About Me

Kathryn Bradley was born on 2/5/91 and given a Hawaiian name Kahiwalani meaning "Gift From Heaven" She has been a special gift from the day she was born.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Doing Better 9/19/19

Today is September 19, 2019 and I haven't posted anything for such a long time. Since my last blog many things have happened. I decided to stop teaching and retired back in 2016. Many reasons but the main reason is Kathryn. I was struggling with students that seemed to not appreciate life and what they had. I really felt that many of them were spoiled and had no concept of struggles. I don't know if it was really me or them. All I know is that I was struggling and it wasn't fair to them or me. So, I could retire and I did.

My husband and I started off with a 3 week trip to the East Coast. It was great and we saw everything. All the way from Virginia to New York. I was also asked to become a field supervisor for student teachers. It is very part time and I took the job. I'm still doing it and find it very rewarding. I did some home projects too.

After a few months I became very bored and depressed. I found myself laying on the couch and doing a lot of crying and wasting time. I needed to be busy. After a year of retirement my husband ask a friend if they needed some part-time help. I was hired the next day. I'm still doing this job too and love it.

The best thing I did was to go to a grief class. My friend that I work with asked me if I would like to go with her to this class but I could never find the time. Finally they had a new session and my time was freed up so I could go to this grief class. The first class was ruff. It had been 7 1/2 years and I still needed help. I felt silly being there so many years after Kathryn's passing but when we talked I found that several of the people there had losses many many years ago. My first night I couldn't even talk without crying. With each class I found it easier and easier to talk and feel comfortable. I also found my true faith again. Well it was always there but so much stronger now. The leader of the group was the minister's wife and they lost their son in a motorcycle accident. I could see that she struggled like me yet she still had faith. Part of the class was to watch a video and during the video one night she sent me a text. I glanced down and it was from the group leader so I read it. It simply was a verse in in the Bible Isaiah 57:1. I was excited to read it. Kathryn had died so young. She was such a good person and always there to help others. This one little verse answered my question as to why. It confirmed my belief as to why too. It really made me feel like there was truly a reason for Kathryn to have been taken from us so early.

Isaiah 57:1. Good people pass away; The godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. I always thought her death was to protect her from something. Kathryn was very small. She also trusted people. She believed in people. Something could have easily have happened to her. So, now she is safe in heaven with God. I know she is there as he already showed me that in my vision back on a Christmas Eve a few years ago. I feel that God has given me answers and I know that I will see her again. I look forward to that day.

So Richard my son, got married in 2015. He married a young woman he met at cancer camp. My husband and I were talking about cancer and Kathryn the other day. We talked about how we have met people only because of Kathryn's death. Richard only met his wife because of Kathryn's cancer. There are silver linings even behind the darkest clouds in life.

I'm never going to stop missing Kathryn and wishing she were here. I will never be "over it." It just doesn't work that way. Even though I feel I have understanding my heart is still broken. I have a great big hole in my heart and life. Kathryn brought so much joy and love into our lives. I think back as a young mother afraid to have a second child. I didn't think I could have enough love in me for that second child but I did. It was because she gave me so much love. It was easy to love her just like I loved my first child (Richard).

I'm doing better and that is all that matters. Scott and I pour our hearts into helping Camp Goodtimes keeps going to support other families with pediatric cancer. The program is more than just camp now. It has grown to offer many events. One of those is a ski weekend for siblings. Not every one realizes how much the siblings suffer, worry and feel pain. They need an outlet too. My son started this ski weekend for siblings because this was his outlet given to him by his Uncle Pat. Yes, my brother asked what he could do to help. I replied with, " Richard is going to get lost in all of this; take him under your wing and teach him how to ski like you did me." Wow, he ate by one day and took Richard shopping. He bought him all the gear from head to toe and took him skiing every weekend for two years. Richard always wanted to pay it forward and that is happening now. The kids love it! They started with ten the first year, then 20 the second year with a long wait list. I don't know how many they will have next year. It's fabulous to see these kids just having a great time on the slopes.

I'm really proud right now. I wrote this without crying and getting my nose all stuffed up. That was one reason I stopped blogging. I cried so hard and it took so much out of me. But now here I am doing it without shedding more than one tear.

Love to all of you, Carol

Friday, February 13, 2015

3 Years without Kathryn

January 22nd – remembering Christmas on this date three years ago. This would be Kathryn’s last Christmas. I can still see the smile on her face as she opened her gifts. I miss that smile so much. I brought this up because today (January 22, 2015) Scott and I just packed up the last box of Christmas. It is hard to think about her as gone.

I was at my student’s house the other day and the Home Health nurse came over to change his dressing about his hickman line and flush it. We talked as she worked. She knows Kathy the nurse that helped us with Kathryn.

My friend Julyn had a send off party for her daughter. Not like the one we had for Kathryn. Her send off party was forever. They are Mormon and her daughter will be gone for 18 months on her mission. She will be in Spain. We were at her house and one of my former students was there. We talked for a while and he seems to be doing great!. His Mom came over and talked to me and asked about Kathryn. She said something about it getting easier. I said that they say it gets easier but I think it is actually getting harder. I am off of the couch and functioning but it is hard. She asked me if I went right back to work or how that all went. I said I stayed home for the rest of the year. It would not have been good for me or the kids for me to be at school. I was pretty bitter and mad. I think one ungrateful kid would have sent me over the edge at that point. I shared my butterfly story with her. We also talked about spirits for a while. I just wish Kathryn was on a mission and would be coming home soon. I still pray for God to have her visit. The Christmas eve vision was a good one but I would give anything to hold her again.

My student is having his surgery on the 2nd of February. It will be a day that I don’t forget. I was very concerned about who would be doing the surgery and what they might do. I don’t want him to lose his leg. I sent a message to a friend from camp who told me last summer that he only has his legs because this second doctor saved them. His oncologist we going to have them amputated and this other doctor said he could save them. I got hold of this doctor and found out that he is indirectly involved with my student. I was so happy. They assured me that the same doctor my friend had was in the loop and helping with the decisions. I’m relieved. Well, this all changed on my way to work in the morning of Jan 27th. My friends doctor called me and said he would like to see my student and that he had an opening at 1:00. I called the family and they were more than happy to meet with this doctor. His name is Dr. Conrad. Dr. Conrad asked if I could be there too. After a bit of work I found a way to get my last two classes covered and I met up with the family and Dr. Conrad at Children’s in Seattle. I’m so glad I was there. Dr. Conrad offered to take my student as his patient and they agreed. He has done well over a 100 of these surgeries and the other doctor had done two as a student and none on her own. I know doctors have to learn and eventually do a surgery on their own but I don’t want a new doctor practicing on my child or my student. Sorry, but I know that experience can make all the difference in the world. As we talked to doctor Conrad I brought up my friend from camp. He said he was an extreme case and he had to fight with 30 different doctors who all want to amputate both of his legs. My friend walks on those legs!!! You see the experience in this doctor made a huge difference. The surgery will not be on the 2nd but some time after that.

I also got some bad news over the weekend. My friend Nick who I recently did Arts and Crafts with in the hospital has relapsed again. He now has full blown AML. He can’t have another bone marrow transplant as he has had two already. His cancer has become resistant to chemo. But Dr. Thomas has been researching and working on a new treatment plan. I was talking to Mom as they were waiting for the doctor to come in. Nick wants to have a big party with all of his friends. Sounds like Kathryn. She just wanted to have a big party and enjoy her friends. Kids are amazing aren’t they? I’m hopeful that Dr. Thomas will find the right mix of treatments for Nick. He is a brilliant man. I have had the pleasure of working with him a couple of times. He knows his stuff.

Wine tasting with my junior/high school friends. What an evening. The wine tasting was something I won at the Wine Auction last year for Camp Goodtimes. The host was Rob the owner of Finn Hill Winery. He as a fantastic host and we all had such a good time. I couldn’t believe how the time flew. I didn’t get home until 1 am. I haven’t stayed out that late for years.

Some good news too. Another boy from camp Colton is now in remission. He has also been fighting cancer for years. He has relapsed three or four times. He has had bone marrow transplants, chemo, and t-cell treatments. Hopefully this will last.

But, then on the same day as we celebrate Colton’s remission, one of our camp kids Katie Elliott passes away. Katie had gone through so much. Her body was full of rods and screws to hold her together. The cancer ate at her bones. The pain of bone cancer is horrific but she had a beautiful way about her. She smiled and laughed and enjoyed life. When I see the photos of her from camp I know that Scott and I have chosen to support a place that allows kids like Katie to enjoy the life that they are living for the moment. It gives them a place where they can have love, joy, fun and a time to throw cancer to the side line. Even if life is cut short, Camp is a place that can help these kids get every bit of happiness they possibly can get out of it. Camp Goodtimes is not just a week long. There are connections made that go on throughout the year. The Goodtimes Project is committed to extending this connections more and more as it grows. Families like Katie’s need the support beyond camp as does every family that battles pediatric cancer. There are no words that can take away the fear and uncertainty that cancer brings to a family. But there can be support through actions, words and love.

One of my students asked me if I was a Seahawk fan. I said, “Sure, they are our home team.” He inquired a bit more as to why I would like the Seahawks. I told him I liked what they do. He said, “You mean at Seattle Children’s?” I said, “Yes.” I love what Russell Wilson does for the kids at Children’s. The smiles that he brings is priceless. I don’t know if he truly realizes how mush his visits mean to these families and how it helps the healing process. I’m just glad he has chosen to act. To take part in something so meaningful. To show others that a little kindness goes a very long way. I’m hoping my student will get to meet him too.

The day is drawing near. The third anniversary of Kathryn’s death. I will never forget that day. The vision is so clear. The last breath still heard. I miss her laugh, her smile, her hugs, and her sweet little voice. I miss her innocents. I miss shopping with her. I miss watching movies with her. I miss decorating with her. I miss planning parties with her. I miss having her in my life. No, it doesn’t get easier. No, time does NOT heal this pain. No, nothing will replace what I had with her. My heart is broken forever. There is a hole in my life that will never be filled. This empty space that is dark and lonely. I long for her.

The 2nd of February came and I was at work as I should be. Distracting my mind as best as I can. But then just before 1st period was to begin I received a text message and I read it. It was from a friend remembering Kathryn as I love people to do. The tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t hold it back. There were many kids in the room and one of them caught a glance of my tears. I tried to hide them as quickly as I could. Then as I went on with the day I just made some big mistakes. Adding and subtracting and the algebra that I can do so easily I fumbled. I apologized to my students and quickly made the statement that it was the 3rd anniversary of my daughter’s death. The looks on their sweet faces showed they cared but didn’t know what to say. I sucked it up and went on. I was able to get past all of this and finish out with out more mistakes.

