Love of my Life

Love of my Life
Happy moments... Praise God. Difficult moments... seek God. Quiet painful moments... Trust God. Every moment... Thank God.















December 26, 2010

Christmas Day - Community Outreach

As you might imagine, Christmas wasn't the same for the Morris family this year. We thought about how joyful the holidays of 2009 were as the family continued to celebrate Lindsey and Greg's engagement along with the rituals of the holidays.... Christmas Eve Service at church, my parents spending the night, brunch with our good friends Curt and Jo Marie Jones and their children and a big family Christmas dinner.

Our hearts continue to ache as we mourn the loss of Lindsey. I am reminded of a quote of C.S. Lewis, "The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread all over everything." I could not sleep Christmas Eve. Lindsey was on my mind.

Christmas traditions were altered this year. Those who were up to going to church, went... my parents spent the night, Santa arrived and we opened presents.However, the trees were not decorated, no stockings hung on the mantel. We surpassed on the annual brunch with the Jones family and the big family Christmas dinner. Instead of taking time to prepare our own family meal, we volunteered at Emanuel Community Center on Friday and Saturday. Friday we set-up, decorated and wrapped presents. Saturday we served a sit-down meal to approximately 300 people in the community. Todd in his tuxedo pants and white shirt, Hannah in something similar, taking orders, filling plates and serving others. It's the type of thing Lindsey was so good at... it came naturally for her.

During this time we are reminded of the Bible verse... "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." I'd add to this, blessed are those who learn self compassion during times of grief, for they shall go on to discover continued meaning in life. Death puts life into perspective.

Part of the self compassion for the females in the Morris/Jackson/Jenkins family will be a girls weekend get-away at the Lodge of the Four Seasons, the first weekend in January. We'll spend Saturday in the Spa and the rest of the time doing whatever we need to do to grant our self time to reflect. Part of the time will be spent mod-podging a memory table of our sweet Lindz. The boys will most likely take part in some indoor car race event.

As I close this update, I'd like to share a couple of notes from the book I'm reading:

* "Death ends a life, not a relationship"... by Jack Lemmon. This quote served as a good reminder for me to focus on the relationship I had with Lindsey.

* Borrowed Tears - You cry because your heart and soul are hurting and your emotions are tender. Your heart is broken now and anything that touches your heart even slightly may hurt. This statement explained why I'm finding myself more tearful than usual.... it's why the commercial about the dad telling the daughter to go change clothes makes me cry.

We hope our readers had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. Thank you for checking in.

December 21, 2010

We will never be the same....

http://www.cbn.com/christmas/


We will never be the same...eventually we will be better, all because of Lindz. She lives on...

A friend shared this video with me... how cool. Thank you!

December 19, 2010

Understanding Your Grief

A good friend gave me a book and journal, "Understanding Your Grief. Ten essential touchstones for finding hope and healing your heart." I'm reading it, and have purchased a couple more books for family members. I love the way this book is written and how the author speaks to and addresses how I am personally feeling. It's compassionately written and is helping me understand the normal and necessary journey called grief.

While I'm learning a lot from this book, two things have stood out... the books definition of grief and mourning:

Grief: the constellation of internal thoughts and feelings we have when someone we love dies. Think of grief as the container. It holds all of your thoughts, feelings and images of your experience when you are bereaved.

Mourning: is when you take the grief you have on the inside and express it outside of yourself... or "Grief gone public" or "the outward expression of grief." Talking about the person who died, crying, expressing your thoughts and feelings through art or music, and celebrating special anniversary dates that held meaning for the person who died are just a few examples of mourning.

A major theme in the book is rooted in the importance of openly and honestly mourning life losses, in expressing your grief outside of yourself. Over time and with the support of others, to mourn is to heal.

"Sometimes when one person is missing the whole world seems depopulated." That's the feeling this morning....

December 14, 2010

Lessons from Lindz

People have asked if we intend to continue updating Lindsey's blog. Our first thought was no.... this was her blog. It was created by her initially, and then updated by family members to keep those who care about her informed. And, quite frankly, we thought it would be to difficult, emotionally, for us to continue with the updates.

As we reflect upon Lindsey's goals and desires to be a teacher, it seems there may be an opportunity for us to "teach" so to speak, or more appropriately, share what we're learning as we begin to understand our own grief. In addition, as we're reading through the hundreds of cards, occasionally we find an extra note, or comment that really touches our heart... one that we would like to share with others as it keeps Lindsey's legacy more alive. What follows is a note we received at Lindsey's Memorial Service, from a person we know, but don't know well. What wonderful insight and perspective she has on Lindsey's journey.

There are no words to express my sympathy in your loss of your beautiful Lindsey. So many times during her fight and since her passing she has been on my heart and in my mind. I can't help but think that she has reached her ultimate goal and she continues to teach daily. I imagine her with children sitting at her knee listening to all she has to offer them. It came to my mind that there could be a book written called "Lessons from Lindz". Lindsey not only taught us how to live, she taught us how to die to this world and live forever with our Savior. She further taught us to:

1 - Rant and rave, get over it and get on with it.

2 - Smile and put on a good front but share everything, the good and the bad with those we love.

3 - Love God with all we have to offer.

4 - Live by example.

5 - Fight for what is good and right.

6 - Play the hand we're dealt with style.

7 - Never give up or give in.

8 - Adapt, adapt, adapt.

9 - See the beauty all around us.

10 - Enjoy the simple things.

11 - Curse the Chiefs.

12 - Praise God.

13 - Love children.

The list could go on and on.


Vicki Foulk and family... thank you for sharing what Lindsey taught you. This is beautiful. These lessons will serve as a constant reminder to me personally everyday going forward.

December 06, 2010

Lindsey Marie Morris-Elwood 1985 - 2010 - Obituary - Tributes.com

Lindsey Marie Morris-Elwood 1985 - 2010 - Obituary - Tributes.com



Lindsey Marie Morris-Elwood, 25, known affectionately by friends and family as "Lindz," went to be with our Lord Jesus Christ on November 28, 2010. She passed peacefully at home after a courageous battle with brain cancer. Lindsey was born in Independence, MO and lived her entire life in the Lee's Summit, MO area.
Lindsey graduated from in Lee's Summit High School in 2004 and was a 2010 graduate of the University of Central Missouri where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Lindsey was employed by the HyVee in east Lee's Summit for the past eight years where she enjoyed her co-workers and especially her customers. Lindsey also enjoyed counseling the campers each summer at Lee's Summit Parks and Recreation's "Camp Summit." In addition, Lindsey was a substitute teacher for the Lee's Summit School district, spending many summers as a paraprofessional and numerous days in the classroom during the school year.
Lindsey's faith was her anchor throughout her life. She enjoyed all the activities in the church, especially youth groups and summer camps. She spent many summers as a counselor at the United Methodist's Wilderness Camp in Lawson, MO. She loved being with the children and teaching them about faith and being a good Christian. She taught through her words, but especially by her example.
Lindsey's battle with brain cancer began at the age of twelve, a battle she fought with enormous strength. Although she had some post-treatment physical and cognitive disabilities, she worked tirelessly to accomplish her goals. Lindsey was passionate about children and loved to teach. Lindsey was a kind, compassionate, and giving young woman who simply loved to love others, especially children.
Lindsey is survived by her husband, Gregory James Elwood; her parents Bob and Sandy Morris; brother, Todd and her sister, Hannah; her paternal grandparents, Dr. Jay and Mary Ann Morris; her maternal grandparents, Bill and Jan Jackson; as well as her aunts and uncles, Charles and Janet MacLeod; Mark and Joann Jackson, and Mike and Nancy Jenkins; her cousins, Brett Jackson, Megan Alberg, Erin Johnson, Kelsie and Cole Jenkins and C.J. MacLeod.
Lindsey's memorial service will be at 3pm, December 11, 2010 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 350 SW 150 Highway, Lee's Summit, MO. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Hope for Life, c/o Lindsey Marie Morris-Elwood, 1000 E. 50th St, KCMO 64110.
Fond memories and condolences for the family may be left at www.dwnewcomers.com (Arr: D.W. Newcomer's Sons Floral Hills Chapel, 7000 Blue Ridge Blvd., KCMO 64133, 816-353-1218

November 30, 2010

Lindsey's Memorial and Celebration of Life

Friends...

We grieve...our hearts ache,we are extremely sad even though we know our sweet Lindz is in Heaven and no longer suffering. We miss everything about her. For the last 10months our focus was on Lindsey, her illness, her desires, her wishes, and for the last four months caring for her as she could not care for herself.

