Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Swing

I often go to my backyard and sit on my swing. I go for many reasons: to warm my body in the sun, to take a break from house chores, to get some peace and quiet from the noise in the house. Most of the time I end up thinking. I love my swing. My husband built the arbor the swing is hanging from for me. I can recall as long as I have been with my husband, he has always made sure I had a swing and knows how much I enjoy just sitting, swinging ever so gently.

I wanted to post a poem with a photo of my swing. I wasn't happy with any that I found. My mind was too cluttered with thoughts of everything going on in my life to conjure up a poem myself on demand.

I have been witnessing
Corey's journey with her dad's illness. It has brought back so many feelings and memories with losing my dad. I don't think you ever get over something like this. I believe you learn to live with the experience of losing someone so close to you and your soul grows through loss if you are willing to let it. I also realize we all grieve in different ways; not to say grieving one way is right or wrong.

And sometimes, when the cry is intense, there emerges a radiance which elsewhere seldom appears: a glow of courage, of love, of insight, of selflessness, of faith. In that radiance we see best what humanity was meant to be... In the valley of suffering, despair and bitterness are brewed. But there also character is made. The valley of suffering is the vale of soul-making.

Nicholas Wolterstorff

When looking for a poem... I did come across The Swing video trailer on
YouTube (check it out ~ it is short). It's a book of poems looking through a father's eyes documenting intimate moments with his daughter from birth into adolescence and contemplates the challenges, sacrifices, and rewards for all parents and children. I thought about my dad and then Corey's, and what they must have felt about us not leaving their side. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

When Corey spoke about her dad, I thought of my own and felt like I knew her's. My heart grieves for both Corey and her family and my prayers are with them.

Monday, April 28, 2008

i have an idea...

When Charlie is in the hospital getting his chemo I will bring a book, some magazines and Knifty Knitter. I think you could say that I am a little hooked ;) on this gadget.

I enjoy looking for unique yarn.

Of many different colors

and textures

Mmmm... pretty purple with some sparkle

I put some away for gifts and I wear some of them too.

SO! Here is my idea... you leave a comment on this post and this Thursday I will pull a name out of a hat. During Charlie's next stay in the hospital, I will knit your scarf. I know that it is not the season to wear scarves, but you can put it away for the next Fall/Winter season.

When I pull the name out of the hat, at that time I will ask that person what color, etc. they would like.

Come on... Leave me a comment letting me know you want one. Give me something to do in the hospital. Help me feel like I am still a part of this blogging community.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Isn't this the truth?!

Knights Ferry Bridge photo taken on my drive in the country

“Love builds bridges where there are none.”

R. H. Delaney

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Faces become familiar

While walking down the halls in the hospital, traveling with a group of people in the elevator or standing in line at the cafeteria trying to decide what to have to eat, I start to notice other people and wonder what their stories are. I see the sadness and worry in their eyes. I see some patients that haven't had anyone come and visit them. I wonder how long someone can last without any support or encouragement being alone like that.

There is a cancer patient that goes in to have her chemo treatments the same time that Charlie does. She seems to always be in the room next to Charlie. I have seen her walk around the halls with a group of friends that have no hair; she doesn't either (which is not unusual on the fifth floor). At first I thought that maybe they all met in a cancer support group. Then the husband came in and I noticed that he was also bald. I then came to the conclusion that they all shaved their head to show support for their friend/wife. I also noticed that this lady always had someone spend the night with her whether it was her husband or one of her friends. After her chemo finished, her husband would bring their four children in to see her. Coming back from getting something special for Charlie that he wanted, I saw that her children were all tucked in bed with her as she read them a book. Her husband took them home and then one of her girlfriends came in to stay. They had a system. A continuous support system.

At times she has "a girls night" in her room. All of her friends come and you would think that there was a party going on in her room. They can be heard laughing, singing, gossiping and just having a good time. Heck! I wanted to go into her room and be a part of that. I would sit in Charlie's room and admire the friendships this lady had with her friends. It made me think about shaving my head for someone, so I asked Charlie if he wanted me to shave my head for him to show support. He laughed and said, "No!" chuckling the whole time... he thought that was pretty funny. I have to admit I was relieved. I still think that shows a great deal of love they have for their friend.

