Category Cancer

Gratitude, Grief & Gumption

On November 23, 1982, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since that gut-punch Tuesday, Thanksgiving in our family has been forever different. Years like that, shock and fear greatly outweighed the size of the turkey. And years like that, we wanted to hold each other close and curl up under […]

Birthday Candles

My mom died about thirty minutes after midnight on a Saturday night. Since Monday of that week she told everyone she was going to die on Sunday, and sure enough she kept her word with that just as she always did. Earlier that Saturday night, while I was washing her sparkly silver hair, I mentioned […]

Always the Perfect Gift

We are moving this weekend, so this week has been full of goodbye gatherings, boxes and packing paper, remembering to pick up dry cleaning, and forgetting that the silverware is already packed when attempting to eat yogurt. The packers spent nine hours in our condo, and one of the conscientious packers asked me a few […]

On having two hands

The majority of 2013 has been unexpected. And the more life changes occur, the more I’m grateful for my two hands. With both hands I’m able to hold the sacred and horrible, pain and joy, the already but not yet. In one hand I hold that I miss my mom, and in the other I […]

Community of Healing

A Sermon Preached at Presbyterian Church of Western Springs, IL on June 9, 2013.  Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was […]

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend began Friday afternoon in a hospital room overlooking Lake Michigan as a friend and his dad got discharge papers and headed home to begin hospice care. While my friend was confirming the many details, I knelt down by his dad’s hospital bed, held his hand, and told him that I’m so grateful […]

Dance in the Graveyards

February 13 marks the one month anniversary of Mom’s death, and I find it very appropriate that this anniversary lands on Ash Wednesday: a day when we acknowledge our finitude, dependence upon God, and the reality that from dust we were created and to dust we shall return. While I have been exceedingly aware of […]