Friday, May 11, 2012


***Yes, I did take a week off from continuing this commentary on recent events in my life. It seems so much has happened so quickly that I am frankly intimidated by the task of trying to capture all the individual events and emotions which have packed the past two weeks.

***Let me begin with a brief status report on my own condition to date. At six weeks post-surgery, I saw the surgeon who seemed pleased with my progress and his handiwork. I am still having a few issues with the healing of my sternum which continues to “click” along the lower third of my incision where the right and left meet but have not yet grown back together. It’s a bit eerie, but it doesn’t hurt; it does remind me that I am still healing and should not overdo the physical activity, like yardwork and heavy lifting. Going solo now for just over a week since my brother returned to California, I am working out a routine to cover laundry, vacuuming, sweeping and mopping, and the other components of housework. I haven’t disturbed much of the dust yet, remembering Betty always ask folk to not be concerned since she was collecting it.

***My biggest problem continues to be the pain in the middle of my back. How I wish it would just go away! This was caused in the rear end collision just before my open heart surgery. (The car was totaled, and the pay-off will be miserly.) I’ve seen my primary physician twice now and do have pain meds and muscle relaxants, and he has referred me to a physical therapist. When we solve the problem of who should be billed, I will see what relief that medical mode can offer. For now, I take the pills at bedtime and do sleep well (mostly). During the day, however, I don’t take them because they make me really groggy. By afternoon, I can hardly wait for bedtime again.

***Out of all the recent events I have to chronicle, I feel most of my readers would like for me to focus on the Memorial for Betty which was held on the 28th of April. Family was at the building early and everything seemed ready as people began to gather. Signing the Guest Book was a bit of a bottleneck, but there was a little time to visit with folk, which was special, particularly the opportunity to thank the many who came from out-of-town for their effort to attend. So much was going on and I received many individual expressions of regret and stories about Betty and her kindnesses or thoughtful deeds. To avoid a lengthy entry, I am going to concentrate on the Memorial itself and the order of events as listed in the hand-out everyone received. Patty Slack, our second child, designed and prepared and printed this lovely bi-fold program with Betty’s picture and vital information on the cover page. The photo was taken last Thanksgiving, and can be seen at the beginning of the second song on Youtube if you enter this title: “Five People Become Fifteen”. Inside the program is a beautifully composed, brief biography of her life and accomplishments, and as a gift to each person who came, the program included a small packet of Forget-Me-Not flower seeds which Patty had obtained and for which Dana had made tiny little individual packets that were attached beside the directions to grow them.

***The start of the service was delayed a bit as the crowds “signed in” and found their seats. Edwin Slack ((Vancouver), our Son-in-law, served as moderator, welcoming everyone and setting a sweet tone for the occasion. Geoffrey Wyatt (Juneau) our third child led a select group of carefully selected songs each introduced by a note of explanation. “Soon, and Very soon” was chosen because of Betty’s awareness that she would not live long with her cancer. She and a dear friend, Kay Vinsonhaler who also had terminal cancer would tell each other at every meeting, “We are going to see the King” someday. And it became a ritual. As attendance at church became more difficult for both ladies, that reminder soon evolved into just the song title, “Soon and Very Soon”. In the last two or three times they saw one another and to assure each another of their confidence in going to heaven, the greeting became the single word, “Soon” and a final hug.!! (Kay died first just one week before Betty.) The second song was one of Betty’s many favorites: “If We Never Meet Again (This Side of Heaven)” and honored her faith in her destination. Known to generations of kids as “Miss Betty” and to her own grandchildren as “Memaw” the third song “This Little Light of Mine” expresses her love of teaching kids and of living a Light-filled Life herself. And to conclude this set of songs, Geoffrey chose “I’ll Fly Away”, another favorite about departing this world for eternity in heaven.

***Ron Roberts led a prayer full of thanksgivings for Betty’s example. When we first met Ron and Joanne in Juneau over four decades ago we had no idea how close we would all become nor for how long. Jo was Betty’s “Very, Very, Best Friend in the Whole, Wide, Wide World.” until she died just a year and two weeks before Betty.

