I just spent a long weekend up at the North Shore. This year is my Mother-in-Law’s 90th birthday and the whole family went there to celebrate with her. I couldn’t help but think that Debbie would be there in spirit. You might recall that I’ve written in the past about Debbie sending me hearts. (https://www.timkwrites.com/blog/hearts) I was hoping that she might send me another one on this trip.
We didn’t have great weather for the trip, most days had rain and clouds. Still we managed to do a lot. Either together or in groups we hiked Temperance River, Cascade River, Oberg Mountain, Britton Peak and Sugarloaf Cove; went to Lutsen and rode the gondola up to the top of a mountain, rode the Alpine Slide or visited a winery; and spent time in Grand Marais.
On Friday the sun even came out for a bit. During the day a group of us went to Sugarloaf Cove. It has a nice beach area and some rocky shoreline that’s fun to walk along. I thought that perhaps this would be when I would find a heart. I walked along the beach looking at the rocks for hearts (and agates.) I reached the end of the beach without having seen a heart. Feeling disappointed I moved on. At the end of the beach there is a little isthmus with a rocky peninsula going off in one way and the shore curving in the other direction. It’s a few short steps from the cove to lakeshore on the other side.
I walked through and was struck by the sun shining off the water. I thought it might make a good picture. So, I pulled out my cell phone and snapped a picture while squinting into the sun. Which is exactly how to take a great picture it turned out. I looked at it later and thought it was a great picture. That evening when we were gathering to eat together I made sure to show the picture to everyone. (Yeah, I was showing off. I’m still showing off, this is the picture I took.)
After I took the picture I continued hiking on the peninsula. I was feeling sorry for myself that I hadn’t found a heart rock. However, by the time I got to the end of the peninsula I was feeling better. Lake Superior will do that to you. I told myself that it didn’t matter if I had a heart or not. The love the Debbie and I had for each other still exists. As I hiked back, I ran into Alicia and Carlos coming in the other direction. I took a picture of them on a rock with a bit of a rainbow in the background. I thought to myself that our kids were better than any heart.
Later that evening, after I had shown the picture to everyone I was drawn to it again. I had the idea that perhaps there would be a heart in the rocks. So, I zoomed in on the bottom of the picture. Looking at the rocks I didn’t see anything heart shaped. But then I looked up above the rocks, and I found the heart in the water.
Everything I thought when I was disappointed at not getting a heart is still true. But it was nice to know that Debbie was joining us for the birthday celebration.
I’m going to tell you about the lady in my life. Lucy is our pet dog and she’s a nine-and-a-half-year-old miniature schnauzer. She’s the one who gets me to go out for walks and keeps me company around the house.
Lucy was a rescue dog. I think she may have been hit by her first owners. There have been times when I’ve reached up for an itch or to adjust my hearing aids and I’ve moved my hand quickly. Lucy will cringe and move away from me.
My in-laws originally got her from the Humane Society. Apparently, her former family had a baby and found it too much to deal with both a baby and a dog. My father-in-law was beginning to suffer from dementia. He had always liked dogs. So, the idea was that having a dog to take care of would keep him active and involved. Unfortunately, he was too far gone to do that. My mother-in-law ended up taking care of Lucy in addition to all the caregiving she was doing for her husband. So, we took Lucy in.
Lucy is usually a mellow dog. She is much more relaxed than the toy poodle we used to have. She does have her quirks though. She is a very sudden barker. When she barks there is no warning. She goes from zero noise to full volume with no transition. As a result, I usually end up jumping when she sounds off. I’m not even sure what she’s barking at sometimes. When she barks at people walking by in the street it’s interesting to watch her. She’ll bark at them, but the whole time her tail is wagging back and forth. I think if you could translate dog barks into English, that one would probably say, “Come and pet me or play with me, please, please.”
The other day Facebook showed me some pictures I had taken a couple years ago while walking Lucy. It reminded me that I carry a camera in my phone while I’m walking. Then as if to reinforce that point when I walked Lucy that day she went sniffing at some weeds. When I looked more closely at the weeds, I noticed there were some wild roses blooming. Click went my camera. I’ve always tried to notice something beautiful in the world each day. It helped me out during some tough times to know that there was still beauty in the world.
When Debbie was at home in hospice, we had her bed set up in the family room. Lucy just wanted to be on the bed with Debbie. Unless, someone came to the door. Then she would run to the door barking. We had to turn off our door bell, not because the door bell was bothering Debbie, but because Lucy would be on her bed and would start barking as soon as she heard the doorbell. She stayed with Debbie, cuddling close to her feet. Then after Debbie died, she never went back up on that bed.
