Saturday, December 03, 2011

A Different Kind of Holiday Season

My holiday invitations are starting to roll in. They aren't the kind I'm used to. I'm invited to a grieving mother's support group brunch. I'm invited to a candle lighting ceremony at Garden City Funeral Home. I plan to attend them both. But these aren't the festive gatherings I usually go to. We have a tree up, in fact we have two Alex's panda tree is so cute at 4 feet tall with colored lights and filling up with ornaments. Our family tree is a new 7.5 ft artificial tree. It looks very nice and was a snap to put up. It adds a bit of cheer to our house. I've put the Santa collection up too. I don't know if I'll do any more. I have my snowman colleciton and my nativities too. Not sure if I'll get around to putting them out. We'll just wait and see. As with every other day, I'm just taking things as they come. One day at a time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Two months of the "new normal"

I try to quiet my mind as much as possible. I want to stay in that place "above thought". Present, but not listening to the prattle of my mind. I miss him every minute of every day and I cry at the most inopportune moments, but if I can remain still and alert, I feel a peace and calmness wash over me. I'm gardening. Right outside his window is a planting area that's been left unattended for too long. I've cleared away most of the bindweed and planted a little sumac tree. I ordered a panda garden statue, on line, and he sits near the tree. I've put bulbs in for the spring and yesterday I planted a yellow cone flower that will come back next year. I want to put in clumping bamboo, ornamental grasses, oriental poppies, and a Japanese maple. I want it to be simple, easy and beautiful. It gives me something to think about and plan for and take care of. I hope I don't fail. I'm not a gardener, by any stretch of the imagination.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How could we know this would be the last one?

Brittney, Allison, Sarah, Alex
July 2011
Allison, Sarah, Jennie, Brittney
July 2011
If someone had told me that this would be the last photo I'd take of  my children (minus Katie) I would never have believed it. Sitting here today, one month after Alex's accident, I still can't believe it. He never wanted his picture taken and on this day I begged him to stand still for just one shot before he headed off into the farmers' market to play his guitar. I quickly shot two pictures and then he was gone, into the crowd to do his own thing. I'm not sure what made me insist on this day, but I'm so grateful that I did and that he tolerated it, for just a moment. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Alex's last song

Alex, 2010

Miss You.
I'm really gonna miss you
Now I'm driving away
I hope that when I hold you
It'll be okay
On my way out of state
I'm counting the cars
Hoping to get my wish for you
Out of the stars
I hope you're having fun
And I hope you're laughing loud
No matter where you are
I can see hearts in the clouds
When you say 'hi'
I say 'hey cutie pie!'
My heart jumps in circles
Cuz I don't wanna say good-bye
When I hug you
It means I love you
When I leave
I'm gonna miss you
So hug me now
While you still can
And please don't stop
Till I'm an old, old man.

My son passed away in August 2011 and this is the last song he wrote and recorded. By clicking the link in the song title you can hear his last recording. We're blessed that he left notebooks full of song lyrics and several recordings of his music.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

There are no words

an excerpt from Alex's obituary:
"For 14 glorious years, Alex Pak lived and on Saturday, August 13th 2011, Alex left us.

He was born on October 23, 1996 in Renton WA, into a loving family. He was the only boy in a house of four girls. He was called many things in his life, Little Man, Alex man, Panda man, The “Prince”, and the “Caboose”. But his real name had been chosen many years before he was born. Alex’s parents were still dating when a little old man approached them and said, “You are such a cute couple. If you ever have a boy, you should name him Alexander. It’s a good name and has served me well, all these many years.” Alex’s paternal grandmother bestowed the name Xie Hong long before Alex joined the family. With each pregnancy Alexander Xie Hong was always the boy’s name and his parents would scramble to name each new girl who came along. It was 12 years before Alex would claim his name.

In 1998 the family moved to Missoula where Alex would spend the rest of his life. He attended school at Chief Charlo Elementary and Meadow Hill Middle School. He was preparing to enter high school in a couple of weeks. He would have attended Sentinel with his many friends.

