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.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thoughts about Thanksgiving 11-24-12


Thoughts about Thanksgiving 11-24-12

It’s been an interesting week.  I received a letter from the Mary Bridge Oncology Clinic about the Christmas Party.  Kathryn loved to go to this.  She helped hand out gifts a couple of times.  They have a slide show featuring children who have passed away and also photos from some of the parties.  They have a spring or Easter party and a Summer party each year as well as the Christmas party.  So in the letter I was asked to send some pictures in for the slide show.  I was also asked to bring in a photo in a frame to display it on the Angel’s table.  I was happy to do all of this.  But when it came time to look through photos I just burst into tears.  The tears just flow so fast and so hard.  Maybe this is why I haven’t put those photos in the album yet.  I’m so far behind it is crazy.  It will be the last album that has photos of Kathryn in it.  Maybe that is why I been putting it off.  No more pictures will ever be taken of her.  It’s so hard to think about it.  But it is this way and I just have to suck it up.

Richard came down on Wednesday to help out with the preparations for Thanksgiving.  He was pretty fun to have around as I went through the china and silver for setting the table.  He looked through things and asked a lot of questions.  The china with the roses was my Grandma’s on my Dad’s side and the silver was Scott’s Mom’s.  Are these crystal glasses?  Yes, son and some day all of this will be yours.  I told him that you can get more of the china through a company but it will cost a fortune.  I purchased a couple of plates years ago at $35 a piece.  Richard was a big help with the food too.  He loves to cook and does a great job.  Well, I did have to save the stuffing after he added too much liquid and turned it into mush.  In the end it was great.  He also bar-b-qued a Steelhead.  Scott made the turkey and Richard carved it.  Richard and I each made a bowl of mashed potatoes.  It was fun to have him in the kitchen with me.  My Mom came down early on Thanksgiving and helped too.  She peeled an entire ten pound bag of potatoes.  I don’t know that we could have done the whole deal without all of these helping hands.

On Thanksgiving my Mom said she had a message from my sister-in-law on her cell phone but she could hardly hear it.  I listened to it.  We also received a call from my sister-in-law’s sister too.  My niece was in the hospital.  She had gotten an infection in her lungs.  She had surgery on the 21st to remove 400 cc of fluid and bacteria.  She had a second surgery on Thanksgiving Day to remove 500 cc of fluid and bacteria.  They also inserted a tube for draining.  This required moving ribs which so very painful.  I cracked a couple of ribs once and it took so long to get better.  It hurts so much too.  When I listened to the message my emotions went crazy.  It was bad news of a young girl who didn’t deserve to be in this position.   It was another set of parents worried about their little girl.  This is just too hard to take.  It made me think of how we had grand plans for Christmas Eve last year and we ended up in the hospital.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to go home very quickly and ours turned from what we thought would be a quick fix to the beginning of the end.  Fortunately my niece will be good to go home in a few days.  Prayers are welcome for her speedy and complete recovery.  Her name is Julia so when you pray say her name. 

Our Thanksgiving went on.  I was so happy to see my brother Mike.  He has had a rough time as he is going through a divorce.  He looked good and sounded good.  My friend Robyn came over.  Scott’s aunt and uncle were here.  My Mom of course.  My niece Emily, Richard’s girlfriend (Katherine) and her Mom, uncle and her Mom’s friend Dean were all here.   My cousin Mark and his daughter were here.  And my Mom’s only living sibling, her sister Mary Jane was here too.  We had a lovely evening.  Everyone contributed to the meal or drinks.  Many helpful hands in the clean up too.  We had each filled out a piece of paper to say what we were thankful for and then we circulated them around the table at dinner time.  We each picked one out of the bowl and read it.  So no one read their own.  It was fun.  What was funny about this is that I was thinking about doing this and without Richard knowing that I was thinking about this he asked me if we could do this.  It told him that it was so funny that he should ask me because I was thinking about doing this very thing.  Anyhow it was fun.  We had some good laughs. 

As far as my emotions go I was holding it together well.  I was too busy to get thinking about how I felt.  For a moment during dinner I did kind of got away mentally and almost started to cry but then I pulled myself back.  Last year we were in Houston.  It was fine to be there thinking and hoping we were saving Kathryn.  We made our little chicken with all the fixings.  We were all together as Team Bradley.  Now one player short but still working as a team.  Richard and I even high fived it as Team Bradley. 

