Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Rainbow - III

 In the early morning hours of a May morning she passed.  She was thirty-eight years old, she was a very good friend of mine.

We had met several years earlier.  I had gone to a home of a mutual friend to offer a rosary for a sick child.  She was the mother of this child.  Although several years older then her, we clicked.  We became very close friends.  Most of our association was through church, bible study ... those types of things.  As our friendship grew, so did our faith.  She loved the rainbow, one of her favorite parts of the bible.  She loved children ... she had three and would walk hot coals if needed ... she would do that for any child. 
About six years into our friendship, late spring, she started feeling poorly.   Within a few months she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Initially she was scheduled for surgery which would determine the following course of treatment.  I remember her saying that if the surgery / treatment helped her she would consider that a cure, a miracle.  The surgery was never completed.  Upon opening it was determined that nothing could be done, she went home.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Rainbow - II

A resounding yes!  There was, still is and always will be a rainbow. Mine came in the season of a very special friendship.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Rainbow - I

So much winter, so much snow, so much cold
 and then I think of the Rainbow
and I am warmed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

The Night The Animals Talked

In the frosty mountains and on the snowy fields of Norway, there is a legend that draws children to all kinds to stables and stalls throughout the country on each Christmas Eve night. They are hoping to hear a miracle. They are waiting to hear the animals talk.

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem. This was no abandoned place, but was a working stable, filled with animals of all kinds. Into these humble surroundings, encircled by the innocent creatures of God, the Savior of man came into the world.

Now according to legend, at least, Christ's birth occurred at exactly midnight. Inside the stable, the animals watched in wonder as the new-born babe was lovingly wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. Suddenly, God gave voice to the animals and immediately they began to praise God for the miracle they had just seen. This went on for several minutes and, just before the entrance of the shepherds -- who had hurried to the stable because angels had told them the Christ had been born there -- the animals again fell silent. The only humans who had heard them were Mary, Joseph and, of course, the Christ child.

The legend of the talking animals persists to this day in Scandinavia. And every Christmas Eve, wide-eyed children creep into stables just before midnight to hear the animals praise God for the wondrous birth of His Son. Of course, adults scoff at this. "Old wives tales," they grump. "Those children should be home in bed, not out in the cold waiting for the family cow to preach a sermon."

But the children know -- or at least believe -- that animals really do praise God at midnight every Christmas Eve. And who of us -- those who believe in an all-powerful God -- can say that it really doesn't happen?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Beauty of The Season

 I find that the past year and the event of my Fifth Season of turning 60 (a few weeks ago) has found its way into many nostalgic thoughts.   They bring to mind memories of Christmas past, quite long ago now, and the season's reason.  One lovely memory that I quite often reflect on is a simple one.  Nothing profound, nothing super outstanding but touches my heart deeply. 

I remember one December afternoon after school (high school ... many years ago ... ok, we're talking about 43 plus years ago) and my girlfriend and I walked downtown to do some Christmas shopping.  Did you catch that - we walked!  How far?  I would say a few miles.  We did that then, didn't think much of it.  Pounding the pavement, most generally, that's how we got around.   The main thoroughfare, of course appropriately named Broadway,  was where the department stores were; the main shopping district ... Sears and Robuck, Fishmans, Woolworths - the original five and dime,  lots of small shops, two movie theaters, restaurants.  The street was decorated with lighted garland strung across the street at each lamppost or pole, a wreath on each side,  for the entire length of the street.   A few years ago the city started decorating again but not to the degree of earlier days.  It was so festive, so beautiful, so Christmas.

A few doors before Sears and Robuck was Texas Weiners.  I don't think there's a person for miles around that didn't know Texas Weiners.  They has the most amazing hot dogs and chilli sauce.  As soon as you hit downtown the aroma of that sauce was in the air.  You could not go shopping without stopping for a weiner ... the scent filling the cold air just sucked one right in.  It was all part of the holiday, it was part of our Christmas.  One thing I do not remember is what purchases we made, there must have been something because gift shopping was what we were doing, but that's not what I remember.

