Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's Holding!

As you can see by the radar, we are getting quite a bit of rain.  Scratch that.  It freakin' pouring out there!  Just checked the basement.  It's dry!  Great joy in the morning!  It's blessed dry!

Gratitude!  Gratitude!  Gratitude!


This morning's attire can only be described as "soupy and gloomy."  The humidity weighs me down allowing a flood of memories to resurface while a list of things to do clicks in my head.  It's August weather such as this that tells me the season's transitioning.  The tomato crop has slowed to a crawl and blossoms are beginning to wither.  This summer has been a good one for my little urban farm.  I can't complain.  The freezer's jam packed with cherry tomatoes, kale, and green beens.

Today my prayers go to those along the Gulf coast as Tropical Storm (almost Hurricane) Isaac approaches.  It's unbelievable to me that another storm threatens New Orleans so close to Hurricane Katrina's anniversary.  Hopefully, lessons from her wrath encourage residents to do the right thing and their preparations have been thorough. 

The "Mom Mission" continues.  I need to get her on an earlier schedule.  She's tired, grieving, and, at times, can't make sense of it all.  For some reason on Sunday she insisted I change her room around.  This all stems from radio reports featuring severe thunderstorms as the meteorologist cautions (quite strenuously)  folks to stay away from windows.  Mom insists she needs to get away from the bedroom window.  I comply with the move (although I wanted to do it after the room had been washed and painted), but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.

Browsing the hardware store had the feel of a European vacation (I don't get out much.)  The paint department offered a vast array of new colors and textures.  The house needs a change.  We need to get away from the colors of what once were to those that offer brightness and hope.  I leave the store with a fistfull of paint swatches, eager for Mom to choose the colors that speak to her.

The building department proved to be a problem.  I don't build much.  A web search informed me about these drip edge thingys.  I finally found them only to discover they were 10 feet long, not too easy to get into a small vehicle.  I asked the salesman if they came any shorter.  His response, "No.  Just pull your car around back and we'll stretch it!"  Wise guy!  In the end he cut the piece in two, which barely fit in the car.  A $5. a strip fix to save a big buck expenditure.  That's the way to roll!

Fingers crossed the "indoor water feature" has been resolved.  Yours truly did her rooftop inspection last Saturday and installed the aforementioned "drip edging."  (Thanks to my neighbor for holding the ladder.  She's a home repair gem!)  I caulked the two 5' pieces back together, so the moisture shouldn't seep through as well as liberally stuffing the stuff around the offending gutter.  Thankfully, the moisture barrier had two days to cure.  It's a temporary measure, but the edging has kept the cellar dry as of this writing.  If we can avoid tropical storms, blizzzards, and ice dams, it'll make it through the winter, next spring I'll get bids on a new roof.  This home management stuff has proven to be new territory for me.

In the meantime, since I don't sleep much, I've signed up for free college courses on Coursera.  Coursera comprises a group of top notch colleges and universities offering open courses, aka free.  Enrollment for me includes a course on "Introduction to Sustainability."  These are non-credit courses, but learning is important to me.  Without education, news hype takes on a life of its own.  I don't know what news accounts to believe any more and what measures to take to be a good steward of the planet.  So far, so good! 

So, what's new in your worlds?   

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Caregiver's Post-mortem

Today marks one months since my father passed.  I've been flooded with memories.  Those bits and pieces of the recent past contain small seeds of self-discovery.  Things I didn't know about myself and why they are pouring over me now, I have no idea.  Perhaps  my mind now has a chance to sort these journal entries, to put them in some meaningful context much as a news department meets after a newscast to see what worked, what went off the rails.

In today's meeting with me, myself, and I, we reflect on that day leading up to my father's hospice care.  That awful day when the doctor delivered the news that "There's nothing more we can do. He has 3-6 months.  Here are your options."  I only had a day to absorb this news.  As I stare at my journal, I realize I had less than a day.  Actually, I had an hour to decide as a social worker recited the possible next steps.  My mind had a terrible time dealing with the phrase "nothing we can do" and yet the health care system demanded my presence in the here and now to move forward, their job completed.  The clock ticked.  Nursing home or family home?  I remember thinking this is a hairpin turn in my family's life while going 90 miles an hour?  This is crazy!

