One journey down Grief Road - February 2000

Copyright June 2000, Dave Palmer

For what it is worth, here is a log of correspondence which shows some of the issues a person deals with when facing grief caused by death of a loved one. There are duplicate entries and entries which might make no sense at all. This is not an attempt to convince you to treat your grief a certain way. Everyone responds to grief in their own way.

In this case it was the loss of a spouse, loss of a marriage, loss of a 20+ year relationship, and loss of future plans and hopes that triggered these notes. To respect the privacy of others, all email addresses have been removed. In most cases the email shown is only mine.

This is presented only for purposes of illustrating the range of feelings and the way in which these feelings might change over time. This is not an attempt to solicit feedback or response to any issue. As the reader will find out many of the issues have been resolved through various techniques.
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Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2000 03:15:14 -0700

Subject: Re: [MM] FWIW Wk.55 thalidomide update

Aki

At 3 in the morning you are truly a gift from Heaven!

Dave Dave Palmer -

"Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.", - Will Rogers
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Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2000 14:09:58 -0700

Subject: Another chapter

Aki

Thanks so much - as you know by now, Ellen left for another journey, hopefully with out concept of God showing the way.

As we waited for the ambulance (we thought we'd be home in a day or two) I mentioned that early in our morning Aki was cheering.

I thought you'd like to know that she started her journey with your name fresh in her soul.

My best to you friend -

Dave Palmer -

I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
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Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2000 21:36:05 -0700

Subject: The Final Chapter

This is the note no one wants to write or read. Keith is with me and we are leaning on each other.

Ellen began a new journey this morning, with new wings, perhaps a new form - but certainly the same wonderful soul.

We were not ready to start a journey in separate worlds, but God provided a path and Ellen was able to choose to follow it, with all my love and support.

Our journey was aided and comforted by of you. You are a gift of immeasurable value. I will always be in your debt.

Her new journey began at 7:30 a.m., very quietly and with a great deal of peace. A compassionate emergency room staff aided me in one of the decisions no caregiver ever wants to exercise.

Our cancer support group is led by a minister and a MSW, and a second hopsital minister befriended us over the months. With their love and support my separate road started with prayers, compassion and realistic support - and I am thankful for that.

Now my words of advice - hug each other now! Do it daily, do it often and do it with meaning - it is an investment in life.

Love to all - Dave "If dreams were wings we would each be butterflies" - Ellen May 1999
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Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 01:00:44 -0700

Subject: My thanks to all

Just a few blinks ago I felt alone and lonely - and then a wonderful family of friends brought tears to my heart and soul with their love, compassion and wisdom.

My son and I are ending another day having arranged this and that and it dawned on me how fast my electronic family surrounded me and held me up.

As each of you start a new day, I can tell you that this group is truly here in all ways and always. I chuckle as I recall some heated debates and I cry as I read of another lost to this monster, and worry as another joins our number. Yet through all this we each are searching for help for someone - ourselves or a loved one - and my experiences have demonstrated that help and love really exist here.

Over the years we've come together - alone at first - and then over time we are bound together and it is truly a miracle - and truly real.

Thank you so much for your support - thank you so much for helping each other -

Our physical family begins arriving in a few hours - and they will only scratch the surface of what each of you about our common condition - oh - that the world knew of the emotional costs and physical trauma that you and our cancer patients carry so quietly and so invisibly. Perhaps we can change that and in our own way bring an end to this monster that has touched so many.

I hope to stay around, maybe adding some thoughts - who knows.

Ellen's services are Sunday - when the clan has all arrived - but thanks to you I've truly experienced already the most significant memorial service ever.

Love - in all ways and always,

Dave

Dave Palmer -

"He has carried out each and every one of his duties to his entire satisfaction."
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Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 20:08:29 -0700

Subject: Re: (no subject)

Hi Dear Donna Eight pm already and just free for the first minutes of the day.

Lee and Chris were simply fantastic - we (Keith) and they came together as though we spoke a single voice. It was a terribly draining, terribly dramatic and yet wonderful day - and I hope Ellen enjoys the spirit we shared in her memory -

Flowers would be fine - donations would be fine - I've listed two groups - The International Myeloma Foundation 2129 Stanly Hills Drive, LA CA 90046 and Leigha's Sisters of St Mary's of Oregon

A recommended florist is Centralia Flower Shop 360-736-2222, for Ellen Palmer 2/13 ceremony at Sticklins to be delivered noon on SAT

I'll pass on answering other questions as my mind is filled with grogginess and exhaustion - just take care of the grandkids, Dawn and yourself, the rest will be okay.

Take care and love,

Regards, Dave
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Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 21:52:01 -0700

Subject: Hello all -

Sorry I didn't call in later today - but the day was one of sorrow and joy.

We had a nice afternoon with Helen (Ellen's best friend) and Bill Wadleigh. They are at peace with their loss, but still suffering, as are you and many we know.

Hellen expressed, and I support, a ferverent wish to attend the ceremony at Beverly Beach - I think she was one of the first people to go with Ellen and Lee to that place for vacation and she told tales of fun and laughter - and I hope Lee can steal a few minutes away with Helen on Sunday or Monday.

I talked with the Chaplain today and he expressed a willingness to aid people in sharing. If anyone has a fear of speaking he will gladly read for them any comments they provide in writing. I already have had two contributions and I hope anyone else will feel free to add to the stories and comments.

A good friend took me to the funeral home today and we delivered the photo boards, urn and portrait - so they are there, safe and sound for Sunday.

Ellen's obituary appeared in the papers today. Here is the one which appeared in The Olympian. Click on:

http://news.theolympian.com/stories/20000211/Obituaries/ and you will find it down the page. I saved it electronically.

My love to all - please call anytime.

Dave Palmer -

I got in the gene pool while the life guard wasn't watching.
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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 21:24:58 -0700

Subject: In good times and bad this group is wonderful

Wow! In the name of Ellen and in her memory we are humbly honored by the flood of support and love so many have shown. May God bless each of you for the thoughts, love and emotions that you provided and aided me with.

