Category Archives: Home is Where the Heart Is

Memories

David, 9 November 2017

If you have been following David’s battle with pancreatic cancer on CaringBridge, you have heard the devastating news that he is now on home hospice and not expected to make it to Christmas. Considering the fact that we are currently at roughly fourteen and a half months and the original prediction was nine to eleven months of survival, as heartbroken as we are, we are still very grateful to have had this additional time. That said, I can’t pretend we will ever be really ready to let him go.

So many thoughts come flooding in as he rests. Sometimes I need a distraction to keep from pestering him with questions on what I can do for him: if he needs pain meds, if he’ll drink a bit more Ensure or Powerade, etc. Right now seemed as good a time as any to write a post I’ve been meaning to write for months.

In July we flew to Michigan to celebrate the life of David’s cousin Pete (another dear one cancer has taken from us). After a touching evening with family, the next day David and I took a small road trip south for a bit of nostalgia. Brittany was the only one of our daughters able to join us, but two of David’s brothers, Eb and Doug, had one night to spare, so we drove two cars down to Dayton, Ohio. We were actually headed more specifically to Oakwood, the suburb where David and his sister and brothers grew up. First stop, Marion’s Piazza for lunch . . .

From left, brothers Doug and Eb with David at Marion’s Piazza, Dayton, Ohio

. . . then a stroll around the old neighborhood.

103 Beverly, Oakwood, Ohio, where David and his siblings grew up

Since we were standing out front of their old house, Doug decided to go ring the doorbell to let anyone inside know why we were lurking and taking photos. The woman who came to the door was so kind, she actually invited us in, so we had a chance to see the setting of so many of the stories we’ve heard over the years.

Driveway and back of 103 Beverly, Oakwood, Ohio

After a few more stops, we sent Brittany with Doug and Eb, since the three of them had flights the next day home from Detroit. David and I had an extra day, so we headed to Indianapolis, where we met in 1978.

Definitely on our agenda was the Indianapolis Museum of Art where we had our first date. The grounds were still as beautiful as we remembered . . .

Grounds of Indianapolis Museum of Art

. . . but the Garden on the Green restaurant was no more. The building is now only available for special events. Still fun to see the building and remember that we were sitting right inside these corner windows . . .

The former Garden on the Green restaurant, site of our first date

. . . when we both realized we would marry each other. This was four days after we met. I know, sounds crazy, but it did work out rather well! Our 39th wedding anniversary is this Saturday, the 18th.

Later that day we started heading north to get back for our flight home from Detroit the next afternoon. It was a quick trip, but what a sweet one. This little nostalgia tour was all David’s idea, and I love that we had a chance to make a few more memories and revisit the scenes of old ones.

In case you have not yet had the chance to see it,  below is a YouTube link to a tiny video of David a few days ago on the 12th. He had a pretty good day, which was nice since it was Brittany’s birthday. He gets a bit confused occasionally and sometimes uses one word when he means another (you’ll hear him say “gracious” when he meant “grateful”) but overall thought you might like to see this word of thanks from David.

https://youtu.be/zkJFfVy2nKs

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers during this heartbreaking time. You are appreciated!

 

 

And Back Again

So sorry! It’s been a while since my last Movable Assets post. As you know if you’ve read the last two, most of our attention these days is focused on David’s battle with pancreatic cancer. For the time being, though, I’m VERY happy to report he’s doing remarkably well. Regular updates are on CaringBridge.org.

The number and frequency of house guests has diminished considerably as David has improved, but we did host our girls and granddaughters at Christmas . . .

Felicity and Bailey Christmas 2016
Felicity, left, and Bailey
David Christmas 2016
David appreciating Felicity’s balloon-animal-making skills

. . . but since David ended up in the hospital on December 26th and for the three days following, the above photos are about all I have to show for the Christmas visits. Fortunately, David bounced back quickly from that bug.

In early January, he was doing well and we were interviewed for a video to be shown at our church, and to have as a keepsake for our family.  What a gift that will be and already is. Here’s a link that should allow you to see it, if you’re interested:  http://counciltreecovenant.com/resources/sermons/david-bridge-testimony/

February was challenging, with David . . . er . . . enjoying a week-long hospital stay, but his chemo has since been adjusted and he is doing very well now.

