...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Thursday, December 28, 2006


spoken on November 27, 2006 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church...by Lisa

28 more days until Christmas
34 more days until it's 2007

What a year this has been for our family.

On April 26th mom went into the hospital...by the 28th we knew she had a brain tumor...on May 1st, surgery which was followed by 42 days of radiation and chemotherapy.

On Sept. 17th, Art went into the hospital and on October 22nd he passed away - Larry, Eileen and myself were at his side.

On Sept. 27th mom got the news that her cancer was back and she didn't have much time left.

My mom's favorite holiday was Christmas. Everything about Christmas this year will surely remind us of her.

28 more days until Christmas.
34 more days until it's 2007.

Growing up with my mom and dad I lived in a household of love. My parents laughed, played games with us, took Larry and I on adventures - camping vacations!...they yelled, cried, all the "normal" things families do. We ate dinner together every night. It seemed like when we first moved into Four Seasons our power went out a lot on Friday nights. That was our Euchure night...Larry and Mom against Dad and me.

Our camping adventures are too numerous to mention all of them, but they did take us to Yellowstone, Niagra Falls, Mt. Rushmore and Disney World.

Mom was Dad's everything - his love of his life.
Dad was Mom's Prince Charming. Their romance is what I always wanted to grow up and have someday.

My mom was the mom everyone could count on. Anything Larry and I did, she was one of the parents involved. Mom was the one who would host the Halloween parties for all the cousins. She was always thinking of others. I recall her working full-time yet still having projects to do for more than one organization. All my friends knew if they needed and ear, they could count on my mom. She would always listen. Mom wasan accomplice too. Once one of my boyfriends "gang" of friends took all the rakes and flags from the Four Seasons golf course and showed up at our front door. Security was after them! After making the guys put the rakes and flags back - which I am sure was just in one place - my mom drove the "get-away" truck with 8 to 10 guys in the back.

In the Fall of 1979 my parents sat Larry and I down at the kitchen table. My parents told me they were going to have a job for me the next summer. 'You know that baby you were always praying for us to have, Lisa?' they said. 'Well, we're going to have it next May.' I was 15 when they told me. Larry was 13. He asked when they "did it". Dad said, "we don't know exactly." And Larry said, "you mean you did it more than once?" In the end it was decided that Eileen must have been a band camp baby. That was the only time Larry and I were gone from the house.

In June of 1985 mom's world shattered. Life changed. It took a long time for mom to bounce back. Both Larry and I were in college and Eileen was only 5. I realized much later in my life how depressed my mom was.

When Art entered our lives he was not our dad. But he did offer us a special gift - he brought mom back to life. I did witness Art's love to my mom. He worshipped her...she was his everything.

I am so glad she was able to find love twice in her life. She deserved it. I know my dad would like Art. He wasn't the same as my dad, but he loved my mom with his whole heart, just like my dad.

I would like to end with a poem Eileen and I found about cancer, which I realize I have learned this year...

What Cancer Cannot Do ..............author unknown

Cancer is so limited.

It cannot
cripple LOVE
It cannot
shatter HOPE
It cannot
corrode FAITH
It cannot
destroy PEACE
It cannot
It cannot
suppress MEMORIES
It cannot
silence COURAGE
It cannot
invade the SOUL
It cannot
steal eternal LIFE
It cannot
conquer the SPIRIT

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

in honor of my mom, Patricia T. (Simonetto) Scubelek O'Connor

Patricia Terese Scubelek (Simonetto) O'Connor

PATRICIA TERESE SCUBELEK O'CONNOR (nee SIMONETTO) "Penny" Crown Point, Indiana Age 64, passed away at her home on Wednesday, November 22, 2006, after a courageous battle with brain cancer.

Born on Feb. 23, 1942, in Gary, IN, she moved with her family to Mansfield, Ohio, and Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and later returned to Lake County. After first attending Penn Hills High School and graduating from Gateway High School in Western Pennsylvania, she immediately enrolled in an airlines school in St. Paul, MN, with the aspiration of beginning a career as a flight attendant. Due to her youthful age of 18 years upon completing the course, Patricia initially began as a Teletype operator for Pan-American Airlines, based in San Francisco, CA. Despite making a home for herself in Burlingame, CA, she missed her family and eventually returned to the Gary area.

