Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Our Moorhead boys...

I often wonder what my boys will think about their childhood having grown up with cancer in the midst of their lives?  I continuously try to "pour" into them, as much of myself as I can.  These words below resonated deeply with me when I first read them...


It was in the middle of chemo last week that I had a revelation.  Nolan had told us that he would be starting in the quarter final section game against Buffalo that night, last Tuesday.  He would be skating on a line with Matt Herbranson, and Jack Stetz, who just so happened to have moms who also had survived breast cancer!  Nolan would be centering the line with Jack on the right, and Matt on the left.  I texted my friends, and asked if we could do a picture together.

Here we are- Sue Stetz in the middle and Steph Herbranson on the far right.  We were so proud of our boys!  We posted the photo on Facebook and were overwhelmed by the response it got.  



Imagine our bigger surprise, when our boys came home, asking permission to be interviewed by Chris Murphy from the Fargo Forum.  

The story ran in today's paper.  Here is the link: 

With mothers having battled breast cancer, three Moorhead hockey players have special bond


I'm so honored to read this story.  The three of us.  The three of them.  Bonded together by the hard, but also the grace, and the perseverance to move forward- together- surrounded by a loving community that walks along with us.  

Our boys?  Got it just right... and I'm deeply humbled that they articulated their thoughts so well. 

The Moorhead Spuds hockey team will play in their section final tonight against Bemidji up in Thief River Falls! Go spuds!  Onward Moorhead! 

Will you help cheer us on?  




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What do you say?

How do we ever know what to say to someone who has just had the rug ripped out from beneath them?  Especially when their "hard thing," may be so vastly different from your own experience?  If we can't fix it, and can't take it away, what do we say to them? 

"Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried."  Megan Devine 

“It’s too much to bear – may I sit with you and bear it with you?”Marilyn Gardner


I've given my highlighter a work out.  I've been reading, and storing up these bits and phrases that speak to me. They're real, and speak authentically to me.


My gratitude swells every time someone steps forward to "bear it," with me.  My friends organized a meal train- and within a short time- its full!  With my own limited ability to eat much on some days, I love knowing my boys get a full belly of a really good meal, several times a week. 


Truth be told, indefinite weekly chemo is not something I think I'll grow accustomed to.  A few days after infusion, as I start to regain some energy again as the drugs leave my system, my counts fall.  Then back down I go.  I've yielded to our bed more than I'd like to say.


But in between?  Friends just stop by, bringing cookies they've just baked, or banana bread. One sweet friend, brings me a scarf with hearts, to brighten my day, and make up (that I happen to love!) and a new shampoo system that helps you grow hair!  And she sits, and listens, and nods, and gets it perfectly right.  And that warmth that she instills, carries with me, as I crawl back into bed later. 







And this one?  He yields with me.  His knowing eyes, that SEE me, as he endures the side effects of his own medications trying to squelch the epileptic seizures that wreak havoc on all of us.  They're traumatizing for us to watch him go through, but we've made it through every one of them. We gather around him, cajoling him, whispering his name, and thanking God when he suddenly comes back to us, panting, but weakly wagging his tail, telling us he's back.  We bear it with him, as much as he does with us.






Because through the thick of it all, the bright moments are still shining through.  Like when Colton comes home and quietly lays this certificate on the kitchen table.  The table is a mess, filled with blank thank you notes I plan to write, and lists of people to write to, and items we need to replace- the mess of our life on clear display. 

But through it all- the light shines bright and seems to always highlight the things that matter most. The ones that see you through.  Because it tells me he, my baby,  is doing okay- despite how not ok it all feels at times.

(He won't pose for a picture with it, but he beamed when I noticed it, and that I'll carry with me always.)


And yet, we're stepping forward, no matter how much the chaos swirls round.  With the help of members from our hockey community and Rick's Dad, Jim, we've found help to lay our floor.  We're using the maple flooring, pulled from Rick's Grandpa's and Grandma's farmhouse.  The 120-some-year-old house is gone now, but the beautiful reclaimed wood bears the prairie dirt, the dust of harvested crops, the footprints of all the ancestors to have gone before us.  It's breathing new life, while building a storied and sturdy foundation to carry us all forward.


This boy, our Nolan, won't pose for pics either.  But he gives me this most treasured moment.  Its a long story, years in the making.  About a boy, and a Spud puck given to him by the head coach at that time, and how he at 3 years old, tucked it in bed with him, and dreamed big dreams of where that puck love could take him.

And this mom?  Held fast to those dreams of his too.  Yet, I don't long for the grandiose, the big, the bucket list worthy type of things.  I long for the small, the little, the milestones my boys will encounter and the ability to bear witness to as many of those as I can.  

Like this... his first...




Varsity goal.  


And as if everything conspired to align that night... the tv sports cameraman, caught it all on tape... and it aired on the news that night.  Number 27, (our Nolan) with help from a seasoned number 22 who so beautifully executed the pass, shot and scored his first "Spud goal," a few weeks ago.

And I cried, tears of joy, and celebration, of yet another milestone I got to bear witness to.  


untitled from Vicky Westra on Vimeo.

And that moment when it all comes full circle.

When that "little" boy, becomes a young man, and pays it forward.

Yesterday, that same boy, (Far right in the back) went with the team, and surrounded these "mini-spuds," in hopes that they too will dream those big Spud dreams.





Rick left for Idaho for a week, I have infusion today.  

Ob la di, Ob la da, life goes on...


When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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