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, March 30, 2013

More Cancer! Easter is here! 3-30-13

More Cancer! Easter is here! 3-30-13

Early this week I received a phone call from Richard.  That’s not unusually as he is so good about keeping in touch but it was a difficult call for him.  I could hear the quiver in his voice.  He told me about a young man (about his age) who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer.  He had a huge part of his colon or bowel removed and now has a bag.  He was calling to find out about fundraisers and taxes.  This young man has just started a new job and is still in the waiting period for insurance.  Cancer is big business and will cost this young man plenty.  His friends are going to rally around him and do what they can.

Scott and I attended the last meeting on Tuesday for the big Wine Auction for Camp Goodtimes.  It’s on the 6th of April and totally sold out!  That’s exciting news.  Several of our friends have donated or bought ticket and donated items.  We are so blessed to have so many people as friends and family willing to support something so dear to us.  Next week we will be doing our final part.  I will deliver some last auction items including a Panda Basket from the Durham’s.  The Durham’s have a bunch of auction items and I’m so excited that they are involved and we will be spending the evening with them. I will also pick up the flowers for all of the centerpieces on Thursday in Mount Vernon.  Friday we will be going to Seattle to help with some of the set up and Saturday afternoon help with the final set up.

So the Wine Auction is a fancy Black Tie deal.  I realized just the other day that last year I was probably the only woman there not in a black cocktail dress.  I went at the last minute as a guest due to Kathryn’s passing.  So, at school I looked up some dresses online.  I don’t have Kathryn to help me pick things out so I had one of my students help me.  I think she was glad to have her opinion valued by me.  I think she made a good choice too.  I just hope it gets here on time and fits.  I have shoes that Kathryn had picked out for me that will go perfect with the dress.  I think Scott is going to get a tux too.

I saw my Doc this week for the regular check up and my leg.  He’s a great doctor and I told him how much I appreciate him taking such good care of me.  I had some issues after Kathryn’s passing and he helped me out without question or even going in to see him.  He always greets his patients with a big hug.  He really takes time to know you as a person.  He tells me he loves me.  He is the perfect example of a good doctor. During my visit I was asked several times about paps in the past.  The reason I bring this us is that Doctors are being encouraged not to do paps every year.  The insurance companies don’t want to pay for them.  As my doc said, “They don’t want to pay for anything.”  Well, I have had several bad ones in the past so I’m clear to have one every year.  Mammograms are being discouraged too.  Good preventative care or early detection care is being discouraged.  And, it will only get worse.  I have already seen things changing for the not so good in my case.   

This cancer stuff… I just don’t get it.  I have read several things that have pointed out that there is a cure but it has been hidden from us and our own FDA is the culprit.  Doctors or Researchers who have come up with true cures have been taking into bankruptcy with the red tap and such.  I really believe this is all true as they try to stop Dr. Burzynski from saving lives too.  I have talked about him before.  They have stopped him from taking new pediatric patients into his antineoplastics treatment.  This is the treatment that is keeping Rowan alive and has shrunk her tumor over 50% and has stopped its growth and may have stopped the cancer.  This is the treatment that significantly slowed Kathryn’s tumor growth and allowed her to be at her Christmas-send off party.  But nobody is getting rich from his treatment.  It is less than one tenth of the cost of traditional treatment.  I have read this over and over from several different resources and it makes my blood boil.  To think that I may have lost my daughter because of greed angers me.

On Friday I attended a Funeral.  This was my friend Robyn’s brother who died from cancer.  My students had asked me something and the funeral was part of the answer.  As kids are they asked more questions and I shared that he died from throat cancer.  One girl said that she didn’t know you could get throat cancer.  I said smoking or chewing tobacco can easily cause this type of cancer so don’t do either one.  My other friend lost her husband a long time ago to this same cancer from chew.  I shared this with them too.  Some times the non subject matter items are just as important as the subject matter items.