It's hard to leave the house... no matter where I go I see something that reminds me of Lindsey...holding back the tears and my emotions is impossible. I know this time will pass.. it will get easier. Greg is suffering also and we grieve for him as his family is not there to provide comfort and support. If all goes as planned, Greg should arrive from Japan on December 4th, with 10 days of leave before he needs to return.

Plans for Lindsey's Memorial and Celebration of Life were finalized today. Her obituary will be in the December 5th Kansas City Star, and the Lee's Summit Journal. Lindsey's memorial service will be at 3pm, December 11, 2010 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 350 SW 150 Highway, Lee's Summit, MO. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Stowers Institute of Medical Research, Hope for Life, c/o Lindsey Marie Morris-Elwood, 1000 E 50th St, Kansas City MO, 64110. (This was Lindsey's desire... Giving Hope For Life® to Others. The Institute is built on the desire to offer hope for a variety of diseases, including cancer.)

The community has helped us through this with ever-loving acts of kindness and support. We are indeed blessed. Thank you to everyone.. the list is very long.

November 29, 2010

Final thoughts from Dad




At approximately 11:22 pm last night our beloved Lindsey was released from her broken body and allowed to enter God’s kingdom. God must have needed a new teacher, one who understands what people, especially children, sometimes have to endure during their earthly existence. We as a family are obviously devastated and saddened by this loss, but because of the enormous faith Lindsey displayed during her life we have to hold onto that same faith and be happy that she is indeed in a much better place, free of suffering and sorrow. She can fulfill her dream, albeit in a different place, of teaching children. During the times that I sensed she was very sad and very frightened I would try to comfort her by reminding her of the numerous small children we had met during her treatments who had indeed lost their battle at a very young age, these beautiful children I told her were not finished learning and would need a teacher in heaven too. This statement seemed to comfort her, seemed to make at least a tiny bit of sense of what was happening to her because perhaps she would indeed be able to fulfill her ultimate dream—to teach and make a difference to kids.
Lindsey enjoyed twelve “normal” years before the battle with brain cancer began. She was playing competitive soccer and doing quite well; three weeks later she had been diagnosed with the brain tumor and was headed to New York for surgery. I am aware that this information is already well known by most but I repeat it because it shows what Lindsey is really all about, it shows how she made adjustments with grace and dignity when her world was turned upside down in an instant. After the surgery she couldn’t walk, talk, or care for herself, she was in tremendous pain and yes she cried, but she never complained. She taught herself to write left-handed as her right hand no longer worked. She relearned simple tasks like tying her shoes, clasping her bra, simply walking and even though she walked with a limp, she never complained. The love and compassion she showed for others during this time was truly amazing. She told Sandy and I on more than one occasion that she was glad she was the one in the family who had the tumor because she simply couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her parents or siblings suffer. Lindsey described herself choosing the words kind, caring, and compassionate and I have to agree whole-heartedly. I would readily add the words strong and tenacious.
Although Lindsey had cognitive impairments following treatments she refused to give up. Yes, she would become frustrated by the extra time she had to invest into studies while her peers and siblings seemed to excel with relative ease, yet she stuck with it and in fact was on the honor roll repeatedly during her high school years. I am especially grateful to Lindsey’s peers at UCM who realized that although Lindsey didn’t have enough hours for her education degree she did in fact have enough for her Bachelor of Science. Thanks to these wonderful students and several of her professors after seven hard fought years Lindsey fulfilled her dream of earning her college degree and was able to walk across the podium with enormous pride and satisfaction from a job well done.
Lindsey was filled with excitement because she was about to begin her final semester of college, complete student teaching, and work toward acquiring employment. In January however the first of two car accidents occurred, within two weeks a second accident occurred and we knew we needed Dr. Allen, her neurologist , to evaluate. We took Lindsey for the needed MRI and then waited………, two days later Sandy got the call from Dr. Allen. Lindsey asked that my father, Dr. Jay Morris, accompany us to her appointment with Dr. Allen for the results. We were all taken into a dark office where the disk of Lindsey’s brain scan was inserted into the computer. Although Dr. Allen was carefully describing the regrowth of the tumor I looked to my right and saw my father’s face illuminated by the computer’s glow and I knew instantly that my beloved Lindsey was about to receive the most terrifying news of her life. After viewing the scan we were taken to an adjacent examination room where Lindsey received the prognosis of the images we had just seen. I’m quite sure that her screams could be heard throughout the entire office. Numb, I observed in total disbelief as Sandy and my Dad did their best to comfort her. I was at a total loss for words, I simply put my hand on her thigh and turned my head as the tears streamed down my face. The prognosis was dismal.
What followed next is what I believe was a shorter than usual “WHY ME!” grief period for Lindsey. She wept, she was angry, she ranted justifiably over the fact that she was so very close to earning her teaching degree and marrying the man of her dreams and now it was seemingly being jerked from her grasp. “ Why, why,why,why, me , I’ve already been through this and I thought after ten years I was safe. Please tell me why!! “ It wasn’t long however that Lindsey displayed an acceptance of her situation. What she did next speaks volumes about the person she had become. We witnessed her going to her study and her storage area in the basement and carefully organizing, categorizing, and boxing up all the teaching supplies and tools she had saved for the day she got her own classroom . Once she satisfactorily completed the task she phoned our neighbor’s daughter who is employed by Lee’s Summit R7 school district and asked her to please use them in her classroom. This was a very mature and selfless act which made me very proud. A hand made poster from the students who received the supplies hangs in Lindsey’s room which has a circle of the children’s hand prints surrounding a picture of all the books and supplies she had donated and the words, “your gifts have fallen into good hands .” Lindsey also had Aunt Nancy help her get pictures enlarged which she knew I cherished. They took them to be framed and brought them to my office where they now hang and remind me daily of the love we share. Also on the office wall there is a school assignment Lindsey completed entitled, “My Hero,” she wrote this paper referencing me but I certainly believe it pertains to her so much. The following is a quote from the paper………

A hero is an everyday person who can change the world for the better. It could be simple like helping one person out or by helping millions.


Responsible, honest, trustworthy.

Courageous and Brave - Is willing to take risks, stands up for his/her beliefs.

Intelligent - logical, sees the big picture, identifies the problem and plans a solution.

Selfless and humble-puts others first, doesn't seek rewards or prasies.

Has a sense of humor

Mentally strong and self confident - fear, mistakes, problems don't stop him/her.


The difference between the first and second battle with the tumor was hope. The first go round there was always hope and optimism, the second time there was none. Watching Lindsey slowly deteriorate from this disease has been gut-wrenching , I won’t repeat the information documenting the downward spiral because Sandy has done so already in this blog. It just hurts and hurts to the very core of your being to watch your child, your twenty-five year old daughter decline day by day.

Lindsey's only request was that she be able to die at home and I gave her my word that she would be able to do so. Dr. Taylor said it would take an army to accomplish this enormous task but that it could be done. I have to thank my wonderful army, the core of which was Sandy and Nancy. Our trio learned to do many tasks that hospice normally does which certainly helped Lindz feel more dignified and intimately loved. You allowed me to keep my word and I will be forever grateful to you. To the rest of my little army I say thank you so much, we did it.

I will end by quoting something my mother said when she was here last, she said as she wept, " I never knew anything could hurt this much." I couldn't agree more.........This HURTS!

Information about Lindsey's memorial will be shared at a later time.... a private family graveside service will occur for immediate family members prior to the memorial.

November 28, 2010

Lindsey Update

Lindsey made it through the night... today has been similar except the BP is so low that the machine will not register it.

Hannah is not returning to school until next semester. She only has a couple of weeks of classwork before finals. Todd returned to school this afternoon as it is much easier for him to get home if things change.

We know many people are checking in daily... we'll do our best to post daily updates.

Thank you for checking in.

Sleep-over... in Lindsey's Room

The family is camped out in Lindsey's room tonight. Bob on the floor mattress where he has been for the last month, Todd on the floor, Hannah in the large chair and ottoman, and me in bed with Lindz. Lindz' bp has been low, heart-rate at 135, breathing is very light and this evening sounds of congestion has begun with sporadic little coughs.

Will Jesus call her home tonight? We don't know... but if Lindz is, she'll go out of this life just as she came in, surrounded by family who love her dearly.

November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

Much to be thankful for.... this afternoon Lindsey opened her eyes for a short while. She was tracking with the conversations, following the voices, and Greg picked up FaceTime in the early morning hours in Japan so he could talk with her.

