Posted in family, spiritual/religious, writing

I’ve Got This

Today’s story is written by a guest blogger, my sister, Gloria Jean. I hope you enjoy it. If so, please leave hear a comment.

I have been married for 32 years and have considered my mother-in-law and father-in-law as parents especially since both of my own parents passed away. I am a Christian. There was a time when I wandered away, but thankfully I made my way back and I am active in my faith and service to others. Because of this, I had a heavy burden on my heart for my husband and his parents.

I’ve had occasions to talk with all of them regarding their souls’ welfare. My mother-in-law’s response was that once you’re dead, you’re dead and that’s all there is to it. It was a belief that she passed along to her son, my husband, because he repeated the exact same back to me during our talks. When they were small boys, my mother-in-law had taken her two sons and visited several different churches of varying faiths before settling on sending her sons to a Catholic Church. She did not accompany them but wanted them to have that education.

When I would talk to her about faith, heaven, God and the hereafter, she would say to me, ”I know that you believe that when you die that you will go to heaven and see all of your family who have gone on before you and give them big hugs, but there has never been anyone to ever come back from the dead and told you that it is possible.”

I tried to talk to her about Jesus’ resurrection and subsequent ascension into heaven and in the Bible where it says that he has gone to prepare a place for us, but she would just shake her head and I knew that meant that we were done with the conversation.

In my prayers, I would always ask, “Please God. Do not take them in death until they have asked you for forgiveness and asked you to come into their hearts.” — them being my husband and his parents.

I knew his dad had some sort of faith because he would make me CD’s of gospel music and send me emails that were faith based. But I just couldn’t get any definitive answer from him because he would not go against his wife’s strong personality. In my Bible Study class, I would put their names in for prayer and shared with the group the prayer I had for them because of this heavy burden.

When she was 95, my mother-in-law was taken to the hospital. She had been there a few times over years, but always came out okay. This time they found that she had several serious issues that had left her unresponsive. When I would visit her I would enter the room and always be light and cheery and talk to her as if she were fine. I did this partly to lighten the mood for my husband and father-in-law, but underneath, I was worried.

Eventually they had to intubate her because she was not getting enough oxygen on her own or with the cannula tube in her nose. She was struggling and my prayers were becoming desperate. “Oh, Lord,” I would pray “I know the end is near, but please let there be at least a moment when she is coherent enough to look up to you and ask forgiveness before the final breath.” My heart was even heavier than before.

My poor mother-in-law continued to struggle with each breath. After talks with her doctors and with her husband, my husband asked the doctor to remove the intubation tube. We didn’t want her final moments to be so uncomfortable for her. They put on an oxygen mask but put it covering her mouth because she did not get enough oxygen in through her mouth.

The last night, before I left to go home, I walked up to her bedside, looked down at her and talked to her even though she seemed out of it. I had always heard that even those who are in a coma can hear you talk to them, so I did. I got closer, put one hand on her forehead and the other one on her chest over her heart, and I prayed and prayed and prayed.

When I was drained, I straightened up and took one step back, and then it happened. All at the same time there was a feeling that started at my head and slowly worked its way to my feet and simultaneously the same feeling started from my center core and worked its way outward. It was a feeling that is impossible to describe and a feeling that I never wanted to stop. As I was in the midst of this incredible feeling a still small voice said to me, ‘Don’t worry. I’ve got this.’

Yes, that is when the tears started. When the feeling had subsided and I had composed myself. I walked over to the bed, gave her a kiss, smiled and said, “I’ll see you later.”

We received a call at 7:00 am the next morning that she was not doing well and that we needed to come right away. When we arrived at the hospital, we were told she had passed away quietly, peacefully at 7:04 am. We went into her room and spent some time with her and made necessary arrangements.

Before leaving, I again walked over to the bed, bent down talked to her, rubbed her now cold face, then gave her a kiss, smiled and said, “I’ll see you later.”

