Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 1:12 AM CST

Well, we made it through Thanksgiving. That's about it. We made it through.

It was hard. Just as hard as I expected. Harder in some ways.

Dave was missing at every corner. Denise and I kept looking at each other, saying, "Dave would love this." There was no Dave to do funny things to the turkey, no Dave to get in the way when I was making dill rolls (which I didn't make), no Dave to say a prayer before the meal, no Dave to remind us what we were gathering for, no Dave to fight with Dad over the peach pie, no Dzve to dance silly dances, sliding through the kitchen. No goofy hats. No unexpected hugs. No toll gates. No shouts at the football games. No sense of wonder. No child-like delight. No Dave.

Just a hollow feeling. The sense of something missing. Someone missing. Us missing someone.

It was good to see Denise, Darren and kids as well as my mom and dad. We were glad to be with them again, it was far too long. The kids were elated to be together again. Uncle Rufus and Shelly came for dinner, which was great.

On Friday, we saw Disney on Ice. The show was Finding Nemo. It was wonderful. The kids had such a great time, wearing Nemo hats and Bruce hats. Eating $10.00 snowcones from turtle cups and watching the skaters with wide eyes. When Goofy skated out, Denise and I looked at each other, and tried to smile.

We got to see Kari, one of the first Whitman students to work with Kenny, when he was four, five and six years old. It was wonderful to see her. I was proud of Kenny, he's grown and changed so much, and I was glad that Kari got to see him, to see all the work that she did so many years ago paying off in so many, many ways. We ate dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Dave and I were both working at OSF when we began dating, so that was another moment where I could scarcely believe he wasn't there. I kept looking for that smile. Looking for that gleam of pride in his eye as Kenny talked to Kari. Kenny who was the little guy that Kari helped learn to put words together into sentences. I wanted Dave there, to remember with me, how far Kenny's come. He's the only one who really knows. The only one besides me.

We got to see Erik, Evy, Canute and Sonja as well as Mark and Christina in Seattle. It was wonderful, we've missed them so. They've stuck closer than anyone throughout the past two years. They are our family. Check out the picture of Zach and Sonja at the end of the page, and you'll get some kind of idea of how much love there is.

But it was the first time we gathered without Dave. It was a strange feeling, stranger than I expected. Our family is like a chair with one leg sheared off, shorter than the rest. The damage means we no longer sit easily. We shift and tilt and try to find the balance we used to have. We try to find a new way to belong in the places that we love, with the people that we love, but it's a shift we don't understand how to make yet. We've found some kind of equilibrium when it's just us, but if you add anyone to the mix, the hole is so prominent, we're at a loss. I find myself stuck, not wanting to move, feeling hollow, brittle and scared.

But I'm learning. And trying. So I'm grateful for that.

I did find much to be thankful for this holiday. I am trying to make that be enough. But it's not. It's just not. Every thing that Dave misses, every moment that we need him and he's not there...it's just not enough. People try to help. They remind me of all the good things. Don't they know that I'd trade all of that and more to have him back here with us where he belongs, where he fought to be? I find myself saying, "Yes, but..." Yes, we have wonderful memories, but we don't get to make any more. Yes, he's in a wonderful place, but we wish he was here with us. Yes, people are supportive, but they aren't Dave. Yes, we were so so lucky to have had him at all, but we want him still.

Kendrie's mom shares a story she wrote last Thanksgiving, which is pretty funny, but also dead on. Click here for Kendrie's Website

Friday, November 28, 2003 0:21 AM CST
KRISTIE'S PATHETIC, LAME, COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS CANCER/THANKSGIVING ANALOGY:

First of all, I have to say how much we appreciate those of you who check on this web site and take the time to sign the guestbook. Several of you, and some who have e-mailed me privately, have made the comment you are glad to see me (try to!) put a humorous spin on things, and that you’re glad to know we’re coping so well. To be honest, I have no idea if we’re coping well at all. I just make it a point to do my crying and worrying and stressing in private, and put on a happy face, USUALLY, in public. But today, in this journal entry, I’m going to be a little more honest about things and the way I am really feeling. I’m not sure what has brought about this pathetic moment of self-introspection, but feel the need to get some things off my chest. If you don’t want to hear it, exit now, it won’t hurt my feelings. I promise to kick myself in the butt and be back to normal tomorrow. (No, I will not be taking volunteers for the chance to kick me, so all of you just put your hands down now. No, no, do NOT form a line!)

