Carrying Her Heart

I am dedicating this site to my beloved daughter Rachel whose earthly life ended on Sept. 17,2009.This is just a glimpse of the path I walk through this journey of grief.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Love In Bloom

(i hid the last names for privacy)

The sweet lady that plays the keyboard in our praise band lost her mother last week.The funeral was yesterday, and for them it was a beautiful sunny day.My day went horribly wrong.One of the puppies crawled out of their fence and fell in my goldfish pond.I got her out just in time.It took forever for her to stop shaking and warm up.It happened while I was dropping kids off at school so I don't know how long she had been in there. Then later in the afternoon, I went to go water my porch plants and check on my baby birds.The neighbors dog had destroyed the nest and the baby birds body was lying on the porch...I was so sick, and mad. Throw in lots of other ridiculousness, and needless to say I was ready for a NEW day..Last night as I was laying in the bed trying to sleep ,I was thinking about the nest in my plant from the funeral, which led me to think about the day I got them all.That was without a doubt one of my favorite days..the day the flowers came.I don't know if you know this but, they only bring the flowers that are on a stand to the cemetery.All of the arrangements in baskets and all the potted plants go to the home. When I say my house was full of flowers,I mean FULL. They just kept coming.I had to set up tables to have places to put them.My house smelled so good. There was just so much beauty .Those flowers helped to fill the emptiness that was so palpable in my home.I read every card,and smelled every flower ...and then did it again.I had several beautiful days.I told my husband that I wished there was some way to just keep it this way.There was just so much love represented in those flowers.As they would begin to fade,I would quickly remove them and rework what was left to try to keep it beautiful.As they would fade, part of me would too. I do have several house plants left. I lost a few of them in a freeze but I still have about 15 of them left.The part that gets me the most is that I didn't have enough sense to take pictures of them!!!!Can you believe it? I know I was exhausted ,and barely even functioning, but I can't believe I didn't take a million pictures of flowers.I don't know exactly when I woke up, but I am glad I did finally realize that a picture IS worth a thousand words.I can see all of the arrangements in my mind, but boy would I love to be able and just sit and look at them again.I do have a photo of one of my favorite arrangements.It was from some of my sisters sweet friends .The picture really doesn't show how BEAUTIFUL this arrangement was, but when I see, it I can remember it so clearly and I can remember the love.Thank you all so much for the love.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I think about Rachels hands a lot. Her hands were very different from mine.I have really big knuckles, and well, basically "man hands". I also have double jointed thumbs. Rachel had what I call "smart girl" hands.They were much more feminine.She had really long fingers too.I was always fascinated with her hands (and her feet too, but that's another story).I can see her holding her phone.I see her holding her purse ,or her constantly playing with her hair..But I think the thing I think about the most is seeing Robin-(her brother),and Kennedy touching her hand the night of visitation. I can see it so clearly..Seeing them hold her hand is one of the most precious, tender moments that I have of that night. As all of the other moments play out in my mind, they usually come back to this. I know this is probably really hard to read and to understand. I don't think I can write it with as much beauty, hurt, tenderness, and love as when I saw it happen,but I know I will never forget it.

"This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved, and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held."

Friday, April 16, 2010

When You Know Where It Is

I realized as I approach the 7 month mark ,that I have never shared the song with you that I was given just days before Rachels wreck.My mother-n-law shared it with me Labor Day weekend. I loved the chorus.I played it for Rachel in the car on the way to pick up KK after school the next week.We even talked about who should sing it at church.This song is also one of the first things I heard in my head as I came upon the wreck ,and realized what had happened. The beginning of this video is a little slow,but stay with it, you don't want to miss the end..The funeral for my friend Jodie is today also..this song is so perfect for her too..I pray that I will do just as the song says and take comfort in what I know.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


This week has been a really hard.One of my very dear friends from school passed away on Monday.She had been trying to overcome cancer for the past 7 years. I had known Jodie since Jr High.We were in band together.I got out of band in High school, but we remained friends.She went on vacation with us, we went to the beach together after graduation, and we even shared an apartment.We actually shared a room..You really learn a lot about someone when you live with them.We also were in each others weddings...Jodie was so fun to be around.She was a tall girl.She definitely had a strong presence in a room.She also had a sweetness about her that was very sincere.She really wanted you to be happy.She spent the last years of her life pushing for them to change the age of screening for colon cancer, hoping to help someone else avoid what she had to endure.They say that adversity builds character, but I think it also REVEALS it.Jodie has spent the past 7 years living .Living her life with dignity,grace, and compassion. I regret that I did not go to my 25 year reunion.It was in October,last year..I just couldn't.Jodie came in for it...I wish I could have seen my friend one last time.On my facebook page I posted the words to the Celin Dion song "Fly" just moments after I found out that Jodie had passed..I love the words to the song ..the line that says "take your gentle happiness far to beautiful for this" is for my friend Jodie, and for my beautiful Rachel.....

Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet
Until we meet

Fly, fly do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light

This is part of Jodies story in her own words..her last days were spent taking experimental drugs to try to get rid of the tumors in her brain....take the time to read it ,and then reflect on the "little things" that have been making your life so hard.....

One thing I have learned as I have grown older is that everyone has a story about something that has impacted their life dramatically. This is mine. Five and a half years ago at the age of 37 I thought I was invincible. I was single, active and had a successful business career. I traveled, was involved in the local social scene, had great friends and a wonderful family connection. I had reached a place where I had learned a great deal about myself and felt a level of self confidence I had never felt before. I was in a great place in my life. Then everything changed in a moments notice. I was on a business trip in Arizona when getting ready for work I noticed I had passed a blood clot while going to the restroom before I headed out for the morning. I was startled because it was large and something I had never noticed before. I decided to go to a local medical clinic in town to discuss with a doctor. Upon our conversation, the doctor stated it could be a number of any issues such as stomach problems, ulcers, polyps, etc. His best advice was to go back home and schedule a colonoscopy. I took his advice, and upon arriving back home made the appointment. With my best friend in tow to drive me home after the procedure, I went to my appointment. I was nervous, due to the fact I had heard it wasn’t a pleasant procedure and really had associated it with a much older age group. The procedure took place, and was not anything I had imagined it to be. I undressed, put on my oh- so- fashionable hospital gown, had an IV inserted in my arm and drifted off to sleep. Simple as that. When I awoke, my friend was by my side in my curtained off room as we waited for the doctor who performed the procedure to arrive with information. She came around the curtain looking very serious and proceeded to show me various photographs of my colon, some revealing polyps she had removed, with one shocking photo in particular. It was a large tumor in my sigmoid colon which was revealed to be colon cancer. I was stunned, and really could not absorb the news. My friend took me home, poured me a glass of wine, and let me cry my heart out. How could this be?? I was only 37 years old, thought I was healthy and felt great. Had it not been for my friend, I don’t know how I would have managed. From that point on it was a dizzying time; having to tell my family, scheduling doctor’s appointments, and finally removing about a foot of my colon in a difficult but reasonably non invasive laser surgery. Thank goodness I had been referred to one of the top surgeons in my area for this type of procedure. Later, I was told that had I waited much longer, the tumor would have passed through the lining of my colon and spread all throughout my abdomen, resulting in a very dismal opportunity of survival. The news following my first of many surgeries was one I had hoped I would not face. I felt hopeful that removing the tumor would be the end of the nightmare. Instead it proved to only be the beginning. My surgeon called me about a week after the surgery and reluctantly told me that the cancer had metastasized and the cells were now in my system; there was no way to tell where they would land and what organs could be affected next. I remember being sick at my stomach as I held the phone in my hand and turned to tell my mother, who was staying with me during my recovery. We just sat down together and cried. The days following were filled with many types of emotions; anger, fear, frustration, pain and despair to name a few. It is now over five years, six major surgeries (to remover tumors that formed in my lungs), seven rounds of chemotherapy and lots of prayers later. I have been told again I have new nodules in my lungs and liver as well as cancerous activity in my bones and just stated radiation on a new found brain tumor. I have been able to fight and keep the cancer at bay, but have yet to beat it into remission as treatment options are becoming increasingly limited. My friends, family and co-workers have rallied around me and supported me every step of the way. I have married a man who loves me cancer and all, vowing to always be by my side no matter what. My oncologist, my doctors and nurses are the best and I feel lucky to have them helping me through my battle. My wish is to share my story, especially to a younger group, to raise awareness to get colonoscopies and cancer screening at a much earlier age so that a similar situation can be prevented. I pray daily that I can beat this and put it behind me; but no matter what I will never lose my appreciation for life and all of the blessings that have been given to me. My only regret is that it took something like this to show me the value of every day, and what truly is important in life. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff, and stay positive even in the face of adversity. Please join me in my mission of awareness. The Face for Colon Cancer is a way for me to reach out and touch the 20-30-40 something age group and motivate them to learn more about colon cancer. It is preventable.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Light

