Friday, January 20, 2012

A different kind of Vinegar Friday

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

The phone woke me at 4 a.m. this morning. That is never a good thing.

Earlier in the week, my friends who live in Virginia received the news that Mike's mom (who lives here in Pittsburgh) was dying. The doctor said that it would be a matter of hours. Of course, doctors tend to exaggerate things, don't they? It wasn't hours, it was days. However, in the early hours of this morning, she passed away. Thus the phone call.

On the other end of the line was Mike's sister, calling to let them know she was gone. Mike and Kathy were asleep in our family room and just didn't hear their cell phone ringing. So his sister called the house, which was perfectly fine at a time like this. Mike and Kathy got dressed, cleaned the snow off the car and headed to the hospital. Then they drove to the physical rehab center to break the news to Mike's father.

This is the part of the story that makes me cry. About a month or so ago, Mike's 91-year-old dad fell backwards down the escalator at Northway Mall. For those of you who know the mall, you know the escalator I'm talking about! It's two times as high as regular ones. After 68 years of being by his wife's side (except during the war when he was serving on a submarine), he was taken to a rehab center to recover from his multiple injuries. It was during this time his beloved wife (who was blind, by the way, and so dependent on him), became ill and died. Doesn't that make you want to cry? It does me. I find it to be so very sad.

While he did speak to her on the phone, he was not able to travel to the hospital to see her for a final goodbye.

This story reminds me so much of another sad, sad time in my life nearly 12 years ago. My friend's father was dying of esophageal cancer. He made numerous trips to Pittsburgh for treatment. On one particular occasion, as he lay in a hospital bed 130 miles or so from home, his perfectly healthy wife died. It was such a shock to the family. I didn't even believe it when my friend called to tell me the news. I joined him at the hospital to break the news to his father, and then, the next day, we traveled back to Ridgway with him so he could attend his wife's funeral. What a nightmare. I will never forget wheeling the grieving widower over to the casket at the church and watching as his hand lightly caressed the smooth wood.

Twenty-two days later, he died at home with a hospice nurse, three of his children and me surrounding his bed.

I cry even now with memories of that time. And I weep with anticipation of watching Mike's dad struggle, both physically and emotionally, through the funeral of his beloved bride.

So you see, today is a different kind of Vinegar Friday. I just simply don't feel like writing about vinegar. And I'm pretty sure you understand.

Sharing my heart,



  1. So sad. My heart and my prayers go out to the family.

  2. Hana,

    Thank you for e-mailing me to warn me that your blog was sad today, but I read it anyway - I just had a feeling.

    I truly believe that God has put you on earth to help people with situations like this. Your help and love that we received during those 22 days, and after, have created a beautiful bond with you. Like it or not you are part of our family. LOL

    As for what your friends are going through, if they were to loose their father also, I hope that they realize that even though it is almost unbearibly devistating as a survivor, it is beautiful for the couple that will be back together in heaven. In the 55 year that my parents were married, that 22 days was the longest they had ever been apart. Neither one of my parents would have been whole without the other one. How could they be after that many years?

    If I can do anything for your friends, please let me know. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would be able to say to someone in their situation "I know how you feel." My prayers will be dedicated to all of you.

    I love you, take care.

  3. It's an honor to be part of your family, Carol. I love you, too.



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