I think it’s the whole Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Something I’ve found pretty easy to do most years, and took for granted pretty much every year up until now. Sure, I know a little bit about worrying about the health of family members. Who doesn’t? My dad has muscular dystrophy. My mother-in-law is on dialysis for renal failure. My husband had two major surgeries to get rid of a cancerous tumor six months ago, and had a nice chunk of the inside of his head removed at the same time --- reconstruction still a work in progress. So I thought I was a veteran at worrying, but always managed to give thanks irregardless. WRONG. Nothing prepares you for the fear and worry when your child is ill. More than ill. Ill with a disease that, even in this day and age, still claims innocent victims. And now you want me to give thanks????? So here’s the lame analogy I came up with:

Imagine every year for Thanksgiving that you and your family go to a wonderful all-you-can-eat buffet. The food is always great and you look forward to getting the same delicious meal, year after year. So this year, you give your standard order to the waitress: an appetizer of “love”, a “caring” salad, the side dishes, “thoughtfulness” “compassion” and “laughter” and a big, juicy entrée of “good health and happiness for everyone”. The waitress brings you everything you asked for but the entrée. Instead, in front of you on the table, she places a big, fat crap sandwich. And the conversation goes a little something like this:

You: “excuse me, I didn’t order this crap sandwich”

Waitress: “house special. You got it without asking”

You: “but I don’t want a crap sandwich. I want good health and happiness for everyone.”

Waitress: “well, you got a crap sandwich.”

You (getting upset) “well take it back and give me what I asked for instead!”

Waitress points to a sign that says “Absolutely NO substitutions”

You say adamantly: “there is positively no way I am going to be able to choke down this crap sandwich and I think it’s really unfair for you to expect me to”

And the waitress replies “hey, look. You’ve still got love, caring, thoughtfulness, compassion and laughter, so try to appreciate those. Oh, I almost forgot, here’s your condiment tray for the crap sandwich. You also get big overflowing bowls of fear, worry, anger, guilt and resentment. Bon Appetit!”

And so you’re looking around the restaurant, feeling really grumpy about your crap sandwich, and you realize that there are a lot more people with crap sandwiches than you ever thought possible. And from the looks on their faces, none of them ordered them, either. Then you see a couple of tables with really, really big, Dagwood-sized crap sandwiches and you summon the waitress again. “Excuse me, why are their crap sandwiches so big?” And she explains that those people are facing situations even worse than yours. Their kids haven’t responded well to treatment, have had cancer relapses, or worse yet, died. And you start to think maybe your crap sandwich isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you should keep your big mouth shut, choke it down, and be glad when it’s all gone and everyone is well again. And then, right then, your waitress reminds you of one last thing: “Management reserves the right to serve you another, bigger crap sandwich, anytime they want”

That’s a little how I feel right now at Thanksgiving, living in this surreal world of leukemia. I know there are other people who are having a rougher time of things than we are. I know Kendrie is responding well to her chemotherapy. She is in remission and God willing, will stay there. But I am having a very difficult time Giving Thanks for this crap sandwich, and I’m unbelievably resentful that there are more crap sandwiches being made in the kitchen even as I type this, and terrified more than you can possibly know that our family might be due another platter.

I resent that “in remission” doesn’t mean cured. It doesn’t mean anywhere near cured. It means cured for right now. Today. Kendrie could relapse tomorrow; next week; next month; ten years from now. When are we ever supposed to relax? When will this knot in my stomach go away? It’s the last worry on my mind at night and the first thought in my head when I awake each morning.

I resent that for the rest of her (my) life, every time she complains of an ache or a pain or runs a fever, I will fear that the cancer has returned. Prognosis is no where near as good for kids who have relapsed. Dear God, don’t let her relapse.

I resent that I can no longer brush her forehead or cheek without covertly checking for signs of a fever.

I resent that despite my best intentions, my other two kids are getting the short end. There are only so many hours in a day.

I resent that I am so tired, and then feel frustrated with Kendrie for being the source of that, then feel ashamed of my frustration.

I resent that I saw Kellen had bruises on his shins tonight and for a split second, all I could think was “Dear God, not two of them.” It does happen; two kids in one family. What family could endure that? The ones that have to, I guess.