February 5th was Kathryn’s 24th birthday. She would have been working by now as a child life specialist at Children’s or Mary Bridge. She is probably there in spirit helping those kids through the tough times.

Pablo is moving along with treatment. His Pet scan came out the way they wanted showing the tumor was more than 50% dead. However he will get three days of chemo in the hospital the 6th, 7th and 8th. He came home late in the afternoon or early evening on the 9th.

Saturday the 7th we had a fun filled evening to remember Kathryn and celebrate Richard’s 28th birthday. I can’t believe my little boy is so grown up and such a wonderful man. His beautiful fiancee surprised him on Monday the 2nd with tequila sunrises and graham crackers with fun-fetti frosting in honor of Kathryn. She is a wonderful woman and treats Richard so well. We are blessed to have her in our family. I guess I was a little stressed and dropped things and cut my finger. But the evening was great. I love seeing Kathryn’s friends. Some of the girls were up in her room with my Mom. We could hear their laughter downstairs. It was great to hear laughter coming from her room as it always did when she was here with us. We had fireworks late into the evening and even fired off the cannon. Then we sent sky lanterns up into the air. They are like mini hot-air balloons. We went out 6 of them. It was so cool. I know Kathryn would have enjoyed this. All in all it was a great weekend.

A few days later I received something in the mail for Kathryn. It was from a graduation company. There was the invite to attend her graduation with the Western Washington University design on the front. I thought about saving it but then I thought why? It’s kind of strange that this should come in the mail just after I noticed that Kathryn had put in her profile on her facebook page that she graduated from Western. She was certainly optimistic.

Yesterday 2/12/15 my new Principal at my school saw me and he said, “Wait here I have something for you.” He ran into his office and reached into his bag. Then he handed me a package of Gummy Pandas. I was really surprised and so pleased that he would think of me and remember Kathryn. These are the little things in life that bring more joy than people will ever know.

Just today I received a notice from a young lady that knew Kathryn in elementary school and lost connection when she moved in middle school. But then a friend of hers met Kathryn on he trip to Europe with People to People. Such a lovely piece that she wrote. I thank all of you who remember and cherish your memories of Kathryn. I thank all of you who share with me. I love hearing from you and would love to have coffee with anyone who loved my dear sweet girl.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and share this love everyday throughout the year as it should be.

Love you all,

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thanksgiving/Christmas 2014

Thanksgiving/Christmas 2014

Thanksgiving: I went to my Mom’s house the day before Thanksgiving to help her with cleaning and getting dinner ready for 18 people. It was quite a task but we had a lot of fun doing it. The turkey was put in the oven at Midnight and done at 6:00 am Thanksgiving morning. Mom and I laughed all night and again early in the morning. I sure love her. I didn’t get much sleep and her cat didn’t help jumping on me all night long. I had a killer headache all day but I still wouldn’t trade the fun we had for a non-headache day. Thanksgiving was good.

So a day or two after Thanksgiving I went shopping for the family I adopted through Candlelighters. These are all families in need that also have a child with cancer. I had the same family in 2012 and 2013. That family lost their precious little boy (2 years old) to cancer in February of 2014. This year the family I had was also from my school. So I had 5 people to shop for. The staff at my school pitched in too. While I was shopping I was looking at this nice winter coat for the Mom. I tried on the coat and I still wasn’t sure if it would be the right size. So, I sized up another lady in the store and asked her if she would try on the coat for me. She was glad to help. I shared with her that I had adopted a family through Candlelighters and she knew about it. She said she worked for Multicare in as a Hospice nurse. I looked at her and I said, “You were my daughter’s nurse.” We never signed up for hospice but she was our palliative care nurse. Before I could say more she said, “Yes, Kathryn! We were just talking about her last week.” Wow, that was amazing. I couldn’t believe that it was “Kathy” the nurse who came to our house to help us deal with Kathryn’s very serious situation. She was great then and still a very wonderful person. We stood there in the store and talked for about an hour. She shared a couple of stories with me. I did remind her that she is the symbol of death to most people. She was for me. I also reminded her that I told her, “I am not going to talk to you any more about my daughter dying.” She said she remembered that. We both understood how I felt at the time. We had a very nice talk and I was so pleased to hear that she still thinks of Kathryn. Out of all of her patients she and her colleague still think of my daughter.

We have a friend (Wes) who was a teacher. He taught my two older brothers and myself. He was a regular customer of my Dad’s at the gas station. I also worked with him at Stadium High School. Now he is also a friend of Scotts through his used tire shop. Anyhow, Scott was at the tire shop and they were talking. Wes asked about how we are doing and such. He described me to Scott as one of those dolls that you can push over but it just keeps on standing back up. Some of you may remember, “Webbles wobble but they don’t fall down.” He said that I could be handed just about anything and deal with it. Nothing takes me down. I’m strong and I guess he is right. I have been handed a lot of bad stuff in my life and I just keep on going. Glad he noticed. I’m flattered that he thinks of me this way.

Klyde the cat continues to move the pillows from the living room to the spot where Princess (the dog) would sleep or eat. He has crawled into bed with us a few times now and even slept with us all night once. This is so out of character for him. He is not a loving cat. He does not like to be held of loved. But his losses are great! He lost his Mommy (Kathryn) and his sister (Princess).

Christmas decorating was done with many tears. A few times I pulled out an ornament and just broke into tears. The shoe tree did me in pretty good. Kathryn was just like me if not worse. She loved to have lots of shoes. I bought her a couple of ornaments that were tress with shoes hanging from them. It sounds weird but they are cute. And very fitting for Kathryn. She loved them. Scott really got into the outside lights this year. I really think he was doing it with Kathryn in mind. He did a great job with the lights.

I got a really strange email and it said it was from Kathryn Bradley and sent form her Iphone. Weird! That’s all I can say. I found this to be very weird.

Jeff (my principal) and I talked about his Mom and that she may be coming around. She had been very depressed since her son died. She stayed home and won’t go out. She actually asked this year about Christmas and where it would be and how she was going to go to Christmas. It did happen too! I was so happy to find out after the break that she did in fact celebrate Christmas with her family. Jeff and I also talked about spirits and how they are for real. He shared a really great story with me about a boy and his Dad. They were both in the hospital in separate rooms. I can’t remember but I think they were in an accident. They were both in very bad shape when all of a sudden the boy sat up and at that same moment the Dad passed away in the next room. It was like the boy saw his Dad’s spirit. I do believe we live with spirits all around us.

Shortly before Christmas I was shopping at the fabric store and I saw this Dad with his son. The son was definitely disabled in his mental capcity. He couldn’t speak and made strange movements. Dad had to direct him around the store. He was great! The Dad. The way he was calm and called his son buddy. The son must have been 16 or so. They patiently waited for the younger sister to get her fleece cut. She was going to make blankets for Christmas gifts. The son did his figiting and it didn’t even phase Dad. I left the fabric store and moved on the “World Market.” I was looking for wine stoppers but didn’t find any. I did find some other things. I thought I should look at the ornaments as I had bought one for Richard (my son), Katherine (his fiancĂ©) and Kathryn but I hadn’t found one that was fitting for Scott. I looked and didn’t find a thing. But on my way out I walked by the ornaments again and there it was. It was a beautiful glass Panda. I didn’t see it there before. Now it jumped out at me. I really don’t think it was there before but it was put there for me to find the second time through. I couldn’t believe it! As I was checking out the cashier and I were talking about the Panda and I told her that Panda’s were special because of Kathryn. I told her about Kathryn and Camp Goodtimes. Then she told me about her 8-year-old son who wanted this same Panda but chose to buy the wooden one because it could break and he wanted his Panda to last forever. Then she told me about her other three children. One of them had severe seizers regularly. The other two had serious disabilities too. I should have made better notes so I could remember what they were. As I left the store and thought about her dealing with three children with disabilities every day and the Dad from the fabric store who had dreams of his son being an athlete or going fishing with him or working on cars with him and those dreams were crushed. I became very thankful. I was thankful that I had Kathryn for 21 years. I had a whole Kathryn that I could share my life with. I had the perfect daughter that I enjoyed so much. She was able to do everything and be the special person that she was. She experienced independence and life to the fullest. I was thankful that we had the best Mother Daughter relationship there could be. I’m sure both of these parents love their children and hold them dear. I was just thankful that my time with Kathryn was not complicated with disabilities. Twenty-one great years!

As Christmas drew close I started to feel the stress. I love having Christmas at my house but this year it hit me hard on Christmas Eve that my daughter was not here. I was trying to make pies and get things done and then I got a severe headache and neck pain. I couldn’t function. My kitchen was all torn apart and I was running out of time. I also had to be dressed and ready to head to Seattle for dinner by 4:15. All I could do was lay on the couch. I would try to get those darn pies done but I couldn’t. As I lay there on the couch I had a visit. It was a visit from Kathryn. It was so real. There she was in her skinny jeans, t-shirt and sweatshirt partially zipped and her pink beanie on. She was walking hand in hand with Jesus. They were walking down from heaven. They were laughing and smiling. She joined me here at the house. She and I lay across her bed and talked and laughed. We looked at the ceiling painted with animal clouds. We talked about how her friends had a good time figuring out what each animal the clouds were when they came to visit her. Then we decided we better go get her Dad (Scott). We ran down the hall to the master bedroom to inform Scott that she was here to visit. Now we had to decide how to tell Richard. We wanted him to see Kathryn but we didn’t know exactly how to tell him and we didn’t want him to drive the 2 plus hours from Bellingham so emotionally that he might get in an accident. My vision ended there.
It was really something. I really had a very peaceful feeling after that.

Richard and Katherine stopped by to drop off gifts on Christmas Eve. I pulled myself up to say hi to them and chat a bit. They told me the lay back down. I was also told I looked terrible. I looked like I had a bad hangover and then smoked some pot to feel better and I hadn’t taken a shower in a couple of days. I looked bad. Right after Richard and Katherine left I threw up too. I was not feeling good. Stress does this to me. Worry – sorrow or whatever it is. It is not the flu or anything like that. It is my emotions. I had my vision after Richard and Katherine left and I started to feel a bit better. I pulled myself together around 3:00. I finished those darn pies, cleaned the kitchen and jumped in the shower. I was ready to roll at 4:15. All the way to Seattle I talked to myself. I talked myself into feeling better. As the evening progressed I felt better and better. I think I was satisfied having my visit from Kathryn. The dinner went well and I had a great time. Katherine said I looked great! She couldn’t believe I looked so bad just a couple of hours ago.

