Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Steps Toward the Ordinary

One step at a time.
It's been a slow process for all of us.
Last night, I made dinner, kids and dog underfoot as usual. For those of you that have been following the saga, you know that for the last ten months, we've been eating mostly in my bed, the dining room table one of those places where Dave's absence is felt so keenly, we simply couldn't manage it.
So last night, as we fill our plates, Kate pulls out a placemat and sits down at the table. And I think, "Is she going to eat there all by herself?"
And Zach fills his plate, looks at his sister, and walks over to the table. He thinks for a moment, and then says, "Mom, I think we should sit here. Sit here together and talk, like we used to."
Oooookay....
Can I do this? Can we do this?
So I sit across from Kate.
Kenny hovers in the kitchen. Wandering a little. Back and forth between refrigerator and sink. Hesitant, unsure, looking at us out of the corner of his eye.
Zach says, "Come on, Kenny."
So Kenny does. He brings his plate and sits next to me.
We don't hold hands and pray like we used to...it's too "Dave," but we bow our heads and quietly give thanks to God for all that we do have.
Kate talks about Peach Basket. Zach talks about Eragon and Eldest and how tired he is. Kenny talks about football camp and the team award he received.
It's a quiet, solemn occasion.
It's a step forward. A tentative step, but a step, none-the-less.
A step we take together.
It's not the merry chaos that the Meyer table used to be. We're feeling out how to be together like we used to be, when nothing is like it used to be, including us.
For a minute, we are a whole family, just the four of us, just as we are.
It's wonderful.
And it's awful.
We're healing, but it hurts to have to.
Later, folding clothes together, Zach holds up a funny tube of black, ruffled material. "What in the world is this??" "A skirt!" Kate says indignantly. "Nope, it's a turban." On his head. "Nope, a scarf." Around his neck. He's dancing and wiggling his hips and I look up...all three of my children are laughing.
Laughing.
Together.
Real laughter, real smiles.
Sometimes moving away from the pain is harder than living with it.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Doug Andrews


"Ever The Same" by Rob Thomas
We were drawn from the weeds
We were brave like soldiers
Falling down under the pale moonlight
You were holding to me
Like a someone broken
And I couldn't tell you but I'm telling you now
Just let me hold you while you're falling apart
Just let me hold you and we'll both fall down
Fall on me
Tell me everything you want me to be
Forever with you forever in me
Ever the same
We would stand in the wind
We were free like water
Flowing down
Under the warmth of the sun
Now it's cold and we're scared
And we've both been shaken
Hey, look at us
Man, this doesn't need to be the end
Just let me hold you while you're falling apart
Just let me hold you and we'll both fall down
Fall on me
Tell me everything you want me to be
Forever with you
Forever in me
Ever the same
Call on me
I'll be there for you and you'll be there for me
Forever it's you
Forever in me
Ever the same
You may need me there
To carry all your weight
But you're no burden I assure
You tide me over
With a warmth I'll not forget
But I can only give you love
Fall on me
Tell me everything you want me to be
Forever with you
Forever in me
Ever the same
Call on me
I'll be there for you and you'll be there for me
Forever it's you
Forever in me
Ever the same
Forever with you
Forever in me
Ever the same
I heard this song on the radio on the way home from Rufus, after dropping Kate off to Denise. It made me think of Doug, how things used to be, how I wished they could be, and for the first time, the tears fell freely. When I heard that Doug had died, that he had killed himself, I was numb. Zach was in the hospital, I couldn't cope. I called some friends, talked to Pete and some of the Betas.  Hearing Erik's voice, I allowed a little of the feeling in, and cried. But then I put it back in a box, unable to confront what Doug's death would mean to me. I spent an hour on the phone with his mom, Sharon, talking, remembering, crying a little, wishing I could offer some kind of comfort to her, to myself. And then I spent the last weeks in that numbness, that relief, that denial. Hearing that song, the walls inside crumbled...and so did I. I called Evy, and she talked me almost all the way home, helping me think, helping me feel, helping me through.

