First Week of Camp 6/2013
- I went to camp (Camp Goodtimes) the camp for kids with cancer and their siblings. Scott and I pulled up to the ferry and heard a little beep. Right behind us was Matt. His camp name is Kodiak. Kathryn gave him this name. I wonder what name she would have given me or did she whisper in Rocksie’s ear and had her give me the name Flower? This was a day of saying hi to people and meeting new people. One of the new ladies said she heard that Kathryn (Panda) was quite the force here at Camp and all I could say is yes she was.
Saturday I went to camp again and helped pull ribbon through all of the nametags. That’s 400 or more nametags. Scott had taken them all home the night before and drilled the holes in them. He likes to help out and there always seems to be a special need that he can fill. That evening I sat out on the front porch and designed my new nametag. It was really great to see all of the Panda t-shirts at camp too!
Sunday I went to camp with Griss and Polar. This is Matt’s Mom (Nancy) and sister (Katie). Remember Matt was Kathryn’s boyfriend at the time of her passing. Polar had just had her knee operated on. Well two days after I had my hip done. So the two of us were both gimpy. Griss and Polar had put together a great gift for the kids at camp in Panda’s (Kathryn) honor. As the campers came in we asked their shoe size and even had some shoes out for them to try on. The gift was a pair of water shoes in a brightly colored mess backpack and a card explaining Kathryn’s story and that this gift was in her honor. The front of the card was a drawing of Kathryn’s and there was a little panda pin attached to the card. It was really cool to see the panda pins on the nametag ribbons of the staff and campers. As the kids came through the line I saw the Mom from the wine auction that did this years speech. She is a great lady. I also saw a young lady who was attending Mary Bridge functions at the same time we were. She has been coming to camp for a long time. It was good to see her Mom and Dad. By the end of the day I went by the Arts and Crafts shed and there it was. The Kathryn “Panda” Bradley plaque hanging high and proud above the shed. It made me smile J
Sunday night I watched the Long Island Medium. The show had a woman who really wanted to know if she had made all of the right decisions for her mother as she cared for her into her death and decisions after her death. She was assured she did make all of the right decisions and her mother sent the message that her hands were tied and she really didn’t have any choices. I often wonder about our choices for Kathryn. But I know they were all made from the love we had in our hearts for her so they must have been the right decisions. I really don’t think I would do anything differently. Our trip to Houston gave her Thanksgiving, her Christmas Party and one final family Christmas even if it was in January. Theresa (the medium) also had a mole removed and expressed her fear of it being cancer. That word is scary but it can be beaten. It wasn’t cancer so she was fine.
Monday Scott and I went out to camp to finalize the shoes. We ran short of some of the sizes and had to gather up a few before we could hand them all out. We filled the boxes (one for each cabin) with the final shoes and made sure they would all get passed out that afternoon. When we got to the neighborhood Scott and I traded seats and I drove the rest of the way home. It was easier than I thought it would be.
My neighbors left for trip but dropped a card off for me first. It was from the children of a private school. They are called the Saint Frances Cabrini Band of Angels. Each child made a heart and colored it. Each child had a fingerprint in the card and made it into a face. We had received this same type of card and hearts for Kathryn. I looked it up online and wrote to the teacher thanking her and most of all thanking her for teaching her students compassion. I didn’t know at that time that my neighbor was some how connected but now I do.
Tuesday the 25th was our 30th anniversary. We did a little shopping early in the day. I drove but had Scott drive home. Later we went out to dinner and had a nice relaxing time. Scott bought me a ring (very pretty). It is a pink heart shaped sapphire with diamonds surrounding it. He gave that to me in the morning. At dinner he gave me another card and gift. He said that while at the store buying the ring Kathryn spoke to him and told him to get this particular necklace. It is white gold and a heart with mother child figures inside of the heart. He said he didn’t come up with the words in the card that he wrote. He just started writing and the words came from Kathryn. He was just the scribe. It was beautiful and as I read it the tears flowed. He said he really cried too as he wrote it. Wow, what can I say? On the way home I practiced driving.
On Wednesday I had our carpets cleaned by our favorite carpet guy Josh. We only let him clean our carpets. He is a very nice young man. His Dad developed prostrate cancer about the time Kathryn was being treated. So we had something in common. He was wearing his blue bracelet for his Dad. After Josh was done I left for camp. Richard and Bee were leading something new at camp. It was a sib shop. An activity for the siblings of the cancer patients. It was received so well. They had way more kids than they expected. You see the kids had to opt out of their regular camp activity to participate. I met the lady from Children’s who runs the sib shops there. Her name is Ursula. She doesn’t look like an Ursula. Very nice lady and willing to help Richard and Bee with this project.
