Posts Tagged ‘5 Stages of Grief: Kubler-Ross’

We’re Baaaaaaack!


Losing Cook Dollar Barn was one of the worst experiences we have lived through. It wasn’t just a store; it was an important social hub for the Pajari Girls, and our little town, too. Every day, the list of people and things we miss gets longer. And when people told us that there must be something even better around the corner, we KNEW they were lying.

Now, we are headed back. Back in “A Barn, if not “The Barn”.

So here’s the scoop: barring zoning, insurance or licensing issues, Her Highness The Queen of Poo (Lois) is hoping to open the Peterson family homestead as a petting farm/ event location this summer! Can we get a whoop whoop??

farm barnherd, pony, llama, goat, sheep

farm, barn, cat  

great pyrenees, dog, boy, farm

walli, corgi, dog,

goat, farm, pajari girls

alpaca, farm, pajari girls

pony, farm, horse. girl guinea hens, fowl, poultry bunny, rabbit, zip, hens, chickens, farm, eggs Flemish Giant, rabbit, bunny donkey, the farm, pajari girls

Dancing in Graveyards


I made a Fairy Cemetery for Halloween this year. It seemed appropriate, considering what a year of loss 2013 has been.

I’ve always liked cemeteries. We grew up close to the Cook (Owens Twp.) Cemetery. Micki, Melissa, and I would meet there on bicycle and ride around the circular drives, marveling at the children’s stones and looking for relatives.

When we got older, Lois and I would take dad’s pickup for an unauthorized joyride, we’d be forced to go to the cemetery’s circular drives (because it was a standard and finding reverse was tricky.)

As an adult, I spent some time mapping, cleaning, photographing and transcribing stones at a few small local cemeteries for a genealogy project.

This year, unfortunately, has been a year of visiting friends and loved ones at Hillside, a beautiful local resting place. And you know what? The closer I get to 40, the more names I recognize on the stones.

Saying Goodbye--Harley and Katherine 017

Saying Goodbye--Harley and Katherine 023

This year we lost Karla A., Katherine L., Vanessa C., Cindy P., Mrs. Oles, Rich W., & Dave B., and others in our little town. And though they are not human, the loss of Mr. Stinky Droolface and Mad Bird and The Dollar Barn has been hard, too.

If you or someone you love is grieving a loss (and really, who isn’t??), maybe something here will help:

Delta Rae, Dance in the Graveyards is a song our friends Kris and Dan shared with us. It helped them; it helps us. I hope it helps you, too. Please, please, please watch the video!! “When I die, I don’t wanna rest in peace. I wanna dance in joy. I wanna dance in the graveyards….And while I’m alive, I don’t wanna be alone, mourning the ones who came before, I wanna dance with them some more, let’s dance in the graveyards.”

Bertram’s Blog is about grieving, and I have found the author’s writing to be empowering and soothing.

It also helped me to be able to know that all these fricking FEELINGS will pass. It’s all part of the process. Check out The Five Stages of Grieving. Chop chop. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance will come and go, usually when you don’t expect it.

This week, I started decorating for Halloween. I don’t feel like it. I hurt physically and emotionally, but am trying to do something I would normally do were I not grieving.

So back to my Fairy Cemetery… A year ago, I found this lovely old Planter’s Peanuts cookie jar (it was probably my grandma’s), and decided it would make a lovely terrarium for my Venus fly trap, Audrey Two. This year, I found some Halloween miniatures and added them to the terrarium for Halloween. Fast, cheap, and easy. And it makes me smile,

fairy cemetery, fairy garden, grieving, loss, venus fly trap, terrarium, halloween

fairy cemetery, terrarium, venus fly trap, pajari girls, halloween, graveyard

As usual, thank you for reading. If you found this useful, pass it on. Like, Share, and/or Pin at will.

Loveyabye.

A Few Memories for Lois (Another Update)


Years ago, my sister began storing some of her personal belongings in the basement of the Dollar Barn, thinking they would be safer in waterproof tubs in a brick building than in a 100 year-old farmhouse…photo albums and all her Christmas decorations were what she cried for the most after the fire.

Before the official clean-up began, Lois, Steve and Jill poked through the rubble and managed to find something for almost every tenant–Randy’s grandpa’s gun, Deb’s mom’s silverware, John’s wallet, Jo’s necklace, Harley’s favorite clothes, Wade’s computer, and Justin’s letterman’s jacket were among the items found.

After three months under the summer sun and 7 feet of black, sludgy water, a few of my sister’s things were recovered.

The Water

The Workout Room

Lois' Stuff

Fire, Dollar Barn, Pajari Girls, Coca Cola, Christmas

The barn from her Coca Cola Christmas village.

Fire, Candle

And a candle. A candle!!

Family Photo

Great Grandparents’ photo album.

Mad Bird

Mad Bird 2

And the pictures of Mad Bird!! She had him 27 years, from our friend Rich W,. who passed away recently.

It’s not much, but it’s something. Now SHE can decide what to keep and what to throw away.

