Friday, September 26, 2008


Are those tears I see?
Weep not for the unspent days.
Soon, there will be joy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The End Game

I have written earlier about the experiences of my family in dealing and coping with the current state of health for my Dad, affectionately known as Dyda. After his stroke in May, followed by more than 3 and one-half months in a nursing home, Dyda came home in an ambulance to be greeted by cheering family members carrying signs and displaying balloons.

It was a bit overwhelming for him, to be sure, but he managed a slight smile and greeted one of his grandchildren with his standard, "Hello, Sugar Baby." Yes, the old man was back. Not exactly as strong and stalwart, but the man was back.

He had spent what must have seemed to have been an eternity in St. Joseph's. Each time we visited, he would say in his Southern drawl, "Go get my shoes..get my slacks on and let's get the Hell outa here!" When we gave him the discharge date of September 13th, the mantra immediately stopped. Dyda knew he would be going home.

Hospice has been wonderful to us. They provide weekly nursing visits and other patient/family support. Through Medicare, they arranged to get him a hospital bed, what's called a "Gerry Chair" and a Heuyer Lift, to help us get him into the chair. They also supply some meds, diapers and bed pads. We could not do this without them.

Of course, I am always looking for a deeper meaning in my circumstances. Since I firmly believe that there are no accidents in the Kingdom of God, every event to me is a theophany. Now it is very hard to see God's Will in all of this, especially when I am changing Dyda's diapers. I recently told him, "Dyda, I could retire in style if I were being paid by the pound of cr#$!" He gave me his stock toothless grin.

As I tend to him, I call to mind the words of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, as she spoke about ministering to Jesus in the guise of the poor and suffering. And that is the image that sustains me. I was reading an article recently about the Tears of God. Yes, God does weep. When a tear welled up in my Dad's eye last week, I knew I was seeing God weeping. It was a tender moment, actually, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of love for this suffering man who now represents the suffering Body of Christ.

The end game is tough. Unbelievably tough. Not physically, necessarily (though it is exhausting sometimes) but spiritually. We are challenged by trying to understand the reason for it all, to peresevere in our faith in the absolute preciousness of the mystery of the suffering Christ in His Mystical Body. It is the mystery of Love.

My friend Helen lives in a nursing home in Virginia Beach. She was my bookkeeper for more than 20 years at Norfolk Academy. We have managed to stay in touch over the years and I spoke with her just last week. She was telling me about one of the 100 year old residents named, Joan. Joan was married for 75 years until her husband recently passed away. He was a General in the Maine Corps and they had been devoted to each other all their married life. What is so remarkable about Joan is that she looks so young. She is always dressed to the "nines," has her hair properly styled and always has a smile and a cheerul word for others.

Recently, Joan was interviewed by the local newspaper. Of course, they asked the standard questions about the "secret" of her longevity, health and youthful demeanor. Joan did not give the standard responses of, no beer nor smoking or drinking 3 daily glasses of prune juice or the like. No. Joan looked squarely at the reporter and said just a few words, "It is because I was loved." That, my friends, says it all.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Lord. I love Your Psalms
Which in my darkness, become
A light to my path.

Ps 119

Dozier Family Update from St. Eva the Good

We have had a very busy month:

Dyda came home after several months in a nursing home for rehab from his stroke. He is doing well although he is totally bedridden and total care. We are adjusting and he is too. Such a great man. No complaints as we learn how to use all his equipment to take care of him.

Gordon and I have moved to a retirement community and we now have a new address and only cell phones.
Gordon cleaned the house yesterday and when I got home from work he shared with me how happy he was over how little time and energy it took to get it done (we have downsized about 1300 sq feet)
I continue to work with every Friday off to play with Angel's kids.

Gordon, III and his family are settling into our other house. It is great to have them here with us. Our Carolina Room there is now a beautiful chapel and he has a communion service there every Sunday at 3pm. Most of you know he was ordained a Deacon this summer. Karen is teaching at our local Catholic school, where Katie attends, Alex is adjusting very well to public school and Daniel is still home schooled and preparing for Eagle Scout. Gordon just got a promotion at Hartford Life: Program Manager for enterprise professional development.

