Have you ever heard of the alcohol Aftershock? It is described on Amazon as:

Aftershock hot and cool cinnamon liqueur is the ultimate Aftershock taste. It is unique with its cinnamon flavour and thick syrupy consistency. It can be enjoyed at parties as a shooter or mixed with other drinks for a unique cocktail.

As a Public Service Announcement, I mentioned this in an earlier post but I would like to state to all those that have never tried this spicy poisonous death of a liquor, DO NOT DRINK THIS. Oh sure, it goes down as any spicy sweet cinnamon alcohol would.  The cool crystals that form on the bottom are an added mystery while you are shooting it. But true to its name, you will have an “Aftershock” after drinking this.

Russell Covel Christmas 95ish

Someone, I think my John and I, thought it would be a great idea to bring Aftershock to the annual Christmas party.  This was before kids, dogs, or spouses. After a night of eating way too much food and opening gifts we started with a few shots. Everyone thought how good it tasted. Then we continued, and shot after shot, we almost finished the bottle among the 5 of us. As I noted in the PSA above, this was a bad idea especially after all that food. As the night passed by, everyone either passed out or went to bed. At the St Louis st house, Phyllis’s garage was a 2nd bedroom AKA Bryan and John’s man\ party cave.  My John and I slept in there and we woke up the next day feeling horrible. As I walked into the house , I noticed the carpet and it looked like a bad scene from a horror movie. There were bright shocking pink stains that looked like blood splatters on the carpet. Bryan or John (I can’t remember) was passed out on the couch with a trash can next to him. The “Aftershock” of that drink was the ass kicking it gave to everyone and apparently someone puked on the carpet, a lot. I forgot to note that Phyllis just got new carpet installed a few months prior, a pretty coffee cream carpet. So as you can imagine, she was not happy with that. She was the only smart one who did not have any of the poisonous death and was fine. She shook her head at all of us, but proceeded to make us coffee and breakfast. After that year, we all agreed to never allow that alcohol into the Christmas party again.

April 21st 2017, the Aftershock of Phyllis

After the chaos of getting everything ready for funerals, luncheons, and arrangements a new eerie calm happens.  The actual planning and activities for the funeral and luncheons was pretty set thanks to Phyllis.  She did most of it before she passed. So there wasn’t much to do but go through with her plan and for the most part it went off well.  But unless you have had someone close to you pass, you don’t realize how painful the calm is after things go back to ‘normal’. I use normal in quotes because it isn’t normal but it is life. You wake up, you do things, you go to sleep.  There are not things to keep your mind busy like immediately after the funeral. Visiting family have went home and back to their lives and there are other tasks that keep reminding you of your loss. The phone calls to insurance, credit card companies, utilities, ect and having to repeatedly say “My wife/mom passed and I need to..”  Most everyone tells you of their condolences, you thank them and then move onto business. This past week I took time off and helped my dad with this as he hates talking to people on the phone and as he said “ you do it so much you are good at it”, so I did a lot of it on speaker so he could ‘approve’ my discussing things with them.  After almost 2 days of this, we got about 95% of things taken care of. The other reminder is the material things. While a person may be gone, everything they owned is there, reminding you of things and memories.  It seems silly to think that the little things like a toothbrush, a hairbrush or clothes can trigger this but as I was packing Phyllis’s swimsuit cover-up, I remembered all the times she took Hunter swimming.   The remaining medical supplies we are donating to ALS and Phyllis’s clothes I did get to packing were donated to Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac, which is a shelter for men, women and children. I know that would make Phyllis happy to know they are being put to good use.  I made sure my dad was ready for me to start packing and asking him if he was sure and even though he said he was, I could see it was bothering him so I made him leave and go to Terri and Don’s when I was doing it. I kept a few things of hers and moved things around in their closet so it wouldn’t look so empty. But the act of doing this was just a reminder of what we have lost. The house was so quiet as I was packing up things owned by a lady so full of life. The missing was strong.

For those that are reading this, feel free to check in on him and tell him his worrying daughter told him so. He’s not on Facebook but he has his cell phone and does text. He will yell at me for worrying and I will just tell him to deal with it.

All of us kids are still checking in on him daily and his friends are helping to keep him busy. I know the evenings and mornings are quiet and those times are the hardest for him. I see it when I am there and I hear it when I call. For the most part he is doing ok but he is going to have his moments, as it is expected in the calm and quiet of the aftershock.

Peace love and blessings


Take a walk with me..

It is interesting how people react to death. Some handle it with the peace and grace of a butterfly. Others handle it like they are walking through a war zone with the pain and anger etched in their minds and emotions. We are all different and so accordingly, we will handle it differently. I have friends and family that have been blessed enough to not have any loss in their immediate family and it always amazes me how they have lived unscathed by the shock of loss whether sudden or they knew it was coming. Myself, I had to deal with the loss of my 19-year-old brother suddenly in a car accident when I was 15. As a young girl losing her only brother, it was a shock to my world.  I handled it like I described, walking through a war zone. The pain and devastation to my family was visible then and my world was unrecognizable as it was before his death. Life never was the same for us and as I have heard many times from the loss of a child, my parents’ marriage couldn’t handle it.  They divorced about 2 years later. That experience, however, made me who I am today. I learned quickly that survivors have to wake up the next day. Time goes on even if you don’t want it to. You have to find a new normal. We have 2 choices. Find the strength to move on or lose yourself in the depression. I chose to find the strength and felt I had to be strong for both my parents while they figured out their own path. In many ways, I found strength in controlling what I could since the world around me was out of control. If I could find something I could do, no matter how small, and own it and take care of it, I did. Today, some may say I am a control freak 🙂 , but it is how I find my strength. Finding the things I can control when the world around me is out of control.

