About Me

My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Natalie!!!!!

Natalie turned 11 yesterday. The day before her birthday we arrived home to find a shopping bag with an incredible gift inside. There was a letter enclosed from a woman we have never met, but hope to sometime soon. "Kathie" knew Ken from SSA, the School of Social Work at the University of Chicago. Like so many others, she was moved by the fact that the day of Ken's death last year coincided with Natalie's 10th birthday.

In her letter, she tells us that around that time last year she was about to begin a new quilt so she decided she would give it to Natalie on her next birthday. Her husband would tease her about finishing it...and they began to refer to it as the "Ken and Natalie Quilt". Every time she chose a new piece of fabric, or added a piece, or tore a piece out, she'd think of Ken and Natalie.

Natalie loves the quilt that covers her entire bed and lights up her room.

"It make me feel really good that someone that I don't even know was thinking about me and Dad. It makes me feel really good when I'm lying in bed under it!"

When I told my friend Cindy the story she said that "it's stories like that that make me feel there's hope for humanity."

THANK YOU KATHIE! You brought a huge sunny patch to a day that's filled with both light and shadow. We are incredibly moved and incredibly grateful.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Swimming for Ken on January 14

This Sunday January 14 is both the anniversary of Ken's death and Natalie's 11th birthday. Natalie's birthday party will be in the late afternoon and we're looking forward to it. Tonight I asked the kids what we should do to honor Ken on that day as well.

We talked about a few ideas and settled on going to Lifetime Fitness that morning where the three of us will share a lap lane in the lap pool and swim laps for Ken. Ken was such a joyful, strong, capable swimmer. So we'll relax, get our bodies moving together, and remember Ken for his good health, athleticism and strength...three qualities he maintained until almost the end of his life. We'll pick up where he left off.

It is painful to remember what was happening a year ago. One year ago today, we flew Ken home to Evanston. The realization had arrived that only through a medical miracle would Ken survive. The fact is that he spent the last six months of his life in a hospital room mostly unable to use his body for much at all, but he did it with immense grace and with great hope that he could overcome the struggle.

I remember the last swims he took in Houston before he entered the hospital. He was still free, and cancer-free as well. His body hadn't yet turned on him as it did after the stem cell transplant. He had a beautiful way of moving through the water.
So, if you can get to a pool on January 14, swim a few laps for Ken and remember how he moved through his life with little resistance, going with the flow, strong and capable, and always available for some excellent instruction if you needed help with your own stroke.