Tuesday, January 24, 2012

and life goes on

It's busy at our house these days. Our daughter Aimee and grandchildren Gaige, Nathan, and Kaitlyn are living with us temporarily (since Christmas) while she is going through a divorce. It's been a rough ten+ years for her, and sometimes for the kids. She married very young, one month before Gaige was born. She was headstrong and was drawn to the bad boy persona in young men. Unfortunately, what age and wisdom and actually living with a person day in and day out brings is the knowledge that bad boys don't treat women with respect. They don't hold down jobs. They care more about themselves than they do the people whom they claim to love. They don't accept responsibility for their own actions, always blaming someone else for their mistakes and wrongdoing. They possess, rather than love. They have violent tempers.

I love having my daughter back. She's her old self again...the person she had suppressed for many years...the wickedly funny, extremely intelligent girl she used to be. The woman who for so long was allowed only the friends chosen by her husband, ones he could control. She has reconnected with so many of her childhood and teenage friends, friends whom SHE chose. She's back in school, getting a degree in nuclear medicine technology and doing great...getting all A's. I can have lunch or go shopping with my daughter whenever I want, something that hasn't happened in all those years. She is a part of our family once again. She is finally getting her life together. I have my daughter back!

Christmas was hard. We went through the motions and even enjoyed parts of it, but it was so different. I didn't send Christmas cards for the first time in forty years. A friend to whom I hadn't spoken since before Christmas pinpointed the reason for me was because I couldn't take the annual grandkids family portrait. There were no raucous and crazy portrait sessions as in years past. I know it wasn't fair to the other kids, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. There would have been too big a hole.

That space will be filled just a little come June. Jaye and Kelly are expecting a son! We are all so happy for them. They hurried just a little, because of Kelly's age (she's 42), and because they don't want Matthew to grow up an only child. He is so lonely. He clings to Kaitlyn when she visits. Aimee let her spend the weekend with them last week and she and Matt had a great time. But when it came time for her to come home, it was devastating for Matthew. He cried and cried, begging her not to leave. We're hoping this new baby will bring some solace and comfort to all of us. We will celebrate his birth with joy.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting on justice to prevail. The driver who killed Lauren was charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter, but after the arraignment, the prosecutor received the records from her cell phone company and they confirmed that she was texting at the time of the crash. Also, the crime scene investigators finally determined her speed...70 mph on impact. Jaye had started moving his vehicle, but was going only 10 mph. The prosecutor is hoping to use the new evidence to bump the charge up to aggravated vehicular homicide, which is a felony in Ohio, and carries a much more commensurate sentence. We have hope that the judge will actually apply the sentence, instead of giving her a slap on the wrist. There have been two similar cases in Ohio recently where the judges have cracked down on this kind of behavior and given the maximum sentence. I know that no amount of time in jail will bring our Lauren back, but maybe it will prevent someone else from being killed. Maybe our state legislature will pull their heads out of their collective ass and get a bill passed that prohibits texting while driving; indeed, prohibits all cell phone use while driving. It's not that hard to do. I've given it up, and so has my entire family. I was never a texter while I was driving, but I did do a lot of catch-up phoning to family and friends. I don't even miss it. It is actually rather freeing.

Our winter has been fairly mild so far. Kind of a crazy December and January with lots of rain. In fact, Ohio's all-time precipitation record was broken in 2011. I wish we could have sent some of that rain to the drought-stricken states. Of course, we still have two months of winter to look forward to, and our February is usually much worse than January, so I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to scrape the driveway and shovel the sidewalks. We had a wood-burning fireplace insert installed in October, and we've been enjoying the wonderful heat, which is sometimes a little too wonderful. Thanksgiving Day I spent cooking in shorts and a t-shirt with the kitchen window wide open, while my  in-laws huddled around the wood-burner with three layers of clothes. And it was 65 degrees outside. Lordy!

