Saturday, December 26, 2009

Virginia Latimer Savage


Dad and Mom ... always holding hands.


Mom loved Dieter dog! When I was young she would never have allowed a dog in the house, let alone on her bed!


This photo was taken two days before her passing ... my Mom and Dad.


My mother, Virginia Latimer Savage passed away on her favorite holiday, Christmas, beside her childhood sweetheart and husband, Gilbert Owen. What a little fighter! She courageously fought her illness for almost 4 years, never complaining, never asking for special favors or demands, always a gracious patient, worrying about others instead of herself. She always told me that I was her favorite nurse. I loved taking care of my mother. The Lord blessed me with wonderful health to be able to lift and care for her in her last days on earth. And he blessed me with a situation in life to be able to be a full-time care giver to her. I am so blessed and loved by a kind Heavenly Father.

It's been a hard few days watching her struggle with her frail, worn-out body, and trying to stay alive. She didn't want to pass to the other side. She didn't want to leave Dad. I finally told Dad that he needed to tell her that it was alright to go. So Christmas Eve afternoon he went into her bedroom and told her that she could go if she wanted to and that he would be well taken care of. I think she needed to hear her sweetheart tell her that it was fine to go.

That evening my beautiful family gathered around her bedside, sang Christmas carols to her in her sedated medicated state. She was unable to communicate with us but we could definitely tell that she could hear us and knew what was going on. Even the little grandchildren sang solos to her. It was a beautiful and reverent evening, one that I will always cherish and remember. My daughter and I sang a duet together, one that Mom had never heard us perform. We sang magnificent. And then I related Grandma's favorite Christmas experience when she was a young girl living in Metropolis, Nevada. She had just told that story about a week prior to a young Primary class who came to carol to her. It was amazing because that day she was unable to talk and when the children arrived and sang to her she became alert and communicated with them. She told how they were unable to find a Christmas tree that year and they were sad because it was Christmas Eve and they had no tree to decorate. Suddenly they heard a brushing sound against the door. Her Dad opened the door and there to their amazement was a huge sagebrush leaning against their door. Perfect ... it's a gift from heaven ... our Christmas tree. Her Dad built a stand for the sagebrush and they decorated it with gold and silver ornaments. It was beautiful. They went to bed and waited for Santa to arrive. The next morning the 'tree' was scraggly and bedraggled and made the house smell something terrible so they had to take off the ornaments and throw the tree away!

After each family member kissed and loved my mother, three of my daughters stayed behind to help care for her body. She was developing some bad bed sores and it was my evening tradition to rub lotion on her feet. So my girls tenderly helped rub olive oil on her heels, feet, legs, and arms. They even lovingly rubbed her head and spoke tender words to her. In the background there was the most beautiful music playing, Silent Night, sung by the Tabernacle Choir. It was such a reverent and sacred setting, one that I shall never forget. We prepared her for the evening, made sure that she was resting peacefully and then told her good night and that we would see her in the morning.

Christmas morning I awoke early and thought about her, wondering if I should run over and check on her, but I didn't want to wake Dad, so I waited until 7:00 a.m. As I walked out my back door, my father was coming out his back door. I asked him how Mom was and he said that she had gone. I went into her bedroom and it was such a blessed sight to see how peaceful and relaxed she was. I felt relief and happiness and joy as I kissed her little face and loved her. She was still warm to the touch so I knew that her spirit hadn't been apart from her body long. There was such a reverent feeling in the room and I knew that Mom was there watching and listening to me. I spoke to her and told her how happy I was for her. I took out the canula from her nose and had Dad turn off her oxygen machine. It was a joyous moment to take off the oxygen and throw the hose away. It had been a tether to her for almost 4 years. I said to her, "Oh Mom, look ... you don't have to wear this ole thing anymore. How wonderful!"

We called family members to let them know of her passing and made arrangements for the mortuary to come and pick up her little 70 plus pound body. Our Bishop arrived and we all surrounded Mom's little body and spoke of the reverent experience that we were having. After her body was taken to the mortuary the Bishop gave my father a beautiful blessing of peace and comfort.

