Pardon Me While I Get Up on My Soap Box

We weathered (HA) the Storm of the Century just fine here in Aberdeen.  We didn’t even lose power.  I attribute that to the fact that we spent the entire day before planning for the storm by taking everything out of our basement in preparation for the flooding that might occur if we lost power.  The lights didn’t even flicker.

My heart goes out to those who lost so much in the storm.  Wide spread devastation breaks my heart.  But I have a bone to pick with the national news that has covered the storm.  Devastation was NOT limited to New Jersey and New York.  Parts of Delaware, Maryland and the Eastern Shore of Virginia were deeply affected by this storm.  Entire communities on the Eastern Shore of VA were wiped out.  W-I-P-E-D out.  As in, there no more.  As in gone.  The beach at Assateague Island – gone.  I’m so saddened by this.  That was MY beach.  That was the beach where I took my grandkids.  Where I sat with my sister for hours watching the waves.  Where we walked and picked up sea shells.  Where we could watch the ponies.  It’s gone.  I’m not just talking about a board walk or stores – I mean the BEACH is gone.  Washed away.

The entire island of Chincoteague was under water.  Multiple businesses have been affected.  Saxis?  devastated.  Guard Beach?  Gone.  Nothing but a bar of rocks in Atlantic now.  Thousands of men dedicated to working the water their entire lives have been devastated by this storm – their boats ruined, their fishing gear and crab traps washed to sea.  Elderly were trapped in their homes and were not saved.  And no help from the federal government.  I’m sickened and saddened by what has happened to those close to me.

My family comes from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  We have a vacation home there.  I have family there.  I have friends there.  And I’m screaming because no one is coming to help them.  But you know what, they are banding together as a community – activating the word through the wonder that is social media, through word of mouth, and through close-knit communities.  They are pulling together to help themselves.  People are donating time, money, equipment, physical labor, clothing, food – you name it, they need it.  And this makes my heart smile.

We Eastern Shormen have always been a hardy bunch.  People have lived on the Eastern Shore of VA since the 1600s.  I know, because I trace my family back that far.  You can’t wipe us out that easily.

It will come back.  Stronger this time.  You can’t put a shoreman down.

And just maybe, when you are contemplating having some oysters on the half shell for your holiday noms, they might be a hell of a lot harder to find this year.  Because the people of the Shore are too busy putting their lives back together by themselves.

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Do This in Remembrance of A Life Taken Too Soon

Some of you have seen my posts here before requesting prayers for my friend Drew and his wife Donna. Donna was diagnosed in July of 2009 with a gioblastoma. When she went in for the biopsy, they knicked her brain and caused seizures. Donna has been either hospitalized or in hospice since.

Donna and Drew met when we were all in college. Drew was home from California visiting his parents and was home to sing in his father’s choral program. He met Donna at a Thanksgiving party that weekend, and he never returned to Cali. It was love at first sight, and with Donna’s help, Drew realized his calling and became a Methodist minister. They were married before we were out of college, and 10 years ago had a beautiful son, Josiah.

Drew and Donna were that couple. The couple everyone aspire to be. You could see the light in Drew’s eyes when he looked at Donna and Joe. You could feel their love for each other at all times. You could feel their love for the world around them, and for God.

Donna took a turn for the worse in August or so. They stopped treatments in October. As of Friday, they were administering nothing but pain killers and anti-seizure medicines.

Donna passed peacefully last night, with her husband and son holding her hands. A celebration of Donna’s life will be held at our college church later this week.

I can only hope that Bob and I exude half the love that Drew and Donna had for one another and for life. Please keep Drew and Joe in your prayers and thoughts this week as they deal with grief and passing.

More Prayers Please

My heart is breaking for my friend Drew.  His wife has now endured 23 radiation/chemo treatments.  Her tumor has not changed, at all.  Drew is now trying to figure out what options he has for more therapy for Donna, and when he will be able to bring her home.  He is trying to determine if his wife will be with him for Thanksgiving.  I can NOT imagine knowing I may only have a couple of months left with my husband.  Its something that I can’t fathom.

In other news, I’m counting down to the point when I can get my surgery date.  I’m anxious and excited.  And I want my new life, as soon as possible.

Remembering 9/11

Eight years have passed.  Today is a total contrast to that beautiful sunny Tuesday eight years ago.  It’s raining today, cold and yucky.  But that day was perfect.  A picture perfect day, not too hot with a gorgeous cloud free blue sky.

