Archive for June, 2010

Thankful List

I am thankful:


1.     I found some wonderful new books at the library.

2.    Mom bought me lunch at Sea Breeze, so I had a delicious meal of shrimp.

3.    We avoided the traffic around the construction near Sam’s and Wal-Mart because we did not go there.

4.    I have nice clothes.

5.    I have Hope to love.

6.    I have the intelligence to find opportunities to save on purchases and so make the small amount of money I have go further.

7.    Alex is a Marine.

8.    I am able to give to others.

9.    Mom is still alive.

10.  I have a place to live that is cool enough to be pleasant in the awful heat.


Jo Ann

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Midweek Reflection

This should not take long since I did my share an entry on Monday and caught up with everything. Yesterday, I woke up at 3:00am, but went back to bed and slept until 8:15am. Mom went out with June and I vacuumed while she was out. I do not like to vacuum when she is home because she hates the noise the Kirby makes and she complains about how I do the job if she is here. Hope and I walked three miles even though it was very hot outside. I had a small glass of wine before I went to bed and found that even that little bit affected me. I think my wild days are all over. I have become respectable, responsible, and usually helpful to others.


Today, I woke up at 4:55am. After eating a warm Moon Pie I logged into Facebook and spent some time with that. I did some reading, then strapped on my iPod, put on headphones, went out and walked with Hope. On our second mile, I took Ko-Ko with us. On our third mile, it was just Hope and I. I read my book on that mile. I fixed lasagna for lunch. I finished reading Shameless by Karen Robards. It was a very good love story, where star-crossed lovers conquer problems. I enjoyed reading it. It was the third novel in a trilogy and I had not read the previous two, but it stood well alone. I caught up on my email and started a new book. I ate leftovers from lunch for supper. Hope and I walked another mile while I read my book. I took a shower so that Mom could get her bath in the morning. I am rather relaxed and decided to write this entry. Mom has had the television on incessantly today and the darn thing is about to drive me nuts. I think I am going to my room until she goes to bed.


I hope all of you are having a good week so far.


Jo Ann

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I have gotten somewhat behind so I am going back a bit. On Sunday, June 13, after we ate the subs June brought, we visited with her a while. After she left, my nephew, Jeremy, and great-niece, Jayden, came by. Jeremy checked out the circuit breaker for the bathrooms and tripped it, turned it on many times. He also turned the bathroom lights out repeatedly. It seemed to work so he just said if we had more problems with it to call him and he would come out with a replacement breaker. We had a conversation about my possibly moving into town in a condominium after Mom is gone. After thinking about it some I really do not like the idea.


Monday was a quiet day. I read and computed some.


Tuesday, Mom had an appointment with her primary care and we got some refills on her and my prescriptions. We ate lunch at McDonalds. I took Mom for her haircut at Fantastic Sam’s and decided while there to get my hair cut too. It was incredibly hot so Hope and I did not walk. I finished reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This was a very good young adult novel. It was a love story and I enjoyed it very much. I am reading some young adult novels because there were a few weeks that the library had no new novels in the adult section of new arrivals. I gathered up a gift bag full of goodies for my meeting with one of my classmates.


Wednesday, I took Mom into town to meet June. I got to Wendy’s about thirty minutes before my classmate so I sat and drank a Diet Coke. When Jana arrived, I gave her the gift bag. She insisted on buying my lunch, which was very sweet. We sat and talked a long time. She apologized for being mean to me when we were in school. This really touched my heart. I have long since forgiven the way I was treated back then, but I know the bullying and taunts I was subjected to has effected how I relate to people to this day. I almost never feel comfortable trying to make friends and I go out very rarely alone. I have very little self-confidence and a very poor self-image. After a while, we went to Borders and did more talking. Then we browsed around the store and pointed out different books we had liked. I was glad to discover she has become a reader too. After I walked her out to her vehicle, I went back into Borders. I had a 40 percent off coupon and looked for something to use it on. I searched the writing section, but found nothing I did not already own that interested me. I went to the art section and after a while of looking, I found a book I had been wishing to buy. It is Colored Pencil Painting Bible by Alyona Nickelsen. I had checked it out of the library a while ago but had to return it and wanted to own it. I picked up a graduation card for my niece, Leigh, too. I got caught in awful traffic because of road construction on the way to the library. I checked in books and re-checked them out. I went back through the construction traffic to Sam’s where I dropped off some prescriptions and did some shopping. I really got carried away by book desire and put The Passage by Justin Cronin and Insatiable by Meg Cabot in the buggy. Then I saw the most beautiful red London Fog coat. I was going to come back for it another day, but they only had one in my size, so that went into the buggy too. I went to the pharmacy, picked up Mom’s prescription, picked up my prescriptions and paid for all my sinful purchases. It was rather late when I got home so I read and computed some. Hope and I missed our walk again because of the heat.


