Spring and Summer 2014
In May I had a chat with my friend at work and he asked me if I still feel Kathryn. I don’t feel her but I know she is here. I told him about pennies from Heaven and he didn’t know what it was. I told him that we find pennies all the time especially when we are thinking about or missing Kathryn. He said I should ask her to send quarters instead of pennies and I could actually make some money. We laughed about it. Wouldn’t you know that the next day I went into the bank and on the way back to my car there was a shinny new quarter right by the passenger’s door. I couldn’t believe it! You know, I was the only one in the parking lot so there wasn’t anyone who could have dropped the quarter. And I don’t carry change so it didn’t drop out of a pocket. My friend and I talked for a while. I told him how Kathryn was the silly one in the family. Any of those Christmas cards of silly poses were her idea. She had me paint the one bedroom in polka-dots. I had a formal design in mind but we did polka-dots instead. I also shared the book “Closer Than You Think” with my friend. It is an easy read and a great book about our loved ones being with us in spirit.
Shortly after this chat with my friend I was home and feeling a little, maybe a lot, down. I was missing Kathryn and crying. When I got up from the loveseat there was a penny on the floor. No way was it there prior. This blows me away every time.
I was also thinking about her and tearing up when the entry way light flickered. I thanked her for that. She gives me signs just at the right time.
I was asked about mother’s day by a student and asked if I have a daughter or son or what. This is always a tough question. I had to say I had a daughter and now I only have a son. Explaining my loss is coming place now. Sometimes I do it just fine and other times I tear up. Mother’s day was a good day. Oh how I wish it were complete. I have asked to see Kathryn and maybe I will someday soon. I regularly ask God to let me see her or hear her sweet voice.
I was out walking Princess and my neighbor Duane asked me if that was the same dog I have been walking for years. I don’t know this neighbor real well so this was the first time that we really had a long conversation. I told him that yes this is the same dog and how she came to be our dog. I told him about Kathryn’s passing and this led into a conversation about his wife. She died of ALS just before Kathryn was diagnosed in 2010. We talked about the progression of the disease (ALS) and how it was similar to Kathryn’s. We were fortunate that Kathryn did not have a long time of not having abilities to walk and communicate. ALS brings on these disabilities an they linger for years. I think we both felt good about sharing our stories and we both had great losses and we could really understand each other’s suffering. I gave him a big hug; he really looked like he needed one.
I have been looking and looking for the glass babies that Rowan’s Mom sent me. I know I put them safely in a box at Christmas time. But our house was in such mess because of the remodel stuff I was afraid they disappeared. So I finally gave up on my own search and asked Kathryn to help me find the glass babies. Sure enough, I was given the vision of where to look. When I came home from work that day I immediately had Scott get the ladder and I pointed to the box that he needed to take down in the garage. I went through the box and there they were. It’s so fantastic that I can ask Kathryn for help and she responds to me. I love it!
Richard’s grad party was this weekend (May 17th). We had 45 people over. One of Richard’s friends announced that he and his wife are having a baby and the due date is December 1st and they are having a girl. This is so exciting! We had a beautiful afternoon that went way into the early morning hours. We had a bond fire and fire works. Oh, the Bradley traditions! We had 9 people spend the night. Richard and I put together a big breakfast. I cried when Richard gave me a great big hug good bye. I haven’t done that for a long time. I just love him so much.
Today, May 18th, is one year now for Rowan’s passing. I sent Rebecca a message. Tomorrow they should receive our card and gift. I sure hope their lives change for the better. I hope I hear from them soon that they are expecting a baby. This would be so good for them. A few weeks later I did hear from them and they are expecting a baby. She told me when she was only two weeks along. Then she let me know a few weeks after that they are expecting twins. I had a feeling that they were going to have twins. She a little worried about two at one time but I know they can do it just fine. They are awesome parents.
As you have read before the Jahova Witness ladies come to visit with me now and than. I actually love visiting with them even though I am Lutheran. There was a new lady this time. She lost her 28 year old daughter. It was nice to chat with someone who really understood my situation.
We ( Scott, Richard, Bee and Myself) went to the cabin the 31st of May to tear off the deck. Richard told Bee that I would be really mad if she didn’t work hard. The poor dear worked so hard she had blisters on her hands. Richard and Bee did most of the work and fast! Richard brought his thank you cards with him and I helped him by doing the addresses. It was fun and funny that I had to keep him on track to get them done. He is such a little boy sometimes. So, when we came home from the cabin Princess had a seizer that night. I think this was the first one we had witnessed. She recovered just fine but had another a few days later. Once again she recovered just fine. Very scary!
Have you heard this new story about a 3 year old boy who says he lived before? He said he was murdered and he took the police to the place where his body was and also led them to his killer. There was a little boy murdered and there was a man now arrested for the murder.
