Background HTML Whitewashed

Friday, June 26, 2015

And then there were three!

Life has taken on an absurdly hilarious, hectic turn for our beloved daughter and her husband...



Their fostering journey has been a walk of pure faith... it is a choosing to believe despite the hard nights and long days, the teething and tantrums, that this is a work God delights in... when the giggles and snuggling and first steps mingle sweet midst the tears, the joy simply takes wing.  These are the blessings that can't be bought...

18 months ago, a little girl was placed in their arms and has surely taken up residence in their hearts.  Love has blossomed and become a thing of beauty in this family wrought by the hand of God.

And just when life was full and fabulous with Baby P, the caseworkers called with news that had them on their knees.  Twin boys, 8 weeks premature... P's brothers, born too soon, a mother's drug addiction running thru their veins...  A whisper.  A plea... would they take them in?  Keep the siblings together?

Not a moment of hesitation... no doubt of the insanity before them... just a deep breath... Yes!

 
And now there are 3 little ones tumbling around this happy, hectic home!
 
 
We have so enjoyed helping/baby-sitting/loving these 3 whenever we can.  It is a balm to this Grandma's soul.  For nothing speaks love louder than a soft, downy head nestled perfectly sweet, right over your heart.
 
And, let me tell you, with 3 in diapers, the following comic really took on a life of its own in this household.  I'm sharing it here for all those who need a laugh to end this week... Enjoy!
 
 
 
 
 
May your weekend be filled completely with love
(and no diaper loads of any kind!)
 
All My Love,
                Jane
 


Thursday, June 18, 2015

When we can't help but ask Why?


I believe in a Gracious God.



I am blessed beyond measure, here in this place.



I know that my Redeemer lives and has opened the gates of heaven for his adored.



And then... Pancreatic Cancer...

How can we ever mesh the two?  My Sovereign God... This Malignant Cancer... Stealing our joy, our faith, our hope... But still we believe... God holds us, He is Love... But the Cancer, it is relentless...

We learn that Cancer can distort the innocence.  It Changes the naive beliefs.  It is heartless and cruel.  To take our moms and dads, our spouses, our children... Our faith is stalked and shaken...

This is the battle fought in countless lives every. single. day.

Pancreatic Cancer.  No respecter of position or power or place.  Nor of faith...

We watch the Patrick Swayze's... And the Michael Landon's... And the Steven Jobs... And the Randy Pausch's... Men in their prime, succumbing to pancreatic cancer's vicious stranglehold...

And we ask Why? How can it be that pancreatic cancer is still winning?  Why, God, Why?

And the question becomes so much more personal when it is you... or your spouse... or parent.

And it gnaws a hole in our soul.

Truly, it is the question of most every cancer patient... Why Me? And for every cancer family... Why Us?

To be fair, there are some who would ask the question 'Why not me?'  For none of us are given a free pass in this fallen world... But in the dark nights of the cancer journey, when the pain stabs and the tears run salty, these questions spill over and despair gains traction... Cancer consumes our thoughts and we plead for the answer to Why?

Early on in our cancer journey, we met a family who had every right to ask these questions. 

Dan was young and healthy and busy... Raising a beautiful family, loved by an extraordinary woman... Pancreatic cancer had no business in their lives... until it became their only business.

Dan underwent surgery and for a brief time thought the battle was won.  But the cancer came back with a vengeance, spreading to his liver.. and they heard the words... stage 4, inoperable.

Why?  Heart trips over the pain and the hurt. Tell me why....  he was young, healthy, had a family that needed him, loved him... Tell me why, why is pancreatic cancer still winning?

And I learned that the question "Why" can haunt you and make you crazy... because there are no answers...

Chuck Smith wisely shared these words when others asked him that very question during his cancer journey,

"Never trade what you do know for something you don't know."

He continued, "I know God loves me.  I know God is good.   I may not know Why, but I do know that God is working out His perfect plan in my life."

When the cancer diagnosis turned deadly, Trisha, Dan's wife, shared the moments in a poignant letter.  The moments suspended in time when they learned the cancer was back... and was winning.

Unspeakable pain, Unshakeable faith.

And it reminded me immediately of Chuck Smith's admonition... We hold on to what we KNOW, even in the midst of heart-wrenching seasons of whys...

Trish and Dan have walked the road of Hard Grace.  This cancer journey so incredibly difficult to navigate, let alone understand.  When I asked her if she would consider letting me share part of the letter with you, she didn't hesitate...