I remember the crisp, chill of the air, the twilight and then the darkness coming making the Christmas lights so bright and bold and cheery.  I remember the bell of the Santa at the corner and people stopping to chat with him.  I remember hearing over and over again the words "Merry Christmas" ... in the stores, on the street.  The hustle, the bustle, the chatter among the shoppers.  I remember being able to walk the streets, just the two of us and there was no fear.

We walked back up Broadway almost as far as we had come down to where my father worked.  It had begun snowing as we started back.  It was almost magical, the waterglobe like snow, the lights, the sounds of  the season.  It was like a scene out of a movie.  It was a long time ago, a time that was quieter, a time where two highschool girls without a care in the world but to notice the beauty of the season and not knowing then that some day those moments would so reflect the blessings of Christmas.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sights, Sounds and Smells of Thanksgiving

Last week, a beautiful November Fall day, trees bathed in sunlight, their leaves shimmering.  Such beauty.  Fall always is my most favorite time of the year.

 As I am doing most days ... cleaning ... I opened a window to clean the window sill and a blast of air burst forth into the room.  The clean, fresh smell of autumn swirled about and jogged the memory and hugged the heart.  I had to pause.

The scent of the air was that of a crisp Thanksgiving Day.   I could smell the turkey cooking, I could hear the theme song of The March of the Wooden Soliders playing on the TV, I could see the family arriving through the front door, into the hall and onto the kitchen carrying pies and goodies for the Thanksgiving table and unknowingly bringing with them that fresh scent of air of the season.

It was the briefest of moments; it was for always.   The times have changed, people have passed but memories live on.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Almost In My Season

Within a few weeks the 60th birthday will arrive. Life is as life always has been, some days a little brighter, some days not, but at this stage the not so days are put into perspective (usually (sometimes)...I smile as I write that, for humaness does still take over at times,) and for the most part removed from the others. Trials and tribulations still abound, I think that is just a part of life and where some of the greatest teachings and lessons surface. I've made a conscious decision to remain as active as possible and that too I find a pick me up. No plans for sitting around time! Does wonders for the age advancing body and assists the ever young mind in its plans and plots, and there are many. So, batten down the hatches, come along if you would like, fore with full force I'm entering the next phase. Good, bad or indifferent, taking it all in.
I ran into a woman a few years older then me the other day, she has been greyed hair for as long as I can remember (16+ years), unlike me that let the grey (and lots of white) fully present itself this past year. And I think I'm really liking it, I do once in a while think about a color, but that thought seems to dissipate quickly. We got talking and her husband said we should have a "Grey Hair Club". You know, we may just do that. I've already found that I like different colors now to go with "the hair", so there are some changes to be made. I know a few "greys" ... will talk to them. Would love any input!! It will be all about this special season and being ourselves just as God intended for us to be.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thirty-eight Years Ago

Looking back its hard to believe that all this time has passed. What a couple of kids ... I was 21, he was 23. And all these years and two handsome grown sons later here we are. Still the same me, still the same him, a "tad" bit heavier and greyed hair and hopefully a whole lot wiser.

Happy Anniversary ... me and mine,
with love and blessings,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Blessed

July 23rd, 1976 ... I sat holed up in his room, for several hours, crying. I had been able to see him twice this past week, he had been moved to Special Care which was the final step before he was allowed to go home and he was to have come home today, 34 years ago. How blessed we were, at one point it was thought that he would need a complete blood transfusion as the bilirubin had hit the highest level. They had called one evening and said the transfusion would be done the next morning. The phone call the following morning informed us that during the night the number had reversed and he was at normal, no need for transfusion. God will take care of this. Other then that his time in New York had been spent with growing and gaining weight. Although making leaps and bounds he still was a tiny 4 pounds 6 ounces. At this time usually a baby was not released from the hospital before weighing 5 pounds, but he was doing so well there was no need to hold him any longer. He would come home on Friday the 23rd.

