Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Many of you are aware of the recent developments in our journey with cancer. But, just in case you aren't, here's the story:

       Pete started on hospice about a week ago after we decided we needed to streamline his care. We were tired of having to complete nothing short of a circus act every time he needed a prescription refilled or a test ordered. So, we decided to initiate hospice so that we could have one point of contact and in hopes that we might be able to find someone with a better plan for managing his pain than all the other doctors had in the past. So, here we are, sorta at the end of the rope, so-to-speak. Although it's difficult to digest, it's also a little freeing and I think Pete would agree. I finally feel like we can really start living, although it may be near the end, instead of constantly striving to find a cure, that likely isn't going to be found. We were both tired of hitting brick walls, of being told "no, we can't", and of being given false hope. If you've ever experienced anything remotely close to our situation, you know it is ALL consuming; emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. You constantly feel as though you have to be one step ahead, in order to control the circumstances. However, no one really ever tells you straight out that you're not in control. They just allow you to keep pushing and pretend like it's all going to be okay. At least, this is what we experienced within the medical community. Now, finally on hospice, we can breath. We can look forward to our remaining days together and doing our best to fill those days with love, lasting memories, and laughter.
      As I said before, this journey has been all consuming and that's not to say, with the start of hospice care, it still isn't. It just is in it's own way. There have been many times that I have pretended to be okay, but really I'm just masking my emotions. There are times, even still, when it all seems like a dream and then I snap back to reality. I remember that I have to wake up to a hospital bed which takes up the majority of the living space to the right of what was once OUR bed. And I take one look at my husband's emaciated body and realize he's not the man I married in his entirety; the disease has overtaken the man he once was. And then my thoughts come back to my children. I remember that there will be a day when their father's voice will no longer resonate among the walls of this house. And, again, I realize this is our reality.
       Last Sunday at church my emotions took over. We were told to take some time in prayer to come before God. All I could think of was that I hoped I would be able to fully honor Pete's legacy in the years to come, long after he's gone. I thought back to our "Family Mission Statement" that Pete painstakingly wrote for our family while Izzy was still in the womb. He made it a point to explain that we would always show the love of the Lord to everyone, wheresoever we shall dwell. I wondered if I would be able to do that. Would I be able to teach my kids how to love everyone like their daddy has? Would I be able to break away from the mainstream culture to allow my kids to experience the life Pete and I had imagined for them? Or would I allow them to lose themselves in a constant stream of movies, video games, and pointless activities in order to cope with our loss? These were all questions that I agonized over while I sat there, with tears streaming down, head bowed before the Lord.
       And unlike cancer, these are all things I have control over. The way our children spend their time. Who they interact with. Whether or not I model God's love for others for them.
       I've lived long enough to know that we're all human, and I'll likely make mistakes in the years to come, however, I'm very grateful for the legacy my husband, their daddy, will leave. I am also honored (and a little scared) to have the opportunity to carry it on.
       While putting Izzy to bed tonight, I succumbed to her story request. I came up with a little story about magic baking elves who surprised a very poor family with yummy treats during the holiday season, when otherwise they would have had nothing. In the end, the family divvied up their yummy treats and shared them with their neighbors. Then the following bible verse came to mind (Thanks Mom!): "When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required." Luke 12:48.

And then I realized, the story and the verse were as much meant for me as they were for her. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Daddy's Love

As I was cleaning the house in preparation for Pete's homecoming from his Dad's this afternoon, I sat down for a minute while the floors dried (ok, I know I'm a little obsessive about the house being perfectly clean!), and my eyes fell upon our Shutterfly memory books I have compiled of our adventures over the past couple of years. As I went through them one by one, I was amazed by how much times have changed. I was also reminded of the wonderful adventures we've experienced as a family. There are times when it all seems like a dream but then I look at those special photos and my memories are overflowing once again. I am filled with awe and amazement as well as a bit of envy for those times that have passed. Then I wonder why things aren't as simple as they once were.

What I see the most are the memories Izzy has shared with her daddy and I am thankful that those have been captured through photos. I see her actions in each and every one of those photos that mirror her daddy's spirit; a spirit of adventure she will carry on with her through the rest of her life. I also see the fullness of love that her daddy has for her. I witness it in all the photos in which he is with her and I hope and pray that she remembers the special connection they share. 

This all makes me ever so grateful for what her daddy is to her. He fills a role that I wonder if I will be able to fill. He is the ultimate storyteller, the most genuine friend, and the undivided attention giver. The truth is that there may come a day when she may not remember the specifics of her and her daddy's interactions but it is my hope that I will be able to make those memories live on for her. As a mommy, it is always our most innate desire to protect our children from hurt and pain, however in this instance, I have no control over that. I can only hope to ensure that our little Izzy understands the ultimate love her daddy has for her and will always have for her. 

There are so many unknowns in this life and there will always be so many unanswered questions during our time on this earth, however our God is bigger and his love for us is bigger than anything we will ever know. I am so thankful that our precious Izzy has her earthly daddy's love for her as a mirror for what her heavenly Father's love is like. And in the end, I think that is the only thing that matters because there is nothing I can do to change any of this story, it just is as it is. But I am so eternally grateful for Izzy's daddy and who he is to her and although this story may not turn out as we planned, I know she will always be as well.