Prep work

Yesterday I was able to see my twins graduate 8th grade. After the ceremony I saw a dear friend who I have not spoken to this last year. She was dealing with a lot of her own issues and I was not able to be there for her. We cried and held each other. I thought she would reject me but she did not. I was very thankful for our tearful reunion. The ceremony and party were wonderful. I spent time with a lot of lovely friends and family. Jeeter’s mom and sister were there and my ex-mum in law sat with me for quite awhile. She lost her son John last year right after my diagnosis. She also lost several of her siblings to cancer. She was with all of them when they died. She and I had a lovely talk. A very healing time considering that I never felt like she liked me when Tony (Jeeter) and I were married.This was due I am sure to a lot of insecurity on my part. In any case it was wonderful to have her company.

Cancer has made my heart softer. It has made me able to forgive and move on. I chose to not speak to my “family” although I have totally forgiven them everything. I just feel they are very negative people who would only continue to harm me and my children. But I hold no anger or malice towards them. Only a desire to not have them in my life. My friends are my family. They are the sisters and brothers I always wanted. Surrogate family that I have fulfilling relationships with. These are the folks who call,cook,clean,and care for me.

Last night my pain,headaches,and nausea were so bad that I decided I could not do chemo today. Nor any other day. I have maxed out my ability to do more pain/sickness inducing treatment. I am done. I will just do full time hospice. Kelly cried so hard but he agreed with me. So did Naomi and Jen. I held Kelly as he wept. I know this is hard to hear but my spirit is very tired of being in this very sick and dying body. The pain is very bad. My hips,back, and front hurt. Like labor it comes in waves and reminds me that my body is doing invisible work. Labor always had an air of excitement but also a component of a near death experience. This is more like a real death experience. But an excitement too that soon my pain will end and I will be free to move on. Hallelujah.

My time now I want to spend seeing my loved ones. Holding my kids. Blogging when I can. And writing. Writing all about my love for you. I want to leave you letters that you read over and over so you will know I am thinking of you too. I wrote a final blog. I planned my memorial. I gave away many of my possessions. This is a gift. How fortunate that I can plan these things. I got an entire year to plan for my death. A year to prepare my children. You want to hear a real punk rock mommy parenting tip… I always believed that it was not my job to raise good children but rather to prepare my children for adulthood. Everything you teach them as children ought to be for the purpose of having them be strong, healthy, and independent adults. I told Asa that I was not going to do anymore chemo. He cried. I asked him if he was scared and he said yes. I asked of what and he shrugged. I said I know you are but there is nothing to be afraid of. I said what did I always say about my job as a parent, and he repeated my mantra. I said you are prepared for adulthood Asa. You will be a wonderful and strong man. And this experience is part of what will make you who God wants you to be.

People are sad. My children and friends and husband. I am sad that I have to leave..but not that I will get relief from this disease.

93 Responses to “Prep work”

  1. janelle says:

    darling andrea..here i am watching the moon float up over africa and thinking of you…very much…what an inspiring person you are…and i can understand how you are feeling…i want to understand how you are feeling. i think you are so so brave. people don’t know what to say about dying….you are nearing The Light….i love you and am thinking of you…strength dear andrea…and thank you thank you for all your wisdom….xxx janelle

  2. caro says:

    dear andrea, a long time lurking blog reader here: thank you so very very much, you beautiful, strong, amazing, brave woman. i am thinking of you and your loved ones and sending love your way.

  3. Larue says:

    Again you bring me to tears, but they are selfish tears. I know this was probably not an easy decision, but only you know what you need to do. I will now pray for comfort and peace for you and all those who love you. You indeed have prepared your children to be adults and those around them will be better for that preparation.
    Praying you have as much time as you want.

  4. lizz says:

    Andrea,
    My heart hurts, because i love you. In this short time, I have been blessed to have you in my life… (Every day is different now, my faith is stronger than ever, i had forgotten it for so long.) I think about you constantly, I was thinking this morning about the story you read to me and the kids, about the box of cookies. Watching you talk about your children is when you look the most beautiful. You glow. That was a great night, everyone sitting around you full of love and laughter. I have never met anyone like you, and I’m sure I never will again. You are a light in everyones life that you touch, you are in my heart forever. I am here, blocks away, anything you need, anytime. I am here.

  5. JenniferG says:

    Dear Andrea,
    I am a stranger and just strated reading your blog recently. It has been captivating, sadening and uplifting all at the same time.
    I feel deep sorrow for you and your family and wanted to take the time to express my grief and sympathies to you.
    I wish I had the strenght that you exhibit and by coming accross your blog and feeling the love you have for your family and children from reading it I somehow feel touched and belssed. I hope to take your triumphs and setbacks and apply the wonderful outlook you have on life to my own.
    I wish you the best in peace and for also for your family.
    Cherish the love.

