Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Here's what Gail wrote to her diary January 4, 45 years ago "I'm not fooling anyone but myself so I'll be honest with you". Here goes!! I'm doing OK, I have so much support, family is great, community is wonderful, friends are supportive, God is near BUT right now life stinks. I miss Gail so much, I miss holding her hand, I miss her many comments, I miss our conversations, I miss driving down to the river with her and just sitting, I miss deciding when we would go to bed, I just miss everything about our life together. I know it will change, I know time will heal, I know I am not alone but that just does not change the moment. Days are long, nights are longer, meals are hurried (Cynthia has been here for lunch most days and that is great), work is mindless and if I have accomplished anything in the last few days right now it seems "who cares" kind of thing.

There, I was honest. I really do not need pity or anything like that. I know that it is something that I need to go through right now. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel and when I see it I will rejoice and when I get through the tunnel, whenever that is, I will be happy and thankful.

Cynthia was here yesterday or maybe it was Monday. We laughed and laughed at mother's diary. It certainly was written by a special woman and also written in a different time. At one time in high school, before we were dating, she wrote that I looked at her and she almost melted. Maybe I am off base but I am not so sure that would happen today, I think it may take more than a look!!!

I did get something done yesterday. I made enough progress in the garage so I was able to drive the pickup in to see if it would fit. I have much to do yet but it did fit and stayed in the garage overnight.

I am excited to go the a college soccer game today. Gail always wanted to support our nephews and nieces in what they did. That is not why I am going, I am going because it will be a fun thing to do. Actually what I meant to say is I do not want to live life saying I did that because Gail would have done that. I just want to begin to live to the fullest now which is what WE always tried to do. I can not think of a better thing to do than to see Claire play soccer. Afterward Al/Deb and I are going out for dinner which will be fun. People may not want to admit it but I do think that when a spouse dies there is always the question of where and how do I fit in with my in-laws now. I hope MY place can replace OUR place in the Saunders family. Of course I know that I can not replace Gail as someones sister or daughter but rather hope that my place in the family as part of Gail can remain stable and the same.

The house was cold this morning. I really wanted to turn up the heat but Mark Lauer says I should not turn the heat on until Thanksgiving so I will try to do that. Maybe I need to stop being a people pleaser.

I am excited. Joel Kibler got back to me and said People of Praise will set up the Gail Lee Camp Fund. In the future all camp donations will go into the fund to support camperships, rent thing or whatever is needed. That is the best news I have gotten in many weeks.

Jerry Wind stopped by last night. We had a wonderful time together. I still think about Gail saying good-bye to him the Thursday before she died. Jerry was leaving on vacation for a week the next day and as he left our house Gail motioned for him to come give her a hug and blessing. After the fact both Jerry and I realized that was her final farewell to Jerry and she knew it. There just was a tear dropped on the computer, darn it.

No, I don't know how this underlining started!! Anyway, I must go. I have places to go, people to see, things to do, and we will see what a new day brings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I would say fall is officially here with a temp of 42 this morning. This could be getting close to fireplace weather. I think it should be near 60 again today with less wind. Yesterday the wind blew so hard that it actually blew my nose.

I visited Gail's grave yesterday. They now have planted grass over it. The casket flowers are at the foot of it and I think it is time to remove them. Gail deserves something more beautiful than what is left of them. I think I will bring a red rose today as Gail always loved the fragrance of the ones in the back yard. No big plans today. The dumpster was taken away yesterday so that was really nice. The driveway is once again clear.

Cynthia did some work in our bedroom yesterday and found a diary of Gail's when she was a senior in HS. It is so precious and so Gail it gives a person more insight into why she was so special. As I leave this morning I am going to end with 2 quotes from Gail.

On March 26, 1964 which was her senior year: "I'm not fooling anyone but myself so I'll be honest with you. It is now March 26 (her last entry was in January). Today I'll catch up on my diary. Please help me dear God to not forget anything." As you can see Gail was already behind in her projects! At the end of that day she said that Dave, a classmate, had asked her to go to the show and she did not want to go with him so she told him she couldn't because she had a family reunion which was not true---this is how she ended: "I'm a little liar, God forgive me please".

Monday, September 28, 2009

It will be different

As I sit down to put some of my thoughts on the blog it appears that fall is here. The temp is 52 this morning with a cold wind. When I saw the weather I found myself saying that it was such a blessing that Gail had almost perfect weather the last 6 weeks of her life and then again I thought really that wasn't important to her because she could not enjoy it so perhaps it was only important to me!

I needed hand soap so doubled up on some things and went to Sam's Club yesterday afternoon. As I looked for different things I started to ask myself what would Gail need! I stopped and thought she certainly doesn't need anything from here now. I then went on to think I may not be here much now as any quantity I buy from here could last me a long long time. I did buy the soap but those 12 bars will last me forever.

I lost it for a short time again yesterday. I found her little pocket knife on top of the washing machine. I had given it to her a long time ago and she was so proud that only she would use it. Most of the time it would be in the little jar in the kitchen where we keep watches, nail clippers etc but for some reason it was on the machine. God certainly made us as interesting beings when a little thing like that can flood my cheeks with tears.