Thought I'd check in and pledge to stay involved in anyway I can - sometimes a surviving spouse has a perspective that offers a hue of light that differs. Tomorrow I start trying to collect the last data in an attempt to complete the numbers for one non-transplant IgA patient on thalidomide for 13 months.

Ellen's service was yesterday and today she joined the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. Family and friends were joined as never before and perhaps it is time to restate for others one of our favorite beliefs.

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited ...

It cannot cripple love,

It cannot shatter hope,

It cannot corrode faith,

It cannot destroy peace,

It cannot kill friendship,

It cannot invade the soul,

It cannot silence courage,

It cannot steal eternal life,

It cannot suppress memories,

It cannot conquer the Spirit.

----- Love and hugs to all,

Dave
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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 21:24:58 -0700

Subject: [MM] In good times and bad this group is wonderful

Wow! In the name of Ellen and in her memory we are humbly honored by the flood of support and love so many have shown. May God bless each of you for the thoughts, love and emotions that you provided and aided me with.

Thought I'd check in and pledge to stay involved in anyway I can - sometimes a surviving spouse has a perspective that offers a hue of light that differs. Tomorrow I start trying to collect the last data in an attempt to complete the numbers for one non-transplant IgA patient on thalidomide for 13 months.

Ellen's service was yesterday and today she joined the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. Family and friends were joined as never before and perhaps it is time to restate for others one of our favorite beliefs.

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited ...

----- Love and hugs to all,

Dave
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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 17:54:14 -0700

Subject: Slowly coming back

Hi all,

Am I ok? Ok? Well describe that to me....

Yep - still walking, talking and breathing. Actually slept until 10 a.m. this morning. The body felt better, but it still doesn't like me.

I'm glad Leigha had a good day - I hope she has many of them to offset the thoughts she must have in the silent part of her soul and mind. She was deeply, deeply loved by Ellen and I pray she knows that.

Of course I am proud of her and for her. The loss of her grandmother was not planned and so unnecessary -

The time at the beach was significant. The weather and the storm, to me, were perfect and matched what I think were the emotions each of us had. At least for me the raging water, rain and wind were a perfect end to an event none of us ever wanted to participate in. I'm so glad we could honor Ellen's wishes and leave her ashes to circle the world.

Keith took off tonight. Hard to see him go. He grew in stature this past week.

I've slowly answered close to a 100 email condolences received from New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Sweden, England, and who knows where else. Each morning I'd do 10 or so, and today I wrapped up the last of the condolences - though I know there will be nore.

The druggist gave us a lillac for Ellen and Keith and I planted it today at the head or is it the foot of the driveway. Hopefully it will bloom and grow and welcome everyone. The lillac has "Ellen" as part of the name - so it is an appropriate plant.

Thank you's went out today for each of the flower tributes - and the chaplain, hospital staff, and doctor's office - they were each so kind to Ellen and Ellen's memory.

Lee is surely a giant - the loss of Ellen was so unfair - and yet he did so much and handled it so well - I do love him and hope we stay close and share the best part of her for a long time.

Time to heat up some beans and rice - read the paper, get the horses in, and fix the toilet (it started leaking the day of the funeral) - Love to all and Hugs, prayers, and lots of thoughts.

Dave Palmer -

Do you want what is on the ground in your water tomorrow? If not, then protect the earth....
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Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 07:51:36 -0700

Subject: Almost back

Dearest Gracie,

Thought I'd try to bring you up to date on life out here. Sandy, Mark, Keith, Eric, Kathleen, Oregon friends, Ellen's brother, mother, Lee's family, and dozens of current area friends joined us Sunday for the memorial service.

We had a truly wonderful celebration - at least I think it was.

A chaplain from the hospital officiated and it helped so much to have someone who knew her and, I think, loved her. He'd been a guide and a friend for 3 years - and so he knew something of her being.

You'd have rolled on the floor laughing during a sharing segment. Our pharmacist runs a radio program and does the ads live on the radio. 3 years ago, just before Valentines Day, he told folks he had a one time super special deal on a heart shaped bedpan and that he'd spray paint this for valentines day if someone bought it.

Well, dear Ellen was the first one to call in and buy it for me.

His voice and story-telling ability exceed my typing ability - it was great and wonderful to hear it retold.

Her brother, Chris, played 'Amazing Grace' to close the service - quite a tribute.

Later that afternoon we were joined by many here at the home and we talked and laughed our way through a difficult period. Two by two the folks left until just Keith, Eric and I were here to clean up. No big deal - it was a wonderful gathering and spirits were high and folks were good.

Monday - brother, son and wife, Keith, Eric, two good friends, and I - journeyed to Beverly Beach (Depoe Bay area) to spread her ashes on the Pacific (Ellen's wish). It was one hell of a stormy day and it fit my mood - and I think it was a terrific way to end the process. It would have been far too hard had the weather been nice and the birds singing.

So that's a brief description - I miss her dearly and I am in God's debt.

Hope all is well, I love you - Dave Palmer -

"The best things in life aren't things."
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Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 22:54:51 -0700

Subject: Re: Wed. eve.

On Thu, 17 Feb 2000 00:09:03 EST,wrote:

I'll share Grandma Cloudy's medical news with Leigha; she'll be glad to hear. I know she's concerned that all the animals will adjust. Which reminds me, how is Butterscotch doing? ... And Lilly - she looked so confused while we were there.

Butterscotch is back in fine shape. King of the place and loving it. Guess he can't stand competition.

Lilly? Well, our favorite name is, Silly Lilly - she wasn't acting unusual, but rather normal. Darn it. That's one of the consequences of poor breeding - but Ellen wanted her. We went out to buy a male collie - and in her words - ONLY A MALE DAVID - and guess what she chose? You got it!

Grandpas farm? Oh boy - a new farm hand to train - she will be something else with an apple picker (horse manure tool) - and I'll stay my distance while she works.