The call the night of the 22nd was with apologies as the circumcision that had been scheduled for that day had to be postponed another day as an emergency had occured at the hospital and staff was not available to do this. They would do so first thing the next morning thereby moving his go home date to Saturday. I remember telling myself "its only one more day, its only one more day" and then I just crumbled. I had never cried during this time, I think it was probably long overdue. In hind sight it wasn't just the fact of one more day, I think it was the whole experience. The long labor, the premature birth, going home without my baby, the waiting and waiting and waiting.

And Saturday did come. July 24, 1976, home at last. Just shy of one month old, almost two months from what had been his due date. The newborn tee's came down below his knees. Pampers were halved and still reached to his underarms. He was to have an ounce of formula every three hours and we were to set the alarm clock. All during the day and all through the night. He required night feedings for about five months, the night hours were almost magical. In the quiet stillness, along with Doris Day and Rock Hudson re-run movies we would feed and rock. I don't think I have ever cherised anything more in my life then those hours. A summer blessing for sure. We had been given the most special gift. God had taken care of this.

Today, at 34 years old, he is a medic. He cares for others and does a mighty fine job of it. Not too long ago he had arrived home with my husband and as he had gotten out of the car heard a voice asking "are you a medic"? He turned and said yes, she said "my baby's not breathing". He said he ran to where another neighbor was holding the limp body of an almost one year old. My husband said he was off like a shot. By the time the ambulance arrived the baby had been revived and was screeching, a most wonderful sound to his parents. He's the neighborhood hero. He didn't make much of this, said, just doing what he's been trained to do. My baby is now taking care of other people's babies. God is taking care. Always.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Remember Summer - part VI

Two days shy of his being three weeks old I walk, for the first time, into Cornell Medical Center. Up the elevator down a hallway, through glass doors where the world changes into pure, pristine white. We scrub and don gowns. There are rooms inside here with walls of glass so you can see in all directions and in all direction are incubators. My husband points out the room to my left as we are walking ... the intensive care section. Each IC room is quite large with a huge lazy susan like table that holds everything medical you can think of. At their fingertips the nurse and doctor have access for any kind of need for their charge.

He had gone there the night he arrived and spent a few days there. As these little ones improve they are moved along. The unit he was in now had a nurse and doctor for every five babies. Quite a move for such a little guy. He was doing very well.

My husband, having been there daily the first week and then several times a week following knew exactly where to go. He led me to his section and let me walk in first. I approached the incubator and then froze. There was this little life in front of me and my heart sunk. There was absolutely no feeling in me. Here I was standing before my baby and I felt nothing, how could this be, what was wrong with me? I turned to look at my husband and saw that he had almost turned white. A nurse had seen us, and I'm sure from the look on our faces, rushed over saying that they had moved him to another section, and took us to him. And then I saw him. In an instant the flood gates opened, the love poured like I have never felt. I still find it amazing how a mother knows her young. I will never forget that moment.

Seeing the look on my face the nurse said "haven't you seen him before?" I shook my head no as I was unable to speak, and she said, "oh, we have to get him right out of there". She grabbed a rocker, opened the incubator, disconnected a few wires and wrapped in a blue blanket he was placed him in my arms.

Have you ever held a baby under four pounds? Have you ever held a feather? I was so conscious of almost no weight. So, so tiny. I took his little hand ... he held onto my finger. His hand against my finger, it couldn't wrap around it like babies do, it only covered one side of my finger. I had made him a hat, I had used an orange as a model ... the hat was too big.

He was now drinking almost an ounce of formula. Initially he was fed by a tube down his nose into his stomach. He was too young and had to be taught to suck, an instinct that had not yet developed. While the formula was being pumped into the tube a pacifier was put in his mouth so that he would associate the pacifier/sucking with eating and his stomach getting filled. He now had graduated to bottle feeding. Ever so slowly he would suck and swallow. It took over an hour to feed him.