One night as I was walking to the elevator to head home, her husband had gotten into the elevator with me. It was just him and I. He had a million questions about our situation as I did with theirs. We expressed our thoughts for good will and prayers for each other's plight. We genuinely cared. You could feel the hope for good and happy endings in that elevator and an elevated energy bursting out as the doors opened. It followed as we walked down the hall talking as fast as we could until our paths separated, only to run into her girlfriend with her overnight bag. I felt enormous gratitude for this lady with cancer and her friends sticking by her through a time like this. I felt like I was witnessing something special.

Now that Charlie's week has been moved a week later than her stay at the hospital together, I won't being seeing them anymore. I have been taught by their show of support and love for this lady and how they are in it for the long haul. I was very touched by this.

I don't think I will ever forget it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

and the dam broke...

Charlie felt well enough to sleep in our bed. I helped him to get situated to where he was comfortable. I went around the bed and got into it very carefully. I laid there and was trying to be still so that the bed wouldn't jar him. I took a deep breath ~ slowly inhaled and then slowly exhaled. He whispered, "Come closer." I said, "I don't want to hurt you." He said, "You won't. Come close." I moved over gently and laid my head on his shoulder. All I could feel was his shoulder cap... the bones. He whispered, "I miss you." I whispered, "I miss you too." I laid there and a tear went down the side of my face... He whispered, "It's okay." Before I knew it, I couldn't hold the tears back. It was as if the dam broke. There was no stopping them or controlling them. They just kept flowing. He just held me, stroking my hair and whispered as I wept, "It's okay to cry Mia. It's okay." I cried until there weren't any tears left... he whispered, "I am going to get better." I whispered, "I know."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's my normal now ~

Taken on my drive in the country

Some people have asked me, "Why are you still working?" Or some have made comments saying they don't know how I am doing it; going to work and running to the hospital afterwards. Well, I will tell you... work is the only "normal" in my life right now. Besides my faith, it is consistent, reliable and never changing. I need and crave it. I know what is needed from me and what I can expect back from it.

My boss has encouraged me to take some time off and has let me know that I can whenever I need to. Just the thought of staying home and doing this non-stop makes me feel like I could go to...a very cRaZy place. We only have six weeks of school left... if I need to take some time off when I really can not handle this schedule of work and taking care of Charlie anymore, I know that I will have my time to take off in reserve if I really need to. So far it works. My boss has also reminded me that I haven't taken one day off all year, I admit sometimes it is tempting... but, I have to be honest, work is also my break from all of this craziness and I look forward going to work. I can not do this 24/7. When I did this with my dad, I had my sister and Nina helping. We had each other. With Diandra's schedule; working two jobs, school and studying, she tries to help as much as she can. Bless her heart, there has been countless times she has had to ask her professor (they know the situation) if she could take a test a day later just so that she could study. She has also been a sounding board for me as well (I also worry about sharing so much with her, I want to be her mom and protect her as much as I can. I think sometimes that is why I feel like I am doing this alone to a certain degree). With situations like this, everyone does what they can. I don't want to sound like no one is helping, because that is not the case. Family have gotten some things that we have needed and our friends have also come to the hospital ordering me with a whisper to go and take a break... doing what I am told, I find myself not knowing what to do and just walk around the hospital, going to the chapel to pray or calling a friend with a good ear. Really... Charlie wouldn't want anybody else but me and I want to be there for him also. It is just hard seeing someone you love go through this... I really want to be there for him, but I will tell you... sometimes he just isn't very nice. He has his angry stages and rightly so, I think when this happens, 'but not with me'. It is hard to take at times and I am learning to pick my battles with him, of what I can take and what I can not. I haven't always understood the saying, "You always hurt the ones closest to you." I am not saying that I am not guilty of this, I am sure I have had my share of that saying. Although, I also believe in "self-control." When I see him lash out at his cousin whom he works with, his daughter and I, and then a nurse will come in and he is sweet as pie... I know that he can control his anger with this situation. It makes me think of someone ranting and raving in the house and then seeing a pastor drive up and then change your whole attitude. Hmmm ~

I need and want a break sometimes. I want and need my "normal" and that is why I do it. Is that bad of me? I do struggle with feeling guilty when someone asks me these questions. I am just doing the best I can... then I wonder 'Am I?' For goodness sakes! He is the one fighting for his life. And then I have to tell myself, "It's not about me!"

