Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Momma - September 9, 1942 - March 11, 2008

I dreaded this day last year. It was so hard to look back on the seven months before my mom died of pancreatic cancer. I didn't want to look back. The memories just took up every corner and crevice of my mind. I had a time line of events going on in my head. I could tell you where we were and what we were doing for days before she died. I loved my mom. We all got along so well that Eric added on to her house and we moved in with her a year before she was diagnosed. It was a gift. That year was the happiest Christmas of my life. I remember standing outside under the stars that Christmas and saying a prayer of thanks for the special time with my little family - my mom & dad, grandmother, Eric, Grant and me. Everyone was happy and healthy. There were no big troubles in our lives. Even the old dog was well. If you came by my house that year you had to cut a snowflake out of typing paper and tape it to my back french doors. It was that same year that mom began having signs of trouble. In September of 2007 she was sick and by October we knew what she had. By the time a doctor can diagnose pancreatic cancer it is in stage 4 - terminal. I knew that only God could save her. She would either die or God would miraculously heal her. I was holding out on the latter. I had seen so many healings in India. They are real and happen frequently. A Walgreens add on the tv played over and over again a song that talked about ordinary miracles. I needed an ordinary miracle from God for my mom. It might not be ordinary for me but it was for Him. During those seven months we tried to live normal lives in the house. I did find myself in a place where I couldn't bear to leave her. I would fall apart. She wouldn't. I did. If I left for a dinner the time away was excruciating. When I was at home with her I was ok. Sometimes I would wake up from a deep sleep crying out her name. I had been traumatized that fall day in the doctor's office when he sadly told my mom with sweet compassion what she had. He had tears in his eyes too. If God was going to take her, how would I ever get through the day she would die. Now death, if we admit it, is a scary thing. We don't know what happens as we walk through it to the other side. Meaning, I've never seen Heaven and I really wanted to know what it was like to be there. The scary part for me was not knowing what it was like where she was going. I know this sounds crazy but that's what my major problem was. People write about their near death experiences about Heaven and the books sell by millions. Apparently there are a lot of folks who want to know a bit more about Heaven than what is hinted at in the Bible. I believe it's real but I'd sure like to see it for myself. We are secure in our Salvation, so hell wasn't apart of my thinking. Fast forward to the day mom died seven months later. That morning when she woke up she couldn't breath well. She tried to catch her breath but just couldn't. She felt weak too. I turned the knob up on her oxygen to help her breath easier. She finally said that we needed to call an ambulance, it was too hard for her to go get into the car, that she thought she had another blood clot in her lungs. I boosted the oxygen more and Eric called. All day long at the hospital they were trying to balance her blood pressure which was bottoming out and her fluids. They told me when they finally moved her up into ICU that they would wean her off the meds and send her back home in a few days. I was ok with that. I could wait while they weaned her off. We'd waited three weeks at St. Vincent for her blood clots to melt in her lungs enough to go home. We could do this. My mom was talking calmly and clearly. She talked perfectly fine. I went home to eat while they settled her in. The ICU unit made me leave. But I was back 15 minutes before they let anyone back in. I fell apart in the hall because a sense of desperation settled in on me. I needed to see her now. The doors swung open to the unit and a man walked out and saw my tears. "Why are you crying?" he asked. I told him of my mother. He said that he was in charge of that unit and of course I could go in right now. I didn't have to wait a second longer. When I walked into her room she held her had out to me and I took it. She calmly told me that she couldn't do it any more. She wanted all those tubes and bags taken away. She did want pain medicine so she could sleep. The pain was full force. She hadn't had ANY pain until that evening. Pancreatic cancer is supposed to be the most painful of cancers. Mom's pain didn't come until that night. Eric called Dr. Baltz and he ordered her medicine. We talked while we waited for the meds to come and Momma wanted Daddy to come up. He was still at home at that time. We talked another hour and a half or so. I knew I was saying goodbye to my mom. I knew she was ready to go. She told how she loved each one of us. Would Eric talk at her funeral? Eric asked her if she would send down some secrets about the trinity and stuff like that. Daddy got there and the medicine arrived. One of the last things I said to her was that I promised her that if I saw her stir I wouldn't let her wake up. I'd get her more pain medicine. She was satisfied with that. Would I call Grandmother every day? Of course I would - and do. The nurse pushed the medicine into her IV and mom immediately fell into a deep sleep. The monitors above our heads beeped away. I sat in the chair next to her bed holding her hand as the beeping got slower and still slower. I was watching my mom's face and suddenly this huge rush of relief flooded over me. She was set free! Mom was fine! She wasn't there anymore! I know the monitors said differently but she wasn't there! Eric! She's not here anymore! He knew it too! We began to sing, "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!" It was a VICTORY! Death where was your sting? It wasn't there! Fear had been destroyed! Anxiety was gone. For me and for her! And I was giddy with joy! It was one of the most painful and sweetest moments of my life. I found myself for days wanting to be back in her room in ICU with her in those last moments longing to relive what had just happened. Jesus had come. He had blanketed His peace upon us. He had given us joy in what should have been a horrible moment. Instead my heart just sang! From my reaction in the doctors office that October afternoon to the night she died I would have never thought that this is how it would be - the moment my momma died. Everything was ok. Momma was ok. I was ok. Heaven was ok. We all made it. And we all did well. I knew He was pleased with our journey. It was covered by His Grace - each moment that ticked away those weeks and months before she died. I didn't cry that night. I didn't need to. She was safe and where she needed and wanted to be. I crawled into bed late that evening already missing her but I knew she was in Heaven seeing Jesus and so many people that had gone before her. My grandfather for one. And he was surprised at her arrival but that's another story. I fell sweetly asleep knowing she was busy and happy. Only God can take a heart like mine, wrapped in fear, crippling anxiety, and worry and set it free in the hour of my mom's death. He did the same for her. Isn't He absolutely magnificent.

