The battle is over

This is Laurie’s husband Alex.

It is with a very heavy heart that I must say that Laurie has lost her battle with her brain cancer. At 4:30 am on Mar 14, 2017 Laurie passed away. She fought hard for 8 months (to the day) and suffered much. She is at peace now.

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Update on Laurie

First I would like to apologize for taking so long to post an update. It has been a week and a a half since Laurie’s surgery and I have been by her side the whole time.

The pathology report came back and it was as suspected. Laurie does have cancer. The tumor was a high grade glioma multiforme blastoma. It is the most aggressive of the primary brain tumors. The surgeon told us it will come back, the oncologist told us that treatment will eventually stop working. How much time we have it not known at this time. She will be seeing a neuro oncologist on Aug 8th at the Siteman Cancer Center in St Louis, MO. The doctor specializes in this type of tumor.

The tumor affected Laurie’s right side (causing weakness and some loss of direction from her brain to arm and leg). It also affected her speech and language area. She has aphasia (difficulty in finding her words and getting them out) – both spoken and written (texting and typing included). She has been at a rehabilitation hospital since last Wed night. She gets physical, occupational, and speech therapy. She is making amazing progress. I have no idea if she will ever be able to blog again, but I know she will try her hardest to. She loves to write and she loves this blog.

Below are some pictures of Laurie’s journey so far:

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Alex – Laurie’s Husband

Prayer – Update

Laurie made it through the surgery without any complications. They removed a tumor just bigger then a golf ball. She had a good night. She has been talking, eating jello, laughing and crying. Her speech is still affected and will probably need therapy. The right side weakness showed some improvement then slid back a bit. She is still trying to sleep off the anesthesia.

We could possibly have the pathology report today. She has a long road to recovery but she is a fighter and will make it through this.

Alex

A Prayer

This is Laurie’s husband. I am writing this because Laurie is in the hospital and will be having brain surgery tomorrow (Thursday July 14th). On Monday a CT found a 3 cm mass on the left side of her brain. Over the last 2 weeks it has been affecting her speech, ability to text, write, type, and spell. It is considered an aggressive tumor because of how fast the symptoms have progressed. Yesterday weakness on the right side of her mouth showed up and has moved to her arm today.

She is a talented writer and this is devastating for her. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. We don’t know yet what type of tumor it is or what other treatments will be needed. We won’t know this until the tumor is biopsied tomorrow.

I will update this when I know more.

Thank you everyone

Alex Jackson (Laurie’s husband)

What Can I Say?

What would I say to an ex? Depends on the ex, first of all.

If it was to the first ex that I was married to for 23 years, I would say so much. It’s been nearly eight years since my divorce. He wants nothing to do with me, which is fine. Well, actually, it’s not fine. I wanted to try to maintain a civilized relationship with him because of the kids. He refuses to speak with me. I mean, there are going to be weddings and births of our grandchildren. I am going to be at the weddings as well at the births of our grand babies being born.

I have to admit that I was hurt when I found out he had filed for divorce. I did not find out, though, until after talking to a lawyer, myself. Instead of trying to work out our problems, he just went and filed for divorce. I feel that he took the easy way out. I will not go into the depths of what led to the divorce. I will say that blame lies on both sides. I realize that I am a hard person to live with. He hurt me. Therefore, I hurt him.  It took me a few years that I will never get an apology from him. I did write him a letter first apologizing for all that had happened. I received nothing in return.

Like I said, it’s been nearly eight years. If I had a chance to talk with him again, this is what I’d say.

Thank you for the 23 years we had together. They were not all bad. That in itself is evident because of our five children. Thank you for my children. Four healthy sons and a beautiful daughter. They were and still are my blessings. Yes, they were a handful but I would not have missed out on raising them.

I wish I could say thank you for helping me raise them. I can’t. You left by 5 in the morning and came back at 5:30 or 6pm at night. You’d eat supper and disappear outside to work on something or down the street helping someone. Even on weekends, you’d work overtime. Only had Sundays off. Would you work on completing renovating our home? No. Would you spend time with the kids? No. You had to be working on something all the time. You know, our middle sons idolized you. In their eyes, you could do no wrong. I never told you this but our second son asked me why you always had to work. “Why can’t Dad just spend some “fun” times with us?

I want to say thank you for teaching me that money cannot buy happiness. You always were about the almighty dollar. Our first son used to tell you that money is the root of all evil. He was right then and still right today. You worked to make money. Where did that leave you? Alone and lonely.  Still working and still making money. Are you happy? I doubt it. I truly believe that you do not know how to be happy. You were never really happy unless you were working. Sitting around nearly killed you. Relaxation was not your thing.

