Notes from Jan

Good Enough

November 19, 2015

Yesterday, I went for my annual check-up at the eye doctor.  It’s been 4 years.  He asked,”Where’ve you been?”

“Well, I’ve had a few things on my mind besides my eyes.  Like Jud.”

He remembered. “That’s right.”

Today I went for my annual mammogram.  It’s been three years.   When they fastened that plastic bracelet around my wrist, I was back at MGH, watching them do that time and time again for Jud.

Name?  Date of birth?

And Jud  smiled and answered with that quiet strength  over and over again. Grace under fire.

Finished off the day with a trip to my family doctor for the shingles vaccine. Never could do that when Jud was around, since it’s a live virus and his immune system so vulnerable.  Reminded me of all the needles he endured over several years.

So many reminders of the difference between then and now, even the laundry.   I miss his/hers.  I miss ironing his shirts.  True, most of the younger generation think iron is only a mineral supplement but I like ironing.  My Mama taught me when  I was young as Maggie.  I practiced on Daddy’s handkerchiefs. Did they even have Kleenex back then?

Somedays I feel personally responsible for the death of several trees these past 4 years.  Should’ve wiped tears with a handkerchief like generations before me. I guess there’s still time.  Don’t imagine crying ends when the year’s over.  Hard to believe within a few hours it will be a year since Jud died.

Awoke this morning to thoughts of heaven and the song,”soon and very soon, we are going to see the King.”  Well, I like the song but hope it’s not too soon that I’m going since I’d like to be around for the family, the Grands , plus I hope to organize a few messes before I join Jud.  Don’t want the kids to have to pull up a dumpster to the perch after I die.

A couple of days ago , Maggie and I were in the car alone.  After awhile she said,”I want to talk about your funeral.”  That’ll get your attention.  She brought up the conversation she’d started weeks ago on what songs would I like to have her sing at my funeral.  She’s eight and wishing she’d had the courage to sing with Luke at Jud’s service.  I told her I’d love to have her sing.  Next, she started projecting how old she and Luke(4 years older) would be.

“Momo, Luke could maybe be twenty when you die, and he’d be too old to want to sing with me.”  Suddenly,  I felt the pressure to get on with dying.  Speed it up a bit to accommodate the musicians. After we’d made a few “what if” projections, Maggie said,”But Momo I don’t want you to die for a really long time.”

Me, either.  I like Life.  So did Jud.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.

Yesterday’s eye exam reminded me of one of the last great gifts Jud gave me and our family.  I never saw fear in his eyes. He was at peace. When I curl up in the snuggery to read or watch TV, I’m drawn to the sketch Bruce Herman did  of Jud before painting the formal portrait that hangs at the college.  He captured Jud’s eyes, so real I can talk to him.  Does me good.

I long to touch him, then Heather calls, Chad calls, Maggie plans my funeral  and I’m reminded of the blessing of family.  I can’t touch Jud, but I can get up, wipe my eyes  with a handkerchief, reach out and touch this family and be touched by them, and for now, that’s good enough.



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  • Reply Sue Andringa November 19, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    oh, Jan … I loved this. It is hard to believe it has been a year since Jud went to Heaven. Where does the time go? Before we know it, we will be planning our funerals. Tell Maggie that I would love to have her sing at my funeral too … Marty has been coerced into playing the piano. They would be a great team. 🙂 Praying for you often sweet friend … hugs and love to you.

  • Reply Nancy November 19, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Sending you prayers and love, especially this week

  • Reply Anna November 20, 2015 at 1:34 am

    Blessings and prayers!!!! Thank you for sharing your jouney!

  • Reply Sharon November 20, 2015 at 2:51 am

    Amazing Grace! Beautiful words.

  • Reply Raquel November 20, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Dearest MamaJan,
    We love you, we love you, we love you!
    One day you will meet again. One day we will meet again.
    “For God is the strength of my life” Psalm 27

  • Reply susan November 21, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    SO glad you want to stick around. You make me laugh!

  • Reply Wendy Lane November 22, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Somehow I missed this – just found it and I’m so glad I did. Read it out loud to Steve and cried. Told him before I started I didn’t think I’d be able to get through it without choking up… almost made it- but didn’t. So precious, heartwarming, funny and sad. HUGS to you my dear friend. and prayers continually. <3

  • Reply Carmen Stafford December 16, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Beautiful words, Mrs. Carlberg.

    I hope writing them is helpful for you. A year is a good amount of time, but still so short when it comes to missing someone you loved.

    I lost a baby the day he was born this past May. And seven months later, I don’t really feel any better. But I’ve been taking pictures and posting them to Instagram. And as silly as that sounds, that process has been healing. I surprise myself because my photos are full of color and hope. And I think your words are, too.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I enjoy reading your posts.

    Carmen Stafford
    Stowe, Vermont
    Gordon 1999

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