Remembering an Old Friend

Last year, I sent my longtime friend a birthday card. Her birthday was today.

This year there was no need to send her a card since she passed away, a few days before her birthday last year.

I had known Mary (Heggerness) LaHood since grade school. Although we lived close to each other, we never played together. Why? Because we never knew until our high school years that we lived so close.

I had no one near my age to play with when I was a child, and it would have been great to have known Mary lived so close by. However, we made up for those years when we became Freshmen in high school. We received our high school schedule and would you believe we had the same classes, except one class?

That’s when we became best friends. We went to classes together and even had to find room 014 twice, which was difficult since it was the school’s old band room. It now had served as a study hall and was in the basement next to the furnace room.

We started walking to school together and her father, a jolly salesman, often drove us to school before he continued to work. From there, we began to do things together. We would take the bus to downtown Omaha and purchase material, patterns, matching threads and the works to do our sewing.

Mary often would come to my house where my mom had an ideal sewing atmosphere in the basement. The basement consisted of two sewing machines, one my mom’s 1920s machine (which still runs and I still use) and the other a portable model of the 1960s era.

The basement also had a Duncan Phyfe table, which had dropped leaves that you could open up. This made the perfect table to lay out your fabric and patterns. Also, Mom had an ironing board in the adjacent furnace room.

We had fun there cutting, sewing and making our projects –dresses and more. In addition, we had great times over at Mary’s home where I often would spend the night. I enjoyed many delightful desserts there since my mom would make cakes, pies and brownies, but Mary’s mother ALWAYS had dessert where my mom did not.

It was at Mary’s kitchen that I sipped my first taste of strawberry pop and still love it today. Mary could play the piano and I was a flutist. We would do duets with our instruments. I still have a book of piano and flute duets in my second son’s piano bench.

Through me, Mary was introduced to Pete, the love of her life for more than 50 years of marriage. It happened this way. My Aunt Dorothy had a party and I invited Mary to come. She didn’t really want to go but finally decided to come and that’s where she met her future husband. Pete was friends of my aunt’s step son.

I ended up marrying John and moved to Nashville. Mary married Pete and they moved to Minnesota, where a lot of Mary’s relatives lived. However, we never grew apart. After my divorce to my first husband, I returned to Omaha.

At the time, Mary’s mother still lived in Omaha so we got to see each other. Later Mary’s mother moved to Minnesota as well. However, we kept in touch and Mary became my matron of honor at my second marriage to Paul.

Paul and I and family would visit Mary and Pete, sometimes staying with them. When the children left home, except for our nonverbal autistic son, Brad, we would make trips there about every three years. When I was up there, Mary and I would return to our high school days –as close as ever.

Mary and Pete often came down to Omaha during Easter so we would get together then as well. Her sister lives here.

I had not seen Mary for about four years because she experienced a series of strokes which left her in a wheelchair. She and husband, Pete, moved to her daughter’s house after that.

They stayed with her daughter until Mary passed away last year and Pete passed away in June. Life moves on but Mary still is close to my heart. Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mary, and I miss you!

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Being Thankful

This has been a difficult time not only for me but my family as well. It started last year when my family learned my husband had fourth-stage, lymph-node cancer. And where was it located? In his legs.

Thus, I could not take care of him. He is in a nursing home and the place where he now resides is taking good care of him. I see him every day and stay about two hours each visit. We have good visits, though, I wish he was home.

Then this year the worse thing happened. My oldest nonverbal autistic son, who lived with us, passed away in January. It was so sudden. One morning he woke up with a fever and chills. The next day he was gone. We loved this sweetheart whom we had taken care of from birth to his death because he could not dress himself or feed himself.

My husband did most of his care until he became sick last year. (I centered on our youngest verbal autistic son.) I took over and Brad and I became a pair. I learned what he loved to eat and what he did not like, such as tomato sauce on his spaghetti. It was a busy time but a loving time.

We miss him so much. It still hurts. Every day something reminds me of him. I wish I could go back in time and have him reappear, but, of course, that cannot happen.

