Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

Despite Michael's deteriorating health, I'm doing my best to ring in the new year with a positive attitude and an eye toward my future. Whatever God has planned for me will enrich my life here in earth. The pain Michael and I are experiencing now will make all the future happier times so much more enjoyable - his in heaven. That fact alone makes me smile: an enormous change just in the last few months.

So, with that in mind, here are my hopes and goals for 2011:

-to make Michael's last days on earth as comfortable as possible
-once he enters our Father's loving arms, to remember the good times and celebrate the life he had
-appreciate and love my family more through actions and words
-pray more
-study God's word more
-participate in more activities at church
-cherish existing friendships and cultivate new ones
-stick to the budget (toughie)
-exercise more (yuch)
-plan healthier meals
-keep sewing room tidier
-quilt at least one flimsy every month

I think that's enough to keep me occupied. LOL!

Seriously, I wish you the happiest, healthiest and best of New Years. Let's make 2011 one of our best!

I love you all,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Better Days

I found this photo amongst the stored pictures in our computer. This was probably taken at the Pops on the Lawn concert several years ago. No oxygen tubes, no wheelchair - just funny faces and Michael's goofy summer hat.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wrapping It Up

I sincerely hope and pray that you all had a very blessed Christmas. Mine was unusual compared to those of the past, but nonetheless it was probably one of the best I've had. My children were home with me most of the time. We shared our holiday with my brother and his lovely family. AND I kept my concentration on the reason for the season. For those reasons, I greatly enjoyed Christmas.

Michael managed to sit through dinner with my brother's family on Christmas Eve. He also made it through opening presents on Christmas morning before returning to bed. He slept all day, only getting up in time for dinner. Even then, he ate very little. But, since the kids were at their grandparents' home, it afforded us an opportunity to talk about some things which required a bit of privacy. One that was foremost in my mind was to let him know that it was OK to let go. He doesn't need to "hang on" just for me or anybody else. We're all going to be OK and he understood/agreed. The hospice nurse wanted me to make sure he knew that since his will can be rather strong. Michael also told me that if euthanasia were legal he would have opted for it months ago. The poor man is suffering, perhaps not a physical pain most minutes, and he wants to leave this world.

Several nights before Christmas, I had to phone Hospice late at night because he was experiencing severe pain in his hands and arms. The nurse was at the house 15 minutes after the phone call. (I'm continually amazed by the care we receive from that organization.) Michael's experiencing all the signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure.

My prayer for Michael is that he can leave this world by simply going to sleep - it's what he wants - painless.

Martin was not able to visit on Boxing Day as the poor man is experiencing health issues of his own.

The children seemed to really liked the gifts they received this year. Andrea was overcome with emotion when I gave her my engagement diamond reset in a necklace. And, the best part for me is that only one gift has to be returned! My aunt and uncle in Memphis were thrilled by their gift - the Steelers quilt I made for them. Mom and Ken liked their new tabletopper. All in all a good gifting year. I get a lot of joy from giving people things they like.

It should be a hectic work week being the year-end cut off for our producers. Hoping to get out of the office at a reasonable hour on Friday since Andrea and Danny will be joining me for a dinner out at BD's Mongolian grill. Our annual New Year's Eve tradition of Chinese buffet is being altered since our favorite place closed and we love the new grill. Depending on how Michael is doing, we'll bring him a plate of his favorite sweet and sour chicken and then greet the new year at home. Boring yes, but enjoyable for me. Danny will probably leave our party for one more of his speed and Andrea wants her best friend to stay overnight.

I'll try to post later this week on my goals and hopes for 2011. It holds me accountable. For 2010, I wanted to become more active in the church and I'm happy to report that resolution stuck more than any other I've ever made. It's "paid back" immeasurably.

Love ya,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


First off, I apologize for not posting very frequently. The last few weeks have been hectic to say the least.

Last night I was rushing around, trying to get dinner clean up completed so I could start sewing or wrapping gifts when my brother phoned. He asked if I was going to be home; he wanted to come over for a few minutes to drop something off. I figured it was a tray of cookies or some other treat my sister-in-love baked. When Jimmy and Willie (my nephew) arrived at the house, Jimmy asked me and Andrea to come to the garage that he needed help.

Waiting right outside the garage was a brand new shiny Toro snowblower!!!! They filled it with fuel, started it and said, "Here, Cathy - try it out, it's yours!" Once again, the tears began to flow. I simply cannot believe the kindness a lot of people have extended to me over the last month. These "bright rays of kindness" have warmed my days immeasurably. It's not something I even thought about asking for - folks simply did things which they knew would bring a bit of comfort to me and my kids.

I truly believe God is showing me these days don't need to be gloomy. His people are all around me and are shining examples of His love. I once was fearful of being alone and now I know I won't be. Perhaps that's what God wants me to learn from all of this.

