Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 20. Working through it, thoughts, etc.

 You might have noticed that I've been slowing down a little bit with this blog. I guess it's because I'm speeding up back in life now. I've been working on sorting through our room, sorting her clothes, and going through pictures and stuff.

 I've started to feel that writing this blog daily is causing me to dwell on things more. So, I think I'll move to a freer updating schedule on this, and get back to updating my other blog. If I could find a way to condense everything into one blog, that would probably solve the problem.

 I have a hard time not compartmentalizing things.

 I think it's the natural evolution of things. I am moving through my grief. Not that you ever move through it completely. It's open ended and there is no time frame. You learn how to live with it. Live in spite of it. It's a part of you, but instead of indulging it, you let the flare ups pass like smoke in a breeze.

 Like the rest of life, it is a dynamic process. It changes.

 So, I'm not sure where the road heads, but I have to look forward. I'll still always look back to remember, but the way lies ahead.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 17. Where to go from here.

 So yesterday was one of those days. Most of the day was decent, but like one of my friends told me a few weeks ago, it gets easier, but you have those moments that ambush you. I had a few of those, and they mostly come when I think about the future and everything we strove for.

 I'm glad we didn't put off a lot of things. I'm especially glad we took that day and went to the beach. I was looking at the pictures from that day again and remembering. It was one of the last really good days.

 Now, I'm looking at the good days that will come in the future. I don't know what it holds. What I do know is that I have my kids, and we will forge the path together.

 I'm gonna get my bike this spring. No sense putting it off. The kids and I are going to see more movies and do more cool things whenever we get the chance.

 This week I'm going to start going through Robin's clothes. That will be tough, but she was never one to hold on to things. We watched too many episodes of Hoarders. The things have memories attached to them, but the things aren't what is special. The memories are special. The memories will remain.

 When my new computer gets here, I'll have enough memory to put all the pictures back onto it, so I can start working through all of them. That will be an open ended process. Luckily, we took a lot of pictures during our life, so I will have a lot of things to save for the kids.

 So the memories will always be there. Now we start making some new memories.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 16. Metal Therapy

 So last night, I went with my buddy Jon to the Five Finger Death Punch show. Which is also why I'm posting it this morning as opposed to last night. I wan't sure if I was going to go to the show after Robin died. That took a lot of internal struggle for me to decide what I was going to do. In the end, i obviously decided to go, and I'm glad I did.

 Robin always liked concerts, and whenever I commented that there was a band I liked coming by, she always told me to get tickets. I wish we had gone to more concerts together. So I decided to go to the concert. I don't think that not doing things because of grief helps us move through it. I think it's ok to avoid certain things that might cause you too much grief to enjoy, or you might ruin it for everyone.

 I feel we all get to a point where you have to make the choice to actively live again. Going back to work, doing those things you enjoy doing. Doing those things you enjoyed together. Don't let grief become your excuse not to live.

 I missed Robin during the show, I know she would have thought it was too loud anyway, but I still missed her being there. It was an awesome show, and I'm glad I went.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 15. Figuring out the new normal

 So today I took the kids out to the movies. With Morgan being so little, it's always up in the air how it will go, but Muppets do a good job of keeping children entertained. And adults for that matter.

 We had a great time. It is still strange realizing that it is just the four of us now, but we enjoyed having the time together. I made me sad Robin wasn't there for Morgan's first movie, though I think she was watching us.

 I guess that is the thing about healing. You have to start living again, doing the things you like to do and trying your best to enjoy it again. It makes it easier for me, since I have my kids, and they were the real joy of our life together, so when I'm spending time with them, I see Robin in all of them.

 I know time won't heal it, but at least it will all scar over. The little ambushes of grief, I can really compare to moving too much with a fresh wound, and it opens up again. Eventually, it'll get better, but it'll hurt for a long time. It won't ever be perfect again, but the scar will be tougher and thicker than your old skin.

