Updates on Kathy's battle with breast cancer.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CT Scan, Papa & Mimi's Engagement Story & Easter

Monday, April 14th, was my birthday.  I scheduled a CT scan for  that day--since I received a mammogram for Christmas, it made sense.  A week later,  I had a check-up with the chemo doctor.  My scan came back clear and normal, my exam went well too.   I return to the cancer center in 6 months.  My energy continues to build.  I'd guess my energy is now at 85% of pre-cancer energy.  If I have a really full day or weekend, I need to rest a little more on a following day.  My hair is still curly and it's now about shoulder length.

So much has happened since my last post.  Scott Jr. finished his associates degree.  Garrett and Jamisyn are getting married in August.  Kirsten, Weston, & Jamisyn are graduating from BYU this weekend.  Heath passed his mission's one year mark in February, and Courtney got her driver's license.  

I'm back teaching at the school, part time--Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until noon.  I spend the morning moving from room to room helping kids with reading.  I love it, and it's worked out better with my recovery and with all of the other activities going on in my life.  

After a long, extremely cold winter, Denise and I are back with running consistently.  I love running in spring weather!  

The prom dress boutique has been busy.  There are so many beautiful dresses in so many sizes that I've started pulling out dresses that aren't as pretty or popular, so there's  room for newer, more current ones that continually arrive through donations. 
Family selfie, Easter 2014

Easter was a wonderful day.  Scott spoke in church and shared a favorite family story about Papa and Mimi's engagement, using it as an example of the Savior's love and compassion for each of us: 

My grandmother grew up in the Mormon colonies in Mexico – in Juarez.  Her family wasn’t wealthy but they had a nice orchard and a fruit business.  Having been through a few cycles of Mexican revolutions and the resulting chaos, they had an appreciation for the value of being prepared for that sort of uncertainty.
My grandfather grew up in the US.  His family was pretty poor.  His dad didn’t have much education but was a really hard worker.  He supported his family by doing manual labor on other people’s farms or in factories.  My grandfather’s mother wanted him to have a better life and encouraged him to go to college.  So after HS he went off to Gila college in NM.
While there he met my grandmother and they fell madly in love.  Eventually my grandfather asked her to marry him.  My grandmother was fairly practical – she responded that she loved him but wanted to know how much he had saved up for them to start their lives together. 
My grandfather replied that he didn’t have any savings.  My grandmother said they had to have some money saved to start their lives together.  My grandfather said, OK, how much do we need?  My grandmother said, “at least a thousand dollars” – we think she probably grabbed that out of the air because it was a nice round number.  In the 1920’s a thousand dollars was a huge amount of money.  However, my grandfather was undeterred by this hurdle and told her he’d save the thousand dollars.
At the end of the semester, my grandmother went back to Juarez.  My grandfather got a job at a lumber mill in AZ.  He explained his situation to the mill owner and said he wanted to save every penny he earned.  He asked him if he could just hold the money until he’d reached his goal.  He slept in a shack at the mill and worked as many hours as humanly possible, six days a week.  I don’t know what he did for food but he didn’t spend any money. 
The only way he could communicate with my grandmother was by mail – and the postage service between AZ and Juarez was pretty slow.  After about six months of work, the mill owner owed my grandfather a little over a thousand dollars.  In the last letter he sent to my grandmother, he told her he had great news and to meet him at the train station in Juarez in two weeks.
A few days after mailing that last letter, the sheriff and bank officials came and repossessed the mill and all of their assets – including the money that was owed to my grandfather.  It was part of a wave of bankruptcies that were part of the great depression.  Now, if my grandfather knew labor laws and could have afforded an attorney, he probably could have laid claim to his share of those repossessed assets but he didn’t know labor laws and couldn’t afford an attorney – so he was left with nothing.  The owner of the mill felt badly and gave my grandfather whatever cash he had in his wallet – but it wasn’t much – not even enough for the train tickets to get down to Juarez.
A lesser man might have been greatly discouraged or even broken – but my grandfather was an optimist and he’d made a commitment to meet my grandmother at the train station in Juarez.  He started hopping on freight trains heading south.  At this time there were a lot of homeless people – called hobo’s at the time – who would hop on empty freight cars and go from city to city.  The railroad started hiring what they called roustabouts – really mean, tough guys with big clubs who would chase the hobo’s off the trains and beat them if they didn’t move fast enough.  He had some great stories about his interactions with hobo’s and roustabouts but after a week or so he had made it to Mexico.
He had told my grandmother he’d be on a particular passenger train coming into Juarez – so he needed to be on that train.  He spent a good chunk of his meager savings on a train ticket for the last leg of the journey.
As his train pulled into the station, he looked down at his clothes that were thread bare and dirty.  He was tired and hungry.  He’d always been kind of skinny but he was really skin and bones now.  He looked out the train window and saw my grandmother on the platform.  He said she looked like a princess from a fairy tale.  All clean with her hair done just so and in a nice dress – and she was searching the windows of the train to try to find him.  In spite of how he looked, he was so excited to see her.
As he got off the train he ran to her and they hugged.  After a long embrace she stepped back and looked at him – and he knew that this was his moment of accountability.  She said “did you save a thousand dollars?”  He looked down at the ground and said “no, I didn’t”.  She optimistically asked “well how much did you save?”.  My grandfather reached into his pocket and pulled out a few crumpled up bills and some change and counted it and then said “Four dollars and twenty-eight cents”.   There was a long silence and then my grandmother said “Close Enough!” – and they got married.
I love this story for all that it says about my grandparents.  They raised six children in the faith, served valiantly in whatever callings they were given, served two missions together, served in the temple and died strong in the faith having kept their covenants.  They leave a legacy of faith for their children, grandchildren and beyond.
However, I love this story even more – and share it with you today – because its become a metaphor for me for my day of accountability when I stand before our Savior.  He will ask me how close I’ve come to my goal of living a Christ-like life – and I will probably fall further short of that goal than my grandfather did of his goal of saving a thousand dollars.  But if, like my grandfather, I’ve done all that I can.  If I strived and repented and relied on the saving grace of the Savior’s atonement – at that day the Savior will, in effect, say to me “Close enough – enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

In another class, we talked about Mary and her feelings when she found the tomb empty.  I had the realization that she was having that numb, in shock experience of when someone close to you dies.  No wonder she didn't recognize him at first.  She was just going through the motions of life, but was heartbroken and grieved.  It was interesting to think of her and those feelings.  I remember clearly feeling that numbness and shock when my father-in-law died and when my dad died.  So much of those right-after death memories remain a fog, because you're just going through the motions to do what has to be done.  Thinking about this helped me relate more to Mary and the apostles and their state of mind when the Savior appeared to them.  I am so thankful to my Savior, for his sacrifice so we can all live again and be reunited with our loved ones who are now in heaven.  Easter reminds us of the hope we have through His atonement and resurrection.  I've felt His comforting peace in the midst of storms.  I love Him and deeply feel and appreciate His watchful care.  

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