And that’s my point --- to all of you who say, “I don’t know how you do it” or “I don’t think I could do it” Well, of course you could. Do we have any choice? We do it because to do otherwise would be to shortchange Kendrie, and all the kids with cancer, which simply isn’t an option. And I try to do it with a little bit of grace and humor and optimism because quite frankly, if I wrote too many journal entries like this, I would depress the shit out of everyone, myself included. In fact, I don’t know what I hope to accomplish with this one, except maybe trying to explain that underneath the jokes and “looking on the bright side” is a terror so real that sometimes I lie in bed at night and can’t breathe. And I’m not trying to be overly dramatic. I’m trying to be honest. Leukemia kills children. Yes, the “cure” rate is 85 percent (For ALL, which is what Kendrie has. Other kinds have lower rates than that.) That means 15 percent still die up front, and the other 85 percent ONLY have to worry about a relapse for the rest of their life. I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach just typing all this, so maybe I should move on.

There are some things I am truly grateful for:

I am grateful that it looks like a CVS pharmacy exploded in my kitchen. That means there are drugs that can be used in an attempt to cure my child and beat leukemia.

I am grateful Kendrie has tolerated the treatment so well so far. I am grateful for remission.

I am grateful my husband has a good job with good insurance and that so far, finances are not one more worry to add into the rest of this.

I am grateful for the friends and family, both near and far, who have supported us so kindly, and who will read through this awful journal entry and love me anyway.

I am grateful that when Kendrie was diagnosed, my mother was able to drop everything to come to Georgia and be with us. I am grateful that my dad and my sister so willingly held down the fort in her absence.

I am grateful my husband had cancer this spring. Had he not, he wouldn’t have been placed on the “Do Not Deploy” list and he would have been in Sarejavo when Kendrie was diagnosed. As hard as that week was, I am grateful we were able to face it as a family.

I can’t come up with a reason to be grateful that Kendrie is going bald, but I’ll work on it.

I am grateful that my crap sandwich isn’t any bigger than it is.

So, like Kristie, I'm grateful my crap sandwich isn't any bigger than it is. I've choked down a lot. More than some, less than others. When you get past a certain point comparisons are useless. It's all crap.

I'm trying to focus on what I am grateful for.

I'm grateful for the three children I have left on this earth,they are my heart.
I'm grateful for my son in heaven, he taught me how to be a mommy and how to survive even when...
I'm grateful that I have family and friends that care, far beyond what I deserve.
I'm grateful to live in a town that loves like no other.
I'm grateful that I had the honor and priviledge of loving Dave for a million reasons.
And I'm grateful for the God I believe in, who promises not to leave me or forsake me.
Love to all of you, 'Chelle

Here are some pictures:




All the kids, posing with Bruce the shark.


Zach and Kenny with Kari.



The guys.


Luke with his Nemo hat.


Jake, too cool for words. I LOVE this kid!



Kate and Sonja, better known as JK, "Are you sure we're not related?"


Kenny, Zach and Canute.


This picture is worth a thousand words. How hard it is to leave.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Quarter

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 10:33 PM CST

Okay, I was wrong. I am grateful. For all of you. You are such steadfast supporters, always there in deed, thought and prayer. I am thankful. I am thankful that I got to have Dave in my life at all, even though it was far too short. Many, many blessings have come our way, and I am indeed grateful.

And yet, still, there is this part of me that screams....TAKE IT ALL AND GIVE DAVE BACK! Talking to Claudia, she said something that resonates with me...for instance, yesterday, I wanted to get back in bed, pull the covers over my head and wait. Wait for him to come home. I wanted to say, "Okay, God, I'm done. I did well, I've been strong, I passed the test. Now give him back."

Three months. Three months. A quarter of a year.

That "quarter" does weird things to my mind. I keep thinking about when Doug (Dave's college best friend) brought me a cake with the word "HAPPY" and all these squiggles on it. He had made it himself. Two-layer, leaning, frosted in mounds of buttercream...with these little red marks on the top. Looked like chicken scratch. I puzzled and puzzled. Finally Doug said..."HAPPY quarter of a century!" The squiggles were the top 1/4 of the letters in the word CENTURY. Dave laughed until he had tears running down his face.

Now, a quarter of a year without Dave. It feels like a quarter of a century. No, it feels like a whole century. It's been forever without him.

We rode in the car today, on the way to Denise's house, and the version of "I'm Already There" by Lonestar with the wives and children of the soldiers talking on it came on. "Daddy, when are you coming home?" "Daddy, we miss you." "Daddy, be safe and come back to us."

