Saturday, August 30, 2008

Now and then I try to spend time alone with each of my boys, just the two of us. I got the opportunity last night to do this with Alex, my youngest.

When I became pregnant with Alex, things in my marriage were already rather rocky. We were living in Hawaii and I was isolated from my family. Finding out I was expecting was a surprise given that I was on the Pill, and I didn't exactly welcome the news with a smile. In fact, I was quite shocked, and fell into a deep depression. I was pretty sure I wanted to be done having kids, but there we were, pregnant with baby 3. I wish I had known then what an intense blessing this little guy was going to be to my life.

From the moment he was born, Alex was MY kid. They placed him in my arms and he looked up at me with blue eyes and dimples showing and I was a goner. All three of my boys were pretty attached to Mommy but Alex took that attachment to a whole new level. It was not that he cried when I wasn't around. More that he just wanted nothing to do with anyone else if I was, not in a clinging or whining way, but more in a sense of just being aloof and borderline rude to anyone who tried to interact with him. Once, when I had been embarassed for the umpteenth time by his cold and blank reaction to someone, I asked him why he was like that, when he was about three. His answer was succinct and matter-of-fact. He shrugged and stated "I just only want YOU Mommy". Well. How does one argue with that? My heart melted in a way it probably should not have. I am a self admitted sucker for this boy. He has a very wry, dry sense of humor, carries off one-liners really well for a 10-year-old and enjoys irony and gentle teasing. He has a dominant personality, but masters it with so much charm and directness that I find myself doing things for him that I probably would have refused for his brothers. Maybe it is because he is my youngest. But there are times I love that little man so much it feels like my heart will burst in my chest.

It doesn't help that feeling, to ponder the knowledge that he has survived a brain tumor, that he has a fantastic memory and can recall details from that time in his life (he was barely turned 5) with startling alacrity. That he has a soft spot for tiny animals and flowers just seems to balance him out perfectly. He's a bit of a mutant, in that he is a straight A student (I don't think he has ever earned less than an A on a report card yet), makes his bed without prompting every single day and has for years, sets his own alarm at night, turns it off every morning, takes a degree of personal responsibility for getting his medications and injections each day and openly tries to eat healthy most of the time. This kid cannot possibly be of my or Stewart's genes. Neither of us is that conscientious, at least not as consistently as Alex is. He cleaned out his own dresser the other day and lined up all his socks like soldiers, rearranged so that all the drawers were in proper and tidy order, then had me close my eyes and took me by the hand into his room to show me. The following weekend he did it with his entire room. He takes pleasure in helping around the house, particularly if it is something we do together. He makes life easy and pleasant. Over the course of his years, I have wished so many times, as he reaches each age and I discover more of him, that he would just stay. Stay right there. Don't move. Don't change.

Last night he was a chatter box, obviously thrilled to get time alone with me. He has HUGE hands, and he kept reaching out to hold mine as we walked through the parking lot or shopped in the store. I took him to Target and did something I rarely do...let him pick out a toy for no reason other than the pleasure of buying him one. Then I let him pick where we ate dinner at...he chose Souper Salad! The whole time he was talking and talking...its fun to let them ramble on, to see what they reveal and share. At one point he got a wry grin on his face and actually asked me if he was talking too much. I smiled and shook my head mutely, choking on the sweetness of the moment. No baby. No. You aren't talking too much. I took mental pictures of him and wished, once more, that he would be 10 forever. I know he won't. I can see the man he will be unfolding before my eyes. That wish didn't work when he was two and filled my arms solidly, completely and frequently. It didn't work when he was four and full of impish mischief. It didn't work when he was six and recovering from his surgery, taking life by the horns. And it won't work now. This I know. But how I wish it would. This is his last year in grade school. Next year he enters sixth grade and middle school. I have to consciously remind myself that yes, he will grow and change still and yet again...but he is here now. I should be here now too, not looking forward with bittersweet anticipation of the day my nest is empty and my boys have turned to men.

It was a good evening.