When I woke up on Christmas day I felt fabulous! I must say it was that best I had felt in a long time. Richard and Katherine came down from Seattle in the morning to open gifts and help out. It was so relaxing and easy. The day was great! We had 14 for dinner. I made too many pies by the way. Everything was perfect. I forgot to mention that I found the perfect ornaments for Richard (a skier), Katherine (a wine glass with Cheers written on it) and one for Kathryn (a high heel shoe in sparkles of lime green and hot pink). It was a wonderful Christmas!

Dr Choa – This is the doctor I have been seeing for acupuncture. My hands have felt great every since I have been seeing him. After my visit I sat and talked with him and his daughter in the front waiting room for at least a half an hour. I told them about Kathryn. His grandson has a brain tumor or had one but he is not able to care for himself now. He said some times it is better for the person to just pass away. Well…. I’m sure some parents would definitely disagree with him but others may just think that the quality is more important than the quantity. That was something we thought about Kathryn. If she did come through this (which was highly unlikely) would she have her life back? What kind of life would it be? Such hard questions. I guess I have that to be thankful for too. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have to make any hard decisions. I had no control and everything happened as it did. My Dad never wanted to live like he did that last two years of his life. My husband always tells me not to let him live like that. He would rather die. I saw in the news that there is a 17-year-old girl who talks about quality of life versus quantity. But I can’t agree with her or her mother. She has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and she wants to skip chemotherapy. This type of cancer has an 85% survival rate. Why would a mother agree to no treatment? The state has intervened and is forcing treatment. Some day she may have a family and look back and thank the state for treating her cancer. This will be an interesting story to follow. The other girl who had the GBM I could understand her decision to take her own life. She was at a point of no return I’m afraid. I don’t know what I would do for myself. I know that I certainly didn’t and wouldn’t have turned my back on treatment for Kathryn. Especially at such a young age.

The Jehovah Witness ladies came to my house and we talked about creation. We also talked about how I fear Richard has turned his back on God. I can’t talk to him about it because he will just argue with me. But my Mom talked to him on Christmas and she did ok with him. I also shared with him some of my experiences with messages from Kathryn. I think he was a bit taken by my story of the butterfly in the yard. If you don’t remember here it is. I was going to go out and work in the yard this past summer. I was missing Kathryn more than usual so I asked her for a sign. I asked her to send me a butterfly. Have it flutter around me I said. As I worked in the yard there came a white little butterfly. It fluttered around me and hung out for a while. I giggled and said, “That’s not a real butterfly!” Send a Monarch or some other big colorful butterfly. A little later there it was. There was a huge orange and black butterfly fluttering right in my face. It was there as if to say, “Here you go Mom!” It stayed there awhile. Right by me the whole time. I laughed and I cried all at the same time. I was so excited I couldn’t hold back my tears of joy. This was truly an amazing day. I think Richard didn’t know what to think. I asked him if he has heard from Kathryn and he said no. I told him he just had to ask and she would send him a sign. I also told him he had to be open to hearing from her. I ask to hear from her all the time and I don’t always hear from her right away. Richard said that she maybe visiting other people when I don’t hear from her. I told him that I thought that was it too. I’m sure she visits other people and is very busy doing this. I hope she visits him. He needs to hear form her.

Last Friday (1/9) night I spent my evening at MaryBridge Hospital in Tacoma. I was down there visiting our friend Nick. This is his third battle with cancer. I had such a great evening with him and his Mom. We did arts and crafts and talked about Kathryn. He shared a sad time with me. A time shortly after he heard about Kathryn passing. It just hit him one day. He said all of a sudden he was there at school and just couldn’t stop crying. He went to his locker and packed up his stuff and just left school and headed home. He said he cried all night. He was so upset about the thought of Kathryn being gone. We also talked about Kathryn visiting spiritually. He was very careful to ask me first if he could ask questions about Kathryn. He didn’t want to upset me. I told him that I loved talking about Kathryn and if I should cry it is ok. We talked about a photo that both he and I were looking for. It was a photo of him and Kathryn at camp. I know the photo is here somewhere. But I have looked and looked and can’t find it. He asked me if I thought that Kathryn might have hidden it. Maybe she had a bad hair day or something and didn’t want it found. I didn’t think that was the case. But who knows. Maybe she did hide it. I should ask her again to help me find it. He asked me how I was doing and I said, “ok.” He said, “No you are not ok, you are amazing!” I love this kid. When he finishes this fight I hope that he never ever has to go through this again.

Did you hear the latest break through! Did you hear that they decided that most cancers are caused from bad luck? Yes, lung cancer and skin cancer have definite ways to lessen your chances of getting them but for other cancers it is just that the person has bad luck. Wow! Bad luck! I didn’t see any real reason for Kathryn to get cancer. She was never sick. She had a couple of ear infections and sniffles but nothing unusual or ever sick enough to miss school. So, she was handed a bad card. The one of bad luck. At least these findings tell me I didn’t do anything wrong as a parent. You do second-guess yourself when your child dies. You blame yourself for not being more attentive to the chemicals and stuff in this world. But I have known of people with the healthiest of lifestyles that should or we thought should keep cancer away only to get it and die from it. I think it is too complex to find a cause. Brian cancer is one of the biggest mysteries.

My neighbor started chemo on the 12th. She wanted to have a party before she started and felt icky. So we watched the football game with her and several other neighbors at their house on the 10th. It was a great afternoon. I’m really glad we went. It is so important to do these little things for people. We were going to watch the game anyhow and why not share the time with our neighbor, as she wanted? It really made her happy to have all of us there. I guess I should make them some lasagna soon.
Well, one of my colleagues came to me after school. He wanted to share something with me before he made it public. Yep, he has cancer. He has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He is optimistic and we just talked for a while. I sure appreciated him coming to me first. His diagnoses was confirmed on Christmas Eve of all days. He started treatment on the 15th of January. He said, “They are going to fry me with chemo.” He is getting I think three types of chemo. An IV drip and some by pill. Being optimistic helps and having a family to live for helps too. He has two children in high school and a wonderful wife.

Planning on a celebration for Kathryn and Richard. It will be on the 7th of February. I’m thinking I should take the 6th off. It will be a breakfast dinner with just a few people. Richard will be 28 this year. Kathryn would have been 24. The 2nd will mark three years since she left us. I don’t think I will ever get over it. It will be good to have friends and family around. We didn’t last year and it nearly tore me apart. The 7th is the perfect date as it is right between Richard and Kathryn’s birthdays of the 9th and 5th. There might even be a big event that day. Rowan’s Mom, Rebecca is due with the twins. Rowan was 4 1/2 when she passed away of brain cancer on May 18th 2013. Her brother will be Roland and her sister will be named Wren. I can’t wait to meet them.

The boy I am doing homebound tutoring for will be having surgery in a week or two. They haven’t scheduled it yet. There isn’t a surgeon in Tacoma that could do the surgery so they will have to go to Seattle. Even there the surgeon said it would be a long and difficult surgery. It sounds like they will have a team of surgeons. He will be there for 5 days or more. The only good part is… Well, he may get to meet Russell Wilson of the Seahawks. I know that would really make him happy. His cancer has also spread from the pelvic bone to his leg as well. From what I understand they don’t really know what type of cancer it is. I was asked how do they know how to treat it. They chose a treatment to something that is close to what this might be and then hope it works. Scott said, “How could it be spreading if he is getting treatment?” I guess they didn’t choose the correct chemo. I really don’t know. I was asked if the spreading is bad. Well, it is never good when cancer spreads. But I can tell you that this boy has more drive right now and is positive and optimistic. He doesn’t seem worried. He is letting the doctors do what they need to do and he is trusting that they will do their best. And his smile would truly warm your heart. I’m privileged to be working with him.

So I’m ending here. I hope you have enjoyed reading my about my thoughts and experiences. I hope you all remember to do those little things for people. Time is the best thing to give. It is our most valuable asset.

Pray for Rebecca to have an easy delivery. Pray that Roland and Wren are healthy. Pray that the boy I tutor has a great team of surgeons with steady hands. And pray that my friend Nick is done with cancer forever and lives on to be a healthy adult. And finally pray for my neighbor and colleagues. Pray that this difficult time quickly becomes just a memory of the past as they take on a life free of cancer. Thank you for your love and concern for my friends.

Go Seahawks!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful 2014

Fall Oct-Nov 2014

"A caring, grieving person on the outside. As a grieving parent you don’t realize how those around you are grieving. You are so deep in your grief, so depressed, so angry that you don’t realize just how deep the pain is for others. A good friend standing on the outside is hurting and doesn’t know what to do or say. This person has been in your life forever. This person has watched your children grow and celebrated every accomplishment they made. Oh this person hurts with a pain so deep but this person goes without notice. This person’s pain is not recognized nor acknowledged. How we forget those who have always been there when we grieve so deeply. I feel ashamed as I watch my good friend grieve over the loss of her uncle and yet her grief goes unnoticed. The wife the daughters and granddaughter are sent flowers, given cards and brought dinners. But the niece who thought of this man as more of a Father than her own Father goes without comfort or sympathy. I did this to her too. She loved my daughter as her own and I let her suffer in silence. I won’t let her go without comfort this time. A card and some flowers with let her know I care. I have talked with her and let her share her feelings but I think she needs more. I need to be the friend that gives her comfort because I let her go to the side when I was so deep in my grief. I cannot undo the past but only work with the present. My story is for all who have lost someone dear. Please don’t’ forget those on the sideline who could be filled with great pain. They have been part of a person’s life and just because they are not a close relative they too my be hurting and need comfort. Or maybe just to have their pain recognized.

15 months survival rate and less than 5% make it to 5 years. This is for GBM and grade IV astrocytoma. Just some infromation.

