Saturday, December 24, 2011

video from Dec. 24, 2007

I never know what I'll find on John's files.  This is timely and precious.  Found it in November, 2011.

Friday, October 28, 2011

recent activity

My new kitty, Wally.

my b'day in Kiev

eating gingerbread & drinking coffee at Perigova

6th grade English class

shopping with Eileen on St. Andrew's Street

fun in Kiev;  09/22/11-10/03/11

Monday, July 11, 2011

timely tidbits

Summer seems to be flying by one day, dragging the next.  Guess that averages out to.....average.  
Still working with the probate lawyer, although nothing is moving right now.  It's by
my choice, though, to make decisions about how to liquidate things.

The thyroid dr said mine was great.  Weird, but great.  It isn't the usual butterfly shape wrapped around the trachea.  It's clumped in front of it in a blob.  So what's new?? 
She also said I HAVE to exercise 150 minutes a week to help with osteoporosis.  I've known
for a while I needed to be moving, but with no mental motivation, it hasn't happened.  

Found another sticky note from John the other day.  I was in the middle of printing out my WHOLE blog and needed more printer paper.  Stuck to the top sheet in the package was his note:  "Laura, Ohk   Jet & Laser     John xxxooo"
He always insisted on using 24 pound paper for the laser jet printers.  It's a heavier paper and better for the machine.  Guess he wanted to make sure I remembered!

At John's memorial, our music therapist sang "It Is Well With My Soul".  Every time I've gone back to Wildwood for church, it has been one of the songs in congregational singing.  A couple of weeks ago, I joined the choir at Havana First Baptist.  I was going to practice a few weeks before participating in service, but they were doing patriotic music for the 4th, so I went ahead and sang.  And what was one of the songs in the musical????  "It Is Well With My Soul" of course.  

One of John's favorite passages of scripture was John 12-16.  [Found out after one of his surgeries that this passage was what he was studying the night of his first seizure.  He was sad he never could understand his studies enough to learn more about it.]
When he couldn't read anymore, I read it to him.  Pastor Eric has been going through the book of John for several months, and since April, he's been in chapters 12-15.  It's been great to hear about these particular scriptures since they were so special to John.  I was afraid I'd miss chapter 16, but Pastor said we'd be in 15 for a few weeks.

I wondered Sunday how many hours John has spent talking theology with St. Paul.  or Moses.  or King David.  wow    blows my mind.

Monday, June 27, 2011

still hot

Still working with the probate lawyer on accessing John's bank accounts.  They sent a polite email saying they won't give any more information until the will is filed through the court, giving me the right to access the accounts.  Nothing is ever as quick and easy as a lawyer says it will be.  Not with me anyway.  It's always quirky with issues no one has dealt with before.

Went skeet shooting with Daddy twice.  The first time, he had a new gun with loaded shot, and it about took my shoulder off, and I didn't have good control after the kick.  One of the other guys loaned me a gun I'd shot before and liked, with weaker shells.  I scored the same both rounds.  This past week, I was back to my gun with weak shot, and was almost back to my best score, but the gun messed up, so I used unfamiliar stuff again, lowering my score.  I just want my gun with my shot.  Maybe next time.

Went to choir for the first time Sunday afternoon.  The people are very nice, and it was good to sing again.  They're doing patriotic music Sunday, so I'll participate.  

Counseling is going well, every other or third week.  I'm going through the stages correctly and I'm glad it's summer so I can continue to rest, recoup, and relax.  Searched online for brain tumor support groups, but couldn't find any locally.

We had a good garage sale Saturday a week ago, and while I was loading leftover boxes in my trunk, my ankle gave way and it was sprained.  Mama took me to urgent care later in the afternoon.  X-rays showed no breaks, and the dr. put me in an "ace and brace."  He gave me exercises to do and said to wear the brace for 2 weeks, then wean it off an hour a day the third week.  Will do what I have to to still go on my trip west!  

Today, Marshall and I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  It was good, but the mermaids were scary.  Wonder how Wikiwatchee Springs likes that!

The Havana Hen Party got together again to eat Chinese at our buffet.  It was great fun; all teachers: public, private, current, retired.

This is the puzzle I thankfully bought the day I sprained my ankle.  It gave me something to do while I stayed on the couch.  Put together 499 pieces, but can't find #500!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

sizzling summer

The school year ended quietly.  Took my time putting things away to make the beginning of next year easier.  The inside of our buildings are being painted, which meant everything had to be away from and off the walls.
My teaching buddy, Sarah, might not be there next year, and I will be devastated if she's not.

Visited a probate lawyer to help with closing out John's accounts. He says things should be decided and wrapped up before summer is over.

Last Saturday, I invited friends to shop Havana and have lunch.  Ronnie, who works at the Music Mission Kiev Orlando office, came up to shop with us.  She said the group going over in Sept/Oct is full but she'd make a place for me if I want to go.  Mama will need lots of convincing........
Ended up with 11 ladies doing Havana!

After a garage sale this weekend, I'll start looking for a cat.

Today, Sharon and I did downtown Tallahassee.  We toured the Governor's Mansion, the Italian Baroque artwork at The Brogan, the Union Bank, and had lunch at Jasmine.
For years, I've bugged the curator at the mansion to let me be a docent. In passing today, she mentioned that NASCAR drivers are attending a reception there in June.  Of course I begged to be a docent for the day.  She did me one better than that.  I have a new part time job!  Sharon and I are now on the list as 'wait staff' for special events; private dinners [which will come later], receptions, and ..... something else [State dinners?].
They have to run us through the secret service background check first.  We interviewed with the resident chef.  After the NASCAR event, there isn't anything particular planned until session.  Etiquette will be huge, but they will teach us.
wowie wow wow

Walked at the park tonight.  I think it's the first time without John.  Maybe I went once before; can't remember.  Another 'first' tackled.  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

in his own words.....and spelling

While going through John's facebook messages, I found this reply to a friend.  It so beautifully sums up his frame of mind when he found out he had a brain tumor.  I'll leave the spelling as he typed it because it shows the effects of the two seizures he had about a month before.  It was dated Oct. 28, 2009.  

If I was independently wealth I could just live out the last 4 years relaxed until I died. However, I am not capable. The doctors have been real honest and I really appreciate it. They told me the tumor was what they expected and at the most optimistically I have is 3-4 years if the tumor response. The slim possibility is past 5 years. I really am glad to have time to plan so I am getting things ready now so those close to me want have so much to do.

