As the days progressed, we established a routine, but things were getting harder. Still, we had some great days, we even had a lot of fun. 

One of the blessings during these days was Donna, a retired nurse who came to help us. Fu did not think we needed much help. I was praying, asking God to show me how to handle the coming days and weeks. A very good friend, a retired doctor, had been coming by weekly just to check on us. He called one night and said Sunday afternoon he was bringing someone over for us to meet. That is how we met Donna. 

We all sat together in the den exchanging small talk. I suddenly realized this was a job interview. Dr. Greer’s sweet wife had passed away about two years earlier and Donna had helped them. They knew each other from many years working together at one of the area hospitals. 

The good doctor stood up, signaling that they were ready to leave. He said Donna could be here Monday morning at about 8:30. They left, and that is how Donna was hired. She quickly became so much more. She was a blessing.

Idleness has never been a part of Donna’s life. She threw herself at helping us, from cooking, to cleaning house, to doing the laundry, to helping me with the personal task of taking care of Fu. I had found my own way to do certain things. She showed me better ways to do everything. 

At first Fu did not like having a person in the house nearly every day. But Donna’s sweet, Christ-like spirit and her servant’s heart quickly won Fu over. Our children and grandchildren came to love Donna.

One day our middle son, Dan, a college professor, was visiting. I needed to run some errands, so I left Fu in Dan and Donna’s care. I had put a bird feeder out near the patio so Fu could see the birds. We also put corn feed out in the yard, attracting at times seven or eight deer.  Fu loved seeing the birds and the deer.

But the squirrels were a nuisance, using Olympic-like acrobatic tricks to steal the food from the bird feeder. Fu wanted me to do something about the squirrels, but I didn’t know what to do.

I returned from my errands and carried a large bag of corn feed to the back yard. When I came around the corner of the house, I could not believe what I was seeing. 

To my utter surprise there was Fu in her wheelchair, wrapped in blankets and wearing Dan’s coat with the hood up, sitting in her greenhouse with a BB gun across her lap. She was laughing so hard I thought she was going to drop the gun. Dan was in there too, laughing with her.

Fu asked Dan and Donna to help her get rid of the squirrels, so they carried her outside and positioned her in the greenhouse with my BB gun. It was a squirrel hunt and I had messed it up walking around the corner of the house, chasing the squirrels off. 

Of course, Fu could have never shot that gun. By this point her right arm was practically useless. Trying to keep things light, I had given that arm a nickname. We called it Floppy, and it caught on. Donna, our kids and grandkids all referred to that right arm as Floppy.

One day our eldest son, David, a pastor, was there. He was sitting next to his mother, on her right side and they were talking. He said something she didn’t like so she picked up her right arm with her left hand and threw it at him, hitting him.

We laughed and laughed about that, telling visitors to be careful what they said because if Fu didn’t like it, she would hit you with Floppy.

Floppy even had its own pillow. Each night as we settled into bed, I used a special pillow to prop Floppy up to help with circulation. Sometimes I would forget. She would hold up floppy, threatening me if I didn’t get Floppy’s pillow over there swiftly. 

When all three children, spouses, and all six grandchildren and grand puppies were there, laughter flowed like sweet honey throughout the house. Fu would be right in the middle of it, smiling, basking every moment in the warmth of her family. She loved playing card games, but she lost the ability to handle cards, so a grandchild would be her partner. Mostly she just watched us play, enjoying every minute of it.

Those days of blessings allowed us, for just a little while, to forget where this was headed. In the end, I would be a Mutt without a Fu.

Categories faith, family, Grief, humorTags ,

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