Just left my computer without the link….go back to the email you just got and click on the title of it. It will go to my blog and the link is there. Check it out peeps!
Here is the long-awaited link for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer awards ceremony which includes Michelle’s Dad and sister-in-law accepting Michelle’s award. If you continue watching it you will see my story about Michelle. The speech I was so nervous to do because I didn’t want to break down and not be able to pull my emotions back in. When I saw it today it seemed like I was speaking so fast but that night I felt like I was speaking in slow motion. Isn’t it funny how your mind works?
Thanks Kelly McKay for being our emcee – you are a rock star my friend. Love you girl.
And the rest of this is for you Michelle….we miss and love you so much!
During the past week I had plans of what my Valentine’s Day was going to look like this year. Here was my vision: we are going to be coming home from Fayetteville mid-afternoon, maybe Kevin and I could have had a nice dinner at home, and then I was going to open the box of notes from my 50th birthday that I have not opened yet. I felt like I was finally ready to read what my friends and my friend Michelle (who passed away in October) had to say to me. But our Valentine’s Day turned into one like no other Valentine’s before and the gravity of the importance of flowers, teddy bears, jewelry, and chocolates hit me yesterday like a ton of bricks. I remember during my dating life and early married life, waiting with anticipation, especially at work, to have flowers delivered to my job a few days before Valentine’s Day – because after all, wasn’t that proof of love? Didn’t that prove not only love, but the fact that my fella thought ahead of time, planned this surprise, and dug deep into his pockets during the price increase for anything Valentine related around this “special” day, makes it even better? I thought of that as I scanned through facebook a time or two yesterday – on Valentine’s Day.
We left for Fayetteville Friday late afternoon to go and see Kevin’s Mom and Dad. Kevin’s Dad had a pacemaker put in Monday morning and most of the week he was doing well in ICU and holding strong. On our way down there we got a call that his Dad’s lungs were filling with fluid and instead of seeing Kev’s Mom first at the assisted living center – we headed straight to the hospital. By the time we got there Kev’s Dad had a breathing mask on – not a typical oxygen mask but the one that forced air into his lungs. The mask was basically so tight on his face and head to cause a suction effect and breathe for his Dad. The machine was doing most of the breathing and his Dad’s lungs were pitching in a little. So, we spend a long time at the hospital Friday night (Kevin slept there) and the rest of us were back there early Saturday morning.
The cool thing about Saturday is that we went to the facility where Kev’s Mom and Dad live and picked up his Mom. Kevin and his siblings knew that they had to get his Mom to the hospital to see her husband, and this is no small feat. But she got to the hospital on this very important day – after all – it was Valentine’s Day – which also happened to be his Mom and Dad’s 69th wedding anniversary (we think it’s 69 –could be 70 or 68)….his Mom was quiet and tentative in the room – more distracted by the beeping of the machines and frightened by the mask and tubes that were keeping her husband alive. It was a short visit, I am not sure she said much, but she did get to see her husband of so many years. The other part of who she is at this point.
The family took shifts with being with their Mom on this special, and sad day, and spending time with their Dad at the hospital since he could not be left alone for long. He would become agitated and restless and try to pull off his mask, his catheter, pick at his IVs, or simply try to sit up in the bed. All of these things could be quite dangerous for his health obviously.
When we went to see Kev’s Mom in the late afternoon the reality of this day really became heavy on my heart. Kev and I sat with her for a while, she doesn’t say much often staring off into space, and as I watched her today I began to wonder what she sees in her mind when “vacancy” happens. Is she remembering days gone by, is she worried about her husband and doesn’t have the processing ability to state what she is feeling all of the time, is she in and out of clarity in her memory, or is she just very tired and old and simply staring off into the distance? Kevin was kneeling at her wheelchair and was upset as they looked at his Dad’s empty recliner. Kevin told his Mom he was sad because his Dad wasn’t there with her that day, of all days, to celebrate Valentine’s Day and their anniversary. The room had cards of all sorts in it and a Happy Anniversary balloon, but his Mom didn’t see all of that, she saw an empty recliner. She looked at Kevin with complete clarity, as he was at the foot of her wheelchair, and she said “things are never going to be the same again, are they?”…..which of course Kevin didn’t really have an answer to mend her broken heart. He said “God willing Dad will be back here soon Mom. They are taking really good care of him at the hospital” (good answer Kevin!)…her facial expression didn’t change and she began to stare off into the distance once again. Kevin left the room for a bit and as I sat there and watched her I couldn’t help but wonder if her mind was seeing Valentine’s Days and wedding anniversaries from the past. Seeing her husband come home from special Navy ops with an arm full of flowers, bringing her chocolates, taking her to dinner, was he a romantic man when he was young and they were newly married and had small kids? I am not sure anyone but his Mom knows that answer. Did he plan any special weekends away with her to have a break from their small children? Was he just a simple man when it came to love and romance who kept their romantic side of their relationship to themselves, when everyone was asleep, and he showed her his love and commitment then – celebrating the years of marriage as they past right along on Valentine’s Day?