It could be a lot worst. There are kids up there who have not really expected high school. I have already done all that. The greatest thing about my situation dieing is my world view. I have taken the last 7 years and examined what I have been taught and found it to be true. Christianity is the only philosophy which makes more since compared against all the other positions. I am following a logical and rational position which Jesus the man/God taught was rational. If this would have happened to me 10 years ago I would have been on my knees crying to go to heal me thinking I could convince Him to do it. Now I am content. With the teaching past down by the inspiration through the Apostles (12) that allows me to be content I will not die. My person will never stop existing. When I leave temporarily my physical body I am promised to return not only to my body but with the Christ in His second advent.

It has been a great last 50 years because I fond God is knowable and He revealed Himself rational.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

saturated Saturday

What a day! 
 Yesterday I spent the day at the county office as a writing consultant, giving feedback on the writing process in primary grades.  It was fun and encouraging. 

Harry and Suzanne came to the house after work to go through John's books, videos, dvd's, and cd's I didn't want to keep.  They took home 4 boxes, which left me with only about 3 for the garage sale.
Sharon spent the night last night and we went to the Havana Relay for Life.  I bought cookies from my neighbor, Judy's, tent and got a caretaker pin.  They didn't have caretaker shirts this year, but I collect pins, so this was even better.  Sharon got a pin for Mama, too. 

The rain began around 10:30 p.m.  When we got up this morning, it had stopped, and we went on with the garage sale set-up.  We put it in the driveway this time to make it easier to pull in if it rained.  IF....haha.....thunder, lightning, ladies shopping holding umbrellas.  Sold the old lawn mower!  Traffic stopped during the worst of the rain.  We're going to do another garage sale in a few weeks and give it another try.
I wore one of John's favorite old t-shirts.  This is he first garage sale in years that he hasn't been at.  It was a year ago when we had the garage sale to get rid of his excess stuff right after we got married, and ended up taking him to the hospital that night to find he had air in his brain. 
a nightmare weekend

Georgena and I walked around Edinburgh Thursday.  3.5 miles....hard in the heat, but not impossible.  Need to do that a gazillion times more before heading to Glacier this summer.

Me on the old mower [ca. 1989]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Glad to be home today.  Mentally tired.
Mr. John's funeral was nice, especially the military honors at the gravesite.
The church gave a reception after the funeral.  Tim and the kids, Georgena and I went to eat, then left pretty soon after. 
The preacher appologized for not knowing I was there or mentioning me in the service.

Roof inspector came this morning.  He said everything is as it should be, although I think some of the flashing gaps under shingles too much in places. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

making John proud

My goal this weekend is to make John proud and represent him well.
It's mother's day.  While Gloria was out with a friend picking up lunch, I trimmed the bushes out front with the dullest clippers I've ever used.  Kohle helped me by bagging up the clippings.

Georgena and I took the kids to a movie [Rio].  When we got home, Gloria immediately appologized to me for my name not being in Mr. John's obituary.  Tim pointed it out to her today.  The funeral home wrote the obit, and when she and Tim proofed it, they couldn't read the bottom where the names were listed.  Gloria said as they talked with the funeral home lady about Mr. John, a man in the room wrote down what they said and used that info for the obit. 
I was hurt that my name wasn't listed, but didn't say anything to anyone in the family.  It wasn't my pride that was hurt but John's memory.  He was proud to be married and now it wouldn't be known in Mr. John's written legacy. 
Gloria said she was going to give the funeral home down the road about them leaving off my name, but they'd probably blame it on her.  Personally, I think they didn't mention John having been married when they talked to the people, so they didn't know to put me in. 

Tomorrow will be a long, emotional day.  I'm taking John's silk hankie from his wedding tux with me, along with a metal pocket 'stone' with xoxo I gave him.  Wanted something of him with me at the funeral.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

so many firsts

Sharon, Marshall, and I went to Oven Park on May 5th, mine and John's first wedding anniversary.  It was a Thursday afternoon, and a couple was getting married at the gazebo just like we did the year before.
I brought the bear, sparkling grape juice, cheese, lemon bars, the duckies, and Sharon brought bananas, crackers, paper towel...all the necessities.  We walked around the park.  The flowers were beautiful, and the weather was still cool.  It was a great way to celebrate. 

Today I am in Daytona.  It's Saturday, and Mr. John's funeral is Monday.  Georgena and I came on so she/we could spend time with Georgia and Kohle, and get them out of the house.  This afternoon, we took them to the beach to walk around and got ice cream on the way home. 

Gloria is doing ok.  She tears up when she talks about 'things', but all in all, she's holding it together.  Her former sister-in- law and husband are also here for a few days.  Tim went with us to get burgers this afternoon, and he talked a lot about his dad's final days.  It's been a hard time for them, but it worked out best that Tim came to help out. 

At lunch, I noticed how much Tim's arms look like John's.  Same freckles, hair, shape.  I had a moment of fighting tears, and went out on the deck to process it all.  The quiet didn't last long with two pre-teens around. 

My Mother's Day Tea at school went very well.  It was also teacher appreciation week, so several moms brought me bouquets of flowers.  woohoo

Sunday, May 1, 2011

sunday sunday sunday

It seems Sundays are going to be the day to go through John's stuff, especially with the garage sale coming in two weeks.  Didn't find any sticky notes today :( but I'm sure there are more.  I've been thru all his clothes, shoes, and 90% of his books.  After the books, the only thing left is finishing the filing in his office.  He really did a good job going thru things when he moved in..........which brings me to the most traumatic weekend of my life.  Yes, even worse than him dying.

It was almost exactly a year ago, when his brain filled with air instead of fluid, and he went nuts.  We had been married almost two weeks, had a garage sale planned, he couldn't go to his shed to load up for the garage sale, in-law family helped.  I ended up taking John to the hospital that night and he had surgery again to re-do the incision.
It was just awful..............and I remembered today that it was almost a year ago.

Our first first wedding anniversary is on the 5th.  Will have to think of something special to do for it. 

New roof work begins tomorrow.  yippeee

Easter 2010

Saturday, April 30, 2011

catching up

blog, blog, blog
or blah, blah, blah

Haven't wanted to blog, but there's a lot going on in my mind.
Need to back way up and try to remember what's gone on.