After everyone left and Mom, Richard and Scott all went to bed Katherine and I went and sat in the hot tub.  We talked and talked.  We were both very wrinkled when we got out at 1:30.  I love her so much.  It is nice that my son has a girlfriend that is my friend too.  We talked about our losses, her sister 2003, her Dad 2007 and Kathryn 2012.  I think this has all created a huge hurt and mistrust in God.  We all prayed but our prayers were not answered the way we wanted them to be answered.  I have forgiving God and have learned to trust that this is only a short life here and the one to come will only be better.  I still feel so much pain but this dear girl and her mother have had so much more pain sent their way.  She even said that life is so different without Kathryn.  It was just normal to make decisions about meals with Kathryn in mind.  What would Kathryn like for dinner?  What would Kathryn eat?  My little Kathryn was a huge part of Richard and Katherine’s everyday life.  Now they don’t have her around and it is different.  You know that change in life I have talked about, well this is part of it.  Change in the way we live with an empty feeling.  There is a void that will never be filled.  We go through our days thinking about Kathryn knowing we won’t here her sweet little voice and knowing that we will never hug her or kiss her or hold her again.  As I sat at the Thanksgiving table I thought about how I would be hearing her in silly conversation with my brother and his daughter.  She would have been sitting there enjoying them as they would have been enjoying her.  But it could only be imagined. 

I also received an email this week from an organization called Candlelighters.  This organization works with families who have children with cancer.  They asked if I would like to adopt a family for Christmas.  I said yes or course.  Kathryn would have wanted me to do this.  She and I would have had a blast out shopping for the family.  One of the things I remember not getting done last year was getting a name from the giving tree.  Kathryn had reminded me that we needed to do this.  I never went out to get a name because I didn’t want to leave her.  I knew she could have a seizer at any time and I would not have ever want to be away if this happened.  Anyhow I never got a name so I guess I am making up for it by taking on a whole family.  It will be fun to go shopping for them.  I miss buying things for Kathryn.  I see things and think about how she would love this and that.  Also Christmas movies are coming out and she would want to see them.  Or she would want to pull out the Christmas movies that we have here at home and we would watch them.  It doesn’t matter if we have seen them several times and it never mattered that they were old.  We still enjoyed the joy they brought and the time we shared watching them together.  She had this sweetness about her.  A complete and under innocence that made her “child”.  Yep, we called her child.  We probably would have called her child forever because of her sweet, innocent heart. 

Little Rowan is doing well and so is the other 4 year old I told you about.  Pray that the State of Texas allows Dr. Bryzinski to start taking in pediatric patients again.  He has had to turn children away because of the government.  One that I know of has passed away.  This should not be happening.  I have read other things about our government and the drug companies.  It is not pretty.  They don’t want to find cures or preventions when they can treat symptoms with drugs for long periods of time and make millions and billions of dollars.  So sad to think that there are people who want money more than happiness and health for others.  Anyhow pray that Dr. Bryzinski can start taking in more children to save them and their families form this disease (cancer). 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I hope you all had a chance to reflect on your blessings.  We have many things to be thankful for and don’t always take the time to think about just how very blessed we are. 

Love you all,
Carol 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving 11-17-12


Thanksgiving 11-17-12

On Sunday (11-11) my Mom and I went to a special shopping trip to the Super Mall.  You had to purchase a $5 ticket to get in.  I had bought our tickets from kids from my school.  They were selling the tickets as a fundraiser.  The night before we went (Saturday night) I had a dream that Kathryn wanted to go with us too.  I told her I was sure I could buy a ticket at the door so she went with my Mom and me.  It would be just like the real deal.  The three of us shopping together.  The three of us did things together all of the time.  Well my Mom and I had a great time shopping.  I love her so much.  It would have been even that much better if Kathryn would have been with us.

