Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blue Sky

We had beautiful weather all the way to NYC, the sky was blue with some interesting clouds.
I couldn't remember why I had felt the need to write the previous blog, but it came back to me yesterday. After listening again to the first message in the series of messages on Job,Pastor Keller talks about how we need so much to stay in relation with God when we go through suffering.
When I read that devotional about Jesus always standing ready at our door, waiting to be asked in for some fellowship with us,I was wondering why are we often so hestitant to do that? He just wants to meet with us, weep with us, put his arms around us and hold us close. He loves us so outrageously much. Why are we afraid to let Him in? Maybe because we might have to give up some "secret sin" or be held accountable for every word we say, and every thought we think. This was mentioned during the confession time at Redeemer yesterday, that so often our words and thoughts are nothing at all like Jesus, too often very foul.
I know I have already today spoken some very foul words. Why do I think I have the right to say these things just cause I am feeling angry? Is it supposed to make me feel better? Does it help? Well, maybe we just need to vent our feelings sometimes, but we have to be careful that we don't hurt other people in the process.
There was something about this in the Psalm we read this morning - But I have to go now.

Behold I Stand at the Door

I took the sunset picture on the way to Fargo on Thursday, also the one Ray has on his blog.

This morning I listened to Jonathan Hesler on my iPod - one of the albums that Renee put on it for me. I listened to it for the first time, the morning after the memorial service in Vancouver. Why I had never listened to it before that, I don't know. The songs are all very powerful. I've Seen I AM - "because I've seen I AM, I know who I am." The one after that is called I See. It talks about God's outrageous love for us. We need to realize that we are God's beloved, that there is nothing we can do to make God love us less, and that He loves us because that is who He is.

Now I'm listening to Jason Upton, one of Renee's favorite artists. He is very passionate about being in the will of God, which is the bondage breaker. That we would follow hard after Him, instead of hard after sin, because he is the only one that can fill the void in us.

That reminds me of the devotional we read yesterday from Our Daily Bread, which I now see is actually for tomorrow. It is based on Rev. 3:20. "Jesus does not play hide-and-seek. You can find Him at the door of your heart - the core of your existence - waiting to come in. He doesn't just want to meet you at the church door, or to be kept at bay on the outer edges of your life. Rather, He longs to be in the center of your dreams, deliberations, and desires. He wants a real relationship with the real you."

I started reading a book called, "Grief & Pain" by Walter C Kaiser Jr. I'm hoping to write more about that in my next blog.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It looked so Christmasy today - the fresh snow and sunshine.

We had to sign more papers again. When will it ever stop? This stuff we had all signed in Vancouver already, in the midst of trying to have the memorial service. Right now I am feeling very angry. I am so angry, I would like to hurt somebody, but that is not my job. Ray is so tired of having to deal with this crap! There are lots of other things I would like to say, but don't know if it would do any good. I just don't understand how someone can feel so justified in treating their brother like this. I don't know what else to say. I'm sorry, but this is just too hard!

Father, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who tresspass against us. Lead us not into tempatation, but deliver us from evil.

Thank you Jesus, that you were made sin for us, so that we can stand forgiven at the cross.

We didn't get away today, on account of dealing with this crap and just being too exhausted. Thanks guys for praying, really appreciate it. Don't know how we could possibly survive without that!

A double dose of grief does not mean that you can be more efficient and get it over with quicker, just takes so much longer to deal with - how can we ever get back to any kind of normal life?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Darkness Reflects the Sun

"Darkness reflects the sun. Blackness reflects nothing. Between grief and nothing I will take grief." - The Wild Palms by William Falkner

I found the paper today on which I had scribbled this quote from one of the exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art when Alayna, Lynne and I were there in February, which seems like so many, many ages ago. I don't know if it makes any sense, but that is kind of how everything feels nowadays, like nothing really makes any sense.

After I posted the blog this morning, I started feeling more peaceful. Thanks for praying. The nice thing about blogs is that it allows us to be more open and honest about our feelings. It is very hard to do that in person, because you are always expected to have it all together.

We are now planning to drive to New York City and maybe spend some time at a beach house the second week of April. Does anybody know of a nice beach house we could stay at in West Virginia or Georgia? or some place along the eastern coast?

We are not sure yet what we will end up doing, but if we take a car, there are more possibilities - more flexibility as to what we can do, if we feel like it.

