Tag Archive | anniversary

Eleven

Mom, my post about eleven and the calendar made me think of things over the past eleven years since you passed away.

I wrote down the years and noted some personal and family events that have happened since January 26, 2003.

2003

  • Dad and I kept each other moving forward, one step at a time. Days blurred together, but when you’re going through Hell, you keep going.
  • One of my best friends, Gary, passed away in June. At his graveside service tears were streaming down my cheeks, a gentle breeze came to oh so softly dry them. Thanks Mom. I knew that was you.

2004

  • In honor of your 70th birthday, I donated blood for the first time. Thanks to your great example, I had the courage to go through the process and do my part to try to give back.
  • Dad bought a candy apple red Toyota double-cab pick up. You would have enjoyed it too.
  • Your granddaughter, Kylie, graduated from high school.
  • Your granddaughter, Ashley, and Nathan were married in July. A beautiful ceremony.
  • For the Light the Night Walk annual event, in Portland, to raise awareness and money to fight blood cancers, I single-handedly raised close to $1,500.

2005

  • This year must have been a blur or simply uneventful, as I can’t remember much of anything really important.

2006

  • Your granddaughter, Natalie, graduated from high school.

2007

  • I spent my 50th birthday at the Oregon Coast (I know that ‘surprises’ you ;)…. ) with a great friend, who’s name just happens to be Helen. πŸ™‚
  • Your granddaughter, Ashley, graduated from Eastern Washington University.

2008

  • Your grandson, Grant, graduated from high school.
  • Dad got a great report from his doctor. Cancer free for five years. What a relief. You would be pleased.
  • Your great granddaughter, Cadence Anne, was born at Fort Lewis.
  • You brought Jeff and I together. I know you picked him out for me. Thanks. πŸ˜‰

2009

  • Jeff and I along with Kylie and Natalie saw the musical Wicked in Portland at the Keller Auditorium. The same place we saw Cats, twice.
  • Ashley’s husband, Nathan, was deployed to Afghanistan. Ashley did a great job holding things together, especially considering her daughter Cadence had such a hard time with her Daddy being gone.

2010

  • The Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. I remember how you loved to watch the Olympics and how you were so supportive of my opportunity to move to Vancouver for work and encouraged me to make that step.
  • Jeff and I became engaged during the time of the Winter Olympics.
  • Ashley and Nathan had their second daughter, Piper Joy. Another great granddaughter for you.

2011

  • Dad battled chronic kidney disease. On the brink of needing dialysis, he did what the doctors said and turned the disease around. He still is mindful of it, but doing much better.
  • On 9.10.11, Jeff and I were married in Athena, Oregon and in spirit Mom, you were right there with us. We had an awesome day.
  • Jeff and I spent our honeymoon in British Columbia – Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Nanaimo.

2012

  • Natalie and Scott got married in May. Kylie and Eric got married in September – a week after Jeff’s and my first anniversary. With Kylie marrying Eric you gained another granddaughter. You’d love Mila. And Scott and Eric.
  • Your granddaughter, Candice graduated from high school.
  • Stuart was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. Surgery and treatments followed.

2013

  • I was able to purchase a new sewing machine for my quilting and sewing projects. Mom, you would love it and like see what it can do.
  • Stuart was sent to the Mayo Clinic for more testing/evaluation. Surgery was set up at a hospital in Seattle. Then things changed. The cancer had become more aggressive and surgery was not the best course of treatment, no longer an option.
  • Another great granddaughter was born, Harper Lee.
  • Stuart endured 8 weeks of radiation treatments five days a week and chemotherapy one day of that week. The treatments took their toll, yet, following your example, he battled back.
  • Cadence started kindergarten. I can see you encouraging her in school. I know you would dearly love the little girls.

2014

  • Good so far – the best news is that Stuart is feeling stronger, recovering from the radiation treatments.
  • Dad’s health is much better. Encouraging reports from each doctor visit.
  • Mom, your Seattle Seahawks won their division, won their conference, and next week they will play in the Super Bowl. I know you would have been so excited to see their playoff games and the ‘big game’ certainly. I know you’ll have the best seat in the house for the ‘big game.’

Eleven. The calendar remains the same.

Eleven seems to be the most common.