Fast forward a couple of hours... we realized Lindsey's bed looked odd. Somehow the plug to the airbed came unplugged and the mattress was going flat. Ugh... and it will not refill with someone in the bed. It took four of us to move her to another resting place while the bed refilled with air. We changed the plug to another outlet to decrease the chance of this happening again. Sorry Lindz.... you're back resting peacefully now.

November 24, 2010

Happy 25th Birthday Lindsey!







God at work again.... Todd headed into town today to pick up the traditional Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake for Lindsey. There was only one left. It was trimmed in pink icing with pink and purple circles all over it. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Lindsey rested peacefully today while friends and family gathered around to listen to music from Brice and Jack Anderson. The music was beautiful. Emotions were heavy as we embraced those that we love and thought about our dearest Lindsey.

More cards and flowers arrived today. Thank you again for helping us make a visual display for our Lindsey.










Thank you for checking in... have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

November 23, 2010

Lindsey's Birthday Eve

As I sit here thinking about Lindsey's 25th birthday tomorrow, I find myself reflecting on the events of this night 25 years past. I clearly remember it... I was four days past my due date, it was a Saturday, and we were spending the evening with our friends Mark and Anita Warren. We had beef stew for dinner. I didn't know then that by 5:30am the next morning I would be at the hospital for a long day of labor pains. I clearly remember our friends and family members being present most of the 12 hours we were waiting for our baby to arrive. My mom was in the delivery room with Bob and I as we experienced the joy of Lindsey's arrival. The family continues to chuckle over my mother's announcement to all "It's a girl!"

Jump forward 25 years and while many things have changed, the pillars have not. Our family and friends continue to be present as we love and care for Lindsey during her fight with brain cancer. One pillar I've not spoken much about is my brother, Mark. It's become a joke in the family, did Bob marry me for me or did he marry me so he could spend more time with Mark. Either way, it's a sweet deal. I got a wonderful man, Bob got me and another friend for life, Mark. Mark spent the majority of his day here keeping Bob occupied... they worked on many projects around the house together. I now have a new automatic door closer on the entry from the garage, a new doggie door for Brady,replacement trim on the garage doors and I think they even attempted to clean up the brush around the pond. While Hannah and I were caring for Lindsey, Bob and Mark were ensuring that our support structure continued to be strong. Mark... he's a kind,generous and gentle person who is incredibly talented and successful. Mark - thank you for everything. We love you. Thank you for the countless hours you've spent at the Morris house being our friend, advisor, counselor, mechanic, repairman, and stand-up comedian.




Lindsey had a peaceful day. We've stopped all medications except for the morphine patch. All foods and liquids have been stopped as she is not able to swallow or keep foods down. I know she can hear us... today as I swabbed her mouth I asked her to open wide and she did. She occasionally will open her eyes and look around for a short time, particularly when people are talking to her. We enjoyed visiting with her friends from Hyvee, and the Smith family. Thank you for stopping by.

234.... unbelievable. Lindsey has 234 visible acts of love to look at on her wall. Thank you for sending the birthday cards and for checking in.

November 22, 2010

Life Ain't Always Beautiful



Tough day on Sunday. Couple bouts of stomach issues, difficulty swallowing, while awake at times, little acknowledgement and response. Please keep us in your prayers.

November 20, 2010

Birthday Card Update








Hi friends... as you can see from the photos, Lindsey is being "showered" with birthday cards. When she's awake, she stares at all the cards, looking from the wall, to the ceiling, to the other wall where a friend sent large, colorful Happy Birthday letters, which is perfect for someone who has partial vision. Todd arrived home Friday night and he'll be here for a week. I love these pictures of him reading Lindsey her cards. Hannah will be home late Tuesday evening, just in time for Lindsey's birthday on Wednesday.
Thank you for sending cards, Lindsey is enjoying looking up at all the "love" that is coming her way.

November 19, 2010

Celebrating Life

One way we celebrate life is by recognizing birthdays. That special day when parents are blessed by the birth of a new baby. The special day that as the child grows older others become blessed by their presence, gifts, time, interactions, etc. It's a day we say thank you for being who you are. Lindsey's birthday is November 24th and plans are underway to make it a special day for her. Many of our readers are a part of this as Lindsey has received around 70 cards. All of which have been individually opened, read out loud to Lindsey, and taped to the walls and ceiling. It has become our evening ritual.

Next week immediate family members will come by for (I'm sure you can guess what I'm about to type), ice cream. For Lindsey's birthday though we will have Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake as that is her annual traditional request. A friend from Lee's Summit Community Christian Church is giving her his gift of music.... he will come over to play his guitar and sing. When this offer was made, I asked Lindsey if this is something she would like and her response was "Yes please. That is nice." Thank you Bryce Anderson for this offer. We're being very respectful of Lindsey's desires on who she would like to come over right now....we hope you understand.

We believe Lindsey had another seizure Tuesday morning. Her responsiveness and appetite has seen some decline. Taking medication is also becoming more difficult for her. We continue to keep the pain under control which allows her to rest comfortably.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. We're looking forward to having the family together next week during this week of Thanksgiving.

November 16, 2010

The Chicken Dance Card

Funny story... as you're probably aware, Lindsey is starting to receive birthday cards. One was hand delivered yesterday by Ms. Vicki Coy and the card perfectly represented both the giver and the receiver. The giver (Vicki) loves roosters... and on the front of the card is a rooster! The receiver(Lindsey), loves giving and receiving musical cards, and this particular card played the "chicken dance" song. Of course, opening the card brought a smile to Lindsey's face. But, even funnier... I taped the card to the wall next to her bed and twice last night the tape pulled away and we had magical music. The first time it happened I found myself charging up the stairs wondering what in the world is going on. As I was talking to myself in Lindsey's room, I look over to her bed and she had awakened, with a smile on her face. Even funnier though was the story Bob shared with me this evening. Today while the nurse was here having to do lovely things like clean out the catheter, and eventually replace due to all the "sludge" build up(I know.. lovely term... you're getting a little insight to daily rituals in the Morris household), the nurse kept "bumping" the card and the room would be filled with "the chicken dance" song. The music brought on a chuckle from the social worker, the nurse, and dear ole dad. As the nurse was leaving today she asked, with a smile on her face, can we please move the card? She was having a hard time "taking care of business" due to the chuckles in the room.

Lindsey was tearful as the social worker commended Bob, and the rest of the village that is helping us, for the love, support and care provided to Lindsey. The social worker shared... "you're doing an amazing job... we see it and we can feel it when we're here." In their experience, most families utilize the services of The Hospice House. As one of the cards Lindsey received today displayed "May all the seeds of kindness that you've spread along the way, return to you and multiply on this, your special day." Lindsey is a giving and kind person. She is a person that always puts the needs of others before her own. The love she has displayed and shown to everyone is coming back to her. We are doing for her what she would do for us. We are honoring her wishes.

To the VanDeusen's, who sent the card referenced above, you are right, Lindsey's light does shine brightly - Matthew 5:16. Bob and I are looking forward to the day when we might get to know you better.

In closing, I think about the magazine ads that say "Got Milk?" Change one word slightly to "Got Faith?", and that's my question of the evening for our readers. Open up your heart to God’s grace, and God will give you faith as a pure gift. Rather than resist God’s grace yield to it, and you too will have "faith". It's a great thing. I quite honestly can not imagine life without it.

Thank you for checking in.

November 14, 2010

Lindz Update - It's been a good week.

The week of November 7th has been good... no major changes, a few days of more awake time during the day, and the appetite remains strong. We're starting to see birthday cards arrive in the mailbox and the display around Lindsey's bed has begun. It's been fun for all of us to see who is following the blog. Lindsey is enjoying looking at the cards and hearing the comments written.

This morning I was catching up on some reading, "HBR's 10 Must Reads - On Managing Yourself." The 2nd article is a subject I've often wondered about "Resilience". Why are some people more resilient? Why is it that some people seem to move rather easily through tough times? Resilient people snap back quickly from dark days... I've often wondered is this a born characteristic or can it be learned? The author of this particular article, "How Re silence Works" claims that one can learn to increase their resilience. The following key points where shared:

Resilient people possess 3 defining characteristics:
* They coolly accept the harsh realities facing them
* They find meaning in terrible times; a deep belief, often buttressed by strongly held values
* They have an uncanny ability to improvise, making do with whatever's hand

The article goes on to talk about how to cultivate resilience. While nothing profound was shared, it was reassuring to read that people can incorporate ways to increase their resilence. Having this skill and the capacity to be robust under conditions of enourmous stress and change can help people be more effective at work and in their personal lives. Two quotes from the article that stood out to me:

We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed.
Resilient people and companies face reality with staunchness, make meaning of hardship instead of crying out in despair, and improvise solutions from thin air. Others do not. This is the nature of resilience, and we will never completely understand it.