Kelly nominated me for a Monday Morning Makeover with WCTV.  Had my nails and hair done.  It was fun.  The girl who 'did me' went to Springwood many years ago.  She's 21 now.  I didn't know her then.  Haven't been on WCTV's website or program yet.

Easter Saturday was a tough day.  I started out working in the yard, but had no motivation or pep.  After lunch, I decided to give in to the feeling and spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch.  Took a cat nap, watched TV.  Easter Sunday was special, thinking about John in heaven celebrating his first Easter there with Jesus, the reason for our hope.  Lunch with the family, then home.  Put on John's hat and started going through the chest of drawers, getting ready for our upcoming garage sale.  I found 5 sticky notes!  One of them said, "Christ is coming!"  How appropriate for Easter.  The funniest place he put a sticky note was in the last pair of his favorite underwear.  [inside joke]
In a book entitled "A Time of Departing", John highlighted the title page and signed his name with xxoo's.  Those words must have resonated with him. 

Just as there were markers of decline for me to watch for in John, I am discovering what his main marker was:  signing his name.  Going through things in his office, I've found page after page where John practiced signing his name.  I knew he did this when he got ready to sign the photographs he had blown up for me, but other pages are in different notebooks, scratch pads, on sheets of notebook paper.  One of the sticky notes I found the other day was late in the process, when he started printing his name only and spelling it 'Johe'.  I've put them all in a little photo album, with an explanation of where and when I found them.

Thinking about joining First Bapt. Havana choir this summer.
Need to fill out the papers to recertify.
Need to walk more to prepare for hiking this summer.
Want to volunteer more at the museum this summer.
Got up at 5:30 a.m. to watch Catherine and William marry.
Was suppose to have new shingles delivered Friday but they weren't......
film update:  the Brownie camera film had no pictures on it.  The 126 had about 5 pictures.  One was of a man on a couch.  Had it printed to see if it's Mr. John.  Had to take the camera apart to try to get that special ADX film out.  It's being developed now.

Tim, Georgia, and Kohle have come from Idaho.  Got to Daytona last night.  Mr. John has been in the hospital for several days.  They give him transfusions and platelets, and within a few hours, the platelets are gone from his body.  Tim helped get him home today, there won't be any more treatments, and Gloria called Hospice today to get support. 

make-over hair

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's here

John's headstone was set last Friday.  I rushed to the cemetary to see it before my parents picked me up for Marshall's baseball game.  It's beautiful.  I thought I'd fall apart when I saw it, but it was more of a relief.  Now there's a permanent memorial to him that will be registered 'forever' in the Town of Havana records.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

angel bear

Sarah has a mom in her class who embroiders everything and anything really well.  I thought about asking her to put John's Angel logo on the bear's shirt, if I could find a blue or black button-down. 

When I walked into the Build-a-Bear store this morning, that mom was there shopping with her daughter.  What an excellent omen that I would find the right bear.  Or at least I took it as a sign it would all work out.

I asked her if she'd embroider something for me on a bear shirt and she said yes.

They didn't have a solid button-down, but the lady helping me had an idea.  She came back with a "cub scout" shirt; blue, button-down, with several patches.  I showed it to the mom and asked her if we could take them off and add the logo.  Again she said yes.

I got a tan bear, white tennis shoes, white low top socks, tan shorts, blue shirt, and the kicker: a safari hat!  [John wore a safari hat the last several years. I think we got it at Walmart.]

When they stuff the bear, you have to step on the pedal that powers the blower that shoots the stuffing into its body.  You also get to pick a plain, satin heart printed with "I love you" or a heart you press that says different things.  I took my Sharpie with me so I could write "Laura & John" on the satin heart, then I put it in.  I watched another bear builder help a couple of kids with theirs, and they made a wish and a promise before they put their hearts in.  This is a ritual you are to do during the process of stuffing.  My helper asked me if I made a wish.  I told her "he knows."  And when she pulled the stitches to close the back of the bear, I fell apart.  She looked at me sympathetically, so I told her my husband had died, and this was his work uniform.  And that I hoped to make it through without crying.  She gave me a hug. 

I registered the bear on their computer.  Named it John Dennis, and gave it the birthdate of April 4, 2011.  Our anniversary date.  When I told Sharon I picked our anniversary date for his b'day, she asked, "Which one?"  We do have lots of special dates to celebrate.

I managed to get out of the store in one piece.  Mush, but one piece.  He's now dressed, except for his shirt. 
very cute

Friday, April 8, 2011

another first

April 4th, our 8th anniversary, was an emotional day.  A particular meltdown happened at lunch while Sarah and I talked about teddy bears.  She said when you make a bear at the mall, they give you a little heart to put inside it.  I told her I didn't think I could make it through doing that.  I pulled up the Prince Charming bear and showed Sarah.  It could even be made with blue eyes. 

During my planning time, the teammate who videoed when John came to school to propose, set the video on my desk.  It was almost a year ago when he asked me to marry him, and I thought the video long gone.  So did she.  It's in a weird format and he husband will try to convert it to a cd in the next couple of weeks.

When I got home from school, I wanted to emerse myself in something of John's.  I put on his favorite hat and started the process of putting together his family's memory packets with a copy of the audio of his memorial service, obit, copies of pages from the guest book; etc.  I spent a couple of hours sorting, reading, and remembering.  I gathered some old cards we'd given each other to put in my keepsake box.  One of the cards was the one John gave me on our last anniversary.  It was between surgeries, so there were some mixed up words, but it reminded me of the decline he went through in reading, writing, and speaking.

During class, our registrar called on my intercom to say I had a personal phone call.  My heart dropped, thinking it might be about Mr. John.  But hooray, hooray, it was good news.  Kelly nominated me for a WCTV Monday Morning Makeover!  Hair, make-up....lots of pampering.   They're going to call to schedule.

Today I found a sticky note!  It has been a while since I've come across one, and was hoping to.  It was in a drawer of my Grandma's old sewing machine, which I don't go in often.  It said, "Gen. 1-12   Love ya! John
xoxo"  John loved studying Genesis 1-12 and wanted to teach on it.  He worked on a lesson plan for it a couple of years ago, before he got sick.  Found the cards the other day, too, in John's office. 

Tomorrow I would like to go to the bear store at the mall and make one so I can put a heart in it.  That's much more personal than just ordering one.  I hope they have an outfit. 

