Monday, September 29, 2014

A memorial for Ev O'Toole-Johansen

On October 25, 2014, at 5:00 pm, 
there will be a memorial for Ev O'Toole-Johansen at the Luck Senior Center.  
This will be, at her request, a non traditional celebration of a life well lived.  

Earlier in the day, At 11:00 am, a burial ceremony will be held at the West Denmark Cemetery in Luck.  Since there is a big gap between the two times, it may not work for you to be at both.  That's okay. 

We will have a short program and sandwiches, salad & bars and refreshments, both adult and otherwise, will be served.  Then there will be visiting and remembering and celebrating Ev's life.  Dad will be there from Iowa and I hope that you will be able to come.  This will be a time to gather as a family to support Dad and to remember Ev.  I'm putting together some photo boards, if you have any photos that you would want to share, bring copies and we will add them, or email the files to me.

There will be a notice in the Luck paper the week before and I'll ask for it to be included in the West Denmark announcements the Sunday prior, and I will post it on Facebook as well.  But please help spread the word to those who would want to come.

We are calling it an Afterglow.  
Afterglow:  a glow remaining where a light has disappeared; a pleasant effect or feeling that lingers after something is done, experienced, or achieved.

Ev and Wally always enjoyed family gatherings, and at the end of most of these events, the last of the group (those who could stay awake) would gather to join in a little 'afterglow'.  Most of the time this took place in Wally & Ev's room, and there would be a rehashing of the event, much laughing and a last nightcap with Wally and Ev.

I'm not sure if Ev's kids will come from Iowa, but they may.  We shared their mom for all these years, it would be nice to share this celebration of Ev.

Contact me if you have questions.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sometimes things go good

Today I went to Luck to meet with the salesman for the cemetery marker for Ev.  Dad has decided he would like to have a park bench for the marker and a local Luck man is a contact for purchasing this type of memorial.  Bruce Everts is a Luck graduate and someone we've all known for years and he was a huge help to me today.   We sketched out the words and design and now it is up to the next step folks to help us finalize the design so that it all looks good.  If things go well, the bench will be placed before the burial on October 25th.  This appointment went much better than I could have expected.  Bruce is funny and helpful and has a lot of experience.  He made this 'job' pretty darn easy.

After my appointment, I went for a drive to the cemetery to see where Dad & Ev's plot is located.  The plots were gifted to Dad & Ev from Aunt Johanne and Uncle Thorvald a few years ago.  The location is really nice.  Under a huge maple tree, just at the bottom of the hill, and only about 20 feet off the drive way into the cemetery.  
The red flags and stake mark the location of the park bench / headstone.
Very nice.  Also, there are no benches in the area, 
so this will be a nice spot for cemetery visitors to rest.

The leaves are changing like crazy.  This tree on the East side of the cemetery was like a flame.
West Denmark Cemetery
Luck, Wisconsin

I stopped on Park Avenue and snapped a couple of shots.
This is not peak yet, but I don't think I'll get over there to see it in full color.
Looks to be a show stopper!
Park Avenue
Luck, Wisconsin
It was a good day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Summer's End

The leaves on some of my maple trees are busy turning bright colors.  I hope that the turn goes slow enough to have a few leaves left when Laila is here at the end of October.  

The Johansen's will celebrate Ev's life on October 25th with a family gathering that will be non traditional and as Ev requested, a celebration and party.  It works out that Laila can be here, and that makes the timing perfect.  We may even have some little kids in Halloween costumes.  Ev always said she did not want a sad funeral service but rather something non traditional and upbeat,
 and we are going to have it!

Today a bit of rain came and I noticed that the very last day lily bud had opened into a lovely flower.   Summer is gone.  
And so it goes.

