Tuesday, May 31, 2011

...carrying their names into the wind...

My college friend, Lisa, on your far right, sent me this fb message last week:

"From left to right we are, Char Merritt (Cancer didn't survive her 10 years ago - she refuses to be called a "survivor"), Tina Gardner, Deb Rasmussen (my bosses wife who has been through chemo three times for breast cancer), Kelly Phillips, and me. I am praying for you daily, Vicky, and now all of us are! Hang in there and fight like a girl!"

Thanks Lisa! With that "tour de force" of women who have stood up to cancer and won repeatedly, on my side, their invincibility gives me strength and courage!

Elizabeth sent me this photo yesterday all the way from LONDON!  Wow, my bracelets are well traveled!  I love the Tower Bridge and it was just 22 years ago May that I took much the same picture of that bridge myself.  

These are two more of Elizabeth's friends, her friend Buffy and her mom Claire.   Thank you friends for honoring my fight with your bracelets and strength!


I awoke this morning with a steady drip of blood coming from my nose.  Tack it onto an increasing list of side effects from the chemo.  Our excursion to the Cities this weekend cost me, (although I wouldn't have done it any differently)  I have a new burning sensation in my sternum and feel a new achiness in general.  The pain goes as high as an 8 on the scale of 1-10 of pain management.  But it only last seconds and releases.  It just returns sometimes as quickly as it goes.  I've tried eating, and not, Ranitidine and Tums, standing and sitting.  The only real relief was in moving forward with my day yesterday.  I managed to pack 6 laundry baskets of clothes, shoes, blankets, purses, hats, etc, for Dakota Boys Ranch. I'm in a mood to sort, clean, organize and throw, both in my surroundings and internally as the metaphor seems to apply to my life in general.  

Plus, I can't stop thinking about my Dad.  My mom told me two things yesterday, 1) that one of her sisters put flowers on his grave and so 2) she didn't feel the need to go visit Dad's grave with us.  Sigh.  Its classic for my mom and I marvel at how her emotion doesn't seem to kick in so that she WANTS to go.  

But I am my father's daughter.  Despite the ache of missing him of wanting to be close to him and talk to him.  Knowing, 6 feet under was as close as I would get, I wanted to go to him.  I've been drying flowers for almost a year.  They were wild flowers growing on my Dad's childhood farm and we picked them last summer.  Colton and I crushed them in a bag and sprinkled them all over the grave and trampled them into the dirt.  I like the idea of bringing a piece of his home, home to him, even though I know he isn't really there.  

There were no other flowers on the grave as mom had said.  A small flag flew by his grave, in the whirling winds on the forefront of what would become a night of severe thunderstorms.  We would spend part of the night hunkered down in the basement, no electricity, just the crack of lightning as the thunder boomed and the howl of the straight line winds blowing the patio furniture across the deck. 

But first we tended the grave sites.  First my Dad's, and then my nephew Hunter's .  Colton painstakingly untangled Hunter's windchimes, and replaced the fallen pinwheel.  Then he rested the stuffed bear in a nook of the marker, taking great care to see that it was comfortable in its new home.  His tender and gentle demeanor were a pull on my heart.  This boy is so loving.   

We took one last walk around the cemetery.  It was the unadorned graves we stopped at and read their names and said a quick prayer for them.  They were WWII and WWI vets.   We honored them by carrying their names into the wind, acknowledging their sacrifices for their country, for us.


  1. What a touching and inspiring way to spend Memorial Day with your son Vicky.

    I'm so sorry to hear that you are in pain. That da-- chemo is SO tough on your body - but we want it to be tough on the cancer, right?

    Sending you warm and loving thoughts.

  2. What a sweet remembrance for your father.

    Love that London photo!

    Blessings of health and healing and strength for you, Vicky.

  3. That last photo in black and white is so moving as are your gentle words. I too am my father's daughter and it seems we might have similar situations with our mothers! Know you are loved and prayed for.

  4. Oh how beautiful to see so many flags remembering. What great pictures.
    Vicky I came across this link


    I thought you might be interested and stopping using them might help.
    Use borox vinegar soda wash baking soda olive oil as cleaning agents instead. People are now even making their own soap at home.
    Even air freshners have become evil agents in our homes.
    Every little bit helps to ensure recovery.