Sitting in the car in the hospital parking lot, some small voice from within helped me to focus on the news.  I knew the day would come, but it didn't help the intense shock at hearing the words.  Something inside helped me to process not what I had just heard, but what the future demanded.  First thing at the top of list -go home to tell my mother the news.  My hands shook as I gripped the steering wheel.  I told myself not to cry.

At home, I gently broke the news to my mother.  She understood. She's a real Steel Magnolia.  She had been there when her father passed.  My mother was only 17 years old.  Whatever decisions we made had to be in her best interest as well as my father's.  If we placed Dad in a nursing home (something he hated only two months before), she would insist on daily visits and winter lurked around the corner.  She'd give her all not to abandon her husband to the point of putting her own health at risk.  The answer to "Where" emerged as clear as day.  I never asked myself if I fit the role of caregiver.  I never put myself in the equation.

After running back to the hospital to deliver the news that Dad would be coming home, I needed to figure out just where in the house we'd put a hospital bed.  Mom and Dad's foresight must have very keen back in the day as they purchased a single floor house plan, but access to the master bedroom wouldn't work due to a tight turn from the hallway into the bedroom.  No good.  The living room had to be the answer, but where would I put the living room furniture?  I had no time to secure storage.  No time to schedule a truck to move the furniture.  Hell, I had no time to go to eat or go to the bathroom!

The "Hour of Decision" morphed into the "Night of High Anxiety."  The hospital had arranged for hospice who, in turn, called to tell me the hospital equipment would arrive by 10 AM and the ambulance would bring Dad home by 2 PM.  I acknowledged the schedule, but I hadn't done a thing about clearing out the living room.   I remember thinking "this is happening to someone else."  Sleep never visited me that night and. as I would soon learn, sleep would be a tentative visitor in the weeks and months to follow.

As dawn approached I realized the day before hadn't been a nightmare, but cold reality, I made a cup of coffee and pondered the living room situation.  I couldn't lift the stuff in order to get it into the basement.  Everything in that room seemed gargantuan.  Overstuffed chairs.  Coffee Table.    How the heck I'm going to make this work?  The answer came in creating what I call a "Neighborhood Nightmare."  At 6 AM, I threw open the front door and proceeded to drag, push, and pull the living room furniture into the driveway.  By 10 AM, the bed and an oxygen concentrator arrived.  Also, in the course of an hour, I had filled three outlets:  two for the hospital bed, one for the concentrator, one for the television, one for the cable modem, and one for a table lamp.  My fingers crossed that I didn't trip a fuse.  At 2:30 PM, Dad arrived to my mother's and my delight! 

At 4 PM the hospice admissions nurse visited.  She reviewed Dad's medication schedule, and other needs, which had simply not crossed my mind.  Need such as toileting a bedbound patient, frequent turning to avoid bedsores, aspiration (choking) prevention, etc.  The only response my head screamed silently sounded like this, "What?" or "Are you kidding me."  Now, I knew I decided to care for both Dad and Mom, but as she recited his care plan, I began to relate to parents bringing home a new baby.  Asking myself, "What the hell do we do now?"

The result of this post-mortem of the first 24 hours brings to light a few key points that might assist those caregivers entering into long-term care of a loved one:

  1. Time:  The medical system takes care of itself.  We, who are caregivers, must insist on a adequate period of time to process what we've just been told.  Some professionals might say that my father's transition to hospice care occurred seamlessly.  I beg to differ.  Dad's prognosis needed to be communicated to my mother and to me in a way we could have a day or three to mentally, emotionally, and logistically process this shock to our systems.  The first rule of caregiving has to be self-care.  Switching into a heightened stage of caregiving without so much as a good night's sleep flies in the face of that all important rule.
  2. Questions:  There are things that never dawned on me to ask.  Questions such as types of equipment, medication schedules and administration, oxygen administration and electrical power. What's the nurse's schedule?  When I think of getting Dad home and then having to re-arrange a room because I needed more electrical outlets, or not being equipped to meet his needs, I find myself saying prayers of gratitude to the Divine for having workeded as well as it did.
  3. Preparation:  Again, prayers of gratitude to the Divine for guiding me in my emergency management career leading me to first-aid courses, including oxygen administration.  The courses, offered by the American Red Cross, proved to be the foundation of my caregiving abilities.
 In closing, I had the honor and priviledge of caring for my father until the end.  As a "just older" woman I hear the little girl inside saying, "I miss you, Daddy.  I did my best."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Matter of Independence

Mom has been keeping to her bed lately, which worries me.  She does come out in the evening to watch her favorite TV shows and goes back to bed around 9 PM.