 So there's that.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 14. Thanksgiving Makes Two Weeks

 So, for the first holiday without Robin, and the two week mark at the same time, it wasn't terrible, all things considered.
 We opted for a smaller, immediate family meal instead of the huge meal her family usually does, and it was nice. It was quiet. Her absence was noted though. I found myself doing all the talking, and I missed her complimenting her mom and dad on how wonderful the food was.
 I took up some of the slack there, as did everyone else, but it wasn't the same. She was always so quick with a compliment, or words of encouragement. That's just how her spirit was.
 All in all, though, we enjoyed the day. We shared a good meal, had good memories, and enjoyed what we had. We still have much to be thankful for, and it is important to remember that.

 What I'm most thankful for, as I said yesterday, is that Robin is not in pain anymore. That in the reality, and the true horror of cancer. Watching your loved on suffer, waste away and then die.

 She had said toward the end that she was just so tired of the pain. That is the true joy of my heart that that part is over.

 Now I just have to start gearing up for Christmas, which was always her favorite holiday. She always loved giving gifts, and making people happy, so I think I'll enjoy carrying that on. I have to do all the shopping myself, but hey, I have to do a lot of things myself now.

 I'll figure it out as I go. It got me this far.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 13. The Holidays

 I think the holidays are going to be rough this year. This will be our first holiday without her. I'm still not quite sure how to feel about it. I'm sad that she's gone, and I'm going to miss her. At the same time, the kids love the holidays, and I'm sure that will take some of the edge off.

 I'm not sure how Thanksgiving will effect me. I'm not looking at it like I have nothing to be thankful for this year. I still have so much to be thankful for. I have my three amazing children, I have the rest of my family, I have my job. I have my friends. And I have every memory Robin and I had together.

 I'm thankful that she has no pain any more. I'm thankful for the good days we had in spite of sickness. I'm thankful for every day we had. Which, as I just discovered come out to:

5438 days from when we started dating in 1996 or
130512 Hours, spent together, thinking of being together. or
7830720 minutes. That seems like a lot of small moments that became something wonderful. Or,
469843200 Seconds, even though it will never seem like enough.

The total of our time as a couple was 14 years, 10 months and 21 days. We were married for 11 years, 5 months and 14 days. So the way I see it, just looking at the raw numbers, I have a lot to be thankful for. 

 And I have 3 really good things to be thankful for.

 I think Thanksgiving will be better than I thought.

 In retrospect, we were pretty upbeat last Thanksgiving too. 

"You have to enjoy every day, or you will wake up and find you don't have many left."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 12. A Gray Day

 Today was nothing but rain and gloom. That doesn't do much for your mood. Today wasn't bad though.

 I think is everyone is starting to get over their colds, and that is good. We got some of the normal cleaning done today.

 Logan had a good day at school, and Meg decided she will sign up to play trumpet in the band. Morgan, well, Morgan took 2 hours to put to bed tonight, but that was really a first for her, so I can let it go.

 Meg had a good night at the Dojo, and I'm glad to see her back in class. I think it's a good way for her to move through things, that and all the other good things it imparts on a person.

 I pointed out to Meg that one thing Robin wanted to do when she got better was to come watch her at the dojo. I think she got the chance to do that today. We cried a little, and hugged, and remembered better days.

 Remembering better days seems to make the current days better. It's easier to move ahead when you are smiling in spite of everything.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 11. Dredging up memories

 Today was one of the better days. One of my friends gave me a gentle reminder of where strength comes in our lives. Strong people carry the light internally, and Robin expected me to be strong and live on because it is the right thing to do. Not because I promised her, or anything else. I will survive because it is what I need to do.

 So I spent time working through all our picture filed on the computer, and I moved them to my external drive. I spent a lot of time looking through the older files I had already had stored. I found a lot of pictures of old Thanksgivings and Christmases and summer days from when we lived at Fort. Meade.

 It's amazing how looking through old pictures, and living in memories for a while will send you back to the moment when they happened. Looking back and seeing Meghan as a child, playing with her mommy.

 Seeing Logan as a baby with his mommy. Seeing Morgan from a few years ago.

 The memories are what can't be taken. They are part of the light that give me strength.

 I sometimes come dangerously close to depression. That comes from letting myself indulge in grief, instead of realizing it, accepting it and moving past. Grief is a natural expression of loss, and we should grieve. It's healthy. What isn't healthy is when we hit the point we can't get past, and it consumes us.

