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Nancy

 

I put off writing anything about Nancy until I had time to digest the run of events leading up to her death. However, I truly do not believe that I will ever digest this matter as it was too rapid for the heart to process. As most of us  that knew her understand, it was slow leading up, but then escalated quickly and became a fierce and frightening emotion that disturbed all involved. I was in direct contact with Mac each day and tried to understand what and why they were doing this or that to her. Mac going back and forth to Univ. of Maryland from the time she had been taken there by a medical helicopter. I agreed to take the burden of the cats from his worry knowing that even in Nancy’s sickly state she would be upset if they were not cared for properly. People began to call with regularity and so I recited what Mac had told me each day and throughout the day. Sending an email to all of those who were concerned every day. None of this made any sense at all. They continued to poke her with all things available and going from the heart to the thyroid to the lungs to the intestines finding nothing that couldn’t be fixed and moving forward to the next area of attention. Each day I ask mac if she could have visitors and when she would be coming home and he would respond No to all, saying that she was too weak and not up to it. I realized that they did not truly have a grasp of the bigger picture, and that each doctor held a piece of the puzzle but was not connecting the dots to this very scary situation. The heart was in rhythm, the thyroid reduced, the blood pressure ok and they still worked on how to get her up and functional enough to go home. I emailed many people who knew Nancy and Mac and as the list grew to about 65 people , I knew that the word would spread about her condition. Everyone was concerned, worried , prayed and we could do nothing. I spoke with her daughter Jennifer who was confident that they would get her back on track. Then, a call came at 3 am from Mac to say that she had suffered a massive heart attack at 2 am and it was unsure the outcome as they were doing CPR at that time. He feared that she had not had oxygen to the brain for at least 25 minutes and that this could cause damage. We offered to go there but, he said no as it was not certain the outcome. The outcome was damage of a vegetative state. The next call I received was from Jennifer from Nancy’s room. She relieved Mac for he had been under strain for far too long. There were other details of what took place and so Jennifer recited them  and hoped  for a miracle.  She was still convinced that her mother would come back. Her brother Stuart,  was on the way to arrive by the evening. The family would go to that place in the human spirit that determines what we cannot change, and then makes us accept it without any understanding. I call this the “gristle of life” .   I received the call from Jennifer at 8:36 am the next morning of whatever day.   As it happened, Jim and I were about to leave for our 13 day cruise and we were attempting to pack and prepare for our trip abroad but the bodies were moving through the motions and the spirit could hardly function with the knowledge of our dear friend.   It took a week before the meaning of this event penetrated my brain. I was at a show on the cruise and the performer was doing an Elton John number “ I’m still standing”.  I could not believe my ears, and the thought of going home without my friend their squeezed terribly hard on my heart and would not let go.

Nancy will be known for her love of people for which she lived by with parties and dinners every day or any day. In fact she had a party planned on the day she passed.

Nancy and I would talk about our lives and we were pleased to be at this place in time. I am glad to have had the pleasure of knowning her.

She talked and laughed , and  liked every person  she met , and everything she ate. She had a great love for animals as well, especially her piggy’s. Christmas was all year long, as her birthday was Christmas Eve ( the above picture was taken at her surprise bday party a few years back) , and so to us she was a wonderful gift.

Spirit gathers nector
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From a distance

 We watched as baby’s were brought into citizenship in Spain.

We had traveled to five ports already on the day that Ellie was born and I had checked our emails daily to get the updates from my son on Mom and the baby’s condition.   It was the kind emotion you wanted to share with everyone and so I did just that.  I told the ship attendants and dinner companions as well as people in the elevator.   The first child of your only son was coming into the world and so from a distance all you could do was wait for the next email.   The internet system aboard the ship does not work well as it works off a Satellite and can cut out on you regularly.  Finally, the email arrives announcing that she has entered the world.   A 5lbs 4 oz. baby girl who we already know as Ellie is here.  Now the email comes with pictures and I try so hard to get it to appear on the screen and yet due to the slow delivery of email it was not possible.  As we came into the beautiful Malaga port, I was not emotionally there, and was beginning to annoy myself as well as my spouse.  I had already thrown something down in frustration which is not my nature.  This would not be the way to handle this situation but I was very much in a mood that I could not shake.  I had gotten my little netbook and made sure that the plugs were correct and that all should be well for me to communicate on board but I however did not count on the internet not working properly.  Well, there was nothing that I could do about the internet and so, we called home.  My sons’ voice was full of joy. And, for this I was truly happy. The following day was our anniversary and I had intended to get my husband his gift from one of the countries that we were visiting but nothing that really appealed appeared so I refrained from any purchases for this special occasion of 12 years which was the reason for the long trip to Northern Europe and Spain, Malta, and Italy.   My husband mentioned that it would be special to do a tour of the bridge on the ship.  His attraction to boats and the sea is certainly being fulfilled as from any view are truly spectacular.  I went to the Guest Services desk to ask if a tour was possible.  I was told that they did not do tours but they would make a special request to see if maybe by invitation only it could be done.   Sparing myself the possible disappointment, I continued eating, drinking and being merry but did not feel that my spirit was with me.   Then yesterday, we went into the port of Cartagena, Spain.  It was told to us that it would be very hot and also that because it was Sunday that the shops would not be open.  So we headed out to see the city by foot.  First we came upon the Castle of Conception.  This dated back to the year 1000 when the Romans owned this country.  We wandered up and up through this stone building watching videos and looking at artifacts as well as lovely views from which they had to defend their country a long time ago.  Walking without destination we ended up finding the main area where a Roman Festival was taking place.  We parked ourselves at the street café and ordered some delicious beer which they served with nuts, olives and bread.  A plate of what we thought was onion rings went by and so we hailed the waiter to bring us that as well.  Only to note that it would be the most delicious calamari (squid) with lime.   Then we wandered down to the festivities where a celebration of citizenship for babies was taking place.  All of the people were dressed in costume and as I understand it will be for ten days.  The pinot (wine) is flowing and young, old, disabled, and children and of course many foreigners like us were there to enjoy.   I took many pictures of this occasion and we truly enjoyed the day.   At our return, I went directly to see if I was able to see my granddaughter’s picture yet.  Not yet, but in better spirits.

