July 25, 2008
I believe that in our lives things can be a combination of good and positive, as well as difficult and negative. The tricky part can be keeping all this stuff in balance. At least that is what I think anyway.
I will not get too deep here, I swear. But I could not start a new blog without acknowledging an event in my life that occurred this month that was a massive blow to me and my whole family amidst the amazing, wonderful, beauty that is the building of our new home.
This past January my mother was diagnosed with cancer. The same cancer that took our dad five years ago. It is a rare cancer that is hard to detect and once found very hard, and in my mother's case, not able to respond to treatment. My mom was not given a good prognosis. I knew at her initial oncologist meeting that my top priority was no longer this house project, as it had been, but being with my mom.
These past six months my mom lived life like she was never even diagnosed with a terminal disease.
She basically took her tough news and then kicked into high gear living. Her social calendar was always booked. Although she had to cut back on her volunteer work and golf game she made it a priority to have as many good times with friends and family as she could. So she made all her bridge games with her pals, she attended the Music Theater, she had numerous lunch and tea dates, she gardened and baked with a frenzy, and attended all the family parties we could throw her way.
And my mom still always dug into me about the house plans and progress and how it was all going. She truly loved the house project dearly and she never tired of seeing our architectural plans, all our pictures and sketches, and hearing our crazy ideas. I needed to constantly update her on work and progress. She loved it all. And she was so proud that our family was going to be on one of her beloved shows, This Old House (as I am sure all her neighbors and can friends can attest to). My mom was always one of our biggest supporters and she remained so positive and energetic about our house project.
I know our mom must have been feeling really bad at times, and her energy was low - but she never complained and she never revealed how cruddy she must have felt living with a very aggressive cancer. She never really let on to us or her friends about how tough a lot of her days were for her. She was so stoic and so strong. And she was as feisty as ever!
Then, very suddenly, my mom lost her brave and fierce fight on Monday, July 1st. But her children and grandchildren were all with her to say goodbye. And that is why on that Monday, as a small tribute to her and my dad, my husband Pete posted a picture of my parents, Barbara and John at their 50th wedding anniversary on our north web-cam.
But as Forrest Gump stated: That is all I am going to say about that.
So after being out of the house project loop for a while I am back. I am not 100% but I am back on site. And like my mom I will probably be feistier than ever. I am trying hard to emulate my mom and take this awful reality and somehow charge forward and be strong. But it is very challenging. I will continue to be goofy, overly talkative, and high spirited as I usually am on the outside. But on the inside I am now living with a gaping hole in my heart and in my spirit. This whole experience has been terribly hard for me to accept. So bear with me.
But I know throughout this whole ordeal that this house is such a great positive going on in our lives.
And I am so grateful for it and I feel so lucky and blessed especially now during this dark time in my life.
And as corny as it may sound I know my parents are now both watching over us and our house being created and they are giving it their blessing as it comes to life. And I only can think and laugh about this as I know they are watching the work progress over a bowl of peanuts and a frosty schooner of beer for my dad, and a perfect Manhattan (with ice on the side please) for my mom.
I attached a great photo of my mom and I taken last summer. Our house is a dedication to her. Come fall we will plant two more trees on our property in honor of my parents - a pair of blue spruce, their favorite.
Thanks all for reading some sad stuff. Now on to more good!
(23) CommentsComment on this Blog
My sincerest condolences to you and your family on the loss of your beloved mother. The mother-child bond is one of the closest there is and such a loss is so hard to bear. I pray that God will comfort you in this very difficult time.
Your mom sounds like she was an amazing person. I'm so sorry for your loss.
My condolences on the loss of your mom. Your post is a wonderful tribute to her.
My thoughts and prayers are with you - Amy. Many of us have experienced similar losses - myself included. Thanks for being brave enough to share your heart-felt thoughts with so many strangers. We all look forward to seeing your bright, smiling face on the web-cams real soon. I hope you will plant those trees with Roger "on-air" for the show. Life goes on! Rockman Jim
I am so very sorry for your loss. It sounds like she was a great lady and a wonderful role model for you. I'm sure you made each other very proud.
Hey camera people - we can't see Amy dancing around the job site in her hard hat and sandles if the web-cams don't work. It's 4 am by you and the sun is still shining from yesterday. Please get them working again. Thank You. Rockman Jim
I'm so sorry for your loss. I've lost my father to cancer in 2003. We don't get the new season of TOH until October. Can't wait to see your project. I agree, I would love to see the tree planting on the air.
what a wonderful entry you wrote. Nana and Grampy would be so proud of you. Your words truly touched me as much as your amazing spirit shine through in this blog entry. I am so excited to see the tree planting in their honor, although maybe you could call it a blue (b)ruce tree instead!
