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  1. When my wife Karen died, our kids were 3 and 5. And Karen died here at home with us. So our kids watched the whole thing unfold. I talked to them every chance that they would listen about what was happening to Mommy and what it meant. We talked to them about everything from the moment we were diagnosed. So the conversation never really ended about what was happening from the tests to the chemo to the radiation to Mommy being unable to walk on her own to Mommy being unable to stand to Mommy "sleeping" and then Mommy being dead. And we still talk about it and talk about Mommy being in Heaven and now she our angel watching over us and keeping us safe. She is still a part of our daily lives. I have always thought that this was absolutely the best thing for Karen, for our girls, and for our family. I weep for them for what they witnessed. It breaks my heart every day for what I saw and for what they saw. And it about destroys me to think that every time they go through another developmental stage that they have to grieve Mommy again and again and again. As they develop and as their brains develop, they will begin to understand more and more of what they witnessed, of what happened to Mommy. And I'll be here to hold their hands every step of the way. This grief thing sucks. I second guess about EVERY decision that I made about EVERY action that I took and all the inaction that occurred too. But I don't ever question the decision I made about what my daughters saw. In some strange way, I am now beginning to see that the beauty and joy of birth can be seen amid the sorrow and fear of death. And I know that none of the adjectives I used come even close to what we feel at each of those events - but that is all the language has to offer. Our Minister recited this at Karen's service and it reflects a shift in how I feel about Karen dying and has given me new thoughts into death. Which is why I can compare her death to something beautiful - - - - "I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!' Gone where? Gone from my sight ... that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, 'There she goes!' there are other eyes watching her coming and their voices ready to take up the glad shouts 'Here she comes!' by Henry van Dyke I hope that you can find some solace today and everyday when grief strikes like a hammer. It is so hard and so hard. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your children will always have memories of your mom - happy and healthy and playful as well as sick and bald and tired. The last time they saw their grandma isn't their last memory - they will remember their grandma and her love for as long as they live. Anne
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    Wedding Rings

    I still wear the ring she gave to me, and I also wear the ring I gave to her on my right hand. I can't imagine NOT wearing the ring she gave me. For our wedding I gave her a silver heart necklace and I wear it now too everyday. And I am considering moving the ring I gave her and adding it to the heart necklace. And sometimes I think about taking both our rings and having them made into one ring. But our girls want the rings for when they get married. I better be ready to take them off by then!! Karen wanted to talk about whether or not I would find love after her. It was so important for her to say that she wanted me to be open to love again. Of course, I didn't want to hear any of it and just nodded my head and said "baby, you're IT for me". But even if - and it is a HUGE if - Karen and the rings will always be with me and anyone who wants a place here must be prepared to know that Karen will always be part of the relationship. Thanks for the topic, Teri. Anne
  3. Thanks Ry I am 8 months out and haven't done a half of it. I am DREADING re-financing the house. It was in Karens name only and argh!! It is gonna be a witch, I'm sure. The bills are easy enough and the cars, but I can't seem to be able to call them and get them changed out of her name and into mine. I just don't want to dig out the death certs and tell people that I don't even know that she is gone. Plus - I like seeing her name every time I reach into the mail box. Thanks for posting the websites!! Anne
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    Bad Dream

    Teri I dream about Karen a lot. Less now than I did 6 months ago, but it is still a lot. Mostly on nights when I have watched ER - her favorite show AND a frigging doctor show - or have had her on my mind all day. In my dreams, she is dead, but doesn't look dead. She looks like herself - herself before cancer. And we all know that she is dead, but here she is. And I have to tell her that it is time for her to go to heaven. That she is dead and we are going to be OK and that she needs to move on. Very weird. And very unsettling. I'm not sure dreams mean anything. But I do know that for a long time I was concerned that if it were in her power she would stay here with us and never move on to where she needed to move on to. I was afraid that she was gonna hover and not go to heaven. And that reflected in my dreams. But how I hated having to tell her night after night after night to leave us. It broke my heart night after night after night - and does in the re-telling of it. Here's to hoping we have pleasant dreams about our spouses tonight!! Anne
  5. I am so sorry for your loss. There are no words. Anne
  6. Their family lives 5 miles away from us. We used to see eachother in the infusion room. So sad. But what good she did with the time she had and leaves a legacy. Anne
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    Thank You Notes

