Mom, Indy and Kyle on a cruise in 2007. My mom loved to travel!
My mom, Janet Drusilla Ogden West passed away two weeks ago. She had just started a blog and this was her third and final post. I think it deserves an audience. She couldn't wait to start her new healthy life. She had no idea how healthy she would soon be. I can't imagine how pain free and healthy she must be now. She has been so sick for so long. She passed away from what the doctors guess was a heart attack. It was sudden and quick. We are all still in shock. So as we get ready to say goodbye to 2008, I felt it was a good time to post her final post. I am looking forward to 2009 and pray that it will be a better year. Here's to a new year.
The last three years have been a test of my faith, mental tenacity and physical endurance. I have an autoimmune disorder and have had medical problems related to this for the past 25 years.
Three years ago, about this time of year, I went into a coma. I had a new Dr. and I thank the Lord that he was there for me. He knew how to treat me and within a week I was out of the coma and getting better. Then I kept having flare-ups of my disorder and always seemed to be sick. I was put on large doses of Prednisone to stabilize me. Prednisone weakens the bones-I was soon to find out the hard way.
First, I broke my arm, then I had to have a hip replacement. A couple of months later, I was sitting in my reading chair and suddenly became cold and clammy. I told my husband to call 911-I thought I was going to die. I suffered a cardiac arrest. They shocked me 5 times at the hospital to bring me back and transferred me to a bigger hospital. The Dr's. said they had never had someone survive with their potassium level as high as mine was. My kidneys were affected and not filtering out the potassium. About a month later I was diagnosed with pneumonia and was hospitalized. I was out of the hospital and getting stronger when I almost passed out as I awoke to go downstairs. My husband caught me and said to put my arms around his neck and he tried to get me back in bed. I couldn't hold on to him and I fell and fractured both bones in my lower leg and dislocated my ankle. I had to have surgery and pins, plates and screws went into both lower bones and the ankle was positioned in place.
This was about a year to the day that all my troubles started. I was so ready to get on with my life. We even went to Las Vegas with me in a cast and My hubbie wheeled me around in a wheelchair. Then for eight months I battled with a MRSA infection which finally ended up with surgery to take all the hardware out of my leg. It's been 4 months and I am still having some difficulty walking.
In the last two years I have lost 70 pounds and it is easier for me to get around. In June I had a little scare. My Dr. said I had a mass on my pancreas. It was removed and was not malignant.
One week ago we came home from a Mediterranean cruise. My husband couldn't believe that I could keep up with him-walking all over the Coliseum in Rome, up 94 steps to the Acropolis, and walking through Pompeii on the uneven and quite dangerous terrain. This was a test of my strength and endurance and I passed with flying colors and know that I am ready to stay strong and take on the world.
Mom (waiting on her Caribbean drink) & Dad at Costa Maya, Mexico in 2007
I am done with all this bad stuff--I'm ready to live again! And next time we take a cruise it is going to be in the Caribbean with Reggae music and tropical drinks served by handsome men from all over the world. And if I see one more ruin I'm going to throw one of those rocks at my hubby for walking me all over the Roman Empire! But the good thing I found out was that I am back, strong and stubborn as ever. No more pity parties!
I read the book "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin a few months ago. I have the worst memory. But, one thing that sticks with me from the book is that someone asked "With all of the pain and suffering in the world, how can God ignore it?" I too wrestle with this especially when I think of starving children all over the world. In the book, someone answers "God did do something. He sent you." Bam! Hits me in the heart and soul each time I remember it. It makes me want to be a better friend to everyone. One of our pastors months ago hit on this. God is everywhere. He is in you. He is in me. When you are being hugged by a dear friend, it is the arms of God hugging you. When you get a phone call asking how you are, God is speaking through this person.
I had 11 friends come to my mom's calling hours. Eleven! I had three come to her funeral. Three! Words cannot express how much love and support I felt. Someone commented how much I held it together at the calling hours. When you have the love and support of your friends, you can stand and talk to others about your Mom. You can hug them and make a little joke. You can hug your Dad and tell him it will be OK. You can pull it together. You really can.
I have written time and time again on cards "Sorry for your loss." "My heart is with you." "We will pray for you." I meant it every time I wrote it. And this week, I believed everything I read, heard and saw. God was with me through my friends and I am the luckiest woman alive. We have had a rough 2008. It was rougher than I could ever write about online and share with even my closest friends. But, I can tell you. I feel so blessed. I feel the love. I really do.
Indy asked me to be a guest writer on her blog. A little bit about me, my name is Jer some of you might know me from winning the first give away on “I am not talking about it, I am just saying. . .” I know Indy through her younger sister Aldee.
In a time when so many people are facing hard times I am very thankful for those to those who have inspired so many of us to pick ourselves up from our boot straps and keep pressing forward. This year I have 4 people who have inspired me, my Aunt Gina, my Mom, my friend Aldee and my friend Marcel Jefferies.
