Christmas 1992 – 25 years ago

Three weeks before Christmas I got the call. It wasn’t the first time but this time it seemed different. More urgent. Mother called to let me know Dad was back in the hospital.

It was a critical time in their lives – in more ways than one. They were in the process of selling their house; the one they purchased in 1956; the house I grew up in.oak terrace

Dad couldn’t keep it up any more. He had congestive heart failure – for the past five years. He was diagnosed at age 66 and was given 6 months to two years to live. Obviously, the doctors didn’t know my dad very well. Although he couldn’t walk very far, he could still drive. From their home in the Philadelphia suburbs, they would drive back and forth to Florida where they had become “snowbirds.” They would visit me and my family in St. Louis regularly. He did all the driving.

Because my dad was a planner, my folks had bought into a retirement community outside of Lancaster. The plan was to sell the house in December and head to Florida as their new abode would not be ready until February.

But my dad went back into the hospital.

Somehow my mother’s voice was shakier this time. She’s been a trooper those past five years – carrying additional burdens and responsibilities with no family close by. I asked the question, and not for the first time. “Do you want me to come?” Normally the answer was no, she just wanted to update me. This time, “Yes!” I booked the first plane I could, landed in Philadelphia with friends (my mother’s BFF) waiting to whisk me to the hospital. My first question, “Is he still alive?” Yes, as far as they knew.

The next three weeks were a blur.

The house had been sold and the packers/movers were about to arrive. Dad hadn’t finished packing and mother didn’t know whether to pack his clothes or not. Everything would go in storage for the next several months. I couldn’t bear the obvious, so I insisted his belongings needed to be packed.

This point in time was before cell phones were in every pocket. We were torn – home with packers or at the hospital with dad. We alternated. Then the home phone got disconnected. We were furious. We panicked. The phone company had shut off the service too soon and we could not be connected to the hospital. It took a bit of deliberate determination, but we got it turned back on.

Mother had to go to closing on the house alone.

The doctors were stumped as to why Dad was holding on. Although he was still conscious, he wasn’t always thinking clearly. And as the doctor said, “His blood pressure is 70 over nothing!” But, knowing my dad, he knew all was not in order. So, the realtor came to the hospital. Bless her heart. She showed Dad the check and said closing was done. We hoped he’d be able to let go. Nope.

The doctor pulled me aside. He informed me that Dad had given instructions on his Health POA to be kept alive . . . The doctor wanted my permission to forgo that. My mother just couldn’t make the call. So I had to. Worst decision of my life! Not the wrong decision, just the worst one.

And yet he held on.

The house sold; the possessions were packed. Mother and I moved into a friends’ basement. Extended family showed up at the hospital.

I loved clam chowder. The hospital cafeteria had the best. If I wasn’t sitting in the cafeteria with a bowl of it, I was sipping it from a Styrofoam cup in my dad’s room.

To this day, I have not had any more clam chowder.

I was becoming a bit frantic. Back in St. Louis I had two teenagers and a hubby waiting. Christmas was closing in and of course I’d done no shopping.
Three days before Christmas I told my mother I needed to go home.

My brother flew in from Colorado to take over. I said goodbye to my dad, I knew, for the last time although I just couldn’t grasp that. I cried all the way home.

The day I left, he lost consciousness and three days later – on Christmas – he died.

He was 71 years old.


My dad was a good man. He was a hard worker and a strong provider. He was a responsible, accountable guy. He provided for us and took care of us the best he knew how to do. It wasn’t the ideal. But it was his best.

He wasn’t the warm and fuzzy type. Our home lacked affection and I felt I could never live up to his expectations. But he was wise in so many ways. He taught me all about finances, manners, accountability, etc. And, in his own way, the only way he knew how, he loved me.

I’m sad he never saw my kids grow up. He never got to reconnect with his oldest grandchild as we did, the one who had not been in our lives for so many years.
He didn’t meet the grandkids’ spouses or get to know his nine great-grandchildren.

He didn’t get to see how I finally turned out.

I think he’d be proud. 🙂

Christmas is always bittersweet for me.
But I’m blessed – and relieved to know where he is and that I’ll see him again. I’ll bet he’ll have a hug waiting for me.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4





As usual, we were having a delightful time with our Florida family on the beach. The kids20161022_123559459_ios were soaking up the sun while keeping an eye on their four young charges. Those young charges – my grandkids – were heading in all directions. Hubby and I were observing and loving each and every one of them.