Alex was not a joiner, but a free spirit who liked to pursue his own passions. He loved to collect pandas, skateboard, ride his bike and mostly he loved to play his guitars. He was self taught and exceptionally talented. He would play those guitars until the rafters rattled and we begged him to turn down the amp. Alex spent this summer playing his guitar at the Farmer’s Market and Out-to-Lunch. Alex called his guitars his “kids”. He loved them and we fondly remember the very first time he saw his first guitar. His dad brought it home after work, late one night and Alex could not have been more excited. They sat on the couch together and his dad taught him some cords. From that moment on he would play, morning, noon and night.

It seemed that everything came quickly and easily for Alex. He learned to ride a unicycle in minutes; he could juggle without even thinking about it, if he heard a song he could pick out the notes and cords and play it. He was a wonder to us all. One day, at age 4, he asked his mom to teach him to ride his bike without training wheels. She did the standard “hold the seat and run along” bit. Alex instantly saw the flaw in this plan and asked his mom to go in the house for a minute. When she came out just 10 minutes later he was whizzing around in the street on two wheels. Before the day was over he had taught two other neighbor kids to ride their bikes. Alex knew his own mind and heart and was fiercely independent. He wasn’t afraid to go against the grain or make a wave. He spoke his own truth without a care for what was popular opinion.  He had the wicked sense of humor and would use it at will.
Alex, we love you with every ounce of our being and will miss you forever. You brought us so much joy and happiness with your silly antics and wise cracks. There are not enough words to tell you how much we love you and miss you. Our hearts are shattered but we know that you are safe with those who left before you. We will see you again one day.

We want to express our sincerest thanks to all the people who tried so hard to bring Alex back to us. We are grateful for all the love and support that we have received from our friends, family and our community. We could not travel this road alone. We are humbled by all that we have received." 

Monday, May 02, 2011

FINALLY! Obama Bags Osama

Last night, as we sat watching TV, an announcement came in from the White House. President Obama confirmed that Osama Bin Laden was dead! After nearly 10 years of searching and tracking, the US military received the information they needed to go in and bag that son of a bitch. Now, how do I feel about a human being losing their life? Am I dancing in the street like some on TV last night? No, I'm not. But I'm reservedly relieved that this one chapter is over. The story isn't over, by any means. There will be retaliation, I'm sure. There is still a threat. But there was always a threat, wasn't there? We never know what will happen. We can't go around obsessing about this or that. We do what we can to be safe and then we live our lives. 

 "I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure" - Mark Twain

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hello Spring

Yesterday was the first day of spring. We spent it at the dog park with the Pug Club. As is typical for MT in spring, it was blustery and cold with the Hellgate wind funneling through the canyon and chilling us to the bone. The prize of the day, though, was seeing the bald eagle perched up on a telephone pole. Equally fun was watching the people as they realized what it was. They'd be walking along and suddenly notice someone else looking up or taking pictures and then they'd stop and look up and scan around to see what was so interesting. Then they'd see him and point and get all excited. Very neat.

So happy spring everyone. Can't wait for some sunshine and warmth.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year! 2011

It's a bitterly cold start to the New Year. But we're warm and cozy in our little house, and who could ask for more than that? I'm not big on resolutions, but I've started journaling again. I hope I'll be able to keep it up. It's not blog journaling. It's real paper to pen journaling. All my family history research has led me to see that I need to leave a hard copy of life in the 21st century behind for posterity. So I have begun.
Besides journaling this year I have one other new habit I'd like to foster. We have a family history center in town. I want to utilize it to its fullest in my research. So I'm searching the online catalog and printing out the necessary micro film numbers and next week, I'll make a trip down to the center to order films and see what new genealogical information I can dig up.

Happy New Year to all. May it be blessed with good fortune and overflowing with happiness.

That's One Way To Do It