Tag Archive | Faith

My Brother Died … He’s saying ‘Hello’! Thanks to Johnny Cash

Scan_20190411

Me, in the middle of two of my 5 brothers. 

Patrick is on the left … Rick is on the right (He died last week).

Right now, things are still pretty emotional.  My brother, Rick has died.  There are so many layers to this … I’m not getting into it all right now.  And it’s ok.  Ask me questions, if you like … death is a topic we usually don’t ‘go there’ on … until it is blanketing us with reality and truth.  I’d appreciate your thoughts  …  how do you ‘do’ death?

Death is the circle of Life as we know it … here.  On earth.

There’s a whole n’other realm of Life, that we have yet to experience … when we cross over and die.  If you’ve been following my blog, you’re familiar with my first experience of ‘quiet knowing’, when my sister, Anna died.  And then my Mom and Dad … I haven’t even gotten into sharing about Tim, my second brother, who passed 2 years ago.  Because, emotionally, it’s hard to bring things back up to the surface … even when there’s peace.  Those emotions are still felt.  It’s because of Love.  It’s because we.are.connected.  Here – on earth AND on the ‘Other Side’. (Whatever you want to call it).

Last weekend, the weekend after Rick died, Fambly from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, circled together for a ‘Debbie Sleepover’ in my little cottage house, up north.  We’re mighty good at this circling together thing, for which I am so grateful for.  We decided we were going to celebrate Rick = Celebrate LIFE.  In part of our conversations, I brought up the question of how Rick was going to connect with us … what was his sign going to be? I think some of my Fambly think I’m a bit goofy with this sign stuff, but I really believe in what Anna, the folks and Tim have given in their ways to say ‘Hello’.

So … we’re out listening to the band, Montana Moon at Dennis Drummond Wine Company and they play a Johnny Cash song, Folsum Prison Blues.  My brother, Patrick and I look at each other, smile, and say, ‘RICK’!!!  He played drums and harmonica’s with his band, The Gull Dam Jammers, back in the day.  After a bit, we left to spend time at Roundhouse Brewery.  It’s a favorite stop for my metro Fambly.  A band was playing way beyond their time … the last song they played … Flosum Prison Blues!!  We all cheered, ‘RICK’!!!  (The same song, within 45 minutes, from 2 entirely different bands, in 2 different venues!)  A few days later, my son and his family are moving back to the area.  Without knowing the story … My grandson is wearing a Tee-Shirt … A Johnny Cash Tee-Shirt …. (I can’t help it, I’m smiling!) …

20190419_121631_HDR

… and my Sister-in-law, text me today … when she walked into work … they were playing Johnny Cash …

johnny cash

So … Thanks, Rick … we hear you loud and clear …

And Johnny Cash … THANK YOU!!  What a way you’ve brought us together … and made our Fambly smile!

 

My Very 1st Dream Come True … I was 4 years old! Then Dream #3 …

 

20190218_201824_HDR

When I was 4 and a Princess!

I’m sharing about Dreaming BIG.  Acknowledging fear, having faith and trust in  Spirit/God/Universe.  The immensity of it, is lost on me.  Toss in a bit of synchronicity, intuition and prayer … Wow, dreams do come true.

Let me take you back to when I was 4 years old.

My Daddy-o had come up to say goodnight to his Princess (me!).  He was about to make a dream come true, but I didn’t know it, yet, and he didn’t either.

My Daddy-o told me, he had a new job in a new town and we, our little Fambly, with Mom, Ricky and Timmy, were going to move.  I started to cry – I didn’t want to move!  I loved the attic bedroom he and Mom had painted with life-sized Goofy, Donald Duck, Micky & Minnie Mouse dancing on the walls.  My Grandma Marie lived close by and she would drive me in her fancy black car with red interior and magic windows to get my very own A&W Root Beer, in just my size mug.  Daddy-o was trying to reassure me as my tears and sobbing were rather dramatic.  Poor guy! Being 4 and his Princess, I gulped and caught my breath.  I stopped crying, and said, rather firmly – I would go if he found me a purple house … reassuring myself, we would stay happily at home surrounded by my Disney friends …

 

Purple_House

… well … he found it!

