Showing posts with label cancer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cancer. Show all posts

Sunday, July 7, 2013

One year later....

I run to escape.

I use to think I should run for a cause; for people who couldn't run; for a healthy lifestyle; for the chance to motivate others to run. Superficially, I run so I can eat more, get "free" shirts at races with my running buddies and wear sweet colored shoes that cost more than any other pair of shoes I own.

Running Buddies
We like to color coordinate :)

Selfishly, I admit though. Over the last year, I realized I run for me.

Sure it's awesome if my family comes to watch a race with their signs saying "My mommy runs faster than yours". I always look forward to seeing old friends and making news ones while warming up for a 5K. And keeping those people who can't run in my heart while I run, sure motivates me during those days my shoes feel like dead weight. But let's be real here - I am not this crazy runner who averages 50 miles a week....we're talking 10-15 on a good week. There are no 20 mile weekend runs for fun on my calendar. The reality is....I won't ever be a spokesperson for the running industry because I basically put on shoes that the local running store suggested, hit my running app and let the Pandora stations fill my head.  No funky gadgets, no concept on pacing, no in depth knowledge besides putting one foot in front of the other. Yet, for 20 to 60+ minutes or more, I escape....

One year ago tomorrow my Aunt Casee passed away.

I miss her.

A colleague told me that when life gets all shook up, it should be my goal to work hard and get back to neutral. It is in those moments of time you'll learn how to make your neutral even better than before - that you will come out with scrapes and bruises but your perspective will be so much greater and your appreciation deeper.

Having someone close die shakes your world. Yet, I believe in death and God and that there is Heaven - so her actual death didn't shake my world.....her not being in my life anymore did. I didn't have a sounding board anymore, I had to find a new one or two. My personal fan club lost its president and since she knew more than anyone that life revolved around me, it clearly impacted my spirit (LOL). Her absence at so many activities seemed awkward, even though everyone has tried so hard not to make it that way. And I'm sure for the rest of my life, when her name is mentioned my heart will drop a little.

So this past fall as I tried to get back to neutral, I struggled. Life became a complicated, stressful mess- like life can be sometimes. So what does Katie do when her plate is already full and stressed to the max.....ohhhh she adds ones more thing to the table.... So I figured why not run a marathon??!

I needed to do this though - to regain some sort of control. After eight years of marriage, two kids, and switching jobs; I lost myself along the way. I had gotten so use to everyone around me just always being there and going along with what they said or suggested I forgot I had my own opinion. I forgot how to challenge thoughts, confidently offer my opinions and aggressively seek what I wanted no matter the objections.

During the 16 week training - while I enjoyed beautiful winter runs, catching up on my favorite shows on the treadmill, watching flowers bloom on spring days and fitting my miles in no matter the arrangement of my schedule - I would drift away from everything and daydream. Sort out reality. Brainstorm a new approach. Think of how life would be this way or that.


And when I came up on mile 24 of the marathon, "Don't You Worry Child" by Swedish Heart Mafia came across my earphones. I just became completely overwhelmed with that moment I felt Casee - like she was running beside me...part of me laughed actually because she never understood why anyone would run unless they were being chased or for ice cream LOL.....but I knew she was there, and as clique as it sounds, it was if she kept her promise of being my fan club president and was cheering me on. Not just to finish the marathon, but to cheer me on to keep moving in this new neutral I had found. It's awkward, complicated, ambitious, challenging, lively....but best of all it's me.

The boys and I at the finish line of the Bayshore Marathon.
Accomplished my goal of under Four Hours -3:51.43.

So tomorrow, I'm not going to dwell on what happened a year ago. I'm not going to be sad that she's gone. ....I'm going to lace up my shoes, embrace my new neutral and escape.... dream about what it will be like when I see her again in Heaven.