Aaron/Amy headed back to Madison yesterday and I was lucky enough to see all the other kids yesterday. Cynthia and Travis spent a long time here watching the game and then working downstairs bringing up bags of old clothes. Travis did set in front of me a box with Gail's and my high school and college diplomas. I just do not know what to do with things like that. Of course I will keep them but we just never were ones to display things like that. I think Gail always thought the inside stuff was always more important than the outside stuff.

Travis and I enjoyed the Binde's and Grandma's visit for a short time yesterday. That was nice of them to stop for a bit. Mark and Mary must have been in town for some time for the wedding but am sure they had more than enough to do so did not see them. Maybe the next time they are in town they will stop. I hope to see Al and Deb Wed at St. Kates as their Claire has a home soccer game. Maybe I will walk up there with Wallace as it is only a 10 minute walk.

I looked outside through the window by the front door about 10 last night and there walking across the front lawn was a possum. I had never seen one here before. I thought, very interesting, I think there will be many things in my future that are "never before". I do yearn for the "same old stuff" but I know that is not to be.

My coffee is ready and the paper is here so will sit and enjoy, sounds like a good life doesn't it!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another first

I went to my first family gather alone. I hope I did not look uncomfortable because I felt like a fish out of water. I was not sure how to act or what to do. I know that in those situations I would try to stay close to Gail, hold her hand and talk to people. This was Gail's family gathering and I remembered how Gail always liked to see people who one does not see often. There was Jack and Karen from Cayuga, Dale and Marie from Appleton, Jerry and Rose from the Twin Cities but we don't see often and of course Gail always loved to see the nieces and nephews.

The occasion was Amy and Micah's wedding. The setting was a rural faculty and it was really nice. For me I missed the church and Mass on such a happy time but I would say that it was pretty, peaceful and fun.

I rode there with Aaron/Amy and came home with Cynthia/Mike. How about that I am becoming dependent. There were times people thought Gail and I were so independent and did our own thing and now look! Well I may be taking too much credit for a tiny thing.

After I arrived home I took a small glass of Irish Baily Cream and sat on the deck for about an hour. Oh my the thoughts ran back to so many things. I remembered:
*us finishing the deck with the last screw as people started arriving for Cynthia's graduation party.
*I am not sure why but I thought about playing cop most of her 9Th or was it 10Th grade.
*I remembered about taking all 4 of the graduation pictures by the birch tree in the back.
*Then there was the year Aaron did painting all on his own and did a super job.
*I thought about Travis' dream to be Sammy White and play football.
*I remembered Gail's horror when after John decided to do his first bike race he came out of the bathroom with his legs shaved!
*There was all the joys we had when grandchildren started coming. It almost was like Gail was in heaven. She talked about going to Madison once a month, of going to their soccer games, of making cookies with them of having tea parties with the girls and her dream went on and on and on and I would have to admit that more than once there was a moment of jealousy as I thought about things just Gail and I should do. What is a man to do!!!

I am not sure why all those thoughts came while on the deck. I also thought about some times that were not so fun. I think maybe the half moon which stared down on me caused me to be sentimental. It was so bright and I know that Gail would have said something like I could look at it all night.

I just heard the paper bang against the door so will sit down and read it a bit before church.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I was invited to John and Marys for dinner tonight but for some reason I thought I should not go. Jerry Wind stopped by and asked me if I wanted to come to dinner. That seemed right and I did go. In the course of after dinner discussion I gained some more insight into Gail's journey. Of course there are many questions from many people as to why was Gail not healed. So many people had so many words, scriptures and thoughts that led us to believe that she would be healed, then WHY not? For me at least part of the answer came tonight. This is the insight I had for myself tonight. God wants all of us to live life to the fullest to the best of our ability until our last breath. In February the doctor told us that in 4-6 months Gail's sternum would be big, red, ugly and she would have serious health problems. To Gail that was an immediate death sentence. She knew that she wanted to live and the way for her to do that was to believe that she would be healed. Her belief that she would be healed allowed her to live life to the fullest until her last breath and each time someone prayed with her or gave her a scripture or a word that allowed her to continue to live beyond what the doctors said she would or could. That is why at one time she said in a half joking and half serious manner that she wanted to put up a sign on the door that said :If you do not believe do not come in". I feel what she was saying is I want to live, love and serve as long as I can and I need your belief to do that. I more clearly see now why it was so important to her when people prayed with her, told her they believed she would be healed and sent her thoughts, prayers and scriptures to that effect. I hope this makes sense to others as it does to me and I now better understand Gail's journey. I so clearly remember her words when we were making the decision to not go with hormone therapy. She said, "I want to live a long time but if I don't I want to feel as good as possible for as long as possible." I know that your belief helped her wish come true.

Enjoy the weekend

I can not believe that we are headed into the last weekend of September. As I think about that I remember Gail saying more than once that she felt something was going to happen this fall. She was talking about herself when she said that. I had not thought about that until this morning.

I feel so much better this morning. I slept about 8 hours last night and it felt so good. I fell asleep on the couch and did not even know Cynthia left, I felt badly about that.

I am sure Amy and Micah are so excited today as tomorrow will be their big day. It should be a grand celebration and I am so excited and happy for them. The piano was the usual place for Gail to place all of our invitations for special events but it was cleared off so I will have to call someone about the time, place etc. I know it will be near Stillwater but I don't think that will be enough information!!!!

