A Father’s Passing

Laurie wrote this poem about her father’s passing, and it seems appropriate to share it now.

A Father’s Passing

For eighty years he listened to their song,
The distant whistles painting nighttime skies;
Soft shades of wanderlust shone in his eyes
As locomotives whispered, Come along.
Flat-bottom rails and wooden ties like seams
That wove the grown man to the young boy’s soul;
Whistle stops and smoldering campfire coals
Became the tapestry of every dream.
The railroad was his lifelong love affair,
And were it not for family and good sense,
He might have hopped a boxcar West – just once,
To find the magic he knew waited there.
Tonight as he prepares to leave this world,
And nurse tuck him gently into bed,
How fitting that this dreamer lifts his head
To listen and then whispers, All aboard.

A Message From Laurie’s Children

We are saddened to inform you that Laurie passed away Saturday morning.  On Friday her condition seemed to take a turn for the worse.  Her family was notified and her son and his wife came to be at her side.  Toby was with her in his usual role as guard dog and constant cuddler.   I, her daughter, was unfortunately unable to be there but I had come to visit the weekend prior.  She was thinner than last I saw her, she was talking less and drinking less, but she was still alert, able to communicate and understand, and of course, still cracking jokes.  I was planning to write a post about my visit but did not get the chance as things changed so quickly.

Though we are very saddened by our loss, we are grateful that she is now in heaven and reunited with her father, whom she loved so much.

She is being cremated and her ashes will be spread in accordance with her wishes.  The family will be having a private service and celebration of her life.  We’ll always remember her as she was in life – strong, loving, and with a great sense of humor.

These are two of my favorite photos of my mom.  They were taken this past May at my wedding, and they show her exactly as I will always remember her.

Giving a toast that had everyone laughing

Laughing hysterically prior to the wedding

An Update on Laurie’s Condition

Dear Laurie’s Awaiting Blog Public,

Mom continues to enjoy visitors, letters and comments posted on her blog. If you can visit, please feel free.  However, know that mom, ever the night owl, is generally most alert after normal visiting hours.  The enthusiasm with which you are greeted will be directly related to the size of the McDonalds chocolate shake you bring her.

Toby remains by her side, both a faithful friend who rests by her side and an annoyance who steps on her.

While she’ll occasionally trail off sentences or say things that don’t quite make sense, her sense of humor remains. Me: “Are you done with the water? Shall I put the bottle and straw down?” Mom: “Do you want your arm broken?”  The threatening to break your arm when you ask to do something she doesn’t want you to do has been one of her favorite lines these days.  So if you hear that, please know she is joking.

She also likes to hear the latest about her grandsons.  Her youngest grandchild is now singing “Happy…to you, happy… to you” (pause) Cake?” to nobody in particular.  He forgets to say “birthday” in the Happy Birthday song but remembers to ask for cake because that always comes after the song is sung.  She says “That’s my kind of kid.”

She is also appropriately excited about the Brewers’ playoff series.  She would softly cheer “yea!” when told their magic number has shrunk again on their way to the NLC championship title.  And she is now rooting for them to win their current playoff series.  When asked if she thought they could take the whole thing she replied that she did not want to jinx it.

We’d like to thank our mom’s many visitors on her behalf and on our own behalf.  She has had many people visit, including some that have made multiple visits, and  that is greatly appreciated.  She has a Brewers NLC Champions hat in her room & we would like to thank whomever brought her this gift.  And thank you all for the cards, letter, emails, and blog comments.  We read everything that is sent to her by the post office or electronically and do know that she can hear and understand them.  Even when she doesn’t respond verbally she will squeeze my hand at appropriate times.

And I’d also like to apologize for not making more frequent updates.   Please know that “no news is good news” and that she is stable.  She’s been maintaining at the same level for roughly five weeks now.  I will try to make more frequent updates though.  As her condition changes we will be sure to update the blog more frequently as we know many people are checking it regularly for updates.   And we thank everyone for their kind words and support.

A Message From Laurie’s Family

Dear friends of  Laurie & That Boomer Blog followers (or as Laurie would say Dear Awaiting Blog Public),

We are saddened to inform you that Laurie is unable to continue with her blogging.  Laurie’s brain cancer has proven to be much more aggressive than originally thought.  She braved the initial chemo & radiation treatments with much positive energy and humor, however the tumors were found to have progressed too far for her to be physically capable of further treatment.  The tumors have continued to grow quickly, leading to Laurie begin receiving in home hospice care.

The in home hospice care has been keeping her very comfortable and it allows her to have her lovable dog at her side.  Despite the circumstances, her sense of humor remains in tact.  From commenting that her blog public awaits to saying, “men” when asked if she needed anything, to asking if the letter that was about to be read to her was salacious, she continues to remain herself.