Tonight will be good too. I am having my closest girlfriends over for a slumber party while Joe is in Ohio. Time to get the house clean. I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

So it is the first day of school today. I am spared some of the emotional internal drama in that it is Stewart's turn this year to have them on the first day. I did last year. I hope the day goes well for them. I am thinking about Joe-Gi and wondering how tall he would be, what he would have chosen to wear, wondering if he would be learning to drive yet. He would be 15 now and going into 10th grade. Hard to imagine. He is 13 years old forevermore. I am reminded of a quote from a movie I enjoyed...'You shall never age for me, nor fade, nor die". Except he did die and I watched him do it. In my worse moments, my head and heart hurt as if I caused it. The unfortunate side effect of having put your child on a ventilator and it not working. Someone has to make the decision to turn it off at some point. I didn't kill him. The cancer killed him. The virus killed him. The transplant killed him. Not I. But the intensity of emotion can remain in my darker moments of having been forced to make that decision, to let him pass away as he would have weeks before if we had not put him on the vent. It was not as if it bought him quality time. I wonder sometimes why we did it. I look back over my journal from that time and I foresaw the outcome, tried to avoid it, but in the end, was told there was still hope, and so I seized it. I believe the doctors believed there was, that they were not just feeding me stuff and nonsense or harboring false hope themselves. And Joseph had a history of rallying beautifully through some of the most harrowing complications a cancer patient can suffer. Nobody expected him to die. But something inside myself had been warning me, or maybe had just been afraid of that very scenario. I carry it with me sometimes like an up front heaviness in my chest and upper arms. Today is one of those days, at least so far. It may improve as I get to work and get busy. I am quiet and I am sad. He is gone. Nick and Alex are growing up and at times my fears for their safety and well being borders on internal hysterical irration. Thankfully I am much better now about getting a grip on my overactive imagination and not feeding the fantasies and fear. They are both well and fine, we have good relationships, they love me, they are safe.

Joe leaves on Wednesday to visit his kids and grandkids. It is almost amusing how much anxiety this is causing me right now. Five years of long distance meant we were awfully good at good-bye....we said it monthly. We got good at looking to the next visit rather than the end of the current one and we were secure in our love and loyalty. That is no different. I am laughing at myself a little bit. I will be without him for five days and I feel so desolate at the idea, and chide myself for the immaturity of it. He's given me a generous budget to have a party with my girlfriends while he is gone and that will be fun. I have this little girl voice inside me worrying that he will regret having moved here, that going back will bring memories of his life there held up against his life here and he will be lonely at the idea of returning to Texas. His kids and grandkids are up there. Its cooler and greener. His friends live there. The traffic is not as bad. Life's pace there is more laid back. What if he feels his heart sink upon returning to Texas? We have talked and he understands this fear. I have not let it take hold of me nor affect our relationship. Honestly I am happy for him. Just nagged at times by insecurities of his being gone.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This is just a very strange time for me emotionally. I feel pretty good, meaning that I am not walking around in any kind of a funk, laughter comes easily and without guilt and I am satisfied and happy in my world. But over the last week I am easily moved to tears, have moments here and there of irritability and a deep seated inner laziness for anything other than taking care of my home and those I love. Leave me at home and let me clean and cook. I am not interested in making money and I don't care about the Olympics, the election or the war. Let me burrow in and cocoon within what is truly important to me. Let me exist in this safe haven. Let me just love them.

I know it is driven by the coming first day of school. I am experienced enough now to know the day itself will be anti-climactic most likely and all these days leading up to it are more powerful than the arrival of the anticipated benchmark.

