• 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,  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.  

  • Announcement,  Awesomeness,  Cancer,  Cardinal + Finch,  Dan,  Gifts,  Grandpa Don,  Honestly,  Leah

    Young Cancer Family Starts Gift Business – We Need Your Help!

    {Medical Update: Dan’s shoulder replacement surgery was successful! He is such a rock star; he was sent home the following morning. Like, 24 hours later–In a giant hospital t-shirt that said “get moving,” super tight scrub pants, and no shoes. Clearly, I was not prepared with an overnight bag. He started physical therapy after two weeks of resting and is driving, cooking, and managing his pain well. We are keeping a close watch on his edema for signs of infection but so far so good!}   I developed this little hobby of making gift boxes full of wonderful goodies. I pretended it was a real business and gave it a…

  • Awesomeness,  Beer,  Berry,  Books,  Dan,  Friends,  Grandpa Don,  Gratitude,  Grieving,  Home,  Honestly,  Illinois,  Leah,  Photos,  Sunday Sunday,  Taylor

    Sunday , Sunday – Edition 2

      Things that made me smile the last two weeks … What made you smile? Having drinks with my neighbor and friend, Taylor, Friday. We used some of my mom’s glasses from the hutch collections to sip our blueberry sour lambic. She helped me untangle ribbon for the gift boxes. We talked about anything and everything while the kids played. You know, adulthood? Raine describing the new business to his buddy: My mom got a business. She makes boxes (gesturing to them). She puts little surprises inside and when people open them, they’re like, “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOAAAAAAHHHHHH!” Should I make that my tag line? The sun. I know everyone here thinks it…

  • 2017,  Dearest Don Raine,  Family,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Holidays,  Hope,  JD,  JD,  Joy,  Love,  Memories,  Nate,  Nature,  New Years Day,  Oregon,  Parenting,  Raine,  Travel,  Values

    Dearest Don Raine – This Was 2017

    I regret that I didn’t write and share photos more in 2017 in this special space. The loss of Grandma Mary at the end of 2016 extinguished a spark in my heart. I worried that the spark could never return. I now know that her death changed me, Leah, as I know myself, evermore. It feels like I had to get used to this new version of me all year long. If you should lose a physical part of yourself–this is what I imagine it would feel like. How does one begin to live anew without want for what was lost? A leg, hands, sight, or hearing? I find my…

  • Announcement,  Flowers,  Grandpa Don,  Grieving,  Home,  Honestly,  Hope,  Illinois,  Life Lately,  Moving,  Scanxiety,  Washington

    We Are Moving (Again)

          In 14 days, we are moving to my dad’s house in Washington. We will also get another round of scan results. Honestly, I can’t figure out what I want to write about. I feel numb with exhaustion. The move wasn’t an easy decision. There were so many different layers to our choice. I still can’t exactly put into words the myriad of emotions I have had about it, back and forth, over the last six months. I still find myself shocked over and over again at how life is so unpredictable, for better or worse. We’d appreciate your thoughts and good vibes for the next two weeks.    

  • Anger,  Grateful,  Leah,  Mary,  Memories,  Rocco

    My Dog Peed on My Mother’s Obituary

      At a time when we were unaware, Rocco chose a plastic bin of mine on the floor to lift his leg over and urinate on. He is a well trained dog and this was unexpected–so unexpected, he kept his secret for what might have been an entire day or two. The bin was one of several in a plastic storage unit that contained every note, card, letter, photo, and sentimental piece of paper (or pipecleaner) I had saved since I was in the third grade. So Rocco chose to not only urinate inside the house, he selected the only spot that could desicrate my emotional well being. (Other than my blankies). At…

  • Awesomeness,  Birthday,  Celebrate,  Char,  Dan,  Doug,  Family,  Friends,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Jim,  Joy,  Leah,  Memories,  Oregon,  Peoria,  Photos,  Rachel,  Raine

    And Along Came a 40th Birthday

    It felt like an outrageous accomplishment. It felt like the summit of Mt. Everest. And it also felt normal. We made it to his 40th birthday and life with cancer has become so normal to us, I was distracted by daily non-cancer minutia and completely forgot to plan something. While I was distracted, Dan planned his trip to Oregon. He always hoped to celebrate his 40th by traveling to the beautiful southern coast of Oregon to visit Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, consistently rated among the top golf courses in the nation. He set up plane flights, a rental car, air b&b’s for Lake Oswego and Bandon, reserved a golf cart–got a…

  • 2016,  Alexis,  Art,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grateful,  Hope,  Leah,  Logan,  Music,  Peoria,  Raine

    Roots, Interests, and Limitations

    For making a big decision about how you are going to spend the majority of your minutes in a day, especially in such a way that you might be provided compensation for your time, I have always failed pretty miserably. I think too big, I think too small, I hop around with ideas, or I avoid thinking at all and keep with the status quo for fear of change. My best advice is to go back to your root values and strongest interests, and then be really honest with yourself about your limitations. That was my starting point when I searched for employment in Peoria last November. I took 2 hours…