My friend’s family came together to honor her brother.  The service was at Tahoma National Cemetery as he was in the navy.  We all went out for dinner later than scattered part of his ashes in the sound off of Day Island.  It was nice to meet some of her family that I had not met before and see some that I had not seen for a very long time.  Her half brother use to come to my house for math tutoring and now his is a 31-year-old man.  Her nephew (son of Mike who passed) had made the arrangements.  He and his wife had lost a daughter like me.  I noticed immediately the In Memory Sicker on the back window of their car.  I asked Nicole (the mom) about it and she told me all about her daughter’s short 2-week life.  She has a tattoo of her little handprints on her left chest and her husband has her little footprints on his arm.  I say little because they are so tiny.  She was 3 months premature but was breathing on her own.  It was her bowels that took her life.  They ripped.  It was sort of shocking because it is usually the lungs that are the issue but she was doing fine with breathing on her own.  So, Nicole didn’t realize who I was until later.  When she realized I was Kathryn’s Mom she was so excited to know me.  She had read Kathryn’s tri-fold at Robyn’s house.  She was amazed by Kathryn and how she did so much and wanted to do so much for the cause even knowing she was very sick.  She admired Kathryn’s spirit and her love.

So, now I have also found out that my sister-in-law has a sister with breast cancer.  I read in the paper this morning about a lady who just wants to make it to May 10th to see her daughter graduate from college.  She has ovarian stage-3 cancer.  When is it going to stop? 

We should take all of this as reason to live.  To live, live and live.  To enjoy our friends and family.  To have fun.  To spend time enjoying life as it can be taken from anyone at any time.  No arguments, no fighting, no intolerance for others.  As for me I will finish up a few things around my house this morning and then go up to my Moms.  I’ll be helping her with setting up and food preparation for Easter.  We’ll have great conversation and just enjoy each other while we work.  I love her so much.  Then on Sunday (Easter) all of my brothers and their families will be at Mom’s house.  Always happy to see everyone.  Richard and Bee will be there early so we will put them to work.

I hope you all have a very Happy Easter.  Enjoy your family and friends.  Enjoy the beautiful weather we are having and enjoy the life you have. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24, 2013

March 24, 2013

This past week was pretty quiet.  I did smell Kathryn a couple of times, so I know she is around.  It is strange that sometimes I am at ease with her death and other times I just fall to pieces.  I guess it will just be that way.

My friend Robyn called me came over Tuesday night to get some photos of her family.  I made copies for her so she could take them to her brother.  She told me that he could no longer speak.  I was hoping she would have gotten to see him before he lost his ability speak.  She went down to Oregon on Wednesday and she was able to get responses from him.  Fortunately she arrived when she did.  He passed away on Thursday at 2:30 pm.  That cancer takes so many people.  It attacks without reason. 

I also heard there is some exciting news about a new way to make the attack on cancer.  It’s a way to make the immune system attack cancer like it should.  To me this makes the most sense of all.  Chemo and radiation are so dangerous.  As you know it was the radiation that really took Kathryn’s life.  It created the deadly beast in her head that took her life so ultimately it was the radiation that killed her.  This happens so often.  People who are not familiar with cancer don’t realize that the treatment can be just as deadly as the cancer. 

This weekend Scott and I worked on the yard and his shed.  It was nice to get out and get some things done.  We had a picnic lunch on Saturday night down at Chambers Bay.  We use to do this a lot when the kids were younger.  We would go to a park and have dinner and then the kids would play.  Some times we would go to the lake and then feed the ducks.  Later in the evening we sat in the hot tub.  While we were sitting there we were talking about Kathryn’s crazy cat Klyde.  He has been chasing and playing like there is something for him to chase after and there isn’t anything.  Scott made the comment, “I wonder if Kathryn is playing with Klyde?”  I said, “She could be.”  He sure behaves like someone is there playing with him. 

I also see that the dog has been getting on Kathryn’s bed.  She never use to.  It has only been recently.  I have noticed the bed wrinkled and her hair on the bed.  Don’t know what is going on with the animals.

Today (Sunday) Klyde investigated his cat carrier.  The towel and blanket were still in it.  The last time he slept in it was when Scott brought him to the hospital to see Kathryn.  She stuck her hand in the carrier with Klyde and both of them fell asleep.  It was pretty sweet. 

Talked to Richard today.  He is on his way home to Washington.  He should be at our cabin tonight or tomorrow.   He is so good about keeping in touch.  He is having a real good time.  I think he was very happy to have Bee join him.  Both Scott and I could hear how happy he was in his voice. 