Lucy’s been through a lot of leaving in her life. Her first family gave her up. My in-laws had to give her up also. Debbie died. Alicia left for Mexico, came back and then moved out. Andrew went away to college. She’s an example of resilience for me. She still experiences simple joys; cuddling on the bed, playing, chasing bunnies in the yard, sleeping.
In the past I wrote a post about the card I gave to Debbie on our last Valentine's Day together. I ran across that card the other day and I thought I would share it with you.
Here's the link to the post when I wrote about this:
I've been cleaning out Debbie's desk in the basement. It's where she would sit and do most of her planning for school. She had a lot of stuff down there. Early on after she passed I had looked at some of it to figure out what was there. I saw that were some things done by her students at Minnesota Waldorf School. I thought at the time it would be nice to send them to the students as they got close to their high school graduations. This spring I realized if I was going to do that I better get moving as this was the year they would graduate. Sometimes deadlines can provide me with inspiration.
At Waldorf schools the students don't use textbooks. They keep a main lesson book where they write and illustrate what they've learned. It's part of the Waldorf philosophy; it anchors what they've learned better and gives them practice with handwriting, composition and art. The completed main lesson books are beautiful. Debbie did a main lesson book for herself; she would do them as she planned her lessons. I pulled out her eight years of completed lesson books and sent them to the school so they can be used by the teacher who took on Debbie's new class and others.
After that, I didn't touch anything. This was the area of the house that was hers and hers alone. Nobody else used that desk. I have many memories of waking up in the night or early morning and wondering where Debbie was then finding her working at her desk. It's not like I had a feeling that I shouldn't disturb her area, but I just never felt like cleaning it out. Maybe subconsciously, I was avoiding it. But I had a deadline coming up, so I had to do it.
I went through all of her paperwork. I saved anything that her students had done and sent each of the ones who graduated from eighth grade with her an envelope filled with different things. I've heard back from some of them how much they appreciated getting that.
In one file drawer I found all the plays her class had done. In Waldorf, each class will do a play every year. Many times, I would write the first draft of the play for Debbie and she would do a final edit. Sometimes I would write from scratch, sometimes she would have another play to use as a base. The final play I helped with was in sixth grade. They did a Greek play - The Haunted House by Plautus. She had three translations and each was old, so the wording was sometimes a bit hard to follow. I updated the language and had to add three or four parts to fit the number of children in the class. I split one character into three and added a couple others giving them lines from other characters.
Then in the very back of that same drawer I found all of her medical files from when she had had miscarriages. I knew she carried that grief with her, but seeing those files brought it front and center in my mind. I was crying even before I found the last folder. That folder was all about the baby before Alicia. I knew that had been her most difficult one. She told me the baby had died, but I always had assumed it was a miscarriage. It turns out that the baby had been born dead at 20 weeks, so it was far enough along that she had ultrasound pictures. In the file, I found items from when he was born. There was a card with his footprints and a picture of him wrapped up in a baby blanket. She also had saved the baby blanket. By this point I was sobbing. I've decided that I'm going to put the blanket in the niche with Debbie's urn at the cemetery. It seems fitting. I am consoled by thinking of the joyous reunion Debbie had with her children in heaven.
There's still a bit of cleaning to do. But before I tell you about the last thing I cleaned I have to digress here so you'll understand what comes next. One of my favorite foods is a peanut butter and honey sandwich. We kept our bread in the freezer. At one point, I mentioned to Debbie that I didn't really like eating the crust piece on the ends of bread loaves. She told me I didn't have to; she could use them as bread crumbs when she was cooking. So, I stopped eating the crust pieces. Then a few months later I was in the doghouse because there were so many bags of bread in the freezer containing just the two crust pieces.
Ok, back to cleaning. Yesterday I noticed that on the top shelf of her bookshelf next to the desk there were a bunch of papers. They were mostly from miscellaneous classes she had taken. As I went through the papers on the bookshelf I also found about ten note books and legal pads with just two or three pages remaining. Not that it justified what I had done with the bread, but it did turn out that it was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
It was good to share a laugh with Debbie again.
I was going to end this post with a short paragraph about cleaning, but as I was trying to figure out the words I found myself writing a haiku.
the desk is now clean
papers saved drawers emptied
This is the blog post that I had intended to write last week for Valentine’s Day before I got sick.
