See Ya, 2011

For me, 2011 was definitely a year of ups and downs. Probably for many of you, too, but we’re talking about me here. It’s my blog, isn’t it?

The big change in my life last year was the loss of two family members: I lost a brother to a brain aneurism at the end of March, and cancer claimed my mother’s life in October. She had been fighting it  for several years, but once my brother passed, the fight went out of her. Children should never go before their parents.

She got to the point where she needed 24/7 care, so we all (the five remaining siblings) made the decision to put her in a “retirement community”. The last time I had a real conversation with her was the night she was transferred from the hospital.

(I haven’t mentioned that I currently live in eastern Pennsylvania, while the rest of the family lives in Northeast Ohio, save for one sister who lives in Northern California.)

On October 20, she fell and broke her hip. Because of her frail state, the medicos decided that any surgical procedure to fix her hip would probably kill her, so they just pumped her with morphine to keep her comfortable. The following Saturday, I drove out, my sister flew in. As these things are wont to happen, she knew all the kids were nearby, so she passed quietly in her sleep the morning of October 23.

There was a bit of silver lining to these dark clouds (other than the obvious one that my brother and mother were no longer suffering) in that their services brought together family members (my brother’s children from two marriages) that we hadn’t seen in 15 or so years. We still keep in touch, and one of my nephews is going to work with my California sister on some genealogical research concerning the family.

I also had my usual share of medical problems during the last twelve-month, including gall-badder removal surgery, and several steroid injections to treat various shoulder and leg ailments. On the plus side, I had no real serious health issues. I’m still in pretty decent shape for an old man.

Which reminds me: I hit the big 6-0 in 2011. No big deal. As Groucho said, “Anybody can get old. All you have to do is live long enough”. But I don’t feel old, damn it. Except in the mornings after my MMA training.

Another milestone was my 17-year-old son getting his driver’s license. Passed the test first try and all that. However, his new independence came at a price: I hardly see him any more. On alternate Fridays we used to go out to dinner at various places around the area; now he prefers hanging out with his friends. I don’t blame him; I was the same way.

That’s the gist of my 2011. Not everything, of course, but you don’t have the time, and I don’t have the energy.

Here’s hoping we all have a better 2012. “Here’s a toast to the future, A toast to the past, And a toast to our friends, far and near. May the future be pleasant; The past a bright dream; May our friends remain faithful and dear.”