day in the life
the everyday life of a couple living well with a slow-growing
always easy, and there will certainly be sorrows and losses
along the way. But being alive is good. It is very good.
It’s been ten days of
keeping appointments, running errands, checking things off to-do lists.
Of welcoming SIL
Josh and the grandkidlets into the mix after 3 1/2 weeks apart
from their wife and mom.
Of continued love
pouring in via meals, cards and gifts, text messages and visits.
In the process of
planning Hubby’s Celebration of Life, a song by Laura Story
gave pause for reflection:
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
are what it
takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.
There is a
tendency—speaking for myself here—to define blessings as only the positive.
Good health. Nice home. People who love me.
And while those are
certainly blessings, what if the hard things are blessings, as
well. Designed to bring beauty, compassion, deeper trust.
And so, thank you, Father God,
for the blessings
of these hard things.
I’m thinking Thanksgiving season
isn’t contained within a certain week on the calendar but rather
it’s a year-round sport. And maybe the conditioning
giving of thanks when there’s much to be sorrowful
The Porch Fairy came out of retirement and left her mark
on our front porch yesterday morning. Short retirement, if you ask me.
Six red cups.
Along with *craft
kits* for the grandkidlets to assemble turkeys, complete with
turkey glue that looks suspiciously like vanilla frosting.
Turkeys for the
Grandson Titus, before arriving in Oregon, wanted to know if the Starbux Fairy would still be making deliveries.
Actually, her name
is Porch Fairy because she’s been quietly leaving gifts on our
front porch for quite some time now. Flowers, bouquets of autumn
leaves, fun toys for Hubby, breakfast items. And more.
And daily, an Americano for Summer and a Chai for me.
Deliveries in the snow and ice – against our
I e-mailed the
Porch Fairy to let her know that SIL Josh and the grandkidlets
were arriving and that it was time she took a much-deserved
She e-mailed back to
ask if she could make one more delivery, and what would the
were up early waiting for this event. Twelve-year-old Titus
checked the porch at 7:29. Nothing.
He put on his
shoes, unplugged his iPod, and opened the front door a crack at
Six red cups.
Stealth is Porch Fairy’s middle name.
You snooze; you
How did she know our names?!
All along, Titus
had been skeptical about there really being a Porch Fairy. Now
he’s a believer.
on the other hand, always believed. But she's more interested in
knowing how big the Porch Fairy is, because Lydia knows that all
nice fairies are just a few inches tall.
The rule on my
first full day as a widow: pajamas all day. Daughter Summer and
I weren’t allowed off
the couch except for coffee/tea breaks and bathroom breaks.
And to answer the door.
But no one was allowed in unless they were wearing pajamas.
Although we did make a few exceptions.
And in between the
remembering and laughing and crying, we got quite a bit done
from the couch. Drafting lists of things that needed to be done, a
draft of Hubby’s Celebration of Life service, lists of family
coming with possible housing solutions.
I’m actually a list
addict. I write them all the time. I’ve been known to complete
something, and then add it to my list so I can check it off. Pathetic, right?
1. Pay bills.
tiny white lights.
3. Find old family videos.
4. Copy of
obituary/death certificate for insurance company.
5. Contact Japanese
daughters (favorite remembrance of Gary?).
6. Airline tickets to east coast for Christmas.
And then I came
across this forgotten list tucked away in a hidden flap of my wallet.
Written by Hubby a while back. Apparently I’m not the only list-maker in the family.
I think #4 is my
favorite. This was a man with a wry sense of humor who kept me
laughing for forty-one years.
And then of course
there are the thanksgiving lists running through my head.
1. Peace that surpasses all explanation.
2. Daughter Summer. Here.
Son-in-law, son, daughter-in-law, grandkidlets on the way.
3. Incredible people
who are helping carry my load in so many loving and practical
4. Dark gray sky as backdrop to frozen snow (who knew gray
and white could be so beautiful).
5. Hope following death.
6. The promise from
the awful loneliness most assuredly hiding around the corner
waiting to spring on me—I will
never, ever be alone.
Speaking of lists, it won’t surprise you to know we have
a list of things we want to take to the church with the plan of
setting up a memory table in the foyer.
1. Hiking boots.
3. Denver Broncos
4. Oregon Ducks
And we’ve been
experimenting with flowers for the memory table.
extravagant-funereal-floral-arrangement sort of people. A
friend brought by a beautiful bouquet, and with the memory table
in mind, we experimented by arranging the flowers in multiple
non-matching vases and jars.
See what you think.