Driving down the freeway, all four of us cried, tears streaming down our faces.

I'm already there
Don't make a sound
I'm the beat in your heart
I'm the moonlight shining down
I'm the whisper in the wind
And I'll be there until the end
Can you feel the love that we share
Oh, I'm already there

He is. He isn't. How I wish he was.

Love, Shelley

PS. I'm also grateful for Blue Devil football and all the people that make it what it is. More about that tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday, November 21, 2005 1:39 AM CST

I found this note from Dave today. Not the first time. Not the first time I've seen this note, it's been tucked away for years. And not the first time I've found a note from Dave since he died. I've found many. Hundreds probably. Dave was a note-leaver. On the bathroom mirror, under my pillow, in my pockets, on my windshield. His love language was "acts of service." And that was how he showed his love. By doing the little things, things that showed he cared.

When I got ready to leave the house in winter, I'd find my windshield already scraped.

When I stayed up late, and Dave was already asleep, I'd find my toothbrush sitting next to the sink, toothpaste already applied, and my contact case waiting there, too.

When he was gone late to football games, he'd leave messages on the answering machine, singing songs, so I'd be able to hear his voice when I got home.

I can't tell you how much I miss him. I debated about putting this note on the website. But if you read it, maybe you'll understand just a little better how impossible it is to adjust to life without this man.

Now that he is, face-to-face with God, I wonder what he's saying. I wonder if he knows how much we miss him, how much I miss him. I know he knows how much we love him, how much I love him.




Tears today. Lots of tears.
Thanksgiving's around the corner. And I'm not grateful. I'm not.
Love, Shell


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:57 PM CST



That should say, "Kate."

We love you all.
'Chelle

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Quick Update

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 11:16 PM CST

Hello everyone,
Just a quick note. Zach had his first basketball game today. To check his schedule, click here: PiHi 8th Grade Schedule

Kate is enjoying choir and dance at school and preparing for her dance recital at Cordiner Hall on December 17. She seems to be doing well with not having to switch schools and feels more secure.

Kenny is trying out for basketball at WaHi. I'm quite proud of him, because there must be at least 40 freshmen in there, and only room for about 24 players on the teams. He's working hard.

Watch the paper, everyone, on Thursday, I put a note to you all in there, with a pic of Dave. I'm working on the handwritten "Thank You" notes, but with tendonitis in my right arm and 600 to write, progress is extremely s...l...o...w! I apologize for that. I hope you know how very much all your support is appreciated.

Thanks Wendye for the soup, "Spouting once, spouting twice, spouting chicken soup with rice!"

Thanks, Erik & Evy, Mark & Christina for the phone call. Hearing your voices filled my heart. I miss you all so much.

Must sleep.
Love, Shell

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 8:31 PM CST

NEW ALBUMS WITH ALL THE ROCK PHOTOS, ALL THE COUG PHOTOS AND ALL THE TOUCHDOWN PHOTOS--CLICK ON THE FAMILY PHOTO LINK ABOVE (THE YAHOO ONE)

Union-Bulletin article entitled "Rock Solid Tribute"

Bear with me, this page keeps getting revised as I learn more of the story behind this awesome memorial. Keep checking to be sure you've read the latest version.

Another amazing, heart-warming, gut-wrenching day in this journey. Val told me to bring the kids and be at the WaHi gym at 3:30. We gather, the day crisp, clear and cool, the sun shining brightly, not a cloud in sight. Football season is over, bringing a sense of sadness coupled with a new freedom. Anticipation fills the air. As this huge flatbed semi pulls into the parking lot, with a mysterious, huge lump wrapped in plastic on the back, I find myself looking for Dave, truly expecting him to come jogging out from behind the weight room, keys jingling, the ever-present bounce in his step..."Did I miss anything?"

Val "Applebutter" Cole, and the class of 1981 got this giant rock to put on WaHi's campus. Karla Broughton, Dave Cochrane, Joe Golden and Lisa Pontorolo were there today, too. Val, Joy Cunnington Moniz and Scott Young had picked out this rock. Joy tells the story of going through a field of huge boulders, testing out each one, laughing and crying and asking Dave, "This one?" They got the right one. This rock is 3,500 pounds! A huge crane lifted it from the truck (carried it right over my van!) and gently placed it on the grass, just outside the entrance to the gym.