Reflecting on this situation brings me to several conclusions:  1)  too much bed = not too much muscle mass; 2)  this might be her grief process;  3)  Mom needs independence, but built in safety measures. 

Granted I'm running around the house trying to complete paperwork, prepare meals, and look out for the property.  It does keep one busy, but not the point of ignoring a human being, so I've devised a plan to get Mom slowly, but surely, back in action.

Greatest Generation products don't give up easily.  They've learned to push through life's problems with a determination that can't be described.  They this way of life in their youth..  It's called survival.  Mom's a risk taker, has been described as the Energizer Bunny  (translation - goes until she falls), so we are going to embark upon some group activities.

Today she began to fold laundry.  I took the sheets, blankets, and spreads due to their size and bulk.  Mom completed the rest.  At the end of the task, she was tired; however, I detected a spark in her eyes that shone the pure light of purpose.  Divine, absolute purpose.  That simple effort told her she remained in this game of life and I have to admit she helped me immeasurably.

I once spoke to a social worker while  my folks were in the nursing home for rehabilitation.  Mom had tremendous anxiety issues while she tried struggled to walk again.  The nursing home maintained she had to perform or pay for the room.  If she took a day from physical therapy, she was out.  It was as if the nursing home had hired her for some unknown purpose, but she must pass her performance review or else be deemed irrelevant.  (As a matter of fact she suffered from a post-operative infection that I screamed to have checked!)  As I told my friend about Mom's situation, she looked me square in the eye and said, "Your mother has the right to fail."

My friend's statement stung as if I had been slapped in the face.  It stung of ignorance.  It stung of cruelty.  It stung of dispassion.  It flew right in the face of my faith.  For once in my life a statement rendered me speechless.

Do I think people do not have the right to fail?  It's a tough question.  My answer can only be wrapped around what I've experience with my parents.  If one becomes ill, but has the will to go on the best they know how with support, then no.  Perhaps the definition of failure lives in a black and white reality.  If society can't take care of them, then that's that.  The deed done.  Is that healthy?

My faith tells me every day that we need to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  Are we supposed to help our neighbor from facing failure.  No one wants to be branded a failure, so what gives healthcare workers the right to make that pronouncement?  It's like a chef calling his menu "products," rather than a result of passion.  Our parents, aging relatives, or aging neighbors require help from having their dignity taken away from them.  To uphold and devise methods where an elderly person can wear the cloak of independence.

Perhaps we can air this mindset into the light of day for discussion, because I, for one, will not make a snap judgement about my mother.  I'm preserving her right to succeed for as long as she can.      

Sunday, August 19, 2012


It's 4:37 AM and I've been awake since 3:31 AM.  Three weeks ago, I would have attributed my interrupted sleep to my father's needs in the middle of the night, aka E.D.T (Early Dad Time), but my broken sleep pattern has another meaning now - F.A.T. 

F.A.T. has a different meaning to me than what most people would think.  I'm not talking about muffin tops, spare tires, or expanded pieces of my body.  F.A.T. is the acronym for "Fall Anticipation Time".  F.A.T. messes with my sleep cycle.  It's an energy that calls me telling me there are things to do in order to enter winter.  Things such as hauling out the winter blankets, planting a fall garden, deciding what gardens to close, putting things away, and taking out the heavy hitters.  Heavy hitters such as sweaters, mittens, scarfs, cleaning the storm windows, putting the shovels on standby (let's not forget the Halloween snowfall last year, my friends).  And, the all important, cannot be ignored vegetable harvest and canning.

If there's one culinary treat my mother cannot live without it's her tomatoes.  This year I planted three heirloom varieties resulting in three different sized tomatoes.  She's gone through the hearty heirloom beefsteak tomatoes like they were going out of style.  The cherry and grape tomato harvest came in with a boom, but she made a nice dent in the crop, but she's not about to run out soon.

I asked her if she could really differentiate between the taste of the tomatoes grown outside her window and the commercial varieties.  Bless her heart.  She told me she couldn't get enough of the homegrown flavor.  The tomato had a deeper richer taste.  Her comments were good news to me because she's about 80 lbs and I'm always trying to feed her something, anything, all the time.

