Friday, October 31, 2008

Returning to our own bed

We have a few things to tie up (or clean up) here in Dayton this morning then we will be heading home. I guess I should say, our temporary home, as we too are just passing through on this Earth. The funeral was beautiful as a funeral can be. I will later share some of the details. Computer time has been very limited lately, and that's why I haven't updated. :-) I am trying to upload the slideshow album of Jerri's life, but I'm having difficulty. I will make a CD and take it to our computer and try it. Haley, Abbi, and Bekah wrote wonderful memoirs of Granny. I want to share those too, along with some other thoughts. I have a HUGE thank you list that will likely pop up as well in the next few days. If this experience is the first time you've seen our blog, I'd like to invite you to stay. We usually share the fun things in our lives. We have seen over the last two weeks how God's grace is sufficient to sustain us in tough times. As we return to the daily routine, we will continue to rely on that grace as we begin to heal. We can't thank you all enough for the ways you've stood next to us. We love you all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Evening

Dennis, Tim, & Mark went to the funeral home this morning and made some final arrangements. The viewing will be on Wednesday from 4-8 pm at Newcomer Family Funeral Home in Beavercreek. It's on Dayton-Xenia Rd. just west of Fairfield Rd. (across from the old Dunnigan's) The funeral will then be on Thursday at 10 am at the same place. Burial will be at Miami Cemetary. You can view the complete obituary at Everyone seems to be coping. We tried to do a little school today as we are already so far behind. That's okay, as what we've experienced in the last week is certainly an education. If nothing else, it's about how family and friends stick together in tough times. It seems like difficult situations bring out the best and/or worst of people. Food has been pouring in as well as offers to send it - even as far away as Nashville! We've been going through lots of pictures. The funeral home does a slide show and asked for some. They showed up with a box of them today and they sent them back home for us to do ourselves - their limit was 30. Bekah has faithfully been scanning and cropping. That is one reason why I'm just now getting the computer. Her job is about half done. Over the next few days, I will be typing some of the letters the kids have been writing to/about their Granny. They are quite touching. Tonight we're watching Monday Night Football. Go Titans! Thanks for all of your prayers!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Morning

It was a little rough yesterday afternoon and evening. We are thankful for all who were there to help clean out her room at the nursing home. In doing this, I was given a thought. There were many times when we wanted to give Jerri gifts and didn't know what to get her, as there was really not anything she needed. Many of you may have similar situations. What we discovered yesterday was that stuffed animals make lovely memories for grandchildren. She had several all over her room, and each grandchild has at least one that they have to hang on to. I remember last Christmas Holly was adamant about getting her a snowman to sit in her room. Actually, it sat out all year. She was able to take it home yesterday and we will be able to have it for many Christmases to come. I want to also thank Megan for taking the younger kids out to play while our teenagers were able to work through their emotions. Most everyone is grieving in a healthy way. There are a few than need extra grace and prayer. We were able sit down together as a family for dinner as Dennis took us out to Golden Corral last night. Tim & I spent the rest of the evening going through old pictures and Dennis and the kids got some sleep. I believe they have an appointment for Monday to make final arrangements as far as time goes. I must say, we are so thankful for Dennis & Jerri's insight as they took care of the fine details a long time ago. It makes it so much easier now. As I learn of them, I will pass them along. I don't know what today holds. We will take everything one day at a time. Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Healing is complete

Please rejoice with Jerri as she is in the arms of her Heavenly Father. She has recognized Jesus and her mind is now whole. Please pray for us as there are still rough days ahead. At 2:30 PM the Hospice nurse informed us that she was taking her final breaths. She continued to breathe those final breaths until 3:00. She was strong to the end. She passed with those who love her most gathered at her bedside. We read scripture, prayed, and sang as she entered into Heaven. I will update as soon as I know more. Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, 12:48 PM

When I created our blog several months ago, we named it "Stauffer Strong" after the Army slogan that was out at the time. We are now finding the true meaning of the word strong. Jerri is one strong lady! She has a very strong heart and continues to hold on. Dick, Carol, and Linda came by and brought some food (thank you). Maggie (Papa's wife) and her son Townsil are here as well as Connie M. and her son Jeff. They are continuing to medicate her to keep her comfortable. From the point we are at right now, I can tell that the immediate future is going to be quite difficult. We so appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, 11:22 PM

Jerri is very close. She is having some apnea breathing. This all started minutes after I returned with all the kids. We're all here along with George & Connie. Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, 6:17 AM

We arrived and Tim & Dennis were in the room. Mark went down to get some sleep in the family room. Her blood pressure has dropped a little, but no other significant change. The nurse said it was a miracle she was still living. It's all in God's timing. Daisy, the nursing home dog, is sleeping at her side on the bed. She is a precious comfort. Jessica is about to run home and get some clothes and such. Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, 5:42 AM

We made it through the night without a phone call. Jessica and I are heading to the nursing home. Kids are sound asleep. I will update when I get there.

