Sunday, January 26, 2014
Pushing Through Life 1/26/14
It is hard to believe what this little list that just jumped onto my computer has to say. All children all have died or are dying of cancer. All have parents wondering why this is happening to their child. One thing that they all have in common and even in common with Kathryn is that they all have a strong spirit that they are wiling to fight this disease and all fight it with such grace and enthusiasm. All of them have others say they are an inspiration to them. Others have commented how they are so brave and so up beat. It is amazing how the young handle bad situations like dying. I know Kathryn wanted to protect us from pain in our hearts so she did keep her cheerful ways through all of this. She also didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her as she had a good life. 14 year old from camp died on buried on Dec 20th 8 year old died on Dec 25th 17 year old diagnosed with GBM (Catherine) about one year ago in November 19 year old diagnosed with GBM now 21 but it is back (Amber) re-growth after 2 years not good. She was two years out in November. Sounds like the doctors have given up. Unfortunately they have seen it over and over again and could tell you what you expect. They try to give you hope and do their best but … Chelsea still a child but around 17 also has a GBM and was diagnosed in June of 2013 . Ryan in his early 20’s GBM Diagnosed Dec 17th 2012 What I noticed about this list is the Websites that I looked at seemed to tell just the opposite about the GBM. It says that it is usually found in men that are 40 and up. But Kathryn, Catherine, Chelsea and Amber are all girls in their teens. Ryan may be a guy but he too is very young. What is going on? And Amber came home on Wednesday 1/22 to die. They are to that point. Still she is taking her oral chemo to try to stay alive. Again I am amazed by her strength and willingness to try to keep fighting this beast within her. Through Amber’s site I met a Mom who lost her daughter two years ago in October. She was 16 and was diagnosed at 11. She had Ewing’s Sarcoma. After she wrote to me telling me what she had I just wanted to hug her. It is a horrible cancer that causes tumors in the bones and is extremely painful. I can’t imagine watching your child suffer with this pain like she must have. You have heard people say, “If I can just make it through this day.” Or maybe you have said or thought, “I just want this day to be over.” I heard phrases like this from a couple of people dealing with death. My principal, when I asked how the holidays went said, “He was just glad to have them over.” It wasn’t easy going through the holidays without his brother who should have been there with his family sharing joy and laughter. No, our loved ones are gone and we don’t get to sit with them and hear their voices. We don’t’ get to laugh with them and enjoy their silly ways. Jeff’s Mom is still having a very difficult time. She met with some specialist to help her get over this deep depression. They need to sort out the medications so she can have a clear mind. It must be so difficult to watch as your mother goes through this. I hope I didn’t put my loved ones through too much as I wasted days crying and lying on the couch. I would like to offer her my viewpoint and maybe she can see that life can go on even when you lose a child. The quote from my last blog said something like when you help others heal you also help yourself heal. This is so true. Another person who lost a close relative made the comment, “I just want this day to end.” There are those days that need to just get over. I thought about when I might have felt that way. You may think someone like me would have felt that way on the day of Kathryn’s service but it was just the opposite. It went too fast and I didn’t want it to be over. That in a way meant Kathryn was over. I didn’t want this closer that is suppose to happen. I didn’t want an end to her life. However the thought of, I just want this life to get over has crossed my mind so many times. I’m sure it has for many Moms and Dads that have lost a child. Don’t worry I would never take my life but the thought of the world just ending so I could be with Kathryn sounds pretty good at times. I have Richard, Scott and others that keep me alive and well. Richard is my son and brings us so much joy. He has made us proud beyond what we ever thought would be possible. I live to see him grow. I live to see what life brings and it is good. Some amazing things have happened too. You know Scott and I both believe that Kathryn is around. Or at least her spirit is here and she helps us with things from time to time. Well her friend that she met up at college, Allie had lost her rings. She took them off and couldn’t find them. I sent a message to her telling her I hope she finds them. She then replied that one of them was a ring she had engraved for Kathryn. Then within a minute or two she sent another message to me saying she was thinking strongly about Kathryn and immediately found the ring. Yes, only one ring and it was the one she had engraved for Kathryn. She and I both know that Kathryn helped her find that ring. On Monday the 20th we had the owner of the cabinet company come over to go over the job one last time. He wanted to make sure they had everything just right. He was the kind of guy who liked to joke with you. He was teasing me the whole time. I kind of found it weird that a total stranger would tease me like this. I was ok with it and we laughed a lot. Then he said something about my computer. Well, it is Kathryn’s computer. It has a purple cover and is covered in stickers. He said it looked like some college student’s computer. I told him that it was a college student’s computer. It was my daughter’s computer. In my mind I was thinking do I tell him why I use her computer? Is this something I want to share with this man that I just met? And then for some reason I told him about her. You could see his heart break into a million pieces right then and there. As we talked I told him about Camp Goodtimes. He said he would like to help. I was wearing a Panda t-shirt and I told him he could order one. Then he said, “Wait, I have something.” He pulled a $100 bill from his wallet to donate to Camp Goodtimes. I was in awe. He didn’t really know me and he just handed me $100. He had won it the day before in a Seahawk bet. I said, “Good thing they won.” He was thinking of his two children in their teens. He just couldn’t imagine….. We talked for a long time and when he left I wish I would have given him a hug rather than a hand shake. I could tell he wanted one or wanted to give one but the handshake happened too quickly. If he comes over to check out the job I will definately give him that hug. Have you seen the ads for the new show resurrection? Wow, this will hit a bunch of people. You have no idea how many times I have asked for Kathryn to be returned. The thoughts that go with it. How do we reintroduce her into the world? How do we have her find her way back into a life that has moved on? What about legal things. How