The preservation plans for our robust harvest came from several Internet foodie sites.  I've already frozen a great deal and today I'll do the slow-roasted and preserved in olive oil method, just to change things up a bit (and no, I won't forget the garlic). 

Next, I'll move on to kale.  Kale's new to my garden and the crop did very, very well.  Too well.  I am the only one who eats Kale.  Mom can't have it because it interferes with her medication.  Dad's nurses would leave with a bunch of two of kale and towards the end I'd pull up an entire plant, dust off the dirt, and put the beautiful plant in a bag.  I am up to keister in Kale, but the folks on Facebook's Cold Antler Farm group gave me some excellent recipes.  Kale pasta anyone?  Who knew.  Kale smoothies?  What?  Kale chips?  Awesome by the way. 

After all that's accomplished, I'll move on to the herb drying.  I dry herbs for many purposes, but today's focus rests on the culinary and tea herbs.  My beautiful friend Katie gave me an antique herb drying rack that makes drying a breeze.  I'll harvest a good amount of anise hyssop, lemon balm, mullein (people say it's a weed, it's an herb!), rosemary, russian sage, and lemon thyme (delicious sprinkled on chicken before roasting).

So, that's F.A.T. as in the harvest.  F.A.T. as in preparation for the winter.  A time of cool crisp air, beautiful turning leaves, and, here we go again, change.

The Proof Is In the Paperwork

I'd like to say I gained some traction today, but it was slow going.  Very slow.

For all those pondering becoming a family caregiver or simply being the child of an elder parent, begin with the paperwork first.  I'm talking Vital Records.  Gather ye offical papyrus while ye may before entering the world of 24/7 caregiving.  Don't leave this task until after the funeral as I did.  Well, to be kind to myself, I had most of the paperwork, but missed one important piece of the puzzle - the marriage certificate.  My mother swears she put it someplace safe, but that safe place eludes her.  Now, these two folks have always been my parents, I had no reason to doubt their union.  Mom has records from her graduation from elementary school, so the question never entered my mind.  I thought when they applied for this and that, they supplied said vital stuff, but that's not the case. 

This lapse in record-keeping provides its own measure of embarrassment as a)  I pride myself on having my ducks in a row, and b)  I'm taking a genealogy course for crying out loud and that stuff should have been resting nicely with the hundreds of family records already in my possession!  Forehead slap!

So, with great deal humility, I set out to visit our fair city's Vital Records folks to acquire said missing piece of my parents' history (and mine for that matter).  I wrongfully thought this small errand would be a quick in and out.  No worries.  Um, well, my time did prove to be a quickie as I discovered that the cartridge containing the document legalizing their "I dos"  became an "I don't" as in, "Sorry.  I don't have this record."  Done.  Nadda.  The clerk couldn't have been sweeter.  She offered to order the document from the State.  I declined telling her I needed to get things taken care of soonest.

So with a heavy heart I returned home to complete the State request form, check on Mom, and wait until 12:30 PM, the time when our fair Vital Records Department opened and prayed the next level of government had this record.

When I arrived at Vital Records, I could not believe the line!  My heart sank.  I needed to get home.  This odyssey had entered its 5th hour!  A sign posted at the entrance directed me to "Take a Number," which annoyed me to no end.  "Great, now I'm at the Vital Records deli.  I'll have one marriage certificate to go, hold the mayo!"  (Note:  I hadn't eaten yet, so pardon the deli analogy.)  I took the number, saw it said "38," looked at the "Now Serving" number and lo and behold discovered it flashed "31."

The clerk knew her stuff, found the record, and got me out of there in less than hour.  I still don't know where all those people came from and they were still there when I left.  All told, this short errand involved 6 hours of my time, but I had what I needed.  Finally.

I guess I gained a bit of traction, but this wee hill took forever!   

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Garden Surprises!!

Saturday I stole a few moments to explore the garden.  My poor neglected garden took the brunt of the heat this summer.  The iris pods are crispy, the lemon thyme scorched, and I spied some pretty sorry looking lavender.  All has not been lost as I soon discovered.

I planted a new birdfeeder right on the front lawn in order to do some birding from our front window.  It's been a pretty active venue.  Cardinals, robins, & mourning doves frequently fill-up while giving me a front row seat to their beauty.