"YES you may use it!!  I'd be honored...  I just want God to use me through all this pain.  Don't get me wrong.  I do have joy in my life and so many blessings!!! It's just not going the way I had planned."

And so, with Trisha's determined permission, here is a portion of the letter she sent me:

"I have decided to open my heart and soul and let you see a raw, honest glimpse of what goes on in the heart and mind of a woman whose beloved husband has cancer:  Sometimes I am flooded with my FEELINGS over this whole cancer thing, and sometimes I am standing firmly on what I KNOW regardless of my feelings.  This piece below was sent to me by a friend.  It has helped me share with others how I feel! 

If I were to catalog some of my "Feelings" from A to Z, here is what you would see in my heart:

A - afraid, anxious, alone...
B - broken, burdened...
C - confused, crushed...
D - doubt, dread, discouraged...
E - envious... (of those whose journey does not include cancer or suffering)
F - fearful, fatigued...
G - guarded, guilty...
H - helpless, hopeless, heartbroken...
I - insecure, inadequate...
J - jostled and jerked around...
K - kicked down...
L - lonely, lost...
M - mad, mournful...
N - numb!!!
O - oppressed, overwhelmed...
P - powerless, "poor me"...
Q - like Quitting!!...
R - restless, rejected...
S - sad, sorrowful, scared...
T - tired, tense, tearful...
U - useless, uneasy, unsure...
V - victimized...
W - worried, worn-out, weary...
X - eXtremely eXhausted...
Y - whY this? whY now? whY Dan?...
Z - lacking zeal...lacking ZZZZ's (sleep)...

Wow!  All those sad feelings could leave one flat-lined emotionally, and sometimes I am, but thankfully, I have a strong faith on a firm foundation that is based on His Word and His Truth!

This is what I KNOW to be true, that in spite of my fickle feelings, raw emotions, and the cancer, I KNOW...

A -  He is ALWAYS WITH ME!  He promises never to leave me or forsake me!
B - He BINDS up the broken-hearted!
C - He is the God of all COMFORT and He CARES for me!
D - He DIED so that I may live with Him eternally one day!
E - He is EMMANUEL... GOD WITH US!
F - He promises me a FUTURE, and a FOREVER HOME with Him!
G - He is the GENTLE SHEPHERD who cares for His lambs!
H - He HOLDS all things together with His HAND!
I - I am His and He is mine!
J - I have been JUSTIFIED through faith in Christ!
K - He is the KING OF KINGS!!
L - He LEADS me, all the way my Savior LEADS me! (even through the valley of the shadow of death)
M - His MERCIES are new every MORNING!
N - NOTHING can ever separate me from His love... NOTHING!!
O - He is the OMNISCIENT, OMNIPRESENT, OMNIPOTENT God!
P - He PROVIDES the PEACE that PASSES all understanding through His POWER!
Q - In the secret, in the QUIET place, in the stillness YOU are there!
R - He will uphold me by His RIGHTEOUS RIGHT hand!
S - SALVATION is found in no one other!
T - I can TRUST in Him and not lean on my own understanding!
U - UNDER His wings I am safely abiding!
V - There is VICTORY in Jesus!
W - When I WAIT on the Lord, my strength will be renewed!
X - His grace is eXtravagant!
Y - His YOKE is easy and His burden is light!
Z - He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and I can rest in that and get some ZZZZZZZ's!

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you.  It's so easy and almost "natural" for me to be swallowed up in the raging, billowing sea of life and be tossed around by the storms of life! Yet, I know that no matter what the storm, my anchor holds to the One who created me, and has a plan for me, Dan and each and every one of you!     ~ Trisha"

Standing firm on the foundation of God's Word, His Truth...
our Comfort, our Hope...

Never trade what you do Know for something that you don't know.

Thank you Trisha for reminding us all that God is so much bigger than our circumstances.  Your faith, dear friend, has given inspiration to countless others.  Praying for God's sweetest blessings upon you as your journey unfolds in His time.  May you know, abundantly so, just how eXtravagant His Grace truly is... Love you!

Holding on to the power of this Truth tonight,  In Grace, Always, Jane

Friday, June 12, 2015

What do you do when someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer...

If you're Jen Hatmaker, you write a Cancer Manifesto...

Her offbeat sense of humor and honest-to-goodness-this-is-life approach just struck a chord for me.  I don't even know her, but I love her to pieces and am praying blessings over her family...

