Category Archives: Patricia Roop Hollinger

April 10 – Saying Goodbye to Mother

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

Public Domain Image: Human Crossed Hands While Sitting © creativecommonsstockphotos | Dreamstime Stock Photos

“We have to go down to Bridgewater tomorrow,” I told my husband on Saturday, April 1st.

This was not an April Fool’s joke. You see, my 103 year old mother’s health had been declining rapidly the past few weeks. I felt no urgency to be by her side as I knew that my nieces were with her day and night and I had visited her just weeks prior. During that visit she had enjoyed listening to me play some of her favorite hymns on the piano. Her mind was sharp. Her 96-year-old male friend sang a love song for her.

After her husband of 69 years died in 2001 she reluctantly left their home place to live in a Retirement Village in Bridgewater, Virginia. Oh, how she missed gardening, picking up sticks on the wood lot, and making grape juice from her grape arbor. This grape juice was served at the reenactment of the Last Supper that was held in the Church of the Brethren where she and my father had served as deacons.

A wink at Roger during a church service in her youth is how she met my Dad. This was a brazen move for a woman of that era. After several years of courting by horse and buggy they married in 1932. Both had been raised on farms so it was no surprise that they took up this way of life; a way of life that all three of their daughters remember with fondness despite recalling the odors that wafted from the barn.

After World War II my parents donated their farm as the gathering place for what was known then as Heifer Project. From 1944 to 1948, 3,600 head of heifers lived on our farm before being shipped to war-torn Europe. This is now known as Heifer International, and is located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mom served meals to the men that brought heifers to our farm all hours of the day or night. Guests never left her home with hunger pangs.

Even though her own college education came to an abrupt end with the depression she made sure that her children and grandchildren had reading material. That time and money was spent for piano lessons and activities related to 4-H. Each daughter and grandchild has their own unique memory of time spent with her. I marvel upon reflection how she made that time in light of all being a farmer’s wife entailed.

When we arrived at her room on Sunday, April 2nd her breathing was labored. I stroked her hands and face as I softly told her it was okay for her to go meet Roger, her daughter Elaine and grandson Michael. Tears welled up in my eyes. Her labored breathing was more than I could bear. Two of her grandchildren had been by her side day and night for the past week. We hugged and cried.

The call came the following morning that she had died–news that brought both sadness and relief.

Patricia Roop Hollinger is a retired Pastoral Counselor/Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor after having served for twenty-three years in a mental health setting. She and her husband, who dated in their youth, married in 2010. They reside in a retirement community with their cat, Spunky. Pat enjoys reading and writing.

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December 17 – Comfort and Joy

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

“Okay Pat, time to get up,” announced my husband on Saturday morning at 5:00 a.m. Since retiring seven years ago sleeping until 7:00 a.m. had become my new rise and shine time. What was with this 5:00 a.m. time?

Oh! That’s right. We have to meet a bus that will take us to New York City at 7:00 a.m.

We made it along with the other half awake passengers. Many were engaged in lively conversations about what adventures they had planned for the day while my husband and I saw no need to pontificate about ours until we had a few more hours to slumber.

Bryant Park is where we disembarked into a sea of people like neither of us had seen before. As we tightly gripped each others hand we waded through the throngs to our destination on Broadway to see the musical Cats. A sigh of relief could be heard by those around us as we settled back to enjoy the show.

The sea of people awaited us after the show was over. I was in awe of the reality that our Creator had made no duplicates. Yes, everyone had eyes, noses, hair, arms and legs, but nary a one was exactly like the other.

Never was I so glad to see Eyre Bus #930 when it arrived at Bryant Park to pick us up and with a driver that drove us safely home to our country environs with a paltry population compared to New York City.

With eyes closed our heads hit the pillow at midnight while we had visions of people surrounding us until sleep finally brought us comfort and joy.

Patricia Roop Hollinger is a retired Pastoral Counselor/Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor after having served for twenty-three years in a mental health setting. She and her husband, who dated in their youth, married in 2010. They reside in a retirement community with their cat, Spunky. Pat enjoys reading and writing.

August 15 – A Fateful Phone Call

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

My husband’s health was in rapid decline. Death was imminent. His son and two grandchildren were in their third year of living with us when I had been told it was only to be a weekend.

One day, upon opening the daily paper I read the obituary of the wife of a high school flame. This was his second wife he had married after his first wife had died. As fate would have it they had moved within walking distance of where I was now living with my second husband and I had met her on one of my daily walks. One day I noted they no longer lived there and just wondered where they had moved.

“Dare I call him?” I wondered. The wondering became a phone call and I proposed that in the future we might have lunch together.

With that he said, “How about breakfast next Saturday.”