I will start with my Mom who is a single mother who raised 4 boys. This year she finally bought her first house with her boyfriend. I am so very proud of her. She has the biggest hand in making me into the man I am today. My mom has inspired me for the last 24 years. She has taught me it doesn’t matter how many times you fall it matters how many times you get up. I hate to see my mom sad especially during the holidays when she stresses out about gifts. The best gift my mom ever gave me you cannot buy. What she has given me is worth more than all the money in the world. Not only has she given me the gift of life but she has given me her undying love no matter what I do. She will always love me and mom that means more to me than any gift you can ever give me.
My Aunt Gina has inspired me from the time I was a little kid. She always believed in me and she has been one of the greatest influences in my life. She has helped me with all my major accomplishments in my life. This year my Aunt and her family really stepped up and helped a friend in a time of need. Remember the Ohio wind storm in October? Most of Ohio was without power for 3 to 10 day. A friend of my aunts went to help a friend when a tree fell into his front room. As her friend was cutting the tree, the tree shifted and fell on him paralyzing him. Now his house is not accessible. My Aunt and Uncle have let him live in their ranch house so that he can live independently until they finish remodeling his house.
My good friend Aldee has inspired me for the last 5 years, but most of all this year. Everyone has been going through hard times, but she is the one constant that you can count on. No matter how bad it gets you can count on Aldee to be there with a smile on her face, to lift everyone’s spirits. This last year Aldee has really inspired me to reach for the stars and follow my dreams. She has been my teacher in life; she has taught me more about myself and friendship in the last year than I have learned in 10 years.
Marcel Jeffries was my rock. I only new him for a short time but he has inspired me for a lifetime. Marcel was a student who I worked with at John Carroll, he was blind and had cancer. I never once heard Marcel complain about going through chemo or the pain he most of been in. Marcel passed away this summer a month after my 24th birthday, he was only 19. Marcel taught me to see people for who they really are and not for what they looked like. Marcel taught me about the gift of life he was given. Even though it was not a long life it was a life that inspired many people. Marcel left footprints on this earth of giant proportions and I can only hope to someday do the same. I never got to say goodbye to my friend or tell him how much he has inspired me. I think about him on a daily bases, I wear a bracelet that says HOPE in his memory. MARCEL I HOPE YOU CAN HEAR ME NOW WHEN I SAY GOOD BYE AND THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE CHANCE TO GET TO KNOW YOU.
Thank you to all the people who have inspired me throughout the years. Love Jer
Last night, I laughed until my stomach ached. Over what? I really can't remember. It was the company. The ladies at my table made me sick with laughter. I haven't had so much fun in months. Seriously. What were doing? Really nothing. We gathered a group of women together to create a surprise for a friend who's husband has cancer. So, for hours, we worked on this little surprise (I will post pics once the surprise has been given to the family.) We worked. We ate. We drank (Coke for me) and we laughed and laughed.
I am going to invite people over more often like this. It didn't cost me much. Everyone brought something to share and it made me clean my house. It was a perfect evening. On the invite, I even included the words "store bought encouraged" for the food to share. I wanted a night with no pressure. No fuss. Just friends. And that was exactly what I got.
So why not pull out the datebook for January or February when the days are long and spring is so far away? Invite some people over that will make you laugh. Don't sell anything. Just some good conversation with great friends. I know I will.
I am so glad that I took pictures last night*. It is a night I never want to forget. It was a night when nothing extraordinary really happened except that friendships were deepened, new friendships may have formed and bonds were secured. It was a night to remember. Dear friends, I am so lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for your laughter, tears and belly aches!
*I will share real photos of the night once the surprise has been given.
Ladies & Gentlemen, we have a winner! Jer won the Winter Dreams necklace. Congrats! Be sure to send me your contact information at my email address listed on my blog.
A huge thank you to Lara at the Shiplett Shop (link here) on Etsy. Lara is hosting a real life open house (with wine!) on Friday night. If you are not a psycho reading this in cyberspace, let me know if you'd like to join me and see her items in real life. Lara lives in the Cleveland area and I will be the designated driver. I am sure Lara would extend free shipping this week for "Not Talking" readers. Be sure to let her know when you are ordering that you found her on "Not Talking."
We have some good news to share in IndyWorld. I am pregnant! I am due in July. I am more than a little apprehensive since I miscarried in May. Seriously, I am freaking out big time. So, please keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for me.
Congrats again to Jer. This was my first giveaway and it is really fun to give something away. Thank you for entering.
My name is Indy and I am from Ohio. I am married to a great husband and have two little boys and a baby girl. I have worked at a college in the past. But, have decided to stay home and take care of my children. Toughest bosses in the world. Wouldn't miss it for anything!
Last year, one of our dear friends created the phrase, "I'm not talking about it, I'm just saying." It is the perfect phrase when you really shouldn't be talking about something but you just can't resist. This blog provides entertainment for me and new frienships. Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear your comments and I hope you will return soon.