A Little Sunshine For You


Cook Dollar Barn Update


Cook Dollar Barn

Dear Friends,

We can’t believe it’s been a month since we lost the Barn. It feels more like a reeeally long week. There are some questions that we can answer for you now and some we can’t… here goes.

First, THANK YOU!! For all the kind thoughts, prayers, hotdishes, hugs, cards, money, volunteerism, and general awesomeness.

When will cleanup start? Sorry to say, it will be weeks or even months. Until all insurance companies sign off, the scene is to remain “unspoiled”. Please stay back, and keep your kids off the rubble as well.  There is a 4,000 square foot basement filled with water and debris. If you see anyone messing around there, please let one of us know. Or call 911. Believe me, we are anxious to clean up what’s left of River Street Rentals, Cook Dollar Barn, Gilley’s Naturals, and the homes of 8 friends. We know it…

View original post 187 more words

Mad Bird


I can’t believe this shit. Yesterday, as Lois and Steve were leaving to visit his family for the Fourth, Mad Bird started having a seizure. One hour later, he was gone. Unfortunately, these are probably the only pictures of him, as all Lois’ personal photos were in the basement of the Dollar Barn where they would be safe.

Cockatiel, Funny Farm Cockatiel, Funny Farm July2013 067

We did the math, and she has had that crazy bird since 1986 when she graduated high school. That’s 27 years. He has been with her through 5 cars, 3 houses, and two husbands. He helped her with her homework when she put herself through college, and kept her asparagus fern and spider plant nicely trimmed. He made it impossible to sneak into the house or sleep late. His favorite song was Unskinny Bop, so she played him that and other 80’s hits as he passed. He has been in the background of our lives practically forever, and The Farm is going to be a little quieter now.

Harley googled the life span of cockatiels, and 15-20 is average in captivity, so 27 years was a good run. It’s just the timing that seems to SUCK. Thanksgiving was when we lost Stinky, the building burned right before their wedding anniversary, and now Mad Bird dies on the Fourth of July. Frankly, we are all done with holidays.

Losing The Barn


BarnFire 063

On June 17, 2013, Cook Dollar Barn, Gilley’s Naturals, and 8 apartments went up in smoke. Everyone got out ok, including Middle Spawn and another tenant who were the only people in the building at the time. All the tenants are clothed and relocated, and the fire has been ruled an accident, though the actual cause may never be known.

It’s hard to write this. I have been trying for two weeks to put into words all the gratitude, love, loss, devastation, hope, and countless acts of kindness. But grieving is a lot of work.  I can’t focus very long on any one thing, and my emotions are all over the map. So today I decided that instead of waiting for my brain to catch up to my heart, I would just take it a day at a time and blog about it all.

For the first week or so, we were in denial. I know I was, anyway. That’s ok though, because denial is a useful coping mechanism. It let my brain kind of run on auto-pilot while necessary arrangements and calls were made. If I’d tried to deal with all the emotional stuff, I’d have lost it. Honey Badger helped. We all became a little more like Honey Badger on YouTube.

Until yesterday, I was in the anger phase of grief. Not just testy. Boiling, seething, almost ready to hide bodies angry. Which is exhausting and scary. Plus I think it was Shark Week. Did I mention I quit smoking two weeks before the fire?

Then I visited a friend in hospice and depression kicked me in the face. Another loss…. A total stranger held me in the hallway and told me how sorry she was that my friend was so sick, while I cried so hard and from such a deep place that I almost couldn’t breathe. It’s the first time I have really cried since the building burned. (I’m the emotionally stunted one; Lois somehow manages to cry a lot and STILL get stuff done.)

And wow, is there a lot of stuff to do.

Insurance. There’s the insurance for the building, insurance for the store, lack of insurance for the 8 tenants, and insurance for the three businesses that could have easily burned with the Barn, but were nonetheless damaged by smoke and water. And our chimney and walls falling on it didn’t help.

And we aren’t the only ones grieving. For the first week, Lois pretty much showed up every day and sat and cried and visited with customers and friends whose hugs truly held her together so far. Every day, every trip to town is like another visitation or funeral. Not that that’s bad! I know it helps ME to hear people’s memories of The Barn, or the tons of other businesses that the former Brown Building housed. Seems like almost everyone has lived there at one time or another, too…

BarnFire 079

There is a Facebook page set up for the fundraisers the community is planning,  under Brown Building Fire Relief Effort. 

It looks to be one heck of a party for all ages. Live music, kids’ games, cotton candy, pig roast…wow!

Maybe tomorrow I will tackle some of the FAQ’s, like when cleanup can start and if rebuilding is an option. For now, thank you everyone who has helped during this super-sucky time.

Loveyabye,

Laura aka Employee of the Month.

When the Change Was Made Uptown…


clarence clemons, jake clemons, bruce springsteen

Photo credit: www.backstreets.com

Last night, my daughter Harley saw Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band live for the first time. It broke my heart a little that the Big Man and Danny Federici weren’t going to be there, and for the first time, I didn’t do my usual prep for a concert. I didn’t study setlists, read articles about the other shows on the tour, or cram by listening to every song ever recorded by Bruce and The Band.