What a joyous day to pass to the other side. The day that we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, we are now celebrating the birth of my mother's new life on the other side. What a joyous reunion with her parents and sister. I know that she is extremely happy and she's probably wondering why she didn't want to go sooner. I'm sure she's visiting many of her loved ones here on earth. I feel her presence as well as the surrounding comfort of the Holy Ghost. I know that he's real. I know that he's the comforter. I feel that peace. I feel that love. And I feel the love of my Saviour who answered my prayers to take my mother home.

God be with you til we meet again. Thank you for your love, concern, and prayers in my behalf.

--Linda

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Little Update

I'd like to take a few minutes to just share my thoughts and feelings this beautiful Christmas season.

As you all know my mother is getting ready to 'graduate' shortly. Many people have expressed how hard it must be to have your mother pass away around Christmas time. But I don't feel that way. Her passing is a part of life and something that we all have to go through. It doesn't matter if it's on Christmas Day. In fact, I would love it if she passed on Christmas Day. Christmas was her favorite time of year. She loved giving and receiving presents. She was like a little child on Christmas day and could hardly wait to open her gifts. And always after opening her gifts she would proudly display them in piles next to the couch so she could show everyone what she received. But, she only left them out for a short while because she always wanted to tidy up the Christmas mess and get everything straigtened again. In fact, if she had it her way, the Christmas tree would be taken down on Christmas day. She usually waited until the day after!

This year I put up her tree early. Her and Dad didn't want to bother with a tree but I lovingly brought the artificial tree up from downstairs and painstakingly hung each beautiful hand-made ornament on the tree. It really is a beautiful creation. Hand-made crocheted doilies glittered with sequins and pearls, wreaths made from canning rings, silver pinecones dusted with silver glitter and ribbon and butterflys made from Albuterol plastic vials, sprayed silver and gold and decorated with gossamer ribbon and pearls. Lovely, simply lovely! Everyone that comes into the home comments on the beautiful tree. And the best part, Mom and Dad have loved having the tree up.

Did I tell you about the mouse house? I may have but forgive me for telling you again. About 30 years ago Dad made a wooden mouse house. Mom made all of the miniatures. The house is complete with electric lights. Santa and his reindeer are on the roof. There is a miniature Christmas tree with a braided rug inside complete with fireplace and grandfather clock. All of the miniatures have been made from recycled 'things'. It's absolutely adorable. There's even a skating pond out back complete with plenty of drifted snow. The grandkids have looked forward to seeing the Mouse House every Christmas.

My dear sweet brother came up and stayed for a couple of days. It was such a relief to have him here. I was able to get some Christmas things done while he sat with the folks. I even slept better at night knowing that he was with Mom and Dad. Even though I live next door it's been extremely hard running back and forth and trying to keep up two homes. It would have been easier having them come live with me but all of the extra rooms are downstairs with no shower. That wouldn't have worked for Mom.

So what am I thinking now? It's hard watching my mother's little body waste away to almost nothing. It's hard wanting her to eat something so she can live, but she has no appetite and can't swallow. It's hard watching her not being able to swallow her life-sustaining pills. And it's hard watching her sleep all day and all night. There are so many things I still want to ask her and now it's too late. She can still respond a little bit with a nod of her head and an occasional "I love you." And it's especially hard watching my sons and daughters seeing her, probably for the last time on earth, sobbing as they take their little granny's hands and tell her that they love her.

Am I sitting here boobing all day? No. I get a little teary eyed at times but there is such a sweet, comforting presence here in the home. I know this is the Holy Ghost offering us comfort at this time. I feel the presence of loved ones who have passed on to the other side who are concerned for my well-being. I feel peaceful and at rest. I'm not sure how much longer she can survive. But in God's own time he will take her home. The other day I asked her if she was ready to give up her worn-out body and go home to see her parents and her sister. I said, "Won't that be soooo exciting to see your Mom and Dad and Barbara?" She said, "Not really!" I'll tell you, she's a fighter. She's fought to live for almost 4 years. She's really fought a battle with her illness. She was first diagnosed with lung cancer and then the mass strangely disappeared. However, she does have chronic pulminary disease and it's been such a struggle for her.

My poor Dad. That's the hardest part. He wanders around the house, going from the TV room, to the jigsaw puzzle, to the crossword puzzle, back to check on Mom, then back to the cupboard for a snack. He just doesn't know what to do to help. He hates to see her suffer too. And I know that he's going to miss her so much. My sis in Montana wants to take him after Mom passes. He will love being with her. He's a Montana boy and she lives on a big ranch and he will love being there.

