Saturday, January 29, 2011

John Lyndon Ames passed away on Saturday, January 29, 2011 at Ledgeview Nursing Home in West Paris, Maine, after a battle with cancer. He was 80.

John was born on July 26, 1930 in Auburn, Maine to Chauncey Ames and Maude Chute Ames. His family moved to South Paris when he was about ten years old, and he graduated from Paris High School in 1948.

John loved trains. At the age of 19 he began his lifelong career with the Canadian National Railroad as a telegraph operator, which he greatly enjoyed. He worked at railroad stations in New England, New York and Ontario and took thousands of photographs of trains, many of which were later published.

Although unable to serve in the military, John volunteered for Civil Defense, and was also a member of the Grange in West Paris.

He married Mary Jane Abbott on May 24, 1969 and they moved to Gorham, New Hampshire in 1970, because John was working primarily at the station in Berlin. They became active in the Community Baptist Church, where John served as deacon, trustee and Sunday School superintendent for many years. He was a loving and faithful husband and father, and a great encouragement and support to his two daughters when they became missionaries.

John’s hobbies included building model railroad cars, doing crossword puzzles, and playing Scrabble. He was a good cook and made many delicious soups. He enjoyed living near Mt. Washington and taking visitors up the Auto Road to the summit. For several years, he had his own backyard weather station and kept careful records of his observations.

After John retired from the railroad in 1992, he joined the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and became a volunteer driver for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), taking patients to the VA hospital in White River Junction, VT, which he enjoyed very much. In 2007, he was recognized for having driven more than 200,000 miles for the DAV.

In 2009, John and Mary Jane moved to Ledgeview Living Center in West Paris, Maine. For the last four months he was a resident of Ledgeview Nursing Home, where he received excellent, loving care.

John is survived by his wife of 41 years, Mary Jane Ames of West Paris; daughter Alice Corbett and husband Jack of Sanford, Florida and their children Danielle, Evan and Regan; daughter Lois Tignor and husband Chris of Portoviejo, Ecuador and their children Elisabeth, James, Grace, Christina and Daniel; several nieces and nephews; and his beloved cat, Josey.

He was predeceased by his parents and two older siblings, Leona Ames James and Harold C. Ames.

Andrews Funeral Home in Woodstock, Maine is in charge of the arrangements. Relatives and friends are invited to visit there on Tuesday evening, February 1 from 6:00-8:00 pm. A memorial service is planned at the West Paris Baptist Church on Wednesday, February 2 at 11:00 am.

“But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

Dad is Home!

Dad slipped away peacefully, Home to heaven about 10:00 this morning. Mom and I were with him, and my Aunt Betty. We are sad for us, but happy for him! Arrangements are still being finalized, so I will post the details when we have them.

In Heaven, people are young and healthy, because there is no sickness or aging! So here is a picture of Dad as he looks now.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Holding On

Dad was alert this morning for a few minutes, and patted Daniel's head when we went in. Lois kissed Dad and said, "I'll see you later." And she will.

Lois, Daniel and I had a safe trip to the airport. It was a beautiful sunny morning, not too cold and roads were clear of snow.

We got them checked in, and bags checked all the way to Guayaquil -- Lois won't have to deal with them in Miami this trip! :-) We had a little time to get a muffin and hang out together before she went through security, which was sweet, in more ways than one. Took a few pictures on Lois' camera, but I don't have those yet.

This afternoon Dad drank several sips of water, which made me happy. He is not really talking though. He needs morphine shots every 2 hours now, so is mostly sleeping. Mom and I are glad, because he is in a lot of pain when awake.

Here are a couple more pictures of Daniel with his Nannie:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Almost Home

It has now been 26 hours since Dad's feeding tube stopped. He has had some water by mouth - the nurse told us her trick of putting her finger over the straw, lifting it out of the cup and releasing it into his mouth. :-) Very little of the water will be absorbed, but it is refreshing to him anyway.

God is revealing Himself to us. Until today, Dad was reluctant to talk of spiritual things. But this morning he told the nurse that God had been speaking to him! And then, he told Mom that he is preparing for his "great journey Home"--and pointed toward Heaven!!! This is such a change that we know God has been speaking to his heart and preparing him. So awesome.

My (Alice's) flights were delayed a bit today, but I arrived here to Ledgeview about 7:20 pm. Lois and Daniel are still here; I'll drive them to the airport in the morning to go back to Ecuador. But for tonight . . . our family is together, one last time in this life. Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Waiting and Working

This is Alice. Mom's computer is acting up, so Lois can't get on line to post.

The last few days, we all have been waiting. Mom and Lois are also working, diligently copying and compiling the financial documents that Maine Medicaid has requested.

Dad continues to decline. His pressure sore is 4" in diameter now, and a fistula has developed from the abdomen to the skin. He has been a bit confused also. Today he told Lois he didn't know where he was supposed to hand in his report. Lois told him not to worry about it, and he said "I'm not going to!" :-) Tonight he asked Mom where he should meet her in the morning. She said "I'll come meet you here," and thankfully, he agreed to that. :-)

There have been a few bright spots. Dad smiled at baby Daniel once yesterday. And today, he requested ice cream, and ate a little bit!!

Lois and Daniel have tickets to return to Ecuador on Friday, and if Dad's feeding tube is still working, she plans to go. Her husband and four other children need her. If the tube becomes blocked between now and then, the decision becomes harder, because it will not be replaced. If/when that happens, I will go to Maine as soon as possible. Jack and the kids will come when Dad passes.

So we are trusting God to orchestrate these difficult final days. It is good to know that He will work everything out for the best.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Today Dad has been sleeping every time Mom or I (Lois) have gone in to see him. The nurse says that he rouses when she needs to do something for him in connection with his care, but has not spoken to her. He is very sore in his midsection especially, and also has a bad pressure sore on his backside. So if he can find some comfort in sleep, I am glad that he has been able to do so.

Last night, before the feeding pump was started again, Mom and I were in with him briefly and he was complaining of a very dry mouth. His words sounded slurred--the vowel sounds were coming through all right but the consonants were getting lost somehow. We don't know if this was only because of his dry mouth condition, or if something else was going on as well. We haven't been able to judge accurately since we haven't heard him speak today.

Pastor John Holliday and his sweet wife Rosalie were in to see the family today. They are always such a blessing. Pastor Holliday was relating a recent visit when he had asked Dad how he was feeling, and Dad had started rubbing the back of one hand with the other. It took Pastor Holliday a moment to get his meaning: other times when he has asked Dad how he was feeling, Dad has responded tongue-in-cheek, "With my hands." Now that he finds it more difficult to express himself verbally, Dad is finding creative ways to let us know that he IS still there, with his characteristic dry sense of humor still intact.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not ready yet

Good news! One of the nurses was able to get Dad's feeding tube cleared tonight, so they are starting up the pump again. I guess his heavenly mansion is just not quite ready yet.

This could be it

This is still Lois reporting from West Paris, Maine. Today Dad's feeding tube clogged again. The nurse is going to continue trying to unblock it, but if she is unsuccessful, we will once again pose the question to Dad: Is he willing to go through the ordeal of the ride to the hospital and the insertion of a new tube? There is no guarantee that a new tube will work, because if the cancer growth is the cause of the tube's clogging this time, then a new tube obviously will not function either. The last time he was questioned concerning his wishes in the event of the feeding tube getting blocked, his response was that he was willing to undergo the procedure once again. That was before he saw Daniel and me, however. He may have a different answer this time.

Dad does have a legal declaration on file, made in 1994, in which he stated his choice NOT to be kept alive by artificial nutrition and hydration in the event of a terminal illness. So if the present feeding tube cannot be unclogged and should Dad become too weak to communicate, we will abide by his written wish to be allowed a natural death with only the medication and care necessary to keep him comfortable. However, if he verbally gives authorization to attempt a new feeding tube, we will go with that.

We so much appreciate all of the prayers that are being offered before the Throne of Grace on Dad's behalf, and also for us as family members. Thank you for all of the visits, phone calls, and notes of encouragement as well. We may not be rich in worldly goods, but we are wealthy beyond expression in the love and thoughtfulness of true friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sitting up and LIT up!

This is Lois, filling in for Alice. I am so very thankful for all of the prayers and financial help that got Daniel and me up here to spend some time with Dad and Mom. God has been so good. We had an uneventful trip, other than my one piece of checked luggage not making it here until a day after I did. But since they delivered it to my door and I had all the immediate necessities in my carry-on luggage, it was not a problem.

When I first saw Dad Saturday morning, he was sitting up in a chair for the first time in days! The nurse reported that she had caught him trying to get out of bed all by himself, and when she asked him incredulously what he was trying to do, he replied emphatically, "I want to get OUT OF THIS BED!!!" Dad seemed pleased to see me (Daniel was taking a nap at the time so he wasn't with me), but one of the first things he said was, "Short visit." The second time I went in I took Daniel, and a big smile came over Dad's face. You've heard the expression, "His face lit up." That is a good description of what happens every time Dad sees his grandson--it is like a lightbulb is turned on within. He has described Daniel as a "beautiful baby" and a "little doll." He reaches out his hand, shaking with Parkinson's, to touch Daniel's little fist, and a loving smile just beams from his face. I am so glad that God chose to give him this bit of joy in the midst of his pain.

Dad hasn't sat up (that we are aware of, anyway) since Saturday. He seems to be finding it more difficult to get breath enough to talk, so Mom and I try to keep it a one-way conversation as much as possible. We wonder if the cancer has spread to his lungs. There is really no way to know.

While we find it difficult to see Dad suffer, we know that he is safe in the hands of One Who loves him much more than we do. And we continue to pray for God's perfect will. His grace is sufficient for each moment, and we rest in His unfailing love.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

She made it!

Lois and Daniel arrived safely in West Paris around midnight. Thanks Aunt Jane, and thank you Lord!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Burst of Energy

On Wednesday, the day after Dad's pencil request, he was amazingly alert and energetic. He never did write anything, but he asked to get up and walk to the bathroom! He hadn't been out of bed for a couple weeks. With MUCH help (his legs would not support him at all) he was able to get to a portable chair placed beside the bed.

Also on Tuesday night and Wednesday, Dad was constantly calling for Mom. She had grown accustomed to visiting him for short periods, because he would either be asleep, or he would ask her to leave so he could go to sleep! Not so on Wednesday. He called for her early in the morning, and wanted her there nonstop. In the afternoon, she needed a nap, but had barely laid down when he called for her again. So she was very tired Wednesday night.

Yesterday was much different. Mom said Dad slept most of the day and hardly spoke. He also needed two shots for pain. His feeding tube has gotten blocked several times, but the nurses have been able to get it cleared.

Lois and baby Daniel went by bus to Guayaquil last night and flew out this morning. After stops in Miami and New York, they are scheduled to arrive in Portland ME at 9 pm. Aunt Jane is taking Mom to the airport to pick them up. We are praying that the roads will be clear of snow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Of prayer and pencils

I have two things to share tonight. One is really significant, and one is sort of random. :-)

Jon and Tammy Howry, our pastor from Gorham NH and his wife, visited Dad and Mom yesterday. They read some Scripture to Dad and prayed with him, and then--here's the cool part--Dad prayed with and for them!! Pastor Jon said it was such an encouragement. It was equally encouraging to hear about it, because he had seemed to forget about God and Heaven, and hasn't wanted to talk about eternal things.

And then, the random thing: Mom said that this afternoon, Dad asked her if she had her purse with her. She didn't (it was in the apartment, about 50 feet away) and he got very upset and worried. When asked why, he said that he needed a pencil.

Mom asked him why, and Dad said, "Because I'm going to write!!" (As if to say "Well, duh!") So Mom said, "Oh, okay" and got him a pencil. He gave very specific instructions where to put it on his bedside table. He didn't ask for paper though, and we have no idea what he might be planning to write. Mom didn't inquire further, because he doesn't like to be pestered by too many questions. :-)

The last time Dad wrote anything was in October. He signed his name to some legal papers, but it was incredibly difficult. Parkinson's caused his hand to shake and he was very weak, even then. So Mom and I are skeptical. But she is going to take him some paper in the morning, just to see what happens. :-)

Monday, January 10, 2011


The blockage in Dad's feeding tube was able to be cleared, and it is working this morning!! Praise the Lord.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Why Don't We Let Her."

Mom said that Dad's day was like most of the past week . . . nausea this morning, a shot for pain, and sleeping most of the afternoon.

However, the feeding tube clogged again today. The charge nurse again asked him a question he has twice refused to answer: If they can't clear the blockage, does he want to go through the trip to the hospital and procedure to replace the tube? He looked at Mom and said, "Why don't we let her." So Mom told the nurse, "That's his answer." He's not ready to give up.

They are hoping that the blockage may be able to be cleared in the morning. If not, Dad will go to the hospital by ambulance for the replacement . . . but . . . the nurse told mom that the intestine may be getting too full of cancer to allow proper placement of a new tube.

Lois flies in from Ecuador late Friday night with baby Daniel. We are still praying she will be able to visit with Dad when she gets there.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sweet and Funny Comment

Dad said something to Mom recently (I think it was day before yesterday) that I forgot to share. It says volumes about the kind of wife that Mom has been and continues to be to him.

As she was sitting beside him holding his hand, Dad told her that he didn't think he would have many more days with her. She told him that although that would be hard, it would be ok. Then he said--this is the great part--"I guess it won't be much of a life for you, without Grampie Ames around."

I think this is wonderful, because it shows how Mom has made Dad feel loved and appreciated, even in his incapacitated state. They are so precious, and I pray for God's love, peace and comfort to surround them unceasingly in the valley of the shadow.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Holding On

Dad continues to rest quietly most of the time. The pain is there, but manageable with medication. Mom said he slept most of the day today.

His feeding tube clogged last night, but the nurse was able to get it cleared. We really hope it will stay flowing until Lois gets there in 9 more days. Thanks for praying for peace, comfort and God's perfect timing!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

No news is good news

Happy New Year! "...I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand." --Ira Stanphill

On the phone this evening, my mom apologized that she didn't have more news. "Don't worry, Mom," I told her, "as precarious as Dad's condition is, I'm GLAD there isn't news!!!!!"

My dad has stayed quiet the last couple of days, except for some nausea. With pain medication, he is comfortable enough to sleep most of the time. Thankfully, the stomach tube is draining a bit again, and the feeding tube continues to work well also. PTL!!!

For those of you that know Jack's dad, Pastor Art Corbett, we would appreciate prayer for him also. He recently had a number of lymph nodes removed from his neck with metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. He has decided against radiation or chemo. Scars on his face from previous skin cancer surgery have tightened, making it difficult for him to open his mouth to eat. Although no cancer was found there, it is painful. So thanks for remembering him too.