Saturday, May 31, 2008

Melt Down

Each of us, in turn, melted down a little today. We've been going at this for awhile, and it seems to have caught up with us. One by one, we each experienced a few moments of great sorrow.

It is so wonderful to have a family. Even when family is not physically present, there is great comfort.

Each of you that have been praying for us, helping meet physical needs, and reading these blogs, is a part of our family, and have provided a measure of comfort to us. And for that, we are truly thankful. Tonight however, one person deserves special mention.

When Jane and I were first dating, her sister Terry called one day sobbing to tell us that her husband had just died. I barely knew her at the time; but Jane and I spent the whole day with her, helping to get things situated. The next week we helped her make funeral arrangements, and I was given the honor and privilege to present the eulogy at her husband's memorial service.

That was 22 years ago. And now, Terry is here with us, spending whole days, taking time away from her family and work to help me take care of Jane. During my "meltdown" today I asked her, "How long did it take you to get over Pat?" She replied, "A long time, but to this day I still cry from time to time." Being able to talk with her about it was good.

So, I want to declare publicly my heartfelt thanks for Jane's sister, and all that she is. Thank you Terry.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

I Thought I Was Prepared

I have always tried to "pre-grieve" by imagining what it would be like if say, my mom died, or my dad, or Jane. I used to think in so doing, that I was well-prepared in case those things would ever happen during my lifetime.

I do believe that "pre-grieving" helps, but there's no substitute for the real thing. As I sit here today, making a slide show for Jane's eventual memorial service, I fully realize that I am not, nor will I ever be, completely prepared for this.

Jane has been mostly unable to communicate anymore. She will say "water" and gesture as if she's holding a glass up to her mouth, but it is very difficult to correspond with her. She was quite restless early this morning, and had her bout with nausea earlier than normal. Afterward, she is usually spent for several hours.

As I write, she is resting quietly again. I am keeping my eyes open for telltale signs of the end, but for the most part, they have not appeared yet. By "the end", I mean days or hours. So I pass yet another day with my bride of 21 years still in our home with me. It may sound selfish, but if she would only stay with us, I would have her even this way.

I found it hard to understand a few years ago, why the parents of Terri Schiavo would want to keep her alive in her vegetative condition. Now, I know why. It's probably just selfish on our parts, but I do understand. It is very difficult to let go; and even though I told Jane a couple of weeks ago that I had released her, I guess I still have not.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Am I Bugging You?

Jane was fairly wakeful today, and was able to communicate a few things; mostly "water." She is always thirsty, and tries to "con" anyone who comes into her room, into giving her a drink of water. We are not withholding water from her, but we must be careful about the amount she receives at any one time.

Her sister and I were sitting with her today, and I asked her a couple of questions. She wrinkled her brow, and I asked, "Am I bugging you?" She nodded, "Yes."

"Do you want me to leave now?" She nodded "Yes." We both laughed so hard.

I was not laughing earlier today. As I watch her grow weaker, and quieter, it really hurts.

Most of the time, I just don't "go there" but when I do, I get that gripping my throat feeling, and the boot standing on my chest.

Many of you ask me how I'm doing, and I usually respond with, "not too bad." But that's a half-truth. I'm doing OK half the time, and not OK the other half.

Your words of encouragement and prayers keep me going. Thank you for that.

"OK, I know I'm bugging you, so I'm going now."

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Imagine My Surprise

My alarm went off at 4am again this morning; time for Jane's medication, and to check in on her. I got her all situated, and comfortable, and went to use the restroom myself.

I was in the bathroom for no more than 2 minutes, and was going back to bed. When I passed by her bedroom door, Jane was sitting upright on the side of her bed! It really surprised me!

I asked her, "where are you going?" and she said, "I don't know."

I said, "Let's lay back down again" and she said, "Ok." I got her back to bed, and brought my pillows into her room and remained there for the rest of the night. Every time she stirred, I looked up to see if she was trying to crawl out of bed again.

We both finally went to sleep about 5:30 or 6:00am, and slept until 8:00. The rest of today was pretty good, even though Jane slept most of the time. Still no pain to speak of, and she retains her (somewhat dry) sense of humor.

Today when I was giving her medication, she asked me, "Am I sick?" and I choked a "Yes."

"Do I have cancer?" I said, "Yes honey, you do." "Oh" she said, and went back to sleep.

