Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beyond Your Comfort Zone...

"Pain forces us to live in reality, to deal with issues we would rather ignore, to shift our focus off the concerns of life on earth and onto things eternal. Pain forces us to ask the question, "Is this all there is?"

It can be difficult to accept God in this role unless we remember that he is a loving Father who is determined to bring us to maturity. He will use suffering in his children's lives in the same way that a sculptor uses a chisel.

God not only uses suffering to train us, He uses it to accomplish His perfect purpose, to draw us into a relationship with Him, and to display His Glory to others." Jan and Dave Dravecky

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." C.S. Lewis

Heather loved to try out new things. New food, different clothes, bold new make-up and anything else that was beyond her comfort zone. One new thing was to try sushi. Yes, those little raw fish rolls. Our family has never been big on fish. We stick to canned tuna fish for our weekly fishy requirement. Heather went with a friend to a sushi bar and had her fill of raw fish. This very dear friend sent me the cell phone photos that she took of Heather enjoying her first try of a delight some of us would walk right past. These were taken in January, 2008. This was when Heather knew she was not feeling well, but we had no idea what was to come.Heather was taken WAY out of her comfort zone when she was diagnosed with cancer. She HATES needles. She has the same phobia that I do. It is not that she just does not like them. It is an actual panic or near fainting at the mention of a needle. The fact that she managed a bone marrow biopsy while awake is amazing. Mom did step in and demanded the next one be done under sedation. Once was more than enough for her and I. Having Leukemia/Lymphoma is not the cancer to have for someone who does not like needles.Bill and I are stepping out of our comfort zone to form a team for Light the Night. We are Heather's Lymphomaniacs Team. She loved the term Lymphomaniac. She even had a shirt with that on it. We have 8 team members and have raised $425.00 so far. I am asking those who can to step out of their comfort zone and either join our team to walk 3 miles, or make a donation toward the cure for blood cancer. As a walker, a donation of $25.00 gets you a lighted balloon and dinner from Texas Roadhouse. When a member of our team reaches $100.00 they receive a Light The Night t-shirt. Each donation gets us that much closer to a cure to this terrible cancer. Click on the Light the Night square on the right side of this blog. It takes you to our team page. How far are you willing to go beyond your comfort zone?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Light The Night...

John 14:2-4a "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Jesus wanted us to know that, when the time is right, there won't be any problem in getting us to heaven. He won't entrust this task to some third-level angel or to some celestial scoop that would mechanically pluck us out of earth and dump us in paradise. He wanted us to know that He will come for us Himself: "And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive tou to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Jan and Dave Dravecky

Heather was thrilled to feel well enough to walk the Light The Night Walk last year. It was about 5 weeks after she finished treatments. Her blood levels were back up and seemed to be good. It was a very warm evening for being the middle of October. We arrived early, got our t-shirts and ate good Texas Roadhouse BBQ.We signed up to participate with Target. They are a major supporter of this event. Heather was still an employee of target so we joined with them. Of course our little social butterfly had some peeps there to pal around with for a while. This left mom and dad to sit or take some photos. Tiffini, her cousin Stephanie and their sweeties joined Heather in walking around and looking at everything.The walk was crowded getting started. Some people wanted to walk very fast and we let them go ahead of us. Heather soon realized that she had very little endurance and could not keep that same pace as her peeps so she let them go. It was quite the feeling and emotion as Heather, Bill and I crossed the gate back into the park. Before heading to the parking garage we had to sit and rest for a while. it was a very special memory for the 3 of us. One I treasure now more than I knew I would at the time.Again, please join us as the Coombe Family walks to remember Heather. Saturday, October 17, 2009, Tempe Town Lake. Walk begins at 6pm, but there are bands and booths to look at before the walk.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Broken But Brilliant...

Joni Eareckson Tada wrote "recently when I was cleaning up my art studio, I discovered some broken glass on the counter by the window. I also discovered that when sunlight struck the shattered glass, brilliant, colorful rays scattered everywhere".

"What is true of shattered glass is true of a broken life. Shattered dreams. A heart full of fissures. Splintered hopes. A life in pieces. But given time and prayer, such a person's life can shine more brightly than if it had never been broken. Your life may be shattered by sorrow, pain, or sin, but God has in mind a kaleidoscope through which His light can shine more brightly. When the light of the Lord Jesus falls upon a shattered life, hope bursts forth in a thousand brilliant hues".