    I know, I know, it has been almost 8 weeks and I am just now getting out my thank you notes. I am usually so good at getting out my thank yous within days of holidays, birthdays, celebrations etc. But this . . . this has been hell. You know it's true. I just can't seem to get around the present tense / past tense thing. Karen will always been in my present tense. But how do I write "Karen so appreciates / appreciated the food the visits the love etc" ? I write to her closest friends - "Karen loves you so much." How on earth do I write - loved? It seems so unreal. So outside of my experience. So outside of life. I am still tripping on - how can my wife be dead? And - why is my wife dead? How do I make the leap to speaking about her in the past tense and more importantly - do I even want to? Anne
  8. Thanks for all your support everyone. It is just so maddening sometimes. My sister called last night and asked how everything is etc and I said that this is worse than single parenting. She cheated on her husband repeatedly and is currently single parenting her 16 year old. She tried to compare her situation to mine. It is nothing like mine. I never cheated. I never had a choice about when my relationship would end. I loved my wife with every ounce of my being - she obviously didn't feel the same way about her spouse. She is still dating the man she cheated with and has "moved on" with her life. She wants to know why I can't do the same. [email protected]#%$^(*)&$?!!! And when I had the nerve to tell her that our situations where completely different - she yelled at me. I would have died for my Karen. I would have fought the darn lung cancer for her. I would have made a deal with the devil to keep her with us forever. I am grieving and my girls are grieving. I am suprised sometimes that any of us can get outta bed. But we do. Most days we bathe. Everyday we eat. I have actually cooked dinner every night for the last 7 nights. I think that is amazing. Thank you guys for understanding. I am sorry for the situations that force us to understand. Thank you for your words of wisdom and endearing support. Anne
  9. Really. What is wrong with people? Do they really believe that 46 days is more than enough time to have grieved the loss of my wife? Because they ask me - why aren't you getting out? - why is the house a mess? - why are you still crying? From my siblings no less. I know that it is scary for people to stare death and widowhood in the face. God knows I wouldn't be doing it if I weren't doing it. It makes them think about their own death or the death of their spouses. And who wants to think about that? But I wish that they would just not call instead of critiquing my life. It almost seems that if I were divorced instead of a widow I'd get more understanding. It is so much easier to complain about the X than it is to remember with fondness and tears the love of my life. Right? Whatever. 46 days. I may just mourn for 46 years. Who knows. My kids are fed and bathed. That's good isn't it? Thanks for listening to my rant. I wish more people understood what we are going thru. And if they can't do that, I wish they would either ask us to explain it to them or if all else fail - pretend to understand. Anne
  10. I'm not so sure that this is what happened to my Karen. If I understand cachexia correctly - it is when the body is unable to properly absorb nutrients. Karen wasn't ingesting nutrients. She simply stopped eating. And when she did eat, it was tiny meals or simply ensure. She was eating fine until her 6th chemo. This chemo treatment took away her appetite and her taste buds went all wonky. Everything tasted bad to her. When she was in the hospital in March for pneumonia, the RD suggested many things for Karen to be ingesting to combat the weight loss and muscle loss. Juven and Resource Support to name two. But by the time we got this information, Karen's lean muscle mass was so far gone that she coudn't sufficiently recover. Perhaps if she had had these supplements before she lost so much muscle mass coupled with a physical therapist - she may not have had to be chair bound as early as she was. I don't have guilt over this, just concerns for others going thru the same thing. Maybe they don't have too. Thanks for the support. Anne
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    News about Bill

    I am so sorry for your loss. Anne
  12. Hello All I have been a stay at home mom for years. Since Karen was diagnosed I have been wondering what I was gonna do for work so that I could be the breadwinner for the family. Now that she is gone . . . I will eventually have to go back to work. I was thinking about becoming a Registered Diatician with a specialty in Oncology. I am just unsure about whether or not the need exists. I watched Karen waste away for the last 6 months of her life. I kept telling the doctor - she is losing weight, what can I be doing - and the doctor kept saying - oh, it is within normal parameters, stop worrying. 6 weeks and 25 pounds later they were saying - oh my, you've lost a lot of weight and lean muscle tissue! When Karen was in the hospital in March, a nutritionist came to see us and told us about all sorts of supplements that we should have been taking all along to combat this problem. My question is - how many people are losing weight so rapidly and losing lean muscle mass that they are in wheelchairs and walkers long before they need to be? I know that chemo wrecked Karen's appetite and that a lot of food tasted horrible even when she had an appetite. But there is more available for folks with cancer than ensure and boost. A lot more, and a lot better. My other question then is - is there a need for Registered Diaticians with a specialty in Oncology? Who wouldn't cost an arm and a leg? In my experience, the nutritionists want a lot of $$ for telling folks to eat more green leafys. What do ya'll think? Anne
  13. This sucks so much. There is nothing that can be said that will take away the pain. Nothing that can be done to take away the pain. I don't listen to the radio anymore. But I play all the CD's that we used to dance to. It has been 21 days since I lost my Karen. There is no sunshine. No ray of hope. Pre-dianosis (you know, life before), I / we used to dream about when we would remodel the kitchen, the vacation to Disney World we would take when the girls were old enough to really like it, the bulbs we would plant this fall to make the backyard shine next spring. Post-diagnosis (yup, you guessed it - life after), we stopped dreaming. We stopped planning. Now that I am living in life after after I still can't dream or plan. It seems pointless. I hear exactly what you are saying. If it was hard during the illness, it is downright impossible now. I am amazed I can still get dressed. I doesn't always happen in the morning tho. It all sucks. Worse than I ever thought imaginable. I love my girls, but they don't make it all better. And I can't live for them, any more that I could have died for Karen. But I would have died for her. Please take me instead I prayed. My prayers were never answered. So it is difficult to continue to pray. I just don't see the point. God didn't take the cancer away or make the pain bearable or take me instead or let her live another week to see her oldest daughter lose her first tooth or to see her own 51st birthday. And God certainly isn't taking away the current pain or making my life worth living. But I digress. I think that we will not drown in this unbearable sorrow. Even tho it may feel that way, and even tho we may want to. We have lost a large piece of our lives, a piece of our souls, probably the best part of our selves. And somehow, widows have gone before us and gone on with their lives. I find hope in that. I am not the first widow and damnit - I'm not the last either. Wish that I would be. No one deserves this pain. Maybe the ray of sunshine is knowing that the sunshine still exists and will be there when we are ready to release the hold that the darkness of grief has on us. It may be weeks, months, or years. But the sunshine will be there when we are ready to be warmed by it again. I am so sorry for your loss. Anne
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    This Sucks