It was a purple/violet stucco house with a round charming window.  I.am.not.kidding!  Prayer answered for him … and an affirmation he really was on the right path in moving his little Fambly up north to Brainerd, Minnesota.  He came home, picked me up and twirled me.  He let me know, yes, indeed we were moving – to a purple little house!

It was my very first dream come true!  It set me up for believing at a very early age.

I shared Dream #1 and #2 in my past blog.

Now we’re onto Dream #3 …

House

My little cottage house filled with light and love.

It was hard living in my apartment after the folks died.  Their house was right across the yard.  It was convenient while we were adjusting to the change of them being gone and getting it ready to sell after they had passed.  When all was said and done – I was ready for change.  I missed a yard.  I missed campfires, I missed having a house.  I wrote in my journal about it.  I drew a picture of what I dreamed in a perfect little house for me.  It was a pencil drawing and included:

  1. Facing East-West – Still love the morning sun and the evening sunsets.
  2. Short, flat driveway.
  3. Rambler – With only 1 step up.
  4. No basement.
  5. Clothes line.
  6. Back yard campfire space.
  7. Trees & flowers.
  8. Clean gutters from a 6′ step ladder.
  9. Clean windows without a ladder!
  10. 2 bedrooms, so I could do my massage business out of my home – no more renting offices.
  11. A garage.
photo of bonfire

Photo by rasik on Pexels.com

With dreams, I listen to the nudges of Spirit/God and I have to do the work.  I was going to see a loan officer about a house.  I took a breath and allowed for vulnerability to ride with me – not easy – breathe – but real.   Seeing what I was paying in rent for apartment and office, I was given the ok to look for a place – With the expectation it would take a while … Hmmmm!

Well … With my Realtor, Liz Timothy at my side, and brother, Rick, who used to do house inspections and another brother, Jake and friend, Leslie – in tow – I wasn’t doing this alone – We set out looking, and looking …

Until …

We found it!  I hoped we had – breathe!  It was the little house I had drawn – the only exception was – the garage was attached – sweet bonus!  After confirming with the Credit Union – Affinity Plus, and prayers AND talking to my Angels, I went in with an offer for them (and I also asked for the wheelbarrow and the clothespin bag.)

white textile

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I was anxious.  Hopeful.  Tried not to get excited.  Waiting is awful, isn’t it?   I asked Spirit/God and my Angels to please give me a sign to let me know how this deal was going.

Then, I ran an errand.

Driving past the Post Office, I saw a license plate with the name ‘Hazel on it.  For real.  It was Hazel’s house I wanted to buy!  I continued to my office to see a client. While I was waiting, I opened a magazine skimmed to the middle of page, middle paragraph and the line said, ‘my Grandma Hazel …’!  My heart was smiling  – so was I.  I called Liz and asked if Hazel was still here, alive, or had she passed?  She had crossed over a couple of months earlier.  Hazel was letting me know – she was supporting me in getting her house!  A few days later, her family accepted my offer and agreed to my requests.

I picked Summer Solstice as my closing date … The moonlight was on my pillow that night!

My little cottage house is a beckon of light and love.  It is a blessing to me and everyone who crosses the threshold.

20180319_090504

My encouragement to you: Dream.  Imagine.  Ask Spirit/God/Universe to support you for your highest good.  Listen to the Whispers of Spirit.  Do the work.  Gather information. Journal.  Meditate. Draw pictures. Create collages.  Trust.  Breathe.  Be grateful for the people around you who support you.  Don’t worry about the ones who don’t.  Ask for help when you need it.  Take a break.  Breathe some more.  Know you are being guided and you are loved.  You are not alone.  Spirit/God is near.  Always.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me!  If you have enjoyed this post, please ‘Like’ it and share with others. I am an Energy Worker and Intuitive Listener and Guide – no matter how near or far you are – I’m sending you light and peace!