Special hugs and thoughts to everyone thinking about Casee today, tomorrow and everyday. Over the last year, our family has heard so many wonderful stories about how she impacted so many and how she continues to impact those who are faced with difficult situations. You are amazing and appreciated.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What A Beautiful Day

Several years ago, my dad and I were driving through Shepherd on a dark, dreary day. There was a funeral in progress, I turned to my dad and said "Crappy day for a funeral." Without missing a beat he said...."well not too sure there is ever a good day for a funeral." Point taken :)....

Yet, on Sunday, July 8th it was a beautiful day....a tealish, blue sky was filled with white comfy clouds...the sun was bright but at times hidden and a slight breeze made the summer heat warm but bearable. It was the best day I would ever hope for to celebrate my amazing Aunt Casee...the day she passed away.

I said in my last post, that on Sundays the entire family would come over and have dinner at Grandpa and Grandma' was just what we did. My grandparents would get up early and fix amazing food....and if you didn't eat Grandpa would ask you if you were sick because there was just something wrong about not eating two helpings of his homemade noodles, baked beans and freezer corn. And thankfully, we weren't to the point of running the roads to practices or games, because our bellies were so full we wouldn't have been very productive. Sunday's were days to just be with each other, reconnect and focus for the week ahead.

How fitting for our family - a Sunday - of all days....a Sunday where the entire family was at Grandpa and Grandmas with no place to run off to, but to just be with each other, reconnect and focus for the week ahead. This Sunday though, not much was said, not much needed to be....

And as we watched the food start filling the refrigerator and counter area, our family started to see how many other people also share their love through food. :) ... At one point, my Uncle Tim and I laughed because we were asked about five or six times if we had ate anything for lunch - at about the eighth time, I looked at him and told him - "please just eat a damn sandwich" :)...but so many took time out of their busy lives to pick up food, water, paper products, munchies and then did it again for the funeral dinner...

And on Wednesday, July 11th it was a beautiful day....a tealish, blue sky was filled with white comfy clouds...the sun was bright but at times hidden and a slight breeze made the summer heat warm but bearable. It was the best day I would ever hope for to celebrate my amazing Aunt Casee...the day we said our final good byes.

A week ago, I wrote a blog after we found out she had two weeks to a month to was a blog from my heart, a blog many would I would read at her funeral, one I'll carry with me to read over and over again....I honestly don't know if Casee ever read it or had it read to her - I couldn't do it myself, but I know she knows how I feel about her.

And now I know how so many others feel about her. I still haven't been able to make it through all her friends' Facebook posts on her wall because I just start crying. Listening to the stories bounce off the walls at the funeral home and while sorting photos for her slide show - oh so much laughter, so many memories to write down and have forever.

Yet, I feel like the funeral was the easy part - we were able to laugh and cry and be together with so many for four days straight...but what about now? When we go back to work, head to the grocery store, sit at a baseball game, celebrate her birthday this Sunday, the list goes on....I feel like there are a lot of dark and dreary days ahead....

But then my five year old Gunner gives me a fresh perspective...After trying to figure out how to tell him what was happening, I told him the truth, that Aunt Casee had died and she was going to meet God....his eyes got so big and he had a huge smile come across his face. Without missing a beat he said "That is so cool Mom."....... It took all I had at that moment to hold back tears and just give him a big hug while saying... "Yeah, buddy it is."  Point taken.

I'm going to miss you so much - Sending you my love.
A balloon send off on a beautiful day.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Aunt...

