~Peace Donna. We love you more
Thursday, October 29, 2015
~Peace Donna. We love you more
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
I believe that what ever cancer someone is dealing with, the emotions they face are the same. I do wish that melanoma cancer and other cancers got the same recognition as breast cancer does.
I was researching that topic last night trying to get some answers. One of the reason's is marketing. So....What can I do to market my mission? Billboards. I think it is important to keep melanoma on the radar visually. I get email and messages from all over the country from people who have seen the billboards.
I had the below creative done awhile ago, but did not have funds to get this up and running. This is of actual loved ones who have been stolen by melanoma.
Would you be able to help by donating? The cost of one billboard is $1650. I've already spoken to the person I work with and he thought that although you would not be able to see the names clearly on the billboard as you pass by, the message, much like a wall, would be powerful.
If you can donate- we can help to make melanoma cancer a household world. We are in this together. Fighting.
What do you think?
Love and Peace....
Friday, September 25, 2015
Each day can be a struggle for those who have lost a loved one, but there are two days a year that are especially difficult. The birthday of the one missing, and their death anniversary. Two days where we fall apart and really drink in our grief. We NEED to do this. We need to taste each drop of pain, sorrow and loss. It is our way of honoring our loved one. And we do not need to sugar coat it or pretend it’s okay. Because it’s not.
- My kids and only grand kids moved to Tennessee recently. The twin girls are just eight weeks old. Right when the tears began to flow in the morning, I receive a picture of those babies, reminding me that this is life. There is joy. And even though I am not there to watch them grow up, I’m blessed with a son and daughter in law that make it a point to include me.
- At work I’m blessed with a boss and co-workers that truly care and recognize that this is a rough day for me.
- At my favorite greenhouse , I was able to talk with the owner and cry on her shoulder and talk about God’s grace. I left with several things to plant, and a gift just for Jillian from her.
- Dinner was Hungry Howie’s and beer, in Jillian’s honor. All the kids except the southern ones were there, along with friends, and Jillian’s Steve. It is a gift in itself that we have stayed close, even though life moves forward. I’m blessed to stay in touch with Steve’s mom and dad, and their family. I love them all dearly.
- Josh and Kaytie celebrated in Tennessee by singing Happy Birthday with cupcakes, Charlotte blowing out the candle.
- I completed Jillian's celebration by texting with Joshua from 2am until 3am, expressing the anger at our loss, but knowing it’s okay to feel that way. And to feel the support and connection, the love between our family. Oh my God. If that isn’t a gift, I don’t know what is.
So, things are hard, and that’s okay. We will get through this in our own way. But please be patient with us. And for goodness sakes, please don't offer your opinion on how or what we should feel. That will only shut us down.
For those that are going through the sharp knife of grief, I pray for you. I pray that for one minute you will be able to see that silver sliver of hope, the sparkle of joy, and to know that your loved one mattered. That they still matter. And so do you. And that it’s all okay.
Friday, September 11, 2015
I can honestly say that I have no regrets looking back on that difficult time. Except one. I really, really wished that I could have gotten inside of Jillian’s head. I mean deep inside so I could feel and share her deepest concerns, her worries, her fear. I knew all about my fear, but I needed to get to the place where I could feel what she was feeling.
Today, living in a technical world, we are able to see our results online. Sometimes even before our doctor does. Wednesday night I received an email telling me that I have new results on my health portal. Of course I’m going to look. I’ve looked at all the other test and lab results and I’ve been pretty good and deciphering the medical jargon.
to pull them down into the abyss.
And how they fight against it, and try to find a balance of acceptance. How they fight for you and for me, just to stay alive.
You are true, brave warriors fighting a war. A physical war, and a mental war. Each day.
That is just so humbling to me. I am ashamed that I didn’t feel it completely before. I sure hope you can forgive me. I am really, truly sorry.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
But with fall comes a heavy sadness. I become teary easily. I have less patience with myself and others. It takes me a few days to realize that I’m moving into the season when Jillian started to go downhill. And once she started, the ball gained speed with its momentum. Once that avalanche shifted, there was no stopping it.
Until it stopped all together. On December 29, 2012.
I’ve written several times about grief and some of my Pet Peeves. But this particular post is directed toward those that have no filter. The ones that have no field of reference. No vision of what it means to lose a child to melanoma, a mother’s most precious gift.
They haven’t seen their sister waste away from brain tumors until they could no longer feed themselves. They haven’t been to the place where their once fiercely independent child can no longer get out of the bathtub without help. They haven’t had to sit and listen to the wracking sobs coming from a sibling, when their own heart has been shattered into a thousand pieces.
This post is for the persons that sit safely behind their judgments.
Because just when I’ve thought I have heard it all, I hear that Jillian had a choice.That most of you with melanoma had choices.
That these beloved people, our family, my daughter, my melanoma family, have chosen to spend their time primping and preening. They’ve chosen to get that beautiful tan by entering into a tanning bed. Or by laying in the sun. And because of that choice, they get what they deserve. They get melanoma. DUH!! Now I feel better. Now I know!! Thank you for your insight!