And... if you find that you're in need of developing your resilence you could always sign up for a class at the Hardiness Institute in Newport Beach, CA. An institute that was founded by a University of California, Irvine psychology professor, Salvatore R. Maddi. Who would of guessed that there's an entire institute teaching organizations and people how to develop life skills and attitudes to get them through tough times. :o)

Now off to reading article #3 - Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time. - How to significantly increase capacity to get things done. This should be helpful as I've been challenged in this area lately....to many distractions.

Have a great week and thanks for checking in.

November 09, 2010

Damn Chiefs

"Damn Chiefs"... that was Lindsey's comment on Sunday as the Chief's lost in overtime. While Lindsey's voice is something we don't hear often, it's comments such as this, which occur occasionally, that tells us she is very aware of what is occurring around her.

It was a wonderful weekend with Todd, Hannah and friends in the home. Our friends fixed us up with all kinds of wonderful goodies to eat all weekend so we could spend as much time as possible together. Thank you friends. Everything was very tasty!

Lindsey's 25th birthday is November 24 and I could use your help. I'd like to do a "card shower" for Lindsey. The plan is to display all the cards on the wall by her bed so she can visually see all the people who love her and are praying for her. (If you don't have our address, send me a message at sandy.morris22@gmail.com) Thank you to my good friend Mary Nelson for the suggestion! Lindsey will love this and it will be perfect!

Lindsey's other very cute comment this weekend occurred when Hannah was telling her good night. I was laying with Lindsey so Hannah couldn't get close enough to give her a kiss. Hannah asked "If I blow you a kiss can you catch it?" Lindsey said... "catch it". It was precious.

So this week.... catch all the kisses you can, be blessed by the presence of family, friends and those who care about you, and make it a great week!

November 02, 2010

Better Day

Today was a better day.... word of advice for everyone.. find something to bring a smile to your face everyday.

Monday and Tuesday have been a little better than Sunday. While it takes Lindsey a little longer to respond to questions, we are getting an answer. Tummy issues are better today also. While pain medication helps to provide relief in one area, it can cause major issues in other parts of the body.
The appetite was better today also. A waffle for breakfast, applesauce and frozen yogurt for lunch, raisin bran cereal and Greek yogurt for dinner.

We keep missing FaceTime calls with Greg. It's a great feature on the 4th Generation iTouch. However, with the time difference, we are missing each other. Lindsey is up at 9am, which makes it 11pm in Japan; bedtime rituals start around 8:30 and it's 11:30 am in Japan.. and Greg is usually at work during that time.

Todd and Hannah will be home this weekend. We'll see if their presence prompts a request from Lindsey to come down to the first floor of the house for awhile. The last time she ventured outside her room was October 23rd, for the MU football game.

A card received from a friend reminded me of what it takes to endure this journey...

Faith, Hope Courage... Have faith, have hope, and have courage.

Our family fortunately has all three. Yes, while some days are difficult. It's our faith, hope and courage that will get us through. Today I chose to make it a good day. To look for the good. To focus on the positive. To find something to make me smile.

So what was good about today?

As I left this morning, Lindsey opened her eyes so I could say "I'll see you tonight"... I had another day of working with talented, passionate and committed staff members... I received good news from Bob about Lindsey's day, skyped with Todd, exchanged chat messages with Hannah, spoke to a couple of friends, and received 2 beautiful mums from another, I spent time with Lindsey during the 45 minutes she was awake in the evening; I also allowed myself to have a good ole fashion PB&J on regular bread! I topped off the evening with a glass of Relax wine. I also looked at some vacation photos... the three below brought a smile.. Lindsey daring to try some seafood, Hannah doing yoga on the beach without a care of who might be watching, and Todd enjoying a favorite youth activity.
As I close for the night, I'm reminded of a situation Lindsey encountered in third grade. She was not happy with her third grade teacher... a teacher who was about 5 years overdue for retirement. We moved into our new home over Christmas and Lindsey had a chance to change schools. I offered Lindsey the opportunity... I could see her thinking about it. The next day I asked if she had made a decision. Her decision, "I'm staying". I was surprised... her response.. no kidding... "Life doesn't always deal you a good hand. You need to play the hand you have."

We're playing this hand, the best we know how. Pray for my kiddos.... they are struggling. I will be glad to have them all home this weekend. And as a co-worker at work has recorded on her voicemail message "Make it a great day."
















October 31, 2010

Time... how much do we have?

Every time I sign onto Lindsey's blog, I'm required to enter her email address and password. Every time, as I type, "igotfaithphil413@msn.com", I'm reminded of Lindsey's favorite Bible verse and her strong faith. She created this email address years ago.... and while many people change their addresses occasionally, she has not. As I signed on tonight, I was thinking, how many more times will I be updating the blog for her? How much time do we have with our Lindsey?

There have been noticeable changes over the last 5 days. Severe cramping and pain in the right legs, difficulty responding to questions, increased sleep patterns, and this morning our dear Lindsey got sick while in bed. While awake she continued to have mini-seizures....with little response to questions. Her appetite has significantly decreased.... meals today consisted of 1 slice of toast and a chocolate shake. Bruises are appearing all over her body... with new ones showing up on her backside today. This can be a side affect of the steroids. She has also developed a large blister on her right heal. Where this came from or what caused it, I have no idea. She is required to sleep on her back with her right leg elevated now to prevent cramping and pain. We are keeping the oxygen on her while she sleeps to aid in a more restful slumber.

Bob and I are tired.... we're sad, devastated, empty, numb, .. and we're ready for Lindsey to be relieved of this awful cancer that is eating away at her brain. We're wondering just how we will move forward without our Lindz.... In my readings I discovered the following words of wisdom:
Anyone who has lost a loved one knows that you don’t “recover.” Instead, you learn to incorporate their absence and memories into your life and channel your emotional energy toward others. Eventually, it has been said, your grief walks beside you instead of consuming you.

In a 2006 interview with The New York Times, Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes described having two children die before they turned 30. “You go on,” he reflected. “You bring the person you love inside you. That is how you cope. You make him or her live within you.”

“In general, bereaved survivors shouldn't’t think of ‘getting over’ a loss, but develop ways to get used to it,” says Prigerson. “Even years after someone dies, pangs of grief may come out of the blue, and feelings of heartache and missing the deceased are rekindled. That’s normal.”


I also finished reading the book "Two Chai Day", by Irene McGoldrick. Two Chai Day is a compelling true story about embracing love and loss, realizing there can be laughter in the midst of sadness, and learning to appreciate the ambiguity of life. This book is beautifully written and the excerpts from her husband's journal adds a perspective that is often missed in books such as this. Anne B, thank you for sharing this book with me... and thank your sister for writing it.

My sister, Nancy, celebrates a birthday on November 1. As I was wrapping her present this week, I asked Lindsey if there was anything she wanted me to pick up for Aunt Nancy from her. (Birthdays are a big deal to Lindsey... she always went out of her way to celebrate a persons special day.) She stared at me for a long time, then said the word Bible. I displayed all of Lindsey's bibles in front of her so she could pick out the one that she wanted Aunt Nancy to have. I then brought Lindsey's jewelry box over to her to see if she also wanted to give Aunt Nancy a piece of her jewelry. Lindsey selected a black, rhinestoned watch. I can't help but think that Lindsey selected this piece to thank Aunt Nancy for all the fun times and for taking time to be with her. So to my sister, Nancy, Happy Birthday. This world is a better place because of you. I love you.

Thank you for checking in on Lindsey.

October 27, 2010

It was a Good Night

Last night Carol and Sheryl from HyVee brought dinner over along with a basket of goodies for Lindsey. She throughly enjoyed seeing her HyVee friends. During her visit with them, another car showed up with more visitors. It was great seeing Mark, Jo Ann, Erin and David. David is quite entertaining and he always brings a smile to Lindsey's face. After everyone left, Lindsey had a difficult time settling down for the evening. I laid with her for a long time... I chatted with her about a number of random things. We talked about Greg... wondered how he was doing in Japan, what his new home on the ship looked like, etc. Lindsey said "I miss him." God showed his graces again.... the phone rang and it was Greg calling from Japan.