Saturday, 12:05 AM

Jessica and I left just a little bit ago to bring the kids home to get some sleep. Mottling has moved up to her knees and they were treating her with wet towels when we left. She continues to be medicated as needed. It was a hard good-bye tonight. Dennis, Tim, & Mark remained. Tim called shortly after we got here and said he was going to retire for a few hours and they would rotate getting some sleep. I think I may do the same. Jessica and I have talked of going back up there in a few hours to be support to our husbands. Jerri is very peaceful. Several hospice nurses have said that they see two ways that people leave this earth. One group is peaceful like Jerri is, the other is very restless, or even grab for bed coverings and such. They say that those who are peaceful are Christians or are sure of their salvation, the other group is not. I am convinced that beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jerri has her name written in the book of life and she will very soon get to meet her Lord and Savior. The kids are getting irritable. I believe that some of this in part is their grief. They're not ignorant and are very aware of what is happening. Of course Haley is very clued in, whereas Madison has a slight idea of the whole situation. Then there's everything in between. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday, 7:42 PM

Jerri is declining. All immediate family are here and probably won't leave at this point. The kids are being exceptional. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, 4 PM

Still no change except the weather. It's rainy and cool here as I'm sure it is in your neck of the woods also. I've spent the day in the car. Jessica and I went to get Papa and bring him out. What an honor to serve our elder generation as they have so generously served us. I then went back to pick the kids up and bring them out. It looks now like it's about time to take him home and go get Abbi. All the men were able to shower and freshen up. Dennis left for a while to go get a haircut. Jerri looks peaceful and comfortable. April is our nurse today. She inspires us with 7 children! Thanks for your prayers.

Dick & Carol

Dick & Carol have been Dennis & Jerri's neighbors in Beavercreek for a very long time. They have been known for sharing food, tools, you name it. More than just neighbors, they're good friends. Jerri and Carol would walk together. In the early stages of Alzheimers, Carol would take Jerri to Fairfield Mall and they would walk together. This picture was taken sometime in 2007 as well.

George & Connie

George & Connie are life long friends of Dennis & Jerri. They were in each others' weddings, Jerri went to nursing school with Connie, and they've spent many summers together on vacation in Panama City Beach. I would say they're more in the "family" category than "friends." They have always been the first responders if Dennis or Jerri need anything, and they're always willing to put in long hours if needed. Our kids have called them "Uncle George" and "Aunt Connie" for a long while. They are very special to us all. This picture was taken in the summer of 07.

Eroy & Jerri

Here is a picture of Jerri and her dad, Eroy. Whenever we come to Ohio, we try to go out to get Papa and bring him to see Jerri. Sometimes the visits were emotional, but I think they were a good thing. Papa is one strong man! A WWII vet, he has survived his wife and two sons. Jerri is his remaining child, the only daughter. She did so much for him, caring for him after Ma's passing. They have a special relationship. Papa and his wife Maggie have been able to be out at the nursing home recently thanks to Deanna bringing them out there. This picture was taken in May 2007.

Friday, 7:30 AM

Jessica and I were just awaken by the phone. My first thought was, "why didn't he call my cell phone which was right by the bed!" I now know why, it was Beavercreek Schools' substitute teacher line! The kids are resting peacefully. We only had to tell them one time to go to bed and they were fast asleep. I did call Tim. There is not much change. Her respirations are increasing, blood pressure is the same. They did give her more medicine overnight. Mark is in the room, Tim was on a couch outside the room, and Dennis is in the family bedroom down the hall, so they are all close by. Since I am good and awake at this point, I will look for some pictures to post and share.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday, 10:30 PM

