Monthly Archives: October 2012
The death sentence was handed down on a Thursday. The surgeons had removed a golf-ball sized tumor from the head of Andy, my fiancé, and nothing else could be done. It was a matter of six months, at the most.
“Time to take up parachuting,” one of the doctors joked. What he meant was to do something out of the ordinary before it was too late.
For an obsessive-compulsive like Andy, this wasn’t something to be taken lightly because control through rigid routines was one of the touchstones for his particular kind of OCD. His grown daughter and I decided we wouldn’t say anything about dying because we knew he’d be obsessing about death instead of enjoying whatever time he had left. If this included parachuting, so be it.
Andy was the first Jewish man for me, the shiksa, the Scandinavian-born academician and writer, who had long depended on her Protestant heritage to get her through life’s hardships. He, on the other hand, was a pragmatist, a man who didn’t believe in anything that couldn’t be proven through the five senses. He scoffed at all religion and esoteric debates were not for him, although he was good-natured enough to go along with the few holiday traditions I observed. Still, he’d get agitated by any mention of faith and prayer.
“How can any intelligent person believe in that nonsense?” he said. “Religion is a scourge. Just look at how it’s caused persecution of the Jews. Anybody who believes there’s a God has got to be stupid.”
“B-b-but…” My speech always became a stutter when he called me stupid. “This is not about organized religion. It’s about soul and believing in something beyond ourselves; that’s all.”
“Soul, shmoal. It’s all nonsense,” was his usual retort and I knew from his face it was the end of that subject. If I tried to explain myself he got really angry and his verbal outbursts scared me.
Even though Andy didn’t speak directly about his impending departure I believed that he knew and I wanted to do whatever I could to please him during his last few months. Since his kind of OCD came with an uncontrollable desire to organize and control his environment, and this meant all kinds of rituals that he simply had to perform till he was satisfied, I decided to focus on what gave him so much comfort in the past. As the tumor raged on, I saw how the old routines soothed him even more and I was determined to follow his lead in this.
One night, when I tucked him into bed and we chit-chatted about the day, he folded his hands across his chest and closed his eyes as if in a pose of praying. Instinctively I asked if he wanted me to say a prayer with him, but the moment the words came out I was filled with guilt. Hadn’t I promised myself to let him set the tone for his own passing?
“Yes.” His answer surprised me both with its strength and its message. Yes? Did he really want me to pray with him or was his mind so far gone that he didn’t know what he was saying?
With a bit of hesitation that comes after you regret your impulsiveness, I feigned a cheerful voice as if praying had always been part of our customary bedtime activities.
FOOTNOTE: The heart is an old Scandinavian symbol, and not just something for Valentine’s Day. Each of these hearts is painted with a portion of an age-old Scandinavian prayer that speaks about a God who loves all his children equally and is here for us, no matter where we go in the world.
THIS STORY CONTINUES IN THE TALES2INSPIRE™
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cami Ann Hofstadter is a published author and educator in Miami, Florida. Under different names for different genres, she’s in venues from a law review to a local newspaper. She had a long-standing monthly column in Miami Today, and continues to do human interest stories that challenge the thought-processes of her readers. Check out her latest piece in the Feb. 2012 issue of Golf Digest to see how years of caring for a depressive, obsessive-compulsive man continues to provide rich fodder for her current work on a book about loving a person like that. She’s also trying her hands at a play about a Holocaust-related incident in her native Scandinavia.
I recently read this story and thought it worthy of posting,
The Germans attacked Poland in 1938, when Sol Finkelstein was a boy of 14. The Jewish people from his town were no longer allowed on the street or sidewalks, denied attendance in school, and treated in Sol’s words as “worse than cockroaches.”
Sol and his father were two of millions who were taken to Mauthauser Concentration Camp, where they were routinely beaten, stomped upon and starved for the next seven years. During their last days at Mauthauser, somehow Sol and his father became separated. During those last several days, just prior to liberation, the prisoners were taken on a three day, three night walk. Sol survived, but never saw his father again.
For sixty-three years Sol lived with guilt, wondering how his father died, wondering if he would have been able to have helped him had he remained by his side.
Recently Sol’s son contacted the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, which produced a document showing the father’s date and place of birth and grave number. Sol and his son also learned that their father/grandfather did indeed survive the walk, was liberated and taken to a hospital where he died four days later. The museum was able to produce one other item that nearly brought this father and son to tears.
Watch this touching video.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lois W. Stern is the author of two award winning books about different aspects of aesthetics (physical beauty): Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery and Tick Tock, Stop the Clock ~ Getting Pretty on Your Lunch Hour. Beyond those topics, Lois is committed to writing short stories to touch the soul – stories that she calls her inner beauty “tales”. Suspecting that many writers who don’t have a enough inspiring stories for an entire book, might have one fabulous “tale” to share, she set out to find out . By initiating the TALES2INSPIRE contest as an “authors helping authors” project, Lois hopes to provide authors with a platform for building their own fan base, with the opportunity to have their work published in a short story anthology.
