A sense of warmth and cosiness in the Heart of America

Location: Mount Vernon, Ohio, United States

I enjoy good, clean humor. I enjoy listening to people. I like to sit and watch sunsets and holding Terri's hand. I like to spend time with friends.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Springtime Resurrection (retold)

Dear Friends, relatives and coworkers,

Over the last few years we have unfortunately seen too many friends and acquaintances seperate, after extended periods of marriage. Below is a note I just wish to share with some of you about an experience that changed my perspective and thus my life, that I hope may give all of you something to think about.
Thanks for your friendship, fellowship cooperation and consideration.
God bless you and Happy Easter

A Springtime Resurrection
(lessons learned of love and life that I learned from death)
Ken Farnham

For the last 20years, I am somewhat nervous in anticipation of the changes of spring and what it brings in March. Although it is my wife’s birth month, it also contains the anniversaries of my parents passing away. During the Easter vacation time of 1986, I was at work (instead
of vacationing) when I got the phone call from Terri, saying that my father was comatose in a hospital in Arizona, due to some complications after the removal of his gall bladder. We all packed up and flew out to Arizona, where we met my brother and tried to comfort my mother. My brother and I went to the hospital, where we were informed that my father did not have any brain waves and was kept alive solely by mechanical means. We decided to have the cords removed, so I went back to be with my mother and my brother stayed there with my father. He
called shortly afterwords to say that my father had finally passed away.
We did not expect my mother to survive my father, due to her having scleroderma, a degenerative disease that affected her connective tissue. She needed a lot of assistance, which my father usually provided. But due to the abundance of services available where she lived, and out of the goodness and kindness of many friends and relatives, my mother was able to continue to live on her own in herhome for 2 more years!
In late 1987 or early 1988 however, she called and told us that she felt she needed to move to be closer to us. We moved her to an independent living center here in Mount Vernon, where she made new friends. It also turned out to be a great opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with each other, seeing that we have not lived near each other for over 16 years! It was a time of
catching up and reminiscing.
On Thursday, March 30th, 1989, I was on my next-to-my last day as building principal for the school for the mentally handicapped here in Mount Vernon. It was a position that I detested and was anxious to leave. I had just about lost my sanity, my wife, my family and any desire to remain in the field of education. I was planning to clean off my desk so my replacement would have someplace to work at the following Monday. That afternoon I was at the local hospital with a student, whom we suspected was sexually molested by a relative. I went with the child and the social worker in order to step in if there were problems with the relative. I returned late that afternoon to the school to find out that there was a call from the retirement center where my mother lived.
They said I should come to her apartment right away. They said mom was very weak and not feeling well. When I got there, they said they had called the squad and that they would be there shortly. My mother was weak and quiet but talking. She was saying how she had dreamt about my father previous that week and how he was walking in a forest and wanted
her to come along. I drove her car to the hospital following the ambulance. The student and family and social worker I was with earlier, were still there, but I had no interest in talking to them. The nurse and doctor came in and did some preliminary tests and said that my
mother should be transferred to a Columbus hospital, because they did not have the facilities to deal with her condition in Mount Vernon.
I phoned Terri and told her I was going down to Columbus. It was dark and drizzling, and it was a long slow drive to Columbus. The ambulance did not even turn on its flashers. We arrived early evening in the darkness. The hospital staff were not sure where to put my mother, due
to the emergency rooms being full. She was placed in an area, which was cold and dimly lit, away from the main emergency room. There were 2 other patients in beds partially surrounded by hospital curtains across from my mother: a man handcuffed to the bed with a security officer by
his side; another bed had an elderly man, probably in his 80’s or 90’s, with no one else with him.