If I could sum up our day in one word, it would be exhaustion! I think everyone feels the same way. Dennis, Tim, & Mark remained at the nursing home tonight. Jessica and I brought the kids back to Dennis' house. This way, we are close if we need to go. If it's the middle of the night, we will just leave the kids with Haley & Bekah and allow them to rest. We were looking for something for the little girls to sleep in since they weren't prepared to spend the night. We found a few of Jerri's nightgowns. Jessica suggested to the girls to wear "grannydowns" tonight. I took their picture, but for whatever reason, I can't get the reader to accept my camera card. They look so cute! I will eventually post them. Tensions are beginning to rise with the kids, but I must say that their behavior has been exceptional considering what they've gone through in the last two days. Edna is Jerri's room mate. She has a terrible cough. I was able to help her get some water tonight and had the chance to pray with her. Shortly after he cough ceased a little and she went to sleep. Thanks again for your prayers. Goodnight!

Thursday, 7:30 PM

Our nurse, Monica, had to leave on a family emergency. Her grandson was rushed to the hospital. Please add them both to your prayers. Robert is our new nurse. He is very kind and helpful. He will be here until 8 AM tomorrow. There is still not much change. The kids have been great to this point, but they are starting to get restless. Bekah is feeling better, but Abbi has a severe headache. Immediate family and George & Connie are here. Connie brought a craft for the kids to do. I haven't seen it yet, but she knows how to take care of us. We had Cassano's for dinner. It was good, but just not what it used to be. Dennis was able to retire to a private room and get about an hour and a half of sleep. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, 1:45 PM

Jerri's respirations have decreased to 9 per minute, but she is comfortable. Dennis is getting some rest in a chair. Mark has his family here with us as well as George & Connie and Dick & Carol. Connie went and got us all some lunch. Monica is our nurse today. She is wonderful. Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, 9 AM

Tim called and said his mom was still strong. All of her vitals were unchanged from last night and the only thing bringing her down were the respirations. Dennis requested "real" coffee, so Tim brought him breakfast and coffee from McDonalds (sorry, Mark). I've made a pot and plan to bring it in the thermos. Haley and Hunter are going with me. Bekah and Holly are staying here to take care of Annie (the chocolate lab). It sure is cold here, but the Son is shining! I found another great picture. This one is of Dennis & Jerri Christmas 06. Her smile there was a rare gift, even at that time. They have been married for 44 years! Dennis is the picture of a great husband. He has faithfully taken care of her and been her advocate from the beginning.

Thursday Morning

It's almost 7:30 and Tim's heading back out to the nursing home. I will shower and follow behind. Some got a good night of sleep, others struggled. I woke at 1:30 with Bekah. She has a nervous stomach. I'm thankful that it wasn't my first diagnosis of a stomach virus. I don't know that I can deal with that right now. She has rested comfortable from about 3:00 on. Each of the kids is dealing wtih this in their own way. Some have chosen not to go back out today. We'll let them deal with it as they choose. I will update as I know more. I'm sure Dennis is exhausted. Pray for strength for him. I found a picture on his computer that was taken sometime this summer. I thought I would share it with you. From the left is Abbi, Hunter, Mason, Jerri, Bekah, & Holly. The back row is Jessica, Madison, Mark, Tim, LeAnn, & Haley.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Late Wednesday Update

We are at Dennis' house and Mark and his family went home as well. Dennis is still there with the hopsice nurse (a different one than who we had most of the day). As of 8:30 when we left, she was still hanging on. She had several visitors today. At one point, I think I counted about 30 people in the room. You should've seen the guy's face at Burger King when I ordered 30 sandwiches! We will try to get some sleep and face tomorrow as it comes. Until then, thank you for your prayers. It was through them that we were able to have ample time with her, tell her what we wanted to, and be together as a family. God is good, ALL the time.
We are still at the nursing home with no change. They have started giving her morphine for comfort.