In the constructing of stained glass projects, you have many "broken" pieces of glass. When you, the creator, put the pieces together, the final result is something beautiful. When each one of the girls reached the high school years, I allowed them to try many new classes at Red Mountain High School. Heather chose to try her hand at stained glass. She managed to excel all 3 years under the tutelage of Mr. S. (Short for Mr. Satterthwaite) Heather was the only student ever to receive an award for her advanced and skillful work in stained glass. Heather created her own pattern for a long stemmed rose. She made over 24 of them her senior year to give as gifts to people. Heather loved to make butterflies and angels as well.
Heather had many projects that she was very proud of. I would like to share with 3 of them. Heather's main reason for beginning stained glass was to make a nativity creche. When I grew up my father brought back from overseas a stained glass nativity. The A-frame was the glass portion and then a solid white holy family were silhouetted through the stained glass. Heather had me come to her class and pick out the glass colors. She worked long and hard on this piece. Mr. S made the wooden frame for it. She went in a day or two over the first part of the Christmas break to get this finished. It is a beautiful art piece that sits in the foyer of our house all year long.
The next two projects are very unique and different just like Heather. She saw in a hallmark store a holy family out of stained glass. She then set out on a mission to make her own entire nativity set. Shepherd, wise men and animals included. Mr. S bought special glass just for her project. Much of the glass is one of a kind. I will take photos when I get it out this Christmas. The final most unusual piece of stained glass Heather made was called glass fusing. She cut pieces and left a small space when fitting them together. Then she put it in the kiln to melt the glass together to make one piece. She made a "Nemo" fish before there was a "Finding Nemo". She got the highest marks for the fish and how perfect it fit togther.Years before she began her stained glass adventure, Heather loved to paint pottery. I use to take the girls for birthdays and just ordinary days to paint pottery. Heather always knew what she wanted to paint and brought pictures so she could get it just right. She was always the last one to finish. One of the first things she painted was a plate with her favorite precious moments statue on it. The girl holding her bunny entitled "Jesus Loves Me". As you can see it turned out beautifully.Even with painting pottery, Heather would think about whom she could give it to and then begin her project. One of the first trinket boxes she made was for her beloved Grandma Coombe. The only grandma she has ever known. She picked the heart box because she said it was like she was giving grandma her heart. She then picked out some of grandma's favorite colors. She was thrilled to present her gift to her grandma for no special reason. Grandma kept the heart box on her dresser in her bedroom till she died. When we would visit, Heather would go into the bedroom and lift the lid to see what treasures grandma had put in there. The box was returned to Heather and she took the last photo taken of her and grandma and taped it into the bottom of the box. That is the treasure that Heather put in the heart box.

Monday, September 21, 2009

5 Months Feels Like 50 Years or 1 Day...

How can 5 months feel like 1 day and 10 years all at the same time? It has been 5 months since she left this earth physically, but the ability to have any kind of reaction died the day she was put on the paralytic drug way back on April 3rd. As out of the ordinary as opening your eyes and moving while on a vent is, I did not have any idea of how much I would miss it when it was gone. The last time I visited Heather before the paralytic, Bill told her that I was here. Heather opened her eyes and tried to put her arms around me to hug me. I hugged her, told her “I loved her, to rest and go back to sleep. Momy is not going anywhere”. She closed her eyes and rested.