For the first time, during my meeting with Heroes For Children the other day, I had a desire in me to actually break down in raging tears, to shriek and weep, to churn into a fetal ball on my knees on the floor. Its amusing how logical I can be at times with urges like that. There is no doubt the woman I was talking to just would have gone ahead and done it if her spirit told her to. She talked about how she would still, four years after the death of her child, break down so hard that eventually her husband would dial her best friend in helplessness or call her mother., and I listened in horrified wonder, trying to imagine what it would look and feel like to just give in every time that emotion hit, to demonstrate it with the same ferociousness outwardly as it churned me up inwardly. But that's just not me. All I could think of was how unfair...her husband had the same loss she did. And people need us to keep getting on with it. I guess I just cannot imagine the effort it would take to pick myself up again after such a display and get on with life, not even once, let alone so regularly that there was a phone list of people to come to the rescue. Honestly I think to me it would be harder than just grimly, determinedly going forward. But for a brief moment I imagined it was like me, and for a brief moment the idea was frightening and yet appealing. Its how I feel inside sometimes. But I can't call that kind of display out at will, though I know there are probably people in my life who would witness it for my sake if it was what I needed to do. But I just would not feel right. It would feel both selfish and useless to me. He'd still be gone when it was all over. Its not like I would feel better or lessen my sorrow through it. I'd just be drained and exhausted on top of my sorrow and the other things I am doing to be a good person and to be dignified in loss while living in a way that is a testament to his memory would be harder to carry out. So in a sense, I was somewhat repeled by her self-amused report of this behavior, not in terms of disliking her or thinking she is wrong, but in the strength of my feeling of wrongness regarding myself. I can't do that. And even if I could, I can't imagine being four years out and STILL doing it. It would be unfair to everyone here supporting me and helping me onward, to deliberately and regularly give in to despair.

So it is Saturday morning and I am the only one up, which is just how I like it. I am making bacon and the coffee is brewed and the house smells like the farm house of my youth and that makes me feel warm, snug, content, secure. Loving them with food and the rich, bitter tang of coffee, a morning tradition that spans chasms of time to generations long gone. I love the idea that they will awaken, smell this and maybe build that pathway of memory that will bring these times back to them with almost unconscious comfort and sense of well-being, of being loved, that it may bring up good and comforting associations for Joe as well. This is what is important. This is what fulfills me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I kind of thought it would skip me this year. I don't know why. It hasn't even been two years since he died, but I guess I kind of figured having gotten through that year of firsts without him, that the seconds would not be so painful. But they are and its taken me a little bit by surprise. I am better at being present in the grief, but I still am uncomfortable with it happening around anyone and I find myself absolutely dreading and wanting to avoid my therapy sessions. Its just too intense and deep and responsibilities too great to afford the kind of loss of energy it brings. Its physical, heavy limbed, hollow chested emptiness that just sucks you dry.

The boys start school on Monday. Nick is going into eigth grade and Alex will be in fifth. Joseph would have been starting 10th grade this year. That's the grade I started when my family moved here from Omaha. Something about that just gets to me. I feel so upset and angry inside. I will never see him reach 18 or 20 or 25 and it is a suffocating grief inside me when I imagine counting off those years the same way I have counted off these.

I am doing the 5K in his memory and it is going very well. The charity, Heroes For Children, invited me to come visit them yesterday, so I went down there and met one of the co-founders (Jennifer) and the young woman who organizes special events (Danielle). The co-founder lost her little girl to AML at the age of 9 months. How on earth does a baby get something so awful? It was wonderful to be back in that sphere, around people who "get it" and this woman in particular, as she had the same doctors and nurses. We compared notes and it was actually a little bit healing to hear that the nurses I had trouble with were the exact same ones she did, for the exact same reasons. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I wondered if we were unreasonable or hard to care for. I honestly don't think so. But people do tend to be surprised that I didn't bond that much with the nurses, at least not in the pediatric ward or on the transplant floor. I got very attached to our ICU nurses though. It was just such a stressful, hard time and I felt like I had so many balls in the air. I didn't have room to be gregarious too. But somehow I still wonder if they saw me as difficult or cold or uncaring. Difficult maybe, but not cold, not uncaring. Just focused and more than a little bit overwhelmed. I guess when I am a nurse I may have better perspective from their side of the bed and know more globally what our experience meant.

She is still in regular touch with the physicians that treated our children and it surprised me how hungry I was to hear word of them, how they are, wondering if they remember us, if they remember Joseph...wondering what they would say now about his journey now that it is all over. Maybe they will come to the 5K and I can at least say hello to them. I wrote them all letters after Joseph died just telling them I believed they did all they could for Joseph and that I was so grateful. Turns out Jennifer did the same thing, which made me smile. At the time it felt so vulnerable to do such a thing, but I guess they get a lot of such letters.