Namaste

 

Dreaming BIG … Trusting Spirit

person holding white pen near white poster

Trusting Spirit!

I’ve shared with friends … I don’t feel brave.  I’ve struggled with ‘What will people think of me?’  Fear is a mighty force in life.  I’ve found Faith and Trust overcome that mighty force – and when it all comes down to it, it’s between me and God, anyway – and I’m good with that.  When I dream … when I answer the nudges of Spirit/God and let go of fear – amazing things happen.  I bet they have for you, too.

3 of My Dreams and How They Came to BE …

Dream 1

After working for years providing massage therapy at a Chiropractor’s office, I began to have that feeling again – I call them ‘quiet knowings’ – my intuition, in my stomach.  The feeling was doing MORE with Energy Work – of all kinds.  Reiki, Essential Oils, T’ai Chi, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Massage, Readings, Counseling. I wanted to have classes, and gather people together with the realization they are not alone in their seeking.  My dream was bringing talented, gifted people together and provide our community with amazing alternative, complimentary options for health and wellness.

So, to have a dream come true – you have to let go of fear.  (Gulp – so many reasons why this wouldn’t work – single mom, single income, who would even want to be a part of this crazy idea, in a pretty conservative area). You have to do the work, with dreams … knock on doors, pen to paper, gather information and see if it really is a path Spirit/God is leading you on.  I did lots of work with the Small Business Development Center at Central Lakes College.  Julie Anderholm had told me, the work would let me know if the numbers added up to any kind of success as a business.

It did.

Yikes!  Fear … breathe … trust … BREATHE.

adult air beautiful beauty

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

A bank supported me and now it was finding a location within the right business district.  For weeks, I drove up and down Kingwood Street, feeling like it just had to be on this street – somewhere.  (I finally quit driving up and down the street, thinking someone may report a stalking vehicle).

One day, client came in for a massage, and looking up at me, with a twinkle in her eye,  she asked me if I knew what house was for sale?! – No – was my answer.  She said there was a house next door to her – on Kingwood Street – and it was just listed that day!  I went to see it the minute our session was finished.

Me, not good at negotiating – that evening – offered a bit more than the listing price and without anyone else coming with me – went through the house.  I felt its energy and I loved it.

Naive?  No kidding!!  Learn from me, ok?!  It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes and a brain for thinking things through …

red and white sale illustration

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The next day the Realtor called and said there was another party coming to look at the house – 3 Doctors – to make it a clinic.  Plan on a bidding war – he said.  I was confused, as I had thought my offer was accepted.  I told him I was out.  I didn’t want that kind of energy in the mix of my dream.  He called me back in a day or so and said the Doctors thought it would be too much work to make it happen.  Hmmm.  Interesting comparison. Me, single Mom, single income, being me.  3 Doctors – money – resources – too much work!  Well, you know this by now … I bought the Kingwood House – ghosts and all – but that’s another story for another time!  (A good one, too.)

On a side note – Dr. Starzinski was one of the doctors looking at the house.  Soon after, he joined us with his practice.  How wonderful it was!

A Dream Come True!  Front page news … Here’s a bit of it …

Scan_20190316 (2)

Dream.  Work it.  Trust Spirit/God to open doors if it is to be …  Many lives were touched  when crossing the threshold of this amazing house.

Then the financial crash of 2008 happened.  I did all I could to keep the doors open.  No one had discretionary income.  Self-care was put at the bottom of the list – basic needs were at the top.  The stress and angst of letting go, impacting my colleagues and our clients, was devastating. The house was sold in a short-sale in 2011, with my Realtor, Liz Timothy. 

Something else was happening in the mix of all of this … I had a ‘quiet knowing’ … something else was up … Spirit/God was giving me a ‘heads-up’ …. I just didn’t know what ….

backlit blur close up dawn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Dream 2 ….

