A simple act of kindness is contagious....Great little story

Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the
luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned
seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm
glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will
get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off,
a line of soldiers came down the aisle and
filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding
me. I decided to start a conversation.
'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to
me. 'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training,
and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was
made that sack lunches were available for five
dollars. It would be several hours before we
reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch
would help pass the time...

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if
he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems
like a lot of money for just a sack lunch.
Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks.
I'll wait till we get to base.'
His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers.
None were buying lunch. I walked
to the back of the plane and handed the flight
attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those
soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly.
Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me.
'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you
are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the
soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and
asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or
chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied,
wondering why she asked. She turned and went to
the front of plane, returning a minute later
with a dinner plate from first class.
'This is your thanks.'

After we finished
eating, I went again to the back of the plane,
heading for the rest room. A man stopped me.
'I saw what you did. I want to be
part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me
twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the
Flight Captain coming down
the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he
walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but
noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my
side of the plane. When he got to my row he
stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I
want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my
seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand.
With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier
and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought
me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never
forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was
heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the
front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A
man who was seated about six rows in front of me
reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He
left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.
When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane.
Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man
who stopped me, put something in my shirt
pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a
word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the
terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their
trip to the base. I walked over to
them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It
will take you some time to reach the base.
It will be about time for a sandwich.
God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and
respect of their fellow travelers.
As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe
return. These soldiers were giving their all for
our country. I could only give them a couple of meals.
It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank
check made payable to The United States of America
for an amount of up to and including my life.

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country
who no longer understand it.'
what we shared

“ it's not about what we lost -
it's about what we shared,
and were lucky enough to hold
for a bit.
it's not about me losing you -
it's about the fact that I'll
always love you. ”

~terri st. cloud


How "normal" is "normal"?

(easter 2009)

Today, I went to Easter brunch at my Nieces' house...a "normal" thing that we do for every holiday...brunch...but it was not normal today...it was really the first family gathering that Michael was not attending...Some 20 years ago, my sister made Michael an Easter tie...he wore it every year...so, this morning I found a white shirt that I could wear the tie with...I thought it would help make things a little "normal"...but it just made me sadder...I went through the motions of being there...curled up in the arms of my wonderful son...but all I really wanted to do was come home....

So just how normal is normal???

Gently I hold myself...softly...knowing that it does not have to happen today...not even tomorrow...and it may very well take a very long time for me to find my "normal" and I have no idea what that might be...

So for today...I am as normal as normal can be at the moment...


4 hours...

I spent the afternoon with the little love yesterday...It shocked some people that
I could or would want to spend that much time watching him...but it felt right...it felt natural...it felt normal. My little love gave me many loving moments...a few tears...but a great deal of insight for someone who is only 6 years old...
When he came into the house he saw a baseball hat that belonged to Michael...Is that Papa's hat? he asked...Yes, I said...Can I have that?...Of course I said...We adjusted the back to the smallest possible level and placed it on his head...a grin went from ear to ear...It fits he said...And I said Yes...Yes it does!...Later in the day he was playing with some cars and one went under the stove...we pulled out Papa's big flash light and the yard stick and got it out from there...but the flash light brought him a memory of how they would play "monster hunting" and he wanted to do that...Off went all the lights in the basement and we crept down the stairs...and he said...Oh Moma we need the hard hats (plastic hats with miners lights on them which Michael had bought for the two of them)...He dug them out of the toy box and placed the first one one his head...to big, that was Papa's...got out the second one and was smiling as he turned on the light to discover it worked...He looked at Papa's hat, and placed it back in the box...took off his hat...and looked at me as I wiped a tear and said...You know, lets go back up stairs Moma and play something else! Driving in the car, he was telling me how many grandparents he had...(coming from an extended family) he named them all...well, that was except me...So I said, well, I am your grandparent too...and he said...No you aren't...you are my MOMA!
As the day went on there were many wonderful memories of things we did together...and things he did with Papa...and then he said...Moma, where is Papa's chair?...(this took him all day) I said...Papa took it with him..He thought about it for a moment and said...that's good, because you really can't stand very long...I think Papa is sitting in his chair with Hensley (a cat that passed when he was 3 years old)and he is watching football on TV...He is watching the Cleveland Brown's (he was a life long fan)and he went over and placed the baseball hat on his head...the one he got the first thing in the morning...because it was a Cleveland Brown logo hat...and we sat on the sofa....snuggling....
It was a beautiful afternoon...
I am not sure what today will bring...but I am hoping...a little memory...a little bit of tears...and a lot of love...
There is always something, patricia, to be happy about. Truly happy.