But even in these terrible times, God is there for us. The local Knights of Columbus has been awesome. They cleaned our yard last year, taking down the overgrown flower garden and planting grass in its stead. They trimmed bushes and made our yard look awesome, and this is a large yard of an acre of ground. This spring they cleaned the land, and when a huge tree branch fell last week, they cleaned it up. The Lord was there through it all since that branch could have fallen on our house. He protected us. Thank you, Lord.

Others have assisted us with monetary funds, which was badly needed. I also wondered how I was going to pay for items for our youngest autistic son since his birthday is July 6. However, God was there. A friend and I went to a local church garage sale and behold I found fun-scary toys like a stuffed Dracula and a CD player. I did not want to spend money on another CD player which Andrew has destroyed whenever he has had one in the past. He wants a fountain pop so he ruins them to get more pop.

This is why I did not want to buy another CD player that he would destroy. It gets expensive. However, I found a used one at that garage sale. God was there for me. He also was there for a great neighbor who moved my outside table and chairs to mow because the regular mowers do not move the table and chairs and the grass grows tall underneath.

So even in our heartache, the Lord is there. Be thankful for all who have been there for you. God is Gracious. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

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Moving Forward

I am moving forward. I finally am back to writing on the novel, Her Heart’s Secret, which I had not touched since February 2021. This is the third in my Bonnets and Beaus series. Below is its lovely cover:

Her Heart’s Secret, book three in Bonnets and Beaus series

So much has happened in my life I could not move forward. First, it was my husband’s fourth-stage cancer then it was the sudden death of our little sweetheart, Brad.

Two heartaches in a row is enough to bring anyone to their knees. It did that to me.

I thought about getting a part-time job, but how would I fit in my daily schedule and make sure my husband got the food he needed and more? So I ended up returning to my writing.

Writing can be done anytime. You don’t have to punch a time clock. However, you do need to work on a schedule.

The Schedule

When do I want this book released? When should I have the editing done? I will need to contact that editor and see when this person is available. Of course, it would have to be next year. There is no way all can be done before that. Also, who will do my final editing since the one who did this passed away in August.

Trying to Move Forward

I have never faced so many deaths of people around me. It’s left a hole in my heart, especially the loss of Brad, our non-verbal, autistic son who we took care of since he could not dress or feed himself. I took over these duties when my husband could no longer do them. I used to help my husband but he did a lot of Brad’s care.

I keep reviewing that day where he was sick on the day of the upcoming rain and snowstorm. What a time and the next day I found him dead. I can never forget the heartache and it lingers today.

However, it is difficult to concentrate because my eyes fill with tears. How many of you see your life in the rearview mirror? You don’t see a future like when you were younger. Instead you see only more anguish.

For instance, will I ever travel again? Will my life be full again? When can I laugh and joke around like I had done in the past? These are questions you ask when life brings you such terrible curves.

This is why it is difficult to move forward but you must. You cannot stay in the past. I know that; however, I had such a beautiful past in which you never appreciated until it vanishes.

What Helps you Move Forward

The good thing is I have three wonderful sons thus all is not lost, and I have a beautiful home. I appreciate and am grateful for everything. I must turn the corner. Moving forward is not easy.

I’m going to have to put one foot in front of the other. The Lord will help me pick up my heels and take tiny moving forward steps. I would appreciate your prayers. God bless.

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Hospice, a word I hate

Our hearts together

With 41 years of marriage under our belt, we will separate at some point. I know we all do but mine, for me, is especially heartbreaking when God takes my husband.

It is heartbreaking because I had to make the decision to put him under HOSPICE. Why?

Finances. It comes down to money. If I didn’t, we already would be bankrupt. It’s our survival. Mine and our handicapped son who lives with us. Our youngest autistic child is in a group home.

I remember the day Paul was in the hospital, and they found the cancer in his right leg. Fourth-stage cancer. This was why he kept falling, but we never anticipated the hateful word, Cancer.

The hospital’s CARE DOCTOR who really had no care. She stood there in her high heels telling my two older sons (there by Zoom) and myself and Paul’s daughter that I should agree to put him on hospice. However, we decided to send him to rehab to at least give him a chance to strengthen that right cancer leg.

