Small Town Tragedies

Small town tragedies
12/29/14
Less than a week ago a tornado hit the outskirts of our neighboring town wrecking havoc. Lives lost, homes destroyed, business torn apart. Driving through there on Thursday as we went to the coast brought back visions of the coast following Katrina. Tin tossed into what remained of tree tops, notices on Facebook of pictures found on the other side of town, photos of the young girl who lost her life, leaving behind a young son and a grieving husband. These are images one shouldn’t have to see around the holidays, especially Christmas–that time of year we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, that time of year of giving and putting others first.
Then last night the prayer chain request came through-a young life had been snuffed out. Age 15, the son of a mother who had lost her life just a few years back in a fatal car accident. This young boy was visiting a friend, they were looking at a pistol when it went off taking Devin’s life. So young, yet gone. I think of his grandparents who were raising him, his twin brother and older sister. There was an older brother but I believe he was grown already. Grandparents who had already laid to rest their only daughter.
My own granddaughters grief stricken, trying to make sense of it all. We stood tonight in the circle of people gather at our local school for a vigil in honor of Devin. I heard the prayers for peace, for understanding, for comfort. I wondered where would that come from for these young people who are struggling with accepting the loss of a friend along with their own identities and purpose in life. I listened as young men, 15 or so years old, stepped forward and expressed their loss, their love for this young man gone from us and offered up their thoughts on why and how God allowed this to happen. I heard the grief take over as one young man broke down and cried–yes under the cloak of darkness but exposed yet by his voice and still not concerned about what others thought. Awesome! Being able to express their thoughts and grief during such a time will go far in helping them heal.
May God be with them all. May God be with us all.

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On bread and grands

It has been an amazing day. I talked with my sister, which is, at best, a practice in patience. The phone calls or visits always go something like this:

Ring ring-says my phone

Pulling it from it’s case I see its my sister and I wonder-what now. I reluctantly answer.

Sis-Hi, sis, how ya’ll doing. Hadn’t talked with you in a while and had to call and check on you.

Me-we’re doing good. Staying busy.

Sis-that’s good. Now let me tell you about Hannah (her daughter) and after an endless amount of time, it’s let me tell you about Holly (the other daughter)

It’s ironic in many ways. My sis has two daughters much like my daughter’s daughters. One high intelligence and a great personality, the other intellectually challenged with other learning and emotion/mental disorders. It has been a trip to her challenged child to the point of 12th grade. So we talk a while about that, about what route Hannah took to graduate, how much book work that involves and how she likes it. I need to know these because my Shan will be at the point of choice at the end of this school year-academic diploma (which I think is an impossibility) or occupational diploma.

Anyway-I found out what I needed to know, listened to a lot of other stuff about Holly and finally said I had to take bread out of the over so had to go. It was really muffins, but still I needed two hands.

Then a friend of a friend called-this friend of a friend we’ll call LA, has in the past worked with the school system specifically with SPED children and has SPED kids of her own. She’s giving me some good hints, some names and some direction on which way to go in order to make sure Shan has the help she needs since she’s basically failing her Special Ed class and sho nuff failing the science and social studies. So got that info.

Then my Pat comes to help/watch and learn how to make bread. I make a good loaf of Jalapeno Cheddar bread and her daughter and hubby love that sort of thing. She wants to carry them some as well as some sourdough bread when she visits them next week. So, we get started on bread making 101. We make me a double loaf of the cheesy, peppery stuff and make her a single loaf which is what the recipe calls for. In between rising and making and baking, we visit and catch up since we’ve not had much time together this summer, and I make brownie muffins. I’ve already made oat bran fig muffins.

Several times she thanks me for letting her come and learn and I honestly say to her that I am so glad she allowed me to teach her what I know-which truly isn’t much. I’m learning myself, but I have made bread off and on for a lot of years and she had never made any. It was a fun time. It was a time of bonding, a time of learning more about each other and just very special to me.

I don’t feel as though I have many really CLOSE friends. Oh I have plenty of friends, and I love them all and I enjoy their company-but this lady is a treat to be around and teaches me so much. I love her dearly and we spend hours together and never talk about anybody but ourselves. Imagine that!!!!!!!

I also got in touch with the principal at Shan’s school and set up an appointment with her for tomorrow after the Farmer’s Market. I’m anxious to see how that goes. I think we really need to get Shandi started on a more occupational direction rather than an academic direction. She struggles so with school work. I asked her this evening how she felt about herself. She shared how she knew she couldn’t learn like other people and because of that she was disappointed and sad and felt stupid. It’s hard to help a child understand that regardless of how they learn, they are special, important and just as good as the next kid on the block or in the next desk. I’m not sure she believes me but I give it my shot.