I guess she's not really sure anymore what is real and what is part of her dream world. This evening she wanted to know if she had eaten yet. She is resting comfortably now, and is living an example that I hope I can follow someday. To be at peace in the midst of illness.

I love her so . . .

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This Can't Be Happening

I went to our bathroom tonight, and looked at myself in the mirror. "This can't be happening; it can't be real," I thought. But the telltale lines around my eyes, and the darkening circles from intermittent sleep patterns told me otherwise.

It must be getting old for some of you to be reading the same thing over and over again. One day Jane is up, the next she is down. I sometimes feel like the little boy who cried "wolf." We watched a movie tonight while Jane slept. She needs to be turned every 2 hours or so, to prevent bed sores because she's not moving much on her own anymore.

It is so difficult to see her like this. I ache inside; I cannot describe how this feels. We turned her on her other side a few minutes ago, and she barely stirred. Many of her responses to us now are instinctual.

When we put a straw to her lips, she purses them, and tries to suck on it like a little child. When I touch her hand, she grasps mine with a strength that is surprising, and sometimes she won't let go; as if she's holding on for dear life (maybe she is).

I am so sorry this post is so dismal tonight; it's dark, lonely, and fearful. I am praying for the break of day, another morning when "all things are new." Please Lord, help me make it through this night.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kiss My Hot Lips

After a bout with nausea this morning, I kissed Jane on the forehead. She looked up at me and said, "Your lips are hot."

"That's why they call me hot lips" was my reply. She inclined her face toward me in that "come hither" manner, and I kissed her on the lips.

"I'll bet nobody else has ever kissed you on the lips right after throwing up." "Nope" she said, and smiled.

Jane is a little more wakeful today, however she is growing more disoriented. She knows where she is, but sometimes she thinks that one of her sisters who is still in San Jose, is here at the house.

This is yet another sign of the end-process; and one that can be more difficult. Some of you know what I mean by personal experience. Parents, siblings, or friends that suffer from dementia, Alzheimer's etc.

Terry, and the kids and I would like to ask you to pray for us to have strength during this time. It is difficult to see Jane like this, and we want to be able to communicate clearly with her; but at some point it won't be possible anymore. Thank you for your prayers.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hold on to the Nights

Tonight is one of those rare occasions when I don't have much to say, except that I am afraid.

This day arrived with sights, and sounds that are uncomfortably familiar to me; indicators of the inevitable. The slow, labored breathing; limp, motionless body; waxen skin; hollow, sunken eyes. Signs that betray our mortality. I fear these signs: not for my beloved wife, but for myself.

Jane will soon be taken from me, and I am afraid of that. It's a strange paradox to be a Christian, and yet fearful of death. But this world, and this life, is all I know. So tonight, once again, I place my hope and trust in God my Savior, and from this I derive my comfort.

My sister Pam sent me the lyrics to a song tonight that I would like to share with you. It's from a song titled, "Hold on to the Nights" by Richard Marx.
Just when I believed I couldn't ever want for more,
This ever changing world pushes me through another door.
I saw you smile and my mind could not erase the beauty of your face,
Just for a while won't you let me shelter you?
I continue to have the privilege, honor and joy, to shelter my love. One more quotation that I think is quite appropriate in my case:
“God made woman beautiful and foolish; beautiful, that man might love her; and foolish, that she might love him” -Source Unknown

Have a good night, everyone.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Feeling Thin, Sort of Stretched . . .

. . . like butter that has been scraped over too much bread." --Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring.

That is how I would describe Jane the past couple of days. Especially today. She awoke in a great deal of pain, and was reluctant to have me help treat it as prescribed by the doctor and hospice nurses. We had a quick surprise visit today from Dr. Judith Csanky, and she encouraged Jane to keep up on her pain control.

Jane was feeling quite low before the visit, and was telling me that she has had enough; enough pain, enough lingering, enough of people watching her and taking care of her. As you might tell, she was pretty distraught. After Dr. Csanky's visit, we were able to get her pain under control, and back comfortable again.

We also ordered a hospital bed from the Hospice, which arrived and was setup this afternoon. Jane is resting comfortably in it now; it will be much easier to care for her when her condition gets to the point where she is unable to move herself.