So, what next? Sorry I haven't gotten the cookbook done before Christmas. I'll work on it after the funeral. I've got a LOT of speaking engagements lined up for next year and I can't wait to see you. I've also gotten a wonderful job offer. In fact they want me so bad they have hired temps to fill in until the passing of Mom so I can begin work. I'll tell you more about the job as I know more as to what I will be doing. You're going to love the mission of the organization, I promise!

Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Love to you all!

Linda

Monday, December 14, 2009

What's Wrong With Me????

I have sooo much to tell you and not a whole lot of time to share all of my experiences these past few days. But I'll get to one of the funniest stories. At least I can laugh at myself ... and you will too, I promise!

So ... my neighborhood grocery store put in the cutest kitchen area with all kinds of gadgets and gizmos, which I am a sucker for. I needed new salt and pepper shakers and I saw the cutest ones that I just had to buy. Hmmm ... should I get red ones or gold ones to match my kitchen? Then I thought to myself. "How am I going to tell the salt and pepper apart if I buy the same color lids? I know ... I'll buy one lid Red and put the pepper in it so everyone knows that Red means hot and that has the pepper in it. And the Gold will mean salt because the color is more soothing. So I purchased the salt and pepper shakers ... one Red lid and one Gold lid ... problem solved.

Got home ... filled my cute salt and pepper shakers and set them on the table. Later that night we were eating dinner and I looked at the shakers and then it hit me .... DUH ... the shakers have a clear bottle and you can see which one is salt and which one is pepper! I even admitted my dumbness to my husband who just sat there and laughed! Now every time I use those salt shakers I think of my creative reasoning and laugh!
On to more news. Reese graduated from the Army's Advanced Training as a Crew Chief for the Apache Helicopter. We're so proud of him. It wasn't an easy feat, but he made it. He was even given a special certificate for leadership. And he earned his wings. They call them the 'bloody wings' because when the officers pin them on their chest they don't put the little stopper on the back of the pin. Later they slap the soldiers on the chest where the wings are and the pins push into their chest. Hence .... bloody wings! Someone did it to him, but it didn't puncture his chest. Strong muscles, I guess! He looks great and it's great having him home.

This is where he worked in the hangar on his 'bird'.


He loved his trainer!


Now for some sad news. A very good friend and cousin of mine was just diagnosed with stomach cancer which has spread to his liver. We had an apostle who came to our Stake Conference yesterday to speak. He had met with our friend prior to the meeting at which time he gave him a priesthood blessing. How very special to have an apostle of the Lord lay his hands on his head and give him the strength to endure what he has to go through in this life! As Elder Hales, the apostle, got up to speak, he asked our friend to come up to the pulpit and share his experience. He gave the most beautiful testimony and there wasn't a dry eye in the room. I felt the spirt so strong and knew that he will have the strength to endure the trials which has been placed upon him and his family. Our prayers are with you, Jim and Sandra! We love you!!!

Mom has slipped rapidly in her health. I'm hoping that those on the other side of the veil are getting her mansion prepared fast so she can slip peacefully away. It's so difficult watching her struggling for air. She can't talk much anymore and doesn't eat. I've kept her in a pretty medicated state to ease her suffering. It's just hard to watch your loved ones struggle. I wanted her to wait until after Christmas to die, but now I'm praying that she can go quickly. Thank you for all of your prayers in our behalf. I know that's what's kept me going and being able to endure this. My health has been wonderful and I've had strength beyond measure. The Lord has really blessed me abundantly and I'm so grateful to Him.

Let me share some words that gave me much comfort the other day. I was cleaning out 'stuff' and ran across something that Laurel had given me.

"What a wonderful thing is death, really, when all is said and done. It is the great reliever. It is a majestic, quiet passing on from this life to another life, a better life. We go to a place where we will not suffer as we have suffered here, but where we will continue to grow, accumulating knowledge and developing and being useful under the plan of the Almightly made possible through the atonement of the Son of God."

And one last thing ... TAH DAH ... I weighed in at 166 this morning. I'm down 91 pounds in 5 1/2 months! It's amazing!!! Only about 21 more pounds to go before I hit goal. My original goal was 160, but the Dr. said I'll probably get to 140 or 145. That will be a great weight for me. Don't think I've weighed that little since I was 15 years old.