It is beginning to cool off here finally. I am trying to figure out where my year and the seasons have gone. I counted it all up and from April 10, 2008-April 20, 2009. Out of 375 days, I spent 100 days in the hospital. This is not counting the actual doctor appointments or lab visits. I guess that is why I don’t remember anything. That is a long time to spend in the hospital. No wonder the nurses and staff at the hospital feel like old friends and family. I spent more time them than I did my family.It was my goal as a mom to begin my daughter’s jewelry collections. When they were thirteen I began getting them a piece of Helzberg Jewelry for birthdays, graduations and other special events. One of Heather’s favorite necklaces when she was younger was her sapphire butterfly. Going through cancer was no exception to the jewelry rule. Right before we got the diagnosis I bought Heather a heart necklace that was engraved with something I really loved. It says, “To the world you may be one person, But to me you are the world“. Heather wore this necklace 24/7 during her treatment.Heather always believed herself to be a princess. This was never more true than being on the 6th floor. Ranie, a sweet aide on 6, told me after she died that they never had a princess on 6 before Heather came, never. This was really when the whole princess thing began for Heather. Even Dr. Fastenberg recognized her as a princess. He called her princess on several occasions. It seemed only fitting that when Heather was half way through treatments for me to buy her a diamond crown necklace. She then wore this necklace 24/7 during her treatment.When Heather was finished with treatments I bought her the aquamarine birthstone necklace that she wore to her party and her final celebration. It just turned out that the dress matched the necklace. I picked and bought the necklace long before the dress was chosen. Aquamarine is Heather’s birthstone. She never had an aquamarine before. Someone very dear bought Heather the matching earrings as a special gift. I am hoping that maybe..maybe the necklace and earrings will be wore again, on wedding days maybe as the something blue and very, very special.Heather was thrilled when she was approved for her own Helzberg Jewelry credit card. Her first and only purchase was her 1/2 caret diamond Journey Cancer Ribbon necklace. The diamonds start small and then gradually bigger as the journey continues. She was so proud of her necklace and wore it 24/7. She slept in it as well. Heather had the necklace on when we went to Banner for the last time. When they came to do the chest xray she took off her necklace and handed to me to hold onto for her. When she was finished I went to hand it back to her. She told me to hang on to it for her till she got out. So, I wear it 24/7 and I sleep in her necklace. I will keep it safe for her.One of Heather’s favorite comic strips was “Mutts”. She loved "Mooch” the cat and “Earl” the dog that star in the strip. One of her favorite ways to say yes, was “yesh”. That is the way “Mooch” says it. On February 13, 2009, the comic strip “Mutts” ran a comic that had Heather's heart saying in it. The saying moved me again enough to cut it out and save it. I found it when I was cleaning things the other day. It is really something how all these things pop up and they are all related somehow.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


"Thanks for the adventure...
Now go have yourself another one"...

Love Heather
Quote from UP

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More About Nathan...

Bill and I have found it very difficult to sleep and function the past few days. The news of Nathan hit hard. Not as hard as it hit his family. Then little Celestine is heading into the maintenance portion. Heather was heading into maintenance about his same time. It all hits so close to home. We thought that since we had such a good outcome with chemo that we were on the downward slide. For 5 months, things were good. It is crazy how these two have entwined themselves in our hearts.

I walk around the house on some days and I feel like Heather was never here. I see photos and it seems like so long since I have seen her that she was never really here. It seems like the photos don't look like her at all. Other days, it seems like she was just here and she has gone off to class. She is just on vacation or house sitting somewhere. She will be back in the morning. There is still not a moment when I don't think about her.The weather here is finally cooling off. I was thinking how good it felt to walk out at night and have it been cooler. Then I realized part of the reason why it seems like I had no Spring. I didn't. Spending a month in the hospital on a daily basis will tend to throw you off time and seasons. Bill and I both feel like we have lost months of this year. From March till about August it really seems to be a blur.

Lil Pea is on the verge of crawling. She gets up on her hands and knees adn then goes backward. She is still getting up during the night and her parents are trying to let her cry through it. It is a little rough getting sleep in our household right now. She is a true joy and we have no idea of how we would be surviving right now if Pea was not living here with us. She is our sunshine each day. She has the most amazing smile that melts your heart.
Here's the latest news from Irene about Nathan:

I must begin with the most wonderful news... NATHAN AND RACHELE ARE ENGAGED.

We have decided to go with the chemotherapy that is a clinical trial. It includes three medicines: Gemcitabine, Oxaliplatin and Paclitaxel (this one he had last time). He will be able to do this one as an outpatient. He will go one day every two weeks to USC day hospital. They will draw blood in the morning, then do pre-hydration and medications to help with side effects (ie. zofran for nausea and steroids). The chemo runs for approximately 4 hours, then post hydration. It will be a long day, approx 8-10 hours, but it is better than staying at the hospital overnight. Then he will go home for two weeks to recuperate. He will do up to 12 cycles depending on when his tumor markers go back down to normal. Once they normalize, he will do a couple follow up cycles. So this could take anywhere from 3 - 6 months depending on how he responds.

As soon as he recovers from the last cycle, they will do another cardiothoracic surgery. I asked if they can take out all the lymph nodes in the subcarnal region; however, the location of these lymph nodes (behind the heart) does not make that possible. They will remove the affected lymph node and others surrounding it that they can get to.

Another thing I learned is that I have been mistaken about the results of the biopsies of his chest and neck recently. They are not "benign" masses. In fact, they are all "mature teratoma" with traces of cancer in them. There are four main types of non-seminoma germ cell tumors: embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac carcinoma, choriocarcinoma and teratoma. Most tumors are mixed with two different types; however, Nathan has all four types of cancer in his body. They are hiding in this teratoma (which kind of looks like scar tissue) and keep coming back to fight like a little terrorist.

Thank you for your prayers as we are nearly 5 months into our new "normal". Thank you for faithfully keeping up on how we are doing and reading this. It really helps to be able to write my thoughts down.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Three Faces of Cancer...

One day, during Heather’s 3rd stay at the hospital, as I updated her CaringBridge site I watched a family enjoying Dairy Queen Blizzards in the waiting room. As I listened to the conversation I realized that the older brother, Nathan, was an oncology patient. I asked some questions and found out that he was in the room next to ours and about the same age as Heather. I remember thinking I know what the mom is going through. I know what it is like to hear the words your child has cancer. I had to reach out to her. Nathan and Heather seem to be in the hospital at the same time for his 4 treatments. His mom, Irene, and I talked on several occasions and have kept in touch during these many months.Heather

In January, Nathan came out of remission. His cancer was back. He began another course of chemo treatments. He also endured several surgeries to get the tumors out of his body. Heather was in remission and things were very good in our world at that time. I remember thinking to myself “Thank you God I am not Irene right now”. I know that sounds very selfish. I knew what it all meant. I knew at any time the same thing could happen to Heather. (She had a 50/50 chance of coming out of remission during the first 2 years of treatment.) I could not imagine what they were going through.

In April, right before Heather died, Irene came to see us. Nathan was still going through treatments and he had some more surgeries to endure. For a short time we were equal again. Both situations were different but we as moms were fighting for our kids. When Heather died I am sure that every other mother out there was thinking, “Thank You God, I am not Sherry”. It is all right. I don’t want any of you to be me either. Honestly, I don’t like the club I share with Diane and all the other mothers that have lost children. It is not a fun club to belong to.


Yesterday I waited and waited and waited for news about Nathan. As the day turned to evening and evening to night, I knew the news must not be good. There are no words I can say. I am heartbroken. All I know is CANCER SUCKS!!!!


Here is the post from Irene:

Nathan's cancer has definitely relapsed. Another mass has developed in his chest. The lymph node on the right side subcarnal region (another one behind the heart) has grown from .7mm to approx 2.5cm in 3 months. This is a substantial increase. We have been offered two different treatment options 1) a clinical trial of three new high-dose chemotherapy medicines or 2) stem cell transplant; both options followed by another cardiothoracic surgery to remove additional lymph nodes. Both treatment plans will take approximately 3-6 months to complete. We are discussing them and will decide on one of the options within the next couple days. Chemo would likely start within the next couple weeks.

Please pray for guidance for us to chose the best treatment plan for Nathan.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just Another Sunday/ Monday...

When I was growing up in the very small community of Farmington, New Mexico, Sundays use to be very different. Store and restaurants did not open till noon if they opened at all. It was a day that if you did not go to church then you could not play with friends in the afternoon. It was usually a boring day for the most part. Sunday night was getting laundry finished, working on homework and getting ready for the start of the week. It was always a night that took me forever to fall asleep. I guess thinking too much about the events of Monday and heading back to school.Sherry-3 years old-1968

Bill told me that his Sundays were about the same. He can remember going to his Grandmother's cabin and not having a TV. She was a very religious woman and you did not do anything on the Lord's day. He also had a bully when he was in Page that he did not look forward to seeing on Monday. He always got a little depressed about going back to the grind of school. College was the same due to the amount of classes and homework he had.Bill-Christmas-1964

During our whole 33 day ordeal, in the back of our minds, once in a while, we thought that Heather might not make it. But it was not the focus of our thinking and our actions. We left Saturday night, April 18th, after tucking in our turnip, we still had the hope of getting a trach on Monday and moving forward. I kept saying to myself that when she came out of all this and was in rehab she was going to look at me with those big blue eyes, with tears and ask me why didn't I just let her die. I knew that she and us would have a long road ahead, but we just kept pushing toward the day when she was well again.
Heather at the Grand Canyon-2004

