A hundred balls in the air

Today, we had Kelley’s celebration of life. And first I must express absolute joy and gratitude for everyone who attended. Kelley touched many lives and it showed today. If I didn’t get a chance to thank you for coming, I apologize, but just know you are very appreciated.

A Manic Day

Those who really know me know that if you want to get me to confess to a crime I didn’t commit, don’t waterboard me; don’t pull out my fingernails; don’t even hit me with a phone book. The thing you have to do is drop me into a room full of people and expect me to interact with them. If those hundred people were sitting in an audience and I was behind a podium, or on a stage, it would be absolutely no problem. If those hundred people were seventh graders or a high school band, no sweat, but drop me in the middle of that group and it’s pretty much absolute torture.

I’ve always had a bit of a manic personality. Probably not in a clinical sense, but I’ve always had a problem when I get too many balls in the air, or too many things happening around me. Unfortunately, the more wired I get, the worse it makes it. I guess that is why I’ve always shunned things like big parties and big crowds. I just feel on edge and out of control. Add to that people expecting things from me or my perceiving people expecting things from me and things can start going a million miles per hour in my brain and it’s easy to lose control. That part of my personality has always been hell. Luckily, I’ve found a pretty good mix of medicine to slow those things down and even everything out in normal life, but as you know, the last two months have been anything but normal.

Today, I had to step up and kind of gird my strength, not so much for me, but for Kelley and those who loved her like me. I have to say it was rough. I woke pretty wired anyway after only sleeping an hour or so, then as they are wont to do, little things are bound to go wrong. Of course, it was all in my head, but I mis-aimed it as usual…thank you….As things progressed, everything kind of evened out and I found a stride. I won’t say that I wasn’t curled up in a little ball inside, but being surrounded by so many I loved and respected made it actually a pretty good day. I’m exhausted both mentally and physically, but I will be going to bed with little anxiety and much gratefulness in my heart.

I’ve always been a person who was fine being alone. Not that I want to be a hermit, but there are times I truly enjoy just being with me. I actually enjoy being in an anonymous public place and just being free to listen and people watch, observe and just be in my thoughts. Now, I also love being with groups of family and friends, but there are certainly times when I need to step aside and just be me. It’s funny, Dan Ruckman always talks about it when we take the band to Disney and I’ve been on the bus with 44 people for 19 hours, that I need some “Jud time,” and it’s true, being alone always kind of centers me and lets me pull back to reality.

There are people who have contacted me and wanted to go along when I hike and take photos, and they are some of the nicest and my favorite people in the world, but I usually beg off, because I can’t really make my art or find my center around anyone I know. Of course, give me a couple hours and I’ll be game to go do anything with you, but that alone time has seemed to become a little more important to me since Kelley’s passing. Maybe it’s a grief reaction, I’m really not sure, but in this case, it’s true, “it’s not you, it’s me.”

I did get some pictures today, I got busy and didn’t get everyone, but here are a few:

Jennifer–Kelley and my sort of daughter 🙂

Anna–since her mom is my sister from another mister, I guess she’s my sort of niece #LookBothWays #StillHaveNightmares

The Rosenbeck girls–will always be in my “Favorite” group

The Harlamerts–Brian was the first person in town to welcome Kelley and made her part of the baseball family. All rest, but Trish and Aaron are former students

Frank and Denise Petersen-Denise and I go way back and in the end, I guess she’s alright. Hehe

Jay and I go way back to seventh grade and through high school. I’m very proud of the person they’ve become

Rhianna-Kelley’s little doll and my cocktail wiener.

The Ruckmans (minus Anna, who thought traveling to Italy was more important-hehe)

Probably my best friends in Coldwater, I certainly spend more time July-December with Dan than anyone else!

Sophia and Lori–Sophia has been my friend since before Kelley and has been tremendous through Kelley’s illness. Lori was always a great friend to Kelley whether she got to see her enough or not.

John and the Muffin. I can’t really describe what these two mean to me and what they meant to Kelley, but they know. I love you both so much!

If I missed you, it’s not because you aren’t very important to me, it was just a manic day. Thank you to everyone for everything today. I truly love each of you more than you know.


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