***In another example of family cooperation and coordination, the eulogy which was next in order was primarily written by daughter Patty but delivered eloquently through tears and laughter by David Wyatt, our firstborn. The stories and events and facts and secrets revealed in a wonderful and warm way the lovely personality and sweet, gentle spirit which Betty shared throughout life with family, friends, and multitudes of others in the church, neighborhoods, workplace, and community. Some of the stories were about Betty’s own childhood but those soon merged into tales relating to her meeting and marrying me. (Don’t believe everything you may have heard!) David related how we ended up in Alaska instead of moving to Japan as missionaries. He detailed her favorite Alaskan activities, the coming of our own children, and a bit about her professional career. At times David inserted personal memories and explanations which made this report even more precious. The later part of his talk concerned the move to Vancouver, the diagnosis of early-onset Parkinson’s Disease and how she coped with that illness by challenging it with every resource at hand and participating in many medical studies searching for a cure. He included a brief accounting of her most passionate project: research into the life of an Alaskan Pioneer woman, Jessie Fox Mather. She self-published “Jessie” in 2006 and it is truly a wonderful book. For his conclusion David related the coming on of Betty’s cancer and explained her decision to decline chemotherapy treatments, preferring to die from cancer rather than from the lingering effects of Parkinsons. Her choice of Philippians 1:18-21 helps explain her decision. Her greatest honors were her children, both the natural ones and the ones she unofficially adopted wherever we lived for over forty-five years. Betty was a most generous and giving person. Even her final gift of donating her brain to Parkinsons research is typical of how she shared her things, her faith, her love and her life with all of those who were fortunate enough to be within her sphere of influence.

***David also prepared a video from many photographs of Betty’s life and this was shown to the assembly which may have numbered nearly two hundred friends who had come to the Memorial Service. You can view these pictures on Patty's blog at

***After telling how he met Betty and learned about her protective, motherly nature after a date with Patty was overly long, Edwin Slack delivered a short spiritual message which pointed out how all of God’s children live with one foot in this world and the other foot in heaven. When, eventually, one passes completely (both feet) into heaven that passage is a time for joy and gladness. Even though we grieve our sense of loss, crossing over into God’s presence is what has been hoped for and waited for, and we can be glad for the departed one.

***Within minutes of Betty’s death on March 2nd, Geoffrey was singing “Blessed Assurance” to his mother, a favorite song we had all sung together many times. Curiously, the same song was sung in morning worship two days later, not only in Vancouver, but also in Juneau, Alaska, and almost at the same hour. There was no planning for this; it was just a another heavenly blessing. Geoffrey told about this before leading the song again in the Memorial.

***Gene Cash, whom we had met on our first Sunday in Vancouver, and whom had become a dear friend, led a special prayer for our comfort and for commending Betty into God’s care.

***Finally, Betty’s grandchildren, using the format of ”Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” named one-by-one dozens of “favorite things” Grandma Betty loved. They included items like: Forget-me-nots, hosting foreign guests, singing from the old hymnal, sharing good books, warm socks, beachcombing, pillow talk, playing cards with friends, a good bargain, deep-fried halibut, her Eddie Bauer goose-down pillow, reading to her grandkids, secret gift-giving, traveling with Papa, pussy willows, and treasuring her army of friends. Oh, and Ice Cream, especially Ice Cream. In fact she specifically asked that we conclude her Memorial with a shared Ice Cream Social, which we did immediately in the lobby for everyone who attended.