Thursday, we went to the Post Office and mailed a bill. We went by the bank and cashed Mom’s check from Medicare for $250 because of all the prescription expenses she incurs. We went to Sam’s, and the traffic was even worse than the day before. We picked up Carrie Leigh’s graduation cake and some ice cream. We were trapped in traffic waiting to leave Sam’s for about an hour. When we finally got home I decided we would avoid Sam’s while the construction is going on. I read some and did a little computing. Mom started complaining about an earache before she went to bed.


Friday, Mom’s homebound buddies, Wendell and Frances, came for their monthly visit. Mom’s ear and throat were hurting so I called and was able to get an appointment to see the nurse practitioner. We went to the appointment and found her ear was not infected, but that it appeared she might have a sinus infection. We got prescriptions for an antibiotic and eardrops. We went to Rite Aid and filled the prescriptions because of the construction traffic around Sam’s. Mom went to Leigh’s graduation from Technical College. She, Leigh, and her family did not get back here until around 9:30. We had cake and ice cream together and I took several pictures. After Leigh and family left, I had to read and compute a while to settle down. I finished reading The New Good Life by John Robbins. This was an excellent book about living in these times. It was not so much financial advice as practical advice. I very highly recommend it. I know I will be using what I learned to make my life better.


Saturday, Mom went to her Sunday school class meeting with her friend Betty. I read a lot and did a little computing. In the evening Hope and I walked one mile.


Sunday, Hope and I walked two miles before it got very hot. Mom went out with June and I did a lot of reading. I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This was a wonderful young adult novel. It was set in Nazi Germany and told the story of a young girl who faced much tragedy but also had many beautiful moments. The book was narrated by Death. I loved it. I did my thankful list, even though it was really late. Hope and I walked an additional mile in the evening. I jumped on the trampoline for a few minutes.


Today, I woke up at 4:55 and ate breakfast. I went back to bed and slept until 11:20. I have read and computed a good bit today. I caught up on the email I had not read for the last few days from Journal Writing. Mom is making biscuits for supper so I am going to leave this.


Hope everyone has a good week.


Jo Ann

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Thankful List

I am thankful:


1.     The circuit breaker for the bathrooms quit tripping and is working fine.

2.    I got a camcorder with Mom’s help.

3.    I got a haircut that everyone seems to like.

4.    I met with one of my classmates, gave her a gift bag full of goodies, and she apologized for being mean to me when we were in school. We had a wonderful time together.

5.    I bought two books and a London Fog coat at Sam’s.

6.    I bought one of the art books I have been wanting very much at Borders.

7.    Even though we got caught up in horrible traffic, we got Carrie Leigh’s graduation cake and ice cream home without ruining them.

8.    When Mom came down with an earache and sore throat Thursday evening I was able to get her an appointment Friday and took her to see the nurse practitioner. We got meds and she is already feeling better.

9.    Mom enjoyed going to Carrie Leigh’s graduation from technical college and I stayed home.

10.  I have read sixty books so far this year.

11. Ricky requested we become friends on Facebook and we chatted for a long while.


Jo Ann

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Check-in, Roll Call…

Wednesday evening, Hope and I walked one mile. I learned the next morning that Ray Melbert Ford, Jr. was executed for double murder.


Thursday, we stayed home and I read and computed. Mom was on her clear liquid diet and very weak. I completed my thankful list and a journal entry after learning about Ray’s execution. Hope and I walked one mile.