The days are growing more difficult now, watching and waiting. I just ache inside for her; I don't want her to go, but I don't want her to suffer. She asked, "Are you keeping me alive for yourselves?" I told her that we have released her, that she can go when she is ready, and not to wait for any of us. She nodded the affirmative. She does not know when it will be, but feels it will be fairly soon.

Jane has fought a long, hard, courageous battle; especially in the past 5 weeks, and she is ready to surrender, and go home. It's now in the Lord's hand. Please pray for peace, and comfort for her over these next few days.

Prepare the way,
Prepare the way,
Prepare the way,
for the coming of the Lord.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

The Hand Pile Game

Tonight as I was helping Jane get ready for sleep, I placed my hand on top of her right hand. It felt so terribly cold. She said, "Your hand is warm," and took her left hand and placed it on top of my hand, so I placed my other hand on top of hers, making a hand pile.

After a few seconds, Jane pulled her bottom hand out of the pile, and placed it on top of my top hand. I pulled my bottom hand out from the pile and placed it on top of her hand; this quickly developed into a brisk game of "who can keep their hand on top of the pile." I eventually had to concede, since Jane always wins.

Today was our 21st wedding anniversary, and probably the most difficult day that I have spent during the past 17 months.

I picked up a cake that I ordered, and when the girl read the writing on the icing out loud; "Happy 21st Anniversary" she said, "Oh, how nice." I got all choked up at the realization that this will be our final one together.

Later, I went out and bought Jane some knee high stockings because her feet and lower legs are so cold all the time now, even with blankets on them.

A quick story: about 10 years ago, Jane was car pooling with another mom who had three kids going to Zion Lutheran School where our kids went at the time.

One of the kids didn't like to be told to "wear his seatbelt" and other routine disciplinary things; so he began calling Jane "the carpool witch." So today I bought her a pair of stockings today that resemble the ones that the wicked witch wore when she got crushed by Dorothy's house.

Jane really likes them - and You're Little Dog Toto Too!

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Celebrating Life

Today was Jane's sister's birthday. We had a small, brief family get-together at our home to celebrate. Baby back ribs from Safeway, potato salad, chocolate cheese cake, and carrot cake.

I picked out a very nice little statue from the Hallmark store titled, "Two Alike."

It reminded me so much of Terry and Jane together, and how similar they are in so many ways. I hope it will always be a cherished keepsake of Terry's, and a remembrance of her time together with Jane.

Jane continues to decline in strength, but her mind is still sharp as a tack. And Funny! Here's an adorable photo from the party this afternoon of the two sisters enjoying a hug!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anniversary Gift

Jane's and my 21st wedding anniversary is this Friday. A few weeks ago, she told me that I could buy a pair of motorcycle boots (my current ones are growing thin). So, I found a pair on ebaY that are really nice, and about half of what they would have cost in the store.

I received the boots today, and went into the bedroom asking Jane, "Do you want to see what you got me for our anniversary?" She said "No." Just to explain, when I'd ask her that kind of question in the past (Do you want to see what you got me for . . . Christmas, or my birthday, or any other day) it would usually be something like a new drum set. So Jane thought I might have purchased a new Ferrari or something.

I showed her my new boots, and she said, "Oh, they look just like mine." I only got to wear them 2 or 3 times, and they were too big for my little bike." I needed to get a bigger bike to fit my boots."

I laughed so hard! "You've learned from the best" I told her.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Are You Mad at Me?

Just before getting her into the living room to watch American Idol tonight, Jane asked me, "Are you mad at me?" It nearly broke my heart. "Why would I be mad at you, honey?" I asked. "I don't know, I just thought you were."

She had quite a bit of pain late this morning, and I think in the process of getting it under control, she may have had some interesting dreams. Jane is so weak now that she is unable to stand up, remain standing, or walk without my assistance.

We never were very good dance partners, but that's all changed in the past few weeks. I now actually lead, and she actually follows! We watched American Idol tonight, and she remained alert through the entire show. At the end she asked, "Who's going to win?" "Cook, I hope" was my reply, but her sister Terry said, "Probably Archuleta." We'll find out tomorrow night.

Jane and I "danced" our way back to her chair for the night, and got her settled-in. She doesn't talk very much now; only when it's necessary, or important to her, in order to conserve her energy. It's difficult to really imagine how much strength it takes just to smile, say a few words, and especially to stand and walk 15 feet.

I grow choked up inside when I look at and touch this once energetic, full of life woman. I truly love taking care of her, and feel privileged to have this time with her, no matter how difficult.