Lois invites all interested in either cutting edge physical beauty news and tips, her energy renewing, spirit uplifting stories, or both to visit her Facebook Page. If you like what you see there, become a fan by clicking on the LIKE button at the top of the screen.
We welcome your review of this story in the Comment box below. Your name and credentials will be included with any review we post on Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s highly respected Book Review Blog under the TALES2INSPIRE banner.
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?
A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.
That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Cesarean to deliver couple’s new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature.
Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs. ‘I don’t think she’s going to make it,’ he said, as kindly as he could. ‘There’s only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one’
Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.
‘No! No!’ was all Diana could say.
She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four.
Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana ‘s underdeveloped nervous system was essentially ‘raw’, the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love.
All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there.
At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time.
And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.
Five years later, when Dana was a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She showed no signs whatsoever of any mental orphysical impairment. Simply, she was everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story.
One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby, when she suddenly fell silent.Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, ‘Do you smell that?’
Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, ‘Yes, it smells like rain.’
Dana closed her eyes and again asked,
‘Do you smell that?’
Once again, her mother replied,’Yes, I think we’re about to get wet. It smells like rain.’
Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, ‘No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.’
Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children.
Before the rains came, her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.
You now have 1 of 2 choices. You can either pass this on and let other people catch the chills like you did or you can delete this and act like it didn’t touch your heart like it did mine. IT’S YOUR CALL!
Award winning Tales2Inspire™ author, Jim Lawrence, does not take credit for this story as he has no idea who wrote it. He sent it to me: Just because I knew it would be something you would enjoy.
I share it with you now as a sample of the type stories likely to win awards in the Tales2Inspire™ “Authors Helping Authors” project/contest. Check it out!
You’ll be glad you did!
Over the years, the true story of A Glass of Milk has been embellished to the point of being almost unrecognizable from its original. In fact, the tale as written below has actually been published in several collections of inspiring stories and self-help books in the urban story format you can read below.
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.
He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.
He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”.”You don’t owe me anything,” she replied.”Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.” He said….. “Then I thank you from my heart.” As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.
Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.
Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill
was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill.
She read these words….. “Paid in full with one glass of milk”
Dr. Howard Kelly.
Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: “Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands.”
But the true story, taken from the notes of a diary Howard Kelly started at age 17 and apparently kept throughout his lifetime. These notes were supplemented by his biographer, Audrey Davis, who maintained a 20 year friendship with Dr. Kelly and inherited his notebooks and journals upon his death.
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Lois invites all interested in either cutting edge physical beauty news and tips, her energy renewing, spirit uplifting stories, or both to visit her Facebook Page. If you like what you see there, please click on the LIKE button at the top of the screen.
The day after her 14-year-old dog Abbey died, 4-year-old Meredith, was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked her mother if they could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. Her mother agreed. Meredith dictated the following words:
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I ‘m happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.
I really miss her.
They put their return address on the envelop. Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letterbox at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. Her mother told her that she thought he had.’
And then something almost magical happened. There was a package wrapped in gold paper on their front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith” in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter they had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
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We are often told to build an author platform, increase our fan base, work for name recognition, get our names on one of those talented author lists. Easier said than done. But if you have what it takes – are a skilled writer with an Inspiring story to share – read on. Tales2Inspire™ is a true “Authors Helping Authors” project/contest. Not only is it FREE to enter, but it delivers – perhaps even more than it promises.
Today I am highlighting THE VOICE, one of last year’s winning tales, by Dr. Stan Cupery. His story is a true medical miracle about an infant abandoned at birth on cold basement floor of an deserted building. The story begins with details of the secret birth, its discovered and the rescue of this baby. You can read part of his story here (but you will have to hold your breath for the ending, when Dr. Cupery’s ‘tale’ is published in the Tales2Inspire anthology).
Won’t you take the time to leave Stan a comment. He is one talented author who deserves recognition!
Visit Tales2Inspire if you think you’ve got an inspiring story to share.
And please visit me on Facebook & give me a thumbs up if you like what you see.
ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED NAMES IN THE INDUSTRY, DAN POYNTER PUBLISHES a F-R-E-E NEWSLETTER WHICH REACHES OVER 20,00 PEOPLE PER MONTH.
I ALWAYS ENJOY DAN’S NEWSLETTERS, BUT IT WAS THE OPENING PAGES OF HIS OCTOBER EDITION THAT NEARLY TOOK MY BREATH AWAY.
THANK YOU DAN FOR YOUR GREAT SUPPORT!
FOR THOSE WHO STILL HAVEN’T HEARD ABOUT TALES2INSPIRE, A FIRST RATE “AUTHORS HELPING AUTHORS” PROJECT/CONTEST, JUST SCURRY OVER TO THE WEBSITE FOR ALL THE HOW TO’S AND ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS.
STORIES ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE 2013 SEASON.
You can read his latest edition or make a request to be added to his subscriber list at: DanPoynter@parapublishing.com
CAN YOU INSPIRE OTHERS WITH THE POWER OF YOUR WORDS.?
GREAT P.R. BENEFITS AWAIT ALL WORTHY ENTRANTS.
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