  5. I wish the chemo could happen without all the discomfort. But how wise and caring of you to spend part of your day remembering others!

  6. My Dad had the exact same side effects from chemo as you mentioned. Sure wish they could come up with something that works like chemo but has no nasty side effects!

    I love the pictures of the cemetery with all the flags and flowers. Beautiful!

    Keep on fighting, Vicky!
    Hugs always!

  7. I wish I could just do this whole chemo thing for you, Vicky! I don't know how you do it with a family and all that life brings with that. I know about those pains. There were times I thought I was having a heart attack. Plus, that firey brick(only way I knew to describe it) that was constantly there in my gut. Charlie horses and cramps got terrible with each chemo. The back of my neck and up my head, face, chest, legs, toes, etc. But when it seemed to cut off my breathing, all my panic buttons went off. I did learn to drink more, had GatorAde ready, etc.

    Loved your pictures! Freedom comes with a price, doesn't it. Many died. But many more suffer as parts of them died emotionally and only parts of them are here, carrying on the best they know how. Thank you for sharing these and for caring so much!

  8. I love what you did for your dad... bringing some of his home to him..

    ..and that boy is such a good soul, like his mom.

  9. I want you to know that I think about you so many times..and I say a pray for you..God bless you sweet lady! :D

  10. Beautiful...flowers from your dad's home-brought to him. That is really beautiful. My dad has been gone 6 years now. I know what that is like.

    So sorry there is pain with chemo. I am amazed at your strength...and thinking of you!
    I am half Korean--and we have a word which translates into the word "fighting"-used for cheer and encouragement...화이팅 (pronounced hwaiting) so-I send it to you!!

  11. I am sorry to hear how hard this fight is getting. I hope you can rest in the love around you.

    I have a hard time visiting gravesites. Both of my parents bodies are in the earth now but seeing that cold hard stone is not my way of remembering them. I do something that they loved instead. For my dad I play music and for my mom I read something she loved or create something with yarn and... I remember them and give thanks for them.

    It was special of you and your sons to visit the soldiers graves.

  12. thanks for sharing this. i love that you dried those flowers for your dad. i talked with mom and it was hard on her because none of my siblings wanted to go to the cemetery. it drove me crazy because all i want to do is go sit by his grave. i'm my father's daughter, too, and i keep praying for your hurt along with mine.

    i'm sorry for the pain, friend. you have no idea how much i wish i could take it from you. bear it for you. just know i am walking right beside you and loving you from here.

  13. I keep thinking of your Dad proudly smiling next to you as you walk through this journey.

    I'm so sorry for the pain. I wish I could help you more. Please know that I'm here for you :) Hugs.

  14. I love the way you saved and dried the flowers then crushed them back to the earth, to your father.

    This is a beautiful tribute to your father.

    I imagine all that your body is taking in right now, all the fighting and work it's doing. It must be so hard. Keep fighting, and remember to be good to yourself.

  15. http://www.slideshare.net/mygoldvest/bamboo-salt-and-your-health
    This is interesting. Cancer doesn't grow in alkaline conditions.
    Salt is not bad for you, sodium is and that's not the same thing.

  16. Oh Vicky...the dried flowers...what a tender expression...flowers from his childhood home. This post struck me numb for a moment. The feelings of tending to my mother's and my brother's and Gramma's gravesites...it's just something that somehow means a lot to me. I know they aren't 'there'...but it's symbolic isn't it?
    sigh...love u sweet one. Always praying.

  17. really a touchy feel to see this photos because when your loved ones leaves you then your kids will miss you a lot.
    cheap essays

  18. I honest-to-goodness have no idea how you do all you do, Vicky. You're a walking dynamo, bloody nose and aching heart aside. You're a regular General Patton in this cancer war. And you do the most beautiful things. I will long remember the imagery of you picking the flowers from your father's farm, drying them, and crushing them into the sacred ground that lovingly holds the body of the man who loved and fathered you all these years. You are so beautiful, Vicky....in so many ways.

  19. don't remember how i found your blog, but i am glad i did. i had thyroid cancer a few years back, which is nothing like what you have, but i didn't know that the moment the doctor told me. kind of sucks the air out of your lungs. i am happy you are blessed with friends and others who are standing by you. thank you. it just makes me remember to be thankful for everything. God bless you.
    teresa from Virginia Beach, VA


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