Thanks for the 'vow'. It means a lot. I hope it does work out and that we do stay close. I've seen others accomplish that, and I know you've seen others that didn't. When my best friend died a number of years ago, and after spending 2 weeks with his family, I thought the ties would last through a hurricane - but time has a way of altering perspective and we humans are sometimes just a leaf in a breeze - we try to go this way and end up that way. But this leaf is willing Got that?

I deeply appreciate Lee's understanding. It was an honor to know his mother. She was a wonderful person and I loved her dearly. I think it was at best a tie as to who was the happiest - and I thank God everyday that I was able to be with her everyday of her life over these past 9 years that she was home. It was truly an honor and one which I would have fought for, had it not been possible.

We had this saying on the wall in her bathroom, and at the service - and gave it to everyone we could:

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited ...

Ellen lived that to the fullest - and to the best of my ability I tried to stay in step with her.

Yep - I'll get out - the nonprofit corp turns out to be a good diversion - it is something I am as commited to as I was Ellen - in fact I think it has a permanent tie to folks like her who contract cancer- - someday I might be proven right - time will tell - but it will be too late for thousands of cancer victims. Fortunately she shared that commitment and interest so it will help me get back into it, which I must in the next day or two..... even though I am not really up to it. Sometimes you just have to do it!

Oh the funeral home visit was friendly. The guy and the gal sort of came across as unconcerned and uninterested. They were two new people. Nothing at all serious. Guess I really was hoping to see Bob Ross, the director, who knew me - rather than two total strangers - of course when you go in dressed in jeans, as I do, it is easy for folks to brush you off. I hate power dressing

Glad you want to chat tomorrow night. Despite my pledge to get out, I was hoping to stay home. We have a big meeting on floods tomorrow night - and frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn! What's a flood when compared to a human life? Not much. The folks there will just want to bitch and moan - and normally I'd be moderating - but my heart just isn't in it - I've a board meeting Tuesday and that is soon enough for me - in terms of 'getting out'. I'll take baby-steps in town (which I have with the postmaster and the bank), and out of town (the druggist), and some neighbors - but I'm not ready for j-q-public.

Long answer to a short question - anytime after 7 - even 8 will be fine. I'll be here. Our unlisted family number is 360/xxx xxxx - no recorder - so if I don't answer I'm either with the horses or in that room that has no telephone - just try again later...

Take care and good chatting with you! It do help!

Dave Palmer -

If we are the recipient of pain it is black and white. When we have something to gain there are all shades of grey.
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Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 14:32:01 -0700

Subject: Re: -and time passes on...

Dear Sandy - Thanks for the note and reaching out -

I just bounced the note your requested to your email address.

Keith left Tuesday night - and Wednesday night was the pits - hope I do better today. Had to kick my you know what to get going, and I managed to slug my way through some of the necessary paperwork. Still a lot more to do, but I felt good about what I got done. Even managed to get the Christmas cards down.

Mark is a gentle giant among men - you should be proud of him.

I'd write more, but my emotions and brain are not synchronized very well. However I will ask you a question and I hope you can give me some advice.

Ellen had a pendant necklace with an appaloosa on it. It was bone or ivory (I don't recall) It was the only jewelry of hers I could wear. It was hanging in the house and now it is gone. What the hector would you do? Here we were gathered to honor her and some damn thief came out of the woodwork - I'm sort of p----'d off. She had hundreds of necklaces, any one of which I would have given away -

I don't see how I can do anything about it without offending everyone who was there. Nice pile of cr*p that person left for me.

Oh well, live and learn - I love you - I'm sorry I brought that up, Thanks for your love and support.

Regards, Dave "Grief is not a problem to be cured. It is simply a statement that You have loved someone." - Doris Sanford
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Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 17:08:32 -0700

Subject: RE: This and that

Hi Lani - Thanks for sharing a portion of your story - it was a magic moment and I think I catch on to the love you shared.

I couldn't help but relate your story to the movie - Love is a Many Splendored Thing - which is one of my all time sentimental favorites and I still cry when I see it.

The roles might be reversed by the story line isn't all that different.

You should consider that friends offer......

The first day was pretty rough - I fell asleep sometime after 2 this morning. This home is empty and full of ghosts - not really - I am just in the land of total denial - maybe bordering on anger - and surely close to wallowing in misery (not that much yet). I did take advantage of my emotions and updated Ellen's survivor story (which now moves to the "In Memory Of" section of the mm site at ACOR. I'm awaiting instructions on how to send it in. Also need the final blood tests and bmb results to complete 48 months of history. Might help someone, somewhere, someday.

I'm still sticking my nose into the MM list and commenting - and a very few caregivers are seeking me out - and I'll continue - this monsterous beast, and all the many relatives, need to be atomized!

I'd love to get funding and do some basic research - all the statistics and studies are based on such sanitized and manipulated data that no wonder we still don't have clues on why cancer originates. When 9 or is it 12 areas in the country are the sole source for all cancer projections (incidence, type, life expectancy and death) it is no wonder that we have no idea what we are fighting. The data are only useful to investors researching hospital demands, staffing and location of funeral homes.

Oh well, that soapbox is too high right now - I got to stay in denial!

Take care - at this moment I am bouncing back - but that, I find is subject to change in an instant!

Tomorrow I'm meeting a Master Gardener friend of Ellen's - well mine too - just more her's than mine - for coffee (how's that for a messed up sentence?). His wife is very sick and has been for a couple of years - she is on oxygen all the time and can barely move around. He is a primary caregiver, but has had visiting help for some time. I hate to say it but I am relieved that Ellen skipped this type of life. She died almost vibrant - and certainly in control of her body and soul.

I had a chance to participate in a big flood meeting tonight and declined. Too soon to go out in front of a public group and listen to posturing, whining and politics - so I'll stick to my baby steps and enjoy coffee tomorrow - and go on from there.

Enough - time to get this off. Hugs! Regards, Dave "Grief is not a problem to be cured. It is simply a statement that You have loved someone." - Doris Sanford
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Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 18:38:07 -0700

Subject: RE: Need some advice

Dear Dean,

Thanks for your kind and generous response.