 Just like when I almost let my anger consume me, but I moved past it; I won't let my grief consume me. I will move past it. I will be strong for the children because it is the right thing to do. I will miss her, but I will live through this.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 10. Day to day

 Today was the first day I went back to my martial arts class since Robin passed. I think that was a good healing time for me. It was basically the first "normal" I have had in a while. The part that I'm desperately trying to get used to is the fact that I don't have her here, physically, to tell about my day.

 That is going to be the big adjustment. Robin and I were one of those couples that did everything together. Everything. Shopping, reading, gaming. I can only think of a handful of times we didn't go to bed at the same time, and a lot of that was work. I think we went to bed angry twice.

 That isn't to say we never fought. He had our rough times, several years of them in fact. The difference was, we pulled it together, grew up and made everything work. We remembered why we got married in the first place. I can truthfully say we loved each other to the end.

 All in all, today was a better day. The kids and I are adjusting to living our life as it is now. It will be a day to day thing, but I believe we will get through it. We don't have a choice.

 I will mourn her for a long time, but I'll be strong, because I promised her I would.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 9. Bittersweet Recognition

 So I got a call from our local newspaper, and it appears they have come across my blog through this. They want to interview me. So, this gives me another platform to get Robin's story out to the world. I don't miss the irony that I am getting recognition for writing what I never wanted to write, and the one person I wanted to share it all with is gone. Who the hell is writing my story? I always hated tragedies.

 Her story is ultimately the story of all women suffering with breast cancer, especially metaplastic breast cancer. I just read that another one of the young women in her Facebook Group is on hospice now. That's too soon. It breaks my heart to see it happening again.

 The normal treatments just don't work for MBC. I keep praying that some new ground will be broken, because so many young women run out of options well before they run out of hope. I know Robin did.

 I still expect her to text me, or call me, or message me to let me know to come pick her up from the hospital. Then it sinks in all over again. My nights are so empty and I hate going to bed.

 I do like it when Logan crawls into bed though. He doesn't want me to be lonely. I love my children, and they are why i'm still pressing on.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 8: Bittersweet Blessings

 Today I filled out some paperwork for work, and realized that 5 years ago, when I started at the prison, I must have been paying attention, since I listened and bought and maxed my family life insurance option. I didn't remember doing it, but obviously I did.

 The life insurance payment will pay off all of Robin's medical bills, and we will be completely out of debt. What sucks though, and as much of a blessing as that is; it was what we were aiming for.


 We had made so much progress before she got sick, and we kept up our progress during everything. We spent more wisely, we saved, we paid things off.

 I'm realizing all the things in life that I'd wanted to achieve in life that I am achieving are suddenly empty. We fought for these things to improve our life, and now that they are coming to fruition, it is just me.

 Victory feels empty alone.

 I woke up this morning with Logan in bed with me. He hasn't done that in a long time. He said, "I didn't want you to be all alone, so I got in bed with you."

 Robin and I have beautiful children. I miss her.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 7. One week

 This time last week, I was in shock.

 This time this week, I'm still in shock.

 Most of the time, it still doesn't seem real. Every time I come home from being home with the kids, there is part of me that expects her to be there. Like I'm just waiting for her. Well, I am, just on a longer scale.

 I've made it a point to start showing the little ones older pictures. Showing them their Mommy when she was healthy. I think filling my mind with those pictures, and those memories is helping a lot. I know she wanted us to remember her as healthy and vibrant, so I'm doing my best to do that.

 I really want to reinforce the kids memories of her, so I'm spending a lot of time in the videos and pics on the computer. The actual photo albums will come a little later.

 We picked her ashes up today, and that was very emotional. I know she isn't in there anymore, but I couldn't help it.

 At a week out, the pain comes and goes in severity. It is constant, but sometimes it is an ache in my heart. A resignation to the new truth of my life. Sometimes it swings over to utter despair, though, those are coming fewer.

 I'm being strong for the kids. I promised.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 6. Sorting Memories.