  6. Jenni says:

    I normally have all this stuff I want to see when I read these blogs. And when I see you in person. It was nice to just be there last night. I know you are aware of how much I love you and your family. Even when things are heavy, it is a blessing to be right there with you guys. I know everyone says it to you… that you are brave, that you are their hero, that you shine a light like no one else, that you are the most wonderful mother they have met. It’s all so very true. There is not a minute that I am not learning something from you. I am always smiling because you are in my life. I know it’s hard for everyone to hear and read this because they love you so dearly (me included), but I know, no one wants you to suffer. Andrea, you are amazing and beautiful and strong and I love you. I thank God for you every day. xo

  7. debi says:

    and in the end
    the love you take
    is equal to the love you make

  8. Kitty says:

    Hi. I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now, but never commented before. I don’t know why I haven’t commented before … I just haven’t. But I want you to know that I find your writing wonderful, and I find you as a person, inspiring. To live our lives listening to that inner voice inside is the best we can do – I admire you enormously.

    I often end comments on blogs with ‘take care’ – it seems to facile in the face of what you are facing. But I think of you often, and I wish you a great deal of love, luck and whatever else you need to do what you’re doing with grace, humour and honesty.

    Take care. x

  9. Stephanie says:

    Im afraid to say the wrong thing… I wish I could be the kind of mother you are. You have so many gifts and to share them so freely and honestly… you are truly speaking God’s words and a beautiful example of how his love can manifest if only we believe. You are so full of grace.

  10. Michelle Wienke says:

    Andrea & Kelly,

    My heart is hurting also-co-workers wondering why I am crying at my desk-so much a part of this Hospice thing that we do every day here-If we didnt care, we shouldnt be working here,right?

    I think (again) that you have made the intelligent choice to work with Hospice full time. You have already seen the “gift” of being able to do and say the things you want to the people that you want to….in my area, we just lost “our hometown boy, Tim Russert”-and he never had the chance with his sudden death to say any last goodbyes-although I suspect that he did this everyday with the people he loved, much like you do!

    You have been given the gift of time-it sucks, and it doesnt make it any easier for anyone, but it is what it is. I too, believe in God, and know that his plan for us is not always understandable, but I do have a strong faith in a world beyond; where there is no cancer, no IBC, no lupus, no heart attacks, etc…I believe that we all will be reunited one day,,, and I so want to meet you when I get there!

    Your blog has given me, as well as many others, clarity-to see our own lives and be thankful for them, love-in the way that you so fiercly love Kelly, the kids and your friends, faith-as you believe that there is a Heaven, and Hope-that God will not take you until every bit of his work through you is done here on earth.

    I will continue to pray for you, and your beautiful family-please get your pain under control-and enjoy every moment as best as you can.

    You are truly in my thoughts-

    With love-
    Michelle

  11. Corinne says:

    Andrea, I don’t know you or your family; except through your blog. I came across an article one night about you and have been reading/ visiting your site ever since. I have wanted to comment many times; I have cried and I have laughed; you are a very talented writer!

    As I read your blog in the past week, it sounds more and more like you are at peace with what is happening. I wanted to tell you thank you for opening up your story to the World. I have no doubt that you have saved many women by educating about IBC and its symptoms. I am so sorry that you had to endure this ugly disease of cancer; I lost my Dad to cancer several years ago and I miss him terribly but feel he is with me and watching over me from above. It’s weird how spiritual that is. I am sure you understand.

    I have come to learn a lot from you and your site. I also gain a new appreciation and thankfulness for my own health and family. The little things should not bug me so much; your writings remind me of that.

    May Peace be With You and God Bless you and your beautiful family~ cori

  12. Lisa White says:

    Sadness is understandable, but I am sure your decision has brought a peace beyond understanding! I believe your soul is telling you it is time to go home and be healed! Healed, what wonderful words!! To be like we have never been, nor can even imagine in our human mind.

    Your legacy speaks loud and clear of who you serve…THE LORD OF LORD…KING OF KINGS!!! Your children and Kelly will continue that legacy, and I Andrea….although I have never met you….will remember everything you have taught through your blog, and am determined to make life more fun, laugh more, share more, love more, cry more…..just feel more!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

    And like I said before, I will be looking for you in heaven, cause heck….I need a tattoo!! I love you my sister in Christ!!!

