Saturday, May 31, 2008

Voting is Ending!

The voting on Best of Blogs is ending on Sunday, June 1,2008 at midnight. So it's your last chance to get your votes in folks and we can all go out with a big hurrah!

Remember -

BigBlueBarnWest in up for Best Inspirational Blog.
MenopausalOldBag is up for Funniest Blog.
Laughingaloneinthedark with Carolyn is up for best Mommy Blog although she has thrown her support behind PunkRockMommy.

All of us who have made the top 10 in The Best of Blogs appreciate your votes!

Thank you all!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

'The Man' Tales - That Summer

There are still a few days left for the voting on The Best of Blogs. BigBlueBarnWest is still holding its own in its category of Best Inspirational Blog. I thank all of you for your continued support and for taking the time to vote for me. As you know - I feel incredibly humbled by this sort of thing and I get all goofy and embarrassed by it. Despite the blush - I still thank you all and ask that you please keep up the voting for a couple more days.
Now - on with the story.

That summer Cid spent nearly every weekend hiking the Rocky Mountains. Some days he hiked 20 miles or more. He tried to talk me into going with him but I would have none of it. Not only would my asthma be a problem hiking at that altitude – but my fear of bears would drive me crazy - especially walking through their territory. So Cid went out alone and came back with amazing pictures and amazing stories. He told us about hiking on trails that were posted with bear warnings and how he sang and shook his bear bells the whole day. He talked about coming across other hikers in their Lederhosen and feathered caps; suspenders holding up their shorts. He told us about all the hawks and eagles he saw as he climbed up above the tree line. The big raptors were his favorite birds because they were the ones he could actually see with his poor eyesight. His face would go all soft and a look of contented loneliness would fill his eyes when he saw any of his favorites – the hawks. Luckily, here in Alberta they can be seen everywhere as they hover and soar over the plains in search of food.

We filled those summer weekends in many different ways. Sometimes it was just Cid and I who went out and explored, sometimes it was all three. Even on the weekends that he did hike in the mountains, he always made sure he dropped in to visit on his way home. Cid would often pick us up and we would drive west and then go upriver and watch my brother taking his guests on their white-water rafting adventures. Sometimes we drove into British Columbia so we could wander around Radium Hot Springs. We always took a picnic, and Cid always brought his camera.

As the summer progressed, Cid’s physique changed. His soft lawyer’s body was acquiring an athlete’s form and his face filled with joy when I pointed this out to him as he hiked along in front of me. Watching his tanned muscular calves as he strode along almost made me lose my breath. To me his legs were beautiful and I wanted him to know how I felt. Except for the huge scar that stitched its way up his stomach, you wouldn’t know he had had cancer. He was just happy to be alive and it was infectious.

Life for me still consisted of my Mom picking me up during the week and taking me into the store where I would sleep or watch the monitor. I was still so terrified of people that I couldn’t go out into the showroom and help anyone with a coat. Mom brought me into the store through the backdoor and I spent the day in the backroom – protected and safe. On weekends Cid and/or D protected me from everyday life as well. If people approached me, I would hide behind who I was with and start to shake and cry. I couldn’t get over this fear and the only thing that helped it was being distracted.

With the end of summer came the massive input of our winter stock and that helped distract me. I had always loved when the new coats came in for the winter or spring season. Day after day a knock would come to the backdoor and the delivery driver would be there with 6 or 7 huge boxes that he hauled in on his dolly and stacked in our backroom. It was like Christmas when we opened those boxes and brought out the coats we had ordered six months ago. Invariably we would forget what we had ordered and it was always such a surprise to pull out the different styles from those boxes. While I was sick, Mom and my brother handled the buying. Finding out what they had ordered was such a wonderful surprise for me and it made me take a bit of an interest in the business again. I started by steaming the coats before they went out on the racks. From there I found that I could go out to the front desk and put the stock into the computer. Somehow my brain retained information about the business while completely discarding other things. However, if a customer approached me – I fled.

On September 30th we celebrated Cid’s 48th birthday. We had spent enough time cooking with Cid in my kitchen to discover that he did not own a microwave. So that is what we gave him. We laughed when he stated that he just didn’t know what he would do with it. Like his little Italian mother, he was a hard-core pressure cooker type of guy.

