Heavy Hearts – Back in the US

“Life is what happens when you are making other plans.”  – John Lennon

The Universe and I are not on good terms right now. In fact, I’m thinking about writing a letter to the editor. You know the kind of letter where when life isn’t really that hard you can gripe about the small bumps like  people who don’t pick up their dog’s poop (I will write that letter BTW).

I know people get a garbage truck full of dog shit dumped at their feet and have every reason to give the Universe, God, Spirit whatever title you choose, the middle finger. Often such people, turn with grace rather and say –  Thank you! Today, my middle finger is getting a workout with moments of grace sprinkled in between.

We did make it to Croatia after a deliriously long flying day (equipped with a ten hour transatlantic flight with all three of our overhead lights stuck in the “on” position for all ten hours – sign, maybe). Croatia is wonderful. I love that country, we love that country, and we will be back.

After four nights in Croatia, we received a phone call at 3:45 am Croatia time Saturday that Susan, Tom’s sister, was in ICU. I called Susan Friday morning Oregon time to check on her because she hadn’t returned any phone calls or email. Susan sounded so terrible we asked her (commanded from over 6,000 miles away) to go to the doctor that day or go to urgent care. In her attempt to get there, someone recognized she was in dire straights.

Susan had pneumonia complicated by her COPD. They put her on a breathing machine and gave her a sedative. She did not regain consciousness after the sedative, but Susan hung on until we could get to Eugene. Some quick planning with the help of United Airlines got us to Eugene quicker than when we left Kentucky.

Susan passed away early this morning at about 1:00 am with Tom, Syd and me by her side. She never regained consciousness. But, once the condensation filled face mask was removed, Susan opened her eyes and exclaimed “Tom”.  Hopefully, she passed in peace knowing her brother was by her side.

Life has a way of whittling things down to the basics, what matters.  I, we, want all of you reading this to know how grateful we are for your love and friendship. Your love and friendship is what we need, what matters most to us.

With love, Steph Tom and Syd


November 2015 with her great niece, Emmalena

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