This is my healing journal.

Monday, December 31, 2007

rambling thoughts on New Year's Resolutions

am so sick of the disabled community and the lack of respect that is shown to one another. My New Year’s resolution is to try and show a little bit more respect to those who deserve it, by virtue of they’re being who they are!
I know I said I was not going to write more here. But, yesterday, when I was reading my list mail, someone wrote something on the MSB list that really ticked me off. (Tom, if you’re still there, I hope you’ll say something.) The moderator asked if anyone knew a person who was asking to join the group, which is a legitimate question, as he would not know some of the people who were younger or older than himself. What happened then, is this one person who I think is the biggest asshole I’ve ever met, had the gall to say that there were people who were sighted who were trying to join this group, looking for someone. One of the other guys then went on to say that in his work at the Michigan Rehab Training Center, he had encountered people who had high enough vision to drive, who had driven themselves to training.
Sometimes, I think people just don’t stop and take a moment to think about what it is they’re saying. Are you going to tell me that two of the people I know are on that list have no rite to be there, because they can drive? One admits he had no rite to probably be at the school in the first place. It had been a decision between his eye doctor and his parents that he would attend there. But, Tom, for anyone to say you have no rite to drive, let alone be part of the group? Give me a break! You worked too hard at trying to survive, let alone you have more “vision” in more ways than one than most of the people there! I would have written something on the group. However, I didn’t trust my mind, let alone my fingers with what I wanted to say.
On two of my lists, we’ve been dealing with a problem of a different sort. However, it’s an issue of grief. My friend and fellow logger Suzanne R. just found out yesterday that her mother passed away. Suzanne, I hope you know our thoughts and prayers are with you over here. If anyone wants to drop a note to her on her blog, it’s http://newsuzannerslife.blogspot.com Know that if anyone does do that, everyone who is heare was invited by me in the first place, Sweetie.
May we all try to express love in a deeper and more positive way in 2008.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A special thank you to all

I'm actually feeling a bit better now that I've started back to work again, though today, you would have wondered if I really was feeling okay. I went to work with a headache, and it seems to have let up a bit. However, it felt like it was from my eyes. Having artificial eyes can be a pain in more ways than one. I was looking forward to going with my husband to an acoustic music jam. However, hearing hammer dulcimers mindlessly banging out the same tune in unison really did not appeal to my head tonight.

Yesterday, I went into the office to do thre massages. However, thanks to another snowstorm, one of my clients was stranded on I96 in traffic, about an hour and a half in normal circumstances from where I was. So, he'll be coming in on New Year's Eve. I had four half hour ones to do today, which was not how things were originally supposed to go. I was only supposed to have two half hour ones and one hour one. However, the husband of one of my clients was in bad enough shape for her and I to realize she needed to split her hour massage in between them both

I just want to thank all of you for being there for me, as I began the process of working through my grief. I know that I will have periods of time where I will find it difficult. Yet, each and every one of you who have read my blog, whether you've commented or not, have blest me with your presence. I appreciate that more than I can tell you.
I had promised the cookie recipe I came up with for what I call Therapeutic Cookies. They're therapeutic, because the dough takes a lot of energy to make.
2 butter quarters
1 cup granulated sugar
1 half cup brown sugar
2 eggs
Splash of vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 cups flour
4 cups oats
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 third cup each dried cherries, dried cranberries and walnuts
1 half to 1 cup chocolate chips.

Cream the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla together. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon gradually while mixing. Fold in the oatmeal gradually. Add and fold the dried fruits, nuts and chocolate chips. Chill in the fridge for one hour. (This dough may require you to mix it with your hands towards the end.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Break off hunks of dough with your hands and shape into balls. Place them on a grease cookie sheet and bake for eight to ten minutes. Cool before removing.

I hope that all of you will have a blest New Year, as I am not sure I'll be writing again before then.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve has ended. Christmas Day is beginning. I'm content, because i know I have lots of wonderful friends who are prayign for me and taking care of me. But, I'm also still feeling the holiday haze around me.

At the Christmas Eve service tonight, we sang all of Mom's favorite carols. I was relieved to be surounded by my friend Melissa and my husband, because that enabled me to sing harmonies, something Mom would have loved to have heard, I think, though in our church that was never spontaneous.