Greg called at just the right time. After the phone conversation, Lindsey closed her eyes, went to sleep, and this morning I find her still in a peaceful slumber.

Greg's hoping to have his internet connection up and running today so the FaceTalk feature on the iTouch can be used. It will be wonderful for the two of them to see each other.

HyVee - thank you for dinner, the goodies basket and cards for Lindsey. Your thoughfulness brought a smile to her face. The teddy bears you sent found a place in her bed last night.

Thank you for checking in.

October 24, 2010

Football... Chiefs, MU, TCU




It's great to see and hear the bantering occurring in the Morris household about college teams. The picture is from an exchange of Facebook messages between Todd and Hannah.
The Tigers beat the Sooners last night; TCU beat the Airforce. What will that do to the rankings? With Todd at MU and Hannah at TCU it makes for some fun conversation... if only TCU would be invited to the big 12, then we would truly know.
Lindsey had a good day on Saturday. She joined me in the kitchen while I cooked most of the afternoon...my stress relief. Then she came back down for the first half of the MU game. Lindsey loves watching football. I'm hoping she'll feel up to watching the Chiefs today.
Hospice delivered an air mattress on Saturday which will help relieve pressure on the skin, thus reduce the possibility of bed sores.

Thanks for checking in! Go Chiefs, Tigers and Horned Frogs!

October 20, 2010

The Doves










What is the significance of three doves? Some say it can represent the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost; Others say the doves represent Hope, Freedom and Good Wishes or a symbol or message of love.
We received the doves in the mail today from a friend. They are precious.... do I hang them from a tree or put them on the mantel with Lindsey's "Keeping the Faith" award? The arrival of the doves brought a sense of peace for me at a time when life was going to change a bit. Thank you Ann. I passed on your note of "love" to Lindsey.
Greg departed today for Japan. Lindsey was emotional this morning. This afternoon she is doing better. Signs of a potential large bed-sore is displayed on the right upper thigh. Sleeping/resting positions will need to be rotated more frequently to protect the skin from a sore. We're adjusting schedules so that we can have two people at home during Lindsey's awake times.
I was trying to be a good friend today by attending the funeral for a son that passed away suddenly last week. Mistake. I had to leave at the point the Pastor referred to the young mans span of life as a "dash". I know he meant no harm. There will be no reference to "dashes" at any funeral I plan. I found myself walking to the Garden of Courage at the cemetery, to a peaceful place on a rock, by a pond, with a friend. My friend, Karen, had followed me out. We cried, we talked, we laughed, we gathered courage and went about our day. This is what one does when life doesn't make much sense. You figure out ways to hold on to your faith even during the hardest times.
We were blessed by Greg's presence for 30 days. While a difficult decision for him, he is off today to serve our country. This week Greg purchased the 4th generation Itouch for both of us so that we could use the new FaceTalk feature. FaceTalk allows you to see the other person through the iPod.
Lindsey is doing as well as can be expected with all that she is going through. She chuckles at funny stories, she comprehends all that is going on around her, and if you don't give her enough ice cream she will frequently say "more", "a lot more."

I only wish I could climb inside her mind and know what she is thinking. For now though we cherish the smiles, the giggles, the beautiful brown eyes, and honor her desires for ice cream.

Thank you for checking in.

October 13, 2010

Every Season - Nichole Nordeman

Fall is one of Lindsey's favorite seasons. She loves to pull out her pink Navy sweatshirt and enjoy the cooler weather. Most of her time now is spent in bed, however we have opened the windows so she can enjoy the crisp fall weather. This week we asked Dr. Taylor about the steroids... should we be doing anything different based on Lindsey's desires. That's certainly an option, should Lindsey want to move through this time she is in more quickly. I couldn't bring myself to discuss this with her tonight. She was already emotional; she does not want to discuss being anywhere but home with those she loves. Tonight she struggled to tell me "Don't talk about it. No gone talk." So... we will make no changes.

I was out of town for 3 days and returned home to find my sister, my mom, and Greg thoroughly cleaning my kitchen; everything had been moved, the windows were washed, and they were in the midst of putting things back in place. It was a wonderful surprise for me. While they were cleaning, Lindsey was asleep in my bed, and had been asleep for some time. Hospice delivered oxygen this week and the use of it helped Lindsey to rest more peacefully. I crawled in bed with her for awhile... she opened her eyes for a short time before dozing back off.

Greg's best man from the wedding, Chris Mead, and his darling wife, Christina, will fly in on Friday morning for the weekend to spend time with Greg before he leaves on the 20th. Todd, who has been coming home every weekend, will try to have a normal college weekend at MU. Hannah booked her next flight home for November 5th. College life is a little disruptive right now for both of them.

Thank you for checking in and for your continued kind thoughts and prayers. I hope you enjoy the song as much as Lindsey does.... take care.

October 10, 2010

My Big sis.

On Saturday I had the privilege to go skydiving for the first time with some of my best friends. The night before, during some cookies and milk before bed time, I broke the news to Lindsey that I was going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. She stopped mid-chew and gave me her classic "Lindsey" look.. it was something I hadn't seen in a long time and a moment I'll cherish forever. Although her situation may be tragic and heartbreaking, she is still our Lindsey.

As I was diving through the air I had no perception of how fast I was going or how high I was.. I just knew that I was falling and at some point it would all be over. What surprised me the most was that the entire time I was skydiving I was completely numb.. no nerves.. no fear.

It's a feeling that I can only relate to one thing - how I feel about our current situation with Lindsey. In the end.. we have no idea how fast she is declining or when she will pass. All we know is that at some point she will leave us.

I've been considerably less vocal about my feelings about my families current situation than my mother and Hannah.. and it's not that I don't have anything to say.. it's just that I am at a complete loss for words. What are we supposed to say when someone asks, "How are you doing?" I usually just say fine.. but it's a lie. None of us are fine. We're all just really, really sad.

Today I attended church with my mom and Hannah. The sermon today was about the different ways God speaks to us. Pastor Brent listed a few ways, but the one that caught my attention is that God speaks to us through pain. Through all of the pain, heartache, and sadness that we are going through God has taught me one thing - the importance of family. If I can give anyone a word of advice that I've learned from this.. tell your family you love them. Our family is never going to be the same after Lindsey leaves us.. but in the end we'll be closer than we ever have been before.

One thing I've learned from Lindsey, and I think everyone else should too, is that there is no such thing as too much love. If you knew Lindsey personally, you will know that she was always the happiest person in the room. Her love and compassion for other people was evident everywhere she went, from the post-it notes she wrote my dad expressing how much she loved him to the crafts she made by hand for her kids in school. As much as Lindsey and I butted heads when we were younger she always made it a point to tell me she loved me. If you ever tried to tell her you loved her more she would respond quickly with "whatever!" Lindsey's everlasting love for God, her family, and her friends is her legacy. It is what she will always be remembered for.

It's sad that it takes such a tragic illness for me to realize how important my family is to me. But I know now that God speaks to us through pain, and through all of this my family is going to come out closer than we ever have been. Lindsey will never be forgotten, and I'll always have an older sister.

So as I wrap up this post that my mom suggested I do.. just do me a favor. Before you go to bed tonight tell your family you love them. The simple four-letter word can go a long way, and as Lindsey proved to us all, there's no such thing as too much love.

I love you Lindsey.

Your little brother,

Todd

October 04, 2010

Another one of lifes blessings, Hospice.

Hospice. An organization that is filled with kind, compassionate and caring people. People who have the attributes that we often use to describe Lindsey. Kind, caring and compassionate.

Hospice. An organization with staff who fulfill needs, spoken and unspoken. From the delivery man who brings Lindsey her weekly meds, to the social worker who calls to check on how we are doing, the Chaplin who is there to listen, support and console, to the nurses who stop by now twice a week to tend to the needs of Lindsey and those of the family. Beth, you know our needs and the needs of Lindsey. When Hannah was home last weekend, you knew to spend time with her and ask "What questions do you have for me?" Now that Greg is here you reach out and make contact with him as needed. You prepare us for what's to come; you give us strength to carry on. When we cry, you cry with us. You allow us to grieve, you lift us up and you give us what we need when it's needed.

We know there is much more to Hospice than what we see... nurses, doctors, telephone operators, social workers, file clerks, drivers, etc. I imagine that in this particular work of service there is a deep soul... a soul that is filled by living with such incredible meaning and purpose. To those at Hospice, thank you. Thank you for what you do each day to make our days more manageable.

