Archive for August, 2012

Farewell to a Very Special Lady

As many of you know, my sister’s mother-in-law, Hanni, recently passed away.

Hanni was a very special lady. A lady at that. No matter where she was going she dressed up, put her make-up and jewelry on, and made sure that her nails were polished. But make no mistake about it, she was one strong lady. That strength was the reason she had such a full life.

She was born in Germany. At 11 years old, the Nazis were increasing their grip on every facet of life and it became clear that things were only going to get worse. Hanni and her parents left Berlin for Shanghai, China to escape Nazi Germany. Quite a Jewish community developed in Shanghai, some ten-thousand German Jews had similar stories.

Hanni met her future husband there. Siegfried, several years older than Hanni, had also escaped to Shanghai. They were married when Hanni was only 16 years old. They lived there for ten years before emmigrating to the United States. With nothing but each other and the strength to start again and build a new life in a new country, they built a business, a family, a home, and a property portfolio.

Hanni (center), at her 80th birthday party in 2008

She said that family is everything and I agree. We were lucky to have her in our family. We will smile when we think of all of the family celebrations and holidays that we shared, they were good times. Thanks for the memories of the celebrations and family gatherings we shared over the past twenty years. I will treasure them.

A song says, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” How true. This strong lady will be greatly missed by our family and so will her famous cheesecake.

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Back in the USA

Yes, I know it has only been three months since I was here on an emergency visit to take care of my parents. Back in March-April, my dad was in the hospital. He is on dialysis three days a week, and my mom has Parkinson’s and needs full time home care.

A couple of weeks ago my dad was back in the hospital again. After being hospitalized for the second time in two weeks I decided that they needed me to be here to take care of both of them. Realizing that they now need round-the-clock home care, I had to hire nighttime help as well as to turn the daytime part-time help into full-time.

It has been a roller coaster since we arrived in California after midnight on Friday. My dad had dialysis on Saturday. I picked him up from dialysis, but he was weak and not able to stand up on his own at home, having to use a walker. I was on my own with him and my mom on Sunday and he got worse as the day went on. I thought it was caused by the dialysis and that he just needed rest. But at 10 pm I had a horrible experience with him and was having to hold him up as he had lost all control of his body and his muscles went to Jello. I had to call 911 for the ambulance to take him back to the hospital. It was a nightmare as I had my mom to take care of too.

On Monday my sister called to tell me that they took her mother-in-law off of life support. She had been in nursing care for several months as her health declined. My sons Jonathan & Joshua & my daughter-in-law Liz all went to visit her at the hospital to say their goodbyes. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go as I had to take care of my mom while my dad was in the hospital. We attended her funeral yesterday and went back to their house for prayers. More about Hanni in my next post. We are so totally exhausted both physically and emotionally. Have not had much sleep until last night when Steve & I went to sleep at 7 pm and slept until 6 am the next morning.

I finally arranged full-time home care for my parents so I will have a little bit of a break each day. Steve has to fly back to Utah for work this week. My parent’s conditions have both worsened and I am so thankful that I am here to spend the next few weeks with them. This is my third trip to California in seven months. It was weird being at Heathrow leaving England while thousands were arriving for the Olympics.

Family is everything and my parents are more important than the Olympics. No matter how stressful and exhausting each trip here is under the circumstances, I feel that at least I have parents to come home to take care of. Thank you to all of you that have kept my parents in their thoughts and prayers. It means so to have such special friends in our lives.

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