Sunday, November 24, 2013
Thanksgiving is coming 2013 We set up the www.pandatees.com website. Kathryn’s t-shirts and the panda shirts are all on sale now. Only $20 a shirt! You can also buy crew neck sweatshirts and hoodies. We will also start making stickers too. I’m very excited! Scott and I attended the Camp Planning meeting. Yes, we have the funds and plans to have camp this year. We are working on the funds for the next year now. There was money in the ACS funds that were turned over The Goodtimes Project to help fund camp for 2014. We have been moving stuff in preparation for getting the floors done. They are in and next will be the sanding and finishing the week of Thanksgiving starting tomorrow. I’m thankful that we are not having Thanksgiving at our house this year! Scott came across a bunch of photos from the past. The piano bench was full of pictures. There was also a laminated “Mommy” place mat made by Kathryn. We also came across a journal Kathryn wrote for an English class when she was 12. In this journal she wrote about how a good friend would help you when you need them. They would never be stuck up and get mad. They will share food and toys. Kathryn shared her last dinner with me there in the hospital. They would go places with you and stay back when you want them to. They would be loyal, caring, helpful, successful, happy, smart and athletic. They would encourage you to do your best. They would laugh at your jokes, even the ones that aren’t funny. They would be fun too! They wouldn’t tell rumors about you or say mean things about you. She lived as she described. She was a true friend to those who knew her that is for sure. She never spoke bad about others but always found the good in each and everyone. She encouraged others to better themselves. She also wrote about us, her parents. Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. She starts off with, “I think I have the ideal parents.” They let my brother and me do just about anything as long as they know what is happening. Like we can stay up all night but it is pointless to say we are too tired for school. It’s our own problem. They spoil us with lots of presents on holidays. They take us on trips all the time. They stick by me when I go to the hospital. They show us love with lots of kisses. They let us have parties and we can invite friends over all the time. When we go camping or on a day trip we can bring friends. My parents are the best. They may have us do chores and work we don’t want to do but we have to think of all the cool things they let us do and all the things they do for us. I Love you! I love you too Kathryn. We also found a 2001 Daughter Locket Christmas ornament. It was never used. I probably was looking for the perfect photo and put it aside and forgot about it. Hopefully I will fill it this year. I received two readings of people dealing with cancer hoping for others to find God. Asking others to read the bible even is just one verse. Hoping others will cherish life and the ones around them. Amazing how people with cancer or experiencing cancer have such a love for life and find faith in God. Not only a love for life but a positive attitude. Colton – the 13 year old from Camp Goodtimes is now in remission. The T-cell therapy has worked. But as his mother expressed they don’t know for how long. A patient before him is still good after 18 months and yet others have relapsed. It is strange how cancer can be “cured” for one and the other dies from it. Kathryn’s original tumor is now at a 95% survival rate and yet in the long run she died from the treatment. They still use the same chemo treatments they used back in 1999 but the radiation has changed. We always felt lucky because we had escaped the horrors of radiation that took so much from children but left Kathryn healthy. I guess in the long run that radiation really was what killed her but it also saved her. Such a mix of outcomes. Thankful for the radiation and that she was given much less that it left her healthy and even left room for her to have more later yet too much of one kind that it created the beast that took her life. I was talking to my Mom and she says Kathryn talks to her. It usually happens when she is dressing. That’s kind of funny I think, well so does she. I received a beautiful note from my cousin Kimberly the other day. She told me that every time she sees something with a Panda she thinks of Kathryn ☺. She also has Kathryn’s picture hanging in her laundry room to remind her to Love Life! She admires how close our family is. We are! Maybe that is why Kathryn feels constant. I have said it before that it feels as though she is still here and part of my life. I know her spirit is definitely here. I was speaking to my friend Carol about making a t-shirt quilt. As we talked I told her I also had a bunch of Kathryn’s t-shirts that I started to cut up to make a quilt but I just couldn’t do it. It was so hard to think about cutting them up. She said she found it hard at first too but you just need to remember that you are making something beautiful out of them. That I can do! Now I just