We would be honored
to have friends and family join us to celebrate a life well
Saturday, Nov 29 -
New Hope Church
My beloved friend
and husband went home to heaven yesterday. Monday, November 17.
Johnson, aka Hubby
One of my fears
while at Hospice House was that I would be in the shower, or
making a cup of tea when Hubby took his last breath.
As it turned out,
he waited until I was in the bathroom. I think it was his final
prank. But it didn’t work, because I was at his side when he
went forever without taking a breath. And then he took a breath.
And then he went forever without taking a breath.
Daughter Summer and
I are home now. Fresh out of tears. Until I began reading some
of the posts to Facebook that appeared overnight. I didn’t know
the body could manufacture so many tears.
I’m fine until I
read kindness. Especially the ones from the siblings-in-law
affirming that I will always be a part of their family. And then
Enough with the
were Housecleaning Fairies at our little duplex yesterday. A
conspiracy instigated by Daughter Summer. And apparently there
were a couple of Christmas Tree Decorating Fairies at work.
We’ve never put a
tree up before Thanksgiving. In fact, when the kids were home,
we always had fresh trees, which wouldn’t have allowed for a tree up
assembles a Christmas tree from the top down?
Never Does That”
... and dragging her feet
all the way
Apparently one of
the Tree Decorating Fairies is breaking her own Rule:
never. ever. decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. (For
the record, there was no PhotoShopping done in the writing of
I have to say, it
was so lovely coming home to a clean house, laundry done,
hospital bed vanished, kitchen counter devoid of meds and
syringes and pads. And a bit of holiday cheer spread throughout.
Bless you, Julane, Carrie, Muna.
I’d like to report
that Gary had an easy Homegoing. But he wouldn’t rest yesterday.
Imagine trying to catch your breath after a race – he breathed
that kind of heavy breathing from mid-morning until 6:30 last
evening, even though the medical staff tried to medicate him
enough to give him rest. The doc, the nurses kept asking, Is
there a long-lost relative he didn’t get to see? A relationship
that didn’t get attended to? No. No.
There was certainly
some unfinished business going on. And when the nurses came to
change his position in bed, he cried out.
He suffered through
the day. And consequently his wife and daughter suffered with
him. Caressing his face. Holding his hand. Praying. Telling him
over and over that he didn’t have to work so hard, that he could
let go, that we would be fine.
After he took
his last breath, we stayed by his side for several long minutes,
wife and daughter crying. Face-scrunched-up crying. Looking at
this empty shell that once housed the man I love, though, there
was the comfort of knowing he was no longer suffering. And after
hearing these words from Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful
servant,” he would catch up with his dad, family members that
had died before him. His mother-in-law. No, wait …
Summer and I did
the oddest thing after coming home and notifying family. We put
on pajamas, popped some corn and watched HGTV’s “Love It or List
I suppose it was
our way of coping in the moment – returning to something normal
and comforting, the simple pleasure of fleece pajamas, fireplace
lit, salty buttered popcorn.
And now today. My
first day as a widow—such an ugly word—and there are lists to be
made and things to start checking off those lists.
But until the
busyness begins, this quiet, early morning reflection and
greeting the lighting of a new day in which I will go on living
in honor of Hubby.
Happy Homegoing, my
Summer found this meme:
live in my pajamas unless I am going somewhere or I know someone
is about to come over to my house. Even then it’s iffy.”
Our mantra for
And maybe even
cream - just what we’re needing, Julane
Heated tile floors
report that it smells a lot nicer in Hospice House as of this
morning. Someone finally took a shower.
handed me a small bag with shampoo, conditioner and body wash, and
pointed me toward the shower room. No one actually said,
go take a shower,”
but you could tell what they were thinking.
amazing what a little hot water and shampoo will do for a girl’s
As for the
shower room, I think I’ll
go curl up on the heated tile floor and take a nap there later
It’s wintumn here in central Oregon,
wintumn being that
time of year when winter snow clings to autumn color.
Summer and I continue keeping Hubby
company on this last phase of his cancer journey – listening to
him breathe, massaging his feet with coconut oil, swabbing mouth
and lips, reading out loud to him, stroking his forehead, the
soothing background sound of football on TV.
been moments of stress, but mostly we continue to be swathed in
one not-so-peaceful moment was realizing that for the third
weekend in a row, Seattle—and not Denver—is being televised.
they think there are no west coast people who would rather watch
a Broncos game?
credit: not me
something Donald Miller wrote about Job – that ancient story of
the man who
lost his health, his wealth, his children all within a short
period of time and his wife tells him he ought to curse God and
his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Miller
credit: Siren Magazine
out to God, asking why God would let this happen. God does not
answer Job’s question. It’s as though God starts off his message
to the world by explaining there are painful realities in life
we cannot and will never understand.
