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

Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 comes to a close....Goodbye, hello???




Goodbye year 2013, you've been an interesting twelve months but we have to move on to a brand new year now, filled with possibilities and challenges.

The year has come to a close and I realized that I haven't been here in over a month, almost two now and sadly I haven't visited you much in that time.  I guess I should make a resolution now to be better about visiting.......I resolve to try, how's that?  But I do not resolve to use prepositions right......I just can't fight that fight this year.  

Several posts were started about me and the Superhero taking our annual Christmas card photo, but time just seemed to get away.  Then I was going to post about our grandson's first birthday, but time just kept on trooping along, things getting in the way and suddenly it was Thanksgiving and I was going to post about our family get together.   

And then....... well then we got the news that changed our whole way of thinking........our whole family's way of life.......my precious sister had a suspicious mammogram, then a biopsy then the news with that word no one wants to hear.....cancer.  Quite frankly, we were all shocked and terrified.  There were uncertainties that had to be determined and we started praying and asking others to pray.  We started seeing answers to prayer all around and in each situation.  God moved and the Christmas miracle for 2013 was that the cancer was not in any other part of her body!  

Several of us went over for the results of the PET scan and praised God as the doctor gave us the good/bad news.....she did indeed have breast cancer but it hadn't spread to any other site in her body.  Afterwards, drained but a bit relieved, we went to Cathy's favorite place to eat and this is what the waitress wrote on her receipt.  



If I have learned one thing from blogging, it is that prayer spreads around the world at a rapid pace and that God hears the prayers of His people.  So let me just assure you now that every prayer is appreciated!  Please add my sister to your personal prayer list and your church prayer chain.


And the treatment began.....


This week will be the fourth treatment with twenty to go, then surgery.  We firmly grasp hold to the belief that she will be completely healed and well at the end of this journey.  But a journey it is and as journeys often are, it isn't an easy one......there are days of tears and uncertainties and fears......  but we have a sovereign God and know that He is in control and that comforts!

Funny how time passes no matter what is going on in our lives and 2013 has gone and 2014 is here holding it's secrets and seasons for us to discover along the way.

Just a few things that happened in 2013 in pictures....and in no particular order.....

Grandson #1 came to visit

Granddaughter #1 came too, but this year they came at different times so we got to have one on one time with both


Grandson Charley came to visit while "Dashley" was here and had a good time with her

Son, David and his wife Arwen became grandparents on the first day of 2013


Another grandson came to live in Florida this year

An old friend, almost son, got married


The Superhero's mom had knee replacement surgery and we spent a few days in the hospital


Got together with some old, young friends


Said goodbye to some friends who moved 


Great grandson came to visit


Grandson # 2Charley got a new baby brother....grandson #3 and spent part of 2013 deciding to let him stay..... 


and then becoming best friends for life


I got a new car


Got to see these almost daughters and their children for a few short hours


Not nearly enough of this

Mama turned 90 and all her children were with her on her birthday

We added to our family.....welcome to Andrew and all his family......Andrew and niece Christina got married at midnight on the last day of 2013


The Superhero and I did self portraits again this year and some of them weren't suitable for printing, but some were ok


Trying to keep God's Word hidden in our hearts and living in our lives


Granddaughter #2 and her husband and baby came to visit


Sweet friends visited


We gained a new Ugandan son


A good friend got married.....what a celebration


Another couple of friends got married

Of course, that's not nearly all that happened in 2013, but if I wrote it all down you might want to have me committed!  

It was a good year, it was a sad year, it was a year of ups and downs.  It's over and now ready or not, here we are 2014!

I hope it's a good year for all of us here in the blog world.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Where were you?

That is the question of the day today on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  

But first, it's Friday and you know what that means!  Time to dump out the remains of the week and link up with Mrs. 4444 for Friday Fragments.....


Let me start with a big Happy Birthday to our youngest grandson, John Daniel.  John is a sweet, happy boy who lights up any room.  



On his actual birthday, he had a birthday cupcake......his party is this coming weekend.  Sadly, we won't be able to attend.

Happy Birthday big boy!  Pappy and Nana love you!

*****

Between talking to nurses for mama, taking the dog to the vet and going to the eye doctor for myself, I feel all doctored out for this week. Keeping up with it all is tiring and I live by the calendar in my purse.  Whew!