Talked with Mr. John and Gloria yesterday.  He has had 2 blood transfusions and platelets in 2 weeks, and was going for more platelets today.  Gloria contacted Hospice over there.  I'm glad.  They'll give her much-needed help.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

all over the map

When I am tired, I get emotional.  With my first week back at work, I'm tired.  Doesn't help that tomorrow is our 8th anniversary.  John and I always celebrated April 4th as our anniversary and agreed that no matter what day we were married, we'd continue to use that date.  Well, actually I say it was April 1st but John said April 4th, no discussion.  "IT" was our first kiss, in the parking lot of the bowling alley.  2003.  So long ago.

I've been tired all day.  Not sleeping through the night.  I wake up around 2:30 for an hour or so, then don't feel rested in the mornings.  Taking a p.m. tonight.

How to celebrate our anniversary?  Thought about going to the "Build a Bear" store and making a boy bear wearing something that reminds me of John.  For 4 Valentine's, he gave me bears:  one wearing camo for hunting, Yankees with my name on the jersey, 2 with Valentines.  Vermont Teddy Bears has a "Prince Charming" bear.  He's holding a glass slipper on a pillow, and this may be the one I go with, but I wanted to make one myself.  I may go to the store and see what they have.  Would love to find a blue button-down shirt and have it embroidered with "Angel Carpet Cleaning" like John's uniforms.  decisions decisions

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

School went well today.  The kids were tired coming off spring break, but they worked hard and cooperatively.  My massage after school helped.  Dog tired.  This morning was the earliest I've gotten up in months!  44 days until summer!

Monday, March 28, 2011

hi ho, hi ho's back to work I go.  Got a lot accomplished today.   Sorta have a grip on where we are in the grand scheme of things.

Not long after I received my beautiful engagement ring, I either used hand sanitizer or a bathroom cleaning product that tarnished the gold and turned it purple.  Where my finger constantly rubs the band, the tarnish came off.  Last week I took it in to the Gem Collection to see what happened and to get it cleaned....hopefully.  I just about had a meltdown driving down Capital Circle toward the store.  I got John's wedding ring from the Gem Collection, and we looked there for mine.  I had a hard time giving the girl my ring.  Then when she said she needed to take it up to the jeweler, I sat down and nervously waited for her return.  She was gone a while, brought it back into her room to blow it dry, and it was fabulous!  The jeweler sent me a message to NOT do that again.  I assured her I take it off now when I clean.  A little while later I made a stop at my bank and the girl complimented my ring.  Made me feel good.

Yesterday was rough, probably because I knew I was going back to work today.  Plus Fred posted pictures from Kimberly's wedding and that made me think of Vickie which made me sad.
For years, when I'd make copies at school, I'd spend the time standing there talking on the phone with John.  One of the 'firsts' happened again.  I almost reached for the phone on the wall to call John as the copy machine whirred along.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

first steps back

Went to church this morning.  Arrived late and left during the final prayer. Couldn't sing for crying but it felt good to be there.  When I used to go to church and John stopped going, I would set my cell phone on the chair next to me so I could see if John called.  Another one of those things I don't have to do anymore.

Actually cooked this afternoon:  ground venison, mixed with baked beans and bbq sauce; cornbread.  Will be good for lunches next week.

Was sad because John isn't here to clean the tile on the kitchen counter and wall because it's looking rough.  Then I remembered he left me the tile cleaner.  The only thing I didn't have was the big machine, and didn't need it.  Got busy with a toothbrush after church and it worked well.  Now the tile is shiny and clean.

Still have lots of unfinished "business" from John's stuff &/or mine.  Can't think of one thing I've completed, mainly because you fill out a form and then have to wait.  But work begins tomorrow and I'll have to juggle phone calls, faxes, emails, letters, paperwork, and kids.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My counselor says I should blog more. 
I didn't realize how "out of touch" I'd become in those last months.  John liked tv commercials muted.  Lately, I've seen several of them with the sound 'on' and have been surprised at the music or conversations in the commercials.  I had never heard them.

Going back to work Monday.  Planning day.  Counseling, massage, ball games all next week.  Talk about jumping back in with both feet! 

I feel very close to John when I sing/listen to Christian music.  He is where I'm singing about, with God, knowing the mysteries and glories we only sing about with words we think describe heaven, God, angels.  Part of me is here and part of me is there.

Today is the 139th anniversary of the 7.8-8.2 earthquake in California that my novel is set around. 

I ordered John's headstone last week.  It's plain but nice. 

Three good movies:  The Unknown, Lincoln Lawyer, The Adjustment Bureau.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


John was creative with graphics and layouts, composing ads, and even took a couple of graphic design classes. 

Yesterday, I rifled through four years of John's old business papers to burn.  I found a couple of pictures he had taken of carpet cleaning products, as though he were working up an ad for them.  He had been a member of the Capital City Apartment Association, which he told me about, to get his foot in the door with managers and others in that realm.  Nothing shocking or surprising in the boxes.  I saved an old Valentine his mom made for him in the early 1990's.  
He couldn't spell back then either.

I finally decided what to do with all these sticky notes John left me.  I'm going to put them in an album and label them with when and where I find it.  Will be fun to look back on one day.  I'm afraid if I leave them where I find them, I'll forget where they are and throw some out or have to relook for them later.

Still writing thank you notes. 
I can tell I'm working in the yard a lot because my nails are suffering.
We're having a beautiful spring.  It's dry and yellow-green from pollen, but as soon as we get a good rain, the grass will pop out and the mowing will begin.  ugh

One week until heading back to school.  
Sleeping pretty good at night.  Still going to grief counseling. 
Saw "Unknown" with Liam Neeson last night.  great twists and action

Monday, March 14, 2011

time change

My husband was brilliantly creative.  The time changed Saturday night, and when I took the kitchen clock off the wall to turn the hands forward, guess what I found stuck to the back of the clock.
A sticky note from John with the Bible verse that says, "Hear O, Israel, the Lord thy God is one." 

I had a good visit with John's parents in Daytona Saturday.  Spring breakers and bike week had the traffic heavy in both directions.  Mr. John looks like himself, a little pale, tired, but holding his own.  His red, white, hemoglobin, platelets are all about half what they should be.  Gloria fixed lunch for us.  They found John's birth certificate and his sixth grade graduation certificate, but forgot to give them to me.  Gloria said she'd mail it.  I took them the obituary, the programs, thank you notes, a copy of the pages from the guestbook, and I let them look at the book of condolences from the Democrat I had made.

