Monday, May 26, 2014

Daren's Letter - May 26, 2014

Hello My Darling Son:

It's Memorial Day and I don't have a grave to decorate for you and your dad.  But it's okay because I know that you would not be there anyway.  I know you are not in the ground, or in the urn with your ashes.  You are everywhere that you always wanted to be.  I picture you on a Harley along Highway 101 taking in the view of the ocean along California.  I see you walking through the vineyards or lounging in the sun on a Caribbean beach.  How you loved the sun.  I can see you in your cut off Levis hand fishing the Provo River.  The sun shines off your hair as your back becomes more bronze.  I can hear your laughter in the breeze and hear your prayers amid the mountain pines.  I picture you free my dear son.  So free and happy.

Rainee and I took flowers to the Provo River today.  I kissed each one and threw it out into the current, knowing that from where you are at, you will see them floating in that old river that you and your dad loved so much.

There are times honey that I think I am forgetting the sound of your voice and it scares me  That should be ringing in my ears every second of every day; or so I think.  I close my eyes and I listen to my mind.  I picture myself calling you on your phone and hearing you pick up.  You say "Hello" in the way only you would say it and then you would say "What's up, Mom?"  And we would talk.  An hour could go by and we would still have things to say to each other.

I know that if you were here today, you would be a nervous wreck worrying about me and my cancer.  You would be telling me to get mad at the doctors and make them listen to me.  You would be so angry thinking that I wasn't being taken care of.  You always worried about me.  Even when there wasn't really anything to worry about.  And I find comfort in knowing that you and your dad are not worrying about me right now  Not because you don't love me the same, or care about me.  It's because where you are at, you already know the outcome of everything.  You have a unique view of the road I am on, and you know that wherever that road leads me, it will be the one I should be on and the destination will be where I am destined to end up at.  And I know my darling son, you and your dad are with me  I know you stand watch over me as I sleep, and watch me as I walk my days.  What a comfort that is to me,

I miss you honey.  I miss you so much, but I wouldn't want you to be back here fighting the demons you fought for so many years.  I would rather you be on your beaches, or your Harley, or in your mountains.  I would rather know that wherever you are, the sound of your laughter echos and that you are truly free.

Just so you know, there are so many times when I am missing you that Mark will say or do something that is exactly like you.  He was working in his yard yesterday and had been all day.  Suddenly, like a little boy throwing a temper tantrum he yelled "I'm done.  I'm not doing this anymore." and he threw his weed bucket across the lawn.  I burst out laughing because not only was it so much Mark, it was so much you too.  It makes me happy you both share that same silly gene that has brought me to laughter so many times.

Well my darling boy, will you do something for me?  If you get a chance, at night when I'm sleeping will you whisper in my ear.  I need to hear your voice.

I love you darling.

Forever and ever my baby you'll be,


Friday, May 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Danny - May 17, 2014

Happy Birthday Honey!

I know.  It won't officially be your birthday for one hour and one minute  but that never stopped us from celebrating early before.  Heck.  We were celebrating days before and days after because after didn't like birthdays.  That is why, I baked your apple cakes and usually planned on your rib eye steak and potatoes and onions, or perhaps potato salad.  That is why the kids bought you presents you would never use, but would save, still in their packages, under the bed.  That is why you would ask Shannon "Whatcha gonna get me for my birthday, Bapper?" And then sing "Happy Birthday to me...and Sheree."

How could I have known Honey, that those silly little things you did, would be the things that would be the most important memories to me.  I don't think about the amount of money you made.  That doesn't matter in the least.  It's picturing you sitting and bouncing our children and grandchildren on your knee singing "Ride the Pony Brown and Small."  It's watching you grab hold of their outstretched hands and throwing them up into the air.  It's the way you hiked up your pants and the little hop you made when you did it, and your little reading glasses perched on the end of your nose.  It's the little hole you had in the bottom of your foot from when you ran that stick into it and the scar you had on your butt from when Dennis Sorensen accidentally shot you with a BB gun when you were little boys.