need the time. My friend sent me a little box with a beautiful blue bow on it to my classroom. When I opened it up I found some fluffy warm Panda socks inside. It was so sweet and thoughtful of her. I’m so glad people are reminded of Kathryn when they see pandas. Remember that essay I just told you about that Kathryn wrote, well it went missing. Scott knew I would be upset and not sleep if we didn’t find it. So, he asked Kathryn to help us find it. When Scott found all of the stuff in the piano bench there was a folder with Richard’s stuff in it. I put it in the Polk-A-Dot room on the desk since I have a file drawer for Richard and Kathryn in there. Scott said something in his chatting about that folder and I went right to it even though it was “Richard’s Stuff.” Well, there was the essay. We would of never thought to look there if Kathryn hadn’t intervened. I’m so glad it was there. Now I can rest easy and so can Scott since he was the one getting the blame for losing it. As I went by my principal’s office the other day he called me in and talked to me about the plan for observations and such for my evaluation. He then asked me about how difficult anniversaries and holidays have been. Remember he just lost his brother/best friend. They are changing up Christmas this year so it will be in a different place so it would be so noticeable that his brother is gone. I think they have made a very good decision. Now that I think about it we did things exactly the same on Christmas. We did our stockings first and then opened gifts in the living room where the tree is. Like I told him, I think we were all trying so hard to be strong for each other that we got through it. And because we had everyone over to our house we had so much to do that we didn’t have time to be sad. He also mentioned that the death of a loved on is shitty no matter what but losing a child is just beyond his something he can’t even comprehend. His Mom needs help. She stays in bed all day. But it really hasn’t been that long. I laid on the couch many of those first days. I just couldn’t pull myself up. It was bad. I know where she is. I offered my heart doctor. I didn’t know what to say to her but she knew just what to say to me. I hope she goes. I think this was something that really helped me heal. He said, some people talk how one situation is worse than another and he said they are all just bad. But I said I use this to make myself feel better. Yes, losing a child is terrible but I have another child, I didn’t lose two children like the people who just lost their two twin daughters not to mention they lost a daughter just 2 years ago. I also know a couple that lost two children to brain cancer. I had 11 years after the first diagnoses that were wonderful and cancer free. Kathryn was perfect and lived a perfect life. We had it all. Even with the second diagnoses we still lived well up until the last 6 weeks. Even in the hospital we found ways to enjoy life. And when we came home we still found happiness. I told him I look for the good and the things I can be grateful for. There are so many things to be grateful for. I also told him we celebrate Kathryn’s life each year by having a birthday party for her. We don’t celebrate her death but her life. I did have a dream about Kathryn in a house with me. It was super strange. But then I had a dream that I was in a car pulled over on the side of the road. I saw a little girl with long blonde hair wearing a pair of jeans and that teal sweatshirt that Kathryn wore of mine. I just watched her walk down the road wishing she were Kathryn but knowing she wasn’t. Maybe this was her way of visiting me. After all I always ask her to come and see me. Richard gave me the call the other day. It was one that I knew was coming. It was about the holidays and how Bee’s Mom would like to have us over for Christmas Eve instead of us having her over. I told him I was fine with it. As long as the three of us are together it doesn’t matter where we are. But, I do expect him to be here for Christmas morning. I know that day will come too. He will have his own family and have the morning at his house. Well, we will just cross that road when it comes. For now he will be with us. I know Bee is just as important to her Mom as Richard is to me. They are both only children and very special. I think about them getting married and having children someday. That first grandchild will have two grandmas and a grandpa that will give them so much love and attention. You know that essay? Well I had to ask Kathryn for help finding again. The one I found in the folder was a different one. It looked like the one I was looking for. Maybe I was supposed to find this one too. After all I hadn’t read this one. It talked about this very special place that Kathryn had found with rainbows, birds, waterfalls and other things that she loves. But she didn’t stay because she loved her family and home more. Scott and I asked Kathryn again and I found it almost instantly in a box in her room. Yep, there it was with a bunch of stuff that we moved out of the living room. Our floors are getting