I remember the first night I met Doug. In the Cellar at UPS, there was music playing, people were dancing. Doug asked me to dance, so we went to the floor. It was some rock-n-roll 80's tune, and we tried to talk while we danced. He leaned his head into me and said, "Do you like my perm? You can be the first girl to touch my new curls." So I tousled his hair, and he threw his head back and laughed. I was captivated. He was funny, handsome, and had this edge, just enough to make him seem a bit dangerous, but not scary.

The music changed to Joan Jett's version of Crimson and Clover, and Doug pulled me to him. It is a moment that's burned into my memory forever. If I close my eyes, I'm right there, the dance floor hot, humid, the music pulsing in my ears, the beat pounding in my throat. ...crimson and clover, over and over...I remember how Doug smelled, like cinnamon and smoke, but clean like the outdoors, like mountains and rivers. One of my high school boyfriends smelled faintly of bandaids and antiseptic, the other of axle grease, and I had this thought....this, THIS is how a man smells. Everything around was hot, but Doug was cool, fresh, bracing, like the wind. His chest and arms were hard, muscular and I literally gasped for breath. Over the years, I would hug Doug many times, and the experience was always the same, like jumping into an icy stream or facing into an ocean breeze, it was strong, cleansing, electric. Like the air surrounding him had more oxygen than usual, being in his presence was intoxicating.


Was I a little in love with Doug? Dave and I talked about that...I said, "No, I love Doug, but I wasn't in love with him." Dave said, "Yes, you were, you are. So am I. You can't help but fall in love with Doug. He makes you believe the impossible. Falling in love with him is easy. Loving him can be hard." And Dave was right, as usual. Doug could be infuriating, drive you crazy, but the way he made you feel, you never got over that.

Doug never simply entered a room, he burst in, excited about whatever new plan or idea he was working on. Within minutes, he would capture the imaginations of everyone listening. Doug moved at warp speed, all the time. When you were near him, it fairly crackled with electricity and you'd find yourself swept up into his whirlwind. I can't tell you the number of times Doug would fly into our house in the middle of the night, with some thought, song, poem he had to share. Freudian Delight was one of those middle of the night moments.
Doug's intelligence was formidable, awesome. He was in short brilliant. Dave used to smile and shake his head saying, "I don't know why I argue with him, I'll never win." Doug's mind moved lightening fast, too. The only force in the world I ever saw that was equal to Doug's intellect was his will. I used to believe that Doug could create things by simply thinking them into reality. He was determined, dogged, persistent, unrelenting. Admitting defeat was excruciating for Doug. He could achieve anything he put his mind to, anything.

Are you getting the picture that Doug was intense? Dave and Doug were born two days apart. They often called themselves twin sons of different mothers. They were alike in many ways, playful, caring, fun, determined, intelligent. The two of them reminded me of puppies. I can remember people at the Twilight Zone house saying, "Everything's a game to you two." They could make a game out of anything. They'd often sit at opposite ends of a long table, each with a typewriter (yes, we're that old!) and a glass of water, practicing shooting beer caps into the water as they worked on papers, baseball caps on backwards. Sometimes Doug would say, "Hey, are we even going to remember this paper in 10 years?? " And off they'd run, to do something like play nerf hoops or listen to Pink Floyd. I never knew nerf hoops could be so deadly serious. Somehow they were both still honor students...well, except for the year Dave was busy with The Currents, but that's another story!

I was pretty intense myself. Those of you that know me now, know that I'm fast-paced and pretty driven much of the time, and that when I put my mind to something, I am pretty unrelenting. Let me say this...I've mellowed considerably with age. While I was never in Doug's league by any stretch of the imagination, there was a similarity there. When Doug and I used to interrupt each other to say the same thing, Doug would slap his knee and declare that Dave had finally found his female Doug...all he needed now was to find his female Dave and we'd all live happily ever after. Dave used to kid us about that first night that Doug and I spent together dancing and later playing backgammon in their dorm room. He'd say, "It never would have worked, you and Doug are too much alike!"

