Thursday, August 5, 2010

Slipping Away

Friends and family-

I wanted to prepare you all by letting you know that Rene is slowly slipping away. When she came home from the hospital, she decided to stay in the livingroom on the reclining chair. She felt that going into the hospital bed in her room would be saved for the end days of her life. She has now moved from the chair to her bed and is struggling to take in liquids. Food is no longer of interest to her, and words are very difficult to form at this point.

I spend a few minutes pondering words and language this evening. The use of words is a very earthly utility. When one has a foot beyond this earth, words no longer seem to contain significance.

Rene is very keenly aware of her space and still enjoys the sounds of the family around her. We now gather on the porch outside her room, or read her the beautiful cards that you have sent to her. I spent some time in prayer with her this evening and she squeezed my hand as I talked about the many beautiful things that she has seen and accomplished in her lifetime including bicycling through Australia, teaching so many kindergartners in PE, empowering the many young people that she came accross ,(American Cancer society, Sun Microsystems, San Jose State, Girl Scouts of America and Notre Dame High School, among many others) to do great things and find their potential (I am definitely one of them!), defining her own family unit through her marriage to Christopher (Dad), and her amazing motherhood of me (daughter) through the way that she nurtured and challenged us and her grandchildren, watching the birth of my daughter Addison, and many more amazing memories. We gave thanks for the opportunity to truly LIVE in 50 years the way many won't even live in 90.

Rene has also been an undeniably fantastic wife and even through this troubled time, she has encouraged my dad to live a full and create, happy life until they are together again in heaven. She continues to look after her family including her parents and brother through this trying time. Just last night she was mostly asleep, but still managed to hear Cooper accross the room (and out of sight) tinkering with Honey's figurines, and reminded him to move away from them! She is still grandparenting at the end! That is Rene for ya! Most recently, she has given those closest to her a renewed perspective on life, and fueled each of our enthusiasm for how we live each day. She hasn't complained through this experience, but rather has furvently searched for peace. And peace is where she is tonight.

I can tell by the look in her eyes that she is ready to go. She is clearly uncomfortable with the heaviness of her body, and is almost ready to leave us for her heavenly home. She has reached acceptance and is now looking forward to being with God and seeing her big brother Mark, who will likely tease her for the next eternity! She is still not in pain (A little discomfort) and has only had the need for a tiny bit of morophine each night to sleep. She prefers to be as lucid as possible while she is awake, so that she can breath in the sights and sounds of those around her. In a nutshell, that is our Rene. Always wanting to take in everything around her, to meet the stranger sitting next to her, or squeeze her parents and grandchildren. As my dad put it, "she is a bright shining star who burned so bright, that she faded more quickly than most".

Please be at peace as you prepare yourself, knowing that Rene has lived an amazing (be it short) life here on this earth.

P.S. Your cards and blog posts have been amazing. We have been reading them each to her and she has a smile for all of you! Suzy Purnell- your "F**K Cancer" card was hilarious and definitely gave her a good laugh! It also got me to say "F**K" two times which were the first and last times she has ever heard me curse!!! :)I felt that under the circumstances, it was appropriate!

More soon.




  1. Cindy & Tom MerrowAugust 5, 2010 at 10:54 PM

    Rene, I've been reading the posts your family and friends have written and wanted to add two more to your list of many fans. You are without a doubt one of the most positive and giving persons I've ever met. You've always made a point of making anyone you meet feel that they are welcome and important. God had you loaned out for 50 years to straighten us all out but now he's calling you home. We wish you God speed. Love, Cindy & Tom Merrow

  2. Thank you Kristen. I am SO pleased you two got some special time together tonight...loving you...praying for thankful to have Rene in our lives!

  3. Dear Kristen,

    My prayers are with you and your family. Your mom is a wonderful woman. I have only known her a short time. Her smiles and kind loving words were so welcoming and she made me feel at home during my first year at Notre Dame.
    My daughter Hannah (age 6) prayed with me tonight and she asked God to hold Rene's hand and make her feel better. I hope he did! Please tell her these prayers are still coming her way.
    Yours in Christ.
    Anna Q.

  4. Pam and Bill PabstAugust 6, 2010 at 4:54 PM


    You are one of those people who carves out a large chunk of each one of our hearts and who will leave a huge hole when you are no longer with us. But rest assured, we KNOW that your spirit and love will be something we will hold onto the rest of our lives. You are an amazing person and we only wish we could be there holding your hand and sharing the love that we have for you, your parents and the rest of your huge extended family. You're the best "little sister" Bill has ever had! : ). Even though we're not there physically you know that in spirit we are with you every moment! We love you all!


    Bill and Pam

  5. Rene,

    My world got smaller this week as it turns out that Becca Inderhees was my daughter's assistant dance coach at summer drama camp. I smiled and reflected that you passed on so much wisdom to that girl; from my daughter's enthusiasm, it sounds like it took.