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Reply by oldbat
19 Jan 2015, 7:47 PM

Hi Kath,

Hope you had a wonderful time in Guatemala, and that your daughter is enjoying her experience there.

Yes, the GI thing is miserable.  I'm actually going to try and eat something shortly, first time since Friday.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Something quite wonderful happened today.  The man with whom I've been working on the video and book called and asked Karl and me to make a presentation early in Februaryat his company's annual sales conference here in the centre of the universe!!  They're going to pay us, taxi us to and from the hotel and buy us lunch. They'vealso offered to pay for a PSW to comer with Karl, which would take quite a load off moi.  I'm thinkiing on that one!

This is particularly timely as January 15 has brought nothing bout stress so far.  My social service contacts, with the exception of my health coach seem to have dropped off the map.  I was promised help with a number of things, including singing classes, which I was hoping would get me out of the house and help me meet some new people.  Nothing has materialized, and the isolation becomes increasingly unbearable.

I'm thinking angels hear.

take you wonderful people,

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Reply by Xenia
22 Jan 2015, 11:02 PM

Greetings All:

It has taken me longer than I thought to get back on line and share some of the happenings since my last email.

TheRememberance gathering went very well, our nephew wrote a heart rendering tribute to his Uncle John ans brought tears to everyone's eyes.  He wrote as he remembered him as a young teen and as a child when John would visit Windsor, Ontario.

He spoke about his gruff voice, the fading tatoo on his arm and that John was a different man he knew yet once the shyness passed and you saw his eyes you knew you were safe with him and John encouraged his nephew to write but alas this did not happen.

We had 20 some persons at the rememberance, old friends, neighbrours, persons who lived with us neighbours in the Valley some miles away.  Too much food, daughters friends own an Italian restuaraunt and sent two big steam trays full of lasagne (you know the trays when you go to the smograsborg) too much chicken by another and of course we contributed as we are Ukrainain.  

We have a tradition of "Ukrainian Tradition of the Kolach"  Fruit and Braided Bread (Kolach):  Jesus said I am the bread of life"  John 6:35.  We express this reality by the use of brread during the funeral service.  This bread is made in the form of a circle which sybolises eternity.  A candle is placed in the loaf (the top loaf, if there are three)as another symbol of Christ, the Light of the world.  The fruit reminds us of our calling. 

I trust I do not offend anyone who explaining this but we do this in respect for the person who has died and as a comfort to the family and friends. The girls also had pictures on the sideboard, a pair of John's trains, his Tim Horton's Coffee cup, and his trusty long John.  They made a book of rememberance, showing John's life and our son in law gave a ulogy and all in all things went very well.

Too many flowers and cards, tears and laughter as we recalled some of the things in John's life such as his days as a carny before he settled down in Regina then moved to Vancouver and our life as a family began.

As each of the guests left they were handed a Tim Hortons box, the one that usually holds the Tim bits, inside was John's favourite Long John.

My middle daughter stayed with me for a couple of days and tonite they are bringing John home and will have his second favourite dinner, Beef stew cooked along time in the oven so it was very tender.  His first favourite was perogies but I am too tired to make those.

I am having my moments of ups and downs and am looking at the next week, go to the pool on Monday, Saturday coming up I have to have a blood test and then visit my doctor on Friday.  Slowly but surely I will cope and am not rushing my life.

All for now, have to check the stew, need to bake some Hot Biscuits to go along with the stew.

Take care

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Reply by oldbat
22 Jan 2015, 11:17 PM

Dear Xenia,

You are a remarkable woman, and John was a very lucky man.  Together you had a good life, raised a wonderful family and made some great friends.  You've have earned every bit of love, affection and kindness that is coming your way now.  Even though the days ahead may sometimes be dark, lighten them with the happy memories you and John made over the years.

Thank you so much for sharing those remembrance moments with us.  Cherish them yourself, just as you are cherished here on CVH.



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Reply by jorola
23 Jan 2015, 4:17 PM

Thank you for sharing Xenia. I echo old bat - you are amazing. Thinking of you and sending hugs, strength and peace to you.

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Reply by NatR
25 Jan 2015, 1:18 AM

Dear Xenia

there was nothing at all offensive in your explanation
 of remembering and honouring your beloved John.

 It was an honour to hear what you did as family and I thought it was all great - especially the part about sending each person home with a long john!!  Very thoughtful, very sweet!
Sending you strength :) take things one day at a time 
keep writing when you are able 
will be thinKing of you
best wishes
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Reply by Xenia
25 Jan 2015, 8:20 PM

Greetings All:

John came home Thursday evening.  I think he enjoyed the kids and all being at the dinner table enjoying his favourite meal. STEW. Eveyone commmented on this being one of my best meals I cook.

Beef bourgenoui, or however you spell and pronounce it in French, has been my forte for years.  Learned this when John and I had little money, 4 children and a mortgage, over the years it became our joke, we may be poor but we dine like the french, one thing I always did was set the table, put on a table cloth as I wanted our family to be together at dinner time.  It was not always so as John worked afternoons and I did the mornings at the hospital so when we got together it was moments to remember.

Moments to remember asI am doing to-day, memories, you bet as I put some of John's items into boxes, wow, is this what one becomes, a box of used clothes, a death certificate, sox, boxers, pjs, no shoes....lol, John had one pair of oxfords which he used for special ocassions, he hated shoes, wore boots with steel toes to work on the waterfront as ships were loaded, John wore slippers.  Have to laugh as one day we were in a restuarant and a child looked at him, pulled his mothers coat sleeve and said "Look he's in slippers".

He never seemed to wear out his oxfords or his slippers, he had more gifts of slippers given to him and they sat in his closet unused.  He walked softly and used to scare the b...geez out of me as he would appear behind me and I would shriek"  For God's sake John cough or slam something when you leave your bed or come in from outside.  No wonder I have silver hair, no grey for me, I had dark hair and it turned silver.

