Archive | October 2012

The Aftermath of Sadness

My husband and I went to the funeral home to visit Ian, who died last Saturday night, and to be with his mom, dad and sister.   I can’t tell you how very sorrowful this visit was.  I don’t need to tell you that when a man/child of 28 dies of a drug overdose, it is another life lost to the destructive, evil of drugs.

How does a parent get in touch with this awful truth?  How does a sister contain her grief at the loss of her brother and friend?  It is an inexpressible place you go to in order to deal with the silence, the thoughts and memories,  the sadness that tortures and plays with your head.  Did I do enough to try to get him to stop?  Did I listen when he had things to say?  In the end all you can say is, “I did what I could, the rest was up to him”.

I do have a certain expertise in this area because my 14 yr old brother hanged himself when I was 21.  I know the pain and the constant guilt that me and my family went through right after it happened.  We all questioned ourselves, did he say something that would have warned me and I didn’t see it?  Was he reaching out to us and we just didn’t see?

Although Ian’s death was not a suicide, the aftermath is pretty much the same as what we went through. . .all those questions. . .all those what may have beens. . .what if’s. . .

I pray that Ian is in a safe Heaven where he suffers no more.  I pray that his parents and sister find the peace  they so desperately need. . .I pray  for all who are troubled with drugs or alcohol or any other addiction that is deadly.

May God give you all peace, joy and strength for the journey,

Sandy Ozanich (c)  2012

In The Hands of God

From The Prayer:

“In The Hands Of God”


If You want me to rest,

I desire it for love;

If to labor,

I will die working:

Sweet Love say

Where, how and when.

What do You want of Me?


Calvary or Tabor give me,

Desert or fruitful land;

As Job suffering

Or John at Your breast;

Barren or fruiful vine,

Whatever be Your will:

What do You want of me?


Be I Joseph chained

Or as Egypt’s governor,

David pained

Or exalted high,

Jonas drowned,

Or Jonas freed:

What do You want of me?


Silent or speaking,

Fruitbearing or barren,

My wounds shown by the Law,

Rejoicing in the tender Gospel;

Sorrowing or exulting,

You alone live in me”

What do you want of me?


Yours I am, for You I was born:

What do You want of me?


St. Theresa of Avila




I read this poem this morning, a gift from a priest friend, and I had to ask myself, do I believe this prayer?  Can I offer this prayer as my own and believe it???


I say many things and I believe them when I say them, but THIS prayer, can I believe what it says when I pray it???


I want to say that I can.  I do believe it for what it says, because Theresa of Avila believed it.


Theresa of Avila is an extraordinary Saint, I’m not extraordinary in any fashion to the world, but in the eyes of God I pray that I am a saint in training. . .not quite there, need lots of work, but a saint in training nonetheless,  kind of like Clarence the “Angel in Training” from the movie, “What A Wonderful Life.”  He got his “wings” when he completed what he was given to do.  In the same way, I hope to get my “wings” when I can do what God wants of me – out of total love for Him – this is the prayer I make.


Get in touch with God.  Ask him what he wants of you today and everyday.  You won’t be disappointed ~ all you have to do is ask.  The funny thing is sometimes you will have no idea what God wants of you, but most people have an internal signal that tells them when they have strayed from the right path of life.  (I call that internal signal Holy Spirit ~ she is a wonderful companion)  We can usually tell when we are doing something that is not right.


Live in God and God will live in you!


Sandy Ozanich © 2012

Some Days There Is Just Too Much Sadness

Today my son came downstairs and told us that his good friend of years ago was dead.  My son and this young man parted ways about 6 years ago.  My son wrestled with the decision to break the friendship because his friend was into hard drugs and he didn’t want any part of it.  Overnight his friend died from an overdose.

I remember my son talking to me about this potential breaking of his friendship while I was in the hospital 6 years ago.  I had had my double lung transplant the year before and I was in because I had the flu.  My son came over to visit and he was really upset about his friend.  He told me that he was thinking about breaking the friendship but he felt torn because his friend was so much into the drugs that my son was afraid that is something happened to his friend, my son wasn’t sure he could handle the aftermath.  He said he would feel extremely guilty for “abandoning” his friend in his time of need.

I completely understood his feelings but I told him that his friend was going to do what he wanted to do regardless of how close or not he stayed with him.

It’s such a hard thing.  I asked my son if he was ok and he told me that he was.  He said that he mourned his friend 6 years ago, he just happened to die today.

I know how it feels to lose someone so close.  In 1972 I lost my brother at the age of 14.  He was found hanging on his closet door one Saturday night.  Our mom found him.  I wasn’t living at home at the time and I can tell you  that this news was the most painful news I had ever received.  For my parents and siblings it was the thing that tore us apart.  My mother, father and a sister has also passed since then.  None of these things are easy to bear.  My mother and father’s precarious marriage did not survive my brother’s death.  Many of us siblings fell apart also.

I plan on  going to the funeral home to hug his mom and dad and his sister.  There are no words that can ease the pain, but a hug from someone who can at least understand the feelings may help somewhat.

Please pray for Ian and his family.

Sandy Ozanich (c) 2012

This is one of those things that is so darn sad and hurtful it’s hard to imagine. . .Please, Please pray and work to stop this bullying. Children are dying because it it.


The girl who made this video, Amanda Todd, 15, was found dead at her home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday. She was a victim of bullying. Both of the cyber and the physical kind. Authorities believe her death was due to suicide following a prolonged bullying campaign.

It is with an immense feeling of sadness that I repost her video here. Thanks to Chris Jordan on whose blog I first read about Amanda

This young lady was systematically degraded, isolated and physically assaulted. I cannot comprehend the mentality of the people who hounded her so mercilessly. One can only hope that they have now seen Amanda’s video and that it is a wakeup call for them and for any others out there that have embarked on a similar path, who may already have someone in their sights.

My concern is that there are some sick individuals who…

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Today Is A Very Good Day!

Today is a very good day.  You see, seven years ago today I received my new lungs from a 29 yr old man whose family decided to donate his organs.

It’s a very good day, a day full of joy, but I also think about my donor and think this is a day of grieving and loss. . .I can’t know what is going on in their lives, but I can imagine.  I still don’t know much at all  about my donor or his family.  I just know it was a young male, age 29.  I don’t know how he died, whether he had a wife and kids and extended family.  I held him in my heart today.  I offered my Sunday Mass for him and his family.

After the holidays are over I intend to write again through CORE (Center for Organ Recovery and Education) to his family to let them know how well I’m doing and how very grateful I am that his family loved him enough to donate his organs so that I and others could live.  What a unselfish gift from a stranger!!!

I still sometimes find it hard to wrap this transplant around my brain and really think about what happened on September 30, 2005.

I will tell you what I know happened.  It was a late Thursday evening and my husband Tom and I were just getting ready to get into bed.  It was around midnight.  My cell phone rang about 12:15am.  I began to worry that it might be bad news that someone was hurt or dead.  I still hadn’t gotten used to being on a transplant list, so the thought that it might be my lungs didn’t cross my mind right then.  I had only been on  the list for two weeks.

I answeredd the phone and I heard my pre-transplant coordinator, Paul, on the other end.  He said, “Hey Sand, this is Paul.”

I said, “Hi Paul”.

He asked, “What are ya doing?”

I answered, “Getting ready for bed.”

Paul said, “No you’re not. . .we’ve got a pair of lungs and we believe they’re just for you, so I want you to make your phone calls and get your ass over here, ok?”

That was a mind numbing phone call, literally.  Instantly I went into get ready mode.  I knew what I heard, but I just got things together and called my kids.  Of course, right after the phone call I looked at Tom and told him, “that was Paul, they have lungs for me and we have to get to Presby as soon as possible.  He looked at me and then got dressed.

I talked with Megan and Kelly and told them what was happening and they were scared, I could feel it in their voices.  They told me they would be leaving for the hospital as soon as they could.

I couldn’t reach Brian, our youngest.  He was out and I couldn’t reach him.  I hated to do this, but I had no choice but to leave him a note on the kitchen table telling him where we were.

I distinctly remember when we left the house I turned around and looked at the house we had lived in and raised our children in and wondered if I would be coming back to live in this house again.  I was slightly sad, somewhat in a numb mode, not feeling too much at that point, just asking God to please be with me and my family as we go through this.  I was really more worried about my husband and kids than I was for myself.

I had told God before that whatever happened I would be ok.  I was ok with whatever the outcome would be.  However I did pray to God many times before to be able to live long enough to cradle my grandchildren. . .none of whom were born or conceived as yet.

Tom and I arrived at the hospital and were told to just check in and wait in the emergency lobby for someone to come and take us upstairs.

While waiting in the lobby, in the darkened area, because it was by now 1:30am, I saw a man walking through the shadows toward the doors to leave.  As he came into the light I realized it was a priest that I had worked for years earlier.  Now this priest had been living in California for several years and I hadn’t seen him since.  I was stunned to see him there because he was always one of my most favorite people ever.

Of course he didn’t recognize me because of my illness I was puffy, had put on weight from the steroids and I was wearing oxygen.  He walks past and to the doors.  I told Tom, “go get him and bring him back in here.”  Tom goes outside and brings                Fr. Eugene in to the lobby.

As he walked toward me I said, “Eugene?”  and he replied, “Yes?”  I could tell by the way he answered that he had no idea who I was.  So I looked at him again and said,    “You don’t know who I am, do you?”  He said, “Honey I don’t know anyone at 1:30 in the morning.”  As I described to him who I was, that I worked for him over the years, etc., his face softened and recognition filled his face.  He said, “Sandy!  What are you doing here?”  I told him that I was there to have a double lung transplant.  I can’t describe the look on his face, only that his eyes got big, he looked at me with compassion and love.

Fr. Eugene took my hands in his and he prayed for me.  He then looked at me and said all I think he could say or was able to say and that was, “I wish you all the very best.”

When he left I just knew that God had touched me.  Think about this, why was this particular priest in Pittsburgh, at this particular hospital at 1:30 in the morning???  Why???  He didn’t even know that I was sick, he knew none of that.

I was convinced that I was going to be ok, I was going to survive this  transplant and I would be around to tell other people that God is here with us, he cares about us with such a love that surpasses any love we as humans can feel for our own children.

There is more that God wants me to do and I will gladly do it.  I feel it is my mission to let people know that God is here for you, he wants us to be happy and he wants us to be there for those we love and who love us.  Isn’t this the ultimate goal of our lives, to be with God. . .but before we get to God in Heaven, we must bring God to his children here on Earth.

Of course, the rest all the things the 7 years have brought me.  Since the transplant we, Tom and I have been given 4 grandchildren.  As “grandma” I was so honored to be able to witness the births of all 4 of these children: Colby age 5, Nathan age 4, Maya age 3, and Natalie age 17 mos.  What a world of love and fun I live in now.  When I run into medical trouble or just regular life troubles I consider them as just an annoyance because I have been given this most precious gift.  Any pain I suffer, I suffer for God and for those who suffer still and it’s ok with me.

I want to tell you the “rest of the story” in regards to Fr. Eugene.  I didn’t see him again for 3 years.  Here he was back in Pittsburgh to give a conference where I work; St. Paul of  the Cross Monastery, Pittsburgh PA.

As I walked toward him he looked at me and smiled, asking, “How are you???”  I told him I was doing very well.  I also told him that I believed that God placed him there in that hospital that night.

He then said, “You don’t know why I was there do you?”  Of course I didn’t and he said that he had just left the bedside of a friend who had died.

I then said, “Eugene, do you realize that you walked from death to life that night???”

He smiled and shook his head!