My Sunday morning, April 19th, did not begin well and then went to the the second worst day of my life. It began with me finding out that Rusty had died and having to tell Bill. Bill got to grieve about 2 hours before our nightmare began. As I stood there and listened to the words of Dr. Zachariah, the beginning of the shock began to set in. We had come to the end of the road. We thought at that point that we had to make the decision to stop life support. Bill and I left the hospital on that Sunday night knowing that on Monday we would be stopping. We did not want Heather to go through anymore. Bill's point was he needed to know for sure that she was gone. Not that we just gave up. He needed to know 100%. How do you know? Are you doing the right thing? It is something that no parent should ever have to make about a child. Ever!!!
Monday morning came, we had decided to talk to the doctors one more time and get everything answered, but we still stuck to our decision to stop today. There are things that doctors know that you don't know. Nurses and doctors keep things from the family. I really did not think that it worked that way, but no matter how on top of things you are, they still keep things that they are thinking from you. Dr. Anthony for a moment gave us hope that things were going to get better. It was a very confusing time. We told her our decision and she told us to wait and see how the day went. This was her way of saying that things were getting bad fast. Maybe in the end we would not have to make the decision. Heather would do it for us. Moment by moment and hour by hour we watched as her number went down. There are only 2 things that Heather ever did fast in her entire life; her birth and her death. Heather made the decision. We as her parents are thankful that we did not have to stop life support. She did it herself.
As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I
have chosen you out of the world. John 15:19b

So....with all that. What was my point? To the rest of the world it is just a Sunday and a Monday. No big deal. I am not sure how long it will be before it can just be a Sunday and a Monday again. It may never be a Sunday and a Monday ever in my life. Every one has begun to count the months while I still count the days and weeks...To the world it has nearly been 5 months; to me it has been 21 weeks or 137 days. It is trying to find out how to survive Sunday and Monday.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where Were You...

Most everyone has heard the song by Alan Jackson entitled "Where Were You"... It was written about the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US. He states that "he was disturbed by the attacks and wanted to write a song. He sat bolt upright in bed in October and it hit him". Mr. Jackson did not expect to write a song that would touch so many people in so many ways. He says that "he is a simple man".

The morning of the attacks, Heather could not sleep. She had come down to the couch and was flipping through the TV channels. She had been up since about 5 am that morning. When Bill came down he caught a glimpse of the news and asked Heather what was going on. She very innocently looked at him and told him something happened in New York at some tower and it was on all the channels. Bill asked her to turn back. As he sat down and began to watch as news it was known that a plane had hit the tower, but it was assumed to be an accident. As Bill and Heather continued to watch the live news; the second plane hit the other tower. Bill and Heather watched the attacks live as our world changed forever. Jenn, Wendy and I were still sleeping. Not for long. The whole world was stunned as the events of 9/11 unfolded. The events of that day changed our world forever.
Sherry and Heather, October 31, 2001
Mama Kitty and her Baby Kitty

Everyday across the country peoples lives are changed forever. They lose a loved one. Whether it be an accident, illness, act of violence or old age, families are forever changed. The events of April 20, 2009 may not be as huge as 9/11. In our family and in my life this event is bigger than 9/11. Why is that? Because it happened to me. A very dear friend told me what she feels about our relationship now. She told me that she can't relate to me...she can sympathize but she does not have a clue as to what I am going through. She told me it is like a huge brick wall has been put between her and me. There is no way around it nor can we climb over it. We can talk and hear each other but we can never see one another again.

Let us never forget 9/11 and the event that changed the world forever...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One Year Ago...

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger"... Clairee from Steel Magnolias

One year ago...our family entered what we thought was the ending of cancer treatment and the beginning of recovery. One year ago...Heather entered the Banner Spa for what would be her last round of chemo. Round #8. We had won!! Heather had managed, with lots of prayer and help from God, to keep on track and finish HYPER-CVAD chemo in the scheduled amount of time. No setbacks. Her mood and outlook was different this time knowing that this would be the last time she would have to receive horrible chemo drugs.
One year ago...Bill and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with all our daughters on the 6th floor of Banner Baywood Hosptial. It was not the 25th anniversary of dreams. But we were all together and we were "healthy".

Written on the CaringBridge site Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 3:10 pm:

"Happy 25th Anniversary...When you get married and as your anniversaries come and go you have dreams and ideas of where you will be and what you will do on the milestone anniversaries.

Never in a million years would I ever have expected to be spending out 25th anniversary in the Banner spa fighting cancer...or at least not with my 20 years old daughter.