John was an excellent dancer and as he got sicker he could no longer dance but his feet would be moving while he sat in his recliner.  Sure missed his dancing.

So far I am faring well, have my moments and know they will come as they may so I enjoy the memories and laughs and moments John and I had together.

Daughter just phoned, asking if I want to go out, so here I go, need to start getting out and seeing the world again.  Take care.

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Reply by Nouce
25 Jan 2015, 8:26 PM

Dear Xenia,

It is heart-moving to hear you talk about all these steps in your journey. My Pablo is still with us, but I took a bunch of his blue jeans to the thrift story a few weeks ago because it became too hard to get them on and off. There are gains and giving up all along the way.

May your memories continue to sustain you.


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Reply by Xenia
29 Jan 2015, 5:59 PM

Good Morning All:

This morning I decided I had to live and live a different life.  Since John's death I have been veggie, going out but not living in the present, my meals were whatever I couod grab out of the fridge or what the family brought.

I had not incentive to cook, to do anything in the kitchen, I had plenty of items to make soup but I kept putting it off until this morning.  Enough, I put on the wash, seems like I only wash twice a week or so now since there are no more extra sheets, tshirts, pjs, towels etc that I washed daily to keep John fresh.

I showered, made a cup of coffee pulled out the big soup pot and proceeded to make a pot of soup with all the veggies I had in the fridge, pulled out some burger that I had defrosting, opened a tin of beans and soup is simmering on the stove so I can have a decent lunch or dinner and not rummage through the cupboards for something I might like.  I love to cook, but somehow the past year my cooking was soft food, etc and I forgot about reality and living.

Yesterday, I went to the pool.  Whoopee, that got me out of the house and into the hot tub where I soaked away a week of muscle pain from not sleeping, etc and just forgetting to live.

I had a busy past few days last week and part of this week dealing with Government papers to be presented to the Pension people.  What a deal.  I had to present my marriage license, forgot it at home, they also wanted to know how I signed my PIN card.  Holy mackeral, spelling to those who fish - sorry) who remembers what you signed 56 years ago.  Did they have PIN numbers then, was I single, was I married, who knows.

Had to go home and find the marriage certificate that was okay, found my PIN card, cracked and in a wallet I had placed it, well I received this care in 1956 and I signed it with my married name, first and second then family name.  Who can recall this when you are asked how you signed it.  So, get out your papers and put them in a safe place just to make it easier for yourself.  Then I went to the Notary to have our home placed in my name since we were both on the land title.  Contact John's union for benefits, thanks goodness John's union and most working places now demand pension are halfed, this way we could have lived high on the hog if he took the whole amount monthly and left me with nothing but we lived on half so I retain the amount we were living on when he was alive.  Benefits are good, they pay my medical and all the extras I may need.  We were never big users of the benefits until John needed a wheel chair and bed so I am very grateful for what we had and I will continue to have.

I am still teary eyed, especially if I run into someone who asks about John and how I am doing.  I hate it, as I can be staunch just saying hello, but when they stop and ask me how I am doing.   Will get over that soon enough I guess, I found that the first week I was like a bride, a lot of excitement, lots of company, phone calls, etc, then alone.  That is when reality set in.  I am AlONE.  The family still calls, daughter comes over to visit but I am alone in the condo, so quiet without the concentrator making oxygen for John.  The condo so tidy I want to yell what the hey..no oxygen cylinders, no trays of meds, the dresser top is clear of tissues, hand wipes, all the things I used for John's comfort.  

My condo looks like House Modern,  lol, clean counters, clean everything, but that too shall pass as I get into living in the present which I know will take time.  I did put John's fish, whom he called Oscar down from the fireplace mantel and put it on the kitchen where I could watch him as I work, will move him back later on.  Had our son remove the wooden surround he built on the patio so we could put John's concentrator on the patio during the summer as it put out so much heat we would cook.  Another item gone but I will put a plant in its place.

Oh boy, or should I say oh my goodness, I am writing a book.  Have to leave this chapter for now as I hear the dryer calling me and have to check the soup pot.

Take care and thank you all for the kind and caring words.

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Reply by NatR
29 Jan 2015, 6:12 PM

Hello Zenia,

good  to hear from you..... I can see you are going to make this transition in time, you are doing well In my opinion.

you will of course have rough days, and you will cry When talking about John.  It's inevitable - but I am positive John wants you to keep going forward, one day at a time.

sending you positive thoughts  as  you realize that now, you are no longer a caregiver.  That was a huge gift to John, and a gift he enjoyed and needed - you there for him.  Now my dear it's time for you.

take time to let it all sink in, and keep in touch - wishing you fresh air, clean counters, swimming time, and more.  So glad you are able to have no worries about managing...it helps a lot to know you are comfortable and have resources for your own needs one day.

hugs and best wishes,
NatR :)  
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Reply by oldbat
29 Jan 2015, 10:34 PM

Dear Xenia,

What a tower of strength you are.  Forgive me for showing a bit of concern here:  don't try to be too strong.  As Nouce said, it's o.k. to cry when people ask how you're doing.  They're showing their care and concern, so let yourself go a little.

You blew me away when you listed all the things you have done/are doing.  Again, treat yourself tenderly, give yourself treats, you've earned that much.  You deserve that much.

My heart goes out to you,you wonderful woman. There will be tough times ahead, and that's only right, you and John spent so many years together and shared so much.  BUT, and it's a BIG but - you are on your way to becoming Xenia Version ?????  I can't wait to meet that woman.  So please stay in touch.

HUGE hugs and prayers coming your way, dear Xenia.

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