around the frame Feb 2018 – our experiences

Hospital stay: day two. Auntie Alma with her great-granddaughter’s teddy bear.

Dear Frances,

I’m sorry to read of your aunt’s passing.  Yes, God bless her and your family coping with her loss.

As ever,


Gail (Jan. ’18) adds, “How well I remember the loving hugs from my favorite aunt…the way she looked me in the eye and expressed her affection and made me feel warm and fuzzy.  Or, maybe it was the warm cookies made because you were visiting her children and how welcomed you felt just to be in their warm kitchen.  You can’t take those memories away…”


Dear Frances,

I really liked your letter about your Auntie Alma’s death. It was so tender and sensitive. I liked that you focused on the good memories you have of her. And, at her age, it was time to go.

As I approach 90, I am grateful for all my blessings but I am ready to go when God is ready.

I hope my family will be able to ‘release’ me when that time comes and not get lost in grief.

Bless you, my dear,


June Poucher (Jan. ’18) adds, “This is part of the circle of life and not necessarily a bad thing….”



Sure enjoyed your article on your aunt’s passing and the pictures. Your aunt was very lucky to have been able to remain in her own home with your help and her daughter and son-in-law.

You gave a lot of time and emotional energy for her. Glad David could be a part of it, too.

Dottie (Oct. ’17) adds, “Just loved the picture of you playing the piano with your cousins and aunt singing.  I didn’t know you played the piano Frances!


Dear Frances,

You are right when you said, “Everything changes.” Besides the fact my body is changing, activities I have recently enjoyed have disappeared. Poof!

The one big thing I look forward to all year is attend the September “Truck Show.” I didn’t get to go this year. My sister-in-law sounded sad when she told me I couldn’t go with them, but went on, “I just bought a new travel trailer. We can save money!” She added, “Maybe you can ride with one of your other brothers.”

This meant they would not rent a cabin for us all.

But later they had a surprise. They took their new trailer out and it began falling apart. They took it back to the dealer, but by then, it was too late to reserve a cabin.

Disappointments are hard but life goes on!

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (Jan., ’18) adds, “I am sorry to hear about your aunt’s death. It is hard to lose loved ones. This year I lost my dad, my nephew Steve and an aunt. I know the Lord has a plan in all things. But, those things I do not understand.”


Dear Frances and Ninepatch,

Early in November of 2017 I was diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized into my vertebrae and ribs. It has also migrated into my spinal column so is now pressing on my spinal cord.

I made the decision of doing no treatments and am at home with home hospice care. This means a nurse comes and helps me with pain control and any health issues. At this time, I am choosing to take no opiates as I want a clear head.

I am still able to take care of my own needs, with a little help from my friends and neighbors, who are doing my chores. My daughter who lives several hours away is here most weekends. One son and his wife live in town and check in daily.

I am taking this minute by minute and still waiting to see what’s next!

Love you, Frances.


Palma (Nov. 17) adds, “Frances will keep you posted if I can’t.” 


 Dear Frances;

  I’m finally starting to get back to post-holiday ‘normal.’ I do hope that you and JK are well, and that you’ve enjoyed the holidays.

Dan and I didn’t do much, other than a dinner with the family. Mostly, we have been dealing with the brutal cold that’s engulfed Eastern Canada of late. Ironically, it’s reminded me of how much I hated Western Canada when I lived there years ago. There these temperatures were ‘de rigure’ in winter. We could spend months on end in this kind of deep freeze. At least, here, it’s ‘temporary’ and ‘unusual’.

Unfortunately, this week, the cold caused my new car to shut down on me while driving through town. My car simply quit working. It simply ‘died’ while I was in afternoon traffic!

Many bitterly cold and stressful hours later, I drove it home with a new battery in it, but Hope that your holiday has been less cold and stressful, and that you and JK are well, and have a Happy New Year!



Lynn D. (Oct. ’17) adds, “The experience with my new car has robbed me of my confidence in its ‘reliability.’”


Dear Fritzie,

I thought of you when I read this prayer/poem.


I bring those whom I love

to You,

commit each to

Your loving care:

then carry them away again

So back come with

My heart’s load,

(to) You alone,


all I cannot understand

to You

Who do.

You know each heart

each hidden wound,

each scar,


now I give them

to Your loving care,

with thankful heart,

-and leave them there.”

-Ruth Bell Graham

I thought of you and your grandson, Wally. There was an illustration with the poem. It was of a jean-clad teen walking down a road alone, carrying a back-pack. The illustration reminded me of Bryan, my son who lives on the streets,

Every once in a while, I get out the poem and pray with it. I believe God is taking care of Bryan.

Take care my friend. I pray for you and your family.


Patricia (Jan. ’18) adds, “If your grandson isn’t home, I pray he will return-and soon.”



You wrote me a couple of weeks ago, but I did not reply. As it turns out, depression has hit me over the head like a hammer.

It’s odd–I go about my usual things outside the house; it’s hard, but I manage. And then the moment I get home, the silence, emptiness, and loneliness wash over me.

Today I thought I was so smart. Before I left the house to go to my tutoring appointment, I called a sweet friend and asked if she’d like to go to lunch after I tutored. We made plans and I had a really pleasant lunch with her.

But just as soon as I got home, the dark blanket of depression wrapped around me again.

Thanks for your ear.


Elaine (Jan. ‘18) adds, “In my email today, an also-depressed friend from Connecticut sent me a New York Times article about a new technology to treat the illness. My mind is so numb that I can’t understand the words. Or, I can’t concentrate on the article. What a mess I am.”


Hi Fritzie,

Just home from a restaurant meal across the driveway with one daughter. She was kind enough to come and help me with some business chores, so I invited her to dinner. Delicious, as usual!

I should head for my bedroom. Have to be at the Geneva, Switzerland concert hall, Victoria Hall, for orchestra practice tomorrow. Their works will be presented this coming weekend with the guest artists. The Wednesday before people like me are allowed to attend the rehearsal!

Have a good finish to your



Betsy (Sept. ‘17) adds, “Thanks for all of your work on Ninepatch! Always a pleasure to


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