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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Battling Dragons.....

May 3, 2015: Battling Dragons....

     Three years ago, I decided that I needed something to help me write faster, and I had heard about a program that allows you to talk into a microphone and have the computer transcribe your words into text right before your eyes. It was called Dragon by a company named Nuance. I had my doubts about whether or not it would work, but it came recommended by someone whose opinion I respected, so I asked for it for Christmas and there it was under the tree on Christmas morning. I loaded it on my laptop and went through the process of "training" the program to understand my voice. I spoke several pages into the microphone and edited them for mistakes and basically was very happy about the way it worked. I knew there were many features that I was not using and knew that I would have to study the program to take full advantage of it. That was where I was before the bottom fell out of my life.
     Around the end of 2013, I got a phone call from my nephew in Llano, Texas saying that my sister Kathie was in the hospital and the doctors were saying that he should call the family to her bedside because she was not doing well at all. When asked by my employer what I wanted to do, I said it was the desire of my heart to be by her side when she left this world. They graciously allowed me to take the time off to fly to Round Rock, Texas where Kathie was being treated. Kathie's two boys were grateful to have me there, and we continued the vigil at her bedside that the sons had started. There was a moment when the doctor thought she might have been getting better, but soon he recanted and told us that she would be unable to recover without machines keeping her alive.
     After some of the most difficult conversations with doctors, pastors, and family it was decided that we had to let her go by taking her off the ventilator. I have never wanted to be in the position of choosing whether a person would be kept alive or not, but there it was anyway.
     Kathie had a strong Christian faith, so there was a peace in her passing that some people never know. I can't say that anything about this experience was easy for any of us, but it helped us to get through it all knowing that she had a meaningful relationship with our God.
     After her passing, I was unable to get a flight back home for several days, so I spent the time with my nephews talking about what life was like growing up with Kathie in Houston. They shared events of her life in Llano that I didn't know, and we all felt blessed at having known her as she passed through this world.
     I finally got home, and within two weeks, my wife's mother passed away as well, so 2014 started out with the emptiness and loss of family for both Pam and I. It's been almost eighteen months now, but I know I can say that we still feel the holes left by the passing of these two loved ones. I guess that doesn't really surprise me; my mother died in 1976 and I still feel the loss to this day.
     With the crash of my laptop a couple of months back, I lost my Dragon setup, so I had to install the software again today on my desktop computer. After struggling to find the proper inputs for the microphone/headphone unit, I finally got the software functioning. Once again, I had to "train" the computer software to understand my voice and manner of speaking, and going through the whole process again brought back the memories of what happened the last time I went through it.
     I fought with the Dragon and beat it into the useful, effective program that it is intended to be, but I also fought with the dragon of those haunting days when life ended for two very special people in our lives, and realized once again that those battles never quite end, and as my wife Pam so eloquently says, it's up to us who are living, to miss the ones who aren't.


  1. Mourning is for the people that are left behind. It does nothing for the one that is gone.

  2. I agree. I think that is why Christ told us that we should mourn at births and celebrate deaths.


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