Speaking of manageable.... I've been in an emotional slump the past week. I'm recovering now but for some reason last week was hard. I can't figure out why. Was it the fact that October is full of many family birthdays, one of which is Bob's? Is it that Lindsey's 25th birthday is just next month? Is it due to all the activity in the household and my time with Lindsey is now shared with many others? Or is it simply due to the fact that this is all very sad. Seeing Lindsey decline, assisting with basic needs, carrying her from bed to chair, seeing her breathing become labored and swallowing becoming more difficult, knowing that where she is right now is the time she dreaded most. She use to tell us... please let the good Lord take me quickly when I get to a point of being unable to care for myself.

I must share that it's so sweet and special to witness Greg's love for Lindsey. The way he tends to her bed sores by cleaning them, bandaging them, and coddling them (as they can be temperamental), to the way he carries her from her bed to the wheelchair, to helping her enjoy favorite fall activities such as an evening around the bonfire roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. Pray for Greg. Tuesday will be a difficult day as he meets with the funeral home. Tuesday will be a day that we again say, why Lindsey? Why now?

Thank you for continuing to check in. As I wrap up this post, I look on my bulletin board and read the following...

I think it's true what they say. Life really is a journey - and it's not always easy to know which maps to trust or what to pack for the trip. But whatever the weather, where ever the road leads, I think the best possible traveling advice would be this. Bring a friend.

We are blessed with many family and friends. Dr. Taylor was right when Lindsey asked to be at home until her time on earth is complete. Dr. Taylor said "yes Lindsey, you can do that." Then she looked at Bob and me and said "It will take a army to get you through it, but yes it can be done." Thank goodness we have an army of friends and family. It's because of this army that Lindsey's desire will be done.

God bless,
Sandy

September 27, 2010

An Update from Greg

I flew in Monday, September 20th, around midnight. I have 30 days of leave; I fly out 20OCT10 for three years in Sasebo, Japan to be on MCM2 (Mine Counter Measures) the USS Defender.

The last few days Lindsey has been busy with everyone coming and going. My mother (Leona) has come to visit and help out around the house; my father (Clair) has even stopped by to see me and Lindsey for a short time.

Hannah and Todd came in this weekend making it a full house. It is a blessing having everyone home and here to help, and to just visit.

With all the extra mouths to feed; God answered another prayer. People brought food; so much food that we almost didn't have enough room in the refrigerators for it all. A BIG THANKS goes out to everyone who helped make this possible!!!

Yesterday was a good/bad day for Lindsey. It started out great with most of the house hold going to church. Bob stayed behind to man the fort and to watch after Lindsey. After church Megan stopped by for a short time, but would return soon. A little latter that day, Grandma & Grandpa Jackson stopped by, and when Megan came back she brought the rest of her family to say hello. While Lindsey has access to the first floor of the house now, she spends most of her time sleeping in her room. She'll usually come down to the kitchen to eat, then ask to return to her bed to rest. Friends are very considerate of how Lindsey is feeling when they come by to visit. We keep it quiet in her room, and friends will go up to chat with her or sit with her as she rests.

The sad part of the day is when Hannah & Todd had to leave. It was emotional for all. They fear that something will happen when they are not home. Lindsey and I, had a hug and a heart to heart moment. I had to remind her after they had left, that Hannah would be back in a two weeks and Todd would be in next week. This time will fly!!!

I know how they feel when they leave and how hard it is to step away from the whole situation. The only way I live with it and myself is by knowing God is in control and that I am also leaving Lindsey in the hands of people I trust, respect, and love. I hope this helps you , Todd & Hannah.

As for today, my brother Daniel and his daughter Sam are coming in, and will be staying until Wednesday. My mother will be making the drive home with them back to Ohio.
In closing, Lindsey is still doing well (as well can be). She and the family still need every ones prayers and blessings.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog and may you have a blessed
day....Greg

September 20, 2010

An update from Aunt Nancy

Last week Lindsey mentioned she wanted to come over to my house. I was excited when Bob said he was willing to give it a try. I picked her up Thursday morning and as we drove away she said "I'm so excited. What are we going to do today?" I was surprised by her question but not her excitement about being out of the house. In the past our outings consisted of a visit to Hy-Vee, Starbucks, and Express Pak "N" Ship to visit my sister-in-law, Gina, who Lindsey has grown to love. I wasn't sure if she was up for any of it, but when I asked if she wanted to go to Hy-Vee, she said, "YES!" She loved seeing her friends from work; it was like a trip down memory lane for her which makes her sad sometimes. I tell her it's okay to be sad for a little bit but life is too short to waist on sadness all the time. That is when I try to find something silly to talk about to get her to smile or giggle. I usually works. :o) Carol, sorry we missed you... we will be back to see you on Wednesday if Lindsey is up to it. After we left Hy-Vee we headed to see Gina, then back to my house for a long nap.
I want to thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and support. It helps Lindsey and our family to stay positive and determined to push through each day. I also want to thank my sister and Bob for allowing me to be a part of Lindsey's journey. I will cherish this time forever.

Love,
Aunt Nancy

Additional misc updates...
We'll have a housefull this weekend...
Greg is flying in on the 20th and he'll be here for thirty days! Greg's mom is also coming in on the 23rd for five days, and Todd and Hannah will be home. We'll see if Lindsey is up for a visit to Octoberfest in downtown Lee's Summit, a favorite fall tradition of the Morris family. Last weekend Lindsey had a surprise visit from her father-in-law, Claire Elwood, whose truck route brought him through this area for a stop over.

September 14, 2010

Thank goodness for Lifts!

We're talking stair-lifts and bath-lifts!

This week the Morris house received new additions. We now have a bath lift which allows Lindsey to sit in a chair and be lowered down into the tub. We also have a stair lift which will make it much easier for Lindsey to go between the 1st and 2nd floor of our house.

The last two nights have been different. Normally Lindsey awakens when I arrive home and we spend 2-3 hours together. Last night she slept until 8:30 only to wake up awhile for a bath and to spend time reading messages on the computer. It's currently 8:30 and she is still asleep. I even sat in her room for 2 hours with the light on working... still she slept.

Lindsey will awaken to good news. Leona, Greg's mother and Lindsey's mother-in-law, will be visiting Sept 23 - 28th. Greg will fly in on the 20 or 21 and he will be here for 30 days.

Please pray for an uneventful weekend for both Lindsey and Bob. Todd and I are heading to Fort Worth to visit Hannah for the weekend. It's TCU's family weekend and Todd's first trip to the campus. Last year Lindsey and I went down to visit Hannah. It saddens me to think about how things have changed since that time.

September 12, 2010

We are not alone - The Walk

It's Sunday morning and while we are not in church, I'm spending some time with God.

People will say to the Morris family, "I don't know how you're doing it."

Talk to any Christian who has been through a valley, a deep life trauma, and you will hear much of the same thing: "I don't know how I did it, but somehow I made it through."

While the journey of Lindsey's "Return of the Tumor" continues, we push through. There is no question that it's difficult and uncertain. In the blink of an eye things changed for us like a rain of brimstone. The diagnosis has at times left us weak-kneed and shattered. However, these are the moments faith is made of. The Bible supports this. The more we need faith, the more faith we are given. The more we completely trust God, the deeper that trust grows.

Faith and power are gifts that go hand in hand, and they come from the source of all power, the Holy Spirit. Call it what you will -- stamina, courage, tenacity, hanging on, resilience -- it is that touch of the divine miracle, when we feel like we can't take another step. But, then we do. We were somehow strengthened beyond our understanding to stand a little longer, to take one more move forward, or to go a little beyond the totally helpless feeling of being out of control.

God's gift of faith and power are always adequate, no matter how desperate our situation has become. Exhaustion and frustration may have burdened us down so that we wonder if we will ever recover again. The pain unrelenting, the anticipated loss overwhelming, the void of a child damning. But God's power is great enough to get us through this desperate and challenging period of our life.

We are finding that we can and will go on. We will pick up the pieces and face our fears. We can find peace in the rubble. And, we can have courage.

We see acts of Jesus daily. Acts such as... my sister, Nancy who has reduced her work schedule to spend time with Lindsey during the day; friends who stop by to bring Lindsey her favorite food or Mom her favorite bottle of wine... a cash gift to help loved ones travel... 180+ people who participated in the Head for the Cure 5k to support finding a cure for cancer... businesses that sponsor fund-raisers or donate space to host events, a continuous stream of cards, notes, and messages.. employers who are supportive and understanding... and a family whose continued love and support lift us up everyday. The list goes on, just like the love of Jesus that never stops.

