 5, I was hooked.  I spent the following weekend binge watching the entire series on Netflix.  I got no sleep, drank and smoked too much, but hell – it was TOTALLY worth it. As Season 6 finished up last month and discussions and debates began about who Negan killed in that final scene, fans anxiously and impatiently await the opening scene of Season 7 to see who is laying broken and beaten at the hands of Lucille.

Since the finale aired, I have started at Season 1 again, watching and rewatching the stories of Rick, Carl, Hershel, Michonne, Glenn, Maggie, Carol and Daryl.  Every time a beloved character dies, I cry like a baby and yell at the television like it can actually hear me.  I curse Terminus, The Governor, the Wolves, and even Morgan at times hoping he will eventually “man up” and do what has to be done. Unfortunately, it always ends the same way – Hershel and Beth still die; Terminus is still a body factory; The Governor is still a sadistic prick; the Wolves still attack Alexandria; and Morgan still refuses to kill – although he did take baby steps in the last season.

After my constant binge-watching, I started to think about how the characters in this show and the zombie apocalypse they are fighting mirror life and those we choose to let in.  We all face our own zombies on a daily basis – figuratively speaking of course – and it is those people beside us that help us fight our battles.  We may not always be successful, but we fight and care for each other always because they are our family and we will fight to the bitter end to save one or all.    With that said, let me share a bit with you about my Walking Dead crew and why, when I need saving, they are always there:

My Walking Dead Crew

  • Rick – Definitely, the Rick in my crew is my dad.  Poppy was the protector in my life and while I may not have agreed with everything he did to keep me safe, I soon realized he did his best with what he knew at the time.  He taught me to fight the bullies, and everything he did or said was because he loved me and wanted to prepare me for a life without him.
  • Carol – Mom is my Carol.  When I was younger (and stupid), I saw my mom as shy and weak.  She was someone who didn’t speak up and went along with whatever everyone wanted.  But as I grew, I began to see her as the strong, incredible woman she really was.  Her entry into this world and childhood were not easy, but she became the wife that my dad loved more than life itself, and the mother of two kids who cherish and miss her every day.  She was stronger than I (or anyone) gave her credit for; she fought for what she wanted and like my dad, tried to protect me from the harsh realities of the world.
  • Maggie – Without a doubt, the Maggie in my crew is my friend Michelle.  When I first met her, we did not get along at all.  Like me, she was very protective of her heart and letting people in, so we had that in common.  But once I got to know her, I realized that the heart she protects is kind, generous and loving.  Like Maggie, she is the voice of reason when life turns to shit and chaos erupts all around me.  She has the positive spirit that is sorely lacking in the world today and is constantly reminding me that it will all work out in the end.
  • Michonne – The Michonne in my life has to be my friend Elsa.  When we were in high school, she was always the one who came to my rescue.  She fought off bullies, helped me in class, and told me to “get over myself” whenever I acted like a brat (trust me – I acted like a brat alot!)  She was always there to keep my reality in check and for that I am thankful.
  • Glenn – My friend Warren reminds me of Glenn.  A hard worker, although quiet until you get to know him, he is the first to step up and is always ready to lend a hand when needed.  I have relied on him a lot since my folks passed and he has helped me immensely whenever something needs fixing at the house.  He’s a great friend to me and I truly appreciate his kindness.
  • Tara – In my crew, my friend Debbie is my Tara.  What I like most about Tara is her ability to see the good in people no matter what they do, and that quality is abundant in Debbie’s personality.  When Tara and Glenn were in the tunnel in Season 4 while looking for Maggie, and Tara got her foot caught in the rubble, she begged Glenn to go.  She was willing to sacrifice herself for Glenn’s happiness.  Deb is a lot like that; she is genuine in her feelings and when she loves you, it is for life.  She will fight for you, guide you and hope that you learn to love the person you become.  I honestly don’t know what my life would have been like without her.
  • Carl – I think the Carl in my life is Kelsey.  Similar to the growth of Carl on the show, I have watched Kelsey grow from a sweet little girl into an even sweeter, strong, beautiful woman.  A college graduate and wife now, she is a fighter – strong-willed, smart, loving, and every time I see her, I amazed at the woman she is today.