I’ve been trying to figure out where my life is heading.  It was always so clear before Kathryn left us.  I think I’m supposed to help with Camp Goodtimes.  As you know I attended Camp for the first time this past summer.  Nine days ago I spoke at a special evening to help gain support for camp.  This last week on Tuesday night Scott and I went to a planning meeting for the wine auction for Camp Goodtimes.  It’s a very special evening.  I went to it last year and had a very good time.  I was also asked to spearhead a new committee to help work with parents of campers or with parents of potential campers or just spreading awareness about camp.  Of course I said I would.  Soon I will hear about the vision of this committee so I can get it moving.  I’m starting to understand that it is my mission to help Camp Goodtimes continue and grow.  It is a fabulous place for kids with cancer to escape from what can be a very cruel world for a kid who looks different because of steroids, radiation or cancer itself.  I have always asked for people to support me in the past as I raised funds for The Relay for Life.  It too is an American Cancer Society event just like Camp Goodtimes is an American Cancer Society event.  I will now ask for support for Camp Goodtimes.  Some of the money I have raised in the past went to camp since it is part of the American Cancer Society.  The only difference is that I would be designating that all of the money I raise go to camp in honor of Kathryn.  It means a great deal to all of us.

So now to the part of how I have been doing.  I had been doing pretty well until the last four or five days.  I seem to be back to crying.  I just miss Kathryn so much.  It’s going to be hard going through the Holidays without her.  I just can’t imagine Christmas morning.  I thought about Thanksgiving and how she should be here to help me set the table and just get the house ready.  She was always my  helper.  When counting all who will be here it’s hard to say three of us not four.  Last year we were in Houston.  We had a good Thanksgiving.  We made a chicken and stuffed it like a turkey.  We had the mashed potatoes and the gravy.  Matt and family had sent flowers and they were on our table in our hotel as we had our Thanksgiving dinner.  We were so grateful just to all be there together.  Kathryn seemed to be stable and we were hoping this treatment was doing what it was supposed to do.  It was but she just couldn’t have enough of it.

So, Christmas in on our minds.  Scott brought up the ornament that he bought for Kathryn last year.  I told him that the memory of her putting that ornament on the tree was in my mind.  I had too been thinking about it.  She was home from the hospital and in a wheelchair but she reached out and placed that beautiful ornament on the tree.  That crazy tree that actually grew while we were in the hospital.  That tree that stayed fresh for us all that time.  We finally were able to celebrate Christmas on January 22nd.  Kathryn was so excited with her gifts.  She smiled and showed her appreciation.  Richard helped her open gifts as we all did.  It wasn’t our normal Christmas but again we were just grateful to all be there together.  Still hoping for a miracle.

I look at the photos in my classroom and smile but almost break down and cry too.  Such great memories and yet that is all they are now.  All I have of Kathryn are memories.  That really sucks.  I have been staying very busy to keep my mind occupied.  It helps.  I had the meeting on Tuesday night,  went to the gym and tutored after for two and a half hours on Wednesday night, had arena conferences at school on Thursday night and went out to Scott’s Aunt and Uncle’s house on Friday night.  Tomorrow (Sunday) I will be cleaning house all day.  I hope I can keep my mind busy while doing this.  Now I realize I have been avoiding this kind of work because I do a lot of thinking while cleaning.  It needs to get done.  I'll just have to suck it up and get it done.

Scott knows that I am having a difficult time.  I’m sure he is too.  We spent the day together trying to gain our life back.  We went to a movie and haven’t done that for years.  We did some shopping together and went to dinner.  We had a very nice day just the two of us.  I guess we are back to where we started some 30 years ago.  Just the two of us.  Richard does keep in touch.  He is such a great son.  He is really good about calling.  He talks to one of us each day.  We always count our blessings when we think of him.  I’m excited to see him on Wednesday. 

I guess I will have to do a great deal of praying for strength.  Speaking of praying, a boy from camp was in the hospital and hoping to get home for Thanksgiving.  He went home, I think it was yesterday or maybe this morning.  This is great!  He looked so happy to be going home.  I had been sending little messages to him.  My cousin Lori will need prayers too.  She is the one who’s husband passed away from cancer in May.  She has two young boys too.  I do have a lot to be grateful for and will be thinking of this too. 

I’m off to bed so I can get a lot done tomorrow.  If I don’t write before Thanksgiving,  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I hope that you all remember that you are fortunate to have all that you do.  I hope you remember of those things your health, faith, and loved ones are above all of the material things.  Give Thanks.