“Instead, he appears to Job
in a whirlwind and asks if Job knows who stops the waves on the
shore, or stores the snow in Wichita every winter. He asks Job
who manages the constellations that reel through the night sky.
is essentially all God says to Job. God doesn’t explain pain
philosophically or even list its benefits. God says to Job, Job,
I know what I’m doing, and this whole thing isn’t about you.
responds, even before his health and wealth are restored, by
saying, ’All of this is too wonderful for me.’ Job found
contentment and even joy outside the context of comfort, health
or stability. He understood the story was not about him, and he
cared more about the story than he did about himself.”
back at Hospice House after breaking out for two weeks. While
health has declined a good deal since our last time here, you can see the improved
changes in the local weather during that same period of time.
October 31; bottom photo, two weeks later
Some things haven’t
changed, though. The compassionate care from the staff. From friends.
Already personally-delivered items
coming in the door. Chai teas and
Americano coffees (note the plural use), chocolate candy
and sweet breads, a devotional book, a Wild Republic Goldfinch
wearing ear muffs and singing an authentic bird song.
And then this text:
let me know if you need any errands or driving done today. I am
a rockstar snow driver,” says the girl from Alaska.
Our Snow Fairy.
I texted back. If
we pay for lunch, could you pick it up, deliver it and eat with
us? She did us one better. She brought homemade chicken and root
veggies roasted with rosemary and thyme. Three kinds of salad.
She asked about dessert. We said not needed. She brought
not dessert,” she says.
Oh, OK ... now I
see the difference.
Dinner this evening
was another fabulous home-cooked, hand-delivered meal. Shepherd’s
Pie with two kinds of mashed potatoes on top.
hasn’t opened his eyes since last evening, and although he’s not
yet in a coma, he is transitioning in that direction.
I move back and
forth between couch and perching on the side of his bed. Holding
his hand. Kissing him on the forehead. Telling him that I’ll
be OK, that he can go
home and be with Jesus whenever he wants.
And then—as it
takes an interminably long time for him to take his next
breath—I find myself saying, Oh, but not just yet.
socks arrive here at Hospice House in a gift bag filled with
other goodies. The accompanying tag reads,
too short to wear matching socks.”
too short for a lot of things. Too short to live it fearfully.
To not take risks now and then.
too short to waste energy holding grudges; too short to not be
counting blessings; too short to pursue things that don’t
I plan to wear
after they sprout holes—as
a colorful reminder that life is too short to waste.
And especially too
short to be wearing matching socks.
Something to teach us
rambling blog. My excuse is this: it’s hard to find time to write
a blog all in one sitting these days. So, in between caregiving,
I capture several thoughts. And then they have to somehow come
together and make sense. You’ve been warned.
says Hubby has tenacity. (I think that’s
a nice way of saying he’s
He’s broken all the rules, she said.
still something he wants to teach us, she said.
Hubby has defied
the odds since time of
diagnosis. Ten years ago, prostate cancer with mets to the lymph
nodes. Now in the bladder. Bones. Liver. He shouldn’t have lived
After the only
working nephrostomy tube fell out Tuesday, we were told to
expect renal failure.
perked up. Perhaps because Son Jeremy and DIL Denise were
scheduled to join Daughter Summer here in sunny Bend.
these children of ours (missing you, Josh). Poring over old
photos, yearbooks, long-forgotten children’s artwork. Admiring
chubby-cheeked children, Hubby’s
facial hair ...
straight out of the 80s.
up a game of Cribbage on the seat of Hubby’s snazzy red walker.
Hubby, not remembering how to play, makes up the rules as he
along. Jeremy graciously lets his dad cheat.
Hubby is worried about
me. I reassure him, yet again, that I’m going to be fine, but
he can’t seem to process that.
It’s because he was
created with an extravagant sense of caring for his family. He
has always placed me and the kids first. (Well, except for that
one time when I wanted to homestead in Alaska
back in the 70s and he voted no.)
morning, I open the shades before dawn to the unnatural light from a
wintry blanket spread in the night.
Hubby and I
sit and watch first snowfall together. He had hoped for
snow to fall before he leaves us.
As morning unfolds, he becomes disoriented. Changes in breathing.
Paranoia and anxiety – what is referred to as Terminal
Melinda stops by again.
