I called Barbie around noon to 12:30 p.m. on Valentine's Day last year. She sounded very groggy and was just about whispering. Barb never let you 'hear' any discomfort She couldn't seem to help herself with how she felt. She said she didn't feel strong enough to walk back in the house; so she was sitting in the car; sort of waiting to feel strong enough to go on into the house. Darwin brought her some coke to drink cause she said her sugar had gone low the day before. Barb had been to have a heart test earlier in the morning. I could tell she was breathing kind of shallow. She said she was sitting in the car, but would go in when Darwin came back. He was checking on one of the apartments. I could tell she was going to fall asleep. Suddenly she said, "Jan, I don't like how I feel." I said, "how's that Barbie?" She said her heart rate was very slow. I asked her if her blood pressure had been running low? She only said she expected so. I said we should call Darwin and tell him to come check on her. She assured me, "oh, he'll be right back..." She said he didn't want to leave her but she had told him to "go on". We exchanged our usual I Love You before hanging up and when I said mine, she said good-bye.
Barbara has a lovely big family. Last July marked their 50th wedding anniversary. That is Barbara and Darwin (in black) in center of this photo. (above) Debbie is in the royal blue shirt. Ginny and Mark are in the green shirts. (children too) Jim and Tayna are in the light blue shirts, (kids too) And last but not least are the red shirts, which are John and Susan and their sons. Beautiful family. We can all agree the Martin family is a real Blessing.
This photo was taken in July 2009 after our Family Reunion - Gatlinburg, TN Our eldest brother, Bud, had left very early that morning to drive back to Ohio. So, these morning people are left to right: Jan, John, Jean, Bill and Barbara.
Grandsons Ethan and Jacob. When Barbara and Darwin visited in October 2008, she held both booths at different times and showed them "how to give sugar" (southern people know what this is). She'd say give me some 'sugar' and pucker up - and then the boys would give a kiss. They learned it to be: "shooger shooger" giving a smooch on each time they said shooger. They kept it up for sometime and would kiss each side of your cheek. They remembered that Aunt Barbara taught them that.
On February 17th, 2011 Barbara was to be at the hospital early for a procedure to get her heart out of V-tach. They took a long while working at this. I forget how many hours they were at it, but FINALLY they reached a normal rhythm. She was pretty worn out. Darwin told her he was going to get something to eat and she wanted him to do that. She was so tired and going to sleep right then. Darwin wasn't gone from the hospital even 30 minutes and he received a phone call. He was to return to the hospital ASAP. The rest is that Barbara could not be revived and they did attempt to do so. The doctor revealed to Darwin that the soon-to-happen Dialysis would have been very hard on Barbara's body and her heart. He doubted she'd have lasted very long after that step was taken. God is GOD. And we accept that "it was her time" and off she went in a wink of an eye; her spirit in the presence of God Almighty. Jesus Welcomed her Home. The way I believe is that Revelations tells us that there will be no more pain; no more crying. You will be in the Presence of Jesus and I feel sure she was reunited with our Mom and Dad and other loved ones whom went before her. We were all shocked to learn she'd passed. My reaction is one that I still feel in a way. How can she be gone? She had a lot of living to do; didn't she? Truth is, she DID a lot of LIVING. Her life was blessed in hundreds of ways. She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful spirit; loving; tender; caring; was a gifted soprano; an awesome sister, a beyond Great Mother and Grandma and Darwin would tell anybody she was an amazing wife and life partner. I think of him especially right now as the One year anniversary arrives in just a couple of days. Is he still mourning his loss? Of course! As long as he lives he'll MISS his Barbara. And same goes for us; her family. I told Darwin a week or so ago that I knew he and Barbara experienced so much JOY as a couple and as parents. They traveled extensively and she just loved it all. So, I just wanted to "think of these things" - on the life of my precious "big Sister". She babysat Jean and I. She was our mentor. She was so smart. Thank you for letting me share about her. Hug your sister and brother a little tighter. Ask lots of things of them that you may not have ever learned. I particularly enjoy things my big brother Bud is telling me lately about when he was a 'kid'. I feel like time is passing faster and faster. 65 is the next number written by our names. I speak of my twin sister, Jean and I. We'll be 65 on our next birthday. And come May 1st we'll both be officially on Medicare. Oye. So, I want to go on a neat trip with my twin sis; make a big memory. Like, neither one of us have been to the Grand Canyon and we want to go. I think we should plan one with our husbands.
Barbara Anne (Totten) Martin? You will never be forgotten. Your legacy Lives On !! (except for that beautiful voice thing you had going; so far I don't know any of the family who can belt it out like you did!
Forever my Love,
Your sister Jan
Karen, Jean and Barbara
(taken January 2011)