June was one of our heros, and her passing was devastating news to both of us. I think the loss of June had a major impact on Ellen - and others too, of course.

That single event pointed out the true seriousness of the disease. That was something that we both had put on a shelf and not looked at. Fortunately the end came rapidly - though at times I curse the speed and drop into angry denial. Not a comfortable position, but certainly it is part of the healing process.

The walk through grief and grieving is certainly a new one for me - even the loss of my parents dims in comparison to the loss of a loved partner for life. I can only imagine the loss you are feeling a little further down the road.

What I'd like to suggest, in Ellen's case, is a new, updated file - with comments to bring her illness and treatment full circle. Previously I had submitted, to June, an already marked up html file - ready to go - and I hope that will work this time. Within that file I have links, back to my ISP host, to details that are just too lengthy to include in an already lengthy biography. As I get the details from the hospital and oncologist I will simply update my files on the local ISP and those who are interested can take the link and see the data.

I've attached the file - Palmer_Ellen.html

I pray God helps you on your journey and heals you and your family...

Regards, Dave "Grief is not a problem to be cured. It is simply a statement that You have loved someone." - Doris Sanford

Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 08:18:04 -0700

Subject: Re: Melbourne calling

Dear Pat,

Thanks for checking in - somehow you must know how important 'checking in' really is. And I thank you.

Family left a couple of days ago. The first day was a continuous walking nightmare - and it wasn't much fun - I sort of rattled around this place like a bee in a jar.

Yesterday was better - as I focused on some of the necessary paperwork, evenn removed the Christmas cards from our display (we never did move fast anyhow) and with a full sun all day I felt lonely but rejuvenated.

Last night I slept like I genius (poor analogy I know) or someone who knew what he was doing and if feels good this morning.

I've had some phone contact with family and friends and today I'm meeting an old friend of ours who Ellen knew through our Master Gardener program. He is older than I, a true Senior Citizen, and his wife has been seriously ill with emphysema (sp?) for a couple of years. She is on oxygen, can't walk far, needs assistance and is basically confined to home - and I think he wants to talk! Fortunately they have a care service which come to the home so he can get out on week days now and then.

(I'm so glad Ellen missed that phase of life - she left reasonably vibrant, in full control of herself and ready to take on the next life).

I'm feeling better - but even those feelings are transient - at least I know the good feelings will return as I walk through this other valley for a while longer.

Take care and thanks so much for checking in!

Regards, Dave "Grief is not a problem to be cured. It is simply a statement that You have loved someone." - Doris Sanford
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Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 16:31:18 -0700

Subject: Re: (no subject)

Elaine,

How kind of you to write me - I appreciate it!!!

I'm doing okay - as far as I know - there is no one here to check with and that's a bummer.

I go in and out of denial and anger and tears quite a bit - sometimes things go well and sometimes they don't.

With the sun out today it is especially hard - Ellen lived for sunshine and it is here and she is gone - or she is the source of the sunshine.

It was great to see Erling - I felt so sorry for him and then he vanished before I could get back to him. Thank him for me - I felt his tears and sorrow so deeply and I know he reached Ellen that day.

If you don't mind, here is some of what happened....

We had a truly wonderful celebration Sunday - at least I think it was.

A chaplain from the hospital officiated and it helped so much to have someone who knew her and, I think, loved her. He'd been a guide and a friend for 3 years - and so he knew something of her being.

You'd have rolled on the floor laughing during a sharing segment. Our pharmacist runs a radio program and does the ads live on the radio. 3 years ago, just before Valentines Day, he told folks he had a one time super special deal on a heart shaped bedpan and that he'd spray paint it pink for valentines day if someone bought it.

Well, dear Ellen was the first one to call in and buy it for me.

His voice and story-telling ability exceed my typing ability - it was great and wonderful to hear it retold.

Her brother, Chris, played 'Amazing Grace' to close the service - quite a tribute.

Monday - brother, Lee and wife, Keith, two good friends, my sons Keith - Eric and I - journeyed to Beverly Beach (Depoe Bay area) to spread her ashes on the Pacific (Ellen's wish). It was one hell of a stormy day and it fit my mood - and I think it was a terrific way to end the process. It would have been far too hard had the weather been nice and the birds singing.

She truly enjoyed your friendship and always will.

Write when you want - we've a lot of memories between us...

Regards, Dave "Grief is not a problem to be cured. It is simply a statement that You have loved someone." - Doris Sanford
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Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 16:38:32 -0700

Subject: Re: you

Bonnie - And a hug for you too.

Today went okay and now it is starting to crap out on me. I visited a mutual friend (he's almost 80) whose wife is very ill. He has a caregiver so we snuck out for coffee and a chance to talk about life, death and all those things. It was my first one on one contact with someone and it felt good and went well. Of course we had mutual misery to share and I guess that helped.

Monk, his name, has been down this road before. His first wife died after 29 years and he and Gracie have been married 29 years - I can learn a lot from him.

After that I literally had to spend time in our office downtown - the board meets Tuesday and I'm the bookkeeper as well as chairman - so the books had to be done - if we weren't almost broke I would have waited - but that wasn't a choice....... and I know you got caught up in record keeping tasks too - they just can't be left on the desk.

The dialysis machine was picked up yesterday and I've 40 cases of solution to go back next week, plus a trip to the hospital to return scales, cart, bp machine and supplies - so the journey continues - darn, darn, darn.

Over all I feel so-so - nothing to write home about - and at times the male pysche helps out - as we find it easy to drop into the robot mode - but it sure hurts when the robot turns off.

Take care - give my best to Dale and thanks for the support - it does help!

Regards, Dave "Grief is not a problem to be cured. It is simply a statement that You have loved someone." - Doris Sanford
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Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 20:38:24 -0700

Subject: Friday night

Hi - Just talked to your son.

I took your advice and started calling folks tonight - started with Betty (actually she called me), then Eric, then Helen and presto! what was lost is found.