And although Dave and Doug were alike in many ways, in other ways, they were opposites. Dave was open, trusting, warm, ready to believe the best. Doug had a wry sense of humor that often showed his cynical side. Dave's feelings were always near the surface and he never held back. Doug felt things deeply, but only shared those feelings with an honored few, he was more protected, sometimes guarded, defended. Dave was more grounded, more willing to forgive, more willing to compromise. Doug was loyal to his principles, determined to never give up. Dave was peaceful, content, happy at heart. Doug was a searcher, always on a quest, looking for answers, ready to fight the next battle. Dave was an anchor, a safe haven, for me, for Doug. Hugging Dave was like coming home, like being wrapped in warmth from the sun, healing, making you feel safe, whole. In Doug's presence, you believed that your dreams were possible. In Dave's, you knew that they had already come true.

When Dave and I decided to get married, we were the first of our friends, and we hadn't been dating all that long. I think many thought we were nuts, but Doug was the only one to come out and say it. "I love you guys, both of you...but MARRIED???" Doug would pace the living room, scratching his head. He really wasn't sure about this. He turned to me and held me by the shoulders, looking into my eyes. "You realize this is a package deal, don't you Shelley?" A package deal? "Two for the price of one," he said. "We're family." And we were. A trio now. So many ways it shouldn't have worked, but it did. The bride, the groom and the best man.

Doug was a friend who brought fun, laughter, excitement, edge. But he was also a friend who held fast in the hard times. He was loyal, honest and true, and Doug could slow down, did slow down, to recognize things that were important. He would often come for dinner, and we'd settle down in the living room afterwards to talk. I can remember leaning on Dave, listening to Doug talk, closing my eyes and hearing the sound of his voice, as he shared his thoughts and beliefs about this roller-coaster we call life...how it was, how it ought to be, what it means. I'd often drift off to sleep, only to wake in the morning, the sun shining in through the window, Dave and Doug's conversation still going. I have a picture in my mind, so clear, of making coffee, handing a mug to Doug, watching him lean in toward Dave, his eyes watching intently, nodding his head, illustrating his points with wide sweeps of his arms. And Dave, relaxed, leaning into the couch, no coffee for him, smiling, listening, eyes sleepy, nodding his head, too. Those moments illustrated the two of them...they were like mirror images...some things so much the same, you'd have to do a double-take, and some things, exact opposite.

Those early days were happy days. Doug was in law school, Dave and I were newly married. We had the world by the tail, our futures lay fanned out in front of us, roads to be travelled, adventures to be had. Doug finished law school, Dave and I had Kyle Douglas, named for Doug, who relished his part as Godfather. Doug came to our house every day, to hold Kyle, to talk to him, to tell him stories, to make plans. He'd rock Kyle in his arms and tell him about golf and basketball and girls and music.

Then Kyle died, and for Dave and I, everything changed. Everything. Doug was one of the many (Peter, Cheryl, Mark, Tina, Denise, Bobby, Erik, Evy) who reminded us that love doesn't change. Doug wrote us a poem called The 25th Day it reads in part, "For 25 days, the sun shone brightly and love surrounded your world...Remember, after the 25th day, the sun still shines and love still surrounds your world." In his own words, Doug tells us that the love is never lost. After all that's happened, the love we share remains. No matter what we lose on this earth, the love is never lost.

In looking for that poem, I found a half-written, rough draft of a song that Dave had been writing for Doug a long time ago. You see, Erik Haroldson had written a song for Dave entitled Don't You Know That I Hear. That song touched a place deep in Dave's heart and he treasured it so, not only for the love it speaks of, but for the idea, for the knowledge that someone cared enough to listen, to really hear...hear his music, his thoughts, his hopes, his pain. This song was Dave, extending that love to Doug. If you know Erik's song, you will hear the echoes of that song in this one, in the lines about laughter and tears.

