Those of you who come directly to this blog rather than through Facebook: Head to http://thecalltolive.wordpress.com to see tonight’s post.  Or click on The Call to Live in the Blogroll to the right of this post.

Some of you who come to this blog other than through Face book, may not have found your way to the new blog, thecalltolive.wordpress.com.  The new blog can be found by clicking on The Call to Live that is in the Blogroll box just to the right of this post.  I generally alternate writing a post on this blog, The Caregiver Calling, one day with writing a post on the new blog, The Call to Live, the next day.  The posts on this blog are focusing on the history of Mary Ann’s and my life together.  The posts on the new blog are focusing on the challenge to make a new life now that Mary Ann is no longer here with me.   Thanks for taking the time to read these posts that seem to be important for me to write as I am negotiating what these last years have brought.

We were determined to keep active to the extent possible.  Before the wheel chair was absolutely necessary, we headed to Jamesport, Missouri, Amish Territory, to stay at the Country Colonial B&B.  There were folks dressed in the appropriate garb, using horse and buggy transportation throughout the small town.  As is the case with most B&B’s, the rooms were upstairs.  Mary Ann was still able to do stairs at that time.  The room we stayed in had a fairly accessible bathroom.  The room was small and stuffed full of things.  The beds were always a challenge since they were very high.  Getting in and out could be a struggle.  There was always a little apprehension that she might roll on to the floor.  Gratefully, in all our visits to B&B’s that apprehension was never realized. 

The owner had a brand new wife from Russia.  She spoke very little English.  She served a very elaborate breakfast using multiple silver serving containers, each made expressly for what it contained.  There were muffins and pastries and boiled eggs and poached eggs and waffles and fruit, sausage and bacon.   I can’t remember all that she served, but it was many times what the two of us could eat.  When we were there, they were setting up for a mystery dinner that would be served there the next evening — clues placed all around the various rooms.

The evening before that lavish breakfast we were driven in a horse and buggy on a tour through the area, hearing about the various businesses and farms run by the Amish population in the area.  We happened to be there on a day of the week that the shops were closed, so we didn’ t get to see inside many places, but it was still very interesting.  There was one shop open when we left town.  It was filled with baked goods, jams and jellies. 

On another occasion we stayed at Ehrsam Place Bed and Breakfast in Enterprise, Kansas, near Abilene.  That B&B is now closed and has again become a private home.  There were artifacts and art work throughout the downstairs and upstairs.  Our room was huge, with a four poster bed, a sitting area and a balcony.  The property was filled with beautiful gardens.  There was a path that led away into a wooded area and looped around to the edge of the town.  As always, the breakfast was lavish.  The owner joined us at table since it was just the two of us there at that time. 

We were there at a very hot time, so unusual for a summer in Kansas!  In spite of the heat, we rode the Abilene & Smokey Valley Excursion Train.  Poor Mary Ann practically melted, but we rode the ten mile round trip.  We still enjoyed time we spent in Enterprise.  We decided that the trip would be better done at a cooler time. 

Then there was the Laurel Brooke Farm near Weston, Missouri.  It is seven miles outside of town, in farm territory.  The views are expansive, especially from the back deck.  There is a vineyard next door.  The B&B sits on 40 acres of land with a Pecan Grove and Orchard on their property.  By the time we made that trip, Mary Ann needed the wheel chair.  This was one of the very few B&B’s that have handicapped accessible rooms available.  The rooms were in a restored barn, with the dining area and souvenir store were on the first floor, along with our room.  The breakfast was good, not up to the standards of the other B&B’s but still very good. 

We headed in to Weston to visit some of the shops.  It is there that Mary Ann got what we called her Quilty Jacket.  It was her favorite from then on.  The shops were not easy to negotiate, but we did the best we could.  We ate at a restaurant that was laid out so that the diners could interact with the Chef.  He was noted for being very good.  We agreed with that assessment after the meal. 

Actually, our first B&B visit was in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.  It was  The Grand Central Hotel, an old hotel that had been remodeled to serve as a Bed and Breakfast.  The Hotel has a very nice restaurant that also serves the public.   The breakfast included with the room was again very substantial. 

There is a stately old County Courthouse there, but it was inaccessible to Mary Ann’s wheelchair, so we just looked at it from the outside.  Our favorite spot there was a shop with a large loom in the main area. The owner used old denim to make all sorts of things.  There were lots of rugs and placemats.  We brought back from there a stack of placemats and went back another time to get coasters made the same way. 