It is your anger over injustice, and your ability to forgive.  It's your sleeping with your bible under your pillow because you had heard me tell our children to do that to ward off bad dreams.  I close my eyes, and I can almost feel your hand that I held for more than fifty years.  It's a rough and calloused hand because you were a rough and calloused man but mostly only on the outside.

Happy Birthday Honey.  If you were here, you would be trying to convince your sisters Tessie and Sandi that you were the younger.  How you hated getting older, until you found out we got senior citizens discounts and then getting older wasn't so bad.

Your last Birthday with us, we spent at the Silver Gulch in Fox, Alaska.  You asked Ashley's boyfriend Perry what he got you for your birthday.   I can remember you sitting there with the candles of your birthday cake aglow and for a moment then, I knew, you wouldn't be with me on your next.  I swallowed that fear as I did quite often the three years we were in Alaska.  I knew Alaska would be where you would live out your biggest dream on your bucket be an Alaskan, and I knew Alaska would be the place where you would die.

Well Darling, your birthday keeps rolling around and all of us who love you so much will keep celebrating.  Perhaps it will be balloons reaching towards the sky.  Perhaps it will be a birthday letter written to you from your wife. Whatever honey, it is still the Whiting Family's National Holiday.

Happy birthday!

With all my love far beyond the 12th of Never.

Susie    .

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Cancer - What the Heck?

The day after my lumpectomy I was feeling pretty darn good.  My girls and I went to a movie.  Having had seven children natural childbirth, I consider myself having a pretty high pain tolerance.  I can't tell you how many times while sitting in the dentist's chair I've said to myself, if you can have a baby, you can do this.  That phrase has helped me get through quite a few unpleasant experiences.  But there was one difference.  When you have a baby, you know the baby will be born and then the pain will start to go away.  Not so with the next month after my surgery.  My breast started to swell and soon, it was as if the doctor had inserted a baseball where the lump had been.  The skin all the way up under my arm, into the armpit and around my back became numb.  But it was only numb to the touch of the skin,  Inside, it was very painful and on the outside, the skin felt as though it was chafed. 

My surgeon said the site was looking fine.  When I asked him about the swelling, he assured me it was normal and might last up to a month.  I was to put ice on it.  I did as I was told for two weeks and there was no change.  I googled "swelling after a lumpectomy" and found that a lumpectomy can actually be more painful than a mastectomy.  The site said I should be wearing a compression bra.  My sister and I went to a specialty bra shop and they had them for $126.00.  The problem was, I had no idea how much compression I should be applying or where it should be applied to.  I didn't want to spend $126.00 only to be buying the wrong thing. 

I called my surgeon's office again, told the nurse about the pain I was in, and that I didn't know what I should be doing.  She referred me to a lymphodemiologist at the hospital.  I arrived hopeful that finally someone could tell me what was going on.  I was taken back to a small room where the lady began measuring my fingers on both hands.  She measured around them, my wrist, from my wrist to my elbow, around my arm, from my shoulder to my elbow.  With each little measurement, she told me she was hesitant about working on me because she was afraid if there was infection, she could be aiding the infection to move to other parts of my body.  My hopes for an answer was going down the drain.  My breast, arm and now back of my shoulder was aching.  After getting my measurements, she said she would call the doctor's office and let them know her concerns.  I don't know what she ever did with the measurements she took.  Somewhere in the hospital, someone knows the circumference of my fingers and wrists. 

I called the surgeon's office once again and was able to get in that day.  The surgeon wasn't there, but his physician's assistant told me it didn't look like it was infected and to keep putting ice on it.  The nurse wrapped me with a 6" ace bandage, but the way she had to wrap me caused the ace bandage to put pressure right through the lump.  When I got back home, I took it off, put back on my bra, but made it tighter so it would offer the same type of compression the ace bandage had given me without cutting through the lump.  My sister Lola kept the ice packs coming for me. 