When the final stage of Debbie’s battle with breast cancer started we didn’t realize it. The valentine I wrote about last week (http://www.timkwrites.com/blog/a-valentine-at-last6034764) was the last valentine I gave her. While Debbie couldn't get me a valentine at that time she has been sending me valentines since then.
That summer my daughter’s boyfriend was visiting and as he had never seen Lake Superior before we decided to take him to Minnesota’s North Shore to see it. The loss of Debbie still weighed heavily upon me. It was hard to believe that she was gone.
Most places on the North Shore have memories for me of being there with Debbie. Debbie loved the North Shore, it is where she seemed most able to relax. She loved the different hikes, looking for rocks on beaches, and eating good food. One time we were on a beach and I found a stone that was shaped like the top of a tulip flower. I spent a bit of time looking and eventually I was able to find an oval stone that was colored green that I could use as a stem. Later, when we were home and Debbie was getting ready for the start of the upcoming school year on a day when I usually would give her flowers I put the two stones together and gave her a rock flower.
On our trip that summer one day we were hiking the Cascade River. This aptly named river plunges down to Lake Superior in a series of waterfalls. It was the last hike Debbie and I took together on the North Shore. Usually we would hike the trail from the bottom up. Because of construction we had to park at the campground and join the river trail at its top. At the bottom, close to where the river flows into Lake Superior, the kids all took off their shoes and were wading in the river. I was hopping from rock to rock. At one point I saw a bigger rock that was sitting in the river. I walked over to it and gave it a little push into the current just to see what would happen. Not much as it turned out; the water just flowed around it. I pondered whether I had changed anything by my little alteration of the river. As I turned back towards the shore, there in the river was a stone in the shape of a heart. I realized that Debbie had put it there for me as an echo of my earlier flower gift – it was the valentine she hadn’t been able to give me in February.
After that Debbie has left me several hearts. On Valentine’s Day when I took out our dog, Lucy, right next to the path sitting on top of the snow a couple seeds had formed a heart.
On Christmas Eve, I took Lucy for a walk. The day before we had some slushy snow fall and it had melted on the ground. The temperature had fallen. Any depressions in the ground had collected water which had frozen with a white border around it. They were all circular. Then I came across one in the shape of a heart.
This last summer I was on the North Shore again. My family had a family reunion up there as we’ve done in the past. We had made the effort to make it happen this summer as it would probably be my dad’s last trip there. We were all staying at Cobblestone Cabins. One day I went walking down to the rock beach by the lake. I was thinking it was possible that I might find a heart from Debbie.
I wandered among the rocks watching the waves from the lake. I saw a rock with two rounded edges on the top. I picked it up thinking this must be from Debbie. As I looked more closely at it I realized it was more of a bean shape. I was hoping for a heart. Reluctantly, not wanting to give up, but realizing it wasn’t really a heart I set the stone back down. I took a couple steps to the lake and watched the waves for a little bit before turning around to go back up to the cabin. Looking down I laughed, there was a rock with a heart on it that was clearly not a bean.
What do all these hearts mean? Why am I getting hearts when other people who have lost someone don’t get anything? I guess that Debbie felt that she still had something left to say to me while others who have left don’t feel that need. What do I think she has to say?
I think she is expressing her love for me. Sometimes it was hard for her to do that, she was more of an “actions speak louder than words” person. After I was over the initial shock of her being gone when I remembered our life together I would often think about things I did wrong or could have done better. So, I also take the hearts to mean let that go, it didn’t change her love.
In any case, whether these are messages from the beyond or just coincidences, know that your love impacts this world even beyond the time you are physically present.
This was originally posted on June 21, 2016. I’m not feeling well, so I thought today was a good day to repost this.
My tale is a tale of doom. It was a little first grader who doomed my plan. Or so I thought before I learned what doom really felt like.
Let me explain my plan to you. In my writing class at the Loft before Valentine’s Day as part of an exercise I had written a poem.
Here, take my heart of stone,
let me be your rock.
Here, take my heart of glass,
but don’t break it.
Here, take my heart of cotton candy,
I’m sweet on you.
Here, take my artichoke heart,
it’s good for you.
Here, take my heart of gas,
let’s refuel ourselves.
Forgive me for not giving you my heart of water,
you don’t need any tears.
Here, take my heart to heart
and let me know what I need to know.
Here, take my heart of the matter,
I love you.
