• Alexis,  Anniversary,  Cemetery,  Dan,  Family,  Grieving,  Leah,  Memories,  Rachel,  Raine,  Tom

    Death is Nothing at All

    It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever…

  • 2018,  Awesomeness,  Birthday,  Dan,  Drink,  Family,  Gratitude,  Grieving,  JD,  Joy,  Leah,  Memories,  Raine

    Simple Pleasures – October 2018

    Let’s Play Some Random Catch-Up … Pretty unexpected but Raine loved it — Cheering on a golf game at the country club reception following Great Grandma Karpiak’s funeral. Read her obituary here. Highlights of that family gathering included Raine getting a chance to play with his cousins — Pictured here: JD on guitar and Bennett on drums. Raine asks us to play nerf basketball with him everyday all day. This particular afternoon, he wanted to increase the difficulty of a three point shot. That meant piling items upon himself?   I celebrated my 38th birthday with lots of messages and love from all of the wonderful people in my life.…

  • Grieving,  Lung Cancer,  Nature,  Poetry


    for robyn I am grabbing at life today silhouettes of dogwood, white ash, and tulip poplar a delirious pleasure the light through the trees illuminates particles i know we are the dust of it all. harper can smell the fragments in green blades, smoke, and vermin miles away. her dark wet nose and keen mind will know up to forty feet what is buried below the ground only she knows what is stale in the rafts and scurf the biological richness of my human debris. isn’t the devastation and the trauma of grief tangled into the molecules the bits and seeds of me? we share the bed now and i…

  • Nature,  Poetry

    Eureka Lake Road

    September’s fields of tall, crisp stalks are like dry soldiers martyred by harvest— Their innards, tender and warm produce reveal robust kernels or rot— the industry of cutworms, beetles, borers. Tassels are fingered by hurried youth unloaded from yellow, sticky buses their bundled glands pumping sweat into drenched long sleeves and socks. At the lake, the basin is scorched, undressed by drought. Groups of family geese with black necks and white cheeks stagger across the cracks in the mud bed and huddle as they honk. Their chests and bellies protrude, hovering over the dried membranes of their feet. They will decide to go—take flight in their groups. Yet it is…

  • Anniversary,  Coping,  Grieving,  Honestly,  Hope,  Leah,  Memories


    On September 18th, four years ago, incurable cancer became a part of our story. I had to write about it in order to cope. Writing felt like the air I needed to breathe. On September 8th, only one year ago, the remains of my beloved mother were sealed inside a niche in a columbarium at Glendale Cemetary in Washington. It had been eight months since her death. At the time, I couldn’t write about this.   I have been bereft and I have been silent. I would like to try to find my way into a new space of writing. I’m not sure what that will mean, but I do…

  • 2018,  Awesomeness,  Celebrate,  Dan,  Father's Day,  Grateful,  Memories,  Parenting,  Raine

    Father’s Day 2018

    Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband, Dan Herzing.   I am a dork and signed Raine and Dan up for a Father-Son Basketball Camp at Eureka College without even thinking about the fact that Dan has only one reliable lung, vertigo, and a recent complete shoulder replacement. It didn’t stop him from attending today, doing the best he could, and not even caring that he might have looked a little awkward and funny to all the other dads. Since his S4 diagnosis in 2014, we have been blessed with FOUR Father’s Days together. Raine will someday know how utterly amazing this is. For now, he was just happy to…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Cancer,  Dr. Kumar,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Scanxiety

    Bone Scanxiety

    Dan hadn’t caught up mentally and I saw he was disappointed. Why an x-ray? It’s just his leg falling asleep when he is in bed at night – probably because of a pinched nerve in his back. However, I understood what Dr. Piers wasn’t directly saying–check the spine for cancer. I made the decision in a split second. “I want the x-ray.” Get it done. In the meantime, Dr. Piers prescribed Gabapentin at a low dose to try at bedtime for the pain. At this point, I don’t care that we are adding one more ingredient to his pharmaceutical cocktail. So be it. I am vehement that Dan gets better sleep.…

  • Grieving,  Mary

    I Couldn’t Let Go of Her Hands

      “Je ne sais pas où va mon chemin mais je sais que je marche mieux quand ma main serre la tienne.” – Alfred de Musset (1810–57) I do not know where my path is going, but I know that I walk better when my hand holds yours.