One of my young grandsons came running over to show me all the pretty shells he had collected. I thought I’d turn it into a teachable moment.

“Isn’t it amazing how God made all these different colors and shapes?” I commented as I pointed to the different ones.

“There are one hundred Gods.” He proclaimed as a matter of fact.

“Uh,” I muttered. “What did you say?”

He repeated, “There are one hundred Gods.”

Now knowing this kid has been brought up with sound teaching in his home and church, I probed farther.

“Explain that. How can that be?”

20161024_154253180_iosHe patiently explained that, because God is everywhere, there must be one hundred Gods. It made sense to him. It was how he managed to accept the fact that God is everywhere, believing what he was taught, yet condensing it in his mind to something he could understand. Brilliant.20161024_151235992_ios

I realized my teachable moment was past and I’d share this conversation with the parents, because in a flash, he was headed back to the water. I’m kind of relieved, to be honest, because I wasn’t sure how to handle that, to explain to his sweet little heart about faith and acceptance. He indeed had shown faith and acceptance in what he had been taught. I know he will understand the ‘big picture’ eventually. His faith will grow as he does. I’ve no doubt.

And my love for him grew deeper that day.

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

Proverbs 15:3

Let’s Go to the Zoo

The weather was unseasonably pleasant and warm for the beginning of November in the Midwest. My brother was visiting from Florida to help celebrate my mother’s 94th birthday. Taking advantage of the weather, we three decided to go to the zoo, a favorite of my mothers. I figured my mother would need to work a scooter since she was only able to walk with a walker.

The day before, I needed to take my brother to the ER because of a serious problem with his feet – swollen and painful and barely able to walk on. Although he was improved, we decided that he, too, would need a scooter to ride on.

I was alone, with two disabled family members on scooters. I was outnumbered and I could envision all sorts of issues popping up throughout the day.

I called my friend Jean and asked if she’d like to go to the zoo with us. Of course, she saw through my invitation and, thankfully, was delighted to jump in and help.

We arrived and immediately rented two scooters.zoo4
Except that my credit card was declined! That’s a whole other story. Sheesh.
We used an alternative card and proceeded to give operation instructions to our two charges. As we began on our journey, my mother took off. I mean took off rapidly. There was no catching up so we just stood there, hoping she’d stop eventually. She did and looked around to see us way, way behind her. As we caught up, Jean adjusted her speed to slow. My brother meanwhile kept hanging back and circling around. I tried to keep my eye on him while Jean took charge of my mother, making sure she didn’t drive over any kids.
It actually was a lousy day for spotting the animals. It must have been siesta time.
But it was a pretty day and we four established a routine. Then mother spotted the train. She was always a softie for a ride. We obliged, not sure how this would work with the scooters. As it turned out, accommodations were made for one scooter on the train. Of course my mother was the chosen one. My brother’s scooter was parked and we agreed to ride the entire way around without getting off at any of the stops since we wouldn’t have a scooter for my brother.zoo2

Mother was treated like a queen! These guys (retired railroaders) put up special ramps and opened secret gates for her to enter. They then strapped her in. She rode right behind the conductor with my brother directly behind her and Jean and I in the next seat. Again, barely an animal anywhere! But fun, nevertheless.

Until. . .

First we went through a tunnel. I had a brief moment of panic but then could immediately see the daylight at the other end so was ok. Then, another tunnel. This time longer, with no daylight to see. My claustrophobia began to creep in. I closed my eyes and we emerged safely. As we then stopped at a station to let people on and off, I looked ahead. Another tunnel!

I deduced that if the first tunnel was short and the second tunnel was medium, then this tunnel must be . . . you get the picture.

Leaning over to Jean, I whispered, “I need to get off.” I don’t think she took me seriously at first until I pointed out the upcoming tunnel and told her I might punch someone if I go in there. So. . . she and I got off and told the others that we’d meet them at the end. That was not easy as there is no straight path at the zoo but we ended up there just as they were getting off. No one dared mention my phobia so we proceeded our zoo tour.