The town sits in the middle of what is called the Flint Hills, rolling hills of prairie grass.  While it is private land with only a small space actually governmentally owned, the coalition of private owners and those concerned with the preservation of this only piece of natural prairie left in the nation, are keeping it protected from development. 

The Flint hills’ grasses have roots that go fifteen to eighteen feet deep.  They survived the onslaught of millions of hungry buffalo in earlier years.  Now cattle graze on large parts of the Flint Hills.  A part of the prairie is burned each year to remove sprouted foreign seeds that birds have brought in. 

Cottonwood Falls is the place to be in early spring when the burning begins.  There is a beautiful lake just outside of town.  We drove around it, stopped for a while for me to climb some of the hills by the lake, and just enjoyed the scenery. 

In spite of the limitations put on Mary Ann by the Parkinson’s we were able to carve out a good quality of life by making those short trips to continue to add to our memories.  The most spectacular Bed and Breakfast is one about which I have written more than once.  Since it was our last trip, just last October, I will write about it after writing about some of our other attempts at living fully and meaningfully during the Parkinson’s years.

 If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

That January, Mary Ann could simply no longer care for herself.  I didn’t know what to do.  I needed to work to support us (60-70 hours per week as a Pastor).  We couldn’t afford that many hours of paid help.  It would cost more than my salary. The options simply weren’t there.

Then Margaret came to the rescue.  Margaret was (still is) the Parish Nurse at the congregation I was then serving.  She just started phoning people and before I knew it, there were Volunteers from the church staying with Mary Ann when I was away from the house at work.

After it became clear that she could not do the scheduling task and still continue her work as Parish Nurse, Carol stepped in.  For over six years, Carol scheduled Volunteers for weekdays while I was at work, evenings while I attended meetings and did Counseling, Friday evenings and Saturdays for weddings and retreats, Sunday mornings (I had paid help for the early morning hours), even emergency Calls when there was a serious illness or a death.  At one point there were at least 65 different Volunteers.  Some days had as many as five different people filling two or three hour slots.  I have never figured out how one person could manage all that.  I have nominated Carol for Sainthood.

By February, we had gotten back to KU Med Center, the Parkinson’s Clinic. They had transitioned to a new Neurologist, Dr. Pahwa.  He was able to put together a new regimen of meds that allowed Mary Ann to return to a significantly higher level of functionality.  The bathroom needs and the falling would still not allow her to stay by herself for any length of time.

After a year or so, we entered the two years from Hell.  Mary Ann had often complained of heartburn, since she was taking so many pills (I think 30-40).  At least that is what I thought.  It has always been hard for me to accept that I didn’t pick up sooner on the possibility that it might have been more than heartburn.

On June 30 of 2003, Mary Ann was admitted to the hospital through Emergency with a case of Congestive Heart Failure that came within a hair’s breadth of putting her on a Ventilator.  It was discovered that she had had a number of silent heart attacks.  Two of the three main arteries on her heart were completely blocked.  The surgeon was able to stent a branch of one of the arteries, but that was all.  She had another MI (heart attack) while in the hospital.

Mary Ann always moved into a hospital psychosis when hospitalized, hallucinations, agitation, inability to sleep, trying to get out of bed, pulling at tubes.  I stayed all night every night since the Parkinson’s meds were so complex, the various shift changes made it necessary for me to track what was going on.  The staff needed my help to manage her reactions, day and night.  I had to be there when the various doctors came to check on her or report the results of the endless tests and procedures.

By the end of those eight days, after an entire night of Mary Ann repeating “help me” over and over again, for the second time in my adult life, I broke down in tears.  Gratefully, Son Micah was there to hold me.  When she was released and came home, it was one of the lowest times in our life together.  Everywhere I turned to come up with a solution to how we could go on came up empty — except for Carol and the Volunteers.  They are the only reason I was able to continue in the ministry and we were able to survive.

Almost exactly one month later, she was back in the hospital with another MI and another unsuccessful attempt and getting through one of the blockages.  It was a shorter stay.  She came home again.