It’s a short one.  Take care and have a great week.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coming Back! 3-17-13

Coming Back! 3-17-13

After the Relay for Life Captains summit last Saturday I got an Idea.  Well, this lady shared with us that she sells these little bracelets for $5 and makes $33,000 a year for relay.  I thought we can do that!  We can sell something to make money for Camp Goodtimes in Kathryn’s honor.  Kathryn is here with me as I am writing this.  I smell her right now.  I thought what better way to honor Kathryn then to bring back the t-shirts that she designed for her senior project.  Each design is unique and has a cancer related theme.  I shared this idea with Scott and he thought it was a great idea. 

On Tuesday 3/12 we met with Randy, the owner of the store where Kathryn had her T-shirts printed.  He had pulled all of her designs included her Team t-shirts.  I was excited to know that he still had them and I didn’t have to find them on her computer and all.  Randy is excited to help out and will build an online store for us and reshape it as we see fit.  He adored Kathryn and worked with her for 4 years.  He is super supportive of our mission.  He suggested that we get this on TV so we can really promote our store and maybe in the paper.  Getting the word out is essential to make substantial donations for Camp.  I know Kathryn approves because I had a vision of her sitting in Randy’s office with her Big Beautiful Smile saying “That will be wonderful.”  I could see her so clearly is was almost like she was really there in person.  I think we are going to ask the same TV station that already promotes Camp Goodtimes.  I know we will also contact the local Tacoma channel and The Tacoma Weekly.  Kathryn has been in the The Tribune for her work with Relay twice and once in the Tacoma Weekly so I think we can get them both on board.  She has also interviewed for Relay on the local Tacoma TV station.  I think we can really get this moving.  Scott and I are both very excited.  I will let you know once we have the store up and running.  I should be up shortly.  On the bottom of each of Kathryn’s shirts there will be a little note about how it is her design and that the money will be supporting Camp Goodtimes.  I have made a design too.  It will be an option but maybe not so quickly.  It needs to be cleaned up.  I also want to make my design into a sticker. 

Why are we planning all of this?  Well, We want to keep Kathryn’s memory alive and she loved camp.  Also, Camp will be on it’s own starting in August.  The American Cancer Society will be dropping all of its connections with all of the camps that it has been sponsoring.  They are working with camp to make the transition go as smooth as possible.  They have decided to focus more on research.  This is not a bad thing for camp but it will take a lot more volunteers and people who can also find ways to support camp financially.  As I understand it camp did most of its fundraiser for itself already but we also had paid ACS workers helping us and the ACS held Camp under its insurance umbrella and we used their offices for meetings and printing etc.  I believe, as well as many others do, that this will go smoothly and actually be beneficial for camp in the long run.  We have so many dedicated volunteers and so many people who as passionate about camp that it can only get better.  We have camp supporters that donate every year and after talking with a few of these CEO’s I don’t see their support ending any time soon or ever.  Once people get involved in camp and understand what camp is all about they love it and support it.

On Wednesday I saw George.  He is the chiropractor-message guy that I have been seeing for my leg.  I could hardly walk the week before.  I had to hold on to things and I even thought about getting a cane.  He explained how the body searches out injuries when a prolonged injury stops hurting.  The body tries to figure out where the pain went and finds something to show up.  I know I’m not saying it right but it explained the flair ups.  Then he also said that when something upsets you your injury tends to get worse.  Stress – no wonder I could hardly walk the week before last and even considered getting a cane.  I was totally stressed about the Team Captain Summit.  I thought I had missed it.  I was calmed by getting am email about it on Tuesday 3-5.  But then I think I think too much about what I am going to say and it gets to me.  I always stress about making sure I honor Kathryn in the best possible way.  So after I spoke on Saturday I was just fine.  My leg has felt pretty darn good every since.  It was a bit sore late on Monday after being on my feet all day but wow what a difference.  It is almost normal.  I told George about this and he shared some thoughts.  He said not to worry about what you are going to say.  It will be the right thing because it is coming from your heart. The people obviously want to hear what you have to say because they asked you to be there.  So you can look out to the people to whom you are speaking to with confidence and not stress about it.  She also said to just make a paper with key points bullets and just talk about each bullet and if you get lost you can just refer to the bullets to get back on track.  George is a good man.  I’m really glad that he is helping not just my physical being but also my mental and spiritual being.

