Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013

"A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever."
(Ecclesiastes 1:4)                                                     

Today is Mom's 79th birthday but she is no longer aware that today is her birthday or what a birthday is. Mom is no longer able to comprehend what age is. 

Alzheimer's Disease is a much hated disease; it robs the afflicted of everything. The accursed and dreaded disease also robs the rest of us of the person we once knew; wife to Dad, Mom to us, Grandma to our children, Aunt Carol to nieces and nephews and Carol to everyone else.

We cannot pick and choose the afflictions that come upon us but they come upon us nonetheless and we are compelled to live with them.

This may be one of the last photos taken of Mom and Dad together. As her mind and memory faded, Mom started calling Dad, her father.

December 25, 2009, Christmas Day. Kiera with her grate-grandmother. This was the last time that Mom was able to come out of the home and visit with us. I'm not sure if she ever understood that the baby she was holding was her great-granddaughter.

July 2012. Outside in the nursing home's garden patio.

A liitle more than a year later in 2011. Mom was interested in the "Little girl" but she did not seem to have any idea who Kimberly and Kiera were.

Once upon a time Mom was young too.

Compare this scene to the preceding one; 57 years later neither of us are young, but Mom really was not sure who I was.

Mom had parents too, a long time ago in Milan, Quebec. Mom with her parents and Ted.

"For all our days pass away under thy wrath, our years come to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are threescore and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away."
(Psalm 90:9-10)

We may wish that our lives could have turned out differently, but that was not the way life was intended to unfold. God gave us the absolute freedom to make our own decisions, and those choices we made have determined the routes we have travelled through life.  

Life is a gift from God.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Monday, August 12, 2013

Grandma's Purse

Question:  What could be more interesting than Grandma's purse?

Jonah: I wonder what else is in there?

Answer:  That depends upon who you ask.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum August 26, 2014

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sunday morning, July 14, 2013 at 09:15

Yesterday was a beautiful summer day and today is starting out the same way. I was grateful to see yesterday and I am grateful to have lived to see today. The God of Israel has been merciful.

I am sitting in the back on the deck, under the gazebo that David brought over and set up last Saturday. The air is already warm and I can feel that today will be hot. Last Sunday when I came home from Pierrefonds, I walked around the back to quickly see the gazebo – I was hoping to sit out here last Sunday and have a cold beer – but that never happened. Last Sunday evening I was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack and the angioplasty to remove the blockage. God truly spared me and restored my life to meto allow me to stay longer.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Last Sunday I passed through the valley of the shadow of death and did not know it. When I went into cardiac arrest, I had no time to think or react – and then nothing – not even conscious awareness of the dark. Just nothing, as if time had stopped and me along with it. Not until the medical group were able to bring me back was I aware of the darkness that had enveloped me – and it was a bit of a struggle to come out from that darkness.

No pain, no fear, no awareness, just nothing. I wish I could say I saw angels, or saw light, or heard voices, but just nothingness.

“The Lord will keep me from all evil; he will keep my life.” (Psalm 121:7)

I testify here and now that the Lord keeps my life. He has restored it to me and preserves it. When I went into cardiac arrest, I had no time or chance at all to cry out for mercy and to be saved. I had no concept at all of being at the edge of death. God had compassion upon me anyway and saved me. He kept me from evil and he kept my life. I cannot express my gratitude to him.

“But Jesus also answered me, “...because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)

God is God of the living. I truly don’t understand all the scriptures and I won’t even pretend to know the power of God. I can only know what I have seen and know from what Jesus has spoken, that I might know from his word.

These pages that follow shall tell of my second chance at life; a second chance given by God.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Friday, August 2, 2013

Saturday morning, July 13, 2013 at 11:25

Last Sunday afternoon, July 07, just after 17:05, my life truly changed forever. I walked into the Credit Valley Hospital and suffered a near fatal heart attack a few minutes later. I came home last Thursday and at times feel as if nothing has occurred, but now I know what title to give this new volume – “The Second Chance” 

I am not the person in the photo, but from what I was told, this is similar to what I went through.

The last words written to conclude my July 05 entry say what I am thinking now. I am truly grateful to be here a week later to enjoy this time. God’s favour has truly been upon me and I am grateful. I cannot claim any reason for His favour – I am not deserving, yet God has been kind and gracious to me anyway. I wish to declare and acknowledge His goodness in all things.

The inside cover holds my hospital identification bracelet and records the date I was admitted.

This has been quite a week and I’ll write and record events as I have heard about them and remember them, later on when I am alone and have time to reflect. Kimberly and family will be coming later.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Friday morning, July 05, 2013 at 08:48

Life is always unpredictable, and so is driving at any time. 

I was taking Kie to work and we were stopped at a red light. As soon as I accelerated to go, the car sounded like it had no muffler. At first I thought it may have been the car next to me and then I was certain it was my own car – from the gas pedal responses.

Anyway, the car is in the garage now and they will check it over and then let me know the “good news” later. I just hope this won’t be too expensive.

Yesterday I had someone come over and clean out the eaves troughs. Job was well done and I was happy with his work. Today is a steady rain and water is coming down as it should now.

I just heard from the garage. The entire exhaust system needs replacement – and that will cost me around $874.00 – which probably means more. I am glad, even grateful the problem came now near home and not on Highway 401. I am planning to go to Pierrefonds tomorrow. Better to have a car problem near home than when on the road.

This morning David was planning to bring over the gazebo but I asked him to wait for later. Not much point in doing that in the rain. I was also supposed to have breakfast in Centennial Park and then get my hair cut. Those plans changed because of the car. Again I say, life is certainly unpredictable, but I am grateful for this day that God has given.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Tuesday morning, July 02, 2013 at 08:20

Usually when I start a new volume I feel a sense of something new and different – like a new start – but that is not the case or reality. As I start this new book, I come with a sense of uncertainty. Each completed volume speaks of days gone – many books piled up eventually speak of a life that has gone too.

The words that I have written in each volume are a record of my thoughts and feelings as well as a reflection of my beliefs and faith. I realize that what I have recorded becomes a record – one that can just as easily speak against me because of all my failings.

I am grateful today because God has given me another day of life. As I look around at all that is changing and that has changed in the world, I become aware of how much God has blessed me with Kie; the one person who has been with me for more than 33 years. I could never have made it through some of these challenges without her at my side.

“In peace I shall both lie down and sleep; for thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)

And this will be my request of the God of Israel.

Three years ago this date was my last day of working for my employer. I am surprised at how quickly the three years have passed. Little has been accomplished as I look back.

When I left the office three years ago, I was looking ahead at four years – when I was expecting to turn 60 and start collecting my C.P.P. payments. Now that doesn’t seem so far away. So far, Kie and I have managed to survive okay, but I do notice that money is tighter as our expenses creep higher.

Maybe I left working and career four years too soon, but I cannot change what has been. I can only try to make the best of what lays ahead – and only God knows what is ahead. As I look back over my life, I can see God’s goodness in all things - even in those that were painful. Our time here and our lives here are short, but God’s goodness endures for all generations. This is the hope of the future after we are gone – that succeeding generations are given the same gift without change in conditions and circumstances. Fallen human nature does not change and neither does God’s plan of redemption for the individual and the world.

The Oddblock Station Agent