Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tis the Season...

Yesterday, I was overwhelmed by my thoughts…thoughts of so many loved ones and friends experiencing difficult times. And I desperately want to help them…I want to make it better…I want to comfort and bless them. So many…who lost loved ones, adjusting to losing their Moma, their father, their husband, their wife, their child, their beloved pet, their friend…and the ones who have family members who can’t be home for Christmas, our service men and women…the friends and family who have marital issues and are no longer together, the children who suffer because of it…those adjusting to a new way of life…those who are lonely and feel there is no one who cares…those who struggle financially, who find Christmas time a burden…those who are caring for a terminally ill loved one…and so on.

I am a giver by nature. I want to make bad things good…I want to help in any way I can. Yesterday, I was overwhelmed by the thoughts of the people I love that are hurting and in need. And I asked God in a furious fashion…what can I do? I cannot fix these things!

Suddenly, I was given a thought... “Tis the season.”

Then…” For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Peace of Peace.”
Lastly, “I sent a comforter.”

And I was reminded, I am not the one. He sent the “One” who can comfort, counsel, and provide…and we chose to celebrate his birthday at this time.

Relax, Donna…they are in good hands.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Inside out

Gracie on Mommy's belly (inside out now) @ Mimi's

Monday, December 13, 2010


Gracelyn Kaye Lowery, born today,12/13/2010 @ 2:04 PM weighing 7 lbs 8 ozs. measuring 19 1/2"
Ariel is doing very well...she stuck with her choice of going natural and was a real labor hall queen. Deep into her labor, she had nurses telling her to "stop smiling, you're in labor."

Gracie and Mimi

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Seasonal Thinking?

Totally off the wall here, definitely not with the season, but I’m struggling with my thinking. Maybe, it’s missing the regular event that Moma would bake Christmas cookies and come to the house, with Merry Christmas wishes, and Moma isn’t here. Maybe, it’s the anticipation of my fifth grandchild, who like most children is taking her sweet time. Maybe, it’s Craig’s and Becky’s separation and my dread for the stress it will put on him and Emily. Maybe, it’s William being sworn into the Marines on Wednesday. Maybe, it’s starting school again and knowing that I am obtaining this Bachelor’s degree to insure a possible advancement down the road. Maybe, it’s because I took off two weeks and I feel like a slacker. Maybe, it’s just “tis the season.” Whatever the case, I’m struggling with my thinking.
I shoveled some snow, driveways/sidewalks …I went in and visited with Granny after shoveling for her. She (age 87) sadly looked out the window and said, “It’s hard watching, remembering I used to do that myself and enjoyed it.” Then I went to Aunt Juanita’s and after I finished, she met me at the shed in her back yard with salt she wanted me to put down. When I came back to gather her and help make sure the shed was secure, she (age 89) looked up at me and grinned. “We could have been a team if I were younger, shoveling driveways, cleaning up the snow. “ Yes, I’m certain we could have been.”
And I am hit with how life is really hard on us. You spend all of your years learning to do things, mastering, achieving, only to become unable to do what you learned and enjoyed to do. There are struggles within us, that once conquered become yet a different struggle. At a time when I am anticipating life, and wanting this to speed up…I find myself wanting things to slow down, too.
If I were to leave the world today…know that I love deeply…I wanted to give beyond what I was able to give….I longed for everyone to be happy and content in their lives…and if the good Lord allows me to grow older and older…know that I’m scared…and I’m not liking this.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My House is Very Small...

Last night my house was so full of past, present and future…love and friendship, that it should have burst at the seams.

As we gathered to shower Ariel with gifts that would assist her in caring for the newest addition…I was overwhelmed by the treasures I held in my little home. The whole scene reminded me to step back and pay tribute to the years past, present and future. Although everyone could not make it, as it was scheduled on a weekday, so many did and I am counting my blessings this morning.

My little secretive daughter, Ariel, had a secret guest she had no idea would attend. Ms. Maggie. Ms. Maggie babysat Ariel and Craig when they were little (Ariel was a baby) and I worked at Pizza Hut. So many years go. Maggie’s son Shaun couldn’t say Ariel so they nicknamed her “EO.” She is a trusted soul and I never worried about how my children were treated as she cared for them. She is a loving caring soul. We remained friends and our children enjoyed birthday parties and Ariel’s nickname stuck…that even Ed calls her that that still.

Ed came in with his wife, Charlotte. Ed goes all the way back to Papa’s adolescent days. Charlotte is new in the past recent years. He was there when Craig threw his infamous fit at the age of five…and oh, were we ever so embarrassed. I was cleaning his house when Craig got his head stuck under Ed’s privacy fence. Ed rode to Florida on a family trip with us, on his motorcycle when all the younguns were younguns and William wasn’t even borne. Charlotte and Ed went on a trip with us again, William the only youngun this time…and yes, they were on a motorcycle.

