My Brother…..

It was 1977, our new family was sitting at the table having dinner one night when my stepmom announces that we were ¨going to have a new addition to the family.” I was nine years old and I new exactly what this meant! We were going to have a baby!!!! I was so excited! I immediately went straight to the phone and called my best friend to share the news.

The months before the baby was born seemed to go on forever and as the due date got closer when I walked home from school, I would hesitantly turn the corner to our street to see if the family van was still parked in front of the house because I KNEW if it wasn´t there then that meant my parents were at the hospital. Almost two weeks after the due date in the middle of the night my parents woke me up and said they were going to the hospital to have the baby. As the oldest I was ¨in charge,¨ they moved me to their bed and made sure the phone was near. Hours later my Dad came home and said that we had a new brother, they named him Michael O´Farrell Morton. I could not WAIT to see him. The months leading up to his birth seemed like forever but the days leading up to Michael coming home were even longer. Finally a few days later when I came home from school I was able to meet my baby brother. He was adorable and I adored him.

In a house full of girls, Michael was all boy. He had curly dark hair, blue eyes and freckles He loved trucks, tools, toy guns, sports, etc. I remember him wearing a belt and putting all of my Dadś work pens on it like it was amunition. I also remember him as a toddler getting a hold of the hose and spraying everyone, we couldnt get near him because he would just spray us, it was hilarious! Itś interesting because being almost ten years older then Michael most of my memories of him are from his very early childhood, by the time he was eight I was away at college and out of the house. I missed most of his middle school years and his high school years but during that time he played sports, he learned how to play the guitar and he got accepted to Jesuit high school, his freshman year was the last year it was all boys. I remember attending his high school graduation and then the following fall he went off to Southern Oregon State and then eventually U of O (just like his big sis 😉).

Michael and I were definitely in different life stages in our young adult hood years and as we got older we saw each other less and less until it became just seeing each other at our parent’s house for major holidays and occasional birthdays. As the years went by and we became busy with our own lives it seemed the distance grew, but I was always proud of my brother and proud to have a brother. Michael had a good job working for the City of Portland, bought a house, was an excellent guitar player writing and producing his own songs, and was able to pursue all of his interests.

Michael was always a more quiet person, kept to himself and never really divulged too much. About two years ago during Easter brunch with the family it was very apparent he didnt look like he was feeling well and we were concerned. When asked if he was feeling okay, he blew it off explaining that he was on a new diet (it did look like he had lost weight). The next few times we saw him after Easter he looked better but still not healthy. The following August he came to my 50th birthday dance party which I was so happy about especially because a dance party really wasnt his scene.

Fast forward to July of 2019. I had finished happy hour downtown with a friend from work and was waiting for my bus home when I noticed voicemails and texts from my sister. I called her back and she told me Michael is missing. What? How can that be? The person who never misses work had not reported to work or called or returned voicemails all day.

What ensued was my sister taking the lead in contacting the police, the sheriffś office and being the point person for the detective. Meanwhile my parents and I knocked on Michaelś neighbors’ doors´ asking if they had seen him and requesting that they contact us if they see him. As the investigation continued we found out he had been on the coast. My poor parents then drove around coastal towns putting up flyers and going to different shooting ranges (Michael liked to shoot) looking for him. My other sisterś husband drove up and down different logging roads off the highway looking for Michaelś truck, at one point he stopped some loggers asking them if they had seen it, they hadnt but had heard Michael was missing. My friend helped me post a Facebook page (according to the detective this was as far we should go in terms of social media, as Michael was obviously a private person and most likely would not want this). Michaelś friend at work formed a search team who were familiar with the different shooting ranges off the coastal highway and familiar with the rural roads, etc.

Four days later when I returned from my walk, I had missed a call from my sister. I called her back and she told me what I didnt want to hear. Michael was found and he had taken his own life. A person from the search party put together by Michaelś coworker found him. He was four and half miles up in the mountains and finding him was like finding a needle in a haystack. I couldnt believe it. I called my other sisters, I called my parents. I wanted to drive to my parents house immediately, but they wanted to be alone so I spent the evening with my sister, drinking wine, talking about Michael, crying, talking some more, feeling shocked and all of it feeling surreal.

Michael was sick and he was in pain. He was in late stages of cirrhosis of the liver and according to the medical examiner it is a very painful way to die. I dont think Michael was afraid to die and I know he wouldnt have wanted his four sisters and mother fretting over him, so he probably thought he did what was best.