Friday, I woke up at 2:45am. I could not go back to sleep because I was worried over Mom. I read and computed. I mixed Mom’s prep at 5:00am and woke her at 7:00am to drink it. We went to the diagnostic center and the test was performed. The results showed Mom just has Diverticulitis. We have known about that for years, so it was nothing new to worry about. We stopped by the library and I returned some books and picked up one on hold and a few others off the new arrivals shelves. We ate lunch at Wendy’s and Mom paid for mine. She said it was to thank me for taking care of her during her test preparation and taking her for the test. It was a nice gesture. I finished reading From Eternity to Here by Sean Carroll. It was a good book for one on scientific theory, but it really did not give a definitive answer for what time is. I learned a lot about different theories, but I already had almost as clear a definition of time at the beginning of the book as I did at the end. I think anyone who likes scientific explanations would like the book. Hope and I walked two miles.


Saturday, we went to Sam’s Club to pick up Mom’s medicine. I bought a book, The Love Dare Day by Day, to give to Alex when he gets married. I also bought a bottle of wine and June’s issue of O Magazine. Mom asked me if I wanted to get a video camera, because I have been wanting one forever and looking at them a lot recently. I decided that even though I had to borrow the money from her, I would get one. I wanted it so I could take video of her and of Alex, and would have a record in case something should happen to either of them. I chose the Canon FS300 which uses a SD card for memory and came with a carrying case. I picked up a 32GB SD card to go with the camera and bought the three year warranty which extends to four years because we have the Advantage Plus membership. Altogether it was almost $400.00, but I think it will be well worth the cost. When I returned home, I discovered how complicated the camcorder is. I think it is worse than the computer or VCR. I usually think I am fairly technically adept, but geez, this thing boggles the mind. Hope and I walked two miles.


This morning, I got up and did some re-reading of the manual for the camcorder and realized the memory card did have to be initialized. I managed to get that done. I am just taking it easy today. I have read and responded to some email. I logged onto Facebook and checked out what was going on there. Mom’s best friend brought subs for lunch, so I am outta here.


I hope everyone has a great day!


Jo Ann

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I Am Forever Grateful

 I wrote in my thankful list: "I survived many times when I could have easily been dead." There are many moments in my life to which that could refer, but one was brought back to me forcefully this morning.


When I was a young teenager, please forgive me I cannot remember the exact age, I had a boyfriend that I adored. One day, we were in his house alone and something scary happened. We were in his parents bedroom and he pulled out a pistol. He loaded a couple of bullets into it. Then he held the gun to my head, spun the cylinder, and pulled the trigger. He did it three times before I ran away in terror.


I learned this morning that last night this particular boyfriend of mine was executed for murdering an ex-girlfriend and her niece twenty-four years ago.


But for the grace of God, it could have been my family that had such a tragedy with which to deal. I am so sorry for the family that lost loved ones. I am also sorry for his family that has had to live with the pain of what he did for so many years. I pray all involved find some closure now.


I have to live with the fact that if I had told someone, back then, what happened to me that maybe the tragedy could have been prevented. I feel guilty for staying silent.



Jo Ann

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Another Thankful Thursday

I am thankful:


1.     Alex and I are keeping in close communication.

2.    I found some great books at Barnes & Noble on Saturday.

3.    I got a new comforter to eventually replace the one the dogs have messed up with their little paws.

4.    I survived many times when I could have easily been dead.

5.    I stay busy enough to avoid loneliness most of the time.

6.    My writing helps me maintain a semblance of stability.

7.    I slept well last night.

8.    Technology keeps advancing into areas that were fiction years ago.

9.    Prayer is effective and miracles do happen.

10.  My mother and I have a better relationship now than we did when I was younger.

11.  I have my sweet Hope.

12.  I picked some books for Mom that she is enjoying reading.

13.  We have telephones, computers, and the internet, which let us stay in touch with those we love even at great distances.

14.  The television has an off button.

15.  Enough people still read books to keep publishers in business, so books are still available to me.


Jo Ann

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Midweek Reflection

Sunday afternoon, Mom bathed Hope and I dried her with the blow dryer. Mom also bathed Ko-Ko. I took some pictures of Hope and posted them to my blog. Hope and I walked two miles.


Monday, we went to town and I got my Depo-Provera shot. We ate lunch at the area’s best Mexican restaurant, Monterrey’s on Fairburn Road. It was a delicious treat. We picked up food and drink for Mom’s clear liquid diet at Wal-Mart. When we returned home, I did some computing and reading. Alex called and we talked about an hour. Hope and I walked two miles.