Connie, Papa’s Moma, and Jan, his sister was a part of that adolescent world of Papa’s when Ed entered. They were able to attend last night, too. So many showers ago…just think, Jan was around when Connie was pregnant with Papa and I wonder if she attended a shower with Connie for her brother in Taiwan 54 years ago. I am overwhelmed when I think of the connections through out lives and the plans God unfolds. Connie, as she sat there watching her granddaughter open gifts…did you realize Connie so many years ago that you would be blessed with so many lives? Even though George, due to the link being broken, did not get to meet Ariel’s new addition, he is with us in our hearts and the chain will link again someday. I know you miss sharing these events with him.

Aunt Juanita was happy to see you, Connie. Two ladies that have lived long blessed lives, had to say goodbye to their life long partners, both military wives, sat across from each other bringing so many pieces of history to my home. Oh, the wealth of experience they bring to me, to the younger women in the room. How many baby showers have they been to? How many babies have they held? Aunt Juanita will be 90 in January…and I can’t even type that without my eyes tearing up. I remember a valuable lesson that she took the time to teach me when I was young. We all had balloons, and like most children, mine escaped. I reached up and tried to take over Aunt Juanita’s balloon, who carried one, too…cause she’s got a bit of kid in her heart. She lifted her balloon hand out of my reach and did not let me take over. She may have never realized it, but her taking the time to talk to me about being greedy and expectant, was a very valuable lesson. Aunt Juanita was always there for Moma…and Granny, her partner in crime…when have they not been a team? They even share the same birth month. Granny will be 88 in January. I remember when I was 6 visiting in Lexington, going to the park with Granny, and her sliding down the slide with me. I remember it like it was today. She has ALWAYS been spunky! They have always been so giving. The many folks they have ministered to in nursing homes over the years are insurmountable. And Granny, still sweet, Granny, last night coaxed over little Henry, whom she’s never met before, and fed him some cupcake icing. And they both grinned like they had been friends forever.

Henry, Nancy’s grandson and Darcy, her granddaughter shined on everyone last night. Not real clear as to why Noel took to barking at the car seat that Darcy was in but let’s bet she get’s over the car seat fetish real soon, like starting in December. Aunt Nancy…reminded me last night during a game something I had forgotten…how much Ariel wanted to be “Aunt Nancy” when Ariel was wee little. She loved Aunt Nancy so much, she wanted to be Aunt Nancy. She requested I even call her Nancy. Nancy has introduced me to so many things that has changed my life….simple things, like shrimp…and yet, future inspiring and altering things like Southern Early Learning Lab and Ms Elswick. Nancy is a beautiful person and has touched so many lives. Her grandchildren will learn, as they are learning everyday, that her touch in their lives is one in a million. Darcy is Jen’s newest…Jen has so fervently fought to adopt Avery and longs to have her home. I think God appreciates her love for a child so far away, and her protective instinct to fight for her that He has blessed her with another…Darcy. And Jen is happy to receive the blessing. And again…I remind you that my small little home should have been bursting at the seams last night. Henry is Sarah’s little one…and what a horrible aunt I was for planning Ariel’s shower on Sarah’s birthday!!! Nancy brought Henry with her since Sarah also had a class to attend…so really, her teacher is just as awful as me! Melissa, Nancy’s youngest…and well, although she still has that title, she quite the young woman. She has been through an ordeal…and yet she travels the road before her with strong will and determination that she is a warrior I admire. A beautiful warrior, I will add…inside and out.

Henry, Nancy’s grandson was born in the same hospital, the same day just hours before Delva’s twins. Delva is my neighbor of at least 12 years. Aurora, Crysta and Shaila came with her last night. Just three of her five. Crysta and Shaila campaigned for Henry and James (one of the twins) to get together. Sweet little big sisters looking out for sweet baby James. Aurora came to my care when she was 6 months and I continued to babysit after Crysta was born. I do not walk out in our yard when the girls are playing without receiving a warm “Hello, Mimi!” Even when they have company…even when I stop by during work to visit the ladies room…never failing…and all this talk about moving my sweet neighbors away…I try to escape from the thought. As we played a game last night, one of the questions being, “What did Craig entice Ariel to stick up her nose at the age of five?” I was reminded of Aurora…and how she stuck a piece of chicken up her nose and how I had to work at removing it…in front of her patient Moma. Oh, the memories.

A neighbor on the left, a neighbor on the right…I call her Andy, her real name is Jennifer. I’m telling you…look around you…there are jewels you don’t want to miss! I met Andy through Ariel. Ariel in her young entrepreneur state went looking for business…dog walking business…at least 11 years ago. Further in the years, Andy helped assist me in getting ready for the physical testing with Metro. She helped me with running and set ups…and her words of encouragement are remembered to this day. She helped with the party last night…and her daughter, Lilly was with her…Lilly, a perfect name for a blossoming soul. She wanted to be here…she felt the love and excitement…and I was glad she came. I’ve even seen her outside lately playing with Shaila…I love the connection. Andy’s dog Bosco was Winston’s best friend. Buds, they were…and maybe they are at the rainbow bridge enjoying each other’s company again.