Yes, she said, this is what you would expect of renal
There is a bed open
in Hospice House, which we gratefully accept because Hubby seems
to be overly-concerned about having round-the-clock nursing
care. (Although I am pleased to report that I have not hurt the
patient intentionally or unintentionally in quite some time.
Well, except for forgetting to hook him back up to oxygen. Once.
Maybe what Hubby
wanted to teach us was this sitting still and acknowledging all
that is precious around us. This slowing down.
This drinking in peace. And as we watch and wait together,
counting blessings. These grown children and children-in-law. The
meal that will be delivered later this evening by caring people.
no way of knowing how much longer Hubby has.
broken all the rules so far,”
she says again.
I love that
I’m married to
a rule breaker.
Speaking of wintry white landscapes, I graciously loaned
Hubby’s snow shovel to Jeremy,
whereupon he shoveled our driveway. And the neighbor’s.
(Either he was
feeling magnanimous, or he didn’t realize we share a driveway
with the duplex next door. And I wasn’t about to tell him.)
from LA where there are no driveways to shovel
Everything most important
I’ve been sitting
in this favorite-yellow-garage-sale-find a good part of the day.
To be near him. To catch every word he says.
let his filters down these past few days. He is childlike at
times, in an endearing way. He scolds me, rolls his eyes, stalls
when he doesn’t want to take his meds.
We, in turn, run to
get everything he asks for. Because it is what we—his
wife, his daughter—want
to forty-eight hours left,”
the hospice nurse said this morning.
we do everything?”
I reassure him.
made memories and took adventures, we lived well, we loved each
other, we loved our kids, our grandkids, our family. We did
asleep now. His breathing will slow down, and eventually he’ll
stop breathing, according to the hospice nurse.
a painless way to pass,”
And we did
everything most important.
In addition to Chai and assorted goodies, the Porch Fairy leaves
flowers. This bouquet. At least a week old. And still blooming.
left a couple items for the Porch Fairy.
the dressings and pads, the mouth swabs and saline flushes, our
garbage can lid just won’t
close these days.
Pathetically, it has come to this. The Porch Fairy leaves
lovely, thoughtful, delicious, beautiful, heartfelt gifts.
return, I leave her our garbage.
us is getting the better end of this deal. And it isn’t
the Porch Fairy.
The hospice care team thoughtfully keeps us stocked with all the
necessities. Which means our interior decor is looking more and
more like Early Pharmacy.
my favorite item.
nothing like a pair of blue gloves to give a girl a sense of
not talking just any ol’
blue gloves. We’re
talking powder-free Nitrile Exam Gloves.
Hubby better not mess with this nurse.
Leaving nothing unsaid
Hubby is on
oxygen. Packing a pump. Wicked thrush on his tongue. Only one
neph tube draining. Leg weeping from edema, soaking everything.
Clothing changes, and dressing changes, and flushing of tubes.
Around the clock.
up to oxygen involves a bulky machine with miles of tubing. But
it also puts out a soothing background noise
like a stream, water burbling over rocks. We now have a water
feature in our living room.
Unattractive water feature, but still ...
he says weakly. Talking is an effort. I’m learning to decipher
one- and two-word sentences.
isn’t cold enough. Ice, he says.
He wants his
neph bag drained even though I drained it twenty minutes ago.
where he can reach it.
pillows. The angle of the bed.
I sink onto
the sofa after he’s finally tucked in. It’s like putting a
two-year-old to bed. This from the man who was never demanding,
who always got up and quietly did what needed to be done without
As in a
long-ago Sunday morning. Weekend guests were carrying luggage to
their vehicle. I was getting kids ready for church. Hubby pulled
out the vacuum cleaner. His brother scolded him: “Gary, you
could at least wait until we leave so my wife doesn’t see you
settling into our at-home-again routine. And oh—as lovely as
Hospice House is—it’s so good to be home. I’m worn out, but I
wouldn’t have it any other way.
Chef Summer steamed a chicken and made cream of chicken soup
from scratch. She doesn’t
approve of paparazzi hovering while she’s
cooking (note raised-eyebrow look).
weeping leg soaks pads and sheets and PJs. Frequently. After
multiple laundry washings of pajama bottoms, Personal Chef (aka
Personal Pajama Shopper) was sent on a mission.
Send a Duck
girl shopping, and this is what you get.
kissing him frequently. Rubbing his back. Petting his hair that
grew in puppy-soft after chemo. Smiling directly into his eyes.
