Monday, July 28, 2008

Speech, Speech

This is the speech I was asked to give at my mom's funeral yesterday. When she asked all of us kids to speak, I was a little shocked, seeing as it's me and all, and I tend to say exactly what she doesn't want me to say. But I figured she must really want me there, and how could I deny her her dying wish? Some of the references are to inside jokes, so you may not understand. The hump refers to my buffalo hump on my back, it always sweats. The sweaty eyeballs are because I don't cry, my eyes sweat. So here it is. Enjoy.

This summer our family took a vacation. Not the kind of vacation that involved sun, or sand, or even a tropical Wal-Mart. It was a completely different kind of vacation. This vacation consisted of finding the meanings of colors. Let's call it cancer summer camp. None of us wanted to go there. We were afraid of what we might find. But once we got there, we had the time of our lives.

The first color we discovered was Yellow. Also referred to as flavescent, sallow, or xanthous. But we'll just stick with yellow for ease and proper pronunciation. Normally associated with flowers or the sun or a baby blanket, our yellow became a frightening signal that life was about to change. We knew that things would be different from then on, but we had no idea how. After a weekend of joking about sharing bottled water and spoons, and contracting the dreaded yellow, things suddenly felt different, and we knew it was time for answers.

The next color we explored was black. The telephone that taunted us late into the night was black. Finally it rang, and all I could see were black ants circling on the floor as I heard words coming from the receiver. I felt the blackness of unconsciousness encroach, but it was staved off by sheer determination to get answers. Blackness of night, as we sat rocking in the swing outside, crying, groaning, and even laughing. Blackness of sleep, welcome yet disturbing all together.

Blue. Mom's favorite color. Dad has blue eyes, I know she always loved them. The hospital had blue carpeting in the hallway, and we brought her her favorite blue robe. The now infamous "Cancer Sucks" pin, written in blue was pinned on, and never left. The scrubs on the doctors and nurses were blue, and they whirred in and out as the days passed by. The sunny blue sky outside the hospital room window seemed to be ever present, somehow keeping us all in a better mood.

As we saw how all these colors became representative of an emotion or condition, we each began to take on our own roles. We suddenly became aware of the years, yes years, some of which may have involved me making out with one of our male nurses 15 years or so ago, of preparation that have taken place to bring us to this very moment in our lives.

Meg became our personal assistant. She was ever willing to run errands, make phone calls, and chat with visitors. She knew when something needed to be picked up, washed, or dropped off. And it was always done in high style.

Jill is the proxy mom. She cleaned up the house for Frieda, ushered muddy kids back outside to wash off, provided towels and swimsuits effortlessly, and kept the groceries stocked. She even shops like mom, up and down each aisle, picking the perfect bag of ranch rolls and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Troy became the favorite. I only say became, because after all these years of us knowing it, Mom finally admitted it. And we completely agree. Troy is the rock. He says the right thing. He knows when it's time for a time out, and he makes things happen. But he is the most tender hearted, and finds inspiration among daily life. He held mom's hand, kissed her cheek, and gently guided her where she needed to be. A true gentleman.

I, of course, became the meek one. Humble, and quiet, I kept the air of reverence abounding. Even though no one but Mom could ever understand my problem with heat, I think we crossed over that hump. I'm fairly sure it was I that got us kicked out of the hospital. Twice. I'm also fairly sure it was I that invented sweaty eyeballs. One thing I know for certain, is no matter how flabbergasted mom pretended to be at my latest "too much information" comment, she knew she was thinking it, and I was the only one that dared say it. I hope she is thankful for that.

As our roles became more established, our summer camp continued. More colors were to be found and mapped.

Purple. Bright, vibrant, elegant. The color of choice for my wedding day, and many others in the early 90's. Not exactly the first color you think about when you hear the word cancer. But from now on, purple will represent the fight against pancreatic cancer that mom fought so well.

Gray. Those last few days were shrouded in a mist of gray. Unanswered questions, words left unsaid, and looks of pity filled our minds with confusion. Was it time? Was she ready? There was so much gray area that we all had an opinion. Dad knew. And he fought hard for what he knew. It was time to make that call, and she was ready for whatever lay ahead.

That gray area was the hardest day of my life. Inspiration was not hard to find that day, but still it became easy to dismiss. It was no accident that we were all in the same place at the same time that afternoon. It was no accident that as we lay at her bedside getting in those last precious moments, the kids entertained themselves effortlessly, leaving us with more precious time than we ever expected.

White. Pure, peaceful, graceful, cleansing, final. The heaven on earth we knew it would be. Mom fought a good fight. She fought hard, but knew when it was time to surrender. I think Troy said it best when he said some people are just too good for this earth. Mom is definitely one of those people. She was too good to too many. She worked hard, and prepared us well, and we are so proud of the life she lived. "Birth and death, near and far, it all depends on where you are." Carol Lynn Pearson.

As we depart this summer camp, we are grateful for the weeks we spent with each other. We were so scared of what we may find, but as it turned out, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

News You Can Use

Please click here and grab a tissue.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I Di

Wow. This has been an eye opening week. You wouldn't believe the amount of vegetables I've consumed this week. Seriously, this never happens. I have a fear of veggies. And fruit. Especially fruit. Unless it's in a shake or baked into a pie. In those cases I love it! But veggies are scary. I'm so afraid that they will taste warm or gushy or rotten. It only takes once, people.