So who am I you may ask.  This is a hard one for me, but I think in The Walking Dead of Life, I am most like Daryl.  Throughout the show, Daryl has not been quick to trust.  In the beginning he tried to survive on his own and did what he wanted at the expense of others,; however, he soon realized that the strength of others is vital to survival.  It took me a very long time to learn this lesson.

Daryl

We are all confronted with our own battles on a daily basis – hate, uncertainty, heartbreak, self-esteem, depression, fear, anger….the list goes on and on.  But it is those people in our life who give us the strength we need and help us fight the demons one at a time.  I am blessed to have so many people who love and care about me and are willing to help me fight when I need it.

There are so many other people in my life that I want to mention and who will always be a part of my crew, but I have to stop here because if I keep going I won’t get any other work done today.  But before I go, let me leave you with this one thought….Take a look at the people in your own life and how they have shaped the person you are today. Who is your Rick? Michonne? Maggie?  Do you have a Hershel or Eugene or a Daryl in your life?  Please feel free to take a moment and respond with your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

~SB

 

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Mom’s Obsession with Tim McGraw

How many of you are lucky enough to still have your Mothers with you?  Will you be spending Sunday with her, taking her to lunch or dinner and showing her how much you love her?  If your answer to both of these questions is yes, get down on your knees and thank God – or whomever it is you pray to.

Mother’s Day is especially difficult for me; mom passed away last year and although the first year without her was hard, this year is probably worse because of all the changes and drama going on in my life right now.  I really need her smile and her unending belief and faith in me that everything would be just fine. As a special tribute to my mom, I had to share my favorite memory of her.  No matter how I’m feeling, this story always puts a smile on my face.  But first…a little background.

I moved in with my folks – into the house I grew up in – about 11 years ago, mainly because their health was not good and they needed some financial help.  Dad had emphysema and COPD and was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  I lived upstairs but I always took care of them, making sure the bills were paid,  the grocery shopping was done, and ensuring they ate and took their meds.  We had a routine and it was good – it was comfortable.

Dad passed away in 2012 and after that Mom and I became inseparable.  I knew her health was not good either, but she was a stubborn lady.  Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and congestive heart failure did not stop her at all.  She still drove, did things around the house while I was at work, and would go up to the local sub shop to get us subs for dinner.  (To this day, I can’t go in there).  She loved Facebook and playing the slots on the computer – she said the “F Word” alot when she lost – but she would spend hours in the office just playing away.

It wasn’t until late 2014 that she took a turn for the worse – she was in and out of the hospital  during that time and into early 2015 and although she was still as stubborn as always, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I lost her.  After her third trip to the hospital in as many weeks, I finally decided to bring her home.  She was terrified of dying in a hospital like daddy did and she had begged me not to let that happen to her.  I honored her wishes and I don’t regret it for one minute.

The last few weeks were difficult – but I knew she was still in there somewhere.  One story in particular I would like to share with you because it shows her sense of humor and her incredible spunk.  Those of you who know me personally have heard this story before, but it’s my favorite and worth sharing again.  (I must insert a disclaimer here – if vulgarity bothers you, it’s probably best if you stop reading now.)

Each night I helped mom get ready for bed.  She was able to walk with my help – even though she constantly apologized for bothering me – but that was her style.  She had been wearing pull-up diapers by this time and when she was ready to go to bed, I would walk her to the bathroom help her get her pull-up off and sit her on the toilet.  One particular night as she was on the toilet, she told me to leave her in there for for awhile and she would call me when she was ready.  I did as she asked and went to the kitchen to finish the dishes.