In 2006, Bill and I renewed our wedding vows with a full wedding. No it was in May not September...and it was the 23rd mark not the 25th mark. But the day was a glorious day full of wonderful friends, family and memories. This year the idea of a wedding would not be possible.
Bill and I are not planning to go out tonight, nor is he able to bring me flowers. Dinner will be something simple...shared with our daughters-all 3 of our daughters. The setting is a hospital room, but I could not be more happy. Heather just has some workout drugs to keep her healthy. I could not ask for more.

The idealist dreams of wine, romance and roses on the silver anniversary are the dreams of a young bride...the way today has turned out is the perfect celebration of an experienced wife and momy. I could not have asked for more"...

I realized today that Bill and I did nothing for our anniversary last year. We both bought cards and then never managed to sign them and give them to each other. We never made it to a quiet dinner and a movie. There was too much to do with Heather having just finished chemo. Doctor appointments, blood draws and transfusions kept me busy for the rest of the month.
So, Bill decided that he would make this anniversary more like our 25th than our 26th. He did web research and learned that it is tradition to give silver for the 25th anniversary. He also did some sneaky looking at jewelry stores to find just the perfect gift. We have Princess Pea tonight so we celebrated last night. Bill came home with a huge bouquet of roses. 26 white and red roses arranged in one of the most beautiful vases I have ever seen. Then he surprised me by telling me what he had found at Helzberg Jewelry Store and would I like to go look at it. The ring is not silver but white gold, but I think that counts for silver. It has a large opal oval stone in the center with square diamonds with a square pink sapphire on each side. Then smaller round diamonds on the band. A nice steak at Texas Roadhouse and the evening was complete. Actually I had the pork it more than steak.
This has been a difficult week for Bill and I. Too many memories of where we were one year ago and where we were suppose to be this year. You would think that something like looking at jewelry would be a happy occasion and there would be no tears. Wrong!! Teri, the manager at Helzberg's, is a long time friend of ours. We have not seen her in over a year. She asked me to explain the significance of my stunning tattoo and I began to cry. Then as I told her that I did not get the words "My Dolly Girl-Heather" put on it so people would ask about my tattoo, Bill began to tear up. So once again, there we are crying in public and in the strangest place. It just hits. I can tell people what happened and it does not bring a tear and then other times I cannot get one word out.

The photos are simple to understand. I will explain the last one as this has unbelievable memory. When Bill and I renewed our vows we included all the members of our family. Bill's brother, Rusty, was one of the best men. He had never been in a wedding and rented a tux before. Uncle Steve walked out with Jenn and Wendy walked out with the baby cousins, Karee and Khloe. Uncle Rusty walked out with Heather. An amazing photo considering they decided to go to heaven together...just one day apart....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Brutally Honest...

Luke 22:44 And being in anguish [Jesus] prayed more earnestly...

There's no right way to suffer. When Jan Dravecky is talking with the mother whose child is dying of cancer, it does no good to say, "Don't feel sad," or "Don't be angry at God." There is no point in saying, "You should not feel that way." If she feels that way, she feels that way. Feelings are not right or wrong; but it is wrong to lie about how you feel. And I am no less of a Christian if I express those human emotions that come to the surface when I suffer. To Jan, you are more of a Christian because you are being honest.

Jesus was brutally honest in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke says he was "in anguish" and "his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground," a rare condition known as hematidrosis in which causes a hemorrhage into the sweat glands, caused by a highly emotional state, making the skin fragile and tender. Now, if Jesus could feel so deeply (and He never sinned), why do we think we must hide or deny our emotions?

(This was written by Jan Dravecky, the wife of baseball pitcher Dave Dravecky. They founded Outreach of Hope in response to the overwhelming needs expressed by hurting people who were encouraged by Dave's battle with cancer and the career ending amputating of his left arm.)