It is snowing again, would be nice to get away from the snow.

Ripping Emptiness

The jungle image of being choked by the vines is gone. In it's place is just a big empty void, with two big chunks ripped out of our life at the same time. The one was so totally unnecessary, the business one. It just makes the other even more painful, almost completely unbearable. If we had not been so consumed by our grief about the business, maybe we could have been more on top of things with Renee's situation and they maybe could have done something sooner. I don't know why we are blaming ourselves now, but it just seems like somehow it helps to blame someone.

We need to go to NYC to clean out the apartment and meet with the doctors. The question is should we drive or fly. We don't really want to be anywhere, not here nor in NYC.

Pray that God's name will be glorified in our grief, that we will continue to see that God is the God of all comfort, and that I won't spiral down into the pit of despair and depression.

God's love is unfailing. He went to the pit to save us. Thank you, Jesus!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gut Wrenching Pain

Even although it might look on the outside that we are doing "fine", on the inside there is heart wrenching pain, or gut wrenching pain.

It is never a good idea to ask somebody who has recently been torn apart from a family member by death, "How are you?" Human being are so complex, that you can't answer a question like that with a simple "fine" or "good". Even although you might be doing fine spiritually and physically, you are probably not doing so great emotionally and then there is the grieving stupor, that prevents you from connecting a lot of your thoughts one to the other. That it makes it difficult to accomplish even the simplist of tasks. In that department I'm doing a lot better than at first, but it is still pretty crazy sometimes. Especially since we have these two strands of grief that are threatening to choke us, the grief of losing a big chunk of our business and the grief of losing our daughter. It is hard to tell apart which emotions are related to which grief. Oh, it is all so crazy. Oh God! Keep me from drowning in my grief.

I want to post my tribute to Renee that I did in Vancouver, but I have not had the energy to do that. And I don't if it would be helpful.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blessed Assurance

I forgot to mention something in my previous blog, so I will quickly write another one.

The sunset picture was taken on March 2, as we were on our way to the Mennville Church where we would say, "See you later, Renee, our precious, lovely daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and friend, waiting for the day when we will see you again."

Till then we must do all we can to spread the message of hope.

While I was preparing lunch, on the 18th of March, a song came to my mind - "Blessed Assurance", one of the many hymns written by Fanny Crosby. This was a hymn that I sung and played on the piano a lot when I was pregnant with Renee. As a result of hearing it so much before she even was born, it was also one of her favorite hymns.

Why did it come to my mind now on her birthday? The Holy Spirit does those kind of things.

This hymn became one of my favorites, among others such as "I Have Found a Friend in Jesus" during all the grief we went through in losing our first two children. "Blessed Assurance" is the one that kept coming back to me more than any of the others. God even arranged for the worship team at Eastview Community Church to include that song in the service when Ray and I were accepted as members. Wow! is that awesome or what!

We read Psalm 36 this morning. Verses 5, 6 & 9: "Your unfailing love, O Lord is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteouness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Renee!

Happy Birthday, Renee!

Now I finally have time to write this birthday letter. Hope I don't have to go off to the lawyer in between to sign more papers, on account of that buy/sell agreement, which makes us feel like we have been cut into a million pieces with a machete knife, or like there are so many strands of vines, wrapping themselves around us, choking the life out of us, and we need a machete knife to chop our way out of the thick darkness of the jungle before all life gets sucked out of us. Like you said, maybe a good old fashioned prophet could have come in handy here, but I'm sure nobody knows what that was supposed to mean, except your dad and I, and maybe a few close friends.

I started this day off by listening to Jennifer Knapp's version of the Lord's prayer, "Hallowed" which was also one of the songs I played for you on my iPod, that Monday afternoon when you wanted to listen to some music, when you were feeling so anxious. I also listened to some of the pieces from the Jonathan Helser album, which for some reason I had overlooked and had not listened to till the day after the memorial service in Vancouver. It was such a powerful experience that morning. Wow! I can't even describe it! It felt like you were speaking the words of the songs to me. "Likeness of Jesus" and the instrumental Prelude is what I listened to this morning.

And of course, I had to have a good cup of coffee, at least as good as it could be with the brand of coffee that your dad bought. This brand he got was about half the price of Kicking Horse, and it was such a huge package. Will just have to drink lots of coffee. The sooner it is used up, the sooner I can buy something better. It is not too bad though. I don't know what you would have to say about it.

