Sadness, Peace, Love

Its been an eventful week to say the least. As I mentioned in the last entry, Nora and I traveled to Rochester MN so that I could get my pacemaker and one of the leads from it, replaced. I had several tests done Monday and Tuesday, with the replacement surgery happening at 10 am Wednesday. Once again, I proved to be a handful for the good folks at the Mayo Clinic, but they came through in shining colors as they have always done in the past. I have said it before and I will say it again, that facility and its staff are just amazing. I have yet to have a bad experience there and have NEVER had a nurse that was not over the top friendly and did their job extremely well. The daytime nurse I had was one I have had in the past! I guess that says something about how many times I have been in that joint!

We got home late Thursday, having to drive through some fairly heft snow squalls from around Hayward through Ironwood and Bergland and then things lightened up for the final hour of the trip. I felt bad because one of my restrictions from the surgery was no driving for 10 days, which meant that Nora had to drive the entire way, on top of stressing out about me in surgery the day before. She came through like a champ and although she gave me some grief for all the money I spent on a “radar/laser” detector, it did save us at least 3 times, or maybe more properly put, allowed us to travel a bit faster than we normally would!

The same day I had my surgery, my mom also passed away. It may sound cliché, but it really was more of a blessing that it happened. She was 87, so had lived a very long and full life. She had not been in the best of health since having a stroke around 2 years ago. In fact, several setbacks had sent her to the hospital and then several weeks of rehab since her stroke.

Nora, Grace, all of the rest of my immediate family (except for a Niece in FL) were able to be with her in the days before she got sick this go around. In fact, the same morning that Nora, Grace and I headed home from being with her, she woke up and had pains in her abdomen and had to be taken to the hospital. Initially, they though she had a blockage in her intestines, but it turned out to be in her stomach. Because of her age and existing conditions, they were very hesitant to do surgery, for fear she would not survive. So for over a week, they tried several different treatments, but none of them were working. On the 4th, she developed severe pain in her abdomen and requested to have the surgery done. She did survive the surgery, even to the point where they were able to remove the ventilator and she could communicate a bit Tuesday, but then went down hill Tuesday night and by Wednesday morning, the doctors said that she would not make it. She passed very comfortably and peacefully at around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon.

She will for sure be missed by all who knew her. She was an incredibly strong woman in many ways. Not just physically and mentally to go through all the health issues she had in her final years, but strong willed. If there was anyone who was going to make something happen, it was her. She was also not afraid to standup for what she believed in and would NOT back down from a fight to hold her ground. Some of my most vivid memories of her while I was growing up was of her going face to face with someone who had wronged her or one of her children. A few times I would even start to feel sorry for the other person. She would not yell or use threatening language, just would stand there like a rock and not give an inch until the situation was resolved to her liking.

Of course that same strength was applied to raising her children and it did not take all of us long to realize you did not try and argue or even negotiate with her! She did mellow out as she aged, even to the point where us children were able to tell her what to do, although I have to admit, I never grew comfortable with that privilege and did not exercise it much! 

I am at peace with her passing, knowing that she is with my dad and brothers, as well as the rest of the family members and friends who have passed. As is the case when anyone we love passes, she took a part of me that I will never get back, but has also left me with all the memories of her love for me.

For those of you reading this and are wondering about a service, the family has decided to wait until the first half of summer to hold a memorial for her. My brother lives up here in the Keweenaw and my sister in Oklahoma. Her grandchildren live in Washington state and Florida, so rather than create a chaotic situation by having a service in the days after her passing, we are going to wait until all the children are on summer break and allow us to comfortably plan her service.

As far as events in the Keweenaw go, winter just does not want to leave us for good yet. As mentioned, we drove through snow showers and snow squalls on the way home and it was snowing when we arrived home in Jake. Friday we had off and on snow showers and then by late afternoon into the evening, the snow intensified and we awoke to a fresh 6″ by Saturday morning. We did warm to 42 under a fairly strong April sun during the day and all of the snow that had fallen Friday night melted, plus some. We are already at 44 and it is only 11:15. There are some clouds today, but for sure more snow will melt. The forecast does not hold much more snow for us and temps in many of the days ahead look to reach into the upper 40’s and even some low 50’s, so perhaps spring is truly here in earnest. I doubt that we are done with seeing flake fall and perhaps even some minor accumulations, but we really have reached the time of the year when the weather is more spring like than winter.

I know I am ready for spring, as are about 99% of the locals. I am also ready for a quiet week and for my heart to start feeling the effects of its new hardware!

Good Night From the Keweenaw..