Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Keeping track.....

You have kept count of my sorrows,
put my tears in your bottle.  Psalm 56:8


These past nine months have seen lots of tears fall, prayers offered and answered and a family closing several chapters and beginning new ones.

Bear with me.......I print my blog by year and so it serves as a diary of sorts......this may get long.

Thanksgiving of 2013, one of my sisters was a bit nervous because she had been called back after a mammogram.  If you are a woman and reading this, no explanation of that nervous feeling is necessary.  We all thought it would turn out to be nothing.  It didn't.

December 2, Cathy had a biopsy and on December 4 got the news that she indeed had breast cancer that was in a lymph node.  December 12th, she had a PET scan and as a family we held our collective breath and prayed many prayers as we were joined by many asking our Lord that it not be anywhere else in her body.

On December 13, about nine people crowded into the oncologist's little examining room to hear.......GOOD bad NEWS!  Never thought about getting good bad news.  Cathy's cancer had not spread......we laughed and cried.  Although she still had a long, rough battle for her life, her doctors were confident she would come out victorious.  

December 17th, surgery to place a port and the 18th chemo started.  

First treatment.....

Cathy had weekly treatments for eight weeks and knew she would lose her beautiful hair.  I expected the infusion center to be filled with doom and gloom, but instead we found it filled with HOPE!  People encouraging one another as all were on a road no one ever wants to travel.  

After six treatments, she still had hair!  She had it cut and it was coming out, but it was still there!

Then mama had the event that saw us spend eight long and agonizing days by her side.  Cathy had to return to the town where she lives to have chemo, came right back the next day and on February 2, mama died.   Cathy prayed she would keep her hair through the funeral.  She had hair!  She had to return to her home the day after the funeral for another chemo treatment.  

Two grueling rounds of chemo later....step one is over......


June 3rd Cathy had surgery.  The doctors were very pleased at how things looked and were sure that all cancer was gone!  But she still had radiation to complete.  

And it's a wrap!  

Hair coming back and as beautiful as always!

You may remember I said we closed chapterS.....my sister Debbie's mother in law got very sick and died........and six months to the day of mama's funeral, there was another family funeral to attend.  More tears in our big bottle!  

During that time, my California grandchildren came.......that's a whole other post still to come.......my MIL was very ill and in the hospital for a few days and the Superhero's BIL was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Please pray for Johnny!

Since this post is dedicated to my courageous and beautiful sister, here are a few pictures of her along the road.....as she says, she never expected to find joy in a cancer treatment facility, but that's what she found!  










A friend had this blanket made with pictures of Cathy's family and friends......




We give thanks to God for his incredible goodness and mercy!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's a beautiful morning....

Every morning.....very early every morning, the Superhero springs into our bedroom with a cup of coffee to wake me for the day.  The Superhero is a morning person.  Me?  Not so much.



Well, this isn't exactly what we look like......

I drink my coffee fussing and moaning all the while, he does his stretching exercises, then we go for a walk.   Yes, he stretches while I just jump out of bed, put my clothes on and walk!

Once upon a time, in an apartment complex near us, someone thought is would be a good idea to place a beautiful pair of ducks in the holding pond near the street.  The ducks just happened to fall in love, marry and begin having little ducklings.  Lots and lots of little ducklings!  Soon those little ducklings grew up, fell in love and the cycle started again......soon there were ducks EVERYWHERE!

While we are walking, mama ducks can be seen herding ducklings from newly hatched babies to teens from the pond to the ditch beside the road and onto the walking path.  


Sadly, they venture into the road at times and.....well you know what happens.  SO....when we are walking and I see them waddling in the direction of sure death, I start shooing them back to the ditch.  

Which leads me to the question.......WHY DO THE DUCKS CROSS THE ROAD???  Really, there is nothing on the other side that is any better than the side they started from so just stay there and be happy!

But then again, many times we want to cross the wrong roads don't we?

Just a little something to think about during your weekend.  
Have a wonderful weekend!  



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Things that make me go hmmmm.......and the latest....

The last six to eight months have been such a blur with a LOT going on in my life and the lives of those around me......but instead of talking about that today, I thought I would just talk about nonsensical kinds of things....

When I'm standing in line to checkout at the grocery store, I always glance at the covers of magazines and lately one thing has flown off the cover and slapped me in the face.....



On the cover of one magazine, this title grabbed me.....How to look great in your 30's, 40's and into your 50's.....WHAT?????  So what about us 60 somethings???  WE want to look good, WE still care.....WE aren't OLD!  Maybe I should submit an article about looking good or at least wanting to all your life!

*******
The craziest things happen from time to time......the other night, the Superhero and I went to eat at an Italian restaurant that is not only one of our favorites, but owned by our sweet, Italian neighbors.  We had a nice leisurely supper after a stressful day and as we were walking out another couple was coming in so we stood back to let them enter.  My mind was on a completely other planet at this point and I was just navigating on cruise control so after the wife entered the gentleman guy continued to hold the door open for us.......I walked out and then the Superhero walked out and said thank you.  This ordinary looking, polite man said you are welcome and then snidely added .......you're welcome too mam.  I honestly didn't understand what he said at first, thinking he said you're welcome MAN!  Then it hit me and I asked and the Superhero laughed out loud and said, yes, he did indeed chide me for not saying thank you!

My blood pressure boiled because I AM A REALLY NICE PERSON......REALLY I AM!  So nice that I said I was going to go back in to explain the "two flesh become one" concept to this man and inform him that my husband was thanking him for the both of us!  The more I thought about it, the worse I felt because of course, I don't like anyone to think I'm not nice!  
The poor Superhero is still hoping I'll get past this and forget it so he can forget it too!  