Drama Dad

SMH
Can’t figure this young generation! What does our pastor call them? Milleniums? I call them self-centered, egotistical, selfish peeps!
Example: The girls dad….I know a few weeks ago when he was home and had them for the weekend that he told them he would let them be homeschooled and they could live part time with him and part time with their uncle and me. I don’t know for a fact, but I imagine that he promised them all sorts of wonderful things, building up an ideal life for them with his words or at least in their minds.
Now, 2 weeks or a bit more later, he is saying: Shan still wants to come live with me, but with everything going on with (new girlfriend) there is no way. Too much drama.”
Too much drama???? Excuse me!!! What does maw do when the drama gets knee deep? I certainly don’t send them back to dad nor up to mom’s. I just wade on through the drama and sometimes sink up to my eyeballs in it, but with the help of God I make it to dry land and the walk is easier for while. Then just as I think it’s smooth sailing, along comes a rock in the path and I stumble over it and down a go, but only for a brief moment!!
I wonder how a child feels when dad says to her one week–You can come live me and I’ll………..(fill in the promises) and then less than a month later he is saying there is too much drama? I know I’d feel unloved, unwanted, discarded, useless, worthless. I know I’d feel as though everything else in my father’s life took precedence over me.
The oldest girl had already decided she didn’t want to go live with dad. She’s fairly level headed, thinks things through after a bit and sees some of life realistic. Still to know dad doesn’t want the younger one tells her that he wouldn’t want her either, tells her that a dramatic life prevents him from being a parent.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad. I don’t see it ever working out with him working offshore, with his temper, with his inability to manage money and to keep a woman. But the fact remains that he has put drama ahead of his children, drama in the form of a woman, as always.

Update on daughter

Late afternoon, May 30, she got her phone call. She denied any knowledge of drugs.

On Saturday, May 31, I learned her bond was 25,000.00. No way we could go that.
On Monday, June 2, 2014 I spoke with Pete Williams, the arresting officer. I learned she was in Walmart parking lot, acting strange, law was called and when drugs were suspected, he was called in. She was high on meth and had meth in her possession. The truck was towed and she was arrested. If this was her first offense, then possibly she would get drug court and probation along with a fine.
That evening she called me crying, wanting out. I told her what I knew, we got off phone. Tuesday evening she called to tell me she was admitted to Marion County General Hospital with possible sepsis (yes she did have sepsis) UTI, kidney and bladder infection. She stayed in ICU until Friday the 6th when they put her in a room. They released her on Saturday.
It’s been rough-she called several times daily, crying, wanting Shandi to come stay with her, moaning and groaning, feeling sorry for herself. She called me and she called Shandi. She never called her dad or Ana. We visited her on Tuesday night. Shandi and I visited her on Thursday and even took her a Subway sandwich. Still she worried the crap out of us daily calling and whining. Finally I told her I didn’t have time for all that, I knew she was sick and I understood the emotional upheaval an illness causes, but I had my hands full.
When we picked her up I gave her the ground rules for until she goes to grand jury-no men can come to her house and she can’t go to theirs; if Bruce H. is seen on the property he will be arrested. If drugs and the likes of him is what she wants, then don’t waste our time, pack and leave when she gets home. I keep the kids child support card and will manage that from now on-she has wasted their money on drugs and junk long enough. That stops now.
Judy and Robert came up on Thursday-so between Stacie’s situation and company and my own chores I about went my limit by Sunday. I made it to Sunday School, came home, crawled in bed and slept most of the evening. Then I got up and worked a bit getting ready for the Columbia Market tomorrow. I also have an appointment with Sylvia S to discuss options, directions and counseling for the girls.

Conversation with Shandi

This afternoon I had the following conversations with Shandi. She’s my 8 year old grand, with severe learning disabilities.

Me: It’s time now to do our reading.

Shan: Do I have to?

Me: Yes, that’s how you’ll learn to read.

Shan: I wasn’t born to read.

Me: OK. So what were you born to do?

Shan: To clean and play

Me: Alright. But tell me this, if you don’t learn to read the basics, how will you be able to read the label on the cleaner to know you’re using the right product?

Shan: I don’t know.

Me: Then maybe we best do our reading.

Later on, while we took a break, she ate a piece of pound cake I had brought home from church last night for her. An aunt had made it and it was by far the best pound cake ever made.

I told Shandi that if I could make pound cakes like that, she’d have cake more often. But I’ve tried and I simply can’t make one that doesn’t end up being gummy.

She said: But momo, you have to keep trying. If you keep praciticing you will get it right.

So we agreed that I’d practice making pound cakes and she’d practice reading.

Shandi Saga

The ongoing Shandi Saga continues. Today there was a note in her folder from the teacher. She refused to do any of her work, except for writing 6 of her spelling words. She claimed she had a headache, but refused to go to the office and get something for it.
I reminded her that not doing her work would cause her to fail the second grade. Failing the second grade means she wouldn’t be in the same class as her best friend. I reminded her that we expect her to do the work in school as best she can.

When we took her sister and her friends to cheer practice, Shandi had to do the work she refused to do in class. As soon as I finish this, I am emailing her counselor.

Their dad called their mom today and asked if he get the girls this weekend. Stacie said no because we have plans for Ana’s birthday. He said ok , tell them I love them and hung up. When Stacie told Ana, she cried and cried because he didn’t say Happy Birthday or even ask if he could come eat out with us for her birthday. Shandi also cried and said she was mad with her dad.

After her bath, Ana brought a balloon in to me. On the balloon she had drawn different faces: happy face, an ok face, a sad, crying face, an upset face and an angry face. She said earlier she was sad and crying, but now she’s just mad because Dad didn’t say Happy Birthday or want to be with her on her birthday.

I pointed out to her that when we cry it’s because we are hurt. When we are angry, it’s because of what we think concerning what has happened that made us cry.
She asked for a picture of her dad so she could burn it. I promised her we would find one tomorrow. I asked if she loved her dad. She said that she loved him, but right now she was mad at him. She also wants her mom to call him tomorrow and tell him that Ana is mad at him.