I had coffee with my former student Gina the other day. She is now 43. She told me she came across a letter I had written to her when she was out of school and living in Florida. She still had that test she was taking on the day I came in to inform the teacher covering my class that Kathryn had a brain tumor (1999),her first. She told me it wasn’t fair that they should have to count that test as they could tell when I came into the room that something was really wrong. I was tearing up and she said that upset her. She got a D- on the test. I believe it was her emotions. She did end up with an A in the class. She also skipped school to be with my family and me on the day of Kathryn’s surgery. It was nice to have her there as she took away a lot of the uneasiness of the situation. She also shared with me how she is now using her math in her new job and her math skills put her at the top of the class. She was proud to share the specific cases of where she used the math that I taught her. She doesn’t know just how much this means to me. I felt so good and I shared her stories with my current students the next day. Then I commented on one of her tattoos. I told her I wanted to get one to honor Kathryn but I wasn’t sure what to get. She said it was obvious to her. I asked, "What?" She said a Panda. Then we talked about what panda. It has to be the right panda. It is a hard decision to make. After all it is forever. It will come to me and it will be the right tattoo.

Klyde, Kathryn’s cat is in mourning. He misses Princess. He lost Kathryn and now he lost Princess. He has become more affectionate with us. But what is really weird is how he has taken pillows off of the couch in the living room and brought them to the spot in the family room where Princess’ bed use to be. He has done this four times. He also drug one to the place where her food use to be. It had to be a struggle for him as they are good size pillows and heavy. It’s kind of like he thinks if he brings her a pillow to sleep on she will return. Poor baby. He watched her struggle through her last seizer. He knew she was not well. He tried to love her and give her comfort the last few weeks of her life. He was extra loving towards her and would rub against her. Now he is left with us boring old people.

I talked with student about Kathryn and Katherine. She was looking at my photos on my bulletin board. She commented on the fact that she doesn’t ski or anything but saw that I was snow skiing and waterskiing. We then talked about Kathryn. We also talked about how Richard is now calling Bee, Katherine now. After all her name is Katherine. It’s just been hard to call her Katherine since we met her through camp and her camp name is Bee. And, well to say Richard and Katherine without it being Richard and Kathryn is just strange. It’s difficult to say but we are working on it.

A shooting at a Washington school. My co-workers know that Richard is teaching somewhere up north. Before I even knew about the shooting one of my dear friends came by my classroom and just asked me where Richard was teaching. Just matter of fact. We were chatting and then she told me about the shooting. This was after she knew it wasn’t Richard’s school. We continued to talk and both of us teared up as I told her that if I lost Richard it would be the end of me. I could not go on. My life would definitely end. As we finished our conversation my principal came up to my room too. I just said, “Not Richard’s school.” I knew he was coming to check on me. I’m very grateful I work in a place with such loving and caring people. It’s hard to believe that this young man would call his friends together to take their lives. No one will ever know what was really going on in his mind and heart. To me it is just a sad situation. I also think parents need to take a more active role in the lives of their children. They need to talk to them about things and how to love and care for people. They need to create a place for their children to come to them with issues. Parents should be the ones that children go to and feel safe sharing their problems with. The fall of the family is really sad and prevalent in this day and age. We live in a selfish world unfortunately.

I went to my first of three celebrations of life (Oct 30th) for the next three weeks. This one was for a long time family friend. I believe my Dad had met this man (Skip) through the gas station business. His wife and my Mom would take us kids camping every summer at Twanoh State park on Hoods Canal. We went every summer for years and years. The Dads, My Dad and Skip, would come out in the evenings after work and then stay on the weekends. We always had so much fun camping. Because of the wonderful memories that I have of camping I started taking my children camping when Richard was just a little guy (3 or 4). My kids loved going camping. I went with one of my friends the first time but after that I went on my own. Richard and Kathryn brought a friend each. A couple of times I let them each bring two friends. When they became young adults they brought even more friends. The memories from camping are deep inside of me.

I just wrote about how our printer went off making noises that one night. Well on the 30th of October my computer started making this ringing noise like a phone ringing only not as long of a ring and a bit softer. I thought it was music at first. I couldn’t figure out right away where this noise was coming from but then I did. There was a button blinking when I opened it and I pushed this button and it turned off. How weird I thought. But then I thought it was Kathryn. Never heard this noise before.

So Halloween was a bit slow for trick or treaters but still fun. Our neighbor had an awesome haunted house. Scott and I went through it. It was really scary. Halloween also reminds me of three years ago. We headed out to Houston for some hope for Kathryn. It was our only hope and our only option to extend her life hopefully beyond our own. There we met Rowan and family. Rowan had just turned three and Kathryn was 20. It was one of those dual times. I mean I am so glad we met Chuck, Rebecca and Rowan and love them dearly but I really wish we didn’t meet them at all. If we didn’t meet them we would have never been in Houston. Kathryn wouldn’t have had that GBM with only a short time to live. We wouldn’t have been searching for hope. Yes, a dual situation as there are many with parents of children with cancer. You want one thing and have another. You are grateful for your doctors but wish you had never been introduced to them. You are happy for treatments and yet they make your child sick. Just as I was happy Kathryn had such great care when she was 8 and yet it killed her in the long run. One good seems to bring bad when it comes to cancer.

A 29 year old woman took her life November 1st 2014 because of GBM. How this struck me, as it would have been Rowan’s 6th birthday this same day. This young woman didn’t want to die the way the doctors told her she would die. She was suffering from seizers and she could tell she was getting worse. Watching Kathryn go through one seizer was terrifying. I’m so thankful we were in the hospital when it happened. I really don’t know what we would have done if she had that seizer here at home. To tell you the truth we probably would have lost her right then and there. We watched Princess go through about a dozen seizers and it was horrifying. We finally let Princess go on October 3rd 2014. Just in case you don’t know, Princess was Kathryn’s dog. There is a lot of controversy about this young woman taking her own life. For her it was the right thing to do. She didn’t want to put her family through or herself through the suffering that she was told would come. She was going to die. There was no cure and still is no cure. They couldn’t remove the entire tumor and it grew back bigger in just two months. She knew she was on her way out. She was an only child. I feel so deep in pain for her parents. She was just starting her adult life with so much to look forward to. Her parents were probably so excited that she had found a wonderful man to start a family with and to share her love with. They will never have grandchildren. My Dad was a wise man when he told me I had to have at least two children. It’s like he knew or something told him to tell me that. He said you just never know. He was right. I’m so fortunate to have Richard who I love so dearly.

I had a beautiful dream about holding Kathryn in my arms when she was 8. We were snuggling together on the love seat as we did often at that time in life. She was skinny and bald but the love was there and that was all we needed.

Klyde is still dragging pillows and acting weird. He wants so much attention. He even climbed up in bed with me a couple of times in the middle of the night.

I started doing homebound tutoring for a student at our school. He has bone and lung cancer. I think having a common bond made his mother trust me. I felt very comfortable with her. The young man and I worked on some things and I left him with homework to do over the weekend. He did it all and his sister even checked over it. I was impressed. (Monday 11/10) I was supposed to see him again today but he was not feeling well after going to the clinic. So, I told his Mom I would come by in the morning on the 11th. Yes, it is a holiday and I have the day off but he is eager and I don’t want to leave him waiting. Some people thought this might be hard for me but it has really been good for me. I feel blessed and fortunate to have the life that I have. I feel so very fortunate to have had Kathryn for 21 years that were so good and joyful. This family has so little and now they have a very sick child. We had so many resources and blessings. I feel for his sweet Mom who told me she is just in shock. I gave her a big hug before I left.

I went wedding dress shopping with Richard’s fiancĂ©’, her Mom and a bridesmaid Alyssa on 11/8. I felt very honored to be invited. I love the fact that I have been given consideration and brought in as an important part of the wedding (even the dress). She found one at the first place we went to that she really liked. Then at the second store she found one that she really, really liked. You could see the confusion on her face before she said, “I’m so confused.” This second dress brought tears to my eyes. I thought she looked so beautiful and like a bride. Of course Katherine would look good and did look good in just about every dress she tried on but this one… Well it was perfect. It was just what she had described to me as the dress she wanted. We will see what she picks. She has time to do more shopping.

On Sunday (11/9) I went to a celebration of life for a dear friend and Uncle of my friend Robyn. I saw so many people that I knew there. It was good to see all of the family together. Uncle Dave as I have known him was a real self made man. He grew up without parents pretty much. He and his brother were put in an orphanage at 8 or so. They were not the cute little babies and didn’t get adopted. By age 13 he set out on his own. We worked jobs and finally worked his way up to be a multimillionaire. He only had a 9th grade education. He found his brother in recent years. He was homeless and Uncle Dave took him in and gave him a place to live. A beautiful place in Uncle Dave’s own home. Uncle Dave was a man who worked hard and didn’t waste a minute. He also loved hard and played hard. He went to every Huskie’s Football game and took a month long fishing trip to Alaska every summer in August. He was good and generous to his friends and family. He made visiting his friend’s weather they were home, in the hospital or in a nursing home part of his daily routine. When you worked for Uncle Dave there were no excuses not to work hard and persevere. Even though he didn’t have a high school or college education he knew the value of an education. He was a great man – the type of man this world needs more of.

I have one more (my third) celebration of life to go to. This one is for one of our schoolteachers. It will be on Sunday the 16th of November. I will arrive early to help set up along with several other staff members. It will be a big deal. He was well loved and coached football and baseball. There will be many young men there that he inspired to do better and to work hard. He taught them about teamwork and how to work together. Another good man left this world.

While at the celebration of life for my coworker and friend Mr. Cooper I found out that our principal’s son just lost his friend. His friend was stabbed to death at a store. He was a good kid and football player. I think he was about 22. A random act of violence that took a young man with so much potential. Jeff was pretty upset as he just recently found out and his son was extremely upset. It is heartbreaking.

I also think I am figuring out my purpose. Meaning, I’m not just a Mom as I was before Kathryn passed away. With my experience I can help others and this is where I am turning. We will see where it all leads.

So I knew my student with the cancer was going to be in the hospital for three days of chemo (Nov 17, 18 and 19). I tried to find him at the hospital but couldn’t. I knew they were there but they did exactly what we did to stop people from just dropping in. They took him off the list. That means that not even the people at the front desk know that he is there. They have absolutely no information. So, I didn’t stop by but instead I went shopping and bought them a gift and decided to drop it off the next day at the clinic. I knew that would be the next place they would be going. I stopped at Fred Meyer and picked up some little things for the family and put them into a cute gift bag. My heart was filled with joy as I found this and that to put into the bag. And on my way out I had and elderly woman behind me who was jumping up and down to get her husbands attention. I noticed that she had only a few items; two pot pies and one or two other things. She asked her husband if he had any money, as she might be a little short. He joked with her and said, “Why are you asking me for money, ask her.” He was referring to me. So, after I paid for my items I told the girl to ring up the next purchase and I would pay for it. So, she did. The woman was so surprised and shocked. The young girls behind got it. I hope they really did. I mean the give to others deal. As I left the store I felt so good inside. The saying that you get when you give is so very true. I feel so much sadness with Kathryn gone that when I feel this happy after helping others I know it is the right thing to do.