Back to that Jonathan Helser album. I sure would like to know what you were thinking about, when you put all this music on my iPod two weeks before you were promoted to glory, like the "Peering from Heaven" one, a beautiful instrumental piece. The one after that, "I've Seen I Am" is the one that really got me going. I was crying so hard.

And I don't really care if this makes everybody cry, all the people that read this. It seemed like my thoughts were being blown in the wind when I wrote my blogs those four months when I was in New York. It doesn't really matter. It was mostly for therapeutic reasons that I wrote the blogs.

This is is a beautiful day, because you brought so much joy and beauty into our family and this is the day that the Lord has made. We are left here to carry on the work that God has for each of us, to proclaim the truth of the gospel in whatever way God has called us to. There is so much to do and it is so urgent. We don't know when our time will be up.

I want people to be able to say of me when I am gone that I lived a full life, as they did of you. I know I wasted many years, feeling sorry for myself. I am very sorry, but I am so thankful for God's mercy and grace and I want to make the best use of all the remaining years that are allotted to me.

"Only one life, twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."

I made Beef and Cabbage Stir-fry for lunch for Kara and I. That was one of the recipes, I printed off at the hospital, before we had a printer at the apartment. I never got around to making it for you. We happened to have a head of cabbage in the fridge here. I don't know how or who or what. But I am sure it is not the head of cabbage that Justin bought in New York. Dad asked that last day what you were hungry for and you said cabbage soup, but not to make the pieces too big. I was feeling kind of woozy from donating stem cells, but I was planning to make the soup for you later. But it never happened. I didn't even eat supper. We were all getting very concerned when you were starting to have trouble breathing. I eventually ate three packages of crackers, when I realized that I hadn't eaten supper.

I felt so helpless. I wish there was something we could have done. Maybe suggested a lighter chemo protocol or something, or started treating the diarrhea sooner. It was so hard to leave the hospital, when we realized there was nothing else we could do for you. You had been promoted to glory and didn't need us anymore. You are now safe in the arms of Jesus.

Your brother and two sisters still need us. I hope that the five of us can go out to remember your birthday today. We have not had very much time to be together, just the five of us. Now it will always be just the five of us. We will miss you terribly.

It doesn't matter how much people say that it was just your time to go, and even although we want to believe it, there will always be a big empty spot in our family. There will be tears because of the pain of missing you, but also smiles because of all the joy and beauty you brought into our lives.

You loved life and the lives of everybody you met, as one of your friends said. You had such a passion for the homeless and less fortunate. A passion for justice and to mobilize people into missions and to proclaim the truth. To know that you impacted so many people in your few short years helps to bring me some comfort in having had to say good bye to you so soon.

How is it up there or wherever heaven is? It might not be up. I hope there are llamas (inside joke), beautiful kitty cats, puppy dogs and lots of really good ethnic food, if that is what you need to make you happy there. Though your flesh failed you, nothing can stop you from praising the Lord you loved you so much and the One you loved with all your heart, soul and mind.

I'm sorry that you were born with SCIDS and I'm sorry that you got leukemia and that you relapsed. Sorry that you got the infection in your lung and sorry that you had to get more chemo. Sorry that I did not just cry with you when you were feeling so overwhelmed when you found out that you would have to get more chemo before the transplant. Why did I have to preach at you? I am so sorry. My intentions were good. I just wanted to remind you that the Lord is our Shepherd, but you knew that. I wouldn't have had to remind you.

I am so thankful for all the people that prayed for you. I am thankful that Pastor Gordie shared part of the prayer of St. Patrick with you. That you got it printed and kept it with you. I don't know whether you thought about it a lot or not. I wish now I had asked you about it. Your friend Wade did such a good job of presenting it at the memorial services we had for you.

It was nice to get to know some of your friends a bit better, although the circumstances sucked. It is good to know that God's love is measured, not by circumstances, but by the cross. I am also thankful that God's love is more powerful than all the evil in this world. There is so much of that. Seems so hopeless sometimes. That reminds me of your tattoo - the word hope in the Cambodian language. I am thinking of getting a tattoo with the word hope in one form or another. That is maybe a bit crazy, but I will really think about it. I was going to do it in Vancouver, but that was a bit too soon. Maybe in New York, if I can find out where you got yours done. I will just get Justin to design it.