And if you have the audacity to find it and the courage to make it your focus, in spite of the countless temptations to do otherwise, you will have learned well, your life will be transformed, and all things will be added unto you.

"End" game,
The Universe


Please light a candle...

Please light a candle tomorrow for Michael from 4 to 7 to celebrate his life.

Mosca, Michael III (M Squared)

Chili: 5-26-49 - 4-15-11. Michael passed peacefully after a long and courageous battle with Lymphoma, with his bride of 26 years, Patricia (King) by his side. He is predeceased by his father, Michael Mosca Jr. He leaves behind his mother, Frances (Krukowski), loving sisters; Marlene (Joe) Butera and Sarah Dilal; nieces, Lisa and Donna; nephew, Nick. Along with step children Lea Rizzo and Jason Rizzo; beloved grandson, Collin John O'Malley; mother-in-law, Jeanne King; sister-in-law, Nancy (Kenny) Jones and brother-in-law; Robert (Shirley) King and their families. He will be greatly missed by many for his wonderful sense of humor, his strong ties fo family and friends, and for being a life long Cleveland Browns Fan.

The family wishes to thank, Drs. Vlad and Woodlock, along with the entire staff at Unity Health Ambulatory Infusion Center who worked diligently with Michael.

Acknowledgements to Dr. Rebecca Drayer, for all her tireless efforts, along with gratitude to the Veterans Medical Center teams both of Rochester and of Canandaigua, who worked so closely and respectfully with us. A heart felt thank you to Chris Jones, who guided us gently and lovingly.

Please join us to CELEBRATE Michael's life on Thursday, April 21, 2011, from 4 pm to 7 pm at: New Comer Funeral Home, 2636 Ridgeway Avenue, Rochester, New York 14626. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Veteran's Outreach Center, 459 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620. To share a special memory of Michael with the family, please visit:


The house is quiet tonight...this is the first night that I am alone in the house with only the kitties...Michael's beloved chair has been removed from the living room and taken away...He lived most of this last year in that chair...I curled up along side him wrapping myself around him as he took his last breath in that chair...And tonight I miss the comfort of that chair...but I know that seeing it empty would not suit me...I cleaned...I dusted and washed and moved furniture...because that is what I do when I am sad...the room is different now...the look is different...the placement of the remaining furniture is different...the smell is different because I could open up a window and let the cold air fill the room instead of having the heat on...
The house is quiet tonight...I am alone...and can't quite see past the writing on this machine...I am numb...I sometimes do not remember how I got from point A to point B...Did I eat?...People have been around me to make sure I did...but tonight I wanted to be here alone...or did I? It seems that everything is bitter sweet...and tonight...I am here alone for the first time with only the kitties..
I give you this
thought to keep..
I am with you still...
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds
that blow,
I am the diamond glints
on snow,
I am the sunlight on
ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the
morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting
rush of quiet birds in
circled flight.
I am the soft stars that
shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone...
I am with you still
in each new dawn.

Michael passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 15, 2011 at 1:35 A.M. After a courageous battle with Lymphoma.


Looking for peace...

The journey of dying for Michael is becoming a difficult one...Yesterday, he did not wake at all during the
day, but became restless during the evening...calling out things loudly and in repetition ...but after giving him
some meds to calm him down...he slept through the night....I have taken to sleeping on the sofa, but last
night I just had to sleep in my bed...getting 3 hours sleep before waking and going down stairs to check on him
before coming back upstairs for another 3 hours....
This morning, he was really restless....yelling out..."let me go" in succession 8 times...I assured him it was OK
to go while stroking his hand...assured him that we will all miss him, that he was loved and that all would be
fine here...he calmed down, he stopped shaking and he relaxed...I believe he is looking for peace...We are hanging on...