That peaceful feeling that had encompassed me the day before was there only at a lesser degree and I could still hear that voice telling me, ‘Don’t worry. I’ve got this.’

‘Mom’ – Katherine (Kay) Brown

March 23, 1923 – July 29, 2018

 

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Posted in writing

Lenten Reflections: Child’s Blessing

Today’s reflection comes from Melody Beattie:

When you have children, remember to give them a daily birthright blessing before they start their day. There should be three parts to the blessing:
• The high value of the one being blessed. Tell them how important they are.
• A special future for the one being blessed. You have a purpose and a mission of value to complete.
• An active commitment from the family to help the one being blessed to fulfill their blessing.
In summary, give them a healing touch, tell them they are important, remind them they have a purpose, a mission to do, and a promise to help them carry it out.

Posted in writing

Lenten Reflections: Move On

Today’s reflection comes from Melody Beattie:

When we move to new levels or switch paths, we often need to let go of the people and places that were connected to our past. We no longer need those soul mates. Our lessons with them are done. When it is time to change course, we can usually tell. The energy stops. Life starts pounding at us, trying to get our attention. We can’t find the answers. We begin to feel stuck and trapped. That’s how we know it is time to move on.

 

Posted in writing

Lenten Reflections: Aligned

Today’s reflection comes from Melody Beattie:

Each morning create the perfect day for you by connecting with your soul plan for your life. When the universe and world within us is aligned, and we are on the right spiritual path, purpose and destiny will manifest themselves. You don’t have to search so hard for meaning and destiny. You’ll be led where you need to go.

 

 

Posted in self-improvement, writing

The Panama Adjustment

I had been working for the U. S. government since 1991. I enjoyed my time working for a beloved Congressman in Kentucky, and my time working at the agency’s large California Service Center. After 10 years, I was transferred to Washington, DC, a promotion they said. The work was hard, but rewarding, and I enjoyed it. Then there was a management shift and an ideals shift, and I no longer loved it or even liked it. I was dejected, demoralized, and disheartened. My body rebelled, sending out all kinds of warning signs. There was even a surgery.

Months later the symptoms returned with a vengeance. The surgery was supposed to be the solution. Was I out of options? What would I do? The problem, I’ll spare you the specifics, but it was a problem that would not allow me to continue to work. Severe twice daily medications would be required that would create cognitive impairments. I wasn’t ready to consider medical disability but there I was potentially facing it. My depression deepened and the upcoming holidays didn’t help. There were still too many things I wanted to do and see on my bucket list. I wasn’t ready to give up.

I began thinking about the reduced income I would be living on without a job. I did not know how much it would be, but I knew it would be considerably less. I wondered where would I live? What care would I need? On and on and on the questions came at me. The depression deepened.

One day I gave myself a good mental shaking and told myself to quit feeling sorry for myself. I looked at my bucket list with an eye to decide what I could do, not what I couldn’t do. My eyes focused in on a note – sail through the Panama Canal. Hmmm. An idea formed.

I told my medical specialist that if my life was going to change forever, I wanted to go out with one more cruise. I had decided to enjoy a 14-day holiday cruise through some of the Caribbean islands and through the Panama Canal to bring in the new year someplace warm, not some place cold and snowy. What did she think? She said if I took my meds and bought medical insurance so I could be med-flighted back home in case there was a problem, why not. We both smiled. I would like to say my eyes sparkled, but I’m not sure.

My previous cruises had been adventure and party cruises, but this one would have to be calmer, more sedate. I booked Holland America and traveled to Orlando to visit a friend and have dinner at a Margaritaville restaurant. Then I traveled to Ft. Lauderdale and boarded the M.S. Amsterdam on December 21st. The cruise took me through Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Oranjestad, Aruba; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Willamsted, Curacao; the Panama Canal; San Jose, Costa Rica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; back to Ft. Lauderdale and home. It was odd to see traditional cold weather holiday decorations in tropical climates. So, my favorite décor display was three bamboo tubes roped together with some light driftwood sticking out of one of tubes and a single pink ball ornament dangling from it. It was, I thought, a Caribbean version of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and it was perfect.