started tomorrow. We just finished striping the wallpaper in the dining room and painting both the living room and dining room. It’s nice to have lots of windows until you have to cut in around all of them and they all have wood trim. Seven windows and three doorways. One doorway is the arch between the two rooms so there is trim on both sides. Then there is the chair rail around the entire dining room. We also chose to paint two colors in the living room, which means a couple of corners where two colors come together. I cut in so much I’m now a certified pro. It takes a ton of time and patience. But it is all done! Thanksgiving is coming and I hope you all remember that there is no guarantee of tomorrow. So, that means appreciate all that you have and who you have in your life right now. Live for the moment and savor the time you have with your loved ones. Be thankful for all that you have. We all have so many things to be thankful for. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and nice break from the day-to-day events. Enjoy yourself and time with your family and friends. Love you all, Carol
Monday, November 4, 2013
Tomorrow? 11/4/13 On Kathryn’s list that I found under the stairs there was Pastor Foege’s phone number too. She had a couple of phone numbers but that one was important. She loved Pastor Foege and trusted him. I think she knew she was going to be in the hands of the Lord after talking to him. She was safe. While I was giving blood I was asked if I had grandchildren – No my son is a bit behind the game I said. Then I was asked if he was my only child and I said no I have a daughter but she passed away in February of 2012. Then I explained that I think Richard and his sister both talked about adopting children but Richard’s girlfriend would love to have her own child, which I am kind of partial too myself. I think Richard is afraid that he may have a child who develops cancer. Kathryn and Bee’s sister Elizabeth both died from cancer and so did Bee’s Dad. Richard and I talked about cancer one day and how one of the nurses from Children’s believes it is genetic. But we have no brain cancer anywhere in my family or Scott’s family. Scott’s Dad died of a rare form of leukemia. We all believe it was caused from his exposure to high levels of radiation on Bikini Island. We think my Mom’s mom may have died from cancer and know that her brother Bill and sister Elaine both died from lung cancer. Bill and Elaine were both very heavy smokers their entire lives. So, I would say all of the cancers were environmental not genetic. My grandmother may be the only one that could possibly be genetic but we don’t even know if cancer was the true cause of death. There wasn’t an autopsy done so it is just a guess. I was listening to the song “Stand by Me” on my way home from work. There is a part that says there’s always tomorrow. Well that is wrong. There isn’t always tomorrow so you better make the best of today. Today is what you have and you shouldn’t waste it. Tomorrow may never come. Make the best of every day that you have here on this Earth. I called Rebecca (Rowan’s Mom). I knew it was getting close to Rowan’s birthday. I called on the 27th, which was exactly one year from the day we celebrated her 4th birthday in Disneyland. We talked a lot. We talked about family and how they were during our difficult time. We talked about fundraising and how it seems so easy for some people to get financial help for medical and not so easy for others. She asked me how it is now that it has almost been 2 years. I told her it was just as she described it a minute ago. You are having normal conversations and maybe even laughing and then you are crying because you are thinking about her and missing her. Some times I don’t think it is any better than it was when Kathryn first passed. But I did tell her the normal times become more frequent. I know that I am not lying on the couch all day crying anymore. This is a big improvement. There was actually an article about depression after losing a loved one and how it really affects some people so much that they have a hard time functioning. One lady said she put off her friends and their invitations and they finally gave up and stopped inviting her. I suggested that Rebecca take up one of those invitations and go out with a friend. It just might help her feel better. She does have an old friend coming to visit the first part of December. I really think this will give her a much-needed emotional break. Hopefully they find time to laugh and just enjoy each other. Sunday night (actually early Monday morning) at 2:25 am I woke up and heard our mirror rattle. It only rattles if someone really bounces around in the bed like jumps on the bed or if there is an Earthquake. Since Scott and I were both lying very still in bed I thought maybe someone was in the house at first. I got up and kind of investigated. Then I thought it must have been an Earthquake. No news of an Earth Quake in the morning. So all I can think is that it was Kathryn. I had been thinking about her giving me a sign of her presents since I watched The Island