Sunday, March 29, 2009

No bitching allowed

This passage is in my morning devotion today... Tim's comment on the last post prompts this:

" 'In order to suffer without dwelling on our own affliction," Thomas Merton once contemplated, "we must think about a greater affliction, and turn to Christ on the cross. In order to suffer without hate, we must drive out bitterness from our heart by loving Jesus. In order to suffer without hope of compensation, we should find all our peace in the conviction of our union with Jesus. These things are not a matter of ascetic technique but of simple faith."[1] If there is a hint of bitterness in your heart toward anyone, think on Jesus. He bore that bitterness".

This sums up why I try to not bitch too much about pain days... except to Mike and Joan because they are the (un?)fortunate ones who have to put up with me the most. When I was a kid, my Catholic-trained-but-not-practicing mom would always say to me, "Offer it up! That's what my mother used to tell me!" That was her solution to all my crying about polio problems. (That felt cold and uncaring, but did help lead me to love God, believing that He cared!)
Gram would often say to anyone who even sounded like they were complaining, "Aw, quityerbitching" and then she'd laugh. Without saying it, I think she knew we all had more than we deserved.

With Easter coming, today's devotion reminds me even more of why I love The Lord Jesus and truly believe in Him. And as a mother and grandmother, I can just touch the edge of the pain of the enormous sacrifice God the Father gave to have His only Son die for all of mankind's sins...
would I freely offer one of my family members to bail you out of a mess you got yourself into by your own shitty choices???????
Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen... you'd be circling the drain, headin for a loooong dirt nap before I'd do that.
That's why I didn't get to be God...

Friday, March 27, 2009

taking a pain day here

Today was a "pain day'... a day when I don't do very much except lounge around resting, trying to lessen muscle pain caused by doing way too much without taking resting breaks. I recall the days when I could go like hell all day long, plop into bed at night and wake refreshed for another busy day. it hasn't been like that for a long time now though. To live well with any chronic condition... as in post-polio in my case... one has to live differently, with new methods, routines and habits. It is an ongoing journey to try to perfect those new habits that help me live well. Sometimes the urgency of the situation calls for pushing through the fatigue and pain to get a job done... like I did at work this past week. Got the job done, but am paying for it today. I have to accept the fact that there may be more times like this... and just also accept the fact that I am wlling to take pain days as necessary, although I try to keep them to a minumum. The following video shows the icing on the cake of today... an almost ruined dinner... that turned out ok in the end; we did eat it and it was acceptable. no need to send Grandpa to In-n-Out for dinner.
Grandpa is almost through with the painting and detail work and the carpets will be cleaned in 2 days... then on Saturday our house guest will arrive from Boston... one of our favorite Massholes, Nurse Michelene! She wants out of cold NE and into warm SoCal, so she will be with us 3 weeks. (Please God don't let us have a freak snowstorm or she will freak out!!)
I will make a video of re-done rooms later in the week.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19 Saint Joseph's Day

Any old Catholic will know March 19 is St Joseph's day... 2 days after St Patrick's Day. I bring this up because I have a story to tell about St Joe.
Our great-grandma Dennehy (or Dennehe) was mom's grandma from Ireland. She was originally Anastasia Hurley and married Michael Dennehe. They were both from County Waterford, Ireland, and came to America about 1880. I don't know if they knew each other in Ireland, or met on the boat over to America, but they got married in New York then went to Illinois where Michael's older half-brother John Dennehe was already settled. It is said Anastasia wanted the hell out of Ireland because when her parents would die, her older brother would inherit everything and she would have to work for him, owning nothing. Irish law at that time was different, and the place was still under the English crown. No wonder so many got the hell out of there.
Anyway, Old Anastasia died about 1914 before my mom could know her. But the story goes that as Anastasia lay dying she had not spoken or opened her eyes for several days. A death vigil was held at her bedside (the family probably couldn't wait to crack open the best whiskey and start the wake..) when all of a sudden Anastasia sat up, opened her eyes and said, "I SEE SAINT JOSEPH! He's standing by my bed!" St Joseph was known to be her favorite saint of all time. And then she died shortly thereafter. My mom must've told me this story a hundred times. So... did St Joe come to get her, or was this just another Irish bullcrap tale? huh? huh?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

March 13, 1971, a baby boy arrives right on his due date... a Saturday morning if I recall correctly. His daddy had taken a Lamaze class with his mommy, but the hospital where Mommy worked didn't yet allow dad's into the delivery room. So mom had to go into the freezer of a delivery room with strangers to get Timmy out. When Tim arrived (his name had been settled on long before by his mom) his dad was brought to the hallway door so mommy could shout out, "We have our Tim. We have our Tim!" Dad thought mom shouted, "We have Twins!!" So dad became confused and was looking for Tim's other half for a few days.
Timmy John was so darned cute!!

