Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sad news

I'm sorry to be the bearer of such sad news, but with a heavy heart I report that Lucie passed away peacefully in her sleep last night. Her family was around, talking, eating, laughing and looking at pictures, and I think it was a warm and comforting setting in which to let go. Thanks to friends, family and "virtual" friends who have all shared in and been part of her story.
I am including her obituary, although it's impossible to sum up such an amazingly beautiful life in a few paragraphs.

The Keene Sentinel
August 19, 2010
Lucie C. Germer

Lucie Clare Germer, 67, of 112 Pleasant Street, Marlborough, died at her home from pancreatic cancer, August 18, surrounded by her beloved family.
She was born in Arlington, Mass., May 21, 1943, daughter of Laurence L. and Lucia F. Barber. She spent her youth in Brazil, Turkey and Libya, following the moves of her father, a public administration consultant for the United Nations. She attended high school in Libya, and went on to obtain her BA at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She returned to the U.S. to obtain her MA at UCLA.
While working as an English Language instructor for U.S.A.I.D. in Somalia, in 1967, she met her husband, Jerry, who was training Peace Corps volunteers there. They were married in Mogadishu in September, 1967.
She returned to the U.S.A in November of that year to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she taught English to non-native speakers, as well as courses at the University of Utah.
After her husband, Jerry, obtained his architecture degree, the couple moved to Monrovia, Liberia, where he worked for an international architecture firm and she taught English at the University of Liberia. Their first child, Max, was born in Liberia.
The couple later returned to Salt Lake City, where their second child, Lucinda was born and Lucie began studies leading to a Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of Utah. The Germer family spent 1983 in Costa Rica, where Jerry pursued research in climate-responsive design and Lucie completed the draft of her doctoral dissertation.
The family returned to the U.S.A., where they made their home in Marlborough, NH, where Lucie taught English as a Second Language in schools in the Keene School District until her retirement in 2004. She took up trombone during this period and enjoyed playing it in the Westmoreland Town Band for 18 years. As a result of her enthusiasm playing with the band, she co-wrote a book with Jerry to encourage other adults to get involved in music making. She also wrote two published books dealing with English as a Second Language.
Lucie is survived by her husband, Jerry, a son, Max and his wife, Anya, and their son, Miles, of Florence, MA, a daughter, Lucinda and her husband Rob, of Seattle, WA, and a brother, Luther Barber and his wife, Miriam, of Needham, MA. .
Lucie wanted to be remembered by the words of Edith Piaf, Non, je ne regretted rien (no, I regret nothing). A memorial service in the manner of a Quaker meeting will be held at 3:00pm on Wednesday, August 25 at the Marlborough Community Center, Main St., Marlborough, NH. A second service will be held for the family’s many relatives and friends in Utah at a later date.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,

Monday, August 16, 2010


Lucinda guest blogging here, I thought I'd give you all an update. Since the last post Lucie has declined pretty significantly. Fortunately she is in no pain, and at the moment resting comfortably. Over the last 48 hours she has gotten increasingly disoriented, confused and agitated. Last night was a tough night for sleeping because she was moving around and sitting up quite often, and talking at regular intervals.
The hospice nurse put her on a new drug regimen that seems to have helped with the restlessness, and she got a massage from a hospice volunteer which I think she enjoyed. There was even an impromptu singing session with Mary, myself and the hospice nurse, and Lucie sang along.
She still has moments of clarity, and smiles when you walk into the room. Sometimes she'll be sleeping and have a huge, beautiful smile on her face, so I think she's having good dreams.
As always, thanks to everyone for your love, care and support. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 13, 2010

How it feels from this end

Well, the latest on the bed project is that Jerry, being Jerry, has McGuivered a makeshift bed out of an old mattress, coffee table and some plywood so he can sleep next to me in the hospital bed. We don't know if this will work yet, but we're hoping it's a good solution.

I've been feeling low. Not only does my voice go in and out of focus, but I'm having trouble keeping any kind of focus. When I try to stand up, I'm like a marionette with no strings. Yet, at the same time, the couple bites of quesadilla I had for lunch were delicious, so that's how it feels from this end.

Cinda has been helping me write this. I appreciate her doing so.

More later.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to Visit

There are a few rules.
1. Call ahead to set up a time.
2. Don't stay long.
3. Try not to bring up old business if it's something that only you remember. You may want to bring closure or solve an old problem, but this is not the time.
4.What should you bring? Find out if the person you're visiting likes flowers, or chocolates, or food. Maybe they don't want the casserole.
5. Decide who the visit is for. If it's for you, and this is fine, think about what you're going to say. If the visit is truly for the person you're visiting, maybe the simplest thing to say is just I love you, I'll miss you.
6. "What can I do" is the big question everyone wants to ask. And let's face it, in the modern world there isn't much. The important thing is not what you can do but that you can be there. This is harder than it seems.
Last, there is no last. Whatever you say, however long you stay, it's never enough, so keep it short.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

hospice and the bed

the bed is the first thing that hospice brings you. it isn’t necessarily the most important thing, or even what you need first. I’ve decided it’s a symbol. you have crossed this dividing line, and now you need a bed in the dining room.

the man who brings it in and sets it up is efficient and cheerful. he keeps saying,”now this is a feature that every bed should have, not just hospice ones.”
what everyone who comes through the dining room points out, though, is that the bed's too small. "are you both sleeping in that?"

no,we're comfy and cozy, upstairs in our queen-sized bed where we belong, him on the left,me on the right, and we want to keep it that way as long as possible,even if it isn't perfect.

we may not have crossed that dividing line, but we are clearly there.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

everything takes a long time

it's the loss of function in my right hand that's been giving me trouble today. somehow or other, connected with the fall on tuesday night and the dislocated shoulder i stopped being able to grasp anything with my right hand -- i can't push buttons, then ewspaper slides through my hands, and we won't even talk about how long it takes to go to the bathroom. thank heavens for pull-up pants.

i'm typing this left-handed, thus no caps. because of my english-teaching background, skipping caps and parens makes me feel somewhat wicked.

how else do i feel question mark. everything not only takes longer but is very tiring. i don't feel.... right.

i cling to my family and friends, even those of you i don't know.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The latest excitement

After getting back from the hospital on Tuesday night, everything gets blurry. About 2 o'clock in the morning I got up to go to the bathroom and stumbled and fell, hitting my shoulder. We thought it was broken. After calling Hospice and the ambulance we (Jerry, Cinda & Rob) went to the ER where eventually they discovered that my shoulder was dislocated. No other injuries. They put it back together (like Tinker Toys) and I'm in no pain now.

It's been a surreal day, with everybody taking naps whenever they could and a lot of loving conversation. Hospice has been around with bed, cane and commode (hell of an album title) and I continue to feel pretty well and surrounded by your love.