Sunday, June 24, 2012

Relay for Life

This weekend was Relay for Life, which benefits local cancer patients through the American Cancer Society, along with furthering research and advocacy for patients.  My friend's daughter wanted to do Relay in memory of Miss Debby, so she and her mom became team captains. It was a great experience and we're hoping to do it again next year.

The premise of Relay is that cancer never sleeps, so for 24 hours we won't either. A member of our team was walking the track at all times from 11am Saturday to 11am Sunday. I walked 8 miles yesterday, and A walked 22! We had 30 total members on our team and raised almost $6,000! The total amount raised by the event was over $133,000!

{Our team tent:The kids created the 'stained glass windows' and decorated it like a little church.}

{Flower ribbon & picture collage in honor of Debby. Donations on the left for Hope Lodge. Bibles on the right to give out free.}

{Luminaries surround the entire track at nightfall, each one with a name on it in honor or in memory of someone who had cancer.}

Monday, June 18, 2012

Road Trip

Last Friday I took a road trip to visit my sister, who lives eight hours away. I had originally planned to show up for Emily's birthday as a surprise with her best friend. However, after Emily asked me if I would come down for her 30th celebration, I felt I had to confess that I was already planning on doing so. So in my need to still surprise her somehow, I talked our big brother into coming with us, so he was the surprise. There was one big scream and then much crying once Emily came out of the house and saw Ted in the car.

We had a wonderful birthday celebration, and we all repeatedly said how nice it was to make a trip for a happy occasion, rather than the many sad ones we've done lately. We went out to dinner on Friday with all of her friends & co-workers.

On Saturday we went around town, doing some sight-seeing and eating lots of great local food. She took us to a lovely butterfly garden.

We went to church on Sunday, and did a lot of laying around and chatting all afternoon. We were sad to leave this morning but all so happy after sharing such a perfect weekend together.

Happy 30th birthday, my sweet sister. I love you!

Monday, June 11, 2012


TC's godmother is a florist, and I was saying something to Tom about it being Prom season. TC then asked, "Is  that like Prom Sunday?"

Tom: Look, a jet-ski, I've never had one of those.
Me: You've never had a second wife either.

TC: Mom, when I grow up I'll be like this.
Me: What, shirtless?
TC: No, I will own some shirts but not wear them all the time. To be cool. And I'll have a Tron suit.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I didn't remember to write anything on the calendar for this weekend. I thankfully still made it to some events since someone else remembered them, but it does make me wonder when my brain will return from it's state of distracted oatmeal. I mentioned this to my mentor this morning and she said that I'm still just in the fog. She's definitely right, I just wish I could break out of it. It's been weird for our family how one thing has happened after another the past few months. I will think that life will calm down soon, and surely nothing else is going to happen, and then something else does.

I went to a meeting the other day and my sponsor gave me my 11 year coin. A young man in the program died last week, and many were sharing in the meeting about that. I had thought a meeting would distract me from my grief, but it was all about grief. The good thing is that we can comfort each other, and that the worst days help us to see our best days in a new light. We all cried, but it was a good meeting.

I mentioned a while back that a friend of mine is facing the end of her marriage and that I'm just sick about it for her. The 'friend' is actually my sister. We've been on the phone so much that I actually used up all of my minutes last month which is a LOT of minutes. It's a very surreal time for our family. I love my sister beyond words, and I'm so heartbroken for her. I'm going to visit her next weekend to celebrate her birthday. I told her that not even an apocolypse could keep me from coming this time!

I'm trying to keep busy, as boredom = depression as we know, at least for me, and sitting around being sad isn't going to help me move on. Our school district is on strike though, so there's no routine for the kids to get back to, and there's lots of bickering for me to preside over, blech. We've made two library trips in one week, and I feel a third coming on shortly.

I'm okay. And the parts of me that aren't okay will be soon, or someday. Writing about this helps me to find peace about it, so don't worry that I'm wallowing or anything. I find ways to laugh with my kids, and enjoy the joys of my life, and try to accept all that comes my way. The 'new normal' seems to change pretty frequently around here. The good news though, is that Jesus still loves me. And I'm still sober. And life goes on. I am blessed.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Uncle Dane

1947 ~ 2012

“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead."
~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

My Uncle Dane died suddenly last Friday. He was a healthy, active, strong man with a heart that suddenly stopped. He was my mother's brother, younger than her by 18 months. He had a wife of 42 years, a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren. His obituary lists the many things he was involved in, giving of his time selflessly.

Literature is a part of my family legacy. My Gram was losing her short-term memory at the end of her life, but could still quote large passages of poetry that she had memorized years before. My Uncle's pastor, during his eulogy, talked about using Dane like a reference book when he needed to know where a line from Hamlet was or what book a favorite quote was from. I am nowhere near as well read as them or my mother, but I do love to read and collect books. I love this about my family, that books are lifeblood to us.

The pain is still too near for me to ponder all the mysteries of life, why Uncle Dane was taken now, or how my Aunt Candy will face life without him. The short and dirty truth is that this is life, and we live it on terms that are not our own. My Uncle Dane died much too young, but he had 20 more years than his own father had. There are no profound answers to be had about why he is gone, just profound loss.

I went to the barn while we were at the farm, and looked at all of the things that my uncle used and worked with every day. I said goodbye to the team of Belgians that will be sold now that there is no one to drive them. I touched the tools and saddles and remembered Uncle Dane teaching me how to brush and saddle a horse. I remember being a little girl and riding on his hip, while my cousin Lori rode on the other. I remember his great booming voice when he would pray before meals at family reunions. I remember his laughter and smile, for he had such joy in life. I remember his immense love for God's creation, and how he loved to be in the outdoors. I remember going raccoon hunting with him at night, and the sound of the hounds in the woods. And I remember most of all that Uncle Dane loved and served Jesus his whole life, and I know what joy he must have now that he is with our Maker, and with so many loved ones.
When we were preparing to leave and saying our goodbyes my aunt grasped my hands and wouldn't let go, asking me to please please drive safely and how much it meant that we had come such a distance to be there. But the distance was nothing and where would we be but with our family, to share the grief and memories? She wanted to give me gas money, which I refused. She insisted, and finally I said that I wouldn't take money but would love to take a book from my uncle's library. I chose Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

We drove the 400 mile trip on Monday, my sister and I, and then home again on Wednesday night. It felt like we had been gone weeks, and not just three days. Monday was my sobriety anniversary; 11 years. Yesterday was my wedding anniversary; 15 years. Both of these days barely registered in the shadow of this loss. I don't know where I would be without either of them though, my sobriety and my husband. I am blessed.

Goodbye, Uncle Dane. I cannot wrap my mind around the reality that you are gone. Maybe none of us ever will.  You were too young and too good and the unfairness of it is terrible. But we have the peace that only He gives, peace in the knowledge that we will see you again. God is good.