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  • mylifewithmil

Freight Train ....

I sat in the dealership waiting for a quick repair, I did show up unannounced so to sit for an hour or so was expected. I answered a few emails and scrolled social media sites. Trying not to think of all I could be doing at the Studio at the present moment.

TEXT FROM JOE: Mike wants to have dinner tonight.

ME: OK? Can he come towards us?

TEXT FROM JOE: He’d like to show us the house.

ME: OK

I continued to scroll FB and saw a like on a Life with MIL post. I hesitated and scrolled on.

TEXT FROM JOE: We’ll leave as soon as I get home

ME: Ok text/call me when you leave FH.

TEXT FROM JOE: K

MIKE (in service dept): Hey Lis… they’re almost done, he’s taking it through a quick wash in a minute

ME: Thanks Mike, no worries …

Still scrolling FB I see a ‘like’ pop up from Sundays post about SnapChat with MIL. I stop and open the post, I think to myself that’s odd … in only a few minutes MIL has popped up in my FB feed. I dismissed the tug I felt and chalked it up to coincidence, and continued surfing.

MIKE: All set Lis …

ME: Awe thanks Mike … you’re a life saver.


I settled my debt and walked to the car. That tug pulled at me again … I shook off the feeling and slid into the driver’s seat, I looked at the clock on the dash 3:45. I sighed and thought, I’ll never get anything done if I go to the Studio now.

Tug …

I dial the Studio

Sara: Hello?

ME: Hey … I’m gonna stop by and see my mother in-law unless you have something pressing for me.

Sara: Nah, nothing you can’t do in the morning ….

ME: OK ... I have dinner plans tonight and I’m feeling like I need to see her.

Sara: Sure, I’ll see you in the morning …

ME: Thanks Sara ... have a great night … Sorry you were alone all afternoon!

Sara: Don’t worry about it, it was quiet, and I got a lot done!

ME: Thanks … have a good night

Sara: you too …


Tug …

I turn right turn into the gas station, as the gas pumped I sent Joe a message.

ME: Going to see Mom, it’s too late for me to get anything done before we leave for dinner

TEXT FROM JOE: (thumbs up)

I sign in at the front desk while residents gather chatting about the weather and Labor Day visitors, I share some quick greetings and head down the hall.


Tug …

I as I approach the Star Unit a nurse I haven’t met stops me.

SUE: Hi! Who ya heading to see?

ME: Hi! Oh Rosemary …

SUE: Oh you must be her daughter in-law … I see your husband a lot right? ME: You probably do

SUE: I’m Sue the new nurse manager on this floor, you’re the home lady … doing the houses right?

ME: (Giggling) Designer, yes I’m a designer … is that how he describes me? The Home Lady?

SUE: (laughing and throwing her hand up) Oh not at all, but it’s how I talk to Rosemary about you.


Sue punches the code to access the unit

I tilt my head and look at her, a little surprised, pleasantly albeit, but still surprised that the nurses talk about our family, I guess I shouldn’t be.

ME: Really? Thanks …

SUE: Ya, your husbands the fireman right?

ME: Yep that’s him …

SUE: He’s great, we love seeing him.

Holding the door for me to pass

ME: (winking) Me too! How’s she doing today?

SUE: I’m just coming on shift I don’t know …

ME: OK Thanks

SUE: Nice to meet you!

ME: Likewise!


I wave and say some hellos to other residents as I make my way down the hall. I enter Moms room, the curtain is closed.

Tug …

I approach the curtain and peak around the corner, there Mom laid on her bed. On this 98 degree day, her winter coat under her and tears rolling down her cheeks.

Tug warranted ….


ME: Mom?

MIL: (startled, staring at me with wild eyes) What?!?

ME: (swallowing hard) Hey beautiful … you ok?

MIL: (shaking her head as her chin starts to quiver) I … I …

ME: (I approach the side of her bed and sit down) Shhh … sssshhhhh … now beautiful its ok I’m here … what’s goin’ on?

MIL: hhmmblds … I sdhdbld … oooohhhh …. I … can… sdhhhhaddd

I stroke her arm and kiss her forehead.

ME: You feeling sad?

MIL: yea…. (sniffle) yes, sad is the word …. I … don … I

ME: You don’t know why?

MIL: hhmmm hhmmm yea …

I hug her and move around the bed to tilt the head of her bed up into a sitting position.

MIL: Wha …. What … wat ya doin”?

ME: Sitting you up … so I can snuggle with you …

MIL: (a smiling creeping across her face) snuggle? Ppsshhhh snuggle ….

ME: Yep … snuggle … sometimes we need snuggles to get our minds back on track.

MIL: huh?


I adjust her pillow as she scooches over in the bed. I take up residency at her side and put my arm around her. She looks up at me and smiles.

ME: Now … isn’t that better?

MIL: It is …

ME: You feeling a little happier?

MIL: I guess so …

ME: Hmmmmm …. Ya know I say, I say our minds are like freight trains.

MIL: freed .. frraadd ? What trains?

ME: Freight. Trains.

MIL: Huh?

ME: It’s like this … sometimes something unpleasant comes across our mind, ya know that little thing like realizing your out of coffee or stubbing your toe. Then … Dang it and it makes us sad or even mad … right?

MIL: uh huh….

ME: Well, sommmmetimes that one little thought can take off like a freight train and next thing you know your mind is traveling down the sad road at a buck 10 plowing down all the happy thoughts off the track and next thing you know … you’re about as sad as you can be and its hard to pull yourself out of that funk.

MIL: hmmmm … ya think?

ME: I do think … I absolutely believe it … Ya want to know what I know? I know how I slow down that freight train, you want to know how?

MIL: (shrugging) how …

ME: Happy Thoughts ….

MIL: huh?

ME: You heard me loud and clear … Happy. Thoughts. Want to try it?

MIL: (sulking a little) ok …

ME: Let’s see … Oh I know … I know exactly one thing that used to make you smile and laugh.

MIL: Really (perking up a bit)

ME: … my babies and spaghetti … Oh my goodness Ma, you loved watching the kids eat spaghetti when they were babies! You’d sit at the table and watch them try to pick up the slippery strands and feed it into their mouths. They’d open their mouth as wide as possible tongues twisting, turning and grabbing at the pieces as they slid from their finger tips. Oh their sauce covered faces … and how you would laugh if they were lucky enough to capture one and suck hard to pull it in. (making a fishy face) they suck so hard sometimes their eyes would cross!

I looked over at Mom, she was holding her belly laughing … apparently, I illustrated my memory of Ashley and spaghetti quite well, because she wasn’t only laughing she was wiping tears of laughter from her cheeks. I continued story telling for a bit till I was certain the freight train of sadness had left the station.


ME: How you feelin?

MIL: You make me happy

ME: I try …

MIL: I’m so happy you’re here.

ME: Me too … I had nothing to do today … so I said, ‘ How about I stop in and visit Ma?!’ I’m so glad I did.

MIL: Me too ….

ME: Let’s keep that Freight Train in check

MIL: What train?

ME: Nothing Ma … Nothing …

I leaned down and kissed her forehead and imagined the freight train leaving the station … for a little while at least.

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