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Final Years

In the summer of 2000, Melody had a severe health crisis.  She was having trouble walking, was out of breath with little exertion and the family was worried.  She finally went to the doctor when the symptoms got worse and tests revealed she had a recent heart attack. After going to the hospital for a heart catheterization, Melody underwent triple-bypass surgery to fix the problems with her heart.  The surgery did not go well and she had to be revived on the table.  When she did come out of surgery, her kidneys failed to restart properly and were not functioning as they should.  After several days, function returned but damage was done and they were no longer functioning at normal levels. Recovery was long and hard. 

She was no longer able to go up and down stairs easily, so a friend at church loaned her an adjustable bed and the family then turned the dining room into a bedroom as all the bedrooms were on the second floor.  Although she eventually regained some of her strength, her body was never the same. mom089 copyIn December of 2000, Bill and Melody rented an apartment in Somerset, Ohio at a retired and disabled facility.  A small apartment meant she would have to get rid of a lot of things she had collected over the years, but the facility was only one floor and would make things easier for her.  Their daughter and son-in-law had saved money to buy a house by this time and would be moving soon anyway so the time  had come to split back apart. This new place would be the last place she ever lived in her life and although it was small, it was comfortable. 

She took great pride in decorating their new place, picking out new furniture and finding ways to make the small space work. They got to know other people who lived in the building well and would spend time playing cards with others in the evenings and participating in group activities.  Melody even had a chance to reconnect with someone she went to high school with while living there.

At this point in her life she enjoyed the simple things in life, like spending time with her children and grandchildren and exploring new hobbies.  Her crafting had expanded to oil painting and jewelry making. In the last year of her life, the problem with her kidneys reared its ugly head.  Their level of function kept going down and down due to the damage that happened during the by-pass surgery.  Eventually she knew she would have to go on kidney dialysis.  A shunt was put in her chest and she started going to the kidney dialysis center 2 to 3 times per week.  This was something she didn’t really like doing, but doing dialysis at home just wasn’t a good option to her. 

It was a scary thing but they got into a routine and this became the new normal in their lives. mom159Around this time, Bill and Melody came into some money from a car accident settlement.  This allowed them to pick out a newer car, one that wasn’t beat up from the hundred mile paper route each day.  Melody fell in love with PT Cruisers, but didn’t really know if the settlement would be enough to purchase one. She was delighted when the final figures came in and not only did they find one in their price range that was a slightly used, one-owner vehicle, but that there would be money left over!  Melody felt blessed that God would give her this desire of her heart. 

With the money that was left over she could pursue the other new passion in her life — jewelry making! Jewelry making is not exactly a cheap hobby and when she first got interested in it she really didn’t think they would have the money for her to fully pursue this new hobby.  But indeed the Lord did provide.  She found a company she liked and spent hours going through their catalog to figure out what she wanted to order and what she wanted her first projects to be.  She ordered all sorts of beads and tools and started making a list of things she wanted to make for family for Christmas.  Her excitement was obvious to anyone who talked to her about her new hobby.

As happy as she was, Melody started to worry.  She worried that something was going to happen to her now that she had gotten the desires of her heart.  It wasn’t that she thought she was cursed or something, it was simply family history.   See her grandfather had passed away after he was finally able to retire and get some of the things he had wanted.  Although she tried not to give this family history too much credence, it was something that continued to percolate in the back of her mind.

About 2-3 months after she started the dialysis treatment, Melody experienced something in her back while performing a routine task…changing the sheets on the bed.  As she bent over she thought she heard something snap.  In the following weeks this would not be the only “snap” that she would experience.  She learned that some of her vertebrae were cracking and breaking.  The dialysis was robbing her body of much needed nutrients for strong bones and the supplement that she was on prior to dialysis she could no longer take.

As plans were made on how to deal with this new complication, Melody kept the faith that they would be able to fix the problem.  She even had a new-found confidence that things would be fine and pushed the idea of any correlation between her situation and what happened to her grandfather out of her mind as they had the car for almost 6 weeks and nothing had happened to her. As her back continued to get worse she could no longer get in and out of the new car easily and she began to be taken to the dialysis center in a ambulance transport.  She once again became frightened by how quickly her body was deteriorating.   About a week and a half into this new routine she began to have trouble breathing while being prepared for transport.  When the transport personnel tried to help her sit up and breathe, her body gave out and she passed away before they could get her to the hospital.