Archive | May, 2014

consider the conversation

Remember last summer when I was interviewed for a documentary? Well, it’s finished.

Consider the Conversation 2: Stories about Cure, Relief and Comfort will air tonight (Tuesday) on Wisconsin Public Television (PBS) at 9 p.m.

I haven’t seen it so I really don’t know what to expect. I think there is a video of me and Greg one night at the in-patient hospice center when he was saying goodnight to the girls over the phone. I don’t think my interview made it into the 56-minute PBS version but it’s possibly in the full-length version, which won’t be available until August.

Here’s an article about it from the Wisconsin State Journal HERE.

So, tonight. 9 p.m. Wisconsin Public Television.




remembering daddy through pictures

I don’t want my girls to forget. It was one thing that Greg was terrified of; that the girls would forget him, especially Squeaky since she was just 2 when he got sick and not even 2-1/2 when he died. I remember coming home from Hospice in early May last year and Greg insisted on stopping at Best Buy in a wheelchair and his pajama pants to get an additional external hard drive so we’d never lose photos of him.

I like having photo albums to look at. I know they are heavy and take up lots of space but there’s something so real in sitting down next to someone and looking at printed photos with a heavy album in your lap. I’ve been falling behind in printing out pictures of the last few years of our lives – some very, very important years.


So, I’ve been printing out hundreds of photos at a time to get caught up. So far, I’m only to 2011 but it makes Squeaky happy that she can finally see photos of her as a baby.

We’ve been looking through them together and I’ve already found the girls sitting together with the albums, looking at and talking about the pictures to each other.

I’m now not as concerned about them forgetting. These pictures and my stories will help fill their sweet memories.





dark days/light days

Last Thursday, April 24th, was a really bad day. Everything seemed to go wrong. I knew it was an anniversary earlier in the week but I had forgotten until a couple days after it was over.

I never realized how much anniversaries can effect us. For years during the fall, Greg would have a few dark days and after looking at the calendar, he would realize that it was around the time that both of his parents had died (on different days and years in September).

Back in mid-March of last year, we first heard that Greg might have cancer. When we got home from the hospital and after Greg was asleep, I remember falling to the floor at the bottom of our stairs, crying so hard I almost threw up because I knew that he was dying. I just knew. I felt horrible for not being more positive about our chances but on that day, I was already starting to grieve the loss of my Greg. Before we even knew for sure, I was grieving.


Then came April 24th. It was the day Greg’s oncologist told us that his treatment hadn’t helped and there was nothing more that we could do. It was the day that we gave up on fighting to heal his body. We succumbed to the cancer. There was a small discussion of traveling to the ends of the earth to try and fight this thing to the death. But we had no more fight in us. It had been such an exhausting two months and we were both on the brink of just breaking by the weight of it all. When Toby said those words, all we could do was exhale. Greg was the first to speak. I don’t remember exactly what he said but it was something like, “Okay. I guess we knew this was coming. I should probably start planning now.” It was a relief. I can’t believe I felt that. I didn’t want to feel like we were giving up but any more of life in this out-of-control, free-fall and I felt like our family would be crushed. Just totally break, lose it and never recover – just like Greg’s poor, defeated body. It was different than death. In death there is peace. There was no peace in this battle.

It’s hard for me to talk about cancer and quite honestly, easier to talk about death. I know that there are a lot of people that have had or are facing cancer and fighting it successfully. But to us and our experience, success isn’t the case. To me and my family, cancer equals death. And even the treatments we tried seemed to do more harm than good. And that’s another reason that we were relieved to stop the suffering we seemed to be inflicting on Greg.

The month of May has always been a sunny, happy time for me.  It’s May Day, Mother’s Day, it’s Angie and Brynn’s birthdays :), it’s the end of the school year, it’s lilacs and green grass and parks and bikes and sun. But it’s also now death. I don’t want this time of year to become our ‘dark days’.

Last year, after April 24th, that grieving continued – for all of us. But I think that’s also when the healing started. We had Greg’s party, which was full of love, so much that I can’t even put it into words. We continued to have family, friends and neighbors stop by and help us out.

Hospice Photos 002

But now, we had nowhere we needed to be. No appointments. No hospitals. No waiting rooms. Just home. Just together. Just enjoying what there was left of him, focusing on loving him and the life he had left in him. And I think that’s something to celebrate; the opposite of dark days. Because even though we were all grieving and mourning his eminent death, there was something so beautiful in the way we lived the month of May. Even Greg was able to experience some peace and healing for himself….not a definition of dark, but of light.





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