I Will Hear You

You know they often say that life ain't fair,
But I know that there's one man in your life who cares,
And if you'd like to free your mind from anger and despair,
Just remember me, my friend, when you need me there.
'Cause I will bring you laughter
And I will wipe your tears
And I will do my damndest to melt away
The damage of those years...just call me
You know they often say love ain't what it's supposed to be,
But I know there's Someone out there that'll love you as much as me,
And if you need to free your heart, so you can see
Please remember me...I will hear you.
(c) 1988 Dave Meyer
During his years practicing law in Hawaii, Doug broke his neck surfing. This would have been the early 90's. While he was fortunate to have no paralysis, he struggled with severe, constant pain since then. In the last 15 years, Dave would search diligently for Doug, and in the first part of those years, was able to find him. Doug would always say, "I'm getting it back, I'm finding the Old Doug." And Dave would say, "I'll take any Doug." Doug became harder and harder to find, and eventually, we only had Doug's mom as a link. Every year, Dave would say, "Did you send a Christmas card to Sharon?" And I'd say, "Yes, dear." And he'd say, "Good, then Doug will know how to find me." Doug was the ship, sailing stormy seas, Dave was the lighthouse, sending out signals, showing him where home was.

I'll never know why Doug chose not to come home to all of us here, his family, his friends. I do know that he spent a lot of time with his family, his mom, his sisters and brother, his nieces and nephews in the weeks before he died. Doug had a fierce love for his family, his caring for them was of the utmost importance to him. I do know he never lost that.
But somewhere, Doug did get lost, and none of us could bring him home. He fought against demons that I cannot understand. I cannot fathom why Doug would choose to die rather than find us. I do know that he KNEW without a doubt, deep in his soul, that if he had asked for us, we would have been there. It hurts that he didn't reach out.
Many people have asked about my feelings about where Doug chose to die. He brought a stuffed animal to Kyle's grave-site on the Sunday before Memorial Day and killed himself there. My understanding is that he spent much of the days/weeks prior to that at the grave. He has apparently been going there regularly for years. When Dave died, we could not find Doug, so he only found out a short time ago. Sharon said something on the phone that made sense to me. She said that she believed that Kyle represented to Doug the last time that his life was whole, that he felt truly happy and at peace, and that through his final act, he was reaching out to that time, trying to get back there. I understand that Doug left a note, but I do not know what it says. I don't know if it holds any answers. I don't know if there are answers to these kinds of questions.
I do know that this is the last thing Dave would have wanted. The irony is so awful. Dave, who fought so hard to live, who battled with all that he had to stay here. Doug, letting it all slip away. Dave's death was not the reason for Doug's suicide, but I know that it was a factor. I know how hard it is to face a world without Dave in it, when he was my safe haven, my reason for being able to believe in anything. I know Doug felt the same about Dave. It's fitting that there is a giant rock in memory of Dave at WaHi, he was solid, real, a rock. I wish I had tried harder, more diligently to find Doug when Dave was failing, so they could have had a final good-bye. I wish I'd tried harder to find him when Dave died, so he could have been with us, with the Beta brothers. I wish he'd been a part of it all, not alone. I struggle with that. There are lots of excuses, I was tired, in shock, a mess, not thinking clearly, dealing with my grief and my children's grief. All of that is true. But I wish I had done more. I should have. To be really honest with myself, it crossed my mind more than once at the time. I was able to find others who had been out of touch. Doug had made it fairly clear that he didn't want to be found, but I do know that I could have done more. I should have. It may not have changed a damn thing, but it might have changed how I feel now. And now, the only one left who can forgive me, is me. I'm working on it.
I'm left with pictures in my mind:
Doug dancing to Freudian Delight at the Attic, shouting, "I wrote that!" pointing to himself.