***This was a day of many emotions and sharing them all at once with so many others who loved and admired her was both a delight and an appropriate way to remember a wonderful Christian woman to whom I had the honor to be married for forty-eight years and eight days. We had been discussing what to do on our fiftieth anniversary; when the end came sooner, the glass was way more than half full of uncountable blessings and precious memories, and many words of assurance and thanksgivings she spoke in the last days as we talked together of the years of our marriage and the multitude of friends with which we had been blessed. I am glad so many were able to be a part of remembering Betty’s life and praising God for the good influence it had on us.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


As preparation continue for the Memorial for Betty on Saturday, I had best enter this post today because the level of activity is quickly rising – somewhat like one of those overwhelming flash floods of the Southwestern deserts. My brother Marty who lives in Redding, California, has been here already for a week, helping out and cheerfully serving as chauffeur and scullery maid. His help has been greatly appreciated. Tonight the Juneau Wyatts arrive and I’m hoping the grandsons have recovered from recent illness. Sometime tomorrow the Kennewick Wyatts will arrive and the whole lot of us will be spending some afternoon family time together at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) enjoying the exhibits and the hands-on learning displays. That will be followed by dinner out for most of us, although the little guys may be headed for an early bedtime.

Saturday will begin with a family breakfast based on the traditional and authentic Alaska Sourdough strain that dates back to before the Klondike Gold Rush. Several of the grand-daughters will lend a hand at flipping the cakes and serving the crowd. I’ve heard that we can even let my Bluegrass Music play in the background. (You can listen too on-line at from 9:00 to Noon) Later in the morning many of us will go to the church building to help with preparations and set-up there and share a lunch of Subway sandwiches. The Memorial itself is at 1:00 PM (at the Vancouver Church of Christ) and we expect quite a number of church and community friends and fans of Betty Wyatt to attend. Son David will deliver the main talk; Son Geoffrey will lead several favorite hymns; Son (in-law) Edwin will be the MC/Host; close friends will word the prayers, and the beautiful program was designed and printed by Daughter Patty. Many special others have been a part of the planning and craft work getting ready for this hour of honoring Betty’s remarkable life. We hope you will attend.

I guess Saturday evening will be mostly a family-at-home event with games and stories and maybe a movie for the kids. If you are a guest from out of state or an old family friend of yore, let me know; perhaps you can drop by to say hello and share in the evening. We think California, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington will be represented. A guest book will be available in the lobby, so please find a moment to sign in, including your address and phone number and a brief comment. We hope the Memorial will be an hour of pleasant memories for you and will offer an opportunity for you to relate in reverence with God our Savior and Redeemer. I suspect I will have trouble mixing my tears and laughter while trying not melt into a sodden and embarrassed puddle in the process. I’ve been promised the service will be recorded so that I can experience it at a later time when I can savor the songs and sweet words at leisure.

Do plan to stay an extra hour for the Ice Cream Social which was Betty’s request for us to share. If it is convenient, bring your favorite flavor of ice cream and accessories to enjoy and share while we visit and recall the good time we spent with Betty – An American Sweetheart. Surely you have a tale or two to relate and doing so will be a perfect way to honor her positive and cheerful attitude and outlook on a lifetime full of friends and interesting accomplishments. As an extra incentive, there will be available a limited number of copies of Betty’s book: Jessie; The Story of a Genteel Lady in Frontier Alaska. They will cost $16.00 (in cash, please) for as long as they last.

Sunday will begin with gathering again at the building to join with the greater congregation in a time of worship and looking: looking back, looking at our present, and trying to look forward to our future. I’m not sure right now about Sunday lunch plans, but I suspect they will be expedient since several will be compelled to head back to their distant homes before evening.

Let me mention here that the plans to send whatever Memorial Gifts are received in Betty’s memory are developing, but somewhat slowly. We intend for the monies collected to go where they can assist Christians in Japan who have been affected by the tsunamis and radioactive contamination which occurred in Japan just over a year ago. We understand that the desperate reparations needed in these special places far exceed the aid rendered to date, and although our offering will be modest compared to what is lacking , it will indeed be a useful gift delivered in the Spirit of Love. We are convinced that God will multiply its effectiveness as it is presented through the hands of faithful missionaries or known church leaders in the affected regions. We send our deepest and most sincere family “Thank you”s to those who have chosen to share a bit of their blessings in this way. Our greatest desire is that God will be honored both through the givers here and in those persons in Northeast Japan who will eventually receive these gifts from you. This is a work which was close to our hearts and one which Betty would have heartily approved.