For a while after that she was doing better.  We returned to a reasonable quality of life.  It would take more than a little heart trouble to stop Mary Ann.  After a year and a half we even risked going on a week long trip by plane from Kansas to Tucson, Arizona for a retreat for older adults.  We had decided that we were not going to just sit at home and feel sorry for ourselves.  We chose to live as fully as possible given the circumstances.

I still blame the air quality on the plane.  Mary Ann was fine when we left the Kansas City airport but had some congestion when we arrived in Tucson.  By then we were using a wheelchair most of the time.  We joined in the activities, got to visit a wildlife center outside of Tucson.  As the week wore on, she was having some labored breathing.  It was March 10 of 2005. I called an ambulance to take her to the nearest hospital.  On the way, the dyskinetic movements that come with the Parkinson’s medicine were so bad that the tech in the back with her could not keep an IV in her arm.  Mary Ann was flailing around and almost flying off the gurney.

They sedated her when we got to the Emergency Room.  Then they took an X-ray.  When the ER doctor returned he said that all he could see what white where her lungs were supposed to be.  By that time she was completely unresponsive.  When I asked if I should call our children to fly into Tucson, he said yes.  The ER nurse confirmed that — so I did.  I will never forget the feelings I had as I sat alone in that ER room, knowing no one there, having been told she might not survive the night.  Mary Ann had been taken for some other test.  I am now living what I feared that night.

The Kids came, Lisa with baby Ashlyn in tow.  Mary Ann was so agitated that even with me there, they provided a hospital sitter to be in the room also.  Four days later, Mary Ann and I were on a plane home.  She had bounced back from that flirtation with death.

Within one day of a month later, the Ambulance came to out house in Kansas to take her to the hospital again.  She had had a stroke. It was April 9 of 2005. At first her speech was gone and her right arm was virtually useless.  It was not a bleed or a large clot, but a cluster stroke, plaque from her carotid artery broken into tiny pieces, lodged in a cluster in one part of her brain.  With a few weeks in the hospital, rehab, followed by outpatient therapy, she regained almost everything.  She was left with some spatial issues that reduced the control of her right hand making feeding herself more of an issue.

Mary Ann refused to give up.  We continued to have a reasonably good quality of existence in spite of the limitations.  The Volunteers and Mary Ann’s strength of will, kept our life on course.  Also by that time I had come to know a great deal about the diseases that had assaulted her and the medications used to treat them.  I was able to make helpful recommendations to the doctors and monitor her condition daily.  I think my advocacy for her with the medical professionals helped the quality of her life, until finally in the last weeks, nothing I did could stop the inevitable.

Before that inevitable day two months ago came, there was more of life to be lived.  That will come next.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

I kept moving to be sure there was no confusion about my still being alive.  I did not want to be mistaken for road kill.  At first I saw them off in the distance sitting on the newly mown field next to me as I walked the path at Cedarcrest.  I thought they were regular wild turkeys.  Then I saw them take off.  They were Turkey Vultures.

On the wing, Turkey Vultures are elegant birds.  Their wingspan is almost that of an American Bald Eagle.  When the sun hits them a certain way, the feathers on their wings seem translucent.  They float effortlessly, wings in a V shape, circling and soaring. Once a couple of years ago, one came over me so closely that I could hear the swish of its wings.  As long as a person is far enough away that he/she cannot see the ugly heads, they appear beautiful.

It was very impressive to see so many in the air at the same time.  Later in the walk, a Green Heron landed on a nearly pier as I passed one of the large ponds there.  The morning walk continues to be helpful.  At the moment, I think I actually need it to help keep my healing on course.

Wednesday morning (today is Friday) had been a good one since the Spiritual Formation group continues to provide a rich environment for processing what has gone on or is now going on in our lives in a way that reveals God’s hand, loving and supporting us.   There was a lunch with a good friend including some great conversation, very refreshing.

The afternoon included the second day of exercising.  The muscles that were getting sore, were worked enough to help relieve the discomfort for the moment. Then I headed to the mall to try to get a gift for Granddaughter Ashlyn’s upcoming birthday. I ended up walking the circumference of the mall on both levels, probably adding up to almost as much distance as I do in the morning.  I decided to try to add a mall walk on the hot afternoons.

I ended up at a couple of other places to get the gift.  Even with all that activity, the pain of Mary Ann’s death emerged, staying with me the rest of the day.  Oddly, yesterday a neighbor who lost her husband a couple of years ago, called to see how I was doing and revealed that she had had a bad day on Wednesday also.  Must be something in the air.