Then he got a little sister who admired him greatly.

He wanted more so he prayed for another sibling... perhaps a brother this time.

So when Mommy brought home another baby and told Timmy it was his "new little sister"

... he replied, "So can we take back Kristy now?"
And THAT started the sibling war.
But Tim had been trained well

... that the world is ok if you just keep a cold beer and a weapon handy.
And when that doesn't work, just plod through the tough years, keep on truckin', take the wire hanger lickings, the loud yellin sprees, the nutty-ass teachers... and learn from the good teachers who are all around you, keep on praying, and the sibling war subsides and turns into love eternally.


Friday, March 06, 2009

25 year mile marker

We all have milestone markers in our lives, and a big one for me is the day my dad died. It was 25 years ago today that he died, at home, with his wife and dog by his side. That's what he wanted, that's what he got. Here is a picture of him from 1959.

JANUARY 10, 1917 - MARCH 6, 1984
I can look back and see that following my gut paid off in a big way concerning Dad's last year. In 1980 I was nagged by the feeling that I had to take "Hospice training" and get involved as a hospice nurse. I kept reading about it, a class was starting in the fall, and I "knew" I had to take the class. Not that I really "wanted" to do it, but had the feeling I HAD to do it. I took the training and was Simi's hospice nurse for a volunteer hospice for 2 years. I got a stipend of 200 dollars per month. There was no end to the new cases of dying people. People just would not stop getting seriously ill, calling hospice, and dying. It was a life-long learning experience to say the least. After 2 years, I burned out, partly because of the emotional toll, partly because it became one of THREE part time jobs I was trying to juggle, and I just felt I could not do it anymore.
Within one year after I left hospice work, Dad got ill. When it became clear his life was in danger, I suggested hospice be called for him in LA where he lived. We were at his Dr's office and Dad had told me I could ask the Dr about it for him. So... I says to the Dr in front of Dad... "Can you write an order for hospice consult for Dad?"...
And Dad says, as only Dad could do.... "Oh shit, I don't need no g**d*** hospice, I got Jaynie and she's gonna be my hospice nurse!" I protested saying I could not do that because I was his daughter, but the Dr says "You can do it" and inside I am screaming "NO, I CAN'T DO IT. LORD, TAKE ME FIRST AND GET ME OUT OF THIS!!!"
But, I learned that all things are possible to get through if I lean on The Lord for strength.
Dad died on his terms, just the way he lived. Start smoking at 13, why not? Drink alcohol every day by 17, why not?
I spent his last night in his home with Maria his wife, and Pooch, his dog. Dad got up under his own power to pee about an hour before he died, and spoke to us about 15 minutes before he died. What a gift to see him make the transition from his body to the next life look so easy. Although, as I sat near him that night he did say, "Jaynie, this is the hardest g**damn thing I have ever done."
That's all he'd say about it. When the 2 mortuary guys came to the house to remove his body, Pooch the dog, who was a fart-in-a-skillet (Dad's term for a thing that could not sit still)... Pooch barked and growled and tried to bite the guys so they would not get into Dad's room where he lay. Maria had to chase the dog, tackle him, put Pooch in a headlock and lock him in the other room.
I sure hope he has rested in peace since then. He'd hate the commie take over of his country lately; current events have me thinking a lot, "what would dad say about this?" and my answer usually ain't pretty, as those of you who knew Dad would know.
Anyway, RIP, DAD!
A quarter of a century has flown by... see you soon on the other side!
I remember.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

the relatives visit

Cousin Rich brought his mom here for an overnight visit today; Rich leaves for Italy soon with his wife for 4 months; she got a Fulbright Scholarship and is going to teach in Italy. So he's getting a quick visit in with the SoCal relatives. It is good to see him again and hear about his adventures teaching in NE and living in snow country. We learn the latest on the Sanger farm where his mom still lives as well. They brought Gramma Kelly a belated B'day gift from Linda so we videoed a few minutes. Aunt Vera displays her ranch goods as well; the OJ trees are still producing. All of us gettin older by the minute, but it just seems to give us all more stories to tell.