Waking the Walker

A mother's quest to survive her son's "zombie" years – aka his teens.

Tag: Hershel Greene

Waking a Walker is an Evolution

Like most kids, when my son was “little” he couldn’t wait to be “grown-up,” but the closer he gets to turning 18, the further he seems to regress at times. Not that 18 is really “grown-up,” but it’s a major turning point in all our lives, the completion of one cycle and start of a new one. It is most definitely scary and exhilarating at the same time. Playing Dress-Up

My son cautiously tiptoes around the whole idea of high school graduation and starting college. As a matter of fact, having just turned 16, he’s not even in any hurry to learn to drive. I do however think some of this is due to all the horrific videos they show in Drivers Ed. He is definitely fearful of getting behind the wheel, which in all honesty I am grateful for.  It’s a huge responsibility and takes a lot of focus, both of which my “walker” can struggle with at times. Although, to his credit, so far this school year (knock on wood) he’s doing well at keeping up with his work and getting good grades. And after the endless marching band season this was not always that easy.

We have touched on the subject of college and a major, but it has never been as serious a subject as it will be from this point forward. Not only does registration for classes for his Junior year need to be dealt with this month, but his first official meeting with CAP of PA College Aid, specialists in college planning, is later this month. This is the real deal and will start the process leading to the inevitable cross roads he is trying so hard to avoid.

Life just got real scary. The walkers are circling the house and it’s time to go on the offense if we want to survive.

Walkers Circling House

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Even with a new year, some things never change. For me, it’s my struggle to wake my walker in the morning. As a matter of fact, the older he gets, the worse it gets. He is definitely cocooning in his new loft bed. In lieu of dynamite, I knew I had to find another tactic. Turns out that tactic came in the form of Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) from “The Walking Dead.” With the clock ticking away and my frustration building because my son wasn’t getting out of bed, I found myself standing at the bottom of the steps yelling “MOVE!!!!” as loud as I possibly could. After a week or so of this, I realized I sounded like Sgt. Abraham Ford from “The Walking Dead” Season Five opening episode. Once I made this connection it was all I needed to take it to the next level.

Sargent Abraham Ford

Sargent Abraham Ford

On the extremely tough mornings, I stand at my son’s bedroom door and in my best Sgt. Abraham Ford style voice and infliction I state “This is Sgt. Abraham Ford reporting for my new mission. It’s time to get up soldier. Don’t make me yell. Do I have to remind you what your job is?” By this point my son starts to groan and pleads with me to stop. The Sgt. informs him he will only stop when he gets up. He has a mission to complete and will be relentless until it is accomplished. My son gives in and gets up, slowly, but he still gets up. The Sgt. is fulfilled, his mission is completed, at least for that day.

I’ve found now that sometimes just the threat of sending in the Sgt. is enough to get my son moving. This made me wonder why a military style approach would have more impact than all the others? The only thing I could link this to was respect. In general, most military officers command respect just by their presence, so even though the Sargent in this situation is fictitious and Mom’s impersonating him, by ignoring his orders my son was being disrespectful. Granted, this could be a far fetched concept, my son could just find this so annoying it motivates him to move, but it made my mind meander to the topic of respect. Read the rest of this entry »

LOSS Addendum

Since starting this blog a year ago, finding “The Walking Dead” thread that held each months theme threadtogether usually came pretty easy. The link was always fairly obvious. As a matter of fact, it was that thread that moved the theme forward. I could see the beginning, middle and end before I ever typed a word. That was until last month. I had a seedling of an idea but wasn’t quite sure how I was going to seam it all together with my TWD thread. Even with the topic of loss, an obvious issue during an apocalypse, I was at a loss, no pun intended. The light bulb never went off. I did complete the post, but with minimal TWD stitching. I didn’t feel it was best, although my siblings felt it was, partly because it didn’t have a strong TWD tie. (Note, they do not watch the show, but are considering checking it out since I started this blog. Their curiosity has been sparked.)

Part of my struggle with my December post was not just the holidays, but the inner struggles my families personal challenge was and still is creating. (See December post for details.) My mind was clouded and my heart filled with sorrow. Something you’d think would help move the subject of loss along, but not in this case, it frustrated and stagnated me. It made me feel like I should abandon this blog like the many homes and businesses left behind when the zombie apocalypse hit in “The Walking Dead.” It was my personal goal to post monthly that helped me forge ahead. I didn’t want to let myself down. As I pulled my final words together on the 31st, I told myself the TWD thread may not be as strong as my previous posts, but it was good enough and once read, the reader would understand why. As I hit publish with just a few hours to spare on December 31st, a sense of relief filled my soul. I did it despite my struggles. I could toast the new year feeling good about myself and my blog.