Love to all,
Carol

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Asking for help 11-9-12


Asking for help 11-9-12

In Sunday’s paper there was a huge photo of some young people going between large rock structures.  The picture showed a young man in the air between rock formations.  Scott asked if this was like my dream about Richard and Mitch.  It was a bit like it.  It was close enough to get the idea of how terrifying it would be for a parent to see their child doing something so crazy.  This was in the outdoor section of the paper.

My friend sent me a text yesterday (Saturday Nov 3rd) that there was a psychic fair going on this weekend at Freight House Square in Tacoma.  Scott and I are going to it after we attend the all Saints Day Celebration at our church.  They are honoring each member who has passed away in the last year.  So they will be honoring Kathryn.  My Mom and I were both wondering (not saying anything to each other) why they didn’t honor my Dad last year (2011) since he passed away 5-5-11.  She figured it out.  They did honor him; we were not here for it.  She was in Arizona helping my cousins who had just lost their Dad and had no family to help.  We (Team Bradley) were all in Houston for Kathryn.

Sunday November 4th

I finished my speech yesterday.  Between writing my blog, writing the speech and looking through photos on Kathryn’s facebook my eyes were sore and puffy.  The three brought on the tears and I also have the sniffles and a stuffy nose so crying magnifies all of this.

The church service was nice and I didn’t even break down and cry.  I sang along without any tears.  When they had us bring up a carnation to put in the cross at the front of the church in memory of Kathryn I did shed a couple of tears.  I think I have such a new outlook on death that it isn’t so sad anymore.  Death is really new life.  That’s how I see it or always have seen it.  It has just become very clear to me.  I have been given that peaceful feeling that assures me we will all be together again in a loving place that has no worries, fears or pains.  We are only here for a nanosecond when you think of life eternal.  I still and always will miss Kathryn but I can cope.

We also went to the psychic at Freight House Square. It was interesting.  She told me that Kathryn was standing right there with her hand on my shoulder.  She said Kathryn would be more present in my life around Christmas and the end of January.  Her birthday is February 5th and her passing was on February 2nd.  She also said that Kathryn has talked to Richard for me.  I hope this is true.  She said it with a firm yes when I asked if Kathryn had talked to Richard like I had asked her to.  She also said her death was her duty.  It was to strengthen our faith.  I think there is more to this than just strengthening our faith but I’m not sure what.  Anyhow it was an interesting experience.

I also went to Seattle Sunday night.  Richard’s girlfriend Bee and friend Lauren invited me to join them for snacks and drinks.  I love being involved in their lives.  Of course I joined them.  We had a really nice time.  That same day Mitch (who we call S-2 for son two) called to see if we were home.  He was around the Tacoma area and wanted to stop by.  I wished we would have been home to see him.  I’m glad the kids are keeping in touch.  We love them all so much.

Monday rolled around and I realized I couldn’t find my bracelet.  My gold Hawaiian bangle bracelet from Scott’s Mom June.  I was so worried that I had really lost it for good.  I filled out a lost and found with TSA at LAX airport.  That was truly the last time I could remember having it.  I put it in the basket because it will make the buzzer go off when going through security.  I was pulled aside because of the snow globe in my bag.  I thought I may have been so distracted by this that I forgot it in the basket.  Well I looked everywhere in the house.  I checked all of my bags and looked in the car.  It was nowhere to be found.  I remembered how Kathryn had lost hers and found it months later.  I thought I would find mine later just like Kathryn did.  So I let it go for a bit.  But in the morning on Tuesday I started to look again in bags and then I thought about the book I was reading.  It says to ask your angels to help you.  I had asked her to help me find a box of pictures and within hours I found it.  So I thought I should ask for her help again.  She knows how important the bracelet is to me.  So I asked for her help and with in minutes I found it.  Why did I look where I looked?  It was under a cup in a drawer.  Wow!

Scott and I went to the Grapevine event on Thursday.  We ate P and J sandwiches in the car on our way up to Seattle.  This event is to try to get new donors and encourage current donors to continue to contribute to Camp Goodtimes.  It was a time to mingle and have some tasty treats and some wine.  There were 50 or so people there and I was the speaker.  The people there were presidents of big banks, the president of Walmart, and other (BIG WIGS).  They were all wonderful people.  I had practiced my speech over and over.  Every time I read through it I cried big time.  I was terrified that I would do the same thing at the event.  So again I asked Kathryn to give me courage.  Give me what I need to get through my speech without losing it.  This is what happened.  When I started speaking I immediately lost my place on the page.  I couldn’t find my place the entire time.  I shuffled the pages as I was speaking in hopes to find key words.  Well, my free speech was better than the practiced speech.  I knew what to say.  I went extremely well.  It was better than the speech I had written because I was able to through in some humor here and there.  I had people laughing and crying.  They were drying their tears with the little napkins.  And after I was thanked and told how wonderful it was to hear our story.  I spoke a lot of how Richard and Kathryn were so close and how Camp Goodtimes helped strengthen that bond.  I must admit I shed a tear and had to pause for a second or two but I didn’t lose it.  I was even asked to do another event similar to this one in December or January.  I will of course.

I have noticed the smell of Kathryn more lately.  Is it because she knows how much I need her presents?  Is it because of the holidays coming?  I just know that when I smell that smell it brings a smile to my face and gives me a nice warm feeling.  Thank you sweetheart.

Off to bed!  A busy day, weekend and week ahead.  Life moves so fast.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thinking about last year 11-3-12


Thinking about last year 11-3-12

On Tuesday night we carved pumpkins.  This year it was Scott, me and my friend Robyn here to carve pumpkins. Last year Kathryn was here and two of her friends too. Kathryn had this crazy idea for a pumpkin that none of us could figure out.  She gave directions to Matt on how to carve it.  He took his directions well and it turned out and her vision was revealed.   It was a Spaceship with a beam of light coming down to take away a cat.  It was great but difficult for all of us to image ahead of time.  We were all amazed at how well it turned out.

Last year on Halloween we headed off for Houston.  We were on our way with hope that there would be a way to save our precious daughter.  Team Bradley all together to do what ever it took to make this tumor disappear.  When we arrived in Houston everything went well until we got on the freeway.  Little did we know that the freeway goes around in a big circle.  That was so confusion.  We stopped for directions and no one knew where we were or how to give directions.  That was frustrating.  We bought a map and figured out the circle freeway ourselves and headed on our way.  The first hotel was terrible and they moved us to two separate rooms so we wouldn’t have to smell stall smoke all night.  The next day we moved to a second hotel with one large room and Kitchen.  Still not that great.  After a week we finally got into a nice place with two bedrooms, a living space and a kitchen.  Today (11-3-12) but one year ago would be the day Kathryn and I went in for her MRI, PET Scan and chest X-Ray. We arrived at the clinic at 9:00 and caught a shuttle to the imaging clinic.  They really tried to make it easy for people who come from out of town. This took all day and Kathryn had to fast for it.  By 3 in the afternoon we were done and she could finally eat something.  The imaging clinic had snacks and drinks for us.  This was very thoughtful.  I also fasted to be on the same lines a Kathryn.  I would try to understand what she was feeling and experiencing by doing what she had to do as much as I could possibly do.  So when she had to fast I would too.  If she got up at night I did too. 

I know I talked about this before but the cost was crazy.  I was use to an MRI costing $5,500 and here it was only $500.  My insurance covered it.  I thought the PET scan would be close to $10,000 or more because that is what it would have been at home in Washington but it was $1,100.  I had to pay all of the PET scan cost because we couldn’t wait 2 to 3 weeks for Insurance approval.  That kind of delay in treatment would have shortened Kathryn’s life by month or more.  She probably wouldn’t have made it to her Christmas party.  Thank you bureaucracy! 

Once we had the scans done we had to play the waiting game.  Again it wasn’t because of the clinic; no it was because of the FDA and all of that crap.  Maybe the 7 days that we waited could have made the difference in life and death.  Kathryn was so on the line.  I can’t help but be disappointed in our government for the way they treat this clinic. 