Wanda from my iPad

Monday, September 22, 2014

I went to my happy place

I had a doctor's appointment in Eau Claire this morning.   
The x-rays show good bone formation, and as expected, to continue this good healing, I will not be able to put weight on that leg for at least 2 more weeks.   But knowing that the healing is going fine is nice peace of mind. 
She encouraged me to continue the rest and elevation routine that I have been following.  
She feels that my healing is going so well because of that routine.
My fused ankle, in watercolor
 (via Waterlogue for iPad)

I felt pretty good when I left the clinic.  
I even took time to get my flu shot...check that off the to do list. 

I decided a treat was in order so I had a big sushi & sashimi lunch in Eau Claire.  Eating sushi is a happy event for me, it had been a while since I had been to Fuji.  
It was delicious but by the time I got home, I was quite tired. 

Since I have doctor's orders to rest and elevate my leg, 
I might as well sneak in a short nap while I'm at it.

Life is Good.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Poor Me

This week I had a couple of days where I was pretty much on the pity pot.
I was thinking that I was pretty sick of riding the scooter (4 weeks down,  2 more to go) and the inconvenience of getting around.
One day in particular stirred up my martyrdom, that was Thursday. I headed out before noon to go mail an envelope to Dad.   So this means getting the scooter down the steps of the house then using the crutches to get into the car after putting the scooter into the back seat. Then driving to the post office, parking, using the crutches to get to the back seat, pulling the scooter out of the backseat and then riding into the post office to mail my envelope. Then back to the car and repeating the process of putting the scooter in, crutching to the front seat...blah blah blah. 
After the post office I headed to the Senior Center to have lunch with my friends and to play bridge. Once again going through the process using the crutches to get to the back seat, pulling the scooter out and then scootering into the Senior Center to have lunch. 
(You have to remember that I've been sitting at home with my leg elevated pretty much most of the time for the four weeks that I've been recovering. And so I am a wimp.)
After enjoying a visit and lunch with my friends, I played bridge for 3 hours trying to keep my leg elevated and not wipe out anybody else. After bridge I went back to the car repeated the loading process then went to the grocery store because I needed milk. By now I am getting tired and quite frankly, pretty crabby. For the first time since my surgery I pulled out my handicap parking sticker and park in a handicap spot.  About the time I was getting ready to get out of the car, another shopper came and parked so close to me that I didn't have room to get the scooter out without smashing more car door into her car.  This was no big deal really in that all I had to do was reposition my car in my parking spot but remember, by this time I was crabby.  ;-)
I put my purse on top of the car and then started to get my scooter out of the back seat, which requires me to about stand on my head and on one leg,  when a thoughtful shopper began calling to me from across the parking lot "don't forget your purse! don't forget your purse!".  I didn't immediately hear what she was shouting about, so stopped what I was doing to stand up and listen to what she was saying.  I assured her i would not forget it, grrrr.  She was trying to be thoughtful, but remember by this time I was crabby.
Okay, so finally into the grocery store I motored and got my few items and then went back to the car and put them into the car.  And again, crutches & scooter... blah blah blah.
Okay, needed groceries purchased, I headed home. Once the car was in the garage, I for the last time, crutch to the back seat got the scooter out close up the car and began to haul the bag of groceries up to the front step.   Then I noticed that a kindly neighbor had pulled my empty trash hopper up to the side of the garage right in front of the pedestrian door. He was trying to help me out but by parking it by the side of the garage but then I had to haul it around to the front overhead door and then slide it in, which sounds like no big deal except that I was on a scooter and pretty tired by this time...and kind of crabby. Did I mention it was hot?   I had worn a sweatshirt when I left in the forenoon, but the temp had come up nicely and the sun was very warm.  So add to crabby, hot.
Anyway, back to my whining.   So, time to haul the scooter up the steps and get myself up the steps.   Once I was at the front door, I realized I had left my purse in the car (that's what happens when you sneer at a do-gooder shopper) .  So,  haul the scooter back down, getting myself back down, grabbing said purse & keys out of car, then hauling scooter back up steps and self up steps and finally getting back into home sweet home!
By this time, I was sporting a pretty good pout.
Just like a tired little kid, I went to bed early, still reading Gone With the Wind, and was glad that tomorrow was another day.  
Today, Saturday, I am enjoying a beautiful fall day on my back deck.  So far the frost has missed my place and my impatiens are still beautiful.   A few pesky mosquitoes are biting, but not so bad that they will force me inside, yet.
I think my pity party is over (for now).
Life is good.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I visited with Valdemar on Saturday