*****

This weekend Mercy Uganda is having a warehouse sale.  We put a big dumpster at the warehouse because there was a lot trash!  The Superhero and I went over after church Wednesday night and as our headlights hit the dumpster I spied a body hanging half in and half out and and I freaked for a moment thinking there was a dead body that had been dumped.  Thankfully the body moved and I saw my very first dumpster diver.  It was nice that he was taking trash and making it his treasure.  How I wish I had a picture.
He didn't exactly look like this, but you get the drift.

*****

And now to the question of the day.....where were you when John Kennedy was assassinated?

I was in the sixth grade and was at school.  An announcement came over the school P.A. system.  A very emotional voice informed us that the president had been shot and asked that we all stand and have a silent prayer .  That's all we knew as we silently stood and prayed.  Yes, praying in school was very common 50 years ago.  Moments later another announcement came over saying that the President of the United States had died and school was immediately dismissed.  My friends and I walked home in silence.

When I arrived home, I went to my room and cried.  

My grandmother especially loved President Kennedy and had a replica of his rocking chair.....
The rocking chair with the book The Torch is Passed


I love this picture because they look so happy


And who could forget that little salute

No matter our politics, it was such a sad and tragic day for our nation.  Even fifty years later, I cry watching the coverage on television.

*****

It seems like there is very little blogging time lately and I'm late.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Fragments

It's Thursday and I'm here and I'm going to try to participate in Friday Fragments!  If you would like to dump those left over thoughts from your brain go on over to Mrs. 4444's place and join in the Friday party!

 

So here go my disjointed week's thoughts.


We have a sweet friend who was in the Homecoming court for her high school.  My brother's friend came with his convertible and my brother rode shotgun while I took pictures.  

She was a finalist and isn't she gorgeous!  Sweet too.....the theme of Homecoming this year was the 20's Flappers and she was perfect!

The driver and bodyguard......on the right is my brother







It was a hot day and the parade lined up an hour before the start of the parade.  There were three school bands and about fifty or so cars.  The parade started went ONE block and turned the corner returning to the parking lot.  That was it and I was a little shocked! But it was fun and we were honored to be part of her special day.

*****

Mercy Uganda, the mission we are involved with just celebrated five years!  During this time, our dear friends have made many trips to Uganda, raising money for several wells in remote villages, bringing sewing machines in and teaching the women to sew giving them a way to make a living for their children.  Other projects include teaching agriculture skills, starting livestock programs, teaching hygiene and obtaining sponsorships for children to attend school.  Mercy Uganda has bought a small amount of land and Mark and Laura hope to move there summer of 2014!  Each year we have a fund raising banquet and last week we held our annual banquet with a Christmas theme.  Ladies in our church decorated tables and it was indeed a winter wonderland.....

Lots of stuff for sale......hair bow trees!

Homemade pillows

Tables.....they weren't for sale



Silent auction items from Uganda.....homemade nativity....

The Superhero bid on this and won......I actually just realized it wasn't this picture but one like it...


 Our local newscaster on the left.....Meredith Terhaar.....emcee.....a PA friend on the right who has been to Uganda with our team doing medical work.

The founder of Mercy Uganda....Laura Knetzer.....she and her husband, Mark have given their lives completely to this ministry.  She's also my dear friend and I love her.

It was a great night!

*****
The strangest things happen in Walmart.....a few days ago, I was buying a few groceries and in the checkout line I felt someone behind me a bit too close.  I value my personal space greatly.  When I finally turned around an older man (not creepy at all) said "I love your ring".....speaking of my wedding ring.  I answered that I did also, but that I loved the man who gave it to me so much more.  He said "well, he must love you a lot".....at that point I decided I wouldn't tell him that I actually nagged the heck out of told the Superhero a few years ago it was time to upgrade :)....then he said this and I tried not to laugh...."I'm as bad as a woman, I love diamonds"  Just a sweet little event.

*****

MIL is doing very well after her knee replacement surgery!  This is such good news.

*****
My last blog post disappeared!  Just poof....gone into wherever things go to in internet space.  My sister noticed and asked me about it and when I tried to find it....yep....gone!  I have no idea what happened or how to retrieve that post!  

And with that thought in mind......I opened a fortune cookie one night and it said.....you will be very prosperous if you use your creativity.  I guess I am not destined to be prosperous!

*****

I know this post has a lot of picture overload!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!