Ship Tavern, Brown Palace, Denver
Ship Tavern, The Brown Palace, Denver

Which brings us to this past weekend’s return guests: David’s brother Doug, of course, and David’s mom, Helen. They had flown in from opposite coasts, so we decided sitting around in the living room was not quite entertaining enough. David is doing so well these days, we were able to drive down to the airport to pick them up and head into downtown Denver for lunch at the Ship Tavern in The Brown Palace.

Fromage de FranceThen Saturday, we drove down to Longmont to the Cheese Importers where we had lunch in the bistro, perused the stacks, shelves, piles, heaps, mounds of goods for sale (most of it about or from France, which I love!) and finished with a quick trip through the chilly cheese room, where we stocked up on not just cheese, but also my favorite butter with sea salt crystals. Yum. You can see the butter choices on the right in the photo below.

Cheese Room

Jazz at Jay’s with Linda Briceño

Saturday evening, we decided to revisit the venue for Doug and Kristl’s rehearsal dinner and treat Helen to a bit of excellent jazz, one of her favorite things. Unbeknownst to us, we were about to be treated to a special Fort Collins appearance by Linda Briceño, renowned Venezuelan trumpeter and vocalist, playing along with Myles Sloniker on bass and his dad Mark Sloniker on piano. We knew we would enjoy hearing Mark and whatever group he had for the evening, but the three of them together were an amazing, rare treat. Boatloads of talent in that trio! Loved it!

Helen and Doug have both gone home, but Doug says he’ll be back again before too long. He’s a VERY easy house guest–when he’s not setting our toaster oven on fire–so always welcome. We supervise his cooking now!

In other news of returns, Chelsea will be soon be back again, this time for the foreseeable future, maybe for good!

Chelsea and Brian

She’s moving back to Colorado and hopes to be here by Easter. David’s cancer was the impetus for reevaluating how far away she wanted to live, and the answer was NOT that far. Bonus: Brian also lives here in Colorado. She’ll fly to DC a few times a year for work, and we enjoyed our visits there so much, we may even join her sometime, but mostly we are very much looking forward to having her closer. Brian’s pretty happy about it, too!

And yet more news of returns: We will be returning to our beloved La Rochelle (France) at the end of April and have the blessing of David’s doctor to stay for the entire month of May (stellar timing–Chelsea can house-sit). I promise more regular Movable Assets posts while we’re there!

Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another. ∼Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces (Love that book!)

There is certainly a LOT of love going on here. Beloved family and friends visiting from far and near, emailing, sending cards, commenting on my posts here and on Caring Bridge, praying and thinking of us so faithfully. And now we have a chance to go back again to see our very dear friends in La Rochelle. I’m hoping to astound them and my tutor/friend Natacha with my improved French. On verra! (We’ll see!)

Wishing you excellent times with people you love in places that resonate deep in your soul!

All Roads Lead . . . Here

Back in the office, feeling pretty good!
Back in the office, feeling pretty good!

Since the end of August, when we learned that David has stage IV pancreatic cancer, we have been sustained by an outpouring of love and support. We’ve received so many cards, emails, texts, as well as wonderful life-giving comments on his Caring Bridge site www.caringbridge.org/visit/davidbridge. Be sure to check it periodically if you’d like updates on how he’s doing. I try to update it at least once per round of chemo.

We’ve also received LOTS of visits, and this seems a better place than CaringBridge to share about that. I know there are some who would like to visit, but are staying away out of sensitivity to David. It is unfortunately true that even simple conversation can be exhausting. Anything over 30-40 minutes can begin to tax his strength, so thank you for being considerate about that.

But of course our daughters visit as often as they can . . . ↓

David and Courtney, Thanksgiving
David and Courtney, Thanksgiving
David and Brittany, 30 September
David and Brittany, 30 September
Chelsea and David, 4 November
Chelsea and David, 4 November

And David’s brother Doug has been a regular  . . . ↓

David and Doug, September
David and Doug, September
I actually managed to get in a photo! Doug snapped this one.
I actually managed to get in a photo! Doug snapped this one.

Fortunately, they do much of the laundry, vacuuming, even grocery shopping, to spare us extra work.

Helen, Thanksgiving 2016
Helen, Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving weekend, we were able to host the aforementioned regulars, along with David’s brother Eb and his mom, Helen, who pretty much NEVER lets anyone take her picture, so ENJOY this one! Looking pretty great for 89 years old, don’t you think?

