Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

Lately I have found myself in a flux. A flux of free moving positive, with some not so positive particles moving within, and without me. We have been enjoying the summer, taking some overnight trips to here, and there, but then certain things keep happening that affect me deeply. More deeply than I would have expected.

They are all things that change our lives, and happen in the blink of an eye. I am no stranger to this sort of thing, as one of them happened to us. But after I wrote a recent post, a friend and I were talking and we agreed, even if you have gone through something earth shattering - it's funny how easy it is to lose sight of the fragility of life.

These are the things that have been weighing heavily on my heart...

For those who don't know, Dave is a Structural Engineer and when Aviana's accident happened, he happened to be at a kick off meeting for the Tahoe Forest Cancer Center. As he was speeding down the freeway to the ER, we were unfortunately having to make life and death decisions for Aviana.

This passed Tuesday, the main portion of the center was finally finished and we went to the ribbon cutting ceremony. It was already kind of emotional for obvious reasons, but there was a whole other element I was unprepared for. The facility was named after Gene Upshaw. His family had a  second home in the area for 30 years and in August of 2008, they went up to vacation. Gene wasn't feeling well so they checked him in at the Tahoe Forest ER. He was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and died three days later on August 20. His wife, supported by her two sons, stood up and spoke. It was absolutely heartbreaking.

As I looked at Terri Upshaw, a flood of emotion washed over me. I felt I just might be able to read her thoughts that day, "Why am I here? Why do I have to be the one up here speaking in front of all these people? Why is my husband's name on that stupid building and all of these brochures? Why do my boys have to go without their father? Three days? Three days was not enough time to say all the things I wanted to say to him. Why do I have to be the one to cut the ribbon? And, with this plastic smile on my face. A smile? All I want to do is scream....not smile! Why can't it be someone elses' wife that has to cut the ribbon? Why do I have to be the strong one? Why can't I be the weak one? Why can't other people learn lessons from someone else? Oh wait...I'm supposed to be grateful, that's right. Count my blessings, the ones I still have, ok. But still! This sucks! Blessings. Blessings. Blessings. Let me think of them, now! Hurry before I become a bitter mess! Ok....breathe, breathe, breathe." I don't know, maybe I'm completely wrong.

What a paradigm of emotion that day was, as it was one of my proudest moments of and for Dave, but it was also laden with such great sadness, for this is a building where people come when they are at their very lowest. Some make it, some don't, for some it returns, and then for all of the other reasons above. It was surreal, and for that reason it will stay with me forever.

Overall, I was so proud that Dave could be part of providing a beautiful, comfortable, place for people to come to, at what I imagine to be, one of the worst moments of their entire lives.

If I have one fear in life, it's cancer!

If I have to get that ugly, nasty, ravenous beast, at least take me somewhere that doesn't look like a sterile hospital.

The infusion center has all radiant flooring and a fireplace for the winter.

Highlight of my day, Jack - the therapy dog.

This is the area outside the Infusion Center. Anytime the weather is good, they can be done outside.

Dave...are you sure it's structurally sound?


The other thing that has been weighing so heavily on my mind is Tameka's son and Usher's stepson. For some reason, I couldn't seem to stop myself from following that story. It literally broke my heart into pieces. Here today, gone tomorrow. One day you are out on an inner tube having fun in a lake, and just like that, you are suddenly brain dead and soon to be gone from this earth. It can all end so swiftly and suddenly.

My heart not only went out to him, his mother, and family, but my gosh did it ever go out to the family friend who was driving the jet ski. Everything in me felt for that man. I instantly wanted to reach out to him, hug him, hold him. 

Too much. Too close to home.


And lastly, what we have all been experiencing so greatly this past week...Colorado. My goodness, Colorado.

In the blink of an eye.

As the news and stories keep coming through,

I find myself at a loss.


My whole heart to you.

❤ ❤ ❤ 

I have a running list of lessons learned through our experience. I stayed up until 2:30 adding a few more. I have only posted some over the past years. I think this is as good a time as any to share these. Gosh it is so important to always keep these at the forefront of our minds, isn't it? In an instant, we could be gone.

Some I have learned, most are a work in progress.

I have to run for now, but I'll be back soon with those!


  1. Beauitful treatment center. Good work Dave! :) Love jack the therapy dog.

  2. What a beautiful, restlful place! Jen, you have the hugest heart of anyone I know!


  3. What a lovely treatment facility. It looks so unique and homey. Dave should be proud to have had a hand in it!