Saying Goodbye with Grace

On Sunday afternoon, we gathered in a circle outside his house — not arm in arm, but masked and standing apart — to pray and sing one of his favorite hymns. Tonight, our friend and Pastor Emeritus is in a hospice house.

He was still downhill skiing at 85 when he retired for the second time. This summer, at 87, he was still riding his bicycle, and three weeks ago he was driving his car around town. Just 10 days ago he was diagnosed with untreatable cancer.

I’m grateful he is not suffering a long illness, and I’m grateful his family could gather and surround him and one another with love over the past week. It won’t be long now until he meets his best friend, Jesus, face to face. He is ready.

Sads and Glads

I’ve got a “glad” and a “sad” to share tonight.

First the sad: I finally had an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor to talk about my continued swelling and pain, and even some new (in past 2 months) pain from my hardware-infused ankle which I broke on 11/13/15 and had repaired on 11/25/15. I thought perhaps some screws had worked themselves out a little bit and getting them removed would help, but NO. Everything looks exactly the same as it did post surgery and the pain is “just” (supposedly) traumatized tissue and irritated nerves. In other words, it’s my new life. Terrific. [insert tearful sarcasm] The doc, who was nearly young enough to be my son, suggested compression stockings — which I will purchase and wear when the weather cools down enough to stop wearing sandals — but he couldn’t suggest any pain relief. I had tears in my eyes when I stopped to chat with his assistant (who remembered me from my long ordeal and many visits over the winter) and she offered sympathy which was nice. Honestly, I wanted to have a good cry and a couple of strong beverages but I had a meeting to prepare for this evening.

Hopefully this is all just for peace of mind (worth it!)

A dime-sized piece removed is small payment for peace of mind.

And for the glad: I hadn’t heard back from the dermatology office about my biopsy results, so I stopped in on my way back to work. The good news is that while the strange spot on my cheek was 2 different things (both common but not usually one on top of the other in the same space) it isn’t cancer. That cheered me up just enough to get through the evening meeting spent with my foot resting on a chair and ankle encased in a cold gel pack. I’ve since come home and had a glass of wine. Now it’s off to bed with a melatonin pill and a wish for decent sleep before going back to work in 10 hours.

Your turn… do you have any sads and glads to share?

The scent of summer

DSCN6074 resized for web-sharing, pink roses, tweaked

Summer has arrived here.

I remember when summer meant running around the neighborhood barefoot, finding other kids and playing games, running home quickly to grab change when the ice cream truck rang out its tune in the late afternoon… time spent curled up in my room with a book or running through the sprinkler… drinking from the garden hose, selling Kool-aid on the shaded front porch…

Now summer means that there are teenage and young adult men hanging about the house on computers. At least one of those young men must be reminded to shower with soap and shampoo — he is not “fresh as a daisy” nor does he smell like a rose. My house smells like it is lived in by adolescent males. Dirty dishes pile up on the countertops and in the sink while I am at work. (If I think hard enough about it, there were probably dirty dishes piling up in my childhood summer days, but it never really mattered to me because I was a child.)

DSCN6080 Resized for web-sharing, daisies, tweaked

Last week, I drove across the state to pick H-J from college. I delivered his packing boxes to him on Wednesday and then backtracked across the lake to spend the night at Mrs. G’s house. It had been over a year since we had spent time together and it was a lovely evening (we took our conversation into the wee hours of the morning) and an equally lovely but short morning. My derfwad cup runneth over.
Then I was back in the insane traffic that belongs to Seattle, where my son was ready to load his boxes into the minivan and close out his first year of college. We drove past the rental house where he will live in the fall and I showed him the house where I lived in my late teens. But enough lollygagging — it was time to get back to our own home.

In the past 8 days I’ve driven 600+ miles, grieved the tragic death of a three-year-old, and noted the 4th anniversary of my mother’s death mere days after learning that another member of our extended family has been diagnosed with cancer. I suppose this helps explain my melancholy mood and lack of blogging.

We’ve got two more cross-state trips to make this month and a special visitor coming from Virginia, so I’m confident that there will be some good blog fodder coming soon.

A couple of things (or, why I’ve been AWOL recently)

DSCN2706, cropped owie fingerApparently, I like to keep my activities in the form of binges. For example:

Work. After using my brain on a computer much of the day, I tend to use the computer for entertainment at home — hence the facebook time-suck vortex.  If you know me there, you know about my little incident with hand-washing a sharp knife on Monday. Typing was a challenging activity for a few days (my bandage is smaller now).

Books. We’ve been reunited, and it feels so good! Good ol’ paper & ink from the library.  I’ve swallowed 2 of them nearly whole in the past week. (Books — big, fat books, not libraries!)
I have another book to read before next Thursday: Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward.

Tendinitis, a.k.a., all of the things I’m not doing.  I think I’ve reached the 4 month point of pain in my arm. It’s getting very, very old. It’s also gotten worse, so I had to call the doctor back (I went in 2 weeks ago, but the stronger anti-inflamatories aren’t helping) and get something else done to fix this problem. In my spare time, because [you know] work. Soon I’ll be adding physical therapy appointments to my schedule.

Escape. I’m making a break, driving over the pass, and making a whirlwind weekend of it on the “wet side” of the state. My time will involve visiting my SIL, my “sister from another mister” and the incredible Mrs. G.  I’ve also got a little shopping expedition planned before attending a writing workshop. I may be living with pain but that doesn’t mean I should stay home and cry!

And then there’s this:


The father of some old friends has been struck with the big C.  Their dad has been given 3-6 months, maybe a little more if he responds to treatment.  

It’s been 3 years since my mother died after being given the same prognosis (well, she refused to hear her own prognosis, but my siblings and I understood the news).

It’s been just over a year since we said goodbye to a wonderful man here in Spokalulu.

Cancer sucks.