(Couldn't find a pic of Doug from this night, but here are some Currents groupies.)
Doug, taking a picture of me on a lawn chair, in a floppy fishing hat, holding a puppy, and framing it for Dave.

Doug, taking a picture of his bare nekked behind with a note "Hi Michelle!" tucked in his trouser drawers, when he and Rennie were on vacation.
Doug, baking me a cake...two round layers with frosting...all on his own for my birthday. The top of the cake said: HAPPY and then there were these little squiggles...turned out they were the top 1/4 of each of the letters of CENTURY. HAPPY QUARTER OF A CENTURY...get it?
Doug and I, walking to his dorm room after dancing at the Cellar the first night we met, arms around each other, our breath making clouds in the cool night air, him wearing his Levi jacket...remember those? Him putting the big D on the door..."What's that for?" "Oh, just so my roommate doesn't interrupt us." Sitting on the floor, playing backgammon, listening to one of Doug's "mash tapes"...songs by Styx, Dan Hill, Bread, Player, the BeeGees and even Air Supply...the room heavy with innuendo. Dave comes barging in, guitar on his back, hawaiian shirt, bandana around his head, cowboy boots on. "WHAT are you doing?" Me: "Playing backgammon." Dave to Doug, "BACKGAMMON??? The D is out! What is the D out for??" Doug, walking me home, trying to evade what the D really meant.

Doug, hugging me as I'm crying at the wedding rehearsal. "It's okay, Shelley. It's okay." Baffled, not having a clue as to why I was crying, but wanting to make it better, holding me tight, patting my back, looking over my shoulder to Dave with a look that said, "HELP!"
Doug, after we told him we were getting married, after he agreed to be the best man, taking me aside, tears in his eyes, "You won't hurt him will you? I couldn't stand it if you hurt him."
Doug, at our door at 3 am, bleeding, crying, soaking wet in the rain, after he discovered that Rennie was NOT the female Dave, and he put his fist through a window. Wet, bloodshot eyes pleading with me, Dave and I holding him all night, huddling together against the storm that raged, not outside our door, but inside Doug's heart.

Doug dancing at Tina's wedding (maybe it was Geri's wedding, but I remember Tina there) with Denise, smiling and laughing.

Doug golfing with Dave and me, calling me Muffy Mulligan and asking if he could wear my pink golf gloves, prancing across the course, swaying his hips and calling "Chi Chi...Fuzzy's right over here...." in a high, girly voice.
Doug and Dave in Disneyland. Running through the streets like kids, wearing Goofy hats, hugging the characters, eating cotton candy, and riding every single ride, shrieking in delight, huge grins plastered on their faces.

Losing arguments with him. Every time.
Doug studying his law books on our back lawn as Dave grilled steaks. His eyes lighting up with some idea...."Hey guys, what do you think of this?"

Saying to him, "Well, when I've known Dave as long as you have..." And Doug saying, "You realize that will never happen, don't you?"
Doug in a convertible, racing down the streets in California, dozens of miles an hour over the speed limit, trying to follow him, his arms waving out the roof, singing "I LOVE L.A.!" (remember that song?) at the top of his voice. Remember his DA LAW license plate?

Calling Dave Lloyd B. Hosemeyer. Calling himself Lenny. Calling Wayne Juan-yay.
How he left notes everywhere and signed them "Forever Yours."

God, I miss him, it seems as if I've been missing him forever.
Love, Shelley

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wonderful people!



In all the horror that is grief, I find myself surrounded by wonderful people. In the scope of things, it does not balance the scales. I would certainly trade these gifts for one more day with Dave, but I find it's important to take the good when you find it. One of Dave's favorite sayings was, "If you spend all your time grieving the life you don't have, you'll miss the one you do!"

Today when I came to pick Kenny up from football practice, I watched as he wrestled with Matt Stroe. They circled each other, lunging, taking each other down, rolling on the ground, pinning each other. Two faces, full of delight, with huge grins, glimmers of Dave in those smiles.