This  picture , I posted when I returned home.  It feels like pure joy to see that little face!

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Chocolate and Lace

Today we spent the morning in Bruges. This is a lovely little town in Belgium. We came into this port on the second day of our vacation. Not having slept fully yet from the transfer over the pond, I was still a little cranky, but looking forward to seeing this quaint little place that I had heard delightful things about. We boarded our coach to start our excursion with our number 8 on the left chest to identify our group. The gentleman who was to do the tour on the coach was an older Belgium gentleman of perhaps 75, maybe more. He seemed nice enough and began to give us the information about the area as we drove through the industrial and residential as well as the city that surrounded Bruges. While on this twenty five minute drive, he told us about the countryside and the affect of World War II and we gathered that he had been there. Although his words were in English his accent was very thick and some or most of the words were not the correct ones for the description that he attempted. But we knew what he was trying to say it just took our minds a little while to get the meaning. Then we arrived to the parking area for such tours as ours and began to get instructions on what would follow and if we should get lost, etc. Moving forward we divided into two groups to see the sights of this ancient cobblestone town that had lived through the war and still maintained its beauty long after. The history and architecture unfolded, however we could not hear a word of it from our tour guide who was the other gentleman of the same age as the first. He did not speak loud enough for us to hear nor did he give us any information. Soon the group huddled next to another tour guide from a different group just to hear some of the interesting things being said about the area. So the group began to dismantle to some degree and we were a part of the few remaining . The town was so beautiful that it showed us many things that words could not express. The cars, bikers and horses had the right of way so I was glad that my husband was there to get me through without injury. Then we came to the second leg which was a canal ride. I truly was in dire need of a toilet and had ask when we would be nearing one and each time I was told in a little while. Others began to agree that the little while was wearing thin with our patience and so as we neared the canal I knew that I was not going to make it through the trip without pause. When I asked again I was directed to the man with a captain’s hat ( also, of a certain age). He has his foot out as not to let me pass and then says 50. So I look to my husband for the correct change and then I ask where to go. He responds “ In the canal”. Well, as I said earlier , I was a little testy so I told him that I did not appreciate his humor as everyone was laughing and I was feeling embarrassed running along to do my business. Once relieved, my personality changed for the better. The canal ride was glorious and a English man gave us details beyond our imagination. Flowers were about the windows and the doors were inviting. Drainpipes were decorated with gargoyles and rooflines had creative designs that would appeal to any eye. The bridges were delightful. Each gave way to the new adventure that would come to you once you passed under one. It certainly gave the impression that the Belgium people were interesting and hospitable and as most quaint towns in the world they offer a simpler life. We left the canal with a good feeling of being refreshed in spirit and now we needed to do the same for our bodies as our stomachs began to respond to the sights of the little café’s with advertisement for Moules and Frittes or Mussels and Fries. We knew that the Mussels in Brussels were known to be very good so we set our goal to shop for chocolates and lace, and then attempt to have some for lunch. When we entered the Lace shop it was full with people talking with excitement over the art of the product they were viewing. I realized that I did not have time to wander leisurely so I set myself in the direction of the wall facing me and when the woman handling the counter looked up at me I decided to ask if I should remove this one or was this a display. In her broken English she demanded that the people from the ship need to give her time and have patience. It was true, we all had an agenda and so I too looked around anxiously then then settled on a couple items that reminded me of a slower time that I needed to respect. A time when multi tasking was not status quo, and one thing at a time was our motto so that we could get the job done well. So, I remembered that and then I moved toward the desk. Eight euros and thirty was the final cost, and we moved on to the Chocolate. This was easy as the aroma created a sedative affect on me as I entered the shop and once again I must decide quickly as there was a lot to choose from. Since I am partial to dark chocolate it made my decision less stressful to select an amount and let the lady behind the counter do the rest. She was pleasant and talked to me about the Chocolatier , one of four in Belgium to use the original process. I was very pleased with my purchase. Thirty minutes was all the time left to eat. My husband did not feel that we had enough time to eat. Europeans do not rush like the Americans. We ordered a fruited cherry beer and asked about time for food . As we watched her deliver coffee and beer and an occasional Belgium waffle (yum) to the tables about , we decided on some soup of the day, some garlic bread and yes please frittes ( to go if possible). No problem. It was very good and not at all of the fast food family. The butter dripped from the soft bread with the flavor of garlic and the soup was a light broth of leaks and carrots. The frittes to go were over the top but a must have experience that we shared with others on the bus. I wanted to stay a whie longer to enjoy a horse and buggy ride though the winding streets of shops and homes that said “no hurry”.