I am just missing him so much. Sometimes it seems like the vastness of his loss is just now becoming apparent to me, the whole entity of him missing and all the implications of it. I still have his voice clear in my head, but I went to hug him in my mind this morning and felt like I could not breathe when the soft feeling of his adolescent cheek did not come to me easily the way it used to. My belly flutters in panic. I cannot begin to forget him. The very idea terrifies me.

We have raised over $1500 so far for the 5K and that pays back all the benefit we got from the charity and then some. It is enough to help two families in the next year. Every time I see that number grow I feel something heal, something become more solid to stand on, as if it gives a concreteness to Joseph having been here. I found his little wrist ID badge from when he was born the other day and I just stared and stared at it. He was real. He was here.

Joe got me tickets to see Michael Buble in October as a birthday gift, over in Fort Worth. I am so excited by that. I keep listening to his song Lost, which makes me tear up in a good way. The words are so perfect. This will sound goofy, but it is almost as if I sing/say it to myself, or it is from Joe, or Heather...people who know my heart so well, who I believe are protective of me...its childish and raw but it makes me feel better, to huddle under that feeling of being loved and protected. There is one line that says "I hardly recognize the girl you are today" and that is always, always the moment when my throat closes up. Its so true, I never expected to be here. And I can feel intensely ashamed sometimes of how badly I want and need to be cradled and held and soothed and protected. The hiding of that can just lock my throat up until I cannot breathe.

I can't believe its over
I watched the whole thing fall
And I never saw the writing that was on the wall
If I only knew the days were slipping past
That the good things never last
That you were crying

Summer turned to winter and the snow had turned to rain
And the rain turned into tears up on your face
I hardly recognize the girl you are today
And God I hope its not too late

You are not alone
I'm always there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
So when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When your world's crashing down
And you can't bear the thought
I say, Babe, you're not lost

Life can show no mercy
It can tear your soul apart
It can make you feel like you've gone crazy
but you're not
Things have seemed to change
But one thing is still the same
In my heart you have remained
and we can fly, fly, fly away

Cuz you are not alone
And I am there with you
And we'll get lost together
until the light comes pouring through
When you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe you're not lost
When the world's crashing down
And you cannot bear the cross
I say Baby you're not lost.

I like that is forward looking. It acknowledges the pain of life, but says it will go on, it will be okay. I need to know that with everything I am. And I do. But seeing and hearing it in a way that gets through to my artistic mind, which I think is closer to my soul than my logical one, is powerful for me.

So here I am. Missing him so much it feels like an elephant sitting on me. But doing so many good things and feeling very good about that. I never thought I would get to this place, where I can own my grief and yet still live. But I am here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hi everyone!

We have reached 25% of our fundraising goal, which is just incredible!Those of you who have taken the time to send out an email to your family and friends or to spread the word by other means, thank you so much. It is amazing how much can be accomplished just by letting people know this charity exists, by telling a little bit of Joseph's story and giving people the opportunity to reach into their hearts. So often people wonder what they can do. They see the faces of the children and hear the heartbreaking stories and feel helpless. The best thing anyone can do for a child with cancer is to help that child's parents get through it. Letting them know this charity exists, where they can help the families with a degree of security their money is going to good use and to the truly needy, makes THEM feel good as well. We are directly impacting both the families of children with cancer and those who want to give but do not know where or how and I am just so proud. Just putting the message out there and letting people decide for themselves is so powerful.

Our team has 21 members and is still growing. Danielle and the co-founder of Heroes For Children have taken note of Joseph's team and have been impressed enough to invite me to their headquarters in Richardson on Thursday afternoon to meet with them and see how they operate up front and in person. This is a tremendous honor and largely because of the effort you are putting forth. Please continue to spread the word within your comfort zone. Thank you so much for all you are doing and for being present for this event. I cannot tell you how touched both Stewart and I are, to make something this good happen in Joseph's memory.

Julie Easley and her husband Kevin are designing our Team Joseph T-shirts and I cannot wait to see how they turn out! Thank you guys for doing that!

