Tough Month

All I can say about work and home life this month is that I have been swamped. There is not enough time in each day to do all I need to do with chores, work, recommendation letter writing, attending my children's sporting events, recitals and concerts at school, yard work, maintenance of things we own, etc... . I'm swamped! I managed to get the yard winterized yesterday by doing the final mowing, leaf pick-up, fertilization and clearing out of the garden. I was so exhausted that I crashed for a nap and really had difficulty waking up. I woke up about 5 or 5:15 in the afternoon with a phone call. I didn't know where I was or what had happened. I was still having word retrieval problems when I went to bed at 11 pm. I haven't felt like that in a long time and am keeping it in the back of my mind to see if anything is going on in my body. I guess there is nothing like a good day of manual work to exhaust one. I feel better this morning and can at least remember my name. But I was out cold yesterday after all the yard work.

It's been a tough month as well due to a couple of deaths. One of my students lost his wife this month, and as his academic adviser I am trying to help him salvage what he can of this semester. Most of his professors are understanding and flexible, but there is one class he needs to graduate that I think may be difficult to do. This student is from Africa and has two small children who are now motherless. It's a real tragic situation and I am spending plenty of mental energy trying to help them out as best I can.

Friday, the son of some of our best friends passed away from cancer. My wife and I went over to their house Friday night along with our group of friends and spent the evening sharing fond memories and condolences. Their son was one of my first voice students 6 years ago when I moved to Indianola. I taught him private voice lessons for 2 years while he was a high school student. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after he was a student at Grinnell College and had been fighting with all his might the last couple of years. My wife and I were going to be singing in a benefit concert this coming Saturday for their son. The benefit has now be changed into a memorial concert and will go on as planned as a celebration of his life. Anybody out there who has ever sung will understand how difficult it is to sing when emotions have your voice choked up. It's a tough sing - that's for sure. Hopefully, all of us that are singing on the memorial concert will be able to get through it in honor of Chris.

Chris was one of the most engaging, intelligent and talented young men I have ever met in my life. He managed to talk me into taking a closer look at the Honda Element (he owned one of the first ones that come out) after I laughed at his square box on wheels. He also took the time to come over to our house during one of his college school breaks and speak with my son when we were deciding about where he would go to high school (Dowling or Indianola HS). He never failed to put a smile on anyone's face that came into contact with him. He touched many people in his life in Indianola as well as those students and faculty at Grinnell that knew him. He will be sorely missed by all.

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