 Today, while I was out running errands, I felt I should go by our storage locker. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but I stopped by. I sat down and started looking through all of our stuff. All our life together that we weren't currently using, and was kind of humbled that a lot of what we leave behind is just stuff. The chronicle of who we are can be boxed up and put in a room.

 So I sat down and looked. I found pictures from when we lived in California. Most of them were from a now Legendary Halloween party. I found some of Meghan's earliest days. I found pictures of us and the cats. We were so young, and so in love and that's all we wanted out of life.

 I found my book of poetry, and looked through it. Most of them were from high school and college. What a tortured young artist I was. Some of it is good, some of it not so. One of the last poems I wrote was to Robin. It seems my poetry stopped after I was happy.

 I also found one of Robin's journals from high school. It's funny the things you worry about when you are young. One thing she wrote struck me deeply. She wasn't worried about success or any other part of life. She just wanted us to be happy and together.

 I really think in our last two years together, we finally got it right. We truly enjoyed every moment. Even more so after she got sick.

 At the end of it all, every day we had, from all the way back to December 20th of 1996, every day was a blessing. Even the days when we were angry with each other, even the days we fought, they were all perfect. We fought for our love, and sorted our life out. It wasn't our idea to part.

 I can truthfully say we never stopped loving each other.

 Today was a better day. The grief hits at random moments. Putting away laundry. Driving. Making breakfast.

 I know this is going to hurt for a long time, but I promised Robin I would be strong. I will not lie down and curse God and die, though there was a time I wanted to. I will live, I will raise my children, because they are our legacy.

 I will live because I promised her I would.

 My only fear is I will live to be 100. It runs in my family, and that is too long to miss her.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 5. A little more healing.

 Today, I noticed that when I think of Robin, I haven't been thinking of her when she was sick.

 When I picture her in my minds eye, I remember her from when she was well. That makes me happy.

That's how I remember her. Vibrant, full of life, and happy. That's how she is going to stay in my heart.
Today I was uploading all our old phone micro-sd's to the computer, and I found a ton of videos that Robin had. That made me really happy, because I'd been trying to find something with her voice on it.

 And I have her laugh in a few videos.

 As much as it hurt, it was a good day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 4. A little healing

 Today was the best day that we've had since Robin died.

 When I put it bluntly like that, it really leaves damn near anything open. What I really meant was that so far, today was the first day anyone could really talk about anything without getting choked up and sobbing.

 Not that I didn't do my fair share of sobbing, especially when I picked up Lily's ashes and read the "Rainbow Bridge" poem they tucked in with it, and thought about her waiting when Robin got to heaven, and how happy that made me. And I got caught in a sunshower walking with her ashes back to the car. I think that was heaven letting me know all would be alright.

 The part that is hitting me the hardest now is thinking about the future. All the things she won't be here for. Our Honeymoon we were planning, since we never had one. Logan Losing his first tooth, Morgan going to kindergarten. Meghan going to prom.

 I don't want to experience all those alone. I believe she will be watching, but I can't hold her through those.

 I miss her so much.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 3. Regrets.

 I only have a few regrets from our married life. I regret our fights. I regret unkind words we said to one another. I regret the honeymoon we never got to take. I regret that Robin won't be with us for Logan losing his first tooth, or Meg's first boyfriend. Not that she'll ever date.

 I am bitter right now over what we will never have. I am bitter for the moments when my brain registers the fact that my wife is dead.

 I take solace in the fact that she is in heaven, but I miss her. I miss her a lot. I hardly recognize myself in the mirror. I see someone else's life, because it can't be my life. My wife was vibrant and full of life.

 I miss her.

I hope time dulls the pain. There has been so much pain lately. Joe, Andres' mom, Robin. What the hell is next? A zombie apocalypse? At least then I could deal with it. I know what to do then.

 Eventually, I will have to stop self-medicating. Alcohol is not a good long-term answer. But, for the short term, go with what you know.

 Semper Fi.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 2.

Picking up the pieces.

 That about sums it up. As much as this hurts, and as much as I miss her, it is like any tragedy. Like the floods this year. After everything calms down, and the waters recede, you survey the damage and start to rebuild. Like in all of this, life has to go on as much as we don't want it to. I still have kids to raise, and they need me more than ever now.

