Grief Reflection Scholarship Event

To Gratitude, with Love

Thursday October 13, 2011

I know it’s time to check in with myself here. It’s been almost two weeks. The last entry was September 30. As I was reeling (and still do) over my SCDS, a new life arrived on that same September 30. My step-daughter’s step-daughter gave birth to her daughter! Sayler is welcomed into this world. Denise and Chuck are grandparents! (Whew. I met Denise when she was a teenager and now she’s a grandma!) We’re great grandparents? How weird is that! The event is a poignant reminder of the full cycle of life.

I tear up and cry over everything right now. I can hardly get a sentence out. I only need to think about something half-way emotional and the flood gates open. This is at the same level of daily tears when Dave first went on hospice care.

The tears aren’t for loss though. They are for thanks. Gratitude. I am piloting a 5 Minutes a Day 30 Day Gratitude program I’ve created for the SFH writing community. So each day I delve into the new prompt, finishing out the content and audio for uploading. (This takes most of my writing energy each morning.) This is a simple but very profound exercise.

The fun I’ve had is that Sniff, our cat, is a member of the writing community. He likes being called the mascot for SFH. Sniff and I have become very close since Lucky dog left us in August. So I have helped him write his daily gratitude. As you can imagine, most of his thanks is around food and sleep and shelter.

There are others writing for the pilot, too. Humans! I am astounded by the poetry that comes from these gratitude prompts. I shouldn’t be, because that’s what writing can do. I have the pleasure of watching and reading and gaining new perspective. I’ve seen a couple of good aha moments. Oh, when will I get this website open to the entire public? It has to be soon! It is so difficult to get though the days sometimes with all the hats I wear.

Along the recent trail there is also announcement of an engagement: Dedi and Rob. No date set yet, but how wonderful that they popped in unannounced one afternoon to share the good news. (It’s on Facebook so I can tell!) Their excitement was giddy and obvious. There is a new found connection between Dave and Dedi, the youngest of his children with Dot, that has formed during this time. They both seem to be taking the relationship in this moment for what it is. She was young when they divorced so their father/daughter bond was never as well grounded as perhaps for the older kids.  This change in their relationship is a direct consequence of anticipating loss and actively choosing to connect while there is time. So many people could be angry, bitter or unforgiving, but Dedi comes in with grace and love.

So it’s marriage and baby taking the stage. A future of hope. Tears of joy.

More to be thankful about: An e-mail that offered a heroic gesture of support. A call from my brother whose voice I haven’t heard in several years. A friend’s gift to Dave’s scholarship fund that was over-the-top in generosity (and causes me to cry just thinking about it. I can’t get through dialing her phone number to say thanks). I even had a dream hearing my dad’s voice for the first time since he died in 2000, although I can’t for the life of me (interesting choice of words) remember what he said.  They all add up to being loved, feeling loved.

Dave and I have been under the life review and hospice microscope. We put ourselves here through this blog and as advocates for hospice. Along with the video and newspaper interview, a Seattle news station interviewed us Tuesday about Dave’s career, his life and facing death. There is no doubt; he does continue to teach. More love, going outward to anyone who will listen. More love returned as the word spreads of his ill health.

And tomorrow. Wow. A celebration to come. Leah has headed up a family sponsored  event to raise money for the David L Hitchens Scholarship in Honor of Frances M Rasmussen. It will be held at The Eagles clubroom of which she is a member. (Glad they allow women!)  Although Dave and I aren’t big supporters of alcohol consumption, when I walk in there I am transported back to our early days together when we were known to warm the barstools at Buzz’s Tavern. We understand the attraction. There is a community that is loyal to each other. I imagine raised glasses of drink, yes, cheers. I suspect a few cuss words on the economy cross the threshold. These are good-hearted people who open their doors to help their members.

I am proud of Leah for her ability to bring together the people and support to make this happen. Snake Oil musicians and friends Burt and Di lead will the entertainment. Evergreen faculty, VIPS and students will gather in the same room. As another significant family moment – the older kids have put together quite a nice silent auction – I know that this is part of building the legacy that heals, now, with love.

2 replies
  1. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    Thinking about you, Joan, and of Dave and your family. I am always inspired and touched by your entries; the “rippling” effect that both of you have makes quite an impact. Your perspective and your insight is heartwarming. Thank you so much for sharing!


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