It was during her employment with Montgomery Ward Co. at the Village Shopping Center when she met her first husband, Anthony L. Scubelek. They were married March 3, 1962, and settled in the Miller section of Gary. Patricia decided to change careers, and accepted a position in the medical field in the office of her brother-in-law, Dr. John G. Gallinati. Upon relocating to Lakes of the Four Seasons in 1975, she held the position for 20 years as office manager for Dr. Jiorj Thephasdin of Merrillville. She retired in 2004 after working several years at the office of Dr. Keith Gingerich.

During her entire lifetime, she was actively involved in many organizations in support of her children's activities, including Girl Scout leader in Miller, Boone Grove P.T.O. member & band booster, 4-H leader and youth group leader at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. In addition, she was active as a eucharistic minister at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Lakes of Four Seasons Conservation Club, Volunteer Fire Department and Ladies Fire Auxiliary. In her leadership role, Patricia held many key offices in each of these organizations, including the organization of the Fire Auxiliary fashion show. For the past 25 years, she was responsible for organizing the LOFS telephone directory. From the early years, she was an important member of the LOFS Fire Department - as it was one the area's initial first emergency medical responders. She taught CPR to countless community members. Also, a member of the Indiana State Medical Assistants Association, of which she was honored as "Medical Assistant of the Year" in the late 1970s.

Patricia was an award-winning quilter, and member of Heritage Quilting Society. She was actively involved with her local Red Hat Society Chapter, and truly enjoyed the bi-monthly meetings and get-togethers. Her other favorite hobbies included ceramics, sewing, as well as flower gardening, caring for her cats, and spoiling her grandchildren.

Anthony Lawrence Scubelek, her husband of 23 years, preceded her in death in 1985; along with Arthur H. O'Connor, her second husband of 19 years; father, John Ambrose Simonetto, and sister, Carol Simonetto. Patricia is survived by her 3 children of her first marriage, Lisa (Chris) Kroll of Bloomington, Larry (Amy) Scubelek of Fishers, IN, and Eileen (Michael) Dimino of South Bend; 5 grandchildren, Stephen and Michelle Kroll, Nicholas and Jordan Scubelek, and Jacob Dimino; dearest mother, Teresa (nee Cassidy) Simonetto of Hebron; siblings, Joe (Tam) Simonetto of Munster, Pam (Bob) Pampe of Winchester, VA, Michael (Theresa) Simonetto of Roswell, GA, John (Charlene) Simonetto of Marysville, TN; also, survived by 3 nephews and 1 niece, Kemp and Jarrod Simonetto and Ryan and Erin Pampe.

Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, November 27, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. Directly at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 509 W. Division Street, Valparaiso, with Rev. David Gosnell, officiating. She will lie in state from 9:30 a.m. till time of service. Interment, Graceland Cemetery. Arrangements were completed by Savich & Semplinski Funeral Directors. Visitation will be Sunday from 2 - 8 p.m. at Burns Funeral Home, 10101 Broadway, Crown Point. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be donated to L.O.F.S. Fire Department.

Published in the Post-Tribune from 11/25/2006 - 11/26/2006.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Digging in the dirt...

Three children. That means it can be two against one. Who is the swing vote/decesion maker?

I think that role falls to me.

It will be time to stir things up and get my mom's house cleaned out. We will need to decide who gets what, etc. Money will become the focal point.

There are all ready problems with the third born, who lives the closest in proximity, being the only one who has a key to the house. She seems to feel she is more deserving of "stuff" than the other two. At least that is the second borns opinion. I tend to see his point. But I see her point too in that #2 in the past has been untrustworthy. Do I think he has changed? He does seem overly religious. Maybe he's paying for his past sins.

#1 - me - the pleaser
#2 - has always felt he's being cheated out of everything
#3 - the spoiled, late-in-life, baby: has never suffered - EVER, received everything she's ever wanted

How will this all play out?

Time will tell...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Paranormal Activity, Spirits visit us and What time is dinner in Heaven?

On November 10th, my mom suffered a very long seizure in relationship to her brain cancer. It started at about 4 pm and lasted until about 6pm. She was given valium to try to help relax her. Our hired helper, Follie, had instructions from Hospice. My sister showed up shortly after the seizure started, she was there with her father-in-law for the evening. He's from VA and wanted to visit with mom.