After the selling of the Kingwood house, I needed a place to live.  I was very clear in asking Spirit/God/Universe to provide me exactly what I wanted – and if they wanted to embellish it at all, for a greater good – I was ok with that, too!

My Dream … My Exact Wish ….

  1. A One bedroom apartment, just for me.  No up-keep.  If the faucets leaked, call the landlord, if anything leaked, call the landlord.  I was tired.
  2. I wanted it to face east-west, for morning sun and evening sunsets.
  3. I needed laundry close-by, because of all the massage sheets I washed.
  4. A garage.
  5.  And this much for rent $ _____!  Yikes!

I called an old classmate who did rentals and yes, he had a few open in the next month.  We set up a time to look … (I hadn’t shared my list yet).  Oh my, none of them worked for me.

… Breathe ….

We were out in the parking lot, ready to go, and he asked me what I really wanted … so … I told him!  Exactly!

He shook his head at me and grinned.  (Well, he ASKED!!)

He said I wasn’t going to believe it … (Try me) …

A one bedroom, east-west, laundry room out the door to the left, with a garage, was going to open at the end of the week.  Yes, for $____! (Who’s smiling now!!)

AND he let me paint it the colors I wanted, so my book club gals came over and we had a painting party!  (Bonus Blessing:  I found an office only a mile down the road.)

I gave a shout-out to friends and Fambly to help me move.  When the doorbell rang early moving day, there stood my brother, Patrick and wife, Darlene up from the cities to help … they said to look outside!  There, on both sides of the street were friends with trucks, cars, trailers, even an ambulance to haul stuff to my new office and apartment. (We did it all in one trip!!)  Some friends had met at apartment with food to feed the gang.  I was teary and grateful all.day.long.

That’s not the end of the story.

That ‘quiet knowing’ … something was up … when I had to sell the Kingwood House …

I got my answer. 

My folks lived across the yard from my apartment.  Mom helped me clean.  She made cottage curtains for the living room.  I’d go over for coffee and they would mention how late I was up the night before (my bedroom window faced theirs!)

And they both would be gone a year later.

I needed the ease and grace to be there for them as they journeyed their way to heaven – and Spirit/God gifted me with the perfect apartment, in the perfect location to do so.

A dream come true!

Declanandme SleepoverJuly6'12

 

Sleepovers and play-dates were fun memories in my apartment!

I’ll save my Dream #3 for the next post, this is getting long.  Are you still with me?

#3 Dream … It’s pretty awesome.

My encouragement to you:

Dream Big.  Let go of fear.  Let go of what people will think of you. Breathe. Trust the journey.  The right answers will show up.  Do the work.  Ask Spirit/God/Universe for what you want … and then get ready for the unfolding …  and the blessings.

Thank you for sharing this walk with me.  If you have enjoyed this post, please like and share it with others!

www.debendres.com

 

 

The Folks Have Died … Treasures and Stuff to Process

Whew.

With the passing of our folks, we were left with raw emotions, exhaustion and an estate needing to be dealt with.  A Fambly Circle was called by me, the new ‘Matriarch’.  My  eclectic bunch of siblings deemed me to be so, as the eldest and bossy sister.  Patrick had said, “We always do what you tell us to do, so why stop now!”

Thankfully, we had talked with Mom and Dad, and a couple of key roles were already in place before they passed.  Jake was executor and we as siblings, agreed to sell the house.  The folks had met our Realtor, Liz Timothy, early in the summer, and welcomed her insight and knowledge as to what was best to do for the successful sale – thus the shingles, mentioned in a previous blog.

Our first agreement in our Fambly Circle was to take. a. break.  We needed a time-out from everything – and create a new normal within our personal lives.  Hugs, kisses, tears, laughter and waves “Goodbye”, were exchanged as we departed en masse from the folks driveway.