David retired in September after 37 years with the same company. They gave him a wonderful send-off. He loves being home, and I love having him at home. The only bad thing is that he started falling apart nearly as soon as the ink dried on his severance papers. He has been having severe pain in his right hip and pain in his back. After trying his primary doctor, and then an osteopath, who weren't able to help him, he finally saw an orthopedic specialist last week. The cartilage in his right hip joint is completely gone. He will be having a total hip replacement this spring. He's also seeing a neurologist/spine specialist tomorrow to rule out any spinal problems. He's very upbeat about the hip surgery. Everyone we've talked to who has had it done or knows someone who has, says it improves their lives about 99%. David has been so used to being active and doing whatever he wants, that this has been a real setback for him, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to get back to his normal self. He has been looking forward to his retirement for several years, and we have a lot of travel plans, and he wants to be able to do all those things and enjoy life. I guess I will get to polish up my nursing skills.  It will make up for the times when I rolled my eyes behind his back after listening to him go on and on about it. No, really. Endlessly. All. Day. Long.  I feel bad about it. Don't tell him.

I feel terrible that I haven't visited my wonderful bloggy friends nearly as much as I wanted. I've popped in on a few of you, and I've read more than I've commented. I'm hoping to return full-force to blogging after the dust settles around here. It's a little hard for the elderly to concentrate with three kids in the house, and then there's the laundry and the cooking and the cleaning, etc. It feels good to write this though, so I know I'm not finished with my story. Not yet.

ADDENDUM:  I found out yesterday that the county prosecutor will NOT be adding an aggravated vehicular homicide charge. Quoting from an email from my daughter-in-law to the texting ban bill advocate with whom I've been working.

"The county prosecutor's office believes that the text being the
same minute as the crash leaves it open for the assailant to say she
made the text after the crash. This would not be believable given her
statement there were no texts made before of after the crash. Also the
1st 911 call was at 1:48 and 37 seconds by a passerby on a bicycle. He
could dispute this as well.
"Also we see that H.B. 99 has opponents claiming that our
current "reckless laws" cover it and there is no need for another law.
Our case reflects that this simply is not the case. I don't think you
could get any closer than a 1:47 text with a 1:47 crash and for county
prosecutors to refuse it as a "recklessness" case based on "evidentiary
issues" is a disgrace."



Judy said...

I've been thinking of you SO much and glad to hear from you. 2011 SUCKED so much for many people... Monday was a New Year of the Dragon which will be a welcome change from the Rabbit year.

Sending my love from Iowa!

Wanda..... said...

I thought of you often over the holidays, Susan. It's good to read of your daughter's positive change to her life and that you have a little grandson on the way!

Dutchbaby said...

Nothing like starting a new year on all high notes. Susan, I'm so impressed with your ability to express yourself with honesty, simplicity, and directness that is nothing short of grace.

I'm thrilled to read this upbeat post. I wish you a great Year of the Dragon!

Sandy Nawrot said...

You know that you have a special spot reserved in my heart - right *here*. i'm so glad to see your post, and that you are sharing your life with us. You have had quite the year. I'm sure that there have been times when you have wanted to crawl into your closet and curl up in a fetal position, but you are such a STRONG woman. The backbone of your family. I think your daughter and grandkids' presence in your home has been exactly what was needed, and I am SO FREAKING HAPPY about this new baby. God bless you all.

P.S. Hope the judge nails her ass to a wall. That is my prayer.

Barb said...

Susan, I was so happy to see your post. Some wonderful news here about moving forward while still remembering and missing a treasured gift. I hope 2012 is a very good year for your family.

Susan Drummond said...

Hi Judy! Thank you for being here for me, then and now.

Yes, 2011 was a pretty bad year for us, but we're hoping for much better in 2012. I guess bunnies aren't so lucky for us. I was just listening to a story on NPR yesterday about the huge jump in births in China when it's a Dragon Year. Maybe some of that supposed luck will rub off on our new baby. :)


Susan Drummond said...

Hi Wanda! Thank you for coming by and for your good wishes! I've missed you. I'll be over to your place real soon, I promise.


