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January
19
2021

Change of Plans—No Service this Saturday

Today I learned that I have Covid.  I was planning to attend John’s service in person this Saturday and I don’t want to watch it at home alone online, so we’re canceling for this Saturday.  I’ll let you know about a new date once I see how my symptoms progress so we don’t end up rescheduling more than once. 

At this point, my symptoms are pretty minimal—a head cold, pressure in my head, and my blood oxygen level, which I’ve heard is important to track, is currently 97%. (That’s nearly more medical info about me than you ever got about John on this site!)

Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I was sick.  So, while I’m sorry to be sick, I’m very thankful that I managed to stay well to care for John.  I love him and miss him so much.😇

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January
15
2021

Thoughts About Heaven

The sermon for church last Sunday (live-streamed over Facebook) was called “The Hope of Heaven.” It was a timely message for our church family.  We lost another long-time member and leader in our church five days before John died. 

The pastor, Mike Sares, started off by saying he was used to John being there, how he went from overseeing an entire high school to humbly serving on the AV team on Sunday mornings to make sure things ran smoothly. Have a listen for yourself HERE—the sermon begins 45 minutes into the service.

As I listened to the message a second time, I found it interesting to think about the distinction Mike made between the brain and the soul.  While John suffered from a brain disease, his soul remained strong.  I believe it still is.

And then there’s his body.  I hope John is in heaven perfecting his 2-Step!  We got the Cowboy Cha-Cha down pretty well but we never were able to master the 2-Step.  John would tell me to slow down a little bit and I would tell him to speed up a little bit.  Maybe in heaven, we’ll finally get it right!

January
15
2021

Home Alone

Twenty years ago I lived alone in this house.  Needless to say, my life was very different then.  I was working and we weren’t in the midst of a global pandemic!

In spite of all the wonderful travel that John and I enjoyed together, we were essentially home-bodies. We were always glad to return home, and even if I was just away for a few hours, I always loved coming home to someone that I was glad to be home with. I loved coming home to John.

Now being a home-body means being alone. And it feels weird after all these years.  In fact since John quit driving over three years ago, I’ve hardly been home alone in quite some time.  The last time was when Mike or Joe & Bill took John for a walk in the wheelchair and I was home by myself for 20-30 minutes.

I don’t have to wear ear buds when I’m on Zoom calls now and I can grind coffee at any hour of the day and not worry about waking anyone up. And the food lasts a lot longer.

I finally folded a basket of clean laundry which I knew contained some of John’s clothing that he’d worn before he died.  I just put the clean clothes back in his drawer.  I’m a long way from being ready to deal with his things.

I did have his phone disconnected though.  That was tough even though he hadn’t really used it in a couple of months. He’d had that number for a long time. I did download his voice message greeting before I cancelled the service.  Did you know you can do that?  I didn’t but I figured someone had come up with a system so I just Googled it.

For the most part I’m ok but it’s exhausting trying to keep ones spirits up.  I have exercised AND showered four days in a row (remember that I’m home alone AND it’s a global pandemic—doesn’t that mean showers are optional?!) and Bella & I are hiking with a friend tomorrow. 

I did a Loss of Spouse grief group meeting via Zoom on Monday and I’m starting a 13-week grief class via Zoom next Monday.  But I haven’t given up my online caregiver support group yet. They said I know what they’re dealing with and I can stay with them as long as a like. We’ll see.

Thank you all for your cards, emails, texts and comments on this site.  It really is a blessing to hear about the lives John touched and the impact he had on so many of us.

January
15
2021

Memorial Service Details & Link

Even though we can't all be together, I hope you're able to join us virtually as we honor and remember John.  You'll find the details HERE .

January
10
2021

It's Been a Week :(

It feels like I’m having a hard time knowing where to pick back up with these posts—other than sharing details for the memorial service, etc.  When I was in graduate school and had papers to write—not a math major’s favorite task!—my mantra became, “just write it,” figuring it would be good enough.  I guess I’ll take that approach here and see if I can get back into the swing of writing since I think it would be good for me.

It’s been a week.  A week of firsts. Today was the first time I’ve ever shopped at Costco for one person.  In fact, I probably would have shopped elsewhere except that I get Bella’s dog food there and the vet said to start her on the glucosamine supplement for dogs that they carry there. I’m adjusting to returning home to an empty house, aside from the 4-legged residents, and reminding myself that I don’t have to rush home after meeting a friend for a walk.

To address a few things I mentioned in an earlier post, I was with John when he died last Saturday night.  He had gone nearly five days without pain medication and when a nurse visited on Saturday afternoon she agreed that he seemed to be fairly comfortable.  That evening however he began struggling to breath and died about four hours later.