As we rounded the corner and passed over the railroad tracks, I noticed my brother not with us. Stopping to look back, I saw him sitting on his now very still scooter on the railroad tracks. I booked myself back to him. He said it stopped. It just stopped. I’m about to scream, “Don’t you know people can die like this? Car stopped on the tracks with a speeding train coming towards them?” I chose to keep my mouth shut since he didn’t give me a hard time about the train issue. We then pushed it off the tracks and flagged down a zoo employee. He used his walkie talkie to summon another one. zoo3While we waited, directly in front of the polar bear exhibit, there unbelievably, was an actual polar bear! The highlight of the day!

Back safe in the car for the ride home, my mother declared she had a delightful time and would like to go again sometime. Of course, she said, we didn’t need to take the train the next time. “Why,” I asked. “Because of your scardy cat baby girl?” “No, just because we’ve now done it.” She explained.
She was just being nice, but I appreciated the thought.

Under my breath, however, I was uttering “never again!”


Excerpt #1 ‘Papa, Where Are You?’

“Each of us grieved in our own way. Papa shed nary a tear but acted somber all day. I could tell he wanted to comfort us, but no soothing words came from his lips. Hugs were all he could offer.”


A view of the old homestead, as described in ‘Papa, Where Are You?

A couple of reviews:

“I finished your book last night. Great, great job! it was captivating throughout. And the ending was perfect!”

“I just finished your beautiful book! Wow! I am sitting in my kitchen, crying tears of both sadness and tears of joy. The family went through so much joy, then heartache, and finally (and gratefully) redemption. I love how in everything they went through, God was present and kind. I am both undone and blessed to read your story.”

To read more reviews, click on link below.

Papa, Where Are You?

Back Home Again

Apparently one can go back home again – for a visit. That’s what Hubby and I did last spring. We toured my roots, mostly Pennsylvania, with a bit of New Jersey thrown in.

50+ years ago I attended Camp Cherith, nestled in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. At that time it was an all-girls camp connected with Pioneer Girls. Honestly, I never liked Pioneer Girls but I loved Camp Cherith. I learned about camping and swimming and pa-1horseback riding. One summer I worked as a Kitchen Aide in order to stay longer with less expense. I worked with the horses and I learned all sorts of crafts. Most of the counselors came from PCB – Philadelphia College of the Bible. During the school year, once in a while a friend and I would take the train downtown to visit them. Although it’s now a co-ed camp under a different name, we were fortunate enough to connect with the director who had a person give us the full tour. Most was unfamiliar to me except the dining hall, the cabins, the lake and the rock walls. Fond memories!

We visited New Hope, PA and directly across the Delaware River, Lambertville, NJ. Growing up, on the way to visit my New Jersey relatives, we would drive right through these quaint towns but now the new highways bypass it. I always wanted to stop and shop but my dad was the type to “do not stop until we reach our destination.” This was my opportunity!  We bypassed the bypass and found the towns. These two towns are wonderful places to visit, with much history attached. It’s a shame about the new highways as folks are bypassing history.

As we drove down from there toward the rest of my youth recollections, I couldn’t help but notice the rural area all around. I used to say I was from the “suburbs” of Philadelphia, but now I see it was even further out than that. We lived in “the sticks”, a lot of farm country! I recall that no public transportation came out as far as our home and my school bus ride was basically at the end of the line!

We saw the two houses I lived in, growing up.

We drove past the hospital where I was born and 43 years later my dad would die in.

We checked out my grandparent’s row home in Philadelphia. And the alley in the back where my brothers would play kick ball and I would roller skate. Such vivid memories come to mind of my sweet grandparents.

I reconnected with childhood friends – some I hadn’t related to since, well, since childhood. It was interesting to see how we all turned out and the “roads” we took to get there. I think some friends were honestly surprised as to how I turned out. The road I took out of my youth didn’t appear to be headed in a good direction. But eventually God intervened! 

We went to a familiar diner across from the now-closed Willow Grove Navy Base.
We visited friends of my parents – way into their 90’s, who caught us up on all the people I knew all my life from my church. I would have lots to share with my mother later.

And the countryside – ah the countryside. I never appreciated the beauty before, and the history! We passed a Quaker Friends Meeting House and many original stone homes and the Delaware River – you remember, the one Washington crossed! 🙂

I shared with Hubby certain incidents on specific roads, in snow storms and ice storms and driving lessons and the time, at age 10 or so, where my friend and I decided to walk two miles away from my school toward my church. My mother was late picking us up and we were left all alone. (That would NEVER happen today!) I’m sure I was in a lot of trouble, but I’ve blocked that part out! 🙂

pa-2We visited the cemetery where my grandparents, my grandfather’s brothers and their wives, my dad, my brother, my Great-Great Uncle Harry and many, many other relatives are buried; the place where my dad’s brother, who died in 1918 at the age of two from meningitis, was buried. So much history, rich family history!