I'll let you all know how the meeting goes! I hope all of you can feel the intense pride and peace of doing something this important, of being part of this incredible team. Joseph would just be blown away and I believe his spirit is with us as we make the effort to help families that are too tired emotionally and physically to even ask for the help they most definitely need.

Go Team Joseph!
You can register for this event at:

If you are not in the area or cannot attend, but would like to help us reach our goal of earning $5000 for Heroes For Children, please make your donation at:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Furious success

Its all over for the summer and I got my A. It was definitely not without sacrifice on the part of both me and my family, Joe in particular. And today, in the aftermath of a breathless ending in which whether or not I would get the grade I needed to continue forward in my promise to Joseph and myself lay on the line, I find I cannot yet feel triumphant. There are so many emotions going into this for me, some of which definitely must and do get put away in order to focus on the task at hand. The process of studying the human body and all its frailties and potential failings can be an acute and heavy reminder of all the ways Joseph's body failed him and learning to muddle through the inevitable emotions and grief that stirs up is something I am getting better at, but I am finding it must find its outlets elsewhere.

I did not count today on this aftermath feeling of fury, of anger, of having dealt a blow of sorts to an enemy I cannot see, waging battles one by one in a war whose ending has no clear definition for me yet; perhaps even the sensation of at this point just earning my right to take an official place in the line up for this war. All I know is there is a sense of walking away weary and battle-worn, of a determination to my face rather than rejoicing. Too many lives are lost; I cannot rejoice over the victory, as the war should not be having to be waged in the first place. Those of us on the attack against cancer do so out of necessity. It is a silent, invisible, mindless killer we fight against. I am taking my war to the next level with every class that I conquer. I feel determined. I feel tired. I feel the weight of realization that though a part of me does this for Joseph, it is too late to do it literally for him. He will not be back. I like to believe his spirit is loving me through this process. I live with the knowledge and sensation of his absence and I do this with him in mind, but also for my own sanity. I have been saturated in that world and I continue to feel out of water now outside of it. I will return to it better equiped and from a different vantage point. It may not be with children, but it will be for them.

We have reached almost 25% of our fundraising goal for Heroes For Children in just two weeks. I am hopeful that the hearts of people will continue to be stirred to contribute and/or participate. It is important. The best thing any one person can do for a child with cancer is to help hold up that child's parents.

I had opportunity last night when someone asked me how old my children are to share some of Joseph's story with my classmates. It was a very good conversation and nobody seemed to feel uncomfortable to ask me questions; perhaps I am getting better at owning what has become of us and sharing it. I think that is progress. It is healing for me to tell about him, talk about him, to share the boy that he was and the incredible, incredulous chaotic journey we have been on. All the students in that class are headed into the medical field and I like to believe it motivates and inpsires them to whatever their destinations may be as well.

I did it. I have more to do.


Okay, I guess I just needed to say that. Because now as I think about it this afternoon, I am pretty darn stoked to have gotten an A in the hardest class I have ever taken!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I feel like I have not written a really meaningful blog in a while. Today probably isn't the day to attempt it either. I have three exams next week and then this high stress class is over. Of course, a week and a half later the fall term starts and I delve into the second half of this high stress class, with a different instructor no less. Actually two different instructors, as I will have one instructor for the lecture portion of it and another instructor for the lab portion. But at least the class will move to Tues/Thurs and I can get back to belly dancing again.

Life has been good. My household is peaceful and bonded. Work is really good. I got a thank you card from the CEO of each division of Cooper Clinic (Craig Ranch and Preston Road) for emailng the marketing director with an idea I had. Not just a "thanks for the idea Ms. Transcriptionist Peon" note either, but a lengthy note from each of them commending me for the idea itself and for being forward thinking and for speaking up. Not too many companies these days welcome ideas from all levels of the corporate structure. Its days like that that make me hope they have a nursing opening when I get my degree, because the idea of going to work anywhere else seems insane. I have never known a company that is so respectful of and nurturing to its employees. There comes a point, if a fair and marketable wage is already being earned, that money is not the main driving motivator for a job. A feeling of contribution and importance often has trumped salary in surveys about job satisfaction. Cooper Clinic does both and I am happy there. Yesterday was a good day.