Regarding Lindsey...

Pain was the topic during the middle of the week. We were having trouble getting out in front of it which effected Lindsey's ability to rest. In addition, Lindsey was having sporadic, little seizures. Adjustments to the meds occurred and by Friday things were much better. Lindsey was also more verbal on Friday which was a nice treat for all of us. We love hearing her voice, seeing that twinkle in her eye and her smiles. She is frustrated by her inability to easily move about the house, and to go places. As she said to me Friday night... "You by my chair during the week is fine. Weekends are for going. I want to go, to lay in the hammock, to get out." On Saturday, the getting out consisted of spending time on the first floor of our house, instead of her room (which requires someone to come over and help carry Lindsey downstairs), lunch with a couple of friends that stopped by, and time basking in the sun on the deck, along with a chance to wash Lindsey's hair while she lay there quietly enjoying the beautiful fall day. We offered to take her into town in the evening but her day had been full. She was ready to have dinner and get ready for bed. She slumbered on the living room floor so that she could enjoy another day "out" on Sunday.

In the hubbub of of our lives, God is with us -- He opens the door for us to love one another and to bring light to someones darkness. The Morris family greatly appreciates everyone who is lightening the burden for us. You're helping to heal our spirit that is wounded. Thank you.

September 08, 2010

Head for the Cure 5K photos


In case you're interested.... go to this link to view the photos from the 5k. I love this one of Lindsey and my sister, Nancy.

September 06, 2010

Labor Day Weekend





We were blessed with a wonderful weekend. Greg arrived early Friday morning and it was great seeing how his presence lifted Lindsey's spirits. It was also nice for Lindsey to have the strength of Greg as he carried her to the first floor and traveled with her outside. Greg is almost done with school and his plan is to return September 20th. We're hoping that Leona, Greg's mother can make it out to see Lindsey while Greg is here. After Greg left for the airport, I asked Lindsey if I could get anything for her. Her response, "Greg".

Here's a few precious photos from the weekend. A true labor of love.

September 02, 2010

Greg's Coming to Town!

Greg will be in town Labor Day weekend. His last visit home was July 5th. When I shared his visit with Lindsey last night she said "I'm excited, excited, excited."

As the hospice nurse told us yesterday, we're in a holding pattern right now. We saw a dramatic decline after the seizure this past weekend but no further decline has occurred.

Last night our friends from V's Italian Restaurant dropped off dinner - yummm... their lasagna is the best in town. Lindsey and I decided it was okay to treat ourself to not one, but two of their yummy brownies.

Enjoy time with friends and family this Labor Day weekend.

August 30, 2010

Head for the Cure 5k



God graced us again. Sunday morning was beautiful and Lindsey's determined spirit got her there at the race to see the wonderful people who came out to support her and support finding a cure for brain cancer. Lindsey was a recipient of one of the five Keeping the Faith awards and the Lace up for Lindz team received an award for having the 2nd highest number of participates. Our final count was 186.

Regarding Lindsey's current health issues....

Anti-seizure medication was prescribed on Saturday, with some trepidation due to Lindsey's sensitivity to the drugs. Within hours, personality changes surfaced. While she is not mobile at this time, it didn't stop her from trying. Twice I found her on the floor next to the bed as she attempted to get up. The 2nd time she engaged me in a conversation stating "Mom, I need to talk with you about my diagnosis." We proceeded to have a disjointed conversation about many things as she attempted to explain to me a dream, a very real dream, she was having.

To help to keep her safe, Hospice delivered a bed with railings. Sunday brought on difficulting keeping food down, along with sporadic, dis-jointed and random conversation. A call into Hospice resulted in stopping the new medication for 24 hours. We'll assess the changes and develop a new plan to combat the seizures.
With Lindsey's weakened right side, physically caring for her is becoming more challenging. She is not able to walk or stand by herself any longer. Thank goodness we had the strength of Todd this weekend so that he and Bob could carry Lindsey up/down the stairs. Lindsey's bedroom will be her primary location going forward. We've moved things around a bit to make room for a twin mattress on the floor so that one of us can sleep in her room at night. Tonight sleep is intermittent as I rub her back and respond to her many random comments and conversation.

August 28, 2010

Head for the Cure Pre-Race Happy Hour











Friday, August 26th, we hosted a pre-race happy hour at the Zen Zone. Race participants picked up t-shirts, visited with Lindsey and enjoy appetizers and drinks. The event was a wonderful success... we started with 12 boxes of t-shirts and left with only 2 to take to the race Sunday morning. 182 people signed up for team "Lace-Up for Lindz!! This is simply amazing to us... Lindsey is very touched by your support.
It was great to see everyone and meet the participants who I had only known by name. A special thanks to the Zen Zone for allowing us to use their facility. Thank you to my friends who helped with t-shirt organization, packaging and set-up the day of the event.

It was good to see Lindsey's smiles as she visited with her friends and relatives.

Saturday started as a normal day... breakfast, sleeping, etc. I made lunch for the gang (Todd, Jake, Jeff, Hannah and Lindsey) and we enjoyed great, random conversation. Lindsey participated as she could. We all chuckeled as she came back for seconds of the Papa Murphys cookie dough (a weakness of mine when I'm a bit stressed). After lunch, the girls headed outside to work on posters for the race. Our dear Hannah was outside with Lindz when Lindz had a seizure. The first we've had in about 2 months. While it was not a grand mal seizure (whew), it did last for about 15 minutes, and then on off for the next 2 hours. The hospice nurse came out and adminstered Lorazepam as needed until the seizures calmed down. A phenobarb suppository was given and the oral doses will start tomorrow. Mobility is getting much more difficult. We are now using the wheelchair to move about the house.
As I visited with Lindsey about the race and her ability to attend, she very firmly stated. "I'm going." So with God's continued good graces, she'll be there to support this great cause and receive one of the "Keep the Faith" awards. Thank you to those who nominated.

August 24, 2010

It's quiet in the Morris Home


Todd and Hannah have returned to school and it's very quiet in the Morris home. No more boys showing up every night to do P90X, no more friends stopping by to swim, play games, and visit. Todd headed back to MU last week. Bob, Lindsey and I made a road trip to MU on Saturday to deliver a new mattress to Todd and a few other things. We also toured the new Union dining facility. It's very nice. I've attached a few photos from our day trip. Todd is very quiet and reserved... it's hard for him to see what is happening to his sister. As you can see from picture, the steroids are giving Lindsey nice round, beautiful cheeks. (At least I think they are beautiful... she on the otherhand doesn't like what she sees in the mirror.)

Lindsey has been awakening at night to take care of personal needs. We're trying to get her to ring a bell so we can help.. Most nights she forgets. Sometimes she falls. Sunday night after assisting I finished my slumber next to her. As I was putting her to bed Monday night I asked her if she remembered that I had slept with her the previous night. Her response...as she looked at me ever so intently, "more often. You should do that more often." So I did. I stayed with her Monday night. Tonight at dinner, I asked her if she remembered that I stayed with her. As her eyes welled up, she responded "Yes... I felt so special. I don't like being alone in my bed." And she cried. So... Bobby, until Greg arrives, I'll be sleeping with our girl... and that's exactly where Bob would want me to sleep right now.

Quiet is okay. Lindsey and I are working on her t-shirt quilt. She has selected her t-shirts, the fabric, and we are enjoying putting together shirts from her past, present, and we're saving room for the Lace-Up for Lindz t-shirts, which today represents the future.
Thank you to those who are praying for Todd and Hannah as they transition back to school. It's difficult for them to be away at this time.

August 22, 2010

Head for the Cure Update and T-shirt pick-up iformation.

This update is specifically for Head for the Cure 5k participants and/or individuals who purchased a Lace Up for Lindz t-shirt, that may not be walking in the 5K. Thank you again for supporting the Lace Up for Lindz team and helping to find a cure for brain cancer, One Step at a Time!

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This message includes important information about picking up your T-shirts and Race Day information.

As team captain, I am picking up all the Head for the Cure t-shirts. You DO NOT need to go to Ward Parkway Mall, as stated on the Head for the Cure website.

With a generous donation from a friend, we're having a Pre-Race Happy Hour on Friday evening, August 27th, from 5pm - 7pm at the Zen Zone, in Lee's Summit,Mo. This is an opportunity for you to pick up your t-shirts, have a drink and some appetizers if you have time, and hopefully say hello to Lindsey (providing she feels up to being out). If your t-shirts have not been paid for, please plan on paying when you pick up. While I received a generous donation from a sponsor for t-shirts, the screen printing was not free.