Aunt Pearl Twiddles & The National Doily Day Conference

I called my Aunt Pearl this afternoon. Today was National Doily Day and I wanted to know how the convention went. She answered the phone breathless. I knew she had run to catch it before it stopped ringing. “How was the convention,” I asked? I could hear the glee in her voice as she described the mornings events. The convention was held down at the IHOP on Main. There were 12 people there! Up six from last year! Dr. Edward J. Burgerwinster spoke for two and half hours! The way he described pearling and tatting left the entire crowd speechless! It was so moving! Everybody was there: Gretel, the Darlington sisters - Beatrice and Bertha (we still can’t tell them apart), Lily Mae Edding, Opal Louise Brunston and of course Dori and my Aunt Pearl. I could tell by the grunting in the background as Aunt Pearl talked that Uncle Boris was sad he didn’t go. Pearl said the IHOP hadn’t shined like that in years! Why everyone brought a doily and placed it under their plates. Everybody used a doily as a handkerchief and Dr. Burgerwinster placed one in the pocket of his jacket instead of a fresh flower! “You know, the creative uses of doilies will just stun you!” she said. They had an in-depth discussion about framing (so as not to smash them) and various other uses and placement of ceramics on top of them. To center or not? You wouldn’t want to hide the doily from view! You could also tack them onto the front of your Sunday shirts. Then all of a sudden she dropped the phone and ran off. I heard her footsteps as she ran down the hall. Uncle Boris picked up the phone. “What is she doing?” I asked. “I think she’s moving her doilies around in the bathroom." I decided I’d drop by later to see where she’d put them around the house. It was a big day. I’ll have to go now since she’ll probably be worn out from all the excitement and go to bed early tonight.

* Picture - Uncle Boris and Aunt Pearl Twiddles after the National Doily Day Convention - Detcherd, Tennessee - March 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Did you play Old Maid with this set of cards?

I loved these Whitman Old Maid cards from the 60's. This is the set I had when I was a kid. They came in a little, clear plastic box. I'd love to have a set today. Mine are long gone... Did you play Old Maid with a deck like this?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I can't cook. I don't want to cook. Actually, I'd rather scrub our toilets than cook! But I live with three men. And it's just me - one girl. And we all know that somehow, or at least the majority of the time, the guys you live with think because you're the girl your supposed to cook - like every day! This just floors me. No, they don't ask me to cook but their big, watery, hungry eyes plead to me to at least do a little something! What am I to do? Oven doesn't cooperate. When I put it on 350F it soars to 425F and burns everything to a crisp! Stove...well...that's not much better. It tends to want to boil over the stuff I put in pans. And then it dawned on me. . . the crockpot! I haven't tried the crockpot! I found it in the back of Mom's pantry covered in dust. I washed it off and plugged it into the wall and it still works! Now, what to put in it? I began asking my friends for suggestions and a theme developed. With the majority of things you can put in a crockpot one item stood out and shined above them all. Cream of mushroom soup! You can put all kinds of meat in a crockpot and if you cover it with mushroom soup - Walla! Instant joy at the dinner table! So I've had two adventures so far - chicken and rice with cream of mushroom soup and I shoved a roast down into it one night last week. Literally shoved it down in there. It wouldn't fit! There are three guys in my house. No wimpy roast will suffice here. But you know, it cooked up just perfectly! Now the rice turned out to be a gluttonous goo but they all loved it anyway! They want the gooey chicken again! And the roast and tattas come out great as well! So if you have any suggestions for Crockpot Girl let me know. I think I've found my friend in the kitchen!