Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

I hope that no one will call Child Social Services
on me because I encouraged, and even told, my children to
flip the bird for our family picture in California
this summer.

If you want to judge me?

That's fine.

When your husband has terminal cancer then 
you can make a moral decision about what I've
taught my kids.

I take full responsibility for this 
"bad thing".  

All the other bad things they've learned?  

I TOTALLY blame on their dad. (<<< that's sarcasm, of course)

Or the dog. :)  (<<< that could be true!)

Until then?


We've decided you can laugh or cry on this journey.

We do both, but you HAVE TO find humor in 
life or you can't survive this.

So on this Thanksgiving Day I am grateful
for humor, and laughter, and life, and
forgiveness, and love, and these 5 hooligans
I get to call "my own" for a while longer.

I'm grateful that Mr Bead Boy is still here
eating turkey with us this year.

I'm grateful for his attitude and goodness
and kindness in the face of a most horrible
thing.  I'm grateful for his love and
compassion and strength that he shares with
me when I feel I cannot go on.

I'm grateful for 4 STRONG, WONDERFUL, 
PHENOMENAL children that have grown up
much too fast this year--but have done
so with grace and dignity and an inner
strength I could have never imagined.

My "mothers heart" is filled with such
deep love for them in all their imperfections
and goodness.

I'm grateful for courage and hope.

I'm grateful for the goodness in humankind.

In case anyone wants to know?

The world is still filled with MUCH more
goodness than bad, more hope than despair,
more kindness than ugliness.

If you want to see it, get cancer!

On second thought--DON'T get cancer!
Just take my word for it!

I'm grateful for dear dear friends, both new
and old, that have lifted us up on our 
darkest days in this year of dark, hard days.

I'm grateful for my own strength to move
forward and do some of the hardest things
I NEVER imagined I could do.  
I'm grateful for the courage to express, 
in word, the rawness
and beauty of this journey.

As hard as it is to write, or even read, I'm
glad that I've captured both the good and bad.
The hard and happy.  The awful and wonderful
parts of it all.

So if I could give any bit of advice to anyone
reading it would be these truths I've learned
in the past 9 months...

1. Forgive quickly.  If it really really doesn't 
   matter?  Let it go.  And even if it does?  Let
   it go anyway.  We ALL need forgiveness.  Let
   someone smarter and wiser than us be the judge.

2. Love.  It's what it's all about.  I cannot
   emphasize this enough.  It's all about love.
   It just is.

3. Judge less.  Guess what?  We all do 
   stupid things.  ALL OF US.  Learn to just 
   appreciate the GOOD things in others around us.
   Hopefully we will get the same kind of leniency 
   in return.  Because we ALL need it.

4. Take time and spend it with the ones you love.
   Tell people you love them.  Even when you don't 
   want to.  You won't be sorry.

5. You may be stronger than you think you are.
   You CAN do hard things.  We are not superhuman,
   or super-anything.  We are just regular people
   surviving a really hard thing.  Because we HAVE TO.
   What other choice do we have?  We cry, we fall down,
   we say we're quitting...but then we rise again each
   day and dust ourselves off and TRY AGAIN.  That's
   ALL that really matters.  You can do it.  Believe
   in yourself.

6. It's OKAY to cry and hurt and be sad and FEEL THINGS.
   As much as we like to think it's NOT?  IT IS!!!
   It's healthy to let those things flow in and around
   and through and out of us.  Holding it all in and
   pretending doesn't do anyone any good.

7. Laugh.  Just laugh.  Flip cancer off and tell it
   where it can go.  It's okay to laugh and find humor
   in darkness.  

8. Back to #2....It's ALL ABOUT LOVE.  It just is.
   Love love love.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Thank you, ALL OF YOU, who have helped us survive 
2013 so far.  We love you.  We thank you!
You make our world go 'round!

Love,  Kyle Dorien Josh Grace Eliza & Oliva (oh ya, and Ruby!)


  1. Hello=
    I came across your blog while doing research. My husband (43yrs) was diagnosed with stage 4 Bile Duct, traveled to bones Oct 29,2013. We have 2 boys (15 & 9) and a labadoodle. He will be stating Chemo next week. I just wanted to say "Hi" and to let you know your not alone. Its a rare cancer and both our families have this one thing in common. For me, when I try to explain the type of cancer my husband has I just shut down. I can not say out loud to anyone its Stage 4, I'm just not ready. Any tips with kids would be much appreciated.

  2. Hi Wife! Do you have an email? Or facebook? I would be happy to chat with you....My email is: or you can find me on facebook (Dorien Nielson)--we have a group of 5 woman and ALL of our 40 (ish) year old husbands have this Stage 4 cancer!!! Please feel free to contact me and I can hook you up with all these ladies! It has been a GREAT resource in our lives! xo Dorien

  3. Hello Dorien!
    I just emailed you. Thank you!! 5 other women like us, almost a tribe.I imagine they are a great resource. talk soon!