She’s Gone…oh I, oh I’d…Better Learn how to Face it

This was another difficult week. Per her wishes, Mom was cremated and brought home to Lafayette. We buried her next to her parents in the St. Boniface cemetery. Tensions remained high around our house and we were on each others’ nerves frequently; Dad, Rob & Sharon kept their minds busy by working on Rob’s new house – they put something like 30 gallons of paint in that house and now they are ready to move in already! Meanwhile, Ann & I kept our minds busy by doing what we normally do – keeping up with our kids, of course.

On Monday, it was business as usual as we returned to our busy jobs and the kids went back to school. After school, Matt and Luke had football practice while Abby had yet another volleyball game. Luke was late getting to practice, due to watching the 7th grade volleyball game with Ann, Gma, Gigi & I. Abby’s game was against Brookville. We were excited to see her get some action in the 1st game but discouraged that she saw no floor time in the 2nd. The good news was that the girls won yet again and raised their record to a wonderful 7-1 on the year! Thanks to Gigi for getting us some great photos!

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Matt and Luke again had football practice after school on Tuesday. Thanks to Brian for taking Luke to practice that night! Abby had another volleyball game that evening – this time we traveled out to the boondocks to South Decatur. Although the girls won yet again (now 8-1!), Abby received zero minutes on the court. Obviously, we were all frustrated. Although we debated sending my long email to the coach, we opted for a shorter letter that Ann scribed and hoped for the best…
Abby and Matt had practices on Wednesday while Luke had the night off. After football practice, we met Matt at the high school where he, Ann & I attended a college fair in the gymnasium. They had an impressive turnout from the schools. They had Big Ten universities and community colleges. Matt seemed to click with many smaller schools like Anderson, Wabash, Franklin, Valpo, Manchester & Butler – the bigger schools – Purdue, IU, ISU, Ball State – really didn’t give us the time of day and Matt picked up on that…which may play a part in his choice of schools here in a year or so. He also mentioned he didn’t want to attend a huge school with large classrooms where he would feel like a number, so we’ll see… Meanwhile, we received an email back from her coach, saying she needed to work on a few things to get more PT on the court – which at least gives us a starting place. I pulled up Mom’s obit, which now up on the internet from the Journal & Courier. There is also a guest book that has a few entries from friends and family now.

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Brian took Luke to practice for us again on Thursday (thanks again to him). Matt had a good practice as well. We joined Abby on the outskirts of town at North Decatur for her next volleyball game. The email must’ve sparked something with the coach as Abby played more tonight that she has the entire year with all games combined! The girls were up against a ready opponent with the Chargers. The Pirates won the 1st game and nearly squeaked out a victory in the 2nd game but lost by 1 point, 25-24 to force a 3rd game where the Pirates barely topped North, winning by only a few points to bring their record up to 9-1! Abby scored a point and played pretty good, making a few mistakes here and there, but no worse than half the other girls. Because she has not gotten the playing time, her skills are just now where most of the other girls were at during the first few games; she needs experience to get better and because she is a good athlete, she will catch on quickly. I just hope she continues to develop her skills – but right now, I’m just glad Ann emailed her coach!