If you are in the midst of your own cancer journey or are loving someone who is walking this road, then perhaps her words will resonate deep with you too... enjoy, cry, cheer... cuz cancer, you may have just met your match...


On June 2, 2015, Jen writes...

"We continue to be incredibly grateful for your concern and follow up on my mom's cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November and moved pretty quickly into surgery and radiation. She now has regular scans, so we live in three-month increments praying for the all-clear each time. We are in Cancer Maintenance.

I've mentioned before that as adult children, when one of your parents gets sick, everyone reverts to their standard roles. You hop into your lane and peddle furiously along familiar paths because you don't have time to innovate; adrenaline only leaves room for you to do what you already know how to do.

In our case, I am the oldest child, so I jumped into procedures and systems obviously. (The middle children constantly monitor everyone's feelings, and the babies are free to get clingy and fall apart. How nice for them.) As the oldest, I immediately started planning to keep this thing on the rails. We couldn't go willy-nilly into Cancer Mode without defining the mode. What was our mode? We needed a mode. (No one ever voted me "Most Fun" in high school.)

So six months ago, five hours before my mom's surgery, some of us prayed, some assembled snacks, some set up a care calendar. I wrote an essay. (I am a first-born, controlling, career writer; I had no alternative.) I penned the following manifesto and sent it to our family. I wonder if it might be helpful to you? I believe these guidelines apply to any family in crisis and those who love them. Obviously, cursing is allowed when your person gets sick, so feel free to use our swears in addition to our rules. (And FYI, readers: the following is simply our family tone, so even if you are less...salty...the approach works across all family brands.)
The King Family Cancer Manifesto

Well, I told cancer our family was off limits, but cancer is an a**hole. I already have a death plan for Mom and Dad: they are supposed to die peacefully in their sleep forty years from now on the same night holding hands.

We need to get our cancer rules together here on the front end. Mom goes in for surgery in five hours. Obviously, we hope the surgery will be the end of this, and Mom will kick cancer’s tail and we’ll get back to our important issues like Lindsay’s grilled pimento cheese recipe for her new menu and…whatever it is Dad does at the ranch (is it hay? Alfalfa? Are the calves born in the spring or fall? It’s all so unclear).

Amy H gave me this idea. It goes like this:
  • We have concentric rings around Mom’s cancer, and she gets to be in the bulls-eye, because well, she has the actual cancer.
  • The second ring is Dad, because he said “in sickness and in health” 45 years ago and so now he is stuck.
  • Us four kids are third, because we are the fruit of their loins (gross).
  • The people we married or “are hanging out with” (side-eye to Drew) or birthed are in the next ring, because Mom is their Grana or mother-in-law or “mom of the guy she is hanging out with” (Drew, land the plane, we like her so much).
  • The fourth ring includes all our best friends. The real ones. The ones we ask to help us move and crap like that. The ones who walk into our houses without knocking.
  • The outer ring includes our work friends and church friends and neighbors who like or even love us, and they will get swept into our cancer vortex by proximity.
  • Everyone else in the world is outside of those rings.

The way this works is that stress can always go out but never in. Mom is in the bulls-eye, so she can say and do and feel whatever she wants at all times. She gets to act straight crazy if she's in the mood, but at no time does she have to deal with our psychosis or anyone else’s. No other rings can dump their worry, fear, or burdens on Mom. She is the Cancer Queen and zero drama can reach her on the throne. She can be calm and measured like she normally is, or she can be irrational and hysterical. It doesn’t matter. In the bulls-eye, crazy can go out but no crazy can come in. We have to be strong and steady at all times for Mom. I don’t know how we’ll manage as this is not our skill set. Maybe there is a YouTube tutorial.

Dad is next. He can’t give Mom any fuss ever, but he can give it to anyone outside his ring. We have to absorb Dad’s junk too. We know him: this won’t look like fear or panic, it will mostly just sound like a lot of words. Dad gets to say all the words in all the world and everyone outside his ring has to listen patiently, because the only person who gets to shut him down ever is Mom. Gird your loins.