On Tuesday, we took Hope to get her booster on the Lyme Disease vaccination. The ticks are so bad this year that I was afraid to leave her without protection. The shots were expensive, but I would be devastated if Hope were paralyzed or had mental problems. The preventative was a better option than taking chances. We stopped at the vegetable stand on the way home and bought some tomatoes. They make ham sandwiches so much better. I computed and read quite a lot. Hope and I walked two miles.


I woke up at 5:20 this morning and ate my Moon Pie. I was drowsy so I went back to bed and got up again at about 7:45. Mom asked me what she was supposed to eat for breakfast and I told her any of the clear liquids we had picked up. She is not a happy camper. I think the next few days are going to be extremely long and difficult for me. Mom is not pleasant when she does not eat exactly what she wants. The test is Friday so I hope it will bring good answers.


Mom is complaining about my stuff on the table again. As I have told her repeatedly, I have nowhere else to put my stuff. Therefore, that is very annoying and I am not in the best of moods today.


Alex just called. He got his first speeding ticket this morning and is not very happy about it. He and I talked a while and I think he felt better by the end of the call. Talking to him also improved my day.


Alex is a wonderful person and I am always so proud that he is my son. I am fortunate he grew up to become such an outstanding young man. I hear about things other young people do and am just so glad Alex stayed clear of trouble. He told me he is likely to deploy to Afghanistan in August 2010, or maybe February 2011. I was hoping he could avoid that a while longer. Deploying to Afghanistan is scarier than Iraq. We dealt with two deployments to Iraq well, because we stayed in close communication, but it probably will not be possible in Afghanistan.


That sums up what is going on here. I hope everyone else is doing well.


Jo Ann

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I walked one mile with Hope last Sunday evening. I spent time on the computer and reading.


Monday was a quiet day. I read and computed much of the day. I finished reading Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky. I enjoyed the novel. It explores the effects of a pregnancy pact on families and the community. It is a very well written book and confronts a timely issue in an informative manner. The characters are very interesting and draw you into the story. Hope and I walked one mile. The heat was so bad that I was not comfortable to walk more.


Tuesday we stayed home and the day was a quiet one. I spent most of my time on the computer and reading. I had some pleasant phone conversations. My printer would not print because one of the ink cartridges was malfunctioning. My sister-in-law, Linda, came because she had received a letter she believed was to Mom. I looked at the form, and because the letter was to James, told her she had to complete it because she was now the property owner. I wound up filling out the form and having Linda sign it. She finally said thank you for my feeding the horses during her vacation. Hope and I walked one mile.


I set my alarm, and it woke me at 7:30am on Wednesday. I got a shower and did a slow process of waking up as usual. Mom had an appointment with her neurologist at 11:15 and that went well. I asked permission to go to a six month interval between appointments, instead of the three months we have been doing, and the doctor approved. I think with Mom’s condition being fairly stable that the regular appointments can be more widely spaced. If there are any problems, I will call earlier. We took the form Linda had brought the day before to the courthouse. I went by the library and returned some books. There were no interesting ones on the new arrivals shelves so I checked nothing out. I returned the malfunctioning ink cartridge to Cartridge World and they replaced it with a new one free of charge. I copied the paperwork I had to send to DFCS. I wrote my other sister-in-law Carol to stop sending friend requests on Face book. She sent me a message full of lies and I became very upset. I talked to Reba, Leigh, and Alex on the phone because I needed their reassurance to calm down.


Thursday, one of Mom’s friends called her and woke me up. I just could not really come to life. All day I was sluggish. Because it was the third of June and my Social Security had come in we went to town. We went by the post office where I mailed the form and supporting documentation to DFCS so that my Medicaid will continue. I passed the bank, so I had to back track and withdraw the money I owed Mom. We went to Sam’s and shopped. We picked up my meds. We shopped at Wal-Mart. When we returned home I unloaded our purchases from the truck. Later I found one of my prescriptions was not correct so I called Sam’s and they said they would fix the problem. Hope and I walked two miles.