Hellen had asked me Sunday if she could have a momento and I had said yes and promptly forgot- she didn't mention anything again and I did my male thing and promptly forgot even more. Turns out she took 2 necklaces - one being the one I wanted.... it will be back here and all is well. Thanks for the ADVICE!! Miss Manners 2 Home Team 0

Had a reasonable day. Met with the Master Gardener friend. I learned he is 80 and deeply in love and deeply troubled by his wife illness. So little anyone can do for him or her right now. They've been married 29 years - met after the deaths of their first spouses - and he'd been married to that lady for 29 years... I could learn a lot from him.

He wrote, an original poem, which was read at the funeral. It was very touching and it turns out he has a book of his work - none of which is published - a remarkable person.

Sorry Leigha is still sick - a bummer - especially when the weather is nice - at least it is here. Hope she gets well soon.

My best to all and I'll check in with Lee tomorrow - I think that is a good day?

Take care and thanks for the advice - I may check in for more later....

Dave
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Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 10:16:40 -0700

Subject: Thanks for the note

Hi Lloyd - Just got your note and I do appreciate it.

Sunday morning and what am I doing - composing a response to a grant application - really no different than an RFP or proposal. Just whisked it off to my board members and I'm taking the rest of the day off - well - not quite - but certainly away from the computer!

Been a rough week - lots of denial, anger and self-pitty - but I realize what I am doing and that it is part of a lengthy process.

After getting a pathologist report yesterday I realize how blessed we were and how wonderful it was to have the time that we did. She was a true champion and fighter and God surely gave us every possible moment that He could.

I simply wanted more - but it wasn't possible and now I realize my greed is a big source of my grief. We had a great love affair and marriage and no one can ask hope for more.

Take care and thanks for touching me.

Regards, Dave "Grief is not a problem to be cured. It is simply a statement that You have loved someone." - Doris Sanford
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Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 21:18:45 -0700

Subject: Re: A Sunday Eve. Hello

Hi Donna,

Thanks for checking in.

A tumultuous week - lots of peaks and valleys. Then the thunderstorms that come in out of the blue - a real roller-coaster, but it seems okay. Heck, what would I do if I felt it wasn't okay? Cry more?

Lee updated me on Leigha - sounded like she is much improved and I'm sorry, but glad, she missed the swimming - that wouldn't have helped her much. Is some of this part of her mourning?

Called Chris and talked to the machine. Called Gloria and had a nice chat. She sounds better than she has in weeks and she claims she is stronger. She went for a walk today to keep her strength up. Great lady.

I don't think today bothered me as much as Mondays/Tuesdays - though I understand where you are coming from. I hope, and trust, they get easier for us as time goes on.

Had a busy day - grocery shopping, copying for the office, tried to get our old International running (it failed me several times), then found the riding mower with a missing valve stem (read flat tire) though it had one when I put it away, and since the day was a) dry and b) warmish I decided to mow 3 lawns with the push mower. Did okay for the first mowing of the year - but I'd much rather have ridden! Think I did 4 loads of laundry (2 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms) and it is time to call it a day. Keeping busy was good mental therapy today - and it helped to get a mental break - but I've broken down at least twice anyhow.

Called one of our friends and he will help me get the International running (it's my take the garbage cans to the dump vehicle) and I'll call the John Deere folks to come pick up the mower - I suspect the wheel (original) is frozen on the shaft and no sense proving my stupidity by trying to take it off - let them bust their knuckles!!

I skipped Little Richard and watched the Flowers for Algonin (don't recall the spelling) and it was a great but sad show - real tear jerker - but that's okay, sometimes it helps to look in on someone else's troubles.

Happy thoughts and hugs back to you! Dave

p.s. if anyone is interested in the history and detail of Ellen's cancer it has been online for sometime. I completed the story the other night. It is at:

www.theblackrivernet/mmsurvey/ellen.html

We were pretty open with her story in hopes of attracting help - which we did, but there is a real shortage of miracle workers
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Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 21:31:12 -0700

Subject: Re: Sunday nite...

Hi Sandy - Thanks for the many kind words - coming from you they are humbling and treasured. Your still 'my big sister' and I look up to you.

Having folks in just seemed normal. Surely Ellen would have opened the house had she been here and I could do no less. I felt a lot of support and love and it worked out fine.

I apologize for not getting back to you about the necklace. I had talked to Donna (Lee's mother-in-law) and she said 'Dave - just call folks - no one wil be offended' and so I did. I started with Eric - easy to call, talked to Betty (easy to talk to), and then Helen (Ellen's best friend) and presto - Hellen had it.

I had some egg on my face as I had told her she could choose a remberance - and she did, but she took 2 items and never checked with me - so she has some egg on her face as well. Anyhow the necklace is coming back and I have dozens more she can choose from.

Sounds like you are busier than ever - and I am beginning to understand 'lonely' and 'empty' as never before. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Keith did not come down this weekend- and it is okay - I've kept busy updating medical records (job isn't done until the paperwork is all caught up), housework, watering plants, fixing things, mowing lawns, grocery shopping and I'm whooped. Still get broadsided by emotions, and that's okay.

Don't know if your interested but Ellen's story is and has been on the internet for some time. Now it is 'complete' as the bone marrow biopsy report arrived yesterday along with the last (2/8) blood test results. All that is at www.theblackriver.net/mmsurvey/ellen.html or www.theblackriver.net/index.html will take you to all kinds of stuff...

Love you - thank you, thank you, thank you! Dave Dave Palmer -

"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once." Unknown
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Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 11:16:22 -0700

Subject: Monday - thank you.

Hi Gracie,

Oh, not to worry about me - the good Lord built me with a lot of resilience and stubborn characteristics - and a strong sense of duty that lives beyond Ellen's short life with me.

These past days have not been fun, they may be like you imagine, but somehow I end the day with a prayer to God thanking Him for the past, present and future. I've a choice and I choose to live and complete whatever is yet to be shown me.

The passing of Mom and Dad are distant memories - their life is more in focus than their death and more strong and valuable. The death events are extremely weak and not something that can be recalled - nor is there a need.

I'm glad Ellen's memory in the clouds did not answer your wish to join her. There is time left yet for you. Enjoy it and wallow in it.