Telling him that I love him. Thanking him for all the good years
and memories he’s given me. Leaving nothing unsaid.
never pass this way with him again.
Summer has become a huge fan of the Porch Fairy. It may be
because there’s been an Americano setting on our front
porch—next to my Chai tea—the past couple of mornings. Wearing
Sunday, November 2,
Hubby’s playful spirit is still in evidence through the shutting
down of his body. He ordered French toast for breakfast.
Drenched in syrup, he said.
The attendant leaned in to confirm that she had heard him
How about just drizzled in syrup,
said his wife.
see when it gets here,
countered the patient.
You can see who won that battle.
French toast bites and
scrambled eggs - both drenched in syrup,
not that he ate more than
five bites of this concoction
It appears Hubby may be breaking out of Hospice House this
afternoon. And this after he’s
trained all the night nurses.
them—ten pillows on Hubby’s bed when I woke up this morning.
He makes requests; the nurses run and fetch.
(Not sure this will continue once we get the patient home.)
I’ve gotten to be the wife here with Hubby. Almost a full
night’s sleep on the sofa. Ducks
Stanford. These lovely living spaces. This autumn beauty. This
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Warning: This blog
may or may not jump all over the place. We’ll
start with breakfast.
A lovely young
woman delivered local-made pumpkin bagels with vanilla cream
cheese. You can see how well that went.
(Sorry, Julane. It
was either this photo ... or one with the last bite being
stuffed into my mouth, which wasn’t
a pretty sight.)
And there was this
rather suspicious text message:
marketing porch fairies have landed.”
I know about the
Porch Fairy. And the Knitting Fairy. But Marketing Porch
Fairies? Sounds a little ... um, pushy? persuasive? salesman-ish?
I text Daughter
Summer who is out running errands. Warning. Something on the
porch. Not sure what.
She sends photos:
grande Chai tea lattes, a pumpkin pie and candle holders ...
with candles, of course.”
pumpkin theme. Thank you, Julie. Mindy. Brenda. Lisa. Kayley.
Kendra. Lindsay. Kasey. You are a rockin’
Meanwhile, back at
Hospice House, Hubby is continuing with the spa treatment. A
shave from a CNA. Natalie. (Why is it they’re
honored us with their presence. Peggy. Marian. Lizzi. Alycia.
Co-workers. Office roomies. Bearing Chai tea lattes for Summer
(Again, it begs the
question, Why does it seem Hubby is always surrounded by
today. Anne. Bob. Char. Jill. Sandy and Fran.
texts from our place:
just got home and somebody beat me to it. Were you here? Or did
you send somebody over?”
She had been sent to put the garbage can on the
I have no idea who
beat her to it, but apparently there is now a Garbage Can Fairy.
And then a visit
from the lovely Sarah, who has walked where I’m
walking. Who has put in her time at Hospice House with her
husband. Who brought by a gift bag of all the snacks one could
possibly want for any length of stay here.
I guess the
point—not that any of these blogs have a point other than the
ones that poke fun of Hubby—is that all the thoughtful messages
and gifts and drive-bys and stop-ins represent people.
And when it comes
down to it, isn’t
that the most valuable asset one can have?
So grateful for the
amazing people who have brought joy along this journey.
Understandably, Hubby gets a little nervous when I approach him
with anything sharp. Last night I played night nurse. All night.
Dispensing meds through Hubby’s
port. And I did a pretty darn good job of not poking the patient
where he shouldn’t
have been poked.
checked into Hospice House this morning—no
room in the inn last night—which
means the medical care for my favorite patient is now off my
shoulders and squarely on the shoulders of those who know what
sitting at the window seat in Hubby’s
room – one of six rooms here. Six patients at a time. Lots of
nurses and only six patients.
bath. In-room refrigerator. Comfy, over-stuffed lounge chair.
even a couch that has my name on it for tonight’s
space is stocked with plates and cups. And cookies and hot
beverages. A private seating area overlooks a small pond
littered with goldfish.
playing the grand piano in the living room even as we speak.
Claire de Lune.
As for outdoor
my view from this padded window seat.
a place you want to check into anytime soon. But if a terminal
patient wants to be safe and comfortable in a place filled with
compassionate people, then what better resort is there?
Reinforcements have arrived. This girl. Fresh off a flight that
began in Jersey.
noted that her dad seems to be worse on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Her theory: There are no football games on those days.
starting tomorrow, Hubby should be making a remarkable
improvement. And Summer has graciously offered to assist with
the pigskin therapy. (You’ve
heard of art therapy and music therapy and dog therapy, right?
there be such a thing as pigskin therapy?)