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Friday was a rough one, man. Ann, the kids & I got dressed up and headed north to Lafayette to meet up with Dad, Rob & Sharon along with our closest friends and family. It still sounds and looks weird to refer to those three and not put Mom’s name in there… It rained most of the way up but although it was overcast at the St Boniface cemetery, it stopped raining at least. It was so good to see all the family and friends there that day. “Uncle” Steve did a fabulous job of saying a few words that were very nice. One part of his sermon that I felt was especially fitting for Mom and her generation came from the Book of Ecclesiastes, later adapted in the Byrds song, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” I found it put things in to better perspective for me at that time. Among those in attendance were: (Morgan side) Aunt Karen, Bob & Emily; Aunt Brenda & Steve and Aunt Cathy, (Brown side) Uncle Kenny; Uncle Timmie, Kathy & Jake, (Bryan side) Aunt Sharon & Dan, Nathan & Steph and their two girls, Katie, Uncle Dan’s mother and Uncle Virden & Belinda, (Scheu side) Vicki; Aunt Judy & Cathy; Dad & Barb; Aunt June and Kimmy; Aunt Sally, Scotty & Jason, (Owens side) Maryann & Sandy both made the trek up as well, (and friends) “Little Vickie,” Vicky (Crum) & Jack; Kim & Randy and a couple others from work as well; Mike & Rose and Courtney & Cassie from Week 19 and I’m sure I’m forgetting others, the day was such a blur. Mom would’ve loved her memorial – it was very simple with just the right amount of very close friends and family. A few were missing, but we understand. We hugged everyone in attendance. The love shown was not surprising; given who it was we came to honor. I had good talks with several folks, but none more so than Karen, Brenda and Cathy (the Spoor sisters) – who Mom considered her sisters, not cousins. Cathy summed Mom up best, I think. She said, “Sandy was the most sincere person I knew.” I think everyone that knew Mom would agree with those sentiments. And if I had to describe her with just one word, I think I would agree with Cathy…sincere. Very well put, Ms. Cathy. Thank you… I was teary on and off, of course. But it was after saying good-bye for the final time and walking away from her grave that I finally started to break down. I knew it would come, but didn’t know when. I tried to walk away three times and kept coming back. It was so hard to leave. Luke & I were the last two to leave that day and we were both in tears walking away that final time. Afterwards, as Mom & Dad had previously discussed, we had a few friends and family meet up at Arni’s for lunch. The Scheu side of the family had also invited us back to the Parkside where everyone from that side was headed but we had to decline and hope that everyone understood. Besides, we needed to eat quickly and then get Matt back down to catch the bus for his varsity football game that evening. We sat in my favorite section (Mom always liked it as well and we sat there nearly every time we came here together), the Toys from the Attic section, that the kids just loved. We had junior salads and pizzas galore – it was delicious as usual! Mom would’ve been in seventh heaven! We took the long way home through town to see Mom’s old stomping grounds as a tribute and to show the kids – the Elmwood home is for sale and the Shortridge St home looked better than it has in years. We were hoping to get BK rootbeer (Mom would take me there nearly weekly as a child since it was walking distance from our home), but the rootbeer stand was closed and was now a used car lot. 🙁 We ran past the Frozen Custard for a fruit drink but it appeared to not be open yet so we headed back down south. Matt caught the bus with 20 minutes to spare. Next, we dropped Abby off at the junior high for volleyball practice and then she would stay there for a Student Council event that would last 6 hours, meaning she didn’t make the trip down to Aurora with us. Matt got his first varsity start at defensive tackle vs. South Dearborn that night! We were very proud that he not only worked hard to earn the start – but that he also looked very good in the opening couple series (and did really good the entire game). He made a key solo tackle early on that helped set the tone, defensively. The Pirates went on to smash the Knights handily. They were up 28-0 at half and went on to record another shutout 34-0! It was their second shutout of the year, raising their record to 4-1!! Matt had 4 tackles from DT and played center, late in the 4th quarter. He was double-teamed for the majority of the game. Thankfully, his shoulder held up again this game! Mom & Sandy called us a couple times as Matt’s name was mentioned on WTRE, who was there covering the game. Late that night when everyone was sound asleep, Molly & I went out back and had a couple beers and a really good cigar. It gave me a chance to quietly reflect on the day’s events. The cicadas were gone, but the crickets were out in force on that cool late-summer night. It was a nice way to unwind after a whirlwind day…