Your concept of being the script writer, director and producer is touching, but keep in mind you left absolutely no room, in fact zero, for others to make a contribution. Everyone in your life, past or present or future, chooses their role and plays it the way they wrote their script. Do leave room for others to be responsible - neither you nor I - can or could do it all.

I'd challenge 'don't need a therapist' - even computers need maintenance. Ellen and I looked at therapy as a maintenance check for humans. Sometimes we'd come out with nothing to do, other times we'd have a process to work on.

Healing does start with each of us - and sometimes the first step is seeking more help - no one can do everything.

You mention pain. Pain in the soul or pain in the physical body are both signals that something is happening. You'd be cheating yourself and enduring needless pain - no matter the source - if you don't find a solution. Life is too short. Pain is not a normal condition.

Thanks for the offer to visit. Now, it is much, much too soon. I need space and time and feelings to surround me. I chose to listen to Ellen for a long time - and I chose to close the eyes, ears and doors to distractions that didn't help us. Now I need to oil the hinges, look beyond myself and hear what is going on in the outside world.

Denying you a visit right now might not make sense to you. But a mourner risks the chance of wildly accepting offers - just to feed the deprived senses. I know myself well - the hinges, the eyes and ears need time to adjust to a world beyond medicine, hospitals, sympathy and remorse. Most of the world is outside those boundaries and this guy needs to look before he does anything, let alone leap on offers of help or support.

After 9 days, when everyone had left I felt abandoned - there was comfort in company - but it didn't take me long to realize that their needs and my needs are different. Her friends and family were already used to long absences and long periods of silence - while my experiences are just beginning. They could go 6 months or a year without a note and not worry - I could hardly leave the home or community without worry - so it is time now to retrain my worry buttons and build my confidence in life without Ellen. There have been a couple of subtle hints from would-be rescuers and I've managed to escape them.

Already folks wonder if I am going to travel or move out. I simply need space, time, and a few months to find out who I am - and it will start from a base rooted in what I call home. We never traveled after we burned out on traveling - and that was a choice - and so I won't become an instant traveler either. We loved this home and that hasn't changed. I am still blessed with 5 horses, pets and all that goes with this home and while it can be a burden, it does keep me active and give me something to do.

You are still my Tudy - and I'd love to see you - so get well and stay well. When the time is right maybe we can split a plane ticket and enjoy a couple of summer days. Maybe by then I'll be out of my fear of caregiving - while it was the honor of my life - it was more than I can take or provide right now, and I'd be terrified be close to anyone who might need attention - my well is close to being dried out....

One idea - Mark Orton was talking about a family reunion here in the fall. I don't know what will come of it - but that is something to look forward to. Maybe we carve out a day or two before the festivities begin and spend sometime with each other and then the reunion could truly be fun.

Love you dearly - enjoy your life and wallow in it! Take care of yourself and above all, be gentle with yourself.

It's after 11 a.m. and my tummy is growling for breakfast. Love you! Dave
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Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 13:55:34 -0700

Subject: Re: [MM] Thank you...

Sherra,

My God - there seems to be no end to sadness this day.

My heart and soul go out to you and all that are joining this new path. It is no small blessing that our loved ones are free of pain and illness - though right now it is difficult to hold on to that thought.

I know as a caregiver and researcher how hard it is - and you must know that you've done all that could be done.

Your father will have some new friends awaiting him - and they will help. You have some new friends too - perhaps we can help.

My deepest sympathy to you - Regards, Dave "Grief is not a problem to be cured. It is simply a statement that You have loved someone." - Doris Sanford
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Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 21:10:22 -0700

Subject: And howdy back to you

Hi Chris,

Great to talk to you this evening - even if you are snowbound.

I hope you didn't mind that I had an appraiser in already. One of Ellen's necklaces turned up missing last week. I made a couple of phone calls and it is on the way back - no particular value, but a lot of sentimental value to me. I'd told Helen she could have a souvenier - and she took two - and then didn't show me either one. Just a goof up but it bothered me enough to encourage me to get her jewelry appraised before something else might happen.

Turns out she has a lot of costume jewelry and then some interesting items. The appraiser cleaned everything, photographed and logged everything of value and will get back to me with the appraisal - and a photographics record.

I finally got the Christmas cards down off the kitchen closet door, and then today took down the Christmas cloth on the table in the corner - found a box, neatly labeled by Ellen, with spring things in it - and spruced up the dining area - even got the iron out and ironed some slip covers and a strip that lays down the center of the table. Being a male I didn't use the ironing board - just ironed on the table. It is a lot bigger and easier to use anyhow!!

I've become quite domesticated - did a ton of laundry (isn't this exciting email) after everyone left (damn those king size sheets take a lot of room), even dusted and cleaned up some other stuff. I did some of this while Ellen was alive - but tried not to be obvious as she really got p.o.'d at me for doing "her work".

The medical supplies left last night - 50 cases or so - guy couldn't have been nicer - he took damaged boxes and all. The dialysis company picked up the machine and slowly things are vanishing. Surprisingly enough it hurst even to see this stuff go - just another affirmation that life has changed forever....

Monday I head into Olympia to return the smaller dialysis stuff, visit the cancer support group and say our good byes (hope I don't turn into a slobbering idiot as I did Sunday trying to lead that little prayer and thanks). I 'think' I've found a home for her excess medicine - Group Health (remember them?) supplies foreign missions and I'm told they will accept medicines for use. We have several thousand dollars in medicines - so it should help a little, somewhere.

Sounds like I've been busy - but I've just scratched the surface - of stuff and my emotions. Gosh - we'd done so much and enjoyed so much - it is so hard to see and do these changes - - think I'll take some time off and rest before I tackle the ceramics, fabrics, sewing things, craft things - etc., etc.

Glad you got home safely - and had a good gig. Is there a season to parties and events? Well sure - weddings are coming up, graduations, etc. Sort of a dumb question. Hope the showcase goes well -

Here's a joke or two from one of the guests at the service - sort of cheered me up - though I'm not suggesting you are old !

