On this second anniversary of Helen’s passing, I decided to re-print a letter I had earlier mailed to a Prayer Group who supported her throughout her ordeal. I also owe this debt of gratitude to all her other friends who prayed for her over this ten year period.
The letter is a recap of excerpts from emails written by Helen to the Prayer Group from the date she obtained her laptop, May 23, 2006, through the last date she was able to write, September 29, 2007. The letters reveal insights into her thinking during that roller-coaster period.
I will never forget all of you for your prayers and subsequent contributions to this website.
05//23/06 I’m so excited. I’ve received my new laptop. This is my beautiful day.
07/12/06 I made funeral arrangement at Coleman Mortuary
08/21/06 Last night I feared I might not wake up the next day.
08/21/06 Everyone I know has faced heartbreak
09/14/06 Proud to be able to move around with my new walker instead of having to be pushed in wheelchair
09/22/06 Xolda pills not working. Tumors growing again
09/26/06 Literature Donna sent me discusses “the large world view”, but my world is getting smaller
10/13/06 Delayed chemo so I can go to Coronado condo
11/10/06 Starting new round of chemo
12/06/06 Had my last chemo. Feeling really bad; can’t think straight
12/17/06 Began Palliative care. Hope I can make it to family Christmas party
12/20/06 Refuse to take any more chemo. Began Avastin infusions which doctor hopes may prolong life
01/23/07 This was “my beautiful day”. The liver tumors are shrinking…. Love, prayers and gratitude
02/11/07 Made it to Henry’s birthday party
03/05/07 I’m so weak. Palliative nurse mentioned Hospice for the first time
03/08/07 Went to Chico’s. Narrow aisles. Hard to maneuver wheelchair, hangers are too high. The Chico experience is not what it used to be
04/16/07 Made it to Easter; even went to Matt & Mary’s San Diego condo It was another “My Beautiful Day”
04/25/07 Loud dispute between Henry and Cat Scan people re incorrect Scan prescription. They refused to clarify with Oncologist. He was furious, struck me as funny. Also found myself trying to talk people at belt buckle level from my wheelchair
6/15/07 praying for you, Donna, is my privilege
6/15/07 I’m not sure I am “a tough little cookie”. I don’t fear dying; I fear being sick
6/19/07 my major goal is to live long enough to see my first great grandchild. Angela is due February 2008
6/27/07 I will fight each battle as it occurs and do the simple things that bring laughter and pleasure to each of my remaining days
8/13/07 My hands shake too much to write or type any more
9/27/07 I signed up for Hospice a couple of days ago. Can use some prayers and I know where to go to get them. ..Love, prayers, and gratitude
Three days earlier, I had refused to allow ER at St Judes to admit her for continued testing the next day. She had reluctantly allowed me to take her to the ER, saying “promise you won’t let them admit me. I’ll never come out alive”. While awaiting test results in the ER, she said “Don’t worry, I’m a tough little cookie”.
Through all Helen’s “ups and downs” her prayer group continued to visit and pray for her. I know that Helen had been praying for you too. Meanwhile, I had been looking inward, hurting when she was down, ecstatic at each “up” as she achieved each of her short term goals, and always reveling in the joy of simply being with her throughout. Each of you lovely and good people lifted her spirits each time you visited or wrote, extending her life through your prayers. Helen particularly looked forward to, and appreciated, the Friday morning communion visits and flowers from Doris and Eileen. On the last visit Doris said “See you next Friday’, but we all knew there would be no next Friday.
With love, prayers and gratitude,