At the start of August, we were discussing her cancer and what she was going to do after she beat it.  She wanted to continue with her writing, which had brought her such happiness over the last few years.  However she said she would be at peace even if she did not beat the cancer.  She said, “If for some reason I don’t beat this, well, then I get to go to heaven and see my dad again, and that is wonderful too.  It’s win-win.”  She then said, “Winning!” Charlie Sheen style, thus making the conversation a typical Laurie conversation punctuated with a joke.

As I was most recently leaving her room to head back home I asked her how she was doing.  Her reply was, “Copacetic mucho.”  Then she double checked to make sure I knew the definition of copacetic.  I told her I did and that she is the reason for many things in my love, including all the big words in my vocabulary.

Please leave comments on the blog and send emails; we will be reading all messages received to her and she very much appreciates hearing from all of her friends.

We will continue to update the blog with news about her condition.  Thank you all for being such good friends to our mom.  It’s been a great solace knowing just how many people love her.

The Boomer Consumer: Price gouging cemetery

Wisconsin Memorial Park in Milwaukee is a good example of why consumers plan to get ripped off when they deal with anyone in the funeral industry.


My parents both have crypts at Wis. Memorial – they paid a total of $22,000.00 for them years ago. I called to ask if my cremains could be placed in my dad’s crypt with him – not in his casket, just the crypt.

Yes, they could, but for a fee of $5,500.00. This fee does not include the cremation if we have them do that as well. It only includes opening the crypt.


Did you get your free Hoveround yet?


Did you know that you paid for everyone else’s free Hoveround through taxes that go to Medicare and Medicaide?

You really didn’t think the Hoveround company could afford to give away its product and stay in business, did you?

If you did, I’ll be happy to explain why that is a doomed business plan, but first you have to send me all your money.

Anyhoo…Does paying for all those Hoverounds doing wheelies all across America give you a warm, cozy feeling in the cockles of your heart?

No? Me neither. It does give me a cold empty feeling in the wallet, though.

REALITY REARS ITS UGLY HEAD: Yes, every time someone gets something for nothing, other poor suckers like you and I pay for it.

Have you ever checked into how much your state pays to offset college tuition? Last time I checked, Wisconsin paid about $600 per student.

I’m telling you, that knowledge really puts the rivers of vomit flowing down dorm hallways in a different light.

Cremains of the day

Okay, let’s get real here, folks. None of us has a guarantee of five more minutes on earth. Even though I am fighting some scary lesions that, according to my former doctor, will be what ultimately kills me, that doctor might go before I do, blasted into the other world by a brain aneurysm as he sleeps tonight.

Does it make me a terribly bad person for hoping that happens?

Oh, who cares? I got spots. If I want to envision that doctor’s brain exploding while I watch a Seinfeld rerun at 3 a.m., I’m gonna do it.

Moving on to the topic of this post:

Before my seizure, thinking about my funeral was something I tried to avoid at all costs. But trust me, calling around for cremation costs is worse when you might be using them in the near future. Plan your funeral now, when your health makes it seem far, far away!

What started me on this topic was the thought of how cool a word ‘cremains’ is. What is left after cremation? Cremains. So much more poetic than ‘leftovers’ or ‘boney bits of _______(your name here)

Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment cont.

Had my staples and stitches removed a few days ago and the physician’s assistant repeated what I had heard at all the other appointments involving the incision:

Looks great! Healing well!

Yesterday I went to have a protective mask made for my face – to protect the skin during radiation. I told the mask lady that once it was not needed for treatment anymore, I planned to take it home and glue bedazzler jewels to it. She said, “Oh, please do! And take photos for us! They want me to put together a small photo book to show other radiation patients, a kind of: “If you gotta go through it, you might as well have some fun on the ride” deal.

My first serious treatment will be Wednesday of next week. Am geared up and energized to get started on evicting my spots.

Tylenol by Committee Part 2

Just when you thought the story could not get any dumber:

Conversation today with a resident assistant:

RA: You should not take your own Tylenol, because you have an order on your med chart for a narcotic.

Me: For the oxycontin, which I said I did not want and would refuse to take?

RA: Yes.

Me: They filled it anyway?

RA: Well, no. To fill it, the doc would have to fax an Rx. But because it is on your chart, theoretically, it could be filled.

Me: So because an Rx I will not take could theoretically be filled sometime in the future against my wishes, I cannot take Tylenol now for a headache that is not theoretical but actually bothering me?

RA: Yes.

In the distance I hear the Pain Relief Nazi:


Tylenol by Committee

Eight days ago I asked for a Tylenol. For some reason, my records do not say it’s okay for me to have one – even though umpteen doctors have written the order in the past month. The problem is that none of the orders is “current.”

So I called the doc to fax another order. Then I waited about six days for the Tylenol to show up. Nothing.

The doc did fax what he needed to, but after that someone dropped the ball. I had to start the process all over again.

Until another order was faxed, the pain relief Nazi had the final word:


By some miracle, I found a bottle of my own Tylenol packed in one of my boxes. Ah, sweet headache relief, and only 144 hours after the headache started.

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