Saturday. Sunday and Monday. All football, all the time. There’s
nothing this girl wouldn’t
sacrifice for her dad.
Sunday, October 26,
The cake and the frosting
that old saying,
many cooks spoil the broth”?
It simply isn’t
personal chefs for the weekend. Sis-In-Law Cheryl and Niece
Mushroom Soup with
garlic, onions and thyme. Crusty artisan bread.
French Dip after
slow roasting the sirloin tip overnight. Utilizing leftovers, a
Roast Beef Mushroom Soup with parsley.
even count the homemade salted dark chocolate chip cookies or
the banana pudding.
Thanks for feeding
us this weekend, Cheryl and Angie.
Oh, and thanks for
bringing us into the 21st century with that Blu dealy-ma-bob.
If Cheryl and Angie’s
visit was the cake this weekend, then these cousins were the
frosting on the cake.
Thanks, Pon and
Laura for driving over the mountains to introduce two-month-old
Sarunya, and for some grandma-rocking-chair time. I’m
Reflections on a rainy day
Winnie-the-Pooh sort of day. Blustery. Raindrops clinging to
windows. Leaves lying damp on the sidewalk.
This is my absolute
favorite time of the year. Golden colors turning into chilly
autumn, turning into falling snowflakes and white-covered
Cascade peaks. And in the middle of all this outdoor beauty
there is Thanksgiving, Christmas, a New Year.
It has also been
the season of saying a long, slow, sweet good-by to Hubby.
was hard. He
slept the entire day, ate very little, was confused during the
brief times of wakefulness. The sleeping, the not-eating I can
handle; the confusion is frightening.
But yesterday and
today, Hubby has been awake more, is eating, and most
importantly, no confusion. Ah, hope. Sweet gift.
front porch is seeing quite a bit of activity. A
beautifully-crafted *guardian angel* from June Bug; another
Porch Fairy drive-by; and something from the Knitting Fairy.
I didn’t even know
there was a Knitting Fairy, but I love that she left rich autumn
colors on our front porch.
The card was signed:
“Much love from
the Knitting Fairy.”
The beginnings of fingerless
And then look what
showed up on our front porch yesterday. These girls. Sis-In-Law
Cheryl and Niece Angie.
And have they got
plans for Hubby. For starters, homemade cream of mushroom soup
for lunch. Fleece sheets. Fleece pajama bottoms. Fresh fruit.
Hubby doesn’t stand
SIL Cheryl was the one who invited me to her family
reunion where I met her big brother. And you know the rest of
The Porch Fairy
struck again. At 8:00am. Chai tea. Pumpkin bread. And a Lady
Bug. A wind-up Lady Bug is now boogying across Hubby’s bedside table.
And then again at
noon, another Porch Fairy hit. Fried rice, Egg Drop Soup,
pumpkin scones and more tea.
Meanwhile, the call
went out this morning on Facebook:
have a tire with a slow leak.”
Wondering if anyone had some spare time to take it in for
repair. (Daughter Summer surely is proud of me for asking for
By 2:30 this
afternoon, our vehicle had been picked up and safely returned
with a repaired tire.
And a rather
handsome young man behind the wheel.
A slow leak of
kindness has been seeping through our lives, and I can’t seem to
keep up with the thank-you notes.
Our hearts are full
of gratitude for all the goodness that has come of this
devastating disease. This cancer.
Jonathan and Muna,
you rocked the tire repair today.
And Porch Fairy,
your note about the wind-up Lady Bug being a Duck because it’s
noisy and has wings? You rock the creative porch drop-offs, but
not so much the entomology.
Sunday, October 19,
A thanksgiving list
rolls through my head. Often. Like when I make a prescription
pick-up. Thankful that the car starts. Every time.
Thankful for the
freedom to move about town, the hospice team, the availability
of meds, the pharmacy that fills the scripts ... you get the
things, there’s still so much to be grateful for (for which
to be grateful?).
1. Friends who
re-planted our birdfeeder so Hubby could see the activity from
his hospital bed.
2. The Porch
Fairy’s drive-by this morning.
chocolate—a.k.a. Vitamin C—and coasters in a beautiful purple
gift bag reminding us that yes, life is a special occasion.
4. A fleecy, Ducky
pillow case fur Hubby (being an OSU grad, the gift-giver
insisted these were Beavers, but she’s
5. Chai tea.
Because one can never be too thankful for Chai tea.
