Saturday, November 1, 2014


It's November. The trees are shedding the last of their leaves. The kids are counting and organizing their Halloween stash. Thanksgiving menus are being planned. The stores have bypassed Thanksgiving in lieu of Christmas because MONEY, MONEY, SPEND IT HERE! The men are setting their razors aside for Movember, which is usually a bad idea considering how few of them actually look like Tom Selleck or Grizzly Adams and instead channel their inner Aaron Rodgers channeling his inner 70's porn star. Which is to say it looks horrible. By all means, donate the money, but please shave your facial hair. That is my request. Take it for what it's worth. I'm attempting to blog every day this month for National Blog Posting Month. Can she do it? Only time will tell. This is the month we end our pit stop in Omaha and head to Colorado to see what's in store for us. The paper chain is down to eight days, we're bringing boxes up from the basement, and the excitement builds.

Yes. Lots going on in November.

But here's where my heart is on the first day of November.

I'm remembering Jenna. She died last November at the age of 40 after being diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer in April. November is also her birth month. Appropriately, or stupidly, enough, November is also Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Here's something to be aware of about pancreatic cancer.

And it's brutal. And it usually kills quickly. But not painlessly. No. Definitely not painlessly.

Here's a little tiny snippet of what sucks about Jenna dying. She misses the big things like dropping her youngest son off at kindergarten for the first time and seeing him score his first touchdown in touch football. She won't sit in the front seat, white knuckled and sweating bullets as she teaches him to drive. She won't watch either of her sons get married and she won't be a grandma.

She also misses the little things. She didn't get to read her son night-night books tonight before tucking him in. She doesn't get to walk into his room, bleary-eyed and sleepy, to calm him when he has a bad dream. She doesn't get to walk to the park and watch him practice the monkey bars until he gets calluses.

I start to rage at the unfairness of that and then I just collapse inside and grieve the loss of the life she dreamed she'd live and the loss of her life to all who knew and loved her.

That's the really terrible part. The dying young and missing out. But here's the beautiful part.

She lived. Every day was a day to live and love, experience life in all of it's beautiful, painful glory, marvel the sunrise and share its beauty with her words and photographs and hugs and smile. She believed God had a place waiting for her in heaven and that she'd meet her husband, sons, and the rest of her family and friends there someday.

Cancer could not take that from her. Not even at the end, when her days were obviously numbered. She still smiled and shared her brave, loving outlook on life in spite of intense pain and the knowledge that her life on earth was almost over.

It's November. Donate here. Or just live like Jenna and hug the people you love and smile at the people you don't and watch the sun rise every morning as you gaze in wonder at the miracle of each new day.


  1. Oh I'm so sorry to hear that about your friend. 40. So young. Pancreatic cancer doesn't get as much coverage as breast cancer does...good on you for spreading awareness about it.

    1. Thank you. It's important to keep Jenna's legacy alive and do my teeny little part to help others.

  2. Ugh, what a horrible disease. This is such a beautiful post. It's so true that God always chooses the best people to leave this Earth too soon. xo