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Matt was up early and back in for football practice on Saturday morning. He and the varsity team always practice in the pool and have milk and donuts. We cleaned up around the house and later Ann cooked out hot dogs on the grill for lunch. In the early afternoon, we had friends & family over for Abby’s 13th birthday party. Attending Abby’s big event were Mom & Sandy, Dee, Jamie & Grace and Phyllis & Dick. Abby opened up presents first (what was up with that??) and had cake & ice cream after our Birthday Song (done in death-march style because we love her!). Ann & I had fun with her when giving her the big present, making her work for it! (What? It’s good for her!) First, Ann had her open a wrapped present within a wrapped present within saran wrap within a wrapped present – and then we had her go on a scavenger hunt with clues. She ended up all over the house and even up a tree to get her present! In the end, she was speechless as she received a ticket for the Justin Bieber show! :0) The boys watched the Boilers win big on TV while the girls chatted in the kitchen. Dick & Mom finished off a half gallon of vanilla ice cream themselves and Dick even broke out the straw to get every last drop! After everyone left, Ann & I took what had to easily be four-hour naps, had popcorn for dinner and were couch bums the rest of the night…

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We slept in a little on Sunday before getting up and jumping right in to our weekly chores around the house. While cleaning up the cubbies, Luke somehow managed to get himself stuck under the cubbies! It reminded Ann & I of the time when Matt got himself stuck in the dining room chair – not once, but twice! Then, to make matters worse he got himself stuck in the banister of the stairwell! 😉 We had a good laugh at Luke’s expense, which wasn’t very nice, but it taught him humility. At lunchtime, we headed over to North Park for the final Sunday home game of the regular season for Luke’s football team. They faced the Milan Indians for the second time this season. Last time, we shut them out 25-0. This time it was much different. They came out ready to play and we came out a little flat, going down 8-0 for most of the first half. We finally scored before the end of the half but Luke (barely) missed the extra point to bring the score to 8-6 at the half. We kicked off to start the 2nd half and Luke and the kickoff team executed a perfect onside kick to get the ball back! Luke played a good game at defensive tackle, making 4 tackles and holding his position on the field the whole day – in fact, after a couple tackles they ran away from him the rest of the day. To top it off, he was double-teamed much of the game. Offensively, he had some monster blocks at his new position – tackle. He wasn’t sure what to do at first and we had to work with him all game to understand his responsibilities were different. He needs more work in practice, but still looked really good overall. In the second half, our defense dominated. They could not move the ball at all against us. I think our offense had the ball for nearly the entire 3rd quarter and we finally scored a 2nd time. Again Luke missed the extra point – this time it wasn’t even close. He nearly nailed one of the defensive players in the head! But it was enough as the defense was outstanding and the offense was unstoppable. We ended up kneeling on the final few plays (even though we were inside their 5 yard line) to end the game and win 14-8. That brings Luke’s team record to 3-0 on the year with three games to go before the playoffs start. We went to A&W afterwards for rootbeer floats (since BK was closed up in Lafayette). It was Abby’s actual birth day today and Abby selected chicken fettuccini alfredo for her birthday dinner. It was outstanding and we had Gma and Gigi over to join us for dinner and dessert of chocolate cheesecake & chocolate pie…as well as more presents! After getting Luke’s math homework corrected and getting his gear packed for practice the next day, I met up with the other football coaches for a meeting out at Brian’s house again. We went over the game tape and discussed areas for improvement. More importantly, we troubleshot ways to ensure we are getting all our boys in to the game to keep them interested and ensure they want to come back next year. I think we have a good plan, so we’ll see if it works out and keeps the boys (and their parents) happy…

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Next up is our video section, including 5 new family videos from all the happenings this week and several from around the internet…

For our Shit that Luke Says segment, there were many things that came out of his mouth this week. One that stuck out in my mind more than the others was on Friday morning, up in Lafayette at St. Boniface Cemetery. Luke saw Grandmaw & Grandpaw Brown’s graves near Mom & Dad’s headstone, turns to me and innocently asks, “Where is your grave, Daddy?” 😉