But wait, why didn't I notice this before?  A trio of sunflowers sprounted around the feeder.

The sunflower rests its head against the heat.

And yesterday morning: 

Getting ready to wake.

And, THIS morning:

Hello, Gorgeous!

And THAT makes me happy!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Last night I finally surrended to whatever had been toying with me and watched television.  Even though I've spent over half my life working in television, my viewing habits have gone from 60 to 0 in the blink of any eye.  Television can be a powerful, beautiful medium, but the reality shows just unleash a great deal of angst and anger into the world that prompt me to hit the "Off" button.

A channel surf led me to the program, "Ice Road Truckers."  For the life of me, I can't explain the attraction.  Some might say I identify with them because my father drove trucks in his early days.  Perhaps the rawness of the Alaskan and Yukon wildernesses demonstrated a certain harmony (or disharmony) between Man & Nature.  Or, because its been so sickly humid here in the Northeast, I just needed a bit of snow, wind, and ice to get my mind off this "tomato" weather.  Maybe I just need a serious change of scenery. 

Lately, I just can't seem to get a foothold on life without my father.  He and I had many discussions about his wishes, his funeral, things I need to do around the house, the property, etc., etc.  Mom knows he's gone and her resolve amazes me, inspires me, yet I can't seem to get a blessed thing completed.  Friends have reassured me it's too soon.  I'm going too fast.  They prescribe rest.  The lists of things to do pile up like an Artic blizzard and grow faster than a Yukon snowdrift.

For some reason as I watched IRT, one driver in particular caught my attention, Alex.  The man can drive through anything, anytime, but he always has an co-pilot - his faith.  To watch this man navigate roadways, which at times can be seen and unseen, brings forth not just the strength of his gift, but how he acknowledges his life and the dangers of being a long haul trucker through prayers of gratitude with each and every mile.

In this particular episode, Alex negotiates a 120-mile mining road replete with shear cliffs, steep inclines, and treacherous turns.  A real knucklebiter.  On the return trip, he misses a gear and the rig begins to roll backward down the incline.  The truck spins its wheels searching for traction.  The trailer approaches the drop-off where bad things can happen to both driver and cargo if the trailer goes over.  He downshifts.  The truck finally stops.  I finally breathe and apparently Alex did as well.  He starts his ascent up the incline again, slowly and skillfully without missing a gear.  He reaches the top.  He's safe and offers prayers of gratitude.

That entire scene became my "Aha" moment.  Had I been driving that rig in my current state of "get 'er done," one might be reading about my going over the cliff.  How I had missed a gear resulting in a fatal scene.  I need to downshift.  The mountain journey stands right in front of me.  This journey looms over me.  As I negotiate this thing called "grief," I need to pay attention to what's in front of me, not be afraid to change gears when necessary, be grateful for what I have, and, most importantly, breathe.  My life from my father's passing forward can best be described as spinning my wheels on the "Grieving Highway."  I had lost my traction.

We're on the road now.  My precious cargo called "Mom" listens to the radio in the other room.  If I need to "chain-up" by asking for help, I will so I don't lose traction again.  My prayers of gratitude shine like the sun on snow after the blizzard.

Perhaps this reality show-thing isn't so bad afterall.



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grace, Guidance, and Gifts: Sacred Blessings to Light Your Way

Author: Sonia Choquette
Places: United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Republic of South Africa, Canada, and India
Publisher: Hay House, Inc. USA: http://www.hayhouse.com; Australia: http://www.hayhouse.com.au; United Kingdom: http://www.hayhouse.com.uk; South Africa: http://www.hayhouse.co.za; Canada: www.raincoast.com; India: http://www.hayhouse.co.in
Edition: 1st. Edition, July 2012
Pages: 231
Special Features: Meditation CD included
Price: USA/CAN $18.95; UK 12.99
Tradepaper ISBN: 978-1-4019-3744-7
Digital ISBN: 978-1-4019-3745-4

Had I been browsing the stacks of any bookstore or digital new releases on the computer, my attention would have been immediately drawn to the latest from Sonia Choquette and for all good reason: Who doesn't need more sacred blessings in their lives or to be reminded of those precious gifts bestowed upon us?