When we came home from the hospital last week, I found a wonderful ham dinner on my doorstep, from Cheri and her sister Clara. A bit of love, a bit of comfort in a box. I got to meet Clara on one of our basketball trips to Spokane. It was a magical time. I walked into the lobby and saw her. She stood up and hugged me, and it was like family, like I'd known her always. We sat and talked and talked. I could have stayed with her forever. There was a connection so powerful, a connection born of shared pain and grief, a bond of love that knows no limits. A rare gift on this journey, a moment in time I will treasure always. I kissed her cheek as she left and felt such a profound sadness.

A week ago, Cassie Rothstrom organized a group of folks from church. They came and straightened my chaotic world, bringing order and comfort and stability. They cleaned the house, MADE MY BED (for those of you on bed-watch), vacuumed the couches, cleaned the stove, mopped the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, cleared out the yard, took 3 trailer loads of weeds and sticks to the dump, painted my deck and washed the outside of the house...and more! It was amazing and overwhelming. Thank you to Cassie and Rob, Kathleen Lucas-Roberts, Allison Barnett, Jack and Janet Schoessler, Cyndi and Jay Tucker, Peggy Cox, Cheryl Heller, all the kids, and the people that were there that I don't even know about.

And our friend, (and fortunately Zach's pediatrician), Ted Bergstrom, who came right over to the house when I was worried about Zach's leg, who gently let us know it was serious, helped facilitate the hospital admission, and took time to reassure Kenny and Kate who were crying and having flashbacks to when Dad went in the hospital last year. His gentle, thorough manner is so comforting, I'm always sure that my children are safe in his hands. He has been a source of strength and reassurance for Zach this past year, and we are so grateful.

And Cathy, who sent Kate a dancer shirt, "One dancer to another."

And the Haroldson's, Erik, Evy, Canute and Sonja...who sent us beach towels after the hospital stay, wishing for us times to come that are like "days at the beach." Knowing some of our favorite times are at Long Beach with grandma and grandpa and at the beach in Seattle with the Haroldson's.

And Dee, who always finds time for a coffee and a walk and has a listening ear that never seems to tire and an honest faith that keeps me grounded.

And Mindy, who runs taxi service when I can't.

And Deb, always Deb...you know. Help is on the way. Every time. You are my hold on sanity.

I love you all.

Friday, June 09, 2006

8th Grade Recognition







Hi there all,
Zach had his 8th Grade Recognition on Tuesday night. He was an Advisory Representative, so he read the names of the people in his class. It was great to see the kids, all dressed up and excited. Zach also received the Presidential Award for maintaining a GPA above 3.5 and passing all four sections of the WASL. I was very proud of him.


Here are some more pictures of Kate's dance recital.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Kate's Dance Recital


Last year, we were in the hospital. Dave was admitted on Memorial Day with blood clots in his lungs. He developed a staph infection in his arm from an IV that should have been taken out. He missed Kate's dance recital. We went to the hospital to see him right after she danced. He was so proud of her. He made it out just in time for Kenny's 8th grade graduation.




This year...we went to the hospital on Memorial Day again. Zach this time. Nothing like a cuddle from your sis to get you on the road to recovery quickly. Zach's 8th grade graduation is tomorrow, thank goodness he's out in time for that.


Both brothers in the audience, an answered prayer for our little dancer. Each boy gave her a yellow rose. They each gave one to Annalee, too. This was Annalee's first recital and she was cute as a button.

Kate danced beautifully, full of grace and poise. She looked so grown up. She is in Jazz 4 this year, and it's fairly advanced. The dances are quite complex and they have studied for many years. She knows quite a bit of French! She decided to forgo ballet for this year.