The family is next, so none of our crazy can go in toward Mom or Dad, but it can absolutely go out to the other rings. Our outer people have to deal with us without so much as a raised eyebrow. If we want to completely overreact and flail into a quagmire of tortured exaggeration (we are not a stoic people), we get to do that and our outer people will let us. If we decide on a bad day that our doctor is a quackadoo with a degree off the internet, they should confirm our theory and google replacement doctors. Our best friends are the recipients of all melodrama, inflated enthusiasm, and emotional outbursts. They can give us exactly zero of those things. Outer rings can only send in the good. Absolutely no crazy. If an Outer Ring Person consistently makes an Inner Ring Person panic by, for example, telling lots and lots of dead people stories, his or her ring career is over. Crazy-senders get booted from the rings immediately. We police the rings like Martin Riggs.
 

Mom, we have no idea what the doc will find today, but let me tell you this: if it is worse than we think and you are looking at mastectomies, feel free to get a nice new set of knockers when this is over. It will be your silver lining. You’ll look like a 16-year-old cheerleader. While you are under that knife, we can add on any other treatments you want BECAUSE YOU HAD CANCER AND NOW YOU GET ANYTHING YOU WANT FOREVER.

If people outside our rings want to help, they can pray. Remember? We believe in God! How lucky for us. And for Mom. You know she has filled, what, a million pages with her Scripture and prayer journaling every morning for forever? Mom doesn’t do a lot of talky-talking about her God feelings (that is Dad’s territory), but she is all filled up with the goods. We know how Dad prays, because he constantly makes us bawl by emailing his prayers for us. We know God loves Mom (the prayer journals alone are a straight ticket to heaven, plus all those times she bailed us out of jail) and if we are not one of His favorite families, then God has no taste at all. He’s got us. I know it.

So no matter what comes later today and next week and this whole next year, we can handle this. We have each other and we have God and we have good rings. We can always default to inappropriate humor, and fortunately, Mom’s cancer is in her boobs, so that gives us instant material to work with. We’ll all do what we do: Dad will talk about it, I will make rules, Lindsay will wail, Cortney will diagnose, Drew will gripe at the sisters, and Mom will be the calm Cancer Queen in the middle of this crazy family she created, probably acting like the sanest one of all.

We can do this.
**********************

Six months on this side of the manifesto, I can tell you that the ring system WORKS. If the rings are maintained well, the bulls-eye person gets to sit in a soothing emotional spa of calm and serenity and love. Oh sure, her people have plenty of fear and crazy, but they only send it outward, never inward, so she is shielded. Good outer rings constantly strengthen the inner rings. For my mom, this looked like a stocked refrigerator for weeks, an usually calm family, gifts for every single day of radiation from her staff, a cleaned house, rotating hand-holders on radiation days at the oncology office, anointing her with oil and prayer, baskets of lotion, tons of emails and texts.

For us in the innermost rings, this looked like a billion calls checking in on us, friends meeting us at the doctor's office, a steady supply of patient listeners, well-timed distractions, invites for fun stuff, treatment strategy partners, encouragement galore, helpful research, laughter. Our people absorbed all our fears so we were free to absorb Mom's and Dad's. Our rings served us so well.

God was and still is so ever present, so ever near, so ever good. And we are taking our turn as outer rings for other folks right now, because that is how the community thing works. When someone staffs the outer rings of others, she need not worry when her day in the bulls-eye comes. She'll be surrounded by good people who love her and know the rules:

All the fear and worry can go out, and only strength and goodness can come in.  
If you are in crisis with your people right now, you have all my love and solidarity. Life is hard, but God and people are good. Set up your rings, explain the out-but-not-in Crazy Policy, and remember that God loves you and is for you. I am for you too, and your pain is always safe here. Consider me an outer ring: I will gladly, patiently absorb it all for you here today.

**Quick update: My friend "Amy H" (mentioned above) who gave me this idea read it from another article! I'm sure she mentioned that but the details completely fail me. This was six months ago and we were in Cancer Crisis. All I can remember is her great idea about "stress out, never in." I would never borrow a concept without crediting the original author intentionally (that has happened to me before and it blows). I am super glad to link you to this one she'd read in the LA Times by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman. I hope the "ring wisdom" is useful to so many of us. May it be a comfort and guide when our people are sick and we are all struggling."
 
 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

And the Skies Opened Up!

We're calling it the Flood of 2015... Monsoonal Rains of Biblical Proportions!

And, oh, how we've needed the rain.  Drought conditions have been put to rest as the Mighty Hand of God released the torrents...



And our little place on the lake... Well, what a difference a week makes...

 
Little Brushy Creek has joined up with Lake Texoma!
 
My dad's favorite fishing spot is now 12 feet under...
 
