Posted in Stories

10,004 days (part 2)

I am going way off topic again but that is my prerogative. As a warning, if you are of a sensitive nature read no further, this doesn’t end well.

In case you didn’t read Part 1, 10,004 days is the number of days between the date on Nick’s birth certificate and the date on his death certificate. Today is the 5th anniversary of his death.

And I don’t want the world to see me

What seemed like every other Wednesday turned into every parent’s worst nightmare. After we had eaten, I took the dogs for a walk when I got the frantic call to return immediately, something was wrong with Nick. I ran home to find Nick on the floor, he was trying to get up but had little control, he was making sounds but not words. I’ll never forget the look on his face. I kept telling him, “I got ya, everything will be ok.”

‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand

Nick had suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) rupture and was pronounced brain dead a couple days later. I knew I couldn’t prevent this, some of the best trama neurosurgeons in the country including the department head told us there was nothing they could have done, but as a parent, I still felt I had failed him.

When everything’s made to be broken

After the funeral, everyone had returned to their lives yet ours was shattered, each evening I would go to Nick’s room and sit and stare at Nick’s stuff. All the things that made up his life, and had meaning to him. BTW, Nick was a slob so I felt like I was in a TLC episode of “Hoarding, Buried Alive.” This went on for 2 months.

I just want you to know who I am

Have you ever wondered how many people die each year? Welp, in 2017 Maryland 50,000 died. I assume many of you watch television shows featuring doctors and nurses performing miracles (I’m thinking “Grey’s Anatomy“). It is impressive how many patients receive organ transplants.

And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming

Now for the unbelievable reality, guess how many of the 50,000 deaths resulted in organ donations…. Would you believe 1,000 or maybe more like 1,500 or how about 500. Nope, not even close. In 2017, a mere 152 people of the 50,000 deaths were able to donate a total of 498 organs. Astounding isn’t it? Why such a low number you ask, well the secret is all about dying correctly. Yes, there is a correct way and wrong way to die – if you can believe that.

Or the moment of truth in your lies

Nick died correctly and was able to donate organs and tissue helping 7 individuals. Only one recipient sent us a card thanking us for Nick’s donation while offering condolences for our loss.

When everything’s made to be broken

The Roman philosopher Seneca writes about the awareness of mortality in his essay On the Shortness of Life, “you live as if you would live forever; the thought of human frailty never enters your head, you never notice how much of your time is already spent. You squander it as though your store were full to overflowing, when in fact the very day of which you make a present to someone or something may be your last.”

Tonight hug everyone you love since you never know. Live as if tomorrow may never come, live every moment appreciating the people you love.

I just want you to know who I am

Why Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls? During the time after Nick’s death, this song played incessantly on the radio when we traveled to the funeral home, to the cemetery, etc. So often did this song play, I requested it’s playing during his funeral. If you know the origin of the song, you know it is appropriate and it still hits home.

Posted in Stories

10,004 days (part 1)

I am going way off topic but that is my prerogative. As a warning, if you are of a sensitive nature read no further, this doesn’t end well.

10,004 days (or 1,429 weeks or 329 months or 27 yrs and 5 months), is the number of days between the date on Nick’s birth certificate and the date on his death certificate. Today starts the 5th anniversary of the absolute worse experience in our lives. But first let’s look at who Nick was.

And I’d give up forever to touch you

Nick was exceptional by most accounts. I know all parents say these things but we didn’t cultivate his exceptionalism – he did. When Nick was still in a car seat (maybe 4 or 5) he would read the big green overhead highway signs as we drove down the road. When he was in the 4th grade (10) he was a participant in a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University. They told us he had a reading comprehension level of a college student. Nick by age 11, had become a big Michael Crichton fan and would burn through a book over a weekend. He was too smart for school, at a parent/teacher meeting, we were asked what we thought Nick’s “problem” was. I told the principal “he learned to read” and you guys can’t teach. Needless to say, I was persona non-grata at the school

‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow.

When Nick graduated high school, he joined the Marine Corps, specializing in airfield operations – they trained him to be a firefighter. He was deployed to the Al Asad airbase in Iraq where he received a commendation for what he called “smart thinking.” And I added, “yeah while being shot at.”