Travis and I had dinner at a friend of his, LeAnn, last night. It was a good time but I think I got into my old habit of eating too much. She lives just across the bridge from here.

I went through Gail's small small purse yesterday and took out her credit cards etc. For safety I went to shred them but I couldn't. I put them back and that will be for another day.

Nights have been strange. For several nights I have dreamt about things related to death. Last night I had a dream about a person who died last winter. One night I relived the last 12 hours of Gail's life. I hope that stops soon.

Larry B is so thoughtful and kind. Last night he called to see if I would like to ride with him east as he is going to Chicago. He would have dropped me off in Madison. As it turns out A/A/L are coming today for the wedding but his thought was so kind. I thought to myself that I do not think I would have had that mindset. I want to change to be a better person.

I don't know if other people do this but I often play little games with myself such as try to guess the minute someone is coming to what color car will be the next one that comes down the street or who will call next etc. I know it is goofy but then people who know me would not expect much that is normal. Anyway each day I try to guess how many cards will come saying how much they loved Gail and how special she was. Yesterday I way wrong as I guessed 6 and 9 came. I miss her so much but I know many many others miss her and think about her too.

Enough, I am going to take my coffee cup and go for a short walk. I usual would do that to get the paper but I am getting one at my door free for 4 weeks so I miss my walk. Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I woke up too early. Maybe I will need to take a nap this afternoon. I am trying to think of what will happen today and it seems like not too much so perhaps the level of activity may be leveling off.

Yesterday morning I made myself breakfast which was the first time I actually made a meal since Gail died. It reminded me of the last 2 or 3 years I would make breakfast for Gail Sunday mornings. Of course she would always say it was so good.

My sister Joan is leaving for Salt Lake City today. She was here yesterday for a few hours. Cynthia, Travis, Joan and I had lunch which was nice.

I spent some time last night going through Christmas cards from 1996 that Gail had kept. I thought maybe I would find a million dollars in a paper route card!! Instead as Gail's records were so neat I found out that most of the paper route tips were $10. I did find a pennys gift card for $25 which I think may still be good and a $70 Christmas check from Grandma Saunders which I think I will not cash!! One more drawer cleaned out.

I walked around the neighborhood last night for a short time. It brought back so many memories of lawn mowing, snow shoveling, painting and the list went on. It, I think, was the first time reality seemed to stare me in the face and my mind started to register that I am now alone. There is family which is so good, neighbors, friends and they are all so so supportive but in the end I am alone, no more Gail. I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and thanked God for blessing me with her presence for so long and then asked him for grace as his healing spirit comes each day.

Cynthia and Mary were here yesterday morning. They arrived as I was out and about. I stopped in at Starbucks to let a friend know about Gail and then stopped at the insurance office as I have known our agent for 25+ years and he lost his wife from cancer 6 years ago. For me those first encounters with people are emotional and difficult but I am sure they too will become easier with time.

No, I may try to lay down a bit. I woke up to the dream of my wallet laying by the open front door and I had to come down to make sure everything was OK. Have a good day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 23

It's another day. I am now almost finished with my coffee and I had a great time with the Lord this morning. My time with him has been good the last few days but really I feel closer to him when family and friends are here. Travis was here yesterday, Cynthia, Mike, Faustine and Jude were here, Jerry Wind stopped in, Susan came and got tomatoes, Larry and Loren were here for a meeting, this morning Cynthia and Mary are coming and a neighbor stopped. I am beginning to think that people actually were not so attracted to Gail or I but it may be the white house with the green trim!!! A couple of funnies: Loren said that when his brother-in-law's wife died he was busy in the evenings but the days were long so he set up a schedule of Monday wash clothes, Tuesday shop etc. and then he commented that he had no idea it was so much work to care for him! Also I laughed as Jerry arrived at about 9:15 and 20 minutes later at 10:20 he left. I may have to get Jerry a new watch!!!!

Travis and I may take down, not apart, the 18000 piece puzzle today. I think we have about 1500 pieces done. I just do not know what to do with it. We put so many hours into it and Gail just LOVED it but it takes up so much space that I need right now. We'll see.

I am ashamed. I have forgotten to call my sister Joan who is still in town. I want to have dinner or lunch with her before she leaves so I must remember today.

I think I forgot to say that Aaron called. He put Leo on the phone and when I asked if he is having a brother or sister he said "girl"!!!!

I get sad when the grand children come. Gail just loved them so much and most of them will not remember grandma but I do know she helped form them. I have been too busy to try and bake cookies but the cookies jars were washed yesterday and they now have store cookies in them and I also filled the special bowl in the cabinet with Regina taffy. I forgot to tell you that we started a sad new chapter 2 nights ago. We had a great meal that needed garlic bread so I went uptown and bought frozen bread. We all know that Gail always mashed real garlic, mixed it with real butter and of course her bread was the best. I begin to realize that I will miss more than her smile, her touch and her ever joyful presence.

Cards continue to come in and people continue to say how much they will miss Gail's smile, her love and her ability to make them feel special. More than ever I have come to realize that it is not the people at the front who make the world go around but it is the people who are the rock solid foundation that our world is built on. They are the rock where often the people we see or think about most may be the sand. I think Gail was granite. Of course we need all kinds. I do think we need more people who talk less and do more. As I say that I need to do some changing.

I should go. The morning light is beginning to show and I like light much better than darkness. As I sit blogging in my underwear perhaps I need to put my pants on before I open the shades!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New day same thing!!

Yesterday was not a great day! I kind of spun my wheels, was tired and found myself walking around the house aimlessly. I remembered when Gail would be on a retreat or away for some other reason for a couple of days. I would say to myself that I was going to get a lot done but....... I would have the same kind of day then as yesterday. Do you think it could be because I used the last of my "praying for you blend" french press coffee? If that is the case I will fix it easily by ordering a whole case of it from Charlene. No, I do realize that is not the case. It just is what used to happen when Gail was living, but away, I just acted like I was kind of lost. I perked up a bit this morning as I was reading the paper and the story was of President Bush. He was asked if he wanted to do this or that and his answer was no no I am happy and I am ready for the next chapter in my life. You may read that I am happy and say no. But here is the deal. I have always been a happy person. I probably should not admit it so much but I have tears many times a day but when I am able to not think of Gail I actually sing some times. So I can say I am happy and I certainly can say I am at least trying to get ready for the next chapter of my life. My gosh I think I could have maybe 20+ years in my wood shop before I need to be concerned about my fingers etc.

I have a dumpster coming today. Half of it will be filled from my stuff in the garage and half from Gail's stuff in the house. Gail was so frugal and saving that she would put anyone else to shame. She was so generous but yet so very frugal. You may not know this but she almost would refuse to spend any money on herself and for that reason I purchased all of her clothes. I recycled boxes from upstairs that came into the house when my dad gave our kids a toy rabbit. He died 12 years ago but I am sure Gail had something in mind for that box. I just wonder if God has projects in heaven. If he does he certainly has a leader of the pack with Gail now.

I have spent much time thinking about the wake and funeral. It was amazing how many people came to say how much they loved Gail. Dee, Mary Lou and Kathy came from school, that was nice. Neighbors, paper route people, friends, far away family, community and the list goes on and on. Everyone said Gail treated them like a special friend--wow.

Got to go now as there is much to do!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday, September 21

One week ago Cynthia woke me up this morning at about 2:30 AM and said that perhaps I should come downstairs. It seems like a few minutes ago and it seems like eternity. Those last 10 hours of Gail's life are so fresh in my mind I don't know if they will ever dim.

I rambled around in our bedroom last night until 1:30. I found a Valentine Card in the dresser that I had given Gail a LONG time ago. There were letters from our niece, the kids, a 3 page letter from Travis, basketball pins, soccer pins, a story of her aunt and uncle Anne and Otto who celebrated 75 years of marriage, list is almost endless and that was only ONE drawer.

As I opened all of the shades this morning I noticed that the grass is still green, the flowers are still blooming, the trees still have leaves and we still have neighbors. Then I let our dog Wallace out, fed him, put on some water for french press coffee, opened the door to get the paper and then I stopped. I said to myself that God is good, in fact he is wonderful. Gail is in a perfect place, no more pain or suffering or troubles or concerns, I think I have good health, there are the 4 kids, 6 grand children, siblings, in-laws and tears streamed down my face. I thought that my grief is real but it is not for Gail, it is for me. As I walked quickly to get a tissue I felt more than a twinge of pain but I also felt a glimmer of hope. Hope that time will heal, tears will be less frequent and constant memories will change to thoughts of the future. I spent time reading the funeral readings, especially Psalm 131. Of course before projects started for the day I sat down with my coffee and read the paper.

I can hardly wait to hear from Aaron/Amy today. They will find out today if their baby in January will be a boy or girl. I also am resolved to look forward to our niece Amy's wedding this coming weekend.

Have a good day and a great week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Yellow Rose

I visited Gail's grave site for the first time this afternoon. Someone had been there and left a yellow rose.

I took home the yellow ribbons with wife, mother, grandmother and friend written on them.

I asked the same question that Liam asked, why is grandma in the ground. God said that his plan is perfect, his timing is always the best and I need not worry. I accepted his answer but I find it difficult for now.

I NEVER was one for graves, cemeteries etc. but as I sat on the ground and gazed around I had a strange peace and my heart was filled with awe, love and appreciation for Gail. My mind went back to the slide show at the wake and the last picture of her waving and I remembered how she would always wave like that when others left our house or when I drove off.

It is unbelievable, as I walk around at home Gail is in everything. Time will have to heal.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well I found out yesterday that following Gail will not be good. I told Henry that I may (at this time I didn't want to get up hopes too much) try to bake cookies for the goodies jar and asked him what kind of cookies he liked. He said frosted!!!! I was thinking of just throwing some things in a bowl and baking them but now I must look for a receipt with frosted cookies. I do remember that Gail pretty much thought the grand kids should get what they want when they came. I think, if she were here, that she may change her mind as I have now renamed Faustina----Ferocious Faustina with everything that goes with the first word!!

I took a bike ride yesterday and that was fun. I just wanted to feel the wind on my head but I think I may go back to Gail's way and use the helmet the next time. I just wanted to try it again!

