Category Archives: grieve

A Few Good Men

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I have been missing a few good men and women who left the earth in past 2 years. My father, my best buddy, my favorite uncle, my grandfather, my aunt, and my cousin. My father would have been 79 years old today. As the Employee Wellness Coordinator for my employer, I attended a forum discussing onology care for patients this afternoon. After three oncology experts and a HR professional presented their perspectives, a woman shared her experience in caring for your husband who died of brain cancer. Very emotional for me. Much what this woman shared related to my mother’s story if she would speak about it. I have kept to myself as well for reasons I cannot write about at this time. Such to God’s plans for my day, I ran into one of my cousins, the grandson of my favorite uncle who passed a year ago. This cousin was the IT/sound man for the oncology forum I attended. My guess there were a few tears shed in that conference room today. He, too lost his grandmother (my aunt) to cancer. And last week I met with American Cancer Society folks in regards to the local Relay For Life event held in May. They are soliciting support and a possible team to form. They struck a chord with me last week, but not quite like the woman sharing her story today. Just cannot get away from cancer, as it is prevelant in our aging population at work as well as with my kin folk. I will write later about the Relay For Life event held at Soldier’s Memorial in St. Louis. My Dean & I will form our own team if my employer does not. This is just one way to honor my father. This day, the anniversary of your birth day, Dad I reflect on you and the things you found joy in … earth, plants, fish, birds, dogs, and of course Mom. You are loved and missed today!

Roller Coaster Ride

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Holiday greetings! Who knew what 2014 would bring? God, our Creator did. With Him and each other is how Dean & I held on during the wild roller coaster ride. I believe Dean & I experienced a miracle with our blended and extended families this year. After the joyous engagement announcements of last year, all 3 of Dean’s children chose to marry their sweethearts in this magical year of 2104. To fill you in, Dean & I have a blended family of 6 grown children, Rachel is 33 this week & married to Mick and have 3 children Hannah age 13, Ella age 8, & Eli age 4; Elisabeth is 30 married to Mark and have 2 children Libby age 10 & Brendan age 7; AJ just turned 30 & married Nancy in November; Elizabeth is 28 & just married Vince this month; Rainer is 25 & married Erica in July; and our youngest, Ben is 22. We welcome into our hearts and home the Compier, Rockford, and Rens families!
Dean & I averaged a 2 or 3-day trip (sometimes with our Labrador-flat coat retriever Midnight in tow) every 3rd weekend to the Missouri towns of Farmington, Lee’s Summit, Liberty, and Springfield as well as Leawood, KS to see our kids, grandkids, and Dean’s parents. Engagement parties and showers along with the grand finale celebrations kept us busy. Besides these beautiful weddings, we sought a reprieve of 10 warmer degrees (above freezing!) one extended weekend in February, and drove down to Paducah, KY. A lovely artisan town and my sanity! The coldest winter on record in the Midwest and with my allergy to the cold, I was in a constant swollen state until the thaw in May. This season, I am on a preventive antihistamine,taking it religiously until next May and hoping for a milder winter. No epie pins for me! Other events … Rainer’s master’s studies graduation in May, Dean’s male bonding Ohio trip with AJ & his father in July, this summer’s memorable One Direction concert Dean escorted my granddaughters and daughters to, and another sanity check with an extended weekend in New Harmony, IN in September, and Dean’s 35th high school reunion as well as his niece’s baptism this autumn. My mother and 2 children live nearby. We enjoyed visits with the Fait, Heuertz, and Christenson cousins. The deaths of my Uncle Lee, my cousin Sandra, my 99-year old Grandpa Earl, and Dean’s Aunt Rachel brought sorrow as well as the celebration of their lives. We said goodbye to two beloved grandpets, Jesse and Pixie and welcomed the bundle of energy named Bleu.
In 2014 Dean & I reduced our debts significantly, refinanced the house, and managed to stay above water with all the weddings. Our future plans are for a big family room. We viewed a few area houses this summer, and now entertain the thought of a room addition at present abode. There’s not much left on the mortgage, we like the central location, and know all the little quirks of this house I have lived in for 28 years, Dean the past 5 years. Paring down, repairs, and renovations will be for 2015’s weekends. Last spring we built a huge herb bed of organic marjoram, dill, sage, parsley, and 4 varieties of basil inside the screen house side of our 1400 sq-ft greenhouse. Vines of gourds grew on trellises, and bush beans produced a few green meals over summer. Next autumn we will build another bed for organic root vegetables as well as a cold frame for greens within the double protection of our experimental farm structure during the winter. I write this Word Press blog Deanna Greens And Garden Art, please read if you like to keep abreast. The practice of walking, gardening and eating greener may keep us healthier longer. We are a 3-generation home once again. My Elisabeth and clan (includes 2 more cats) have lived with us since September. They are making plans for the future within this present economy. Hearing Elisabeth sing to the kids every night, and tonight “You Are My Sunshine” warms my heart. Our Midnight and cat, Celine have adjusted to sharing their eating, napping and perching spots as Dean & I have.
Our full-time jobs, Dean with the National Archives and I with St. Louis County, have their perks as well as draw-backs. We love the Monday holidays, PTO banks, and good benefits. The draw-backs are the modest income, the ultimate politics, and security threats. Working in St. Louis County, MO has been a challenge at times since the historical August 9 shooting. By the grace of God despite the presence of protestors, media, FBI, National Guard, and extra police force, I came through with the mindset, “God is in control and I am placed here for such a time as this”. I pray for protection for our police officers and for peace that surpasses all understanding for those who feel victimized. I am taking an online course study towards a CEBS certification. Study, study, more study in 2015!
Blessings and wholeness to you! From this wordie, foodie, and wellness guru in St. Charles County, MO, love always! Anna