You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be

After his discharge from the Marine Corps, Nick went to college but it wasn’t his thing, saying it was “dumb” and failed to teach students any useful skills. Nick was good with computers and built his own. He landed an IT job with a medical firm where he found his groove. He had a girlfriend, bought a new car, and was searching for a house or apartment. His employer had plans for Nick until that one night.

And all I can taste is this moment

We’ve been to counselors, and support groups: some helped, most did not. Society is “uncomfortable with the topic…people will either try to avoid discussing it or offer comfort by talking about their “own experience,” which is not a helpful response. Birthdays, holidays, and the anniversary of the loss are particularly painful. We stopped celebrating birthdays, blew off Christmas completely one year, and have played it down ever since. If you are uncomfortable talking to people about their loss, I recommend reading the following article What to Say to Someone Who Lost Loved One. It contains by far the best advice I’ve come across.

And all I can breathe is your life

If I haven’t lost you, tonight hug everyone you love because you never know. Live as if tomorrow may never come; live every moment of your life surrounded by those you love. As Paul McCartney once sang “All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.” Don’t meet that moment with regret.

When sooner or later it’s over

Posted in Stories

Blogiversary

The power of serendipity.

“Serendipity is an unplanned fortunate discovery. Serendipity is also seen as a potential design principle for online activities that would present a wide array of information and viewpoints, rather than just re-enforcing a user’s opinion.”

Yes, I stuck a pen in the center of a mini carrot cake.

Wow, it has been a year. Can’t say it started on the right foot. I spent weeks being confused. I even bought a WP For Dummies book and I was still confused. Yup, I have a pea brain with flat spots. But I endeavored to persevere and here we are. Not only are we here, but I started a second blog, a satirical view of the world through the eyes of a puppy – that setup went much better.

I started the blog to connect with like-minded individuals who view writing instruments as a thing of beauty. At the time I assumed that there would be 3 like-minded people. I am flabbergasted, amazed, and in awe, during 1 year of blogging, I managed 76 posts, writing 43,000 words, which were read by 2100 visitors – remember this blog is about PENS! Writing instruments.

Thanks to all who have viewed, liked, and commented on my posts, and to those who follow the blog – thank you. By most blogging standards, these numbers are infantile, which is why I appreciate you all.

A special thanks to Ray at Fountain Pen Quest. Since he has mentioned the Chronicles in his blog, my viewership has quadrupled. I encourage you to visit his blog.

The Beginning

So how did it all begin? I restored or is it refurbished a Parker Challenger. During the process, I did countless dumb things and a couple good things. Afterward, I got the bright idea to address the brassing on the cap clip. The clip is nickel-plated and I found a DIY nickel electroplating process – it was a blast and my garage still stands. It is difficult finding pen restoration information. I wanted to save others from a similar fate.

I have a long list of topics that takes me into next year, hopefully, you will continue to find the content as interesting, and informative as I do.

Blogging Pros and Cons

I did not start the blog for fame and fortune. I started it to be social and to meet others. I’m following blogs that have nothing to do with pens, created by individuals from all over the world. I honestly think that is really cool. Unfortunately, I am the type who does best with a schedule and if I miss a posting date I stress. Each post is reviewed and edited at least 20-30 times (this post has been revised 25 times) before my “editor” reads it. Even with my self-imposed stress I still have fun.

The next trip around the Sun

I’ve given some thought to changes for the next blog year. Taking a page from several other bloggers, I’m going to add a “month in review,” summarizing my posts and highlighting other blogs. I’m going to comment more and “Like” less. I have some other ideas but they are just ideas for now.

In closing, I got to thinking that since this is a blog about PENS maybe I could share a couple facts about myself:

  • Currently reading: A Memory Called Empire
  • Last movie seen: The Dog
  • Pets: 3 dogs and 3 cats. Yes I live in a zoo.
  • Last concert: Black Sabbath, I have tickets to see Ziggy Marley, it has been cancelled twice.
  • Pens in my collection: OMG too many. Including pens for sale I have 22 Esterbrook, and 11 Parker, plus many, many more.
  • Most recent acquisition: Pilot Namiki Capless