Back to the package for my student. I drove to the clinic the next day. It was the first time I have been there since 12/23/11. The last time I took Kathryn there. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I wanted to go into the back and talk to the nurses and doctors but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I came and left pretty quickly. But I did it without breaking down. This is a step in the right direction. The family was extremely grateful for the package. The next day I dropped off a grocery gift card and a ticket to pick up a full Thanksgiving dinner. Our counselor at school worked really hard to arrange all of this and I was just the one to drop it off. I saw my student and he had lost almost all of his hair. Those three days of chemo were pretty intense. He wasn’t feeling very well and very weak. I hated seeing him like that. He was just so happy the week before and so excited to do his schoolwork. I missed seeing his beautiful smile that day.

I spent a little time talking with my student’s mom. She had met another parent who had recently lost her son to cancer. She was explaining to me that these stories help her feel grateful. She was trying to say it in the right way so she wouldn’t hurt me. I knew exactly what she was saying. It’s when you hear someone’s story and you see that your story isn’t so bad because their story is so much worse than yours. It make you grateful to be where you are and not in their shoes. I know exactly how she feels and what she means. I have thought that so many times. And now you are thinking that I have had it so bad that my story is the worst of all stories. No! It isn’t. I’m still grateful that my story is my story. How can I say this? I had a wonderful life with Kathryn. She wrote about how she loved her life and us. She was grateful for all that we did for her. Even though her life was short it was beautiful. I also learned so much from her. Her death was calm and peaceful. And without drugs. I know she watches over me and leads me in the right direction. I have a good life. Yes, a little empty without her but a good life. I have good friends and family who love me. I have a husband who treats me like a queen and my son is the best. There are so many people who have so little compared to me. I’m not talking about things and money but the real things in life. I’m very fortunate.

I know Kathryn is with me. When I eat my popcorn I hear her saying regulate Mom. That means, eat one piece at a time. Not two or three pieces, just one. And on Sunday the 23rd, I asked Kathryn to leave me a penny that day and she did. When I returned to the car there on my seat was a penny. I don’t carry change in my pocket so it couldn’t have fallen out of a pocket. I didn’t tell anyone that I had asked Kathryn to leave me a penny that day. It was right in the middle of the seat. Yes, she is here with me and for that I am grateful.

I saw my homebound student last night (11/24/14). He was up and feeling good. It was nice to see him smiling again. Another teacher stopped by with a wonderful gift. This teacher and some of the students have been working hard to raise money to get this young man a laptop. He delivered it last night. Not only did they buy a laptop, but a printer and tons of programs. The smile on my students face got even brighter! He was so thankful and happy. I’m glad I was there to see this. I almost started crying. It was very touching.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving remember the good things in your life. You have so much to be thankful for. Count your blessings, hug your family members and say thank you and I love you. And if by chance you come across a stranger or know someone who needs some help reach out and be the one who does something. Your heart will be filled with incredible joy and you may even find yourself signing out loud.

Happy Thanksgiving
Love to all,

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall 2014

Fall 2014

Dream from Kathryn – In the dream she told me I needed to let her friend from way back know that she died. I know what friend it is but I don’t remember his name. In elementary school somewhere from Kindergarten to 2nd grade her class rode the ferry to Anderson Island. This boy who I’m supposed to let know of her passing is the son of the captain who piloted the ferry that day. I really don’t know how to get hold of him. His name is… I may have to call one of Kathryn’s old teachers to figure out his name. I want to say Shane or Joey but it’s just not hitting me as the right name.

First day of school. Well people have been posting the first day of school pictures of their children. I certainly have a bunch of those photos. We always took pictures of Richard and Kathryn as they headed out. My first day with students (9-3-14) and great kids. I shared about Kathryn and when I read that part of the letter you can hear a little noise that sounds like “oh my gosh.” I don’t mean to send fear but I need my students to know my story so they understand who I am and where I come from or even better, where I have been.

This is pediatric cancer awareness month. There is so little funding for research for pediatric cancer. Parents of kids with cancer have to learn quickly and learn to trust the wisdom of the doctors yet still have enough knowledge to know when to question the doctors. Sometimes the parents know more about their child and can make a better decision than the doctor. That was our case many times. Siblings have to learn patients and understanding while parents try to deal with this tragic diagnosed. Life becomes hell and yet you find times that are so wonderful and rewarding that would have never come without this disease attacking your family. There is good in every situation if you take a moment to recognize it.

On Friday 9/5 my friend told me that her cousin (also a friend of mine) had just lost her husband. She had gone shopping and when she returned he was sitting in his chair dead. How horrifying. No reason, no illness. She called 911 and the firemen came and pronounced him dead but they couldn’t take his body. She had to wait for the coroner and this took hours. The firemen left and there she was with her dead husbands body. This is exactly why Scott made arrangements for Kathryn the day before she died. He didn’t want her to have to lie there waiting. His Mom laid on the kitchen floor for four hours until they finally took her away. We had a choice of how long we would keep her here. We weren’t waiting on someone else to get to our home. We had all said our good-byes and her little body was getting cold and firm. Her soul had left and it was time. The guys from the funeral home were so gentle and careful. They explained to me that the law requires them to cover her completely when they go out of the house. They warned me as the zipping up of the bag can cause a little distress. I was glad we had the arrangements to ease a horrible and difficult situation. For that I will be forever grateful to Scott and Bee. Yes, Bee went with Scott for moral support. She is a wonderful young woman.

On Monday 9/8 I walked into my school building and felt a heaviness. As I went into the library for our morning meeting there was a sadness. I could feel it. I even asked one of my collegues, why is everyone so sad. She relied, “There’s some bad news.” Our principal came in and announced that one of our teachers had passed away over the weekend. I was so shocked. I actually shouted something like, No Way. I didn’t think it would affect me like it did. I really had a hard time telling my students. I broke down a couple of times with the kids. My students in my yearbook class want to do a memorial page and we will. Thank goodness we are a family here at Fife. We were the ones that had the police go to his house because we knew something had to be wrong. His only family around is his Mom who is in a care facility. Someone finally tracked down some relatives down south and they will be coming to Washington to make arrangements and deal with his belongings.

On Tuesday 9/9 I read about a lady who is a 5+ year survivor of GBM. Of course I am happy for her but it brings me back to the question of why Kathryn isn’t one of these survivors. I cried when I was messaging back and fourth with her. We talked about how there is a plan for everyone and how my friend said she had a vision of God telling her Kathryn had a duty and her duty was done. I was pretty upset with all of this talk and the passing of our teacher. On my way up to bed Kathryn gave me that little signal of her being near. The front entry light flickered as Scott and I walked up the stairs. We both said, Thank you Kathryn and good night sweetheart. We know it is her. The light never flickered before her passing and now it flickers on nights that I think of her strongly and am upset. It is like a little reminder, I’m here Mommy, don’t cry.”

I found a bright shinny penny at school on Friday. I found another one a few days later too.

A Panda bear showed up in my school mailbox. I sent out a thank you to the staff and asked who gave me that Panda. I thought it was sweet and wanted to be sure to thank the person who gave it to me. No one has come forward. I asked the one person who I thought it might be and said it wasn’t her. So now I think it may be a student. Our mailboxes are open so someone could just drop something in my box. Panda sits on my desk and watches over the kids.

Speaking of my students. One of my boys said he might not have his assignment done the next day as he was going to visit his Mom. He told me she is homeless. The next day I asked how it went. He didn’t say too much about his visit. It went ok. I feel so bad for him. He is a great kid. It must be hard to have a Mom who is absent in your life. My Mom was always there. I think she wasn’t home one day when I came home from school. but it wasn’t long before she got home.

I read this story a Mom wrote about her son and their cancer experience. Her son passed away. She talked about the dual life. I can’t remember it well enough to share it now but I will find it. It was really good. I could relate to everything she said. Part of it was about the death of her son and wanting him to live but yet glad his suffering was over. The mixed emotions that go with being the parent of a child with cancer.

On the second of October my cell phone rang in class. I usually have it off just so this doesn’t happen. I said, “It’s mine but I will ignore it.” One of my students said, “It could be your daughter”. I said, “No it couldn’t because she lives up there now.” The girl next to her said, “You shouldn’t have said that.” The other girl said, “I forgot.” The other girl said, “You don’t for get things like that.” I said, “It’s ok.” I knew she was embarrassed and I didn’t want her to feel bad. After I said it was ok several times she said maybe it is your son. I said, “No, he is doing the same thing as me right now, Teaching math, so he wouldn’t be calling”. I thought it was funny how the other girl was all over the other one for forgetting about Kathryn and how important it is to remember. Their little side conversation was sweet.

We finally made the hard decision to lay Princess our dog to rest on October 3rd after 15 years 8 months. She was the dog who helped Kathryn get better and come home from the hospital when she was 8. Princess more than likely had a brain tumor the vet said. We let her go as long as she was still able to enjoy her walks. She finally got to the point where her walks were not fun and doing things on her own were very difficult. It was time. We knew things would only get worse for her and we didn’t want her to get so bad that she hurt and was terribly uncomfortable. We wanted to save her from all of that. So, she is now with Kathryn. We are pretty sure she was looking at Kathryn on our last walk. She kept stopping and staring like she was looking at someone. Both Scott and I thought it was Kathryn. They are together now.

Over the 10th and 11th of October we had the Drive-A-Thon for Camp Goodtimes. The kids all got to ride in different cars at lunch time. The rode in Porsches, Nascars, BMWs, and a Lamborghini. They had so much fun. Even the parents were able to take rides around the track. We had a silent auction too. We raised over $40,000.

After school I found a quarter on the floor. I happened to have a student in my room and I told her that I found my quarter from Kathryn. I told her about pennies from Heaven. I told her how Scott and I find pennies all the time. Then I told her how my friend said I should ask Kathryn to leave quarters instead of pennies. She laughed when I told her he said I would make more money that way.