While we were at the lake during spring break,I wrote a couple more poems/songs. Sometimes I sit and try to write and just stare at the computer forever...and nothing happens.Then I will be in the car, or just be caught up in doing several things and somehow through all the noise I hear the words .Being at the lake was very hard.As I write that sentence I hear in my mind "DUH">>.Of course it was hard,its ALL hard.Anyway, I was sitting in the room late one night watching a Roseanne marathon, which made me miss Rach even more.We spent many hours together watching that show, many hours laughing together.I wrote these words very quickly.As I always say =keep in mind this is a rough draft. Maybe one day my "accompanist" can put some more of these to music like she did "Beautiful One"..I hope when you read these you understand some of what I am going through.Maybe you know someone else who is grieving and it helps you to understand what they are feeling.I try to be as honest as I can about where I am right now ,in this moment. This is my journal.I open it to you because I have never in my life felt the things I am feeling, and if my words help someone else to understand that it is OK , it is OK to be sad , it is OK to cry till you think your eyeballs will just pop out. Just keep holding on to your precious Savior.Just keep breathing, and taking one MINUTE at a time ,and if that is too much then do one second.Just keep feeling and keep praying.." He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

Here I am once again
finding myself giving in
to all the pain I'm living in
since your not here with me.

Trying to find a way to breathe
when every day your all I see,
and everything I hoped to be
was what I saw in you.

Show me how to see the light
tell me it will be all right.
Take my hand and lead me
to where the dark cant find me...anymore.

I think about you all the time
your name is always on my mind,
and all the dreams you left behind
will live here in my heart.

I think that things would be all right
if I could only tell you bye
or say I love you one more time
and hold you in my arms.

Show me how to see the light
tell me it will be all right.
Take my hand and lead me
to where the dark cant find me...anymore.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Grief Puzzle

I haven't updated as much as I used to.I find it harder than it used to be to sit and put all my thoughts into sentences that will make sense to someone else.My mind goes nonstop day and night now.I used to sleep ALL night.It was like someone just turned the switch off=no dreams=no tossing=just sleep.Now I am awake most of the night.I lay in the dark and try to make myself go back to sleep,because I know how hard the next day will be.
Easter was very draining, as are all the holidays or special days.I didn't dye Easter eggs this year, we made those rice kripy treat eggs that they show on tv.I just didn't want to dye eggs.I remember every year doing them with the kids. Rachel always tried to do something very different to her eggs.And then fixing the baskets....Since my kids were very little,I have always made sure that everything was even, or the same amount, in their baskets.I even fixed the older kids something for Easter even though they thought they were too big.As I was putting jellybeans in plastic eggs this year, I lost it.It just seemed like everything I will ever do is going to be so hard.I've said so many times how EVERYTHING ,every single thing,reminds me of her.And then I had this one moment of clarity.At least I have a million memories. At least every holiday that comes around I can say "I remember "......instead of "I wish"...... I have memories of when Rach was little doing things, and then I have memories of her when she got older helping me do the same things with her little sisters.As hard as it seems now, I am so grateful for them and I know that one day it will be easier to think on them.After Easter I thought well now I can just coast because there aren't any more holidays...and then it hit me what was next...Mothers Day...that is what my life is now....trying to prepare myself for what I am going to have to deal with next.And yes I know that goes against what I had posted earlier "don't go there, God isn't there"...I'm human remember? I'm still trying to sort it all out.And some days I am failing miserably.I find myself thinking too much about the wrong things.Like maybe I should talk to the driver of the truck?Maybe I should talk to the man that was the first responder? Maybe if I could find out what happened????Why? Knowing that is not going to change what has happened..All it is going to do is torture my mind even more.There will be no peace in knowing any more details.I think it is just a part of the grief.I think it is just me trying to jam all these pieces of some very dark puzzles together,and the truth is there really isn't a way to make them fit.But I think I am ok with just letting them touch,or overlap enough so that I can see what I am supposed to see,and hopefully not see what I don't need to see.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Rachels name means LITTLE LAMB. Everywhere I go there are little lambs for sale for Easter.I am trying to do things a little different this year.Not that they will be done the same way next year, but for now I just need a change. I am trying also to see what God shows us this time of year in nature.We have 6 beautiful puppies, and a bird has made a nest in one of my flowers ,from the funeral, right outside the little girls window.What a gift each of these things are and what a beautiful reminder of what we have through The life beginnings.Please take a few minutes and watch the video of I Will Rise. Click on the title and it will start.
I gave a quick testimony last Sunday about my Ebeneezer, my bracelet. I was so glad that I could open my mouth and share what was in my heart.I always stumble when I have to say her name out loud. I don't know why it is easier to say "my daughter" than it is to just say "Rachel".I miss Rachel..

Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise." ~Phillips Brooks