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By Emerald63 on May 3, 2016 at 5:36 PM

It's very good to hear from you, Brain. Thanks for letting me know you're hanging in there. (((Hugs))) ++ I'm sorry to hear about Stormy's trouble with meds. I've know a couple people for whom it took years, decades in one case, to get them right. I'm so very sad that didn't happen for your friend. But hopefully having a possible answer is of some help to you. It doesn't make things "better," but sometimes an answer, even a clue, keeps the worst at bay. Not knowing can be a Purgatory all its own. ++ I think ICHC will be OK, even if it's on this smaller scale from now on. I'd been meaning to save my own LOLs to my hard drive for a long time and at least I'm finally getting around to that. ++ It's totally understandable that you don't feel like making LOLs now, but it's good to know you're spending some time here, among your cyber friends. You take care, too, and Hi! back to Waffles.

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By Emerald63 on May 3, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Hi Brain. Just wanted to check in with you, see if you're doing OK. I'm still sending good thoughts and healing energy your way. Let me know if they get there, OK? If not, I'll boost the gain, so to speak.

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By Emerald63 on Apr 22, 2016 at 5:32 PM

Blessed Earth Day to you, my friend - http://cheezburger.com/8772995328 ++ And another LOL I thought might be of comfort - http://cheezburger.com/8772905472 ++ Also, there is an amazing album I listen to often when I'm looking for calm and transcendence. It's called The Origin of Fire and is made up of Gregorian type chant but sung by women. The creator of the chants was Hildegard von Bingen who lived in the 1100s. She was an amazingly accomplished woman, and one with a deep spirit.

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By Emerald63 on Apr 22, 2016 at 4:57 PM

Hello, friend. It is so good to hear from you, to know you're hanging in there. I did find one video of your friend at YouTube, of his conversation with a woman in New Orleans. Stormy seems to have been a deep thinker, someone looking for profundity - and finding it. It seems to me he did not waste a single moment of his life, which is something very few people can say. Even when he was out fishing, as I saw in his Facebook photos, I think he was probably musing on something, open to whatever lessons he could absorb at any moment. It also sounds as though he was able to project his intense search for meaning to others and - more profound still - able to inspire them to do the same. I am not at all surprised to hear you say that his children and his students are better people for having known him. ++ As much as it may surprise us, even disillusion us, even great human beings are not perfect. No human can claim that. I'm so sorry the surprising things you've learned about Stormy were revealed under such horrible circumstances. But if they help explain, even in part, why he took his life, I hope they provide some comfort to you, as well. Remember, comfort doesn't always feel good; sometimes it just helps the situation seem a little bit less of a maelstrom. ++ I had the same painful duty to inform in 2006. My aunt by marriage wasn't sure about my mom's mental state (which was OK), so she called me from a few hundred miles away and asked me to tell my mother that her brother had died. We'd always lived far away from him, so I didn't know him that well, but I had to tell my mother that this person she'd known since the day he was born, with whom she'd shared a huge portion of her life that I would never fully understand, was gone. His death left her the last person in her nuclear family. My uncle was younger than she, but he died quickly from an ill-placed malignant brain tumor that was undiagnosed until it was too late. Telling her was a heavy burden, but also something I was glad I could do for her in person. I'm not constrained about losing it in front of others, so I didn't have that worry. But I know that's much harder for many men, so I definitely do not think less of you for informing your family by phone. However it's done, it is one of the hardest things to ever have to do. ++ Stormy's daughter is right to ask you, "Are YOU all right?" not only for your sake, but for hers, too. She needs to share what's going on with those closest to her. That includes

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By Emerald63 on Apr 16, 2016 at 1:18 PM