Oh, and the connection between Molly and Crysta. The giggly gals, who were together as babies as I babysat are still enjoying each other’s company. Rosie got her a bit late due to car troubles…but the joy on Crysta’s face when Molly did walk through the door! Jacob’s face when he walked in…was like, “Ew, all these women…get me to safety!” Rosie…what a Moma you are…homeschooling Molly and Jacob…they are so enjoying it. I am so enjoying watching you. Oh, “Ms. run off to California”…so glad you got through that spell…and learned from it. Thinking about you running off to California….and then riding up to Maine with me…I smile…all the roads you’ve traveled. Oh, how I loved seeing you and Missy standing at the bar chatting. Be still my beating heart.

Athena, Kylie and Leah were able to be here, too for a short time. Athena homeschooled her little ones for a period. I homeschooled her husband for a period too. Garrett is a favorite that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. He and Athena are such a pair. And Athena, did I hear you correctly amidst the wildness in my home? You aren’t moving to Florida? I have been given a second chance…not to blow it this time. We have to get together more often. I need to pull photos of Kylie playing with Silas, and our trip to the museum…Kylie has to remember those moments. I need to create moments with Leah, too.

Papa turned to me as we glanced through the photos, that I didn’t get enough of…and points to Tiffany. Who is this, he asked. Oh, Papa, she has slept at our house, Ariel has slept at her house. A teenage friend, from Ariel’s adolescence…like Ed is to yours. He said, “I didn’t recognize her. She’s a beautiful woman, now.” Yeah, they don’t stay little…and when I showed him photos of her son and daughter, I thought he’d flip his gourd…”No way,” he said. “How does it happen?”
How does it happen?

I wonder myself as I see Becky moving around assisting with the shower festivities, without me even asking. I see her standing with my daughters in past gatherings, captured by film…I see her smiling at Craig on their wedding day. I see her in the labor room ready to give birth to Emily and being a real trouper despite how her labor day did not go as she had dreamed it to. And sadness fills my heart as she and Craig are separating…and I am losing a daughter. Emily is losing her little family unit. Oh, how I pray and wish my experience, my love could help mend this family, so dear to me. I am reminded that I cannot fix all things, I cannot began to understand but God in His infinite wisdom and power is in control…and nothing happens to my loved ones that isn’t filtered through His hands. I must trust and obey.

Obey…I smile thinking about it…something Emily did not want to do as she left last night and even after she arrived home. She did not want the party to be over. She cried, in her over dramatic way, as she talked to me over the phone, “I want you to hold me, Mimi, I want my Mimi.” Funny, just the night before when she was in the bed at MIMI’S house, she was crying, “I want my Daddy, I want my Mommy.” A first, but we had switched her to a “big girl” bed and the resistance to change comes from her father’s line. The only other child I know that had a hard time with bedtime was Molly.

Last night…was no different. As Jacob and Molly were giggling and chatting after the lights were out…no crying or fit throwing as in the younger years…but not a willing sleeper, still. I went into the room…again…with promises of moving Jacob out into the living room…but with desperate pleads of go to sleep so I can… they did. The night ended with everyone falling to sleep with a smile.

I lay there thankful for Ariel’s mother-in-law, Tammy. Who came to the shower, who has been such a blessing to Ariel, and has even taught her to crochet. She helped clean up after the shower and got Ariel and Noel all packed up and ready to head for home. This will be Tammy’s first grandchild…and she’s anxious and I am happy she will get to experience the “Nana” in her life. She has a love for children and it shows in the younguns involved in her life. She’s in for a real treat!

Even though Moma couldn’t be with us…yet, another broken chain…to be linked again later as God calls us home one by one…I made one of the gifts given to the game winners, a tribute to Moma…a plague that said, “Life is a journey not a destination.” And it had a butterfly on it…it was one way of having her here with us. She had quite a journey, even though it was too short.

At the end…Ariel was swollen and tired…she sat on the floor after all the guests left admiring her precious baby things that will soon encase her “little cupcake.” I know she is anxious. She wants everything to be just right. She is keenly aware of the connections of past, present and future here in our home. She is after my own heart. People are important to her, memories are precious to her and she is about to embark on a mission that will change her forever…and for the better…and she will fulfill the role of a mommy as she has always dreamed she would…and I will remember…the day she was born and placed in my arms, her holding me close, her precious funny faces, her precious way of reading my mind as a very young child, her little toes and the fuzz she loved to pick out of them, her love for her family from day one, and I will remind her…to savor the flavor of each day…to be consciously aware that time brings roses, and on the “bad mommy days” not to focus on the thorns…to stop and smell the roses…and to always come home because my little house needs the warmth…it’s a small house, but it holds a wealth of love.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Those Magic Moments....

