25 February 2009

My Worst Fear Realized - My Mom is Gone, too! - Glady

My Mom had just turned 90 on Saturday, January 10. Her only baby sister, Betty, was taken to hospital on Monday, January 12. Pete came home from the hospital the same day!

On January 13, my beautiful, fun and super-talented Mommy died. She had a fainting spell. So, we gathered up her regular hospital stuff (books, puzzles, hearing aids, etc.) and we were off with the 911 paramedic crew. She died in the the Emergency Room at Mon Valley Hospital. She had CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) and was in and out of the hospital for tune-ups. We thought this was just another one! It wasn't. How awful. I was devastated - numb - what was happening?

Hardly anyone could believe it - especially me. I should have never spoken aloud my fears, lest they come true - they did.

Another funeral (thanks, Mary Beth!), more people helping. I am still dazed - I haven't even written my thank-you notes yet. But, I will. I promise.

My Mom was the most intelligent person I knew. She was a tough cookie. As Father Michael said in her eulogy, she was "a force to be reckoned with." Everyone laughed because it was absolutely true.

Never was a story told as artfully as when Glady told one. Never was a day more fun than gallivanting with her on shopping trips, sight-seeing, or just visiting. She went on many of my business trips with me in my other (corporate) life and we had such a blast - even went to Mexico and Disneyland, DC and more.

There is way too much for me to write about my beloved Mom and Dad. They were the best friends any kid could want. I was an adopted only child who loved being theirs, never for a minute did I doubt my essence because of the great life they gave me.

During this time, Pete's pneumonia was back and he had to go back to the hospital, Aunt Betty had more traumas (but she's back!) and life went on. Omar had to be rushed to the hospital, too - he's an old cat-man and is diabetic. All this upheaval resulted in low blood sugar. Thanks to Dr. Bebko at the Cat Clinic, I knew what to do - but didn't have time to get there...so the good folks at Valley Vets helped save his life - even made special arrangements for me because of Mommy's funeral.

So, if you've wondered why we're a bit discombobulated at times here at SilverCrow, you now know why. Tyler went back to college. His buddy, Tanner, is now our after-school buddy, and, as always, Valerie is here for us. What would we do without all the wonderful people?

We're almost back to normal. Pete is back up to speed. Omar is well and Dolly is a Dalmatian, so, she's a bit crazy.

Trying-er Times - Hospitals & Turbo & Dolly

The day after Daddy's funeral viewing, Pete was in the hospital. Then - right after my Dad's burial, my Mom, Gladys Balmer Schempp, was rushed to the hospital - probably due to all the stress. That was Friday. On Sunday, 21 December 2009 we had to put our dear Turbo to sleep. See the details in an earlier post.

So, Dolly, came to stay with Omar & me. And, my cousin, Valerie, and my new friend, Tyler, helped me get through the Christmas rush (and after-Christmas rush) of SilverCrow orders. We made a few mistakes, but, thanks to them, we held it together.

After a few weeks, we were able to find someone to rent my parents' home and Dolly and my Mom moved over here with us. Except, the bad news was that Pete was still in the hospital!

We settled in nicely and I sure loved having my Mom here because she's a night owl, too.

Trying Times - First my Daddy - Billy

My biggest fear was to lose both my parents and my dog in the same month. And, unfortunately, that's exactly what happened.

My Mom, Pete & I were about to bake our Christmas cookies - they are very special and we hadn't baked them for years! We had already made the dough and were just going to roll them and bake.

My Mom called and said, "You'd better get over here, Daddy's not breathing." We ran over - after coaxing Turbo back indoors, and she was almost right. He had a very slight breath. I leaned over to kiss him and a tiny tear slipped from his right eye and he was gone. We had already called 911 and a ton of young and older firemen and paramedics arrived. Daddy was a firefighter for over 60 years and well respected and loved. Lucky me, I get the spill-over from him and his friends take care of me, too!

It was like a dream, one of my best friends was gone! At once I was sad and comforted that he was over his suffering - he had lots of stuff wrong at the end. But he looked so peaceful with a little grin (as usual), and all his boys and his family around him.

There was a wonderful funeral with a parade of fire trucks (including his own).

There was a gentleman playing Amazing Grace on his bagpipes and a ton of people even came to the graveside service.

For the last year or so of his life, Daddy used a walker - which he hated - and which he refused to use properly - always leaning back and wobbly saying, "I'm going down!" - but he rarely did. At the graveside, much to Mary Beth's dismay, his urn tumbled down and the whole crowd laughed - how he would have chuckled himself. Mary Beth, director of Rabe's Funeral Home in Donora, did a wonderful job. My Mom and I would have never made it through without her and her wonderful son, Tyler.

My Dad, Karl William Schempp, Jr., was a World War II Calvary veteran and he was the last surviving rescue worker from the infamous Donora Smog, which led to the creation of the EPA and has given way to clean air worldwide. He has been interviewed by the BBC, CNN and has been quoted in the Smithsonian magazine and more.

In the meantime, Pete had to be rushed to the hospital for pneumonia - he was sick and in and out of the hospital for over 2 months! Finally, he's feeling better just now!

24 February 2009

Turbo Update

There is no easy way of saying this, but we lost our darling boy, Turbo, on 21 December 2009.

For a look at Turbo's (aka Rooftop Ringo) racing history, click here Greyhound-Data.com. It traces his genaeology back for centuries and shows a few of our favorite pictures of him.

We didn't really think he had a big problem - he was a bit listless, but we attributed this to his missing Annie's Dad, who died at 91 only 1 week earlier on 14 December 2009.

It wasn't Turbo's cancer, though, it was something unrelated in his spleen. The wonderful doctors at Valley Vets in Belle Vernon, PA, AVETS in Monroeville, PA and at the Ohio State Veterinary Hospital did all they could. They could have operated on him, but he would only have had a few months left after that - and he didn't have any more cancer!

Bill, Annie's Dad, is probably letting him eat chocolate cake up there in dog heaven. Bill would rather be there than in people heaven.