I’m fairly certain that will be my last visit to “home.”

It’s funny that I still call it home when I’ve lived away from there longer than I lived there. But I suppose “home” means “roots”. And they go deep. I’m so glad I went “home” for a visit!


I would be remiss if I did not make a plug for my recently published book, ‘Papa, Where Are You?’

The house pictured here is part of my heritage and plays a prominent role in my book. If you’d like to purchase ‘Papa, Where Are You?’, click on the link, next to the “About” button above. And be sure to read the reviews!short-hills-1


IMG_0293My son recently arrived home safely from an awesome nine day trip to Ireland with his dad. My two friends arrived home safely from an equally awesome visit to England for 15 days. They were all kind enough to “take us with them” via pics on Facebook and I am delighted for all!

It does, however, remind me of another visit to England many, many years ago. It wasn’t me – it was my mother! My dad had a trip planned to Paris for business and they decided it was a chance of a lifetime so they made arrangements for my mother to fly separately and they would rendezvous in England.

It was my mother’s very first airplane ride and it was all the way from Philadelphia to England – by herself. My dad was flown curtesy of the federal government – his employer so my mother was on her own.

They, too, had a delightful time. I know from the pictures that were later developed and printed. There was no long-distance communication back then – no cell phones, no texting, no Facebook and international calls cost a small fortune. They were gone 3 1/2 weeks.

So while they were gone, there was the matter of what to do with the children – my two brothers and I. It was decided that my brothers would stay with my grandmother, aunt and uncle and cousin in New Jersey. It was the home where my mother was raised and they had a barn to play in, woods to explore and an attic full of treasures to find.

Me? I was farmed out to my aunt and uncle and three cousins (all boys) in Philadelphia. I was nine years old.

Did I mention my cousins where I had to live for 3 1/2 weeks were ALL BOYS?

Actually, at that point, all my cousins were boys, but these cousins were the type that we cringed when we knew they were coming over to visit. Not disciplined, loud and into everything. Apparently I didn’t get a vote and my mother had a mind lapse!

Suffice it to say I had a lousy time. 3 ½ weeks is a long time to be away from my family when you’re nine years old and it certainly seemed longer where I was staying. My cousins were put out because they all had to bunk together since I needed a room of my own. My uncle was the gruff type – used to relating to boys. I was miserable. My aunt seemed to be the only one enjoying the arrangement. She finally had a little girl living under her roof. Whoopee!

The oldest cousin was a year older than me and he basically did the hanging out with me. We could walk to the local movie theater so went one day to the matinee. It was a scary movie – to me. And I got so upset that I demanded to leave in the middle of the movie. That meant he had to leave too. He was quite angry with me. The other two boys were younger and a real pain in the ###. They teased and tormented nonstop. A lot of tears were shed in the confines of my bed during the night.

But my aunt was having such a good time. She bought me dresses and permgave me my first perm. You may remember those home perms in the 50’s? The ones where all your hair is put up in pin curls with bobby pins all over your head and then this stinky stuff is applied all over followed by a plastic bag to cover it all. And then you sit for what seemed like days feeling nauseous from the fumes and being teased by the boys. Sigh.

Finally the 3 ½ weeks ended – the longest most wretched 3 ½ weeks of my life!!! My aunt took me to the airport to pick up my mother. It was back in the day when we could actually go to the gate. Her plane arrived and the folks exited the plane on the tarmac – no fancy contraptions that go out from the gate to the plane door. I was at the window and my nose was peeled to the window. Finally there she was! THERE SHE WAS!!! I waved and waved. I could see her looking up but she didn’t see me!  She didn’t recognize me with my straight hair now all curly and with a new dress on! I think my aunt was a bit hurt that I was so excited at my mother’s return.

When she entered the terminal she spotted my aunt and then finally me.

She was bubbling and going on and on about her trip and her plane ride – all the way back to my aunt’s house and through dinner with them. I just wanted to go home!!!

We did leave eventually and I was so relieved. I imagine my cousins were too. But my aunt, she was sad.

Never again!