do you explain how this person that was given a death certificate is now alive and well. I know I have gone through all of these thoughts in my mind and figured each and everyone of them out. I have explained to God that I would tell everyone about the miracle. I would make his name known again. I would get people back to believing. It will be interesting how the writers of this show deal with all of the issues that I have thought about. I think it comes out in March. I told Scott that I had asked God many times for her return. I told him that I also think about this and wonder if I am selfish. Would I really want her to return to this place when she is with God and in a place without hate, hurt, disease or suffering? How could I even ask for her to leave a place that would be so wonderful? Yes, I am selfish but I am also human. Maybe I don’t ask for this as I used to knowing that it is a selfish request. Now that I think about it I have changed this request for just a moment to see her. A moment with her to talk to her. When we were in California I talked with a man by the pool who said he saw his dad after his death. He and his dad sat and talked and talked for hours one night. His wife confirmed that she witnessed this happening. I have asked for this to happen to me. I would love to have a chance to talk to Kathryn. To hear her sweet voice. Last night we went to the Firemen’s Ball. It was a benefit for Camp Goodtimes as well as raising money for Coats for Kids. I ran into my old soccer buddy (Faith) there. She is basically like my little brother’s boss. She isn’t chief but the next step down. She said she was sorry to hear about Kathryn and said it never gets easier does it? I didn’t know that she really knew. A bit later she told me about her son. When he was 23 he had just graduated from college and he and a few buddies were out cliff jumping. He landed wrong and it killed him. He did get to the hospital but he died there. I could tell it was killing her to tell me about him. She didn’t want to talk about it so I asked about her other son. She knew. She really knew. I told her how sorry I was for her too. She is different from when I knew her. I don’t know if she is different because of this loss 5 years ago or if her position in life has changed her. She was one of the goofiest girls on the team. She was always laughing and silly. Now she is very serious and it was hard to get a smile from her. But she did smile. She said you just push through life. I think she hurts so much from her loss that she lost part of herself. I watched her and she did smile and even laugh a little here and there during the evening but still not the Faith I once knew. The benefit went well for Camp. One of the firemen had started a project to fix the golf carts that we use at camp. We use them to move things around and to transport kids who can’t get around well. Some of the kids have difficulties with balance and/or sight. Some are on treatment and just weak and need a ride. Well, the fireman found some guys that took on this project and wow did they make these golf carts over the top. They did them up in red, black and silver. They made them like little fire trucks. One has lights on top, a stereo, a hand bell, and lights that shine underneath. It also has Camp Goodtimes cut out of the steel and it lights up. The other one has a flat bed that is wood and metal. The sides of this one are shortened ladders. The work and attention to detail is amazing. One of the guys was talking to us and really, really wants to be there when the carts are shown to the kids. He is so excited to be part of a project that will help children with cancer. The family that spoke that night were great. The two boys shared their love of camp. One a sibling and one a survivor. The mom spoke about their battle with this disease. Her son was sent home on palitative care. Which means, they were going to make him comfortable as his life comes to an end. I hate that word. But they found a doctor that could do the surgery and save their son. Andrew is now a young man and wants to be a camp counselor. He did his training last year but has to take this year off. That is the camp policy. Their father did not get up to speak. He told me he was just too emotional. He has heard a lot about Panda and just meeting us and talking to us made him emotional. Well, emotions are good. I too get very emotional. As I watched the video and listened to his family speak I got emotional. I get very emotional every time I write this blog. In fact this morning I told myself that I wasn’t going to cry as I wrote this one. Well, I had tears running down my face after typing the second line. My emotions take over. I just don’t know how it happens but it does. Now some fantastic news. Richard finished his student teaching on Friday 1/24. He is now a certificated teacher. He also landed a teaching job at the same school he did his student teaching. It is only one class a day but he will be able to sub or work at the tutoring center at Whatcom Community College. He is very excited. And his girlfriend Bee just received a killer raise at her job. She has only been there two months and her raise was very significant. She must be doing a great job. So life is good and worth living through the pain of loss. Scott and I are planning a huge Backyard Benefit for Camp. I reached out to a friend for music and he said it is done. He is family and so very willing to help. I love his attitude and how he didn’t even hesitate to say yes. Super Bowl is Sunday February 2nd. We are all excited about the Seahawks going. Kathryn hated when Super Bowl fell on her birthday 2/5 or close to it. Well this year it is on the 2nd anniversary on her death. Yes, it will be two years exactly one week from today. I remember thinking last year around October or November how I never wanted that one year anniversary to come and now it is two years. It never gets easier and you do push through life. Some of us push through a little easier than others. Promise me you will think of Kathryn (Panda) on Super Bowl Sunday. As we all cheer our team she will be watching us. In a funny way she will be cursing the idea that Super Bowl has interrupted her Birthday weekend. Her birthday is the 5th and she would have had a party on the 1st more than likely. We will be taking apart our kitchen that weekend to have the cabinets redone. We usually have had a birthday party for her the last three years but will not this year. So, All of you will need to wish her a happy birthday in your own way on the 5th. I was just thinking about Faith. She said something about me having Camp to support and work for. I think I am lucky to have this as a purpose in life. It is a way to direct our love of Kathryn in a way that helps others. It is a way to keep her alive. I think Faith may have had a little envy in her voice not in a bad way but in a way that she needs something like I have that keeps me going in a positive direction while pushing through life. She noticed that it helps me. Love to all – Pushing through life with the most positive attitude that I can.