On the 17th Scott and I were laying in bed and all of a sudden the printer started running and making noise. It was really strange. We both figured it was Kathryn making noise for us to let us know she is around. Of course we were both thinking about her and then the printer starts acting up. It’s the printer we don’t even use.

A friend of ours died recently (October 11th). He was stable and then he was gone. The family, his wife and daughters have taken it very hard. My friend Robyn, his niece also took this very hard too. We stopped by to see all of on them on the 18th. They seem to be doing better and over the anger or at least the part of blaming others. It was good to see all of them. We also stopped by and saw an elderly woman (Erma). She will be 90 in April. She lives alone and takes care of herself and her house. She walks to the store. I think she is finally comfortable enough with us to call if she needs something. She just lights up when we stop by. It’s so great to see her happy.

The truth is that I have been a bit down. I just haven’t been full of energy. I have a hard time getting going over the weekend. It really stinks. I guess I may be a little depressed. I think about Kathryn and just feel sorry for myself. It took me forever to put up the Halloween decorations this weekend (Oct 18th and 19th). It’s just hard to get started as I would decorate with Kathryn. We loved to decorate together. It’s hard looking at the things we bought together and would put up together and remember the time we shared. It really stinks that she isn’t here to do this with me. It would be ok if she were living somewhere else and I was decorating on my own because just lived somewhere else. But she’s not here and never will be again. We can’t compare decorations or buy them together. Shopping alone is no fun. Decorating alone is not fun either.

I keep smelling these smells too. I’m not sure if it’s from Kathryn or what. It’s the same smell again and again. I just hope it is Kathryn. I’m always looking for signs and asking for signs.

Well, Halloween is up and it looks good!

Take care,

Monday, September 1, 2014

Spring/Summer 2014

Spring and Summer 2014

In May I had a chat with my friend at work and he asked me if I still feel Kathryn. I don’t feel her but I know she is here. I told him about pennies from Heaven and he didn’t know what it was. I told him that we find pennies all the time especially when we are thinking about or missing Kathryn. He said I should ask her to send quarters instead of pennies and I could actually make some money. We laughed about it. Wouldn’t you know that the next day I went into the bank and on the way back to my car there was a shinny new quarter right by the passenger’s door. I couldn’t believe it! You know, I was the only one in the parking lot so there wasn’t anyone who could have dropped the quarter. And I don’t carry change so it didn’t drop out of a pocket. My friend and I talked for a while. I told him how Kathryn was the silly one in the family. Any of those Christmas cards of silly poses were her idea. She had me paint the one bedroom in polka-dots. I had a formal design in mind but we did polka-dots instead. I also shared the book “Closer Than You Think” with my friend. It is an easy read and a great book about our loved ones being with us in spirit.

Shortly after this chat with my friend I was home and feeling a little, maybe a lot, down. I was missing Kathryn and crying. When I got up from the loveseat there was a penny on the floor. No way was it there prior. This blows me away every time.

I was also thinking about her and tearing up when the entry way light flickered. I thanked her for that. She gives me signs just at the right time.

I was asked about mother’s day by a student and asked if I have a daughter or son or what. This is always a tough question. I had to say I had a daughter and now I only have a son. Explaining my loss is coming place now. Sometimes I do it just fine and other times I tear up. Mother’s day was a good day. Oh how I wish it were complete. I have asked to see Kathryn and maybe I will someday soon. I regularly ask God to let me see her or hear her sweet voice.

I was out walking Princess and my neighbor Duane asked me if that was the same dog I have been walking for years. I don’t know this neighbor real well so this was the first time that we really had a long conversation. I told him that yes this is the same dog and how she came to be our dog. I told him about Kathryn’s passing and this led into a conversation about his wife. She died of ALS just before Kathryn was diagnosed in 2010. We talked about the progression of the disease (ALS) and how it was similar to Kathryn’s. We were fortunate that Kathryn did not have a long time of not having abilities to walk and communicate. ALS brings on these disabilities an they linger for years. I think we both felt good about sharing our stories and we both had great losses and we could really understand each other’s suffering. I gave him a big hug; he really looked like he needed one.

I have been looking and looking for the glass babies that Rowan’s Mom sent me. I know I put them safely in a box at Christmas time. But our house was in such mess because of the remodel stuff I was afraid they disappeared. So I finally gave up on my own search and asked Kathryn to help me find the glass babies. Sure enough, I was given the vision of where to look. When I came home from work that day I immediately had Scott get the ladder and I pointed to the box that he needed to take down in the garage. I went through the box and there they were. It’s so fantastic that I can ask Kathryn for help and she responds to me. I love it!

Richard’s grad party was this weekend (May 17th). We had 45 people over. One of Richard’s friends announced that he and his wife are having a baby and the due date is December 1st and they are having a girl. This is so exciting! We had a beautiful afternoon that went way into the early morning hours. We had a bond fire and fire works. Oh, the Bradley traditions! We had 9 people spend the night. Richard and I put together a big breakfast. I cried when Richard gave me a great big hug good bye. I haven’t done that for a long time. I just love him so much.

Today, May 18th, is one year now for Rowan’s passing. I sent Rebecca a message. Tomorrow they should receive our card and gift. I sure hope their lives change for the better. I hope I hear from them soon that they are expecting a baby. This would be so good for them. A few weeks later I did hear from them and they are expecting a baby. She told me when she was only two weeks along. Then she let me know a few weeks after that they are expecting twins. I had a feeling that they were going to have twins. She a little worried about two at one time but I know they can do it just fine. They are awesome parents.

As you have read before the Jahova Witness ladies come to visit with me now and than. I actually love visiting with them even though I am Lutheran. There was a new lady this time. She lost her 28 year old daughter. It was nice to chat with someone who really understood my situation.

We ( Scott, Richard, Bee and Myself) went to the cabin the 31st of May to tear off the deck. Richard told Bee that I would be really mad if she didn’t work hard. The poor dear worked so hard she had blisters on her hands. Richard and Bee did most of the work and fast! Richard brought his thank you cards with him and I helped him by doing the addresses. It was fun and funny that I had to keep him on track to get them done. He is such a little boy sometimes. So, when we came home from the cabin Princess had a seizer that night. I think this was the first one we had witnessed. She recovered just fine but had another a few days later. Once again she recovered just fine. Very scary!

Have you heard this new story about a 3 year old boy who says he lived before? He said he was murdered and he took the police to the place where his body was and also led them to his killer. There was a little boy murdered and there was a man now arrested for the murder.

Scott and I headed to Monterey California on June 13th for the Porsche Club Parade. We met a lot of good people. Over 1200 Porsches were there. We shared our story about Kathryn and Camp Goodtimes with so many people. One lady lost her first husband at 42 years old to a GBM just like Kathryn. She also lost a sister early in life to cancer. She said her mother never got over this loss. I can tell you that you never do! We also had Griots Garage offer to donate products to our Drive-A-Thon for the auction. It was 9 days of tours, events, dinners and just good times. Everyone was super nice. One of the tours was to the Hearst Castle. That place is amazing and the story behind it is really something. While we were there a butterfly came up to me and hung out for a while. Longer than a butterfly usually does. I thought it may be a sign from Kathryn but not too sure until later. That story will come.

Once we got home form California I was on the 9:20 ferry to Vashon Island to go to camp. I volunteered in the Arts and Crafts area all week. I met a young man who went by the camp name (Bunkbed). His story gave me goose bumps. He was diagnosed with a GBM like Kathryn. He is young like Kathryn. When he was diagnosed he was only given 3 months to live. They were expecting him to go fast. His family prayed and prayed and in two weeks his tumor started to shrink. He is now cancer free. I told him he was a walking talking miracle. He truly is a miracle. There is no way to explain how his tumor went away other than it being a miracle. I told him that people wonder if God answers our prayers. I know that it was difficult to believe that God didn’t answer our prayers in the way we would have liked him to. I told Bunkbed that his story shows us that God does answer prayers as we asked for them to be answered (sometimes). Maybe this young man was at this camp this week for me to meet. Maybe I needed to hear this story to strengthen my own faith. I never stopped believing and still do believe that Kathryn could be brought back if it is God’s will.

Another young man that was at camp was there because of Kathryn. He had met Kathryn at the clinic and now I’m wondering which clinic. It may have been up in Bellingham. But Kathryn had told him about camp and he wasn’t able to work it into his life until this year. He wished that he could have been at camp with Kathryn as several of her friends have said. I’m so glad Kathryn had such a positive influence on people. To have so many at camp that are there because of her is amazing.

At camp I was talking with a couple of ladies one evening and I told them it doesn’t get any easier. In fact I told them that it is harder than ever right now. I cried. I don’t know how to explain the emotions that goes with this loss. It’s always there and some days it is so hard to even function.

After camp I was in Kathryn’s room (a hard place to be) and I noticed this small container with little lanyards in it. I thought, how could I have missed this? I didn’t know Kathryn had made these. They were made for the staff at the Mary Bridge clinic. I didn’t think she had even started them. I was planning on taking her list and making them myself but there they were. I never saw her make them and I was constantly with her. Any how soon (by the end of September) I will take them to the clinic. They do need the hooks put on them.

Now some really big news if you don’t already know. On the 4th of July we got a call from Richard and he told us that he proposed to Bee. He is engaged!!! He bought her a beautiful ring with white and blue sapphires. We are extremely happy. But with this wonderful news comes a little sadness. We are a little sad that Kathryn will not be there. She would have loved to be part of Richard’s special day. I know she will be there in spirit. She wouldn’t miss this for anything.

Worked at Cabin for a week to rebuild the decks we had torn down (7 days of hard labor). While there Princess had three seizers in 12 hours between July 12th and 13th. Not the same dog after those, but spurts of the real Princess sometimes show. The vet believes she has a brain tumor. We bought her for Kathryn to help her do better with her treatment when she was 8. It got her out of the hospital. Kathryn said, “If you didn’t get me Princess I don’t think I would have ever come home.” This was after she spent a week in the hospital after a bad reaction to chemo and radiation. So the dog for the girl with a brain tumor develops her own brain tumor.
We finished two decks and replaced beams under the house. Jacking a house up and replacing beams is a big job. We also spread a truck load of gravel and finished burning the old deck as well as building a new fire pit. It all looks good.