6. Fall colors
7. A generous
package in yesterday’s mail that included the smell of Yuletide
Cinnamon candles—it’s never too early to light a Christmas
candle—and the reminder that, indeed, all is well with our
8. The anticipation
of Denver beating San Francisco later today.
9. The incredibly
thoughtful, creative, helping-us-fight-cancer, kind,
mischievous, would-do-anything-for-us people in our lives.
10. One more day
with Hubby; one more day in which he is able to propel himself
out of bed on his own steam.
A diffuser showed
up. With essential oils. Our home currently smells citrus-spicy.
Yum. Thank you, Sandy.
And this on our
front porch early this morning. Susan, your name is all over
this Chai tea.
And then a book
showed up. A hand-crafted gift filled with memories of
adventures with our cancer-kicking community in these incredible
Thank you, Kathy &
Mike. An incredibly creative and thoughtful gift.
Hubby and I are
surrounded by some of the most amazing people on the planet.
Speaking of Hubby and me, a hospital bed selfie.
If he looks a bit
distracted, it’s because I’m competing with baseball play-offs.
And the Patriots vs. the Jets. All at the same time.
Thanks, Gary and
Carolyn ... I think.
I’ve been working
full-time from home these past two days. And I’ve loved every
Jessica and Alycia
with mango smoothies.
Lizzi with a banana
shake for Hubby (dark chocolate candy for me, which Hubby tried
to steal as soon as Lizzi left).
This e-mail from
I drop off a Chai tea at a specific time by your front door and
not knock to disturb Gary if I get there right on time so that
you could just retrieve it?”
No, you may not drop and run. I want a hug. Besides, isn’t that
a run-on sentence?
This text from
– can I drop off a little something sweet to yous this early
Cupcakes (only the best in town)
No shortage of
lovely visitors. Including Nurse Melinda who was here once
yesterday and twice today.
Oh, and the guy
from Norco who disassembled Hubby’s hospital bed and reassembled
it in the living room. And then came back today and brought a
Just don’t tell my
boss how many visitors we’ve had. She’ll think I’m not working.
And then there’s
this question: Why is everyone trying to feed us?
Monday, October 13,
Still looking for the perfect beverage
Speaking of grocery
store runs—five in two days, but who’s counting—I won’t bore you
with another top-shelf-of-the-fridge photo.
testing - peach, cherry, pear
But suffice it to
say that Looza Peach Juice Drink, 365 Black Cherry Juice and
Knudsen Organic Pear Juice are now crowded in with all the other
had much of an appetite this past week. And when he does make an
attempt to eat—a
couple bites here and there—food
Same with thirst.
just sipping at stuff. You know what might be good, he
says. And off to the grocery store I run.
The beverage aisle
and I have become intimately acquainted.
Grape juice and
orange juice. Two flavors of sparkling cider. Four different
kinds of fruit-infused waters. Dr. Pepper and 7-Up. Chocolate
milk. Crystal Geyser Juice Squeeze.
But nothing that excites his taste buds.
And then just now
know what sounds good? A Chai tea.”
not messing with me? I’ll
be right back.
You can see why we’re
soul mates. This is a man still winning my heart. Daily.
Tuesday, October 7,
We got home from
SunRiver to find a moose on our front porch.
Perhaps I should
explain. A friend recently visited her old stomping grounds. She
to figure out how to bring some Alaska to you and hubby. Any
Hubby asked for
Baked Alaska, and I requested a live baby moose. A moosling. We’re
both easy to please.
something got lost in the translation. Because we found this
hand-crafted, moose-shaped, metal garden ornament planted in a
rather large and beautiful fall bouquet. On our front porch. (If
have a live moose, this is definitely the next best thing.)
That same day in
the mail, an unexpected check from friends in California, which
will be put toward more memory-making. While there’s
This afternoon, a
up for a cup of Chai tea?”
When have I ever not been up for Chai?
And so, a visit
from local friends bearing gifts.
And then this
evening, another Chai tea visit with friends passing through on
their way from Southern Oregon to Boise.
Rabindranath Tagore said,
slept and dreamt life was joy; I awoke and saw life was service;
I acted and, behold, service was joy.”
Why does it seem that we are being served more than we are
I suppose my focus of service at the moment is caregiving for
Hubby. And of course my day job at the cancer center.
guessing God is producing humility in me by allowing us to be in
a place that involves more receiving and not so much serving.
necessarily a comfortable place to be.
The card that came
with the check from California reads like this:
always always always remember you are loved.”
Feeling loved as we
step out into this unknown next stretch of the cancer journey.