The soundman from the church called to let me know his computer lost all video files before he could make a copy of John's memorial service.  He does have an audio of it.  I didn't know what to say.  What can you say?  I'm going to pick up a copy of the audio Wednesday while I'm in town.  

Two weeks and counting until work.
Still going to grief counseling.
Working in the yard a lot.  good therapy

Friday, March 11, 2011


I Peter 3:12 quotes Psalm 34:15:  "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers;"

This reminds me of God's protection through John's illness.  His being able to find my number in his phone even when he wasn't aware of what he was doing. When he'd stumble along in the house or even fall: the left side of his head never hit anything.  Getting him in and out of the tub, and I'm not that strong. Working long days, determined to uphold promises made to customers.   

How many thousand prayers did I, and others, offer up for John's protection as he moved about in constant decline?  The Lord's eyes really are on those who belong to Him.   Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

lost and found

A couple of years ago, on my last trip to Kiev, I picked up John a pair of hand-knitted wool socks.  He liked wearing them in the winter because they were so warm, especially since he'd been sick.  This winter, I sewed a fleece sole to each of them because a couple of small holes were beginning.  When John's parents visited us in December, the socks disappeared.  I was so afraid they had accidentally carried them to Daytona, then thrown them out not knowing how special they were.

John and I searched for those socks, high and low, under and behind furniture, between cushions.  A couple of days after John died, I glanced up into his cubby in the top of our closet, and there the socks sat.  Right on top of everything.  In plain sight. 

If John found them, it would have had to be while he was still mobile, which would have been at least a week before he died, and you'd think I would've seen the socks in the closet I use every day.  Or that he would have told me where he found them.

To me, this is a wonderful mystery I will ask him to explain one day.  If you know the answer to the mystery, don't tell me.  They are warm.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


My "procedure" yesterday went well.  Apparently I was a constant source of entertainment for my sister and mother. 

Mama and I went to the wash house this morning to get blankets and quilts ready to put away until next fall.  This meant I needed to clean out a closet that holds blankets, my scarves and gloves, and our jackets.  I keep one of John's work shirts in that closet that I wore when I worked with him.  I'm learning to check all pockets in any piece of his clothing before washing or giving it away.  In the pocket of my work shirt, he left a note to me.  A little sticky note this time.  "love ya"
I also found two melted Jolly Ranchers.  He got them at Dr. Chemo's office one of the last times we went.  And I found $5 in another jacket. 

Got a few more thank you cards written while we were at the wash house this morning.  Every time I do a few, I think of someone else to thank.  Not complaining.  Just amazed.

Emailed my principals, bookkeeper, secretary, and sub to let them know I'm planning to come back the week after spring break.  March 28.  Also told them I will need days off when Mr. John passes.  The bookkeeper already granted me the 3 days the county gives for bereavement, so I have 3 more leave days than I would have had. 

This time off is going really fast now.  But it will soon be summer.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


After Marshall's game yesterday, he came home with me and we worked in the yard.  Got a lot done.  Neither of us had seen 'Shrek the Final Chapter' so we redboxed it.  We agreed it was good, but the second Shrek was the best.

I dropped him at church this morning, then went to Wildwood.  I was quite late and went to the balcony.  Marty and I met up after the service and ate at Cracker Barrel.  It was overwhelming  to be in a crowd at church.  Not many people talked to me, so it wasn't interactions that exhausted me.  It was the amount of people.  Lunch wasn't as bad because we sat in one place, I guess. 

This afternoon I cleaned out the bathroom.  I threw out partially used shampoo samples, old razors; etc.  Set up three boxes:  Lighthouse Children's Home donation, garage sale, Sharon.
I think I'll try to do the bedroom next, later in the week, although it has John's clothes, so I'll see.  Cleaning the bathroom was overwhelming.  This is just weird.

Talked to my "old lady friend" Margaret and her son, and she isn't doing well.  Broken, replaced hip, broken back/discs, can't see well, can't walk.  She is ready to go, can't do anything.  Reminds me of John.  She'll probably join him soon.

Planning to go to Daytona with Georgena and Dana Saturday for the day.  Leave early, get home late.  Gloria told Georgena she'd like me to stay for a few days but I'm not up to it.  Not even close. 

Biopsy of my cervix Tuesday.  twilight
always something, huh

Saturday, March 5, 2011

plodding on

Got a job offer at Prudential yesterday.  I met with my financial guys, who I've worked with for several years, who know my 'financial' story.  They told me about a meeting with young business women the night before, advising them on investing early and consistently.  I said if they ever needed a live testimonial, let me know because I'm passionate about 'what not to do.'  That's when he said he'd like to hire me to talk to women especially, and would I like to see the desk I would have if I took the job.  Part time while I continued teaching; etc.
food for thought

My first grief counseling session came next.  What is it that as soon as she starts talking, I melt?  In a puddle?  But in a very good, needed way.  There are things I'm already doing well.  I need to stay open to the idea that if I go back to school and then decide I can't finish, it's ok.  She said I'm not ready for group counseling because at group, you hear others' stories and problems, and right now, I need to focus on mine.  She's right.  When people I don't know very well start in on their experiences, I glaze over. 
The reason I slept SO well the first week or so was from exhaustion, but now the major exhaustion is over and my body still thinks it needs to wake up every hour or so to give medicine, which is why I wake up a lot in the night.  This, too, shall pass.  I do need to get on a sleep pattern close to what I have when I work.  As it is now, I can hardly stay up until 11 p.m. because of not getting good sleep the night before.  When I try to nap during the day, I usually can't.  I rest but not sleep.
It's good I blog at night to empty my mind before sleeping.
While I'm out of school, I'm going to counseling every week.  It was very good.

Georgena and Dana want to go to Daytona next weekend. 

Worked in the yard three days this week and it felt wonderful.  The bradford pears, camilias, fuscia, and spirea are blooming spectacularly. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Thank you notes are like rabbits.  They multiply uncontrollably.  As soon as I think I've made a dent in them, the list mocks me. 

Got the ten copies of John's death certificate. 