My mother is still apologizing. I’ve forgiven her but I haven’t forgotten! 🙂

Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation,

And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places;

Isaiah 32:18

Dental Drill

Happiness is your dentist telling you it won’t hurt and then

having him catch his hand in the drill.

Johnny Carson

Going to the dentist on a Monday morning would not be my first choice, and yet there I was.  Truth be told, I’d been procrastinating for months but finally put my “big girl pants” on and made the appointment.

When they see me coming, they turn on the gas (Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as laughing gas).   Now to my recollection, I’ve not ever broken out in laughter, but it does do the trick on the relaxation part.  I need the gas just to get the Novocain!

Don’t get me wrong – I love my dentist!  She’s (yes, she is a she) has been my dentist for probably 25 years and is truly a friend.  But, on the other hand, she’s a dentist!  Ugh!  I was one of those growing up who, every six months upon going to the dentist, had 15 or so cavities!  How does that happen?  My brother thinks my parents were being ripped off; but I think it may have had something to do with well water.  Or maybe lousy genes!  At any rate, those days were pre-gas and I hated, HATED going to the dentist!

So last Monday I went in, sat down, and they hooked me up!  I was relaxing, feeling no pain, glancing at the TV.

All of a sudden, on the TV I swear I saw my son and daughter-in-law!  Seriously!  And then they were gone!

It was one of those mid-day local TV shows where they do blips on local places to visit.  At that point, they were showing a little story on a local art studio for kids and families, a hands-on-create-your-own art project place.

As I was being “gassed up” at the moment and it was a quick flick, I really wasn’t sure if I saw what I saw!  Surely my son would have mentioned if he had been filmed??  Obviously, I couldn’t pause and rewind as I am known to do in my own home!  So I waited.  I waited for the “gassing up”, I waited for the drilling, I waited for the “gassing down”, and drove home.

After texting my son about it, he informed me that over a year ago the family had all been in that shop and saw a TV camera filming and interviewing but not to them.  He never saw it on TV or the internet so assumed it was not televised.

Super sleuth that I can be, I went searching on the internet and finally found the story.  And yes, there they were!  I paused and rewound to my heart’s content!  I was going to attach it to this posting but wasn’t sure about “rights” and laws and such.  But suffice it to say, it was them!  I wasn’t hallucinating or dreaming!

As my daughter said, after I forwarded the blip to them, “it’s one more thing for their resume!”

And, AND I have a pleasant memory of a visit to the dentist! 🙂Image


I Call Him Richard

family of 5It was a semi-normal family as far as I was concerned, because it was my family.  I was the youngest of three, with two older brothers.  My middle brother, Dick, was the apple of my father’s eye.  He was bright, smart, well-behaved and strived toward a major in Engineering in college.  In other words, he was my father’s clone.

My oldest brother and I were quite the opposite, social rather than studious.  Dick was two years ahead of me in school and when it came to pass that I’d have his same teachers in math and science classes, the teachers would express the hope that I’d show the same aptitude.  I dispelled that myth quickly.  Dick was the one who won all the science fairs, high school, local, county, and state. Every.single.year!  I hated science.  My dad was a scientist.  I was doomed.

My oldest brother paved the way for me and I followed his lead.  I knew I’d never measure up to Dick so barely tried.  I found what I excelled in and went for it:  flirting and typing! 🙂

Dick was never in trouble.  NEVER!  Ugh.  My oldest brother and I?  Well, you get the point.

All was smooth sailing, with Dick that is, until the summer he turned 21.  It was a Sunday morning.

It was as if a light switch was turned on or off.  It was that abrupt.  He came down to breakfast, declared to my dad that he had quit his summer job and was taking off for who-knows-where and would be back who-knows-when.  He told my dad he could do whatever he wanted with Dick’s car.  Silence.  Dick left.  We went to church.

He was gone six weeks.  It was not discussed in our house the entire time he was gone.  Apparently he had hitchhiked to California from Pennsylvania and back.  He hadn’t gotten a haircut the whole time.  He then went back to college.  We rarely saw him the next few years as he completed college.  He stopped coming home, even in summers.  Eventually he changed his major from Engineering to Psychology and graduated.  My dad footed the bill.  I went with my parents to his graduation.  It was a nice enough event, though it was apparent egg shells were on the floor as certain topics and conversations were delicately being sidestepped.

And then he left again.  For two years no one had any idea where he was.  He had written a damning letter to my folks on his departure, shattering all my dad’s hopes and dreams for his life.