Glenn drove, and I rode, to Iowa for the day on Saturday.  We got to Dad's in time for lunch.  Jeff (Ev's youngest) was there too.  We had a very good visit over lunch.  Then we all went back to the apartment.  Dad and Jeff updated us on some of the legal details they are working on to settle Ev's affairs.  I read all the sympathy cards that Dad had received.  People are so thoughtful.  Dad sure seems to be doing quite well.  It was a hard day when Ev's ashes arrived, but, he is able to move on.  The O'Toole kids and the Swensons are taking really great care of Dad. 

Dad is quite firm that he wants to stay put in the apartment over the winter.  I did float the idea of moving to an apartment in Luck in the Spring and he seemed willing to consider it.  There is a landlord there who treats veterans well and I think it would be a perfect place for Dad.  Now it's just a matter of Dad deciding and letting Kyle know.

Dad would like to have a Memorial service in a Luck sometime this fall, so we are looking at the calendar.  There might be a chance that Laila could come, so once we know that, we'll start planning the date, and I'll let you all know what we plan

Dad has really enjoyed the phone calls he has been getting. The apartment is really empty without Ev.  He gets a few visitors but the phone calls are really good medicine.  I'm calling him every night at 9pm to check in and I get the daily report.  The other night I was 2minutes late calling and he let me know about it, ha!  Jim Swenson stops for coffee at about 9am, and that gets Dad going on his day.

Dad has the Lifeline alert system now.  It is a button he wears around his neck.  It even senses if he falls and automatically dials for help.  It's great peace of mind, and it can transfer wherever he lives.  Dad wears it inside his shirt because  "those things are for old people".  ;-)

I think I sent you all the obituary. It will be in the Luck paper next week.  If you did not get it, let me know.

As Glenn and I drove away on Saturday, Dad was sitting in the sunshine out in front of his apartment.  Smiling as usual.

Wanda from my iPad

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Obituary for Evalee R. O’Toole-Johansen

Obituary for Evalee R. O’Toole-Johansen
6/15/1928 – 9/5/2014

Evalee R. O’Toole-Johansen, 86, of Belmond, Iowa, passed away on September 5th, 2014 at the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit in Mason City, Iowa.  In lieu of a funeral, a celebration of her life will be planned, when interment of ashes will be at West Denmark Lutheran Church cemetery in Luck, Wisconsin.

Ev was born on June 15th, 1928, in Watertown, South Dakota to John Haney & Ruth (Griffith) Haney.  She graduated from Watertown High School in 1946.  Ev was married to Richard O’Toole and moved to Garner, Iowa in 1961.  Together they managed the Avery Theater and raised their four children.  After the theater closed, Ev worked for Dr. W.J. Mack for over 31 years.  Her prior experience as a surgery scrub tech while living in South Dakota came in handy in assisting Dr. Mack.  Ev and Dick were married close to 25 years before he passed away.

In 1988, on August 27th, she married Valdemar “Wally” Johansen.  After almost 10 years of courting, they celebrated their wedding at West Denmark Lutheran Church near Luck, Wisconsin, where Wally had been born & raised.  They became the famous duo of Wally & Ev and now it seems hard to imagine that they have danced their last dance and laughed their last laugh as a couple.

Over the 26 years of their marriage, Ev became well acquainted in the West Denmark community.  Her Irish roots mixing with the Danish customs, but always the Irish holding a special place in her heart.  A shamrock was slyly positioned on the back of her wedding bouquet on the day she married Wally in the Danish church. 