1. SOME GREAT THINGS ABOUT GETTING OLDER

a.. Finally you can eat dinner at 4:00 p.m.

b.. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

c.. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

d.. It's harder and harder for sexual harassment charges to stick.

e.. If you've never smoked, you can start now and it won't have time to hurt you.

f.. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

g.. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

h.. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.

i.. Your eyes won't get much worse.

j.. Adult diapers are actually kind of convenient.

k.. Things you buy now won't wear out.

l.. No one expects you to run into a burning building.

m.. There's nothing left to learn the hard way.

n.. Your joints are more accurate than the National Weather Service.

--------------------------------

2. A business man got on an elevator in an big city office building.

When he entered the elevator, there was a young blonde already inside and she greeted him by spelling out the abbreviation letters "T-G-I-F"

He smiled at her and replied "S-H-I-T".

She looked at him, puzzled, and said "T-G-I-F"

He acknowledged her remark again by answering "S-H-I-T.

The blond was trying to be friendly, so she smiled her biggest smile and said as sweetly as possibly, "T-G-I- F" another time.

The man smiled back to her and once again replied with a quizzical expression, "S-H-I-T".

The blond finally decided to explain things, and this time she said, "T-G-I-F", T-hank G-oodness I-ts F-riday; get it?"

The man answered, "S-orry H-oney, I-t's T-hursday".

---------------------------------------------------------- And on that note - take care, have fun and enjoy life!!

Regards, Dave
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Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 21:20:23 -0700

Subject: Wednesday

Hi - Got an empty message and it reminded me to check in.

9 pm on Wednesday - and I am whooped.

Had a meeting all day Tuesday (a regular board meeting).

It was good to get out - but I felt so empty - there was no one to call at home. Sort of tough - but that's the way life is.

The dialysis company picked up the machine the other day, last night another company picked up 50 cases of solution. Slowly the things are vanishing and surprisingly it hurts to see those things go - just another affirmation that life has changed forever.

The Christmas stuff is packed away and spring things are out - I even ironed - but I use the table not the ironing board! Works great. The flowers are wilted and I saved the ribbon and pressed three daisies for Leigha - they will take a few weeks to dry I think.

Sunday I got ambitious and took advantage of the weather. It had been dry since the service, and the temp was in the 50's - so out I go to fire up the riding lawn mower. Never got that far. Seems a valve stem is missing - so something ate a valve stem between October and February - Lilly is weird (just joking). That left the push power mower.

As it turns out mowing in Feb is strenuous when you try and do all three lawns fast. But maybe I am back on my get back in shape program... I sure hope so.

Anxious to hear how everyone is. Do hope Leigha is back at 'em and feeling good.

Other than bouts of sadness, tears, anger and full body blocks, I seem to be holding on to my sanity and mind. Getting to sleep is sometimes a problem. But that will pass as soon as my brain quiets down and quits revisiting the past.

Love to all - and prayers too.

Whoops - here's a joke the couple from Eugene (who attended the service but didn't come to the house)

1. SOME GREAT THINGS ABOUT GETTING OLDER

a.. Finally you can eat dinner at 4:00 p.m.

b.. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

c.. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

d.. It's harder and harder for sexual harassment charges to stick.

e.. If you've never smoked, you can start now and it won't have time to hurt you.

f.. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

g.. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

h.. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.

i.. Your eyes won't get much worse.

j.. Adult diapers are actually kind of convenient.

k.. Things you buy now won't wear out.

l.. No one expects you to run into a burning building.

m.. There's nothing left to learn the hard way.

n.. Your joints are more accurate than the National Weather Service.

--------------------------------

2. A business man got on an elevator in an big city office building.

When he entered the elevator, there was a young blonde already inside and she greeted him by spelling out the abbreviation letters "T-G-I-F"

He smiled at her and replied "S-H-I-T".

She looked at him, puzzled, and said "T-G-I-F"

He acknowledged her remark again by answering "S-H-I-T.

The blond was trying to be friendly, so she smiled her biggest smile and said as sweetly as possibly, "T-G-I- F" another time.

The man smiled back to her and once again replied with a quizzical expression, "S-H-I-T".

The blond finally decided to explain things, and this time she said, "T-G-I-F", T-hank G-oodness I-ts F-riday; get it?"

The man answered, "S-orry H-oney, I-t's T-hursday".

---------------------------------------------------------- Take care and good night

Regards, Dave
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Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 18:26:20 -0700

Subject: Re: A Date and other stuff ...

Hi Lani - Your rambling typically makes sense - no problem.

I wouldn't worry about sparks - time and patience and interest make a difference - sparks are nice, but short lived.

Understand the shoveling sh*t is therapy - though - too much of anything is still too much. I get a little therapy each day, and some days it is borderline pain - mental and physical. But there's always an opening around here for me, and I fill it so well.

Too bad you've run into the office stuff again. Maybe the best approach is to say no up front and let the other person worry about a solution that is ethical. I know, it is easier typed, than done.

Did you see the current issue of National Geographic? Good article out of China - seems, to me, China is about to go through a revolution that will forever alter many mainstream Chinese customs and traditions. The electronic/information revolution can be as difficult as any they've faced in the past. Sort of like giving a child free choice in a candy store. They'll get full, but not nourished. Me thinks the same thing is well on its way in our country. Lots of fullness, but not much satisfaction.

I'm caught in the spring drizzles - hard to know if I like it or not. Too many emotions on the brain to understand where I am or what makes sense. I really admire folks who have made this transition, it looks so easy from the outside. Guess I should be like the cat. Spartacus really lived for Ellen. Now he simply accepts me and I've become his world. Ahhh that it were so easy - but then, that is not the way it is meant to be.

Our birds are slowly returning. The robins have been here two full weeks, even a killdeer arose from the gravel as I drove out one day. I keep listening for the hummers, but they are holding back this year - that is if they've survived the storms and forest loss in their home range.

I see ducks now and then in the river, but I can't identify ducks (other than mallards) any better than I can tell fish apart. Certainly don't have swans - but they would be a joy to see. You are lucky!