So I started working on the yard and one day before I headed out I asked for a sign. I asked Kathryn to give me a sign that she was around while I worked in the yard. I said, send a butterfly and have it flutter in my face and around me. Well, there I am in the yard and here comes this white butterfly. It flutters right in my face and around me. Then I said, “That’s not a real butterfly, send one like a Monarch.” Holy Moly!!! A few minutes later there was a beautiful Monarch fluttering in my face and just hanging out with me. I was so excited that I started to laugh and cry all at the same time. I couldn’t wait to tell someone. I called my Mom right away.

Just before the second session of camp started one of our campers learned he had relapsed. All he asked for was to be able to go to camp. He relapsed last year and his family found out while he was at camp. This boy has had two bone marrow transplants, a stem cell transplant and t-cell therapy and who knows how many rounds or radiation and doses of chemotherapy. Yet, he keeps a smile on his face and he and his family do not give up hope. Camp does that for kids and parents.

I went up to Children’s Hospital to visit with Nick and his Mom. Nick is on his third diagnoses of cancer and his second bone marrow transplant. He will also receive t-cell therapy. Nick was not in a good mood that day. I think he was just sick and tired of being in the hospital. He was on day 40 or 50 something that he’d been there.. ICK! His Dad was there too. I looked as his Dad as he sat quietly. I thought about what he might be thinking and feeling. He knows that I represent death to this disease. He looks at me and I can only imaging him thinking, how can she even function. I can see the pain in his eyes. I can see that he fears what I have faced. His son is his buddy and they have a bond that only a Dad has with his boy. As I left that day I also noticed the mom’s there with there own children. The worn out Mom’s. The Mom’s spending every moment with their sick child and creating a bond that is special but not the way you want to create a bond with your child. The Mom’s who have learned so much about cancer and the treatment. The Mom’s who know all of the numbers and what they should be and what is done to fix them when they are out of line. The Mom’s who watch and make sure every dose of medicine is the right dose and given at the right time. And as I was getting in my car I watched this Mom as she pulled her rolling suitcase behind her as she walked toward the entrance of the hospital. It was a very humbling day. I was seeing things from the other side.

Princess had 6 seizers in 25 hours over August 5th and 6th. We didn’t think she was going to survive. We have her on anti-seizer medication and then we had to bump it up after this episode. Then we asked about the tremors that she was having constantly. They would make her fall down and also made it hard for her to walk. Scott had called the Vet about putting her to sleep as he quality of life was not what she deserved. So in addition to her seizure meds she was placed on phenobarbital to stop the tremors and it worked. We are giving her half the dose and splitting it up to two times a day and it seems to be giving us back Princess. As we prepared for the Bradley Backyard Benefit (August 16th) she was right there all day following us around. This is the normal Princess. And during the event she was her normal snoopy, begging self. She did great. That night she slept like a rock!

We had the Bradley Backyard Benefit (BBB) and raised $4553 and more on the way. It was on the 16th of August. We had 60 people plus the guys from the band. The music was awesome and everyone had a great time. I had so many people say, “I will see you next year.” So, I guess this will be an annual event. I’m happy to do it too.

One of our friends that attended the (BBB) had just come from a funeral. He said he had been crying all day. He and his family had known this young lady since she was 4 or 5 and a long time friend of his son. She died at 18 and they still don’t know why. I told him that the parents need to find something that will keep their daughter’s spirit alive. We support Camp Goodtimes in our effort to keep Kathryn’s spirit alive. It also brings us closer to Richard. He loves camp and wants to see it continue too. So we are all working on it and this helps mend our hearts too.

We finally gave Richard his College Graduation present. He was so excited. Scott had bought this 1975 Porsche 914 just 5 days after Kathryn’s passing. He had been trading his electrical work and supplies with two body shops on getting it restored. Slowly but surely and now here it is. He couldn’t believe it when we walked him down a neighbors driveway and he saw it. He could not believe it! He still has a few little things left to do on it but it gives Richard a project too. He was so surprised and he beamed from ear to ear. What a great addition to the BBB.

On my birthday (August 24th) we went to Crystal Mountain and road the gondola to the top. It was just the three of us (Scott, Richard and myself). I was a perfect day! The weather was nice and the food was delicious and the company was wonderful. That evening Scott and I were out walking Princess and there was my gift from Kathryn, a shinny quarter.

Princess is doing great. She wasn’t able to eat without falling over or face first into her food. She couldn’t go to the bathroom without falling over. She wouldn’t go on a walk or walk up or down the stairs. She does all of this just fine now. She even runs up the driveway and looks back at us as if to say, “What’s taking you so long?” She is pretty much normal. We are amazed! Scott and I both feel there has been some kind of spiritual intervention. We know the vet thought she wouldn’t recover like she has. In fact she was so bad that we were planning on having her put down on the 11th . But then she came a live for the party and has only gotten better and better.

Well, life continues. School will be starting on the 3rd. Richard will be teaching full time in Mount Vernon at Mt Baker Middle school. He will be teaching 7th grade math. He is excited about this new adventure. As you may have read our superintendent of the Fife School District passed away from cancer on August 27th. I think most of us new this was coming. He was a good guy and always did his best at every job he had. I had one of his sons in my math class a few years ago. A good kid. His two sons are about Richard’s age or a bit younger. They are going to miss their Dad. I see how Richard and Scott interact now. They are really getting closer. Scott had some troubling times every since Kathryn was diagnosed in 2010. He has finally overcome these troubles which have allowed him and Richard to develop a better relationship. I makes my heart so happy! A boy needs his Dad and a Dad needs to feel needed by his son. I feel this is all happening for the two of them I couldn’t be more pleased.

Life is Good!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Heaven is for Real 5-4-14

Heaven is for Real 5-4-14 I found a resume on my computer at school. This was by chance and it must be a sign. I was thinking about applying for the position of camp director but was a little uneasy about it. I haven’t really applied for a job for over 30 years. I have changed jobs but they were all guarantees. Nerves have helped me make excuses for not putting in an application. I wrote my letters that they asked for but I didn’t put together a resume. I was putting that off because it would take so much time and effort and the closing date is drawing near. But, as I was working on my computer at work and organizing some files I ran across one that said, Carol’s res. I opened it and found this resume all written. I forgot that I had to put one together to teach those night classes through SPU. Is this a sign that I should indeed apply? Did I find it so I would get going on my application? Was Kathryn there helping me find it and leading me there? I did ask her to help me make a decision on whether or not to apply. I guess I got the answer. Kathryn did tell me one time that I lacked confidence. She was right. She had more confidence than anyone I have ever met. She believed in herself and she believed in all of us. She was amazing, strong and confident! Long Island medium – Sure wish I could find a way to connect with Kathryn. Never ever gets easier! It just doesn’t. Time does not heal the pain that I feel. I do however stay busy enough to keep my mind preoccupied so I don’t think about my loss all of the time. Kathryn had started an avocado tree as a seed. She had put toothpicks through it and had it suspended in a small bowl of water. It sat in the window for a long time. I thought it would be one of those things that we just discarded after a while, but no! Scott has been taking care of it with such love. It is now a 5 foot tall tree. What happens when it reaches the ceiling? It actually has branches too. It is really something else. He started a second one and it is growing too. They are both in Kathryn’s room. Grandma teased and said the tree was reaching for the sun. That would be the sun I painted on the ceiling. Silly grandma! I was looking to see if I had saved my last blog and ran across one I titled “Ashes.” I wrote about Scott picking up Kathryn’s ashes and the tears just started to flow. How could this little blue box be our daughter? How could this beautiful joyful girl become a box of ashes? All is changed forever. A huge part of me has gone. A huge part of my joy and life has gone. The pleasure I had being with Kathryn is gone. Her death took so much. It took joy, love and beauty from my life. The Chris Elliott Foundation had a fundraiser at Glass Babies in Seattle. Alli met me there. They had some refreshments and wine. I met Chris’ wife Delann. Chris is a man who died of the same brain tumor Kathryn died from. I don’t know how I came into contact with this foundation. They raise money to help families who are battling brain cancer. I also met a lady who works in the field of neuroscience. That was interesting. I was hoping they would have a speaker but they didn’t. But then I met Jason, Becky’s Dad. Becky is a 28 year old with a GBM. Her friend contacted me through Alli a year or two ago. She was looking for someone who knew something about GBM and possible treatments. She went to the Burzynski clinic and she was doing very well on that treatment and then it was like it stopped working. She also picked up Hep-C somewhere so her kidneys and liver are failing. I sure feel for her and her family. I know the final outcome and by the look on Jason’s face he does too. He told me to call her or text her and I did. But no return. She doesn’t know me so I wasn’t surprised. There are more brain tumors in this region than anywhere. Alli has plans to get a tatoo. It will be along the back of her neck so if she needs to hide it for a job her hair will cover it. But it will be a cross with Kathryn’s initials KMB. She loved Kathryn so much. Kathryn introduced to her camp. Kathryn was the first person she went to when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Kathryn gave her comfort and assurance that everything would be alright. Rebecca’s news – no baby. Her eggs that were expressed didn’t work out and the ones that were left have expired. They are only good for so long. They are going to try another method. Of course it is costing them a ton and it is very emotionally draining. So, if you believe in prayer please pray that this new method works so Chuck and Rebecca can have a baby. They are warm loving people who are awesome parents. Rowan was a lucky girl to have such wonderful parents. I was on the internet the other day and this notice read something like, “Girl’s Deadly Brain Tumor Eradicated With The Polio Virus.” This caught my eye. She was 20 when diagnosed with a GBM and at Duke University they injected the Polio Virus into her brain. She was the first human they tried it on. Well, when you are diagnosed with a GBM you have nothing to lose so you should try whatever. It worked. This was done in May of 2012. This is just 3 months after Kathryn died. I cried to think that we could have been that close to saving her. This young lady is now 23 and cancer free! She is the same age as Kathryn. She wants to help people in the medical field like Kathryn. She is a lot like Kathryn. I’m glad they are getting these new ideas out there. The T-Cell therapies are working too. I heard they can match the T-Cells to the type of cancer. Amazing but too late for us. My Mom and Scott and I all went to the movie “Heaven is for Real”. We all confessed that we cried. It was a tear jerker for anyone who has lost a child that is for sure. It’s a good movie and confirms my belief. My Mom said, “I wonder if my baby that I lost is in Heaven like that little girl?” My Mom had a miscarriage just before she had me. She never found out if it was a boy or a girl. Probably too painful to ask much about it. I had an incomplete pregnancy and that tore me apart. I couldn’t talk about it without breaking into tears until I had Richard. Having a miscarriage would be so much harder. My mom hasn’t talked about it much at all. I think she has mentioned it maybe 3 or 4 times and that’s it. When we got home from the movie we were went to sit down in the family room and I noticed on the floor right by the couch there was a penny. It definitely was not there before we left for the movie. We all decided it was from Kathryn. We decided she was telling us she was here and that she knows that we believe she is in Heaven. Speaking of my Mom, Monday will mark 3 years since we lost my Dad. I know my Mom misses him so much. I miss him too but he gave me the words to make it easier to accept. He told me not to cry when he died. He told me he had a good life. He had good friends and family that loved him and that he would be ok. I’m so glad he told me that. I also wanted to mention that I love seeing and hearing from Kathryn’s friends. When I saw Cody and Ryan at The Swiss a couple of weeks ago it was fantastic. They both gave me a long tight hug. It really felt good. They are both very special boys who have had a hard time with Kathryn’s passing. I hope to stay in touch with her friends forever! They all make me happy and keep Kathryn’s spirit alive!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20th 2014