The kids pulled off the black tarp to reveal the most beautiful rock, etched with Dave's name, the WaHi emblem, a basketball #22, a football helmet, plus his guitar. Not just a generic guitar, but his friend, his companion...his guitar. (Recognize your photo, Evy?)

Here's a pic:


It was overwhelming and beautiful. I had a hard time looking at people, I was scared to slow down and let myself feel. I held together okay, until I hugged Skip, who walked through the valley with us. Val talked a little, dedicating the rock to Dave and giving our family the Class of '81 donations. We held hands in a circle, Skip prayed, Lisa commended Val on pulling it all together so beautifully.



It's so fitting that there be something of Dave at WaHi. The people at WaHi meant so much to Dave. He loved that place. He gave his all, as a student, as a coach, as a teacher. He was proud to be a Blue Devil. He was involved in ASB, he was homecoming king, class speaker, football and basketball co-captain, involved in Chamber Singers, drama and an excellent student. He loved it at WaHi, he wanted to be involved in everything, and know everyone. He loved the class of '81. He carried that love and school pride into his teaching there.

The rock is perfect. It's big enough for kids to climb on. And our kids certainly were climbing, wrestling, cavorting around--with Matt and Doug, of course! Mindy looked at them and said, "You know Dave would be right in there." I know he would love this. Dave always said, "Stand on the Rock." His foundation was always secure. Dave was my rock, my steadfast protector, my fortress, my hiding place. He never faltered, never wavered. The man was as solid as this rock. I'm not the only one that drew strength from his constant faith and his abiding love. Touching the face of the rock, so deeply etched, designed to weather any storm, in any age, from now until forever, I was reminded of Dave. I saw many people tenderly trail their fingers over Dave's name, clearly they felt it, too.

One of our favorite songs by the Shepherd's Staff:

Put my feet on the Rock,
A firm place to stand,
Put a song in my mouth
And now I lift up my hands


The rock, like my bracelet, says:

FAITH HOPE LOVE
THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE

Dave showed us that love, every day, in so many ways. Each day brings new memories. It's conference week, and I remember Dave, bounding out the door to conferences, eating dinner on the go, looking forward to the night, never complaining, wanting to meet the families of his students. Wanting to find a way for each student to succeed. And most importantly, making sure that each student felt valued, felt cared about, felt loved.

Do a Dave thing. Go let somebody know that you love them. Especially if they are hard to love. The ones who are the least loveable need it the most. "Make it a great day." (DM after Coach Frosty at PLU.) Do a Dave thing...and remember.

Last week the WaHi choirs had their first concert of the year, under the direction of Norb Rossi. The last song was in memory of Dave, "I Will Lift Mine Eyes." Music, another place where Dave gave so freely, and now WaHi remembers. Just like homecoming, Dave always read these goofy poems announcing the court, this year, Ron read one for Dave. WaHi remembers. Football players with DM wristbands. Students with gray brain tumor bracelets and yellow LIVEstrong bands. WaHi remembers.

Thank you, Val. Thank you Class of '81.
Thanks to all the people that supported this incredible effort in one way or another:
(The list was big: if I missed you, let me know! Any errors are mine and entirely unintentional.)
Special thanks to Lloyd Cunnington of Thompson Monuments and to Dave and Charlie Konen of Koncrete Industries and Konen Rock. Thanks to Dave Cochrane of Konen Industries.
Thanks to school district administrators and plant facilities staff for your efforts and cooperation.
And to the Class of '81 members:
Val Applebee Cole
Thomas Beebe
Scott Young
Joy Cunnington Moniz
Lisa Webb Pontorolo
Karla Griffin Broughton
Vickie Kibler
Tim Towner
Tammy Toon Cordoza
Tammy Buccarelli Sprengal
Steve and Laurie Jordan
Craig Nelson
Janalee Croft Davis
Dave Cochrane
Joe Golden
Stephanie Edwards Plowman
"Stella" Cheryl Hansen
Sarah Williams Dahger
Roger Zander
Robin Clayton Thomas
Rick Tuttle
Rick Anglin
Brad Springer
Ray Hansen
Mike and Laurie Klicker
Mike Lucarelli
Marlit Stevens Stubb
Marla Fitzsimmons
Mark and Lisa Klicker
Margaret Noble Jackson
Denise Richmond Habash
Lori Gardener
Lori Deeringhoff Wahl
Lori and Matt Tucker
Lance Jacky
Lori Long Hinton
Linda Hapner Clark
Laura Rau
Kim Gugliemelli
Kevin and Kirsten Pribilsky
Kelly Thompson
Kay Gugliemelli
Kathy Lopez Yancey
Jenny Lloyd Charlo
Gretchen Mann
Dave Neissl
Cindy Pederson
Chip and Roxanne Lake
Cathy and John Hair
Carri Aichele-Klein
Bob Case
Becky Girsberger Janis


Thank you for making this possible. Thank you for the donations for the children. I wish I had better words to let you know, how much this means, how your gift honors Dave, how truly grateful we are, how loved we feel. How important it is to us that you all remember.