Why do I feel ashamed when I have a break down when I am in public? It is because in society today we are told to be happy on the outside. People want to see hat you are moving on and everything is good. Today, I go on a typical errand to find an anniversary and birthday card for Bill. No big deal. Go to the Hallmark store. I usually avoid the card section as this really gets my emotions going. I am going to find a card for a guy everything will be okay. Right? Wrong! Do you know how many anniversary and birthday card have wording that talks about all the happy times and how wonderful your life has been? Nearly all of them do. So I stand in the card aisle and wipe tears away from my eyes, hoping no one comes because they will not understand why I am crying in front of anniversary cards. I do end up finding cards. It is very difficult for me to shop for cards now.
This happened to be the Hallmark that Jenn worked at for a year. Ester, the manager, told Jenn and I that Judy, a very nice lady that worked there, died on Saturday. She had esophageal cancer that was diagnosed 3 months ago. The cancer took her quickly. I thought to myself...Sometimes I wish that Heather had died about 6-8 weeks after diagnosis. I know that sounds crazy. But I was prepared for her to die...or as prepared as I could be at that time. We were given little hope at the beginning. I just remember words like very aggressive, fast moving, all consuming cancer. Then everyday she got better, she was in remission and the end of the tunnel was here. She survived!! She did it!! She beat it!! Then out of the blue as life was returning to "normal" she got sick. Then we drug on and on and on, day after day after day. The ICU nurses-our A-Team-felt so bad for us to keep coming in and hoping. We never gave up hope. I still have no idea why we had to endure the 33 days and all that happened there.
Then, I would not trade a single moment of the extra year and 10 days that we were allowed to have with Heather. There were terrible days and some of them I would like to give back. But I cherish each moment that we had Heather here and "healthy". I am most proud and happy that I planned the Grand Ball. I went a little overboard, but looking what. I was glad that I spent the extra money on the ball gown instead of just getting a dress from Dillards. I am thrilled that I got her the white limo to arrive in. She told me that she felt like a true princess that night. Now I realize, this was her wedding. We have come to realize that true princesses don't stay long. Snow White and Aurora are two examples....We were not able to find our Prince Charming in time. In Sleeping Beauty, the 3 good fairies, when they are returning Aurora to the palace, state that they knew they would not be able to keep their princess long. Heather was a royal princess and her crown in heaven proves it to be true.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

So, She Can't Be Really Gone...

Tim McGraw recorded a song for his 1995 album titled "She Can't Be Really Gone". It leaves you to wonder did the girl just leave the guy or did she die. At the end there is an acknowledgment to The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation. So I think that the song is written about a woman who dies and the man who is left to go through her things. I relate about having to go through all of Heather's things. She simply walked out and left her room the way it was on March 19th. It was my job to go through all of her things that she has left behind. I think the older a child gets the harder it is to go through all the things they leave behind.

"Her hat is hanging by the door
The one she bought in Mexico

It blocked the wind
It stopped the rain
She'd never leave that one

So, she can't be really gone"...

Heather had a love of perfume. She loved the aroma but she also loved the ones that came in unusual bottles. Pretty bottles. For my birthday last year she bought me a Harajuku Lovers Doll perfume called Music. She loved all the little dolls so much that she bought all of them for her own collection. She came home and proudly put them on a shelf of their very own in her room. They have never been sprayed. They are simply there for collecting and decorating. All her perfume is still on the 3 shelves in Pea's room, just like she left them. I go and smell them once in a while She loved her perfume. She always told me that you are never fully dressed and ready to leave till you have your perfume on. Then you are ready. I made sure that the casket and her dress was sprayed with one of her favorite perfumes. I knew she would be upset if she did not have her perfume. One small detail that I had to make sure was taken care of. She'd never leave without her perfume. So, she can't be really gone...

"The shoes she brought on Christmas Eve
She laughed and said it called her name
t's like they're waiting in the hall

For her to slip them on

So, she can't be really gone"...

Heather loved shopping and clothes. She loved to look her very best even for shopping at 4 am the day after Thanksgiving. She could not really afford the designer labels, but if she saw something in a magazine you can be assured she would find something similar in a retail store here. She received a mailer from Express. They pictured a dress that she went to 3 different Express stores to find. She bought it and loved the color. When I packed her room, it was still in the Express sack with the tag and receipt with it. The dress is waiting for her to wear she can't be really gone...
"I don't know when she'll come back
She must intent to come back
I've seen the errors of my ways
Don't waste your tears on me

What more proof do you need

Just look around the room

So much of her remains"...

Heather had just been shopping at the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event. This is a special time when the store offers a wonderful tote with gifts inside for beauty purchases. She went back and forth about whether she should go spend the money and get the gift with the pink bag. When she did her chemo at the beginning of March, she decided that would be her reward. She bought Bobbie Brown eye shadows and Chanel foundation to name a few things. All the beauty items and the gift bag were still untouched in the Neiman's bag when I went through her room. She loved her makeup. So, she can't be really gone...
"Just look around this room
So much of her remains

Her book is lying on the bed

The two of hearts to mark her page

Now who could ever walk away at chapter 21

So, she can't be really gone"...