I want to thank you for scaring me to death when I had to drive anywhere. Then wonder why I refused to take the kids to the doctor. You scared me so bad that even today I have trouble driving period. You used to ask me what I’d do if I had car trouble. I’d call you, I told you. Would you buy me a cellphone, though? No. You said it was a waste of money. Yet, in 2016, you have a cellphone.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for divorcing me. The day I signed the papers, I felt the weight of the world come off my shoulders. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have grown in so many, many ways. I asked our daughter what she thought if we were to get back together. Her response still rings true. She said it would be a horrible mistake. She asked me why would I do that? She could tell that I was a different person. I started to laugh again. I am happy again. I am a strong, independent woman. You probably wouldn’t recognize me anymore.

You know what gets me? You dating my first cousin. That’s right FIRST cousin! How wrong is that? It is not only wrong but it is so weird! What did she do? Wave that list of to-dos in front of your face? Is that what it was? Even when we were married, you often went to help her with stuff. Did you two hook up then? No, don’t answer that. I don’t really care anymore. You two belong together because you are both so negative. Your negativity wore me out.

Thanks to the divorce, I have learned to love myself again. I have found true love. He loves me. Each and everyday I can tell he is IN love with me. He treats me with respect. We do not have money. You know, though, I could not be happier. He has accepted me for me even with all my little quirks. We laugh everyday. He has accepted my kids as his own. They even call him their step-dad.

So, goodbye, my ex. I have moved on. May you eventually have the kind of happiness you so desperately search for.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. 🙂

Laurie Jackson

Ode To A Memory

Ode To My Memory Of My Grandparents Home

I have so many memories of my grandparents’ home. It was an old two-story farmhouse out in the middle of God’s country. I spent most of my summers with my grandparents even though I could easily walk back to my parents house through the woods.

The exterior of their home was layered in asbestos and for many years the original windows. These windows were the slide up kind. Always had to be careful, though, because you never knew if the windows would come crashing down on your fingers. There was a concrete porch attached to the front door. For some reason, I want to say the original porch was made of wood. Due to wear and tear, my dad poured concrete.

In my mind, as I walk into the house through the front door, a wide long hallway meets me. Memories of sliding on sock feet come flooding back. Grandma’s voice telling me and my siblings to stop it before someone gets hurt. Of course, kids being kids, we keep on sliding until one of us is hurt.

As I walk further into the hallway, a doorway stands to my right. The door is closed as it always was growing up. Through that door is what Grandma called her front room; which meant no one is allowed in there unless company is coming. The furniture in the front room is pristine. In the center of the back wall, sits a couch covered in plastic. Black pillows with an animal face sit on either end of the couch. Against the far wall in the corner stands a massive pump organ. It has all the buttons that a person could ever want to pull out or push in. She kept the lid closed to keep our fingers off of the buttons. Once in awhile, Grandma allowed my oldest sister to play. Rarely, did Grandma play the organ but when she did, it was wonderful.  In the corner closest to the door is an oversized arm chair. The floor matches the floor to the hallway. It is wooden and dust free.

One memory I have of being in that room takes place on a Saturday night. Aunts, uncles and cousins are there. The kids are playing a game called HOT/COLD. (One person would hide an object and the rest of us had to find it.) On this particular night, the object we took turns hiding is one of those squishy Nerf type balls. My cousin keeps telling me that I am HOT. I have no luck finding the ball. I search the oversized chair that Mom is sitting in. Each time I move away from the front of the chair, I am COLD. I finally give up. Everyone is laughing because I can not find the ball. Mom reaches down and pulls the ball out of her shoe! Spending time with family is always so much fun!

Through another doorway from the front room is Grandpa and Grandma’s bedroom. There are two windows on opposite walls. There is also a door that leads to the outdoors. The floor in this room is linoleum. After years of walking on, there are little pieces missing from random squares. On the other two walls, opposite each other are clothes dressers. Situated in the center of the room are the beds. Yes, there are two single beds.

From the master bedroom, I walk into the blue room. This room used to be a bedroom but as the grandchildren grew, Grandma decided to use it as her dessert room. In here, pies and cookies and almost any type of candy can be found. Grandpa had such a sweet tooth. He loved his desserts.

Two favorite times of the year for me were Christmas and butchering. Christmas because Grandpa went overboard on candy. He’d drive to the store in Augusta and buy two large brown grocery bags overflowing with candy. His favorite kind were those gummy orange slices covered in sugar. (I ate so many of those slices at one sitting I made myself sick.)

Out of the blue room is a short hallway. To the right, walking down the hallway, is the only bathroom. Across from the bathroom is the large white door that leads back into the front hallway. Just past the bathroom, is a square box that holds the telephone. By this time, you have reached the kitchen. My favorite room in the entire house.