Perhaps next week I will be able to share with you some of the highlights of the Memorial and of the loving memories which are evoked throughout this special day. Thanks for still checking in on this humble blog, and for your thoughtful and personal comments from time to time. I’m still not posting the remarks, but I do appreciate them and cherish the tender messages dearly as I read and reread them often. As always, I solicit your prayers for strength as I readjust to a world in which there is one precious sweetheart fewer than I would have chosen. I am really missing Betty now, and even more so as I continue to recover from the open heart surgery. Your continued support is invaluable and remarkably uplifting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


It has been four weeks since my open heart surgery, and I am just now beginning to feel like things are eventually going to be all right. I would never have anticipated all the various little aches and pangs that would have come along with the recovery, and I am not entirely sure what is the precise cause of many of the many hurts I have experienced.

Of course, the main source of much of my soreness is the result of having my chest opened for the three bypasses. That alone requires a lot of stress on the ribcage and the healing process is slow, taking about six weeks to mend itself and six months to return to near normal. I can’t imagine what other skeletal and musculature trauma just the operation causes.

After an uncomfortable week in recovery, I was still in quite a lot of discomfort, especially when trying to lie prone in bed to rest or sleep. This let to a most uncomfortable week and eventually to a visit with my primary doctor. What I had not figured out until a week or ten days after surgery was that the pain in my back had been caused by the rear-end collision I was in a couple of days before the surgery on my heart. Prescriptions for pain medications and a muscle relaxant gave quick relief for sleeping at night, but because the daytime effect also caused deep sleepiness (grogginess) I have elected to only take those meds at bedtime. Consequently, during the second half of each day the pain in my back grows increasingly hard to endure.

I am into a simple routine of rising to make my bed and (usually) shower. Then comes “weigh-in”, taking my blood pressure, a blood sugar reading, and the recording all those indicators. Morning medications come along with breakfast: either a hot or cold cereal, a healthy “smoothie” which includes yogurt and protein powder and a bit of “breakfast” mix, or a poached egg on a piece of toast. Sometimes I’ll add a bit of fruit also. It’s a good start, and I’m slowly getting used to eating early in the day. If there is any advantage so far, it may be that I am less hungry later in the day. Anyway, I am under 200 lbs on my home scale as of this morning, for the first time perhaps since we moved south from Alaska.

I have been all over the house with “projects” in mind, but I have not really tackled many of them. I did work on pruning and untangling the grape vines (red = canadace; white = interlaken; blue = concord). That took place over several days to make it easier on me and to work around the rain showers. I have begun updating my book inventory, starting with the paperback sets. These are kept in about fifteen banker’s boxes and require checking titles on hand with an on-line reference of titles available so I can list and record the books I have and discover any issues I am missing. That puts my shopping list in place too.

As I go from room to room I suppose I should be making a list of all the tasks and chores I would like to take on as my recovery allows. I have twenty-five years of filing to sort through, and although I have culled much of this material a couple of times in years past, it is still not really organized and minimized. Also during those twenty-five years in this house, quite a lot of odds and ends have accumulated and claimed storage space that might be put to better use. Some of you know that I have been on a gradual program of reducing clutter and unneeded or unwanted items. I actually made nearly two grand by selling the cream of these castoffs on eBay; perhaps another effort like that would realize a few more dollars for that “sugar-bowl” account.

By resting frequently and adding a nap to most afternoons, I am getting better and stronger. I am making a serious effort to eat wisely and have discouraged friends, family, and my weekly Bible group from leaving their leftovers here in my refrigerator. Today, my brother Marty comes for a couple of weeks to help out and be around for Betty’s memorial on the 28th. We will try to continue steady progress on several fronts and get out a little when possible.