Unfortunately we were not able to donate his brain as we had hoped.  Given the time of his death and the cut-back in flights due to Covid, it would not have made it to the lab in Massachusetts in time to be useful.  I had already been in touch with a local organization in hopes of donating skin and eyes in case the brain donation fell through.  Unfortunately that didn’t work out either.  Once they learned that John had a brain disease, they were not able to accept the donation.  Neil, Ian & I feel good that we did our best and rest assured that John made a big enough contribution while he was alive. ;)

I’m working on getting the house back to “normal” or at least a new normal.  The medical equipment was picked up on Monday and I’ve bagged up various leftover supplies to donate to a place that distributes things like that.

Daniel came on Tuesday and we spent an hour or two talking, which was really good for both of us, and then he helped me with some things around the house.  We’re planning for him come once a week for the next several weeks. I think the routine will be good for both of us as well as giving us a chance to walk through our grief together.

I’m finding that self-care is more challenging now than it was before, when I had to take care of myself so that I could take care of John.  Eating well and exercising are not going very well. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to take care of me for my own sake.

A week ago, before John passed, a friend asked in a text “how do you do this with such courage and love.” I replied, “ I do it because a) I can—John has loved me so well that I have the strength and confidence to do it and b) I have to—I wouldn’t know how else to face something like this and c) I want to—John deserves it and I want to make him proud, both in this season and as I move on. There have been and will continue to be incredibly hard times but I have to move ahead out of my love for John.❤️”

I guess my words will be put to the test now as I move to focusing on myself. It’s a test I intend to pass, but I’m sure it will take a while. And it doesn’t help that I can’t get out for a long, hard, scenic bike ride!!

 

FYI, John's obituary will run in the paper tomorrow or you can find it online HERE.

January
7
2021

Memorial Service Plans

We'll have a virtual/remote service to remember and celebrate John's life on Saturday, January 23.  The schedule I have in mind is as follows:

9:30-10:30 am  "Open House" over Zoom for anyone who would like to share a few words with John's family members--a link will be provided later and you would need to have Zoom in order to join

10:30am   Pre-service Slide Show begins on Celebration Community Church's Facebook page--a link will be provided later and you do not need to have a Facebook account in order to access the stream

11:00 am  Memorial Service begins--live-streamed via Celebration Community Church's Facebook page

If you would like to share a brief, pre-recorded video tribute to John which would be shown as part of the service, we would love to hear from you. Please send those to me by Monday, January 18 to allow us time to prepare them for the service.  You can send them to me by email at johnbeth42@msn.com or by text at 303-504-9848. Understandably, we could receive more messages than time allows to include them all in the service but you can be sure that Neil, Ian & Ian will enjoy every tribute to John that we receive.  

Stay tuned for links and feel free to share this info with others who would be interested.  The service will be recorded in case you are not able to join us online on January 23. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for your love for John and your support for me and the rest of his family.  We are touched by your kind words and thoughtful remembrances. The house has gotten pretty quiet and I'm really missing John. 😪

January
4
2021

For those who are wondering...

Hi friends.  Thank you all for your thoughtful comments, emails, texts and voice messages.  I'm doing ok.

Since some have asked, I thought I would briefly share regarding some plans Neil, Ian & I are working on to honor and celebrate John.

Memorial Service Plans--We are working on plans for a service which would be live-streamed over our church's Facebook page.  It would take place on a Saturday, later this month, and would also be recorded.  There will probably be a couple of ways in which you could participate/pay tribute to John:

  • I'm thinking of an "open house" via Zoom prior to the service. You could "drop in" share a few words/memories of John with Neil, Ian & I, and then drop off or stay on and hear what others have to say.

  • You're also invited to share a pre-recorded tribute to John that would be played during the service.  This would take the place of the "open mic" part of a service that we often have at our church, and friends from Celebration know to keep the "5 Bs" in mind: Be Brief Brother/Sister, Be Brief ;) ! In other words, you would need to limit your tribute to 2-3 minutes.  A couple of other tips for recording your message:  hold your phone in landscape (horizontal) orientation and record a few extra seconds before and after you speak which will be "cleaned up" when all of the tributes are edited together. 

Realistically, we could receive more messages than time allows to include them all in the service but you can be sure that Neil, Ian & Ian will enjoy every tribute to John that we receive.  Recordings can be sent to me by email at johnbeth42@msn.com or by text at 303-504-9848.

Memorial Contributions--A variety of causes were near and dear to John's heart. He was a long-time volunteer for and supporter of Habitat for Humanity, he loved kids and he loved outdoor recreation.  I've reached out to Habitat of Metro Denver to explore the possibility of a small project in John's honor, perhaps a playground/play structure near a Habitat build-site.  This idea just came to me on Saturday so it could be a while before I know specifics but I hope to know more by the time of the service and will plan to share an update then.

Once we finalize a date for the service, I will also set a deadline for submitting video tributes. And I'll share that info here.

I hope to resume more interesting/thoughtful posts soon!

January
3
2021

A longer update coming later...

John took his last breath shortly before 10 pm.  I'm happy for him to be at peace now. I'm sad for us who miss him so much.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  I really have felt comforted by them these past few days and weeks.