Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Time stands still

Hello everyone,

Kathi, my eldest daughter, called just now to tell me her step father, Danny, passed away today. He was the Danny we mentioned in several of the blog entries. He was in his 50's, and was married over 25 years to Marge. He developed cancer several months ago and battled it bravely until it took his life today. Danny had been close to Kathi and her sister Kris for all these years, bringing a calm humor to most situations. He was very special to his grandchildren too.

Our sympathy to Marge and certainly our prayers, but I know, as do all of you, that now his suffering is over, and he has entered the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father in a place where sorrow and hurt doesn't exist.

Please continue to pray for Marge, Kathi and Kris and they come to grips with losing their father and husband.

Deb and I returned from our cruise on Saturday. Since this was my first cruise, I was amazed by the quality and variety of food served in the different restaurants on board. The service level was five star and the ship was huge. 3,100 passengers plus the crew. We visited St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. The shopping was the main attraction on St. Thomas, that and the banana daiquiri I had at 9 a.m.

We had the first dinner seating at 6 p.m. and were blessed with the company of two other couples who made each meal a pleasure with their conversation and charm. Harry and Donna were from Vancouver. Len and Deb live in Connecticut. Each meal was a gourmet spread and we had wine with each meal. Our waiter Evan was very British and Laslow, our steward, was charming and very efficient.

The water was blue and green, and crystal clear. The temperature hovered in the mid eighties, with sunny skies and white beaches. We went to a Aloe farm, sampled Rum in the morning on Grenada, had the most delightful tour guide on Aruba and wonder of wonders, all our flights went without a hitch from Chicago, to Orlando then to Puerto Rico and back again.

Deb mentioned that she feels her head cleared during our time away. She rested as needed, including an afternoon nap. One day she did a cancer walk on board for the Susan G. Koman foundation.

We enjoyed the lavish shows and entertainment and the good cheer of our fellow passengers. We watched the full moon hover over the ocean at night from our balcony. How truly wonderful to have this experience.

Deb went to the surgeon yesterday. Everything looks good on both sides and she will see Dr. C. in three months.

We have transitioned to the survivor mode. Treatment is over and now we start to monitor for developments. Every hour, day, week and month that goes by increases the chance that Deb will survive to live to a ripe older age.

Please take the time to pray for all those with cancer. Those without faces to us, but very vivid to their care givers, parents, brothers, sisters and children who live in the constant fear that their loved one will become a statistic on the negative side of life's ledger, as Danny did today.

There is an empty chair at the table, the phone rings, and for a moment you think he will answer for you, but no, he’s not there anymore. The dog is sad too; you can see it in her posture. She mopes around and looks for him. She watches the door, waiting for the sound of the garage door, the sound of the key in the lock, and his smile. You wake up and for a moment you forget, but then the empty bed reminds you, he’s not there. So you try to go on, planning dinners and vacations for one. You read a good story in a magazine and start to tell him about it, but suddenly remember he isn’t there. Still. Times goes on but so does the hurt and the loneliness. A reminder every day, sometimes every hour, that your life has changed, been ripped to shreds and put back together with so many pieces missing or in the wrong spot by someone with an absurd sense of humor.

Time goes on and dulls the pain, but you start to dread every holiday. His birthday, your anniversary, and the date he died, bring a renewal of the pain, not just on that day, but for days and weeks before and after. Staying in your pajamas until noon. Why bother dressing? For whom shall you dress? Cereal for dinner. Why cook? The overwhelming sense of fatigue and hopelessness. Every day. Will this never end?

And then the sun comes out. You wake one morning and life feels different. Sure there are lots of reminders, but somehow they seem less pointed then before. You decide to re-engage with your friends and family. Perhaps a trip or joining a seniors group, taking a class.

It won’t happen overnight, but it will get better. Count on it.

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos. ~Charles M. Schulz



Thursday, March 13, 2008


Good Morning!

The headline in the online edition of the Chicago Tribune reads, " Kansas woman spent two years on a toilet before police used a crowbar to pry off seat". And I'm thinking, I don't even want to know the details. This story is nestled in with all the usual stuff about killings and politics. Another headline reports a fifteen year old hijacking a car from a twelve year old. I couldn't drive at twelve, could you? I'm not making this up.

Our cruise starts tomorrow, with a limo pick up at 4:15 a-can you believe-m. We haven't vacationed in a couple of years, so I forgot how crazy Deb gets trying to finish stuff at work and get ready. But this is her lollipop, not mine. Although, I note the temps in San Juan recently are in the mid eighties, and I think perhaps I can enjoy this too.

Deb seems to be getting her strength back a little at a time. Doctors visits will spread out more. We both had the full battery of blood work and tests and are good to go for a while, it seems.

The last week has been crazy for me, with a car accident that totaled my Buick. No injuries and the other guy was at fault, but that was just part of a very busy week that had me out on investigations until 2 a.m. two nights (including the night of the accident). Everything will be fine when I have my first Mai Tai on the ship.

We are reminded again that everything resolves over time, so we continue to pray for Danny, the Kattner twins, my mom and all our friends and family.

Take care, hug each other and pray always.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sailing along

Hi everyone,

I can't believe so much time has elapsed since Deb finished treatment. Most of the redness is gone and she is slowly regaining her strength.

She had her first haircut since last May. It looks cute and it seems about as thick as before. The color is different, darker and perhaps some gray, but I like it. She will probably get highlights or a neon orange rinse next time to go with her body piercings and tattoos.

I'm kidding about the body piercings and the tattoos. Really!

We believe there are still some underlying issues of frustration and anger. Nothing that seems really overt, but sometimes a shortness or impatience surfaces.

She seems to be tired at times but I believe that will improve too.

We leave March 14th for our cruise. We return on March 22nd. My first cruise. We plan to rest and enjoy a simple time together. We're fretting over the last minute details, but all in all I believe we're going to enjoy this a lot.

There are still a lot of prayers needed. Not only for Deb, and her continued good health, but all the thousands of treating and recovering breast cancer patients. There seems to be so much conflicting information out there. Studies that contradict and confuse. What to believe, what to hope for, it's so daunting some times. Long term it's in God's hands, as it always has been.

Then too, the Kattner twins are still gaining ground in their effort to overcome a very premature birth. Even though they have been "in the world" since October, they are only just weeks from their normal birth date. They each weighed 27 ounces at birth and their survival is awesome.

I spoke with my mom on Monday as I drove home from the doctor's office. Nice to talk to her.

More after the cruise,

God Bless all,