Mom wouldn't look at Bean and she wouldn't talk, or couldn't. Hard to tell. I was on the phone with Bean a lot of the time offering my opinions about things. Mom had told both of us that she wanted to stay at home, not go back to the hospital. We were hoping the valium would work that was in the "care kit" from hospice. If we ran out and she wasn't responding we'd have to send mom to the Hospice House for as bit so they could help manage this situation.

fortunately the at-home meds worked. Bean went home for the night and I made plans to come the next day.

I arrived Saturday, Nov. 11, late morning. Mom was still having lots of small seizures on her right side. I didn't realize what they were at first. It took a visit from the hospice nurse to enlighten me. She called them baby seizures. Mom had not eaten or drank anything since Friday morning. She couldn't swallow her pills. We needed to start giving her her anti-seizure meds via rectum. Not fun, glad we hired Follie so we could let her "do the dirty work".

Mom was fairly unresponsive on Sat. & Sun. I didn't even think she knew I was there. It was so hard to tell. I held her hand a lot, stroked her cheek and told her I loved her again and again. My Aunt Pam arrived from Virginia on Sunday early afternoon. Bean was able to come back on Sunday evening. Mom seemed to "wake up" once Eileen arrived. She started to try to talk a little. We all got very excited. We called all mom's brothers and put the phone to her ear so they could talk to her. Then we called our brother and had him talk to mom too. I had called him several hours earlier and asked him if he was sure he didn't want to be with us. He assured me he couldn't go through this again. He said he was fine staying away. When we called him to have him talk to mom I confessed to my Aunt and sister that I had all ready called Larry and asked if he didn't want to come. I also told them his answer. My Aunt got on the phone, told Larry she didn't think mom would make it through the night and he needed to get there. He arrived at 1am.

Shortly after he arrived the power went out at the house. It was out for two hours. That wasn't so bad except that mom was on a microfiber air mattress bed. It deflated quickly. We checked on her every 15 minutes. She slept through it all. Just before the power came back on we tried to go back to sleep. I was sleeping in the recliner by mom, AP was on the floor on cushions and Grams was on the couch. Larry was on a couch in another room and Bean was in the back bed, as was Follie - in her own room and bed. AP and I head someone talking just before the power came back on . I told her I thought it was Grams talking in her sleep and she was saying "I love you". The next day AP told me that's not what she heard. She heard, "I am the holy spirit."

Mom did make it through the night. She also made it through another 10 days. She went 12 days total without food or water. It was very hard to watch her waste away. My brother did not stay past Tuesday of that week. He could not handle it. My Aunt and I were there for the whole time. We needed to be there for Grandma. Bean was back and forth, she did have to work a bit.

During the next 10 days many unexplained things did happen. Mom told us on that first Sun, Nov. 12, that she saw my dad and Art but not Grandpa, her dad. She told us it wasn't time for her to go yet. We thought she left us on two or three occasions. She told us, Bean, Larry and me that we scared her all being together. Previously she had said that she knew Larry would only come visit her if she was dying. Bean and I blamed her fear on him! He deserved the blame, he couldn't mentally come and be with her like we could. We understood, but it still made us mad and sad. Bean and I were fine with Larry leaving. During the next days we tried rotating who was at home. We'd announce who was going out, who was staying, when "the coast was clear". We all knew mom was dying and felt she was waiting for something. Did certain people need to be there or away? We kept telling her we loved her and it was all right if she needed to go. We wanted her to be at peace. We told her she was a great mom, friend, daughter, etc. We told her we'd miss her, but we'd always have her in our hearts. We tried toasting mom, we told fun stories from her past and talked about what she had accomplished in her life. We did make funeral plans. We planned the church service, picked out flowers, worked on her obit and picked out her outfit. Morbid? Probably. Necessary? Absolutely. The "we" who toasted and laughed with mom were Bean, AP(mom's sister), Aunt Tammy(mom's sister-in-law) Grams, Follie, Carol (Dad's cousin), Colleen (Carol's daughter) and Angie (long time neighbor and friend). There was a lot of female bonding that happened. We laughed and cried together. We drank wine, mud slides and ate ice cream together. We all hugged on mom A LOT! In fact one of the hospice nurses told us that maybe we were being too encouraging to mom. She politely told us we stimulating mom too much. After day 10 we 'low-keyed' things more. The lights were turned lower and we were much more quiet. We tried not to touch mom when she was sleeping. Letting go is very hard for the living and the dying.