The title invites readers to learn what is in store for them once they shift their focus from walking aimlessly along their journey to turning to one of Divine attentiveness. The cover, designed by Julie Davidson, illuminates that invitation in the form of a lighted candle drawing us toward something truly special which lies between the covers.

Ms. Choquette defines her mission, as well as the premise of this book, "to unite your soul and your spirit" through three Divine blessings: Grace, Guidance, and Gifts. Reading the introduction offers important instruction prior to beginning the meditations.

Formatted into three sections, each blessing contains a Message from Spirit, a Morning Affirmation or Invocation, a daily Mantra to repeat throughout the day, and a concluding a Blessing. The writing revives the soul and invokes the strength of Spirit.

Grace, Guidance, and Gifts cannot be defined as a passive read, although that's what I did initially. Opening the book to a random page can prove equally effective. This is an interactive work requiring the reader to begin a daily ritual or to enhance one’s established prayer practice. The author writes in an easy, understandable, non-denominational style applicable to all faith groups or traditions. Read individually or in a group setting.. Ms. Choquette provides a “True North” for the soul to look toward the Creator.

The author recommends the accompanying CD be played at bedtime. The disc contains three guided meditations ranging in length from 15 to 20 minutes focusing on the three blessings. They are designed to draw the listener into a relaxed, safe, state and open one up to that particular blessing.

As a new member of Hay House’s review program, selecting this book could not have come at a better time in my life. I believe Grace, Guidance, and Gifts: Sacred Blessings to Light Your Way has the potential to become an important tool to reveal what lies within, make the grey days brighter, and, ultimately, to unite with Spirit.

Available at Barnes & Noble.

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Women's Handball: Russia vs. Brazil

Mom never ceases to amaze me. We're sitting in the cool living room watching the Women's Handball match, Russia vs. Brazil.  The conversation goes like this:

Mom:  "This is interesting I didn't expect to like it."

JD:  "I'm glad you like it."

Mom:  "It's very interesting."

JD:  "What do you like about the sport?"

Mom:   "Look.  They all have their bras on..."

I looked at the screen and sure enough emblazoned across their chests in big bold letters appears "BRA."  

I cannot make this stuff up, folks!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Surrounded by Angels

This morning we laid my father to rest. 

Oprah would call this memorial as a "full circle moment."

 The service took place where their love story began 64 years ago.  My mother had one simple request - to have my father's service at the church where they wed.  She wanted to be in familiar surroundings.  Let the memories of their joining as husband and wife intertwine with this latest memory - one of parting.  So, we all gathered at that church where they vowed by saying "I do" and meant it.  In today's world, some marriages last 64 minutes, then the cold reality of what's ahead rises to the surface.

I agonized over this ceremony.  Agonized.  I reviewed the liturgy over and over again with the "Service Coordinator."  Same scenario for the music.  Everything had to contain meaning to my father and our family.  Our values, our hopes, and our love.  Since my parents didn't belong to this parish, the thought of a stranger delivering a eulogy smacked of hypocrisy.  Nope, not going there.

I decided upon the theme of the service.  It has been in front of me and I almost missed it.  It's the very thing my father prayed for throughout his life - Peace.  A peace he and his fellow soldiers fought for during his time in Europe.  A peace when broken him to tears when he heard we had gone to war during Gulf I and earlier when he wanted to volunteer as a truck driver during Vietnam.  We have enjoyed Pax Americana throughout our history, but I'm talking about a different peace.  One that endures throughout the ages. 

Mom championed through the service in a wheelchair.  We had a few hairy moments as she climbed onto a chair lift to enter the church, but the driver and I guided her through the process.  Amazingly she heard the sermon and enjoyed the cantor.  She delighted in seeing her family, her friends, my friends.  The people who mean everything to her.

Encircling the altar from above, beautiful statues of angels gazed out at us.  I thought Dad and his angel.   Mom said she knew she'd be fine if her two strong nephews and their wives attended.  They did.  She was.  Although she tired after the military honor guard.

We did not get together afterwards as Mom had been up for most of the night and she needed to rest after three weeks of late nights with Dad.  She came home, changed her clothes, ate her lunch, and took a nap.

In my heart I know one thing, when St. Peter asks my father what he wants to do in heaven he'll respond, "Join Team Peace."  He'll work like an Olympian and then some until the job's done.  I love you, Dad!

Dona nobis pacem, (Give us peace.)