Thursday, August 16, 2018

In Memory of Helen

I’m sorry to announce that older bud Helen Claybrook has passed away in July. She was always a diligent member of our group. Even when her health got worse, she would stop by once every few months to write another story. I remember holding onto a copy of a story she wrote a few years ago, because I knew she’d come back. I finally gave it back to her on November 9th, just a few hours before Best Day’s Happy Hour fundraiser. And she took our name to heart, too! I can’t tell you how many of her stories started with some variation of “The happiest day of my life was when...”

She was a tough but loving mother who worked her butt off to provide for her kids. They're full grown now, but she still continued to take care of her beloved cats as well. Helen was also invaluable to her friends, and fellow older buds. Older bud Loretta was actually the one to tell us Helen had passed. Neither of them had been able to come to Best Day lately, but both of them valued us enough to keep in touch.

I went through the blog and noticed that not all of her stories were posted. Today, I intend to fix that by sharing as much of Helen's work with our readers as possible. Here's to you, Helen. We miss you.

Helen Claybrook
Where I lived

I lived in Eastern Shore, VA, the landscape was wild. There were pine trees, potato farms, grass everywhere. There was only seven houses on about forty acres or more of land. No street lights. There was just endless roads, blackberries were along the road. Apple, peach trees, the Atlantic Ocean was within walking distance from my home. There was also a very large and deep hole - was several miles between the road and Atlantic Ocean. No supermarkets, McDonalds, no doctors, hospitals, only five miles into Maryland. There was also a hospital in VA one hundred miles away.
Now, they have a hospital fifteen miles into Salisbury, MD, doctors you can visit in two towns over. The farms are no more. People work at Perdue or Tyson Chicken factories. They live in houses, mid-level homes, double-wide trailers. There is a supermarket, Family Dollar, State store and Pizza Hut.

Helen Claybrook
Going to the Hospital

I am going to the hospital when they call me and I am a little scared. I have not been feeling well for a week. But I keep pushing myself to do what I have to do to take care of my apartment and cat. My apartment is only three rooms, but it is a lot for me to keep clean. My cat makes a mess every day. Somehow she finds the caps off my diabetic needles and pushing them under and out the door. I hope she is alright while I am in the hospital for four days.

Helen Claybrook
My Miracle from Jesus

The best day of my life was when my great granddaughter was born in 2016.
I was given until morning to live in 1972. I had to have a total because of P.I.D.
I think it was from using Johnson body powder. Then I was told I needed a cardiac cath because I had C.H.F and it would only get worse as I got older. They perfected the cardiac cath and invented new medication which has helped me live longer. Then twenty-five years ago, the doctor who is in charge of Presbyterian Hospital told me I had a year to live if I continued to live like I was living. I was a falling-down, pisses drunk. I worked everyday, but had to use money for drinks and bills. Twenty-five years later I have not had a drink of liquid for over twenty-three years, four months, twelve days. I drank two years after the doctor told me I would die in a year, stopped drinking after I went to another doctor. He circled blood alcohol level as 3 times the legal limit in Pennsylvania. I drove there to the Doctor’s office. Now they say I have five years to live on kidney dialysis. My friends said you did the math: 125 years x 5 years ; 68 – how old I am now = 193 years til I die.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! 

Helen Claybrook
A Good Day

The best day of my life, this year, was yesterday when I found out my insurance will pay for my dialysis treatment. My kidney has been failing for twenty-five years. My doctor, Dr. Shepard told me I had one year to live if I continued to live like I was living. I drank for two more years and finally stopped twenty-three years ago. I like to travel to the eastern shore, Atlanta, Georgia, and San Francisco. I am hoping I can also still go to Puerto Rico. I would also like to go on a cruise.

Helen Claybrook
Nursing School

One of the best days of my life was when I was accepted to Nursing School.
I was left by my husband to raise our two sons. Lawrence and Frank.
I went on public assistance. I didn’t like it. Everyone in my family worked. So I asked, did they have a program to help me pay for school. The answer was yes. I went to school to be a licensed practical nurse.
I worked from 1972 until 2006. I wasn’t not happy, but it paid the bills.

Read more stories by Helen Claybrook: