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life story books
Written by John Roark

Helen Roark

Mothers name: Helen Roark

Country of Birth:

United States

Year of birth: 1937

Places of Residence:


The Courage of a Lion

Mom and her son Scott
Often when you think of a lion you don't think of a frail stroke patient. My mother bold and almost fearless when she had a stroke and ended up in a Nursing home.

It was too much work for Mom to go through all the thearapy and arm became permantly paralyzed. She was a Lion though. Strong, funny, and a joy for all of her 8 children, freinds and family to visit for almost three years.

Mom was more than a trooper, she was a hero. When she was asked why she had a stroke and was in this broken state, Mom said: " Why not " .

Dad moved out of their house and kept renting the house in hopes that Mom's condition would soon be turned around and they would move home.

Dad rented the apartment in the nursing home. I think it was like $3000 dollars a month for a room and a bathroom. Dad stayed in the nursing home to be by my Mom's side, morning till night.

My Mom would have a cigerette every once in a while and sometimes all 8 kids would come from all over several states to laugh with Mom and Dad about old times.

I wish I could of recorded every minute of it now on video. Our family would visit 7 or 8 times a year. We lived 8 hours away and it was a journey brining our 4 children.

Several sisters and a brother lived close to the nursing home and were able to visit them often.

End chapter 1

Dad was really a Lion

Our dad was legally blind , diabetic, and was here on earth to protect and stand up for mom.

Dad ran a government program for J.T.P.A. before he retired and worked his way up from a counsellor to running a multi county region in Decatur Illinois. Three of his programs went nationwide and he got 3 presidential awards for them.

I remember my dad saying once when he moved to Decatur he was head over about 30 employees, He said , he went into the office and fired a couple people and rattled the cage to let them know he was boss, and they better have their act together.

Our dad lied about his age and went into the military when he was sixteen. If you are guessing which branch he went into , It was the Marines. He Did his term, got the G.I.
bill and married mom and did 4 years of collage in two. Then he went off and got his masters degree soon after.

Dad rattled everyone's cages even back then. I'm sure they thought he was too young for marriage, they had to be barely 18. Actually if he married Mom when he went into the service they both must of been 16. Wow no wonder our 17 year old daughter is so rambunctious. She has his drive for life. Quick to learn and ready to go with out a seat belt.

Dad even in his multiple disabilities didn't allow no one to treat mom wrong in the nursing home. It didn't matter if you were a doctor or head of the nursing home dad was still in charge, he was the lion, and he was ready to charge, always.

Dad ran a government business for over 20 years and he was ready to fire the nurses, the aides and he already figured out how the nursing home should be ran.
It took him less than a week and everyone knew who John Roark was.

They took too long to respond to mom, they took too long to put mom in bed, he didn't like that the nurses aides took breaks together, he thought they should take breaks individually so that they would have more staff on the floor.

Dad was right but dad was just in one of their apartments there for mom and his voice, though clearly heard, was often not important as he wanted.

Dad was right there were alot of problems in the nursing home but he roared and many times they heard him, because he was loud, reserved no words, and overwelming when he thought it was needed.

Dad loved his kids, and was proud of all eight of them, at the time their was almost 30 grandchildren, it's much higher now.

The first to have a powered wheel chair , dad zoomed everywhere in and around the nursing home. Sometimes he ran over toes, but he was legally blind.
He had that degenerative disease that you couldn't see off to the sides.

My little sister, the youngest of the eight, got married at the nursing home. Mom and dad could easily be there and it was a blessing for all the people at the nursing home.
Our youngest sister deserves a medal for her life toward our parents.
Rena moved to the little town where that nursing home was and trained to become a cna and worked at the nursing home where mom and dad would die three years into there stay there.

Rena would work her shifts and then spend all of the rest of her day with mom and dad.
She had a nice home in the area with her two dogs. But that was mostly her life until one of the residents at the nursing home kept insisting she meet her son.

She finally met him and well, they got married at a nursing home. His dad was there and our parents. Our youngest sister finally met her perfect match.

Dad was six foot two inches tall and he didn't like people that were taller than himself. He use too joke around and say that, but he didn't. hehe

Dad fought tooth and nail for every infringement against mom. It was acceptable to the nursing home to allow mom to sit and wait for an hour before she was put into bed.
My dad a couple of times had dropped my mom trying to put her in bed himself when it took two people to lift her in bed or the hoist they use.

Dad was always ready to talk to the highest in charge to make sure mom was treated fairly and quickly.

But both the Lion and the Lioness were layed to rest three months apart from each other.
Dad took care of himself until the last 3 days of his life he ended up admitting himself into the nursing home. He was no longer capable of shaving and couldn't give him self the diabetic shots he needed.

Dad died then mom died three months later.

The best days of our lives were spent visiting mom and dad and family in those short three years of the last of their lives.

We have video of them but I always wanted to have a video where we asked them question about their lives and unimportant details of what we never knew,

I thought we had far more time, and time wisp away so quickly.

End chapter 2