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Archive for August, 2012

Midsummer Reflection

I’m sitting on the porch at Mom and Dad’s house. One of the frequent trains is rumbling by along the river down below. The day is sunny and hot again with temperatures in the 90s, but the low humidity (14%!) does not make the heat uncomfortable. The mountains to the east, covered by the evergreen forests, are gorgeous to gaze upon.
Forested Mountains
The lookout station atop Cougar Peak is a white speck amongst the dark green of the trees.Cougar Peak Lookout If you didn’t know where to look for it, you’d never know it was there. An occasional bird or bug are the only other sounds. This is truly a majestic place, and it is immediately and always apparent why Mom and Dad chose this place to retire to.

Al and I flew (believe it or not) to Spokane on Friday and met up with cousin Frank, who happened to be there on business. We rode with him to Mom and Dad’s place — about four and a half hours all told, including a stop in Coeur d’Alene for lunch. The ride and conversation weren’t as awkward as I had been expecting. Frank is a good conversationalist and is easy to talk to. Still, it’s been years since we talked for any length of time, so I was nervous beforehand.

We arrived at Mom and Dad’s late in the afternoon. Mom’s brother, Rick, had just arrived about ten minutes earlier. It’s been ages since I’ve seen him, and I’ve never spent much time with him in deep conversation either. I was struck by how much he looks like his mother.

On Saturday, the first of two funeral masses for Mom was held at their church in town. Dad was very pleased with the service, and that made me glad. I think he appreciates having all of our company. Sunday morning he was humming and singing to himself, and that made me hopeful that his life from this point forward won’t be devoid of joy even though he misses Mom terribly. He seems to be clear-headed and is being very methodical about all of the various preparations to deal with Mom’s affairs. I don’t think I, in a such a circumstance, would have anywhere near the presence of mind that he has.

Sunday we took a little drive to the hospital in the town about thirty miles east of here. On Friday, a sore had developed on my foot that soon caused my foot to swell and become tender. Seems I have must have developed an infection, likely due to a little athlete’s foot, the doctor suspected. So now I’m taking an antibiotic, and it seems to be helping.

As I reflect on these last several days, I think about my own quotidian existence and how things that heretofore have seemed so signficant to me now seem rather trival or inconsequential. I have spent an awful lot of my time fixated on things that don’t warrant such attention. It occurs to me that I would do well to figure out how to learn to discern when certain aspects of life deserve due consideration while others can be left by the wayside. I suppose that’s an endeavor that nearly every human in history has tried to make. Yet there is something about this awareness that leads me to believe that it may actually be possible to accomplish.

I’m sure that I’ll need to remind myself continually that life is to be lived.

U.S. Flag

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Mom

I got the call today
I didn’t wanna hear.
But I knew that it would come.

This morning, mom passed away. Dad and my brothers were with her, and for that I am greatly comforted. Her struggle is over, and Dad is much relieved that she is finally free of the pain and difficulty.

As I see it, this is a day to rejoice and be glad because Mom has succeeded. She has now completed life’s journey and made it all the way through. She doesn’t endure the pain any longer, and knowing that makes me feel relieved, too.

While those of us who remain feel profound sadness and loss, we also feel immensely glad for her. In many ways, it was much tougher in the six months leading up to this moment than her death itself. She now gets to move on — what more could anyone want?

I love you, Mom.
–Joe

Mom and Dad
Nancy Jane Purcell Farrenkopf
December 8, 1941 – August 4, 2012

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Ryan was a good kid. Honest. Kind. Sincere. Vulnerable. Determined. I’m glad I knew you, Ryan.

Reprinted from the Wisconsin State Journal, July 31, 2012:

Sdano, Ryan Dale

WHITEWATER – Ryan Dale Sdano, age 45, of Whitewater passed away on Saturday, July 28, 2012, surrounded by his loving family at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, in Milwaukee.

Ryan was born on Dec. 14, 1966, in Fort Atkinson, to Raymond and Ramona (Wambold) Sdano. Ryan graduated from Whitewater High School, and later from UW-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Madison, where he was certified in December, 2011 as a Lay Speaker. He was very active in his church. Ryan loved reading, going to bookstores, and watching movies. He enjoyed debate, the library’s writer’s group, and also writing and drawing comic books.

Survors include, his mother, Ramona Sdano of Whitewater; sister, Rochelle (Les) Ahrens of Palmyra; brother, Rick Sdano; sister, Roxanne (Michael) Rappold; sister, Renee (Gary) Sassman; brother, Roger (Joyce) Sdano; and brother, Ronnie (Robin) Sdano, all of Whitewater; 11 nieces and nephews; a great-nephew and two great-nieces.

Ryan was preceded in death by his dad, Raymond J. Sdano.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, at 7 p.m. at NITARDY FUNERAL HOME, Whitewater, with visitation from 4 p.m. until the time of service.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial to Trinity United Methodist Church, Madison, or to one’s local Humane Society in Ryan’s name.

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