I also sat there and wondered as I watched her stare off into the distance; does she realize that tonight, 69 years ago, right at this moment was her wedding night? A young and beautiful bride committing her life and love to a Navy diver, the special ops division, did she know he would save lives and detonate bombs, under water, for many years? Did she know then that he would risk his life, for his country, for many many years? Did she envision 4 children and a life full of many grandchildren and great-grandchildren? Probably not, not on her wedding night anyway. But there she sat, staring off into the distance, her heart aching for her husband covered in machines in tubes, several miles away, or aching for better days gone by. The kind that we all take for granted on Valentine’s Day. The chocolates and flowers that can mean a lot at the moment might not be your “thing” at all. What people don’t realize is that the thoughts and actions to show someone you love them (no matter what that looks like to each couple) is what builds the foundation of many years of memories, love, and trust. Find your partners love language and then spend the rest of your married life covering them up with it. Is it quality time? Words of affirmation? Affection? Gifts? Security?
There are some hard decisions facing Kevin and his siblings today regarding their Dad. I am asking for prayers for this family to listen for God’s will and then go forward, with peace in their hearts, to what they have heard. That’s what I am praying for, true guidance and peace.
I am glad Kevin’s Dad lived through Valentine’s Day yesterday. For his Mom and Dad and family – it isn’t just “Valentine’s Day” – it is the day that God blessed the union of his Mom and Dad which was the start of the foundation of their family.
I know all families, and all couples have their “stuff” – but at the end of the day, Kevin’s Dad is a very loving and caring man with a big huge heart and he became a great servant for God over the years. He accepted me into their family openly and lovingly and for that I will always be thankful. I had conversations with him during my cancer diagnosis that I could have never had with my own Dad and I will cherish those memories the most. His children love him dearly, as does his wife, and no matter what happens over the next few hours/days/weeks – he knows without a doubt we all love him, are proud of him, and want nothing more for him than physical peace and comfort.
Like I told you earlier, this was a Valentine’s Day that I didn’t expect, but spending it with Kevin and his Mom and Dad was the only way I would have spent it had I been given the choice, Kevin and I were right where we were supposed to be.
From this day forward “Valentine’s Day” will be sealed in my heart as their wedding anniversary – a precious couple who stayed together, through thick and thin, for 69 years or however long it’s been. Something for me to strive for, no matter what….just like they did.
Yesterday was my new granddaughter’s 4 month old birthday – and one year ago today is the date that Morgan and Mike found out Morgan was pregnant with this precious baby. I love being a Gramma….totally. I cannot wait to have sleepovers at my house and have this little girls hand in mine as we make memories together. I just cannot wait. I know a lot of my FB friends see photos of Haley but I also know a lot of blog readers do not see those so I just had to share this tonight.
If you are struggling through breast cancer treatments (or any kind of cancer treatments) – keep going! Keep your chin up and keep fighting. Chemo sucks, the surgeries suck, the recovery time is longer than I ever imagined, but your life can get so much better if you allow it. Don’t allow cancer to continue to “run” your life after it’s gone – don’t give it another moment of control. Take the lessons you learned about yourself, your family and your friends, and change your life – no more mindless day-to-day living. Enjoy every day that you are gifted and pay attention to the moments that make up your life. I live life now “aware, present, and grateful.”
This is the little precious gift that makes my heart soar…I have fallen so in love in the past four months (who says love at first sight isn’t possible?) and I cannot wait to see what the next forty years have in store for our little family.
I saw this last year on facebook and have passed it along to several friends who have lost someone they loved. I was texting someone tonight and remembered this video….I passed it along to her (even though I am sure she has seen it a million times)….but I stopped and watched it several times and listened to it again. Only this time my heart pictured Michelle during this song and it is truly beautiful…and healing. If you have lost someone and need something to help heal your heart – check this out. Beautiful song. Beautiful thoughts. Beautiful voice. It’s awesome.
What does it look like in Heaven? Has your pain gone away? I hope you are dancing in the sky. I hope you are singing in the angel’s choir. I hope the angels know what they have. What do you do up in Heaven? Are you happy? Are you more alive?
Here on earth it feels like everything good is missing since you left. And here on earth everything is different, there is an emptiness.
I bet it’s so nice up in Heaven since you arrived….
If you are passionate about breast cancer, and I know some of you are, and you would like to volunteer – then please read on! This meeting is an opportunity for anyone who would like to get involved with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the American Cancer Society. You can help us “run” the walk by joining this committee and giving away some of your talent, your heart, and your desire to do something great, for the best cancer organization out there. When I tell people “think before you pink” I am usually talking about researching your pink ribbon organizations before you donate, but the term stands true for volunteering also. Being an avid volunteer for Making Strides and for Reach to Recovery, for the American Cancer Society, is where my passion is….and lots of you have seen this in action, so, if you want to check out what makes the walk “run”…please come to this meeting. In the last few talks I have been asked to do I end them with “the more you give your life away, the better it gets”…and I am not kidding. I will be at this meeting – will you?