Fambly7

“The 7”  

Seven Siblings and Our Folks – Last Christmas Together With Them

A month or so later, we siblings only, “The 7”,  no spouses or significant others, gathered around the folks dining room table.  In honor of the folks, we started with a prayer (I think they were smiling all day long).  We took turns, eldest to youngest, stating one item at a time we wanted from the folks.  ‘Round and ’round we went, some of us bowing out after a few ’rounds … until there was silence and a sigh.  Amazing – no one wanted or had to have – something someone else had asked for.   (Gosh I love this bunch!)

We then put post-it-notes on our stuff – stopped – looked around and realized – we still had a CrAzY amount of stuff to deal with.

pink green yellow blue and purple sticky note mounted on white painted wall

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We decided to do a Fambly Auction, with Jake printing up “Grandpa Bucks” in various denominations.  All the Fambly was invited from babies to big people.  Everyone got the same amount of $$ to bid with.  They could combine their $$ with others, if they were hot and heavy into a purchase.  EVERYTHING purchased, had to be hauled out of the house by the end of the weekend.  Including “The 7’s” earlier items.  Jake was the Auctioneer – he was a hoot!

One of my favorite memories – My grandson Declan, was 6 years old.  He had been seriously watching and observing how this ‘bidding game’ was being played.  After a bit, Jake gave a great presentation on the giant tv console in the living room.  Declan piped up, “$10!”.  Jake said, “We’ve got $10 from Declan, do we have $15?”.  Declan yelled “$15!” (He really wanted it!)  Jake smoothed it over and asked for another bid from everyone – once – silence – twice – silence – three times – silence.  “SOLD to Declan for $10!”, declared Jake.  Everyone cheered, Declan jumped up and down, clapping his hands.  “I got it, I really, really got it!!” Jake swept his hands over the TV in the console with a flourish, “This TV, which you can see, fits perfectly inside this beautiful console, Declan just bought.  I’m asking for a bid of $5 … does anyone have a bid?”  There was silence.  “Declan, do you have a bid?”, asked Jake.  “$5!!!”, Declan said with excitement.  “SOLD to DECLAN! for $5”, yelled Jake.  Again, there were cheers from the crazy Fambly crowd!!!!

white and red led signage with love family laughter text

Photo by Sara Wether on Pexels.com

After the auction … and helping each other load trailers, vans and trucks, we set a date and agreed to get back together again, as there was still – stuff.  Not as much, but still .. lots and lots of stuff.

Our final clearing was done.  I was grateful to my niece, Nicky, who took care of Mom’s closet.  Many donations to various organizations.  Mom had numerous  books from a Catholic Book Store she once owned, Hosanna House, in downtown Brainerd.  My sister, Kyung, and William, took them all to St. Francis School and donated them to their library.  Rick had a trailer that hauled things to the landfill and things everywhere else.  That felt good!

background book stack books close up

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

The hardest thing for me, when we began this process, was the beginning to do it.  My beginning to do it, was taking one of Mom’s magnets off the refrigerator.  I began to cry.  That was it for that day.  One magnet.  I left and walked across the yard, home.

Now … The house was empty except for a few things for staging. (Sigh)  We cleaned it up and had a showing.  It looked ‘dated’ was the comment from a potential buyer.  Mom liked wallpaper.  Mom liked being creative with how she hung wallpaper.  Mom liked wallpaper alot.  Colors needed to go – so did the wallpaper.  I stripped wallpaper like crazy.  Then, started to paint.  My brother, Patrick came and helped me paint … it was sad, but felt good.

The house was being filled with new light and open to new life.

…. And Sold!  Thanks, Liz!

sold

 

I love my Fambly.  We are an odd bunch, with various quirks, gifts and talents.  Love is the thread that weaves us together, holding frayed edges in place, circling together when it’s time to play or work or grieve.

My encouragement to you … Take your time when you lose someone(s).  Feel your emotions.  Be sad.  Angry.  Afraid.  Lonely.  Let them come out, don’t stuff them.  You will get waves of emotions and memories popping up unexpectedly.  It’s part of the grieving.  There is no time-line for grieving.  Take breaks.  Breathe different air.  Surround yourself with softness, kindness, understanding, forgiveness and most of all Love.  Be with people.  Be alone.  Ask for help.  Drink water.  Lots and lots of water. More tears – more water.  Remember to breathe.  Remember to eat.  Sleep.  Walk.  Walking is good.  Go to church.  Don’t go to church.  Lean on people when you need to.  Be gentle with yourself.  In your gentleness,  in your quiet time, peace will come.  In time.  God does not leave.

