Simple Things June 21st
Enjoying the simple things in life. This is Friday the 14th of June and I just got my staples out from my hip surgery. Tomorrow I will be able to take a real shower. One of those simple things in life. I will shave my legs and that will feel great. I remember the smile and how happy Kathryn was to get home from the hospital and soak in a real warm bath. I shaved her legs and she was so happy as she rubbed her hand up and down her legs to feel the smooth skin. I will never forget that moment. It was a simple thing but it made her so happy.
Friday night I also stopped by the Relay for Life of Tacoma. My co-workers and friends had 2 sites for that our kids from school. One site is for them to hang out in and the other is where they sell Wired and Cascade Ice for fundraising. When I was doing it I let them take it over the Wired and Cascade Ice site and now they are on their own. The kids love it and seem to have a good time. They also raise more money to help support research for a cure. Kathryn was my partner in this when we started it back in about 2007. We were the X-Passion Team. I have several pictures of her working the booth. We have always enjoyed the Relay and it’s purpose. Maybe next year I will get more involved again. I also ran into some friends from the past. They were parents of a young girl (now 15) who was treated at Mary Bridge. They participated on the Mary Bridge Relay Team when I was the captain. Their little girl Riley helped us win the baton competition one year. I had made stuffed sea animals and each child from Mary Bridge had decorated one. Our theme was “No More Chemo” and it was tided with Finding Nemo. I made a fish and each one of the scales had a name of one of the children being treated or formally treated at Mary Bridge. Riley was so cute in explaining that the scales represented her friends from Mary Bridge, some that were still alive and some that had died. I think she was all of 7 at the time. She did a beautiful job. Very heart-wrenching when it came from a small child. I was glad to see them and shared that Kathryn had passed away. I think they were shocked since the last time they saw Kathryn she was happy, healthy and running around like a normal teenager. Hard to believe that drastic change happened. Again, simple things in life that go by unappreciated by many.
We had some beautiful bags for Kathryn too. I also made one to honor several of the children that have passed due to cancer. My friend Keith (from work) made a darling bag too. He does such a nice job!
As I walk up the stairs in our house very carefully I think about how Kathryn walked up them with such courage. She held the rail with both hands to help pull herself up. She tried so hard to be strong and to bring her strength back. I too walked up the stairs in this same fashion my first few days after surgery. But I will recover and now almost do the stairs normally.
Kathryn would also practice walking taking the loop around the house (entry-living room-dining room to kitchen and on to the family room). I have done this same loop hoping to get stronger just like Kathryn did. Practicing and keeping those muscles moving and strong. As I take my loop I think of Kathryn working so hard to gain her strength and doing her best to gain back her mobility. She did a great job. She was mobile until we came home from the hospital on Jan 19th. Walking is a simple gift. Being independent is a simple gift too. Don’t take either for granted. I remember my Dad telling me one time, “You know it has been over a year since I have driven.” I know that was so hard for him to lose that ability. So hard for an independent person to become dependent on others for everything. Kathryn never complained about not driving. She stopped driving in the fall of 2011. About October. I think she knew that her leg didn’t work well enough to go from the gas to the brake to be safe. I’m in that situation right now too. But I know that my leg will return to normal and I will drive again. Both Kathryn and my Dad had no guarentees. Such a simple gift to be able to drive. To have the independents to go where you want when you want. It’s frustrating not to have that independence. But I tell you Kathryn never complained. She only asked me to drive smooth and slow after treatments.
I have a lot of numbness in my leg. It really bugs me. It and my knee being sore are the only things keeping me form walking completely normal. I think about how that numbness bugs me I think once again about Kathryn. Her face had become numb feeling. The right side. I know it really bothered her but there was nothing we could do for it. It may have been the tumor or the steroids that stretched her little face. I don’t know what caused the numbness but I do know I felt helpless to help her with this. I did my best to encourage her. Her doctor couldn’t do anything for it either. You know when you have nothing to fix it what do you say? I’m once again lucky to feel that my leg will return to normal. Well, there is a chance that it won’t but I believe it will. Even if it doesn’t I can deal with it.
So many similarities to Kathryn’s situation makes me believe that I had this surgery for this very reason. God put me in this situation because he knows that I have wondered how Kathryn felt. I wondered how it was for her. I know it has given me a new appreciation for how lucky I am to have so many people care about me. Kathryn wrote about how lucky she felt too. She wrote that her tears were not about her disease or her but for the love she felt from so many people who cared so deeply for her. Scott has been truly amazing. He is an excellent caregiver. He took good care of Kathryn and he is taking great care of me. I have now experienced some similar things as Kathryn did. Mine don’t really compare when you think of how she knew her outcome was to be death and mine will be a full recovery and life. It’s just a little insight as to what she was going through.
