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.

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, "", 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 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,


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,