I named this blog coming back not only for Kathryn’s t-shirts coming back but also for me coming back.  I’m finally feeling that I’m coming back as a person.  I have had to be so serious and take care of things for so many years now that it is nice to feel like I can truly laugh – make fun – and be silly.  I feel that in the last month or so I have made better connections with some of my students.  The one who told me that she doesn’t know how to love is really open to me, which makes me feel good.  I am joking with students more and having a bit more fun in class.  I even volunteered to bob for things in a bucket of water at the Pep Assembly on Friday.  So I dressed in flippers, board shorts, a tank top, and snorkel gear.  Another teacher dared me to run out to the middle of the gym in my get up and run back during the assembly.  I did it and he paid up the dollar he promised.  It felt good to be silly!  It’s the true me.  Thinking way back when I was young and how my friends would introduce me to people and say, “Can you believe she is a teacher?”  That was because I knew how to have a good time and get silly.  Well, I’m coming back and it feels good.

When I drove into the carport on Friday there 2 boxes of pansies Scott had bought for me.  They were so bright and happy it made me smile.  I’m a lucky lady to have him taking such good care of me. 

Saturday I went to lunch with Richard’s girlfriend Bee.  I love this girl.  We had a nice time chatting.  I hope my son doesn’t wait too long….  Well, I would like to be a grandma before I die.  I should be retired in time to help them with child care and I will be happy to help.  Bee and I talked about cancer and how both She and Richard have had sisters die from brain cancer and her Dad too.  Richard is a bit fearful of having his own children for this reason.  I can understand his fear but I don’t think this type of cancer is hereditary.  There must be some cause but I don’t think enough questions have been asked or the right questions.  I think once a person looses a child people don’t want to pry.  I would welcome someone one asking questions to see if they could find a link.  There must be something.  Was it the fertility drugs I used with Kathryn?  Was it the fertilizers or bug killers?  Was it the something in our water or soil? What caused my daughter to develop a brain tumor when she was eight?  Was it a fall that she took?  I would answer any questions that might help.  I also told Bee that I wish someone would have asked us if they could take the last tumor out after Kathryn passed.  I would have said yes.  They know this last type of tumor changes to ward off chemo so why didn’t they ask for it so they could compare it to the one they took out in 2010.  To me, it seems the most reasonable thing to do.  If you want to know how it changed you need to compare the two.  Why didn’t any one ask?  I guess they are all trying to be polite but being polite doesn’t always give answers.  Some times some one needs to step forward and ask the hard to ask questions.  If we want answers we can’t worry about being polite or politically correct.  We need to seek and search and pry.

Well, I hope to see more of the fun me in the future.  I will inform every one about the t-shirt store through the blog and facebook.  I would say I would email but I only have a few addresses since mine all disappeared one day.  I’ll keep everyone posted in every way that I can.

Have a great day – Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 10, 2013

March 10, 2013

Last weekend I thought I would get all of Christmas down in Kathryn’s room.  Scott surprised me and worked on it and put a good dent in it.  I didn’t do much at all.  I worked in the yard instead because it was a beautiful day.  I did get a great deal done and the sunshine felt so good. And I had my two helpers; Klyde (cat) and Princess (dog) both are Kathryn’s pets.

Last week I also had a dream or two about Kathryn.  We were on vacations and all four of us were there.  It was nice to have dreams about Kathryn and pleasant dreams that made me happy.  Darn dreams are so vivid when you have them but so hard to recall or explain after.

I also received some not so good news.  Our Friend Alli contacted me to see if I would talk to her friend about our Houston experience.  Her 26-year-old friend and mother of 3 was diagnosed with a brain stem glioma.  All I could think of was that poor sweet girl.  How will she and her family cope with this?  A young family going through this tough ordeal.  Of course I said I would be happy to talk to her.  Of course I would be happy to do what ever I could to bring her comfort and hope.  This is what Rowan has and her tumor has shrunk and now stable.  It just needs to get to the next stage of shrinking again.

I also learned that my good friend Robyn received some bad news about her older brother Mike.  He had been out of the picture for some years now.  Robyn didn’t even know how to get hold of him.  Now he has cancer and a huge tumor on his esophagus, which is making him lose his ability to swallow and talk.  I told her she needed to go see him now not later.  The tumor could soon stop his ability to talk and then she wouldn’t be able to have a conversation with him.  It’s important to be able to talk to him.  I hope she goes soon. 