My friend, may all the Lords and Ladies be with you... Brain, there is nothing to forgive. Nor are you selfish. You are in a "moment" of shock, horror, and profound grief. There is no rule book. There is no protocol for how you should act - or feel. I am so very very sorry for you, your friend, and his wife. Please don't blame yourself! Some people never show any signs of their inner turmoil... until it is too late. It's how some people are, despite our deepest desire to comfort them and lead them back into the light of wanting to live. And please don't feel bad for feeling angry, either. This is a very common reaction. Your natural way of thinking of your friend is of him alive, able to respond to you, explain to you why he did some boneheaded thing you cannot figure out. But now... just when you need more than ever to ask him, he's not there to tell you. That doesn't stop you from needing to ask and to know. Whatever pain a suicidal person is in, whatever peace they find, there is so much confusion and pain left behind. That's not to blame them, but only to point out what is: your feelings - whatever they are - are just as valid as his were. Don't short change them - and yourself - by thinking you shouldn't have them. But also don't feel you have to endure them on your own. Talk to people - your wife, other friends, a pastor, a therapist, a support group - and let them know where you're at. If you're not sure where you're at, tell them that. Just don't get lost inside your own head. Right now that is a dark and scary place. So help others help you. And do the same for his other friends and his wife. There's a saying - Sharing doubles our joy and halves our grief. That means, by the way, that you are not burdening me. You've more than doubled my joy on many occasions and I am absolutely OK with helping you halve your grief, even if I really don't come close to halving it. ++ A small side note... it's my father-in-law who was in the hospital. But he's doing well now, considering he's 90. I lost my own father over 9 years ago, as well as my mother. It wasn't the sort of shock you're feeling, but it still took a long time to feel a sense of normalcy return. Give yourself that time, too. Just, please... don't spend it alone with only your grief for company. I'm here, electronically, and I'll help as much as that allows. But again, seek out those who are physically present to help you cope. My prayers - for both you and your friend - are ongoing. (((HUG)))

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By Emerald63 on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:02 PM

Hi AB. It's great that your dad is continuing to improve. I hadn't told you, but on Easter Sunday my now 90 year old father-in-law collapsed after dinner. He finally got to go home yesterday. :) He'd had a few small strokes before, but this time they didn't believe that caused his collapse. They think he had a seizure. They did find a small clot on the scan, but could tell it had to be at least 2 days old at the time, maybe 2 months or more. They had a heck of a time getting his blood pressure to stabilize in the morning and late at night. I kinda wonder if getting up after eating, with an attendant BP drop, is the real reason behind his collapse. But he's learned to use a walker very well and was even able to go up the 3 stairs into their house when he got home. :) ++ Hmm... still under the fridge, eh? Here's a thought - you might want to whip up a batch of waffles (lower case, the kind you eat) and hold them hostage until Waffles (upper case) gives you back your heart. Otherwise... well... I'd definitely like to keep chatting with you. Good Luck...

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By Emerald63 on Apr 9, 2016 at 2:26 PM

Hey AB, Happy Caturday. I'm so glad to hear your dad is doing OK. I know what you mean about the "There, there's the last stitch - now get out" phenomenon. I admit it's amazing that humans can be mobile so soon after surgery, but even if it *is* good for some folks I still question the wisdom of it for others. Stressing anyone too much after they've undergone the trauma of open-body surgery seems like a recipe for *causing* problems. I wish I still believed medical practitioners always know what they're doing, rather than bowing down to the almighty power of $$$, but that hospital ship sailed a long time ago. That's why I'm always happy to hear that it actually docked again when folks I know (or know of) are aboard. Yea! ++ Your zombie soccer star bit already had me laughing when you brought Waffles into it! Even more laughter because our Joonyer is a bell ball fanatic. He'll play fetch with us sometimes for 20 minutes at a stretch. But he also plays with them on his own. The first time we went on a hunt for lost ones that we *knew* were somewhere in the house, we thought we'd find maybe half a dozen. Nooo... FOURTEEN. We found *fourteen* bell balls, all under the portable dishwasher. (It's never worked in the 20 years I've been here, but it makes a *great* pots & pans rack.) I've also fished eight or more from out behind the gas range a couple times, too. That's always fun, having to be careful of the gas line. We have an extra hanging plant rod with hooks at each end. Joonyer likes the balls with the long linear slots in them (rather than the gridded ones) and the end of the hanger hooks into them really nicely. It's balancing the flash light while trying to do that that's tricky, but at least we can get them out. What I don't get is that they never seem at all melted, even though we use the broiler fairly regularly. That's *some* plastic. ++ Anywho... Yea for your dad doing OK and yea for you *not* being a zombie soccer star and yea for Waffles just because - Hey! Waffles!! >^..^< :D

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By Emerald63 on Mar 26, 2016 at 1:06 PM

ARGH! You're havin too mush hoomin problems! SOOO glad your tumor was benign. Whew! I hope since you sent this note that your wife has recovered from her cold. A friend of mine had a head cold that dragged on for over a week, while living with and taking care of his 90 year old mother with dementia. Yeah, like either isn't bad enough... I'll keep your dad in my prayers. Keep in mind, docs have been fixing faulty valves for quite some time now, and quite successfully at that. Nope... not fun, but also not as bad as it could be. While I was on my trip (to a retreat we've been attending for over 20 years), I found out a woman I'd visited with numerous times, who was always bouncy and laughing, passed away just after Christmas. Her only complaint - for several years - was of bad back pain. She did put off seeing a doctor for a while. I don't know if it was a lack of insurance issue, lack of time, or just not wanting to hassle with MDs. Once she did go, at least a couple of docs missed what was really going on. She finally went to a chiropractor for the pain. I'm not sure how she eventually learned the truth - it was small cell carcinoma... and it was *everywhere.* She left behind 3 children, ages 4-14, but also a loving husband and good father for them. As bad as things seem for us at any one time, there is always someone who is having it much, much worse. Let me know how your dad did/does, OK? And, of course, more snuzzles from me to Waffles. And hugs for you. :)

