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I am back and so saddened by so many things


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Hello Everyone

I just got my computer back on line today after my move. I was very anxious to return to this board. It saddens me greatly to see what has happened in the short week that I have been away. I have spent the past several hours reading and catching up on things. My heart breaks for those of you who have suffered new losses. I feel the pain of the ones who have someone newly diagnosed or have been diagnosed themselves. This is a heartbreak that no one deserves. I pray that the new year will bring us closer to a cure and that those of us suffering the pain of loss will find direction for our lives.

I am sorry that I missed the letter writing campaign. I think it is a great idea and wonder what is to keep us from doing it weekly. If we bambard them often enough sooner or later someone is bound to listen and respond. God knows that I am well aquainted with the harm that the stigma and attitude can cause. I will add my cyber voice to all of the others whenever you decide to hit them again.

I hate too to see this has become a place of controversy. I hope the problems can be worked out in a loving way and this board can get back to the job of love and support. It means so much to so many people.

It seems like forever sense I last wrote here . I guess that is because so much has happened sense then. My last day of work was on Friday December 5th. The week had already proven to be so hard. Facing all of the anniversarey dates from last year and Johnny's final days and death all but destroyed me. I relived the pain and in some ways it was even worse for now I know the finality. I can no longer tell myself it is a nightmare and soon I will awaken.

It was really hard to leave my job for the last time. The work was really putting a strain on me both physically and emotionally but I got something very spedial from some of the people that I cared for. They all seemed to like me and because of that I was able to turn off everything else when I entered their rooms. They became my total focus and in return they gave me their love and apreciation. On more than one occasion I heard them talking about me and how much they liked me as well as how good I was to them. They made me feel worth while and reinforced the feelings that Johnny gave to me about my self worth. I realized that just being me could be special to someone. For me that was a very special gift. It was very hard leaving and knowing that I will not see any of them again. I was told that I should not tell them that I was leaving or goodbye because it may upset them too much. That was very hard. It made me feel like I was sneaking away from them.

Just a couple of days before my final day there I got some bad news. It really upset me and even now thinking about it is hard. One of my special ladies died. She is the one who I had felt so close to. She is the one who I held the day she had those frightening attacks and told me that she thought she was dying. I remember when I would walk her back to her room after dinner how she would always ask if I would come back and see her again that night. She would hug me and smile for me. The next night after that attack is when she fell and broke her hip. She was on the gurney on the way out to the hospital when I passed by her. She gave me the sweet little inocent smile and reached out and touched my hand. That was the last time that I saw her for over a month. When she came back to our skilled unit I took Elsa to see her one day but she was not the same. She barely opened her eyes and I am not sure that she realized who we were. She was truly one of the special people who touched my heart.

That night after Elinore died I found out that Chris was found unresponsive and with no pulse. They managed to waken her and take her to the hospital but she was sent back to skilled unresponsive to await death. I could have gone to see her but I didn't. I want to remember her like she was. I can still see her with two pairs of pants or two bras on.. She always carried her purse under her arm tho there was nothing of any consequence in it. She wore shoes that were pointed and a little tight so she just shuffled from one place to another. All of her clothes seemed to date her to a time forty years ago. She remembered very few names but she knew me. She always gave me a hug when I put her to bed and she would talk to me about things. Mostly what she said made little sense but she felt free to talk to me. She too was one of the most special people that I cared for. I know that by now she has probably died. That is something that I really don't want to think about.

There are so many other special people there who earned a place in my heart. I gave a little extra to them and they in turn gave me so much more. As I move on to my new life I hope that what they gave to me will help me grow to be the person that God intends me to be. The person that Johnny loved and admired who seemed to get lost this past terrible and painful year.

I will miss too the people who I worked with. Tina our nurse is a very loving and special person. She too has moved on now. She found it hard to live with the way the company ran things. Liz made me cry that last day when she gave me a card and Christmas gift. I didn't expect that and it was hard to say goodbye to her as well. Christina gave me a card with a special letter saying how she enjoyed our talks and our friendship. She too will be leaving soon. She is young and has a lot to learn but she has a good heart. I hope she makes it big in this big world and finds her own special place. Debbie is Debbie, loud and funny and often very hard working. She too takes a lot of pleasure out of knowing that she is doing something for the forgotten ones. Yes I will miss them all but I know it was time for me to move on. Somehow there is a way of life waiting for me. I'm still not sure what I am supposed to do but I do feel that my writing will play an important part in the rest of my life. With a little luck maybe I can find a way to help make a living with it. Maybe too I can do something positive that will make Johnny even more proud of me. I want to find a way to honor him and the love we shared. I feel that can only be accomplished through my writing.