The Vigil...

As death gets closer, many signs of the body shutting down happen....

* he is sleeping all the time
* little to no urine
* no food intake...and very little water
* cooling of the skin
* a purple coloring of the skin

This is a time when one realizes they are not in control of the dying process...but death is near, even though
one can not answer with certainty when...During this vigil, I watch...I comfort...I wait...
Like birth, death comes in its own way, at its own time...

Rough day...

It took a great deal of energy to get Michael up the 13 stairs to the bathroom to take a bath...I had the water
ready, (he cannot take a shower because of the pick line) anyhow...once upstairs we got him into the tub...
washed and then it dawned on me....I have to get him out of the tub...He has little strength in his legs...so we
waited till the water was drained and then it took some maneuvering but we got him standing...then one leg at
a time over the edge of the tub...dressed and then we had to get down the 13 stairs...well...I will say without
contradiction....that is the last bath....we will now be doing washings in the kitchen on a chair by the sink...
I can't do that anymore....I do not have the strength...what if he falls down the stairs????  He has already fallen in the kitchen...and now once in the powder room....his legs just give out....I have a walker coming tomorrow so I am hoping that will help....

Would I recommend dying at home to anyone???????   NO!  This is very difficult on the caregiver...they play
a role of being responsible for the patient instead of being able to just be loving with them...Maybe if he was
bedridden and in a hospital bed that would be different....but he has many moments of being right here...open
loving and humorous...other moments...he is far far away....

Today...I received the warmth of a blanket to wrap myself up in when I am feeling the need for a huge hug...
THANK YOU MARY!  You saved me today!  And thank you to ALL who have sent cards and loving wishes they have touched my heart...

Another day...

Again it was another emotional day...thank the good lord I have a very good friend who works for Hospice and was by my side when Michael's hospice nurse came....because another thing has been added to my plate of flushing his pick line EVERY DAY!  Why not just push me off the edge!!!!  But, my friend stepped in and said she would be here to do that for me....as it stands at the moment he will probably not be getting the IV fluid as his feet and hands are beginning to swell which means he is retaining fluid...his kidneys are slowly shutting down as is his liver (he is getting very yellow)

At moments he is so talkative that it almost appears like a normal day...and right in mid sentence he just zones completely out or he falls asleep...he repeats himself a lot and gets a bit testy if you ask him a question that he thinks he has already answered...you have to remember NOT to take it personally....it is the combination of drugs and the lymphoma taking him from me....

I read a book within the last 24 hours: From Hiccups to Hospice by Betty Garrett, this is probably the most information I have received in an honest and direct form from a caregivers view...and it has brought me peace in a great many ways along with information I needed to have that no one seems to want to give to me...
One of the things that is in the book is a list of things you can do for the caregiver instead of asking them what it is that they would like you to do....when this question of : What can I do for you? is presented to me, I always say...I can't think of anything....but this list that Betty has takes the guess work out of what someone can do for a caregiver that they might not think of....

1. Sit with them
2. Bring some groceries for them
3. Cook meals that you can freeze and bring to them
4. Send cards and notes to say HELLO...thinking of YOU...
5. Give them gift cards
6. Send them a pizza
7.Offer to call friends or family members to give them updates
8. Send a fruit basket or fresh flowers
9. Talk about some UPBEAT things
10. Send a book or magazine to them...GIVE THEM BETTY"S BOOK!!!!!!!(if the patient is terminal)

These are just a few...but they are things one can do without asking the caregiver...What can I do for you?
For all who venture here....thank you for not asking....and for just doing!  You all have given me so much less to think about....Blessings!

Long Day...