Wally had a cabinet making business.  After they were married, it was not unusual for Ev to find herself in conversation with local women who were raving about having a ‘Johansen kitchen’ in their home.  She delighted in reminding them all, “That’s fine, you have a Johansen kitchen, but I have Johansen!”  She admired Wally’s skills in building and fixing, one of her favorite phrases “My ‘Vally’ can do anything!” was playfully said with a Danish accent.

Ev sang bass in the Sweet Adelines choral group for several years, made many close friends and traveled around the state & country singing with the group.  She was a good seamstress and had a knack for creating a costume out of not much.

For many years, Wally and Ev cross country skied around Iowa and up in Northern Wisconsin too.  The annual Johansen family ‘Cabin Christmas’ over New Year’s in Wisconsin soon became a weekend for cross country skiing for all.  They also skied in some of the parks around Iowa, they found groomed trails in some to enjoy.

Two things Ev loved most in this world, Wally and ballroom dancing.  Ev was an accomplished ballroom dancer and she dearly loved music.  Just by hearing a few bars of a song, she could ‘name that tune’ out of the 40’s, and the artists who made them popular.  She and Wally were known to go to dances at many ballrooms around the countryside, never missing Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights, and always loving to hear a good Glenn Miller song.  Their favorite place to dance was The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA, but they would dance almost anywhere if there was good music and a flat surface.  Her skill at the sewing machine and her imagination helped her craft special dance attire for her and Wally to wear for New Year’s Eve or other special dance nights.  In recent years, they never missed an episode of Dancing with the Stars, keeping their own scores and hashing over the various dance styles together.  While big band music was her favorite, a very recent trip to see The Temptations, at The Surf Ballroom, was great fun for her too.   Even as she lay resting in the hospice bed, her hand moved to a beat only she could hear, perhaps keeping time to a favorite Glenn Miller dance tune.

Not only did Ev remember the music of the 1940s, she also had a great memory of the pop culture of that day.  Living through the depression years as a kid instilled in her the need to be frugal and wise with spending.  In current days, she was the consummate recycler.  Nothing went to waste that could be recycled in one way or another.

Following retirement, Ev and Wally spent summers in Wisconsin and Iowa & winters in Arkansas and Texas.  They traveled around with a camper trailer and enjoyed missing the snow and seeing the sun shine.  For several years they worked as National Forest Camp Hosts in Charlton, Arkansas.  In later years, they traveled further south and stayed winters in Rockport, TX, where they became close friends with other snow-birds.

Ev and Wally went on many trips together& they often revisited their memories of some of their fun travels together; remembering destinations including Denmark, Alaska, Washington, DC, the West Coast, and Mt. Rushmore, the Southwest, Las Vegas, a few Amtrak trips and even a cruise.   Her love for travel was still strong & she had hoped for more. 

Ev was talented as an artist and enjoyed painting in acrylics, or using pastels, as well as other medium.  Although she created conventional artwork, often times her creative side was displayed through fun costumes and silly pranks.  She loved to be in on a surprise and helped plan and pull off several parties and jokes.  She loved a good chuckle and it is easy to find family photographs of her in laughter. 

Ev was proud that she was able to manage the ‘smart phone’ and found that she loved Facebook.  She enjoyed be able follow friends and relatives, as well as keep up on our changing world.  In her 80s she learned to use the internet, text & email, something that many younger folks may not care to tackle.  Her grandkids thought it was cool that Grandma OJ was on the Facebook.

Ev was truly Wally’s Seabee Mate.  Over the course of their lives together, she always was at Wally’s side at his Navy Seabee Reunions.  Wally & Ev eventually became the group’s stewards.  Together they arranged the details for many of the reunions for this group.  She became a beloved friend of the other Seabees and their families.  Her patriotic streak ran deep; she loved veterans and was intensely proud of Wally’s military service & the service of other family members and friends.

Ev was a devoted and loving wife, mother, step-mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother, aunt & friend.  She was loved by all who knew her.

Left to cherish her memory:  
her husband, Valdemar “Wally” Johansen of Belmond, IA; brother, Elwood Haney of Omaha, NE;  her children: Rick (Pat) O’Toole of Cedar Rapids, IA; Teri (Al) Jenniges of Garner, IA; Larry (Diane) O’Toole of Forest City, IA; Jeff (Pat) O’Toole of Fertile, IA.  Step-children:  Ralph (Lois) Johansen of Luck, WI; Glenn (Kathy) Johansen of Spring Valley, WI; Wanda Johansen of Rice Lake, WI; Laila Johansen of Aurora, CO; and she was Grandma OJ to many O’Toole & Johansen grandchildren, great grandchildren & even great-great grandchildren, all of whom she loved so well.

Memorials may be directed to Hospice of Northern Iowa.   Ev was cared for by these fine folks for 5 days and they made her passing a peaceful transition.  For this, the family is forever grateful.
Mercy Medical Center Foundation - North Iowa
Attn:  Jill Dean
1000 4th St SW
Mason City IA 50401

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday night, after talking to Dad

Dad is doing good.  I sure hope I have those genes.  He's so grounded.

He said he plans to try to do everything himself.  He found some of the credit cards and other information he needed in Ev's purse today.  Tomorrow he's going to call the lawyer to ask him to help him with wrapping up Ev's affairs.

He's glad that everyone agrees on no funeral, he said that waiting and then having memorial service would be good, else a funeral just starts it all over again.

He wants Ev's girls to come and look through the clothes and jewelry and stuff and take care of that, but no rush. It might be tough for Teri to do that for a while.  He said, once all that stuff is gone, he'll have too much room, but he's not going to do anything about that until Spring.  I'm not sure if he was trying to tell me something about moving, maybe.

Then he told me this little story...

This morning, the first morning there without Ev, he woke up and thought, well I have to make coffee. So he got the coffee out and started but then he saw the coffee was already set up ready to brew.  Of course, Ev always did that before bed each night, so she had done that Sunday night.  So, Dad said this morning's coffee was extra special because it was the last time Ev would make coffee for him.  Nice.

Good friend, Jim Swenson, is going to stop there in the mornings, he comes into town to see his cousin every morning and will add Dad to his route.  

Dad sounded pleased that I was getting him an easier flip phone for a cell phone.  He says he has tried to answer the phone with the TV remote several times, so don't be too concerned if he doesn't answer the phone when you call.  We also talked about the life link deal that is ordered. I am guessing it will be similar to Ane Marie's, he thought it sounded like a good setup.

And so it goes...

(I'm probably done sending updates unless there is something to say, but thought you should all know that Dad seems to be managing.)

Wanda from my iPad

Friday, September 5, 2014

And so it goes... A Danish phrase, that says much

Friends and family, 

I could not be sadder to send you this news that Ev O'Toole-Johansen passed from this world on Friday at about 7 p.m., 9/5/2014.

Dad, and her children, were at the hospice with her today and over the past 5 days during her hospice care.  The hospice nurses (who I believe to be angels on earth) assured Dad that Ev felt no pain, was comfortable and passed peacefully.  For this we are all deeply grateful.

In my wildest dreams I could never have guessed that I would be writing this note.  It seems impossible to comprehend that the famous duo of Wally & Ev have danced their last dance and laughed their last laugh as a couple.  (I'm attaching a photo of them dancing and laughing when they were snow-birds in Texas, taken in 2004.)

Ev was always adamant that she did not want a traditional funeral.  Instead she wanted her loved ones to take time to grieve and when the time was right, then throw a big party and a celebration in honor of her life.  To be sure, we will grant her this last wish, and plan a celebration of Ev's life once the time is right.

Tonight, Dad is with the O'Toole children and family & tomorrow will return to his apartment and begin the work that comes as he sorts through his feelings and begins to make decisions about his future.

And so it goes.

Please share this information as you see fit and keep Dad close in your thoughts.   He will need your love and support as he grieves.


Friday. Note about Ev

Good morning all,

Dad called this morning and we had a nice, long chat.  He was sitting at the bedside so Ev could hear him talking to me.

He said that Ev's breathing seems harder now and she is breathing with her mouth open all the time.  The nurses are giving more medication to keep her comfortable.  Dad feels good about how good the hospice is to keep a patient comfortable, without pain.  He said,  "I guess it's their trademark".

Dad doesn't want to leave her side now.  He asked son in law Al to keep an appointment for Dad's hearing aids at the VA.  Dad's "ears" have needed some repair for a while now and while he did not want to miss the appt, he also did not want to leave Ev's side.  So, Al was going to take the hearing aids to the appointment.

Dad slept well last night, he said the nurses even commented on that.   When he woke at 7am he could see Ev's arm was 'flying around', so he got up and got over to her side.  He said he sat there for over an hour in his underwear while holding her hand and the nurses teased him a little.

Dad said he has had "sufficient" coffee.  It's the first thing everyone wants to do to help :-).  But, Dad says he never turns it down because he can see it makes everyone feel better to do something to help, especially the volunteers.  And if the coffee comes with a couple of cookies, he can't turn those down, ever.

The hospice people continue to be at the top of Dad's list.  He said that he thinks they have a special gift to work there.

Jeff, Ev's youngest son, is there early every morning.  He's taking care of many of the 'tasks ' that need done.  Dad's grateful for that.  Dad mentioned that Dad had called the lawyer in Belmond that he has used and feels very relieved that this lawyer friend has assured Dad that he can help with all necessary steps that will need to be handled down the road.

I'm not sure if all of you knew that last Friday night, Ev went with some of her kids and Grandkids to The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA to see The Temptations.  (Dad and Ev ballroom danced at The Surf many many times!)  Ev has always told me that she loves the music of her kid's generation.  Ev called me the next morning and told me how much fun the concert was.   Ev was so proud that she had even taken some pictures of The Temptations with her cell phone.   Fast forward to Tuesday, when Dad's home health care nurse, Nancy, stopped at the hospice to see Ev and Dad.  Dad says when Nancy asked Ev if she liked seeing the Temptations, Ev responded with a silent 'ya'.  But now, when Dad talks to Ev, he gets no response at all.

Dad was remembering to me about how it went when his mother, Frederikke, died.  He and Ansgar were at the hospital with her.  I bet it was a comfort to my Grandpa then to have Dad there with him. And I'm glad that the O'Toole kids are there with Dad now.  Medicine has changed a lot since then.  Thank goodness for hospice care.

One of Ev's granddaughters sat with Dad for about an hour last night and just visited.  She's not very old, but has her own car so said she could stay after the others went home.  Dad really enjoyed that and said "those kids were raised right".  It's cute because Dad's not sure of those kid's names, says the girls look too much alike, but that didn't matter, he enjoyed the visit.

Dad's a Dane, ha! He's calm, kind and knows his own mind.  He said Ev's kids have been wanting him to eat, and he hasn't been hungry.  But last night "they brought a quart jar of fruit, and I ate the whole thing!"  They also are often suggesting he lay down.  To me said "I'm not going to lay down".  I bet the O'Toole kids are catching on to that. :-)

Well, this got much longer than I expected, but since we can't all be in Iowa or have a chance to talk to Dad, I try to capture most of what we talk about when he calls me.

I'm attaching a photo from Ev's 80th birthday party.  She had so much fun planning her outfit and her speech, and all the crazy stuff.  She managed to get everyone there too!  It was a fun weekend.

And so it goes...

Until tomorrow,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Things are about the same

Dad called this Wednesday morning.  Things are about the same there.  Ev is receiving some medication when she becomes agitated so that she can be comfortable.  Her right hand is reaching for something, so they gave her a soft red pillow to hold and that seems to be of some help.

Dad said a young minster from Garner came to visit.  He chatted with Dad quite awhile and then conducted a little service.  Dad said it wasn't too carried away so he thought it was good.  Dad said he told this young man "I believe in first impressions, and you just made a good one."

