When I was in my early 20's I babysat for 2 boys in Los Altos, Patrick age 9 & Andy 13 at the time. Their mother Dawn and stepfather Jim were very kind. They'd both been married previously and met after their divorce. They were such a perfect couple. Dawn had mentioned to me how her first husband (the boys father) was very immature.
In my late 20's they asked me to house sit for free for 2 years. Jim was being transferred to Singapore to start up a manufacturing plant. They were taking Patrick with them, but leaving their dachshund, Toby, and 18 year old son Andy who was starting UC Santa Cruz that August. Of course I agreed! Toby was such a sweetheart. I just adored him. Andy was pleasant but came home way too much from college and I really didn't want to live with an 18 year old. His friends and girlfriends would frequent with him, smoking pot, getting high on mushrooms, and after a year I'd had it.
In addition, 6 months into the house sitting Todd moved in with me. We got engaged in June of 1998. 6 months later Jim's job was complete and they came home so Todd and I moved into an apartment together. I had house sat for 1 full year.
Todd and I were able to save so much money. My 401K soared, we bought a boat, purchased an engagement ring. Jim and Dawn were so happy for us. Both of them had visited home on different occasions during that year and of course stayed in their house with me. They really liked Todd. Sadly, they couldn't make it to our wedding but they did keep touch.
Several years ago Dawn was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She got fought it and beat it. The stress on Jim caring for Dawn activated a dormant skin cancer cell he'd had in his back from years earlier. Unfortunately Jim did not survive that battle with melanoma. Todd and I went to his service and got to see Patrick and Andy, who were much more grown up now. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that this perfect couple was now apart. I was also baffled by how Dawn survived and Jim didn't.
Before his death, Jim had designed a double urn for he and Dawn. It was a beautiful urn and at the memorial the man who created told his story of how Jim had approached him. Until that day I'd never heard of a double urn but knew it was the perfect place for he and Dawn to rest in peace together when the time came.
After the death of Jim, Dawn choose to move to Seattle to be near some family members. She's been gone for a few years now. Sadly, just today she sent out an email that she is dying. Her breast cancer has metastasized into pancreas and liver. Below is her message. I'm just so sad for her and her two sons. So sad.
Dear friends and family,
According to my doctor, who I visited yesterday,my breast cancer has moved into my pancreas and my liver. At this point, Dr Gadi recommended and we have implemented, Hospice care. He believes that if all goes well, I should have a month or so left here on our beautiful earth. We don't have a gauge on what will happen exactly in the coming month or so, but I wanted to take a moment to tell you all how much you mean to me.
Each one of you in your own way has made such a big difference in my life, and it would be impossible to convey, in email or otherwise, how important your love, affection and support has been to me and my family. Some of you have been with me since childhood and we have many, many good memories. Others of you have come into my life more recently and have been just as amazing in sharing your wisdom, knowledge and friendship.
I've learned as much as the next person during life. Sometimes more in one area, sometimes less. One lesson that truly stands out is not to judge others and to really work at seeing the jewel we all have tucked within us. Abstaining from judgment, compassion and forgiveness . If any of us can master those three we have truly begun to bring mastery into our soul life.
I know that most of you live far away from Seattle, but I wanted to let you know that you are more than welcome to visit me. This of course will be more difficult as things progress.
Thank you, all, for every kindness.
PS: I may not be very quick to answer any incoming emails as I tend be exhausted very often. However, I will do my best.
The below photo is Jim and Dawn in 2002 at Pt. Reyes. She's wearing a wig here so I know this was during her chemo period. Also, after Jim died instead of flowers, I had a star named after him. Dawn was so thrilled. She said it was the perfect memorial gift for him. She liked looking up at "his" star.
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