But this week has been one for the record books. I think it has to do with cafeteria salad bars. I've been frequenting those as of late. We even ate outside at the hospital yesterday, how very Grey's Anatomy of us. But this doesn't just end with my consumption of veggies. I know! It gets better.

I ran today. And no, I wasn't being chased. I deliberately ran. I think I got my heart rate up and even perspired a little too. But oh no, there is more! I deliberately ran, and then people, I got on my bike and rode! Oh, yes I did. And I plan to ride again later today. I know! So, if only I could swim a few laps today, I would have done the lazy white girl version of a triathlon.

So if I only do two of those events, does that make it a Di? I like the sound of that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things That Must Go {Episode 2}

  • Toilet paper on rolls so tight, you can only get off 1 square at a time. By the time I have an adequate handful, I've drip dried sufficiently.
  • White sunglasses on men. This is a la Meg, because I'm definitely not that fashion minded.
  • WiFi that takes an eternity and 4000 steps to hook up to. Really, if I have to reprogram my entire hard drive, give blood, and hop backwards at sunset to surf your free internet, I'm just not that interested.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things That Must Go {Episode 1}

  • Tip jars at the drive-thru of creepy Mexican fast food places. I'm not tipping you for doing your job properly, thankyouverymuch.
  • Toothless renegades that can't make eye contact while counting back your change at the Dollar Store.
  • Squeaky movie theater chairs. Twice now I've had to remain virtually motionless during a movie. It's very exhausting.

That is all. Stay tuned, because I think of these things during the day, but then as soon as I sit to write them down, I get UHHHHH, confused.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm A Sucker Like That

I admit it, I've seen this movie twice.

And I'd see it again.
Seriously, there is nothing sweeter than sitting with my two older girls (the baby is grounded from the theater), and watching a great feel-good movie while eating my very own package of Raisinets. Add some Joan Cusack, and Julia Ormond, with a side of yummy Chris O'Donnell, and you have yourself one happy woman.

And I like to be happy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Setting: Watching TV last night. A commercial for some anti-aging miracle face cream comes on. It's the one with Diane Keaton, whom I love, by the way.

Maggie: Wow, mom, you should try that stuff for your face.

Me: Oh yeah? Why?

Maggie: Because then you wouldn't get all those moles on your face.

Me: Really? What moles?

Maggie: You know, pointing all over her face, The ones right here and here and here and here, and everywhere.

Me: Oh, you mean zits.

Maggie: Yeah, zits. Long dramatic pause. Mom?

Me: What?

Maggie: Will I get lots of zits when I'm a mom, too?

Me: Nope. You'll always have perfect skin. Sigh.

I guess this is where I 'splain 'bout my face. I'm stressed. Waaayyy stressed. And we all know what comes along with stress. Zits. And then I eat crap like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Noma's home made awesome chocolate chip cookies, and drink too much Diet Pepsi. And I wonder why I have zits? Maybe I should get some of that magic face cream.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Let's Get Off This Sad Train

Okay, I'm terribly sorry about the melancholy mood of the blog as of late. You can certainly understand, but we all know that is not my nature. So let's go, and get off this sad train, and have some fun, shall we? I borrowed this from Carli, thanks to her, and I think it should conjure up some wickedly fun comments.

Please comment below, and include your favorite memory of me. I realize some of us haven't met, or haven't seen each other in years, so feel free to make something up, or to reference your favorite post of mine. I realize this may take some work, but I need some serious comment mojo right about now.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Whaddya Think?

My Mom Got Cancer, And All I Got Was A Stinkin' T-Shirt.

It's in the works. I like it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Room and Board

I have to send a shout out to my in-laws for putting me up. Or is that putting up with me? Either way, I don't think I could have done this last 2 weeks of craziness without them.

I have officially been away from home for 1 month. That translates into the following:
  • Flying into SLC, then driving 6 hours to Vegas the very next day.
  • Living out of a suitcase in Vegas for a week. The hottest week of my life, I might add.
  • Driving 2 hours to St. George from Vegas, in a car with Utah plates, with and Illinois drivers license, packed with suitcases with 2 kids in addition to my own, and getting a nose bleed at 75 MPH. If I had been pulled over, how fast would I have been sent to jail? Yeah.
  • Living out of a suitcase for 4 days in a St. George condo. The second hottest 4 days of my life.
  • Driving to SL from St. George in my dad's sweet new truck. Oh, and the muffler has been, shall we say, altered, so it is about as quiet as a bullhorn on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Finding out about "the cancer", which seems to have taken on a life of it's own. The longest night of my life.
  • Spending that first week at my mom's, feeling like my world was crashing down, until Sugar Daddy showed up to rescue me. The best is having a spouse who loves you.
  • Spending the remaining 2 weeks here, at Hotel de Clayton. Wonderful diggs. But I'm still living out of a suitcase. One thing I have learned from all this is that my needs are simple. My family. A few changes of underwear. Oh, and the internet.
And what makes this post even sweeter, is that Sugar Daddy sent me a package today. Would you like to know what was in that package? I'll give you a hint. Best Buy, White, and I'm typing on it as we speak. Yep, a new MacBook. He knows how I likey me blog.

Thanks, honey. And thanks, in-laws. You guys are the best!