Friday, April 18, 2008

It has been good ~

This chemo week has been good for Charlie. He went in the hospital weighing 138.5 lbs. and decided that was enough weight that he was going to lose and has been eating really well. It has helped him to regain some strength. Today he will be coming home. It has been a long stretch of staying in the hospital. Charlie and I were talking about how many nights he has stayed in the hospital and in these last two stays... out of fourteen days, he has stayed eleven of them. We are both tired, but our spirits are up. His pain has been managed and is in control. He has nine chemo treatments left.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Time and Effort

I know I have been quiet lately... it just seems like there is so much to do and nothing new to say.

It is Sunday and Charlie goes back to the hospital tomorrow morning for his five day chemo (he will get his blood drawn in the morning and that will tell us if he is able to do chemo). We had to postpone his chemo treatment last week because he just wasn't well enough to take it. Charlie came home from the hospital late afternoon on Wednesday of last week ~ he was there a week. After I got him settled here at home, I ran to the grocery store for special items that he would/could eat. I also went to the pharmacy to pick up his prescriptions (that were a whopping $398.03! Good Grief, Charlie Brown!).

It felt strange to be home. To cook something on my stove. To go tinkle in our bathroom at any given time. To be able to go outside and sit for a while.

I am trying to get some things done in the house before we go back to the hospital. As I took some breaks outside in our backyard, I also saw that it needed some attention. So Saturday, I spent the whole day in our yard and later in the day my mom came over to help me after she had got done with her Saturday cleaning chores ~ a BIG Thank you mom! It was quite a task getting the yard done, but it felt so good being outside and a weight lifted off of my shoulders knowing that it got done. I had to take the electric hedger and cut our ivy back around the pool. Do you ever wonder why you planted something that takes so much time and effort to take care of? As I sheared the ivy I thought to myself 'I would have never planted you if I had known.' It really is a production! The electric cord has to stay away from the water in the pool and I have to get a ladder, then there are leaves to get out of the pool. We also had aphids making them selves comfortable on the ivy and roses. Charlie showed me how to spray the chemical in the pump sprayer and to not spray it in the wind. I came in the house afterwards and took a shower before I made dinner. Charlie has been trying to eat. The doctor explained to him how important it is to try even if he is feeling sick. The doctor's are even concerned about how much weight he is losing. Bless his heart, I made dinner the night before last and he took one bite ~ felt sick and went to the bathroom. He came back to the table to eat his meal. When he was finished, he looked at his plate and said growling (as if he punched someone) talking to his cancer, "So there, take that!" There is my fighter! :)

Today's agenda for me will consist of cleaning the house and driving to town to pick up a list of things that Charlie will want for the hospital. I also want to take some time for myself today (before this week comes) and take a drive out in the country... if Charlie is able to be left alone. So far so good.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

