Friday, October 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Valerie


October 28, 2011
Dear Valerie,

I know that you are unable to read this, my last letter to you. You died on October 6th, but since I never got to really say goodbye, this letter helps ease my aching heart a bit.

You never professed a faith in Christ, but seemed open to my attempts to witness to you. Even while you were in a coma the last months of your life, I never ceased praying that the Holy Spirit would use my words to your benefit. And in my last letters, which Svenja read to you, I always included my love and prayers. I now can only continue praying for your grieving family, that they can find some measure of peace and ultimately draw near to Christ. I will never stop those prayers.

When we first met on Facebook, playing the game Ravenwood, I was immediately drawn to your quirky sense of humor. You made the first contact, and I wasn’t really interested in any kind of “chat friendship”. I was only interested in the game. As time when on, though, the game became less important than the true friendship that developed. Since you lived in Germany, the time difference dictated that our chats would come at the middle of my day and the end of your day. I was amazed that you spoke English so well, and delighted in the little quirks of your speech at times. The fact that you were the same age as Sarah, with little ones the same age as Lia was another bond.   

As the months went by, the daily conversations became in integral part of my day. I knew that I would be talking to you at some point every day. I loved learning about your life in Germany, the stores you went to, the kinds of meals you prepared for your husband and 2 girls. And you told me you enjoyed the same exchange about America and my life. I loved sharing recipes with you. I truly regret that you never got to make the Taco Salad you were so interested in. And I have done my best to teach Lia about Muffin Tin Meals!  

When you suddenly disappeared from Facebook, I became alarmed. When you didn’t respond to my messages, emails and letter, I was even more concerned. And then the day came when Svenja contacted me on Facebook to tell me the sad story of your brain tumor and aftermath. From that point on, I had the feeling that I was going to lose you, but never gave up hope or praying for your recovery. I kept writing letters that I knew Svenja would read to you, and prayed that my words would make their way through the coma to your heart. I kept praying until the day Svenja told me you lost your battle. And now the “pen pals” are your Mina and my Lia. Lia does not yet realize the importance of this contact to Mina, but hopefully will some day. It’s hard to lose your mother at the age of 5. And Rosie isn’t even 1 year old. And Mark is doing his best as a single father now, but he misses you terribly. There is one positive to all this though. I have now forged a friendship with Svenja, Mark’s cousin and your dear friend. Svenja loved you as much as anyone else. You will always be in my heart. Your family will always be in my prayers.

And so this letter ends. Our earthly friendship has come to a close as well. I eagerly await the day when it will resume when we both stand before the Father. May God grant this last plea!

Goodbye, dear Valerie. Goodbye my friend.

Love, Dot

Friday, October 21, 2011

30 Days of Pictures - Day 5

A picture of your biggest fear

That's a picture of Country Crest Health Center. That's where Marv's mom lives. It's a nursing home. It's a nice one, but it's a nursing home. That's also where my dad spent the last 2 years of his life. Not a lot of good memories there. Marv's mom is so different in her attitude and outlook than my dad was, which makes it a lot easier to deal with. But at the end of the visits, we get to go home and she doesn't. She's stuck there. I would rather die. I don't think I would be as bad as my dad was, and I would strive to emulate my MIL, who I adore. But I would rather die than spend my last time on earth in a nursing home. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sing Along With Me!

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I've been pretty sick this past week, so as a sop, this week's blog is a poem/song I wrote several years ago. It was mainly in response to the food that was being served to my dad in the nursing home, but can be applied to any kind of institution food. Enjoy! Come back for seconds, if you like!

Mystery Meals

(sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic)

They’re serving up the dinner and I sit down eagerly
I ask them what I’m eatin’ and they shrug quite helplessly
They tell me that it’s healthy and to eat it thankfully
The Mystery Meals are here

Come, and sit down at the table
Bring your Maalox if you’re able
Good nutrition’s just a fable
The Mystery Meals are here

I lift the cover on my dinner just to take a peek
I poke it gently with my fork and then hear someone shriek:
“What is this crap they’ve served us now, that we’re supposed to eat!?”
The Mystery Meals are here  (sing chorus)

I eat my dinner cautiously and try to keep it down
And hope for something yummy when they bring dessert around
Dessert is an enigma, too, a sort of greenish-brown
The Mystery Meals are here  (sing chorus)

Friday, October 7, 2011

August/September Book Report

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My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.

Dr. Taylor was a brain scientist when she had a major stroke at the age of 37. This is her fascinating account of her journey into recovery. I have to admit I skimmed some of the technical stuff, but it’s all pretty ‘user-friendly’ as far as laymen go. Very readable. She writes with courage and humor.

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The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the first book in the Precious Ramotswe series and is a total delight. I had heard of these books, and they’d been recommended to me, but I’d never gotten around to reading any. I love the spunky, common sense woman who starts her own detective agency in Africa. I look forward to more of these books.

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Will Rogers, Immortal Cowboy by Shannon Garst

This biography was from the Youth section, so no bad stuff. I doubt that anyone was this perfect, but there is no question that Will Rogers was a real American treasure.

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The Lords and The New Creatures by Jim Morrison

There are some interesting verbal pictures amongst these words. The way it flows along makes it feel almost like automatic writing. Not much of it makes sense, though. It’s Jim Morrison. What do you expect?