We gave thanks for another day, read Psalm 23, and said "good night."

On my way out the door, Jane whispered, "I Love You."

"I love you too." and kissed her forehead.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Blast From the Past

Starting today, I will be posting a series of ten short essays that Jane wrote when she was about 12 years old. The will be posted on Jane's blog, so you will only find them there.

The title of the series of essays is, "Me, Myself, and I." These stories were written by her at a very formative time in her life; they are humorous, touching, and eerily close to the way things have turned out in her life. I believe that after reading them, you will come to know Jane in a more intimate way, and feel as if you've known her all your life.

The last few days we've noticed a slow, but steady decline in Jane's strength and wakefulness. I was able to visit with her for about 15 minutes today, but aside from that she is sleeping most of the time.

I don't drink soda pop much anymore (you're wondering what that has to do with anything?) but instead I drink Seltzer water. I like the fizzy bubbles, but not the sweet soda taste. It's great on a hot day with lots of ice. Lately, Jane has been craving sips of my seltzer to help her burp a little, and because it feels good on her throat.

Just now, I plopped some ice cubes in my Kerr Wide-Mouth Mason jar, and filled it with seltzer. Jane's call bell rang, and I went to see what was up. She asked me for a sip of my seltzer. "I can't sneak anything around you, can I?" We all laughed.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beautiful Feet

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who tells of peace and brings good news of happiness, who tells of saving power, and says to Zion, "Your God rules!" Is. 52:7 (New Life Version).
Some people I know are just not "feet people" but I am. One of the things I love most about Jane's earthly body are her beautiful feet. I have had the privilege and joy of rubbing lotion on her feet for many years now, and am able to do so on a more regular basis these past few weeks.

I captured a photo of her feet while she rested this evening, and decided to share how lovely they are with the rest of you.

These feet have served her well; walked her to her first day of kindergarten, ran through her first mud puddle, waded in the ocean, walked down the aisle with me, danced with me, cuddled with me, tickled her children with them, and shifted gears on her favorite motorcycle.

It's amazing how easily we take our feet for granted; I just wanted to appreciate hers tonight. Thank you for letting me share.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Family Huddle

Well, OK. The photo tonight is not of a huddle, but a rugby scrum. I love watching rugby; got really hooked on it while traveling to Ireland. The Scottish team was in Dublin for one of the 7 nations match-ups with the Irish team. We were in this pub and . . . oh, never mind.

The hospice social worker came to our home today and met with me, the kids, and my sister-in-law Terry. We talked for about an hour and a half, and it was a really special time. I am SO PROUD of my kids! They are demonstrating a level of maturity that I don't think I was capable of when I was their ages.

The social worker said that we were a very healthy family, and that it looked like we are going to make it through this ok. I am sure we will, but there will be times . . .

It is really wonderful to have Jane's sister here to help share in the process, and to be with her baby sister through her last few weeks. It means so much to Jane and to me too!

Jane had a pretty good day today, no substantial sickness, and made it through the heat spell with little to no problems. We kept her well-cooled with washcloths and ice chips.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Time in a Bottle

From the words of the late Jim Croce:
If I could save time in a bottle,
The first thing that I'd like to do,
It was a beautiful day today here in Corvallis; hitting almost 90 degrees. Jane slept much of the day, and I took a much-needed motorcycle ride through the countryside to Independence, OR.

This was a tough ride for me, since I'm used to looking in my rear-view mirror, and seeing Janey there, on her white Honda Rebel. It's not the first time that I've thought about what it is going to be like to not have her "back there" anymore.
Is to save every day,
Till eternity passes away,
Just to spend them with you.
When I arrived home, she asked, "Are you back already?" I wish I could have gone for a ride with you." Me too, honey.
If I could make days last forever,
If words could make wishes come true,
So we sat together in the back yard this afternoon in the shade, dozed a little, enjoyed the gentle breeze, and the birds arguing with the blue jays.
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you.
Every day is a treasure; I am so grateful to spend them with you, my love.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just When You Think It's Safe

Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water, is the time when the shark is gonna get you. Yesterday was a rough day for Jane. She got sick in the morning, and it appears things may be changing again.

We called the Hospice nurse to come over and assess Jane's condition, and to talk with her about pain control / management. We decided to take it up another notch, so to speak, and within a couple of hours, her pain was back under control.