I remember feeling so unsure and so sad that whole day, and for days afterwards.

Today, eight years later, I remember those whose lives were taken.  My heart goes out to their families.  We will never forget.

Prayer Requests Continued

A few weeks ago, I wrote here about my friends Drew and Donna. For those who don’t want to go back, Drew was an old college friend of mine who I reconnected with on Facebook. His wife, Donna, has a stage 4 glioma – a brain tumor.

In July, Donna went in for a routine biopsy of the tumor. During the procedure, a blood vessel was knicked, and Donna had a seizure. After quite a while in intensive care, Donna was moved to a rehab facility. Her progress has been slow, but she has begun radiation and chemo. Her prognosis, while initially was 6 months to 2 years, has now, unfortunately, been downgraded to merely months.

Drew and Donna are wonderful people. Drew is one of the funniest guys I know, and Donna is just such a nice, wonderful caring person. They have been in love as long as I’ve known them. They have a little boy, Joe, who is learning to deal with his mother’s illness and impending death.

I know you don’t know them, but please, keep this family in your thoughts and prayers, that they may all find peace and healing no matter what the outcome of Donna’s illness.

It’s Not Been A Good Week For Friends and Family

Well, this week is turning to crap.

On Tuesday, I found out that my late sister’s husband’s father passed away. He had lived a long full life, and was a genuinely nice man. I was glad that my nieces and nephew had a Pop-Pop like Walter while they were growing up. I’m very sorry for my brother-in-law (can I still call him that? Betsy has been gone for 10 years now) and his family, and my heart bleeds for my nieces and nephew.

Then last night, my Mom calls. Mom rarely calls with good news, so I knew something was up. She told me she’d gotten a call from her best friend Shirley (they lived a block away from us when I was growing up, and still live there). Shirley’s husband Dexter has been struggling with pancreatic cancer the past few years, and I thought Mom was calling to tell me Dex had passed away, but no. What she told me was that their grandson, Dan, a kid I had babysat, and watched go through horrible struggles to finally put his life together, was killed Monday in a motorcycle accident in Middletown, DE. He was driving recklessly, and paid the ultimate price for it.

Talk about heart bleeding…Danny was 25. He was a young father. He had finally put his life back together after years of struggling with depression and drug use, dealing with abandonment and heart ache. Shirley and Dexter have lost so much – Shirley’s mother recently died (at the age of 104!), and they lost their son to suicide years ago, when his kids were little. I feel so horrible for them. And I’m affected by Danny’s death myself. I have known him since he was born, and always considered their family my extended family. Its heart breaking to hear that Danny was killed, and to know that Shirley and Dex have to survive another loss in their family.

I’m a bit meloncholy today, remembering Dan and Walt. Keep their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Stunned and Saddened

I was a very active member of my church growing up, and then as I entered college, I was active in the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry which was also part of my home church.  I was lucky to have made some wonderful friends during my time  in the Wesley Foundation, and even luckier to have reconnected with a few of them on Facebook in the past year.

One friend in particular that I was close with was Drew.  Drew was four years older than me, but had traveled around and studied a host of things before settling at U of D somewhere around my junior year.  Drew was studying history, and making plans to enter the seminary.  I loved Drew’s dry wit and humor.  He helped to get me through a pretty ugly time with my diabetes diagnosis, and was always there as a friend.

Drew was a package deal.  His girlfriend of many years was always by his side, and they married my senior year.  Drew and Donna were inseparable, and I adored both of them as good friends.  I was so glad this past year to have reconnected with Drew and Donna through Facebook.

In our years since college, Drew and Donna built a life together.  Drew became a minister, and has settled at a small church in Scranton, PA.  Drew and Donna have a cute little boy named Josiah.  Their life was good.  Until this past Spring.

I have recently found out that Donna has been diagnosed with a state 3 brain tumor.  She is at UPenn for treatment, and Drew has been updating us on his Facebook about how she is doing.  The prognosis, which came down last night, is not good.  Donna has anywhere from six months to two years left, depending on how aggressive a treatment plan they chose.  My heart is absolutely broken for this family. 

Please please please…no matter what your beliefs, keep Donna, Drew and Josiah in your thoughts and prayers.  Donna is recovering from surgery, and will hopefully soon move into physical therapy so that they can begin radiation treatment.  No matter what comes of this, I’m praying that whatever time they have left as a family is just as wonderful as their beginning years.  Drew will be telling his little boy about his mother’s illness tomorrow evening.