Kristi and her family, in Dallas, are preparing for Eva's chemo treatments. Kristi keeps us all update on her blog: Kristi is doing very well at Dallas YMCA, having coordinated a major fundraising event this week Jon just got back from Asia for American Airlines. Jack is doing well with his schooling and taking care of Eva. Angel is heading out to be with them as Eva goes into the hospital on this Sunday to begin her first round. Thank you all for your prayer support

Jay is waiting to hear about getting his own store for Chick-fil-a and doing a great job of marketing at our store in SP. Boo will be finishing her nursing bachelors degree from UNC this December and continues to work in the ICU at Duke. Jay's boys are doing well in school this year.

Angel and her family stay busy with school and sports for the kids,: soccer, swimming, tennis and golf.
Angel serves on her kids school PTA as one of those 25% who do everything. Graham and Angel continue to do the marathon runs and Graham will be in one this weekend ( I get to keep the kids)

Ben lives with us so his address has changed as well. He is in school in the nursing program and works part time at Chili's. He has been a great help in caring for Dyda. He calls Loralei every day and looks forward to his next visit.

Nathaniel and Vanessa are living in Greensboro. Nathaniel is working at the Double Tree as their night auditor and Vanessa has interviewed for a great job at the O'Henry Hotel. They are expecting their first born in January.

JPD is back to school at UNC Asheville. He continues to participate on the school's team for war games battle reenactments. They do really well. It must have come from all the paint ball games he enjoyed. He has a part time job on campus.

Mary is back at UNC Greensboro. She is on the school's swim team and we look forward to seeing her in some of the meets. Her latest job is as a photographer for a promotional web site. Her Air Force career is postponed to continue her education.

Thank you all for your continued prayers for our family,
Eva and Gordon

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

OK. So its not Friday...


Better to suffer
on earth with Christ, than reign in
Heaven without Him.

St. Bernard of Clairveaux

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Grammar Nazi

It's my mother's fault. She raised my brother and me to be grammar perfectionists. It was almost preferable to commit a mortal sin than to split an infinitive. Of course, it is one thing to know how to speak correctly; it is quite another to apply correction to those committing the unpardonable sin of improper speech, whether it be family, friend or foe. If she heard, "Her and I went to the Mall," the young lady would be advised that it should be "She and I.." Oh those pesky pronouns. The improper use of "who and whom" drove her to the edge, as in "he is the one who I want to date. "Whom, my should be "whom." She was fearless.

No one escaped her kind but firm correction and it used to amaze me how bold she was in her mission. It used to anger me when I would get caught in some egregious error, but how thankful I am that she held me to her higher standard. And despite my own resistance, my mother created a clone of herself: I am an unabashed Grammar Nazi.

Just ask my children how difficult it was to carry on a conversation in our household. Each would converse with care and trepidation, hoping not to hear the dreaded... "Grammar Error...Grammar Error." Now this phrase was preceded with an alert sound that resembled the noise made by the fire-drill horn in high school. It was an "EH..EH..EH..EH." followed by "Grammar Error...Grammar Error." Kinda like, "Danger Will Robinson...Danger Will Robinson." Then the correction would be made to the undying embarrassment of the offender. My son, Nathaniel, didn't really carry on conversation until he was 7. Didn't want to hear that dreaded "EH..EH..EH?" Perhaps.

St. Eva the Good and I have been on vacation in Myrtle Beach for the last week. We went to dinner at a Japanese restaurant called "Myabis." As I went to the hostess desk, I was confronted with a sign that said: "To receive the early bird discount, you must be sat by 5:30PM." The alarm bells went off in my brain. "EH...EH...Grammar Error." All during dinner, I agonized over that sign. "Must be sat?" I know this is South Carolina but for Pete's sake... When I paid the bill, I asked the hostess who was in charge of the sign. "The Manager," she replied. "It has a serious grammar error," said I. She came around and stood beside me as I pointed it out. "Well, you see, she's Japanese..." Nazi's accept no such lame excuses.

Yes, it is a curse. But we Grammar Nazi's never sleep...we never rest...and even though we may be in Myrtle Beach, we never take a vacation.