THE MEMORIAL: All of our friends are reminded of the memorial on Saturday the 28th at the Vancouver Church of Christ. It will be at 1:00 PM and will be followed at 2:00 by an ice cream social (at Betty’s request). Ice cream, according to her was the perfect food and surely a gift from above. Bring your favorite flavor and any topping you especially prefer and we will enjoy swapping stories of my favorite lady. Feel free to pass along this announcement and encourage anyone who would to join in the hour of tribute and thanksgiving to attend.

PS If you are coming from out of town, please drop us a note or give us a call so we can anticipate seeing you at the service. We don’t want to miss anyone, but especially if you are traveling a ways to be here.

Friday, April 06, 2012


Hello, again. It seems like a long time since I placed an entry here to update the continuing and swirling drama in which I have been caught up in recent months.

In the hectic and accelerating rush of Betty’s last days, I believe I must have been a personal fog of denial concerning my own situation, for every time I moved her from bed to easy chair or commode or back, I was experiencing considerable discomfort, to the point of being virtually unable to breathe for several minutes. This situation had first made itself apparent last year – maybe around Thanksgiving. During a quick walk to the mailbox, perhaps a thousand feet down the street, I became so short of breath that I was doubled over for a few minutes. Still I recovered quickly and it did not reoccur for a long time. Since there was no arm pain, no jaw pain, and no feeling that led me to worry about my heart, I just denied it as Betty’s needs increased. It was well into February that I began to have some concern because the problem had become so severe, but I still was not prepared for the diagnosis.

In late February, my primary physician scheduled me to take a stress test after hearing my description of the “shortness of breath” episodes. Of course the first available appointment was six weeks out, but after a few calls requesting the chance to snag a cancellation, I finally had the treadmill and echocardiogram tests on Friday the 16th. That alarmed the first doctor! Within minutes of leaving his office, I was sharply rear-ended as I was on the way to see my lawyer folk, and naturally that added to my condition. Early Monday morning, after securing the change in legal papers that Betty’s passing required – will, durable power of attorney with health care provision, etc. - I checked in for angiography. I was moved to the head of the line and made to sit down, and the paperwork swiftly done, I was quickly escorted to the prep area. With no delay I was soon rolled away to the heart catherization lab. The necessary tubes were inserted into my wrists and fed into my heart. I was lightly sedated and did not feel any of this initial probing, but when the dye was injected into my heart and revealed the state of blood flow there, I did hear several of the doctors and technicians gasp out loud. That alarmed the second cardiologist and his team - and me. That was the moment I decided that maybe something was wrong.

Now from this point on, my memory may be based more on what I heard later than upon what I actually heard and remembered myself at the time. I had a major artery badly blocked, a second with a 95-99% occlusion, and a third artery where the red blood cells were lining up single file to pass through. In short, I was not only a candidate for a surgical heart repair, but urgency was a major factor. Family and dear friends gathered to lend support, the surgeon explained the problem and the solution he could offer, and by early morning, I had three bypasses, one to each of the arteries which held a blockage.

For the sake of brevity at this point, let me say I don’t recall all of the five days I remained in ICU or in the recovery ward, except for the remarkable skill and patience of the nursing staff in caring for my every need. I am deeply grateful for the teams of caregivers which came and went and pampered me while beginning my conversion to a healthier and more moderate life-style.
Explanations were given, and instructions, and all sorts of hints and rules about resuming life at home and on Saturday the 24th, just five days after having been cracked open and fixed, I was allowed to go home. Someone said that made me a “five-percenter” since only 5% of open heart surgery patients are allowed only a five day stay; for most it is seven days or more.

