Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happiest of Happy Birthdays Mama!

At the very tender age of twenty Sarah came home devastated from the doctor.  His prognosis about her life was very grim.  Sarah had been born with one kidney tube that was malformed.  This caused her to have frequent problems with her kidney, ureter, and bladder.  They had given her a list of behaviors that she would need to follow.

1.  Rest for part of every day.  (Obviously those doctors did NOT know my Mom very well.  She had a hard time sitting in a chair for five minutes, forget lying down resting for part of every day)!
3.  NEVER GIVE BIRTH.  With the weakness of this part of her body, adding the additional stress of a pregnancy would most probably be fatal to herself, and possibly the child as well.
4.  Not live very long.

Imagine for just a moment.  You are twenty years old.  This is a time when we are supposed to feel as though we will live forever!  Life is all ahead of us. 

The cruel reality is now thrust upon you that this cheerful outlook is not for you!  You were destined to spend most of your life in misery and suffering, and your life would not last for long.  How would you react?  What would you do?

Sarah called her friend Emma.  She was sobbing so hard that Emma had to tell her, "Slow down Sarah.  Take a deep breath." 

Slowly Sarah was able to calm her emotions enough to share her woeful story.  Imagine Sarah's shock when Emma started to laugh.  Laughing did NOT seem the proper response to such sorrow.

Finally Emma said, "Oh Sarah, you're going to learn to take such good care of yourself that you'll out live the rest of us."

Did Emma know how prophetic she was being at that moment?

Sarah (who was my Mama) later said, "I thought, you mean I can do that?  That's a possibility?"

She became very pro-active about her health.  Sarah did research about different kinds of treatments for kidney disease.  She learned about herbs, vitamins, western medicine, and alternative medicine.  Obviously she learned how to take care of herself.  Sarah lived to be NINETY-FIVE!

Sarah served an LDS Mission for 18 months.  While she was there she met a handsome young man with golden brown melty eyes.  They married 4 years later.  (He served as a Paratrooper and Infantryman in the U.S. Army during World War II.  She waited for him with his ring on her finger).

She had eight pregnancies, three of us that survived, and one little boy who died during a very traumatic birth.  (He was full-term).

Sarah and her husband fostered seven children officially, and about twenty unofficially.  There home was always open to their friends, family, children's friends, and anybody who needed a safe place to be.

Mama (Sarah) once told me, "You do not need to give birth to be a Mother."

Her wise advice has been such a rich blessing to me when I was not able to have as many children as I longed for.  I pulled kids in and loved them, and was blessed far more than than I blessed them.

Oh what a blessing Emma was in that teetering moment of Sarah's life.  I'm ever so grateful for Emma's advice.  I know that my brother, sister, in-laws, siblings, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even great-great grandchildren are also grateful!

I'm so grateful for being born of such a woman.  Thanks Sarah my beloved Mama for being so strong, funny, positive, loving, and energetic.  I will continue to learn from you until once again we are reunited in the world of spirits!

Friday, February 13, 2015


Sometimes my life slows down...I mean, way, way down.  It slows so far down that time as we usually measure it in line items on a planner sheet, or in our smart phone no longer exists.  It CAN'T exist.  This would be horrible, right?  There are reasons that this CAN seem infinitely horrible, loss of someone we love, injury or illness, and when CHRONIC illness joins our life, well that can make time slow moving not in slow motion...but reverse!

So many of the things we judge ourselves by lose all meaning.  You will never completely know that someone loves you until they have lovingly taken your dogs out to poop several days in a row because you are just too sick to go down the stairs, and out the door, and then reverse the process back to bed.
The sickest I've been (and I've been a whole lot of sick and injured, let's NOT have a contest, okeydokey), has been my heart.  When your heart is not beating in a congenial rhythm you feel all kinds of bad...down to the level of your cells.  Nothing in your body feels like it is going to work.  If I had a dollar for every time I thought I was going to faint when my heart starting to do the loopy de loo, well I'd be a whole lot wealthier than I currently am.

Or would I?

(Watch out, here comes that crazy perspective thing this writer seems to value so highly.  If the idea frightens you, turn around and run away.  If you're still here, good.  I mean everybody wants to know how to be really, truly, happy, right)? the way that really counts.  WARNING...I am about to get slightly sappy.  Again if this frightens you fast!  (Unless your heart is bad...then walk really, really slow, and stop on every 2nd stair to catch your breath)!

I hope that every single person on the planet watches "It's a Wonderful Life," once if not hundreds of times.  For those who have not yet seen the rather ancient motion picture it has a message that NEVER grows outdated.  A financially struggling man has a lovely wife and 5 beautiful children.  A mistake is made in the funds of his company.  (His Uncle's mistake, by the way).  He is so desperate that he prays that he were never born.  An angel comes to earth (no angels have NOT gotten outdated OR predated).  The poor angel is a bit of a bungler.  He is able to take the man's life though it had never all.

His wife never loved him.  His children were never born.  His business never existed.  So the rich, miserly man (don't pay attention to the fact that he's in a wheelchair).  I like him LESS because he has an excuse to be selfish and miserable AND HE USES IT SHAMELESSLY.  Somehow he thinks that his selfishness and pettiness makes him equal to able bodied folks.  NOPE, it just makes him selfish and petty...and he does it from a wheelchair.

Back to the man who has been given the rare gift of seeing the world as it would have been if he weren't born...and it was NOT pleasant.  Oh I think all of us have periods of time when we feel that the earth would be a better place without us.  If you never think this I have a two word suggestion.  Professional Counseling!

Regaining his perspective he returns a lovely home and a lovely wife, and a lovely family.  The town people push in through his doorway.  Then the little brother who is now a war hero raises a toast to his big brother (of course, all the people he has loved, nurtured, and assisted over the years chip in to save him from bankruptcy and felony charges) and says, "Here's to my big brother, the richest man in town!"

My beloved Papa was NEVER rich.  Nobody could convince him of that fact.  Somehow he was always rich enough to help somebody in need.  He and my Mama were the most amazing partners as they found ways to make the world better because they had been here.

I think both of them would have been stunned by the turnout for them at their funerals.  They had no idea of the good they left behind on this planet.  That's not even counting their three children, three-in laws, 18 grandchildren, and over 40 great-grandkids, and 2 GREAT GREAT grandkids and counting.  Those we will throw in just for good measure.

Did they have problems and trials?  YES, they faced the Great Depression and World War II.  My Papa fought for three interminably long years in the Infantry and as a Paratrooper in the Army.  Mom waited with an engagement ring on her finger and a constant prayer for his safety in her heart.

That was not the end of the struggles, but those early struggles, taught them both what really mattered.  It wasn't monetary wealth, rich people commit suicide frequently.  It wasn't even health, because I could list many examples of people who find a way to make the world a better place when there is very little left that they can physically do.

One brave woman with Multiple Sclerosis, began a prayer campaign.  Each morning her caregivers would list the friend and the specific need they had for prayer.  I don't care if you do or don't believe in God.  You just have to believe in a woman who can't do one thing for herself, but she is STILL trying to help others.

Well, I just reminded myself what matters the most to me.  Did I remind you?