She really is a dancer at heart. She seems to listen to music in her head, a tune that only she can hear. She dances in the aisles at the grocery store, she floats along sidewalks, and prances between the bases in her softball games. She often sings softly to herself as she glides from place to place. I rarely see her simply walk. All of life has a rhythm for Kate. She seeks the beautiful in ordinary things. Her brothers are more practical, but she has a poet's heart, like her father.

I do have some more pictures on my 35 mm and some video. I hope to put together a video montage like I did for Kenny's skiing and Zach's basketball. Give me a few days! Until then, a couple of more pictures ought to hold you!


Kate getting ready to go on stage.













Cousin Annalee was dancing in the show, too!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Graduation



Sunday, June 4, 2006 11:48 PM CDT

I'm working on closing this site. It's time. Time for a change. Maybe a change of luck will follow!

Over the next few days, I'll be refining the front page so that it is more of a memorial page for Dave. The first thing I did was update the links to the Union-Bulletin articles about Dave. They had been retired from the U-B site, so I took my saved copies and linked to them. So if you haven't seen those articles, or got broken links before, check them out above. Got a bit more work to do, then I will then save the front page, the journal history and the guestbook to cd for the kids to have in years to come. I will plan to keep this site open until around the anniversary of Dave's death, which should give occasional visitors a chance to catch up and find us at our new place...

Rest assured, there will still be a cyberhome where you can track the happenings (or mishaps, as the case may be) of Team Meyer. Check out the new blog: The Meyer Family Space

I'll be making the first update with Kate's dance recital. I'm working on getting some pictures and video together to post there tomorrow. She was beyond beautiful, and both brothers were in the audience, a little worse for wear, but on the mend, each giving her a yellow rose after she danced. It was a good night, and I'm holding tight to the belief that it's a corner turned.

Sleep well, all....
Love, Shelley

PS. Our dearest Amanda Biddle made a graduation speech...check out this link: U-B Article on 2006 WaHi Graduation

Friday, June 02, 2006

HOME

Friday, June 2, 2006 10:27 PM CDT

WHOO HOOO!

The tests came back. It's just the regular old stupid staph, so Zach got to come home....IN A LIMO!

Thanks to Pete and Kyle!























GOING TO BED IN MY OWN BED!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Zach Update



Friday, June 2, 2006 4:49 PM CDT

Thank you to all the prayer warriors out there, and to all the hordes of lively, hungry teenage boys who boisterously clamor in, ride the bed, eat the chocolate and keep Zach's spirits up.

Reports:
Zach: The surgery went well. The bone is intact and perfect. Hooray! The cultures show that the infection is staph, which is no surprise. We will find out tomorrow if it's a garden variety staph. If so, Z will go home on oral antibiotics. If it's a resistant strain, they will do another surgery and place a PICC line in his arm and he will receive IV antibiotics at home. The line would probably not be able to be placed until Monday, so he'd likely go home Tuesday. We're praying HARD for alternative #1.

Kenny: The labs showed no signs of infection and they have ruled out kidney stones. So, bottom line, they aren't sure what's causing it. The good news is, they are treating it as if it's a topical infection in the penis/urethra, rather than an internal infection in the bladder, so they've put him on antibiotics and a topical antifungal cream. (As a side story, if you've ever tried to give a pill to a cat...triple that and you've got a close picture of what it's like to try to put cream on a 15 year old's owie penis!) Today he says it's much better and that there wasn't any blood in his urine. This is Kenny report, unverified by anyone, since he flushed the toilet...so I'm hoping he's telling it straight, but right now, I think he'd say ANYTHING to get us to leave him the hell alone! He says the pain is better, too. And he didn't fight Grandpa putting on the cream, so we hope we're on the mend. The doc says that it needs some close follow-up, however, even if the antibiotics clear it, because they don't know why it's happening, and while it might be just an odd infection or a fluke, it could also be signs of something serious. He'll see the pediatrician in a week.

