Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
Trying to be like Daddy. :)

Trying to be like Daddy. :)

My Mom

Eugenia Rea Whisenant Cadenhead was born on September 4, 1943. She left us on February 16, 2014, and our world is a bit sadder, colder and darker for her absence. Seventy years, five months, and twelve days she lived in this world.  I know she lived a full life, but for us in her family, she could have outlived us all and it wouldn’t have been long enough.

She loved Jesus, her family, reading, and butterflies, in that order. Well, depending on how good the current book was. I’m joking, of course.

She was a giving person. Always thinking of others. When we were younger, we got cards for all different occasions. And I mean ALL different occasions, not just Christmas and Easter – Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Halloween, the Fourth of July. If they had ever marketed Arbor Day cards, we would’ve gotten those, too. She continued the tradition with her grandchildren. Usually with a dollar bill or a check tucked into the card. I thought it was kind of silly when I was younger (in a good way, but still kind of corny), but you know what? You absolutely knew that she was always thinking about you and that she loved you. She mailed birthday cards to almost everyone she knew. I think Hallmark’s stock value probably dropped severely when she discovered that she could download and print her own greeting cards.

Also, speaking of holidays, she didn’t just decorate for Christmas and Halloween. She didn’t go all out, but I remember lots of little holiday themed candles and things around the house for those minor holidays. She liked to do fun little things to brighten our days. I didn’t realize it then – I just thought that’s how it was with everybody. As with so much in life, we really only truly appreciate a lot of stuff in retrospect.

Do I need to mention the butterflies? Man, Mom loved them. I don’t think she had any jewelry other than her engagement and wedding rings that didn’t have butterflies on it. Almost all her clothing had butterflies on it or in the pattern. The wallpaper, kitchen towels, bathroom towels, refrigerator magnets, coffee mugs, wall hangings. For her, there was no such thing as too many butterflies. Dad used to say if all the butterflies in the house suddenly came to life, the house would just fly away. I used to kid her and tell her she had bugs on her shirt. She loved those bugs, though. My brother and I both have a tattoo of a butterfly on a music note – the butterfly represents her, and the note is for my Dad.

She was pretty much a wallflower, not saying a whole lot, not usually drawing attention to herself. Dad did most of the talking. That’s not a criticism of either of them; it’s just their personalities. It would be easy, if you didn’t know her, to mistake her for a pushover. You’d be wrong. She wasn’t quick to anger, but if you ever made her mad… well, trust me. There was no room for doubt. She had a stubborn streak a mile wide, and believe me: you didn’t win an argument with her. One time I made a sarcastic remark to her, just kidding around, while she happened to be watering the houseplants. She turned around, held the pitcher of water over my head, and gave me a look that dared me to keep going. I told her she wouldn’t do it. I knew better -I knew she wouldn’t. I was standing on fairly new carpet that I knew she’d never allow to get wet – we weren’t even allowed to have drinks in the living room. Did I say I knew better? Yeah, I was wrong. The carpet got a little damp, but my head sure was soaked.

Speaking of stubborn, there really isn’t much that’s a strong as a mother’s love. Bless her heart  - I know I put that love to the test a few times in my life, but she never gave up on me, even during times I was ready to give up on myself.

Mom, with my Baby Girl, her fourth grandchild.

There’s obviously a lot more I could say, but we’ll leave it at this. She was a loving, caring mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother, cousin and friend to so many. She loved and celebrated life in ways that I’m only now, in retrospect, noticing. She was, and is, so loved, and she leaves a great big hole in our hearts.

Mom’s final resting place.

Gray Awareness Ribbon for brain cancer. Mom lasted about five weeks after diagnosis. Glioblastoma is an ugly, ugly word.

I love you, Mom.

Here there be dragons. While the outside world struggled to heat itself up to the temperature at which water freezes, this little guy kept us at a balmy 38 degrees in the warehouse.

It’s just a word. One simple word; six letters, two syllables. But an ocean of depth underneath.

Stage four.

Nononononono!!!!!! Those words don’t belong together.


Stop saying them like that.

Glioblastoma. Longer word. More depth of meaning, or at least more specific meaning.

What do you do? What do I do?

My mother, the woman who gave me life and life lessons, is now going through the toughest fight of her life. This is one lesson she forgot to teach me. Maybe it can’t be taught.  I guess we all have to learn this one on our own.

She’s not doing so well, at least not today, and the thousand miles of ground that separates me from her is almost unbearable right now. It’s not the end, though. She has fight in her. I know, because she comes from a couple of lines of stubborn, mule-headed folks. Both of her parents were stubborn, and her grandfather… well, let’s just say that the word “stubborn” is a pale word to describe that man. Yeah, Mom has some good, fighting blood in her. Still, I wish I could jump in this fight and throw some punches, too. Maybe I could hold off the enemy while she gets away safely.

I wish it were that easy. I’d take a bullet for her, but fate won’t let me take this on.

Fuck cancer.


Fuck cancer.I want my mom to be healthy, god dammit.

Fuck cancer.

I want my mom to be healthy, god dammit.

Mom. Tumor. Brain. Stage four. These words just don’t belong together. So why am I hearing them? Fuck. Dammit.

In the course of my job, I write the date many times during the day. I’m kinda proud that not once today did I write 2013, or even ‘13. Of course, this is countered by the fact that last week on my birthday, I actually did write the year as 1968. Maybe more than once.

Earlier generations have weathered recessions, of course; this stall we’re in has the look of something nastier. Social Security and Medicare are going to be diminished, at best. Hours worked are up even as hiring staggers along: Blood from a stone looks to be the normal order of things “going…

I know I ordered a heavy duty chain for my bike, but I think this is overkill.

I know I ordered a heavy duty chain for my bike, but I think this is overkill.