Called my roofer to make an appointment for an estimate on getting the roof redone.  First time since the original.  Almost 60 years is a great record.  And I need them to patch the gunshot puncture in the flat roof they redid a couple of years ago.  Yea, a bullet was there when I went up to take pictures of the beautifully blooming tree tops.  A 308.  My favorite caliber.  Who knows.......................................Yes, it's been fired, probably into the air and happened to land on my roof.

A person's handwriting is so important, especially after they're gone.  It is the essence of them left behind.  Like a piece of clothing still holding their smell.  It makes it seem as though they're still around.  Like they haven't left.  Their mark on the world.  Proof of their existence.  

A couple of days ago, while getting the riding mower ready for another season, I remembered last summer.  John was working, slowly, but regularly.  When I would mow, even if I had my cell with me in my pocket, I couldn't feel it vibrating because of the mower's motion, nor could I hear it because of the noise.  To be able to get John's call should he need me, I taped a ziplok bag to the steering wheel and put my cell in it to be able to see the face light up.   There was a little lurch of the heart when I realized I didn't need to do that anymore.

One night during the time John used the shower chair to bathe, I set it by the tub while I took a bubble bath.  He came in and sat on it, wiggled his fingers in the water looking for the wash cloth.  I handed it to him and he washed my back like I did his.  When he started to put the rag back in the water, I stuck my foot up for him to wash, too.  And the other one.  He got a kick out of it.  He didn't have a lot of words that night, but I knew he was "paying me back" for all the times I'd bathed him. 
It's little happenings such as this that I'm remembering lately.  Something I do or see in the house brings back memories of goofy things we did together while I've been off work, or as the seasons change now, I think of how it was a year ago.

Starting grief counseling with Hospice this Friday. 

Friends are still coming to visit. 
great friends

Sunday, February 27, 2011

it's not about me; it's not about you

John's memorial was absolutely perfect.  The soundman was able to get the videos to work, everyone who spoke honored John's humor, zest for life, and love of Christ.  There were so many people from each aspect of his life: childhood, school, business colleagues and property owners, church.  It was a great tribute to a great life.  The message resounded:  it's not about John or his illness or even his life.  It's about God and Christ's redemption available to us as fallen, sinful creatures.  Therein lies our hope.

The other night I stared at the stars and wondered where heaven really is.  Having seen the documentary on the Hubble Space Telescope and the eons of universes out there, it makes heaven seem almost impossible to find.  How can a person take one breath on earth and their next be in heaven?  These are questions I've pondered before, but now that John is there it is more urgent to me to find answers.  Of course there is a whole lot of trust needed in these concepts.  After the memorial service I voiced my 'where is heaven' question to a very good friend with whom John enjoyed talking about God.  My friend thinks heaven is another dimension.  I can wrap my mind around that.  good answer

The Whataburgers at the reception were a hit, especially with the guys.  And talk about grown men was touching to see the expression of emotion for how deeply John touched others.  My school went above and wayyyyyyy beyond in supplying food for the reception.  Even the church ladies were surprised.

I'm sure I'll be processing the memorial for a while.  It was amazing once again how God orchestrates events to perfection.

remembrance table

Friday, February 25, 2011

take note

No luck on my video.  Couldn't get it to transfer to another program, so I totally redid it on John's computer. Stayed up until almost 2 a.m.  It saved it, played it, but when I tried it today, it was lost.  I'm going to set up his computer in the lobby and show just my pictures as a slideshow.

I finally found the video John made.  And boy, am I glad I watched it before the memorial service.  He didn't let me see the ending, and I knew I'd better.  There are three versions.  The first is incomplete.  The second and third are the same song/pictures, but John put a different written message at the end of each.  The one I'm using tomorrow says, "I love you, Laura.  Remember, God is a personality."  He would always remind me that God is real with a real personality and character, not a spirit out in the milky way somewhere.  The other ending was, "I love you, Laura.  I will be back for my body some day."  That phrase may be a little freaky to some at the memorial, but we had long talks about how those in Christ will come back with him one day and our bodies, somehow in some form, will be restored.

Today, our classmate, Roger, posted a fabulous video he made with a lot of the same pictures I was using, so we'll try to use it in the service.

Wednesday night, I searched a lot of places looking for "things" to put on the remembrance table at the memorial.  In my search, I found several more sticky notes from John.  One was in a drawer I hardly ever go in.  I stuck it to the outside of the chest of drawers.  One was in a tin of his that contains foreign money and other trinkets from his past.  I can't figure out what he wrote.  It says, "sinc cupper   xxxoooxxx   Love, John". 

The best find so far, though, was in with the digital camera and flashdrives John put pictures and writing on.  He took a small flip calendar from his bank and circled his birthday, and wrote the x's and o's, and John Cogdill.  On a whim, I flipped to my birthday.  Sure enough.....well, almost.  On the September page, he wrote my name at the top, circled the 24th instead of the 28th, and "Love, John ooooxxxx".  In the picture for my month, he wrote his name twice and more x's and o's. 

Uncle D.C. and Brian got here from Macon.  They're staying with my parents.  Haven't seen them in over 10 years.  I think there's going to be a crowd tomorrow.  Lots of people helping make it a special, special day. 

in the tree stand

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

so many plans

Walked around the neighborhood with Betsy yesterday and my hips are sore today.  Can tell I've been sitting on my behind for a month. 
This morning started with a meeting with Pastor Bob to plan John's memorial service.  Enjoyed talking with him and remembering times John and I shared.  I think the service is going to be a great tribute to a wonderful, full life.

Mama and I had lunch in Havana.  Sarah came over and Gwendolyn soon joined her.  Randi and Jessica came later.  You know how it is when a bunch of teachers get together.  We do what we do best:  talk.

Pastor Bob suggested I have a scripture verse on the back of the service program.  There are quite a few I could think of and wanted to find which of them meant the most to John.  I got out his Bible and first checked his notepad stuck inside.  Guess what I found.  Another sticky note from him.  This one said, "Love ya! John  oooxxxooo   12-1-10".  It got me searching the pages for more.  On the dedication page he wrote, "John & Laura    Love ya!"

One of John's favorite scriptures to read and to have me read to him was John 12-17.  It wasn't until December that he told me why it was so special to him.  It was the passage he was studying the night he had his first seizure, and since then, he wasn't able to read and study it to the extent he desired. 
At the top of the page of John 14 he wrote, "Love Laura xxooxx".