So the other day on facebook my friend shared the fact that several of the employees at the Susan G. Komen foundation are making over 6 figures a year.  They have also brought lawsuits against several small fundraisers (foundations or companies) for using the phase “for the Cure” in their slogan or even anything close to this phrase.  I know this is true because the company I worked for was in one of these lawsuits and we were working with the American Cancer Society and they were in the lawsuit too.  We were using the ACS’s slogan “Fighting for a Cure.” with permission from our partner the ACS and Susan G. Komen sued both of us.  They had to cover the slogan on my van and I had to get rid of all the t-shirts and such that had the slogan on it.  Well, that to me is not working for a common cause.  It sounds to me like they are not treating this as a fundraising company for a cure but for a profit for themselves.  I have never and will never support a Susan G. Komen event.  Yes, the one CEO of the ASC makes a 6 figure salary but that is not 6 or more people making 6 figures.  The ASC works with many volunteers and has never sued another foundation or company for a phrase.  The ACS praises other companies and foundations for working to raise money for the cure.  Also, we would have had to pay $15,000 to participate in the Susan G. Komen event.  To set up a booth and give away product for free would have cost our little company $15,000.  All of the other events that we did were either free or at the most $500.  Wow, What a difference!

Today is November 3rd and I’m really missing Kathryn.  I decorated the house for Halloween but I know Kathryn would have been disappointed.  I didn’t do enough.  I just don’t have it in me to do it all out.  Without her here to help me and direct me it just isn’t the same.  I’m going to try hard at Christmas time to make it right. 

Earlier in the week I had been looking for a box of photos that I need to get into the photo album.  I couldn’t find them for the life of me.  Then I remembered how the book that I have been reading said to ask for help from the spirit of your loved one.  I asked Kathryn to help me find this box and shortly after I did.  It was amazing.  I wouldn’t have looked there where it was.  I know she is here with us.  We see signs all of the time.  Scott feels her when he goes in her room and talks to her.  I have felt her too. 

I also talked to someone that said God had taken our loved ones to save them from something.  When this woman said this I couldn’t help but think of that terrifying dream I had about Kathryn.  In that dream I felt she died a terrible death and was hurt and suffered.  She was grabbed by someone and hurt.  It was terrible.  I’m so thankful her death was peaceful.  So maybe God saved her from the evil in this world that would have hurt her and made her suffer.  On the news last night there was a Dad who was watching as they put a large photo of his daughter on the side of a semi truck.  I could see tears forming in his eyes.  His daughter has been missing for two years.  The unknown is so hard to take.  I feel for him.  He has lost his daughter but has no idea of how or if she is still around.  Is she safe or being harmed every day?  This would be way too hard to deal with.

I also had a dream about Richard and his friend Mitch the other night.  I had this dream that they were jumping from platform to platform.  The platforms were natural rock platforms hundreds of feet in the air.  They were also far apart from each other so jumping from one to the other was extremely dangerous.  I only saw it on video in my dream and then confronted the boys about it.  I was so scared in my dream because I saw the video and didn’t know right away if they were both safe.  I think this dream comes from talking about losing Kathryn and my fear of losing Richard.  I would certainly crumble if this happened.  He needs to be careful, as I have already told him.  In my dream I was really upset that he and Mitch would take such a chance and put their lives in danger like that.  I guess I need to talk to both of them before they go on their ski adventure this winter.  No out of bounds or cliffs!!!

Well I spent the morning organizing medical papers.  There were a lot of them.  Passed up the $4,000 mark for claiming on taxes already this year.  That was after the $3,000 claimed in flex plan.  I forget how much we claimed last year but it was huge.  That is all above and beyond what insurance paid.  If you ever get sick watch your bills carefully.  I received some bills twice even after they were paid.  I received bills that were not mine to pay.  Question everything so you don’t get ripped off.  Make sure your insurance pays what it is supposed to pay.  Keep track of appointments.  We were even billed one time for an appointment when we weren’t even in town to be at the appointment.  If you get home health watch what they deliver because they will over do it.  If it is too stressful for you to keep track ask a friend to help out.  It can be overwhelming when you or a loved one is very sick and all your attention should be on getting better not having to worry about bills. 

Well, I have speech to write about for an event on Thursday night.  I better get to it.  It is an event to help CEO’s of large companies and other potential supporters of Camp Goodtimes become familiar with camp.  It is a mingling event with a speaker, Me. 

Love to all of you!