Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Memory of My Mom

Wanda Sue
10-5-36 2-26-08

Rest in Peace Mama!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Baby Girl is Sick!

Please pray for us! My daughter has the day off from school but she is asleep on the couch. She is sick with bad cold or something (we can't seem to shake this stuff)and feels really rotten.

My brother just emailed me that they have taken Mama to the hospice hospital as she has been unresponsive since I left on Wednesday.

Tomorrow is our anniversary, 17 years! Don't think it is going to be our happiest one but I am truly grateful for my sweet hubby and my 17 wonderful years with him! I hope for many many more!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Magnolia Blossoms

Two Post in One Day, Don't Anybody Faint, Be sure to read both of them though.

I found this in my parent's church bullitin-thought it was worth reprinting!

I spent the week before my daughter's June wedding running last-minute trips to the caterer, florist, tuxedo shop, and the church about forty miles away. As happy as I was that Patsy was marrying a good Christian young man, I felt laden with responsibilities as I watched my budget dwindle. So many details, so many bills, and so little time.

My son Jack was away at college, but he said he would be there to walk his younger sister down the aisle, taking the place of his dad who had died a few years before. He teased Patsy, saying he'd wanted to give her away since she was about three years old!

To save money, I gathered blossoms from several friends who had large magnolia trees. Their luscious, creamy-white blooms and slick green leaves would make beautiful arrangements against the rich dark wood inside the church.

After the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, we banked the podium area and choir loft with magnolias. As we left just before midnight, I felt tired but satisfied this would be the best wedding any bride had ever had! The music, the ceremony, the reception - and especially the flowers - would be remembered for years.
The big day arrived - the busiest day of my life - and while her bridesmaids helped Patsy to dress, her fiancé Tim walked with me to the sanctuary to do a final check. When we opened the door and felt a rush of hot air, I almost fainted; and then I saw them - all the beautiful white flowers were black. Funeral black. An electrical storm during the night had knocked out the air conditioning system, and on that hot summer day, the flowers had wilted and died. I panicked, knowing I didn't have time to drive back to our hometown, gather more flowers, and return in time for the wedding.

Tim turned to me. "Edna, can you get more flowers? I'll throw away these dead ones so we can put fresh flowers in these arrangements."
I mumbled, "Sure," as he be-bopped down the hall to put on his cuff links.

Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up at the dark wooden beams in the arched ceiling. "Lord," I prayed, "please help me. I don't know anyone in this town. Help me find someone willing to give me flowers - in a hurry!" I scurried out praying for four things: the blessing of white magnolias, courage to find them in an unfamiliar yard, safety from any dog that may bite my leg, and a nice person who would not get out a shotgun when I asked to cut his tree to shreds.

As I left the church, I saw magnolia trees in the distance. I approached a house...no dog in sight. I knocked on the door and an older man answered. So far so good...no shotgun. When I stated my plea the man beamed, "I'd be happy to!"

He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and handed them down to me. Minutes later, as I lifted the last armload into my car trunk, I said, "Sir, you've made the mother of a bride happy today."

"No, Ma'am," he said. "You don't understand what's happening here."
"What?" I asked.

"You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died on Monday. On Tuesday I received friends at the funeral home, and on Wednesday... He paused. I saw tears welling up in his eyes. "On Wednesday I buried her." He looked away. "On Thursday most of my out-of-town relatives went back home, and on Friday - yesterday - my children left." I nodded.

"This morning," he continued, "I was sitting in my den crying out loud. I miss her so much. For the last sixteen years, as her health got worse, she needed me. But now nobody needs me. This morning I cried, 'Who needs an eighty-six-year-old wore-out man? Nobody!' I began to cry louder. 'Nobody needs me!' About that time, you knocked, and said, "Sir, I need you." I just stood with my mouth open.

He asked, "Are you an angel? The way the light shone around your head into my dark living room..." I assured him I was no angel.
He smiled. "Do you know what I was thinking when I handed you those magnolias?"


"I decided I'm needed. My flowers are needed. Why, I might have a flower ministry! I could give them to everyone! Some caskets at the funeral home have no flowers. People need flowers at times like that and I have lots of them. They're all over the backyard! I can give them to hospitals, churches - all sorts of places. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to serve the Lord until the day He calls me home!"

I drove back to the church, filled with wonder. On Patsy's wedding day, if anyone had asked me to encourage someone who was hurting, I would have said, "Forget it! It's my only daughter's wedding, for goodness' sake! There is no way I can minister to anyone today." But God found a way. Through dead flowers.

