Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Joel and Sharman A LOVE STORY AND TALE OF SALVATION
During that time Joe has experienced a precipitous decline. We first had Home health care. and then, I had to go into the hospital for ischemic colitis for several days triggering an even further decline for Joe. During that time, our children, Cecily, Drew and Brooke were told by the nurses that they recommended Hospice. We are blessed with such wonderful help. After further decline we have decided to "allow the natural process" as my sister calls it, with only palliative care for Joe who seems to already be living in another world.
I called his brothers a couple of months ago when Joe was more lucid and they all came to visit. For a long time, Joe recited "My name is Joel Wardlaw Ramsey, My brothers are Phillip Hart Ramsey, Edward Lawrence Ramsey, and William Allen Ramsey." They told jokes and I took videos of them interacting as they always had. I called again and told them of his precipitous decline in just the 2 month space of time. When Ed, Linda, Bill, Joyce, Elizabeth came this time they were shocked at the difference.
"Where are Dick, Doug and Jan?" he asks about his Mosley Cousins with whom he was so close.""Already in Heaven" I answer. "It's time to play ball. Where is my ball and glove? Who will call the Signals?"" It's time for me to go home. My Mother and Daddy will be looking for me." "Where's Tommy?" ((Spann, his best friend in childhood and forever. "Who am I?" I ask. He thinks. "Princess Grace." He responded. But most of the time he knows me or asks, "Are you Sharman?"
He wakes up and says "It is time for us to go." "Where Joe?" "It is time to go home." I know this house is new. I guess sometimes he thinks we are in a motel and need to get up to go home. Or maybe he is thinking of Heaven and those loved ones already there.
I am so grateful that God saw fit to save my Joe on August 2, 2020 when he woke up and said, "I need to make a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior." We were then able to go to Dr. Wayne Hannah's Sunday School class at First Baptist. He stood up and made his profession of faith to all assembled. Soon after, he woke up during the night and told me, "I need to be baptized." Go to sleep, Joe. I'll call the preacher tomorrow." He settled for awhile and then turned over telling me, "I need to be immersed. I need to be baptized." "OK, then get out of bed and go get into the bathtub. He did. I baptized him in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Go forth," I told him. "You are forgiven and are now alive in Christ." That will be the epitaph on both his and my stones. "Forgiven and Alive in Christ."
This is a hard time. But that gift of the knowledge of his Salvation was the greatest gift he has ever given me. November 8th was our 51st anniversary. We've been together for a long time. But Heaven's call seems imminent. And we will have Eternity together before the throne of God with all those loved ones who have gone on before us.
Your prayers are appreciated. We both cherish our friends. God is good. We are so blessed. His mercy is everlasting.
Friday morning was like others since the hospice nurse told us three (or four) days prior that that horrible sound that he was drowning and gasping for breath meant that he was not long for this world. Cecily and Brooke sat vigil (along with Malissa, our sitter) taking turns going upstairs for a brief rest. I remained as close as possible napping on my bed next to his. Earlier he had told me that he wanted to die next to me in bed. That is where I remained either snuggled next to him in the hospital bed or right next to him in my bed pulled tightly to his. Cecily had just gone upstairs. I was awakened suddenly from my sleep --to silence. I leapt up and crawled over to --and caught his last whispered breath. I told him for the 10 millionth time how very much I loved him but to go on to heaven where his mother and daddy waited. Take that beam of light in Jesus' arms to those already in heaven where I would meet him again in the twinkling of an eye.
A couple of weeks earlier he had started singing "I've grown accustomed to your face, you almost make the day begin, I'd been extremely independent and content before we met, surely I could always be that way again and yet, I've grown accustomed to your face, accustomed to your smile, accustomed to your face." When he could not speak I would see his mouth framing those words. I sang to him.
And then it was over. The hospice nurse and I cleaned him and dressed him. Hospice came and took all the supplies they had provided. The hospital bed he hated calling it in lucid moments "the baby bed." "Get me out of here," he would say when lucid. "This is the living dead."
And yes, that is what Alzheimers is.
"I told him, I cannot hold you, my darling, you will fall." After my hospital confinement it was not long before he could not hold himself up on his feet, or maneuvered into the wheel chair, and would have to be in the hospice hospital bed pulled tight up next to mine. For awhile he could roll from that bed onto my bed where I would hold onto him so he would not roll out. But the time came when he could no longer roll onto the bed. And had to stay in that hospital bed. Though he ate very little, one night he asked, "What's for breakfast?" "What do you want?" I asked. "Banana pudding." So at 4 AM the next morning I made banana pudding. The first day he really enjoyed all of it. Days passed and all he could eat was a taste One day all he wanted was apple jelly. Just apple jelly. So, I gave him apple jelly-- with no toast by then though I would have gladly fixed it.