On the Friday before my birthday in November, Cid asked me to go through my closet and find something special to wear. He wouldn’t tell me why –he just said he would see me the next day and that I wasn’t to get upset or worry about anything. He had purposely waited until the last minute so I wouldn’t have too much time to think or to back out of whatever he had in mind. On Saturday afternoon he picked me up and we drove up to Edmonton. I hadn’t a clue where we were going, but he took me into a large building full of people and I started to panic. Holding me close he took me to seats he had selected that were right on the aisle so I wouldn’t be hemmed in by strangers. He had also timed it so we sat down right as the performance began. Still not knowing what to expect, I held my breath as the curtains opened and Sarah Brightman came out onto the stage and began to sing.

I spent the next two hours enraptured by this gorgeous petite woman with the most incredible voice. Every song had tears streaming down my face with the beauty of it all. I had never heard of her before this night, but I was a fan. When the performance ended, Cid saw the panic instantly take over and he took us through that massive crowd like I was a football and he was a defensive end. With one hand stretched before him and the other wrapped tightly around me – he yelled ‘let this lady through please’ as he plowed through the crowd. In minutes he had me out of the building and into his car and we were on our way.

When Cid brought me back to the barn, he thanked D for letting me go with him for the evening. It was my special birthday present from him and I couldn’t thank him enough. After he had left to return to Edmonton once more, I raved on and on to D about the concert. I could only remember the name of the last song she had sung and I asked D if he had ever heard Time To Say Good-bye. In minutes he had looked it up on the computer and was playing it for me. As the sounds swept through the room and brought tears running down my face once more, I asked him who owned the incredible voice that was singing with Sarah Brightman. In a second the answer came back – Andrea Bocelli.

None of us knew how much this concert would affect our lives later on.

Monday, May 26, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Cid Heals

Voting continues for this final week at The Best of Blogs. Bigbluebarnwest is still in the lead for Best Inspirational Blog but needs your votes to keep it there. I greatly appreciate the fact that everyone is taking the time to vote. While you are doing so, MOB (menopausaloldbag)and Carolyn are both nominated. Mob for funniest blog and Carolyn (laughingaloneinthedark)for best Mummy blog (although she has thrown her votes behind PunkRockMommy. Any votes for these two are also greatly appreciated. Winners will be announced on June 2, 2008.
And now - on with the story.

I stayed beside Cid’s bed and held his hand that day. He was high on the morphine pump and was laughing and smiling. His surgery prevented him from doing much leaning but he would make a motion and I would lean over and kiss him. His breath smelled of chemicals but his lips were sweet and soft, and mine clung to his – desperate for more.

I stayed with him until 11pm when the shift change happened and the new nurses asked me to let him sleep. I kissed him once more and we clung to each other – happy to be able to do just this. Leaning in close, I whispered in his ear that I would return and once more our hands stretched towards each other – refusing to part – as I slipped from his grasp.

The night was cold and the wind was blowing snow into my face as I made my way to the lonely parking lot. A man came out of nowhere and walked towards me along the sidewalk. He was bundled up against the cold and his head was down and I quickly sent up a silent prayer as we neared each other. Just as he passed, he lurched into me and my heart sent a shot of adrenalin through my body. As my feet sped up I whipped my head around to see if he was following, but he was still going in the other direction. Perhaps the snow had been uneven on his side of the sidewalk – but I wasn’t taking any chances.

As I hurried towards my car I heard another vehicle’s engine trying to turn over. Jumping in my car, I started it quickly and locked the doors. As the windows unthawed, I could see the person who had been trying to start their vehicle. It was obviously a woman and she had popped the hood and was standing in the cold, staring into the engine. We were the only two people in the entire parking lot. I couldn’t drive away and leave her there, so I got out of my car and went over to see if I could help. The woman was one of the nurses who had been looking after Cid for the day. We fiddled with connections for a bit before she tried to start the car once more, but it was obvious that it was frozen and now the battery was dead. Neither of us had jumper cables, but fortunately she had a cell phone and I had a roadside assistance plan. I made the call and we waited in my car with the heater running. Almost two hours later, the tow truck arrived. In no time he had her boosted and she hugged me hard and was on her way. And so was I. When I arrived home at 3am, D hugged me hard and asked immediately after Cid. I felt terrible as he had been worried about both of us.

I drove back and forth to Edmonton everyday that Cid was in the hospital. The nurse from the parking lot thanked me every day for helping her out, until I had to ask her to quit. I had been happy to help. On the weekend, D came with me as he didn’t have to work, and we entertained Cid for the entire day. Both of us were so happy to have him on the mend. He had more pain after they took away the morphine pump, but he was more himself and you could see he was happy it was over with.

His ex-fiancée came to visit a couple of evenings when I was there. She would stand at the end of the bed and glare at me as Cid held my hand and refused to give it up. After two evenings of this, I stepped out into the hallway as she was leaving and told her it was crazy to be so jealous when she should be happy that Cid was healing. It didn’t help her attitude and that just saddened me. I thought a united front would be more helpful to Cid than the nonsense she insisted on carrying on with. When Cid was discharged, she took him home and dropped him off, then drove away. He had insisted that I stay home and I was frustrated that she would treat him like that. Cid excused her by claiming that she had always been like this. I just shook my head and asked him why he had ever proposed to her. At least it made him laugh.

His doctor never ordered chemotherapy or radiation after the kidney was removed. Cid was determined to live a healthy lifestyle after the surgery and threw himself into a physical routine to prove that he was healthy. He biked miles around Edmonton – sometimes going too far and having to call a cab to get back home. He refused to take the elevators and took the stairs instead. He ate healthy. Eventually his strength returned and when spring came we went back to hiking.

The three of us went to Drumheller and hiked around the hoodoos and into the canyons. This is an area of Alberta that is like stepping back in time. Many dinosaur bones have been found here in the deep canyons. The hoodoos are sandstone that have been eroded by the winds and the ‘hoodoos’ are what remain. It was on this trip that I was able to show Cid his first Bluebird. With his terrible eyesight he could never see the smaller birds, but this day we had our binoculars and I spotted this bluebird sitting in a tree not far from us. Cid found it with his binoculars, the bright blue of its feathers standing out against the budding limbs of the tree. He sat and watched it until it flew away. When he turned to me, his face was streaming with tears and he hugged me hard, thanking me for giving him that little treasure in his life. I hugged him back as I burst into tears, and thanked him for being in my life.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

'The Man' Tales - In a Quandary

Voting is still going on at The Best of Blogs. All votes for BigBlueBarnWest in Best Inspirational Blog category are gratefully appreciated! I don't know how much longer voting is going to continue - but a daily vote is required to keep me in the lead.....YIKES!! (someone is catching up!)

I was in a quandary. I was terrified of leaving the house and going to Edmonton to be with Cid after his surgery. One of my mother’s staff was married to a doctor. When he heard that Cid was having a kidney removed – he highly recommended that I be there. I promptly forgot about my own problems and made the decision to be with Cid.

With a map to the hospital on the passenger’s seat, I made the 2 hour drive to Edmonton. Arriving around noon, I negotiated my way through the traffic and found the hospital without any problem. I never even thought about my nervousness of driving in the snow or the fact that I had rarely driven my car in almost a year. Instead I had the presence of mind to park in a parking lot that allowed a vehicle for long hours and made my way into the hospital. I never hesitated when I had to inquire about which room Cid was in and when I found it and discovered he wasn’t out of surgery yet, I went to find the recovery room.

I leaned against the wall outside the recovery room for over an hour and thought about Cid. His doctor had waved off his complaints for over a year about peeing blood – and it had come to this. I knew Cid was too soft spoken and unaware of what it took to get a doctor to pay attention to a person’s complaints. Before my mental breakdown I had told him he needed to insist that the doctor do some more tests. But he had done his usual shrug of his shoulders and let it go. I wondered how he could be such a good lawyer and yet be so meek and mild mannered.

After an hour I began walking up and down the hall, unwilling to go very far in case they brought him out of recovery. He had no idea that I was at the hospital. I hadn’t told him I would be coming because I wanted to see the smile on his face when I surprised him. I knew what that smile would look like and it brought a smile to my own lips and tears to my eyes. Closing my eyes I brought up the memory of what his kisses were like and how his lips tasted. I thought of the feel of his hand holding mine and how his arm felt around my shoulders. When I was almost on the verge of breaking down because of my fear of losing him, I heard the doors swing open behind me.

A gurney came into sight and all I could see were bags and tubes and machines. Then I saw feet covered with those blue hospital blankets. The other two gurneys that had come through those doors had held strangers who were whisked away to the surgical ward. As I craned my head forward in search of a face, I sent up a prayer that this one would be Cid. The patient had his head turned in the other direction and I hurried along beside the gurney in an effort to catch a glimpse of whoever lay on this rolling bed. Suddenly his head turned towards me and our eyes met. My heart skipped a beat followed by a sharp pang when his face lit up as I leaned in and he was able to make out that it was me. Ignoring the IV lines he reached out and clasped my hand and held it tight as they rolled him along.