John took a photograph of a flower in our yard soon after he quit working and I got him the digital camera.  I kept the picture on my computer lapboard.  He hid the picture in his Bible and wrote on the back, "John  ooxx".

The scripture I was leaning to most for the program was John 3:16.  On that page was another sticky note.  "Laura, Christ is Jesus      John xxxxooo".   Definitely the passage we'll put in the program.

Now to get the slideshow to work.................

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

note of the day

Today I found one of John's notes in my Bible while searching for a particular
scripture for his memorial service. 

His obit was in the Democrat today.  Looks really nice.

This picture was taken a few years ago at my parents'. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

hidden messages

For several months, John has hidden love notes to me all over the house.  I found a couple of them months ago but put them back to "find" another time.  Just found a new one in the basket by my bed, which is filled with pens, note pads, a Bible, lotion, flashlight....all those handy bedside items.  In it, John had hidden a sugar packet from Circle K and on it he wrote
"sugar xoxo  John". 
how sweet

He wrote a few notes even when he could hardly spell or write.  He showed some of them to my sister.  She told me not to get rid of anything, even books, without going through them first.  He told me he was glad he made the notes as far back as he did because he could write then. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

here we go

I'm finally by myself.  No one else here.  It's not the quiet I notice, it's the stillness.  No extra noises in the other rooms.  No footsteps through the house.  I lived alone for 12 or 13 years.  John lived here only 8 months.  It's not like couples who lived together for 50 years and lose a spouse.  But it's still obvious John's not here.  Such a void.  It's more than just the noises, it's him that's missing. 

I know now why people try to borrow home health/hospital equipment.  It's probably different for long-term needs, but in our situation, you need something immediately and only for a short time.  When John needed a bedside potty chair, we needed it that day, and didn't use it but for a couple of weeks.  Borrowing it, thank goodness, was possible. 

Sharon spent the night and we both slept hard.  We rearranged my bedroom last night and adjusted other furniture.  This morning we did something scandalous:  went through the Burger King drive-thru in our pajamas.  Sharon actually got out of the car to get a paper, in her jammies and slippers.

We knew people would be coming later.  Mama came mid-morning, Daddy for lunch.  My sister-in-law's family brought tons of food.  The Grandmas did, too.  I felt so bad because one of my old friends, who now goes to church with us, called to see how John was doing.  She felt ashamed when people at church asked how we were and she didn't know.  I apologized to her for not keeping in touch the last few weeks and told her about John.  One of our neighbors brought a bouquet of camillias from her yard for me and John.  She didn't know either.  I assured her we hadn't told people.  It happened in the middle of the night and used these days to rest.  She and her husband didn't know John well but they liked him and could tell he had a sense of humor. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

49 and one hour

Early Friday morning after I gave John his liquid meds, I tried to reposition his head a bit because he had started to lean over.  I put the head of his bed down some, and he began to gag and cough, although not aware of what was going on.  Mama grabbed me a mouth swab, and I raised the bed.  It all cleared up, but I was scared.  What if it happened again and I "killed" him???  The next dose I gave slower and kept a close eye on his reaction.  Our home health aide arrived to bathe him and I was hesitant to put John through it.  I was afraid he'd gag again or his arm/hand would be hurting.  I was exhausted.  Getting up every hour, half-hour, hour and a half was getting to me.  I'd sleep hard between doses but with lots of interruptions. 
His breathing was loud and close to sounding like his normal snore, and yet not.
The aide felt of John and thought he had a fever.  Sure enough.  His head was hot and face flushed.  The thermometer read 102.  Our nurse walked in and found me in flux about his bath.  They both said it would help John feel better and cool him off.  All went well until they turned him on his side to wash his back.  He stopped breathing and when he was trying to breathe, it sounded like he was choking.  I was a nervous wreck!!  They worked quickly and got him on his back.  He breathed better.  They repositioned him with a pillow under one side and ice packs in six places around his body.  His temp was now up to 103.  We continued to wash him with cool water.  His cath emptied 500 ml again.
The Hospice ladies could tell I was stressed and at my limit.  The nurse said she would try to get me a crisis care nurse/continuous care until the end.  Since he had a fever, his heart rate was 179, and very little air was actually getting into his lungs, she could justify constant care. 
She couldn't claim "caretaker fatigue" as a reason for continuous care.  The nurse's job is to get the patient comfortable and then leave.  They can't just stay and stay.

John was breathing clearly since they repositioned him.  I stayed in the room with him all the time now.  Mama and Sharon were with me.  A little later, we got the call that a crisis care nurse would be here at 4 p.m. and be relieved by another at 7 p.m.  The second nurse would stay all night.  We counted and verified pills and ml's of meds.  John's breathing was hard but regular.  Heartbeat/pulse 120+.  Nothing in the cath.  Temperature coming down.  You could see the rapid heartbeat vibrating in his midsection.

John's brother sent him pictures of the kids for his birthday.  The package came pretty early this morning.  I told him "happy birthday" several times during the day.

I ate in the kitchen while the nurse sat with John.  They will now dispense meds, wipe him with cool rags, monitor everything to give me a break.  It was a weird feeling of freedom.
The second nurse came and the changing of the nurses took place; counting meds, giving info.  They both told me there was a chance the request for them to be there would be denied.  She would definitely stay for the night, but tomorrow could be a different story.  After much discussion, we decided John's insurance would cover their service.

I dozed in bed while the nurse sat at the foot of my bed and used her computer.  I hope she was playing cards or something fun.  She said that people in John's condition with a few imminent symptoms could go for days.  But I can't.  I can't imagine days more of this for him or me.
Mama had been with us for about a week, and everyone was exhausted.

Midnight came and went.  It was officially the day after his birthday.  His breaths dropped from 16 per minute to 11.  Around one a.m., the nurse said, "Here we go."  John's breaths slowed, became more shallow, and I could hear gurgling between breaths.  The sound came from deep within him.  It was awful.

1:15  Mama came to the doorway.  She got Sharon.  The nurse started packing up her computer, notebook, and paperwork. 
fewer breaths

I started counting John's breaths at some point, and made it to 65.  I had my left hand under the back of his neck but I couldn't look at him.  Every breath was with effort.  I thought for sure every breath was his last.  At 1:24, she pronounced him gone.  There was one sharp breath that startled me.  I yanked my hand away and maybe laughed....not my own jumping.  What a jokester to the end. 
I asked the nurse if she was positive that was the last breath and she assured me it was.  His body may keep making noises but his heart had definitely stopped.  John's biggest fear was for them to think he was dead but he really wasn't.  He must have seen that episode on 'House.'  He wanted me to be absolutely positive he was gone when they said it.