One of my favorite photos :)
My aunt has two weeks to live….at best a month…If my Aunt Casee was 89 and had watched her third grader and seventh grader develop into successful, loving men with lives a mother could be proud of then it makes the next month a little easier. Yet, Casee is only ten years older than me and at 40 it seems to be cut way too short.
She has battled cancer….not just battled but kicked it’s ass time and time again….she’s done it because of her will power and some would say her stubbornness….but cancer seems to never back down….it’s hid for a while, making life manageable and at times close to normal, but the last six months it’s come back to a point that draws her earthly presence to a close.
Ms. Josie and her momma...a fine companion.
As the favorite niece (she would chime in here…”Honey, for 29 years you were the only niece so I didn’t have many options.”) and not being that much older than me….Aunt Casee serves as the go-between …..She is the adult, young and cool enough, whom I needed to help explain my mother’s good intentions. I think I speak for my cousins and brother on this…you can always call her, text her, instant message her, email her, or stop in and just chat with her for a good conversation and discussion about important life decisions without feeling parented, but accepted and loved just as much as our parents do. You have no idea how much I'm going to miss that. 
The annual Christmas family photos
will never look the same.
She also was the aunt at every baseball game. Rain or shine, sick or healthy, hundreds of miles away or out the backdoor of Grandpa Bums she had her lawn chair, pop and respective school shirt on. She knew every kid on every team, she cheered them on, laughed with parents, high fived coaches and joked with umps. She was the smile you needed after a bad play or the loudest cheer you heard after one of the boys struck someone out. Talk about having a number one fan…she was it and then some. And no matter what happens within our family regarding baseball whether there will be a major league game in our future or while her boys play catch outside Grandpa Bum’s backyard  – I know she’ll have the best seat in the house.

Now, most people know how close our family is…to a point a little scary J…but growing up, we’d spend Sunday afternoons having dinner at Grandpa Bum’s house. Casee still lived at home when I was little. She’d come downstairs, just rolling out of bed at noon to have lunch and be teased by the uncles about the previous night’s festivities. I also remember going with my mom to take pictures of her at her senior prom, watching her in the band, talking about boyfriends and even once bringing a boy to Christmas…poor guy never stood a chance J See it takes something special to make it in our family – you either need to be able to give it right back when crap is given to you or loud enough so people will hear you. You stand the best chance if you’re both– it seems we all have pretty loud voices and are a tad sarcastic with an odd humor. But together, we get each other. Our family calendar this year has the slogan. “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all”
We often tease each other about having friends that aren’t family…”You what? You’re going shopping with someone you’re not related to? Are you okay??” – see a tad sarcastic and oddly humorous J Yet, thanks to Facebook – we, as a family, can see how blessed Casee’s life and journey has been with the many hundreds of Facebook messages and posts and how much impact she’s had on so many friends inside and outside our family.

Casee with Uncle Trent and Wyatt
during the Cancer Survivor Walk

And as we celebrate Casee, please continue to pray for her that the next two weeks or however long she has is peaceful and filled with love. Pray for her two boys Wyatt and Rayce who will need reminders throughout their life that God never makes life fair, He just makes it worth it so I pray they always find peace, love and kindness and that they show others how to do the same just as their Mommy did. And pray for my Uncle Tim as he moves forward to be the mom and dad of these two little guys. Give him the strength and patience of two people and show him the love he needs through this all. Also say prayers for my family – my Grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my mom and dad and all my cousins and my brother…. this is the first loss we’ve had within our immediate Loomis family and just thinking about not having someone there seems so foreign….I’ll miss her Hamburger Helper dish to pass and not being able to draw her name for Christmas gifts or sharing the latest gossip… I’m just gonna miss her so much.
At times like this I hear people say, "don’t let this test your faith or this really makes one question their relationship with God"….well that’s far from the truth. The reality is we all die, death does not test faith – it just provides us with another reason to grow and trust in God. The crappy part about being human though, is that God doesn’t usually tell us when our time to join Him is coming.  And there could be discussion on if you’d really want God to tell you or not.
For some, like Casee, He’s shown a little peak of His timeline and we all know it’s close….and what an amazing opportunity for so many to celebrate the awesome aunt, mom, sister, daughter, cousin, wife, friend that she is, while she’s still here and can read Facebook posts and texts, while she can see you at the lake and hold your hand, while she can watch her sons run around and smile knowing they will be surrounded not only by God’s hands, but by a whole community who will see to it that as she looks down, sitting next to God’s side, she can watch them grow and develop into successful, loving men with lives a mother will always be proud of.

A family photo to cherish forever.