“Aims,” he said. “It’s cancer”.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Housebound

Thank you to everyone who has and is voting for me on The Best of Blogs. There has been such an overwhelming response and I am absolutely amazed! Thank you all - you have brought a huge smile to my face with your votes. And now on with the story.

I spent the next three years sleeping.

That is a long time to sleep your life away, but I couldn’t help it. Not only was I so medicated that I was tired all the time, but I was able to hide from the world when I was asleep. It was easier without the hospital routines of sessions with the doctor, sessions with the group, sessions in the pool. And without a routine or nurses to insist I get out of bed and do these things – I slept.

D would come home and wake me up when it was time for supper. Cid learned to call in the evening when D would hear the phone ringing and hand it over to me. Otherwise I slept right through it. Mom would call in the morning and gently suggest I try to do something with my day. I would agree with her and promise to try – but then I would be overwhelmed with the day looming over my head – and sleep.

I did manage to make it to the doctor’s appointments three times a week. Mom would come and help me get dressed into something nice and she would drive me into the big city and wait for me while I went in for my 20 minutes. Sometimes she came in with me and the doctor would talk to both of us. We didn’t talk about the past but about the present and how to deal with my everyday life. Mom would hold my hand as I sat and wept while the doctor stared at us. The dark circles under his eyes bothered me and he was good at staring and waiting until I said something. I would feel guilty about my life and spew out anything that came to my mind. Inevitably he would write another prescription and pat me on the back as I left the office. Like a meek lamb I would agree to be good and not hurt myself. Then we would repeat the whole thing again in two days.

Cid came every weekend. He would arrive Friday night and sit beside me and hold my hand to keep me from wringing them. We would watch tv and D and Cid would chat while my eyes leaked all over my face. Sometimes I would start sobbing over something on tv and be unable to stop. I would wring my hands and rock with the sobs, not caring if I drooled down my shirt while I wailed with my mouth wide open. Cid would wrap his arms around me while D would find the pills that calmed me within minutes. Then I would sit and sniffle for the rest of the evening, Cid and D flanking me and just being patient with me.

On Saturday mornings Cid would wait for me to get up and we would sit in the kitchen and he would read articles out of the newspaper to me while D slept. In the afternoons Cid always insisted that I should get out of the house and we would go for a ride into the country. We had a favorite place where we could get out and walk and there weren’t many people around. I was able to manage familiar things, but I was terrified of strangers and the unknown. I would cower behind the people I was with, sobbing and shaking, unable to move on. Cid and D always told me I was safe and that they were taking care of me when we left the house. Then on Sunday evenings Cid would drive back to Edmonton and call me when he got home to tell me he loved me.

After watching me sleep for three years, Mom came up with a plan to get me out of the house more. She would come in the mornings and help me pick out clothes and then take me to the store. She made up a place for me to sleep in the backroom and told me it was alright for me to do that – at least I was out of the house. So I went to the store and slept. Eventually I started noticing the business again and I would sit and watch was going on in the showroom through the camera’s monitor.

One day I went out into the mall without thinking and without telling my mother. I thought I would walk down to the food court and get something to eat. I managed to get 5 stores away from ours and froze. I was unable to go forward and unable to go back. I stepped as close to a wall as I could and stood there sobbing, my face pressed against the brick. It took me over half an hour to make my way back. I kept my face pressed against the wall and sidestepped along. When I got to our own store I went in and stood with my face pressed against the coats, sobbing. When my mother found me I started shrieking and she took me home and put me to bed. She apologized over and over again for not noticing that I had gone out of the store and made me promise never to do that again without her.

One Friday Cid called and asked me if we would stay at the store until he arrived on his way through to see his mother. Mom didn’t have a problem with that and when he arrived he asked her if he could take me out into the mall for a few minutes. I was terrified and stood crying, my face pressed against his chest. He wrapped his arms around me and told me he had something important to tell me. I knew he had not been feeling well, and had been peeing blood for a long time. He told me he was going in for an operation and that they would be removing a kidney. We stood holding each other and both of us cried. He had never had surgery and he was scared of such a major operation. I could hardly bear to see him leave that evening, but I knew he had to tell his mother. We clung together for a long time until he took a deep breath and told me he had to get going as it was getting late. Our hands refused to unclasp, but eventually they slipped apart – our fingertips touching for a brief moment before he was gone into the night

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Voting Has Started!