So just in case you read this, sir......THANK YOU!!!  
And if I wasn't so NICE, I would find you and punch you in the nose. *****

This handsome guy graduated from high school!  


And this handsome guy too...

******

I don't know how everyone else feels, but I think political correctness has run amuck in the last few years and it's getting to the point of being ridiculous!  I probably shouldn't elaborate on that one too much, but anyhow......just thought I would throw that in at this point since I'm rambling in general.

*****


We took a little trip down to see our youngest grands and had a great time.  

While we were there, our son took us to his new office and.....ahem......we hope he kept his job after the grands got through with the office!  

Charley typed a memo.....


John tried on a hard hat.....

AND....signed a few forms that he felt should go out immediately!


Pappy with one happy grandson and one not so happy one!

Popsicles.....

Me too, Nana!


Swimming with Pappy and Nana...

*****

We hope our older grands come this summer and I'm working on that now.  Wishing they all lived a little closer!

*****


Recently, the little grands made the trip here to see all of us in North Florida.  As you can see, we had a wonderful toy for them......the basket we put our newspapers in until trash day!  They loved having Pappy give them rides!


Charley went with us to Sunday School

And....loved being a part of this little group!


 We had a little cookout/swim day to celebrate Charley's 4th birthday......Uncle David and Jordan joined the party.


Pappy and Nana finally got a picture with our little guys .......


and we snapped a four generation picture with Mema, Pappy, Tommy, Charley and John

 Mommy, Daddy and boys

Charley had a great time blowing out his candles.....can't believe he's four!


John just had a great time playing


Charley got a balance bike for his birthday.......he wanted to know where the pedals were!

Sisters

Swimming

Near the end of the day, Charley politely asked Uncle Dick if he could have a turn in the wheelchair!  I guess he thought Uncle Dick was hogging the wheels!

Only one brother was able to be with us....

Uncle Matt came after work...

Pappy is always the cook


Thanks Uncle Mike for keeping the cook company!


To those of you who have emailed and been so sweet to ask how I was doing, thank you!  I know this is just rambling and way too many pictures, but it's the best I can do at the moment.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Long Goodbye....Mama

I wasn't sure I was going to continue blogging and I'm still not sure sure, but I'm half sure so here we go.....

Death is a curious thing.  I've experienced it with my parents in two ways.  Daddy died suddenly and mama died slowly.  Which is better/worse?  I don't know what everyone else thinks, but over the last few years, I have come to believe that as shocking as sudden death may be, watching a loved one slowly slip away is torture.  

Mama had been unable to walk and had periods of hallucinating for several years now, and had stopped really wanting to even watch t.v., but we weren't expecting her death to be imminent.

On Sunday morning, January 26, I was backing my car out of the garage on my way to Sunday School when I got a call from mama's caregiver.  Nikki is like a sister (age wise I guess I should say daughter) and in the five years she has worked for mama, she has only called me one other time to say she thought something was really wrong.  She just said please come..... so I turned right instead of left and drove to mama's home at the retirement center.  

As I started that way, I called the hospice nurse and then called my older brother.  When I got to her apartment, mama was completely non responsive.  When hospice got there, they said she probably wouldn't live through the day.....so we called our other siblings.  Monday, they said she wouldn't live through the day and Tuesday the weekday nurse just shook his head.  Mama died the following Sunday.  Eight long days we spent time with her and with each other.  We sang hymns to her and talked to her about going to heaven, about seeing Jesus, daddy and all of her siblings.  We looked through picture albums, we talked, we laughed, we cried.  Our sweet sister in law stayed a night so we could get some rest......but that rest included waiting for the phone to ring and thoughts of what was to come and how to handle the inevitable.

While we were waiting, I looked through mama's Bible to see if she had special scriptures highlighted and found the following scriptures she had written.  I hope you can click on the picture and read them......she titled these scriptures....."Things God wants us to do..."
And this is the way she lived.



The service celebrating mama's life was so like her.....from her own words to the words others had to say about her.  I kept thinking that the end of a person's life is not their life.  That person who has grown old and changed is still the young girl who loved life and her family and her God.  

I haven't the words to adequately describe mama to those who didn't know her, so I'm going to use pictures.

She was a really cute little toddler who wielded a mean sling shot

A bridesmaid


Having fun with a friend...


Wedding day


At the Grand Canyon.....I was holding the back of her sweater and she was saying "quit"....Daddy said...."one thing for sure, if you fall over, Nancy's getting that sweater!"

With the one she loved!


Mama loved the beach

She loved being our mama.....most of the time!


Mama was NOT that person in the bed at the end of her life.  She was a child of God, a fun loving girl, a daughter, sister, wife, mama, aunt and friend.  Mama loved to laugh and dance and go to the beach.  She danced at the USO as a teenager and on top of the Dixie Sherman Hotel.  

Mama's gone now.  Her apartment is cleaned out and is already rented to someone else.  She resides in heaven in the room Jesus prepared for her and where thanks be to our Savior, we will join her one day!

I got many cards and all of them meant so much, including one from a childhood neighbor and friend.  But one card in particular meant and will continue to mean so much.....this is what was written....

"Dear Nancy,  It was a privilege to know your mother.  When I first came to Wallace Memorial (our church), we were both members of the same circle and the Wednesday night Bible study.  Her life and witness was a blessing to me then.  I think her greatest accomplishment, however, was within her own family, raising another generation in "the fear and admonition of the Lord."  How wonderful it is to see so many of you in church every Sunday....and in positions of service within the church."  

I had no idea of mama's influence on this woman, but I probably should have because that's just who my mama was....she went quietly about her life influencing people through the way she lived.  What a challenge to all of us children to live our lives like mama!  


With her children on her 90th birthday


Mary Margaret Anderson Duncan
September 14, 1923 - February 2, 2014