I had only 3 days to pack up everything and get ready to move. I managed pretty good and by the time the movers got there on Tuesday the 9th I was ready. It took them about 2 hours to pack it all up and leave with my things. I felt kind of lost watching as my things left without me. I was excited and frightened about the move. There was just so much that I didn't know. Still tho most of my questions have been answered I have a little uneasiness. I just hope I can make a living here. As for the rest of it I am in love with this place already.. Maybe at last I have come home to stay.

It took us nearly 6 hours to get from Vista through LA to Bakersfield. A distance of under 200 miles. The rest of the trip went smoothly even tho there was a little rain along the way. Most of the traffic was trucks but Lance is a good driver and I was really about as relaxed as I can get while traveling. We arrived at Pat's(my nieces) house around 8 am on the 10th. I was exhausted from having no sleep but managed to stay up until late enough that I fell asleep easily and slept until a reasonable hour the next morning.

I came here on Wednesday to see my trailer. I was and am pleasantly surprised. It is so much larger than the one that I was living in. It is really a nice trailer. I wonder if I will ever be able to pay Pat back for all she has done. She says it is a gift but I feel that somehow I will find a way to repay her. She spends so much money on other people. She truly is a person who cares enough to do something instead of just talk.. Sometimes I find her too giving but then it makes her happy so I guess that is what really matters.

I don't know if I can think of it as a sign from Johnny that he knows and approves but I hope that some things point to that. The very first time I came here there was a donkey not far away from my trailer. I saw it so easily but have not noticed it sense then. Pat told me too that her neighbor has roosters but I have yet to hear them crow. The biggest thing that makes me wonder is when she told me today that she found out there is a family of wild quail that live in the field behind her house!! Those things are all part of the signs I had asked for when I moved from Washington to California.That along with the similarities to where Johnny lived make me feel like I am really where I am supposed to be where he wants me to be. I wish he would show himself to me again or touch me once more. Maybe I am just too anxious for now. Maybe in time he will be with me in that way again. For now I just have to trust that he loves me enough that he will always be near.

The movers brought my things Friday but I didn't move in until yesterday.. I had to wait for the propane to be delived so I would have some heat. It is very cold here right now. I got an electic heater from Pat and it kept it warm enough that I could come in here and work. Because of that by the time I moved in yesterday I had everything unpacked and most of it put away. I still have a few touches to do but most of the main work is done. Now it looks like a home, my home!

Hopefully I will get into Redding in a few days to get some supplies and a few other things that I find myself in need of.. I want to get a Christmas tree.

Now it is time to try to describe this place that I now call home. There is such beauty here such serenity that I only hope that I can paint a picture with words that will do it justice.

When you leave Redding on 299 you come through a populated area with a few businesses. After a ways the business area turns into neighborhoods and then the houses too become sparcer as you leave Redding heading west. You cross the beautiful Whiskeytown lake and after a couple more miles you see the sign that points to French Gulch. The road Trinity Mountain Road is a small country road. There are quite a few curves but it is not what I would call a mountain road. It is not a road built for high speed but it is a road that lends itself to leasurly driving anyway. You have to watch as you go along to make sure that if there are any deer on the road you see them in time to slow and let them cross. There are hills on both sides of the road and a creek that flows on your right hand side. It is Clear Creek one of the longest if not the longest in the state. I live about 3 miles from hiway 299. Right here it widens out to be a valley more than a gulch. I would guess there is about a quarter of a mile between the hills. The park itself is on flat ground with a view that is breath taking. You can look in either direction and see the hills covered with evergreen trees. There are not as many trees of color here as there are in Washington but I see a lot of bare trees that I am certain will add their beauty when the season is right. Looking back toward 299 you can see a mountain with snow on the top. It is not a really high mountain but high enough to call a mountain not a hill. The manager here told me it is named Bally. Right across the road from me is a large lawn with a few trees. Tom the manager told me that on warm days the deer like to come there to sun themselves. My home is set on a very large lot. My nearest neightbor lives across the street from me and on the other side is a vacant space. The next neighbor over on that side is about 50 yards away. Almost all of the homes are decorated for Christmas and it just blends so well with the setting..

