Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Last October, Jim, Marley, and I painted pumpkins. 
This year Danny helped Marley and me to carry on the tradition.  We had such a great time picking out pumpkins (do you have ANY idea how long this can take with a three-year-old who thinks each and every pumpkin is "booteeful!"???).
We had a wonderful time...
This pumpkin won a contest for her age group at church!
Marley picked the designs for our pumpkins, and Danny and I carved them. 
 I found some really cool lights to put in them, which delighted my little one to no end!

Wordless Wednesday

Spring 2010

Monday, November 21, 2011


Found this online and thought it was a good reminder!
It's now on my fridge.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Love

Wanna hear a great song?

Click here.

The first time I heard this song was on a snowy night last January, shortly before Jim passed away.  Things were not looking good.  I'd been to put Marley to bed, who was staying at a friend's house.   Having successfully gotten her to sleep, I'd slipped away to go back to the hospital.  Mom would be coming up soon to keep her at home.

I was emontionally lost. 
I was a wreck.

I was feeling bad, because my daughter had been staying at friends' homes for three nights.  I'd been through the wringer alongside Jim as we were told that he had a tumor compressing his spinal chord.  Without intervention, it would take away his ability to walk within about a week, and no surgeon was willing to touch him.  The only thing we had left was radiation, and that was only intended to keep him from losing total control of his body from the middle of his chest down.  They'd told us he only had a few months left.  His pain was not well controlled, due to some circumstances we couldn't help.  I was feeling torn between the guilt I felt at only seeing my two-year-old daughter for an hour or two each day and leaving Jim alone at the hospital.  Inside I knew that right then, he needed me more. 

So that's how I found myself driving through a snow storm late at night, tired well beyond the point of driving safely.  I had the window down to blast cold air on my face, and I was flipping through radio stations.  I happened upon a Christian station, so I left the station there, hoping for some sort of encouragement.

Wow, did I get it. 

At that exact moment, Jesus met me in my car and wrapped His arms around me with a song.  Little did I know that this song had been written for a friend of the musician, Phil Wickham, who had just lost his wife to cancer.

Isn't God good?
Listen again.

That's good stuff.

Friday, November 18, 2011


This is amazing...

It only takes a minute, and it will TOTALLY make your day!

You're welcome.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


We had a great time Trick-Or-Treating with Carli, my niece (and her parents!)

Isn't she the cutest ladybug ever?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


So, after yesterday's soul-baring and incredibly painful post,
I thought we could all use something to smile about.

Jim had the most beautiful hair.  It always looked good.  Well, except for the hospital stay after his surgery.  The tech there would laugh every time he walked into Jim's room and make some crack about being the only white man he knew with a 'fro.  During the years I was with him,
I saw it done all different ways...


When Jim started chemo, his hair started falling out. 
I thought this might bother him.

I was wrong... so wrong.
Cancer wasn't going to ruin his sense of humor!

Oh yes, he did.
And he made me go out in public with him.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Haunts Me

Have you ever been looking into someone's eyes the exact moment their heart stops beating?
I have, and it haunts me.

I hesitated to write this post, and hesitate even more to post it.  But I must get these words out of my mind, because they are eating away at me.  If you don't want to read it, that is fine.  I understand.  But I cannot bear this pain alone any longer.  And if I put it out here for you to see, then I can let it go.  I hope.

Jim was in the critical care unit at U of M when he died.  It wasn't what either of us wanted for his last hours, but it's what happened.  His friends were halfway there, driving almost six hours from Indiana, and he'd asked me to get ahold of his brother and sisters.  Did he know he was about to die?  I don't know.  I certainly wasn't prepared for what came next. 

The nurses had kicked me out of his room while they inserted femoral IV lines in his legs to administer medicines and fluids.  I'd been with him through every single procedure (except an MRI- I had to stand outside the door) over the last five days, and we were both upset that they kicked me out for this one.  I had just come back into the room and was so glad to see the look of relief that washed over his face when I walked in the door. 

I went immediately to his side and grabbed his hand.  It was cool to the touch.  The nurses came in with one of those inflatable warming blankets and covered him all the way up to his chin.  This made him claustrophobic and he started to get agitated, so I pulled it down to his chest.  The nurses started to correct me, but one glare from me stopped them.  I think they got the message.  Jim told me that he felt like he couldn't breathe very well.  I'd been watching his oxygen saturation, because it had been fluctuating all day (he'd been out on the main floor until now).  It was in the 90's so I knew that he was getting oxygen, but I also knew he was starting to panic for some reason.  Then his sats started dropping slowly into the 80's over an hour or so, and I pointed it out to the nurses.  They told me it was probably a bad connection with the monitor and fiddled around with his finger at little.  They didn't know our story, didn't know that I was an asset and not a hindrance.  Didn't know that I knew every vital statistic about my husband spanning the last three years of his illness.  Didn't know that this drop was the start of a bad trend.  Didn't know that ignoring me was going to bring out a tiger in me. 

When the oxygen sats got into the low 80's, I told them they needed to get an intubation kit.  Did I mention that his nurse was a man?  I think I offended him when I told him what to do.  He didn't like that I was hovering.  I didn't care.  Jim was getting more and more agitated, telling me that he couldn't breathe.They put some oxygen on him and told him to relax.  I felt the tiger waking up.