Want to know how God provides? The day before Gail died we got a call and now we are getting the paper free for 4 weeks. I can make some french press coffee and read the paper with no effort. I may have to order a pound of Mountain Thunder coffee from Hawaii, now that would be the best to sit down with the paper and drink the heavenly coffee like 100% Kona. My second favorite coffee is the pound that the Olsons sent me. It is True stone and the blend is "Praying for you Blend". I am not kidding, just come over and I will show you the label. I also have some of the great coffee that I purchased from Greg at White Rock that he would not let me pay for. I was so thankful as that was a difficult morning and Greg was so kind. I could go on and on about coffee but actually the ringer went off and my french press for the morning is ready. Think I will sit down and read my delivered free paper. Actually I should not be so happy about it because I know that those people who deliver samples barely get paid enough to cover the gas that it takes to stop here. Believe me, I do know.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Well done my faithful servant

Gail was laid to rest in resurrection Cemetery this afternoon. The funeral mass was wonderful, John's sharing captured his mother to a T, the procession to the final resting place was long and winding, the weather was a bit overcast but very warm, the reception afterward was well done with many many memorable sharings and the emotion of everything consumed all of my stamina.

From where I sit in the living room I can see most of the memories on the fireplace mantel. The gold cross that I purchased for Gail in Italy, the bracelet I gave her when her wedding ring would not fit, her wedding ring that actually fit this last year, a candle with her picture on it, memory cards that are left, the crucifix she wore the last several months and almost as big as life itself an 8 X 10 paper saying Gail Marie Lee--Mass of Christian Burial at Lumen Christi Catholic Church---10:00 AM Friday, September 18, 2009---interment Resurrection Cemetery. I murmured to myself that it's true, it is not a dream. On my left is a basket of cards-unopened and in front of me 150 thank you cards. There you have the picture, much different than Gail's sewing room, very different than my wood shop and oh so quiet. I actually thought of asking the kids if they would take turns sitting with dad!! Of course that is not possible because life goes on, it does not stop for life or death or grief or happiness it just Marches on with reckless abandonment.

Leave it up to little kids. Liam, age 4, climbed in my lap and asked, why did they put grandma in the ground? As I grappled with words to explain he popped up with grandpa you need to find a new wife, one without a family. I gulped as if I had just swallowed a bug and then I explained that would not happen as grandpa doesn't need a new wife. Grandpa has family, a wood shop, many friends and I will be just fine with what I have. I love those little ones, most of the time, who are so honest. I smiled as I wondered if he suspects that there will be fewer goodies now but you know what I think that was not the reason. Liam seems to have a wonderful sense of people and a compassion for ones around him.

One last thought for the night. Of course there is always something one can take of any situation and today it was seeing so so so many family and friends who I had not seen for a long time. I was flabbergasted to see my only living aunt Alta who is 94 and lives in ND. She told me that I would ride my bike to their place and share with her how much I loved Gail. Many Niles Ave neighbors came and many good friends who aren't seen much because of time. I shared that it is amazing that God could take a 100% Norwegian farm boy from ND like me and instill a desire and love to HUG people!!!

I am looking forward to tomorrow as it will be the last full day of family around. Aaron/Amy and Leo will return to Madison Sunday and of course on Monday people have to start getting serious about their own lives which includes working. I will continue to blog but thanks for the support, thanks for the memories, thanks for the love and thanks for the prayers.

The morning after

I know, there are many many meanings for "the morning after" but I mean the morning after so many people shared their love with me for Gail and of course their love for me too. I was so blessed by everyone. Before I go farther, the kids were the best. Everyone (John, Mary, Travis, Aaron, Amy, Cynthia and Mike) just made me so proud to say, "Over there that's him or here is so and so". I know that Gail's fellow angels were dancing and rejoicing with her last night, they were hugging and high 5ing and saying things like, Gail you did the best job ever with those kids.

It was great telling the many people who commented on my tie that Gail gave it to me. I have another tie that she gave me that I will wear today and it too is so kiddy and colorful. It brought back memories of the WIDE ties she made for me way back and I really liked them too but as ties became narrower and those big bright wide ones seemed to loom like big fluorescent lights in our closet we gave them away.

Hugh Springer did such a wonderful job with the slide show and as I watched that last picture of Gail waving good bye I lost it. Oh my gosh, she looked so happy, so contented, so real and she just seemed to fit the bill to a T of someone who had run the race surging over the finish line and was so happy and contented with her effort. Kind of like the time she and Jan ran the race and at the end she took her ribbon, cut it in half, and gave half to Jan because they had been in it together. I am now positive that because of God's unfailing love He has taken away all the sorrow Gail would naturally feel with the loss of family and friends and instead filled her heart in heaven with an overwhelming feeling of joy because she now can pray unceasingly for all of her "bunch". All of us have such a tall order to continue to live life to the fullest, love our God with all our heart and to build God's kingdom on earth. And may I add that Gail would encourage us to live on the edge because if we don't we take up too much space.

Mary Lee, Cynthia Adkins, Carol/Ed Schwab and Susan Wind, all of your were so awesome last night. I know not how you were so able to capture Gail like you did but the emotion with which you spoke, the love that you shared just was almost too much, to real. I actually looked at the coffin several times to see if Gail would open it up, sit up and with her blushing complexion ask if you would like a glass of water!

As I sit here this morning, drinking warmed over french press coffee, I can feel all of your support. My tears have to be wiped off the keyboard, my thoughts have to be corralled and my mind seems numb with events, places, people and questions. However, I am resolved to be more thankful in the future for family and friends and to hold the images, the thoughts and the example Gail was next to my heart.

