Monday, June 29, 2009

Biking for ALS

I am so excited to share that this year Mom will be represented at the ninth ALS Doubleday Bike Ride and Fundraiser in Skagit Valley. The 90-mile ride is July 25 and 26 - just days before what would have been Mom's 54th birthday.

The bike ride is a fundraiser for the ALS Evergreen Chapter - the same chapter that we walk for every year. This is the group that provides such unbelievable support to ALS patients and families - from being with them at doctor's appointments, holding support groups, lending medical equipment and being available - any time - for all of the questions that patients and families of this awful disease always have.

Biking has become a new passion for Bill. As I shared earlier, we got new road bikes this year and this will be Bill's first real bike event. We were very excited when we bought our house two years ago and discovered we were so close to the beautiful Chehalis Western Trail. It is so easy to hop onto the trail from our house and we've logged many hours of riding and walking on it. Bill has really been increasing the mileage on his bike recently and the day he told me that what he was doing was training in preparation for the ALS bike ride - I couldn't be more touched. It means so much that my husband is doing this for himself, for me, for my Mom and for all the families affected by ALS - I am just so proud.

You might be asking why I'm not doing this? For those who know me well, you probably already know. When we first got postcards in the mail about the ride, I thought it was a 45-mile ride over two days. I thought - I can do that! I read the card again and noticed it was 45-miles a day! I'm no athletic competitor, as you all know. However, I will be sure to check this course out to see if it is something I might be interested in doing next year with Bill.

We really appreciate your support. If you want to support Bill and "Kathy's Crew" you can either:
  • Make a donation to sponsor Bill - Team Name is "Kathy's Crew",
  • Send positive thoughts Bill's way that weekend,
  • Come on up to Skagit Valley one or both days to watch,
  • Wait and walk with us 10/3/09 for the ALS Walk,
  • Or sponsor one of us for the Walk.
Enjoy the beautiful weather! I'll be sure to post photos about this event. It is sure to be a meaningful weekend.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wah, Wah, Wah, Winthrop!

Winthrop is a beautiful place and just great for a weekend getaway. It wasn't the same as last year without Grandma Jo or Lisa, but it was still fun! I didn't take as many pictures as last time, but here are just a few.

This is the view from Sun Mountain Lodge. Isn't it beautiful? I WILL stay there one day. I just will.

This is seeming to be an annual tradition. We took pics on the saddles last year too!

Sue and me. Forgive the harsh, squinting eyes. It was sunny and a little windy.

OJ and me. Beautiful backdrop. You see us with sweatshirts in a lot of these, but really we just wore them up on the mountain where it was windy and in the evenings when it cooled down. Overall, we had great weather!

And then I got married again...
Just kidding, but I have always said I'd like to get married again each year. It was just so much fun the first time around! Bill and I joke we'll just go on a vacation for our honeymoon, but just get re-married every year. If I were to be reviewing future locations, this one would do it. Isn't it gorgeous? Look, it is set up for us and everything!
Hopefully, the bride didn't mind me snapping pics of her beautiful flowers.

And, I'll close with this beautiful rose!

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 12

June 12. June 12. June 12. I see that date everywhere. I hate it and feel reverance for it all at the same time.

Two years ago today at 2:45 p.m. my Mom passed away. I blogged about it last year too. This particular day is always hardest for me because all I think about is her death. I think about what happened that day. What I saw, heard, smelled and felt.

I remember things I don't want to remember like sitting outside on the electrical box in the front yard after she passed away because I couldn't bear to stay inside.

I remember holding her hand and calling her "Mommy" which I hadn't done in at least 25 years. I just kept repeating "I love you, I love you" and "it is OK to go, we'll be alright."

I remember how long it took for the funeral home to show up and how we finally told friends and family not to go inside anymore - they didn't need to see Mom that way.

I remember all of the family that came. They drove in car by car and we all gathered around that darn electrical box. I remember how happy and loved I felt to have them there. I remember that the neighbors brought over their own dinner to feed everyone and had Papa Murphy's instead for themselves. I also remember feeling sad that family was all there after she was gone - why couldn't they have come when she was still here?

I remember the smell of death that wasn't strong, but very obvious in her room before and after her passing. I remembered how I smelled that scent everywhere the weeks afterward. I'd stop drinking when I smelled it on the top of a pop can and everyone would smell it for me (and smell nothing), but still clean it to try to get rid of whatever odor I thought I was detecting.

I remember looking at Mom after she'd passed away and noticing her toenails needed trimming. I considered doing it then so the people at the funeral home wouldn't think no one loved her.

I remember not wanting to call Corey. It was awful having to tell my brother over the phone that his Mom had just died. I think that is what I said too, "Corey... Mom died."

I remember feeling protective of others when they arrived at the house and wanted to go in and see Mom. I'd tell them, "I'll go with you." I had meant to do that for my brother, but he'd gone in without me knowing. I rushed inside and he wasn't in Mom's room. I found him on his knees in the spare bedroom. A heartbreaking sight I'll never forget.

I remember people saying over and over that it was a "blessing" that she passed away and was no longer suffering. I remember thinking, Am I the only one who didn't see it as a blessing? I was still secretly praying for a miracle.

I remember the white van pulling up the driveway from the funeral home. I panicked and my Aunt rushed me into the backyard. I just couldn't be there when they brought her outside. I couldn't see my Mom leaving her own home wrapped in plastic on a gurney. Instead, I stayed in the backyard and was so upset that I was actually choking and gasping for air.

I remember thanking God for text messaging. Not only was it invaluable for my Mom who was able to communicate with us through her cell phone when she could no longer speak. But, it was how I told all of our friends and family that she'd passed away without having to make individual phone calls.

I remember being so scared of when Mom actually passed away - thinking that I would be frightened to be with her. A friend in our support group told me, "Your Mom is only going to die once, Courtney. Stop imagining her death in your mind over and over. Things will be different when it is time." I remember how it wasn't scary at all - it was just my Mom.

I remember looking at my mother knowing we had so much in common that sometimes looking at her was like looking at me. We had the same hands, the same feet. Seeing her lying on her bed after she'd died I realized it was the closest I'd ever come to seeing my own self no longer alive.

I remember Annie and Mom and Dad's dogs barking outside Mom's window when she was dying. I was wanting to "shush" them when the the hospice nurse said, "It's OK. They know. They know."

I remember so much. Today, I am going to attempt to NOT think about it constantly. I am not going to go to her grave today. When I do talk about her today, I will talk and remember her life, not her death.

I love and miss you, Mom.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh Cheez-Its!

Favorite conversation of the weekend - riding in the car with Grandma Jo (79), Tanner (almost 5) and Maggie (3).

Grandma Jo: Jesus! (No, she wasn't praying).

Me: Grandma, please watch what you say!

Grandma Jo: Well, kids have to learn that adults say things they can't.

Me: Well, please just don't say that.

10 minutes pass. Few more words come through from Grandma Jo - Damn, Hell, more talk of Jesus. Soon, here it comes.

Tanner: Jesus!

Me: Tanner Nelson, that is not a nice thing to say. Please don't say that.

Tanner: Why can't I say Jesus? Is that a bad word?

Grandma Jo: (Laughing)

Me: (Hitting Grandma's arm) - Enough out of you!

Me: Honey, you can say Jesus' name all you want. You just can't say it when you are mad. Instead, you can say - "Geez!"

Tanner: Well, can I just say - "Cheez-its?"

Me: Well, yes you can!

Grandma Jo: Still laughing.

Me: (To Grandma) Enough out of you!!

Tom and Molli, if you're kids are now exclaiming "Cheez-its" - you now know why!


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