One day at a time ~

creeping fig growing on the side of a barn

* Wednesday Charlie had chemo and on Thursday morning he had experienced intense pain in his stomach area. I rushed him to the emergency room where we spent the rest of the day. He was admitted into the hospital that night and has been there ever since. We have had test after test ran and three different Doctors and a Surgeon come in and talk to us. They have all told us the same thing without discussing it with each other (I find this comforting). These tests show that the chemo is working and it seems that the pain he is feeling is a very good thing. Meanwhile, they are trying to manage his pain in the hospital and trying to control it as much as possible so that he can come home. They are trying different pain medications to see what is more effective so that he won't be taking so many. They're concerned about his kidney's, bladder, and liver. The goal right now is to find a stronger pain reliever to work over a longer period of time because then that would be less going through his organs on top of the chemo. Today is Sunday, and it doesn't look like he will be coming home... tomorrow he starts his five day chemo and is scheduled to go back into the hospital for that. They feel it might be better to just keep him there. Nine days in the hospital ~ is a long haul. During a normal five day stay with chemo is hard enough for Charlie; by Wednesday he has had it and by Thursday his spirit is crushed and he feels defeated.
* Saturday morning as I was getting ready to go to the hospital, my little Sophie had what I think is a seizure. She couldn't see and it scared her and I both. I worried about her all day while I was at the hospital. I just wanted to put her in my purse and bring her with me (and I would have if she wasn't a big barker). I will have to make an appointment to see our vet soon.
* My daughter Diandra also had a crying spell that morning as she was getting ready to go to work. I tried to console her.
* Today is my nephews birthday party... that I won't be going to. It is the second birthday that I have missed. It has been a long time since I have seen my family all together. I believe the last time was Christmas. I miss everyone.
* I come home from the hospital feeling exhausted but needing to unwind, I get on the computer to check my e-mail and see what is going on in blog land. When I have time, I check on all of you . I miss you ~ I haven't left you ~ I will be back. I miss having time to comment like I used to, and I will be honest, I am finding that I just don't have the words to comment.

*I feel like my world has just stopped in a yucky place. When I am alone or with someone I feel safe with (as well as here with you my blog friends :) thank you~) to release some of these feelings I just cry and then sometimes, I just don't have any tears left.
* This has also been hard for my son Rob to be so far at a time like this. He has posted a beautiful tribute to his dad here. I have printed his post and will be bringing it to the hospital for his dad to read. I think this will bring a smile to his face.

I keep telling myself one hour at a time ~ one day at a time.

That is all I can do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It Is Moments

it is at moments after i have dreamed
it is at moments after i have dreamed
of the rare entertainment of your eyes,
when (being fool to fancy) i have deemed

with your peculiar mouth my heart made wise;
at moments when the glassy darkness holds

the genuine apparition of your smile
(it was through tears always) and silence moulds
such strangeness as was mine a little while;

moments when my once more illustrious arms
are filled with fascination, when my breast
wears the intolerant brightness of your charms:

one pierced moment whiter than the rest

-turning from the tremendous lie of sleep
i watch the roses of the day grow deep.

ee cummings

I head off to work before the sun rises and kisses the earth with its light. Charlie tries to get up with me so that we can share some time with each other and go over both of our days activities. He has felt good this week and has tried to work (I wouldn't call it "working," it is more like just going and being there supervising... but, it makes him feel good to be a part of what is going on). I let him know that all he has to do is call me and I will come and pick him up if he starts to feel bad. He assured me that he would be fine. He also had a Doctors appointment and then chemo to do afterward. I shared with him that I thought it was too much. He said he would be okay.
While I was at work, Charlie had called. I answered the phone and he asked me what I was doing. I told him we were getting ready to serve brunch. As he was talking I noticed there was a spring in his voice and for a moment he sounded like my strong healthy husband... we held a two minute conversation. He was charming and we flirted back and forth ~ we were both happy. It felt like we were back in time when everything was okay. I wasn't filled with worry. I guess it was easy to fall into forgetting about the world of cancer we have been living; even for a moment because I didn't have a visual of him to go along with his voice. His voice took me to a place where everything didn't seem all consuming with cancer. They do not call it a moment for nothing. It is what it is. Although in that moment, it brought a smile to my face, a beat that raced in my heart and contentment that I have been longing for. Charlie then asked me if I wanted to go with him to the Doctors. We were forced back into the present. I told him of course I did, and that I had planned on picking him up where he was working so that we could go together. I could hear the relief in his voice.

For now, that moment is etched on my heart and I am grateful for where my mind took me with the sound of his voice.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Prayer in Spring

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Robert Frost (1915)