She slept well last night, and is up this morning listening to her favorite morning birds singing outside. Jane wishes to thank everyone again for all your prayers, which sustain her (and the rest of us) through the gray days, and dark nights.

Oh, and we watched "American Idol" last night; Jane still thinks Sanjaya should have made it to the final round. I had to remind her that was last year's show (just kidding!).

She is a David Cook fan all the way!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Honeymoon

That's what the Hospice nurses sometimes call it. The period of time during the dying process when the person is looking, and feeling relatively good.

Yesterday, Jane asked Terry and me how we thought she was doing. "Do you think I'm getting worse?" she asked. It seems to us that she has landed on a plateau; neither better nor worse for the past several days. She has been drowsy; gradually growing weaker, but no dramatic changes.

So when the Hospice nurse arrived yesterday morning, we were anxious to ask her about where she thought Jane is right now. Apparently many people go through this "honeymoon" time in their end of life process; many of you may remember how blissful you were on your honeymoon, only to arrive home to the reality of marriage, and realize that now you are going to have to roll up the sleeves, dig in, and work at this relationship.

Sunday (Mother's Day) and Monday, Jane slept more than she was awake. I get her up from her chair, or from bed at least twice per day (ambulate TID) walk a few paces, or go sit outside when it's nice (like yesterday). But that's about all it takes to wear her out.

So for right now, we're going to enjoy the "honeymoon" and pray (just as most of us did on our real honeymoons) that it never ends.


Monday, May 12, 2008

I Sleepe Not Day Nor Night

No dear friends, the title of this blog entry is not misspelled. It is a subtitle to a work written by John Donne in 1624. Jane and I became interested in the works of Donne after watching the movie "Wit" starring Emma Thompson.

For those of you who have seen this movie, you'll understand immediately. For those who have not, let me just say that it is a very moving story about a renowned professor who is forced to reassess her life when she is diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.

I was reading this morning, and would like to share a portion of one of Donne's works with you:
Hee that hath seene his friend die to day, or knowes hee shall see it to morrow, yet will sinke into a sleepe betweene. I cannot; and oh, if I be entring now into Eternitie, where there shall bee no more distinction of houres, why is it al my businesse now to tell Clocks? why is none of the heavinesse of my heart, dispensed into mine Eye-lids, that they might fall as my heart doth? And why, since I have lost my delight in all objects, cannot I discontinue the facultie of seeing them, by closing mine eyes in sleepe? But why rather being entring into that presence, where I shall wake continually and never sleepe more, doe I not interpret MY continuall waking here, to bee a parasceve, and a preparation to that?
Jane and Terry and I were talking just this morning; it seems as if time has slowed down again; it labors, crawls.

This is not necessarily a bad thing; more a feeling or perception than anything. We so desire to have more time with Jane, and it is in the quiet, slow moments now that we share our time together.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Calling All Photos

Some of you have begun to send photos of Jane that you have taken at various events, places, etc., that you've been with her. I am compiling a digital scrap book of these memories, so if you have any of Jane, please send them to me.

My email address is:

Here's another example of a photo that was sent to me recently; Jane pitching a softball game a few summers ago.

Our visit with Jane's niece and nephew was very nice this weekend. They were able to spend a few quality moments with her, and today we all drove to the cemetery with Jane to take a look see.

We also got her dad connected over the internet with Skype, which is an online video conferencing application. He was so excited to be able to see Jane and talk with her at the same time. Sometimes technology is a real miracle.

We are very happy that we will be able to spend one more Mother's Day with Jane. It has always been a special day for me and the kids, and this year will be even more so. If you have a mother who is still living, take a few moments tomorrow to show her how much you love her!

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Ahoy! From the (Backyard) Ocean

Hi friends. Jane wanted me to tell everyone how honored and humbled she is to have so many people expressing their love to her.

She slept much of the day, and at 4:00pm, decided it was time to "go to the beach" and soak her feet in the ocean.

Jane's dear friend, and motorcycle buddy (the one who organized the Woodstock's Pizza fund-raiser) came over and presented Jane with the gift from the fund-raiser.

We were astonished, to say the least! Both Jane and I are overcome by the generosity of those who care for us. We cannot begin to thank everyone individually, so please accept our THANK YOU to each and everyone who have given their money, time, labor, friendship, prayers, and love to our family!