Yesterday was some better.  The walk in the morning was followed by a visit from a member and his daughter.  Ed is helping with a bit a caulk repair in the bathroom. They were both fun to talk with.  Later in the day a former member had asked me to to help her process something, a role that feels comfortable for me after so many years in the ministry.  That also was an enjoyable time.

I went directly to the third different support group meeting this week.  While there is a little overlap, they are all different groups.  It is remarkable just how helpful it is to be in a setting in which there is complete understanding and the freedom to laugh or cry without hesitance.  Talking so freely there makes it easier not to talk about the loss with others who will soon tire of hearing about how much it hurts.

The groups also help temper the fears that the pain is still so strong and hasn’t let go yet. It is apparent that those who have experienced a death as recently as have I are struggling at least as much as am I.  Those for whom the death was a couple of years ago, still have access to the pain, but they are not disabled by it.  They are able to enjoy life again.  The groups provide a helpful perspective.

After spending some time with vultures this morning, I got some more organizing done at the house.  I decided to buy flowers in memory of Mary Ann and for myself. I did as I had done before when getting them for her.  I asked the folks at Flowers by Bill for ten dollars worth of colorful flowers.  I was given a large bouquet with varied colors, from pastels to deep, dark colors to bright and cheery colors.  That bouquet now adorns the dining room table.

There was another walk at the mall.  After that I went home and read a very small book called Good Grief by Granger Westberg.  Daughter Lisa had asked about it in a phone call.  She saw it on a Hospice list of recommended books.  That little book was very helpful since it nailed very many of the struggles I have been having and named them as stages in the process.  They are different from the stages of grief traditionally listed.  The book confirmed that feeling each stage fully is a way to get through the grief, incorporating it into the new person who is emerging.  Not everyone will, of course, grieve in exactly the same way, but what he described seems to be the most common experience.

The evening ended with a very enjoyable dinner out with former parishioners.  We came back to the house and talked for a while about a variety of things.  I felt almost healthy again.

A couple of days ago, as I was making one of the rounds in the mall, something very obvious found its way into my awareness.  While Mary Ann has died, I have not.  It doesn’t seem fair that I should be alive and she is not.  Fair or not, it is so.  I am actually alive.  I do not need to feel guilty about that or apologize for it.  I am free to go on with life.  Recognizing that does not make it easy, just possible.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

This is just a short post on the transition from life with Mary Ann to life on my own.  As soon as possible these posts will be on the new blog.

I began the day with the two mile walk at Cedarcrest.  One purpose of the walking is to release endorphins, a natural anti-depressant.  Following that I continued my efforts at cleaning the office.  That also helps provide a sense of some tiny bit of control in the face of such a dramatic event beyond my control as Mary Ann’s death.

The visit from the bug man helped reduce the likelihood of another ant invasion. When grieving, even little annoyances can darken a day.

There was a nice Olive Garden lunch with two of the folks that were such a support to Mary Ann. The conversation gave us a chance to talk about grief issues and share some Mary Ann stories.

After getting the estimate on the bumper replacement on the van, I went to Rebound for the health assessment.  Actually, there was not a body mass index worked out.  Either it is not part of the assessment, or, as I suggested in an earlier post, he could see plainly the mass under consideration, the one just above my belt line.

The fellow doing the assessment is a physical therapist.  He did a thorough check to be sure I would be able to handle the exercise program.  After walking around the perimeter of the building a couple of times at a brisk pace, he had me do as many steps on a small platform as I could do in a minute and a half.  At the end of that time he said I had the record of the most done by anyone whom he has assessed.  I chose not to ask the average age or condition of those he has assessed.  I thought I would just bask in the glory.

As a different kind of step in the healing process. I went to a support group this evening.  I had not been feeling very good today, still a residual from the weekend, and just the pain that comes at its choosing, not mine.  I was apprehensive about how valuable it would be.  Some in the group knew each other very well and had been together for many years.  Some seemed much older than me (I forget sometimes how old I am) and I was not sure it would be a group that would be a benefit.

I was pleasantly surprised.  The group was open and communicative.  I became an active part of the conversation immediately (surprise!).  There was laughter, there were tears.  They were helpful to me in dealing with some of the most challenging dimensions of the grieving process for me at this point.  The materials we used this evening were fitting, stimulating good conversation, touching my sore spots with some healing salve.