Amy, What a wonderful tribute to your mom! We Statesville Girls, loved meeting your parents and wish we were closer to all of you. Your mom was one of the kindest most generous women I ever met. She was so easy to talk too and I loved watching her knit. Janis (your sister) reminds me so much of your mom and I am sure all of you girls have her special traits. All of you are so fortunate to have had wonderful parents and to have each other. God Bless! Mary
You wrote such a wonderful memoir of Nana. We all miss her so much and as difficult as it may seem at times, we will always have eachother. The house is looking good. Cant wait to come see it! Love, Bry
Your words of love are not only touching but can be felt by many.... beautiful. It's comforting to know that both nana and grampy are waching all of us and guiding us each and every day. I can only hope to carry on their will for life and positive outlooks. House looks amazing! Love to all you guys, Katie
What a wonderful and fitting tribute to your mom and dad. You have my sincerest condolences.
Thank you Amy for writing such a great tribute to Mom. We will always remember Mom and Dad's smiles and loving personalities. Our family is so fortunate to have such wonderful parents and grandparents.
The loss of any loved one is difficult, but a mother is even more so. I hope your wonderful memories comfort you. She sounds like she was a great woman.
There seems to be a lot of activity going on in the kitchen the last couple of days, just out of range of the camera. I saw Tommy heading toward the "Tommy Cam" this morning and was hoping he was going to climb a ladder and swivel the camera toward the kitchen, but no luck. Progress on the roof; is that slate or a synthetic substitute? Would it be possible for someone to write a blog once a week briefly describing the work that will be going on during the next week? It would make it easier to make sense of what we're seeing. Thanks!
Thanks Chris! Someone mentioned the basement when the indoor cam first showed up and I've been going on that assumption but I was getting very frustrated trying to figure out how the windows and door placement could possibly match the exterior and floor plan. So what we are looking toward is the front door and the partition backs up to the stairway? Agree that a weekly summary would be great. Anybody else amused by the fact that it's going to take longer to get the roof shingled than it did to build the house? Would like to see the East camera remain in place, since that's the staging area but it would be nice if the north and south camera's could move inside.
Hi Judy - Glad to be of help. I agree the north camera could go inside, but the south cam still gives good views and I'm interested how they are going to put the solar panels on the dormers of the south-facing roof, whether on top of the shingles/tiles or integrated into the roof covering (why put shingles under a solar panel if the panel keeps the weather off?). I'm guessing the arrays of white things on the dormer roof sections have something to do with the installation of the solar panels (which are shown on the plans - "elevations" - side views).
Some explanations from TOH would be nice, although I suppose we'll all find out in the fall when the show airs. Still . . .
Hey Chris and Judy, You both have the right idea about a weekly blog/update as to what we're seeing. I haven't paid much attention lately because it's so hard to figure out what's really happening with the cameras so far away. The north & south cams only show "little people" moving around - can't tell what they're doing. The east cam is good - like you said - it's the staging area. The "tommy cam" is great if you only want to watch people at the front door. Could we get a blog from Tommy updating everyone about what's happening elsewhere inside?
Amy - with all due respect to the H-E-double fenceposts your life has experienced recently, could we get a new blog from you or Pete that updates everyone. Give us bloggers something new to chew on. Thank You & Take Care, Rockman Jim
Absolutely beautiful. Your mother, and father, must be smiling down from heaven after hearing their daughter offer up such kind and caring words. I'm sure they were wonderful people, and may their memories live on forever in your heart and your home.
I have two theories (1) Steph and Deb have been fired or (2) the powers that be don't really want us to know what's going on because it will some how detract from the program. Most of the blogs have been more human interest than nitty-gritty. Jim: Very frustrating trying to get a close up of what's going on...the more I zoom in the less focus. Chris: When I checked in yesterday and again this morning there was activity on the dormers. Seems to be connected to a black pickup and there is something new on the scaffolding. I'd guess that they won't actually install them until a filming day. I think the roofing material is slate...it(plus the steep slope of the roof) would explain the heavy duty scaffolding and the slow progress.
Or a third theory: benign neglect. It looks very much like the film crew is on site today. Shooting the work on the dormer roofs, and a mob hanging out around the catered lunch table. I looked at the EarthCam camera specs a while back and pretty much all of them have a least a manual zoom. The south camera could be zoomed some, cropping the sky and trees for a better view of the roof work (belated). The east cam is nice but the lens is dirty. The north cam should be moved to the second floor, but again it's late -- I've seen a steady stream of people disappear up the stairs (ah, the suspense!). Most of these things - like re-aiming cams - is easy; moving the north cam to the 2nd floor would be a lot of work.
I'm grateful for what we've got, for sure -- just a few suggestions, if TOH is reading these comments.
So glad to see you all at Dowses' Beach today. Missed you all. So sorry for the sadness in your life with your recent loss. And you are right, your folks are looking down on you and are vey proud of you for so many reasons. Keep going strong, Amy! See you soon back at the beach.
SO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR MOM. OUR FAMILY HAS ENDURED OUR SHARE OF GRIEF RECENTLY AND I AM STILL SHOCKED BY THE IMPACT IT HAS ON OUR LIVES.
PS COULD YOU TELL ME HOW YOU GOT YOUR PROJECT SELECTED FOR THIS OLD HOUSE & A BRIEF SUMMARY OF WHAT THEY EXPECTED? THANKS, KATHY