Scott and I headed to Monterey California on June 13th for the Porsche Club Parade. We met a lot of good people. Over 1200 Porsches were there. We shared our story about Kathryn and Camp Goodtimes with so many people. One lady lost her first husband at 42 years old to a GBM just like Kathryn. She also lost a sister early in life to cancer. She said her mother never got over this loss. I can tell you that you never do! We also had Griots Garage offer to donate products to our Drive-A-Thon for the auction. It was 9 days of tours, events, dinners and just good times. Everyone was super nice. One of the tours was to the Hearst Castle. That place is amazing and the story behind it is really something. While we were there a butterfly came up to me and hung out for a while. Longer than a butterfly usually does. I thought it may be a sign from Kathryn but not too sure until later. That story will come.
Once we got home form California I was on the 9:20 ferry to Vashon Island to go to camp. I volunteered in the Arts and Crafts area all week. I met a young man who went by the camp name (Bunkbed). His story gave me goose bumps. He was diagnosed with a GBM like Kathryn. He is young like Kathryn. When he was diagnosed he was only given 3 months to live. They were expecting him to go fast. His family prayed and prayed and in two weeks his tumor started to shrink. He is now cancer free. I told him he was a walking talking miracle. He truly is a miracle. There is no way to explain how his tumor went away other than it being a miracle. I told him that people wonder if God answers our prayers. I know that it was difficult to believe that God didn’t answer our prayers in the way we would have liked him to. I told Bunkbed that his story shows us that God does answer prayers as we asked for them to be answered (sometimes). Maybe this young man was at this camp this week for me to meet. Maybe I needed to hear this story to strengthen my own faith. I never stopped believing and still do believe that Kathryn could be brought back if it is God’s will.
Another young man that was at camp was there because of Kathryn. He had met Kathryn at the clinic and now I’m wondering which clinic. It may have been up in Bellingham. But Kathryn had told him about camp and he wasn’t able to work it into his life until this year. He wished that he could have been at camp with Kathryn as several of her friends have said. I’m so glad Kathryn had such a positive influence on people. To have so many at camp that are there because of her is amazing.
At camp I was talking with a couple of ladies one evening and I told them it doesn’t get any easier. In fact I told them that it is harder than ever right now. I cried. I don’t know how to explain the emotions that goes with this loss. It’s always there and some days it is so hard to even function.
After camp I was in Kathryn’s room (a hard place to be) and I noticed this small container with little lanyards in it. I thought, how could I have missed this? I didn’t know Kathryn had made these. They were made for the staff at the Mary Bridge clinic. I didn’t think she had even started them. I was planning on taking her list and making them myself but there they were. I never saw her make them and I was constantly with her. Any how soon (by the end of September) I will take them to the clinic. They do need the hooks put on them.
Now some really big news if you don’t already know. On the 4th of July we got a call from Richard and he told us that he proposed to Bee. He is engaged!!! He bought her a beautiful ring with white and blue sapphires. We are extremely happy. But with this wonderful news comes a little sadness. We are a little sad that Kathryn will not be there. She would have loved to be part of Richard’s special day. I know she will be there in spirit. She wouldn’t miss this for anything.
Worked at Cabin for a week to rebuild the decks we had torn down (7 days of hard labor). While there Princess had three seizers in 12 hours between July 12th and 13th. Not the same dog after those, but spurts of the real Princess sometimes show. The vet believes she has a brain tumor. We bought her for Kathryn to help her do better with her treatment when she was 8. It got her out of the hospital. Kathryn said, “If you didn’t get me Princess I don’t think I would have ever come home.” This was after she spent a week in the hospital after a bad reaction to chemo and radiation. So the dog for the girl with a brain tumor develops her own brain tumor.
We finished two decks and replaced beams under the house. Jacking a house up and replacing beams is a big job. We also spread a truck load of gravel and finished burning the old deck as well as building a new fire pit. It all looks good.
So I started working on the yard and one day before I headed out I asked for a sign. I asked Kathryn to give me a sign that she was around while I worked in the yard. I said, send a butterfly and have it flutter in my face and around me. Well, there I am in the yard and here comes this white butterfly. It flutters right in my face and around me. Then I said, “That’s not a real butterfly, send one like a Monarch.” Holy Moly!!! A few minutes later there was a beautiful Monarch fluttering in my face and just hanging out with me. I was so excited that I started to laugh and cry all at the same time. I couldn’t wait to tell someone. I called my Mom right away.
Just before the second session of camp started one of our campers learned he had relapsed. All he asked for was to be able to go to camp. He relapsed last year and his family found out while he was at camp. This boy has had two bone marrow transplants, a stem cell transplant and t-cell therapy and who knows how many rounds or radiation and doses of chemotherapy. Yet, he keeps a smile on his face and he and his family do not give up hope. Camp does that for kids and parents.