Kate: She's hanging in there. Her big dance recital is tomorrow. It's been pretty tough on her. She's been very worried about her brothers, and missing Mom. She was just a wreck on Wednesday. Luckily, my mom got here, and she got to go home to her own house, and that helped hugely, also my mom is great with lots of snuggles and cuddles and came into the house and slept with Kate in the big bed, so that did wonders for her spirits. I think she just needed some emotional filling up, and thankfully, my mom was there to do that job in my absence. I let Kate stay home from school yesterday and stay with me at the hospital. I think that helped, too, and she snuggled some with Zach, too. Although, I have to say, he got progressively crankier as the day wore on. He hadn't eaten since friends brought milkshakes by the evening before and he didn't go into surgery until 4:00...so he went about 20 hours without eating. By about noon, he was arguing with his bed. Sheesh.

He's definitely ready to be home. He's cruising the halls in a wheelchair, trying to see how quickly he can make tight turns, driving nurses crazy and is generally chomping at the bit.

Mom: well, I could be better. I've had a lot of support...Deb, Dee, Alex, Karen, Laura, Mindy, Evy...bringing coffee, food, taking me for walks, checking in, listening. Thanks, guys. Thanks, Huxolls for taking Duke! Thanks to my C-friends, Cathy, Cheri and Claudia keeping the prayers going.

I know there is a bigger emotional storm on the horizon. With all the crisis, I've not had the time or fortitude to even let the reality of Doug's death come to the forefront yet. Once the fallout settles, I know I'll need time to process, to feel, to grieve.

Sleeping okay, eating okay. Many, many flashbacks to when Dave was in the hospital exactly one year ago. Sudden pictures that leave me feeling hollow and empty and surreal. Sounds and smells that bring back the fear in the pit of my stomach. It's been hard for the kids, too. Those memories are right there, so close I can touch them. And it's awful.

Today in Walla Walla, a cleansing rain, rinsing the dust from the air, cutting the heat. It's good. God is good, all the time. We're turning a corner.

Love you all,
Shelley
PS. I wonder how many people out there think I'm either crazy or am making this crap up. This sort of thing doesn't happen to real people does it???? I guess so! For reference, see the shit sandwich entry in the journal history that Kendrie's mom wrote!!!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Guest Blogger Updates

Thursday, June 1, 2006 10:20 AM CDT

New update from another guest journalist, this one from Claudia, member Team Meyer, Texas branch:

Zach's surgery was delayed until 4 p.m. but the results indicate that there is no infection in the bone. This is a real relief!! Now we just have to wait for the antibiotics to work.

In the meantime, as if we needed more in the lives of our dear Meyers, Michelle is now with Kenny in the ER with pain and blood in his urine. No determination has been made as yet regarding the nature of this problem.

So, please continue to keep this family in your prayers as you have been. I think they all need time off for some foolish hi-jinx, myself!!

Claudia Williams

Well, it's finally happened... Shell's chaotic life has necessitated a guest journalist! Deb Wright here, reporting on Zach's status:

The "bazooka" antibiotics that worked so nicely the first 24 hours stalled enough to make the doctors want to poke around--they lanced the main site yesterday, taking lab samples. It was very painful for Zach, and more than a little scary.

The lab result are back and they aren't good. There is raging infection, bringing back the original concerns about getting this thing resolved before the bone is compromised. They will be doing surgury this morning on the infected area, to remove any diseased tissue and to take a bone scraping for testing.

The surgeon is working around a full schedule, so we don't know what time it will be yet. But your prayers are so very welcome, whenever you can find a moment.

As far as how he's doing emotionally, Zach is indignant that he can't eat breakfast, in a completely normal and healthy 14-year-old manner. :) He's being very brave, determined to be just like his dad.

Michelle is hanging in there. She always says "Do I have a choice?" when I tell her to keep on hanging in there. I guess that pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? Thank you all for your loving support of the Meyer clan... sometimes it's what keeps them going in the face of all their astonishingly bad luck.

-Deb Wright