When she called, I went back into the bathroom to finish our nightly routine.  Now…this is the spunky part…keep reading and wait for it.  That night I was wearing my favorite gray sweats and a Tim McGraw concert shirt.  As I got back to the bathroom, I held out my arms to help mom get up.  She just looked at me and kept staring at my shirt. “Mom,” I asked, “are you okay?”  Without missing a beat, she looked up at me, pointed at my shirt and said, “I bet he has a big dick.”  My mouth dropped and I busted out laughing, “I don’t know, Mom…maybe.”

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From that night on, her “wonder” about Tim McGraw is how I knew the mom I loved was still in there.  The last few days of her life she slept a lot and whenever she would wake up she would be disoriented and not know where she was.  I got in the habit of asking her a series of questions like “what year is it;” “who am I;” “who’s the president;” “when is your birthday.”  She would answer sleepily, but correctly, and the last question I would always ask her during these episodes would be, “And what does Tim McGraw have?”  Her eyes would open wide as she said, “A big dick!”

Mom passed in March of last year and I still see the look in her eyes as she said that.  She was so funny, and I miss that so much.  I still wear that shirt and think of her spunk every time I put it on.  To this day, when a Tim McGraw song comes on the radio, I know it is a message from her saying, “I love you, honey. Everything will be okay.”

 

Are Heroes a Thing of the Past?

Last night I was watching Criminal Minds and one of my favorite aspects of the show is the quotes one of the characters recites at the beginning and end of each episode. I’ve made artwork out of some of them and from time to time when I need a reminder of something I will turn to them. The quote from last night’s episode was from Bernard Malamud: “Without heroes, we are all plain people and don’t know how far we can go.”

This got me thinking about my own heroes as a child – who I wanted to be like and tried to emulate as I was growing up. I was a big Wonder Woman fan and even had Underoos (remember them?) that mimicked her costume. She was my hero each week as she fought the bad guys and showed compassion to those around her. At the other end of the spectrum, I adored Catwoman from the Batman series. Although no one can compare with Eartha Kitt’s version of the character, those who came after her didn’t taint my image. Even though she was a villain, I thought she was awesome and would play act in my bedroom as a child that I was her.  It’s funny how back then, it didn’t take much to keep a child happy.

We don’t hear a lot of talk about personal heroes today.  We have our military and their heroism and honor goes without saying.  But when it comes to those who impact our own individual lives, no one gives it a second thought.  We are all so busy trying to stay ahead of everyone else, we have forgotten about – and don’t give credit to – those who helped us become who we are today.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my heroes are those that have encouraged me when I had nothing left; who told me I could do whatever I wanted and be whatever I wanted no matter what.  They have loved me unconditionally and never judged or questioned me.  While they may not have agreed with every decision I’ve made in my life, they supported me without question.  Isn’t that the mark of a true hero?  Take a moment and think about the heroes in your own life; you’d be surprised how many you have.

SB/2014

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Moments

Country singer Mark Willis writes of Moments…”days in the sun, moments, I was second to none…moments, when I knew I did what I thought I couldn’t do.” We have all had times like these in our lives when we made a decision or an event happened that affected us for the rest of our lives.

I’ve had many, but the one that really changed my life is when I decided to pack up my life and move up north to Boston. I was in my 30s, had never lived outside Virginia before and thought the experience would be good for me. Mom told me I needed to “sow my wild oats.” Trust me, between working two jobs to make ends meet and taking classes for my Bachelor’s Degree, the “oats” were left by the side of the road.

In any event, I was there almost two years and made the decision to come back home in October 2006. I remember the night I called my folks and asked if I could stay with them until I found a place. Well, I’ve been there 8 years now and although it took a while, I realized my “place” was with them. The time I spent away from Virginia helped me understand what I truly had in my life and when I came back home, to my friends and family; it was as if I never left. It was a great reminder of what it means to be loved.

I challenge you today to think about the Moment(s) in your life that brought you to where you are today. Feel free to comment and share your own experiences and why those moments were important to you.

SB/2014

Moments