I questioned myself. What more could I have done? I had gotten CAT scans, blood tests, XRAYs and doctors offered no options. Would a facility offer better care? They could lift him out of bed into a wheelchair. But, at Extendicare they only let you see your loved one 15 minutes a day--and that is if they can get into a wheelchair which by then Joe could not. The others were about the same.
I had promised to be with him. I promised I would be beside him in bed when he died, if possible.
When I was in the hospital a month ago with Cecily taking care of me and antibiotics flowing into my veins so I could get well enough to come home, Brooke cared for Joe. Drew and Brittany were there also helping with the immense job. They found him in a fetal position in front of the locked front door where he had tried desperately to get out and go find me. He slipped out the back door to "go walk Gigi" and escaped out the back gate. Brooke and Mike followed him down the street where he walked then but gave out. Mike went and got the car while Brooke held him.
"I can take care of Sharman. Let me go. Why does Cecily get to stay with her." With Covid he could not even come to the hospital. On the few times he could not remember my name he called me "Princess Beautiful." Who couldn't adore a man like that?
When I entered the front door, I didn't think he would ever let go. "Don't ever leave me again. I love you so much!" The decline was precipitous from that moment. I could not get him into the wheelchair he had become dead weight. While I was gone, the Home Health specialists who had been coming recommended Hospice. All of the nurses were a blessing. Alzheimers had been his greatest fear. "I will kill myself first," he used to say. But, praise God, he found Jesus (or Jesus found him) on August 2, when he rolled over from a sound sleep and told me, "I need to make my public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior." He was able to make that public profession in our Sunday School class that Sunday. He called it his "road to Damascus" experience.
That salvation was confirmed a day later when he once again rolled over from a deep sleep to say, "I need to be Baptized." "Okay, I'lll call the preacher tomorrow, I said." He went back to sleep and then rolled over again and said, No, I need to be Immersed. I need to be baptized." "Okay, get out of bed and get into the bathtub." And I baptized him. I called the preacher the next day and he confirmed that family members can baptize their loved ones.
His conversion then took the form of apologies to those he might have hurt in someway or the other. Always followed with I love you. A healing occurred that only God in his infinite wisdom foresaw all those years I prayed. God told me in earlier years "It is your job to love him; it is my job to lead him." He took the burden of placing the right book, the right show, etc. away from me. Not my problem. That wasn't my job. My job was to love him.
Friends all over prayed for him without ceasing. God instructed me when I was so angry ,"Let me love him through you." Ever feel like the love isn't there? Well it returned when I followed God's instructions. "What would you do if you loved him?" "Give him a kiss at the door and fix his favorite supper." Then do it," God said.
I don't think a woman could have loved a man any more than I loved my Joe.
And now he is gone. I feel like a zombie walking through the motions, with daughters Brooke and Cecily taking me by the hand and saying, this is what we must do now. Sister Sylvia did perhaps the best thing anyone could do. My cardiologist sister redecorated my bedroom, moving the bed from the position where it was with the hospital bed right next to it. We found a different carpet in the garage still there from our move. She cleaned out the bathroom leaving it sparkling and with a total new look, all the old medicine gone and a fresh, different bedspread on the bed. It is perfectly beautiful and done with her loving hands. (Fortunately my helpers, Jeannie Jacobs and her daughter Jodie were there at the perfect time.)
Friends have delivered food and love. Those far away have called. My church and Sunday school class step in to feed us.
But, yesterday, Sunday, I woke up thinking of how Joe enjoyed going to Sunday School. So I dressed and texted Brooke (who was able to close and move from the 2nd floor upstairs where she had been for 8 months awaiting the completion of the beautiful home she was able to gain possession of on the exact day her daddy died into her beautiful new home) that I was going to Sunday School. And they wrapped me in their love. In my text I told Brooke I was going to church and would sit where Joe's mother and father always sat on the right side of First Baptist sanctuary and if anyone wanted to join me, I would love for them to come. Megan, my ten year old granddaughter met me at 10:15 and sat with me.
The songs of the choir washed over me healing my soul. Megan's precious little body cuddled and warmed the chill from me. She held my hands that felt like ice in her tiny ones. She whispered her love for me over and over. Her precious presence helped more than that dear little one could ever know.
Many friends came to greet me. I was home in my church and that decision to put one foot in front of the other and go to church was very definitely the right one.