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By Emerald63 on Mar 3, 2016 at 10:47 PM

Whoa! Lil Furry Dood ain't furry no more! =:O But it sure is great to hear he's doing so much better so soon. Hopefully his Chester imitation won't be permanent. I can't believe he let you take out his stitches. Waffles has got to be the mellowest kitteh on the planet! Your WTF description reminded me a lot of an Animal Planet show called "Monsters Inside Me." It's about people who've picked up any manner of parasites, mostly internal. They cover a few other medical things, like infections, but it's totally amazing to see "stringy things coming out" of someone's body. (O_o) Usually takes multiple docs (or at least several tries by one doc) to even figure out what's wrong. At least there seem to be some good anti-parasitic drugs out there. Of course, Waffles didn't have parasites. But considering what he did/does have, would parasites really be that bad in comparison? Ergh... let's go with him having *neither* shall we? ++ Fang-Q so mush fur gibbin' him teh snuzzles from me! I nebber reelized I wuz gonna be Auntie Em frum... Kansas. Hmmm....

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By Emerald63 on Feb 22, 2016 at 4:33 PM

YEA! Waffles is on the mend! Fang-Q so muchly fur gibbin himz teh tummy snuzzlez fur me. :D

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By Emerald63 on Feb 17, 2016 at 3:57 PM

That is great news! Thanks for letting me know. Best of luck keeping him relatively inactive during his recuperation. >^..^<

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By Emerald63 on Feb 16, 2016 at 9:30 PM

O Noez! O poor baby! You give Waffles a special, gentle pat for me and tell him I hope he feels better real soon. ++ We've been through something similar. One of our kittehs became an inside cat when I saw her limping for a couple days in a row. We have "porch cats," cats who hang out a lot on/near our front porch and whom we feed daily. (But of course there's no connection between those two facts...) Back in 2010 one of the very young kittens was limping. I finally took her to the vet and she had a horribly broken femur. They didn't realize just how bad it was till they got in there to fix it, though. (I couldn't bring myself to put down such a young creature simply because she'd had an unlucky accident.) The femur was broken straight across instead of at an angle, which meant healing would be more difficult because the bone halves are more likely to slip laterally. Not only that, the bone was split along its length! Between two titanium rods and lots of extra wiring to hold things in place during healing, Brit, as we eventually named her, recovered brilliantly. She's almost 6 years old now! ++ Even though Waffles is hurting right now, he'll be alright in due time. You'll just need to love him up even more than usual. But I'm sure you can handle that. ;)

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By Emerald63 on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:37 PM

HiHo, Brain! I thought of you the second I saw this. Enjoy - http://cheezburger.com/8587574528

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By Emerald63 on Jan 5, 2016 at 10:05 PM

Ohai, Atomicbrain! It was good to hear from you on Yule - thank you for thinking of me. :) Yeah, it totally sucks to have too little time to do justice to MY holiday because I'm so busy getting ready for THEIR holiday. If I didn't, I'd never hear the end of it. But do they ever send me a card or even acknowledge Yule? Nope. Doesn't matter that they can't claim ignorance, as I've explained it's significance. Sigh... ++ One of my favorite things about Easter is that the name is taken from a Pagan goddess! Also, bunnies and eggs are Pagan symbols. But my favorite thing is asking the supposedly devout believers if they know how the date for Easter is set. It's the last great movable feast day in the Christian calendar, but 99% of them have no clue how the date is chosen. When I tell tell them it's the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, quite a few look very confused about the Nature connections and some even look rather horrified, as though such talk sounds akin to devil worship. HA!! No clue at all that the calendar practices date from their faith's Jewish origins and the lunar calendar Judaism follows. Someone definitely wasn't considering K.I.S.S. ++ I hope you had a nice holiday(s) of your own, whichever of them you may follow. At the very least, I hope airing your Festivus grievances was therapeutic. Didja do anything for New Years? Mark and I remembered to pause whatever we were watching and check in with the Times Square ball drop. A hug, some kissing... then we went back to our show. Yup, we're officially not young anymore. So... the New Years LOL I made is a total fabrication, hehehe!! Had fun with it anyway. Happy 2016 to you and yours!!!