I know, today is the funeral. For sure it will be another round of tears, of laughs, of hugs, of memories and most of all experiencing God's total love through you. If you happen to read this and actually get to the end of it and read these words please continue to pray for family and me. I am so not looking forward to Monday. I know that family being around 24/7 has to come to an end and so I need you to pray for the large gap in my heart. Pray that God will fix it, fill it and mend it with his loving care over time so that once again it will be whole.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Final Plans

Most things are now final for the schedule in the few days ahead. There will be visitation at Trinity School at River Ridge in Eagan on Thursday from 5:30-8:00 with a short program at 8:00. The program will include sharings, worship/praise and a slide presentation of Gail. The funeral will be at Lumen Christi on Friday at 10:00 AM with viewing from 9:00-10:00 at the church. Interment will be at Resurrection Cemetery immediately after the funeral with lunch served at Lumen Christi after the interment.

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred.

There will be an obituary in the St. Paul and Tribune papers on Wednesday.

In this time of grief it is so wonderful to have family around and to know that God is so present.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Amen, it is a new day and a new beginning

Legends of angels opened heavenly gates and welcomed Gail at 12:40 PM today. We cry and despair for our earthly life will change forever but we rejoice for our dear sister, mother, wife, daughter and friend is forever with our Lord and I know He has BIG plans for her.

The wake will be Thursday evening at River Ridge School in Eagan and the funeral will be Friday morning at 10:00 AM at Lumen Christi in Highland Park of St. Paul. O"Halloran and Murphy Funeral Home in St. Paul is caring for arrangements.

If you have a sharing about Gail that you would like us to post on Thursday night you can make a comment on this blog or write to and we will try to print and arrange them along with pictures etc on Thursday night.

Monday September 14 8 AM

Gail had a fairly peaceful night. We are now 2 1/2 days beyond eating and 1 1/2 days beyond liquid. We give her meds for pain and anxiety and swabs of water in her mouth. We never give up on God's healing but we pray that if her journey continues in it's present form God opens the heaven doors soon and wide and in all the glory and majesty of God's kingdom Gail enters to a welcome that is fit for a queen.

My prayer is that she will not suffer but will be peaceful and pain free.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday September 13 8 PM

Gail seems to be without pain and is comfortable. She last ate Friday afternoon and the last drink of any amount was yesterday afternoon. Hospice nurse was here at noon today and put a catheter in as she is too weak to get out of bed. She mostly is restful but at time does ask to sit up. She talks a bit but at times makes little sense. I actually got TWO smiles from her this afternoon and of course it was my highlight of the weekend. Her eyes remain young looking and her face is still radiant.

At this time the sign on the door says visitors limited to 5 min and most of them stay a shorter time. Of course if the Lord choose to come in the door is wide open and the time is unlimited. I take that back, the Lord IS here. I am most thankful for her being home with us, thank you Lord. The care and love of all the kids is overwhelming and their affection for their mother is something that should be packaged and preserved forever. I wish I could have captured 4 year old Liam sitting on the floor this morning looking up at HIS grandma. His posture and expression said Grandma you are mine and you are the best, I love you with all my heart. Grandpa could not have shown it or said it better.

Sunday September 13 6 AM

It was a difficult night. Aaron, Cynthia and John carried the load as I tried to get some needed sleep. Accidents in bed, restlessness, falling---all were cared for so lovingly by the kids. God so knows what he is doing when he creates family, friends and loved ones to share life, to live life and to share in joys and burdens together. Who in the whole world could ever imagine or create such a wondrous web of things, only our God.

We continue to pray for a miracle but the reality is that our Lord is standing at the door. Lord come in glory in your timing and hear our prayers of love and hope. We believe in your healing power and pray for a miracle of healing but we accept what you have for us---not our will but your will be done.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday 7:00 AM

Gail had a very peaceful night. As I write she is still sleeping. She got up twice to go to the bathroom but went right back to sleep again. We have upped her meds for anxiety a bit and that has helped. Also started a liquid IB for pain.

Aaron arrived last night about 8 and will be with us until Sunday. He and Cynthia slept here last night to help out. I slept by Gail's bed as the night before she had gotten up and wandered off so we did not want that to happen and it just seemed that sleeping by her was better than putting the bed rails on which can give a person the feeling of being enclosed. It is interesting how different people can or like to do different things. Everyone can help mother in any way but as time goes on it becomes clear that some things are easier or more difficult for each person to do. God certainly made us in a most unusual manner and I think that is what makes life so interesting.

Pray for healing, pray for peace and pray for family. So far family has been together and on the same page. I know that with serious illness that can be very trying but so far God's peace and love have been so present, pray that continues. If you were to peek in you would not know who are sons and daughters by birth and who are sons and daughters by marriage. Thank you Lord.

People of Praise is having their annual fall celebration today with fun, games and a Lord's Day picnic. I hope the weather holds nice and everyone attending has a grand time. We will be there in thought.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Over the edge!!!

