Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thoughts of Judy

Aunt Judy's birthday was March 13. In memory of her grandma organized these thoughts of her.

Judy was easily teachable; she took any instructions seriously and tried her best to follow.  As we all would agree that “Do unto others as you would have them do unto me” is a good rule to follow, but how many of us really do that?  Example:  As we were sightseeing recently, going through a crowd of people, I was walking ahead of Judy, sort of shoving my way, and when I looked back I couldn’t see her.  She had stopped, holding the door open for others.  That’s what I should have been doing!

At Darrell’s and Charlotte’s wedding, our little ring bearer got sick down at the front amidst the beautiful ceremony, even to the point of throwing up.  My first thought was, “Oh yuk…..what’s going to happen now?”  Before I knew it, Judy was down there with a handful of tissues and tactfully, inconspiculously, escorting him backstage.  What a gal!

At Dean’s graduation from Western, we were in a heated auditorium, sitting on bleachers, when the woman behind us fainted.  Again, I was thinking…..”O dear, someone ought to do something…but what?”  Judy didn’t think twice, she was there, taking her pulse and giving instructions for someone to call 911.” 

When Josh was in high school band, Judy was Band Mom, meaning she helped oversee the band when they performed, making sure they were properly taken care of when making out-of-town appearances, etc.  I happened to be spending the weekend in Yakima when their band marched in the Ellensburg parade, prior to the rodeo.  Judy asked me (no, she TOLD me) to walk with her & the band through downtown Ellensburg.  That was difficult enough for me to do, but it so happened that a girl in the band got sick, and Judy immediately dropped out with her “patient,” telling me to go ahead with the band to the finish where you’ll all be given lunch.  What trust!

Josh tells about the time his Dad was in a car accident (hit by an irresponsible driver).  When Judy got to the scene, she went to the distraught woman who seemed to be having a rough time, to console and help her.  Don’s thinking, “What are you doing?  She’s the one who hit me!”

(Jon) A few of my favorite memories Aunt Judy are the times she saddled up her horses and let us all ride. It was great fun for us who never got the chance. I also remember one week Uncle Don and Aunt Judy were in Seattle. My Dad and I were there too attending the ATI seminar in the evenings. One day they took me salmon fishing in the sound. It was a first time for me and they made it really special. On our way home we stopped by a few fishing shops and they showed me around.
I remember her as always being very gentle and thoughtful. She tried to make the time we spent together extra special. 

I’ve traveled through the airport a few times with her when she was on a feeding tube.  Of course Airport Security makes a big thing of that.  As she goes through the archway for metal detection, she always tells them about the pack she’s carrying and the purpose.  We soon hear “Female Assist!” and she’s taken aside to be carefully checked.  Even with being wiped down with a special material and it placed through a machine that will detect radioactivity, she’s thoroughly drilled with questions.  Even a 2-page medical documentation provided by her doctor offers no help.  Standing by watching this for 20 minutes, I’m the one getting impatient with all the prodding.  I was even interrogated about hand-carrying an extra 2 cans of her nutrition.  Later, when expressing my irritation to Judy, she says, “It’s okay Mom; they’re just doing their job.”

(Dean)….Since Judy was 10 years older than me, most of my memories of her were of her being a second mom to me. I’m sure Dwaine, Darrell and I must have exasperated her at times but I don’t ever remember her “losing her cool.” I remember her liking my snakes, lizards, frogs and bugs. I never knew the satisfaction of being able to scare my sister with a snake or a spider. Once, when one of my snakes died, she was excited to be able to dissect it.  When I was a student at Western, I traveled with 2 friends to E. WA to see the total solar eclipse Feb 1979.  We stopped by to visit Judy, and although she was battling morning sickness (with Josh), you would never know it. She was so gracious and happy to have us visit her. I remember hugging her and her holding on to me, barely able to stand up, weak as she was.  I enjoyed getting to know Don as we went on hikes, played on the church softball team, and learned from him how to wrestle. But I especially enjoyed the experience of working with him in a fruit warehouse one summer and living with their family. I saw up close how they raised their children, were frugal with their money, and demonstrated such a tender love toward each other.  

I’ve never seen the amount of love poured out on a person as I did on Judy during those last days in the hospital.  Until she was kept totally sedated, she talked with visitors and there was good communication and encouragement given.  When Dr. Lee, podiatrist, for whom Judy worked 8 yrs. visited, he told her she was definitely the best nurse he’d ever had!  When the Hospice nurse came to explain the program, she cried, having worked with Judy for years.  Every card, note, or spoken message was precious, knowing how much our Judy was truly loved and appreciated.  Dr. Bracchi pushed all rules aside and allowed any number of visitors, even her 4-mo.-old Ian, to be with her.  I later was telling Dr Bracchi how much I appreciated all he’d done for her, how I’d never known a doctor to give his patient his cell phone number and insisted she call anytime, day or night….and even to offer to take her into his own home during those last days.  He looked at me and said, “She’s not my patient, she’s my friend.”  He was the first to phone the home after her death to offer condolences.  Super doctor and friend!

Her Dad and I paid very little towards her 4-year nurses training at the U.W.  She worked one summer 7 days a week, finishing at 9 p.m., driving  a Joe truck, selling ice cream bars.  For a period of time during her college years, she took care of a quadpleghic man in his home. During the first 3 years of nursing she lived at home, riding to and from the U.W. with her Dad, then during her last year, she shared an apartment with a friend near the U. and rode her bicycle to class.  She seldom asked for money. During one break, she went on a summer mission to Mangor, Maine, working with a home health nurse in a low-income area.  The night before she was to fly home I talked to her by phone, asking the normal questions as to how she was and did she have enough money with her.  She replied cheerfully, “Oh yes, I’m okay.  I’ve got .30 and I shouldn’t need to buy anything til I get home.”  When I showed some doubt, she ended up borrowing a dollar from the missionary she was with, but later said, “but I didn’t need it.”

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