There are many places in this world that are wondrous, but none come close to this town...Walla Walla, a small town, in the middle of the wheat fields, where love is something you can touch.

Love, Chelle


Here are some TOUCHDOWN photos!
THANK YOU KEVEN PECK!

GO BIG BLUE!!!










Thank you, WaHi coaches and players. We love you all!

Surprise

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 2:22 AM CST

CaringBridge is acting funny, I know the guestbook is taking a long time to load. I saved all the journal entries and all the guestbook entries to a cd, just in case. I tried to change the background to COUG colors, but the button says "create page" instead of "update page" so I'm afraid to click it and lose everything. I lost all the formatting of the front page, but was able to retrieve it from history, whew!

Zach and Tiff had a ton of fun at the Cougar game, we were all jealous. Kenny and Zach get to go next weekend with Uncle Bob and Granpa Bob. The girls are getting pedicures.

Conference week already. Whew, that was fast. The kids all have stellar report cards. Amazing. I'm very proud of them, since many, many times the last thing any of us feel like doing is what needs to be done. And in comparison to the monumental task of learning to live without Dave, schoolwork, housework...all those daily things just seem pretty insignificant. We're doing it. But it remains hard. Was thinking today, we don't eat at the table any more. It's just too hard. That empty chair, that space where Dave should be. None of us can face it. So we often eat in my bed. It's cozy family time, if a bit unconventional. And my sheets are clean all the time now. I have to wash them practically every day because it's hard to sleep among green beans and mashed potatoes!

Val Cole and the Class of '81 have some kind of surprise planned at WaHi tomorrow at 3:30. I'll let you know what it is. Val got me a bracelet...it says: FAITH HOPE LOVE Yes, I think, everytime I look at it. Faith, hope, love. So tonight, that is my prayer for you all, my friends. Faith, hope, and love.

Love, Chelle

Friday, November 04, 2005

Learning

Friday, November 4, 2005 1:24 AM CST

Wow, what a couple of weeks it's been.
Kate came down with the flu. Nothing like a sick kid to bring everything into sharp relief. Everything is put on hold. Nothing matters but the moment, no matter what else is going on, it waits. It was hard. Not just for all the usual reasons, but because I was so alone. Dave was the sick-kid-guy. Nobody is better at cleaning the carpet, rinsing the towels, bringing a cool cloth, running to 7-11 for gatorade, running to WaHi in the middle of the night to be sure there were plans for his class for the next day. As a teacher, Dave had sick leave and a substitute system to call on. At the college, for most years, I didn't have benefits, and we don't have a sub pool. If I'm gone, my supervisor covers my classes or we cancel. So, Dave has been the stay-at-home-rock-the-sick-baby Daddy for years. So, as I'm holding Kate's hair back so she can throw up at 4 am, I just cry. I cried because I was so alone. No reassuring smiles over her head. No-one to run for the washcloth. No-one to pat me on the back and tell me what a good mom I am. No-one to share the load. No-one that even knew it was happening. In the scope of it all, it's such a small thing. Kate is back to her happy, bouncy self. It wasn't really such an earth-shattering thing, just a sick kiddo. But it all came crashing down on me. That stark realization. It's just me. Lots of people can help with lots of things, but when it comes down to the wire, now it's just me. And if you know me, you know I've never been one to duck responsibility or pass the buck, but in that moment, I wanted to scream and run and hide. I didn't. I won't. But I did cry. And feel alone. And, actually, yes, feel sorry for myself.