This week’s Waybac section is courtesy of my Aunt Karen. She brought an envelope of some old photos – most of which I had never seen – of Mom and our family. I am so grateful for her kindness in sharing these with me. It is my pleasure to share then now with you. Enjoy…
Leading off, we have Mom in an undated photo that I would guess is right around her 4th birthday, so we’ll say June of ’53 for this one. What a sweetie!! Next, we have Mom in a pool somewhere (Columbian Park?) in July of ’55. That is followed by a great picture that features Mom, Grandmaw Brown and Great Grandma Morgan at beach, likely up in the Twin Lakes region of Monticello. Look at Grandmaw’s glasses! …and does Great Grandma’s suit not have any straps?? How racy for the time! :0)

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Next up we have Grandmaw & Grandpaw in another undated photo at Aunt Norma/Uncle Ralph’s old house. I would estimate this to be in the mid-sixties. The next one is another lost classic that I’ve never seen before. It is a picture of our young family, in the early 70’s – say about 1971 or so that features Mom looking good, Dad Scheu with all that hair and a young Tommy looking happy. That is followed by a very nice Morgan family picture with Great Grandpa & Grandma Morgan, Aunt Norma, Grandmaw and Uncle Keith in the early-mid seventies – say about 1973 or so. The last one in this group is another nice picture of Grandmaw & Grandpaw Brown out at Aunt Norma/Uncle Ralph’s house in about 1976-ish.

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Our final segment has several crops of Mom, Grandmaw & I in May of 1977. Mom was so thin! And look at Grandmaw’s bouffant! 😉 I love the belt buckle I have on, but have no idea what it is – maybe a dove? I recognize Grandpaw’s old car we are posing in front of – his Olds Ninety-Eight was a land yacht! This was out in front of Aunt Norma & Uncle Ralph’s house. The next picture is one of the last ones we have of Great Grandma Morgan. It was taken October 15th of 1978 – about one month before her death. The picture has Great Grandma & Grandpa Morgan, Grandmaw & Grandpaw Brown and Aunt Louise Morgan. Next is one I had seen but is a classic as it has Mom & Rob out in Temple City, CA in November of ’79 – 1 week after Rob’s birth. The photo after that is another milestone moment – one of the last ones of Grandmaw Brown, in June of 1988. She would pass away only three months later. And finally, we have a two pictures from Christmas Eve (Mom was there for this event) in 2000 in our original Greensburg house. Matt & Abby are featured, but that was a full house that evening.

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Thanks again to Karen for sharing these treasures with us! Karen, the kind words of you and your sisters really meant so much to me personally. I love you guys so much and hope to see more of you fine folks in the future. I want my children to know that side of the family. It was a very long week full of soaring highs and the lowest of lows. We are all exhausted and now we have to try and figure out how to live the rest of our lives without that special person with us. She was the one person who has been with me through it everything in my life. I have had many wonderful people come in and out of my life through the years, but she was the one constant through it all. It will be a huge adjustment and a sorrow in my heart that I doubt I will ever lose. Thanks for keeping up with us this time out and we’ll catch up with you next time. Until then, hug your mother if you are lucky enough to still have her in your life. We miss you, Mom.
Later, Scheu

3 comments to She’s Gone…oh I, oh I’d…Better Learn how to Face it

  • sharon

    Excellant Tom. Thank u for sharing.<3
    Prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. I have a hole in my heart. But smile when I think of all the family time and how special Sandy was. So dear to my heart. Take care, Love Aunt Sharon

  • Anonymous

    Steve and I were just talking about your mom and wondering how you all were doing. Those were such sweet words you said about your mom’s memorial service. Yes, she would of been pleased with it…but then again she was the most easiest person to make happy! Going thru your tribute, I noticed there was always a smile on her face unless she was goofing around. She was one of a kind!! Love… Aunt Brenda

  • Thank you ladies; we miss her dearly. Thankfully, she raised a very independent son and prepped him well these past 6 months for the inevitible. It still hurts too much, so I find that distractions work well…thank God for kids. I do feel like I’ve grown older the past month…hard to explain. I love you guys.
    – Tom

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