Friday, I stayed in my pajamas all day. I computed, read, and took it easy. Mom had a runny nose so I suggested she try Benadryl instead of the Claritin she had been taking. She became nauseated and did not feel well all day. I felt very bad because I meant to be helping her.


Saturday morning I woke up with a sore neck. We drove into town and I stopped by the chiropractor for an adjustment. It seemed to help some with my pain. I went by Sam’s and exchanged the bungled prescription for the right one. We drove to the Cumberland Mall area and went to Barnes & Noble. This was my first trip to the store and it was huge. There were so many bargain books to choose from. I had the $25 gift card Linda gave me for Christmas, and I soon picked up more than it afforded. I wound up with two beautiful blank books – one lined and one unlined, List Your Self by Ilene Segalove and Paul Bob Velick – this is a new edition of the book originally published in 1996, North River by Pete Hamill, How to Write What You Want & Sell What You Write by Skip Press, Wizards edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs, and The Age of Miracles by Marianne Williamson. I made some suggestions and Mom bought several books as well. We went to Anna’s Linens and I bought a beautiful comforter for $14.99. It would have been much more expensive anywhere else. Mom bought some rugs and a chair cover. We ate a late lunch at Steak & Shake. When we were on our driveway, we met Leigh on her way out. She turned around and came back to the house. She and Edith visited with us for a while. After they left I did some computing and reading. I finished House of Secrets by Richard Hawke. This was a very good novel. It dealt with politics, crime, law enforcement, and family. I enjoyed reading it. Hope and I walked one mile. Mom was exhausted and went to bed early, but she got back up because she could not go to sleep, she eventually went back to bed. I prepared medicine for the next week for both Penny and I. I used the computer and read more. I let time slip away from me and did not go to bed until almost 2:00am.


I woke at 8:00am and have been taking it easy today. I have read in the book I began last night and checked Facebook for anything to which I needed to respond. I also read all the email that came in overnight and so far today.


That catches up with what has been going on with me. I hope everyone has a good week.


Jo Ann

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A Person in Your Life

Exercise 4: A Person in Your Life
Writing Your Self by John Killick & Myra Schneider
Chapter 12
Section 1: Getting Started


I have a second brother, other than James, who died on March 15, 2009. His name is Melvin, although I think he goes by George now. I do not call him George, because that was my father’s name and because I grew up calling him Melvin. I do not consider this living brother family anymore because he has not been in contact with my mother and brother, James, in about eight years.


My father sexually abused me, to my knowledge from about the age of three and continuing after I was an adult, up until the time of his death almost fifteen years ago. I told no one (except my husbands, who I swore to secrecy) until after his death. I was in intensive therapy and worked through the trauma. I had already forgiven my father, but the therapy helped me face the results of his deeds. I am deeply scarred. One aspect of the damage is the effect on my memory. My memory of my life has many blanks because I erased parts of it to cope with the abuse and I have ongoing memory problems. Sometimes I forget things in the short term and do not recall the details until later. I also am unable to visualize. I cannot see anything in my mind. I rely on photographs to remind me of the faces I love because I cannot bring pictures of them up mentally.


My father also abused a number of other people. I even had to take Alex in to therapy because he had been traumatized. My brother, Melvin, learned my father had abused my nieces about eight years ago. He no longer had my father to take his wrath out upon so he accused my mother of allowing it to happen. When I learned he was going to confront my mother, I asked her if she had known my father was a molester. My Mom told me she knew nothing about my father’s misdeeds. She has never lied to me, so I believed her. I know that the things that happened to me were done in secret at times which Mom could have had no knowledge of events. I was so sad that I had to tell her what my father had done. I never wanted her to know, it was not her fault.


My brother, Melvin, came and confronted my mother. She told him she had never known about the abuse. Melvin told her he did not believe her and that he never wanted to see or have any contact with her again. For years, Mom continued to call on his birthday and on holidays to tell him that she loved him and wanted to be a part of his life. He never answered or returned her calls and has never visited again. A few years ago, I told my Mom that she had done enough trying to reach out. I had remained in contact with my sister-in-law, Carol, through email, but with their ignoring my Mom and James, I finally decided to end my contact with her. I began to consider that I had only one sibling.