On Friday the 8th I thought a lot about Kathryn.  More than ever.  In 1999 this was the day of her first surgery.  I remember the doctor telling us it was cancer.  I broke down and cried.  I was so upset.  I know the surgeon was so disappointed.  I could see it on his face. Just like he was the last time.  I thought he was going to cry the last time.  Maybe he did.  They were so hoping it wasn’t cancer.  They thought it was something else due to the location.  But it was cancer. 

I also spoke at an ACS Relay for Life team captain summit on Saturday (3-9).  Before my talk I met a lady Kathy.  Her daughter is one year younger than Kathryn and went to the same elementary, middle school, high school for ninth grade and the same college.  We both think the girls knew each other.  Her daughter is really into relay just like Kathryn.  It was fun to discover this connection.  There was also a young man who was at the Western Relay when Kathryn couldn’t give her survivor speech.  He remembered.  Yep, she was supposed to be the survivor speaker but she just couldn’t do it once on stage.  She was just diagnosed with he second round with cancer and just had brain surgery.  She didn’t know what her future was so to speak about being a survivor just was too hard.  I went up on stage and held her and spoke for her.   For the first time I was the strong one not crying and she was tearing up.  Usually it was the other way around.  She always stood by me comforting me and giving me strength as I cried.  Now it was my turn to comfort her and speak on her behalf.  I had to be her strength.

I have done many talks but this one was so much more emotional for some reason.  It was in the Girls Scout building and it was on a Girls Scout outing when I first realized that there was something wrong with Kathryn.  I can usually cry a little at the beginning and then go on just fine.  But this time I just couldn’t hold back the tears.  It was all ok because I did get through it just fine and told my story just fine.  I also got the point across that as a team captain you are being a great example for others.  Your work will inspire others as Kathryn did.  Taking part and volunteering your time will inspire others to do the same.  Shortly after I spoke there was a little break.  One woman came up to me and told me about her brain tumor.  It is noncancerous and very slow growing about the size of a pea.  She has had it for years.  It doesn’t seem to cause her any problems, which is good.  Another lady came up to me in tears as her husband has the same tumor Kathryn had and it has a zero survival rate.  I was so sad for her.  I held her tight for a while.   They have looked into the Burzynski clinic so I told her about Kathryn’s MRIs before and after treatment down there.  They showed that there was improvement from the treatment she was receiving.  I also told her about Rowan’s success.  I asked her if she would like my number and all she could do is shake her head yes.  I gave it to her and hope she does call.  If nothing else I can be a person she can talk to.  Maybe this is my mission to support other brain tumor patients and families. I don’t know.

As I was leaving this Team Captain Summit a lady approached me and said,  “If your daughter is half the person you talked about she must have been amazing.”  I said, “You know she is ten times more the person than I described.  There is no way I can every portray the extraordinary person she was and still is.”  This is so true.  I can never find the words to really bring that special personality alive.  Kathryn was one in a million.  As Scott and I walked out with this lady we told her about he Wine Auction for Camp Goodtimes.  She said it sounded like fun and she might like to go.  We shared the price and she said well that’s ok, my husband and I won the lottery.  Wow!  I said that was fabulous.  They have already donated to ACS and plan to keep making donations.  She said they couldn’t do much last year because they had to pay so much in taxes but now they can do things and support causes.  I’m still blown away that I met someone who won the lottery.  Very cool!  No, I didn’t ask how much.  Oh, I asked about retiring and they are both retired now.  I asked because a coworker told me that you should quit your job because you are a sitting target for a lawsuit once you win big.  Her husband was a teacher and he immediately took out a million dollar umbrella policy under his districts insurance plan.  He found himself in a situation where a girl said something went on in his room that shouldn’t have.  Not with him but something said by another student.  He didn’t even hear it.  She and the parent were obviously fishing for money.  He retired at the end of the year.  No lawsuit.  All in all it was a great summit.

