Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Better Late than NEVER

First, let me apologize for being a slacker in the blog department.  I know you all understand that I've had other things on my mind, but I still should have written a few lines to let you know we're all doing ok.

Last Wednesday I packed up my belongings and a bunch of chubbies (full of oxygen) and rode with Dave and Val to their new home in Plain, WA (right near the Wenatchee River and Leavenworth - beautiful country).  Val and I had a wonderful couple of days exploring the area and shopping.  I came home on Sunday with the Schemenauer's who were at their cabin on the same river.  I'm already looking forward to my next visit with them.  I sure wish Rick was here to see their finished product...he would have loved it.

Out of the blue yesterday, Amy told me that going to Boston was on her bucket list and wondered if I'd like to join her on a quick little trip before she starts a new job with the Air Force.  Much to her surprise, I said "sure, why not"?  So, we've already booked our flight, hotel, found the closest place to get oxygen for me while I'm there, and bought tickets for the Yankees vs. Red Sox game at the new Yankee stadium.  I'm sure between now and the 15th of May (I know it's very soon) she'll plan many more outings for us.  Don't worry, we'll be back just in time for Relay for Life.  Don't tell her, but I'm tired already just thinking about it.

During my time off from writing a blog, I had a little visit at the emergency room with a fever.  It appeared I had a sinus infection.  Once I started the antibiotic and kept taking tylenol, I felt new again. I've been feeling much better from the chemo this week just in time to get it again on Tuesday.  It's sad for me to go to Seattle Cancer Care anymore because Rick and I usually went together.  It's another new normal I'm going to have to adjust to but for now...I don't like it.

Part of my reason for not writing lately is I had to "get real" about some of facts of losing my spouse..This week I picked out a headstone for Rick (and I).  It's beautiful and he would have liked it too.  I had to notify social security, insurance companies, and banks about his death.  It could have been a lot worse for me, but Rick did a good job of having all the important stuff filed in their appropriate spots.  I think I've got most of it covered except for some additional thank you's that have come in from Hospice.  Thanks to all of you who have made donations to your favorite charity in his name.

I promise to write soon.


Monday, April 19, 2010

4 beautiful years....

Today was my 4th year cancerversary.  I can not believe that 4 years ago today I was diagnosed with this dreaded disease and I'm still here to complain about it.  I want to be Dr. Eaton's longest living survivor so expect to hear about this again next year.

The past few days I've been fighting a fever.  Last night, Angie and Shannon took me to the emergency (doctor's orders) to have my blood checked for signs of infection or if my temperature was only on the rise because of the chemo on Tuesday.  It seems that I have some kind of infection (maybe sinus) so I was put on an antiobiotic for the next 5 days.  I'm hoping they will do the trick and I can try to get back to normal.

Actually, I'm not sure what my new normal is these days.  I miss Rick more than I can explain, nighttime is always the worst part of my day.  We always used to crawl into bed and touch our feet together as a sign of endearment.  Now, I get into bed alone (except when one of the kids comes over) and I have no feet to touch.  Sounds like a silly thing, but it happened every night.  It was as natural as brushing your teeth.

Today was also my dear friend Cathy's birthday.  Happy Birthday my older but loveable friend :)

If I'm feeling good when Dave and Val leave this week, I'm going to ride over to their cabin in Plain, WA and stay for a couple of days.  I have other friends (the Schemenauer's who will be over there this weekend and agreed to take me back to Stanwood).  It will be nice for Jake and Megan to have some alone time in the house without me. 

On Wednesday, my baby boy will be 25 years old.  I know he's not a baby anymore and these past 2 weeks he'd really proven what an amazing young man his is.  He has been a rock for our family.  His dad would have been so proud of his work around the property this past weekend.  He mowed, weed whacked, sprayed all the weeds with round-up and planted some trees we received from friends in honor of Rick.  It was beautiful weather and he worked from dawn to dusk.  The yard looks great!   I think I'll keep him.

Today when some friends were over we talked about how much Amy looks like her dad.  From her hands, to the way she crosses her legs.   Apparently, we don't always notice things like that until we lose someone.  I think the kids all love it when people notice things they do or say that remind them of their dad.  Forever I didn't get credit for being their mom because they all looked just like their dad.  Over the past few years however, I'm starting to get a little credit (I think people say that just out of pity:)

I've been wearing Rick's wedding ring on my thumb and it's amazing how much peace I get out of feeling it on my hand.  He just feels nearer and dearer to my heart.

I'd better get to bed now.  It's one o'clock and I need my rest so I can take a little trip across the pass with my friends later this week.

Dreaming Big,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Great Scan News.

On Monday I was scheduled to have a new brain MRI and a new Chest CT scan. My sister in law, Vickie and Kelly took me to Seattle for the appointments.   On Tuesday, I learned that the chest tumors are stable but the tumors in my brain have shrunk 30 to 40 percent.  It was the best news I've heard in a long time.   After my doctors appointment, I went in for chemo.  I've got achy joints this morning and a little nausea, but other that I'm not feeling too bad. 

My heart is a little extra heavy today because today would have been our 30th wedding anniversary.  I know Rick is celebrating with me from Heaven (he spoiled me every year).  If I'm feeling better this evening, the kids want to take me out to dinner (they say dad would have wanted that).  These children of ours are the most amazing people I know.  Angie spent the night with me last night just in case the chemo kicked my behind.

It's time for me to head back to the sofa and get a little rest.  The more I rest the first few days after chemo, the better I seem to feel. 