Thank you for sharing this walk with me. Wow, it continues to be a journey.

 If you have enjoyed this post, please share it and follow me for more posts!  Thank you!

https://www.debendres.com

 

 

The Summer of Love & Death … A Wedding!

Mike&DawnWedding

My brother, Mike, and bride, Dawn.

Mom was so excited for Mike and Dawn to be married!   It was time!  They had been happily together for 6 years.  Dawn brought Mom with her when she bought her wedding dress.  What fun they had!  It was a special time for Mom and Dawn.   There was a perfect space in a closet at the folks, to store it safe and sound.  That way Mike couldn’t sneak a peek!

hanged white applique corset wedding gown in between white window curtain inside room

Photo by Machol Butler on Pexels.com

A big concern Mom had, was getting an annulment with the Catholic Church, before they were married.  Despite Mike and Dawn’s attempts in trying to do this, it wasn’t going to happen.  They talked with a Pastor and found out there is a time-frame of 9 months to 2 years for the annulment process to be completed, and just because one goes through the process, does not mean you will get one.  The cost of it, not a huge deal, was enough to add another piece of angst in the midst of things.  There was also Mom’s time-frame.  Her lung cancer diagnosis and hospice, was definitely speeding up the wedding date.

Mike was beginning to feel overwhelmed and worried.  Both he and Dawn wanted the folks to be pleased.  Mike came over and talked to me (I’m the big sister),  expressing concern, not knowing how this wedding was going to happen.  They simply loved each other and it was hard having it be so difficult – on so many levels.  I asked him if he trusted me – of course he said yes – it’s the ‘Big Sis’ thing!  I became a licensed Wedding Officiant/Minister through the Universal Life Church and our local county.  I would work with them on a beautiful ceremony and file their wedding license.  Then … Dawn, Mike and I talked with the folks, explaining it would be a legal wedding and spiritual … and at some point in time, Mike and Dawn could go through the annulment process and get the marriage blessed in the Catholic Church.  All in all, it was a special conversation and the wedding was on!

person writing on white book

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Jake was on the music, Rochelle was on the flowers, Mike was on the venue – Lum Park, Tim was on set-up, Rick was on tools and electrical stuff, Patrick and Darlene were on host/hostessing, Nicky and William were on photography.  Laura, Jake’s wife was on helping us all be cool, calm and collected – ’cause that’s how Laura is.  We-all were on food.  Kyung was still on her work gig/assignment in Africa.

In the midst of all of this, the folks were getting new shingles on the roof.  Mom would ask me to go out and see how it was looking.  Check on the guys, make sure they had enough water …. She enjoyed all the activity.  In spite of her determination, Mom’s breathing was becoming  more labored.  She was using oxygen all the time.  Her strength was weakening.  We all loved her hospice nurse, Kelly.  She and Mom had a very special relationship.  One day, Kelly said we were going to have to look at a different way for Mom to be at the wedding.  Outside was not an option.  I sat close to Mom and told her, she would have the best seat in the house – either with live video – or in heaven.  The boys would know how to set the video stuff up, and some of us would be at the house with her and some would be at Lum Park.

Going outside with Kelly, she said the cancer was progressing much faster than we thought it would.  It was time to call Kyung home.  I needed to tell Mom.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  Then Dad.  Then the rest of the Fambly.  Then close friends.  Life is real.  So is death.