No post tonight.  I just drove ten hours.  I am wasted.  The trip went well.  Coming into the house has not been as difficult as I expected.  The weekend was healing and helpful.  There were some moments of deep sadness as I began the trip home, but most of the day was okay.  There were times I thought about some of the worst moments in our last days.  It was hard to see Mary Ann weakening.  Those images will always be powerful.  I was able to feel the sadness, lament her suffering, touch the guilt of not being more consistently kind to her over the years, without getting lost in the feelings.  I can’t change what I did or did not do, what she suffered.  Embracing His love and forgiveness, freely given, offers hope that healing will continue.

I am not going to write tonight.  Tomorrow will be a very difficult day.  Thoughts and prayers will be appreciated.  I will be leading the Memorial Service and will attempt to speak.  My goal is to keep the attention on the Lord and what He accomplished in and through Mary Ann’s life and not draw it away to my own grieving.  The Worship begins at 11am.  It will probably run a little over a half hour. The luncheon afterward and the memory sharing will be a relaxed time.  I look forward to enjoying reconnecting with Mary Ann’s and my families then.

It is hard to imagine a more normal family life than ours — a Mom, a Dad and two children, a Daughter and a Son.  We chose to live frugally so that Mary Ann could stay home with the kids at least until they were both going to school full days.  We had one car, a fairly small house payment, and we were very careful how we spent what we had (I was the Ogre in that regard).   Having  only one car actually increased the time our family was together.  We could not all go different directions.  We did not get a second car until Lisa was driving age. 

Mary Ann was very creative, able to create good times with very simple things.  (I am hoping Lisa and Micah will write some of their memories of their Mom for me to include in a subsequent post.)  She quickly developed a neighborhood babysitting coop.  One Mom had three other Mom’s kids while they went out.  The next Thursday (not sure of the day) a different Mom would have the kids. 

There was a wading pool at a nearby vest pocket park that they often walked to.  There were summer activities there.   There was a YMCA with an outdoor pool not much farther away.  That was a favorite spot.  We went for walks in the neighborhood. 

There were the usual interesting times that come with having children.  Lisa and Chris down the block decided to cut each other’s hair one time.  Lisa got the worst of that one.  Micah was getting a push on his three-wheeled “Green Machine” by a neighbor girl who didn’t see that his toes were scraping on the cement.  The toes survived, but they looked pretty bad at the time.  Lisa ran away one time.  She told us she was doing so.  She came back shortly since when she got to the end of the block she stopped and turned around since she was not yet allowed to cross the street.  Micah, who was (is) very good at drawing, took a ball point pen to the wing back chair in the living room, making indelible circles around the two decorative buttons on it. 

We all have often remembered the time the snow was so deep that there was no school.  The four of us trudged a number of blocks to Leonard’s Restaurant that we had discovered managed to stay open.  We had a great breakfast there, as always.  Then there was the year that the ice and snow took out the power for a number of days.  We camped out in front of the fireplace. 

Then came the bees!  I got a call from Mary Ann that there were bees coming down the chimney.  As I raced home, she opened the flue and lit some papers on fire to get them out.  The papers went out and the bees came in through the open flue and started gathering on the sheer curtains in the Living Room.  When I got home, I saw a huge swarm of bees that looked like thick blanket, hanging from the outside of the chimney.  I put on a trenchcoat, jeans, boots, a hat, scarf around my face, and with spray cans and badminton rackets made a frontal assault on them.  Finally, we called a beekeeper who came with his smoker and a cardboard box, coaxed them into the box and put them in the trunk.  It took a couple of weeks for them all to leave, but since he had gotten the queen bee, they finally left completely.

We vacationed at Estes Park in Colorado one summer.  The kids road horses and played during the day.  I hiked, Mary Ann read.  We enjoyed watching a species of Prairie Dogs that had their home in an open area surrounded by cabins. 

We went on a couple of ski trips with families from the congregation.  We took sleeper busses out, skiied three days and then returned over night.  The skiing was great fun.  The first year, Mary Ann and I were still on the bunny slope the afternoon of the first day as we looked up to see our young children riding the lift up the mountain.  It was embarrassing. 