I still smell the cookies I made earlier in the day. It was a sort of experiment, though they worked out fine. I made tiny oatmeal cookies with dried cherries, chocolate chips, cranberries and walnuts in them. They taste fine, except you can tell the chocolate chips were an inferior brand. As I made the cookie dough, I listened to the "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" on our public radio station. It was a tradition between my father and I when he was alive. We would listen to that together, drinking our coffee and talking. It felt good to be thinking of both of them, knowing they're both celebrating Christmas in Heaven together, or at least I hope so.

Will be going to my friend Fran's house for Christmas dinner, or actually her niece's house. I think I'm up to it, though right now, as it's nearing time for me to close my eyes, I can't know what the day is going to bring. So, let me leave off by saying, Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Speech I gave at Mom's Memorial

I personally would like to thank all of you who have come here today to honor the memory of our Mother, Sherry Raynor. The many tributes we have received are evidence to us of how much you loved and appreciated her. I know that many of you have memories of Mom that you will share with us around the tables downstairs, or withus privately. I look forward to hearing some of those memoires.

Some of you probably wonder how it feels to have been the catalyst for Mom's work. I tend not to think about it, the way I used to as a child, because I've come to believe each and everyone of us were a catalyst in who Mom came to be as a wife, a mother, a teacher, an educator, a humanitarian and an advocat.

I remember asking Mom once if she ever got tired, as many of you know she'd work nonstop for long periods of time. She actually yawned when she answered yes. I then asked her why she kept doing so much. Her response to me was, "Who else will do it?"

"Who else will do it?" Maybe that's the question we should all ask as we live out our own lives and leave behind our own legacies. For as many of you know, that's the way, Mom always lived her life. She lived by her belief just knowing she could do what she could to make this world a lot brighter place to live. Whether she was working with pre-school blind children and/or their families and teachers, flying to another country to give a speech, attending track meets, football games, concerts and plays in which her children were participating, she was always there.

I'm so glad Mom impacted so many lives with her sense of humor, her encouraging workds, her "tell it like it is" attitude, her willingness to fight for anything she felt was right. Whenever any of us think about and remember her, may we always remember to do what we do as if no one else can do it better.

Mom, we love you and we'll miss you. But, we will carry on the legacy you've left behind for all of us, to pursue and fulfil. our destinies. If we don't, then it's just as you said to me. "Who else will do it?"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mom's snow

Does anyone else remember the old-fashioned Christmas snows? Well, we got it this weekend. My husband is out blowing the snow off the walk, in case we have church this morning. He has lit the pine scented candles, so that it smells like Christmas. I’m sitting her drinking a cup of coffee and just enjoying being up. I have on sweater and slacks, because I have no desire to wear a skirt or dress in this stuff, because it would mean wearing any shoes but my tennis shoes!

Tom, I could not help thinking of you and wishing you could see the wonder of God’s creation made soft by lots of white fluffy snow. (Yes, I did read your blog archives, and I remember you writing something about how the sight of snow reminds you of your souls being cleansed.) I was thinking about that particular statement of Tom’s from his blog, as I went out and checked on the snow last night, a couple of times. How beautiful! How true!

I hear that down where you are, there’s rain falling. Though not the same experience, I’m praying that brings revival to the South’s dry land.

I cannot help but think of Mom and falling snow at my father’s house he built in Okemos at 4086 Dobie Road. The house for those who have been in Okemos is situated between the bridge and the railroad tracks, which made going to the middle school easy for my family. Dad put a lot of thought into that house. It was huge. But, the thing was, in winter, it was the most home feeling of any of the houses any of our friends lived in and they knew it! I’ll never forget snow days at my house. Mom made sure there was plenty of milk for cocoa. The pot of coffee was always on for mothers who came to pick up their kids. If we had colds, she would take things like lemonade and tang mix and make hot drinks for colds, even if you weren’t her kids. And vats of soup! Not an easy task for Mom, since she had six kids of her own. But, in the winter, there was always soup!

In the living room, Dad had built a fireplace. Often, I remember him sitting by the fire, smoking his pipe full of barking dog tobacco, ready and willing to tell us a story.

Downstairs was our huge playroom. (I don’t knee if Tom will remember the Christmas of 73, when the day students got an extra day or two of vacation from MSB. I’ll never forget it!) My sister Chrissie and her daughter Jennifer came over to the house, and Dad made us all curl up on the huge couch in our playroom, so he could tell us a story.

I remember Christmas of my sixth grade year, or close to it. The snow had fallen thick and heavy. We could get Channel 6 on our radios. (Still can in Lansing or Jackson). That was a treat for me, because that night, I stayed up to listen to the Walton’s Home coming Christmas special. Then, I called in sick the next day. Mom didn’t even bat an eye.