A while ago I was nominated for Best of Blogs by Stinking Billy.

Now - all of a sudden - I am in the top 10 for the Best Inspirational Blog. Wow!!

Voting has started and if you feel that this is the case - please vote for me at Best of Blogs...

I'm under the heading Best Inspirational Blog.

You can vote every day and of course all votes will be appreciated by all those nominated!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Home Again

Leaving the security of the hallway was traumatic. I wanted to go home, but I was afraid to. Yet I didn’t want to spend any more of my life living in a hallway and going to group sessions. I knew in my heart that if I were going to get better, I had to help myself. The nurses and doctors had done as much as they could for me on this hall. But I was terrified.

I thanked the nurses and joked that I didn’t want to ever see them again – the usual comments. But when I got to the locking doors, I turned and looked down the long hallway. It was a place of safety for me and I knew that no harm could come to me here. Then I shuddered, and that shudder got me through the door and on my way home.

I almost tore my hands off on that drive home and my mother kept patting my arm and reassuring me. When we reached the barn, we hauled my bags inside and left them at the front door. I headed for the couch where I trembled and cried and pulled at my hands, while my mother fussed about and chatted about whatever came into her mind. She sat beside me and grasped my hands to keep them still until my fears wore me out and I slept. She stayed watching over me until D came home from work and then he took over. Once Mom could see I was in safe hands again and that I was less frantic nestled up against D, she told me she loved me and then headed on home to her farm.

I settled into a routine of sleeping all day on the couch to avoid dealing with the real world. Mom would come and sort out my medications for me and make sure I had something to eat and then leave me to D in the evenings. I only got off the couch to go to the sessions in the psychiatrists office three times a week. The rest of the time I slept. At first Mom took me to my doctor’s appointments as I couldn’t concentrate enough to drive. I was on so many antipsychotics and antidepressants that I probably would have killed someone or myself if I had been behind the wheel.

When I started seeing creatures with long legs scurrying around the barn, the doctor increased my medication. I started seeing faces in the wood grain on the doors and in the wallpaper in the bathroom. These faces wanted to talk to me – and the doctor tweaked one of the meds because of them. Then one day, I woman unfolded in front of me as I stared into a room. She slowly materialized from her head to her knees before I scurried to the couch and wrapped myself in a blanket and forced myself into sleep. Another adjustment to my medication was made after that.

My illness had affected me in such a way that I was no longer able to do any cooking. When I looked into the fridge, all I saw was a white light and I couldn’t make out food to prepare. D prepared my breakfast and lunch meals for me and left them in the same place everyday with a label on them so I knew what I was to eat and when. Then after a long day at work, he would come home and cook our evening meal and do the laundry and housecleaning. He never once complained. Instead he encouraged me to do what I felt I had to and if that was sleeping all day, I was to do just that. When I fell back into the pattern of not bathing for a week or more, he never said a word. He never complained when the drugs killed off any sexual desires I had before I got sick, instead he wrapped me in his arms and held me tight. When I developed a screaming fear of the streetlights that reflected off the ceiling over our bed, he explained them away every single night. And when I couldn’t sleep because of the voices in my head, he turned the radio on so I would be distracted by the music and fall off to sleep.

Even though I was out of the hospital, my mind was still fractured and fragile. I just couldn’t cope with every day life.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Nonstop Therapy

I never knew – until almost 10 years later, that Mom had gone to the bank that held the mortgage on my big blue barn, and arranged to pay for the mortgage until I was able to do so myself. I only found this out last night when I was chatting with The Man. He told me that he knew my Mom had walked down to the bank and made the arrangements and that he never heard another word about it. I am amazed.

In the hospital my doctor was stepping up my psychological care. I was sent to a psychologist who came into the hospital and we bonded instantly. I felt she was more helpful to me than my psychiatrist had been so far and I looked forward to seeing her every week. Unfortunately those visits were terminated before I left the hospital, but she helped me immensely.

My psychiatrist wanted me to join in a group therapy session he was holding in his office in the evenings. To get to his office there was a tunnel between the main hospital building and what had once been the nurse’s dormitories. On my first attempt to use this tunnel, I panicked and ran back to the hallway. The (now nondrooling) girl walked with me through the tunnel and down the hall and promised she would be there when I got out of my session so she could help me on the way back.