Thus he was sent to a nursing home to receive rehab. But Paul didn’t rebound from the therapy and instead I either had to pay $2,000 and something every two weeks or put him on HOSPICE.

I hated the choice I was forced to make. It’s awful when people look at another and say, “Well, he’s old.” Yes, he is but he has been a great husband and supported my two older sons from a former marriage.

People never think about what the person did in his life and what a great father he has been, especially to our two different autistic sons. There are men who would walk away from a situation like that, but Paul didn’t and he has a bound with our older non-verbal son that is unimaginable. It shows in every time I talk to my husband on the phone and Brad, the low-functioning, non-verbal son, makes sounds.

Paul wants to talk to him and every morning after I dress Brad he stands and studies two photos of my husband, taken in his younger days. Then Brad makes his way downstairs.

It’s so sad when people think of the “older” as something not valuable and forget the LIFE they LIVED and the VALUE they brought to others. Paul is a strong Christian, never missing mass until this all happened in February.

HOSPICE, I believe, in some incidents is a way to calm your conscience of letting a person die with comfort, and for some, that is a good way for their loved one to go. However, for others, there should be other options. Mine is heartache and watching my husband on the road to die, and I am the one who had to make that decision in order to have money to survive.

It’s awful. I pray none of you will ever have to go through something this. It saddens me every day and I wish I had other options. God bless.

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My Personal Dilemma

I never thought I would face poverty, but here I am about to plunge into it.

How did this happen, you ask?

It all occurred after my husband kept falling and had to go to the hospital. There they found his fourth-stage lymph node cancer. When he would step on his right leg it would go numb, this made him fall. Never would you think this was causing his problem.

The cancer doctor gave him a chemo treatment, but he ended up in ICU twice with low blood pressure and she, the doctor, was afraid to give him any more since he was weak and at his age probably would not survive.

So he went into the nursing home for rehab. The hope was with a feeding tube (the hospital did not open tops of containers, etc. so he at least could try to eat) and receiving nourishment from the tube he could walk, etc. on that leg. However, he was unable to improve and I was left with only one option and that was hospice.

Why do you say: ONLY ONE OPTION?

Because the nursing home required $2,000 and something every 17 days for his rehab. I could see poverty at the end of this journey thus I opted for the hospice.

However, my prayer continues to be he would be healed and be able to come home. So far that has not happened. However, with food in his stomach, he is more alert and is even reading the newspaper again. That’s a good sign and the news once more by watching it on television as well.

Cancer, by the way, makes its victims have no appetite. This was why I was adamant about getting him nourishment.

We both miss each other terribly. You do that when you have been married to a wonderful husband and father of two handicapped children for 40 years. My husband also took in my two older sons to raise.

In addition, my husband did a lot of care for our oldest, non-verbal son which now has fallen to me. I am happy to take care of our eldest son. He fills my days with joy. Our youngest autistic son resides in a group home. I see him twice a week and talk to him daily.

But what is your dilemma, you ask?

The state has caused me an awful dilemma. I want my husband to be around as long as God allows him to live. However, each nursing home day is costly about $350 a day. Medicare pays for the hospice but not the nursing home care.

Bring him home and care for him there, you ask?

I wish I could, but with the cancer in his leg, he cannot walk. He can barely sit up on the edge of the bed. How could I manage him? Bathe him? Dress him? Clean him up after accidents, etc.? Especially in light of our oldest son who cannot feed, dress or bathe himself.

So I visit my husband daily and keep praying he can return home.

However, until God answers this prayer, I am stuck with a terrible dilemma. My finances will improve once he passes away, but now the Medicaid I applied for does not pay for ALL of his nursing room care.

My husband has a great retirement. He worked hard for it with hours upon hours of overtime and being with the post office for 43 years. This, though, will be of little benefit when OUR share of the Medicaid to pay the nursing home almost wipes out all of his retirement income. This income is our main source to pay bills, food and more.

Now I face poverty. I never thought I would ever be in such a predicament.