I remember being stranded at MSB in the blizzard of 78, and hating it. I didn’t mind being with my friends. It’s just it didn’t feel the same, because I was always home when the snow fell. There was supposed to be a wrestling meet that day when classes were canceled and we were shut up in our dorms. I remember being relieved, because we had all dressed in our cheer leading uniforms, anticipating the meet. (Sorry, Tom. I for one was not willing to sacrifice my legs just so you guys could wrestle.) I remember eating popcorn with my dorm mates and feeling a bit sad, though I wrote a story while there. But, it wasn’t the same. I wanted to e home. I wanted to feel safe with my family around me. Though Mom and Dad were divorced, Dad had gone to the house to hang out.

On Saturday, Dad came and got me. I think they all wanted me home as much as I wanted to be there. The cool thing was, I was supposed to start at Okemos that next week. However, with the snow days, exams had gotten canceled. But, classes got canceled on Monday and Tuesday as well there. So, my delay was a whole week longer or was it two? I can’t remember. I think it was two though, because the weekend in question, I remember going to the Diary of Anne Frank with my youth group and that next weekend, I was participating in a ski race.

Now, that race, I’ll never forget. We had another snow like this one, making road conditions treacherous at best. Also, course conditions. I was going down the hill for the practice run, and the hill was a snow covered ice pack. I fell, twisting my right knee. Everyone watched me the rest of the day and convinced me to just take aspirin the next morning and try again.

I fell again on the second run of the race, hurting my knee even more. I started my days at Okemos, hobbling around with a knee that didn’t want to work properly.

I digress here. Well, not really all that much, because during all those times Mom was there, cocoa pan and coffee pot always at the ready.

Christmas snows were even more special. The smell of Christmas trees, fudge, cocoa, coffee, sausage frying, Dad’s pipe, Mom’s turkey soup, the turkey at Christmas dinner, the sound of cracking nuts and fire in the fireplace, Christmas carols, the feel of home.

Mom, you probably wanted all of us to remember your Christmas snows. That’s why you blest us by making sure we remembered those times, rather than grieved over your leaving us at this time. Thank you for that!

We did have church. Road conditions are not the best right now. But, it was still fun to go walking out in the snow to our car, hearing it crunch and feeling more snow falling and still more in that air. I have no idea how much we’ll get. Bert is using the snow thrower right now, trying to get the latest batch of snow out of the way.

It was hard playing Christmas carols and thinking of Mom, and how much she would have enjoyed this special time of year! Keep snowing, to remind us Mom is home this Christmas, home where she always wanted to be!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sherry Raynor

Sherry Raynor
Born 8-18-1930
Died 12-10-2007

Sherry Raynor was born Sherry Diane Nevins on August 18, 1930 to James Cyril Nevins and Ebba Ebbesen Nevins. She grew up in the Depression in the Upper Peninsula. She was the granddaughter of emigrants from Sweden and Norway on her mother’s side and was of Irish descent on her father’s side. She is the older sister of Christine Nevins Ronan.

When she was in her high school years, Sherry and her family moved to South Haven, Michigan. She was their Peach Queen and she graduated from high school in 1948.

In 1949, she met and married Robert Storrer and they settled in Owosso, Michigan. They had three children: Robert, Christine and Sandra.

She met my father Louis Raynor, when she was studying art classes at Michigan State University, where he was a professor in ceramics. In 1959, she married Dad and they had three children: Ebba, Nels and Beatrice. They settled in Okemos.

When I was born, the family had to make significant adjustments, since I was born without eyes. Mom was tireless in looking for services to help me cope. But, she also encouraged the rest of the family and herself to let me live a nearly normal life. Often were the times when I would help with cake baking, picking out vegetables and other things in the kitchen, just so I could learn.

Mom received a degree in education when I was little, and went to work for Ingham Intermediate School district, first as a homebound teacher, and later to head up its pre-school program for the blind in 1971, on the campus of Michigan School for the Blind. She continued as its director until 1979. In the fall of that year, she moved to the Perkins Institute in Watertown, Massachusetts to continue her work until she resigned in 1983, so that she could devote more time to her own private non-profit organization, the International Institute for Visually Impaired.