It was a long day....
Hospice came and re-evaluated Michael and he is now signed up for Enriched Care...which means if he is strong
enough to go into the clinic he can get his blood and platelet transfusions....if he is not able to do that than hospice can come and give him IV fluids ONLY....but here is the kicker!!  Guess who has to learn to set up the IV...flush the pick line...administer the fluids and flush the pick line again....OH GO AHEAD TAKE A WILD GUESS!!!!!!!!! 
That's right....you win the jackpot...that would be little ole ME! Can you tell that I am thrilled beyond belief that I get to do this...that I get to have one more thing on my plate to be responsible for....I thought that is what hospice was for....but NO....when you decide to pass away at home....it goes to the caregiver as a responsibility...
BUT they will teach me how to do it...now mind you they will bring someone in to bathe him (which is something I can actually do) but they would leave a medical procedure for me to do....Now really...does that make sense??????
Can you tell I am thrilled???
I know I have gone through this before with not wanting to give him shots in the stomach but learning how to do it...and I handled that...but I never did like it....and I will get through this also, but I am tired...I am upset...
I am somewhat depressed (I admit that!) and they are handing this to me on top of all of it...PHEW!
It made me think of all the other care givers who have to do this....especially older than me caregivers...my heart goes out to them...
Things will look better in the morning...

They Say...

That we go through stages before we die....that the body begins to prepare itself when dealing with death...that it begins to rest more...that breathing is irregular...and that one might begin to see their life as a movie...that some people when doing this ask for forgiveness...some forgive others...some want to say good bye to special friends and family members...and make sure all final arrangements are in place....
I never thought much about most of this....but I know that some of it happens because when I was care giving for my father in his final weeks he did a lot of the practical things...taking care of funeral arrangements...getting all documents in order....telling me where to find important papers....but like most things these are not the things I remember about my father...but rather I remember a strong and loving man who adored me.
I am now watching my husband as his body gets his soul ready for departure...and I have witnessed him asking for forgiveness....giving forgiveness...saying good bye to friends and family...making sure that everything is in order....and to my surprise and amazement....listening as he wakes from a 5 minute nap to tell me a story about his childhood that he just relived...or when he was on the winning team in high school that won the City Championship....I watch as he smiles in his sleep now....knowing that he is reliving something wonderful...something that brings joy to his heart....and I know that he will go peacefully when it is time...till then I hold his hand...I wipe his brow....I give him water to sip...change his clothers...and take care of him the best that I can....


Michael's family is coming over this morning....this is a difficult thing as he has kept them in the dark about how sick he is...How can that be?....In 2008 when he first was in ICU they knew he was sick (he has 2 sisters one is 14 years older than him the other is 12 years older)  Anyhow, once he started chemo and went into partial remission that is the last thing that he told them...partial remission...doing good he would say when he talked to them on the phone each week....things are great he would say....over the past 2 years he has made excuses not to get together when asked to go out to dinner....So, here we are...toward the end and they are coming over this morning....I tried to gently tell them on the phone when I made these arrangements that he was not doing good and had not been doing good for a while now, but it was his wish not to worry them....and I respected that wish.  I went and bought two heart necklaces yesterday that he will give them today as a symbol that he will always be with them....But, this will be a difficult morning for all of us...

Opening my soul..

It has been an extremely rough couple of weeks...There have been blood transfusions, platelet transfusions,
IV fluid almost every day...There has been a CT scan and a Bone Marrow Biopsy.  But, the last few days have
been the hardest for me...Michael has asked me to do a great deal of things for him...the funeral home has been called, Hospice is getting into place, Friends and Family that he wishes to talk to have been called and arrangements have been made for their visits, final wishes have been written down, and he even wanted to dictate his Obituary to me.....He is still hanging on...still manages to smile and crack quite a few really off colored jokes about death...(actually they are quite funny and keep us together) We have lived our lives with humor, especially during the difficult times...life is just to short not to laugh in the face of problems...
The bone marrow biopsy showed that the lymphoma is now in 92% of his bone marrow, which is why the blood is not making all the proper cells...which is why his heart rate is 124 instead of 80...which is why he sleeps 20 hours a day....His body is beginning to shut down...he eats very little and sleeps a lot.
But we are hanging on....and we have TODAY!