It has been ten months since that horrible day in July and I still cant believe my brother is gone. I think of those last moments before he took his life and the pain he was in and it breaks my heart. I will go days without thinking about him and then I remember he is gone and it is like a kick in the stomach. I am convinced he is around me though. Just the other day I was sitting on my bed putting on my shoes when I thought the dog had come up behind me because it felt like someone had stepped on the mattress, I looked behind me and no one was there.

One year Michael had given each of us a CD of songs he had written, sang and produced. The CD is called Grand Opening and I keep it in my car and listen to it every time I go somewhere. My favorite song on the CD is called Lay My Eyes. Its hard to decipher all of the lyrics but in my brotherś own words he expresses the loss I feel:

Lay My Eyes

Everyday I lay my eyes. On the only picture I have of you and I

Still hasnt faded over all this time ´cause I know again some day you will forever be mine

In the time we spent together, I thought it could last forever…… but again I was wrong this time because as long as I can sing this song, together…….

Iĺl sing it to you………

Iĺl sing it to you……….

Sometimes I cry and laugh (next word inaudible)

I wish and dream to be true. Never thought I could see forever another day without you

In the time we spent together, I thought it could last forever…… but again I was wrong this time because as long as I can sing this song, together

Iĺl sing it to you………

Iĺl sing it you you……….

Michael would have been 42 this year and I miss him terribly. I see him everyday in the photo I have in my hallway, I hear his voice when I play his CD, I dont hesitate to talk about him and on occasion he lets me know he is still around😊.

I love you Michael-O❤

I hope you can see the lettering on my bracelet❤

The Village…….

I started my blog just over two years ago now and the following was one of my early posts. I am re-posting it now because we are in the holiday season and it was one of my favorites to write.  Enjoy!

One of the many joys in my life are the reactions I get from my kids with my silly antics.  Like when I show them my progress in perfecting the Running Man (its a dance move) or when I purposely misuse trendy sayings or phrases.  Keep in mind my kids are 18 and 20, so I have to find SOMETHING to keep me entertained!

For the past few years during Christmas I have put up a small Christmas village.  You know the ones with the little village people, houses, stores, horse drawn carriages, etc?  A couple years ago  when my kids were at home because it was winter break I would text them asking, “What is happening in the village?”  They thought I was a nut. Sometimes they would play along and give me a silly story of what was happening in the village but most of the time they would ignore my texts, which for some reason made me laugh also.  Well………this year I decided to change it up and text THEM about what was happening in the village.  Below are the “Village Update” texts they received:

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12/10/17-Accident on the ice rink. Little Timmy had a pretty scary fall but he is ok. Minor fracture.

12/12/17-BREAKING NEWS! Robbery suspect on the loose!  Suspect broke into Mrs. Smith’s fruit store at approximately 2am Tuesday morning.  Eye witnesses have described the suspect as male approximately 5’6 to 5’7, some say he has blonde hair others say brown, some say he has a tattoo on his left arm and others say he wears a medical necklace.  There is a $500 reward for anyone who can find this robber. If you have any information please contact Sheriff Kates at 1-800-JEALOUS?

*After this text my son responded with-UNSUBSCRIBE

*The description of the robber describes both my kids and Kates is my hot bf’s last name.

12/13/17-Power Outage.  Cause of outage is unknown at this time. Village officials estimate power will return within 24 hours and ask that its citizens stay close to home until the power returns.  On a side note the robbery suspect who broke into Mrs. Smith’s fruit store is still at large although some villagers have said they have spotted him at the local watering hole.

12/17/17-Press Release-The robbery suspect has been found and detained.  Locals found him up north in a run down shack ice fishing.  The shack was filled with fruit. Sheriff Kates has declared that the Village may resume to its normal activities. BINGO AT THE LEGION HALL MONDAY NIGHT! Mrs.Migilicuddy will be serving her peach cobbler!

12/23/17-Village Gossip- On Saturday Charlene was at Brenda’s Beauty Salon getting a cut and color and she said that Nancy said that she saw Cindy’s husband sneaking away from that hussy Bobbie Sue’s house Tuesday afternoon.  Apparently Bobbie Sue’s husband is on a “business trip” but you know what they say about the kind of business he is in!  And this isn’t the first time Cindy’s husband has been caught in questionable circumstances with the other ladies in the village!

12/24/17-REMINDER- The Silver Fox bowling league is putting on a bake sale at the community center.  Come by and support the ladies by purchasing freshly baked goods.  Mrs. Smith always puts a little extra rum in her rum cake :).  Proceeds go towards a state of the art cat park behind the old barn on the Johnson property.  And best of all Sheriff Kates will be there to autograph photos!

