Monday, March 20, 2017

If You're Still Sucking Air

After Dad passed away, Mom said she was ready to go. 

Then she decided she wasn't so ready to go. She had three  new goals: to live long enough to 
  • celebrate Little Miss's second birthday on October 21st, 
  • dance (sans wheelchair) at Senior Son's wedding on October 30th, 
  • cast her ballot for Hillary on November 8th.

"That way," she told me several times, "when I see your father, I can tell him, "we have a new president and her name is Hillary." 

Then, all bets were off. 

I think the outcome of the election woulda killed her on the spot if she hadn't been dead already.

From Tuesday sundown through Wednesday sundown, we will observe her first year since the day she left the building according to the Hebrew calendar...which is only partly true because... leave it to Mom...she died during Adar II, the Hebrew leap month that happens 7 times in a 19 year cycle...the next one is in 2019. I find myself still telling her things, or thinking, "gee I should call Mom with that one." I miss the voice on the other end of the phone, but most of all, I miss that last year, when I saw her every day for the first time since I left for college a million years ago. Being a daughter for at least a little while turned out to be more important that I ever would've guessed. 

Tuesday, March 21st, the old-fashioned first day of spring, would've been FIL's 96th birthday. The proposed cuts to the FDA woulda sent him and the walker right over the cliff. He was a Fed almost his entire veterinary career, seeing to health and safety of large animals and fowl....cows and chickens. "Everyone wants a shortcut," he used to grumble, "but no one wants to own tainted food." He sure had a lot to say about the peanut butter/salmonella debacle back in 2008-2009. It was a shame he didn't live long enough to see them all go jail. The proposed cuts to FDA regulations would've had me driving him downtown to the office to raise holy hell. 

So I spent much of the weekend thinking about my folks, about FIL, about the good times. I avoided the not-so-good times because I want to remember everyone laughing about something. I tried to remember what they each believed, and what they told me was important. Each one had a different agenda, but they shared one thing in common: leave the planet better than you found it. For Mom, it was a matter of treating people with kindness and compassion...even when she thought they were assholes. For Dad, it was cleaning up plant waste with an ecologically sound process. And for FIL, it was safety throughout the food chain.

Overall, the message from all three was to think of others. I think the folks drilled that into us pretty well. I know Ziggy was the recipient of FIL's farmer-ecology lessons from the time he could sit up, and yes, they made a difference. 

Wanna know what I wanna know? Why doesn't everyone get that training? 

How is it some parents never educate their kids to civic responsibility on behalf of the planet? How is it that some people think safety nets and regulations are hindrances when they are in place to protect us from ourselves and Lord knows, we need the help. How many people have to die from mis-processed peanut butter? How many chicken-kills have to happen? How many Flint, Michigans must we have? How many droughts? How many polluted smog-inversions? How many coal miners with black lung disease?

I really don't care what party occupies the White House so long as they put the well-being of We, the People, first. The destruction of the EPA, the FDA, the NIH, the NEA, and all rest of the alphabet soup that makes up the life blood of this nation cannot be for our benefit. It's for someone else's profiteering. Whoever is running this show (and I have my doubts about who it is) is doing the piracy thing with our national inheritance. You take away inspections, people die. You take away the EPA, and water becomes unpotable. Take away PBS, NPR, and the rest of the arts, you lose the ability for critical thought. 

And not to neglect the global stage, the Secretary of State intimates the US could instigate military action in North Korea. Um....I guess he's not old enough to remember the last police action in Korea, or that little divertissement in Vietnam. All things considered, having two Toddlers-in-Chief with their little chubby fingers on red buttons is not exactly the set up for an exercise in self control. Anyone out there old enough to remember Duck and Cover?

This is not right. You know it. I know it. We all know it. What we don't know is how to stop it before it's too late. We'd better start figuring that part out now.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
No one can tell you how to grieve.

You can't see it, but there's a virtual stone on top.
Wish I could put it there in person.

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