The time passed slowly. There was a young female intern doctor, who seemed somewhat perplexed on what to do with my mother. They did not run many, if any tests. My mother said she was uncomfortable, due to the tightening of her skin on her back. She was susceptible to
bedsores. I went to the nurses station where the doctor was discussing where to place my mother and they decided to put her in the communicable disease wing, where the beds were available. They said it would be a little while before she would be taken there. I asked them if my mother could have something to put under her to soften the bed and an extra blanket.
While we were waiting, I overheard the doctor talking to the man handcuffed to the bed. He appeared to be in his late 40’s early 50’s. They told him his heart was giving out and that there was no more they could do for him. He was sent there to die. The jailer was the only one
to be in a position to offer comfort or solace, but he seemed to have lacked any concern for the prisoner’s fate or condition.
The entire time we were there, the other older gentleman did not move. No one came, no one called about him. I overheard the doctor saying that he probably was not going to make it through the night. They gave me no indication directly on my mother’s status. They transferred my mother to her room around 10pm or so. A social worker came and asked me what we wanted to do. I asked her if we would need to check her into a nursing facility or would she be in the
hospital for a few days. I did not think she would be able to go back to her apartment immediately. I should have picked up on the social worker’s body language and how the social worker said she was not sure where my mother should go when I asked her when my mother was to be released. She “couldn’t give me any prognosis” and there was nothing more coming from the doctors or nurses. I talked with my mother a little longer. She was falling asleep. Oblivious to the “hints” the staff were giving me, I asked if she would be ok overnight and they
just nodded. I told my mother I had to go back and clean off my desk in the morning and that I would be back by lunch that next day.
I drove back in the dark cold mist. It was so late, that none of the roadside fast food restaurants or service stations were open. I went home, kissed Terri good night and planned to get up at 6 to go and “finish my job” at the school. Around 3am, I received a call from the hospital. They said they got my mother up to go to the bathroom and then put her back in bed and then she passed away. I never should have left.

The grief I felt was excruciating, but I learned two things that affected my entire life: First, no job is worth more than family! I stopped being a workaholic and learned to put my family first. On my dying day, it will probably not be my coworkers who will be taking care
of me.
The second and more important impression left with me is the even more importance of people and family. If I wasn’t there, my mother would not have had anyone trying to make her more comfortable in her final hours. She would have been alone, like the other 2 individuals in the
emergency room. I learned that unfortunately in this day and age, there will be many, many more individuals, dying with no one to care for them or care about them. In the last few years, we have had numerous friends and acquaintances separate or divorce. I wish they had seen what I had seen that night. For those who are together, look in your partners eyes and tell them you love them. Learn to forgive. Learn to give. Learn that this life can be lonely and cruel enough, and that we need each other to serve as a shelter and support in the times of trials and
crisis. Work on your marriages, daily. Encourage one another. There are enough problems and faultfinders out in the world. I have yet to find anyone who does not face trials and troubles. For other friends and relatives who are single or have separated, please keep this in mind.
The last few years of having our in-laws nearby, it has been reinforced to me that the marriage vows made at the beginning of a marriage are there for a long time, as a foundation for later years. A house is not built in a day and its strength is dependent upon the foundation it was
built upon. I fear that those who have separated may have a “nearsighted vision” of life and marriage and often are not willing to take the steps for admission of ones own faults and offering
forgiveness to each other. I have yet to find anyone with out faults. I have seen however, too many couples living separate or unfulfilled marriages, thinking their possessions or “friends” will be there to help them in their time of need. Usually it ends up that no one will be there when you don’t invest in each other. Invest in people.

The death of my mother has “resurrected” in me the importance of my love for my wife and family. I pray that you may also know that resurrection in your own life. Imagine what your final day would look like if you were in that same emergency room.

An aside to this also, at this time of Easter, is that you should know that God loves us. He sent us his only Son to tell us that. He sent us His only Son to die in our place. (I would find it far more easier to give my own life up rather than giving my son up to die for a people that showed us no love or concern.) Just to tell us he loves us. What we do with that love is up to us. What we get out of it depends of what we do with His love. If your spouse told you they really loved you and you ignored them or did not speak with them, who is the one that will suffer the most? God Loves you and wants you to know that. He could not have shown us any other way. He could not have loved us any more. As undeserving and as unpleasant and as unloving we are, God showed us His love in a manner that we can never adequately thank Him for His
love. May God bless all of you at this time of Spring and


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