Guess what? I heard from my sister Wednesday morning. No, I mean I heard her voice for the first time in weeks. She can speak. Her trach is out. I was amazed when she said hello to me on the other end of the phone. What a pleasant surprise!
Do you know what her first words were to me? Where are my pillows? What happened to my jewelry? What did you do with all my spices? I mean the ingratitude. After all she has been through, and all that I had done for her, those were her first words. No ” oh my god the house looks wonderful” No “thank you for cleaning up my mess.” No ” my bedding is so fresh and clean” Nope ” just where is my stuff.”
Need I say that I was a little miffed. I mean I didn’t expect a flow of praise but a nice thank you would have been great. What is wrong with her? I spent hours, and I mean hours cleaning up her mess. I did it out of love. I did it so if and when she came home it would be ready for her. And, I did it because I can’t stand a mess myself.
After my first reaction of outrage I came to my senses and realized that half of what we had discussed while she was in the hospital she didn’t remember. I even told her friends to keep that in mind. After a near death experience, and she was very near death, people often don’t remember what has occurred despite responding to their visitors. And that is exactly what happened. She didn’t have a clue as to what was often said.
So, I forgave her. Then I told her where everything could be found. I did hate to admit that a lot of her kitchen stuff we had to throw away as it was expired or disgusting. She seemed to believe that spices never expire so I reminded her that they indeed have a shelf life although I didn’t realize that they could be kept so long. After looking at this website http://www.stilltasty.com I realized I may have wasted a few things. The above site states
As a general rule, whole spices will stay fresh for about 4 years, ground spices for about 2 to 3 years and dried herbs for 1 to 3 years. Here are some tips for maximizing the shelf life of spices: Store spices in a cool, dark cupboard, away from direct heat or sunlight; keep tightly closed when not in use.
After finding a variety of other items years past the expired date I decided to be cautious anyway and out they went. Her one big beef was that she had a bunch of “German” spices ” that you can’t get anywhere” and I had tossed those as well. So, if any of you readers know where I can get some authentic German spices please drop me a list. It might get me out of the dog house. Wait till she sees all the papers I shredded. “Oh god I am not going to answer the phone for a month.” Remember I said she was a little pig pen. Well stuff just had to be thrown out.
I will explain the importance of the German spices. She had lived in Germany for seventeen years. Her sons and grandchildren live there and she hasn’t seen them since 2006 when last we visited, except for the son that traveled to see her on her “death bed.” I am sure the spices hold a special connection with them more then that were they were just spices. But some of the foods she likes to cook required those very special spices. I apologized and asked her to have her son send her some more. Knowing him it will never happen as he is not good about sending stuff.
In order to make it up to her I will look for the top ten list of German spices and see if I can get them for her. Just to be a good sister of course. On my agenda is a trip to the German capital of Kansas to see if I can pick up some of their special spices. They even have their own website. http://www.germancapitalofkansas.com/ with some mouth watering receipts. Check it out.
I think I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs to get rid of your ” junk.” The stuff that only you seem to love. It will all go out the door in a ” New York minute” once you have passed into the great beyond. Stuff only means something to those of us that collect it. Unless of course we are lucky and it is good junk. Not usually though. I bought several very beautiful paintings from a local artist who had traveled the world. The prices were very good. Definitely under priced. The sad thing was that this great lady had alzheimers and did not even know she could paint. There were no family members who gave a hoot. The sale went to pay for her interment. It breaks my heart to think of her.
Now back to my sister. I am sure that I will get many more calls from her asking that same question ” where is it.” I think she may stay mad for some time because I tossed a lot of junk. But junk it was so she will just have to get over it. I explained to her that in the beginning I thought I was getting ready for her funeral. When the realization hit that I was not going to have to do that I slowed the purging down to a slow crawl. What can she expect? We all thought she was a goner.
I am glad that she is still here in this time and place. We are the last of our immediate family. It was not a great family. Lots of issues. Lots of problems. But we are the survivors. That has to mean something right. To us it does because we have the memories of our trials and tribulations. Alcohol was a big part of our family drama. Our painful memories. I learned as a child that alcohol gives the addict the courage to do and say things to people that they would never do or say otherwise. It brings out the worse in everyone.
Drugs and alcohol do lots of damage to the loved ones of an addict. It kills both ways. It eventually kills the addict. Then it kills their survivors because the stress of living through their chaos for years destroys their bodies as well. If you read the news it seems like the problems are getting bigger not better. I am glad that I am not a child of these times. The stuff out there is really dangerous. It isn’t just booze now. It is whatever synthetic drug the crooked chemists can create.
My word of advice today is to stay safe. Stay healthy. If you must experiment, experiment with happiness. Find the goodness in your life. Remember the people who stepped in during a time of need. Who was your mentor? Who did you look up to while growing up? Is there someone now who you admire?
By emulating someone you admire you can create the changes in your life that you seek, not by filing your body with toxins hoping that when you come to tomorrow your life will be different because it won’t. Einstein said the definition of insanity is ” doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting the outcome to be different.” That is insane. It will not be different.
Well except in my sister’s case. She expected to wake up to her little pig pen and it didn’t happen. She is not a happy camper. But, I am sure she still loves me. Since it is just the two of us we can’t hold our grudges long.
So for today look toward someone you care about, let them know they are special, and share your goodness as well. It is these things that bring us joy, not the stuff in our cupboards. Oh, and have a great day. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there.