The nurse told me to do what I said I was going to at this time, and that was to go to the other end of the house while she took care of everything.  I was shaking all over.
Mama put on a pot of coffee while Sharon talked more to the nurse.  The funeral home was called and they said they'd be there within 30 minutes.  small town service
The nurse closed the bedroom door and did her thing.  A little while later, Sharon came out with a garbage bag.  It had the catheter, bag, and bedpad.  I told Sharon I'd take it to the outside trash can.  The funeral home guys arrived, dressed in suits and ties, looking a little sleepy.  I had to walk around the hurst to get to the trash.  surreal.  It was here for John.

I could hear the nurse telling Sharon and Mama to take care of the linens so I wouldn't have to deal with them.  She brought in the left-over meds and destroyed them in kitty litter.  We again had to sign to verify the count and that they were destroyed.  Sharon bagged and trashed the linens.
A couple of cups of coffee later, I went to the extra bedroom where Sharon had been, and she and Mama slept in the living room.  I slept hard, and when I woke up at one point, a heavy, heavy feeling set in on my chest when I 'remembered.'  But I went back to sleep.

The day has been weirdly quiet.  It's like everyone knows to be silent.  One phone call, no visits.  Sharon and I went to the funeral home to finalize paperwork.  Daddy saw Sharon's car there while on the way to my house so he stopped. 
John should be taken to Gainesville on Monday, and they'll let me know that he made it.  Eventually he'll be taken to FSU for research.

We got lunch at Harvey's Deli.  Mama finally went home after how many days here.......??.......Sharon is spending tonight.  I called John's parents first this morning.  Gave Tim an hour or so because of the time difference. 
Sharon and I talked about the memorial service and wrote the obit.  Facebook has a lot of wonderful posts about John/Dennis. 

I'm sure I will think of more details and I'll add them.  It's still very weird and unreal.  I'm ready to be by myself and process. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday morning

We slept well.  Doubled John's morphine and still give it every hour.  He isn't "waking up" or responding although when I talk to him, he'll raise his eyebrows and his breathing changes some.  Since he can't swallow the applesauce, we're back to the original pill atavin {sp} crushed and in a drop of water under his tongue, instead of his regular seizure med in applesauce.  The morphine is liquid.  We're cutting back on the other two agitation drugs.
He drank quite a bit yesterday so his cath bag was at 500 ml for the third day.

There was a little "scare" in getting his morphine yesterday.  On Tuesday, they put in another order for it because we were going to run out.  Our Dr. Chemo, who is our prescribing physician still, faxed the order to our Publix at 5:30.  The pharm was running behind, and when I asked the pharmacist about it at 6 p.m., he hadn't realized it was liquid.  He didn't have any.  Lake Ella Publix did.  He'd have to fill out paperwork to get the Hospice order transfered there but "if I have to call every Publix in the State of Florida, I'll get you some tomorrow."  Everything was approved and Daddy picked it  up on Wednesday from Lake Ella.  Only he didn't pass the test.  Didn't know John's address [PO Box number], did know our phone number, didn't know something else....but they let him have it.  Glad I didn't have to go crazy on them!!
love John's pharmacist

Thursday P.M.
Giving the morphine every hour and a half.  Have given 2 doses of the drops to help with congestion. 
This afternoon, John had a couple of coughing fits  where he opened his eyes.  Almost immediately they rolled back in his head.  He will often wiggle his foot and this morning only, raised his eyebrows a couple of times.  He's been non-responsive all day.  The night on-call nurse from last Wednesday came again today.  Our regular nurse was in a meeting all day.  She helped me change John's bandage, and I'm constantly amazed at the changes in the bulge.

Daddy was our only visitor today, but we've had lots of phone calls.  Haven't wanted to talk to people.  Nothing new to say.

Tomorrow is John's birthday. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Johnny Applesauce

I missed one of John's morphine doses because I slept through it.  Around 5 a.m., John got restless and was having leg spasms.  I gave him a dose, rubbed his head, arms, hand, and chest for about an hour, and so did Sharon.  Another dose and some calming.  Eventually he fell asleep and I crashed hard.  Sharon and Mama stayed up and had coffee, showers, got dressed.  Sharon left for work, but not before taking pictures of me and John in bed.

It was a good, quiet day.  The home health aide gave John his bath.  We discovered compression points on his elbow and wrist.  Only red at this point, but tender.  Between his middle and ring fingers on his right hand is a red spot, and when Ida washed between his fingers at that spot, John pulled away and grimaced.  This is the arm he doesn't use any more.  She was extra careful rinsing and drying his right arm.

I slept a lot while John napped.  It was good.  There were several calls, and Mama answered the phone. Daddy came for lunch and again later in the day.  Gail dropped off fried chicken livers for dinner. 
The nurse checked John and said his blood pressure was 160/100, lungs clear, urine has sediment and will be clear and then pink.  She brought a huge syringe

John's parents sent him a beautiful bouquet of flowers with three large mylar balloons for his birthday on Friday.  In the middle of the afternoon, John opened his eyes and tried to talk for about an hour.  He gestured, huffed, made faces.  It was fun to communicate with him.  I told him about my nephew, Marshall, and other things going on.  I put a "donut" shaped bean-filled cushion under his hurting elbow.  Mama was standing on the other side of the bed when I lifted John's arm to place the cushion.  He glared at her and she said, "I'm not the one doing it."  He would look across the room and close his right eye to see how well he could focus with the left, something he used to do to watch tv or things at a distance.

I think all the action wore him out because for the next three hours, it was impossible to wake him.  We tried everything: wet rag, putting his good arm in the air, shaking him gently, raising and lowering the bed.  We'd get one spoonful of applesauce with meds in him and he'd fall asleep. I called Hospice to let them know we're having a hard time getting him to swallow the applesauce.  The nurse answering the phone said it would be ok for tonight and that our primary nurse would call tomorrow with advice.  We've also doubled the morphine doses because at the end of the hour, you can tell when it wears off.  Getting up every hour tonight will be rough.  But you do what you have to.

Don't know if his alertness today was the "burst of energy" people get right before they die.  Consensus is that he is hanging on for his birthday Friday.