Many have heard by now that Phyllis passed this last Monday April 3rd. This time while the shock is still there, I found peace and strenght knowing the following:

I could say goodbye and I love you.

While the last time I said it, it was on the phone because I couldn’t make it down to their home till later in the evening, she gave my dad her ‘thumbs up’ and I knew she heard me. I missed her by 2 minutes. I pulled into the drive at my dad’s house and he walked out and said she just passed. This wounded me to the core for about 10 minutes. The shock of being 2 minutes late. But during my drive down, my dad kept calling and asking “how far out are you?” about every 15 minutes. The last time when I got to the exit to their home which was about 5 minutes away, he called again and I said ‘ I will be there in a few minutes’. Phyllis was holding on and the nurses couldn’t understand why she was holing on so long. But someone had said to me ‘maybe she was holding on till she knew you would be there for your dad’ and that made sense to me because, true to Phyllis, even in the end, she was making sure he would have me there to help him though this.

The suffering was gone

During the whole diagnosis and even before, I watched this vibrant, strong, and sociable woman fade quickly. For those of you that knew Phyllis, she loved to talk to people. Having her lose her voice was such a blow. Having her lose her freedom and ability to take care of everyone and everything was an additional blow. Then at the end, watching her struggle to just take a breath and watching her in constant pain, I wanted the suffering gone for her. I knew it was selfish to have her here because we needed her. I didn’t want her to suffer anymore and she was suffering horribly.

Today, we start to find that new normal. One day at a time, I will worry about my dad and my brothers. I know it takes time to heal. I know everyone is hurting. I also know from experience, that after time, we heal. We never forget, but the pain of the loss fades. Oh, it crops up when you least expect it and it is there again just when you think you have it under control, but your heart is never the same.

I called my mom this weekend to let her know I loved her. That she is an awesome ‘Harmony’ (Korean for grandma) and that I am so blessed that she has her health and that I can still talk to her. I am lucky to have 2 moms. Mine and Phyllis, my bonus mom.

The overwhelming support we have received from the family, friends and the community are a true sign of how special of a lady she was. I have said it numerous times, but I will say it again. I cannot thank everyone enough.

I have said before that I have a strong faith in the lord. I know others may or may not believe, but I do and I believe that he has given me the strength to get through this and be there for the family. I also believe that while he heard our prayers to help heal Phyllis, I know he doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we want. He did heal her by ending her suffering. My belief is that she is in Heaven, free of pain, walking with our dogs that have passed, and talking to my brother Jeff telling him all the stories she was a part of in the last 25 years my dad and her were together and laughing. I see her smiling and laughing and that is where I find my strength during this time.


Rest in peace Phyllis, love you.




Don’t Stop Believing..

I am a child of the 80’s. I mentioned Prince in an earlier post and Journey was another key part of my life as a teen. Songs are emotional for me as they bring back strong memories of times past.  They are like an audio memory clip of emotions. From fun times listening to Beastie Boys in my Best friend Kim’s Escort to heartbreak and young love for Journey’s Faithfully. It is so strong that if I close my eyes, I can see times where I was when songs were played. It is the reason why my love for almost all music is so deep.

This post is a hard one for me. Just a little over 2 weeks ago we were at Phyllis’s 70th birthday. Today she is struggling and suffering. My dad asked me to make sure that we play 2 songs for her at her service, Jamie Johnson’s Lead Me Home and Bette Midler’s The Rose. For those that know me, I have a strong dislike for country music. It makes me sad. I listen to music to make me happy and dance. Most country music makes me want to drink whiskey, maybe that’s why my dad likes it so much. So, having that song as a memory for Phyllis will be difficult. As for the Rose, this was the song her and my dad had played at their wedding by your’s truly. I played piano while someone sang the song.  I cannot sing. My daughter tells me that daily as I embarrass her on the way into school in front of the girls we carpool with. But the Rose will always have a bittersweet memory with it.

With everything that is happening, I believe in my faith. I believe that whatever happens, he will give me the strength to get through what comes our way. He hasn’t let me down in the past so I am trusting him now.

Update on Phyllis for April 3rd.

She has declined rapidly since her birthday. She can no longer process her food/formula and she has started to take Morphine. She is struggling to breathe and as of today we are told she doesn’t have much time left. I ask all of you to keep my dad in your prayers. Also, my brothers, John and Bryan, and our families. While I have hope that somehow she would pull through this, I also have peace in knowing that if she doesn’t, she won’t struggle and suffer anymore.

I struggle being an hour away. I will be at their home tonight just be there for my dad. The hardest part for me is not being able to do anything.


I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who sent flowers, cards, well wishes. She was showered in love and support. She had smiles around that night.

Peace, love and blessings