Monday, October 24, 2016

Sweet Sophie

Sophie has been her usual sweet self through this time. Sorry I haven’t written. I just…well, I’ve written, but privately. On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to speak with Pascal, Nancy and even Summar. But I want to keep the conversation private. I was grateful for the opportunity but I spent the rest of the day in tears, because it made everything more real, you know? Not that they are EVER off my mind. No, not for one second. I have been throwing myself into work; I am a task master and I am thankful for the distraction. But then I get up to go get some coffee or something and I think of something Summar said to me and I get tears in my eyes. Or, I’ll be driving around fine, jamming to some tunes, and then all of the sudden, it hits me again and I well up.

I have been thinking a lot about death and dying and heaven and angels and whether loved ones can come back after they die – or even just before they die – to give you a message; to visit you. And I think it’s very selfish of me that I want Summar to be able to visit me from Heaven after she gets there, just because it will make ME feel better. It’s selfish but I still want it very, very badly. If you have any stories like this, please share them with me. Or books you would recommend about it. My (deceased) grandma came to me once in my dreams and I think I’ve written about it before but I will tell you again if you’d like to hear it.

Anyway, Tuesday I was INCONSOLABLE. I was working from home and when Sophie and Grandma Sue walked through the door (she tutors once a week), Sophie immediately asked me, “Mommy, what’s wrong?” Because my eyes were all red and puffy from crying all afternoon, and she noticed right away. And I just told her that I had talked to Pascal and Nancy and even Summar and I told her what Summar said to me and I told her that I was so glad to talk to all of them but that it also made me sad. I think they call this “anticipatory grief.” And I even went to lay down and nap but all I could do was cry, cry, cry. And when I got up, Sophie said, “Mommy, I am so sad that you are sad and I want to make you feel better but I just don’t know what to do.” And it was just so sweet and thoughtful how she said it. I told her to just give me a hug; I really like hugs.

She’s been asking questions and I’ve been answering honestly, while also not giving too many details. For instance, at first Sophie did not understand that Summar going on hospice meant that she would no longer be under treatment, and that her Cancer would just do what it is doing, without any intervention to stop it or stall it or calm it. She knows that Summar will go to heaven soon. She, like all of us, feels sad for Pascal but also especially Jayden (age 9) and Sapphire (age 7). Sophie asked me to text Pascal and relay this simple message to Summar: “Summar, I love you. From, Sophie.” And so I did.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Friends Forever

Summar made this for me when we were in High School. Then Tom got it framed for me as a gift. I'm going to hang it up again.

It came true. We ARE friends forever.

Monday, October 03, 2016

I Want to Remember…

I left Portland very early in the morning on Friday, September 30th. I caught a ride to the airport with Summar’s dad, even though my flight was later. So, even though I did get to give Summar a hug and a kiss on Friday morning (at 4:30am!!), our real goodbye was Thursday night and not surprisingly I dissolved into tears.

You know what really got me?! Summar thanked me for being her best friend.
“Thank you for being my best friend,” she said to me as we hugged.
I still get choked up thinking about it.
SHE thanked ME.
Oh God.
And now I’m crying again and there is a giant lump in my throat.
Okay, I’m back.
Having Summar in my life has been one of my biggest blessings. I love her like a sister; I feel our souls are connected. She has stood by me through thick and thin, for the past 30 years. That’s a long time folks. We grew up together. She’s been there for me through each milestone of my life, and has supported and encouraged me every step along the way.

She stood by me when I was being bullied in 6th and 7th grade. She listened to me gush about my main crush for THREE years in High School. We even spent an entire summer double-dating, between freshman and sophomore year (I dated her boyfriend’s best friend). She came to my college graduation and helped talk my mom off a ledge when she found out I hadn’t packed a single damn thing and had instead spent the last week of school getting drunk. Summar stood up for me as a bridesmaid at my first wedding and danced all night long, broken foot and all. Summar flew to St. Louis after I had Sophie and held her and held her and I knew she would make a wonderful, devoted mother (and she’s proven me right). Summar listened to me bitch and moan about Jamie and TT endlessly and never once told me to “get over it” or “let it go.” Summar was joyfully excited for me when I met Jeff and she basically saved our wedding by running back to get the rings when Ethan forgot them!

These are just the things that popped into my head right now – one paragraph does not even come close to describing a life-long friendship.


Oh man. I thought I had dry eye – I was told I had severe dry eye and I couldn’t produce tears. Well let me tell you, I produced more tears this week than I ever have before. And my sadness remains and one moment I’ll be fine and then next I’ll think of Summar and Pascal and the kids – those beautiful kids who I would jump in front of a train for – and my heart breaks for what they are all going through now, and for what is to come.

Other than my parents and Sophie, and Jeff & Ethan, Summar is the most important person in my life. At least I had the chance to tell her that.

I’m sorry. There is more I want to say, but maybe for another day. I’m not very eloquent right now.

If you are so inclined, please keep Summar, Pascal, Jayden & Sapphire in your prayers. They need them now more than ever. Plus Summar’s mom, Summar’s dad, and Summar’s brother.

When You Want to be Two Places at Once…

Leaving Portland this time around was the hardest it’s ever been.

So This Happened…

Sorry for the gross photos but I broke out into a rash on Saturday evening. Nobody knows why. I did ask and show it to two nurses and one doctor at church and they all said it looks like an allergic reaction to SOMEthing, and put cortisone cream on it and it will likely go away. Since I didn’t eat anything new or weird or different, and I didn’t change soap or laundry detergent.