Two years later Dick again showed up, with pregnant wife in hand.  He and my dad got into it within the first hour and off he went.  At that point, it became a story of Dick being in and out of mental hospitals over the next I don’t know how many years.  First, he admitted himself.  I guess he was still smart enough to realize he wasn’t acting/thinking right.  My mother wondered if he were demon possessed.  My dad took it as a personal vendetta though he didn’t understand why or what he, as a parent, had done wrong.

I was invited to visit him in the mental hospital.  Only me.  Weird since we never got along.  But I went.  I was 22 and I can tell you I had never been to a mental hospital before.  It was the kind where they search you, then lock you in.  Patients are not allowed in bedrooms so were lying all over the floor in hallways.  I was scared.

Dick and I talked.  He described my father to me.  I was beginning to wonder if we grew up in the same house!  Dick had decided at age 6 (is that even possible?) that he knew what Dad expected of us and, therefore, determined to give him what he wanted.  And he did.  Until he turned 21.

Dick was divorced from his wife only months after she delivered his son, my nephew.    Eventually he was diagnosed as schizophrenic.  My dad, being a scientist, had no belief in mental diseases.  He believed in “mind over matter”.  I heard that “sermon” all my life.  I had moved out of town eventually so wasn’t in the middle any more.  Over the years my folks did make peace with him (when he was on his meds) and my dad did finally grasp and accept the idea of mental illness.  But it wasn’t easy.  For a while Dick was in and out of their home until he became so destructive and dangerous that he was not allowed back.

He settled into a boarding house and was content as a janitor for ten years or so.  He’d see my folks on a regular basis.  But one day something happened. Ironically my dad was the first to observe Dick was probably not taking his meds.  Dad tried to have a logical conversation with him on the benefits of taking ones meds but one cannot have a “logical” conversation with one who is mentally ill!  My dad just could not relate and it broke his heart.  I believe the disconnect with Dick came over communication with his former wife, telling in no uncertain terms, that Dick would never be allowed to have an ongoing relationship with his son.   It depressed him to the point of giving up and going off his meds and he, again, went missing.  Six months later an astute social worker called my parents.  He was in a hospital near death.  He had gone downtown Philadelphia, becoming basically a bum on the street.  He had developed a staph infection in his back and not being mentally healthy enough to realize it, went from bad to worse to critical.  The cops literally had to pick him up off the street.  Dick was in the hospital for three months before that social worker was able to piece together erroneous information my brother would give her and track down my parents.

Dick was in that hospital over a year.  My dad died during that year.  Because of the staph infection, Dick ended up a paraplegic and a ward of the state.   Eventually a nursing home was located, which wasn’t easy to find because of his being a paraplegic, a schizophrenic, and 47 years old.  We were actually relieved because now he’d always be on meds and we’d know where he was.

He lived in the nursing home for 14 years.  On a couple of occasions his mind scattered again.  But for the most part, he was himself, content with where he was and his life and his Lord!  My mother visited him faithfully until she was no longer able to make the two-hour each way drive.

Eventually he developed COPD.  He was a smoker – his only vice all those years so we did not discourage it.  I was the one who got the call.  “Come now!”  Dick was in the hospital, near death.  I flew in, picked up my mother and we stayed in a motel for six days nearby the hospital. He rallied when we were there.  He was so kind to everyone, so pleasant and thankful to all the nursing staff. And we laughed together.   They called him Richard.  I asked why.  It was his choice.  It was his given name, the identity he gave himself.

Finally the doctor said I needed to make that life or death decision.  I had to do the same for my dad 14 years earlier.  My mother just couldn’t do it and I don’t ever want to do that again!  Richard was 61 years old. – 40 years of upheaval and sadness and heartache put to rest.

I don’t know why he was schizophrenic.  He was the classic textbook case, the typical age (if it was to happen) for this to occur.  As I mentioned, it was the 60’s and folks were not inclined to speak of or accept mental illness and the stigma that goes along with it.  But there was also, I think, a bit of drug experimenting in college at exactly the same time as his breakdown.  I’ve also read that upbringing can trigger something.  I’m more inclined to consider that possibility.  But I’ll never know. What I do know, however, is that, as a Believer, he’s in Heaven.   I’m thankful he’s whole now.  He’s walking upright and thinking clearly and living a beautiful life.  I’m thankful we ended up being friends.