Calendars repeat themselves, to the day, every eleven years. Sure leap years will vary this, they repeat to the day every 28 years. Stands to reason, but 2003 was not a leap year.

2003 to 2014 marks eleven years ago, to the day – January 26, that our Mom passed away. After all the time she had so courageously fought back the cancer that was ravaging her body, her passing was peaceful…very sad for us, but peaceful all the same.

With the 2014 calendar matching up with the calendar of 2003 memories come day by day….reliving that time frame, the last month of Mom’s time on this earth.

Taking a look back a few days prior to that last month, I remember that she had to be in the hospital over Christmas – yet we did have our family Christmas when she was back home – the calendar really meant nothing to us for that holiday. I do remember Dad and I watching a movie on that particular Christmas Eve, one that I will never watch again.

There are so many ‘lasts’ to that January – this year when those days come around the memories seem to be more vivid, even though they were eleven years ago. Yet, because they were eleven years ago, the calendar shows them on the same day, they repeat themselves just like the numbers that represent eleven, a 1 and another 1.

Some of those poignant memories, the lasts included, can be sharp and cut through your life like a piece of broken glass. Other memories of that time, the ones less painful, come and wash away some of the sadness of that day.

That month.

That eleven.

Relief

Today the ultrasound guided neck biopsy was scheduled.

I can’t tell you all the uncomfortable, painful things I imagined.

Late this morning I got brave enough to google it. I was curious to learn what my brother was going through. The information I read made it seem not to be nearly as bad as I had thought. Thankfully. Not only for me, but for my brother who was the subject of the biopsy. I wanted it to be easy for my sister-in-law too, so she would not worry.

I learned that an icy cold topical numbing agent can be sprayed on the skin at the injection site to assist in some relief. To my amazement, I learned that a local anesthetic used in a neck biopsy is usually more painful than the actual biopsy. I read the biopsy does not take a long time either, yet, I don’t know how long today’s neck biopsy was as my brother has a few spots that needed to be examined. I was relieved to learn that it was probably was not as bad as I imagined.

I can imagine how brave my brother was for this procedure. He had a great example. When our Mom was battling leukemia she had to have a few bone marrow biopsies. These are a rather large needle aspiration done into the pelvic bone. Most people ask to be put under general anesthetic. Β Mom never did, just a local. She was tough. A courageous woman. I was blessed to have been right by her side during the last bone marrow biopsy she had and I could hardly believe my eyes. Here was my mother, so very sick from the end stages of this horrible disease and she still would not take the general anesthetic. Β She just had the local, calmed herself and stayed still so the DR could drill into her pelvic bone, get the marrow he needed to test and get done. Over with. On to relief.

Through Facebook, I was able to check on one of my nieces whom I had not made a connection with this week and relieved to hear from her. The youngest of my brother’s three daughters performs ultrasounds for a living at a large hospital.

Here is her response, “Okay…things hit me at weird times… just anxiously waiting to see what the doctors say…but I am doing my part with every thyroid Biopsy patient I get (I did 2 today) so that kinda helps me. I can’t be there with mom and dad, I try to show my patients how important their procedure is to me by caring for them as if they were him.” Β 

Through her words, I know what kind of special treatment my brother (and sister-in-law) are receiving even though they are at a different facility. Medical professionals are often quite similar. I know. We have many caring medical people in our family and in our circle of friends. If they didn’t care, they couldn’t do well in their profession and that would show in their patients.

Also in another Facebook post, I saw a photo of my brother and sister-in-law. The self-portrait photo showed us all two happy people out enjoying the sunshine on their 32nd wedding anniversary.

Talk about relief.

An Anniversary Remembered…..

A Wedding Anniversary remembered….. Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary to be exact.

June 16th. A day to celebrate. And, we did for 50 years. Forty-seven of those years were with Mom. Growing up, we’d usually celebrate this anniversary as a family. Unfortunately we had to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary without her, physically. My brother’s family and I celebrated this momentous day by taking Dad out to dinner – a fine celebration.

We also celebrated the wedding of one of my friends. She and her fiance were getting married in Maui on the same day of my parent’s 50th. Years earlier, a close friend of our family got married on June 16. My parents, of course, were in attendance and gladly celebrated their wedding anniversary with Randy and his wife.