The group session involved nine of us and we sat in chairs and faced the psychiatrist in a semi-circle. The other eight were patients that had been on the hall and had been discharged. Each of us had our own stories, phobias and anxieties. I sat and listened to the others while I wrung my hands. When the doctor asked me the next morning at our regular meeting what I thought of the group session, I told him that I just wanted to take a shovel and smash in the heads of all the whiners who were in that little circle. He nodded his head and then told me that he didn’t think ‘group’ was something I needed.

Instead, I went through the tunnel in the evenings three times a week, and the doctor and I had our private sessions. The fact that I could go off the hallway by myself was a good indicator that I was either getting better, or adapting to my collapse. Most of my days were taken up with some kind of ‘session’. Every morning I met the doctor in his office on the ward. Every afternoon I went to a ‘group session’ with the other residents of the ward. When this was done I went to a ‘craft session’ where we made little dolls out of cans and other ‘crafty’ type stuff. In the evenings when I wasn’t seeing my doctor I went swimming or to the exercise room with the group.

After nine months of living on the hall, the doctor thought I was to the point where I could go home. A nurse spent a morning with me and together she helped me apply for AISH – Assisted Income for the Severely Handicapped. I was still quite nervous and afraid of everything and didn’t know half of the answers to the questions on the application and I answered ‘single’ to the question of whether I was married or not. As far as I knew – I wasn’t married. It was a very long and drawn out process and if I was approved I would receive a monthly income of $857.00. While we worked through this application, it dawned on me why there were so many homeless people in the world. They were people like me who had been unable to take the weight of the world on their shoulders any longer. I had lived with them for the last nine months on this hallway and I had known of some that didn’t make it. Now the government wanted me to pay my mortgage and utilities and feed and clothe myself on this paltry amount, because I was unable to work. When the impossibility of this loomed in front of me – I shut it out instead of shutting down. I knew my heart and mind would break if I thought of all my hall-mates who had to deal with this in the future and what it might do to their lives.

Instead – I went home. And I stayed home this time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Mom Comes to the Rescue

From then on my mother came every day after she finished work. She sat with me while I ate my supper and walked with me up and down the hallway. Sometimes we hardly spoke and she would wrap my arm in hers like she was escorting me to a ball, and we would walk. She would hold my hand or pat it to keep me from wringing them. I was so anxious that I couldn’t sit still and seeing her always scared me. I was afraid that she would launch into her lifetime habit of attacking me. But she didn’t.

She brought me new clothes to help compensate with the 60 pounds I had gained. With great gentleness she tried to get me to make myself look better. She would take me into the bathroom and soap up a wet facecloth and help me wash my face. She would encourage me to take a shower and brought lovely smelling soap so I would feel better about it all. Then we would sit on the bed and she would brush my hair while she relayed incidents from the store that she thought would make me smile through my tears.

During supper she would talk to me about good food I should be ordering when the menu came in the mornings. She never told me I was fat or that I should try to diet, she just gently suggested some ideas.

On the weekends I was allowed to go home more often and D or Cid would come and get me. The first time my mother took me home I was beside myself with anxiety. But she talked calmly to me to help me quiet down and suggested I take a pill for anxiety. When we walked up to the front door of the barn I almost flew into D’s arms for protection. Mom stood looking at D and at me as I cried and cowered behind him. She gently patted my arm and told me I would be okay and she wished me an enjoyable weekend. She phoned the next day to make sure I was all right and D asked me if I wanted to speak to her or not. When I reluctantly took the phone, I listened to my mother tell me I was going to be okay while I sobbed.

D finished his schooling and got a job in the little town where we lived. The pay wasn’t that good, but he was happy to be working and in a place where he could walk to work. By this time I had not worked for over 6 months and I never gave a thought about how the mortgage or utilities were being paid. Cid had come to the rescue with my car payments and my credit cards. I had been smart enough to pay for the extra cost of insurance in case of illness, and Cid took it upon himself to get in touch with everyone he could think of and those bills were paid off.

One weekend Mom came into town from her farm and sat with D and asked him about the mortgage and other bills. He told her he had maxed out his credit cards trying to keep up with everything. Mom asked for all the bills and D handed them over to her. She wrote several checks and made sure the mortgage was getting paid so I would not lose my house. They spent most of the afternoon together working on bills while I cowered on the couch and cried. I had no idea what D had done while I was hospitalized and I didn’t understand about bills and mortgages at this point. But they had saved my house for me and when I finally realized it I was shocked and very grateful.