Why Us?-Why Not Us?

Last week my great nephew, Ward, was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor. He is one and a half years old and the picture of health, except that this malignant mass is growing in and around his right kidney. Instead of celebrating Christmas at home he will be recovering from surgery. The whole right kidney will be removed. He will be given time to recover and then proceed to the chemotherapy part of this treatment plan.

As part of the extended family I am devastated by this news. This little sweet lion will face challenges that most of us never have to face, especially at this young age. This young and thriving family will face many challenges that they never expected to have to face. This is their baby and their love.

When I first spoke with my niece, we had a long and struggling talk. Why us?, was the question that she and her husband asked when presented with the diagnosis. The next question they asked was, Why not us? It is a question to ask, even in the most difficult of times. When things are going wonderfully in our lives we don’t ask the “why us” question. When the proverbial “*#*” hits the fan, often this question is the one that gets asked. Why Us?

Why not us? This is life and none of us are immune to the bad stuff that comes down. What we do with this question can reflect who we are. For my niece and her husband, they have answered the question and they are coming up fighting. More than anything else, they understand that they need to be the strong advocates for their baby. He is too young to take this on himself and this is what parents do. They also know that it is time to call in favors. Forget the stoicism.

Mom and Dad are already setting boundaries. They have asked that no one give them their worse cancer story. Why we humans do this, I am not sure. I heard many when I was going through treatment for breast cancer. Below I have posted a link to the Caring Bridge website that has been set up for Ward. If you contact them there, give them all the positive stuff you can.

The extended family is asking this same question. Why Us? Well, Why Not Us? How we confront adversity, shows our mettle. This large extended family is rounding up the wagons. My sister (Ward’s grandmother) has already made the two day drive to be with them through surgery and beyond. The rest of us, no matter the distance, are supporting, loving and doing what we can to let this family know they are loved and supported and will never be in need.

They have a large, strong community behind them. Trip is a pastor and Brittany is a Youth Minister. Wow, two whole churches of people who will love them and support them. If only the rest of us could have that many behind us. They are loved by their church communities. If you ever met them, you would understand why. They are two delightful and engaged pastors, loving friends, who share a great joy in life, even when the worse happens. And during doubt and uncertainty this background will hold them together and make them stronger, as individuals, as a couple and as parents.

If you want to follow this child in the months ahead, the parents have set up a Caring Bridge site for Ward. The following link will take you to the web site. Ward Porch-Caring Bridge  You do need to sign up to receive updates. The site will not sell your email address. This site is set up, so that one can communicate with the well wishers and supporters without having to tell the story again and again.

I have also added a Caring Bridge Link to the left side of this blog. It is easy to click on that link, whenever you are visiting this page.

Please send prayers to this family. Love them and hold them close, whatever that means to you. All those good thoughts will give more love to them as they walk through this hard time.

We’re Just Walking Each Other Home.







Summer on the Lake

lake house 1958

The original summer bungalow.

Wow, where does the time go. I have been in northern NJ for two weeks. Oh my gosh I can’t believe I have stayed in one place so long. My niece gets married this weekend and then I will be on the move again. It has been fun to be at my sister’s and her husband’s house on the lake. It has been many years since I spent the Fourth of July here.

My sisters and I grew up on this lake. Originally it was owned by my grandmother Arnold and then my father. Each Memorial Day weekend we opened the house for the summer. My mother and the three of us would come here from Delaware for the summer. My dad would come on weekends. It is a very different house now than what it was then. It is hard to believe that this house has seen three generations in it.

When we were young it was a summer bungalow. It had a wood stove for heat, no insulation to speak of, running water and electricity.  There was also an outhouse in the garage and bath houses to change in. We spent a greater part of the day in water. It was a wonderful way to grow up.

the other side of my sister's home

Same house in current time

Today this house is lovingly owned by my sister, Ginny and her husband, Frank. It is a permanent year round home. Although it is their home we are always invited to come and enjoy the lake. Each of us girls has brought all those that are important to us here. I have come in the winter and in the summer. I love coming here and sitting on the grand front porch and look over the lake.

This year my niece, Adrienne and her fiancé, Jed had a Fourth of July party here. There were a few people from Germany and they wanted to show them what a typical and classic 4th was like. We grilled burgers and hotdogs. Everyone had to try out the new paddle board. We ended the day seeing the best fireworks I have witnessed. They were grand.

What made the party special for me is that a long time friend of mine from Philadelphia was able to come up and join the festivities. I treasure my friends. I treasure the time I get to spend with them, no matter how limited it might be. It was so much fun to catch up with Chris. We never run out of subjects to talk about. I like her company because we talk about what is important to each of us and it is respected. I am thankful for my friends.

IMG_3340 11659226_10101354719448412_1721247109679431808_n


Today my sister, Ruth and her husband, Joe and my other niece, Brittany and her husband, Trip arrived. Tomorrow it is time for another picnic and even more people will be showing up. I am camped in my Roadtrek in the side yard. Elsie is with me. We are a team. Because of this sweet little home everyone has a bed to sleep in tonight. I like the fact that when I need a time out I can disappear to the side yard and hang out in my RT.


She is in the back forty

I feel very thankful this week for family. We may not always see eye to eye but I think we always have each other’s back. Even if we disagree, we are always talking again, because we are family. When Jim died my sister, Ginny was on a plane to come to me when I needed someone most. That is what family and friends do for each other and I am so thankful that I had someone to rely on.

Shortly after the wedding I will be on the road again. I am planning on heading back into Canada. I want to see Nova Scotia and then I will be heading west and slowly towards home. More to come.

Today I am thankful for family, good friends, my kitty and my RT.

(127) Dad and the Girls  July 1955

Dad and the three sisters

Janet, Brittany, Ruth, Trip, Ginny

Janet, Brittany, Ruth, Trip, Ginny