It was a first draft and while I liked some lines as a whole I wasn’t very pleased with it. Still, I thought maybe with a few changes it would make a good Valentine’s Day card for my wife. So I planned that on Friday morning, Valentine’s Day, while I was out on the other side of the Twin Cities I would stop at a certain store. I’ve shopped there before and my wife always liked the cards I get her from there. My plan was in place. Get the card, rewrite the poem into the card and give it to her at dinner.
My wife, Debbie, was teaching first grade at the Minnesota Waldorf School. A unique approach that Waldorf Schools have with their teachers is that the teacher moves grades with the class. Debbie had just finished taking a class from first through eighth grade and was starting the cycle anew with first grade this year. Over the summer she began a battle breast cancer. She went through chemotherapy and radiation treatment with good results. After Christmas she was back to working full time.
That came to a halt at the beginning of February when she went to see the eye doctor who discovered she had a detached retina. To fix this they had to do surgery. They put a permanent band around the eyeball. Then they went into her eyeball with tools so small they don’t need to make an incision and fixed the retina. Finally they put a gas bubble inside her eye to hold the retina in place. For the next day Debbie had to look down so the bubble would float to the back of her eye where the retina is. Being able to see clearly out of one eye and fuzzily through a bubble in the other eye was disconcerting. So Debbie was taking time off work to recover.
In the meantime, the first graders had been doing a block of lessons based on circus acts. This would culminate in a performance for the school and parents on Friday afternoon. The day before the performance a teacher heard some first graders talking. One of them said, “Wouldn’t it be great if Mrs. Kane could see us do our circus?” Debbie, aka Mrs. Kane, heard about the comment. Of course she then had to make the effort to go. And this is what doomed me.
My wife was still unable to drive and enlisted our daughter to get her to the school for the performance. Unfortunately, that day our daughter was with me in the morning on another end of town. I could get her back in time, but would be unable to stop at the store to pick up a card as I had planned.
Now a first grader had unknowingly thwarted me. Was I to be doomed to looking for a Valentine’s Day card in the remnants of Target’s card section, prowling through the picked over cards at Walgreens? Not to mention that I now had to get to work and between getting home and getting dinner I would have time for only one stop to get a card. How could I escape this doom? Then I realized, the Co-op has a good selection of cards. I could stop there, buy food for dinner and look for a card. If they didn’t have any Valentine’s Day cards I could always get a good blank card. My plan was saved.
When I got to the Co-op I discovered the card selection was much bigger in my memory than in real life. They didn’t have a section of Valentine’s Day cards. And what’s more the only blank cards that would work were ones we had already bought and used in the past, so Debbie had already seen them. I was doomed to a substandard blank card and there was no time to go anywhere else. There was nothing I could do. I picked the card that was the least bad for my purposes and did the rest of my shopping.
The Co-op has three cash registers. That day all three lanes were full. There must be a Murphy’s Law for checkout lanes. Something along the lines of: As soon as you pick a lane the other open lanes will fill with people and someone in your lane will cause a problem that the person on the register will be unable to solve by themselves. That day was not an exception to that rule. I stood in line waiting and surreptitiously eyeing the people in the other lanes who had gotten in line after me, but had edged closer to checking out than me. Tiring of that I started reading the checkout magazine covers. That was brief because, of course, the co-op doesn’t carry the trashy tabloids that we all read while we wait in the checkout lines. Meanwhile the problem shopper still hadn’t resolved anything, so my gaze wandered around the store. Inevitably I was drawn back to the Card Racks of Doom when what to my wandering eyes should appear, but a red card with perhaps a heart on it. Merry Christmas! Maybe this card could work.
Still in the cycle of doom I went back to the racks and looked at the card expecting something weird that would in no way fit with what I had written. Instead I found a card that could not have been better.
The front of the card was a picture all in red of flowers forming a heart shaped frame. In the frame are two birds facing each other. One bird has a branch in its beak as if to give it to the other bird. Below the picture there was a verse by Pablo Neruda. The inside of the card featured a smaller version of the bird from the outside holding the branch in its beak. The inside caption read, “My heart is yours”. If I started looking a year in advance if I could not have found a card with a caption that would fit my theme of “Here take my heart” better than that. My plan was saved. I bought the card and wrote the revised version of the poem inside the card.
Here, take my heart of stone,
let me be your rock.
Here, take my heart of glass,
but don’t break it.
Here, take my artichoke heart,
it’s good for you.