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference. --Edna Ellison

A Week With Mom and Dad

Photo from www.freefoto.com

I have been here a week now with my parents, I stay with Mama while Daddy has his radiation treatments or runs whatever errands he needs to run. Mostly I sit and watch my Mama as she slips further and further away from us. I am not sure why this dying process has to be so long and drawn out. I supposed that God has something he is trying to teach us all by this. I am thankful that Mama has not been in much pain up to this point. I can't say that the rest of the family has not been experiencing pain though! It is very tough to watch and not be able to do anything to help.

When I got here a week ago, Mama was happy to see me but wanted to know when my daughter was coming. She wanted to see her grandaughter and threatened to go to SA if we did not bring her here. My husband dropped everything and brought her down last weekend. It was sweet to watch my daughter minister to her grandmother, she fed her, combed her hair, brought her washcloths to wipe her hands with. She told Mama that she was going to take care of her just like Granny had always taken care of her. I am really sorry that my daughter will not have a longer time with her grandmother, she still has so much to teach her but am grateful that they have had all the special times together.

When my daughter was born, I was 34 years old and my mother was 61. We were living in Northern Virginia at the time and it was a 1400 mile trip from their home to mine. I made my parents a promise when my daughter was born that I would let them see her as often as possible. I kept that promise even when it wasn't practical. They were her first babysitters. We saw each other as much as we could the first couple of years, with them traveling to VA several times a year. We moved back to Tx in 2000 when she was almost 3 and she has spent loads of time with them every year since. They would go up to the "farm" in Arkansas and fish in the pond. Once she started to school, the trips were limited to summer vacation and school breaks but every Aug. Mama would ask, "When is springbreak"? "When can we get the girl?"

I am so grateful that they have had so much fun together. Hubby and I have benefited by being able to take some vacations alone and generally get a break now and then BUT darling daughter has benefited the most by having 10 years to get to know her grandmother better than I ever knew mine. I hope that 10 years is enought to fill up her lifetime with wonderful memories!

I did not know that we would only get 10 years when I made that promise in 1997, but I thank the Lord that I did make that promise and that I kept it.

Tomorrow I am going home to SA. I have responsibilities and appts waiting for me there. I have a confused little girl that needs lots of hugs and love from her Mama. I hope that I get to see my Mama again but only the good Lord knows the answer to that. I will leave knowing that she loves me and I love her. I have done all I can at this time and need to go home for awhile.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Yeap, it's strep!

You know you have a bad case of strep throat when the Nurse is grossed out and goes running to the sink to wash her hands. Apparently, I set the beeper alarm off on the rapid strep test. Oh well, at least it is something that can be treated. They gave me a couple of shots, some antibiotics, and other meds. I should be feeling a lot better by tomorrow or possibly even later tonight. Hopefully, hubby and darling daughter won't catch it before I cease to be contagious!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Back from Leakey

We made it home, safe and sound from the beautiful HEB Youth Encampment this weekend. Usually when we go, we stay in Echo Valley but this time we were at Singing Hills. Both are equally beautiful, although Echo Valley is a lot larger. It was quite cold at night and early in the morning but warmed up to be very pleasant during the day. Some of the kids even went swimming in the Frio River--they were crazy--in case you don't know Frio in spanish means frigid...this river is always cold even in the sweltering summertime!

I managed to have a total relapse while I was there so I am down and out with allergy stuff again. I was afraid I might have strep throat because it felt like I had shards of glass in my throat but it is feeling a little better this afternoon so perhaps it is just the garden variety battery acid that goes along with mountain cedar allergies. I have done 6 loads of laundry today and I am still not caught up. I still need to wash the sleeping bags.

We talked to Dad last night and Mom had a pretty good weekend. The doctor from hospice was supposed to come today, so we may get some more news tonight when we call. They took her off the injectable bloodthinner and placed her on an oral one. I don't understand this because I asked her doctor if we could change Mom over to an oral blood thinner because Dad did not like having to give her the injections and he told me "No, she will be on the injectable bloodthinner forever" (direct quote from his email) I guess she has a different doctor now with hospice so he must have a different opinion about the bloodthinner. She is also receiving morphine now to keep her pain free. I have always reacted badly to morphine, so I hope she has a better experience with it.

This week will be a busy one, I need to work at the school, help host a Valentine's party for my daughters class and get the house pulled together (major job!) I also need to take my car back to the body shop, my daughter brushed her suitcase against the bumper while loading the car on Friday and the paint totally came off. There is no way that she could have done that much damage with a soft sided suitcase if the paint job had been done correctly. So I have that to look forward to this week also.

