February 5, 2023
Week of January 8–28
This is a bit of an unusual weeknote post in that it covers three weeks of my life. A lot happened in those three weeks and I wanted to try to summarize, if only for myself.
My mom’s death
It was Wednesday morning on the 11th. I was hard at work on the Toyota Policy Driver’s site that I have been working on for the past month. I was trying to finish up some tasks while other members of our team started internal QA on the site before giving the client a chance to QA the site.
Just before noon, I got a phone call that brought life to a screeching halt. My dad called to tell me that my mom has passed away that morning. It was a bit unexpected and I could tell he was still in shock. From that moment, everything stopped.
My first order of business was to try to get to Kansas City as quickly as I could so I could be there for my dad. I ended up booking an early morning flight on Thursday and got to Kansas City about 24 hours after my mom had passed. I spent the rest of the day with my dad and my sisters, who both live in Kansas City.
That evening, my dad and I talked about family history stuff as he was going through birth certificates and death certificates for his parents and my mom’s. That ended up sparking conversations with my dad about family history as I asked clarifying questions and learned new things that I had either never heard before or had forgotten.
On Friday, we visited a funeral home near where my parents live and made arrangements for my mom’s burial. We decided to do a visitation service and a graveside service. The whole process was much easier than I would have thought. My dad, my sisters, and I were in agreement about the various decisions we made. I also appreciated that the family-owned business did not try to upsell us on anything. That process was a lot less painless than I would have thought it would have been.
The rest of the day was spent looking through pictures and reliving memories with my dad and my sisters. On Saturday, I got a haircut and went with my dad to pick out a suit for him to wear to the funeral. We were successful in both endeavors.
My wife, daughters, and son flew into Kansas City on Sunday and then we spent the afternoon with my dad and my sisters. The kids got to help out my sisters as they put together a photo collage. I also spent some time reflecting on my childhood with my kids as we visited different parts of the house and went outside to the backyard.
I was so glad that the sun came out on Monday, the day of my mom’s funeral. We were not quite sure what to expect in terms of people turning out. I think more people than we thought turned out to pay their respects. I enjoyed getting to see my cousin and my aunt that I have not seen in over 30 years. I also enjoyed seeing some family friends and parents of my sister’s friends that had been part of our lives.
Betty, a neighbor of my mom’s when they were in grade school, told me a story about her and my mom walking to school with Harry Truman. They use to walk by his house on the way to school and there were many times he and his secret service agents would join them. It was fun to hear these stories about my mom that I had never known.
The pastor who officiated the graveside service mentioned that funerals had become family reunions. That day felt very much like that as we came together to remember my mom. After the funeral, we met at my dad’s house. I was amazed at how many people filled the house. A lot of them were attached to my other sister (1 1/2 younger than me). She already had grandkids. It was good to see her kids and meet their kids.
I am so glad that my wife and kids flew to Kansas City to be with me for the funeral. But I am also glad for the three days that I stayed with my dad. We talked late into the night each day and I know it was a comfort to have me there and not have to be by himself.
My family flew back to Nashville on Tuesday morning. We ate lunch at my daughter’s apartment and then parted ways. My son drove up to Murray, Kentucky to start his second semester a day late at Murray State. My wife, youngest daughter, and I drove back to Chattanooga.
I had felt a little bit under the weather on the flight home. But then I woke up with a really bad headache on Wednesday morning. A home test confirmed that I had COVID-19. My daughter also tested positive. It was just a year ago when my wife and son had COVID and the rest of the family was able to avoid it.
I had a really bad headache for three days. I isolated to my office and slept on a mattress on the floor. I watched movies and Netflix and took naps. I felt a bit better over the weekend though I was still tired and could not concentrate to do anything but watch things on my tablet. I did get to watch the Chiefs beat the Jaguars in a playoff game.
I tried to go back to work the week of the 23rd but was not ready. I was still very tired and was experiencing a lot of brain fog. I am so grateful for the unlimited PTO policy that LGND has in place and also grateful that we added 2 new developers to the team in January. My team had me covered and I could just rest and get better.
I was surprised by how much COVID took out of me. The second week, I felt better overall but still had a lot of fatigue and trouble concentrating.
My mother-in-law also got COVID. We had lived in fear of that for the last 3 years but she seemed to have a milder case of it and it did not affect her lungs or her breathing. She came through it a lot better than we could have hoped and we are grateful for that.
My wife finally tested positive during the second week that I was sick. It was actually a good thing because it meant that we no longer had to isolate. It was nice to eat meals together again and watch things on the TV in the living room together. My wife had a mild case which was more like a cold.
I started taking walks the second week. It was nice to get out of the house and into the sunshine. It was a bit cold out but I didn’t mind.
Life threw a lot at us in these three weeks. Getting sick right after my mom passed away felt like getting punched while I was already down. I had already planned to take off the rest of that week to get my feet back under me after visiting Kansas City. In a lot of ways, I still don’t feel like I have had an opportunity to process or take in my mother’s death. I have been told that it will hit me at different moments unexpectedly in the months ahead.
Books I read
- Basic Christianity – I read a little bit more of this book on the plane back from Kansas City but could not concentrate to read much of it after I got sick.
- Encouragement: Adrenaline for the Soul – I started reading this book at the beginning of the week before my mom died. I read a little bit of it while in Kansas City and on the plane.
- The Soul of Baseball – I bought this in December when it was on sale for Kindle. I have wanted to read this one since I read Posnanski’s The Baseball 100 a year ago. Most of what I knew about Buck O’Neill was from his appearance in Ken Burn’s Baseball. This was a fun read and something I could enjoy while still sick and dealing with brain fog.
What I watched
- All Creatures Great & Small (Season 3) – I watched the first episode of the new season before flying to Kansas City. I needed a comfort show like this as I started to grieve over my mom. And it was nice to watch a couple of more episodes the second week of being sick once we no longer had to quarantine.
- The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers (Digital copy) – I watched these during the first days of being sick.
- Wednesday (Netflix)
- Remember the Titans (Disney+) – This was a nice break from the epic and darker show I had been watching.
- Rocky IV (Netflix)
- The Rookie (Disney+)
- The Mighty Ducks (Disney+)
- Kim’s Convenience (Netflix) – I started watching this for a third time. It was comforting to watch in the midst of my isolation.
- Chiefs-Jaguars AFC Divisional Playoff game (Peacock)
- Hustle (Netflix) – I really enjoyed this one.
- That 90’s Show (Netflix) – I had watched enough of That 70’s Show to be curious. I watched about 6 episodes and called it quits.
- Bad Batch (Disney+)
- The Great British Baking Show (Netflix) – My wife went back and rewatched older seasons of this show and I joined her after we came out of isolation.
- Willow (Disney+) – I finished watching this series during this three-week period. I was a bit disappointed with how this season ended. Just not as dramatic as the build up.
Articles I read
I think I read more articles than this but they did not save in Pocket.