 
 
And since May 10th, we've received even more rain
which has led to these surreal moments of
kayaking down the road
 
 
and through the woods...
 
 
On June 1, 2015 Lake Texoma crested 28.72 feet over the conservation pool, the highest level on record since the lake was impounded.  It is truly an unfathomable amount of rain in so short a time!
 
Highport Marina is underwater...
 
And there will be no parking at Grandpappy Marina in the near future!
 
Not even Eisenhower Yacht Club was a match for this flood.
 
We are grateful beyond measure that there has been no loss of life around these parts,
praying with aching hearts for those that struggle even tonight to understand the deadly force of these flooding rains...
 
Our place is high enough to have escaped the brunt of the rising waters,
but our pond has filled seemingly overnight!
 
 
And the Lake Texoma Spillway overflows in glorious display...
 
 
 
Such a Magnificent Power
in these sustaining rains...
renewing a parched earth and commanding our complete attention.
 
 
It is a thing of awesome beauty.
 
"Let's know, let's press on to know the LORD;
whose appearing is as certain as the dawn;
who will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that give drink to the earth."
                                                          ~ Hosea 6:3
 
 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Letter from the Depths of Sorrow...

Choosing Life and Meaning.

Sheryl Sandburg lost her husband just one month ago... The pain and grief are visceral, but her words are so very important to hear.  Might you take a moment and catch a glimpse of the love this remarkable woman shares in a post on what she has learned these past 30 days...



"Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days. Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.

A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.

I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well.

But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.

And this is why I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to give back some of what others have given to me. While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy.

I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.

I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain. She has tried to fill the empty space in my bed, holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep. She has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine. She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes.

I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer. A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me. Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not. When people say to me, “You and your children will find happiness again,” my heart tells me, Yes, I believe that, but I know I will never feel pure joy again. Those who have said, “You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good” comfort me more because they know and speak the truth. Even a simple “How are you?”—almost always asked with the best of intentions—is better replaced with “How are you today?” When I am asked “How are you?” I stop myself from shouting, My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am? When I hear “How are you today?” I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.

I have learned some practical stuff that matters. Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.

I have learned how ephemeral everything can feel—and maybe everything is. That whatever rug you are standing on can be pulled right out from under you with absolutely no warning. In the last thirty days, I have heard from too many women who lost a spouse and then had multiple rugs pulled out from under them. Some lack support networks and struggle alone as they face emotional distress and financial insecurity. It seems so wrong to me that we abandon these women and their families when they are in greatest need.

I have learned to ask for help—and I have learned how much help I need. Until now, I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner. I did not plan this, and when it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything. Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They told me where to sit and reminded me to eat. They are still doing so much to support me and my children.

I have learned that resilience can be learned. Adam M. Grant taught me that three things are critical to resilience and that I can work on all three. Personalization—realizing it is not my fault. He told me to ban the word “sorry.” To tell myself over and over, This is not my fault. Permanence—remembering that I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better. Pervasiveness—this does not have to affect every area of my life; the ability to compartmentalize is healthy.

For me, starting the transition back to work has been a savior, a chance to feel useful and connected. But I quickly discovered that even those connections had changed. Many of my co-workers had a look of fear in their eyes as I approached. I knew why—they wanted to help but weren’t sure how. Should I mention it? Should I not mention it? If I mention it, what the hell do I say? I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues that has always been so important to me, I needed to let them in. And that meant being more open and vulnerable than I ever wanted to be. I told those I work with most closely that they could ask me their honest questions and I would answer. I also said it was okay for them to talk about how they felt. One colleague admitted she’d been driving by my house frequently, not sure if she should come in. Another said he was paralyzed when I was around, worried he might say the wrong thing. Speaking openly replaced the fear of doing and saying the wrong thing. One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, “It’s the elephant.” Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room.

At the same time, there are moments when I can’t let people in. I went to Portfolio Night at school where kids show their parents around the classroom to look at their work hung on the walls. So many of the parents—all of whom have been so kind—tried to make eye contact or say something they thought would be comforting. I looked down the entire time so no one could catch my eye for fear of breaking down. I hope they understood.

I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before—like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted. When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before.

I am truly grateful to the many who have offered their sympathy. A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree—something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in. And so many men—from those I know well to those I will likely never know—are honoring Dave’s life by spending more time with their families.

I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.

I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”

Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.”

I love you, Dave."