Caregiver Monica

A reader of this blog might wonder, what has Monica been doing the past many months?

When Monica’s family was visiting relatives in England in December, Monica and her mom had hoped to be a comfort or a help in her aunt’s valiant fight with cancer. Instead, Monica’s mom herself had to be hospitalized with serious medical issues. Monica and her younger brothers had to return to the States alone to get back to work or school, while their dad stayed with their mom. It was a serious adventure, rather than a fun, exciting one they might have loved to take.  The three of them took a train, transferred trains, rode the underground (the Tube), then stayed alone in a hotel, then rode a plane to Toronto, found the car in the park-n-fly lot, and drove four hours to home. They cooperated as a team with no problems. They also had a great prayer team at home and in England storming the heavens for their safety and their Mom’s healing.

When arriving home, the three found Grandma and their older siblings had already mobilized to keep the family together while Mom and Dad were still managing medical challenges.  Monica had to adapt to many changes. Dad brought Mom home to Ohio in a Life flight.

After a week in the hospital, she was moved to a rehab facility. Monica had to see her mother unconscious, then regaining consciousness, but unable to do many things.  Monica wrote notes to her mom and prayed for her with the family. When her friends took her to dinner, she invited them to the rehab center to visit her mom too.

Mom came home faster than anyone could have hoped; thankful for the miracle of the perseverance of Monica’s dad to get the right medical attention, the miracle of all the connections among family and community providing such amazing prayerful support and the miracle of healing.

20170108_150440

 

Monica found her mother mostly on the couch and it was Grandma doing the driving, shopping, laundry and organizing the house. IMG-20170126-WA0004

Monica had a little trouble adjusting. At the same time, Monica had work changes: a new work location, a new supervisor, a new van driver. Monica was not able to describe how these changes were stressful for her, so it came out in some disagreeability and difficulty cooperating – some just going to her room and closing the door.

As things settled down for her, Monica began showing more and more compassion to her mom.

IMG_9368

When arriving home from work, Monica goes right to her Mom to see if she needs a drink, or Tylenol, or another blanket. Monica increased her determination to complete more household chores.  Monica began calling her mother every day from work during her breaks and lunch to check on her. When Grandma had to leave, Monica immediately started making breakfast for her mom every morning.

So much to be thankful for!

World Traveler

Monica had the privilege of traveling to England to visit her Aunt Terry. She was great company for her mother and a wonderful guest.  She took photos of every new experience but that is too many to include here! We will share just an overview of the delightful adventure.

We drove across the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and noticed lots of wind turbines along the highway. We checked in at the Toronto airport. We charged our phones and enjoyed the iPads for travelers. The flight to London was smooth. Monica brought knitting, books, workbooks and her iPad. She was too busy to sleep, but when she got on the train out of Gatwick airport she gave in to a few winks.

We changed trains at St. Pancras/Kings Cross. We bought postcards and stamps there.

Monica’s Uncle David picked us up at the Scarborough train station in a car with the steering wheel on the right side and drove on the left side of the road!

Monica loved relaxing and sharing a cup of tea with her family there, but still did her best to help out with emptying and loading the dishwasher and setting the table.IMG_2922

Since we were there for Mardi Gras, Uncle David took us to the Scarborough events for Pancake Day. The Pancake Races had teams from different organizations running obstacle courses while flipping pancakes in crazy costumes. Then we walked to the sea to see Skipping day in which the children remember skipping with the old fishing ropes when the fisherman replaced them with new.

 

For the first Friday of Lent, Uncle David brought in Fish and Chips and Mushy Peas!20160212_182232

Monica’s cousins arrived on the weekend and we celebrated a birthday together.

Monica was the one who knew how to set the timer on the phone to take a group photo!

On a very windy day, we drove around Scarborough castle and saw the north beach.IMG_2983

After a week of really getting to know her aunt and uncle, we had to leave. 20160215_131319We took the train back to London and Monica’s cousin’s girlfriend met us for a walking tour of Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, a view of a guard and the entrance to Buckingham Palace, then a stop at the Treasury where her cousin works, a peek at Big Ben and the Eye.

Then supper and good night’s sleep before the Uber taxi took us to the train back to Gatwick.

 

It was a very long flight with an unplanned fuel and de-icing stop in Quebec City. Monica played her President’s game on her iPad so many times she hit a new high score.20160216_142128

Back at Toronto airport, we scraped the snow off the car when we found it in the long term lot and headed for home. We were so happy to be greeted by Monica’s nieces and nephew!

20160217_120254

 

 

2009 – Monica Age 17 – #1 Fan

An excerpt from Christmas Letter 2009

Monica was thrilled to be designated Fairview’s #1 Fan by the school principal at a pep rally this fall. She continues to love high school and all its activities. This fall she helped as a ball-return girl with the JV volleyball team until she had surgery on her hand for a trigger finger. Her classroom now consists entirely of special needs children. So while her academics are now at the right level for her, she misses socializing with her former peers, but she manages, and has a good group of friends throughout the school. This year she and Greg joined our parish youth group and they are both enjoying the activities there. During the summer Monica began to click with the piano after years of random attacks. It is amazing, she now smartly plays some simple classics with great enthusiasm. Another first for Monica was her participating in a special needs dance class. She loves the lessons and the friends.

Fairview Fan

Fairview Fan


Dance Recital

Dance Recital

This year Mary Ellen, Rebecca and Monica went to Florida for our goddaughter, Sarah’s wedding shower. She is Tim’s niece. Later the whole family went down for the wedding. It was beautiful and a great family gathering. The kids were all seated with cousins at the reception and we really enjoyed sitting with Tim’s siblings. We also took time to explore some remote sites in Florida.

Tug of War Team

Tug of War Team

2004 – Monica Age 12 – Family Trips and Traditions

An excerpt from the Christmas Letter 2004

Midsummer Dan and Gabe participated in the week long International Juggling convention held in Buffalo NY this year. Mary Ellen took the little ones and visited local museums and Niagara Falls. Rebecca and Tim stayed home to work. Rebecca worked this spring, summer and fall breaks at Fairview General Hospital in food preparation and delivery.

Late summer — we took a two week road trip with godson Peter St. Quinton to South Dakota and Wyoming. We went camping and hiking in the Badlands, climbed Devils Tower, toured famous Needles Parkway, visited Mount Rushmore and other sites.

Monica still loves school (5th grade) and her reading is really coming along.

There have been many other events and trips this year but some of our fondest memories are family visits and seasonal gatherings with friends and family.

Two of our best weekly routines are getting together Saturday morning to ‘white board’ the weekend and the upcoming week (plan it out on a whiteboard) so everyone gets everything done without conflicts, and being together on Sunday for an hour of spiritual reading. Spiritual reading is something we started about a year ago and we take turns reading a page or so each… out of the ‘current book’. These are books that explain the faith or the virtues clearly or a biography of an inspiring person. Monica and John listen or quietly look at their own books.