Median. I will leave it at that. On Monday 10/28 one of Kathryn’s friends posted this on facebook: It has been a year and three quarters since the world lost a beautiful soul, and the Comm 101 IA program director is still telling her story to inspire IAs and keep her positive attitude and passion alive. It makes me so happy to hear about her and see the difference she continues to make. I love you and I miss you everyday, baby girl! — with Kathryn Panda Bradley. She is going to send me a copy of the professor’s lecture in text and on tape. I’m looking forward to it. I remember the professor asking me if she could use Kathryn as her example. She wanted to know if I would be ok if she spoke of Kathryn in her absence. I’m proud that she uses Kathryn’s story to inspire others. Kathryn would approve. Today I also chatted with my Principal who just lost his brother and best friend. I told him I started reflecting by counting the days and then it was weeks and then it was months. A Monday for him is my Thursday. He received the news at a school board meeting I laid there in bed next to Kathryn and watched as she took her last little breath. The 2nd of every month will always be a day that reminds me of that morning. The Thursdays do too. And when it is the 2nd and a Thursday it only makes it stronger. He will continue to be reminded of that evening and the message he received. Time does heal and faith helps with the healing. So this same day Kathryn came to me again. Remember last night, Sunday the mirror rattled. I actually told her I loved hearing from her but I needed to sleep and this mirror rattling was keeping me from sleeping. So instead she sat at the end of the bed where I could feel the pressure on the bed when the blankets pulled on my toes. I have felt this before and it brings me comfort so I think she knew it would once again. I asked for a sign and now she gave me one that I would recognize and enjoy. One of my students made me a darling panda. It even has red glitter on it. Oh, Kathryn would love the glitter. Today (11/1) was Rowan’s 5th birthday, or would have been. I sent Rebecca and Chuck a quick text to let them know I was thinking of them. It hasn’t even been 6th months since Rowan passed and they are certainly hurting. I talked to Richard about it tonight and he asked if they have recovered financially. I don’t think they have. I know they spent far more than we did and now they have new medical expenses. I told him I would have another garage sale this summer and send them the money. I don’t know what more I can do to help. I sure wish I could win some money and help them out. I have couple of people I would like to help out financially. It’s hard to sit back and watch when you know people need help and you really don’t have the means to help. Tonight (11/1) Scott and I walked down by Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place. We parked over by the environmental building and walked by it. Scott mentioned that this brings back memories. Kathryn’s senior prom was there and we were chaperones. It was a good night as Scott said. Great memories and that dress was so cute on Kathryn. She trusted me to make her the perfect dress. As I have mentioned before I don’t really sew. It did turn out perfect. After many many fittings! Well, they just don’t make Kathryn size patterns for a grown up style dress. She wanted me to make her wedding dress some day too. She really had faith in me. While listening to a Subaru commercial it shows a little girl going off to her first day of school. I have watched that commercial several times but this time it hit me. Kathryn going off to her first day of Kindergarten. It was Good-Bye Mommy and off she went. Not a tear or fear, just excitement to be with all of those kids. She was social from the very beginning. She loved everyone from the start. She was off with her happiness and sharing it with others. Over the weekend I read through quotes that were sent to us from Kathryn’s friends as well as some of the things she wrote. I read this sentence and couldn’t believe what I had read. “Cancer is not just in my past, but it is my future. And I am thrilled with this.” This is from an essay Kathryn wrote. Thrilled? Really? I couldn’t believe what I read. I guess she had accepted the fact that she had cancer and she just had to make the best of it. There was nothing she could do but live life as she knew it. Happy as can be. Last night (11/3/2013) I received a message from Kathryn. It wasn’t a dream but something just coming into my brain. It was a strong message, a very strong message. It was, “Love Daddy.” It just kept playing in my brain until I rolled over and held Scott tight. She knew Scott needed me to hold him and I needed to be held. I have not had this experience before. It was so strong and amazing. “LOVE DADDY” That would be Kathryn talking. She called us Mommy and Daddy a lot. She would want both of us to feel love and be loved. Thank you Kathryn ☺ That’s a good note to end with so good night. Remember you never know about tomorrow so live today and love today the best that you can.