This was sooner than I had planned but could I pass it up? No, I simply could not pass this offer up. I told my husband that I would be having breakfast with this gentleman. That we had dated many years ago and this was just a friendly gesture in light of the recent death of his wife.

We had breakfast at the same restaurant where we had met years prior when I had been a carhop in the 1950s. We had a few dates but another high school flame of his became his first wife. A job offer took them to San Antonio, Texas where they lived until her death. He met his second wife, who had just died, when he had returned back to visit family in the area.

We quickly established that we still had an interest in each other however I clearly was committed to caring for my husband until his imminent death. My husband was soon under the care of hospice in our home.

An epic snowstorm was predicted. We lived on an 18 acre wood lot off the beaten path. I proposed that he be taken to Dove House for if death came during the snowstorm there would be no way to transport his body to the funeral home. Placing him in the home freezer was not an option I could even consider. Death came at Dove House and it took the funeral home 2 hours to pick up his body was just a mile away.

My high school flame and I continued to have more lunches and breakfasts after my husband’s death. We were married on October 30, 2010 at a pavilion that had been one of our dating sites so many years ago.
Patricia Roop HollingerPatricia Roop Hollinger is exploring her writing skills after retiring as a Pastoral Counselor, Chaplain and LCPC from same hospital where the prescribing doctor is medical director. She is an avid reader, musician, and lover of her cat Spunky.

October 5 – The Wonders of Technology

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

“It’s time to get my prescription filled,” I said.

The refill would run out in a month and I would be near the pharmacy today so I dutifully followed the protocol of entering the script number, pushing number one to indicate that was my only refill, and being told electronically that I could pick this up at 1:00 p.m. Isn’t technology wonderful, I thought.

The other errand was accomplished by noon: I needed some grocery items in light of the predicted hurricane Joaquin heading for Maryland. Rain was already pelting down at a steady pace. I approached the pharmacy to inquire if, just possibly, my script had been filled.

“What’s your name?” the pharmacist inquired.

“Hollinger,” I said.

“Your birthday is 1/18?”

“No, my birthday is 2/28/39,” I replied.

“We have no record that you called Mrs. Hollinger.”

By now I am becoming a tad annoyed. “I did because I recall distinctly pushing number one and being told the script would be ready by 1:00 p.m.” I pause while they look.

“Oh yes, we found it, however your insurance is rejecting coverage.”

“I don’t understand, it always has paid in the past.”

I was shown a printout from my insurance company which indicated that the prescribing M.D. did not have the proper credentials to prescribe this drug.

“That’s bullshit,” I said. “The doctor is the medical director of a psychiatric hospital. He writes scripts for these drugs daily.”

“Well, you know, some doctors forget to renew their license to dispense these drugs,” she replied very authoritatively.

“This doctor would not maintain his status as medical director if he did not renew,” I stated in my own authoritarian voice.

The drug in question was Valium, which I take infrequently, but by now I was ready to swallow the whole script as my anxiety mounted.

“Do you want me to call your insurance company?” she asked.

“Would you please?” I responded firmly.

Minutes later her co-worker came to tell me that the error was one made by their computer. I paid $3.80 instead of the $11.00 quoted when told my insurance company would not pay.

I paddled home in my Honda FIT feeling triumphant and no, I didn’t even need to take the anti-anxiety medication from the prescription that had just been filled.

Patricia Roop Hollinger

Patricia Roop Hollinger is exploring her writing skills after retiring as a Pastoral Counselor, Chaplain and LCPC from same hospital where the prescribing doctor is medical director. She is an avid reader, musician, and lover of her cat Spunky.

July 17 – No Explanation

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

“I don’t believe this,” I exclaimed to my husband. “The caregiver at ARC informs me that Stephen needs a new wheelchair. The one just purchased last year is already missing a headrest and a foot rest.”

Stephen lives in a home for the disabled; as he was born with profound disabilities and was predicted to die within weeks, then months which now have become 50 years this August 17, 2015.

Oh, I made an attempt to keep him at home, until sleepless nights coupled with uncontrollable seizures gave me no choice but to relinquish his care in a setting where caregivers had 8 hour shifts; thus relieving them of the constancy of his care.

These caregivers are only paid a minimum wage. Thus, the constancy of his care is compromised by the frequency of staff leaving for a better paying job. And, yet, the legislature drags their feet regarding any increase in the minimum wage for workers caring for the ‘least of these among us.

Their primary concern is to halt all abortions. You know their spiel about the sanctity of life, blah, blah, blah. Does that include quality of life as well? Have any of them visited or cared for a child who is profoundly disabled in all facets of their bodies?

Stephen needs touch and a constant pair of eyes and ears. Vicky, a massage therapist, gives him a massage twice a month and then reports to me the state, or lack thereof, of his home and care. She has become my eyes and ears regarding his care.