I am hoping that you never, ever, in a million years have to experience the loss and the pain of losing a loved one to this vicious disease because of a choice they've made or otherwise.
But if you do. I’ll be here to support you, and to love you. This is my choice.
PS. Do Not Mess With Mama Bear.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Monday, July 27, 2015
Today. Today my world has been blessed with two beautiful new souls. My twin granddaughters. I’m overwhelmed with the beauty of it all. The miracle of birth. The love, the strength and the unbreakable bond of family.
Thank you Lord, for Your everlasting gift of life and for all of your continuous blessings. Thank you for Joshua and Kaytie. Please continue to watch over them in the weeks and months ahead as they care for their children.
Cheyenne Julia Hayes 5lbs 2oz
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
I’m not sure where this reflective person comes from sometimes. Perhaps it’s because I’ve become more aware of the world around me. Maybe it’s all part of living and growing older. Maybe it’s menopause. But most likely it’s because I’ve learned how fleeting and precious life is, and how easily it can slip through our fingers without fully appreciating its textured value. Much like the warm sands of Lake Michigan, when summer turns in to fall.
I have the privilege to work…
I have the opportunity to work where ever I want to. I have the freedom to support myself and to pass down that strong work ethic to my children. I have the freedom to pursue a higher education, to become a veterinarian, an owner of a restaurant, or a master gardener. We are the land of opportunity, and it is my firm belief that if we want it badly enough, we can succeed.
We are entrepreneurs…
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Could this really happen to me? Yes. It most certainly can.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
I compare my partial withdraw from most things related to Melanoma to that long ago story. I’m healing, I’m processing. But you can’t run forever, Forrest. You can’t hide forever either. Life has a way of forcing itself on you, whether you’re ready for it or not. Some days I feel like I can tackle the world and dive in. Other days, I can only get my big toe wet.
With the month of May fast approaching, Melanoma Awareness Month, I feel like I’m being pushed closer and closer towards the water, and off my solitary island. I’m afraid.
I don’t do this for me, I’m doing it for you.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Who was Don? Who was this man who lived his life on Earth among us? Every single soul has a story to tell. The unique story of their big, beautiful life and how that story keeps going on and on, connecting, moving, surging, as sure as the tide. That Force. That Being. That Soul, to be simply "Gone" is incomprehensible.
Don was born in Brooklyn and was raised in the hardscrabble streets. His father died when he was in his teens, leaving him to care for his mother. A Brooklyn boy knowing what it means to step up and take responsibility.
Don was a son.
After Don graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve and enrolled in City College in NYC where he earned his Associates degree in Engineering. He then went on to active duty in the Navy, where he served his country for two years in the Korean War.
Don was a scholar and a soldier.
After Don left the Navy, he moved to Ohio and enrolled in OH University. While at his first dance, he saw a very tall, very beautiful dark haired girl. He didn't care if she was taller than he was. He had RED hair, which always got attention from the girls. When he saw her walking across the dance floor, he grabbed her hand and said, "We should dance if we are going to get married".
Don married his dark haired beauty right after graduation and remained married for the next 57 years.
The life Don and his bride Cherry shared, produced a son, Mark. I've asked Mark and Tammy, Marks wife, their children Aubrey and Beatrice, to write something about this incredible man. Below are their words:
My Father in law and I fought like cats and dogs the whole 23 years I knew him. We may be the same person. Stubborn, loud, fragile. We fought and loved and fought and loved. When I married Mark, Don wanted to put me in his clan and become my leader. I was (am) bossy. He called me and wrote to me nearly every day. He bought me ridiculously expensive presents. I think he liked the challenge. We argued about politics and once when he told the girls they would make good secretaries one day I thought I would kill him. He taught me about life. I taught him about people. We turned out to be a perfect match.
I was the first person that he told when he was diagnosed. Late in 2006 he thoughy he had bad allergies or a sinus infection. Really, he had a melanoma tumor that filled all available space in his sinuses. Doctors told him that he had three months to live. His was reply, "says who? "
"Science and Melanoma", came the reply. Very quietly Don's reply was, "Melanoma has never met Don Bidwell, and Melanoma can go to hell".
When the cancer came back last April, I think we all knew...he and I spent the last 7 months together planning for the end of his life. Surgery...again 3 months. He told me he had very few regrets and the one he did have he could remember. He wanted me to know that people were more important than anything. He kept telling me to love. He was true to himself right up until he died. Trying to make the girls smile. To make a funny. About a week before he died, (he was in a hospice facility), as soon as we arrived he asked Audrey to go ask for his pain med. Audrey returned with a vial and gave it to him. He declared that it was empty and that he received not a drop of medicine. In comes the nurse. He tells her I absolutely need another vial. I did not get any medicine. The nurse mumbled something about calling the doctor to which Don replied, bring me the vial. Again the nurse was mumbling about too much medication, about calling the doctor first and overdosing. I could see the girls squirming. THEN I saw the glint in his eye and he says, so what will happen? Do you think it might KILL me? He got the medicine. ~ Tammy