Update #3

We made it safely at about 8:45 am, 3 hours after receiving the call. I am so proud of our children how they moved swiftly and efficiently to get us out the door. Thanks for you prayers. They are with us. Cincinnati was only slow on the KY side, but once we crossed the river, it moved smoothly. Jerri is about the same, breathing is shallow and difficult. Hospice is now with her. Our nurse is wonderful. Here are some names for your prayers: Dennis - Tim's dad. He's holding up quite well. We beat him to the nursing home as he went to school to finish lesson plans. Of course Tim and his brother Mark. Tim's grandfather, Eroy "Papa". He has lost his wife, 2 sons, and now his daughter. This is very hard on him. Jessica (Mark's wife) and I as we hold the family together. Haley, Abbi, Bekah, Hunter, Mason, Holly, & Madison as this is their first experience with a death so close in the family. George and Connie, close friends. Pray that God will be glorified in all of this and He will use this to bring all of us closer to Him and some to Him for the very first time. Jeanette - the laundry is in the dryer, no mold for us. :-) We love all of you who are reading this.

Update #2

We were called at 5:30 this morning and told to come now, so wet clothes in tow, we're on our way. If you go to CEC, the girls will not be there, please tell their teachers. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jerri update 1

We received a call this morning from Dennis that she hasn't eaten in 4/5 days and is not taking fluids. We were advised to come as quickly as conveniently possible. Mark called at dinner and confirmed we needed to come. The girls made it to school today and we're trying to work out things for tomorrow. Haley has to turn in a biology test and Bekah has Narnia auditions. We're trying to get laundry clean from our trip to Tennessee (will blog about that later) and cover all of our bases as we had several things planned over the next couple of days. I will update as we know more. We greatly appreciate your prayers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Speaking of birthdays - Val's 40th

We are so blessed to have a very special family of friends. They are like none other. And please don't think that because you're reading this and you're one of our friends that we don't value you - we do! Scott and Val have a friendship that has stood the test of time and distance. Of Val's 40 years, we've been blessed to know her over half of them and Scott even longer. Of course we would do everything in our power to attend her surprise birthday party. We got up early on a Sunday morning and fought strong winds from Hurricane Ike to make it there. Boy, was she surprised! Scott planned such a special time of remembering segments of her life and brought special people there to be a part of it. We especially enjoyed going back to their farm for a little R&R before getting back on the road. Val - you are a beautiful woman of God, wife, mother, and friend. We pray you are blessed in the many years ahead as you were in the first 40. We love you guys!

Happy Birthday!

Celebrating August birthdays. Tim, his mom (Jerri), his grandfather (Papa), and his grandfather's wife Maggie all had a special day to share. Guests outside of immediate family included Aunt Rosie, Dick & Carol, and George & Connie.

Hands on Government Lesson

From the time our children were born, we've been teaching them about our wonderful country, The United States of America. We've been teaching them about the election process and get them involved whenever possible. We learned about John McCain being in Dayton the weekend we were going to be there, so we decided to take the kids, and even our nephew too. You probably heard before we did that McCain asked Sarah Palin to be his running mate. However, it's a little more exciting to BE a part of history rather than just watch it on TV. We try to teach our children that it's important to be involved in choosing our leaders rather than just sit back and let it happen. Is it always exciting - NO! However, it's a right we have to make choices in how we want our government run. I was surprised when we were coming home from soccer practice that Haley and Bekah said they WANTED to watch the Vice Presidential debate. They didn't make it all the way through, but I'm proud of them for trying. We want our kids to be informed on both sides so that even though they can't vote yet, they will make decisions based on their own convictions and not just because "that's who my parents are voting for."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Save the Date!

Please add June 6, 2009 to your calendar. On that day Haley, Bekah, and Holly will perform in their dance recital. The theme this year is metamorphasis. I've already heard some of the music and seen some of the dances. The costumes are being ordered this month. It promises to be a breath taker. As I learn more about times, location, etc. I will post. We hope that you can come.

CEC Barn Blast 2008

I haven't had the opportunity yet to share how much we appreciate the Christian Educational Consortium where Haley and Bekah go part time, but I will go ahead and share about the fantastic fall party they put on. This year it was held at a new location, but they didn't miss a beat. The food was plentiful. Activities were everywhere including a bonfire, hayride, square dancing, corn hole, hilbilly golf, and bobbing for apples. It was wonderful to see the families of teens get together and have such a great time. In the top picture is Bekah with the blue sweater and white bow in her hair. Haley is in line for food with a gray sweatshirt and braids.

Getting Caught Up

I can't believe it's been so long since I've updated. I guess that's what happens when you start school. That has kept us quite busy. It may take a while to go back and pick everything up, so I'll start at the present and occasionally go back to a few things. I hope you enjoy.