    I still can hardly breathe. I wake up 4 or 6 times a nite and damn if I don't look over and see our daughters sleeping where Karen should be. Sometimes before I open my eyes, I listen for the sound of her breathing, like I listened every night for the last 11 months of her life. I think - this would be so much easier if I knew where she is. She is in an urn on top of the tv cabinet in our bedroom. But where IS she? Heaven is a hard one. I tell our girls she is our angel now living in heaven with God. But if God and Jesus have the power to turn water into wine, resurrect a soul, and then there is the whole parting of the Red Sea thing and Lazarus - then why is my wife dead? Why weren't my prayers answered? She would have turned 51 4 days after she died. 51. So young. And our girls are so young. They need their mommy. I need their mommy. Waking up isn't difficult, I hardly sleep. It is the doing my day that is almost unbearable. The act of getting up and getting dressed and getting the girls to camp and cooking meals and everything else that I have to do to get our girls thru the day. I enjoy nothing. But love our girls. Love them so much and wish I could be someting I am not - happy. I can't even smile, not even when they are being so darn cute the rest of the world is laughing. Thnaks for listening. Anne
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    Karen Medde

    Just thought that I would put Karen's obit out there. It was so hard to write it. Ya'll know. Thanks - Anne Tanner Karen S. Medde, 50, of Louisville died peacefully at home Friday June 22nd. Karen was born June 26, 1956 in Denver, Colorado to Ves M. Medde and Letha V. (Scollick) Medde. She graduated from Lincoln High School in Denver in 1974; from the Community College of Denver in 1976 with her Associates of Arts, Industrial / Commercial Drafting degree; from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1991 with her Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering Degree; and from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1992 with her Master of Science, Civil Engineering. She held a Colorado Professional Engineer's license as well as a certification in Floodplain Management and was involved with the Colorado Association of State Floodplain Managers. Karen was an employee of Public Service Company of Colorado from 1976 – 1991. She started out as a Clerk and worked her way into a Draftswoman position and then as a Civil Engineering Designer. Beginning in 1992, Karen worked for the City of Boulder in the Public Works Department in various capacities. She started her career with the City as a Civil Engineer and then as the City Engineer. In addition, she also worked as a Project Specialist where she assisted members of the public with understanding Boulder's codes and regulations related to development. Most recently she worked as the Greenways and Floodplain Engineering Project Manager. Karen attended the First Congregational Church of Boulder, as well as practicing in the Buddhist tradition. Her hobbies were watercolor painting, stained glass crafting, gardening, traveling, river rafting, and walking the Boulder Creek Trail. Her survivors include her spouse, Anne L Tanner of Louisville; their two daughters, Monica Tanner-Medde and Andi Tanner-Medde of Louisville; aunties, Eva McCarthy and Louise Farmer; and cousins, Jeff Farmer, Elise Kirby, Cindy Wohl, Sharon Green, Glynis Goldtrap, Dan McCarthy, Bonnie McCall and Cathy Armour. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Chuck Medde. A Celebration of Karen's Life will be held at 3:00 p.m., Thursday, June 28th at the First Congregational Church FAITH Center, 1128 Pine St., Boulder. Reverend Chris Gilmore and Reverend Martie McMane will be officiating. Services will conclude with a reception. Memorial contributions may be made to the Tanner-Medde Children Education Fund, c/o Boulder Municipal Employees Federal Credit Union, 2800 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO 80303.
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