When you leave my house you start to climb just a little. I think the elevation where Pat lives is around 1700 feet. About a half mile from here is the town of French Gulch. What a town that is. There are a few houses on the outskirts of the town and in town there is a hotel with what I would guess to have between 5 and 10 rooms. There is a dining room in the hotel that is open to the public and serves as the towns one resturant. Across the street from the hotel is a bar where you will see one or two cars parked most of the time. A little ways further is the post office. It shares a building that once housed a grocery store but that is closed now. A sign on the front of the post office says "established in 1865". I stopped there today and got my post office box. The park does not have mail delivery so each resident gets a free post office box. One lady runs the post office and she knows all of the addresses and most of the people by name. While there I met another lady who introduced herself and told me that she just moved into the park here too. After you pass the post office there are a few more houses then you are out of town. It is about another 2 and 1/2 to 3 miles up the road to Pat's house. The hills are closer there so you don't see as much sun as you do here where I live. I am reminded of Johnny talking about the houses on the east side of the mountain never getting the sun. She has a small back yard then behind her the hill rises. It is not unusual to look out her kitchen window and see one or more deer at any given time.. Her front yard is much larger and across the street her property continues. There is about 10 feet then an embaknment with a path that goes down toward the creek. There is about another 50 feet till the creek the distance depending on when and how much it has rained. Most of the time it is very calm and flows gently past. The man next door put rocks in one section to make a small rapids but other than that the creek flows gently. That is it is gentle until it rains. The other day I saw it turn into a raging river with rapids the whole length of it. Normaly it is about 20 feet across but after the rain it looked closer to 40 feet. The sound and the flow are just mesmerizing. Pat calls that her church and it is easy to see why. A few feet behind the creek another hill rises.

Now that I have tried to tell a little about what it looks like here I will see if I can find a way to tell about the feeling here. There is such a sense of belonging here. This is the Earth as close to what God intended it to be as you can find. It is beautiful, unspoiled and so very gentle yet there is a wildness about it too. Just being here instills a sense of peace that has been very hard for me to find. The other night at Pat's I walked outside with Misty(my dog) and the first thing I saw when I looked up was a shooting star. I felt like it was a welcome sign to me. It looked as if it brushed the hill top and if I had reached up at that time I am sure that I could have caught it. The stars all look so big and so bright. I feel like I could reach up and pluck a handfull. Every time I drive I see deer either on the side of the road or in someones yard. You are just as apt to see one in town as you are down by the creek. People out walking or the ones in their yards wave as you pass by. Everyone treats eachother as old friends even if they don't know you. Tho spread out over several miles there is a sense of community here. If you live here you belong. Everyone makes you feel welcome. Yesterday when I got home from Pat's there was a Christmas card and a note of welcome from my landlord Tom and his wife. He has been very helpfull to me and I am anxious to meet her. I am hoping that will be soon.

I don't know what the future holds for me. Yet I am sure that I will find the answer to that here. If I am to write I can think of no better place for it. I can look out my window and get a feeling of renewing. I am hoping that my mind and my spirit will renew as time passes. I want to find the sense of peace and belonging that I had with Johnny. I want to feel that he approves of what I do. I know that he would love it here. The beauty and peacefulness of this place is the kind of things that he appreciated more than most people do today. Then too I see so many similarities to where he lived it is almost uncanny. It is about the same distance to Redding as it is from Copalis to Aberdeen. I live about one half mile from town and the post office. Tho there is a post office the same distance at Copalis there is no hotel. There was a resturant but that closed after Johnny died. The population of the community there is close to what it is here. The river flowed about 100 yards behind Johnny's trailer and now I live where a creek that could be called a river flows about 100 yards away. This is a community where most people know one another and take the time to talk and listen. Most of all there is just so much of the Lords beautiful nature here. To Johnny that was paradice and I am beginning to see and feel what he did more every day. I live in better conditions than he did because I am younger and more able to work and also because I have Pat here and she is doing everything she can to see that I am comfortable and cared for and about. I just wonder how differently things would have been for Johnny had he had those things in addition to the place that he loved so much.

I thank all of you for bearing with me. I know that I tend to go on a lot. I am hoping that in disecribing the beauty and peace here it will give a part of it to all of you. I am looking forward to Christmas again. Not as a time for gifts but a time to honor and thank Christ for his sacrafices. I know that we all have battles to fight. Some will win and others will lose but the biggest battle of all he fought for us. The fight for our souls and eternal life. That gives me the one thing that I need most now as do all of you HOPE. I know that none of us are perfect but I believe that Christ died for us not because he expects us to be perfect but because he knew that we could never be perfect. I close with heartfelt wishes that all of you here will find a sense of peace at least for a little while. My love to you and God bless each and everyone of you. What you give is truly a gift from God. Lillian

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