It’s really fun (*rolls eyes*). I feel like a leper. It’s on my forehead, tummy, chest, arms, legs, palms, and fingers. It’s bumpy but it doesn’t itch.

It's not contagious as nobody else in my house has it.

It looks worse in person. Much worse. But things could be worse. I shouldn’t be complaining about something so cosmetic.

But yes, to say I’m stressed is an understatement.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Summar Breeze Update

I am here in Portland, OR with Summar. I’ve spent the last two nights in the hospital with her. Today she goes home. I will be here until Friday, unless something drastic happens.
Prayers and hugs are greatly appreciated. 
Below is Summar’s husband’s post on Summar’s Caring Bridge, and also what he posted on Facebook. 
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for and supported Summar in her four-year Cancer journey. 

Journal entry by PASCAL RUELLE — 12 hours ago

The past few days in the ICU have been emotionally draining. Summar has bounced back from a serious high ammonia level which is most likely due to liver complications both from cancer and the many toxic drugs which are used to fight cancer. 

It is with a heavy heart to tell you all that we are heading home tomorrow with the Hospice team in place and are choosing to end Summar's ongoing cancer treatment. The one thing that stood out the most to me is what the hospice nurse said to us and that is it may seem like we're giving up but we're actually taking control of how we want this to end. Both Summar and I feel it is time to be home in a comfortable environment where Summar can live her remaining time with her Children, Family, Friends and Hospice Team. 

We ask that you please respect our precious time together and I will try and coordinate visits as her health permits. 

Thank you all for the continued prayers and support over the past 4+ years.

I'll update as I can in the coming days 

—Pascal Ruelle

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Serenity NOW!!

I have been having a rough time lately but I can’t talk about it here. 

I have been trying to say and live by this prayer every day, which is REALLY hard for me because it goes against every grain of my personality. But I’m trying. 

For once in my life, I am purposely being selfish (of course I’ve been un-purposefully selfish many a time, every single day) and trying to focus on myself and MY needs before others. Basically, I am just trying to keep myself healthy: Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually as best I can. 

On a lighter note, remember this?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Don’t Know Why I Can’t Get Over This!

So Jeff and I wandered around the Clayton art fair on Sunday, which for those of you out of town, is an annual event in a pricey and trendy suburb of St. Louis. It’s basically a street fair (an upscale one) with a band, restaurants selling food, treats, drinks, and artists from all over the country who are set up in their little booths selling everything from ceramics to photography to paining to jewelry, etc.

The weather was beautiful (sunny and warm, but no humidity and no rain!) and it felt great to be outside; it also provided PLENTY of excellent people watching as all kinds show up. There were ladies dressed to the nines in their freshly coiffed hair and 3-inch heels (yes, 3-inch heels for a STREET FAIR) and designer clothes; then there were beer-bellied tattooed guys with wife beaters. All kinds to make the world go round:)

Anyway, Jeff and I aren’t artists nor do we know much about art. I’m drawn to photography and Jeff is drawn to unusual, eclectic items you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Basically we just went to avoid doing chores around the house and to enjoy each other’s company and to people watch and to soak up the sun and breeze.

So we were peaking in this one booth – gosh, I even forget what this lady’s artwork was like – it was painting, definitely painting of some kind or type or style. I didn’t find it ugly or offensive in any way, nor did I want to snatch it up and hang it on my wall. It was just there, I guess because apparently her artwork isn’t the part that made an impression on me: it was her attitude.

Often times the artists sit on a stool or a tall chair kind of behind their displays, but so you can still see them in case you want to talk to them, but they know most people are just browsing and so they let you go about your business without any pressure.

Anyway, we’re in this artist lady’s booth and this guy asks, “What does painterly mean?”
And she  - the artist – says, verbatim: “Well if you have to ASK what it means then you certainly DON’T deserve to know.” And she said it with so much DISDAIN and ATTITUDE and…DISGUST. Yes, she said it with disgust. I mean, she obviously looked at this poor guy as if he were a complete and total imbecile which is not the impression I would get from looking at him: he was clean cut and well dressed and so was his wife. He looked like a normal, curious guy. (Not that people who AREN’T clean or well dressed can’t be smart. Because I don’t dress well and I think I am of normal intelligence. I do shower every day though. I have that going for me, hehe).

My jaw just about dropped open and for a minute I thought we were on a scripted reality TV show. I looked all around but saw no cameras or crew. Besides, wouldn’t I have had to sign one of those waiver forms?

So as we walk to the next booth, I was just so APPALLED for the guy that he was just treated like that by a complete stranger who was supposedly there to SELL HER ART that I turned around and asked him to clarify what he had asked the artist.

And he told me that he asked her what “painterly” meant because on her little bio she had hanging up it said, ‘I try to be painterly.’ And then I told him that it sounded like a made-up word to me and I wouldn’t have known what it is and we all had a “Can you believe that shit” moment and the wife said, “Even if I LIKED her art, I wouldn’t buy it now” and I didn’t blame her not one single bit.

But the men – our husbands – shrugged it off and I was thinking about it for the rest of the day. Obviously, I still am. I wonder if that wife is telling the story to a friend right now.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ethan is 12!!

This handsome guy turned 12 on Saturday, and apparently he had TWO parties this weekend that his Mom threw him, PLUS another party coming up at SkyZone that he is sharing with another friend.
We didn’t get to see him ON his actual birthday, but we all went out to dinner earlier in the week and gave Ethan cards and cash (*wink*) [Sophie’s card had music and it farted – LOL]

And of course as soon as Ethan’s birthday arrives, Sophie starts planning hers. :)