The sun is shining so beautifully today, making the snow sparkle. Reminds me of you, always bringing a sparkle with you wherever you went. Like Monique said, you are like a diamond, with so many different facets. People saw you in many different ways, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, niece, friend, fellow YWAMMER, fellow WAVER, ESL volunteer, student, class mate, employee, and on and on. And for the doctors and nurses you were a patient, never complaining. Your quiet strength was evident to all. Your writing and photography was an inspiration to everybody. Why someone, who had so much she wanted to do, had to go so soon, we will never know. It doesn't make any sense.

Renee, we will always miss you, and look forward to the day when we will see you again.

With love, from your mama.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mother's Tribute to her daughter

“Left to Blossom”
A Mother’s Tribute to her Daughter
“Left to Blossom” is also the title of a film Renee co-produced
while studying at Capilano College

I am quite sure that everybody who is here would rather be doing something else, but you came because either you knew Renee, or her family including Niki. Last night, I was feeling very overwhelmed about the whole thing and I was wondering why we had ever thought that this was a good idea. We will get through it somehow. It would help if it wasn’t be too long and drawn out.

It would have been a lot more fun to visit Renee than to have this memorial service. Coming to Renee’s beloved Vancouver and Renee not being here feels very wrong. But I feel like she is saying to me: “Mom, it is okay. I want you to enjoy a cup of good coffee and I want you to enjoy shopping and eating at some of the many wonderful places along The Drive. It is okay for you to love Vancouver, because I loved it so much.” It’s like she is saying, “It’s okay, because I am now in a place that is much more beautiful, more beautiful than you can imagine. I am with Jesus now and with Kris and Jason. There is no pain here, and no tears. Don’t you just wish you could be here too?” “Yes, Renee, I do, but it’s not my time yet.” “It is okay, Mom, you just keep doing what God wants you to do.” “Okay, Renee, I want to do what I can to proclaim the message of hope.”

One of the things that I feel God wants me to do is to let go of the pain. After Kris and Jason died, I felt like I needed to hang on to my pain. It was as if the pain was all I had, and if I would let go of the pain, I would have nothing left. I was trying to find comfort in my pain. In that case, pain can take the place of God. God wants us to find comfort in Him. That doesn’t mean the pain will go away. It will still be there, ebbing and flowing through everything we do. I don’t want to be consumed by it.

We experienced many answers to prayer and we experienced God’s presence with us every day during those four months in New York. Thank you to all of you for holding Renee and us up in prayer. God made it so evident to us that He is a God of comfort and that He cares. But we have to always remember that we can’t measure the love and goodness of God by our circumstances, but by the cross.

I am the mother of six children, three who are walking with us on this earth and three who are soaring with the angels in heaven. I already mentioned Kris and Jason. Kris went to be with Jesus, after being in and out of the hospital for three years. That was back in ’77. Eighteen months later, Jason also went to be with Jesus when he was only 8 months old. The three that are still with us, are Renee’s brother Justin, and her two sisters, Alayna and Karalee. I feel honored to be the mother of this beautiful, unique family.

We are here today to remember the life of Renee, the third one of the three in our family that soars.

Renee was in New York for a total of ten months, since she was first diagnosed with leukemia on June 26, 2005. It was my privilege as her mother to be there for Renee, on this journey. It was so hard to see her suffer, but I will always treasure this time we had together. Renee’s enthusiasm and joy in living affected me very deeply. During this time I was with Renee in New York in ’05, where she was treated for the leukemia, Renee told me that she was sure glad she had been born!

The title for this tribute is “Left to Blossom”. It seemed like a fitting title. It is the title of a short film Renee co-produced while studying at Capilano College. A song that was sung at both of the memorial services for our first two was about “blooming forever in the Master’s bouquet.”

Renee, the first of our three daughters was born on March 18, 1984. After being with us for 24 years minus 3 weeks, Renee left us on February 26 to continue blossoming in heaven. The photo birth announcement card we made when Renee was born said, “There is a little bit of heaven beneath our roof”.