I went home and finished another yard project.  When I work in the yard I find myself talking a lot.  I’m not crazy really!  I talk to myself about Kathryn and then I talk to Kathryn and to God.  I pray for others, myself and Kathryn.  I promised I wouldn’t ask for her to come back after a year but I still do.  I was telling God at that point I am human and I lied to him.  I told him I wouldn’t ask any more but I do.  I probably will for awhile.  Maybe he will get sick of me asking and return her to me.  I rationalize with him as to why he should bring her back.  How we humans need proof that he exists and this would give us proof so profound that all would believe.  No, I’m not crazy!  I just have a good imagination and want to believe that my wishes will come true.  The yard is staring to look good.  A couple more days and it will be low maintenance instead of huge projects. 

After a few hours in the yard we went to dinner at Johnny’s Dock Restaurant with another couple. They are so fun!  The lady is a nurse at TG.  She came by to see us a few times.  When Kathryn had her surgery in 2010 she came by to see how things were going.  We were all in the waiting room just waiting for the doctors to tell us what we were in for.  She also stopped by while Kathryn was in the ICU.  We talked about Kathryn and Richard at dinner and what extraordinary people they are.  They are not the usual brother-sister combo.  They are also so caring and loving.  Simple and kind.  Also very thoughtful.  Richard is so good about keeping in touch with us and his Grandma.  We also had a new young waiter in training.  We all gave him a hard time (all in fun).  We discovered that he was actually from Eatonville and knows my niece and sister-in-law.  We gave him and invite to the Wine Auction and told him about Camp Goodtimes.  He is 23 and would make a great Camp Goodtimes staffer.  He has a great personality and big smile!  We had such a good evening!

With the clocks all set ahead it is now noon on Sunday. I need to get busy.  The dust is thick and the yard is calling.   I’ll be with my yard buddies Klyde and Princess once I clear the dust.  Yes, I will be out there talking to myself, Kathryn and God.  Making plans and doing other things in this brain of mine.  I wonder if they took a measure of my brain activity while I’m doing yard work if it would be off the charts?  Silly me.  I also just realized that it has been emotional lately because there are so many dates in a row that bring back cancer memories.  2-2-12, 2-11-12, 2-13-12, 2-25-12, 3-3-99, 3-8-99, first week of April 1999, 4-17-10, 4-27-10, 5-5-00, and that’s a lot of dates.  And all the filler dates that go with them.  No wonder I had a hard time talking without getting all emotional and tearing up.

Looking outside and thinking yard work may not happen today.

Making this day a good day J

Love to you all,

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3, 2013 (Already)

March 3, 2013

Last Sunday (2-24) I watched a video that a friend had posted and it made me think of team Bradley and our efforts to save Kathryn and Kathryn’s strive to live.  It was about a veteran who had been injured from too many jumps from the plane.  His knees were toast.  He was told that he would never walk unassisted again.  He believed what he was told.  He gained weight, and a lot of weight.  One of the pictures even showed him in a wheel chair.  He used crutches most of the time.  But then he found someone who believed in him.  He worked with him and this man worked hard.  He lost weight and failed many times at standing up or doing different yoga positions.  But then he did things one at a time.  Small steps to lead to the finally result.  He walked on his own.  He not only walked on his own but he could now run too.  The whole story was about never giving up.  We have a T-shirt hanging in Kathryn’s room that reads, “Never Give Up.”  Richard even wrote in his letter that he had to write to get back into college last spring about how we weren’t willing to give up. We never gave up until Kathryn took her last breath.  We tried everything and Kathryn did too.  She worked so hard to be able to go up and down the stairs at home.  She would practice walking around the circle in our house so she could be strong.  She never gave up. 

I also read this story about a 6 year old that lost his dog.  Well, They had the dog put to sleep because he was so old and in pain that could not be relieved.  The parents had the boy attend the euthanasia and he handled it just fine.  As the parents and the vet talked, the fact came up about animals living a much shorter life than humans.  The little boy piped up and said I know why. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Kathryn learned quickly how to live a good life.  She learned quickly to love everyone and accept them all just the way they were.  If they wanted to be better in some way or another she would help them achieve their goals.  She also loved herself and that gave her the ability to love others.  She believed in herself and that helped her to believe in others and help them believe in themselves.  She cared about others and never spoke a mean word about anyone.  She knew how to enjoy life.  How to make snow angles, lay in the grass on a warm summer’s day, pick flowers, have a cup of coffee that would last two hours over a great conversation, She learned all of this very quickly.  She may have even been born with this knowledge and kind heart.