It is Easter Sunday 4/20/14. Did you know that every 40 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer? Scott and I attended the wine auction on April 5th for Camp Goodtimes. It is the biggest fundraiser for camp. $191,000 was brought in. That is the gross amount and I’m not sure what the net will be. Many of the people have been coming for years. They truly have a passion for camp. This year was a really big deal since the American Cancer Society dropped funding for all of its pediatric camps. We spent Friday night in Seattle so we could just chill and go to the Washington Athletic Club early on Saturday and help set up. Richard and Bee joined us there too. My friend Julyn and her two beautiful daughters volunteered that night. While we were eating dinner and listening to the speaker Scott had a drip land on his arm. It happened a couple of times. I don’t know where the drip came from or what it was but he said it was a tear from Kathryn. During the speakers there were some slides of Katie. She is a young lady from camp who is terminal. I had to get up and leave. It just hit me wrong and I became very upset. I guess I just can’t stand thinking of another child dying from this shitty disease. The doctor (Dr. Olson) who spoke was amazing. I personally went over to him and thanked him for the work he does. He researches other ways to treat cancer like t-cell therapy. He knew Kathryn. He had seen her scans. He actually met her at camp so he knew her as Panda too. Scott and Richard both thanked him on their own as well. I also found out that the Barry’s who I had met at the grapevine earlier had also lost a daughter. She died in an accident. She was about 20. But as we discussed it, it doesn’t matter how you lose your child it is still a tragedy. And it never goes away. The people I sat next to are from Vashon Island, Doug and Erin. They have the Kayak Center. They have donated time and the use of their Kayaks to camp for a few years now. Doug had a bad form of cancer that affected his tissue. He understands what the children go through and really wants to help. He also told me about Dr. Chopp. I said I had talked to him. When I was researching different treatment options for Kathryn he was one of the doctors with a new idea for GBM. He is still working on it and getting a trial going. He also has moved to Seattle. When I talked to him he was back East. It was a great night! Yes, we spent way too much money but it was for a great cause. While on a walk, Scott felt another tear. No clouds, no rain but another drop on his arm. He also found 4 pennies all in one spot. He had gotten out of his van and went to the door of his worker’s house. He talked with the girlfriend of his worker and she thanked him for employing her boyfriend and how much it helps them. She actually said, “God bless you.” When he returned to his van, there were the four pennies. Pennies from heaven! During my spring break I was working at my Mom’s house. A lady drove by and asked about the house since there was a” for rent or for sale sign “ out front. As we talked I must have asked her what she did for work. She was in scrubs. She is a shower lady. The one who comes to your house and gives you a shower by either helping you into the shower or bathes you in bed. I told her that she is doing a wonderful thing. I explained how much we appreciated the shower lady for my Dad and for Kathryn. We talked about how a shower makes you feel so good. I told her about Kathryn taking that first bath after coming home from the ICU and having me shave her legs. How she was in heaven having her legs feel silky smooth and soft again. I also talked to my Mom’s neighbor. She is a very cool lady who helps so many people. She runs a program to help women who get out of prison get back into the real world. They need that you know. You can’t take a person and just throw them out into the world with no connections to find work or a place to stay. I had a nice long talk with her about what I might do with my future. She encouraged me to do something I have been a little unsure of. She said I would be great at it. So, I might just go for it! I recently had a dream about Richard. He was sobbing and curled up in my dream. He was crying and saying, “Why her? Why her?” He was talking about Kathryn. Why did she die? Why was it her? He was truly upset in my dream. I hope he is ok. It is hard to tell with some people. You never know the depth of their pain We went to the last camp planning meeting. I had to picked up 30 mailboxes at McClendins. Scott and I took them to the meeting. They are for a project for each cabin. It should be a great week. We are encouraging writing notes to each other and each cabin through the week. As a staff member I will make sure I write to kids that I know are not getting mail and such. Little cards that acknowledge each child. Gypsy also informed me that she sold over $250 in Panda t-shirts. I had given her a box of them at the last meeting. Go Gypsy! April 10th was Scott’s birthday. Richard sent a card that was a reminder of the past. About 10 years ago. It is still funny to this day. He wrote a beautiful message in it about how Kathryn would be proud of the work Scott is doing for camp. It brought tears to both of us. I saw a cute story about a basketball player Adreian Payne and a tiny little girl Princess Lacey Holsworth. I don’t remember how they became friends but this huge black man has this little 8 year old girl as his best friend. She goes to all of his games that she can and he visits her in the hospital. It is an amazing connection. Lacey died on April 8th. Here is the story EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An 8-year-old Michigan State basketball fan whose battle with cancer inspired the team's players, coaches and many more beyond the hardwood was honored by thousands of her closest friends at a memorial service in East Lansing. Lacey Holsworth's family wanted those attending the event Thursday night at the Breslin Center basketball arena to wear bright colors and smiles in celebration of her life. And, many did. Many also wiped away tears, especially when they heard Heather Holsworth's recorded message about her daughter while her pictures were shown on video boards. "I can't wait to see you again, save a dance for me," she said at the end of a composed, recorded message. Lacey died at her home in nearby St. Johns on April 8. The little girl affectionately known as "Princess Lacey" had neuroblastoma, a nerve-cell cancer. She wore a blond wig because chemotherapy took her hair. Lacey met Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne during one of her hospital stays, and their friendship quickly blossomed. She became a valued member of the Spartan family. Payne, perhaps because he thought he would be too emotional to speak, was not scheduled to address the crowd at the celebration. Travis Trice, a junior guard, represented the team on a raised stage in front of nearly 1,000 chairs — most of them filled — on the covered court and perhaps 2,000 more people seated in the lower section of the arena. "Her smile would change your day and have an impact on you," Trice said. Truly an amazing story. While I was working out in my yard a lady came to the bottom of the driveway with a stroller and two small children in it. I started talking to her not realizing at first who she was. She is my neighbor’s mother and the two children are her grandchildren. She was out here from South Carolina watching the grandchildren because her daughter was asked to be in a fitness video. So, she was helping Adam with the kids so he could go to work. As we talked she said something about the little flowers (primroses). She asked if I just planted them. I said I was given them over two years ago by the neighbors when Kathryn died. They aren’t supposed to come back each year but they have. She asked about Kathryn’s cancer. Her Dad died of a GBM just like Kathryn. She also knew of a survivor. He was treated by the same doctor I contacted at Duke University, Dr. Henry Friedman. She said this man lived at Duke for over two years while getting treatment. She said she is still mad at God for taking her Dad and her brother at the age of 15. She went on the say that there are so many horrible people who get to live and live long. Why, would a beautiful person like her brother, father or Kathryn be taken and those horrible people get to live? All I could think of is, “This is Hell on Earth.” We have all heard that saying but heaven will be so wonderful. People who are taken early, maybe they are the lucky ones and we are left here living in hell. That’s all I could think of. Kathryn is in a better place. A place of peace, love and happiness. I know I hurt and everyone who misses her hurts but she is safe from pain. I went to a friend’s birthday party at the Swiss in downtown Tacoma. It was a lot of fun. But what was great about it, I saw Cody. Cody was Kathryn’s best friend forever. I haven’t seen him since Kathryn passed. I know it was hard on him and he took a nose dive in the game of life but he seemed happy. It was good to see him and get that great big, tight, long, hug from him. He has avoided our house since Kathryn passed. He was invited to her two birthday celebrations and we thought he was going to make the second one but he just couldn’t do it. There are a lot of memories here in our house for him. So many parties since they were 5 or 6. So many good times that they had. So many times we told Cody to be quiet and go to sleep. All good memories. But Cody promised to see me this summer and dance with me then. This should be at our house. I also asked my principal how his Mom is doing. She still is not doing well. They do have a therapist coming to the house a couple of times each week. I don’t think she has left the house yet. I offered to talk to her if she would be willing to talk to me. Talking about Kathryn helps me. He said that his Mom will take a step forward and then two steps back. There are those good days and those bad days for me too. Today is a young lady’s birthday (Sarah). She passed away from Ewings Sarcoma not too long before Kathryn passed away. She was a bit younger too. Her Mom has become an internet friend. She made a comment about my work with Camp Goodtimes and how she hopes to be a strong as me someday. I told her to ask her Sarah for help. She will give her strength. I know that Kathryn helps me and gives me strength. I couldn’t do what I do without her help. In Dear Abby today a woman wrote about the month of February. Her mother died in February and her mother’s birthday was also in February. I thought about how I felt in February. Not so good! But I also have Richard’s birthday in February to cheer me. This woman wrote about how hard mother’s day will be for her without her mother here. Many things are hard but you can’t resent or hold it against others who have what you wish you had. I see Kathryn’s friend’s having boyfriends and getting engaged. I see my friends with grandchildren or doing special things with their daughters. I don’t resent their joy. Richard is so good at recognizing special days for me and sharing his life with me that I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. Scott is good at making me feel special. I have a wonderful life as it is. I have many special memories of times with Kathryn and I cherish those memories. But I would never resent some ones joy they have that I can’t have because Kathryn is not here. I’m so lucky to have thoughtful people in my life. A couple of last minute thoughts. Did you know that every 8 minutes a young adult 18-35 is diagnosed with cancer. And finally, Today is Easter. It is not about the Easter Bunny! It is about love and forgiveness so we can have eternal life. For that I give thanks. Thanks to Jesus for giving his life so that we could all have eternal life. I will see Kathryn one day again in a wonderful place called heaven. Enjoy your day and family.