Friday, February 17, 2012

feb. 17...time

Time...what a perfectly wonderful thing to be challenged with today.  Here is time, as in a watch:
  This watch actually belonged to my 2nd cousin Jeffrey Scott Ourednik.  He was the son of my godparents, who were 1st cousins to my mom. A couple of years ago they gave me the watch for safe keeping, so someone would remember Jeffrey after they died.  Today I felt would be a good time for my readers to hear this story and remember.

 Jeffrey was born about 2 years after me but sadly he was born with spinal bifida as well as hydrocephalus.  Initially, the doctors just wanted Patsy and Johnny to leave their son at the hospital and 'things' would just take care of themselves.  In other words, they'd just allow this infant to die.  But Patsy and Johnny were made of strong stuff and voiced loud objections to this plan and took the boy home with them.  Each visit to the doctors, they would be told he wouldn't live til 4, then 7, then 10, then not into the teens.  Each declaration came with all the physical things that would go wrong...and they all did. But the 3 of them battled each moment and made a life together.  They traveled all over American by van and saw more of this great country than I have.

Jeffrey had the sharp wit just as his dad does.  He could tell so many jokes, or turn what you innocently said into the funniest and drole-est thing ever.  We would laugh and marvel at the stamina of this Jeff.  He would have been a very tall man if he had been able to stand.    You can see what a sweet spirit resided in this physically challenged body.  Each time he became really ill, and would be hospitalized we would fear the worse and each time he overcame whatever and came home.  As I sit here now, I weep a bit with tender emotions for this incredible man...who lived...are you ready for this...UNTIL HE WAS 50.

50!  Yep, you read that right.  50!  We went to the funeral parlor for the viewing, with our kids.  I think I took Marissa and Jordan) up to the casket and we told him one of the few jokes Robert knew (what happened to Napoleon at Waterloo? He got Blown-apart) or something along those lines. We laughed and I told the kids that Jeffrey's spirit was still in the room, probably really near to us and was laughing at the stupid joke. Johnny came up and asked what we were doing.  When I told him we were telling Jeffrey one more joke for the road, Johnny replied, It wasn't a "Jeffrey Dahmer joke, was it?"  That's the kind of spirit that Jeffrey lived with his whole life.  Toward the ends of it, he often talked to my grandmother about God and heaven.  It was always touching for my grandmother to have these short conversations.

When Johnny was ill a few years ago, he said he was ready to die and he knew he'd be met by Jeffrey.  I told him that WHEN that time came and I didn't think it was yet, that Jeffrey would come RUNNING to meet him.  Then Patsy and I have had similar moments in discussing how it is now for Jeffrey.  She says 'I hope so.'  I say, 'I know so."

But that's how it is with time.  We can choose to let time just sit and wilt and die.  Or we can actually accomplish something.  It truly doesn't have to be more than ironing your husband's shirt, or making a pie  using the wonderful Pie Bird you received for Christmas.

You could make a very sad, horrible, mean moment into a productive one. All Jeffrey's life, Patsy and Johnny worked with the handicapped 'kids' at Rainbows Baby and Children and then at various 'centers' for the challenged.  And when Jeffrey died, they continued doing this work and were even awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award in Lake County, OHIO.  And they continued until Johnny had his stroke.  And yet they touched so many people and these same people who cannot get out without help stay in contact with this wonderful couple.

So what are you doing with your time? What am I?...that's the bigger question for me today.


Dawn Mercedes said...

I will be glad to see Jeffrey, and others that I know who battle problems, be healed...and running...and hopefully, running to meet me in the future too!

Lin Floyd said...

somehow I missed several of your posts. This is a touching story...and a good challenge for everyone at any age or capability.

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