There was talk of having the folks renew their wedding vows with Mike and Dawn. The wedding date moved up and in the house with Mom and Dad.  Kyung arrived. It was early evening.  She and Mom had precious hours talking and being together.  The very next morning, Mom began her journey to heaven.  The wedding would wait.  Her life was celebrated, with tears and joy.

close up of purple flowers

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The next weekend – was The Wedding.  I was nervous about being the Celebrant/Officiant and hoped it would go over ok. The preparation with Mike and Dawn was so special and included both her Mom and our Mom in the ceremony.  When we were finished, Dad’s home-care nurse came up to me and said Dad wanted to talk to me.  I took some deep breaths … knelt down in front of him in his wheel chair … he took my hands and with tears in his eyes, he said it was a beautiful ceremony, he was so proud of me and it was a job well done.  Oh my goodness … MY prayers were answered!

Yes … Mike and Dawn are living happily-ever-after.

And Mom … Still has the best seat in the house!

FamblyMike&DawnWedding

Fambly Wedding Photo – Cheers to Mike & Dawn!

A week after Mom’s funeral and a week before Dad’s.

Mom’s Story                Dad’s Story

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it and follow me for more posts!

https://www.debendres.com

The Summer of Love and Death Continues … Dad is Dying

Dad Us Last Camp

Dad’s last visit to Camp Confidence

With some of the ‘Fambly’ …

And Jeff Olson and Mary Harder – They are part of our Heart Fambly & Camp Confidence 

The Sunday after Mom’s funeral, some of us kids were sitting at the breakfast table with Dad.  He cleared his throat, which he did when he was nervous, and told us, he was not going into the clinic in the morning for dialysis.  He was done.  He was tired.  He was ready to die.  He would follow Mom to heaven.  We knew this was coming, but, like my brother Patrick shared with me later – it was like a bomb going off in our hearts.

There were 5 things he wanted before he died:

  1. Be at son Mike and Dawn’s Wedding – Yes, we had a wedding in between Mom and Dad’s dying.  I was Officiating and Fambly was planning this celebration, too.
  2. To talk with Father Walsh and ask him to do his funeral (and convert us kids back to the Catholic Church!).
  3.  Connect with Mike O’Rourke from the Brainerd Dispatch, who had been asking to do one last interview with Dad about founding Camp Confidence/Confidence Learning Center.
  4. Take a bunch of the Fambly out to Camp Confidence for one. last. look.  Sharing memories and stories … Wow, THAT was a beautiful day.
  5. A BBQ Rib Dinner with all the sides!  (And his favorite cocktail – or two).

Whew …

Later that day, I took a break and headed to my apartment across the yard.  I needed quiet meditation time, and asked God for wisdom and support, as I was feeling exhausted and over-whelmed.

houseplant on coverlet

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Deep into meditation, I heard the word ‘Ezekiel’ … in a soft whisper.  Minutes later, again ‘Ezekiel’, and the 3rd time, in a normal speaking voice.

I opened my eyes … expecting to see someone – well, Ezekiel – but I didn’t.

I sat quietly … Ezekiel … hmmm.  I felt a comfort – something I really needed – Thanks, God … Thanks, Ezekiel – whoever you are.  I trusted the comfort I felt and was grateful for it.

I didn’t know anything about Ezekiel, so I looked him up!  Ezekiel is a Hebrew priest and prophet of the sixth century B.C. His name means: God will strengthenThat was reassuring – I needed all the strength and support I could get.

The next day, I walked across the yard to spend time with Dad and visit with Fambly.  He was in his recliner in the living room – “Hi, Daddy-o!” I said, with a kiss on his cheek.  “Hi Deb!  Say, I’ve been thinking and we’ve got to get my funeral put together, will you help me?”  I didn’t well up in tears, I remembered Ezekiel: God will strengthen.  I didn’t gasp.  God will strengthen.  Dad was clear with what he wanted, and asked me for help.  I took a breath, God will strengthen, and let it out.  I smiled and said, “You bet!  Let’s do this!”