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The Adoption

The Adoption

I have a Friend that I met many years ago. We were thirty something and both found ourselves in a Women in Transition group. It did not take long before we knew that we just wanted to have coffee and be friends. That path led us to be good friends. I was told of a pregnancy that She had had at age 16. Her parents were devout in their religion and they sent her away for the delivery which was common at that time. There was no discussion of a choice in this decision. The father of the child, Frank, a boy from the high school prom disappeared as well. Life resumed for my friend and she became successful in business and led a creative life, but never married or had any long term relationships. With this discovery that she revealed to me of her past I felt she needed to be encouraged to pursue this piece of the puzzle missing in her life. For whatever the outcome. I felt it was a proactive move on her part and would help her feel in control of a situation that she had never addressed. So, we sat and wrote a letter to the Adoption Agency involved. They were located in another state just over our state line. She was informed that the letter would be placed on file in the event that the child, a girl, would ever inquire. It was only six months before a letter and then a call came to her to say that in fact, her daughter had come to inquire and would like to communicate with her. Letters came with pictures and an update of the daughters life as she was 20 years of age , entering college, had a boyfriend and all of the typical information for her age. She had stated that her father was a builder and that she had an adopted brother as well. They lived at the shore and her name was Megan. I was thrilled for My Friend that all of this had come about and looked forward to her learning more about her lost daughter. Then a phone call came in to her from the Agency and they said that the adopted mother did not approve her daughters search and that the communication would stop until Megan was 21 years old and could decide for herself. It was obvious that the wings of flight had been clipped. Of course sorrow came over My Friend and I persuaded her to remain hopeful.

The days continue and life goes on and there is little to ponder about this kind of dilemma. Because the person who has made this affecting decision for you is not of like mind. So the only recourse is to resume with hope that someday will come and so this is what My Friend did.

It was just about a year, I had been dating a nice man and we went to the shore to spend the holiday. On our way home we realized that traffic was very thick and slow and so we decided to make a stop for a while to let some of the traffic clear. He had a friend that lived not to far off the beaten path and so there is were we went. When we arrived , his friend was about to go out on his boat and so they went for a ride on the water as I relaxed on the friend’s deck with a glass of wine. While reading my book, I looked up to see that the daughter of this friend had arrived. She was on a dinner break from her job at the local Crab House. We had met before and so we began to pick up conversation on the generalities of life. At one point, I paused to say that she must look like her Mom as she did not have her Dad’s tall , thin and very Italian features, however hers were more rounded. She stated immediately that she had been adopted at five days old as had her brother Mark as well. I smiled and said that I did not know that. And suddenly there appeared to be a photograph of my friend’s face transposed over the daughter’s face almost like a double exposure. I had an eerie feeling and excused myself to the restroom. Uncertain as how to follow up on this when I returned to the conversation I asked if she had ever had contact with her birth Mother and if she knew her name. The answer was yes on both questions.

The strange revelation of this connection took us both by surprise and we began to cry naturally. Then we hugged as a human response to this impromptu connection. At that moment, the boat arrived back at the dock. The men’s faces were in bewilderment of our hugs and crying and so Megan told her Father the news of my friendship with her biological Mom. He was not pleased and with a pale expression stated that it should not come up again.

We left that day and on the drive home I tried to layout how I could tell My Friend that I had met her daughter, and “ no you cannot”.

By the fall of the following year, I was getting married and I knew that both My Friend and also the Father of Megan would be attending. There was stress in my gut over this. At the wedding, I went to the Father and took him by the hand bringing him to the table where his daughter’s Mother and Grandmother were sitting. The resemblance is astounding and as we near the table, I say that I want to introduce him to someone, and he looks ahead and remarks, “You don’t have to”, and he sees the familiar faces.

The friend of my new husband is respectful of the facts at hand and we are invited to his daughter’s wedding where I take pictures to show My Friend. She is pleased to see her daughter’s wedding and know of her happiness through me. Then Megan is pregnant and I take a present to her from her Great Grandmother who made her a blanket for the child to come. No thank you returns.

You see, the adoptive Mother made the rule for her never to see her birth Mother and all had to adhere. So , again I bring pictures of the baby and stories too. Some I keep to myself as not to hurt her. Like one where the daughter and her adopted brother also had worked for the man that I married at his shop when they were teens. The shop was five miles from My Friend’s home where she gave up her baby, even though the baby had been adopted in the adjourning state and then brought back to the neighborhood of her birth Mother.

She has not met her Daughter, and I wonder why? Control truly denies the other.