Three separate times during Emily's weekend visit, she held her bare little arms out to her sides, looking up and down each one, shaking her head in dismay, saying, "Mimi, no wings."

She was melting my heart all weekend. At lunch today, she suddenly stopped eating and asked with great concern, "Mimi, where's Finston?" "Oh, baby," I said, "Winston is with Grandma at the rainbow bridge." She said, "Me go, too." And I said, "No, baby, it's not our time to go." She then took my hand and reached for William's across the table asked to pray. And I prayed while she mumbled along, asking God to let Grandma and Winston know we said hello and ...and we love and miss them.

Yesterday in the bathroom, she was trying to manage a water bottle by herself and spilled it...all over my Kevlar vest pieces that I had out of the cover (doing laundry)..."Sorry, Mimi." she said as I grabbed a towel. "It's okay" I said. I
...continued to mop it up and she saw it had gotten on my iphone. She was so distressed, "So sorry, Mimi."
"It's okay, sweetie, nothing to worry your pretty little head over." She stopped and took my face in her hands and said with a chuckle, "Pretty little head. Mimi. You silly." LOVED IT!

I took her shopping today...FYI...she is a shopping Diva! I would point out things and she would let me know if they were not her taste. "No, that's yucky, Mimi." Or, as t...he buggy rolled along dresses, "Mimi, Mimi, stop! I like it! I picked up a pink frilly skirt and held it up. "I like it, I like it. No pink, Mimi. Purple." OMG! We looked at cowgirl boots. I pull a brown/purple pair off the shelf, she says, "Oh, pink, pink!"

When we got home and I was putting the purple skirt on her and getting out the boots so she could play with Shaila...she said with her fingers laced in front of her, "Mimi, me so excited!"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two week reminder...

Today... as I emerged from my yoga workout...I came into the kitchen and Craig was preparing a can of home style chicken noodle soup...the ones I had bought Moma, cause they were her favorite...he told me, "I asked Grandma if I could have her soup that was left over. I think she's okay with it."
"I'm sure she is," I said as I looked out the back door. On the banister, were two butterflies...if you are familiar with Moma's last day, you'll know the significance of's Wednesday, two weeks since Moma went to her new home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"You write it.."

On 06/24/2010, at approximately 8:30 pm later after a visit with Scarlet, Moma woke up and said, “You’ll have to write it.”
“Write what Moma?” I asked.
“You’re going have to write it cause it will be a mess if I do.”
“Help me understand, Moma.” I got a piece of paper and a pen. “What do you want me to write?”
“Wanda Francis,” she said. “Wanda Kay Francis”
“Well, why am I writing your name, Moma?”
No answer.
Desperately wanting to understand and please her, “What do you want me to write on it, Moma?”
“You figure out what you want to write on it.” “You don’t have to even sign my name, you can sign yours.”

So, I wrote Wanda Francis at the top of the page…

Then I wrote:

Wanda Kay Francis is my dear Moma. She is fighting a terminal cancer; renal cell. At this point she is unable to get out of the bed, unable to connect her thoughts enough to communicate what’s really on her mind and gets frustrated because of it. Despite her not being able to leave the bed, the room or the house she continues to find things to smile about. She remains beautiful as she is in her last days and everyone who visits her or sees her photos acknowledge her true beauty.
I am extremely blessed to be able to care for her in her last days. I long for her to be without pain and be able to walk again in heaven with her Creator; the God she raised me to know and love.
Wanda Kay Francis is my Moma and I am blessed for all the years I have been able to share with her.

And I signed it, Donna Lynn

She looked over at me and asked so sweetly, “Why the tears?”
I told her that I had figured out what to write and it pulled at my heartstrings.
I asked her, “Do you want me to read it to you?”
She nodded yes.

When I had finished, she looked at me lovingly and I said, “I just love you, Moma.” And she said, “You know I love you, too.”

As we looked through Moma’s boxes of belongings a few days after her passing, we found notebook after notebook…writings…journaling…looks like I came by it naturally…Moma even wrote in her sleep…her left hand writing in the air.
She couldn’t write probably the last 5 months of her life…that was hard on her. I will continue to write…in her honor.

Moma's Last Day

Written hours after Moma passed as I struggled to accept her final day on 07/07/2010.