 We are so blessed that we have been up here with her parents, as they have been everything through all this. Originally, it was because we were going to be building. Then, after Robin got sick, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

 Now we can heal together.

 I took the kids to the park with my brother and his wife and kids, and that was a great afternoon. The kids always loved their time with their cousins, and I know Robin was watching us.

 Today was tough in spots. Some times I feel really strong, and then it will all come rushing back. My wife is dead. She is with God, and that makes me happy. I know she is indulging all her questions, and healthy, and watching us. But the fact she isn't with us hurts to much.

 The part that catches me the most is when the kids do something cute,  or when I see our bald eagle, I don't have anyone to tell it to. That's when it drives it home that she is truly gone for now.

 Though, I have to say that tonight, I got to sit down and talk with the kids about heaven, and sin, and salvation. Granted, Meghan is already saved and understands, but Logan is four and had some off the wall questions. I finished the night feeling uplifted and strong.

 I still miss her so much. You can't love that fiercely, and not hurt this deeply, but tonight was the first time since she died that I felt it would be alright after all. Some day, the trauma off all this will fade.

For now, I still see her everywhere and in the quiet parts of my day, I miss her profoundly.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 1.5 a little extra

 The healing process is a series of small heartbreaks. None of them are as big as the first though. God gave us the blessing that our brains can't process it all at once, so it comes in smaller bits.

 When I put Logan to bed tonight, he asked, "When will it get back to normal?" I asked what he meant. Then, he asked "When will mommy come back from heaven?" And I cried. I cried and held him tight, trying to explain how you don't get to come back from heaven.

 "Can we go visit her in heaven then?" I told him I wished we could, but we can't. Then he asked me why we couldn't be with Mommy in heaven right now.

 I cried some more.

 Some times, I just don't have the answers. So I just held him tight.

Day 1.

This is where the healing begins. There is something in that. I cried a lot today.

 Our bedroom always seems cold to me now. I'm numb a lot.

 I hold it together when I have to, I am trying so hard to be brave for the kids.
 We dropped off a few of her things with the mortician, who turned out to be people we knew, so that helped some. I find myself talking to her pictures, and the mirror and the air a lot. I know she hears me though.

 We went out for dinner with my parents, and it hit me that it was just me and the kids now. Our 5 is down to 4. And I think that will take a long time to heal.

 I keep telling the kids that it's ok, because she's in heaven now. She's better now. It is becoming my mantra, and it reminds my why I could let her go.

 But we have gotten through today. I look at her face in all of our pictures. I folded up the letter she wrote me before I left for Parris Island, and put it back into my wallet, faded and stained with time. There are still kisses on it for me to go back to.

 I'm gonna miss her as hard as I loved her.

 For everyone asking about the services, we won't be doing anything to spring. Robin said she didn't want a funeral. She didn't want everyone moping around all sad. She wanted us to have a party, and celebrate her life. So that's what we're gonna do. She didn't want to be in the ground, so she if being cremated, and her dad is making her wooden urn, since I could hear her saying, "Dad could make that better." I think we all heard it.

 We are also setting up a fund for the kids college, so once it's set, I'll get that word out too.

 Thank you all for loving her and reading with me.
It won't be over.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"You Can Rest Now"

 This is the post I never wanted to write. I wanted to write a happy ending to this story, but I guess we don't always get those, do we? As Christians, we eventually get a happy ending, as we know we will meet our loved ones again, since they are resting in Christ.
 Right now, it's hard to take much solace in that, as my heart still aches for my wife. Tomorrow would have been one year since she was diagnosed. It took 364 days for that horrible disease, cancer, to take my beloved from a vibrant young mother to being home with our Savior.
 Today, I was thinking that only last week she was still sitting in the living room with us, and getting around to a certain extent. Two weeks ago, she was even out at our little get-together in the garage.

 Tonight, I go to sleep in an empty bed. A bed that my wife and best friend was in only hours ago. Tonight, I had to explain to my kids that mommy was dead and in heaven. I had to explain that she gets to be an angel now.

 Today, Robin had so much pain. Cancer is a horrible, horrible disease. I realized that before this, I had no real idea what "In Sickness and In Health" meant. It is the good days, and the bad days. It is nursing colds, and dealing with soul achingly terrible days of disease.

 But now, she is at rest. We, who are left behind are poorer by her loss, and heaven is richer for taking her.

 I think I cried most of my tears while she was sick, especially in this last week. I can't describe how hard it is to see the person you talked to every day for almost 12 years lose their ability to talk to you. It broke my heart listen to her try to tell me she loved me. But I knew.

 When Pastor  Harry finished praying, she said "Amen." And She told us all she loved us. I still don't think I ever had enough time to tell her how much I loved her. I don't think I would have even if we both lived into our seventies.

 It's still sinking in, though, even though I have been preparing for it for a while now, or Robin has been preparing me for it. It's hard to wrap your mind and heart around the fact that someone you loved with every ounce of your being isn't there anymore.

 I don't think the Robin shaped hole it my heart will be filled, though, maybe time will get some of the edge off.

 I think the thing I have been struggling with through all of this is what good could possibly come of Robin's fight with cancer, and now her death. Then today, I have gotten a taste of how many people her story has affected. Maybe that is the good? If only one or two lives were touched by our suffering, then it would really give me some solace.

 My real solace now comes from knowing that Robin is resting. Her pain is gone. She has her hair back, she has all her body back. She is free of scars. She is free of cancer.

 The cancer destroyed her body, but it couldn't touch her soul.

 And some how, it's fitting it was on the Marine Corps birthday. Maybe it was just so all my brothers and sisters who have gone before would welcome her dressed in their Blues. "Welcome to Heavenly Battalion Ma'am, you did your time in the trenches, enjoy your R&R."

 Rest now honey. You earned it. We got it from here.

 I love you so much.

                                           Robin Lynne Harris Hrinda 1/21/81- 11/10/11
                                           Beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister. She was a massage
                                           Therapist, a super mommy, a Marine Wife and my best damn friend.

                                            Every Day was a Blessing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All the Little Things

 Today was a middle of the road day. The good side was that Robin's pain seemed to be under control for the most part. The bad side was that she was asleep most of the day. She would wake up when you talked to her, but could barely focus for more than a few seconds.

 So I went for a run to clear my head. I actually spent most of it talking to God, asking why, asking if He will heal Robin, since I know He can, but I was just asking if He would. In the event that isn't his plan, I only ask for a few good days where I can talk to my best friend again. I'm still praying. My faith is what is getting me through this right now.

 I spent a lot of time thinking about little things that we used to do. Like going for walks, since that was the area I was running. It came to me, that the thing I'm going to miss the most is the little stuff. Going for walks with each other. Watching TV with each other, since there are only a few shows we like.

 Going to Wal-Mart, even if it used to stress me out.

 All those little things are the bread and butter of our relationships with one another. All the little talks, that you might think mean so little. The little things that are just the time you share with each other.

 I remember when we were stationed at Meade, and would usually come up here on the weekend. We used to spend all our time talking on the ride up and back. All those things seemed so trivial.

 To quote "The Crow", nothing is trivial.

 This one won't be a long post, since I just don't have it in me tonight.

The Girls at our Cabela's trip.

 If there is anything I can express to you, my constant readers, Hold your loved ones close every chance you get. Appreciate the time you have with each other, because whenever it ends, it won't be long enough.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Darkest Day

I meant to be asleep.
I really did. I got my shower and shaved well over an hour ago.
The kids have been in bed for hours now.
And Robin has been sleeping. It sounds like decent sleep from what I can tell.

 I wasn't going to post tonight. I was drained. I have nothing left right now. I wanted sleep.
But I knelt down to pray. Moved by the fervent cries and prayers and pleading of my daughter
to have her mommy stay. Moved by the simple, pure faith of a child, knowing that God has the
power to heal. Knowing that even the most horrible disease has no power in His kingdom, because He
can deal with that, I knelt down to pray.