We wondered if she’d get to experience  Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Badlands, Jungleland, and Born to Run, and how we’d feel about someone else playing Big Man’s solos if those songs were performed. She asked me if I thought I’d cry.

Throughout the show, I kept looking for Big Man and Danny. (See Kubler Ross’ 5 stages of grief…especially denial.) We didn’t see them on the stage, but they were there. I closed my eyes and I heard them. Felt them. Finally, during Tenth Avenue (aka “Roll Call”), it happened.

“Now this is the important part,” he said, and sang, “When the change was made uptown….” As he repeated that line gently, pictures of Clarence floated across the huge screens. Jake Clemons (C’s nephew) made his way out of the horn section as the Boss sang, “AND THE BIG MAN JOINED THE BAND!” I thought he played this solo (and the others throughout the night) perfectly, which is exactly what we needed. I know I appreciated that Jake didn’t improvise–that Miss Harley was able to hear it live, exactly as C would have played it.

Researching this post, I found an interview by Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene with Little Steven Van Zandt in which Steve said it better than I ever could:

“It’s literally classical music for my generation. They play it note for note, which is how it should be played. You wouldn’t improvise on Beethoven’s Fifth, would you?”

Amen.

Author’s Notes:

Thanks to The Daily Prompt: This Is Your Song for helping me focus 🙂

Boss fan or not, you really ought to read these too:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-q-a-steve-van-zandt-on-new-show-life-without-clarence-clemons-20120214

Star Tribune article

As always, if you enjoyed this post, please like, share and/or comment. Pleeeeeease??

Mr. Stinky Droolface


“Stinky’s getting to be a Grampa Dog,” my sister pointed out two years ago when gray started showing in his muzzle and he started limping like me on rainy days.

Impossible. In my head he is still a puppy. He’s 180 lbs of drooling, woofing, farting Mastiffosaurus Wrecks, so it’s not his size… I guess it’s because my son is still a boy, at 10 years old. They have grown up together, and I think that’s why it’s so hard for me to accept that his life is very nearly over.

baby and mastiff puppy

My sister Lois refereeing Stinky and Danny Boy

Mastiff

UNCLE!! He took my ball again!!!

Over the last few weeks, his knee had begun to swell, so Lois took him to the vet. It’s cancer, it’s growing very fast, and he is too old and arthritic for amputation to be an option. We are treating him for pain and inflammation, but the bones can’t take much more. Very soon, he’ll have to be put down.

I keep telling myself that dying is a part of living. That 8-10 years is the life expectancy of a large breed dog.  This still sucks. So I reviewed the 5 Stages of Grief Model.

I believe Kübler-Ross is right; grieving is a process. It’s normal to be angry, try to “bargain” loss away, get depressed and/or accept it. Sometimes all in the same day. These stages don’t happen in order, one time each, and then go away.

I always thought denial was such a terrible thing. Then a few years ago someone very wise explained that denial is actually a very useful coping mechanism. It gives our minds and hearts a little time to catch up to reality. While part of me is saying, “No no no no nope. Not today. Forget it. NO storm. E-I-E-I-NO,” etc. another part of me is slowly accepting life on life’s terms. And one of those terms is that nothing lives forever.

Sometimes, people use this as a reason to not have pets (or relationships..been there!). And I can see why it’s tempting. Losing a pet is painful. Every time we lose an animal, part of me says, “Eff this; never again.” But that doesn’t last long. (Anger, lol 😉 ) The benefits of unconditional love far outweigh the inevitable pain of loss. Every time.

So I guess now it’s real. I’m gonna go rub his belly and let him slobber on my face and WOOF at my big purple hat because it scares him when we wear different clothes.

mastiff

A Witch in the Kitch(en)

Let's make some magic happen!

Pet Zoo Shiller

משק חי שילר

Adventures in Wonderland

a pilgrimage of the heart

Within You, Without You

[T]he time will come when you see we're all one

Uniquely Yours... or Mine!

Remodeling, decorating and updating at home and in the garden

Hammer Like a Girl

GET TOGETHER & GET IT DONE

MuseBoxx

Space to Create

Sean May - Elements of Fantasy

A blog about what goes into good (and bad) fantasy fiction.

One Green Tomato

from dirt to dish & seed to skillet, welcome to my adventures in micro-farming & sustainable self sufficiency

Photo Nature Blog

Nature Photography by Jeffrey Foltice

Pajari Girls

Come with us; it's gonna be great!!

Laplander's Natural Lore Blog

Nature, Outdoor & wilderness living skills, traditional & primitive skills and crafts in the north of Swedish Lapland

The White Crayon

Lit. Life. Love.

Katzenworld

Welcome to the world of cats!

Where's my backpack?

Romancing the planet; a love affair with travel.

The Wonderful World of Math

Wendy Jordan's Math 1510 blog

Medium Large

"I gotta say, it's brilliant stuff."--Dan Piraro, Bizarro

%d bloggers like this: