Tag Archives: graduation

Grad Celebration

Megan’s graduation party was on June 28. I was so disappointed that morning as I hobbled around, still using my walker.

A quick update to an earlier post “I Give It Up“. The PET scan showed cancer cells in my pelvis that the doctors never thought was cancer. This was a huge find, because we had missed it the last couple of scans. So yes, my doctor was aggressive on this round, getting all of it! But in doing so, also froze my femoral nerve in the process. I woke up, completely unable to feel my leg. My doctor told me it would take 3-5 weeks to get my mobility back to full strength. Most of my leg came back while I was in the hospital, everything but my femoral nerve. So that means I can’t walk, because my knee buckles and I fall. Yesterday I hit four weeks, and I’m just beyond frustrated that I’m still on crutches. I’m having a hard time with it — mentally more than anything — my biggest fear is that my femoral nerve is not going to come back anytime soon. My doctor assures me that it can take longer, but will come back. Ugh, I’m so impatient, and I have so much going on at work — I need it back now. Physically it’s hard with three flights of steps at my office. And three flights at my home. 

So back to Megan’s party. I was so bummed out that I am still on crutches and not able to go around and visit all the relatives. I had planned to take photos of everyone! Tara took the outdoor photos for me. Thank you, Tara, you’re so good with the camera. It also rained the entire day. The entire week before and the Saturday before. Everything was saturated. But that didn’t phase Megan. They moved their tent to the driveway and everyone managed to stay dry.

For me, the best part of the day was seeing all my relatives. It started when my cousin Teresa, her husband Mike and their son Noah drove 12 hours from Charleston, SC for the party. They stayed with Tom and I. They drove through intense fog with a long backup in the mountains of West Virginia on Rt. 77, followed by rain, then hard rain, and through a tornado warning before reaching our house. I was so happy to see them!!! And it was great to spend time with them. We even managed to squeeze in a tour of Heinz Field on Monday, and they accommodated me with a wheelchair for the tour. They brought Tom and I “Charleston Strong” t-shirts in remembrance of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The back said “Pray for Charleston.” It happened on June 17, so it was so real, so close and so fresh for them. I guess it’s personal when it’s in your own city. It caused me to pause and think about that. Teresa told me that the church turned the other cheek and is praying for peace and love — that the people of the entire city is standing behind them and praying for peace. They created a Unity Chain on the Ravenel Bridge where thousands turned out — hand in hand — stretching across the bridge. I couldn’t believe it when she told me that a group from the Ferguson shooting and riots came in to protest their peace and start screaming racism. The church ignored them and they soon went back to wherever they came from. That disgusted me that there are traveling hate groups with the goal of throwing the race card whenever they can, and trying to get riots started. They are the ones who continue the cycle of racism when in reality, the rest of us see everyone as equals. Are they so miserable that they fill the void with hatred? I just don’t get it and it’s just so ugly.

At the party, everyone was there. From the Miller side, I was happy to see my cousin Karen and her husband, Bill. I was bummed that I couldn’t go outside and sit with them for a while. I also saw my cousin Kathie and her husband, Ritch. And my cousins Patti and Dave. I didn’t get a picture of them either — what a bummer! Well, I did get one of Karen. Karen also brought her Dad, Uncle Jim — my Dad’s brother. And my Dad’s other brother, Uncle Frank was there with his wife, Aunt Ruth. I miss seeing Kathie, Patti and Aunt Ruth at bingo. If there were others, I probably missed them as I was stuck inside with my crutches.

From the Knowlson side, besides Teresa, Mike and Noah, there was my second cousin, Barbara and her husband Rod. Teresa and Noah were fascinated with her sixth sense stories. Noah couldn’t even sleep on Sunday evening — he said he fell asleep around 2 am, because he kept thinking about all the stuff Barbara had told them. My second cousin, Chris and her husband, Del also came, as well as Arlene and her husband, Jerry, and my second cousin, Nancy. I hope I didn’t miss anybody.

My Mom’s friend, Marcia came with her daughter, Nancy. And there were family from the Pettner side, including Tonya and her children, including Allison, Derek and Jason, Brenda and her Mom and her husband, Tom, and their children Katrina and Kyle. From the Pettner side there was also Fay and her husband, Frank and their son, Matt, and Val, Scott’s sister from Texas with her family, and others that I just don’t know very well, as well as Hookstown fair board members, Debbie and Scott’s card party friends, friends of Megan’s, and friends from MarketSpace, including Jen and her husband, Mike and daughter, Béla, as well as Trish and Dona with her husband, Greg and two daughters. And friends like Belinda and her husband, Ron who I knew well from St. Rose. There were probably 150 people that attended.

Of course the immediate family was there — all of us kids, myself and my husband, Tom, Father Bob, and Tommy and his fiancé, Gretchen. Debbie spent the entire day in the kitchen. Some of her friends came that were in her wedding. And Lori and Harold were there with their granddaughter, Brianna. And Brianna’s mother, Elaine and father, Greg. I loved holding Brianna, she’s such a cutie!

And food — there were roasters all over Debbie’s kitchen with stuff cabbage (my Mom makes the BEST), homemade meatballs, pulled pork, Pittsburgh potatoes, kielbasa, fried chicken, potatoes salad, linguini salad, homemade gnocchi spaghetti dish, fruit salad and six or seven desert salads. Megan made all the baked goods that included cake balls and cookies. And I made buckeyes, in honor of Megan attending Ohio State, but I forgot them!!! So I have 15 dozen of buckeyes in my freezer.

I can’t believe that Megan grew up so fast and is going to college this August. She is so excited. I know that everything will change from here. But it’s a good change, and I pray to God that he watches over her. I know my Dad will be watching over her.