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By mamawalker on Dec 24, 2015 at 11:01 AM

Ohai!! Yes, it is a tough one. For you too, I imagine. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Are you on FB? For years, my son tried to get me 'connected'. When he died, I joined in his honor and to stay in touch with his hundreds of friends who offered their condolences and friendship. I hooked up with many cheezpeeps over there and have liked it so far. Let me know. I like the fact that one can private message with friends. Healthwise, I have been doing very well. I hope the same holds for you! lubznbonx!

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By Emerald63 on Oct 29, 2015 at 11:02 PM

Do keep in touch, Brain. I enjoy our conversations! And I just *have* to hear the latest on The Adventures of Waffles! :D (Luckily, Joonyer did *not* break anything while we were away for 2 weeks.)

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By Emerald63 on Oct 24, 2015 at 10:38 AM

Brain! Great to hear from you!! I wish things weren't going badly for you, though. :( And hey, it's never a bore to sympathize with a friend when the chips are down. So you go ahead and share if you feel the need, OK? ++ My brother-in-law has recovered to what seems like a remarkable degree from the stroke he had on Aug 31, though he finally came home only this past Thursday. ++ Strangely, I can't recall what else may have been going on up till a couple weeks ago. My head's still crowded with the details of a two week trip we just returned from. I do recall discussing the woes of a couple of IRL friends a while back - one who had back surgery earlier in the summer and one who had a bit of a harrowing sail around Florida. Both are fine now, so no worries there. Just concern for you, my friend. ++ I'm looking forward to Halloween (aka Samhain), too, as it's the most sacred holiday of the Western European Pagan year (as well as being a heck of a lot of fun) and also to taking a gander at all those new LOLs you made. ++ It's good to see you back! Keep in mind that a few chuckles every day can help make many of life's difficult times easier to bear, 'kay?

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By mamawalker on Oct 22, 2015 at 1:42 PM

Thank you for the hugs. It is so good to hear from you. I am slowly adjusting to this new existence. The okay days are finally out numbering the dark days, at least. Sry for your trials, my friend. Stay well and stay strong. We Montanans are supposed to be tough, after all. All my best to you and your family. (PS....Thank God for cats!) Much love, mamadubya, Six and Magic

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By Emerald63 on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:07 PM

Just thought you should know, in case your kitteh ever goes missing... http://cheezburger.com/8456274944

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By Emerald63 on Feb 15, 2015 at 4:13 PM

Hey, good to hear from you AB. Sadly, I don't need to imagine what your wife is going through. I lost both my folks within 7 weeks of each other. But it'll be 8 years since then, starting 3/10. It's not easy, ever, but it does get easier. Please give her my condolences. ++ Good to hear about Waffle. I see my last message of any length to you was back when we had a new addition of our own. We finally settled on the name Joonyer. That's a phonetic variation of Junior meant to capture Sean Connery's brogue in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." He plays Indy's dad and keeps referring to Indy as "Junior." Eventually their Arab friend Sulla asks "What is this 'Junior'?" Dad answers, "That's his name, Henry Jones Junior!" Indy mutters, "My name is Indiana." Dad replies, "We named the *dog* Indiana." Sully explodes in mirthful disbelief, saying "The *dog*? You are named after the DOG?!" Not just funny, but funnier as dogs aren't particularly well thought of as pets in Arabic and/or Muslim culture (not sure which). So, Joonyer... He's still "playing" aggressively, has to be atop every piece of furniture he can manage, and can't leave anything alone. Sigh. He's broken one tall, handled glass drinking vessel with my college alma mater mascot on it, which went into sand-grain sized pieces when it hit the floor. He's also chewed through numerous items and helped himself to any bit of human food that isn't securely covered or locked away every second we're not holding it. He's not all bad, mind you, but OMG he's a handful. He's also HUGE, which means strong, although I've managed to successfully clip all his claws on 4-5 occasions. At least when he sleeps he sleeps *hard* - it can take quite a bit of serious nudging and calling his name to bring him around. But whatcha gonna do? The other offer we had back in the day dried up by our standards when we found out the guy is pretty much a jerk. So Joonyer's here to stay. Unless... Waffle might like to ask him over for an extended play date? We could bring him up then take a look around Montana. We could visit for a while then head out to visit Mamawalker, my other Montana cheezfriend. I'd be willing to do allllll that just so our sweet boy could have a nice loooong play date. 'Kay? :P

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