Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Let me make a suggestion. When you've lost a loved one, and are making arrangements, have a notepad with you and make notes.

I went to the funeral home yesterday to pay for the services for my husband. I found out they do not take credit cards, only cash or checks. Who carries cash in the thousands? And I had forgotten my checkbook. I was a bit embarrassed when the funeral director said, "I told you only cash or check." I'm sure he did, but my mind wasn't functioning as well on Friday as it was today. Not that I'm functioning at 100% yet, but definitely better than within 24 hours of my husband's death.

So, I'll be going back today with a check.
Interesting Thought

A letter to the editor of a newspaper from a reader in Riddle, Oregon. led to the following thoughts:

I have to work for a living and I receive a paycheck for that work. In order to receive that paycheck I have to pass a random urine test. I have no problem with that.

From my paycheck, the government takes taxes and uses the money as they see fit. I have no problem with that. Some of that money goes to welfare recipients. In general, I have no problem with that, but I do have a question.

Why do I have to pass a random urine test to get my paycheck when welfare recipients don't have the same requirement?

Here's one argument: many welfare recipients are single mothers who use their welfare money to take care of their children.

I certainly don't want to take money from children, but, if Mom can't pass a urine test, should she even have custody of those kids? I'm not advocating that she lose her kids, but maybe she can get treatment before losing custody? Is it in the best interest of those kids to be with a mother on drugs? Who can't feed, house and clothe her kids without assistance from welfare programs?

Another argument: many people on welfare can't get jobs.

Why not? Most local governments offer job training assistance. If education is a problem, take the training necessary to get a job that will welfare. Oh, the child situation again. hmmm...can't Mom make a deal with a friend or relative to take care of her kids until she gets a job? Then, Mom can repay the friend or relative by helping her to get job training.

Jobs aren't available? Not everyone wants to clean houses or flip burgers, I know I don't, but it brings in a paycheck.

There are certain jobs that Americans won't do? Well, in a western state recently, I believe it was a packinghouse advertised for workers after losing most of their staff to immigration arrests. Hundreds of Americans showed up, some carrying different types of documentation showing they were American citizens. And guess what? They spoke English!

Can't live on minimum wage? Well, it's going up to $7.25 an hour soon, thanks to the Democratic Congress. Minimum wage is entry level. When the employee shows they are willing to work (showing up, showing up on time, doing the least they have to do - just make an effort), they will get a raise. Those who show more than just an effort will go further, but that's another post.

Cut back on the cell phones, the iPods, the name-brand shoes, and clothes and maybe you can get by. Ladies, you might have to do without the two inch nails and manicures and hair coloring and fancy (and maybe not-so-fancy) do's for awhile. When you're making a living and paying bills, you can do that again once the bills are paid and food is in the cupboards.

I'm not saying all, but a lot of people on welfare are also on drugs. Why do you think the most drug ridden areas of town tend to be in the "low-rent" areas? I see it everyday in my job and in the newspaper. Drug dealers and users come in all socio-economic flavors, but I'm not discussing anything but welfare recipients right now.

And no, I'm not saying that if drug testing were instituted to get a welfare check, anyone who tested positive should be arrested on the spot. But, maybe they could get counseling and treatment. And if after failing a specified number of tests in a certain period of time their checks stopped, well, maybe it would be a wake-up call for them.

In the meantime, isn't it worth a thought? Many of us have to pass a urine test in order to collect a paycheck. Shouldn't it be also required of those who get a welfare check?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Funeral Arrangements

My brother and I went to the funeral home Friday to make arrangements for my husband's remains.

I had decided that there would be no viewing. Because of his health, he really didn't have many friends here in Bradenton, and his family is scattered across east Florida, South Carolina, and Indiana. He will be cremated. That is what his family does and what my family does too. And, to be honest, I had to make arrangements that were as economical as possible. He had no insurance because of his health, and we have minimal savings. I had always intended to look into those insurance plans you see offered on TV and in mailings. You know the ones, no medical exam, a certain amount per month per age group, etc. I just hadn't gotten around to it. I thought there would be plently of time for that. Sure.

I've been asked about a service. I've decided that there will not be a memorial service; rather, we'll have a party in celebration of his life. I can't bring myself to do it right now, but in a few months when we've all had a chance to learn what our new "normal" is. His family has been kind enough to say that whatever I decide is fine with them.

As Scarlett said, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow." Well, I won't go crazy, but I will think about it tomorrow, or at least another day.

Monday, January 01, 2007


My Other Half passed away Thursday evening after a short illness. Christmas evening he began to complain of shortness of breath and a heaviness in the chest. I recognized that the symptoms could be heart problems, but he didn't want to go to the ER and the symptoms eased off shortly after. I'd ask periodically over the next few days how he was doing and he would say he was better. He kept saying he didn't want to go to the ER.

On Wednesday, his father and stepmother visited and they all went out to lunch. I was at work and couldn't be with them. They were concerned as he had a couple of light-headed spells. Gerri convinced him that he should see a doctor as she had suffered with angina for some time and thought the symptoms were similar to hers. When I got home, he said he wanted to see a doctor. I asked if he wanted to go to the ER, but he said it wasn't necessary. I told him to call the doctor the next day and make an appointment for Friday, my next day off.

When I got home Thursday, he had called the doctor. Our doctor was on vacation and the nurse suggested that the best thing to do would be to go to the ER. I feel that an appointment could have been made with the on-duty doctor for evaluation, but that turned out to be unnecessary.

About 930 pm he said he wanted to go to the ER. I got him there in about 10 minutes and he was taken right in to a treatment room. They ran an EKG and took blood for tests. He was put on oxygen right away and since he was now in pain, he was given morphine. A cardiologist was called.

When the cardiologist got there he assured me that they would do all they could but that this was very serious. While I understood what he was saying, like most wives, I believed that this time would be different and he would be fine. The doctor was concerned that they would not be able to get him to the cath lab, and if they did, that he might code there. And in the event he didn't, because of his various health problems, they might not be able to do the catherization.

We raced through the hospital and I was shown to the waiting room. I called my brother who, angel that he is, came and stayed with me. While waiting, I prayed that God would do His will. Yes, I wanted MOH to survive, but only if it were God's will. Yes, I did a bit a pleading to let him live, I'm human enough for that. But, I have faith that God does what is best for each of us.

I heard a "code blue" called and said to John, my brother, that I didn't like that. I knew it was for MOH. A few minutes later, a nurse came and took us to the family room. She slipped and said "viewing room", corrected herself and said "family room." I knew then, in my heart, the worst had happened.

The doctor came in shortly after and told me that MOH had passed away. I was now a widow. That's still hard for me to really comprehend. He had advanced aterial disease, three arteries were nearly or completely closed. They did all they could, but in the end, his heart was just too weak to help them save him. They took me in to see him. He was peaceful. I talked to him for a few minutes, telling him that I would be alright. And I will be.

I take comfort knowing that he is now in God's presence and in perfect health, whole and complete in body. He is with his mother, brother, sister, beloved grandfather and grandmother. Those of us left behind, me, his father, stepmother, sister, niece, and friends, have to learn to live without his love for us, his humor, his intelligence, and his big, generous heart.

Sweetheart, I will always love you and miss you, but I will be alright.