Where Does One Begin?

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Sandra Witthaus Rau Where does one begin to understand the timing of one’s life in this world? This complexity of life and death, and there are many, seems to be a mystery. I cannot comprehend with my mind, and my heart wrenches that my cousin, Sandra Witthaus Rau was taken from us on June 3. But with faith in my loving God, the Father, I pray for comfort and peace for Sandra’s son, daughter, brother, grandson, and so many family and friends. Sandra wrote poems and expressed words of wisdom beyond her years, shared with those God placed in her life. An old soul yet her laughter and zeal was contagious, and kept her young. A year ago I asked on this Word Press blog “Is The Grass Greener?”, and Sandra shared such timely advice and with grace. And it is true, Sandra, “The grass is always greener where you water it – With Love, Laughter, Family and Friends”. The last bit of wisdom left on Sandra’s FB account on May 23:
~Slow down sometimes~
Life often gets out of control. We live in busy times and as much as we try to take a step back and live in the moment often that’s just not possible. Before we know it a week has passed. A month. Maybe even a year or two.
People tell us to stop and smell the roses but instead all we see is the work that has to be done to make those roses grow. The digging and planting. The weeding and watering. Everywhere we turn we run into duties and responsibilities, tasks and chores. All those things that need to get done to make our world turn.
Is that the life we envisioned when people used to ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up? Weren’t we going to be ballerinas, astronauts and magicians? But that’s life. It has a tendency to do the unplanned. It does it without regard or consideration for our feelings or objections. It throws us in at the deep end with no life ring in sight and says swim.
Maybe we just need to embrace the unpredictability with open arms rather than constantly fight it. And more importantly, we need to see those roses for what they really are. A chance to breathe. An opportunity to live life at its fullest. A real blessing. Because after all, there are only so many roses left for each one of us.

All Of Me
Sandra, you are terribly missed. And I know you are with Grandma, cousin Billy, your Mother, your Father, and your Uncle Marty now. For this I rest my mind and find peace. I love you, Sandra!

Miss Kitty

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Miss Kitty
Our beloved Lily, “Miss Kitty” passed this morning. Lily had many names, “Miss Kitty”, “Lucy” short for “Lucifer”, and many more. She has been Dean’s household companion for almost 12 years, mine for over 3 years. Miss Kitty was full of piss and vinegar, but loving her own little ways. That kind of spunk you grow to love. I remember the first Christmas she spent with Dean & I as a couple. While a cranberry-nut loaf filled the kitchen with a lovely aroma, I placed a holiday towel in a basket on the kitchen island awaiting the warm bread. I turned away to pull out the loaf from the oven, as I spinned to island with my hot holiday goods, there sat “Miss Kitty”. In my basket. I left “Miss Kitty” to enjoy the comforts of her new snug bed, and promptly found another basket and towel.
More recently, she cuddled in our laps with frequency. Tumors … assumed cancer. We will miss you, our “Miss Kitty”. Glad I got to know you.