Kattaryna and Sam. Mike and Carol. Tom and Fran. Harry and Lori.
Because you are the most recent in a long line of family and
friends who have reminded us that we’re
not traveling this way alone, that we are loved.
Sunday, October 5,
A wild life
We persuaded Hubby
to come with us for a drive into the Cascades. And even though
feel like walking to the lake viewpoints from the parking areas,
still, he was out and about, enjoying mountain sunshine and
First stop: Sparks
Lake where the chipmunks got equal photo coverage
(actually, probably a little more photo coverage)...
... than the
And then a stop at
Todd Lake to introduce our kids to more of the locals.
When we were
growing up together as a married couple, Hubby’s
job programming large IBM computers required he work in cities
and larger towns. We intentionally chose to live in the
beautiful Pacific Northwest, and Hubby chose to commute a little
so we could bring up our kids in smaller towns and semi-rural
From time to time
wondered out loud what we did wrong because our children love
big cities and crazy traffic and a faster pace of life. A
friend, upon hearing we’d
raised them in small towns, said,
what you did wrong.”
say this about having city kids, though. It’s
easy to keep them amused when they come to visit. We simply
introduce them to the local wildlife.
Son Jeremy is the breakfast-maker in the family. Plates
of eggs topped with avocado; red onion; peperoncini; red, orange
and yellow peppers; green olives; garbanzo beans. Oh, and don’t
forget the hot sauce.
Or oatmeal with
fresh-ground peanut butter, walnuts, raisins, dried cherries,
coconut, dates, bananas and a bit of honey.
Much like when our
daughter was visiting, we’ve
been eating like royalty.
Friday, October 3,
SunRiver all over again
You can never get
too much of SunRiver. We’re
back at one of our favorite places, a short distance from home
in a wooded mountain resort village. This time, celebrating a
visit from Son Jeremy and DIL Denise.
Deer in the yard.
As with all our SunRiver stay-cations.
A puzzle, courtesy
of Jeremy and Denise, spread out before a welcoming fire.
J&D cooking dinner.
Well, Denise cooking. Jeremy supervising. Yum homemade chili and
unlighting of the day—or
better known as dusk.
Denise's favorite time of the day
(Dusk and dawn—the
changing of the light—happen
to be my two favorite times. Denise said she saw the dawn once
and it was overrated.)
Our new best
friend, Nurse Melinda, was here yesterday to test Hubby’s
blood. She ordered lymphedema massage—Hubby’s
legs and feet sort of resemble tree trunks—and
now, in the comfort of our own home, Hubby will receive regular
leg massage. Imagine that.
vacation cabin comes with bikes, but Hubby probably won’t
be climbing up on a bike this weekend. He’s
slowed down these past couple weeks. This could be because the
stent/neph tube issue still isn’t
resolved. My theory is that as soon as he can get the stents
bounce back. Hubby isn’t
buying this theory.
Either way, whether
this is a fixable issue, or the ongoing march of cancer, there
is today. There is family time in a cabin in the woods. A fire
burning. A puzzle waiting to be put together. Denise has offered
to cook dinner again this evening. And—with
one win for Team G&M and one for Team J&D—there
is a championship game of Hand and Foot to be played tonight.
All is peaceful and
well in our world.
Look who showed up
at our house this week. Hubby’s
nephew Stan, his wife Kris and two of our great-nieces (grandnieces?).
Lauren and Lexie. Both blonde. In the truest sense of the word,
if you catch my drift.
entertainment - Kris, Lexie, Lauren, Stan
Turns out, they
were not only here for a family visit. And not just for a photo
shoot (Kris had contacted us earlier, offering to do our
photos). But also served as our entertainment.
always wanted a photo of Hubby and me. Something a little nicer
than the selfies we’ve
taken from the tops of mountains, dressed in layers and hiking
planned to shoot at Shevlin Park. Fall colors. Tall evergreens.
Covered bridge. Aspen grove near a tumbling creek.
But Hubby was
feeling pretty punk. And so Kris quietly borrowed some pieces
scattered throughout our home and ingeniously set up outdoors.
All Hubby had to do
was take a seat, and in ten minutes we were finished. And you
know she was shooting on a sidewalk. On a busy side street.
guys even make living on the street look like fun.”
Hubby rarely smiles
usually just a cute grin.
remember the blonde great-niece—was
dancing beyond the photographer’s
back. Twirling like a ballerina, her long hair flying. She’s
the reason we were laughing.
this visit from family, these photos, a day’s
worth of entertainment. Thanks, Stan, Kris, Lauren and Lexie