He was beautiful, he was amazing. I was speechless, I couldn't even talk. Then we had to go home ... oh no! I had to put him back. I don't think I have ever hurt so much.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Remember Summer - part V

The ambulance arrives around midnight staffed with a team of five; a doctor, two paramedics and two nurses. I am told they are here and after their first priority of tending to my baby they will be in to see me. My husband is with them. Easily and quickly they make their assessment, start an IV and prepare for transport. The doctor then turned all his attention to me and my husband. Talking and making sure that any questions we had were answered, saying that it would take at least seventy-two hours for them to know exactly how he was. The paramedics and nurses then came in with the incubator and our precious baby. We said so long, told him we loved him and off to the Big Apple he went at just over four hours old. The ambulance was like a mini operating room, it was equipped to handle almost anything.

My husband returned from Cornell Medical Center late afternoon the next day having spent the day with our little guy. He is oh so small, but his larger (?) size is a blessing. They so expected smaller for his time of gestation. He is 10 weeks early, there hadn't been any miscalculation. They confirmed that; he has no fingernails; no cartilage in his ears; these things had not yet formed, they will soon though. At eight hours old he had some respiratory distress. He is so tiny that when he becomes very relaxed and sleeping he starts to shut down. Alarms alert the medical personnel and they rouse him. He will continue growing, but now in an incubator. His feeding is 1/33 of an ounce. He is in the Neonatal Itensive Care. Here each baby has their own nurse and doctor 24 hours a day. At this time they would not allow any pictures to be taken until seventy-two hours old. Guess this was the magic number, seventy-two, by then they would know all the possibilities and probabilities. God will take care of it.

I will spend the next three days in the hospital, when I am released I am told that I cannot travel for a time yet. I go home holding a picture.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Remember Summer - part IV

8:28pm on 6/28,
3 pounds, 11 ounces,
16 inches long,
a baby boy.
Did you see that ... he weighed 3 pounds, 11 ounces. My doctor, although wearing a mask, is smiling ... I can tell by his eyes, he tells me that the baby is much larger then they could have ever hoped for ... almost twice as much. God will take care of this. For a brief moment I see this tiny face, an almost exact replica of my husband. He is wrapped in warmed blankets and then wisked away.
A very bad storm is looming outside and has knocked out most of the power and phone lines to many parts of the city. Our pediatrician is affected by this and could not be contacted. The hospital contacts the police and they go to get her. She arrives in short order. The helicopter cannot fly in this weather, Cornell Medical University at New York Hospital in New York City is contacted, an ambulance is dispatched with arrival expected some time around midnight.
I have been moved to the hall outside the delivery room by a phone. Here I make calls to our parents giving them their new status of grandparent. Our pediatrician appears with information on her assessment.
APGAR is a quick test performed at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The 1-minute score determines how well the baby tolerated the birthing process. The 5-minute score assesses how well the newborn is adapting to the new environment. The rating is based on a total score of 1 to 10, with 10 suggesting the healthiest infant. A score of 8 or 9 is normal and indicates the newborn is in good condition. A score of 10 is very unusual, since almost all newborns lose 1 point for blue hands and feet, which is normal for the transitional phase after birth

The APGAR test done will examine the baby's:
Breathing effort
Heart rate
Muscle tone
Skin color

Each category is scored with 0, 1, or 2, depending on the observed condition.
His scores were 8.5 and 9. 8.5 and 9! She (pediatrician) is in awe. She cannot believe the condition he is in. She tells us that if he were not that early she would keep him here and not send him out but because of how early he is she thinks its in his best interest that he go. Although larger then they thought he still is very tiny. Should a complication arise later it would be best for him to be at the medical center. She wonders did we miscalculate, maybe he was further term along. We don't know.