Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Snow-vember revisited

We are in West Seneca and in the eye of the latest snowstorm. I have been reposting blogs from years ago on a different site and I was reminded about a much bigger storm we had a few years ago so let’s take a trip down memory lane. It was dubbed “Snow-vember” and we had seven feet of snow dumped on us in one shot.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.

That is my backyard. The fence is about five feet and the snow is almost at the top. Here is another one.

That little black dot is the mirror of our car. We are still not dug out from that. And if the outside perils aren’t enough to deal with, this is my favorite picture of all.

That, my friends, is my kitchen ceiling. The bathroom, basement and upstairs bedroom also have water damage.

My neighbor across the street has been laid up for five weeks after knee surgery. Two houses down, my neighbor is very sick with his third bout of cancer. And about 10 minutes away, my daughter-in-law is on bed rest with a high-risk pregnancy. She has been hospitalized several times. I am praying my heart out that nothing happens while she is unable to get to an emergency room if needed. I will take my problems any day.

But what is my point?

Tuesday, the Sabres decided not to cancel their game. I guess the show must go on. They put a sentence or two on their website telling fans to respect the driving bans in their neighborhood. I thought it was a poor decision, but didn’t dwell on it.

But then yesterday, I heard the Bills were offering to pay people to shovel their stadium for the game on Sunday. I went ballistic. What the hell is wrong with the priorities of our society? There is a damn driving ban in Orchard Park (where the stadium is). Are they kidding? How about they get people together to help dig out the people who are stranded? Especially those with medical issues! The football stadium? They are ticketing people out on the roads. I AM TOTALLY DISGUSTED.

Now I will really go out on a limb here and risk pissing people off. I’m pretty liberally minded, but how about some common sense? How about using prison inmates to do some shoveling? Or even some welfare and unemployed folks who are physically able to work? There are so many areas that have zero snow, or barely a dusting. So let’s gather them and help each other out. But not to shovel out the stadium. Let’s get our priorities straight people!

Ok, I am going back to my shovel now… lol. Really not trying to offend anyone, but some things just have to be said.”

Here I am several years later. There are a lot of great people out there. Unfortunately, I still think society at large has some messed up priorities. Sigh. Also, good to be reminded that I have been opinionated for a very, very long time…Lol.


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Footloose and Fancy-Free

Um, that is not me these days. After 16 months of foot pain, the surgery finally happened last Tuesday. It is called Topaz and they drill little holes in the tissue above the ankle which causes blood flow. Blood flow supports healing. This time, no ice or ibprofin. Inflammation is a good thing because it means the blood is flowing.

If you know me, you are aware I’m a bit of a workaholic which generally means I don’t follow medical orders well. This time, I have been the model, compliant patient. I’m not taking any chances on this.

Compared to other things, this foot thing isn’t so bad. I’ve worn an aircast 24 hours a day for the last week, along with a compression stocking on the other foot. The annoying part is sleeping with them because I get ridiculously hot.

Foot and Ankle Cast - Royalty-free Orthopedic Boot Stock Photo

This morning was the first day I was allowed out of bed. Yesterday was the longest day of my life. I wanted to jump out of my skin. I couldn’t wait for today to try and establish some kind of normalcy again, even though I know this will still take a lot of time. I was out of sorts until night time when I finally figured out what to send Tim for. Lucky Charms. A couple bowls of that made me very happy.

When I woke up, I took my shower with the plastic bag. This time I stood on my own instead of sitting while Tim used the handheld showerhead. I couldn’t believe those ten minutes on my own wore me out. I went back to bed immediately and slept for a solid two hours.

Two out of three meetings were canceled. One out of two sessions rescheduled. Thank God. It’s now 7 pm and I’m worn out, even with the napping. Tomorrow morning I see the doc for post-op and I’m hoping he will shed some light on what is next. The surgery went well, but there is no way of knowing if it worked until I start walking again. Not sure how long that is going to take but I know I won’t shortcut the process. I can’t afford to not have this be successful.

As usual, the thing I have been reminded of is not to take your health for granted. The smallest things are the biggest reminders. I know I can’t walk without crutches and I can’t walk far. But when I sit on the bed and see the dresser a few feet away but I can’t go pick up the comb, that’s when I realize just how helpless I can be. I realize how much I have to depend on other people.

And of course, I realize that so much of my day is filled with things I think are necessary, but they really aren’t. Even though I got cabin fever by the end of the week, there was something nice about the simplicity I was reduced to when I had to stay in bed. Lots of “noise” gets cut out.

Folks around me are going through more difficult things. A surgery with a large mass. The loss of a parent. I will take this small bump in the road. Besides, just about anything is bearable with Lucky Charms!


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Grace Guest House

I had the privilege of visiting Grace Guest House this week. My friend told me to check them out and now I know why. In a world filled with a bunch of nonsense, there are still inspirational things to counter them.

It is one of those beautiful, restored homes in South Buffalo, with embroidered signs and other pictures that warm your heart and calm your soul.

This sign pretty much sums up who they are and what their purpose is. Anyone that is in treatment in a medical facility is welcome here, including any supportive family or friends. Often, family comes in from out of town while a loved one is being treated somewhere, or living out the last days of their lives. Grace House gives those folks a place to stay.

Perhaps family doesn’t live out of state, but lives far enough away that it is a strain to visit regularly. Grace House gives those folks a place to stay.

Perhaps you are the one getting infusions, chemotherapy or some other treatment. You are exhausted and find the transportation back and forth cumbersome and additional, unneeded stress. Grace House gives you a place to stay.

If you have ever been in any of those circumstances, you will know how life-changing it would be to hear, “Rest awhile.”

There isn’t a way to capture the serenity in this place, but I can show you some of the rooms. It’s not a hotel, it’s a home. And they have tried to think of everything to provide convenience and comfort.