Today Dr. Nichols came to see Moma’s leg with the skin tear. When she was here, she listened to Moma’s heart, lungs and breathing. All was good. No sign of secretions, fluid build up, all is good…by the way; let’s take her off the lasik and use only as needed.
It wasn’t even a half hour after the doctor left, at approximately 11:15 am, that Moma started breathing raspy. Granny and Aunt Juanita visited early, too. Moma was eating her biscuits and gravy. Aunt Juanita remarked as she left, “She seems real weak today.”
Cathy came to the door and brought supplies for the skin tear and I redressed Moma’s leg. No infection, the doctor had said…and I praised Moma for being so strong.
Moma slept after that until I woke her at 3 PM. Ezra came to visit about that time and Moma got out of drinking the apple juice solution for her bowels. She told Ezra after a short bit that she was so tired and needed to sleep.
I changed her, she was so extremely soaked, I just thought it was the lisik…and she slept until about 6PM. I fixed her a plate of sloppy joe and baby carrots. She took a bite of the sloppy joe and a bit of the baby carrots and just couldn’t handle swallowing them. So, we switched to an ice cream sundae cup from Schwans. She ate 75% of it, but could not hold the cup like she usually does. She held the spoon and I helped her get a bite on the spoon. She started getting so raspy that she felt she was choking. I told her about some medicine that Hospice had left with me just in case this happened because it happens sometimes with their patients. (Hyomax FT) And we took one of the pills to dry up the secretions. A bit later, we took one more. She was very restless and kept asking me to sit her up. She coughed or at least tried to over and over. I would hold her in my arms with my body supporting her back, her boney arms wrapped around my left arm, so many times, I lost count.
At one point as I was lying her back down she told me, “I can’t do this much longer.”
“Do what, Moma, cough so much?”
She shook her head no.
“Just do the whole thing?”
And she shook her head yes.
I called Hospice to talk with a nurse about a pain pill and a worry pill (that’s what we call the Ativan) and as to whether that would be okay to take with the hyomax. It was, the nurse Calvin informed me. So I gave Moma both. I laid her on her right side for a spell…that lasted about 20 mins., all the while sitting her up here and there to cough. I moved from the stool beside her bed where I had been the whole time and sat on the other bed to rest my back. She asked me to put her back on her back, I did. Eventually I moved back to the other bed. She never let herself go back to sleep. She had been awake since 6pm.
Melanie texted me and asked about Moma…I filled her in…and she asked if she should leave and come on down. I told her no…it would probably be fine. That was around 8:30pm.
Around 9:30, she looked over at me and let out a moan. I got up and sat back on the stool and petted on her, her heart was beating so fast. I checked her pad and it was so full of bowel movement. I told her I had to get it off of her and I would do it quickly so she could rest. I went to the door and yelled for Papa so he could call Melanie, as there was finality in the moments. As I turned her to her right side she seemed to start breathing differently and I noticed her grip on the rail loosened. I tried to clean her quickly…I keep saying, “Moma, hang in there,” “Moma, you aren’t supposed to go like this, wait Moma”…and I turned her back. When I saw her face, I knew she was leaving. I told her it was okay, that she can go, “I’m okay, Moma, I’m ready now, it’s okay.” She drew maybe, three slower breathes. Her fingers turned purplish, her mouth was rigid, her eyes were fixed. And then she was gone. Papa had to tell me as I held her hand in mine, and the other on her heart, that she was no longer with us. I desperately wanted to feel life in her.
I can’t tell you exactly what I feel. Should I have tried to hook her up to oxygen? Should I have picked her up and maybe she would have breathed easier? Should I had stopped trying to keep the bowel movement from getting all over and just turned her back over? I just felt I could have done something to make it better for her.
But Papa tells me, and Ariel…that she passed with me helping her, cleaning her up, holding her hand…and that is all I could have done and that’s all she would have wanted.

And yet, today…I told Rosie that I felt like the summer would be gone before I could spend time with Molly and Jake…and I told Craig, that she doesn’t even look like my mother anymore…and those thoughts create guilt.

I remember something very interesting that happened in the late afternoon of Moma’s passing…Moma always told her children if a butterfly landed on something it meant you would get that very something new. I remember the laundry hanging out in the backyard thinking as I saw butterflies land on them about the new clothes we would be getting, even though the majority of our clothing came from “missionary boxes”…at about 4:30 there was a brownish orange butterfly that kept hanging on the front door, on the front glass, fluttering around when Craig shooed it away and laying again on the front door frame. We laughed about who would be getting the new house…Me and Papa, Craig or Ariel (they were the only kids at the house at the time)…or maybe, William would go off to the Air Force early, we jested. We totally forgot about Moma being the recipient…and yet, she’s the one who, at the end of the day, who got the new house…just as the butterfly had predicted…a new home in heaven…a new body with Christ.

And a big part of my "inner child", wants to tell Moma about that. I know she would smile, clasp her hands together and say, "That's beautiful."

---------Sometimes you get sick and you don't get better...that's when life is short, even in it's longest days. --John Cougar Mellencamp

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I walked into Moma's room today and found her staring at the ceiling again...eyes fixed and looking deep in thought.

"Whatcha thinkin bout Moma?" I asked.

"Oh, nothing. It's easier that way." she replied.