Stephen, I pray that when you and I both are not bound by the limits of the physical realm we can have a conversation about all these years and the profound impact they have had on each of our lives.

Patricia Roop HollingerPatricia is a retired LCPC/Chaplain from a inpatient/outpatient psychiatric hospital as of 2010. She is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and the daughter of a mother who will be 102 on July 12th, 2015. She is a voracious reader, musician, lover of cats, and is currently exploring her writing skills.

June 20 – A Father Extraordinaire

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

William Roger Roop a father extraordinaire
Whatever project he tackled it was done with flair.

Determined was a word that described him well,
When he tackled a project it was accomplished with a spirit you could not quell.

Heifer Project began on his farm,
In spite of neighbors who shook their heads with alarm.

He designed and patented a milking machine,
Even though a high school degree he never gleaned.

His passion was farming–it ran through his veins,
He knew how to guide horses by pulling their reins.

The ponds he had dug were fulfilled wishes,
And he stocked them with a variety of fishes.

He desired a son who would love the farm,
But when three daughters showed up he never expressed his alarm.

Why girls could drive tractors, milk cows, and rake hay,
Women’s role was not just for housework, he would say.

It was in church that Olive Main gave him a wink,
Her forthrightness took him aback and made him think.

“She might be worth checking out for a date,
And I had better do it before it’s too late.”

With just horse and buggy it took awhile,
But when he arrived he was greeted with her stunning smile.

They were married December 27, 1931,
Yippee! Yahoo! He had finally won.

They were married just shy of 70 years,
His death, of course, brought Olive to tears.

However we celebrate his life well lived,
As another Father’s Day has arrived.

Patricia Roop HollingerPatricia Roop Hollinger is the middle daughter of Roger and Olive. She is a retired Chaplain/LCPC from a mental health setting and married her high school heart-throb in 2015 after death of both their spouses. She loves cats, is a voracious reader, a musician, and hospice volunteer, who is now in pursuit of her writing goals.

June 4 – A Long Distance Graduation

by Patricia Roop Hollinger

silver-cup

“You want to do what?” my husband asked when I announced that I would like to drive 700 miles to Jacksonville, Florida to attend my great-nephew, Grant’s, high school graduation.

Travel has become a hassle that I try to avoid as the aging process has diminished my stamina, and my learning curve to figure out where and how to turn on bathroom lights in an unfamiliar toilet is, well . . . daunting.

As wary guests we arrived at the homestead before the big event. Yes, it is a big event when there are 400 graduates; I was a graduate in a class of 24. There were the usual hugs and “Hi, how are you?”, “My how you have grown”, “Long time no see” chatter.

The chaos began when the kitchen stove was being dragged out the front door. A smoking stove with guests and an upcoming graduation was an unanticipated annoyance. We sat back and, in the blink of an eye, the newly arrived stove was installed before the mother of the graduate returned home from work (she was covering for a co-worker who had a death in the family). We wondered when the next crisis might evolve.

Another co-worker arrived with enchiladas, casseroles, and all the necessary eating devices. We just lined up to fill our paper plates and grab a plastic knife and fork. Any plush decorum was not the order of the day.

“So, Grant what are you required to wear tomorrow?” my niece asked.

“Oh, I am going to wear the black trousers I wore for that freshman event,” he replied.

“But, Grant, they don’t even fit you anymore!” she exclaimed.

A hasty shopping trip was in order.

On May 29, 2015, thousands of family and friends arrived at the Fleming High School graduation. Parents were in the bleachers while other family members, with lawn chairs in tow, marked their territory. There was nary a storm cloud in sight. The golden eagle flying overhead was Grant’s great-grandfather who died in 2001. Uncle Matt, the professional photographer, got a perfect shot of this magnificent bird soaring the graduates to their individual destinations. Afterward, with great efficiency, these thousands of people were back on the highway to return to various sites for further celebrations.

Packages awaited Grant as we gathered around to ohhhhh and ahhhhh as he opened his gifts. I waited with bated breath as he opened the silver cup that was given to his great-grandfather on the occasion of his birth in 1909. Grant could see his reflection in it and stared with awe and wonder. This silver cup was very symbolic for me. While recovering from rheumatic fever as a child my mother would serve me crushed ice and orange in this cup.

“Grant, cherish this cup and may orange juice be the strongest drink you ever guzzle from this cup during your college years,” I told him.

Patricia Roop Hollinger married a high school heart-throb in 2010. Grant, Grace and Graham were her attendants for this event. She now lives in a Retirement community in Westminster, Maryland. She is retired as a Pastoral Counselor/LCPC, hospice volunteer, cat lover, musician, voracious reader and now in pursuit of honing writing skills.