Speaking of dogs, Princess who was Kathryn’s saving grace back in 1999 is now 14 years old.  Remember at the ripe old age of 8 Kathryn told us, “I don’t know if I would have ever come home if you didn’t get me Princess.” She was speaking about coming home form the hospital.  Sometimes Princess acts like 14 and it scares me.  She was getting a bit stiff and having a hard time walking up the stairs.  I had to help her.  Scott took her to the vet and they gave her a cold laser treatment.  I tell you it works so well.  She is now like a young dog again.  They also had us up the amount of aspirin we give her.  She is doing great!

Monday was the 25th.  Every time I wrote the date I thought about last year.  This was the day of Kathryn’s celebration of life.  I write the date at least 4 times a day for each of my math classes and type it at least 4 times as well.  Each time I wrote it I paused a bit to think.  Just a short unnoticed pause.  I was so busy that day that I really couldn’t think about it.  I had the gym right after school and then two hours of tutoring that evening.  The celebration of some ones life is kind of like acknowledging that the person is never coming back (at least in the earthly form).  It’s like the final good bye.  But we have not let it be this.  We are keeping Kathryn’s spirit and story a live and will forever.  Our friends, the Durham’s, are a great help by devoting time and energy to help raise funds to support camp Goodtimes in Kathryn’s honor.  They are supplying each child with a pair of water shoes, a mess bag for the shoes, a panda pin and a card with Kathryn’s story.  This is Matt’s family and we are so excited about them helping keeping Kathryn’s spirit alive. 

About Wednesday I received an email from a coworker asking if she could talk to me about her niece and her brother.  She made it clear that she didn’t want to make me feel uncomfortable and it was only if I felt ok talking with her.  Of course I was open to talk.  He brother had just lost his 21-year-old daughter in October or November.  She died form kidney disease.  Our stories are similar in a way.  However, I feel that they suffered much more than we ever did.  And for that I am so sorry for this family.  She didn’t know what she could do for her brother.  I said her keeping in touch just checking in is great.  I told her everyone is different but I know I don’t want people to avoid me or conversations about Kathryn because they are afraid that I will cry.  Yes, I probably will cry a little, but I love to talk about Kathryn.  She also asked about raising funds for the family and I said that is a very good idea.  They will probably never tell you just how much it all costs and they probably didn’t have a huge life insurance policy for her.  They could use the financial help I’m sure.  So, she was going to set up a bank account for donations.  I also told her I know that I had many days and still do have days, just not as often, when I can’t seem to pull myself from the couch.  It’s depression and it just holds you down.  Maybe a house cleaning or something like that.  I know that having a dirty house just makes me even more depressed and I had friends and family who helped with this.  It did make me feel better. 

On Friday I was talking to a friend when she received a phone call.  I could tell it was not a good call immediately.  It was her Dad and he was calling to tell her that his cancer had returned.  He wasn’t going to tell anyone but he finally decided that he should.  We hugged and talked about it.  I think she was there with me so I could comfort her.  I did my best.  She did say at least my Dad has had a good life.  He is older.  I think the reality of Kathryn’s short life may have helped her that day.  Knowing that she didn’t even get to become an independent adult may have made her feel lucky in a way.  But still you don’t want to see your Dad go through this or think of losing your Dad.  It was hard to watch my Dad slip away.  I think even harder for my brothers.  I will be watching to see if she is doing ok.  She has a rough road a head.

I’m really excited about the fundraiser for Camp Goodtimes.  It is the Wine Auction.  There will also be dinner and dancing.  We have several friends attending and my brother Pat and his wife Gin.  This will make it even more fun.  Scott and I will be staying in Seattle that Friday and Saturday night.

Today is Sunday March 3, 2013 and we may finally get to taking down the Christmas stuff in Kathryn’s room.  It isn’t a big task; just one that Scott and I don’t really want to do.  But we will get it done.  Yes, it is just about spring and this is a little beyond procrastination.  I guess her room is out of sight most of the time so it doesn’t bother me.  Give us strength to do this! 

I may even get to the yard today.  I would like that more than anything.  Yard work is my escape.  The fresh air is good for me too.

Hope your day and week goes well.  Remember to love like a dog, that unconditional love.  Live like a dog, enjoying the simple things in life like a walk or a ride in the car.  We could all learn a little from our animals.