Wednesday, November 19, 2014


There are many "lasts" in everyone's life.  Some of them slip by barely noticed while others are filled with awareness of the changes they represent.  "Lasts" are mile markers of the changes in life.  Some we eagerly anticipate, like the last payment on a mortgage, while others come with mixed emotions, like the last day a child is home before heading off to college.

I have been thinking about some of the "lasts" in our lives.  It seems like there are so many of them.
  • The last time Dennis drove a car was the night we got the call that told us an MRI earlier in the day showed a mass in Dennis brain and we should head to the emergency room.  Yes, we weren't thinking too clearly in letting him drive at that point, but it would be the last time he ever drove a car.  Dennis told me once that he hopes there are cars in heaven so he can drive again.
  • There have been many "lasts" in regards to his treatments.  The last chemo, the last radiation, the last MRI...  Each one of these came with mixed emotions.  Glad there were done but fearful of what lay ahead.  
  • I remember the last time we played a game of UNO together as a family.  Dennis struggled with it but it was still fun to have that time together.
  • Personally there have been a lot of "lasts" - the last night we shared a bed, a last hug, a last conversation just before falling asleep.  I miss these the most.
  • On a beautiful summer day we had our last picnic together.  It was a spur of the moment decision to get out and enjoy a beautiful day at the park.  We packed up Dennis' wheelchair, bought subs and went to the park.  After we ate I pushed him around it on a walking trail.  It was a great day.  
  • Our last date with just the two of us was also a spur of the moment decision.  We went to Olive Garden for lunch.  Ironically, it was also the place we had our first date alone as a couple.  
  • Recently there have been so many lasts - the last time Dennis walked was the day he fell and went into the hospital. The last ride was on the way home from the rehabilitation center.  I don't remember the last conversation we had where he was able to easily talk with me in more than just a word or two.  I so miss hearing his voice and being able to learn from his wisdom.
Yes, our lives have changed drastically in the last 30 months.  Some of those changes have come so gradually that they slipped by almost unnoticed, while others have been abrupt and hard to miss.  We miss our old lives but at the same time we have grown in ways we would never have imagined.

We have a new and vibrant view of heaven.  By all appearances it looks like Dennis will see Jesus face-to-face and experience the joys of full healing and the splendor of heaven in the near future.  I know he will be waiting for us when we too join him there.  

I have a deeper faith and trust in God's provision than I ever had in the past.  Seeing God provide for us has strengthened my walk with the Lord.  I know there are those that would say, "But how can you say that when God is allowing Dennis to be taken with this cancer?"  My answer is always, that I don't understand it but I have learned to trust God and cling to Him in ways I never would have imagined.

Dennis is home now with the services of hospice assisting us.  He spends all of his time in bed and requires help with everything except for feeding himself.  We continue to trust God with our needs and have seen Him supply in miraculous ways.  We don't know when other "lasts" will come but we do know we can trust in the One who knows tomorrow and loves us.  

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Settling In

We have been home a few days now and I think we are beginning to settle in some.  The various aides that have been here have been very good and have helped me come up with some easier ways to assist Dennis.  I'm thankful for their expertise.

Willow has been glad to have Dennis home too.  When we set up his bed and put his pillow on it, she kept going there and falling aseep.  Now that he is home, she spends lots of time snuggling with him.

In the last few weeks I have been talking and thinking a lot about all that we have enjoyed over the years God gave us to together.  We have been able to travel together during those years and enjoyed seeing so much of the U.S. and loved Nova Scotia.  Of course our highlight from traveling will always be China.

I would love to grow old with Dennis but it does not appear that is what God has in store for us.  Pleas pray for us as we walk through the days ahead.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dennis is Home

Today was the day to go home.  After a month away either at the hospital or the rehab center, Dennis is finally home.  He is home with the aid of hospice care services.  In the next few days we will be meeting with his nurse and aides.  The nurse will come at least once a week to check on him and aides will be here every morning and most evenings to help get him ready for the day and to help get him ready for bed.  There are two nights when I will not have an aide but they are working on getting someone for those nights as well.

The move itself went well.  We knew it would be tiring for Dennis, and it was, but he is glad to be home.  We are going to be adjusting how we do things as we go along but I'll have the experts from hospice to help with that.

Thank you so much for your contributions to Dennis' relief staff.  Words just cannot express our gratitude.  I have a call into a local nursing school to see if some of the student nurses would be interested in working for us.  If that does not work out, there are agencies through which you can hire staff that I will be contacting.  Just knowing we have the ability to ensure Dennis is taken care of and I can do things like attend Brooklyn's school events or go to church is huge.  Thank you.

Willow, our spaniel, has been laying on Dennis' pillow since I made his bed up.  As soon as Dennis was settled into bed, she jumped on the bed and cuddled with him.  I think she missed him.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for Dennis to be comfortable with all the new people who will be assisting with his care.
  • Pray we can find some good relief staff to help us as well.
  • Pray my back does not give me problems from all the care I am providing.
  • Pray for Brooklyn as she continues to process all that his happening around her.
  • Pray for all of us that we will bring God glory through this stage of Dennis' illness.
Many of you may have heard of Brittany Maynard, a young women with the same diagnosis as Dennis, who chose to end her own life this week.  A friend of ours shared our story in a radio spot as a contrast to the choices Brittany made.  You can listen to it here.