Happenings in Christine's World

Short stories of life, thoughts, and feelings

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Turning the Page

The past nine months have been an up and down emotional journey. I had finally completed my book and it was ready to hit the bookstores and go on sale. During this time, my dad was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. He was in the hospital for a week and a half when he took a turn for the worse. When I arrived at the hospital on September 25 he was complaining of pain in his leg. I feared he had a blood clot. The docs ran the necessary tests and put him on morphine for the pain. I sat with him most of the morning to early afternoon and then my brother and sister-in-law arrived to sit with him. I had committed to a promotional book signing event since my book had just hit the stores earlier in the week. Needless to say, my mind wasn’t on promoting my book but rather my dad and his health. When my brother and sister-in-law left the hospital around 9 that Thursday evening, my dad seemed better.

On Friday, September 26, when I got to the hospital, I learned that my dad took a major bad turn and they were moving him to the ICU. The physician assistant informed me the situation looked grave and I should contact family. I couldn’t get my head around any of what was going on – he was doing so well two days earlier. I contacted my siblings and my kids and advised them to come to the hospital. Within hours my husband, siblings, kids, nieces, nephew, grandchildren, and great niece and nephew were there. A few at a time were allowed to go back and visit with dad, although he wasn’t fully conscious.

As the afternoon turned into evening the youngest of the Clepper family went home. My husband, brothers, sister, sister-in-laws, kids, nieces and nephew remained. We were all in disbelief of how fast dad’s health went downhill. We couldn’t understand.

The physician in charge came into the room where we were all sitting and gave us an update on dad’s situation. It wasn’t good – he started to bleed internally and his blood pressure was too low to operate in order to stop the bleeding, plus the doc didn’t know what was causing him to bleed. There wasn’t much more the doc could do for dad. It was time for us to make a decision whether or not to prolong dad’s life or let him go. Not a decision any of us wanted to make or think about making.

Dad had a living will and it stated not to keep him alive by artificial means. So, with great pain we, dad’s family, decided to let him go. It was midnight when the twelve us gathered around dad’s bed in the ICU. We turned on his CD player and listened to one of his favorite CD’s – Calling My Children Home by the Country Gentleman – there we sat with dad as his life slowly slipped away. He was at peace though, he looked like he was sleeping. My niece and I watched his chest as he breathed knowing that his breathing would eventually stop and around 4:30 a.m. it did. With heavy hearts and tears, we each said goodbye to dad.

The days ahead would never be the same. The publication of my book was bittersweet. Life went on and that’s how my dad lived sorrowful and disappointing things passed his way – he would say, “life goes on.”

There are so many good memories of my dad – each of his kids, grandkids, and great grandchildren hold close to their heart. A few of us dad gave nicknames – his reason for giving us nicknames – who knows. My dad left an impression on all the people he came in contact with and with dad you always knew where you stood. He was a proud man and a little rough around the edges; his hands were huge, but his heart was bigger. There was no doubt how he felt about his family – he loved them, although we can count on one hand how many times he told any of us he loved us – he didn’t have to – his actions said it all.

These past nine months have been a journey – a learning experience. My dad was the person I turned to often for advice and for a sounding board. We all did, but now we have to figure it out for ourselves knowing that dad is still with us pushing us along.

Dad Turned 80 Today

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Easter in My Corner of the World

Good Morning and Happy Easter.

(a rambling of memories past and religious holidays)

Easter Past and My Mom

On this day I am reminded of the Easters I attended church with my mom. I remember the congregation singing “I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses and the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known”, The Old Rugged Cross, He Lives and many other songs that are subject to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ –  since that is what Easter is about in the Christian faith.

I remember coming home after church to the smell of baked ham. Soon there would be white mashed potatoes, ham gravy, candied sweet potatoes, and corn to accompany the ham on the table. Mom’s fresh homemade pies for dessert. This is how I remember Easter – with of course the traditional Easter basket stuffed with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, marshmallow peeps and bunnies, and colored eggs.

For Christians, Easter is a time to fully and consciously reflect on God’s love and what it means – God gave his only son to take on the sins of the world so that others can have eternal life.

I’m not a religious person, but I am a spiritual person and it is holidays like Easter when I am reminded of my mom and her desire for her children to learn about faith. It was my grandmother, my mother’s mother-in-law, who taught my mom about faith. If it weren’t for my mother and grandmother I don’t think I would have the spiritual foundation I have today. I don’t think I would understand the sacredness of religious holidays no matter what the religion, with that said – Happy Passover (a Jewish holiday that celebrates the Israelites release from slavery under Egypt – a mass Exodus that was led by Moses) which started at sundown this past Friday.

Easter Present and My Mom

 this picture taken March 2012

Last night I went to see my mom in a nursing facility. She was diagnosed with dementia several years ago. This past fall, as a family, we decided it was best to place her where she can receive 24 hour care. My mom no longer realizes what day of the week, month or year it is – not even that it is Easter – knowing that makes me sad, however, what keeps me moving forward is knowing what Easter meant to her in the past. I gave her a card last night that said, “Walking with Jesus makes the very best company”. She read the card to me and then looked up at me, smiling, her blue eyes sparkling and said – “walking with Jesus”. I love my mom and even though she may not always know who I am, I know who she is and thankful for all the precious moments I’ve shared with her and continue to share with her.

One of my mom’s favorite songs to sing was the ‘Old Rugged Cross’ – so in honor of my mom here is the song in video form with lyrics – sung by Sandi Patti

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Another Year is History

 The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul. 
G. K. Chesterton

It’s the last day of 2011. Tomorrow the world begins a new year. As inhabitants of this earth, we have witnessed many world events together – the fall of Egypt and Libya, the great tsunami that hit Japan, the pulling out of United States troops from Iraq, a royal wedding, and the rage of Mother Nature throughout the United States.

Then there is my own personal events that occurred during 2011 – events that challenged my faith in people and rocked my own confidence. I had to watch my mother as her memory faded and as a family come to the realization that her needs were more than the we alone could handle, so the decision was made to place her in a care facility where she would be cared for 24/7.

In July, I was laid off from a job I held for 5 years. That was devastating to me, but through the loss, I have grown personally.

In October, my oldest grandchild turned 13 – a milestone. Once a small premature baby girl has grown into a beautiful young lady who I am so proud of.

On November 19, my son and his family were dealt a terrible blow when Amy’s father died unexpectedly. Jim’s loss affected many people, but none so overwhelmingly as Matthew, Amy, Rhianna, Gabriel, Emily, and his wife Carol.

Jim left a beautiful legacy to his family and especially his three grandchildren, whom Dan and I share with him. Dan and I feel honored to have known a man like Jim who was selfless and cared deeply for the people around him. He especially cared and loved his grandchildren. He would give them surprises constantly just to see the joy in their eyes. Jim is deeply missed and will be for years to come.

The events I mentioned here along with so many other events that occurred throughout 2011 has caused me to do a lot of pondering about my life and what I can do to make 2012 better. I relearned the importance of compassion, patience and to live each day consciously. 

I am facing 2012 unemployed but with a renewed faith and confidence that I will be able to find a profession where I can use my knowledge and my talents as a researcher and as a writer.

Happy New Year to all my family and friends, may your year be blessed with lots of happiness.