When his sats hit 79, I yelled for them to get an intubation kit, and suddenly people started listening. Jim was scared and really beginning to panic.  I felt this animalistic rage well up inside of me as I turned to the nurses and yelled again, "Get the damned tube NOW.  He can't breathe and you're not doing anything!  Stop standing there talking about it and DO SOMETHING."   The tiger was loose. ICU's are quiet.  When someone starts yelling, people start running.

Then I looked into my husband's pained face, and calm washed over me.  I was holding his hand, and I pulled it close to my chest.  I knew he probably was having tunnel vision from the pain and panic, so I got very close to him.  I told him to look at me, to focus on my face.  I'll never forget the plaintive tone in his voice when he said, "Meg, please help me.  I can't breathe.  Meg, I can't breathe."  I told him to look at my eyes and stroked his hand.  I told him that the nurses were coming with a tube and it was going to help him.  His eyes started to roll back in his head, and I talked louder, telling him to look at my eyes.  He forced himself back into conciousness and looked directly into my eyes.  "Meg, please help me, please.  I can't breathe.  Help me, Meg."

I'll never foget feeling God Himself come into my heart and calming my spirit.  I laid my free hand on Jim's chest.  I looked directly into those beautiful blue eyes and began to pray.  The first words that came out of my mouth were, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus".  Jim looked at me and repeated, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus".  A desperate cry for help.  I told him to be quiet and just concentrate on breathing, that I would pray and he could agree.  He nodded his head, and I prayed for God to calm his heart, to control his breathing.  In my peripheral vision I saw a nurse return to his room with an intubation kit.  Finally.

Then it happened.  Those blue eyes changed to green, a color I'd never seen before.  A look of surprise came over his face and he choked, kind of like he'd swallowed water the wrong way.  And then I saw him go.  I was looking right into his eyes, and I saw his spirit leave.  Alarms started going off.  I think I smacked his cheek and called out to him, not wanting to believe what I had just seen happen in his eyes.  But I knew he was gone. 

A nurse told me they were going to push the code button and I'd better stand back.  I heard the Code Blue alert going out over the intercom, and then pounding footsteps in the hall as about twenty people converged on his room all at once.  A sweet young girl took me by the shoulders and put a chair underneath my shaking legs.  It was too late for me to get out of the room; they had swung his bed out to the middle of the room and people were everywhere.  I wouldn't have left anyway.   I somehow managed to get ahold of my mom at my house (she was staying with Marley), Jim's sister, and our friends, who were on their way.  Then I just sat and watched, my hands shaking uncontrollably.  I remember thinking, "It's too late.  He's already gone".  But I couldn't help but marvel at the team as they worked to bring him back.  The respiratory therapist was doing CPR.  He was a huge man, with enormous biceps and a tattoo of a pair of lungs on his arm.  He never waivered for twenty minutes, compressing my husband's chest so effectively that the pulse he created showed up on the monitors like a normal heartbeat.  People were yelling out the names of medications as they pushed them into his IV's.  Someone else was bagging him and forcing air into his lungs.  About 10 minutes in, they stopped to check for a heartbeat or pulse.  Nothing.  I wanted to tell them to stop, I'd seen him go, but I knew there were people who loved him on the way to the hospital.  So I kept quiet.  I remember marveling at the team, thinking that they were operating like a well-oiled machine.  After another ten minutes they regained his heartbeat and blood pressure and his heart miraculously continued to beat on its own.  I let out a primal shout; the tiger was still there.

Once everything settled down, I went back to his side and took his hand again.  It was limp and cold, but I held it anyway.  I spent some time alone with this precious man I had loved for nearly a decade.  I knew he was gone, but it was through God's sweet mercy that I had that time to sit with him.  The respirator hummed a soothing rhythm, and my tears finally fell like rain.  I had let people know that they had gotten him back, his body anyway.  But he was gone.  The strong man who had fought for so long was gone.  The arms that had held his baby daughter with such gentleness and joy, the strong hands that had opened so many stubborn jars and worked so hard all his life were now at rest.

That one moment when I saw his spirit go still haunts me at night when I close my eyes.  I find comfort knowing that the last words he uttered were words to his Savior.  His last words to me were pleas for help, and it will never leave my mind, ever.  I couldn't do anything.  Time helps, but those memories are still as vivid as they were almost ten months ago.  I wonder if he saw what happened after he left, if he heard me cry out to him, if he saw the men and women who tried desperately to bring his body back to life.  I wonder if he saw the friends and family who came to his hospital room and if he heard the words they said to him, felt the kisses they tenderly planted on his face.

I wonder if he still sees the tears that run down my face and onto my pillow at night when I can't sleep and that memory rises to the surface.  Who knows?  I do know that he isn't hurting anymore, that he is healthy and whole and free of pain.  But does he see the pain and sadness and loneliness that still exists down here?  I won't know until I join him someday. 

Until then, I'll continue to live the life that I have been given with joy, with purpose, and some sadness mixed in here and there.  That night still haunts me, that look in his eyes.  In sharing it with you, I feel that I can let part of it go.  I find comfort in reminding myself of his last words~ "Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.".  Jesus met him there in that hospital room, and took Jim home. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A New Prayer

Tonight when I tucked Marley into bed, she informed me that I was not going to say her prayers. 
She was, because she had a new prayer. 
It went something like this...

"God, I love butterflies, 'cause they're beautiful.  And they have a secret, but I can't tell, but it's a secret.  And thank You that Daddy prayed with me while we were in Michigan~ me, and Mama, and Daddy.
And thank You for Wonder Pets,
'cause they have butterflies. 
The End.