As a kid, when we were old enough to walk to town by ourselves, I remember going to the local bakery (and a fine one it was) to make arrangements to purchase a cake. Not just any cake mind you. A “Happy Anniversary” cake. We told the baker what we wanted and gave them the money we had saved up. Then, the day came when we could go pick up ‘our’ cake. We CAREFULLY walked THE cake home and took it to our family room in the cool basement. Then we finished our planning for the surprise anniversary party we were throwing for our parents. I remember this was so much fun… to share in their joy of being married…. we knew of course that without their wedding, without their marriage… they’d be without us… we may not have been at all.

We had a grand celebration. This was not the only one, but one that holds a special place in my memory.

Years later, as a young adult living five hours from my family, I decided to throw them a 25th Wedding Anniversary party. I enlisted the help of my brother and his girlfriend (they were in high school then) and my younger brother too. I worked for a printer, so I’d take care of all the invitations and other printing needs. My eventual sister-in-law took care of reserving a lovely room in a building adjacent to the City Library — one of Mom’s favorite places. My brothers helped with other arrangements. We even ordered a special cake. πŸ™‚

With Mom and Dad’s wedding photo and my calligraphy I designed the invitation. I had them printed and mailed out. I even sent it to the hometown newspaper to be placed in the local events section. The newspaper complied with my wishes (for a small fee). I knew the paper would come out on Thursday. Mom and Dad would soon be invited to their own surprise party. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ The best part was… Mom was reading through the newspaper and took a double-take on what finally caught her attention. Calligraphy that looked surprisingly like that of her daughter. She looked again… and this time actually read the invitation. It was her daughter’s calligraphy.

Dad was a bit more difficult. He was at work as a parts-man for a farm implement company. Dorothy, the company secretary, asked Dad if he had seen the newspaper yet. He said he had not, he had been busy all morning. “Besides, not much of anything new, same paper as usual. I’ll read it when I get home.” Dorothy…”You may want to take a look at this one sooner. There’s something that just might interest you.” So at her persistent urging he took up the newspaper and began reviewing the pages. “See, not much here.” he said. Dorothy told him, “Look again.” ….. Β Dad did. “Well, I’ll be a son of a bitch!!!” “That’s our wedding picture.” “My kid put our wedding picture in the paper.” “Looks like we’re having a party!!!” He called Mom to share the news. The same she found out only a few minutes before.

For their 25th Wedding Anniversary we went all out. A traditional wedding cake with a 25th Anniversary theme. Punch. Nuts and mints. Guests of family and friends at an afternoon reception. A grand celebration. Not bad for some kids who no longer lived in the same house. We even decorated their car. Mom and Dad had made such a big deal of their car NOT being decorated at the time of their wedding that we felt compelled to make up for it. My brothers were charged with that task… they were also on the hook for cleaning it all up too. πŸ™‚

Their 40th Wedding Anniversary was not a surprise, but we did have a lovely celebration. This time an afternoon garden party at my home, since I had moved back closer to family. We invited family and friends and even ordered up a beautiful June 16th. Was such a happy and fun day. Another grand celebration. Another anniversary cake.

Their 45th Wedding Anniversary was far more sedate. By this time Mom had leukemia. We had a quiet celebration at their home. Just immediate family. Yet a beautiful event to celebrate, regardless.

As I noted earlier, their 50th was celebrated without Mom, a family dinner out with Dad.

At times Dad has not enjoyed celebrating since Mom is gone. So, we’ve tempered our remembrances…. yet, we seem to acknowledge it in our own way. We realized that at times Dad needed it to be just another day.

This year, on Father’s Day — June 17th — Jeff and I had Dad over to celebrate Dad… to celebrate Father’s Day. We had planned a late lunch, a relaxed day… good visiting, a movie to watch and… later our traditional Strawberry Shortcake… Fresh stawberries, homemade biscuits topped with whipped cream.

During the Father’s Day pre-lunch conversation with my Dad, he asked, “You remember what yesterday was?” “Dad, of course I do. It was your’s and Mom’s Wedding Anniversary.” “Would have been 56 years.” Dad said. I smiled and told him that Jeff and I had just calculated the years out the day before, on the actual date.

So very pleased to hear of an anniversary remembered….