Pre-Race Happy Hour Details

Location: Zen Zone
413 Northwest Murray Road
Lee's Summit, MO 64081

The Zen Zone is located off of Murray road (you can see it from 350 highway) between Chipman Road and 3rd Street, It's across the street from the John Knox Pavilion, and in the same parking lot as the John Knox Thrift Store. While you're picking up your t-shirts and visiting, check-out the classes offered at the ZenZone. I personally love the Pilate's, Hot Yoga, and Power Core Yoga offerings.

If you are unable to make it Friday night, other t-shirt pick-up options are listed below:

* Pick-up Saturday morning, August 28th, at the Zen Zone between 9:30 and 10:30.
* Pick-up at the Race - I will only bring the t-shirts for those walking. Non-race participants will need to make other arrangements to get the t-shirts from me.

Race Day Information

We'll meet at the Head for the Cure Team Village. The Team Village will be located on the northeast side of Building 40 in the parking lot and extending onto the grassy median between the race course and the port-a-potties.

Meeting time: 7:30am - for Team Pictures!!!

Location: Team Village - Look for the Team Lace Up for Lindz poster which will stake out our team meeting spot. And... of course look for all the Purple T-shirts! We'll also have a bouquet of pink and purple helium filled balloons to mark our area. The team picture will be taken by the village, in front of a large banner that will be provided as a back-drop. Head for the Cure will have a photographer to take pictures. I'm sure we'll have others taking pictures also.

Parking: I've been reassured that there is plenty of parking at Corporate Woods. Please plan plenty of time to park, and walk to the team meeting spot. (Bob and I will be there by 6am to mark our spot so if you happen to arrive early, we'll be there!)

For team members who plan to walk and aren't concerned with being timed, you will line up for a parade that will start out of the Team Village area after the start of the 5k. Walkers will exit the Team Village through a special archway onto the course a few minutes after the race starts and the runners wishing to be timed are already on the course.

I think that covers the details. If you have questions, please send me a message or give me a call. My cell number is 816-868-3118.

One step at a time, we will help find a cure for this awful disease. Thank you again for your support!

All the best to you...

Sandy and Bob Morris

August 20, 2010

Keeping the Faith Award -

The Head for the Cure Organization has a "keeping the faith" award. If you know Lindsey, and if you have been following the blog, you know that she would be a very deserving recipient of the award. Please consider nominating her. Nominations are due by Wednesday, August 25. Here's the information from the Head for the Cure website.


Award Recipients:

Each year brain cancer patients are honored with a special Head for the Cure Keeping the Faith award. Their journeys, courage, strength, will and faith are an inspiration.

Each year at the 5k Run and Walk event, additional Keeping the Faith recipients will be honored. For the future, please feel free to nominate a deserving individual who exemplifies the above attributes and whose battle against brain cancer can inspire others with the disease.

Submit a brief information about your Keeping the Faith nominee and the reason you believe the nominee is deserving. Please send the nomination to:

Julie Watkins

Head for the Cure

250 Richards Road

Kansas City, MO 64116

Juli@headforthecure.org

The nomination can be emailed. A picture would also be beneficial.


If you have signed up to participate in the race, or ordered a shirt, additional information about t-shirt pick-up and race information will be posted on the Blob by Sunday. Stay tuned!

August 16, 2010

Getting Weaker... but Super Excited

The title of this post is so Lindsey. While things can be going badly, she looks for opportunities to experience joy and excitement.

Sunday night, as I got Lindsey ready for bed, I did a run down of the week ahead. When I got to the part about going to Aunt Nancy's on Tuesday she blurted out, "I know". "I'm SUPER EXCITED." It was so good to hear these words. It was great to hear the expression of excitement. Even in the midst of increased pain, a weaker right side, and increased difficultly in managing mobility in our home, Lindsey finds joy in being with those she loves. Especially her Aunt Nancy. Nancy has decided to change her schedule so that she can spend time with Lindsey during the weekdays. Precious time. When Nancy asked me about this I responded by saying, "How can I say no to something that Lindsey loves so much?" When you ask Lindsey what she'd like to do, it's very common for her to respond "Aunt Nancy". Lindsey will have the joy of spending a couple days a week with Nancy while she can.
Greg is in the final days of school in the Navy and is hoping to be here the first part of September. He has filed his requests and is waiting for approval. He's hoping for 30 days before he departs for Japan in October. The Lindsey he'll come home to is very different from the Lindsey he left on July 5th. Please pray for Greg. He is a great man. He is a man that will need to be lifted up in prayer as he sees what the cancer is doing to his wife.
Posted here is Aunt Nancy and Greg. Two people that Lindsey finds herself getting "SUPER EXCITED" about.


August 09, 2010

Sisters... and Race Update

Tomorrow I ride back with Hannah to school at TCU. She's taking a car back this year and I'm heading down with her. Yes, I'm the nervous Mom who doesn't want her to have to drive 8 hours by herself for the first time. I know the move back this year will most likely be more difficult than last year. I want to spend some time with her and help with the move-in.

Hannah has been a blessing all summer. She has helped with Lindsey; helped around the house; and in every case simply just did what needed to be done without me needing to ask. I will miss her. She will miss us. She will miss her friends and her support group here in KC. Thank goodness for technology... Facebook, Skype, text, etc makes it easier to be far apart.

School will keep her very busy as she has been accepted into the Neely Fellows Program at TCU. Only 30 students a year are accepted and the program is rigorous, with a purpose to educate and develop students of extraordinary potential with both curricular and co-curricular experiential learning opportunities. Yes, we are very proud of her. She had a great first year and continues to just amaze us with her work. Staying busy is good right now. Between school work, and sorority life, she will have little time to think about anything else (umm.. except maybe her friend at MU.)

I love these photos of Hannah and Lindsey in the pool, taken just this past weekend. Again, an example of Hannah's helpful nature.


Please pray for a safe trip to Fort Worth and for a good week at home. We have a few friends helping with Lindsey during the week and with meals while I'm out of town. Thank goodness for friends and family. We are truly blessed.

Race update - I just heard from Head for the Cure that we may have one of the largest teams! THAT IS AMAZING!!! So far 152 people are signed up for the Lace Up for Lindz team. Thank you for your support! While it's to late to order the Lace Up for Lindz t-shirts, it's not to late to sign up for the team! The support of Lindsey's friends, associates from work, school, etc has simply been tremendous. Thank you.

August 06, 2010

Fighter, Fierce, Fantastic

While Lindsey's responses are normally short, this week she said the following:

* "Where did you go?" You see we've had this tradition of her joining me in my bedroom while I'm getting ready for work. She sits and has coffee and I chat with her about my day ahead. Twice this week I went into work earlier than usual.. .I thought I'd let her sleep in. I thought she might not notice. She noticed. She remembered. And she asked. She doesn't care how early, just wake her up for her morning coffee and conversation with me.
* "Rub my back all over."
This was said as I was laying with her one night. Of course, I gladly massaged her back. When I thought she was asleep and I got ready to get up, she said "please don't leave."
* "I feel different"
Lindsey's body is having to work much harder to do the simple things. Breathing is very labored at times, even at rest. The right side is getting weaker. She stumbled this week and evidently rolled her ankle at the time, and it's now black and blue. She didn't even feel it.
We strive to have Lindsey go through this journey as gracefully as possible. We want those that know her to remember her for when she was at her best. While changes occur daily, most we will keep private so as to maintain Lindsey's dignity. Please pray for Lindsey and the family as we continue to provide care.
This photo is a picture of a card I received in the mail. Ironically, from a friend whose mother has brain cancer. Seeing a loved one suffer is difficult. My friend's mother was diagnosed shortly after retirement. A retirement the couple had saved and looked forward to as they had a dream to travel. A dream that was shattered by brain cancer.
As the card says "Fighter, Fierce, Fantastic... I've got a whole different "F" word for cancer"... .. and as my friend states "and I put it on a bracelet!" Yes, the bracelets are becoming quite popular.


On another note, I happened to stumble across a bible lesson given by a young man that I know, and in it he shared "God has a plan for all of us and if we follow his instructions and trust in him we can all live with him in heaven forever." I know Lindsey will live in heaven. She is a believer. I know that her trust in Him is why she is at peace should God's will have her leaving us sooner than we would like.
This young man went on to say, "If we died right now, where would we go? Is there something else that we should be doing to ensure life in heaven? His parting question is a good one for all of us to ponder.