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

    Untitled

    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…

  • 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…

  • 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,  Advice,  Anxiety,  Awesomeness,  Beer,  Chicago,  Dan,  Grateful,  Leah,  Memories,  Music,  Optimism

    2016 Put Me in the Same Room as Robert Plant

      On a whim, as I sometimes do when it comes to concerts, I bought tickets for myself and a friend to see The Milk Carton Kids at the Vic in Chicago. The exciting news was that it was a performance as part of a concert to raise funds for refugees and would also feature Emmylou Harris and friends. I could check Emmy off of my concert bucket list! Guests included Patti Griffin, Steve Earle, and Buddy Miller as well as Emmylou’s special guest, Ruby Amanfu. As with anything I plan ahead, and especially if it involves travel, I commit myself while completely thrilled about the idea of it, and then the week of…

  • Awesomeness,  Celebrate,  Christmas,  Dan,  Family,  Flowers,  Friends,  Gifts,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Joy,  Memories,  New Years Eve,  Raine

    2016 Gave Us a Different Kind of Christmas…

    I started decorating and helping Raine get ready for the holiday season the day we returned from Colorado (a trip to see friends after Thanksgiving). I was grateful that I did that–I didn’t know the majority of December would be engulfed by the trauma and duties of grief, then caught up in the whirlwind of our very first Christmas with our families (12 years overdue). Although it felt like a mad dash to get ready for Christmas after the funeral on the 15th, I had a few moments to slow down and try to find my way inside the consoling cover of a peaceful and joyful moment. Seeing sentimental items and…

  • Awesomeness,  Cards,  Dan,  Joy,  Leah,  Love Letters,  Memories,  Nature,  Photos

    Our First Date

    MEDICAL UPDATE: (After yesterday’s post) Dan’s heart showed improvement yesterday so the catheter was removed and he was moved out of CICU last night. Today cytology results came back and there were no cancer cells in the fluid. He was discharged today!   Top 10 Reasons Our First Date Was Weird But Awesome (Kind of like our journey being in love the past 12 years) Our first date was at a wedding. Thank you, Allie and Joel Birchler. The wedding was out-of-state in northern Indiana. It was a weekend-long date, because I had plans to go camping with our mutual friends, Hattie and Corey, while we were all there for the…