Thanks to kind friends, we had enough Aerobeds to go around, tucked into random spaces, and had a really great time. David was given an extra week off from chemo, so was doing quite well for the most part. When he occasionally ran out of steam, he went to the bedroom for a bit of quiet or a power nap. We are so very thankful for how well it all worked out.

David DONE having his picture taken!
David DONE having his picture taken!

What a journey this has already been, now roughly three and a half months in. David is feeling much better now than he was at the beginning, so the chemo so far is working, and the side effects have not been much more than cold sensitivity, fatigue and loss of appetite. The original “11-month average” life-span estimate now seems unnecessarily pessimistic, but we know the future remains uncertain. I find myself on an emotional roller coaster way more often than I’d like, and David has got to be tired of seeing me bursting into tears at random moments, sometimes only seconds after laughing together about something. Sheesh.

But when those emotional times come, we remind each other of all our blessings, and they are MANY. sunrise-10-21-2016

Super-moon
Super-moon, 14 November

Each new sunrise brings one more day to enjoy with each other. We had never before experienced this profound gratitude just for waking up feeling pretty good and being together. And as the moon shines down on us after another good day, we remember all of you who have taken time out of your day to reach out with a note or a text or a meal or flowers or a home-maintenance task completed or an encouraging comment after a blog post, and we are very grateful indeed.

Doug left this on our magnetic poetry board after one of his visits:

yesterday, as then

you, my friend, sing of eternity

needing no voice

&

devouring our languid winter away

He never said a word about it, but what a beautiful image to discover during the quiet of a lull between house-guests. What would we do without all of you, our dearly beloved? You are the hands and arms and feet of God in our lives. Thank you.

Bikes and Bikes

I didn’t really want to delete this pretty lilac photo, so I’m leaving in the first part of this post, even though it was written a few weeks ago and is COMPLETELY inaccurate now. I’m afraid after realizing I didn’t have a few of the photos I wanted, I put it on hold until I could get out and take a few more, but I took longer than I had intended to get back to this. My apologies! (I’ve added a few corrections and comments to make it more current):

The lilacs are mostly finished . . . (DEFINITELY long gone now)Lilacs. . .  but other flowers have come into their own. I do love the last bit of spring, when the weather feels almost like summer, but we’re not actually roasting (Um . . . we are now officially roasting). The evenings on the deck are getting to be standard fare, but not quite enough that the mosquitoes anticipate our presence and get there first (I’m afraid they’re starting to catch on).  We’re making plans for all the great things we’re going to do during the summer and not yet dreading the crammed fall schedule. Anything seems possible (hence, the now-crammed SUMMER schedule),

Ah, well. Love it. Summer officially arrived Monday evening, and we plan to take full advantage of it.

One of the things we missed while in France and on our extended east coast road trip was taking Harley trips with our neighborhood friends. The first overnight trip of the summer was a few weeks ago, and although we didn’t go for the overnight, we did ride up the Poudre Canyon with them as far as the Arrowhead Lodge Visitor Center . . . ↓Arrowhead Lodge

This fabulous place is now a National Historic Site and a Forest Service Visitor Center, but it used to be a  guest resort with log cabins and was the childhood home of our dear friend, Christy French. Can’t believe I didn’t get a shot of anything but the sign. Sheesh. Sorry!

After we waved goodbye to our friends and let them continue on up over the pass, we headed back down the road a few miles for lunch here . . . ↓

Best burgers around
Best burgers around

It may not look like fine dining, but the quirky set of characters manning this trailer serve amazing burgers and, if you’re lucky, keep you entertained with running commentary on the birds, the bears, the weather, the tourists, and most amusing, each other.

After lunch, we decided to take a longer, scenic route home — in France called le chemin des écoliers (literally “the route of schoolboys” meaning of course, the longest possible route), which took us behind and eventually up and around the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir . . . ↓

Horsetooth Reservoir
Horsetooth Reservoir

We also recently bought bikes (with actual pedals, requiring exertion by the rider) . . . ↓

Our Bikes -- Arty Photo Version
Our Bikes — Arty Photo Version
Old Town Fort Collins -- One of the pretty alleys
Old Town Fort Collins — One of the pretty alleys

. . . to add some variety to our exercise options. The same day as this first long Harley ride, we decided to try out our new bikes. Really poor planning. Our . . . um . . . nether regions were NOT HAPPY. We went back to the bike shop and bought padded shorts the next day! Now we can ride all the way to Old Town, and generally do, every Saturday.