Jane's niece and nephew flew in from California today, and I was able to ride my motorcycle out to I-5 and Hwy 34 intersection to meet them and give them an escort to our home. The weather was beautiful today! Tomorrow will be a time of family gathering, talking about the memorial service here, and in San Jose, and just relaxing in the home.

Jane's sister (one who is still in San Jose right now) sent us some papers from Jane's childhood; a report card from 5th grade, some theme papers, etc. One such theme titled, "Me, Myself, and I" will be shared piece by piece over the next few days in her blog, so read there for a glimpse at Jane's life when she was 12 years old.

I took this photo of Jane in the backyard today, soaking her feet in the "ocean" and asked her if it was ok to share it on the blog. She said, "I don't look very sick, do I?"

"Other than weighing only about 105 lbs. now, I guess not, Janey."

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Ocean Came to Corvallis

The ocean came to Corvallis today, instead of Jane going to the ocean. We wanted to get to the beach one more time so that Jane could stick her feet in the water, but it's not to be. So hospice came through for us again; a volunteer (Anna) drove all the way to the coast, gathered sand from the beach, several jugs of sea water, and brought it all back to our home.

Jane was sleepy and too tired to partake of the treat this afternoon, so we'll have a foot-soaking tomorrow sometime.

I want to be close to her all the time, but she mostly prefers to be alone. It's like the pamphlet "Gone From My Sight" that was given to me by hospice says. She has one foot in this world and one in the next. She's preparing herself to turn completely away from us, and face our Heavenly Father.

This is perhaps the most difficult part of all. It's like a daughter that is leaving home to get married. She must reject the old family in order to embrace the new. It does not mean that she has any less love for us, but rather she is forming a new Relationship, and her old life is changing.

" Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Cor 5:17

PS: My sister Pam went to Michael's Landing in Corvallis yesterday morning and brought back some nice, white sand from that beach, along with the water. Pam is an extraordinary woman!

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Humor in the Midst of Sorrow

This morning, Jane's sister walked with her to the bathroom. After returning to her bed, Jane started to crawl in on her hands and knees, when her wrist sort of gave way, and she slowly crumpled, collapsed and rolled over on her side.

She looked at Terry and said, "I got a flat tire." They both laughed until they cried. Jane has such a great sense of humor, and is able to see funny things in the midst of her situation.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Close Moment

Hello Friends. Jane and I had a very close moment together today, that we want to share with all of you. Jane has grown more sleepy over the past couple of days. The vomiting has greatly diminished, along with her decreased consumption of liquids. Hospice told us that as time goes on over the next days or weeks, Jane will continue to grow weaker, sleep more, and become more disconnected with this world as she prepares herself for the next.

I don't remember now how the conversation began, but I looked at Jane and said, "You're leaving us, aren't you?"

She nodded her head yes, and tears began to well up in her eyes. I looked into her precious eyes and let her know that it was ok.

"I won't be far behind you; it will seem like just a wink of an eye to you," I said. Then you and I can really be the friends we always wanted to be with each other; no strings attached, no expectations, no demands, just a pure and holy friendship." We both wept for joy at the anticipation of that "day".

Her sister Terry asked me to pass along to everyone how incredibly thankful she is for all the love you have poured out upon Jane. She marvels each day as cards continue to arrive at our home, telling little stories about how Jane has touched their lives.

Jane is settled in again for the night, after watching a not-so-surprising "American Idol" show. Thank you again, each and every one of you for your prayers.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

One Clean Refrigerator

Well, hope you don't mind a little dark humor; but does anyone out there know what the mold spore Cladosporium elatum looks like? Come visit our refrigerator!

Today, Jane's sister Terry and my sister Pam took EVERYTHING out of the frig and cleaned it thoroughly.

After discarding the gross, moldy, smelly, unidentifiable items, the refrigerator looked like this:

Other than ridding the home of some interesting smells, the day was rather uneventful, as Jane had a pretty good day. She is becoming more sleepy, and much weaker; which I am told are some of the early signs of decline.

We took some time to read all of the note cards that everyone filled out at Woodstock's, and our hearts were warmed by the loving words each of you wrote.

Some were written by younger kids; one which stands out said, "Dear Jane, I am sorry you are so sick. But when you die, you get to meet the Lord! He will be happy to see you." Indeed, He will.

On the reverse side of the note was this image:

God sure DOES look happy to see her, huh?