Here, take my heart of the matter,
which is that I love you always.
When you’ve taken my heart
don’t think me heartless because
it’s full of the love of you.
So, here, take my sweetheart
and be mine.
I gave her the card at dinner. Because of her eye surgery I had to read the card aloud to her. After I explained the circumstances of how it came to be written as an exercise in my class she smiled and said, “You can practice on me anytime”.
Unfortunately, she was wrong. That’s when I found out what doom really feels like. Eight days after Valentine’s day I brought Debbie into the hospital emergency room. The cancer was aggressively attacking the lining of her brain. While there were some glimmers of hope they turned out to be just grasping at straws. It became clear that we should focus on keeping Debbie as comfortable as possible in her remaining time. Debbie entered hospice care and came home to be surrounded by love and family.
The card ended up being Debbie’s last valentine. I found myself stunned at how quickly anytime turned into out of time.
A quick note before I start: I’ll be doing a presentation at Shepherd of the Hills to show pictures and talk about my trip to Tanzania on Thursday Feb. 16 at 6:30 in the evening.
About twenty-three and a half years ago I proposed to Debbie and she accepted. I had no idea what came next, but Debbie was organized to be thinking about things. It wasn’t too much later she was telling me about this neat woman she knew who was pastor at a nearby church. Debbie thought we should think about having her perform our ceremony. So that Sunday we went to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Shorview and I got to meet Pastor Deborah. Pastor Deborah ended up marrying Debbie and me later that year.
That’s how I started going to Shepherd of the Hills. Having grown up Catholic it was a switch to be going to a Lutheran church. I suppose my feeling was similar to Minneapolis football fans when the Vikings began in the NFL and they had to switch their allegiance from the Packers. But we’re more alike than we are different.
Shepherd has become my church home and rather than just attending I volunteered and became involved. I have many fond memories of Alicia and Andrew in their various activities or shows. I was floored by the amount of support we received after Debbie was diagnosed with breast cancer.
There has been some turmoil there over the years and I haven’t always agreed with some things that were said or done. But I realize that God has been looking for the perfect church for over 2,000 years and hasn’t found one, so I don’t think I need to have the perfect church.
When I was in a grief support group for a while after died they mentioned that a lot of people stopped going to their churches after a death. I hadn’t even considered that with Shepherd. There was so much love and support there. But I can see why the memories might be overpowering for someone in grief. It still hits me some Sundays. I learned pretty quick I needed to sit on the aisle where I could get out quick if I was starting to cry.
After so much time I’ve built up a lot of relationships that I treasure. One of which is the feeling of having a closer relationship with God. It’s a blessing to me to have been able to have Shepherd as my church home.
I encourage everyone to find a church home and become involved. You’re welcome at Shepherd if you don’t have a church of your own. (Look for me, I’ll be sitting on the aisle way over on the right.)
You may read this post and wonder about the title and how it fits with what I’m writing about. Don’t worry, I will explain it.
Just a note before I start. I did an upgrade with Weebly on the site. I’ll be able to post videos now, you might have noticed that in last week’s posting. I also have a new website address: www.timkwrites.com. If you access my blog with the old address it will redirect you to here. And now onto my posting.
We’ve all heard the story of if you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out, but if you put it in cold water and gradually increase the temperature it won’t be aware of it and won’t jump out even as the water gets to boiling.
What if you reverse that? There are times in our life when our world is despair, hopelessness and brokenness. We’re in hot water and we can’t get out. It’s times like that when we need the heat turned down.
That was me during the final stages of Debbie’s battle with breast cancer and after she passed away. Looking back, I’m not sure how I got through it. It feels like it was a blur, but I also have some very clear memories of that time. In fact, I just had to pause in writing this as I remembered when a group of her students came over and sang to Debbie while she was in hospice. It was so beautiful that all I could do was run into another room and silently sob. And, of course, if the computer screen is all blurry through tears you can’t write.
What can we do for someone in that situation? We want to give them hope and encouragement. But you can’t say that. At that point, they’re focused on the moment and nothing else. Things in the future, like hope, don’t mean anything.
We need to lower the heat. We might not be able to do much, but if we lower the heat one degree we’ve made a difference. The other person might not notice it, but every little bit adds up. Eventually the heat is lowered enough that life becomes bearable.