Sam's Just Like Dad Haircut
Sam’s Just Like Dad Haircut

But now, I very much wish I did not have to tell you about one person who, in a perfect world, would be riding his bike this summer, but is not currently able to do that. I’m sorry to report that Sam Glossi’s cancer has come back and he is in the middle of a series of chemo treatments and enduring the brutal side effects.

←Here he is just after his pre-chemo “Just Like Dad” haircut.

Sam Happy About BreadAnd here he is excited to be able, finally, to eat bread after a tough week of no solid food. →

Love this photo, because he’s seriously adorable, obviously, but also because I routinely have that exact same emotion about the prospect of eating bread!

His smiles are tiny moments of respite and joy, but I know you understand that this is a really hard summer for the entire Glossi clan. Please keep Sam and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love . . . .   ·Mother Theresa  

It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing. ·Mother Theresa

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.  ·Desmond Tutu

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. · Mahatma Ghandi

Wishing you all, and especially Sam, comfort, healing, peace, joy.

Memories of Dad

Dad's 1950 Senior Picture
Dad’s 1950 Senior Picture

My dad’s struggle is over at last. He died Sunday evening, the 1st of May, at the age of 84, his wife by his side. I am so grateful that I had an opportunity in recent years to spend a little more time with him, and especially that I was able to say goodbye a few weeks ago. So it seems like the perfect time to write a post honoring and remembering my dad, highlighting those ways he influenced or inspired me.

I was looking through a photo album for the picture of Dad that you see above, and also found this one,  the wedding photo of Dad’s parents, which I’m including mostly because it’s one of my favorite family photos.

Dad's Parents' Wedding Photo -- circa 1925
Dad’s Parents’ Wedding Photo — circa 1925

Don’t you love it? The lace, the Harry Potter glasses, the bouquet with the streaming ribbons. And, seriously? How fab is that braided headband?

But now, out of the photo studio and into the woods . . . . Hiking at SunapeeSome of my earliest memories are of family hikes in the state parks of the American Midwest, mostly Indiana. Dad was a dedicated hiker, even up until just a few years ago, but it was never about just the fresh air and exercise. For him to really enjoy it, he had to know as many arcane details as possible about the history of an area, the flora, the fauna, the geology, whatever. And he would be delighted to share this information with anyone who’d listen. You just had to have a spare hour or so.  My brothers and I learned not to ask him any question, no matter how seemingly simple, unless we had at least half an hour. Still, his enthusiasm was endearing, if not always completely contagious. I can’t identify many trees, but I do love the hardwood forests.

I think my dad also passed on to me, if not exactly a LOVE of math, at least a reasonable aptitude for it. You’ve probably never met anyone as excited about a slide rule as he could be (and you certainly won’t in THIS century). Although I always preferred the crisp, clean lines and logic of geometry, math skills do come in handy sometimes, so thanks, Dad.

Dad also had a deep appreciation for classical music, a taste as children we did not share, especially since our main exposure to it was by way of a static-filled University of Illinois radio station during the seemingly interminable half-hour drive to church in downtown Indianapolis, crammed into the backseat and wearing our scratchy, uncomfortable church clothes. Piano Keys 2On the plus side, he had quite an album collection, so I pretty much aced every Music Memory test during my years in the Indianapolis public school system, and I always did love acing tests. Ironic, in light of my early loathing, that I would choose to get a degree in music and develop a love for nearly all genres of music, including classical.

But probably the most inspiring thing about Dad was his refusal to ever give up. For as long as possible, my dad was not one to let age keep him from his goals. He earned his MBA at 41 and was nearly 60 when he earned his doctorate. Then, after many years as an industrial engineer, followed by a few years as an adjunct professor, he traveled and worked his third career as a Contract Auditor / Trainer / Consultant for ISO 9001 (and several others with more letters and numbers than you could possibly be interested in wading through). He continued this until age 80, when the company wouldn’t send him out on any more assignments. I never did succeed in convincing him it was perfectly reasonable to be retired by the time you’re in your 80’s. Not sure I can live up to this one, Dad!

But now he’s gone. Our house is filled with flowers . . .

. . . courtesy of kind friends and family.

Expressing love was not his strong suit–too much engineer brain, maybe–but the message eventually got through. And I’m pretty sure he’s the only person who has ever called me Princess and meant it as an affectionate nickname and not an insult!

Goodbye, dear Dad. You will always be in my heart.