Heart-wise, I seem to be doing well. OF course there is considerable pain, but the medications and “the pillow” seem to handle most of that OK. Some of my pain relates to the actual surgery with a wide variety of aches and pangs associated with the site and with associated wires and tubing which has now been removed. Much of my pain turns out to be related the rear-end collision which happened prior to surgery, and which causes my back to ache mightily right between my shoulder blades. A subsequent visit to my primary doctor, and a prescription for a muscle relaxant has mostly handled that problem for now, and since last Saturday night, I have been able to sleep through most of the night. Oh, about the pillow: Once they pry open your rib cage, there is nothing to keep it together until you heal up completely. The “pillow” gives you something firm to clutch to the chest with arms crossed over, each to the other side, which forms a sort of “splint” for the vulnerable area when coughs or sneezes attack. In that sense and usage, my “pillow” is my best friend, and I keep it close at hand.

During the past month, I have learned and reaffirmed a host of truths about the place and value of prayer in my own life. I confess that in the last month of Betty’s struggle our prayers together had become halted and mine had felt so empty and meaningless as communication and focus for both of us was so severely impacted by her pain and condition and physical needs. More than ever I have been reminded that the power and comfort of prayer lies not in the one who prays, nor in the words used (however eloquent or stumbling), but in the Lord God who answers the prayers and provides the spiritual support and physical miracles of healing. My serenity in prayer is based upon knowing once again that He is my caring God, and that He hears the intent of my petitions and praises, and thanksgivings. And comfort comes too from knowing that many others – family, virtual family, friends, and strangers – have offered up their hearts in behalf of mine, and that the Lord counts and credits every prayer with the same degree of affection and value.
He blesses the one who prays, the prayer offered, and most divinely blesses His own response to each. Thank you to every individual who was a part of this month of prayers and the joy those prayer have brought to me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Please plan to come to the Memorial and Ice Cream Social to honor the life of Betty Wyatt.

If you are still among those who are checking this blog hoping for news, Thank you for your patience and constancy. I am recovering a little more each day, and I will post some of that story soon, perhaps by this coming Friday.

This entry is to announce that the Memorial Service for Betty, which was to have closely followed my open heart surgery, but which was postponed. After considering my recovery rate, and the best possible travel dates for many who will be coming from out of town, and what days the church building would be available, a new time has been selected.

A Memorial Service to recall and honor the life of BETTY WYATT will be held on Saturday, April 28th, at 1:00 p.m. at the Vancouver Church of Christ, 9019 NE 86th St, Vancouver, WA-USA 98662. That location is just across the field northwest of the intersection at Padden Parkway and 94th Avenue; it is about half a mile east of I-205 beside Padden. The I-205 exit to use is number 32.

As was the plan before, at Betty’s request, everyone is invited to bring a favorite flavor of ice cream and whatever essential syrups and toppings you may need to share in a giant ice cream social, her all-time favorite activity. That time of sharing and of swapping stories will immediately follow the memorial.

In response to many inquiries about Memorial Gifts, the family has decided that because of our nearly 50 year interest in the growth and welfare of Japanese congregations of the Church in Japan, any monetary gifts that are received will be sent by the hands of known and trusted missionaries in Japan to be used in helping rebuild and restore the lives of Christians who were affected by the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in the Sendai area northeast of Tokyo. Your gift may be sent to the Vancouver Church of Christ or directly to me at home. Thank you for considering this possibility of helping where little help is currently being sent.

Please feel free to help us pass along this information to others who you think may be interested in attending the memorial on April 28, 2012. We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Give me a little time to catch my breath. I've just returned home from a heart stress test, angiography, a triple heart bypass, and recovery - all but the first in a near record 240 hours.

As soon as I am able, I will share the story, but I really need to recover some energy first.

Keep your prayers flowing. Only a mighty and vast support team could have accomplished the human part of this miracle. God, of course is my healer and the restorer of my broken heart. Amen.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


By now most of you know that my precious Betty died on the morning of March 2, 2012. After a few minutes of restlessness, her last moments were quite swift and altogether gentle, and that was a blessing indeed. Over a period of only a few minutes her breathing slowed and quietly ceased at 9:45 AM. She had been in deep sleep for two and a half days before her passing, and we did not expect to happen as soon as it did.

