Dispatches from Home – New Year’s Eve 2019

As Father Time shuffles off this mortal coil and awaits the arrival of the New Year baby, I’ve come to the end of the year and the decade amazed at how quickly 3,650 days disappeared. I’ve also pondered the grains of sand that have sifted through the hourglass of my life. I can, however, remember those lost days because I’ve kept a series of journals, which are filled with my thoughts on family and friends, my deepest secrets, and injected with my own brand of humor and pathos. My first entry was dated June 26, 1966. It will prove interesting to know what the last entry date will be.

But on this day in 2018, my thoughts were of my dear mother and what 2019 might hold. I wrote: “Mother started going to the bathroom about 3:30 this morning, up and down until around 11-ish. She’s somewhat agitated.” A new paragraph began with these words. “What oh! what will 2019 bring? Mother’s physical health—for being 92—is good. Her mental health is not! I’m almost afraid to leave her alone anymore. Kare In Home is great, but at $16.00 an hour, it can run into money. Scrooge the Musical cost me over $3000.00 in sitter expenses—can’t do that anymore. The Kalberg’s ain’t made of money. LOL.” At that point, humor ended, and reality set in.

“I’m also feeling somewhat trapped, trapped in a world that seemingly has no exit to which I can run. I know Mom can’t live much longer, and when she goes, I’ll be left totally alone for the first time in my life. It frightens me. There will be no ‘Andy’ to look after me like I’ve looked after Mom. I must trust God, though, to provide a way.” My journal entry takes another turn, indicating a shift toward a darkness that overwhelmed me at the time. It was the inky darkness of depression.

“There are times, though—after watching some maudlin old movie or hearing a certain song—that I feel like checking out on my own. I don’t have enough sleeping pills to transport me to Glory, and they’re not foolproof anyway. Don’t own a gun, much too messy, however. An accident? Too much of a pantywaist for that. Head in a gas stove? Having exhausted my options, I guess I’ll hang on to the bitter end, trusting God to provide. I must remember, HE AWAYS HAS!” Then, I wrote something that is too personal to post on Facebook. Thankfully, those words will die with me because it’s in my will that my journals must be destroyed. So, in case you’re wondering if YOUR secrets will be revealed, as you told them to me, rest easy, my friends. I ended the 2018 New Year’s Eve entry with a quote from the Baptist missionary, William Carey (“I can plod.”) and a poem penned by yours truly.

Eschewing Hell and longing for Eternity, one day I’ll be called Home and see afar Heaven’s golden dome. Then I hear the angel’s cheer, and thankfully I’ll never shed another tear. Heaven’s gate will open wide as into Glory I will glide. Gone will be my earthly life of struggle and hurtful days, as down the streets of gold I’ll dance and sing God’s holy praise.

With that lousy poem ringing in your ears and my last Dispatch from Home of 2019, I bid my dear friends and family a happy and prosperous New Year! May God bless. Big hug to you all.