...and once again, I wish I could take it all away...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Moma's Emergency Potato Soup

On May 27th...the day after Moma's birthday...she slept basically all day. Waking up for a few minutes at a time when it was medicine time...I thought the day would be her last. I sat on the bed across from hers for hours all day, making sure she was breathing, staying close in case she woke up on her own. At 11PM, I woke her for scheduled meds and since she had slept from 3PM - 11PM she had missed dinner time. I asked if she were ready to eat something.
To my surprise she answered, " about some potato salad?" She chatted a bit about how she was wanted this and how it sounded so good to her...and I fought the tears back. I hate when I don't have what she wants when she wants it. Usually I'll have Papa run and get some...but it was 11PM...I watch as disappointment crept across her face as I told her I didn't have any potato salad and then explained it would take 45 minutes probably to whip some up.
She listened and said, "Well, then, how bout potato soup." Determination swept in...either that or I could bare disappointing her again and I responded, "I think, I can do that for you, Moma. I'll go get started." I left the room, went to the kitchen and cried. Then prayed. Then stuck a potato in the microwave and set it for 10 minutes. I got out a can of cream of celery soup (bought the 25th of May, as I was picking up Moma's birthday stuff...saying to myself when I saw it, "I'll get this...I might need it to make potato soup someday." And here I was...making potato soup, crying and praying.
I poured the cream of celery soup in the pan, about 1/4 cup of water and a half can of milk, cayenne, black pepper, Ms Dash, garlic powder, onion power and started heating it up...after 10 minutes, the potato was cooked and I scooped the ever so hot contents from the skin, dropping them into the mixture...adding a dolollop of sour cream.
When it was all good and warm I took it into Moma with some crackers and fed it to 11:30 PM...and she was soooooo pleased. "Oh, this is good."
"My goodness" as I fed her a second bite...and so on with the sound of contentment.
Feeling good about it, she ate 10 bites. THAT is really good for Moma's appetite.
When I went to the kitchen to rinse her bowl, I found the pan had been rinsed out and the remaining soup was gone.
"That was great," Papa said, as he walked into the kitchen with HIS dirty bowl.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Put a Bug in Your Ear...

...If you put a bug in some one's ear, you give him or her a reminder or suggestion relating to a future event...

We are fighting to keep the air conditioning off. I love the breeze blowing through the house. I love hearing the birds chirping, neighbors chatting, wind in the's inspiring and uplifting.So, we struggle through heat to lengthen the experience of open windows.The past few days...geez...past week, at night Papa will go back into the bedroom about 7 or 8, place a box fan in the window and turn on the bed older people do, you know to prepare for bed...I have requested that he stop doing this, as I am battling tiny gnat like bugs of various varieties. He doesn't take this seriously and continues his preparatory practice. Last night I go in and find at least 20 or more little gnat like, light loving, bugs on OUR PILLOWS and swarming around the bed light. Cripes!!! So, I explain it again...When you turn the lamp on at night it attracts bugs and they sit on the screen...when you place a box fan against the screen that the unwanted species are clinging to...the fan DRAWS the BUGS through the screen!!! Of course, after they are sucked into MY bedroom, they naturally go to the light that they were lusting over from outside of our bedroom. (Imagine it, George!)

So, I brushed the unwanted night life out of my bed...grumbling of course, as I did...thinking...if a woman tells her man what is bothering her and he continues to allow that unwanted the heck are they coming up on a 25 year anniversary...(just the things that pass through your head when something is "bugging" you.)

I go to sleep and am sleeping sooooooo good...when all of a sudden I feel something going into my ear...crawling around like crazy...a freaking bug!!! Buzzing, scrabbling...sending me into do you get a bug out of your ear!?!?! In my mind it was centipede or something a kin to it. I thought about holding the flashlight to my ear know...attract it to the light. But that might take a while and I had to make it stop! So, I turned to peroxide as my method of stifling the madness. I drowned the poor I could sleep and deal with the prospect of removal in the morning...after coffee...when my thinking is clearer.

It took a while mind you...trying to relax and fall asleep knowing I had a bug the size of something off the Bug's Life in my ear...but it happened.

This morning, after coffee, I tried not to rant...and succeeded to just ask Papa WWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHHTYYYYYYYYYYYYYY did he allow this foreigner in our bedroom? and HHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW to I get it out now that it ain't going be able to crawl out.

An ear syringe with warm water...tilt my head over the sink, flush...and wham-o, I hear Papa say, there it is...and the pain was gone and I felt a bit more settled, especially after seeing it was only the size of three dots put together...Yeah, like the three dots you see over and over in my writing when I'm continuing my thoughts. Way to small to take a photo of...

So, tonight...I'm gonna 'put a bug in Papa's ear', not literally, I'm not revengeful...But I will be...if I have to!