As I sat on New Year’s Eve with my cocktail of choice in hand watching AMC’s New Year’s TWD marathon I released all concerns about the December post and let myself be consumed by my now favorite apocalyptic world filled with walker mayhem and unforgettable characters. By rewatching the show from the very first episode, my son and both realized there were quite a few details we had either forgotten or missed. It was like watching it for the first time. We were sucked in all over again.
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Hershel and Beth Greene

Hershel and Beth Greene

In a month normally filled with joyous gatherings of family and friends the subject of loss seems so unfitting, but I found myself profoundly effected by the loss of Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) on “The Walking Dead” mid-season finale and to be honest, I couldn’t quite figure out why. Other characters have been killed off, including ones my son and I were quite fond of and ones that really helped to move the story line along. In particular, Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), Beth’s father. My best guess as to why her death got to me was that she, like her father, was becoming a beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak end of times world. Plus, she was just coming into her own, having grown from a shy, frighten teen, so distraught with the realities of this horrible apocalyptic world that she came close to taking her own life. Any life cut short is sad, but one with so much prospect is truly a tragedy. I realize these are fictitious characters, but, it made me wonder if there were any lessons in the grieving process that could be garnered by the loss of our favorite fictitious characters.

Before I could ponder this any further, my family was forced to deal with the sudden illness of my 94 year old mother, which landed her in the hospital and now in a skilled nursing facility for the remainder of her days. We knew for awhile that this day may come, but when you’re slapped in the face with it and no other options, it can be earth shaking. She has health issues that we thought would be what would take her from us, but some how she kept motoring along. We worked hard to keep her at home, but the reality of the situation hung large over our heads. For years we were watching who she was slowly drifting away due to the ravages of dementia, which was breaking our hearts. When pneumonia hit, along with the discovery of congestive heart failure, we knew we could no longer care for her on our own.
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We’ve all got jobs to do.

Literally waking my walker is a huge challenge. He has truly hit those “sleeping” walker years. At minimal, it’s a 30 minute process, ending only with counting (yes, like he was a pre-schooler) and threatening to take something, like his electronics, stash of Nerf weapons or, the biggest of all, the right to stay up Sunday night to watch the new episode of “The Walking Dead” live, not recorded the next day. (Note, this last threat is only effective during the new season and we’re down to the finale this Sunday. Ouch!) My now taller than me son knows these threats are not idle. I will follow through with them. As evident with the marking period long electronics ban because of a poor report card.

This weekday morning ritual is exhausting and on the days I’m running late, can be very stressful. Oh how I look longingly back at the years when my son woke up ahead of me and would play and sing to himself in his crib till I came in, at which time, he would greet me with great joy, excited to start a new day. Now I’m greeted with groans and hands clawing in the air, hoping to chase me away. No such luck for him. Mom doesn’t give up or give in that easily.

The waking process starts out sweet and gentle. I open his bedroom door, greeting my sleeping walker with a cheery good morning, push up the blinds and turn off the fan he uses for white noise. (Note, his clock radio has already gone off and is blaring top 40 music. This might not wake my sleeping walker, but it would most definitely attract the walking dead.) The sleeping walker lump in bed groans and rolls over, attempting to ignore my presence. Ten minutes later the hall light comes on along with a time reminder. Another groan from the walker and a blanket over the head maneuver. This won’t do, I approach the lump. Out come the claws or sasquatch feet or both. I back away, but not without grabbing a foot. I then apply a tickle hold, which gets the lump to squirm. I release my hold, give another time reminder and walk out of the room, flipping the bedroom light on as I exit. Now the groaning echoes throughout the house. Along with “I’m trying. My eyes won’t open.” Yes, the eyes have a mind of their own and they are in control, not my won’t go to bed on time over tired walker. This is the “King of Excuses, Procrastination and Dilly Dally” at work here. He’s another one I have to figure out how to tackle, but for now, I just want my walker up and getting ready for school, so he has time to eat at least a banana. “Brain food,” you know, not brains.

Saquatch feet and claws

Sasquatch feet and claws
Illustration by Pam Danko-Stout

My recent defense in the “waking the walker” morning challenge is the reminder that “We’ve all got jobs to do.” and his is to go to school. He hates this phrase, not just because it’s true and he knows I’m right, but because these are words of advice and counsel spoken by Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), one of his most beloved characters from “The Walking Dead.” And, as it turns out, one of his teachers. (It’s a conspiracy. All those darn adults ganging up on the kids, reminding them to be responsible citizens. Why can’t they just leave them to run amuck?) Read the rest of this entry »

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