Thank you all again for all the love, cards, caring words and wisdom you've given me over the past couple of weeks.  I can't help but heal faster from my loss with all of your support. 

Dream Big,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My thoughts

I've been wanting to write a blog for the past couple of days but my emotions were a little too raw to share how life was going at the Schmitt house. 

What no one tells you, is that planning a memorial (celebration of life) service is a lot like planning a wedding... only you get about 2 days to do all the work.  In the end, I could not have asked for anything more beautiful or respectful for my one true love.   The church was set up for just under 500 people and the pastor told us they did a head count and the number was more like 740 people.  The church was filled with family, friends, co-workers, business acquaintances, friends and loved ones of both mine and the kids.  Rick would have been honored to see so many people pay tribute to what a great guy he was.

Most of the time I'm doing just fine (when you have a lot of work to do it takes your mind off the sadness).  What I've found recently is my tears are tears from happy memories, or a smell, or just remembering how much love we shared and I feel a huge hole in my heart.  I know it will get easier as time goes on, but for now I need to enjoy the memories as they come (even if they're followed by tears).

After the celebration of life ceremony on Wednesday, we went to the cemetery for the burial.  My dear friend Nancy had 100 red and black balloons delivered for us to release when the service was over.  The wind was blowing just right, so when Pastor Mich was finished we let off 100 balloons and we watched them sail over the town, his work, the high school where he watched hundreds of high school ball games.  It was another beautiful tribute.  Thank you Nancy for thinking of us.

As a family, we want to thank all of you who attended the service, sent flowers, made donations, sent cards, gave hugs, kept us in your prayers, worked behind the scene to make the reception run well, and the video turn out fabulous and all the other pieces I'm forgetting.  I have never felt so blessed to live in a community filled with kindness, generosity and more love than I thought possible..

You have all made this journey as bearable as possible and that was no easy task.

Love you MOST,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The past week has been a whirlwind.  We knew that dad was getting worse but as strange as it may sound, I don't think anyone really believed that he was going to die.  Both of our parents had been defying the odds of survival for so long it just seemed as though some type of clinical trial would come along that would buy him some time.  It just went so fast.

Some of the things that people might not know are that my dad officially retired from Wolfkill on Friday March 26.  When he walked in the door that afternoon and sat in his chair, he never left the house again.  He had a few good moments the following few days but then began to slip away on Monday.

Another thing you might not know is that Angie had left for Tahiti and Bora Bora on Saturday March 27th. She had the trip planned for a long time and she was looking forward to spending spring break relaxing and re-charging her batteries, like everyone kept telling her to do.  When she left, my dad was fine.  We were giving Angie updates each day and then finally called and encouraged her to come home on Wednesday when things began to look a lot worse.  Angie traveled nearly 22 hours straight to say goodbye to my dad, but after all of the traveling, she arrived 30 minutes after his passing.

The day after dad passed away my immediate family was at the funeral home making arrangements for the funeral when Angie got a text message that her next door neighbor and good friend was one of the people killed in the oil refinery explosion in Anacortes, WA.  She had lost her father and friend within 10 hours.  We all knew Matt as well so it was another blow to our family that was already struggling with the normal emotions of losing a loved one.

Mom has had numerous visitors the past few days and we are grateful for the time you have spent with her.  She is doing pretty well for the most part but we all have our moments when we forget he is gone and we break down.  I know that I have been so busy with funeral preparations the past few days that I haven't left my parents house since last Wednesday.  Last night, I packed my bag and decided to go home.  As I kissed my mom goodbye I turned toward my dad's chair to kiss him.  Everyone saw me do it and it was difficult for everyone else as well as they saw that I had forgotten.  I had a bit of a breakdown.  I have seen 1000 pictures of him the past few days so it is as if he is still here.  Last night... I remembered.

If you are in the Stanwood area and would like to attend the viewing it is from 9am-5pm today at Gilbertson's funeral home.  We saw him last night and he looks absolutely fabulous.  He is more at peace today than I have seen him in months.  We hope this week brings all of us closure on the loss of a quiet hero.

Missing my dad-

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Let Easter fill your heart with joy :)

As you can all imagine, in the past few days many tears have been shed, stories told, plans made, and love shared.  In my wildest dreams I  couldn't imagine doing any or all of this on my own.  Lucky for me, I had a wonderful husband who taught his children to work hard and love and respect their mother.  He would not be disappointed in the wonders of his work.  The kids have been Angels and I am blessed.

Rick would be so thankful too, to our friends Bob and Dy and Dave and Val.  They have helped the house run like a well oiled machine.  He would have done the same if the circumstances were any other way.  How fortunate we are to have such wonderful friends. 

This morning, we are going to Church then spending the afternoon together with friends and family for Easter.  I wish you all a joyful day with your families as well. 

I already miss my Ricky but I know he is in a better place and free of pain.  Thank you all for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers,  

Dreaming Big with a heavy heart,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rick Schmitt: July 28, 1956 - April 1, 2010

Today, April 1st, my dad passed away peacefully in his bed surrounded by people who love him.  Everything happened so fast the past few days.  We are still processing everything so we will write more at a later time.  For the time being we want to thank everyone for the kind words and happy thoughts that have been sent our way over the past three or four years.  We couldn't have made it this far without the support that we've received.

There will be a funeral service and celebration of his life on Wednesday April 7th beginning at 11:00 AM at the Camano Chapel.  Please continue to keep my family in your thoughts as we transition into this stage of our processing.  We simply ask for strength for my mom as she continues to fight her own battle with this disease while mourning the loss of her best friend.

With a heavy heart-