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Fabulous Fund-Raiser

Today, there was an incredible outpouring of support for Jane and my family. But first, let's back up and retrace the steps leading up to lunch today . . .

Last night we were watching a movie, and about 9:00pm Jane said, "I'm tired" and I helped her settle in for the night. During those moments, she complained of a pain just inferior to her right clavicle (below the collarbone, for non-A&P types). The pain steadily worsened until it was about a 7 on a scale from 1-10 (not a good place to be). So I called the Hospice nurse, and she advised me what to do. Jane wanted to know what might be going on, and the nurse said, "without looking inside, it's hard to tell." She was not being flippant at all, just reiterating that at this point there will be no more X-rays, no more CT scans, no more blood tests, etc.

Hearing that was a good reminder to both Jane and me that our objective is to manage the symptoms, and keep Jane as comfortable as possible. So after about 2 hours, we had her pain under control, and she was sleeping soundly. Starting last night I have begun to set my alarm for 12:00 midnight to wake up and administer her medication. Then, back to bed and reset the alarm for 4:00am for more medication. That worked very well last night. The next interval was at 8:00am, and we all slept close to that time.

The Hospice nurse and social worker visited today at 11:00am and we had a wonderful chat. Everyone is on the same page, and Jane is at peace with how everyone else is doing. She's a remarkable woman; for most of her anxiety has to do with how me and the kids, and how all of you, yes, how all of you are doing. She is so concerned about everyone else, and wants everyone to know that she's is ok, and at peace with things.

Jane was bummed out that she could not be at Woodstock's today. We were told that both at lunch, and at dinner, the line for ordering pizza was out the door!

My sister Pam (who knows EVERYONE in Corvallis and Albany) told us who was there, and we were overwhelmed with your love! I brought a basketfull of cards home at lunch, and I understand there are more cards from tonight. Jane and I were touched by each card that you wrote. Thank you everyone for demonstrating your love to our family.

We could not do this without each of you.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

A New Body

As terrifying as yesterday was, last night was a very good night for Jane. Slept almost through the whole night, with little to no pain.

Today, I helped Jane take a shower, and when I looked into her eyes, it hit me. "Soon God is going to give you your glorified body; I can only imagine how you will look." I hope that I recognize you." We both started to weep for joy, thinking of what that will be like.

As she sat there soaking in the warm, soft spray of water, making "yummy sounds" (you'd need to have watched "Young Frankenstein" to get that) she remarked that the first thing she is going to do is seek out The River, Whose Streams of Gold, Flow From the City of God.

What a simple, yet absolutely wonderful and necessary thing water is. Most of the rest of us take that for granted. I for one will never again.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Hitting the Wall

Today I hit the wall. It's no big surprise I guess; but it caught me off guard. Jane had a fairly good night last night; up just one time, but for about an hour and a half. We all "slept in" this morning until 6:45am.

By 10:00am, Jane was really hurting. Lost a bunch of fluid, went back to sleep, woke up two hours later, lost a bunch of fluid again. By 4:30 this afternoon, she was in excruciating pain; so we called hospice and the nurse came out. Just moments before she arrived, Jane got rid of everything in her stomach (a huge amount) and immediately felt 100% better.

The nurse talked with us for awhile, and will come over tomorrow to speak to the family about the dying process. She also explained that even though the IV infusions seemed to make Jane feel a little better in the short term, in the longer term they were causing her more harm than good.

My son, daughter in law and granddaughter stopped by one more time before going back home to Michigan; my brother came from L.A. last night, and leaves early tomorrow morning. The whole immediate family went out for lunch, stopped by afterward, and everyone filed in to Jane's room, one by one to say goodbye; some just for the day, others for the rest of their lives.

After everyone had gone, I melted down. Went and laid down for a much needed nap. Jane is resting comfortably this evening, and hopefully will continue that way through the night. As always, we covet your prayers.

NOTE: Although the text is the same, I changed the pictures between my blog and Jane's. The photo in my blog expresses how I felt, but seemed a little too violent for hers.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

One Step Forward . . . Three Steps Back

Well friends, as good as last night was, today was just the opposite. It started out really well, and Jane asked to have another IV transfusion, so I started her at about 9:30am, and went out to have lunch with my kids and granddaughter. Got home about 11:00am.