I meant to take Megan by herself to Zacks for lunch, but they were full. So we went to the KFC on the circle and got lunch for everyone, taking it back to Brooke's new home. We enjoyed that so much, looks like that may become a new tradition. KFC for Sunday lunch.
Life goes on. Every kindness is a building block toward a new future. God is good. His mercy is everlasting.
My Joe is in Heaven. With my heart. He is no longer wracked with pain or the ignominy of decline that Alzheimers brings.
But he told me, you have to stay and take care of the babies. And so I will until God in his timing calls me home as well. One foot in front of the other, blessed with my wonderful family and dear, dear friends.
Joe's favorite verse:
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Friday, July 3, 2020
Our WOKE World and
Prophetic George Orwell's 1984
Woke A word currently used to describe " consciousness " and being aware of the truth behind things "the man" doesn't want you to know i.e. classism, racism, and any other social injustices. The term comes from a genuine place but is becoming overused. People mainly use it to sound like deep thinkers when they are really just following a trend.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
with a Lifetime Perspective
by Sharman Burson Ramsey
What is the Delphi technique?
The first time I remember getting Delphied was when Auburn’s Dean Kunkel came to Dothan to speak at Northview in support of Goals 2000. I cornered him there and asked for research supporting the effectiveness of Whole Language. He said and I quote, “I can’t give you any. It’s current wisdom.”
Obviously not good enough or we would not still be battling continuing illiteracy in our schools.
It was the early 90s. Goals 2000 won. Drill and kill--what the “current wisdom” labeled Phonics --lost. Except in sports where coaches always knew that drill developed skill. That matters because winning teams on sports fields brought money into the coffers of the schools. Unlike Reading and Math. Failure there brings in more money.
Education did not improve. Then came another drive to “fix” our schools that wound up with the Chamber of Commerce “Delphi-ing” the community into accepting Common Core. Bill Gates of “Pirates of Silcon Valley” fame sold the community on "21st-century skills” generally referring to certain core “competencies” such as “collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving that advocates believe schools need to teach to help students thrive in today's world.”
"The idea that the richest man in the U.S. can purchase and --working closely with
Surely sales opportunities/filthy lucre would have nothing to do with Gates in partnership with UNESCO. Microsoft joined Pearson, the world's largest educational publisher to load Pearson's Common Core classroom materials on Microsoft's tablet, the Surface. That product allows Microsoft to compete for school district spending with Apple, whose iPad is the dominant tablet in classrooms.
During the late nineties Dothan Director of Instruction Susan Lockwood got the Board to back the “four period day.” They paid for teachers to fly to Frederick, Maryland to “see” a school that had used that method for a couple of months and then come home enthused enough for the system to print glossy brochures and a video on the “method” …and then send our own teachers out to sell the method. Lockwood used AP Geometry and Algebra students in our system as guinea pigs for her dissertation. Their scores on the Advanced Placement Test showed they scored poorly and eventually the method (which gave Band and Sports students 1/4th of their school year to their extracurricular “subject”) was replaced. ONLY TO RETURN WITH THIS NEW SUPERINTENDENT.
By the way, Lockwood, then became Dr. Lockwood with a PH.D. (She used our daughter as a guinea pig for her dissertation WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION and went on to become superintendent of Eufaula City Schools in Alabama.
They say we are no longer Common Core schools. Yet, the laptops still utilize Pearson curriculum and the same Progressive methods. Point being there has been no improvement on the curriculum of our schools. It is still based on “current wisdom” (Progressive Education) as Dean Kunkel explained thirty years ago. Only now it is on steroids as a consequence of Common Core. The current Superintendent appears to be a Master of that philosophy.
So be it…as long as the community understands what their tax dollars support. Though it appears to some of us that the chairs on this Titanic continue to be rearranged for the benefit of administrators making points with their fellow educrats, getting degrees, promotions, and recognition from their colleagues. Not for the benefit of our children.
Now, we must rethink our schools as a consequence of Covid 19. Does a crowded single high school and middle school make sense? Should those abandoned schools be reopened to alleviate crowding? In the process, how about actually revolutionizing the schools by using methods proven to actually educate children in the manner expected by the public that funds those schools. Like those traditional methods used in private schools. Fortunately, the private school my grandchildren attend does not buy into that foolishness. They use Orton-Gillingham for Phonics/Reading and Saxon Math. But through our taxes, we are all forced to support the “current wisdom” and sad individual and societal consequences of Progressive Education.
Be prepared--the demand for more money to use another gimmick to “fix” education will be coming soon.