Sunday, 31 March 2013

Your Moving Where?????? Part 1

Shalom everyone:
Well, I know it has been a while since I have written. If you are friends with Mark and I on facebook, you know why.
For those who aren't on facebook as well as who are just getting up to speed, our lives have been turned upside down, inside out and now righting itself.
In short, we are moving to Montana.
Yes, Montana.
In February, our former room mate informed us that there was a major change with his family and he was given all the roommates 30 days notice. During this same time, that same week, Mark was fired from his job. He had back into a car he that was in his blind spot.
So we were looking for a new place to live as well as a job.
 Despite so many leads, from churches, temples, apartments, we could never find a place to live. Not even a room. Many of our friends didn't have an extra bedroom to offer. Many did, but for various reasons could not offer us a place to live.
My mother, who lives in an assisted living home, could not offer us a room. My sister who lives in Boston, really didn't have the room for the three of us, but told me if we could find our way to Boston, her door was open to us.
It was a hard place. There were even cold statements made that I shall not repect, but leave in the Hands of G-d.
Soon, we found ourselves on a count-down. I just couldn't believe G-d would allow us to sleep in our car. But it was beginning to look like we were.
And then, four days before we had to move out, Mark was handed a flier from a small handyman business. The business was connected church had an outreach to those suffering from addictions or coming out of jail. It offered a training program and housing for up to six months to help those on the program to get on their feet.
Since Mark and I didn't have either of these problems, we would not need sort of help. But knowing they helped the homeless as well, which we were about to become, Mark called the number and spoke to the pastor. We prayed, really believing this was an answer to prayer. Since the pastor told Mark he could use Mark's help now.
One hour later, after meeting the pastor, we were offered a home and Mark a job. The house and job were for a one month period. This would give all a chance to see if we would work out. With the ministry.  A U-Haul was even going to be rented to help us move over the weekend.
But I had this growing unease feeling in the pit of my tummy. The first red  flag was the question: "are you willing to give up being Jewish?"
Ah, no. Yeshua was Hebrew. So were His followers. This was an non-starter.
And yet I was almost begging this man for a home for my little family. Would our hebrew faith really keep us from having a home. No, I couldn't believe that.
The second  red flag was Mark would have to work on Shabbat. We talked this over with our rabbi. He said right now, you two need a home. When you get back on your feet, you can then move forward with our lives. We were thinking one, maybe two months.
The third, as we found out more about the program, the job, it meant Mark would have to attend bible classes Tuesday to Friday, after work. How do you have a marriage when your life is work and church? We were told that we were suppose to attend services and had agreed.
But we didn't know it all week?
The next day, Friday, we went to pick up the keys to the house. At this time, we learned that the church could not afford the truck,  we would have rent it ourselves. Since we had to move by Sunday, this meant we had three more days. 
Saturday, Mark dropped me off at our new home, (a beautiful victorian home) so I could begin cleaning and he could find a truck and help to move. Mark did get a truck and help, but it was a ministry team and they couldn't help us move until Monday. I was still working on getting help for Sunday.
Sunday morning, Mark went to church while I still worked to get a truck and help for the afternoon.
 The pastor was upset because I wasn't at church. Mark again, explained that I was  still working on our move since we had to be out of our old place that evening.
 Sunday afternoon, very dear friends were able to help us begin the move. Since our roommate was understanding that we couldn't be out until Monday, no one could fore see what would happen next.
 The move ran into church service time. Since we just couldn't leave our friends who came to help us to continue the move without us, we missed the evening service. Plus, we needed gas. 
We were not aware that we should have called the pastor to say we would not be there.
On the way to drop off another load, we received a phone call. The person we spoke to told us, since church wasn't important enough to attend (even though we had to move that night) we had to move our things out of the house and turn in the keys. This person had spoken to the pastor and told him that he didn't think Mark would work out and the pastor said ok.
So we were out of not one, but two homes.
To be continued....

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Greening of Ghent

Yes, I know, this is a few days late, but after I share in the next few post, I believe all will understand.
Last Sunday was St. Patrick's day. In cites like Boston and New York, the day calls for a huge celebration; parades, green beer and little green people running amuck. On this day, everyone is Irish.
And here in our beloved Ghent, it is no different.....
Friday evening, Mark and I did a little walk about along Colley Ave. Since the weekend would be cold and wet, plus we would have a busy few days, we decided just enjoy a few moments in the wee Irish Ghent.....
These lovely people were sitting out the Red Dog and allow me to take their picture... it was the Mohawk that caught my eye.
Then there was this beauty....

Check out the fish tales.....
Kick stand.....
The the owner, holding a box of Girl Scott cookies (thin mints)
Even our favourite video store, the Naro got into the act.....

Thursday, 7 March 2013

David: My Brother, My Friend


It has been a busy week, one I hope to share about in a few days.
But right now I wish to share more about David.
My brother David Walton wasn't an easy man to know, understand and somethings, even to love.
I often thought of David as this rare gem, burial deep in the earth and one really had to work at digging it out. Like burial treasure, David was worth minding.
He had a great mind, a beautiful. A creative soul that found its full expression when he sang. And sang David did. David sang not just with his vocal cords, but with his whole being; body, soul and spirit. David didn't just sing, he sang praises to the L-rd. He didn't just sing; David worshipped.
David loved to pray. He was known to go to the church and see who needed prayer. Even when his voice was weak and he shouldn't have been on the phone, he would call and ask me what he could pray for me, Mark and Monti. Even until the night before he died, he took my hand and prayed for Mark and I.
He loved to read and he loved to give books. He would give me a book and a few weeks later, we would be in a heavy discussion about the book.
David loved a good laugh and he looked to eat.
But those last few years, we came to know each other best of all. He loved to watch Mark and I just hug. Delighted in playing with Monti. He told me one day how blessed he was to be included in our family. How he came to love us. He even began to call himself "the old man" and would send us "kids out on a date."
I remember one day, he told some money a friend gave him, handed it to Mark and said "take your lovely bride out for a date."
A few months before David passed, when he could still get about, Mark took him to the bank and then shopping. When Mark came home, he was loaded down with food.
David blessed us with fine cuts of beef, fresh fruit and veggies, even juice. Again, someone gave him so money and he wanted to bless us. To say thank you.
I cried, You see, David had just been taken off a feeding tube and could not share our table at the time. But for him to give such an amazing gift, well, that was David.
More next time.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