Checked in on Jane and some dear friends, Tom and Terri had come over to pray with her. I left Jane with them, and the rest of us piled in the cars and drove to Oaklawn Cemetery, where my mom was buried about 15 years ago.

We've decided that Jane will be buried there. It was pretty tough on our son Matt; and kind of odd for the rest of us to be thinking about that while Jane is still here. But it's something that has to be done. It's really pretty there. We thought about cremation and scattering her ashes somewhere, but when it came down to it, we were faced with a dilemma about where we would "go" to visit her later, place flowers, remember her, etc.

So I called Oaklawn last week and found out that they give grave sites to Veterans (which I am) and so we thought that was pretty good. It's a nice place, in a quiet neighborhood, and well maintained. This whole thing is kind of strange.

When we got back, Jane asked me to discontinue the infusion, which I did. About an hour later, she was feeling poorly, and eventually got sick again. First time for us during daylight hours, so it's something new. She slept for a few hours afterward, and then by 6:30pm, she started to get sick again. Well, this is new. Twice in one day.

During the second session of being sick, Jane sat back in her chair and kind of looked away over my shoulder and said, "Ok." Then she looked at me and said, "I think it's going to be soon." I asked, "You mean soon now, or just soon?" She said, "Just soon."

She is resting well now. This evening after she had settled down, I got a basin of hot water, filled in with Epsom salts, and she soaked her feet while we watched "Across the Universe." Near the end of the movie she said, "I'm tired" so I took her to her chair in the bedroom, got her settled in, and said goodnight. I hope and pray that it is again this night.

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Good Night!

And I don't mean the street in South Corvallis . . .

nor do I mean the Brave Sir Lancelot . . .

Jane had a very good night last night. Slept from 10:00pm until about 1:30am. Woke up, applied some more (anti) nausea creme, back to sleep; woke again at 4:45am. No vomiting all night, and just a little nausea.

Jane feels like having another IV infusion today, so that's a good sign (no pun intended) too. I am thinking that keeping things quiet around here yesterday and everyone's prayers, helped a lot. Let's keep praying for a continued good day today. Thank you prayer warriors!

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Please Don't Leave Me

Hi friends. Jane had a rough night and morning today. We were up at 1:30am again, doing the (now) normal routine. We both went back to sleep about 2:00am, but Jane said she did not feel like she was completely emptied; a feeling that she actually looks forward to these days.

About 6:00am, her sister woke me and said, "Jane needs your help." I went in and found Jane sobbing and holding her stomach. I asked, "What's going on," and she showed me her pain patch; it had fallen off some time during the night, and we don't know how long she'd been without medicine.

I called hospice, reapplied the pain patch with more tape, and waited for them to arrive with the "emergency kit." While we were waiting, Jane started to cry and I asked her, "What's going on?" She said, "Please don't leave me." I fell apart. "I could never leave you." I said. I was then reminded of the words of Jesus, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."

When the hospice nurse arrived a few minutes later, we were able to get her pain back under control, and she rested comfortably for several hours this afternoon.

We had a nice, quiet day today; the phone did not ring as much, and there was less traffic than the past few days. I feel badly because we even had to restrict a visit from Brent, Shelly, and Lily. Thankfully, they understand.

Jane is resting now, and we are asking you again tonight to partner with us in prayer for peace, and a full night's rest. One more thing: Jane has been having nightmares of sorts, and would also ask you to pray that God will fill her dreams with visions of peace, loveliness, and holy things.

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Faith of a Child

These days, I keep my blood pressure cuff and stethoscope on the bed next to Jane for taking her vitals signs several times a day. This evening, our granddaughter Lily came up and sat on the bed at Jane's feet, and put the stethoscope around her neck.

Then Lily looked at grandma and said, "grandma, can I . . . can I . . . can I . . . fix you?" Jane's eyes welled up with tears, as she marveled at the complete childlike faith of this little girl.

Shortly thereafter, I took Brent, Shelly and Lily back to the hotel again, and this time as I started to drive away, it hit me. Soon this week, we'll be saying goodbye to them as they return to Michigan, and Jane will be saying goodbye to them for good.

Just then, that invisible hand reached out and grabbed me by the throat again, trying to keep me from swallowing, squeezing the very water from my eyes. After a little while, the hand releases its grip, and I return to "normal."

So now, we're settled in for the night; hoping and praying that she gets a full night's sleep; resting in the assurance that if a child can have that kind of faith, maybe we can too.

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