The nurses tell Dad that Ev's Blood Pressure is just slightly above normal.  He is amazed that the body can go without nourishment, but the nurses have assured him that her body is not calling for nourishment.

Dad mentioned with a heavy sigh all of the decisions that will have to be made.  He wants to try to call his attorney and start talking to him about things.  So, that made me think he is starting to think about his future.

Today Dad mentioned a memorial service.  I'm still not clear on what the O'Toole kids want to do, but I told Dad that when the time is right, we Johansens would like to have a celebration of Ev's life.  Ev loves parties.

Jim Swenson had been there this morning "to get his orders".  So, he was headed back to Belmond to get a few necessary items for Dad.  His appointment calendar so that they can cancel appts & one of Dad's hearing aids that is not working.  Dad is hoping to keep a Friday appt. with the VA Hearing Aid technician.  That appt is right there in Mason City, not too far from the hospice, so I'm sure that can work out.

This morning I was able to contact a few more of Dad & Ev's pals from their campground hosting days at Charlton in Arkansas and I also spoke to Dad's cousin Erling Grumstrup in Solvang.  An email was sent to all the Seabee folks that I have email addresses for.

Dad has the cell phone, whether he answers it or not, is dependent on what is going on.  I'm sure he would like a few calls.  303/949-3944  I'm not sure he can retrieve messages, but eventually I'll be able to help him with that.  But just know that if you leave a message, he may not get it.

The West Denmark pastor has added Dad & Ev to their prayer list.

Dad's surprise 80th birthday party in Hot Springs, AR

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday Morning Update

As you know, Ev O'Toole-Johansen suffered a massive stroke in the early hours of Monday, 9/1/14.  She was transported to Belmond's hospital and then transferred to Mason City.  Later that day, she was transferred into hospice care.

Dad called this morning.  He is doing okay and is, as usual, facing the situation with a calm and accepting manner.

Dad is very pleased with the Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit where Ev is resting.  He was able to sleep in the same room with her last night, and he got several solid hours of sleep.  The staff is watching over him, and that's added comfort for we Johansen kids.  Dad likes the staff and how they are caring for Ev.  He said it is a miracle place to have.

Dad told me that there is no change in Ev's condition. She seems to be resting peacefully with the exception of some movement in her Right arm and feet. Dad thinks she is listening to her own music and keeping the beat.  

Dad said that he spoke to the house doctor today.   He asked the doctor if there is any prediction of timeline, but the doctor told Dad that there is no way to know.  This was important to Dad.  

 I chuckled a little when he said that a minister was to be stopping by the hospice sometime today. Dad said to me "That's fine, I don't know what church he's from, but I told them here that my church is in Northern Wisconsin."  The West Denmark roots are deep, eh?

About how he is doing, Dad said that he is at the point where he accepts it, realizes he can't do anything about it and now just needs to get the right attitude about it.

Jumping ahead, no funeral is planned.  We Johansen kids have talked about a celebration of a life well lived later, we all know that she loves parties.  But for now, there will be nothing formal.

So, I won't be sending any more updates for now.  Please keep Ev and Dad and all the O'Toole kids in your hearts.  Your support and concern is priceless and when the time is right, I will share any reply emails with Dad and the others.

I've attached a gallery of photos of Dad & Ev.  

Wanda from my iPad

Monday, September 1, 2014

It is a very sad day

I have no idea how to write this posting.  I will start by saying that today was a day of deep sadness for my Dad and the O'Toole families and we Johansens.  Ev O'Toole-Johansen, of Wally & Ev fame, suffered a significant massive stroke early this morning.  My heart breaks to say that she has been transferred to Hospice care in Mason City, IA and is currently resting in peace with Dad at her side.  I'll end by asking that you please keep Dad and Ev and families in your hearts.
This photo was taken in the Fall of 2013, on a day filled with fun and laughter.  

Wanda from my iPad


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