Heather was not interested in the Twilight series. Then she saw the movie. She came home and told me she did not know it was a love story. She then asked Jenn is she could read her books. She read about the first 2 chapters and then went on a mission to get the books herself. She found the first 2 books in paperback but 3 and 4 are only in hardback. So she borrowed Jenn's book 3 and 4. She read the books like a mad woman. She was really on a roll. She left the last book, Breaking Dawn, at chapter 7. Heather never finished reading the last book. In packing up her stuff, I found Jenn's book marked with a beauty card at chapter 7. I played the audio book to her 2 times the last few days that she was in ICU. I am not sure that she understood it. I just wanted to make sure she finished her book. But she would not have walked away from the book series at chapter 7 of the fourth and final book. So, she can't be really gone...
"Now who could ever walk away
With so much left undone

So, she can't be really gone
No, she can't be really gone"...

I know that Heather does not need any of the things she left behind. They are only earthly possessions. No Heather sis not take a single thing with her. She left this life like she came in. With nothing. I know it is just stuff, but it is Heather's stuff. All I have left of her. I have heard that mother's have a hard time letting go of their child's treasures. I know that I have a terrible time thinking of anyone having anything of Heather's. I feel selfish sometimes. I just don't want any regrets later. Someday I will be ready to go through things. She just can't be really gone...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day After Day....

The moment I wake out of a deep sleep and begin to stir, the reality hits me that my nightmare I think I am dreaming about is really my life. Heather really is gone and she is not coming back. I look at pictures and they seem so real. She can't be really gone, she is just on vacation somewhere. Well, she is on vacation...a long vacation. Some days are ok and others are really bad. There are some good moments of the day. I think as time goes on, it becomes the new normal. But I was told by a dear friend to remember that..."Normal is only a setting on a dryer".
When Heather would talk on her cell phone, she would go outside and sit or lay in our glider in the backyard. She has one friend that she would talk to for hours. Rain, heat or cold she would be out on the glider swinging and talking. The other night very late I let the dog out. The swing was moving slowly in the breeze that was blowing. I stepped outside and thought about how many times she would be in that swing. I could see her there. Where is she, she should be there. The swing is empty and so is the place in my heart that she holds.
I do enjoy my Lil Pea. She seems to change everyday. She is on the verge of crawling and is the best and happiest baby I have ever seen. I am not sure what we would be doing right now if we did not have Pea. She is such a joy to have living here with us. I know her Aunt Missy would have loved watching her grow, being able to be on the floor and play with her. Today, Wendy put Pea's hair in tiny piggie tails. She was so adorable. Even more that usual. I know most grandparents think that their grand child is the best and cutest. I don't know if my Princess Pea is the cutest and smartest and most adorable, but I know she fills a place that hurts in my heart that only she could touch right now. She gives us all a reason to get up and come home everyday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

One Photo Says it All...

I know today is my birthday and you expected to hear all about the big celebration. I am not really in a mood to celebrate. I did have a wonderful lunch with Diane and Debbie at Mimi's Cafe. Wendy made me a strawberry cake. Everyone got me really great gifts. Including 2 bouquets of flowers. I love flowers. I even got a small cake shaped like Daisy our dog...thanks Micayla and Carla. There is nothing normal about going on with our lives while Heather will forever be 21 years, 4 months and 10 days old. Diane told me something about being normal...."Normal is nothing but a setting on a dryer".
I will write about my birthday tomorrow....not in the mood today. I want to share with you my thoughts from Monday, May5, 2008. It is late at night and Heather is on 6 South after her blood clot issue. She has done her 3rd spinal chemo and is trying to endure the Ara-C. This drug made her very sick to her stomach. This is when she discovered that she loved Ativan and Phenegren. This was what I saw as I watched her in her bed:
Silence is all I hear
Silence is all I see-
No sound from her or the room
No movement from her-
The only sound is the air fan
Running, running, running...

My mind wonders
My mind thinks slowly
My mind barely works at all
So much to do
So much to remember
If ony my mind could think clear
Think, think, think...

She barely moves
She barely sitrs
She barely is aware
To all the awful drugs that run
To all the cells they kill off
SHe lays there silent-there isno sound
Only breathe, breathe, breathe...

Night is dark-
Can't sleep
Too many memories
Flood my mind
Will I ever forget?