Saturday, May 31, 2008
And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and . . .
We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...
We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope
Friday, May 30, 2008
I was recently reminded of a Steven Curtis Chapman song that is appropriate not only in my family's present situation, but also in his own. For those who may not have heard, his adopted daughter Maria Sue Chapman was killed in an accident on May 21st.
So, here are some photos of Jane, along with the lyrics to the song "With Hope":
This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...
We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
(There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Editor's Note: This is the final installment of Jane's essay series, "Me, Myself, and I". Please let me know if you enjoyed learning more about her as a child.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
"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.
Friday, May 16, 2008
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.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
If I could save time in a bottle,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.
The first thing that I'd like to do,
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,When I arrived home, she asked, "Are you back already?" I wish I could have gone for a ride with you." Me too, honey.
Till eternity passes away,
Just to spend them with you.
If I could make days last forever,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.
If words could make wishes come true,
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,Every day is a treasure; I am so grateful to spend them with you, my love.
Again, I would spend them with you.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
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!
Monday, May 12, 2008
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:
Jane and Terry and I were talking just this morning; it seems as if time has slowed down again; it labors, crawls.
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?
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.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Jane still tells stories of that wonderful time she had with the girls in the mountains.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Puddy (18 years old) was adopted by someone already, but Shanzi is ill, and the vet recommended that we put her down, so after 14 years with her, it's time to say goodbye.
Shanzi was Jane's baby, and in many ways, very similar to her. On any given evening, she could often be found wrapped around Jane's neck sleeping away. At night, Shanzi would sleep on top of Jane (she only weighed about 6 pounds).
So tonight, we say goodbye to a couple of long-time family members. You will be missed.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
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!
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.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
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.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
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?
Monday, May 5, 2008
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.
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.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
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.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
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.
Friday, May 2, 2008
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.
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!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
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.