Although we did not realize it at the time, Betty actually left us on Tuesday February 28th. On that day she was in considerable discomfort and the visiting hospice nurse felt a powerful sedative should be given to mitigate the pain. All during the couple of hours it took for the drug to take effect we were desperately trying to offer her any possible comfort. Eventually she dropped off in a restless sort of sleep. Late that day an adjustable hospital bed was delivered to allow more flexibility in her sleeping position, but we decided not to move her until the next morning.

Through the night she slept well, but with no sign of awakening, and when morning came she slept on still. The transfer to the family room and into the hospital bed was less difficult than I expected, and I realized it was partly because she had lost so much weight. For quite a while her body struggled to adapt to the new positions and find relief for the pain her injuries appeared to be causing. After most of the day had passed and she was receiving stronger oral, liquid medication Betty finally seemed able to relax, but still there was no sign of awakening. She slept through Wednesday night almost without changing position at all.

Thursday, after the medications were resumed, was a quiet day for her as her body “rested” without struggle. We continued ministering to her needs and to moisten her lips with the little sponges and wash her face and comb her hair as she would have been doing for us if it were we were sick. Her children and I continued to talk to her and include her in the family activity and conversations, but really there was still no sign that she was aware of anything happening around her. We prayed with her and sang to her, but without knowing whether she could perceive these efforts to offer comfort. Surely God and His angels were nearby, preparing to make her passing into the arms of her Savior as gentle as possible. And it was.

Once the necessary contacts had been accomplished and the Hospice nurse officially pronounced her death, all the pre-arranged plans were put into effect. Because her medical history of living successfully with Parkinson’s Disease since 1990 would be available to researchers who are searching for a cure or improved treatments for that malady, Betty had decided to donate her brain for that purpose. Transportation to Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) occurred without delay, and following the “harvest”, her body was transferred to a crematory in Vancouver. Our family has some thoughts about placing her ashes of which she was aware although perhaps she was a little amused at the idea. That may become the topic of a future blog someday.

The first weekend without Betty was quite busy and involved restoring things to their former places. With the kids here and many visitors it seemed rather chaotic, but the basics were achieved and suddenly, even with folk around and plenty yet to do, an emptiness without her presence and conversation began to be felt. All the tasks and all the time spent in caregiving and in expressing our love and concern to her seemed to pile up without a way to be fulfilled. I have told several of my feeling I should be plumping up her pillow, or doling out medications, or making a nutritional smoothie, or helping her bathe and change into clean jammies, or something! I wandered about looking for what I was supposed to be doing without finding the missing – and probably urgent – task I should be doing. But there was nothing to do for her anymore. And that was an empty, helpless feeling. No more little talks, no more Bible readings, no more foot rubs or back rubs, no more sharing the mail she received daily; just no more anything.

Friday night and Saturday night and Sunday night I was up extremely late because I simply could not face crawling into an empty bed with no warmth or cuddling or pillow talk. There is so much I am going to miss. I’m working on facing things without a babysitter hanging around by staying busy listing all the paperwork to be done and all the legal documents to be changed. That will keep me busy for a while.

For now I will try to continue this blog from time to time as I figure out what I need to write about. For now I can’t see or anticipate just what is coming, and I am sort of on automatic pilot and not able yet to plan ahead very far, but I am acutely aware of the firestorm of emotions I am experiencing and the need to confront and process the grief which is building. Writing things out on this page might be a format for handling part of that too.

Finally, thank you to each of you that have come or called or caught me at church and offered “whatever I can do”. It’s good to know there are so many life rings to grasp. And to end this session, let me repeat (in case you have not already heard me say this): It is time to change your prayers (i.e. recalibrate your prayer wheel.) and no longer plead for God’s intervention in Betty’s behalf, but instead it’s time for prayers of Praises and Thanksgivings that God was faithful to keep His promises and was completely compassionate to her. We will eventually recover, but for now we must honor her Father of Mercies who will also surround us with a hedge of comfort and gentleness.