HOW OUR BLOG BEGAN, in AUGUST 2010: As many of you know, Phil has been struggling with a very complex series of neurological issues for about 5 years. This past spring, the issues became especially intense as a result of an unexpected cognitive decline and a fall on May 15th that resulted in a head injury and further decline. And then, on July 16th things catapulted to unbelievable, as Phil suffered from a severe "electrical storm" in his brain that essentially created a status of brain death for two full days. Inexplicably, the very morning that neurologists and other medical team members were planning removal of life support, Phil began breathing on his own and his brain waves returned to a stable, while still abnormal, level. Since then, each day has been a unique journey. And while he and his body continue to demonstrate a will and capacity to live, he continues to have severe deficits and it is quite uncertain as to the path he will take. As loved ones close in can attest to, it has been tricky to keep up emotionally with all of his changes, and provide the needed support. We can only imagine the hard work Phil has gone through as his brain has taken him through such roller coaster experiences. It is our goal here to keep family and close friends apprised of Phil's ongoing story, and to build connections that honor him.

AND THEN, SEPTEMBER 11, 2010....Dad's remarkable journey alongside us culminated in a gentle, generous death.

And so, my goal here now as his daughter is simply this: to record snippets...pieces of his life that my memory offers back to me, pieces of myself as I learn to live without a dad. I hope all who meander by find life, and hope, and peace.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the week begins with changes

hello dear friends and family!

i've missed being here over the weekend, but wow time with best-friend-from-kindergarten laura was amazing.  i may have the opportunity to share some details from her trip (and contemplate the beauty of historic friendships), but for now i thought i'd focus on dad's current status.

i'm actually here right now at the ryan house, using their computer down the hall.  and anxious to get back to him.  so, brevity will work best for now!

monday night, dad's status changed and he entered into what i am now understanding is the "emminent death" process (the typical patient status that inpatient hospice is responsible to support).  so, thankfully, he is able to stay here at the ryan house and complete his journey.  what a privilege to participate in a natural death process.  it's still a lot of work for dad (dying is not easy on the body!), but oh so fitting and so good. 

i'm starting to think a lot about heaven.  and, thanks to my sister (who has warm-hearted, practical thoughts on the matter), it's beginning to seem like a glorius near destination for dad.

like cheryl says, we'll never have to say goodbye.  only "see you later, dad."

much xoxoxo to all, always!

p.s. check out beth's beautiful comment on the last post, "hmmm how time flies."  jonathan found himself a treasure!!  thanks for your time and open heart my dear bethany!!


  1. Hi and yours have been in my thoughts and prayers constantly these past few days. What beautiful, touching, and painfully honest memories you are creating in honor of your dad. I know he will be so very blessed and proud of you when he wakes again in his true home. Love you so very much...Jen

  2. jen, what a cool thought, what it will be like for dad when he arrives. and that he will be able to see us loving and missing him.

    so nice to visit with you guys over brenna's b-day celebration. your kids are so precious! and so is your friendship. thanks for including us in your lives. and thanks for your time here.

    xox k.

  3. Hey dear Karen, you are an amazing person. I've been following your writings & praying for you & family. You are so truly gifted! May God sustain you & your mom & cheryl, & brothers as you celebrate your dad. I've thought about the wonderful testimony of God's love & grace you've been to the nurses, dr's, and other families you've met along the pathway of hospital life. I love you & cheryl as though you are my sisters, the empathy I have in my heart is so real for me & wish I could explain in words how dear you both are to me. I've had some tremendous grief in my life, & you need to know you will be stronger for having gone through this long road of craziness because you have God's arms of faithfulness under you to catch you when you feel you can't endure anymore.
    There are many vs. from God's word to share with you, but one is 1 Thess. 4:16-18. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel & with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
    My prayers & thoughts are with you.
    Lots of love & hugs, sherri

  4. Dear Sherri!
    You must know how wonderful it feels to know my sis has you for a sister-friend, close in to her daily life, loving on her and giving to her. Makes the sadness at her geographical distance from me a little easier to bear! And -- just so you know - one of my favorite things about my sister, my whole life, is that she is so willing to share her totally awesome friends with me! She's always been better at building social relationships than I have been. Even back in high school, i felt so surprised and grateful that my "popular" big sis didn't try to keep her new college friends to herself. One of many ways she's given to me through the years. And, ever since our adventures that dynamic Creative Memories weekend several years ago, I've felt particularly fortunate that she's shared you with me so freely! You are a treasure, my dear :-)

    Thank you for your kind, kind words today. And it's a fun new thought to me, the idea that dad and i might just meet up together on the way to eternity!! I've pictured myself in heaven with my grandpa and now just in the past few days my dad, but never the ride up. thanks so much for being here with me and my siblings, and for your prayers. hope to see you soon! xoxo