I’ll tell you what helped to lower my heat, even though I didn’t notice it at the time. Every expression of support, every card that was sent, every hug, every meal that was delivered, every prayer, each of the over 400 people who came to the funeral brought the water to a lower temperature. Eventually, gradually, hope started showing up in my life again. The mourning doesn’t stop. Like a limb that is amputated that person isn’t coming back. But increasingly that stops being what defines your life.
Acknowledgment and support are the best ways to lower the heat.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge what someone is going through. You may not say the right thing, but at least you’re letting them know you’re concerned. Even a simple, “I’m sorry for what you’re going through” works.
You’ve read some of the things that people did to support me and my family. If you can think of something specific that you can do offer to do that. The old standard, “If you need anything, just let me know” is more of an acknowledgement since they don’t really know what they need.
Gratitude doesn’t seem like something that relates to what I’ve been talking about. But for me it does. I feel so much gratitude for the many people whose kindness and concern were manifested through their support of Debbie, my family and me. I feel truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.
Let me start off with a prayer request. If you were reading my blog while I was in Tanzania you might remember Freddy Hanson. I had asked for your prayers for him while the doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong with him. He ended up having surgery and was expected to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, it has been discovered that it was cancer. Freddy has been at Mayo Clinic for radiation and chemotherapy. Your prayers, once again, would be a big help. Thanks.
In Tanzania I was bemoaning that my pictures of sunsets never turned out. Tom Olsen, who had volunteered to be our trip photographer, told me to try editing it and using a red filter. I was trying out the editing capabilities of my phone/camera. If you're a friend on Facebook, you might have already seen what I did. I posted a new cover photo that took a nice sunset picture that hadn't turned out and changed it to look more like the actual sunset. I improved some pictures from Tanzania. I'll give you a sampling below.
This got me musing about befores and afters in life. Sometimes it takes time afterwards for details to come forth and present a clearer, more understandable picture.
For years after the Twins won the World Series in 1987 I would have conversations with people where we were trying to figure out when something had happened. One or the other of us would say, "Well, I know it was before the Twins won the World Series." Or after. It was a shared event. After so many years of no championships for Minnesota pro sports teams, the Twins win created a shared sense of euphoria in Minnesota. We could all place when it had happened.
Before and after meeting Debbie. She changed me for the better. I was a different person back then and Debbie drew out the best in me. (She tended to have that effect on people.)
Before and after Debbie's death. A marker in time. Although on either side of it things are not clear. Her illness was a blur and afterwards I was in a fog of grief for some time. Bit by bit I progress towards being able to look back and understand.
I know that my life will now be divided into before and after Tanzania. This trip changed me in so many way, changes that I know about and changes that I haven't realized have happened yet. But I know that they are changes for the good.
I know that because of another before and after that's important to all our lives. As we celebrate Christmas this year, think about the before and after of Jesus. How this coming to earth changed more than just flipping the calendar from BC to AD. He comes as a child inviting us into a relationship of love. Accept the invitation with joy and afterwards...
Haikus are a Japanese form of poetry consisting of 3 lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. I wrote earlier about having written some haikus as part of my grieving process after Debbie passed away. I’ve arranged the haikus into 4 seasons and will post them on this blog. This week I’m posting the first two seasons.
Season of Before:
Unknown blissful ignorance,
The storm approaches.
What I ended up writing for this section was not poetry, but stories of Debbie. I’ve posted some of these already as memories of Debbie.
Season of Cancer:
The disease defines our life,
But kills only one.
I’ve arranged the haikus in this section chronologically to tell the story of what happened from the first symptoms to the end.
After the school year
A trip up to the North Shore.
Her shoulder pains grow.
Tomorrow, come here.
The doctor needs to see you.
Worry, dread and fear.
The scan saw something.
Referred to oncology;
They think its cancer.
Grasping at Straws
Just an infection,
Take some antibiotics.
My false fantasy.
An implanted port,
Pumping poison into her –
Before her hair goes
We take a family picture
All in shades of red.
It’s spread to her brain.
Now they’ll do radiation
And scare us some more.
Tumor markers down.
They are in the normal range.
Cause to celebrate.
Things are going well
Optimism at Christmas.
Gifts for her new hair.
The beginning of the end.
She doesn’t get well.
Her whispered whimpers,
A still ghastly echo of
My silent sobbing.
An everyday trip,
Commuting to hospital,
Spending time with her.
Our hopes and dreams flee.
Treatments are discontinued –
We enter hospice.
Took her to ER
Not knowing her return home
Would be in hospice.
A hole left behind.
On Saturday, as March ends,
She passes away.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.