The Story Of Vera And Her Family, Chapter 20

18 06 2008

In my heart–I knew I must forsake all thoughts of ruining my marriage.  Jim did what he thought he needed to do at the time.  Although I still don’t think it was the best solution for dealing with Ben’s anger problems–I had seen good come out of bad situations in our family so often–that I finally just took a deep breath and went on with life.  I didn’t speak bitter things to Jim.  We had to work together to get our family healed.  And that healing begain with our first visit to Henderson, Kentucky to see Ben.

It was Memorial Day weekend.  Phillip wanted to visit with Ben, too.  Thus, he drove us in his 1978 Oldsmobile.  Phillip had his own set of problems to deal with as he was separated from his wife and family.  He went from being a traveling minister who made good money– to living in a small apartment and adjusting to life as a factory worker.  At any rate–it was a beautiful weekend and we were excited to be able to spend some time with Ben.

I baked chocolate chip cookies that Memorial day morning.  I packed up a nice box of them for Ben.  Once again, Sandy and Maria were in charge of the household.  It was up to them to take care of you, Vera.  Once we arrived in Hendersonville at the group home–we were allowed to take Ben out for several hours.  We took Ben to a park on the Ohio River.  After we enjoyed that park for awhile–we found another park right in the city.  There were Memorial Day festivities taking place.  There were venders cooking up all kinds of meat.  I remember that Ben, Dad and Phillip enjoyed huge pork chop sandwiches.  Ben told us about his job working in a hospital.  All the boys were cleaning smoke filled walls at the local hospital.  The hospital was going to become a smoke free environment.  Ben was working 40 hours a week and earning money.  Although he would have preferred not to have been ordered out of his home–he was making the best of the situation.  He liked the air conditioning in the group home.  At the time, our home only had one large unit for the downstairs.  Ben always burned up in the summertime with no air conditioning in the upstairs of our home.  He also enjoyed having a large variety of food.  Our family was very limited on what we could spend on groceries.  So already God was working in the midst of a double tragedy.  All of our attitudes of antagonism were healing.

It was time for some follow up treatment for you, Vera.  Driving to Indiana was out of the question. We decided to do our follow up work through Trover Clinic based in Madisonville, Kentucky.  They had a clinic in our town.  Doctors would come from Madisonville to treat patients.  We were able to see an Orthopedic doctor and a Neurosurgeon.  You were at Trover Clinic every two weeks.  It was grueling getting you in and out of the car.  Dealing with that wheel chair was tough.  Often we had to wait a long time to see a doctor.  Likewise, soon you wanted to make trips to WalMart and the mall.  The wheelchair business always exhausted us both.  I gained a great deal of empathy for the handicapped.  I knew eventually you would walk again.  However, there are so many people who don’t have that hope.  I knew in my heart that I would always feel more compassion for those who had no hope of ever walking again. 

Finally in August we drove to the main hospital in Madisonville to get your casts removed.  The doctor cut them off and told you to walk.  He didn’t prescribe any physical therapy.  You screamed in anguish when you tried to take your first steps.  For several days you were in terrible pain. You literally had to learn to walk again.  It took a good two weeks for you to walk without being in  pain.

Also in August, we went back to court to ask If Ben could come home.  The judge was pleased with everyone’s progress.  The hostility was gone in our marriage.  The judge told Ben that he could come back home.  The catch was that Ben had to meet with a social worker each week.  I didn’t like that part of the judge’s order. I wanted our family to be completely free from the court system. 

Again, life just marched on. We all fell in place and just did the best we could to continue to heal as a family.  By the end of August- you were back in school and delivering your own paper route.  Phillip still came each afternoon and helped to roll the newspapers.  Ben got a job at a grocery store after school.  Sandy was back to running with her cross country team in high school.  She was also looking forward to getting her driver’s permit.  She would be 16 in September. 

Phillip continued to spend a great deal of time with us on the weekends.  We still made our huge pots of soup and the card games continued.  His wife was enrolled as a student at Austin Peay State University.  She had one year left to finish her undergraduate degree.  Phillip’s boys were also in high school.  His oldest was a senior.  Phillip went through terrible bouts of depression because of the separation of his family.  They were not open to visiting with Phillip.  The boys wanted nothing to do with their dad.  Neither did they want anything to do with any of you children.  It was sad that his boys would not even speak to Ben and Sandy at the high school. 

Phillip did have one little bit of joy.  A little black kitten was given to him.  He named the kitten Blackie.  We all enjoyed visiting with Blackie at Phillip’s apartment.  Then after Labor Day weekend, Phillip informed us that his friend, Bill, was coming for a visit from England.  He didn’t think Bill would be happy at his apartment.  He asked me if Bill could stay at our home for the two week visit.  I was not enthusiastic.  It was the beginning a new adventure. 

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