Keeping up with meals is a pretty taxing process when you are in a medical crisis. There is a homey dining area with a fireplace that is quite lovely. Cynthia Battista, president, tells me that folks get to know each other and often pull the tables together to enjoy a meal. Did I mention that Grace House can cook for you? No, you didn’t misread that.

For those who find comfort in doing their own cooking, there is a pantry stacked with food, and a lovely kitchen for use. When I was there, a mother was making homemade rice pudding. The room had an aroma of cinnamon. Rice pudding was one of my dad’s favorites. My eyes filled with tears of happy memories.

Then I noticed on top of all the kitchen cupboards, there is a display of sparking angels looking down. It certainly felt like they were overseeing the lives being lived there and sending their blessings down.

There is a chair lift to the upstairs rooms. Grace House is continuing to make adaptations for further handicap accessability. They also provide washing machines and dryers for the convenience of the families.

The cost for all of these things are unbelieveably affordable. For a shared room, it is $40/night. They have access to bathroom facilities nearby.

This is a shared room with a couple of the staff (who are mostly volunteers, by the way). They couldn’t be more pleasant to be around. There are suites available for $60/night that are private. The bathrooms are private. For exceptionally large groups who need to be together, there is a large parlor area off the suite where the doors can separate them for privacy.

Grace House lives by grants and donations. While I was there, several cases of toilet paper arrived from a local business. All of their supplies are given by gracious donors.

Obviously, I was incredibly impressed. The space is somewhere that feels like home away from home. When you are going through some of life’s toughest challenges, there is no way to describe the value of how that touches you.

But mostly it is about what this quote from Mother Teresa says. The love and generosity are felt everywhere. The picture reflected in the mirror is the family that inspired Ms. Battista to create Grace House. You can’t talk to her for more than a couple of minutes before her kind and loving heart send its energy to you.

There is a wish list for them if you, your church, school, or agency would like to contribute and be part of this service. Students and adults alike can volunteer their time.

I look forward to when I can help a client family by providing them this resource. Thank you Grace House, for this desperately needed service, and for providing it with such grace. You have done your name justice.


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Guest Writer

Welcome Kris Louis of parentingwithkris.com . Her blog is self-explanatory. As a “clutter cleaner” by profession, I can certainly attest to the importance of her message. Enjoy!

Photo via Rawpixel

A Stress-Free Guide to Selling Your Home as a Parent

If you’re a busy parent with a home on the market, you’re probably feeling more than a little overwhelmed right now. Between prepping your home for sale and keeping it spotless for showings, the cleaning and decluttering projects never seem to end! However, selling your home doesn’t have to be as stressful as it may initially seem. Some careful planning and a good maintenance plan will help you keep mess to a minimum and ensure your home is always sparkling clean when potential buyers pop by for a visit.

Be Prepared for Last-Minute Showings

When buyers are on their way for a showing, you might have just 30 minutes to tidy up and get everyone out of the house. Be ready for these frantic cleaning sessions with a cleaning to-do list. For example, Old Salt Farm recommends a 20-minute cleaning plan that involves shining the kitchen sink, sweeping the floor, picking up clutter, and emptying household trash cans. If you have the time, try to vacuum high-traffic areas to give your home that extra “wow” factor. A stick vacuum, many of which are lightweight and cordless, can make all the difference. Before you purchase anything, take some time to check out reviews to find a top-notch stick vacuum. Eventually, you and your family will have this procedure down to a science!

Deep Clean Everything

Before you even put your home on the market, give it a deep clean from top to bottom. You’ll find it much easier to control everyday messes when you start with a clean slate. Scrub down every inch of the bathroom, wash the kitchen cabinets, spot-clean carpet stains, wipe the baseboards, vacuum under furniture, and organize every storage area in your home. A good deep clean will help you tackle stains, odors, and built-up grime once and for all.

After everything is clean, get in the habit of tidying up as you go about your day. Put the dishes in the dishwasher after every meal, wipe down the counters immediately after cooking, and make the beds first thing in the morning — and get your kids to help!

Reduce the Potential for Mess

What’s easier than cleaning all the time? Preventing mess from occurring in the first place! One of the best ways to reduce the potential for mess is to declutter as much as possible. Remove knick-knacks from tabletops, dressers, bookshelves, and coffee tables, and get your kids to pack up some of their toys until after your move. You may even want to rent a storage unit to get excess furniture out of your house. Not only will this make vacuuming easier, but it will also help your home appear bigger and brighter.

If your kids tend to destroy every room that they set foot in, consider blocking off certain areas of your house. Clean any rooms that your family doesn’t need to use every day, like your second bathroom or home office, and tell your kids that these are off-limits. This way, you won’t have to clean your house top-to-bottom before every showing!

Stick to Easy Upgrades

Certain upgrades can help your home sell faster and for more money, but don’t go overboard. Do some research into your local real estate market to find out what kinds of upgrades other sellers are making to their homes. If you’re in a seller’s market, NOLO suggests that you might not have to do much to impress your potential buyers.

Stick to simple, quick upgrades, like replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets, refreshing the grout in your bathroom, hanging a new shower curtain, and giving your front door a fresh coat of paint. Placing a couple of flowerpots on your front porch is a great way to improve your curb appeal without investing major time into gardening and landscaping. If your children’s rooms are painted in bright pink or lime green — or any other crazy color — consider repainting with a crowd-pleasing shade of light blue.

Selling a home with kids isn’t as hard as it seems. Declutter, deep clean, make a few simple upgrades, and be prepared with a last-minute cleaning plan. While you may run into some hiccups in the beginning, your family is bound to develop an efficient cleanup system by the time you find a buyer for your home.