My therapy is difficult and I struggled with it this week. Its obviously helping me, because my inner sense of well being has been improving a lot. I am haunted by fewer flashbacks to Joseph's illness and the memories I have of that time are less disturbing and less aggressive. Meaning, when they do come to me, I do not get as pulled in by them. They don't suck my soul and take over my day, my psyche and leave me trembling, agonized, helplessly infuriated and lonely as I had been before. I can feel a touch of sadness but am more easily able to miss him in a healthy way rather than the feeling of having been hit by a truck and nothing will ever be right again and wishing I had died right alongside him, wishing that Cancer was a person so that I could put a gun to its head and blow its brains out with determined satisfaction for all it has done to destroy lives. The 5K planning and fundraising has been helpful too, but I don't think I would be able to do that if there was not some healing going on inside me. I am smiling more when thinking about him and feeling his presence in my soul more. I think Joseph would be glad for that. But the therapy is hard hard work. This week in particular it was difficult. I didn't want to go there. I didn't want to follow the mind pathway that took me back. I was feeling good, and going back there is a desperately frightening experience, partially just because crying like that is so far from my nature and so abhorrent to me, partially because I am enjoying not feeling so grief-stricken all the time. But I can't deny it is helping. If I have a compact, safe place to experience all of that and a way to then function better with my family and friends outside of it, then I suppose that is a good thing. I have honestly reached the point (finally, thank God) that I am ready to let go of the pain of his loss and keep only the sadness. I know I won't ever be able to fully let go of either one, but at least the urge to growl and strike at anyone who wants to take any part of any of it away from me has gone. The urge to put my fury over his loss into his place in my life is gone. I honestly do not know though if that is a moving target that shifts like water and sand, if that urge will come back at times, or if it is a slow, steady progress kind of thing and once it is under control will stay with me from here forward. I do not trust it to stay forever yet. The process of grief is a myriad of changing colors, a lava lamp of emotion. But I am hopeful it becomes softer in hue and slower in change, until perhaps in time it is just a steady, constant glow rather than a hot, boiling mass.I am feeling stronger. I don't know that I even realized how BAD I felt much of the time. I was so busy forcing myself to be okay. Putting the face of dignity forward because there is nothing I hate and fear more than being exposed. I am like an injured animal in those times, biting every hand that comes near, whether it means harm or help alike. But trembling inwardly and needing help so badly. Now I have days when I wake up and take that little internal assessment and realize there is nothing hidden beneath the surface or buried. That I really do feel good inside, through every level of my psyche and physicality, even when Joseph comes to mind. And the relief that floods me is akin to joy. The sense of honesty in it is profound. The sense of trust in it, trust in myself...I had not realized how much I didn't believe me, nor how hostile and angry that made me, to pretend to feel good and to then see the outside world accept and fall for what I put forward over and over again. I tied myself up. I would not have wanted the pity or acknowledgement even if it had been there. I would have been angry too for anyone to see below the exact surface of me as well, yet angry that they did not. This probably makes no sense to anyone who has not been there. I find it a little laughable too that I fear vulnerability and exposure so much, so deeply, yet I am an emotional exhibitionist on this blog on a regular basis. I guess the universe tends toward balance and has its outlets for achieving that. My little outlet of balance in the complicated knot of a person that is Sheri. A pressure valve and artistic version of my life. In a sense. Does that sound conceited?

I have a confession. I hate having to work so hard at school. I hate sustained effort. I am a short burst/big payoff kind of girl. Not something I am proud of. What I AM proud of is that I am now halfway through my prerequisites and I have finished one degree. For a person who has a hard time maintaining enthusiasm for a long-term project, I have been going to school for 20 years, and most consistently in effort for the past two. So I am learning things about me and learning to get out of my own way. Because I really do want this.