In addition, I had to cash out all our assets to apply for Medicaid. I was under the impression once we got his bank account down that Medicaid would pay for his nursing room care. I was mistaken. We have to pay a portion, and that leaves my oldest handicapped child and me with little to live upon.

What a dilemma. If my husband dies, WHICH I DON’T WANT TO HAPPEN, I am better off financially because my husband set up a financial plan for me after he passes away.

BUT I DON’T WANT HIM TO PASS AWAY. WHAT A MESS. I hope no one faces what I am going through. God bless.

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The Priest

Rev. David Fulton of Central City, Neb. attended President Donald Trump’s rally Jan. 6. He was inspired to attend, according to a Jan. 30, 2021, Omaha World-Herald article, because he believed evil is dissolving our country.

His attendance was documented by a video photographer, and that video was posted on You Tube, “Voices from the Capitol.” The video was shot by Eddie Becker and according to Fulton, a man who was anti-Catholic. In his conversation, Fulton said he tried to sway the video photographer to believe in God.

However, this taped conversation brought a lot of trouble for Fulton.

The incident was reported to the Omaha World Herald and from there two articles were written on this. The first was Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, and the second Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

The first article included where he had done his priestly duties and to me attacked this Christian man for attending the rally and doing so wearing his priestly collar.

Perhaps he should not have worn that. However, the man has a right to attend and support the candidate he believes has the best interest of the country. Besides, according to the Omaha World Herald’s first reporting of the incident, one parishioner stated she never saw him not wearing his collar.

Fulton was not aware of the later capitol insurrection since he had returned to his hotel before that happened, Fulton said in a news report.

I feel sorry for Fulton not only from the attacks from some of his parishioners and former parishioners who not only did not believe he should have attended the rally but also because they did not like the way he managed the church. Some decided to attend other churches.

Really? What has that to do with him attending the rally? This journalist was out of line.

In addition, the journalist who wrote the second article, went on and on about those who disagreed with the priest, including the Omaha archdiocese.

All of this sickened me as well. Fulton believed a demon is dissolving the country. I believe the same. Look at what is happening in our country right now. We have lost many of our Christian principles.

The journalist, who wrote the second article, only included a person who defended the priest near the end of the long, winding article. Fulton was under so much pressure from church leaders he was forced to apologize to his congregation, stated the second news article.

This is sad. Tormenting a man who attended a rally because he loves America and worried about its future. I am appalled at that.

I feel sorry for this priest. Of course, the good book says in 1 Peter: 7: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

God bless and I would love your input on this post.

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Funerals of the 1800s

Doing some research for my latest book, Her Heart’s Secret, which is the third in the Bonnets and Beaus series I am writing, I found fascinating information on funerals of the 1800s. What did I learn?

(1)Funerals were held in homes either in the parlor or in the decease’s bedroom.

For your information, a few years ago I learned from visiting a historical home that the reason no one uses the term parlor is because parlors were connected to death. Thus this is why today we call our place where we watch television, read, etc. our living room. We live in there, not die in there.

(2)The body would be displayed in the parlor or in that person’s bedroom and sometimes were removed by the undertaker to be embalmed. If removed, the deceased was taken out feet first in fears the dead person may look back into the house, and this could lure others to join them in death.

(3)Someone had to be with the body day and night. This was done out of respect or to ward off evil spirits. Family would stay with the deceased during the day and close friends would come at night.

(4) If there was no family or friends to take care of the deceased, the person was taken to a funeral parlor.

(5) Since no telephones, smart phones, etc., existed, family alerted the death by placing black crepe on wreaths, over doors, doorknobs or doorknockers. this announced the family was in mourning. Neighbors would offer to help the family, express their condolences and bring food.

(6) Home clocks were stopped to prevent bad luck.

(7) Mirrors were covered or removed from the house based on the fear if someone saw a reflection of the deceased in a mirror, they too could die. In addition, some believed the loved one’s soul could get trapped and unable to pass to the other side.

(8) Family photographs also could be turned face-down to prevent deceased close relatives and friends from being possessed by the spirit of the dead.

(9) Family members would build the coffin.

This is a poem my mother would recite:

Did you ever think when a hearse rode by? That sometimes you and also I would be riding down in that same old hack never, never to come back.

They put you in a parlor with flowers and mourners all standing around.

Then they bury you six feet under the ground and all goes well for about a week when the coffin begins to leak. The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out until there’s nothing left of you.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. God bless.

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Imagery and Writing

What gives writers inspiration to write scenes?

For me, it’s seeing an image and using that to build a scene. Although the details of the below picture I did not use in my description of that mean and corrupt Mayor Brian Dickenson’s office, it enabled me to set the mood. Here is the picture and below is an  excerpt from The Librarian’s Secret, released June 6 in e-book and paperback:

Old pic 1

“Mayor Brian Dickenson returned to his office and settled into his seat. Stacked high on his desk were an assortment of papers, he pulled out the folder, titled Nebraska City Library, then opened it. Studying the ledger and the library’s small balance, he hoped he could, indeed, implement some new methods. They needed to; otherwise, other communities would outdo them, and he did not want that to happen. His office door squeaked open. “Yes.”

            “It’s me.”

            “Come on in.” The mayor beckoned his clerk to sit in the chair in front of him.

            Oscar Lieben, his carrot-topped assistant and clerk, sat down. “So what do you think of the new librarian?”

            “Well, she’s a pretty lady with those brown eyes and chestnut-brown hair. She’ll sure make a great addition to that dreary library.”

            Lieben laughed. “But is she going to be able to bring new life to that place?”

            “You bet with looks like hers, why not?”

The town’s Fall Festival plays an important part in this story. It’s near the book’s climax and sets up the exciting ending. Below are two pictures, which shows the Fall Festival’s parade:

Old pic 2

“Next, came the surrey with its fringed top, pulled by a chocolate-brown and snow-white gelding. The mother, who held the reins, urged the horse forward. Her two sons sat stolidly inside the wagon while the little daughter, who sat in the rear and wore a big bow in her hair, flapped her arms in the air while the horse moved onward.”

Old pic 3

“Another fancy carriage pulled up with several more following. Then a young girl sat in a small wagon. She tugged on the reins to lead her goat forward. The people cheered, hooted and hollered.”

So, imagery makes scenes. I often look at Pinterest for period clothing, scenery and dilapidated barns to describe. For me, it helps me make a scene come alive, and at times, gives me ideas for what will come next in the plot and more.

The new librarian’s mysterious past meets

preacher son hunting for deceased father’s

journal, which is hidden in that library and

contains his pa’s secret.

E-book Buy Links: Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo

Paperback: Amazon.com

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Release Date Announced

Well, The Librarian’s Secret, the second in the Bonnets and Beaus series is released June 6, 2020. However, it is ready in e-book NOW for pre-order for $2.99.

The new librarian’s mysterious past meets preacher son hunting for deceased father’s journal, which is hidden in that library and contains  his pa’s secret.

Love, Suspense, Mystery, Historical Romance

Click links below to get your pre-order copy:

Kindle  Nook  iBooks  Kobo

Paperback available NOW: Click here for your copy!

20190705_BCD_TheLibrariansSecret

Newly hired librarian Edna Hopper holds a mysterious past

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The Librarian’s Secret

Coming soon in 2020. A June book signing is being planned at a Christian bookstore in the Omaha area.

The library door creaked open. Footsteps approached. The elderly librarian glanced up as a man dressed in a hooded midnight-black cloak stopped in front of her and presented her his journal.

“… My confession is written in this journal.”

20190705_BCD_TheLibrariansSecret

Newly hired librarian Edna Hopper holds a mysterious past.

Six years later, Heath Barrymore entered that same library to fulfill his deceased father’s wishes – to discover where the librarian had placed the journal and expose the secret his father could not.

Heath stepped toward the librarian’s desk, expecting to find gray-headed, librarian Bessey, but instead his gaze met pretty Edna Hopper, the newly hired librarian who held a mysterious past.

Return to the 1890s in Nebraska City, Neb., and witness the love and heartache The Librarian’s Secret presents to our hero and heroine, and what it holds for their futures.

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