 For all reason, I should have no faith left. I have been crying and praying for one thing, healing, a cure for my wife for almost a year now. This has been the worst year of my life. This has been the worst week of that year. We put our dog down a few days ago, and then two nights later our momma cat came back after getting in a tangle with something she probably should not have tangled with. (She is doing better though) But now, today, we have been dealing with the very reality of Robin passing on.

 Today, she took a turn for the worse. The pain worsened again, and she just wasn't doing well. I found that out after I had taken the kids to a wonderful morning at the park. It's amazing how a few minutes can change everything. I spent the day in tears, sobbing over my sick and dying wife. Then Meghan came home and we broke the news to her.

 The tears flowed. How can you explain to a child that God might decide not to heal their mother? How can you explain to a child, that for all their faith, for all their simple belief, their fervent knowledge that God can; He might decide not to. How?

 So I spent the past few hours on my knees, a broken man. Spirit broken, mind broken, heart broken. Broken before God, praying that He can validate the faith of my innocent daughter.

 She is a child, praying for her mother to live. To live to watch her grow. To tell her how pretty she is in her first prom dress. To be there and watch her graduate. To be there when she gets married. To be there and to watch her live.

 If God's great heart cannot be moved by the simple prayer of a child for her mother to live, then what hope do the rest of us have? Is there a prayer more pure and innocent than that? The simple purity in that puts all these words I have typed to shame.

 I am nothing. Everyone has talked about what a good father, and husband, and what a good example I have been through all this. The thing is, it isn't me. As far as husbands go, I'm mediocre at best, the same with being a father. As far as an example, I'm pretty sure I'm a terrible one. I've spent so many many days being angry, and doubting, and bringing everyone around me down. Whatever light everyone has been seeing in me through all of this is not from me.

 Somehow, I have been reflecting God. The peace that God gives us, and our sincere faith has been shining out through me. I may be a terrible mirror, broken, covered in graffiti; but God's light shines brighter. All peace is not me, it's Him.

 And that is what brought me to my knees tonight. Meghan's prayer for her mother to stay around. God told us that if we had the faith of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. He said by our faith, we are healed. I know that usually applies to spiritual healing, but I believe also to our worthless bodies. Meghan has the faith of a child. I have the faith of a father. My heart was broken listening to her, as I believe God's heart breaks listening to all of us.

 But He can. He has changed His mind before because of the prayers of His children. He notes us more than the leaves and the sparrows. He hears the pure and heartfelt prayer of the child.

 At this point, if Robin pulls through and stays with us on Earth, there is no other thing that it could be besides a miracle. Medicine has failed, her body is in the process of failing. But God still can heal. He has the power to do this, and it isn't even a stretch for him. It is a word, or a thought. It is turning His eye upon Robin.

 So I prayed. And prayed. And then I knew I should sit down and proclaim. I'm not praying in the town square so everyone can hear my pretty words. I was praying on a living room floor that I probably should have vacuumed first. I have praying that God would hear my daughter's prayer.

 Her's was so much better than mine.

 There is nothing left. Anything that comes out of this is of God. I am just a fool behind a keyboard. And if all my faith is for nothing, than I am truly a man with nothing.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Word that Needs to Get Out

 A few weeks ago, this came across my news feeds, and I talked about it. I mentioned that I had sent off an email to the researchers, and time went by. Yesterday, while Robin was in the hospital for the second time in two weeks, she made the choice to go on Hospice Care, since the chemotherapy hadn't done anything for her tumors, and we were basically out of options, as far as the Oncology team was concerned. They had a few more, more ravaging drugs they could try, but they said it probably wouldn't do anything, and they didn't want to put Robin through more pain needlessly.

 So yesterday and today were spent in trying to collect my mind and figure out where we were going from here. There are a lot of homeopathic, folk, natural remedies; literally thousands. I think there are a few we are going to try once Robin has gotten her strength back, but for the most part, I don't have to much hope in many of them. It's kind of like diet pills and penis growing pills, if there was one that really worked, everyone would know. It would certainly narrow the field down from the thousands that are currently out there.

