Tag Archives: empty nest

Guest post: Cancer wasn’t in our plans

I was on the road for work, flying down the interstate with the cruise control set. I needed to make  a call that couldn’t wait until I got home later that night. So I dialed my husband and when he answered, I asked what I had been thinking about since leaving home that morning.

“Did the doctor call?”

For a heartbeat he did not answer me, and in that pause I knew.

“It’s cancer,” he said softly, like he was telling a child something she wouldn’t understand.

“What?” I said, in a voice I didn’t recognize.  “What?”

“It’s cancer,” my husband repeated. “The tests came back positive … I have cancer.”

Now it was my turn not to answer back. I just couldn’t find the right words to say to my husband of 37 years. Together we have raised three kids, and only recently the last one graduated from college. In our empty nest, we have been making big plans ‑ things to see, places to go … a road map for the rest of our lives.

Cancer wasn’t in the plan at all.

 There on the highway I simply told my husband that we would figure it out. Until I had my arms around him, I couldn’t say any more.

After hanging up, I pulled over to the side of the interstate and cried, holding my face in my hands. Cars and trucks flew past on their way to somewhere while I sat there oblivious to them all.

Finally, I checked my rearview mirror to remind myself where I had been. Then I carefully pulled out onto the interstate, leaving those tears behind.

Focused on the road ahead.

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Filed under Guest Blog, Inspiration

I must have blinked …

Tonight I sat still long enough to identify what’s been eating at me for the past several, head-spinning days, from Grandma Nola peacefully slipping from this life into Heaven in the early hours of Dec. 21 to the funeral, a memorable but bittersweet Christmas Day, to my ka-thunk! onto the ice, a couple of days off to paint and primp granddaughter Kianna’s bedroom (and she’s not even here yet to make it really light up), to a somewhat whirlwind trip this morning to Warrensburg to visit my brother and mom.

Whew. (And an uber-long sentence to describe it all).

Me and my brother, Robert, on his 50th birthday. That was five years ago and he's seven years older than me. You do the math: in two years, I'll hit the Big Five-O.

I worked the odd-hour weekend shift at the Tribune tonight (and again tomorrow evening). Kelly texted me at about 6:30 to let me know Natasha’s boyfriend, Kory, had arrived from Virginia, and they were headed back to Centerview/Warrensburg. Once again, our nest was empty. But I could tell from my bride’s text that it wasn’t a happy empty. It was empty. During the emotional roller-coaster of the last several days, Natasha has been an anchor, a constant. When that dawned on me, it hit me: My baby girl is all grown up. I must have blinked, because her sister is eight months pregnant. My little girls are women. What’s even more amazing is how they can be so diametrically different in so many ways, yet resemble each other — and how they both reflect their mother’s incredible inner strength, undying optimism and passion for life. So much attention is focused more and more on yet-to-arrive Kianna, and our little family enjoyed that together this week.

Kishia and Natasha, once upon a time ...

I recently heard someone mention that a man had retired or changed jobs because he wanted to spend more time with his family, to which someone else remarked, “No one wants to spend that much time with their family.”
If those someones had my family, then yes, they’d absolutely want to spend more time with them. Our empty nest reminds us just how blessed we are.

All grown up in '08, a few weeks before the presidential election. Kishia just planted an Obama sticker on her conservative sister.


Natasha holding her prize Mini-Rex "Buddy" in a senior picture six years ago.

Kelly holding her prize Natasha, 24 years ago.

And me with a chicken on my shoulder four years ago. You’ve gotta love how the Creator brings order out of chaos, and sometimes you just have to embrace life’s random moments.

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Filed under MIP: Memoir-in-progress