A week later, I had another follow up appointment with my surgeon.  He was on an emergency surgery, so another doctor took care of me.  Looking at the breast, he assured me that it was extremely swollen and hard.  He said I had developed a mass of blood in the area and that mass of blood was congealing.  He asked it I had been putting my HOT PACKS on it.  I told him no.  I told him I had been putting ice packs on it as instructed.  He said I shouldn't have been putting ice on it after the third day.  The ice was causing the blood to congeal more.  I should be putting wet heat on it.  He told me it could take up to another six weeks for my body to dissipate the clot.  For the last three days, the wet heat has been making me feel better.

I decided I only have a high pain tolerance when I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  My mind needs to know what is going on.  As I write today, there is a glimmer of light shining in the distance so I can deal with this.  Everything is going to be okay.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Letter to Danny - May 1, 2014

Hello Honey:

I remember years ago, you and I took a ride up high up in the mountains.  It was early fall, and we pulled in alongside a little lake.  The snow was falling and the wind was blowing.  The pine trees and quaken asp made the sounds they make when the wind is blowing through them.  Gray storm clouds hovered over the mountain peaks.  It was all so wonderfully majestic.  I remember turning to you and saying "I hope heaven is just half as beautiful as earth is."  So many times in our lives, I marveled at the beauty God created; rather it be the birth of spring, or the dead of winter.  I have learned a lot since you left me honey.  I have learned that every magnificent thing God makes is enhanced by the love you feel in your heart, the joy of sharing it with someone you love.  I think if everyone was someway lifted off the earth, the earth would not be as vibrant.  The colors would not be as colorful.  The sounds would not be as beautiful.  The scents would not be as fragrant.  It is love that adds too and enhances what God creates.  Of course, Honey I have learned this the hard losing you.  God still creates beautiful things, but they seemed shadowed without you here to share them with me.

I'm missing you so much tonight.  As I was lying in bed, I thought "I wish I could just hear his voice."  So, I decided to pull out our letters to each other once again and read what you had written me when you were away in the Army.  As I read your love letters, I could hear you.  But, just so you know in case you have forgotten, I counted the letters I wrote to you and the letters you wrote to me.  I wrote you ninety-four letters.  You wrote me ten.  With that said, I think you have some writing to do.  I don't know how it's possible there where you are at but I think if you look you can find a way to write me at least eighty-four more letters.  Maybe the only way I'll be able to read them is if you imprint them on my mind or wrap them in my dreams.  But I will be expecting them.

I have cancer Honey.  Can you believe that?  I know if you were here, you would be shocked and in denial. You would be telling me that the doctors are wrong and that if I think positive, it won't be so.  You would tell me to get up and get busy and I will feel better.  You would put on a tough front, but I know underneath that tough exterior that was Dan Whiting, your heart would be breaking for me.  I know I'd feel you squeeze me a little tighter when you held me and I know you'd make certain your bible was under your pillow at night just to make sure God heard your prayers.  I'm going to be okay Honey.  I'm going to fight it with everything I have, because we have our six children here and our large brood of grandchildren.  I need to fight for them. And I will.  But my love, I feel I am in a win/win situation.  If I win this battle against cancer, I will be here with our children.  If I lose the battle, I will be with you and Daren.

You know Honey, life is so full of petty things.  So much of what we worry about or get angry about is so silly.  I look back on our life together and regret the times I let stress or frustration control my actions.  There really are so few things in this life that justify hurting the people we love.  I wish I could tell everyone to cherish every second they have with the people they love.  Don't sweat the little things...or even some of the big things.  In a year or two down the road most of those things will not matter at all.  They will just be times when we have taken a dark crayon and marred the beauty of the day with harsh words or actions.

It's spring here Honey.  The grasses are greening.  The blossoms are in bloom.  The spring sun is covering the chill of the past months.  It's a beautiful time of year, but it's not the same.  It's not quite as beautiful as it use to be...when you were here.  But I don't say I hope heaven is as beautiful as this is anymore.  I know it is and it will be because you are there.

I'll keep watching for my letters.

I love you Far Beyond the 12th of Never.