Tag Archives: cancer

Living Between Life and Death: A Tribute to Uncle Hal


Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. -Brené Brown

Today I gave a message at the Eugene Mennonite Church and below here is the take away.

I would like each of you to consider if you only had 6 days left on Earth, like Uncle Hal had from the day he admitted on hospice – are you living the life you want to be living? Do those you love and cherish know how you define a good death -for an instance do you want to die at home, amongst family or friends? And, are you in pain? How are you sharing your pain with others? Please do not suffer alone.
I leave you with this…
Grief never ends…but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.



IMGP4677Last night I prepared for a successful night’s sleep with both of us needing to wake up early and me needing to re-enter my work world after three days of bereavement.  I fell fast asleep but at one point woke with extreme sadness, tears rolling.  At another point I woke up in night sweats and complete thirst so I went to get water to find one dog needs to pee and the other throws up.  How did they know I would be up and they would need me?  I was (and am) so tired but I felt (and still feel) like writing.  I actually started this post however after a blessed bump of a key and the whole thing erased…decided sleep was more important at that point.  Here I am now at 4am up because the youngest dog would not stop crying for his dad.

I had prepared for success and thought it impossible I wouldn’t sleep after my second night of a$$ kicking indoor soccer.  No, we did not win but the sport really does a girl in.  My whole body aches, feels good really to push it this hard.  There’s a dear friend of mine Christina I’ve been writing back and forth with since her terminal cancer diagnosis (firstly why CANCER WHY?) (secondly -keep hoping the miracle of a cure will come her way, then I realize the miracle is right before our eyes – it is her) (thirdly – click on her name and follow her story if you are so inspired).  I sent her an IM the other day describing my waves of grieve and she gave me this imagery:

Yes, waves, flowing in and out. The imagery that comes to me is standing in the ocean and enjoying the beauty of the majestic sea only to be knocked down- a bit surprised and unsettled. Then rising again to find your footing and resuming the laughter and enjoying the sea, then it comes again, that wave to big to manage and knocks us down yet again. Memories of the good times will continue to flood your thoughts, so too will the images of the end of life- the loss, that emptiness that suddenly appears in our heart. It is good to grieve- with our end goal to get to the gentle place where we celebrate the gift of having our beloved ones join us in this journey, if for only a season, more than we mourn the loss. You see their imprint is left forever in the way we see and do life- this is how they live on forever, through you. Or perhaps a slightly irreverent physical experience as an example, I get to enjoy each day are the extreme shifts between intense and often unbearable hot-flashes/night sweats. One moment I have some mental and physical footing only to be brought to my knees and filled with uncontrollable events that are happening to me. I then recover, from the waves of sweating, panic, frustration, and helplessness and find my footing again. Oh I how wish that this lifetime protected us from suffering, loss, and pain. But it does not. We are therefore left to find the beauty in each moment-in the suffering, the loss, and the pain. It is there. We must look hard sometimes to find it. Let the tears flow as they rise. Allow joy and memories of the joy blanket your entire being. I too am thinking of you. 💕

How is it that I am allowed the gift of giving and receiving from her?  Which is how I came to find the photo above from a trip to Newport, OR…some time ago.  But I can feel the waves, smell the salt…and feel the grounding.  Part of today’s horoscope:  Keeping your current inspiration alive is the key to your soul’s satisfaction.

Breast Cancer Awareness

It’s a busy month.  My private practice business (Ignite, LLC) has partnered with another local company, Chacha’s Boutique to make these handmade copper bracelets to raise money for breast cancer.  Next week we will be producing a video on my YouTube channel talking about this specific fundraiser as well as how to cope with a new diagnosis for those with breast cancer and their loved ones.  Folks can purchase either bracelet on Etsy for $15 and there are two other options for personalization as well.  Proceeds will go to OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute.  Pre-order your’s now and they will start shipping out October 1st in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  IMGP4760

Pieces of You

There are those special people in your life that have existed as long as you remember, who have flowed in and out along your life path. SarahLyn was one of those people. I can hear her laughing now, with that twinkle in her eye. She was my favorite person to sing with in the church choir growing up (because no one else in my family sang alto- and she was funny as heck causing my dad all kinds of grief as the choir director); and if she was in a play with my parents I knew we’d be laughing (they could be funny; or making a mess of things).  I later would find myself co-managing a shelter for homeless families and adults with mental illness, something she had done years before. One of the best things she did for me was take me out to lunch once a month-ish for a period of time when my work life and personal life seemed much the same (crisis and chaos). I had added her to a team of people I called my support care team and when times were tough those few years I would start calling them. She provided me with the listening ear, the laughter, and could really meet me where I was (often saying, I remember doing something very similar). Most of all, she genuinely loved me. I was heart broken to find out she had pancreatic cancer and then amazed to hear her journey through cancer treatment. During that same season I found out about her, my cousin Akin was also diagnosed with a re-occurring brain tumor. We lost him first, this February I like to think she joined him.

One of the other many gifts of SarahLyn was her creative and artistic self. I’m comforted knowing I can still find her along my life journey and thank her for always loving me.

Painting by SarahLyn

Painting by SarahLyn


Kunmi & Akin

My cousin Akin has lived with sickle cell disease his whole life.  We did not even know we would see the day he would live to be 41 when he was a teenager.  This week he had brain surgery to remove cancer, totally unrelated to his sickle cell disease.  So blessed to have spent time with him, his wife Seun, and his 5 year old son Kunmi.  These three cousins of mine are so courageous – only finding out less than a week and a half ago that the cancer had come back, and a surgery that took place this last Wednesday.  Totally amazed he is already back in the comfort of his home, I teased him that he must have just been granted 9 MORE lives.

Kunmi is an intelligent, sweet young man with such energy and a big, big heart.  He doesn’t blink at the 41 staples that cover his father’s head.  Seun is so there, prepared to do what it takes for her family- they truly amaze me.