Susan Drummond said...

Dutchbaby, it's so sweet of you to offer such kind words. I just write the way I speak to my friends, and you are definitely one of them. :) As I said, it feels really good to be not feel that void anymore. I forgot how much I enjoy it, and what a big part of my life it is.

A wonderful Year of the Dragon to you, as well!


Susan Drummond said...

Sandy, I always feel such warmth and honesty from you. I hope you know you have a special place with me, too.

There are still times when I would like to curl into a fetal position, when I let my mind think too much, but for the most part I try to stay positive and upbeat. I don't know how to be any other way.

We're pretty freakin' happy about the baby, too! :) I think his name will be Jacob Allan, after two of the great-grandfathers. I like it.

You keep praying, darlin'. Maybe somebody up there will be listening.


Susan Drummond said...

Thank you so much, Barb! I've been checking out your new posts, but haven't had the time to write. I always welcome you here with open arms.

It feels good to be back in the saddle and writing. I hadn't realized how very much I've missed it. Maybe next time I'll even take a few pictures. :)


Ruth said...

I pray that much good will come out of these deep wounds. I believe it's possible after reading your positive post.

Wow, about David! I hope that he will feel 100% better.

Do you have some elderly people living with you?


Kathryn said...

I've thought about you too, and am happy to see you here and to read about your good news. i do hope they make a new law in your state to ban the use of cell phones while driving. Maybe they could call it Lauren's Law. Sometimes people need to be reminded of the good reasons behind some laws.
Best wishes to your daughter coming back to you and herself again, and to your son and his family as they wait for their new little one.

steviewren said...

Susan, thanks for the update. It's good to read that you have had some good things happening to you lately. I'm happy for your daughter too. It sounds as though things are much better for her and the children now.

Susan Drummond said...

Ruthie, I think it's possible, too. I believe that our family is the living, breathing epitomy of the saying "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger." We've weathered a lot, but still manage to keep our boat in the water.

More x-rays yesterday at the spine specialist...bone spurs and arthritis there, too. Yes, there does seem to be elderly living in our house. :(

Susan Drummond said...

Thank you, Kathryn. It doesn't seem likely that we will get a law here anytime soon. I just heard yesterday from a woman who has been working to get one passed for the last ten years, and she isn't very hopeful. The House passed it last year, but the Senate president is against it, and almost all the Republican senators are against it, with the reasoning that it is already covered under our "reckless driving" law, but the law is so ambiguous that nobody seems to know how to apply it to cell phone use. I honestly don't know what it will take to enlighten these bozos. Ohio is one of only 15 states in the union that hasn't passed a law prohibiting texting while driving. And New York has banned all hand-held device usage while driving. Our National Traffic and Safety Board has strongly urged that all 50 states pass one modeled on New York's, but that will never happen, so it will have to be a Federal law eventually.

Thank you for your good wishes. :)

Susan Drummond said...

steviewren, thank you for your good wishes and your support through all our troubles. I hope things are going well for you. I'll be over for a visit soon. :)

Susan Drummond said...

Ruthie, I think I meant to say embodiment, not epitomy. Ha!

Kathleen said...

Susan, I am so glad to see you back here on your blog. I am keeping you and your family in my prayers and am glad to hear that good things are starting to happen again for all of you. You are an inspiration to us all!

Susan Drummond said...

Thank you, Kathleen! You have been a loyal friend, coming here when I haven't even posted and leaving your kind thoughts. It has meant so much to me.

Oliag said...

Dear Susan - I am thrilled to read your update....well everything except David's hip problems anyways! When reading it it I was filled with the sense of the circle of life and the importance of family. So happy about the news of the new baby!

Deborah said...

Yes. Very glad you sat down to write, and it is so, so good to see you back here.

Your joy at having Aimee back chokes me up. It must have been so very hard - I hadn't realized the extent to which she was controlled. But what a girl! Wickedly funny and highly intelligent?? Wonder where she gets that from...

Suporna Roy said...

Very Nice Blog !
I Like This Very Much.
Methods of Modern Farming

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking of you and checking in to see if you've posted. So glad to find you here tonight.

I had to stop in the middle of reading this to google "texting laws" around the country. I can't understand how this remains legal in any state. This is another example of how technology is ahead of the system.

My husband spent 37 years with the same company, too. That doesn't happen very often anymore. He loves retirement and enjoyed playing golf yesterday in this unseasonably warm weather.

My brother has had both hips replaced. It was a very good experience for him. I've heard hips are easier than knee replacements. Wishing David good luck.

Susan Drummond said...

Dear Oliag, thank you so much for your good wishes! I see that you have been away from blogging for a while, too. Your photos are ever more beautiful on Flickr. I sneak a peek every now and then. :)


Susan Drummond said...

Deb, you rascal! Aimee and I prefer to think of ourselves as "smarasses", better than "dumbasses", you know.

It's so good to have her back. Yes, it chokes me up sometimes, too. I try to not think about all the lost time, and only think about the future.

Susan Drummond said...

Dear Bella, we have been having some seriously unseasonable weather here, too! I'm not complaining, but I do wish the ground would just freeze already...I'm so tired of the mud.

Yes, it's so hard to believe that it is taking so long for some states to catch up with laws addressing the explosion of use of hand-held devices in moving vehicles. I'm guessing that Ohio will be one of the last.

I'm happy to hear that your husband is enjoying being at home. David loves it...especially not having to answer the call of the alarm clock. He says all the time that he doesn't know how he ever had time to work. :)

His surgery is scheduled for May 11. It's good to hear all these reports of success from different people.

ds said...

You're back! Yippee! You've been hoped and prayed and worried for. I am so glad that life is realigning itself in more positive ways for you and your family. How wonderful to have your daughter back! How exciting to be awaiting a new grandson!
Be a good Nurse Ratchett, now...

The Bumbles said...

Hello lady. So - a grandson! Great news for all. Your daughter returning - on many levels - is also great. David's health? Not so great - but it sounds like relief is possible for all those travels I hope you will share. Keep being vigilant with the State - saving future families is vital. I think of Lauren every time my phone rings or dings in the car - and ignore it until the ride is over. I do wonder though - are hands free calls OK? I've heard talk of bans of that kind of use too. But is that any different than having a conversation with your passenger? My boss goes about 20 mph in the fast lane and veers all over as soon as he starts talking in the car - on the phone or to his passenger - so it certainly can be dangerous for some.

shoreacres said...

I know I've been here before and thought I'd left a comment, but apparently I just started thinking about everything and wandered off.

I'm sorry to see the latest news about the charges. That must be more than frustrating. The prosecutor's reasoning makes no sense to me - but I'm sure they don't care about that.

I'm just glad for all of the good things that are happening - your daughter, the new baby, the new hip! I'm with your husband - I've already figured out that if I ever get to retire, the last thing I'll worry about is filling up the time!

stacybuckeye said...

Susan, thank you for updating us. You and your family are in my prayers often. I do hope that justice prevails, even if it can never be enough.
Very excited for you and your daughter. How wonderful to have a relationship again. And of course for your whole family on the new addition. What a blessing.

California Girl said...

Reading this so long after the post date, I can only hope some reasonable justice prevailed in the sentencing.

Happier note is your great news about the pregnancy. Best wishes, happy thoughts & prayers of healing to your family.

I've had both hips replaced & am now 6 wis into recovery from a knee replacement. It's all good & the hips don't hurt a fraction as much though recovery takes longer due to movement restrictions. Make sure he stays ahead of the pain & doesn't try to tough it out.


Cora said...

I have made my first post on my blog since January of this year and have come by here to visit you, remembering all too well last fall. I still feel your pain and hear and feel it in your words. We too have some happy news which I shared in my post.
Time is a healer but the heart never forgets, nor should it. Take care and keep us posted on David and the new addition.