Say not in grief he is no more, but live in thankfulness that he was.

—Hebrew proverb

The song is ended but the melody lingers on…
–Irving Berlin

Death—the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening.

—Sir Walter Scott

 

Seasons

It’s been a long and challenging few months, and while we’re no longer in the grip of the bleak mid-winter, as I write this, snow is blowing like mad outside, but the green golf course out behind our house is so far refusing to let it stick.  It’s actually a pretty accurate picture of life since my last post–hard times and endurance, death and new life, sadness and hope, endings and beginnings.

Babies have been born* and parties have been enjoyed, but also an unusually large number of really hard things have happened to so many we love and to many around the world. My heart goes out to the many friends who have lost parents or spouses in recent months–or been told that time is near.

Dear Mariann, Tom Glossi’s mom, is gone from us . . .

Kelly, Josh and Mariann with too many paparazzi to know where to look!
Kelly, Josh and Mariann in September

. . . but not before hearing the amazing news that her great-grandson Sam was cancer-free and didn’t even need chemo.

Very shortly after that, I learned that my dad was suffering from congestive heart failure, reduced lung function, and a few other things and not expected to last long. I was very grateful that David and I were able to jump in the car and head down to Albuquerque to see him in the hospital. You’ll excuse the lack of photo of him in his hospital gown, I’m sure! Dad has stabilized a bit for now, but we headed back down a second time a few weeks later for an important meeting about his care needs. Good to see him smiling occasionally, but it is not easy for him–or any of us.

Albuquerque soothed my grieving soul a bit by being beautiful and warm and further along with spring than Colorado.

San Felipe de Neri on the Plaza, Albuquerque
San Felipe de Neri on the Plaza, Albuquerque
Casa Rondena Winery
Casa Rondena Winery

After one particularly emotional visit, David drove us out to the prettier parts on the edge of town and we found ourselves back at the beautiful Casa Rondeña Winery. It seemed fitting, since we had discovered this place on our first Albuquerque visit to Dad, so we pulled in, bought a little picnic for out back and raised a glass in honor of my dad. Just what I needed, soaking up the peace, watching the blossoms drift and dance in the breeze around the stone ballerina.

Chelsea and Will
Chelsea and Will

The day after we got back to Colorado, it was off to DC for a much happier event, Chelsea and Will’s engagement party.

Bailey and Felicity at the White House
Bailey and Felicity at the White House

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney was able to bring Bailey and Felicity along. Here they are giving you the completely erroneous impression that it was both warm and uncrowded. NOT true. Felicity is just a tough Minnesotan! And we grabbed a tiny break in the crowd to shoot this photo. But they were troopers, walking all day both Thursday and Friday without complaint, except when lunch was a bit late and we hadn’t yet settled on a restaurant!

But even on the brisk, wet days, the blooming trees reminded us that it is actually spring, and warmer days are ahead.

Pink Dogwood in Alexandria
Pink Dogwood in Alexandria

Saturday, the women went with Chelsea to Georgetown to watch her try on wedding dresses. Will’s mom, Ellen, took the beautiful shot below.

Lovely Bride Georgetown -- Photo by Ellen
Lovely Bride Georgetown — Photo by Ellen

David stayed back to babysit, a bit longer than he expected. HOURS later, he texted Courtney, “I’m DONE.” Fortunately, we had already finished at the shop, stopped for a celebratory drink, and were nearly home!

Drinks after Dress Shopping
Drinks after Dress Shopping: Courtney, Chelsea, Ellen, Kristen (maid of honor), and Brittany

Short break to get ready, then on to the party!

Brittany, Courtney and Chelsea
Brittany, Courtney and Chelsea
The Brides?
The Brides?

Chelsea kept teasing David that he was going to confuse everyone about which one of them was the bride!

Are you exhausted yet? We are! David and I flew home Monday and almost immediately came down with some flu thing that so far will not leave, so my apologies for being out of touch. You are in our hearts, as always, especially if you are one of those in the middle of a tough season.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die . . .  a time to weep and a time to laugh . . . a time to mourn and a time to dance . . . . 

                                                                                    ∼ excerpt from Ecclesiastes 3

The snow surprises us sometimes, even in the middle of spring, but fortunately, some flowers bloom even up through the snow.

Wishing you good news and celebrations, and in their absence, flowers, warmth, comfort and peace.

*Welcome, Case French, brand new grandson of dear friends Tom and Christy French!