Blessing Jar

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Blessings come in different forms.  Counting my blessings is a mindset when I buried my father less than 3 weeks ago after his 9-month battle with brain cancer.  Still grieving.  But I came across this website blog about a blessing jar:  http://thefrugalgirls.com/2012/11/the-blessing-jar.html.  Cute  craft idea!  The photo below comes from this blog. Reading the blog, it reminds me to recall all the wonderful things that took place this year.  It’s been a very difficult year, so I think  a bit of a challenge with this blessing search …  I will start with my family, my big, big family!  To begin my husband, Dean is just want I need.  He is multi-talented, jack of all trades. And he is so patient with me, my ideas, my projects, my moods, etc.  And on top of that Dean is affectionate and thoughtful.  My hubby rubs my stinking feet after a long day working in the greenhouse.  And then there is my children … my oldest daughter, Rachel has a smile, kind word, and humor that will turn any sour day into a sweet one!   And then my Elisabeth, her beautiful acceptance of this diverse life is such an example to me.  She grows more saintly with her patience!  Both of my daughters suffer with degenerative disc disease, but continue to bring joy to the people  around them despite their pain.  My son, Ben has the most tender heart that permeates through this tough world we live in.  He held his arm around me during my father’s memorial service.   Probably an uncool thing to do in most 19-year old young men’s eyes, but he does not care what others think.  My grandchildren, well read about all five in my earlier blog:   https://deannagreensandgardenart.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/they-are-mine-alright/.  And then there is the extended family.  My family grew closer through my father’s terminal illness.  My sister traveled 3 trips from the west coast to be at my mother’s and father’s beckon call for months.  My two brothers took over the needs of my 97-year old grandfather as my father could no longer take this role.  My mother did not give up on my father’s wish to die at home.  So she had many endless hours as his nurse, you know,  24/7.  My employer was so patient, allowing me time away to run errands for my mother and visit my father.  Co-workers and vendors I work closely with, asked how Dad was and I am doing even today.  And the solace the greenhouse plants and soil gave me from this tiresome world we live in.  So how I can summarize this year  is “God is good”.  He takes care of us!  We are truly blessed!  What will you put into your blessing jar?   Funny thing about this photo, my Dad’s nickname is Marty.  I wonder what musings he is having in heaven today?

 

My Father

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My father’s obituary … more thoughts in a few days …

Martin K. Bates, age 76 of Bowling Green, passed away Thursday October 18, 2012, at his home.  Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday
October 20, 2012 at the Mudd-Veach Funeral Home in Bowling Green, with Rev. DawnVictoria Mitchell officiating.  Burial will be in the Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bowling Green. Visitation for Mr. Bates will be held from 10:00 a.m. Saturday until the time of service at the funeral home.

He was born March 10, 1936, the son of Earl Kenneth and Anna Susanna Kurz Bates. He grew up in St. Louis County and on April 26, 1958 in St. Louis, he married Darlene Hudson.  She survives. Also surviving are his father of St. Charles; two sons Martin Richard Bates and wife Joan of O’Fallon, Stephen Kenneth Bates of Bowling Green; two daughters
Margaret Bates of Los Banos, CA, Anna Gall and husband Dean of St. Peters; five grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; one brother Earl F. Bates and wife Sunny of the State of Montana and one niece Julie Fait and husband Jim of Romeoville, IL.  He was preceded in death by his mother, 
his step-mother Paula Bates and one nephew Drew Bates. 

Mr. Bates lived in St. Charles County for 43 years where he owned and operated Bates Nursery in St. Peters from 1969 to 2002 when he retired.  While owning the nursery, he raised many of his own plants, and did landscaping.  In 2003 he moved to Bowling Green.  Martin was an avid hunter, loved his hunting dog Midnite and enjoyed training dogs. He also enjoyed woodworking and painting and sketching.  He was a good husband, father and grandfather and was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal.

Serving as pallbearers will be Rick Bates, Steve Bates, Ian Bates, Nathan Bates, Benjamin Phelps and Dean Gall.

Memorials may be made to the Donors choice.

http://www.muddveach.com/6/post/2012/10/bates-martin-k.html

Big Is Our God!

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Despite a miniscule budget and this season of grieving, by God’s grace I will create vignettes and will remain a perennial optimist (as Word Press blogger, Kate of Believe Anyway calls herself).  Big is our God!  He has big Forgiveness, big Grace, and big Love!  There are no boundaries with His many gifts and blessings!

Happy

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“Happy clouds” and “happy trees” are what painter, Bob Ross would paint on his canvas.  Do you remember this PBS program? 

Well as “happy” as his objects were in his artwork, life is not always so happy.  This week I have had a difficult time being “happy”.   Too much going on to enjoy life.  Dad terminally ill, both my grown  daughters with major disc and back issues possibly genetics, a greenhouse needing to be completed before a hard freeze comes, working full-time in a job with a pay freeze for 4 years now, and starting to take on weekend catering jobs as the greenhouse sales have ended for the season.  I am just plain tired and I am grieving!  I know, I have much to be thankful for.  Family, jobs, and the abiity to work.  But I remind myself of the holy scriptures,  John 16:22 – “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (NIV)  I am holding onto God’s promise.