Monday, April 26, 2010

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Moma wanted to sit on the bedside pot…and I assisted her despite her body’s resistance. It’s quite a procedure, it hurts her legs tremendously and it strains my back due to her fear of feeling more pain or simply falling.
As she sat there on the bedside pot, “It is Well With My Soul” was playing on the CD…I was singing along with it, thoughtful, as Moma had tried my patience minutes before when I tried to get her to eat and take her needed medicines. She tossed her bacon on the bed after one bite, refused her grilled cheese, ate two bites of applesauce. She refused to drink her potassium and she chewed her capsule blaming me for not giving her water even though I had the glass of water in my hand holding the straw to her lips.

“See if I’m making sense,” she said. “I want to make sense. Do I make sense?”

“Some days are better than others, Moma...but, yes, right now you’re making sense.”

“Ok, see if I am making sense.” (Long pause)

“Do I have other plants?”

“Plans, Moma?”

“Yes, do I have other plants?”

“For your situation, Moma?” I asked to be sure. “Do you have other plans?”

“Yes, do I have other plans?”

“Moma, there’s nothing else here we can for your cancer. The only plans we have, Moma, is to make you comfortable until God takes you home to be with Jesus.”

She looks at me with disbelief in her eyes.

“Moma, there is no other medicine we can give you to make it go away. It’s up to God to either take it away or take you home.”

“Does that make sense, Moma?”

“Yes,” she says slowly, “it makes sense. I want other plans.”

“What kind of plans do you want Moma?”

“I want it go away.”

“The cancer, Moma?”

“Yes,” she says as she nods her head.

“I’m sorry, Moma. I can’t fix that for you. No one can, except God.” I hug her up close.

Then I began putting the fresh pull up on her, getting her ready to put back in bed.
“Be Still My Soul/Take It to God in Prayer compellation” is now playing.

“If you are tired of hurting, talk to Him about it. Tell Him how bad you’re hurting. Tell Him if He plans to leave you here longer with us that you need Him to take some of your pain. Tell Him you need Him to take the pain. He tells us, ask and receive. Then after you do that, Moma…trust Him to do it.”

“Take My Hand, Precious Lord and Lead Me Home / Just a Closer Walk with Thee”…is now floating through the room.

I placed her back in the bed. Adjusting and covering her. She lay her head on the pillow, kept her eyes shut tight and didn't opened them.

I noticed the song had changed and “Great is Thy Faithfulness” was now playing on the CD player.

As I type beside her bed, approximately twenty minutes later since she had closed her eyes…the cd is beginning to repeat itself and “It Is Well With My Soul” has began again.

She wakes and asks for her eye glasses.

I give them to her and she says, “I want you to know; I love you.”

“Oh, I know you do, with all my heart, I know. But I never get tired of hearing it.”

“Then I’ve done it,” she said, “I’ll tell you more later, bye now. And closed her eyes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Special Valentine...

Bath time is complete…goodnight hugs are given to everyone in the house…we head to the bedroom where Emily grabs The Gingerbread Man and Goodnight Moon and tossing them into her bed…I began to scroll through my iphone for my “Emily” album…it’s an album of nothing but repeats of Brahms’ Lullaby cause I know it’s coming…Emily then pulls the little collapsible stool from beside her bed and opens it, pats it and says, “La, La, Mimi, La, La” and I assure her, I’m staying to sing to her and she climbs in bed. As I sit down I hit play and Brahms’ Lullaby begins.

Emily hands me The Gingerbread Man first and we start to read. She helps me turn the pages and listens intently. Winston wanders in the room and stands looking at Emily. I move the book and he moves in towards her and licks her face goodnight. We go back to reading…finishing the first and start on Goodnight Moon…she points at the “cows jumping over the moon” and asks about the “young little mouse” and waits patiently for me to read “and the little ole lady whispering, hush” so she can say, “hush” with her finger up to her mouth. Daisy wanders in and wishes Emily a good night’s rest and sits and listens to the La, La, La in the background….
And the stories end…

Emily begins to ask to kiss Papa again…and I remind her she did already…so she opens her arms and says, “Papa.” And I remind her that she did hug Papa already and can hug him more in the morning when the sun wakes up.

She snuggles in the bed allows me to cover her and I began putting words to the tune of the “La La La” music playing in the background…Winston and Daisy hearing me sing, come into the room again and sit beside me…Pikachu wanders in the room and jumps on the bed and peers over Emily laying under the covers…and everyone is wishing Emily goodnight…and she drifts away into peaceful sleep where I pray she dreams of love and special things.