More paranormal things happened...

One night the TV turned on and off by itself. It was the night we were toasting mom. Grams turned to me and asked why I turned on the TV. I pointed out that the remote was about four feet away from me, and everyone else for that matter, and that I didn't turn on the TV. I did pick up the remote and turn towards the TV only to have it go off BY ITSELF! We all looked at each other and said, "Art is here!" It was creepy, but good at the same time. When I was sleeping I felt someone pull on my upper arm three times. It was like they were trying to get me up. No one was around me. All in the house were asleep. AP and I heard three voices whispering by mom one night...Not just one single voice. We were sleeping just 10 feet away! I could feel the hairs o my arms raising up a lot. It was actually a very comforting feeling. At my mom's house, which is just two miles from Grams, the TV in Art's former bedroom kept going on and off my itself when Bean and I would be over there. We'd just start talking out loud to Art. We'd keep telling him that he needed to come and get mom. We were going to be okay.

On Sunday morning, November 19th, mom woke up at about 10:30 and she seemed very alert and clear. She was counting, "50, 51, 52, 52, 52, 53, 54, 55, 55, 55, 56, 57. 57." I asked her 57 what? She looked at me and said, "57 people." She had only been barely answering our questions lately. She hadn't started any conversations in weeks. Just eight weeks ago or so I was at physical therapy with her and she couldn't count to 5. I asked her where the 57 people were and she said, "Here. 57 people are here." I asked her if they were people or angels? She looked puzzled and didn't answer me. I asked her if I would know them. She told me, "I don't think so." I asked her if my dad, her first husband was here? She looked around and smiled and said, "yes, he's here." I did get excited and said, "mom, I know dad!" I asked if Art was there and my Grandpa, her second husband and dad. Again she looked around and said yes. I told her that grandma would be pleased that Grandpa finally showed up. Truthfully, I was thinking he'd been down in hell, he was that sort of guy! I also asked mom if she was waiting for Grandma to go to heaven (emotionally this has all been really hard on Grams). Mom looked at me and said, "No, It's not her time." I asked her if it was her time and she said, "Almost". My cousin's wife was there and she said, "Aunt Penny, will you tell my mom and brother I said hi?" And my mom looked at her and said, "I will tell them at dinner."

On September 27th, my sister and her husband celebrated their third wedding anniversary apart. Bean was with mom when she got the sad news that her cancer was back.

On November 22nd, I was with my mom celebrating my own wedding anniversary. Twenty years. The night before I called my husband and I told him I really needed him and the kids to come north. After school on Wednesday he loaded up our 12 and 14 year old and they were on their way to see me. I had been away from them for two and a half weeks. I thought I was only going to be gone for one night.

My mom passed away with my sister and I holding her hand and telling her we loved her. We reassured her it was okay to go. We would never forget her. We kissed her cheeks and cried. Follie was with us too. Nearby were Grams, mom's sister Pam, brother Mike, his wife, Theresa, Bean's husband was there putting their son down for the night. My husband and children arrived just five minutes later. Perfect timing? I think so. On Tuesday, November 7th I had brought my kids north to spend the day with my mom. She had only been staying awake for 15 minutes at a time. When she knew my kids were there she stayed awake for over three hours. We had a great day and visit. On the way home my daughter thanked me for driving them up. I am glad my kids got a chance to see mom's bright eyes on that Tuesday. They could feel her love for them in her look.

It's been two an a half weeks since mom has been gone. I seem okay during the days. At night when I try to go to sleep I cry. I do miss her. I just can't believe that she and Art are both gone. He was only 58, and she 64.

Life is interesting how quickly it can change. I missed my dad a lot too. He's been gone for 21 years now. I feel that I did get to 'feel' his presence in the past month. I also know he and mom will see me again in heaven someday, a long time from now! I know mom is at peace and enjoying herself with dad and Art. Who could ask for anything more?