"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Gypsy Jenny's Boutique, Sedona

"Gypsy Jenny's" or Joyful Boutique in Sedona is special to us because Mom picked out a very beautiful whimsical green dress here on one of our many trips.  While walking by the shop "Jenny" caught our eye because we used to call Jenelle "Jenny" when she was little.  I remember Mom spending forever in the shop trying on dress after dress just to find the perfect one.

After she passed, Aunt Margie looked around the house for a dress to change her into and out of all the dresses, she picked this one.  Mom looked so beautiful, and the memories of the dress and our special trip took my breath away when I saw her wearing it for this last time.  It was important on our recent trip here with Aunt Margie to visit this shop and find something we loved too.  What a great "souvenir" it was to cherish and be able to wear as we continue to remember and celebrate Mom.  If you're ever there please stop by and think of Mom!  Buy something creative and whimsical that will make you smile!

Sharing Sedona

In March I had some pretty special guests stop by Arizona.  Uncle Todd and Aunt Margie were hiding from the never-ending Illinois winter and traveling in their RV with Ollie.  I was so excited they decided to take the detour to the Southwest and visit us! We had an amazing time taking the Jeep around the old Apache Trail up to Roosevelt Dam.  We were thinking of things to do and I knew that I just had to share Sedona with them, one of Mom’s favorite places.  They even came to the house to meet Steadman before our day trip to Sedona.

Aunt Margie and I did a little shopping at Joyful Boutique (Gypsy Jenny's) a dress shop Mom loved so much.  We also went to our favorite outdoor restaurant spot at Hideaway House for lunch. From here I could show them the mountain where we hiked on our Sister trip to sprinkle some of Mom’s ashes.  We also made a visit to our family Timeshare Residence at the Hyatt so they could see why Mom fell in love with the property.  Then we walked around downtown, took scenic drives and decided to stay longer to enjoy dinner at Creekside.  Ollie got 5-star treatment getting to order from the dog menu! Aunt Margie said they don't do much of that back in Illinois!

It was hard to leave this special place!  There's still so much more to see and share in Arizona, but I guess they’ll just have to come back soon!  We had such a great time together and I miss my family so much.  It's beautiful how much Mom's memory still brings us all together and we find happiness and joy remembering her constantly.

Much Love Always,

Saturday, November 18, 2017

After Glow


I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one,
I'd like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve
to dry before the sun,
Of happy memories that I leave
When life is done.

{this tiny book from Mom's bedside table was folded open to this page}

I Miss You Mom

I thought of you with love today,
but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday,
and days before that too.
I think of you in silence,
I often speak your name.
All I have are memories,
and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is my keepsake,
with which I'll never part.
God has you in his keeping,
I have you in my heart.

Author: Unknown

Monday, September 4, 2017

Time Stands Still

There's an internal clock within me that knows exactly what time it is. I feel what I felt 2 years ago and my heart still aches, I can't breathe as I blankly stare into the space ahead.

Two years ago I was in Illinois spending my last days with Mom. I'm counting down the days until September 21st, it was 2 years ago I held my breath every single day of this month waiting for what we never wanted to come.

I can talk for days and days about the happy memories and how hard Mom fought for her life for so long and how happy and positive she always was. Today and the days to come I'm still grieving her loss and I don't feel like expressing any postcard sympathies or future happiness to look forward to.  Today I'm simply missing my Mom, even more so than most other days.  So the countdown begins and my heart aches and that's all for now...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

In Her Words

September 21, 2016

Today is the 1 year remembrance of Mom's death.  I've shared many photos and thoughts on my personal Instagram and Facebook, but the Blog was so important to Mom.  It needed to be updated, especially today.  I promised myself that I would not stop and eventually turn it into how we all cope and "Kerry On."

Last night I was in Mom's email account cleaning out the junk mail and came across a few special gems in her banking folder that had been misfiled.  These emails were between her and Kylie from April 2015.  Mom was helping assist with a psychology project to interview someone who had to adjust to an illness or chronic condition.  Kylie asked several wonderful but difficult questions; which allowed Mom to really think and express her situation in her own written words.  I love reading things from Mom and I hope you enjoy this also.  It's obviously very special because you can see where she was mentally and emotionally just 5 months before her death.  She shall never cease to amaze me!  I've complied several of my favorite parts below.  I would also love to see Kylie's actual paper one day because I'm sure it's very beautifully done!