I hope to be able to leave on Friday and go spend a few days at my parents. I normally like to go during the week but just did not work out this time and I feel I need to go spend some time with the folks. Please continue to pray for us. Specifically pray that I get to go on Friday and that my trip is not delayed again. Pray for my Dad to remain healthy and my Mom to remain pain free!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Still at home!

I have been trying to get away from here and go back to my parents but unfortunately life keeps getting in the way. First of all, is everyone else as sick as we have been. Seems like right after Christmas we all came down with colds/allergies and we still have them. Everytime one of us gets a little better, someone else gets worse. I guess it is the mountain cedar because I did feel a little better the last time I was at my folks. Plus this weather is crazy, cold and windy, then hot, then back to freezing!

My daughter was sent home from school on Thursday with a cold and upset stomach, I kept her home on Friday too. By Friday night her Dad was down and out and spent all day Saturday in the bed and a good part of Sunday too. They both seem to be on the mend and went back to school and work on Monday. Me, however, I think I have relapsed or something as I am all stuffed up again with a headache and stomach ache. "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired" ya know!!!

Other people have gotten involved in the conspiracy to keep me here too. I blogged a few weeks ago about having my new SUV rear ended. We got an estimate for the repairs and the guy said that it needed a new bumper. They were going to order the part, paint it for me and then have me come in and they would take the old one off and pop the new one on, It would not take long and I woudl not have to mess with a rental car. I thought that sounded good to me. His estimate was about $650. The guy that hit me had me turn it into the insurance and they did not like that estimate, so they required that I take it to their place last Monday. I thought I was just getting another estimate. So I show up and it is raining and there is mud on the back bumper. The guy goes out and looks at the car, takes pictures and says he can repair it for $350, give me a rental car and I will have it back on Tuesday afternoon. He is ready to do the work and USAA is ready for him to do it. I had explained to him why I liked the other guys idea because I did not want to be without my car but he insisted the damage was minor and he could make it look good as new without replacing the bumper.

Ok, so they call the rental car place and they come pick me up, assuring me all along the way that USAA has everything taken care of and they will get me into a SUV similar to mine. OK, sounds good right.....no, they don't have anything ready for me, they won't give me an SUV, they clain they did give me an upgrade on my rental to a Chevy Malibu....ungly gold colored thing....it was dirty, had mud on the carpet and after I drove it a little while it became obvious that someone had thrown up in this car. To say I was not happy is an understatement!

I did not even get home from the car rental place before the body shop guy called and said that there was more damage than he thought and the whole bumper needed to be replaced. It was going to take a little longer so just keep the rental car. He had the car for about three days. The car looks okay, they did a pretty good job with matching the paint and everything but the final bill from this guy turned out to be about 100 dollars more than my estimate was and they had to pay for a rental car. So USAA ended up playing almost $200 more than they would have if they had just let me use who I wanted to in the first place. They would have saved some money and I would have only been out of my car for one day.

This weekend is the Family Retreat with Church. My family loves to go camping, me not so much so. This isn't too bad as there are cabins with heaters, real toilet facilities and showers. I just don't feel I am going to be very good company this weekend. I feel overwhelmed and torn in different directions. I always feel where ever I am at, I ought to be at the other place. If I am with my parents then I worry that my daughter and husband need me and when I stay her with them I feel like my parents are needing me! SO MUCH GUILT!

The doctor has taken Mom off her chemotherapy and they have called in hospice care to help. Dad seems to like them better than the home health aids that were coming out to help Mom with her bathing. They will work with us to keep Mom home as long as she is physically safe and Dad feels he can handle it. Once it becomes too much for him then they have an inpatient setting that she can go to. The doctor has taken her off some of her medications and Dad says she seems to be thinking more clearly now. She is still very weak and sleeps a lot, will probably do more and more of that in the next few weeks.

I hope to get off in a few days to go check on them, even if it is just a quick trip. I know they enjoy my visits and I help them make decisions about Mom's care and stuff that needs to be handled. Dad wanted to have her service completely prearranged and paid for so we took care of that a few weeks ago when I was down. It is a strange feeling to be planning someones funeral when they are still around but can see that it would be much harder to make the decisions when you are under the stress of just losing someone. The funeral home makes a video for the family and asked me to provide them with 40 pictures of Mom thru the years so I need to go thru the family albums and see what I can come up with.

Don't forget that Valentine's day is coming up! Plan something special for your sweetie!