I went up to Children’s Hospital to visit with Nick and his Mom. Nick is on his third diagnoses of cancer and his second bone marrow transplant. He will also receive t-cell therapy. Nick was not in a good mood that day. I think he was just sick and tired of being in the hospital. He was on day 40 or 50 something that he’d been there.. ICK! His Dad was there too. I looked as his Dad as he sat quietly. I thought about what he might be thinking and feeling. He knows that I represent death to this disease. He looks at me and I can only imaging him thinking, how can she even function. I can see the pain in his eyes. I can see that he fears what I have faced. His son is his buddy and they have a bond that only a Dad has with his boy. As I left that day I also noticed the mom’s there with there own children. The worn out Mom’s. The Mom’s spending every moment with their sick child and creating a bond that is special but not the way you want to create a bond with your child. The Mom’s who have learned so much about cancer and the treatment. The Mom’s who know all of the numbers and what they should be and what is done to fix them when they are out of line. The Mom’s who watch and make sure every dose of medicine is the right dose and given at the right time. And as I was getting in my car I watched this Mom as she pulled her rolling suitcase behind her as she walked toward the entrance of the hospital. It was a very humbling day. I was seeing things from the other side.
Princess had 6 seizers in 25 hours over August 5th and 6th. We didn’t think she was going to survive. We have her on anti-seizer medication and then we had to bump it up after this episode. Then we asked about the tremors that she was having constantly. They would make her fall down and also made it hard for her to walk. Scott had called the Vet about putting her to sleep as he quality of life was not what she deserved. So in addition to her seizure meds she was placed on phenobarbital to stop the tremors and it worked. We are giving her half the dose and splitting it up to two times a day and it seems to be giving us back Princess. As we prepared for the Bradley Backyard Benefit (August 16th) she was right there all day following us around. This is the normal Princess. And during the event she was her normal snoopy, begging self. She did great. That night she slept like a rock!
We had the Bradley Backyard Benefit (BBB) and raised $4553 and more on the way. It was on the 16th of August. We had 60 people plus the guys from the band. The music was awesome and everyone had a great time. I had so many people say, “I will see you next year.” So, I guess this will be an annual event. I’m happy to do it too.
One of our friends that attended the (BBB) had just come from a funeral. He said he had been crying all day. He and his family had known this young lady since she was 4 or 5 and a long time friend of his son. She died at 18 and they still don’t know why. I told him that the parents need to find something that will keep their daughter’s spirit alive. We support Camp Goodtimes in our effort to keep Kathryn’s spirit alive. It also brings us closer to Richard. He loves camp and wants to see it continue too. So we are all working on it and this helps mend our hearts too.
We finally gave Richard his College Graduation present. He was so excited. Scott had bought this 1975 Porsche 914 just 5 days after Kathryn’s passing. He had been trading his electrical work and supplies with two body shops on getting it restored. Slowly but surely and now here it is. He couldn’t believe it when we walked him down a neighbors driveway and he saw it. He could not believe it! He still has a few little things left to do on it but it gives Richard a project too. He was so surprised and he beamed from ear to ear. What a great addition to the BBB.
On my birthday (August 24th) we went to Crystal Mountain and road the gondola to the top. It was just the three of us (Scott, Richard and myself). I was a perfect day! The weather was nice and the food was delicious and the company was wonderful. That evening Scott and I were out walking Princess and there was my gift from Kathryn, a shinny quarter.
Princess is doing great. She wasn’t able to eat without falling over or face first into her food. She couldn’t go to the bathroom without falling over. She wouldn’t go on a walk or walk up or down the stairs. She does all of this just fine now. She even runs up the driveway and looks back at us as if to say, “What’s taking you so long?” She is pretty much normal. We are amazed! Scott and I both feel there has been some kind of spiritual intervention. We know the vet thought she wouldn’t recover like she has. In fact she was so bad that we were planning on having her put down on the 11th . But then she came a live for the party and has only gotten better and better.
Well, life continues. School will be starting on the 3rd. Richard will be teaching full time in Mount Vernon at Mt Baker Middle school. He will be teaching 7th grade math. He is excited about this new adventure. As you may have read our superintendent of the Fife School District passed away from cancer on August 27th. I think most of us new this was coming. He was a good guy and always did his best at every job he had. I had one of his sons in my math class a few years ago. A good kid. His two sons are about Richard’s age or a bit younger. They are going to miss their Dad. I see how Richard and Scott interact now. They are really getting closer. Scott had some troubling times every since Kathryn was diagnosed in 2010. He has finally overcome these troubles which have allowed him and Richard to develop a better relationship. I makes my heart so happy! A boy needs his Dad and a Dad needs to feel needed by his son. I feel this is all happening for the two of them I couldn’t be more pleased.
Life is Good!