Time to skeedaddle. Lots to do today. I want to tell my friends that I love them. I think I have not communicated that enough in recent days. I am having to be necessarily scarce due to working on the above issues. But guys....gals....I love you. :) Hugs for all....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Suddenly my opportunities to think about and talk about Joseph in a healthy and healing way are everywhere. As this venture into fundraising for Heros for Children takes root, the chance to talk about him happen over and over again, both within my own family and with strangers. I got an email from Heros for Children yesterday stating they had seen Joseph's picture on the fundraising page and were struck by his beauty and by how much money we have raised already (just under $700) and inviting me to tell them Joseph's story. I wrote them a long email and attached more pictures of him. It brings tears, but happy ones, to get to talk about him, commemorate him in such a positive way and to know his life is still impacting the world. His story is going to be shared at their board meeting tonight.

I am struggling with despair about A&P. This is the last week of class. I have a 90.25% average in the lecture portion of the class and a 90.7% average in the lab portion. We have two quizes tonight, a lab practical on MOnday, the last lecture exam on Wednesday and an optional final exam on Thursday. This last portion is about the muscles and skeletal system. I feel like my brain is going to implode. Over 200 bones in the body and we have to know them all by memory. Over 700 muscles in the body and we have to not only know them by memory as well but also their origins (many have three or more), their insertions and what movements they are responsible for. I just feel like I am going to throw up. I have worked so hard and I do not feel like I have a good grasp on this last portion at all. I feel my A slipping away from me.

Joe and I took a day off from work to be together yesterday. We did a little bit of shopping (where he bought me some slacks for work and a new Liz Claiborne handbag), went to see The Dark Knight (great movie!), went on a one mile stroll together (sipping beer from a shared ice mug and sweating to death in the 104 degree heat). He took me out to lunch for soup and salad, then later that night make steaks on the grill for us, as we have been very very good and have not eaten any red meat in quite a while. We talked so much I can't believe our jaws are not sore and made sweet love before bedtime. For whatever reason I did not sleep well last night and have been up since about 4. He tossed and turned a lot too and I am thinking the steaks upset our tummies perhaps. I know mine does not feel so good right now.

Stewart and the boys leave on Sunday for a one week cruise to Mexico and Jamaica. The kids are so happy and excited. I am happy and excited for them, but worrying my fool head off about hurricanes and child molesters on the ship and about Alexander's medication, which he needs to stay alive from day to day. It'd be a real pickle if something happened to his med supply in the middle of the ocean. Stewart is giving an extra supply to his mom to hang on to in case something should happen (his whole family is taking the cruise together), which soothes me, but the worries still come to me in the middle of the night and whip me around until I am just a big knot. I know they will have fun. I do. They are going to Hell Island and can't wait to send me a postcard from Hell. They are going to get to swim with and feed the sting rays there. More worries for Mom, but plenty of excitement and adventure for them. I remind myself constantly that things are going to be fine and they are going to come home with stories galore. I am going to take them shopping for some school clothes on Saturday. The summer is trucking by pretty fast. I have arranged to take a day off when they get back so we can go to Six Flags one more time before school starts.

Ugh. Time to get ready for work. Have a great day all.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I am so excited!

The Cooper Clinic is going to "sanction" Team Joseph for the Heroes for Children 5K. It is a sponsored event, which apparently in the world of running enthusiasts holds a lot of weight. They are going to put out emails to the entire company...not just the clinic here at Craig Ranch where I work, but also the clinic in Dallas and to both fitness centers and our research institute to let everyone know about this event to encourage participation and/or donations. They are going to offer incentives to employees to participate in Team Joseph including points toward our wellness program that gives us cash at the end of the year for hitting certain fitness and wellness goals. This is so exciting and I feel so lucky to work for such an amazing company.

The upper admins came to me today wanting me to help them make up emails and fliers to distribute to the company promoting Team Joseph. I am shaking. How wonderful, to get to be a part of something like this that will both tell Joseph's story, honor his memory and ultimately help other families going through what we did, in an immediate, make-an-impact way!

I cannot say the depths to which this excites, motivates and humbles me. I can just see Joseph's shy, sideways smile, overwhelmed at being the object of so much attention.

You can register for this event at:

If you are not in the area or cannot attend, but would like to help us reach our goal of earning $5000 for Heroes For Children, please make your donation at: