Friday, March 28, 2008

Angels Unaware

Grandpa circa 1939

As many of my friends out there know, we are in the sad process of watching my 87 year old Grandfather Earl McKnight fade away from the dreaded pancreatic cancer. Less than 2 weeks ago he was diagnosed, and since then we have had to call Hospice in. Even in the midst of this incredible sadness of watching him suffer and slip away, We have the comfort of our strong faith. God has also surrounded us with loving angels here on earth. I am so grateful for their presence in our lives. It makes my sad heart sing to think how wonderful it is to be touched by these special beings when we need it the most.

First of all, our friends and family have come from hither and yon to bring food, pray, help with work, and visited or called for pleasant visits of comfort, prayer, and distraction. My online Artist friends have sent very touching heartfelt words of comfort and Art pieces full of Love, Hope, Kindness, Prayers and caring. They have buoyed my spirits and provided a world to lose myself in thru lovely eye-candy and happy, light-hearted banter.

Second, we have been so fortunate to have the help of Hospice. Every single person we have encountered has been kind, informative and reassuring. They have provided a wealth of information to us, eased our fears and worries, lent a shoulder to cry on when necessary, and provided meds, hospital beds, wheel chairs and walkers at a moments notice. It is such a blessing to have them provide the medicines to control his pain without having a hassle thru insurance.

Third, we have been blessed to find wonderful, caring, round the clock home health care workers to care for Grandma. They are all gentle, patient and experienced with all the many cruelties of dementia and Parkinsons. One in particular is a wonder to me. She is the main night shift care giver, her name is Carol.

Carol has been with us for 3 weeks. Carol is gentle and soft spoken. She is efficient, kind and loving. She is a tower of strength like I've never seen. Carol nursed her husband thru a long illness and his death, as well as her mother and several uncles. She has a disabled daughter with 2 sons, all 3 of whom Carol cares for daily. She takes in and loves up all the strays of any type of animal that comes her way. Unbeknownst to us, her home burned down the day before Thanksgiving and she lost everything. She is basically living out of her husbands truck- the only thing she has left of him now.

Due to a crooked insurance agent who never turned in the paperwork and check to the company she has no insurance. The building inspector condemned her home. She farmed the kids and her daughter out to the only relatives she has, and she moved in with an elderly friend.

That friend passed away, and the bank has foreclosed on the home and given her 15 days to get out. They turned off the water and electric on her. She never mentioned a word to any of us, until my Dad drew it all out of her the other night. Her comment was "you all have more important things to worry about than me." She downplays it all and never mentions it, and always has a quick smile ready.

The building inspector has said if she can get all the smoke damage off of the brick, and she can replace the wood with good wood, he will un-condemn the first floor for her to live in. SO -during these miserable cold wet days of an Ohio spring she has been cleaning off the bricks with a steel brush and her bare hands. She has been trying to replace the lumber as she can afford it.

And she shows up on time every night, ready to help us care for my grandmother's mounting needs so we can concentrate our attentions on Grandpa during this difficult time.

If that isn't the description of the work of an angel, I don't know what is. Luckily, my Hubby is quite handy with a power washer, and he is going to go out to help her, and my Dad is in charge of the local Mission ministry for our church. He is trying to get a church team to help her re-build. We will put her up in our home if need be. There are counselors church willing to help her daughter, and a group to help her with her grandsons. How's that for a modern day example of God's promise in Romans 8:28? "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (King James Version) 'Nuff said!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rough Patch

Sorry to have dissapeared, but life ate my family whole. Within the last 3 weeks, I've had all 3 grandparents fall and have to go by squad and be hospitalized (Grandpa twice, now being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.) They have needed extensive support resulting in many full days and nights with them. I've had my cousin and her family from CA stay with us for a week, I've had a serious accident, and suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my hand and arm- resulting in a trip to the Urgent care and several Drs. Oh, and the kicker was our 3 year old water heater had to be totally replaced. During this period, my parents were out of town, my Dad was in the jungles of Central America on a mission trip, almost unreachable. He struggled for 3 days to get home with the snowstorms. Oh- did I mention the 22 inch snowfall and blizzard? 2 stuck 4 wheel drives later...
In the midst of all of this rough patch, I have clung to hope. I have had bright patches. Supportive friends and extended family, Wonderful artists who have volunteered their time to finish swaps for me, a friend who cleared our 1/4 mile long drive after the blizzard, a hairdresser who worked me in since I can't do my own hair with my hand being so bad.

I pulled out these pictures that Mike and I took in January as we played on the beach, and they makes me smile-despite the snow piled high outside.