Spring has arrived in your state much earlier than here. The tulips are still coming up and no sign of a bloom - the daffodils are still hiding - but I am ready for them, I think.

Thanks for checking in. Each day is different. Today was going well and then the roof fell in and I don't know why. Think part of it is exhaustion - weeks of being on alert took a toll and I didn't even realize it, cause I felt great at the time.

The other cause is likely the stuff that has been happening - cleaning up, shipping out dialysis solution, the dialysis machine, trip to the hospital to return equipment. All those things are negative reminders of the finality of events. So dying keeps coming back, time and time again and will until everything is back in place.

Did learn from a medical report that Ellen's bone marrow had 90% plasma cells vs the normal 2%. It is amazing that she did as well as she did - as MM had virtually taken over - the biopsy was drawn the Thursday before she died - had she lived we would have learned some real bad news - things might just have worked out the best -- at least we had hope.

Still tackling windmills - and created a cancer checklist - it has had a bit of activity and the early response to it has been pretty good. I just hated to let our knowledge of events slip away without providing help. I had plans to hand it out at the next cancer support group meeting (next Monday) but learned last night that yet another MM patient had just died - and our counselor thought it might be best to wait for the next meeting, as they have two recent deaths to confront and most of the members are new patients.......

If you want to critique the checklist, it is at www.theblackriver.net/mmsurvey/patientlist.html Frankly no one has suggested anything - guess they are being too kind - but as you know my skin is fairly thick.

Hope the swans trumpet for you! Hugs and thanks

Regards, Dave
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Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 09:01:05 -0700

Subject: Re: Whoops

Hi Marcy,

I've a photo take at the Mark Hopkins back in the days of the bouffant (sp?) hair. Irene and Ellen are in it - was that the trip? They were dressed to the 9's - as us older guys say. I suspect you three got together in the late 70's.

We met Christmas Eve of 1998 and were married 12/26 of 1980. Ellen was president of Parents with Partners and had hosted a Christmas party for parents without their children.

That seems like only yesterday and yet a lifetime ago.

I've been up and down emotionally - the surviving spouse seems to go through the death many times as inquiries arrive and, in Ellen's case, medical supplies leave. Each event is another affirmation of the finality, yet one more event arrives to reinforce it yet again.

It will take weeks to accomplish the tasks in an appropriate way. I think back to my Mother's death and how fast my sisters disposed of everything - that may be quick and clean, but it certainly left a void in the mourning process.

Time to kick myself in the tail-bone and get the day going and catch up on some of the routine tasks (cleaning, laundry, garbage) that remind me that I like to procrastinate a bit.

Take care, stay in touch and don't worry about asking questions...

Regards, Dave
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Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 16:12:07 -0700

Subject: Re: (no subject)

Hi Donna,

THANK YOU for the message - good to get it.

My day started out drier than yours I guess, but we are making up for it.

"High maintenance" now that's one way to describe it!

Sounds like everyone is swamped with activities. Ahhh to be young again.

Don't get me wrong, I've activities, I just can't seem to get started. It is part of the grief - just aimless at times - guess if a team of horses was suddenly reduced to one, the one would pull the wagon in a circle until it learned to compensate. Well, I'm still going in circles. Horses are smart.

This week has been on and off. Good and bad. I think it is normal - and I best quit evaluating it and simply experience it. Every time I had to deal with someone over the dialysis stuff it just literally broke me up. Why inanimate objects like 50 cases of solution, or a machine, or a bunch of dialysis equipment would bother someone is hard to fathom until I figured out it was just confirmation that life is changing. Really changing. But each contact with three different sets of people triggered new emotions and responses. There's a bunch more to do, so this humanoid better get used to it and just go with the flow.

Went to the hospital (returning stuff) and visited nurses, went to the cancer floor and was greeted by name, and visited an old friend (suddenly hospitalized with pneumonia) and his wife. It all went well and was a step forward. Have a bunch of meds to pass on to another organization and on and on.

The biggest change is the lack of her contact - I still expect to hear her voice and feel her presence and of course that is impossible - but the flashbacks are there and only time will ease that.

I've met with people this week (hospital of course, CRC, and friends) - so the real human contact is there - it just isn't quite as nice or fulfilling. Even had lunch Friday with an old friend - but my mind was 10 zillion miles away.

Talked to Chris - he seemed distant. Poor fellow - he really loved his sister. Lee and I talked last week - but I've not heard anything this week and your note explains it. Busy! Sure hope his driving experience is fun and profitable!!

I did call and leave a message for Dawn - my ears are open anytime - sure hope I didn't screw up.

Had some successes - got the old International started. Thought it had rolled over and died on me - but a loose wire will cause starting problems and I had two loose ones - don't know how it ran last month - but it sure didn't want to this month. That was offset by the riding lawn mower. Drove it into the barn last fall - it ran fine. Went to get it running last weekend and damned if a valve stem was gone - who eats valve stems? Danged if I know. However me and a push power mower got three lawns mowed and the old body was whooped. (I may be repeating myself - bear with me!).

Tomorow is a REALLY BIG day. Get to go to the dump. Just routine garbage - it saves hauling garbage cans 1/3rd of a mile down the driveway every week. Before the dialysis 5 cans would last almost 6 months (we recycled a lot). Now 4 out of 5 are jammed with daily dialysis waste bags so one more trip is needed and then I won't go again for 6 months. Dang, I'll sure miss that.

Keith is coming down tomorrow night. Will be great to have company - though he drives me nuts by never resting - always asking "What's next Dad?" - but guess I can stand that. Good help is hard to come by and he is great help. Just too eager at times.

Betty is scheduling a grandchild for spring break - Esai and I should do okay - though I guess I'll have to cook something other than rice and beans for him. Idea? Be nice if Leigha could overlap a couple of days - they could really run the farm! I'll have to talk to Lee and Dawn about that.

You and Ken are welcome anytime. How come it is always us who live too far away? Too bad you didn't live closer!! Just joking...

If Jazz is still around give her a hug and a love for me!

Take care and thanks again for the note.
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