On that first trip, I watched blind skiers, handicapped skiers, snake-like strings of three year old skiers with no poles in hand pass me by.  I did gather speed once near the bottom of that run, ski over the front of a blind skier’s skis and ski at full speed straight into a very tall wall of snow at the side of the run at the very bottom.  The impact pushed the snow through the hairs of my beard to the skin beneath.  I became the butt of many jokes. 

On our last day of skiing the second year, the shuttle bus we were on in the morning slid off the road and tilted on to its side.  We all exited through the emergency door at the back of the bus.  No one was hurt.  What we did not know was that the morning bus accident was an omen of things to come. 

As all of us were sitting in the sleeper bus with the benches facing one another so that we could play cards and talk, as we were driving out of the mountains, with snow falling.  The bus began to shift and we realized it was out of control, passing between cars.  Then for a moment, time seemed to stop completely as we moved into a sort of eerie slow motion spin.  We looked at each other as the bus began to go around, back end to the front, front end to the back.  Finally, after an eternity, it came to rest against the guard rail overlooking a steep drop.  Just under our window, a car slammed into the side of the bus, injuring the driveras his head hit the windshield.  His injuries did not appear to be serious. 

That was our last ski trip.  Mary Ann always had trouble getting off the lift.  She would fall every time and could not get up without help.  She spent the last trip in the lodge drinking hot chocolate.  With hindsight, it seems likely that the symptoms were beginning to appear before we had any idea there was a problem.  The general wisdom is that a person has Parkinson’s Disease for at least five years before the symptoms become obvious enough for it to be diagnosed. 

Then there was the notorious Colorado Vacation that never happened.  We started out heading for Colorado.  We barely got out of the city and the two kids were arguing with one another (one probably dared to put a finger across the imaginary line between each one’s side).  Both Mary Ann and I were fed up with it, so we told them we were not going to Colorado.  Their punishment was Des Moines.  That is where we ended up instead of Colorado.   Lest you from Des Moines be offended, we enjoyed the Living History Farm and a Science Museum that was great for the kids.  We did the Amana Colonies afterward. 

Mary Ann had a bit of a rebellious streak as far as church was concerned.  She certainly had no interest in being a “Pastor’s Wife.”  The way we talked about it when the subject came up was that she and I were husband and wife.  I was a Pastor.  She was who she was, not an attachment to someone else.  (That is where Lisa gets it, Denis.)  She participated at church in lots of ways that were meaningful to her.  She did not, however, seek to meet some set of expectations placed on her by others.  The kids mentioned to me recently that she would always stop with them at Daylight Donuts on State line before coming to church, often making them late for church.  I, of course, was oblivious to it since I was immersed in the Sunday morning tasks. 

One Christmas Eve, Micah had been sick for a few days.  He was having strong stomach pain as the 11pm worship service at which I was preaching approached.  Finally, Mary Ann had to get him to the Emergency Room to be checked out as I was preaching the sermon.  I had lost one brother to peritonitis from a burst appendix and another brother and I had had emergency appendectomies, mine when I was seven years old.   It turned out to be dehydration, but it certainly scared me. 

Enough for now.  The family track will continue on course, but the church track will soon be impacted by the national level controversy. 

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

All of us in the family will be there, Lisa and her crew, Micah and his.  There will be friends and family gathered with us.  Anyone is welcome to come to the Krentz Chapel at Our Savior Lutheran, 420 Downer Place in Aurora, Illinois at 11am.  The Service will follow exactly what was done at the funeral.  Some of the solo’s will be played from a CD of that service.  I will lead the rest of the liturgical service.   At the place where the sermon came in the service, I will do a short reflection on the witness to the Lord implicit in Mary Ann’s life.

Parking will be behind the church, accessed from the street behind it that is parallel to Downer.  Since there are many stairs, some maywant to be dropped off in front on the Downer side.  There is construction in front, but cars can get through to drop off passengers. 

Those who have let us know (or let us know immediately) that they are coming will gather at Reuland’s at 115 Oak Avenue in Aurora for a meal.  The food will be served at 12pm.  We will provide time and a microphone to anyone who has a Mary Ann story to share. 

Since that church is where Mary Ann and I were both Baptized (as Infants) and Confirmed, as well as being married there, it is especially meaningful that the Memorial can be held there.  Come and help us celebrate her life here on earth and the life she now has with the Lord.

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