 Then, this morning I got an email from Dr. Craig Meyers. He said they are hoping to go to clinical trials very soon, but funding has been a huge problem for them. So, that was discouraging, but then I thought, what can I do about it? I decided I could write about it. I could try to get the word out.

 There is huge promise in this. First, it looks like it works, which is a big thing compared to most chemo, which seems to be a lot like flipping a coin. The only thing you get to be really sure of, is that you are going to have pain from it. It is a fact that most chemo destroys healthy cells, since they target fast-growing cells, like cancer, hair follicles and mucus membranes.

 That leads to the second point they mentioned, so far, it seems to be leaving healthy cells alone. That would be a good thing. One of the hardest things I have had the pleasure of doing through all this, is watching Robin writhe through the joint pain, or suffer through the extreme nausea and body aches from the chemo. It's bad enough that you have to endure the pain from the cancer eating away at your body, but then dealing with that on top of it? And then all the drugs that counter the nausea and the drugs that counter the damage to your blood counts cause pain too. So a treatment that didn't cause damage and pain to the rest of your body? That would be good.

 You would wonder why funding would be so hard to come by when a possible treatment shows so much promise? I wonder. The only conclusion that I can come to is that there is no real money to be made in it. I mean, with all the chemo, and the radiation, and the assorted other drugs that come with it, our insurance has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars. And that is not an exaggeration. One of the itemized bills I looked at today was originally for 154,000. Granted, the insurance only paid out 16,000. It adds up, and it really makes me wonder what people who don't have insurance do. Die? Yet another spot that a real cure would benefit so many. But they are having funding problems.

 In this day and age, we can give an old man an erection, even if he is far past the age of really needing to worry about having one. We try to cover everything with different drugs, but tend to miss the idea of curing. We treat. Having the chance to find a cure is amazing, and there shouldn't be funding problems. But there are.

 The reason I am so adamant in getting funding for Dr. Meyers and the rest of the lab at Penn State Hershey to continue their research, is that I'm not looking forward to watching my wife die. This past year has been the hardest one in my life.

 This time last year we were planning our last hiking excursion for the year before the snows set in. The baby was nine months old, and we were waiting to be told it was a cyst. Because young women don't get breast cancer like this.

 But here we are. Not even a year later. My wife lost her breasts, her uterus, her ability to walk well, her comfort, and her hair several times. The amount of pain I have had to watch her go through, and I would love for others not to have to go through that. I'd love to not see Robin have to continue this way.

I don't want to sit here and watch my wife die. There is hope in these oncolytic treatments, how much hope, we don't know yet, but it is promising.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The End of a Road

 So here, almost a year out from Robin's diagnosis, we find ourselves at the end of a road. They decided not to try any more chemo, since it hadn't been working, as it seems Robin's cancer is one of those resistant varieties. Now we are focusing on her comfort. Making the best out of the time we have left.

 I am still trying to contact some people about clinical studies. I think they might be considering more radiation. I don't know. I'm still trying to collect my head at this point.

 All I know is that we aren't giving up. God is still in control, and we aren't done fighting. Hospice just means we are looking after Robin's comfort most of all.

 Tonight, with a sense of peace I could only wish to have, Robin told me that we are going to live with this. We'll have to, because this is where we are.

 This isn't how I would have written the story, since I like a happy ending. I guess we'll see though.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Still Pressing On

 Robin spent most of last week in the hospital with a blood clot in her leg, and now she is back in the hospital with a blood clot in her lung. That is the catch-22 of all of this. You get a blood clot because of reduced activity, but your activity is reduced because of the pain. What to do.

 All we can do is keep the faith, and at the same time, keep pushing ahead in our search. The doctors are doing their thing, other doctors elsewhere are making progress. Natural remedies offer some hope.

 A pastor that Robin's aunt knows came by and prayed over her last night. It was a pretty moving experience. I believe that miracles happen, and I believe that God could do something here as well. Whether He does or not remains to be seen.

 But, like I've said often, we don't know why these things happen, but our spot in life is to suffer through them well, because who knows who we might be encouragement for?

 Sorry to cut this short, but I'm off to bed so I can head out to the hospital in the morning.