It’s almost a week after the party and I’m still on my crutches. Please pray for me that I heal soon and can walk again very soon.

BELIEVE there is good in the world

Dear Megan

God has a plan for you, my beautiful, smart and extremely talented niece. I knew it from the very minute you came into this world. There you were at the Medical Center in Beaver, PA wrapped in my arms with a little cap on your gorgeous little head — I fell in love with you at that very moment. And then your grandma said, “look at all her hair,” and pulled the little cap off and there fell three or four inches of fine brown hair. Just precious. You changed my life at that very moment.

I spent almost every night at your house for the first six months of your life. I think your dad was probably sick of seeing me, but your mom would hand you to me and then go wash her floors or do laundry or other things. She was happy I was there. I would feed you and play with you — I couldn’t get enough of you — you just loved to snuggle in my arms. You fit there so perfectly. I used to look down at you while I fed you your bottle and talk to you about where life would take you. And dream about all the things God had planned for you, my tiny niece.

And then you were baptized and as your Godmother, I made a promise to always take care of you, keep you safe and teach you about our Catholic faith. Staying true to your faith will guide you and comfort you as you begin your new journey. And with every difficult decision you encounter along the way, find a quiet place and talk it over with God. He will give you the right answer. Always believe, Megan. Always believe deep inside of you that God will protect you and guide you. God has something wonderful planned for you.

I was there for so many of your firsts, Megan. Your first steps, your first words. Your first tears and your first giggles. You used to giggle at so many things — especially your little dog Barney. Or your bouncy chair. You were a beautiful, perfect baby — with big spiral curls and the bluest, most curious eyes. Even as you got older — I was there to see your accomplishments, awards, ceremonies and recognitions. I am so proud of you, Megan. I’m so thankful that I was able to experience so many of your firsts.

Your Mom and I took you everywhere. We would go to the mall on the weekends. I remember one trip to the mall where I bumped your head by accident on one of the metal clothing stands in Lazarus department store. You screamed and cried, and I took you outside of Lazarus inside the mall where we sat by the water fountain. I cried with you, because I hurt you. I remember holding you close and rubbing the little red mark on your head. I told you I was sorry and you smiled. I’ll never forget that. I’ve learned over the years that forgiveness is so important. Everybody makes mistakes and everybody learns from those mistakes. You have to forgive and move on and remember that most people are really good inside and want to do the right thing. Always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You won’t regret that.

I believed more than anything that God sent you to us at the very moment in life when you were needed here. My dad, your grandpa or “Pappy Bob” was sick and you were that gem in his day that made all the difference, Megan. The relationship the two of you had was simply endearing — you would run to him, giggling and he would have a smile from ear to ear. Those moments and all the moments between you and my dad simply touched my heart. If you’re ever feeling alone or sad, just think about how special you are — you made such a difference in so many lives. And God’s plan for you is still unfolding!

I wish you would have known my dad the way we all did. He was a man of great faith who knew what was important in life. He could do anything he set his mind to and he taught all of us that. Dad’s advice was the best kind. He knew what the right answer was and was our guide. You and I got our talents from him. And today I believe he is your guide as you embark on this next chapter in your life. He’s looking down on you and is so, so, so proud of that little baby he knew for such a short time. Pappy Bob would sing to you all the time, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray. You never know dear how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.” You gave him a reason to love life when life was dishing him lemons. It was you who changed his life.

So I watched you grow up into an amazing woman who is talented in so many ways. My dad always told me that if you do something in life with the talents God gave you, you would be so happy and fulfilled. You are a baker, a decorator, a designer. You are an artist, a painter, and a masterpiece creator. You have an incredible imagination that helps you dream big and your creativity is endless. You chose the right field of study — architecture. You’ll soon be immersed in a whole new world of textures, fabrics, upcycled, recycled, reclaimed, metals, woods, natural stones and countless other materials for fabrication. You’ll learn about the history of furniture and styles — what’s new, what’s old and what’s to come. And I’m going to be that pesky aunt who wants to know everything about coming.

Dream big, Megan. I believe you can do anything you put your mind to. Dream big for yourself and for those who matter in your life. Get a dream book and write down 100 dreams you have for yourself. That’s right. At least 100. You can write them, list them, draw them, doodle them. Take your dream book everywhere you go. Make notes and date them. Add to your book. Cross of things as you accomplish them. And find ways to make new ones come true. Don’t ever stop dreaming, Megan. Dreams will help you live life to the fullest. And, it will be interesting to see where your dreams today take you and what your dreams look like 10 years from now.

Love with all your heart. “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. This Bible passage is something I read at least once a week, especially if I’m upset about something. Whenever you’re annoyed with someone else or a situation, just read these words and know that if you believe in these words, the situation will just fall apart and go away. Try it! It really works.

Be the good in the world. And believe there is good in the world. That’s my best advice, my most favorite quote. Believe there is good in the world, because there is. And you have the opportunity to Be the Good by your actions and what you do. Your kindness already touches those around you. You are so smart and caring — you’re beautiful inside and out. Your smile is so genuine and the way you show respect to those around you is admirable. Goodness oozes from within you, Megan. And goodness is contagious! You’ll attract others just like you who believe they can make the world a better place for everyone.

God has a plan for you, Megan. It’s just starting to unfold before us. I sit here and think about how much you’ve grown up and how much I love you. We would have said, “I love you big piles!” when you were two years old. The answer is still “big piles!” I can’t help but wonder where life is going to take you. Get on that ride of life and hold on tight. Never let go and always climb higher. I believe anything is possible, Megan. And I’m anxious to watch as you move into the next chapter of yours, ready to experience more of your firsts that are yet to come.

Always  B E L I E V E !

Aunt Pam

My nieces

My beautiful nieces. Megan is on the left and Tara on my right.