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



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