As I sat mindlessly at the computer I realized that I felt lost. Not lost in the sense of not knowing where I was but rather lost in the sense of my own being. Some of my thoughts:
What if Gail is not healed, what will I do, what should I do?
How will family function without Gail's love?
Why has God chosen our family to be so blessed with such support?
Who should cut my hair?
Will I be able to walk the walk with God without Gail by my side?
What weaknesses will others now see where Gail covered before?
Have I loved Gail enough, have I served enough, have I been good enough to her?
Will I lose the goodness that Gail has cultivated in me?
Can I be happy without her?
Can I serve at Servant Camp without my right hand?
Will my will be strong enough without her will to support it?
Can I be a good grandpa without grandma?
How can I adequately preserve Gail's spirit?
Of course such things as can I learn how to wash clothes also come up?
Oh my, my mind does also wander back to births, schools, trips, parties, times we cried, times we disagreed, times we laughed, times we traveled, times we were goofy, times we loved and times we sat in silence. I am flooded with questions, with memories, with hope, with despair and with many many other things. I know God is good, I know He is present, I know He is the HEALER but of course I still have questions.
Please continue to pray for healing, for peace and for God's plan to be ours as well.

Friday @ 3:00 PM

We are now settled with the new hospice and are pleased with the service. They are in the process of switching out the oxygen back to the liquid which Gail likes. Dr. Zenker was here for some time and she is always just an angel to Gail. We have turned off all phone ringers as the pace here has been too too much for Gail. She needs some sleep. We will check phones from time to time but no door bells, no phone rings etc for a while. Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

Friday, 9:00 AM

Gail slept fairly well. She just asked for a pad of paper as she said it is not easy to talk, she has not said that before. Actually I think she looks as well as yesterday. She already drank some IP-6. We should see what a new day brings. Lord come come with your healing grace but we do accept your will, your plan for Gail as well as us.

Sue Coulter just arrived to take Jude for a time so Cynthia has more time. Thanks Sue.

I feel Gail's physical strength is down a bit so we are asking visitors to call and if you come limit your visit to 5 minutes or less. Anne Miller just came, gave the the body of Christ to Gail and left, that was a special blessing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

God's Timing Thursday, 9/10/6 PM

Gail had her best day this week. Her feet felt warm to the touch for the first time in many weeks. Her color is better. We seem to have a better handle on pain control which is good. She did not venture beyond the commode by her bed but she was up several times to go to the bathroom there. She ate some of the dinner that the Winds brought and did not need much pain meds beyond the patch she has.

As I write she is sleeping because her afternoon was busy. Hospice from St. Joesph's Hospital came and several friends came for short visits and to pray. All in all it was an exhausting day so she is now resting. We still have hope and we still believe in God's healing grace. In God's timing it is never too late.

She still really needs and wants foot rubs and as we or friends do that for her she is so thankful.

It struck me today as 3 week old Jude sat sleeping in his seat in the den and Gail lay on her bed in the living room and in between were young and old how awesome is God's plan, how mysterious are his ways and how loving a God he is.

Thursday September 10 7:45 AM

Good morning
Gail had a good night's rest. Dr. Zenker came and spent time with us last night. She ordered a pain patch which now gives Gail slower but 24/7 pain relief. Aaron/Amy returned to Madison yesterday, Travis, John, Mary Cynthia and Mike continue to spend much time here which, for me is so so so nice. Gail actually was able to walk, with help, to the bathroom to brush her teeth. How one's life can change when that activity is an "up" for the day!! We had a ham meal delivered yesterday so we ate well.

I would say that yesterday Gail held her own compared to the day before. After several days of change "maintaining" was a great thing. Actually she ate some ham and fruit and that was a first since Monday so thank you Lord.

I repeat that we are daily living in reality and dealing with everything from pain, body functions, details of "after life" but yet we have not given up on our mighty and loving God. He is the healer and we do know people who God has touched in their darkest hour and healed so we keep the hope, walk the walk and believe that miracles can and do happen. Lord, come come come and heal Gail. Please pray for Gail and with us so that Gail may be healed and restored to normal life which has always included a selfless heart and an infectious smile.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday, September 9 @ 7 AM

Gail's bed arrived and was set up at 9 PM yesterday, it is such a blessing. The new meds arrived about 10 and that allowed her to rest better and sleep quite well. She feels the oxygen that came about 11 PM helps and she uses it all the time. As I write she is sleeping again and seems to be very peaceful.

Gail got up once during the night but other than that slept from midnight to 6:45 this morning. This is a new day and the first with so many new wonderful medical things. We are hopeful that it will be a peaceful day and of course if God sees to heal Gail through all of your prayers how awesome that would be. However as I have said so many times we do need to live in reality and as I sit and watch our Gail deal with a body that is so sick my heart aches. But I also re joyous in God's love, God's goodness and I say to myself if only I could draw closer to Him and know his every intention and plan. Lord, come in more power, more love, more healing, more of your wisdom and may all of us give more of ourselves towards building your kingdom here on earth.

Yesterday it was such a blessing to have all the kids around. Aaron/Amy, Cynthia/Mike, Travis and John/Mary. It would have been difficult to get through the day without them. Gail was not able to enjoy the grand kids very much but I know she was so proud of Henry in his new school uniform he looked and acted the part of such a fine young man, even had dress shoes!!

Thank you for your prayers and support in our journey.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday #3

Your prayers are answered. St. Marys Hospice arrived about 6 tonight, a bed will arrive tonight, oxygen will arrive tonight and they are so wonderful. THANKS a million times for your prayers

Tuesday #2

We ask for prayers as we are in the process of connecting with hospice. Pray that we can connect quickly and Gail will be peaceful with any program we use.


