• Family,  Grief,  life,  Love,  Motherhood

    We Mother

    During the 20 months of her diagnosis, I made several open-ended visits to my hometown about 900 miles from where we live to be with Mom. The last visit started out rough. The whole family had traveled from all over the country to be together. We spent time at a beautiful house near the beach. Then we passed around Strep throat and influenza despite our best efforts at quarantine so we cycled through lethargy and soreness and the fear of passing it along to anyone else. With three small children, visits to the cancer clinic, and no coffee options (because one hundred million Starbucks and a Peet’s do not count as “options”).…

  • Cancer,  death,  Family,  God,  Grief,  Worship

    When Those Songs Play

    There is a station on my Pandora account – I named it “My Nest” – which I have thumbed up and thumbed down to perfection. Just about every song is deeply meaningful to me because this station has played through 2 unique pregnancies and their furiously lovely births, a dying dog, 3 moving days, the cancer news from California, all the breath-holding and fervent praying, and now it plays over my mourning. When my mom had surgery to remove the tumor we still thought could be some sort of sinus infection, the music and lyrics matched every atom of my limbo. Peace and anxiety swirled around and up to a God…

  • Cancer,  Family,  Home,  Love

    The Cabin

    For me, Home smelled like Raccoon Court – oak trees on a lake, mossy rocks and too many leaves. The concrete cracked over wild earth reminding us she is far from contained and that she did the long-suffering despite our groans come summer when the weeds needed pulling. We tucked our stories into this old, tiny cabin surrounded by deer and birds and these round petaled flowers in tall grass. Does it sound a little magical? Good. My childhood saw magic. Sometimes we go back. My brother and I drive down the familiar roads and we can’t wait to breathe that air. We’ve taken friends and spouses, we’ve gone alone, but…

  • Beauty,  Cancer

    Ten Seconds

    “How’re you doing today?” I asked to be cordial with our 10 second encounter. He answered warmly, “I’m alive and breathing.” He said it as if he were wearing vacation clothes instead of a red vest with a name tag, as if he were standing on an expansive beach instead of between two car lanes in a small glass box. It was one of the dozens of mornings my day started with a 45 minute drive last fall. After this I would grab my check-in ticket and shuttle over to the cold, sterile battlefront where Mom got her weekly radiation or met with another doctor or went over the chemo plan. The…

  • Cancer,  God,  Love,  Worship

    Because They're Wrong and She's Brave

    Her story has been all over… Whether we elected to or not we all know about Brittany Maynard’s decision. And we have been stuck with a lot of adjectives like post-its scribbled and slapped onto something that was not up for discussion to the rest of us; Brittany made her choice without our consent or input. I have peered shakily over the edges of this story. It hits a little close to home, okay? But it’s unavoidable and I have to say that I like some of those labels. I like that this beloved, darling, precious woman heard strangers give their unnecessary support as she walked her final days among…