In 1979, Mom, along with a small group of friends, started the International Institute for the Visually Impaired, Inc., which later became the Blind Children’s Fund. This was an institute that provided information for parents to help their pre-school blind children to function independently as much as possible in a world where they could not see. This meant that Mom would have to start traveling in earnest to gather what information she could and so that she could participate in studies going on. She published two books for parents and teachers called “Get a Wiggle On” and “Move It”. I believe these were the first two books available in Braille for parents and teachers who were blind who had pre-schoolers. The International Institute for Visually Impaired changed its name to Blind Children’s Fund in the late 90’s.

Mom loved being there for her children. I remember her always trying to make the time to attend our Christmas programs at school and church, track meets and football games, plays, band, orchestra and choir concerts and art shows. Even when we were grown and moved away, Mom still would come to anything we were doing if she had the time.

Mom loved Art. She loved making pewter jewelry, benches with small ceramic tiles on them and small clay owls. However, she excelled in pottery after retiring from the Blind Children’s Fund in 2001.

Mom loved to travel. She made several excursions to Mexico where she studied Spanish and began collecting masks. She’s also been to Russia, Israel, Denmark, England, Germany and Australia, just to name a few places, due to her work. She was planning on going to Vietnam this year.

Most of all, Mom loved getting away from life whenever she had a chance. She often would go visit my father until his passing in 1999 in the small town of Leland, where he retired. Often, she could be seen working on art, collecting stones, walking, cooking for Dad and herself, and basically thinking.

Mom was preceded in death by her parents, both her former husbands, various aunts, uncles and cousins. She is survived by her sister Christine, all her children, two stepsons Raymond and Fletcher, eight grand children and eight great-grandchildren.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Waiting...

It's been six weeks since Mom was admitted to the hospital. Things don't look good at all. For the third time, she has been put on the bentilator. (I had no idea it had been that many times until I visited her yesterday and the nurse talked with me.)

I don't know what to think. Why does my sister and her partner feel it necessary to prolong a life that is not going to be a quality of life Mom would have wanted? My brother Nels was there when I got there and he pointed out to me that certain members of my family had lied, so that Mom could be vented, even though it states in her will that this is not what she wanted.

It looks so strange to see her lying in her bed, hooked up to a machine, her hands feeling so warm they're almost on fire, her hair lifeless feeling and dull even through the gloves I had to wear. I gave her Reiki, taking my chances, as that meant getting nearer to her than just holding her hand. But, I'm believing I will not become ill.

I know he is reading this, and I know I've said this to him twice already However, Tom C.'s words to me on Monday night, when I was reading an Email from him to me with regards to my family broke a dam that needed to be broken, and I cried for two and a half hours straight. My family is sending mixed messages to each other. My two sisters who are taking the most cae of Mom are saying that those of us who are healthy, aren't helping enough. Yet, they were also telling me that it would be useless for me to go, because I would not be able to tell if she was awake or responsive. Tom's question was exactly what I thought which was "I wonder where the love is"?

When I told him he was an angel of healing and that his words helped me, his response was he was "Just a nosy ole man that couldn't keep his mouth shut". No, dear friend. Wheter you realized it or not, you let God speak through you to my battered soul. And I do mean it, I will be there for you any time you need it as well.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

More on Mom

Well, I talked with my sister Sandy today, after I had heard a message from her on Thursday. In the message on Thursay, she told me that Mom was improving and was able to breathe on her own. She also told me that they were looking at palliative care options for Mom. She and Ebba had talked about moving her near Ebba in Leland, because Mom knew Leland, and they thought it would be less of a shock for her if she was there.

When I talked with Sandy today, after talking with a couple of friends of mine who were nurses, she told me that she was pretty sure no senior program would accept Mom into their program, because of the MRSA. She did say that they were continuing to look at programs near Ebba. However, when I told her that Bert and I had talked about arranging our schedules in order to visit Mom, she said that gave them something to think about, since "I know you will be a responsible adult". Why wouldn't I be? She's my Mom!

Mom has been moved to the step down unit. They are still feeding her through her nose. The amazing thing is they found no bed sores on Mom. They credit that to her constantly moving around in her sleep. She doesn't always know who people are.

There's a chance I may have to go spend time with her to fill in the gap, while Sandy goes to the hospital in Chicago to have some tests run, and Ebba is arranging her schedule so she can come back down.

Still issues of unforgiveness between most of my family and my brother Bob, and I don't think that will change any time soon. Apparently, a conversation my sister Ebba had with him didn't go as well as she would have liked. They are also frustrated with our sister Chris and our brother Nels, though in his case, he's having to work extra hours, and when you work for yourself that can lend to not having much time.