Michael's condition is no better. Simply taking a shower yesterday wore him out despite the best efforts of his home health care aide. (That woman is a saint!) He had another spell where his throat closed up and he felt like he was drowning. Mercifully, he sleeps a lot most of the days. One of my co-workers bought him a bottle of English beer to enjoy over the holidays - a real treat for Michael usually. I don't think beer and morphine mix well. I may have to enjoy it myself. - real hardship there! LOL........
We have a busy few days ahead of us - Danny's coming home with my grand-dog (Luka). My kids and I are going to Jimmy's house on Thursday night for my sister-in-love's family gathering. The Gumberts have taken us into their family lately, so we're honorary Gumberts! Friday night, Jimmy and family will be at our house for our annual Christmas Eve gathering. I'm making two different kinds of chili, Karen's bringing sub sandwiches. Simple, warm food on what's sure to be a chilly evening. The kids will probably leave for their grandparents' house in Columbus after opening their gifts and having breakfast on Christmas morning, leaving Michael and I to ourselves for a few hours. We've also asked some of Michael's friends to come over for the 26th (Boxing Day).
Looking forward to it all.
Have a very wonderful, happy Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Gift

The other day Andrea and I went shopping and chatted about Christmas gifts. She, like me, gets more of a "kick" giving presents to people than receiving a gift for ourselves. But, let me tell you, the parcel I got yesterday put that philosophy to test.

Thursday was typical of what I'm calling my "new normal". It included a frustrating lunch hour walking the aisles at Home Depot looking for materials for the new floor going into the bathroom. (Who knew a person would need so much C-R-A-P just to have somebody lay a vinyl floor?) I had also spent much of the morning in an anxious mood since I couldn't reach Michael on the phone until 11:45. His new health care aide was supposed to start visiting him yesterday and of course he gave me a lot of grief about it. (Pray he doesn't fire this one!) After work: a quick stop to see my sister-in-love to pick up a ticket for the church's Christmas pageant, grocery shopping and then home to fix dinner. Dinner in the oven, I noticed two boxes stacked by the front door. One, I knew was some things I ordered for Andrea. The other?

It was a lovely quilt with matching pillowcase my on-line quilting buddies created for me. I stood in the kitchen with the quilt draped over my arms and sobbed. This quilt has to be the most unexpected, loving thing anybody has ever done for me. The card with the gift said they can't be here in person to provide comfort, a quilt made with love is the next best thing. And the back of the quilt is signed with all their names - ten gals from across the US and Canada.

It was a while before I could compose myself and show the quilt to Michael. He agreed it was a truly beautiful gift and my friends were indeed special.

I knew that already.


Michael didn't fire the home health aide (a miracle!) He wasn't feeling up to a full shower, but the aide washed his hair. He sleeps most of the time these days, and is beginning to experience things which indicate a he's ready to leave this world. When he is awake, he struggles for breath despite the oxygen machine at its maximum setting. I spend a lot of my evenings and weekends fetching pills, making proper British tea, adjusting oxygen settings and serving his meals in bed.

Very little sewing, although I have a quilt on the frame right now that has to be finished by next Saturday. AND, there's another small quilt that needs to be quilted in time for a Christmas gift. I should be able to finish both with time to spare whilst Michael sleeps this weekend. Andrea's going to Columbus with her dad.

Before last night, it was tough for me to get into the Christmas frame of mind. I think I'll drag all the decorations out tonight and get started.

Love ya,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Different Direction

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We had a quiet one with just me, Michael, Andrea, Danny and Danny's girlfriend. The turkey's still not gone, which Sophie thinks is wonderful. (Never seen a kitten eat like her!)

The biggest news concerns Michael. He accepted Jesus on Saturday! Words cannot express how much of a burden has been lifted with that faith statement. His eldest daughter, Leah, wrote him a heartfelt letter in which she told him to read specific sections of the Bible. I read them out loud to him and then asked the question, "Do you believe?" after reading. After all these years, I expected to hear the same old stock answer from him. But prayers have worked, my friends. Don't ever doubt that!!!!

In the health area: worse. He felt so poorly by Saturday night he wanted me to admit him to the in-patient unit at Hospice. I told him, let's wait until tomorrow to see how you feel. Fortunately, he did feel better. Unfortunately, I told Leah about it via an e-mail. She phoned after church and couldn't stop crying the entire time we talked. The last few days have been OK for Michael: sleeping a lot, very little physical activity. It's tough for him to even talk on the phone. His hospice nurse explained that he's maxed out on the oxygen - any more would be useless since his lungs aren't capable of processing the exchange. I asked the nurse last Wednesday if she thought his lungs were worse and she said decidedly so. I was quiet for a few seconds and she continued, "I don't know how much longer he has."

I know many of you believe in and pray to our God consistently. Pray for a quick and painless change for Michael from this life into God's loving arms. Both he and I pray for that. I know it's a different direction, but it's what we think is best for Michael.

There are times I want to go into my sewing room, shut the door and not leave. Sewing is my daily therapy, time permitting. The kittens have discovered how much they can get into in that room, so many times I have to "enforce" the rules mid-seam. Believe it or not, work has been good therapy for me as well. It's a different type of lunacy and my girlfriends at the office are extremely supportive.

It's difficult to even think about Christmas shopping (Usually have most of it done by now.) Andrea and I are going to decorate the house after the cleaning lady does her work on Friday. It'll give Milly and Sophie something else to destroy other than my batting pile!

Love ya,