It seems like forever since my last post about winning a nice award for Abidance: A Memoir of Love and Inevitability. It was such an exciting time for Les and me.

And it has been eighteen months. It was August of 2019. We have all been through a lot since then. We can barely recognize our world. Oh, for the carefree days of Fall 2019, right?

As I have been  rereading my diary of those days, I keep thinking, “I am glad I did not know what lay ahead for all of us, and for me.”

Les fell and broke his hip on December 6, 2019. An ambulance took him to Porter Hospital to have it pinned. Since I always stayed with him, we were there until the day before Christmas. I missed the three Christmas trees we had at home, but we strung some lights in our hospital window. It was okay. And we loved getting home for Christmas Eve.

There was lots of physical therapy at home during January and February. Les was coming along well; we were encouraged. Then about the time that the COVID pandemic became obvious,  the middle of March, he began having pain and soon he couldn’t lift his leg to walk. I began transferring him to walker to wheelchair, to walker to commode, to walker to chair, etc., helping him lft and pivot each time. We went into hospice so I would have medications in the house to help him  in case his health went south during COVID, but we were afraid to allow any helpers into the house.

The pain increased; the morphine increased. Some confusion ensued. Toward the end of May,  we finally convinced hospice to send a mobile x-ray unit . Les’ hip was broken again. In fact, his femoral head had disintegrated entirely.

Now we were between a rock and a hard place. We could go on as we were, which was quickly becoming untenable. Although there were risks to surgery, there was also a finite chance to mitigate the pain and to walk again.

We chose surgery and spent sixteen days back in the hospital. (Fortunately, they had just lifted the COVID restrictions temporarily,  so I could stay with him.) We came home; the pain was gone; he could walk a little. But his 98-year-old body had gone as far as it could go. He became too weak to even stand. He just could not go any further.

Les died at 11:52 p.m. on June 25, 2020.

We had an online memorial service for him on July 25 . Our children from out of town could not come, of course. His ashes were interred at Ft. Logan National Cemetery three days later with only ten attendees, all masked and distanced.

Here are the links to his service and obituary:

Memorial service:       https://youtu.be/hAHluoUN7OU
Obituary: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vzVdx7bnf6fzCQGM4OVvvTelEXhfJxWN/view?usp=sharing

Bulletin: https://files.constantcontact.com/1fe2f3ef001/692c301f-f670-4455-a187-7922953638de.pdf

I am heartbroken.

Last Saturday night Les and I attended the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Award banquet at the Denver Field House. (I say that casually, as if we usually go somewhere on Saturday night.) It was a challenge, but between Lyft and a transport chair, we managed. We sat at a table way in the back because it was closer to the entry.

I had received a letter from CIPA that my new book, Abidance: A Memoir of Love and Inevitability, was a finalist. I did not tell Les or anyone about the possibility of an award, pretty sure mine would be minor.

The food was good; our table companions were delightful, but Les was getting tired and impatient by intermission. I begged him to stay.

Soon thereafter, Dr. Patricia Ross began to announce the awards in my most-hoped-for category, Autobiography/Biography/ Memoir:

Merit, 3rd Place, 2nd Place….

Oh, well, I thought, I’ll get something in one of the other categories.

Dr. Ross paused dramatically.Then she said, “And lst Place goes to (another dramatic pause) Abidance: A Memoir of Love and Inevitability.” What? What did she say?

As I scrambled to pull my cane from under the table and walk to the platform from the back of the room, tears filled my eyes. I had not dared to hope.

(Abidance also received 3rd Place awards in Motivational/Inspirational and Interior Design.)

Now, a week later, Les and I are still glowing. Thank you, CIPA!

And, if someone knows how to rotate images, HELP!

 

Special

I’m still excited about my new book, Abidance: A Memoir of Love and Inevitability. Lots of  amazing responses. Actually, I continue to be excited by my old books, so I have a great offer:

Any one book – $15.00

Any two books – $25.00

Any three books – $35.00

All four – $45           THESE OFFERS ONLY APPLY ON ORDERS EMAILED DIRECTLY TO LOIS

And only $3.00 shipping on any size package!!  (You send your check when you get your package, IF YOU LIKE YOUR BOOKS.)

Email TODAY. lois.hjelmstad@gmail.com

***

“This beautifully written love story inspires couples to renew their commitment to living fuller lives together. Whether you’ve been married for one year or seventy, this wonderful story will bring tears, laughter, and inspiration to your lives. A must for aging readers, which includes everyone.”

– Connie Shoemaker, author of The Good Daughter: Secrets, Life Stories, and Healing

“I truly adore Abidance. Lois has written a page-turner about two soul mates whose marriage has endured much struggle and yet have been blessed with boundless love and good times. In this day of social media and everything digital, this is a tale about something we often forget: The deep and abiding love two people can have for each other, and the life’s journey they share.”

-Fred Silverman, New York Producer

***

Again, email TODAY. lois.hjelmstad@gmail.com

You can also pick up your full price copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/Abidance-Inevitability-Lois-Tschetter-Hjelmstad/dp/0963713906

 

Love you all, Lois

Are your parents gone? Do you feel like an orphan?

A Birthday Mourning

A birthday morning—
an ocean shore, far from home
whitecaps blend
into the mist above
driftwood lies gray upon the sand
relics of places distant, days of yore

A birthday morning—
my first as an orphan,
the woman who bore me gone three years and more
the man who sired me, ashes encrypted

A birthday mourning—
for the two who gave me life

and where am I
under this threatening sky?

Who am I
and when
shall I die?

(Excerpted from The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, Moving Beyond Regret, copyright 2002 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad. See "Books" above.)

Are either/both of your parents still alive? Do you treasure them?

 

This morning I read an excellent post on the transition from patient to survivor (http://quivervoice.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/picking-up-the-pieces). How do we go about our lives during/after a bout with cancer?

Nancy's post prompted me to review what I wrote in Fine Black Lines and I'd like to share that with you. Be sure to read Nancy first!

"Several years later, thinking that I had always handled my cancer well, I reread my diaries, absolutely shocked by how much my present perception of what I had experienced differed from what I had written at the time.

"And I realized how similar I was to the women who join our support group hoping to learn how to deal with their newly diagnosed cancer. How arrogant of me to think they should be where I am now. How essential it is that each woman ultimately find her own way. How important it is that I tell my story as it really happened, not as time has softened it in my memory.

"And yet, as some come with their terror, I see myself and others shrinking from recalling our early horror, trying to convince ourselves we were different from them.

"And when others come with a strong sense of denial and a most determined bravery, I feel great sadness–seeing the cloak of innocence they wrap so carefully around them, unaware how much it has already frayed."

(Excerpted from FIne Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness, Copyright 2003, Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad. See http://ow.ly/gumLP)

 

 

 

As you and I wait for the FREE Kindle book download for The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, Moving Beyond Regret, on May 7 and 8, I'd like to share two other excerpts from that book:

http://www.loishjelmstad.com/can-you-visit-your-childhood-home

http://www.loishjelmstad.com/you-can-run-but-can-you-hide

I wrote the first part of The Last Violet while my mother lay dying in home-hospice. It was a very confusing, frustrating, haunting time. After Mother died on Mother's Day 1995, I continued to explore our relationship and my grief in an effort to better understand her – and myself. 

I would like for The Last Violet to become a way for you to explore your relationship with your mother – living or dead.   

All my love, Lois