12/26/17-Jumpstart on next year’s Christmas shopping with 50% off on fruitcakes at Behrman’s Bakery. Get them while they last!

12/30/17-A note from the editor: The staff (the editor) will be on a short hiatus and will return December 2018.

Wishing you joy and happiness for the year ahead 🙂

It was the best and it all happened unexpectantly……..

Last fall when the days became gloomy, grey, cold and raining in the Pacific Northwest I was at work procrastinating on actually doing work when I walked into my coworkerś office. She was feeling frustrated and exhausted with the politics of work and just needed a break. With an empathetic ear I listened to her vent (her frustration was so understandable) and then suggested that WE should go on a vacation! Wouldn´t that be fun??!! Kerrie and I had bonded a couple years prior over our love of our dogs and I had taken care of her three month old puppies while she was out of town at a family memberś wedding, but aside from that we had never spent that much time together. I kid you not, a few SECONDS after I proclaimed that we needed a vacation our co-worker Linda walked in and said she could get us a great deal at an all inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta . Oh my gosh, were we really going to do this? YES!!!!!

We got a smokin’ deal on seven nights at an all inclusive resort for the end of February and with Kerrieś companion deal with Alaska airlines we made out like bandits!

Last year I had posted a blog about finding a bathing suit for the trip https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/justsharing.blog/379. I eventually found one that seemed to do exactly what I was wanting-enhance the good stuff, cover the not so good stuff and be happy with the results. The other thing I had to prepare for was how to deal with my fear of flying! Ugh. Turbulence is not my friend. It makes me cry. So I asked my doctor to prescribe me something to help me relax and reduce my anxiety.

Finally February 27th arrived and it was time to go on our spontaneoulsy planned vacation. We boarded the plane, I took my prescribed med and attempted to distract my nervousness with watching a movie, chatting with Kerrie and every 15 minutes checking the map to see how much more we had to travel. We finally arrived in Puerto Vallarta around 1pm and found our driver to take us to the hotel.

We stayed at the all inclusive Amber Now resort and it was gorgeous! Below is the view when we first walked in.

I will say the one thing that I did struggle with was that it was on the 15th floor and for someone that is afraid of heights (and flying) it was a little too high, and I admit I might have been a little dramatic about it, but 15 floors is high!

A little video of walking along the open hallway of the hotel on the 15th floor

Kerrie and I had no agenda. We spent most of our days laying by the pool drinking margaritas. We took full advantage of the bar and the food served at the pool. If we were up to it in the evening we ate at one of the five restaurants at the resort (all super good!) and I am not afraid to admit that we also indulged in room service, I mean after all, sitting by the pool all day is exhausting and we just didn´t have the energy to shower and dress for dinner.

We were able to pull ourselves away from the pool for two excursions and it was so well worth it. For the first one, we took a taxi to the ¨flea market” which is essentially all the shops where you can barter for whatever you want. There were SO many little shops to buy from, it just went on and on and on.

The next day we had such a fun time on a day trip to Las Caletas. It was an hour ride on a catamaran where they sold food and drinks, had entertainment and signed people up for the different activities. Kerrie really wanted to swim with a sting ray and a seal. I agreed to do it as well but it was not my favorite thing, to say the least. You may notice in the video I am staying close to Kerrie and keeping an eye on the damn sting ray that was swimming right up near us. After that little event we hung out on the hammocks that were literally on the beach! With a bar right there! They then fed us a delicious lunch and and we walked along the paths with all of its beautiful sights. On the way back to Puerto Vallarta all of the staff were so entertaining (and good looking), the music was loud and they were dancing and being goofy. What a fun day! Below are some pics and a video of the sting ray and seal experience.

Ugh!

This trip was like no other trip I had ever been on before. All inclusive is the way to go! Sometimes it was hard to wrap your head around that the delicious meal you just ate or the room service we just ordered did not cost us any money, just a few dollars for a tip. We met some great people, ate great food, drank many margaritas, relaxed, had no agenda, enjoyed the sights, saw whales not too far out in the ocean, did some gambling at the casino on sight and had two AWESOME and cheap massages right on the beach!!

I cannot wait to go back and I am so grateful for my traveling companion Kerrie and my friend and co-worker Linda for playing our travel agent and setting us up at Amber Now. If you ever get the opportunity to treat yourself, I highly recommend this trip.

Until next time here are a few more photos to enjoy…………

Just Sharing………