During these seven years my rewards as a mother have been more than one could ever imagine. My children have been "the wind beneath my wings" to put it lightly. The most supportive loving family any mother could ever ask for. From graduations, to marriage, to grandchildren, to new careers, new homes, I have seen them grow into wonderful caring adults. And my granddaughter grow from just a child to a beautiful young lady.  

Reaction from others is always very encouraging and heartwarming. I have had such a wonderful group of friends and of course my loving family supporting me through all these years of fighting. Cancer has changed my life and the way I view the world...
I think maybe the biggest thing I see is how much people take for granted their life, many don't see how each day is so precious. It's through situations like mine that you really appreciate what you have and not want for the materialistic or self centered desires. Cancer in a way has been a gift to me and my family, to open our eyes to the importance of love and friendship. It's brought us closer to God and prayer for support. Most of all to appreciate how greatly we've been blessed and to just breathe that in and embrace it every day!

It's been a hard thing to think about goals and future when you've been giving a diagnosis like mine. However I have found that you have to live each day to the fullest, enjoy every moment and live as though you are going to live forever, cause if you think you have no future you would go crazy!
We always try to have a goal of some activity or fun thing to do. Whether it be a family vacation, a weekend get away, planning a party or wedding, something to focus on and look forward to.

I pray a lot and I try to stay as positive as possible, keep a smile on my face, because if today does happens to be my last day I would want to be happy one!

Love Kerry

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Memory Lane

It's been so many months since I've written here. I used to make sure to update the Blog monthly, but times have changed. I can't believe we're approaching the 1 year anniversary of Mom's death. Honestly it's completely surreal and only feels like a few months have gone by. I can't say it's been a super "happy" almost-year but we are all trying very hard to smile, stay positive, enjoy life, etc. We've had happy times such as family time together and especially the birth of our newest nephew. The hardest part is that we all just miss her so much. Life is not the same without her.

I've been accused of being mean and depressed. I've frustrated people with my occasional moments of grief and sadness and I've lost some friends along the way. It's unfortunate that people don't see it and they can't understand; because everyone deals with loss of a loved one differently. I am clearly occasionally still sad. My heart swells up and I get that feeling to pick up the phone and call her. No one can tell you how to deal with this. Everyone is different. It's not fair for anyone to expect me to deal with this great loss how "they think" I should. I know that Mom would want me to be happy and enjoy life and celebrate joy in her memory. I know that I will get there one day, but it's way too early for me to feel that way. It's all part of the healing process.

The way I cope right now is to live in "Memory Lane". The family and friends who follow my Instagram have seen it more than anyone. I like to look back at photos and place them in the present thinking back to that time. I remember how it felt and all of the details. I'm just wired this way and I always have been. When I was younger dealing with sad moments I'd sit in my bedroom doing similar things, but probably listening to Mazzy Star and Mom would yell up the stairs "Why are you listening to that depressing music, go outside and do something!" So now when I'm feeling this way I go drive my Jeep outside and blast my music of choice as I grieve, heal and pray for comfort. On the outside I smile and do all that is expected of me, but sometimes inside it's a struggle. All I can do is Kerry ON! I do it with the help of my faith, amazing family and friends that understand and have stayed by my side.

Since Memory lane has been on my mind, I have a few Moments to share. Yesterday, September 2nd of 2015 - I was on a plane home for a long weekend that turned into a month and my last moments with Mom. I remember each day, especially looking at the photos. I remember the special moments I wanted to freeze in my mind and heart. I remember everyone's love and support to help us through each day of last September. Today, September 3rd of 1977 - my parents were married. Because two people loved each other, they started a journey which I am extremely grateful for my entire past and childhood. I love both of my parents more than one can imagine and think they are both amazing. I am so proud of who I have become and where I came from, especially of the growth life experience that still lay ahead.

I can't thank you enough for all of your continued love and support towards my family. Everyone has truly been super amazing and you know I love you... To the Moon!

Love & Hugs... Kerry ON!