Gail had a difficult night but is comfortable this morning. Her blood pressure continues to be too high as 2 different readings were about 190/120. Joanne Kruger came to take it as Dr Bernarda wanted to be sure our cuff was accurae. She continues to want/need her feet rubbed and that helps much.
Thank you for prayers and support. Here are some words that we received this morning.
1. remember the song: I love the Lord because He heard my voice. He inclined His ear unto me. Therefore will I call upon Him as long as I love, oh--oh I love the Lord, I love the Lord. He will deliver my soul from death......
2. I think right now you are shipwrecked like Paul and his friends. "Last night God's angel stood at my side, an angel of this God saying to me, "Don't give up Paul (Gail and Carmen) your're going to stand before Caesar yet--and everyone sailing with you is also going to make it. So dear friends, take heart. I believe God will do exactly what he told me. But we're going to shipwreck on some other island or other. (the message act 27:23-26
3. a word from the Lord for Gail after Pslam 139 Gail, I have searched you and know you
I know your sitting down and your rising up
I know your thoughts afar off
I comprehrehend your path
I am acquainted with all your ways
I have hedged you behind and before
and laid my hand upon you.

Psalm 139
O Lord, you have searched me and known me
You know my sitting down and my rising up
You understand my thoguth afar off
You comprehend my path and my lying down
And are acquainted with all my ways
For there is not a word on my tongue
But lO LORD you know it altogether
You have hedged me hehind and before
And laid Your hand upon me
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit
Or where can I flee from Your presence
If I ascend into heaven, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning.

4. Be not afraid, I am with you. Soak in my love. My love and your love will last forever.

Please forgive misspellings etc

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Gail did not sleep as much as she needed to last night. She was up at 3 and at the door when I arrived home at 6:15 this morning. Much of the morning consisted of foot rubs which allowed her to catch a half hour nap. Cynthia, who stayed over night, stayed until 10 and about 9 John/Mary and family dropped in and stayed for about 45 minutes. Aaron/Amy and Leo are in town so we look forward to seeing them for a bit again tomorrow.

Travis and I only have 2 more nights of the fair work left which is reallllllly nice. Those 12 hr shifts get long long long after doing them for 11 straight nights! I am looking forward to Tu AM when we will be finished and I will be home again 24/7. It does seem with the fair and camp I have been gone too much but as long as Gail is in good hands it has made it somewhat OK.

Have a great week.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Each day is a new day, a new experience and a new set of things to think about, pray about and to work through. As I write this Gail is having a difficult time. It seems that when she takes a pain med it affects her breathing and her back. A positive is I purchased a new supply of IP-6 and I got the powder. One measuring scoop mixed in 6 oz of water is the same as 7 pills. The powder is of course so much easier to get down than 7 pills so thank you Lord. As you read this pray for peace and for relief from pain for Gail as well as God's healing power to come. I did set up a bed on the first floor yesterday but Gail was feeling well enough to go upstairs as she does like to sleep in her own bed so we are hopeful she can continue to go up and down for that reason. One of the healing things continues to be foot rubs which seems to give her peace and relaxes her. We are so thankful for all of your prayers.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Gail is doing about the same. It is a challenge to get in her supplements, pain meds etc. all of which go with food, without food or some combination. This afternoon she says she does not have much pain but she is a a bit uneasy and restless.

Carmen continues to work nights at the fair but that will come to an end Monday night so there are only 4 nights left. The kids continue to be a great help.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Five nights left

Travis and I have 5 nights of the fair left. That is great news!!! If I remember last year when Gail and I worked the last few nights are the worst but God will provide the wakefulness I am sure.

Gail is about the same. She is sleeping 5-6 hr a night, taking her supplements and when she takes her pain pills she does pretty well. Please continue to pray for a healing.

Cynthia continues to come each night as I am gone, Mary took 3 baskets of dirty clothes for us and the kids continue to be a huge huge blessing. Travis refuses to sleep at the fair at night as one of us can nap so that gives me more "wake" time with Gail when I get home. In fact I will not need to sleep at all today so can serve and be with Gail. We are so thankful for all of the support we receive from so many people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Welcome September

After tonight Travis and I will be over half done with the fair, that is great. One of us can catch a nap and Travis insists he stay up all night and I nap so I am getting 4-5 hr of sleep each night while on the job. Cynthia and Jude come each night to be with Gail and that is such a blessing. Ed Schwab showed up this morning with a commode for Gail. It beats the 5 gallon Home Depot pail by a long shot. Having it by the couch helps in that Gail does not need to walk to the bathroom. Thanks Ed. As Gail gets well we will pass it on to someone who needs it.

We received the lab results from the fluid taken from Gail's left lung and it had cancer cells in it. Gail is now taking 2 more supplements and we are continuing to do what we have done. Dr. Bernarda says the next 4-6 weeks will be critical for Gail. We ask you to continue to pray for God's healing, anyway it comes!! Perhaps he will heal through the things we are doing, we do not know, but we ask and believe he will heal. Dr Bernarda Zenker has been such a blessing. She has been to our home 3 times in the last 10 days. Gail is now on pain pills every 4 hr and is also on med for sleep. The meds seem to be working so for that we are so thankful. Lord you are so good and so loving, please continue to come into our home and lives in a powerful way.