Be good and don't drink out of any strange toilet bowles! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Giant Paper Snowflakes


O.K. ... so now I understand how crafting can help relieve stress and strain on the body. Since Mom has been doing so poorly these past few days, I've spent my alone time doing crafting. It helps get my mind off her pain and suffering. She's enjoyed watching me make these darling giant paper snowflakes which are hanging in her home and mine. And Addy and I even made some in different sizes for her bedroom. I'll post the tutorial, if I can figure out how, as well as some beautiful pictures of the creations. They're so easy to make and you'll enjoy making them not only for yourself but for your kids and grandkids.

My darling girl friend, who is the owner of eWillow is offering an incredible special. Here is the information.

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So ... I can't figure out how to post a word doc. to blogger. Anyone know how to do it? If you want the instructions, e-mail me at sumatragal@gmail.com and I'll send.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Awesome Day!

It was an awesome day today. I should have been decorating and cleaning the house for Christmas but I was having too much fun designing another project for UStamp with Dawn and Friends. It really turned out cute. Only one problem ... I set the project on the couch and ran to the store for a few minutes and when I came home, Dieter had destroyed the nylon flower that I had made and attached to the project, as well as eaten three of the pearls that were in the center of the flower. Holy Cow ... he's never done that before. I was certainly surprised. Oh well ... when he goes poop in the morning, hopefully he'll have a few pearls with it. Eewww ... that was gross! Sorry!

Cleaning the temple last night was one of the neatest experiences I've had. We dusted and vacuumed everything. There was a cleaning crew of about 20 in our group. We finished at midnight and got home around 12:45 a.m. and got to bed at 2:00 a.m. I was too wound up to sleep so worked on a cross word puzzle, read, and watched The Celtic Women sing on TV. Man, are they ever good! They're coming to Utah in May, I think, and I want to go hear them perform. I'd never heard of them until last night while watching a PBS show. Beautiful girls with beautiful voices and harmony.

It was such a beautiful sunny day today, but oh so very cold. I'm talking bone chillin' cold. I've got to decorate my porch tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to being out in the cold. I've got the heating pad on and tucked in my bed to warm up the covers while Lynn's away. Well, time for bed. Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Best Ever Pizza Pie!

O.K. ... so here's the recipe that my sister, Sylvia, shared with me. I think it's the best homemade pizza I've ever had. Try it and then share your comments on what you think. If it's not ... then you need to share YOUR recipe for your best homemade pizza! Deal? Deal!!

Sauce:

Saute one clove garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil

Add:

1 can tomato sauce, and one small can tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
Simmer for 20 minutes.

Crust:
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup non fat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package yeast or 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for the crust

You will need additional oil for the top of the crusts ...1/3 cup of oil, per pizza. This recipe makes 3 pizzas. The oil is what gives it the crisp texture.

Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in a large bowl. Add water. Stir to mix well. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Stir again. Add flour and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed. (I did this in my bread mixer and it worked great!) Turn out on to a flat surgace and kenwad for about 10 minutes. Divide dough into 3 balls. In three 9" cake pans, put 1/3 cup oil in each ... making sure to spread it evenly. Pat dough into the oil and the pan, spreading it to the ends of the pan. There is a ton of oil, but it's supposed to be that way. Place in a warm place. Cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spoon the sauce over pizzas. Put 1 1/2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese on sauce, and top with favorite toppings.

Bake until chees is melted and the crust is golden brown. (this doesn't take long at all so watch your pizzas like a hawk!)

For chicken garlic pizza, instead of the red sauce, use 1/3 cup Ranch dressing with 1 clove garlice. Top with chopped, cooked chicken.

Enjoy -- and remember ... if you don't think this is the best pizza, then submit your recipe ... we'll give it a try and then we'll vote on yours!

I'm getting ready to go do my visiting teaching. I've got a loaf of warm, fresh, homemade wheat bread just out of the oven to give to my little gal. Then I'm going to the Salt Lake temple at 9:00 p.m. this evening to help clean. We'll be there until midnight. I'm really excited for this opportunity. I'll get to see places I've never been in, in the Salt Lake temple. How exciting. I'll let you know what I had to clean on tomorrow's post.

Have a wonderful evening!