The name we chose for that little bundle of joy was Renee Amaryah Lalani – Renee is French for “Born Again”, Amaryah is Hebrew for “God has promised” and Lalani, a Hawaiian name meaning “heavenly flower”. There seems to be a bit of a heavenly theme going here. In my baby name book, for the name Leilani, of which Lalani is a variant, it says, “Was it the wild ginger blossom or bird-of-paradise flower for which this girl was named?” (For the memorial services in Manitoba, we chose wild ginger and bird-of-paradise without realizing the significance. I can only explain it as the leading of the Holy Spirit.)

Renee, we will always remember you, sometimes with tears, but also with lots of smiles, for all the beauty and joy you brought into our lives.

I’m so grateful for all the wonderful memories we have of Renee and for all the people that had a part in her life.

Renee always packed as much as possible into every day. “Much to say, and much to see, On the go dear, child of three”. Those are the words on the little bell we gave to Renee on her third birthday. It was almost scary at times. Renee loved going to camp. She would go to as many camps as possible in one summer: Beaver Creek Bible Camp, horsemanship camp, and music camp. Trying to fit family time into her busy schedule was rather difficult.

Renee, I’m so thankful that you loved Jesus, our God and Savior with all your heart, soul and mind, serving Him in whatever capacity you could, working at camp, teaching Sunday School and being a youth leader. I am glad that you decided to do the DTS with YWAM after graduating from high school and later being on staff at the Vancouver base. I’m so very happy that you got to go Jordan and Greece, an outreach with YWAM, and that you were obedient to God’s calling to join the WAVE USA.

But why Renee did not get to do all fifty states, we will never know. On account of being diagnosed with leukemia when the WAVE USA team was in Cleveland, Ohio. Renee only made it to twenty six states.

Renee, I’m so thankful that you were in remission for two years, although if you would never have relapsed that would have been even better.

I’m glad that you could study film production at Capilano and you got to work in the industry for a few months. You would have loved to continue, and some day start your own business, to produce all those films you dreamed about, but the devastating leukemia came back.

It was very special that I could be there for Renee in New York during treatments for six months in ’05 and now during her last four months, even although the circumstances sucked.

Renee, I’ll always cherish those ten months we had together, doing things together when you felt up to it, whether it was going to art museums, to the park, or going out to eat at some of the many wonderful restaurants, enjoying all that yummy ethnic food, or watching movies together and countless hours of TV. And I will also always cherish all those conversations you and I had.

It was a joy to cook for Renee, although there where many days after chemo, when she did not know what she was hungry for or was just not able to eat at all. But once her appetite was back, I got to make those delicious dishes she requested. As a result of her taste for ethnic food, I ended up with quite the collection of herbs and spices. Cooking our last Christmas dinner together, never once thinking that it would be our last, will always be a very special memory.

Renee was quite passionate about coffee. Apparently that is what happens if you live in Vancouver. So thanks to Renee, I am now also somewhat of a coffee snob.

Renee, I’m so happy that on my birthday, just two weeks before you were promoted to glory we could go out to a Persian restaurant, to enjoy the world’s oldest cuisine and that we could walk to Central Park together in the snow, one of the few snow days we had all winter in New York. That you were feeling well enough to do this was the most special birthday gift I could have ever wished for.

Renee talked her dad into getting an iPod for me for my birthday. Thank you, Renee, and thank you so very much for uploading all those songs by your favorite artists for me. Listening to those songs now, helps me to understand even better your passions, beliefs and desires. You will be happy to know, that I am actually starting to appreciate Jason Upton, now that I can understand the words better.

And Renee, thanks a million for the CD you made for me before Christmas with some of your favorite worship music.

These songs have been such a blessing to me and that CD will always be one of my most treasured possessions.

We played that CD over and over again on Renee’s last day while we were waiting for her sisters to arrive. But Renee could not hang on long enough, because their flight was delayed. I’m so glad that Renee’s brother was there, because he had not seen Renee since she went back to New York.

I’m so sorry, Renee, that I could not do more for you. I feel like I let you down. I felt so helpless, so sorry you relapsed and had to go back to New York, and sorry that you had leukemia in the first place, sorry that you were born with the Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. Sorry that you got the lung infection. Sorry that you had to get more chemo.

Renee, I’m so sorry that we had to say good-bye to you so soon. The tears are about us, about our pain in losing a precious daughter, a loving sister, a wonderful friend, cousin, granddaughter and niece.

To know that Renee impacted so many people in her short time on this earth brings me comfort.

And God is the God of all comfort.

We may never know the answer to our many whys and what-ifs, but we need to trust in God’s love, as Renee did. As a result of her suffering, Renee came to the conclusion that it was not so much about the answers, as it was about the questions.

We prayed and asked lots and lots of people to pray. We trusted God and hoped that this upcoming transplant was going to be successful, as was the first one Renee had when she was four months old and Renee would be able to continue with her mission of serving God “To mobilize the church into missions, and to see truth proclaimed through the arts”.

For reasons we do not understand this was not to be. Renee was spared from further suffering and she is now in the place where we all want to be, a place with no more tears and no more pain.

I know Renee does not want to be remembered as the girl with cancer, but as a woman with a passion for justice and peace, a heart for the less fortunate, proclaiming a message of hope. Her visit to Cambodia where she saw so much pain inspired her to get the Cambodian word for hope tattooed on her ankle. Renee’s life was a good example of what it means to serve the truth of the gospel.

I’m praying that many will step forward to carry on the work that Renee wanted to do for God.

Renee, I know you could have done a much better job of writing this, but I did the best I could. If you had edited it, you would probably have cut out at least one third of it. So now this is your mama saying, “See you later, Renee. I love so very much. We all love you and will all miss you terribly much.
Give Kris and Jason lots of hugs from me and of course Jesus too. I’ll be with you again some day.”

“Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King.” I am looking forward to that day when the King will return, “when those who have died will rise from their graves and then together with them, we who remain on earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words.”

Please take a copy of The Living LifeLight with you tonight to share with someone who needs it. I took the picture on the cover in Central Park NYC during one of my many meditation times there in 2005 during Renee’s 1st hospitalization.

Thank you so much for coming.

When He cometh, when He comethTo make up His jewels,All His jewels, precious jewels,His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,His brightness adorning,They shall shine in their beauty,Bright gems for His crown.
He will gather, He will gatherThe gems for His kingdom;All the pure ones, all the bright ones,His loved and His own.
Little children, little children,Who love their Redeemer,Are the jewels, precious jewels,His loved and His own.
Monique called Renee a multi-faceted diamond. She was a daughter, sister, friend, cousin, a passionate leader, and she showed various facets of her strength to different people. We appreciate hearing the facets of the diamond you saw in her.

I saw her as very intelligent, compassionate, artistic, organized, etc. She used both sides of her brain, while never drawing attention to herself. She wanted everyone to learn to appreciate her Savior and Lord, Jesus.

What can you do to further her ministry? What can we do? Print her pictures in a book? Her writings? Your tributes?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thank You to Everybody

I finally had time to read blogs and comments. I appreciated all the beautiful pictures of Renee that her friends posted. Reading the blogs and comments and knowing that she was loved by so many people helps to ease the pain a little bit.

Renee was a big inspiration to me and I will never be the same. Spending all that time with her is something I will always treasure. In 2005 in one of the many conversations we had, she said that she was sure glad that she had been born. Renee loved life and her Lord and people of all nations.

Renee loved ethnic food. We would go out to eat whenever possible. I tried to cook as many different dishes from other countries as I could and to make it as spicy as possible. As a result I had quite an exotic collection of spices and herbs. There is such a wide variety of things available in New York City and so many good restaurants.

On one occasion we ate at Afghan House. Renee had enjoyed the meal very much. She made a comment that it would be nice to develop a way of eating ethnic food continuously without getting full! I said that in heaven we would all be able to eat as much food from around the world as possible. She just looked at me kind of funny.

We never had a conversation about dying. Renee was planning on living. That was the plan. The transplant was going to happen eventually, even if we had to stay in New York all summer. I would have been happy to stay as long as it took for her to get better.

I appreciated all the people that came out for the memorial services. I wish I could have met more people, especially at the Winnipeg service. We only came home Friday morning from New York. We had to go to the funeral home right away and then again at 2:00. That evening was totally taken up by planning the services. Saturday, it took me all day to write the eulogy. I had not even had time to eat or maybe I just forgot. I had to quickly do some editing yet before the service began. Hopefully we will get to meet some of the people I didn't get to meet in the coming weeks. I was very exhausted and some things did not quite register in my brain either.

I am feeling more rested now. That is all for now.