One of my nieces, Carrie Leigh, is very close to my remaining family. We talk often and she visits when her time allows. I depend on her for help with Mom should anything arise that I cannot handle. She does not blame my mother for things my father did. I consider Leigh one of my best friends. She is the only member of Melvin’s family who has continued contact with all of us.


When I joined Facebook, Carol requested I become her friend. I ignored the request three times and then wrote her a note asking her to quit sending requests. The exact text of the message I sent her follows:You and Melvin no longer want to be a part of my family. You have not been in contact with Mom or James in many years. You two made the decision to ignore us. Mom did nothing wrong and I will not desert her, I promised James I would take care of her. I have ignored your request three times, I would rather not block you, but I will not change my mind. Please respect my wishes.”


She replied: “We all must do what we feel is best for us and for our family. Apparently James and possibly you and your mom felt it was best to shut us out. We accept that if that is the case. It hurt both of us terribly to find out that James passed away by reading the obituary in the newspaper.
Our attempts at contact were met with hostility and death threats. What other choice did we have but to cease contact after that kind of reception? I’m sure you heard only one side of the events. If at any time in the future you wish to hear the other side, just let me know.
I hope you sincerely do not believe your mom did nothing wrong. If you do, that’s on your shoulders. Not mine, not Melv’s.
Your wish will be respected. Just know that while we feel we have been shut out, our love continues.”


I was appalled that she would send me a message so full of lies. Mom, James, and I did not shut them out. They cut off contact with James and Mom. I finally felt I could no longer be in contact with Carol and be loyal to my mother and brother. All during the time James was ill with cancer, Carol and Melvin failed to call or visit him. James decided since they could not be family while he was alive, he did not want them informed upon his death. That was completely understandable and the family respected his wishes, so they learned he had died from the newspaper.


My mother never acted hostile toward my brother and his wife. She made every effort to reconcile with them. There were no death threats. I have been with my Mom almost constantly for the last ten years. She has never wanted anyone dead. She is not a violent person.


I trust my Mom to tell me the truth. She is no liar. When she told me she had no idea my Dad had mistreated any of us, I never doubted her. I will not attribute wrongdoing to someone who is innocent. Mom and I have discussed what happened to me, not in detail because it causes her pain, and had she realized my Dad was a molester she would have protected me and the others who were exposed to his abuse. My father was very sneaky about what he did. There was no way for my mother to recognize his perfidy. None of us who were abused ever told her what happened. Sexual abuse and incest were not open issues like today. It was not discussed and I was afraid to tell anyone, as I would suppose the others were.


I hope Carol will leave me alone. I find it hard to believe there remains any love for us with she and Melvin. I promised my brother, James, that I would take care of Mom and I will not desert her. Nor will I torture her by being in contact with people who have been so inconsiderate of her. We are not the villains here. The blame for the rift in our family lies with my father who is dead, Melvin, and Carol. There is nothing that can be done about my father’s actions. Forgiveness is my solution for dealing with the monstrosity of it all. Carrying hate toward my Dad would only poison my life. Carol and Melvin have been apart from us so long now that I feel the differences are irreconcilable. I have no brother.


It is terrible that my family has been destroyed like this, but within the portion that remains there are tender loving bonds. None of us is perfect, but we deal with what life has dealt us to the best of our ability. Unspeakable horrors were perpetrated on me, but I survived. I learned to let go of the blame and move on with my life. I am sure it is not the life I would have had were there no abuse, but it is a life and that is precious.


I hope one day Melvin and Carol will realize shutting us out of their lives is their loss, but I must go on without worrying about them. They must deal with the consequences of their actions. I am not responsible and will not be drawn into the drama. The blame they place on us upsets me, but I can do nothing to repair the damage.


This piece covers many relationships to explain the one between Melvin and me. I wish there were a different outcome. I wish Melvin and Carol were supporting my efforts to make Mom’s remaining days comfortable, but that is not to be, and I cannot afford to fret over it. I am doing my best to be a good daughter and a humane person. If I am wrong, I leave the judgment in God’s hands.


Mom is eighty years old and she deserves peace and respect in the time that remains for her. Her health is fragile and I am doing my best to care for her. She read what Carol wrote me and it upset her terribly. I will not allow that to happen again. I have a responsibility to protect my mother; she can no longer do it herself.



Jo Ann J. A. Jordan

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