Then I got the bug, sort of. We're pretty run down around here. By the time we get home, it's late. By the time we process any emotion that's been kind of waiting all day, it's even later. By the time we calm down to sleep, it's too late. I've been running on sheer adrenaline for months. It's bound to catch up with us. I spent Monday sleeping. Then we had the gang here for Halloween. Another first without Dave. It doesn't get any easier. He would have loved it. The big boys were chasing each other through the neighborhood and jumping out to scare their little sisters. Everyone was dressed up in crazy costumes. Good food, good people. I watched, thought about last year. Same people, all together. Except one. We've been through so much in the last year. So much has changed. Even us. Maybe especially us. But there is much that hasn't been lost. And I hang on to that.

I want to take a minute to thank a couple of people who have really come forward to support our kids. Matt Stroe, who picks up Kenny for school every day. I know that Kenny looks forward to seeing Matt every morning, that those 10 minutes have grown to be some of the most important minutes of his day, that he counts on that time, that connection. That he sees Matt as someone he can trust and talk to. And Bryan Eggart, who has started a bible study on Tuesdays with Zach and two of his friends. I know that Zach counts on Bryan and looks forward to Tuesdays as a safe place. Dave was always on the lookout for refugees...people, especially kids, who needed a place to be, and someone to be there for them, in small ways...and he would find a way to do that. Matt and Bryan, thank you for doing the same for our boys, for being men of action, not just words, for doing more than you have to do.

Onto the newsy stuff....Zach decided to play basketball this year. I was glad. He seems to feel better and do better overall when he's involved in a sport. He was worried, especially with his leg injury (seems to be healing nicely), but he made varsity. He's feeling unsure about that, feeling like there are some guys on jv that are better players than he is. I'm glad he's on varsity only because we don't have to get him to school at 6 am! We're having enough trouble with 8 am!

Kate and I talked at length. She's really feeling the need for more stability in her life, and was feeling very disjointed with all the coming and going of the Explorer program. So I met with her teachers, who are so supportive and understanding, and we decided to have her take a leave of absence until after the holidays. Kate said, "Good, that will be after Dad's birthday." She seems to be glad to be able to settle in one place for now. Although we spent the last two nights with her hounding me to make a multiplication problem big enough that she couldn't do it. HA. One week out of the program and she's driving me crazy! That inquisitive mind is simply relentless. I'll be glad when she gets back to it. I think I'll ask Karen to send her the homework anyway!

Kenny & the WaHi frosh had their last game of the season tonight. They lost to Southridge in a big way, but played with heart. Kenny didn't get to play in the regular game, but they played a 5th quarter, so that some kids who don't get much play time in the regular game can play. They engineered a play especially for Kenny, and the QB threw him the ball and he ran for a touchdown! It was awesome. He was so excited. The team just mobbed him and he spiked the ball and the kids lifted him up in the air, shouting, "Kenny! Kenny!" He was beaming. I was shouting and crying. Dave would have been so proud of him. And he would have been so proud of all those kids. They have really rallied around Kenny. All season, those coaches and those players have done so much more than they had to for Kenny. They did more than just let him on the team, more than just include him. They supported him, encouraged him, made him part of the team. They helped him find a way to feel close to his dad, to make football without Dave somehow bearable. When people say, "I don't know what this world is coming to, kids these days..." I can look on that field and know that our world will be okay. I can trust these kids with my son. They're honorable, caring young men. They say the measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens...the children, the elderly, the sick and the disabled. So I know, that at least in Walla Walla, the future is bright. Get on your shades.

Love you. 'Chelle (you see, I had to change the spelling of Shell to match my two friends who follow...so we can be the 3 C's!)

Please pray for Lou, hubby of my city mouse friend on the 58th floor, Cathy. His MRI showed slight growth, they're making decisions about what to do. I remember those days of too many options, no good or clear options, and the awesome responsibility of making monumental decisions without any kind of guide under huge time pressure. Pray for Cathy, for wisdom and discernment and for peace as she tries to find answers that don't seem to exist.

Please pray for Cheri and Fred. They are losing their family pet today. When it rains, it pours. Seems like some of us go through more umbrellas than others. They have a daughter just about Kate's age, who is sad and struggling with the changes in Dad. And Cheri is trying to reassure her daughter, and care for Fred, and work with the doctors to figure out what's causing what symptoms.

Also pray for reassurance and confidence for my friend, who is the best mom.

Praise God for answered prayer for another friend.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dare You To Move

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 11:28 PM CST


Music Video Codes by VideoCodeZone.com

Dare You To Move
by Switchfoot

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone's here
Everyone's here
Everybody's watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next?
What happens next?

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself
Lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened before