Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners CTC FCCLA / Culinary Arts class holds Cancer Awareness Drive Amen receives Distinguished Service Award ‘Tis the season for family-past, present, and future MHS Computer Class aces MOS Exam WUES recognizes November Bus Riders of the Month NAHS Beta Club sponsors canned food drive Peebles Elementary announces November Students of the Month Crisis text line reaches out during the holidays Paul Wesley Ailshire

A Purple Heart for caregivers

Caring for someone with a terminal or chronic illness is like engaging in warfare. The enemy attacks without warning. Chaos, fear and anger ensue, and there’s a call to arms. Some enlist, some are drafted, but all lay down their lives to serve, leaving behind family, friends and dreams for a season. Some serve on the front lines while others provide support from a distance.

The war rages on, weeks turn into months, months into years, and many become home sick and even entertain deserting. But they remind themselves for whom, and for what, they are fighting and press on. Fatigue and stress take their toll and conflicts may break out in the ranks. Soldier turns against fellow soldier, forgetting they’re on the same side. Some suffer battle fatigue and are furloughed for a time. Most are wounded and left battle-scared in one form or another.

Those who are wounded in military service are presented the “Purple Heart.” We at Hospice honor you, caregivers, with a symbolic “Purple Heart” for laying down your lives for your family, loved ones and friends. Jesus declared, “Greater love has no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13-14)

Homer raised all five of his adult sons on his own after his divorce. I was impressed with their love, affection and commitment to their father. They declared, “He stood by us and we’ll do anything for him.” But five months later conflicts broke out in the ranks. They, like so many families, forgot they were on the same side. Some were wounded by “friendly fire” and the family was divided and scattered. What happened? Where did it start? Could it have been prevented?

Looking back, I believe they allowed competition, jealousy and bitterness to take root. Criticism grew as understanding, patience and mutual support waned. Four of the sons began to question and criticize Jim and his wife, who were Homer’s primary caregivers. Jim, in self-defense, returned fire, “I did the best I could. I’m not perfect. Who needs it? I just feel like chucking the whole thing and just saying the heck with it.”

And so he did. He turned over the care of his father to the brother who was his main critic. Jim told him, “If you think you can do a better job, then be my guest!” After only two days of taking care of his father, Jim’s brother pleaded with Jim to, “Please come back.” It’s sure easy to criticize from a distance, isn’t it? According to a speech by President Theodore Roosevelt, “It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”

If you’re presently a caregiver or a family member of a chronically or terminally ill person, don’t allow competition and criticism to separate you. Pull and work together. Resist the urge to criticize from a distance, for those who serve don’t need a judge they need a friend, an ally. Remind yourself frequently that you’re on the same side; and that when it comes to relationships there’s no such thing as a winner and a loser. Either you all win or you all lose. Don’t let a fellow soldier fall. Cover them with a blanket of love, understanding and support.

If you’re a family whose war is over and you’ve been left scattered and divided, take heart, because it’s never too late to do what’s right. Learn from the rest of Homer’s story. During Homer’s funeral, the preacher opened the service by inviting anyone with something to share to step forward. One of Homer’s sons stepped forward with remarkable courage and addressed the crowd, “You know, me and my brothers aren’t talking to each other right now.” Then he looked squarely at his brothers and said, “We have to remember that it was the cancer that did it to us. We are brothers and dad wouldn’t want us to treat each other this way. I want all my brothers to know that I love them.” The other four brothers got up from their chairs, walked to the podium next to their father’s casket and all five embraced one another crying for several minutes. Words can’t describe how moved, inspired and challenged I was. If a funeral can be described as good thing, it was the best funeral I’ve ever attended.

“Let all bitterness, wrath, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Loren Hardin is a social worker with Southern Ohio Medical Center – Hospice and can be reached by email at hardinl@somc.org or by phone at 740-356-2525.

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Straight Paths

Loren Hardin

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