Thursday I met with a new yearbook rep. He came to my house since I didn’t know if I would be able to drive at that time. Well, I’m not supposed to be driving until I am 6 weeks out. This day my body said stop. I lay on the couch and fell asleep and just kept doing this all day. I slept so much that I thought I would not be able to sleep that night. I was wrong I slept great! I just needed to rest so my body could heal. I also heard from Rebecca (Rowan’s Mom). Her email made me feel as though she is doing a little better. I had sent her a framed picture of Rowan and myself at her 4th birthday party that was in October of 2012. I knew it would create tears but I also hoped it would bring up good memories of how happy Rowans was that day and even the next day as she showed me all of her presents. Rebecca plans to do some volunteer work to give back to those who helped them. I thought that was a good idea. Staying busy is important and doing something that helps others is great. Rowans’ Dad, Chuck will be going back to work too. So, they are planning for their future and this makes me feel good. Before going to bed I stood in the upstairs hallway that over looks the entry. I was thinking about Kathryn and then the light flickered. I guess Kathryn was letting me know she is there. I thanked her.
I don’t remember what day it was this past week but we watched Dateline or a show like that about the boy who had a successful face transplant. The first full face transplant ever. It was an amazing story. What hit me hard was when the donor’s mother said how her son was still warm and alive when she said good-bye. That must have bee so hard. They did such an amazing thing to save so many others too by donating their son’s organs. I still wish we would have had them take out Kathryn’s final tumor to study. It just didn’t cross my mind at the time and by time it did it was too late.
Friday our Cutco guy came by to sharpen our knives. We had quite the visit. I told him about Kathryn, as he hadn’t been here in a couple of years. I also bought something for Richard. We each shared stories and had a nice visit. I did a little yard work today. Found that I could only do a little and then rest was needed. But it felt good to get out in the yard.
Saturday I made a goal to get a certain amount of yard work done and I did. Felt good! Richard and Bee came over from camp and spent the night. It was nice to relax and chat with them. Richard asked about using out cabin and bunkhouse for sibling ski weekend. Both Scott and I thought we could work that out. We discussed some of the rules and how we might make this work. I love having Richard and Bee here.
Sunday (June 30th) Bee and I went shopping. I drove and did just fine shopping. Did have to ice my leg when I got home. Shopping with Bee made me think of shopping with Kathryn. We shopped for the great deals and only bought sale items. We didn’t plan on spending this much time shopping but that I what girls do. Bee said, “It’s a good thing Richard didn’t come with us.” I had to agree. Bee also picked up her I-Pad at the Apple Store. Richard, Scott and I had given her a gift certificate for this for graduation. We went from the mall to Fred Meyers and shopped there for flowers and wine for dinner. The wine was a gift for Scott’s Aunt and Uncle since they were having us over for dinner that evening. Richard loves going there for dinner because Auntie Carol is such great cook. It was a lovely evening and I practiced driving with the clutch when we got to the neighborhood. Richard said I could even drive his car since the clutch in his car is very soft and easy. Why not the truck? Richard and Bee took it to Bellingham for moving.
In conversation with Bee on Sunday she told me that all of the girls were in love with Kodiak (Matt). Then she told them how Matt learned about camp and why he started coming to camp. It was all because of Kathryn. The girls all gave that caring voice, as they all knew Panda and loved her. They thought it was so sweet that Kodiak came to camp because of her. He is a nice boy and I’m not surprised that the older girls all have crushes on him. After all Kathryn only picked the best. She was really worried about having a relationship with Matt after being diagnosed. I know she was concerned for his feelings and his heart. She had seen another friend of hers lose his girlfriend to cancer just a year or two before. She didn’t want Matt to suffer the loss like her friend had.
So I think I will end her on Monday (July 1st) with something I heard on TV. Why do these things pop up on the TV or radio just when you need them is beyond me. You can handle all things in life if you believe in God. God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. If you can change it then change it but if you can’t believe you can handle it. If you don’t believe you can handle it you will get weaker and weaker. God has given Scott, Richard, Bee, My Mom, Matt, Rebecca, Chuck and me a great deal to handle. But we will deal with it and find strength. We all have faith and we all have God in our hearts. We will live life and one day meet our loved ones in Heaven.