Friday, January 1, 2010

"For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning." - T.S

So, it’s New Year’s Day…and I’m thinking…

365 days have past…and they were some good and some not so good…

I started 2009 with Moma in the hospital and now the year is closing with Moma in the hospital. She has been in the hospital 4 times in the past 365 days and also rehabilitation in Cardinal Hill Hospital. She has cracked her tailbone, her head, her ribs, and coded twice (once before a colonoscopy in September and once just recently on Christmas Eve). Her ribs were cracked the first time they revived her. She has learned that her renal cancer has metastasized. She had taken six months of Sutent, a drug that shrinks the cancer cells. Her frail body cannot take anymore cancer fighting drugs. She has experienced frequent trips to the doctor and this last visit to the hospital, she’s had surgery, 7 units of blood, coded as I mentioned before, taking the nurses and all involved 22 minutes to bring her back and clear the code on Christmas Eve. She spent Christmas on the ventilator in ICU…with her children beside her. It’s been a rough haul for her and we don’t seem to have much relief in sight.

My Nephew, Ethan, spent a spell in the hospital this year as well. And Granny got bit by Aunt Juanita's cat while Aunt Juanita was in the hospital.

My Great Aunt spent a long time in the hospital also earlier this year with rehabilitation at Cardinal Hill, too. At one point, Aunt Juanita was in ICU on one wing of the 3rd floor while Moma was on the other end of the 3rd floor.

We moved my good friend Connie from Kansas to Lexington to live with Aunt Juanita when she was dismissed from Cardinal Hill to assist with daily tasks…turned out Aunt Juanita is an independent woman and we moved Ms. Connie in with us. Connie spent the summer with us and moved back to her home state in Washington in the middle of August…I think…I’ve lost track of time. Adjust to an additional member in the home and then adjust to her absence.

I’ve helped move my sister twice and after the second time, when she was settled, moved my moma in with her.

Papa was laid off from Flooring Gallery after working there as a contractor to manager for 32 some years. Just out of the blue…see ya, you gotta go. And he went peacefully with the promise that they would probably have him come back in the summer months. It never happened. But it didn’t need to cause he started his own business and it has blossomed into a booming success.

That turned out to be a blessing in many ways as Craig was out of work towards the end of the summer, due to the economy…so he assists Papa in the business. He is a VALUED worker as Papa is plumb bombarded with orders.

This year marked my first year on my own, of my dream job and off probation. It’s been a year of learning, growing and stumbling. Getting use to the schedule of court, training and 24/7 obligation. I took on Pool Patrol this summer. It was an extra day of work on one of my days off…in the heat, in full uniform, at Castlewood. We learn from our experiences…As much as I like to help…I think I’ll pass next time.

With Moma in the hospital, I’ve learned my “brother and sister’s in blue” are truly family…and I am doubly blessed.

Due to the hospital time I have put in earlier in the year, my exercise program went out the window so I had to hire a trainer, Jason Bush, with Body Structure to get back into the swing of things. That was different and yet very rewarding. At the completion of my paid time, I have been able to start a program called P90X. An extreme fitness program that isn’t for everyone, but I am really enjoying it. With Moma in the hospital the whole month of December, I’ve had to revamp my schedule quite a bit, but I am determined not to let the situation set me back in my routine. So far the worse I’ve had is spacing the workouts to every other day during week six of my program. I weigh less than I did when I started Academy and feel good despite the world crashing around me. Exercise is very therapeutic, you know.

I’ve still been able to keep up with my grandkiddos despite the crazy adventures of the year. Not as much as I would like though…it’s obvious my family has been on hold here and there. But for most of them, they are very understanding and encouraging…and that is what family is about…I do love my family!!!

I haven’t mentioned our addition! Daisy, our golden retriever, came to us in September. Watching Winston going downhill, we so wanted our next dog to have Winston as a role model. Daisy just fell in our lap via a co worker with Ariel. My goodness, it’s just like children and grandchildren…just when you think you could love no one more…another comes along and you find more room in your heart to share the love. Puppy love is amazing, too…so is the insurmountable puppy debris and training!

In the craziness of it all, we still managed a grand vacation with camping, city life and ocean views…and Ed and Charlotte even met up with us in Washington DC. I was able to visit Deb in Texas on her birthday…and have a family get together for Thanksgiving at a nice little cabin in Corbin.

I’ll be honest, my housework, and yard work has suffered over this year. You can write your name in the dust. I have had to find shortcuts to make the time stretch. Some of my relationships have suffered. Although it saddens me, to admit that, I can honestly say, I have made all the efforts possible within the craziness of the events to maintain all of my relationships. Some people just have a hard time adjusting to sharing and change. I can understand that even if I can’t make it better.

I want to be more organized this coming year. Organized in my home life, my occupation and my relationships…including my relationship with my God. I want to learn more…again in my home life, my occupation and in my relationships. I have spent the past 20 some years organizing and practicing my obsessive compulsiveness. This past year, I haven’t had even time to devote to those. I kinda like being on top of things.

Year 2009 has been incredibly challenging yet rewarding. I reckon that’s just how every year is…if we stand back and examine it. I like to do that when the time surfaces. May 2010 be a bit softer…and may my family and friends be blessed with good times that over shadow any rough ones.

Happy New Year! And in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better person.”