There was Christmas caroling on the ship with “snow” falling on the decorated trees. I slept as late as I wanted and had free room service breakfast (bagel or English muffin, eggs, fruit, and tea) on my tiny balcony as I watched the ocean roll by. When ready, I would enjoy either ship or port activities. After lunch or activities, I gifted myself a ‘spoil me’ treat each day – a massage, a manicure, a pedicure, a facial, reflexology, hair styling, etc. and then took a nap before getting ready for the evening. Before going into the large dining room, I sat and enjoyed string quartet music. After dinner, I enjoyed a nightly show or dancing. Afterwards on some nights, I would go up to the ship’s Crow’s Nest and enjoy some more music. This band took requests so, my first night there I asked for something by Jimmy Buffett. They played Margaritaville. From that night on, anytime I walked into the Crow’s Nest the band would stop whatever song they were playing and would play a few bars of Margaritaville to ‘introduce’ me. It was a nice gesture.

In Aruba, I bought a yarn tree to hang on my cabin door and a coconut with a nativity scene inside. Those and the single spider mums that were presented on my room service breakfast tray each day, made me smile each morning. The fun towel animals and two chocolates on the bed made me smile each evening.

On Christmas Day I was sailing in Bonaire. In Curacao, I enjoyed the flamingo farm. Then it was time to sail through the Panama Canal. Because I had a cabin with a large window and personal balcony, each night when I went to bed, I would open the curtains so that the ocean would be the first thing I saw each morning. All of this went well until I awoke to see a large concrete wall in front of me and some construction guys on the wall waving to me. We had arrived at the Canal, and I had greeted it in my night shirt.

Costa Rica included a trip through a Del Monte banana ‘factory,’ and a raft ride through the rain forest. New Year’s Eve found me at Margaritaville in Grand Cayman, where I had a photo with Old Year and Baby New Year. Then came sailing in Roatan. Soon it was time to return home.

My time on the ship and around the new areas while meeting new people refreshed my attitude. I was still having symptoms, so I thought about it as my final cruise, my final spending of discretionary funds, my final memory of being free. Funny thing though, eventually I was able to go back to work. By March my symptoms were gone, and my energy was returning. Life continued. Work continued. My smile returned and has stayed with me for 8 years.

I’ve also become a champion of my team members’ health. In our line of work, it is easy to work too hard for too long and burn out, destroying bodies and spirits along the way. I watch for the warning signs in others and start talking with them about less work, realigning priorities, delegating lesser projects to others, whatever is practical. I’ve never told them all my story, but I’ve warned them about working so hard they lose their health and then their future.

Sometimes you need medicine. Sometimes you need therapy. Sometimes you need sailboats, room service breakfast trays, and spoil me time. And sometimes, you need a boss who has been there to remind you to take time to breathe and relax in your journey.

Posted in writing

Lenten Reflections: Autopilot or Destiny

Today’s reflection comes from Melody Beattie:

Sometimes we go on autopilot trying to act like or imitate who we think we should be. Sometimes we get so busy doing what we think we should do that we can’t remember who we really are. It is time to get rid of the clones and be who you really are.

We don’t have to struggle to remember our destiny. We just have to slow down and relax to recall it. Honor what your souls wants to do in every day and big events. Remember, you are the place where heaven and earth meet.  

Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

Lenten Reflections: Balanced and Clear

Today’s reflection comes from Melody Beattie:

Make a commitment to be balanced and clear. When questions come, trying journaling or drawing. Hint: if you get sick three or more times around a person or a thing, then that person or thing is toxic for you. One bout of illness may be a coincidence, an emotional healing; but recurring bouts of toxic illness are God’s way of saying move away.