Avoiding the All Souls Day Scramble

Are you familiar with the All Souls Day Scramble? A typical All Souls Day goes like this: Weeks ahead, Father will announce that there are sheets in the Church lobby on which to put the names of those faithful departed. Other Catholic organizations will mail you ample papers requesting the names of souls, too. Then there is my scramble. I usually forget to mail the list into the organization. I may have prepared it, but I forget to mail it. Either way, these poor souls do not get their Mass. As far as the sheets at my parish, I may fill them out, forgetting about 75% of those poor souls. In the car on the way, I may think, ‘oh, I need to put down Suzy Jones’, but when I get to Church, that is a different story. Usually, I will still be thinking of forgotten names until Lent.

November second is All Souls Day. It is the day (well the month, actually) when the faithful pray for our faithful departed. There are special graces for this. Most parishes have an All Souls Day Mass or even a novena of Masses which are offered for those souls which we parishioners designate.

A few years ago, I found a way to avoid the All Souls Day Scramble.  I typed a list of these faithful departed souls on my computer. I saved it. I printed out two copies, one for my parish’s Masses and one for that other Catholic organization. (For the record, these were mailed in a timely fashion this year.) I now have it on my computer, ready to be added to throughout the year, and ready again for next year to avoid the All Souls Scramble.

Eternal rest grant onto them, O Lord, and may Your perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God forever rest in peace. Amen.Catholic Organization


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The Phone Call

Hello, is this Mrs. ___?
This is Sally Smith. I’m a nurse in the neuro-oncology department at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Your son had an MRI today.
Yes, he did.
Well, this isn’t really easy for me to say, but your son has a brain tumor.
I know he has brain tumor. He had an MRI to see what that little lump was at the base of his skull.
No, he has a brain tumor. In his left frontal lobe.
Yes, he has a little lump at the base of his skull. That’s why he had the MRI.
Yes, but the MRI found a brain tumor.
So, the brain tumor is a separate thing?
Yes, the brain tumor has nothing to do with the little lump. We made you an appointment. You need to bring your son in tomorrow at 10 am. He will see Dr.Neuro-oncologist and Dr.Neurosurgeon, see them both.
The brain tumor is a separate thing.
What? Are you saying he has a brain tumor? A brain tumor?
Yes. Your son has a brain tumor. (pause) It’s probably a low grade one. If it was a really bad brain tumor, we wouldn’t have even let you leave the hospital. (pause) So you need to bring him in tomorrow at 10 am to see Dr. Neuro-oncologist and Dr. Neurosurgeon. We were able to get them both to come to the appointment.

Even though I remember much of this conversation, I don’t remember the rest of it.

I was home alone with the kids. That morning, Vince had an MRI to investigate what the lump was at the base of his skull. The other children had slept at their grandparents’ house the night before. We went early in the morning to Children’s Hospital Colorado to take Vince to his MRI. We came back as soon as we could. We met Kevin’s parents and the children at the Turkey Crossing Cafe. We had a nice meal and went home. Kevin then went to his parents’ house to do some farm stuff. And that’s when I got the phone call, the phone call that changed everything, everything ever.

I managed to somehow call Kevin and tell him I needed him to come home immediately.

I remember that day, January 2, 2014 to be exact.
I remember that phone call.
And I always will.

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Once Upon a Time… Or What Is This Blog?

Once upon a time there was a Jersey girl named Laura. Laura was a typical Jersey girl who studied at Rutgers and worked in the mall. One day Laura took a course in Limnology (the study of inland waters- just because it fit into my schedule and fulfilled a requirement) and discovered that plants existed during one of the many Limnology field trips. Then one day Laura got a job at a Garden Center so she could play with plants and then learned about organic gardening and then organic farming. Then Laura had an internship on an organic vegetable farm and decided that she would be an organic farmer when she grew up and raise a lot of children on that said farm. Laura eventually met a farmer from eastern Colorado who had a very different idea of farming and organics, but they decided to get married anyway. Kevin and Laura moved into a little house on the Colorado prairie before Laura even knew that the prairie and the plains were the same thing. Laura had lots of babies and struggled very much with the many ups and downs of learning to be a country girl, both with little projects and the different culture present on the prairie. So Laura started a blog, a blog to vent her cultural frustrations and talk about her little projects such as raising chickens and homeschooling.

Then one day, January 2, 2014, to be exact, my son then 2.5 year old son Vince was diagnosed with a low grade brain tumor. We had five children under five at the time. This diagnosis came out of left field, and Vince’s brain tumor battle has kicked all of our butts. Vince has had two tumor resections and is now on chemo.

I wish I could talk about my chickens, like maybe the chicken waterer I made.
I wish I could talk about my goats. I wish I could talk about the ups and downs of raising my own pork.
I wish I could talk about my cultural struggles some more.
I wish I could talk about the process we’re going through to certify our farm organic.
I wish I could talk about wheat. Or GMOs. Or the irony of living in a food desert surrounded by farms.
I wish I could talk about how grasshoppers ate my garden. Or how wonderful all the Lincoln County residents are.
I wish I could talk about how there is now a medical helicopter stationed in Hugo. Or how my elm trees died.
I wish I could talk about how I love John Saxon’s Math. Or how I bought an electric pencil sharpener.
I wish I could talk about how I make tortillas using our own wheat and lard from our own pig. Or my shoe organizer in the mudroom.
I wish I could talk about the intricacies of driving Karval’s former school bus, otherwise known as my big van.
I wish I could talk about how when I delivered my last baby, I finally had a water birth.
I wish I maybe could have even thrown in a Catholic thing in here now and then, like a saint story.

Or any of these.

But the truth is, this blog isn’t any of that anymore. All of those have happened, sure, but Vince and his brain tumor battle take precedence. It consumes us. Sure I’m still working on that organic farmer, living off the land thing, but the truth is I really don’t care. I am fighting the battle for my baby Vince, right along side him.

This was supposed to be one of those city girl turned farmer blogs (that would make me a lot of money so I could buy more chickens)… but it’s not anymore.

But it seems that the only thing I seem to write about is Vince. I never ever thought that any of my children would be fighting this battle. Ever.

I spend my days doing my duties. Homeschool. Watering the goats. Laundry, endless laundry. Sure I do a few farm things, like mentioned above, but, the truth is, everything has become about Vince’s battle. I don’t give one flying speck about a stupid chicken when compared to my baby, my Vince. So I will write about our struggles with Vince’s brain tumor, even though it’s not what this blog is supposed to be- it is what it is. I am a Jersey girl who lives in a little house on the prairie, but I am really a mom whose son battles a brain tumor and I fight next to him.


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