The kitchen is where the company preferred to be. After a huge meal of chicken, or roast beef, riced potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls made from scratch and homemade butter, fresh vegetables out of the garden, everyone was comfortable and did not want to move. Someone would make the comment about doing dishes and the men usually vanished outdoors. There was always homemade bread, jelly, jam, butter, coffee, lemonade, tea, pies, pies and more pies and cookies.

Grandma loved cooking and baking. She had an apartment size stove. Grandpa fried the chicken in the basement. His reason was to keep the mess off Grandma’s stove.

Grandma’s kitchen table held many, many meals. She taught her granddaughters (me and my sisters 🙂 ) how to cut out dress and or shirt patterns. The table could be covered with patterns, a variety of scrap materials, loose straight pins, and scissors one minute and cleared off for lunch the next.

Off the kitchen is the huge living room. Two large windows covered one wall. Identical recliner chairs sit in opposite corners off the kitchen. The television is on the far wall. Growing up, we didn’t have a television. Each Saturday night, we piled in to a truck on top of each other and drove to my grandparents’ house. It was a treat for us to be able to watch LAWRENCE WELK and HEE HAW. Grandma always had large bowls of ice cream for us to eat, as well.

The stairs that lead up to the second story are narrow. The steps are slick and worn. There are two large bedrooms on either side of the center room. The bedroom to the left is piled full of treasures. We were rarely allowed in this room. The other large bedroom is my uncle’s room.

There is no closets except one in the blue room. The ceilings are at least ten feet high. The walls are covered with bead board. The house had been in the family for at least one hundred years. My uncle was the last to pass and had left the farm to his nieces and nephews. It saddens me to this day that the family agreed to sell the farm.

The last time I was at Grandma and Grandpa’s house was right before the farm was sold. There had been a horrible thunderstorm that had left damage to the house. On this last day, I stood in the center of the yard as my tears flowed like rivers. The house that stood in front of me was not the same house I remembered as a young child. I have not been back there since then. I will always have my wonderful memories of watching television on Saturday nights and twirling around on Sunday afternoons with Grandpa. He loved his music and dancing. He and Grandma waltzed around the room with such ease. They were worth watching. Grandpa taught us not only to enjoy music but also how to appreciate it.

Thank you, Grandpa, Grandma and Unkie for all the memories of life lessons and laughter. I miss each of you so very much to this day. Each one of you hold a special place in my heart. I love you so very much!!!

I could go on and on about this particular memory but I’ll stop for now. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this.

May your day be full of blessings!

Laurie Jackson

Please feel free to visit my website. Thank you!

Smell of Fresh Cut Hay or Straw

Seeing and smelling fresh cut hay (especially alfalfa) brings back so many memories for me. Many, many summers we baled many, many hay bales. It was usually my uncle and my sisters, along with myself on the wagon. It was hard work and yes it was a pretty sweaty job. Working with my uncle, though, was always so much fun.

I did not like baling hay with my dad. He was always so crabby. Besides, he made me sit on top of the bales as the wagon was stacked full. There were some pretty scary times when we baled hay across the slope of a hill. Dad told me and my sister to sit on the higher side of the wagon. I’ll never forget what he told us. “Sit on the higher side of the wagon just in case we start to roll over.” Gee, Dad, thanks for the scare! Wouldn’t it have been easier to just let us off the wagon? Nope. Needless to say, my uncle drove super slow on that slope that day. And yes, I was praying the whole time to please do not let us tumble over!

Alfalfa hay bales were heavy but I used to be able to carry four bales at one time. Now, if I tried to do that, I’d probably croak. The smell of fresh straw bales makes me smile. Why? Well, one time my cousins from the “city of Washington” came over. They weren’t used to the country life. They decided to investigate the barn. What did they discover? Straw bales. Boy, did they cause a mess! They had busted strings off the straw bales and made a big straw pile. When I discovered what they had done, it was too late. My older brother had joined them in swinging from the rafters and jumping into the straw. It looked like fun to me. Of course I had to find out for myself. Looking back now, I wish I had not gone into the barn. After the cousins left that day, we were in trouble! Dad was furious! It was worth it, though!

Hope your day is filled with sunshine!

Laurie Jackson

Please feel free to visit my website. Thank you!

Cousin It

Hmm…this one is hard because I have so many cousins. My dad only had one brother and he never married. My grandpa and grandma both came from large families. My mom has five siblings who all had kids.

If this prompt is about first cousins, well then, we are all crazy. We all do weird and strange things. There is no one cousin that is stranger than the next. We are who we are.

We are family.

Hope your day is warm and toasty!

Laurie Jackson 🙂

Please feel free to visit my website. Thanks!