David; Brother of My Heart


There is the family we are born into; we really have no choice and if we are blessed, we get to call some amazing folks, mother-father-sister-brother.
Others, are born from the heart. That HaShem knits our souls together with those who become family by choice.
Such is the case with David Walton and I.
Someone once asked my mother if she was sure David and I weren't separated at birth. Mother said she was pretty sure we weren't, but there were moments even she wasn't sure.
For as mother herself would point out: 'when you saw David, you saw Elayne. And when you saw Elayne, David wasn't far behind."
No, there was never anything more than a deep friendship. I remember someone asking David if we were dating and he screwed up his nose and and said; "that would be like dating my sister."
It just wasn't something that occurred to either of us.
Our bond was more than faith, a love of the bible, singing, music, history or books. It went deeper than that.
For David and I understood each other.
While I could never get him to go for treatment, I knew he was bipolar. Having the disorder, I knew the signs well. When we were growing up, teens like David and I were label "difficult and moody." Today we know that a moody child or teenager is suffering from form of depression. The treatment is now there to help teens and their families.
It really wasn't there for people like David and I.
Often, we could talk about things that others would think odd or strange. We both would escape a world that didn't know what to think or make of us, through music, the stories in our head or through the world of books.
 In reading, we found people and beings like us, people that accepted us just as we were and did not demand we change and conform to what they thought we should be. The problem with such a love of books, of reading, is that it can become an addiction, a way of escape and not dealing with our problems, with our lives.
Like many, David told me he came from a family where the expression of love didn't come easy. Which is why it was hard for him to say I love you.
But he had his own way of telling you.
I have a small librany of books that David gave me, books he knew I would be interested in reading. Or he would have me a brown paper bag with a CD of jewish music. That was his way of saying, "I love you, Elayne."
Last Sunday was the first Sunday I had been to KPC since David's memorial. The choir sang and of course I looked for his face, forgetting he wasn't there. I half expected him to come over and give me a hug, then remembered there was no hug coming.
David is now at peace and I am still missing him.


Friday, 1 March 2013

David; Still Missing you

It has been six and a half months since the passing of my best friend and big brother David Walton. It has been hard for me to really share about those last several weeks until now.
And frankly, it is still hard.
This all began the summer of 2010. David had gotten quite sick and ended up in hospital. Mark was just home from his last deployment when I received the message David was in a coma and if I wanted to see him before he died, I needed to get to hospital.
That was a Friday afternoon and all Shabbath plans went flying out the window.
But David didn't die. He recovered and gave to live with us the rest of that summer until the beginning of autumn.
Because he was doing so much better, David went back to live at his old apartment. Mark and I had prayed that David would give the apartment up and move in with one of his family members. He really needed to be with friends or family and we just couldn't afford to take care of him. Plus our apartment was so small.
But it was not to be. David chose to stay here in Virginia. His doctor suggested he apply for Social Security, since he wasn't healthily enough to continue working, but he didn't want to leave his job at the Comic Book store, a job he loved.
So his health went from bad to worse. I had my hands filled dealing with Mark, for he was in a bad way with the PTSD at the time.
We would see David from time to time, we both becoming alarm by David increasing poor health. But there was just so much we could do. Mark didn't have a job, we had little money. We couldn't take care of ourselves, let alone David, as much as we wanted to.
In January of last year, after returning home from an military event, we learn David was back in hospital. We knew this was it.
He faced so many battles; his heart and kidneys, one inflection after another. Once stable, the hospital would move his to assistance living. Once stable and against doctor's orders, the social workers at the assistance living told David, because he had no insurance, he to leave.
That was the end of May. Three weeks later, he was back in hospital, battling high pressure and again, yet another infection.
In August,  our phone was turned off and we lost contact once again. We knew he was being moved to a nursing home and was planning to see him when I got word he was taken to DePaul Hospital. Here, I knew he would not only receive good care, but not get kicked out.
Mark was in school at this time, but we still made it to see him.
That Thursday morning, I received a call from his doctor, saying that they had done all they could do and were just keeping himecomfortable.
David knew he was dying. That same evening, he squeezed my hand and told me he loved. He then looked up and told Mark to take care of me.
I cried myself to sleep that night.
The next morning, I found our phone was out of minutes and when Mark got home, he hurried to the store.
It was Shabbath. Montague and I were standing outside. I looked into the sunset, feeling a peace I hadn't felt in a year.
I watched as a sudden breeze came up, playing with Monti's ear, reminding me of how David loved to play with Monti's eyes.
It was then I felt something soft brush against my cheek and somehow I knew it was David. Mark arrived home with more minutes for the phone and we went to bed.
The next morning, I called the ICU and was told that the doctors tried to reach me; that David had passed away the night before. When I asked what time and was told 10pm, I smiled through my tears. That is the time Monti and I were standing outside.
He had stopped to say goodbye and I love you.