So Saturday the 15th came and I was not able to go to Bellingham for Bee’s graduation. I was bummed but Scott and my Mom went and filled me in. Richard also called throughout the day to let me know what was going on. I felt like I was there in a way. I would have been miserable sitting in the car and then sitting at a picnic table. Scott made sure I was taken care of too. My friend Robyn came over for the first hour and a half and then my friend Julynn came over with her two daughters. They brought salad fixings for dinner and I had a chicken dish that my sweet neighbors had brought over. Julynn and her daughters stayed until Scott got home. I really enjoyed the company.
So, I watched the Long Island Medium again and there was another Mom who lost her son. This time the son was leaving Mom the message to stop asking God why he took him and not her. Wow, That would be Kathryn too. I have asked that so many times as I offered my life in trade for Kathryn’s over and over. He also said that he would not trade his short life for 60 more years. He loved his life as it was. He said if his parents had known about his condition they would have not allowed him to experience life the way he did. I think Kathryn would feel the same way. I don’t think she would have changed a thing in her life. Through cut short she had an amazing life and she felt that way. She knew her experience with cancer gave her a special appreciation for life and those in her life. She knew cancer shaped her and made her a better person. I just wish she could have spread her lover farther and for longer in this world.
A friend of mine stopped by the other day. Time has gone so quickly that I don’t remember what day it was. Anyhow back in 2005 or so she and her family moved into a home by the Narrows Bridge. It had a swimming pool in the back yard that needed to be redone. They had friends help by decorating tiles for the tope edge of the pool. It was such a great idea. Over the past 8 years the tiles have broken and cracked. They are redoing their pool again this summer. She stopped by to bring us the tile Kathryn had created for their pool. She said it was the only tile that wasn’t broken or cracked. There is one single little chip off of the corner. So funny how Kathryn’s tile would be the only surviving tile. This family has been so supportive of Kathryn and our family since the very first day Kathryn was diagnosed back in 1999. They are amazing people. I really appreciate her bringing by the tile for me to treasure forever. Just a simple little thing that means so very much!
So today (June 19th) I thought I would try to tackle pictures. Pictures that need to be placed in the photo album. They are all organized and ready to go but this is a difficult task. These are the last pictures and memories of Kathryn that I will be looking at. It’s now noon and I have only looked through the box. I’m having a hard time with this one. I will get it done. If not today maybe tomorrow. It’s starting that is difficult. So so so hard! Simple things – pictures to place in a book. Not so simple this time.
Yesterday was a tough day trying to get through pictures. Wow! So, today I am going to try again with a new direction so I can do it. Hopefully it will be easier. I want to get to a certain point so I don’t feel so over whelmed. I did ok. Better than the day before but still not even close to getting done. I found files of pictures I have been looking for and that made me happy. I tried to print a picture for Rowan’s Mom and Dad but I was unsuccessful. It just wouldn’t turn out right. So I will get it printed at a regular print shop.
Today is June 21st. I have been able to walk all week without my cane. I use if I going outside or up the stairs but just around the house I’m ok. I actually forget it here and there. I also heard from Rebecca (Rowan’s Mom). It has only been a little over a month since Rowan passed away. I’m was so happy to hear from her. I hope they can get back to life sooner than I did. It is terrible laying around crying and feeling that pain of loss. It is so fresh for them right now.
Today my goal is to get pictures ordered and get some in the album. I will do it! I’m also going out to camp to see people and help set up the arts and crafts. We will see how often I get out there. I bought a 10 day ferry pass. I used 10 days between the two camps last year. I hope to actually stay out there for the second week of camp. We will see how I feel by then. Richard and Bee are running a special session for the siblings. They are only allowing siblings to run the sessions as well. A lady who has been doing sib shops for years now will be coming out to help on the day they are doing theirs. I hope to get out there to meet her. I asked both Richard and Bee about their feelings at the time of their sisters having cancer. Bee said she was older so she was able to handle it better than a child. Richard said, “I had skiing.” I truly believe my brother saved Richard by teaching him how to ski. Things could have been so different and negative for Richard. But he had skiing and an Uncle who took him under his wing and gave him the love and time he needed. Siblings get left out so often. They can be the forgotten child or children. The sick child gets a lot of attention and gifts. I remember feeling bad for Richard several times as Kathryn received gifts and he had to just watch. He seemed to do well with it. Kathryn was good at sharing.
So the simple things in life are there to treasure. I do treasure sitting outside and just soaking in all of the beauty around me. I enjoy the simple visits from friends and family. The time I get to share with them. Of course I appreciate the simple things that I can do. I can walk, talk, think for myself, see and do what I need to do or want to do. Being independent is such a simple gift but one that I really treasure. I hope you realize the simple things in life are the best things in life.
I’m off and will write later.
Love you all,