The priest was called, the local parish was notified and the funeral home was given a ‘heads-up’.  Special people came to visit.  Once again, stories and laughter filled the house.  Wedding plans were being delegated, Dad still was beating Patrick at cribbage … We kids agreed to have Jake contact a neighbor in the cities who made pine boxes for his casket.  (I/We had suggested Dad make us Pine Boxes for Christmas Gifts, as every year he had to come up with a new idea for all 7 of us kids … Mom nixed that idea!)  Even though Dad was dying, there was a lighter air and not so sad as when Mom was crossing over.  He was very ready to go.

cribbage

There came a day we thought he was going off to bed and sleep his way to heaven. We took turns being with him.  I remember him opening his eyes hours later and looked at me, kind of confused … I smiled and said, “Hi there … Nope, Daddy-o, you’re not in heaven, yet!”  Then, he asked if there were any ribs left?!  Seriously, he never followed protocol, so why start now!!??

flat lay photography of grilled meat on brown chopping board

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Dad’s time had come – for real this time.

We called everyone together and gathered around.  I climbed in bed with him, Patrick shared ‘The Lord is My Shepard‘ by heart, and then we started to sing his favorite songs.  We got to Edelweiss and Dad took his last breath – we thought.  I had my hand on his heart – it had stopped.  Then he opened his eyes and took one LOUD BIG last breath – we all JUMPED!! – Jake boisterously started back in song, “Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever …..”  (Some things you never forget).  I started laughing and crying at the same time.  Dad was a kidder and a prankster – and he ‘got us good’ on that one.  I could see Mom taking his arm as he was chuckling on his way, saying, “Ok, Dick, that’s enough now, come along!”

edelweiss

It was one awesome funeral!

We were wrapped in Holy, Precious Moments as we shared this time together.

Fambly.

Thanks Mom and Dad … Without you … We would not BE FAMBLY.

With a Grateful Heart.

Your Daughter,

Debbie

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it and follow me for more posts!

The Wedding … It IS a Summer of Love!         Here is Mom’s Story.

www.debendres.com

A Summer of Love & Death – Mom

It was a tough summer for our ‘Fambly’.

It was a summer of Love.

Both my folks were dying …

Let me share about our Mom …

Mom&Dad50th

Mom, Dad & The Big Kids

“Fambly”

We, Fambly = Mom & Dad, 7 Siblings/Spouses/Significant Others/Children & Little Children, filled the consult room, waiting for the oncologist to talk with us and share Mom’s diagnosis.  It was the day after Mother’s Day.  Apprehension, faith and love were holding us together like a superglue.  Mom had lung cancer.  The wonderful oncologist, tenderly held Mom’s hands, looked her directly in the eyes, and said with her permission, Hospice would be contacted that day.  It took our breath away.

Life is real.

In 2 months, she was gone.

Before she left … We sang to her, shared silly stories … maybe a secret or two.  We painted our toenails with her.  She had a dress to show us girls – she hoped wouldn’t be ‘too fancy’ for her funeral!  The rosary was prayed.  We cried.  Lots and LOTS of tears.  A Priest came to visit.  Mom and my little brother, Jake, planned the music for her funeral – so special. (He was amazing singing through. it. all.  Making Mom proud ’till the very end!!).

Rosary

In the middle of the night, she left us.  We were with her.  Dad made it very clear he wanted to be with her at her last breath.

Everything became still. 

Silent. 

Peace-filled.

Before we called the funeral home, we made a Fambly Circle. (Every night after supper, Mom would have us go around the table and say something we were thankful for.)  In our circle of love for Mom, we each shared a story, or something we were grateful for, or got in trouble with/lesson learned – ’cause life is real with Mom.  More tears, then laughter!!  After we shared, we started singing some of her favorite songs – someone(s) got out their phones to get all the words right!  We ended with Silent Night … the harmony so precious.

 

It was a silent, holy night …

We love you, Mom!

(She’s still dropping feathers to say ‘Hello’!)

20181104_093338_0001

With Love and a Grateful Heart,

Your Daughter,

Debbie

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it and follow me for more posts!

Dad’s Story     The Wedding Between 2 Funerals

www.debendres.com