    Sad, but rejoicing with you in Crawfordsville, IN

    Lisa White

  13. Wendy says:

    There is so much that I want to say and yet I don’t know the right words. You are beautiful. You are an amazing mother. You have done an awesome job preparing your children to be the men and woman God has created them to be. Even Clay, at such a young age, will be strengthened by reading the words you have written over the last year and through the lives of his siblings and the relationships you have formed. Well done good and faithful servant. You will be leaving them, Kelly, Alec, Jesse, Asa, Tucker, Bailey, & Clay, but God will still be with them. Holding them through their tears, carrying them through the hard times that make us strong, propelling them forward, loving them, providing for them, and continuing to mold them into what he wants them to be. We have all been made better through our relationships with you. It has been a priviledge to call you family. I love you. -Wendy

  14. pamela says:

    dear, dear andrea and kelly,
    this is the first time i cried reading your blog. i am leaving for a medical mission trip to brazil tomorrow, and you may be rejoicing in heaven by the time i return. the sadness is selfishly for me…i really wnted to meet you, and for your beautiful family. in hospice care, you never need to be in pain, but sometimes to achieve this, you will just sleep. you have decided it is time to stop fighting, embrace this sweet sleep, and you will awaken in Jesus’ arms-what greater joy than that could any of us hope for? it will be all of our turn to die someday, and when it is my turn, i hope you are standing beside Jesus waiting to greet me! 🙂 we will have all of eternity to get to know each other, brag about our 6 kids, etc! much love as you begin your new journey, my friend!
    Love and prayers,
    Pam

  15. Jason says:

    I will call…we want to come visit. You are amazing & I love you and hope your pain is lessening.

  16. Jodi says:

    I just don’t know where to begin. I guess I should get my own blog so I can write my feelings down. 😉

    I am just so sad for all of you. Never meeting you, it is amazing how connected I feel to you.

    You hold your head high and I can’t imagine being faced with the same illness and doing that. You have chosen not to let cancer suck you out of the body which it sucks your health from.

    May your final time with your family be peaceful and not painful.

    ((hugs)) from a total stranger!

  17. Toni says:

    You are a brave woman and such a beautiful writer. I have visited your blog on a few occassions and you move me everytime. I can only hope to be half the woman and mother you are. It seems so unfair, but you have such grace. Hope heaven is a beautiful as I imagine and that you will finally be pain free.

  18. Tina, French Creek, WV says:

    There are tears on my keyboard, but they’ll dry. I want more than anything for you to have peace & relief from your pain. I do wish I could have met you & helped you in a more direct way (cleaning mostly – sorry, I’m not much of a babysitter or cook), but praying for you & your family was the best I could do & I hope I’ve done my job well. I’m so glad that I get to tell you how much this has meant to me – watching you guide your life’s ship thru cancer-infested waters. I’ll do a better job of living (I take for granted that I’ll be here for a while) because you’ve done such an awesome job of living while knowing you are dying. Thank you, Andrea, from the bottom of my heart!

  19. shelley says:

    andrea, just want you to know i have read your words and am feeling so much for you. i would love to see if i can, but if not know that you are in my heart and mind… now and Always.

    i love you. shelley.

  20. Cheri Thiel says:

    Oh, Andrea. I was scared. As a person living with cancer, I was scared. Not of dying, I know where I am going. I was scared for my children. Scared to leave them without a mom. I have been begging God, daily, to cure me. To let me do His work here on earth. To help others find Him again. I believe that everything happens for a reason. My being led to you and your blog was not an accident. I needed to learn from you, and I did.

    Your strength has made me realize that God will take care of those left on earth, after I am gone. Thank you for your wisdom, your words. Godspeed, Andrea.

    Much love,
    Cheri, MI

  21. colette ivey says:

    dear andrea,

    i am kristine’s sister. i remember her telling me about the first time she met you and what an inspiration you were to her. thank you for all you have taught us. you have shared your journey and have touched our lives in ways you will never know. thank you for being a source of strength for my sister as she fights this dreaded disease. you will always remain a dear friend to her and will remain in our hearts forever.

    much love,
    colette

  22. ByJane says:

    Oh, Andrea, can you feel that all of us are there with you.

  23. diane says:

    andrea and family,

    my son had the honor of playing for you on new year’s eve with the rock school in philly. as a result of that, i have been lucky enough to read your blog. you are a strong and powerful woman and i have learned much from you. thank you. i wish you peace at this challenging time. know that many are thinking of you, admiring you, praying for you….blessings.

  24. Bill & Karen says:

    Once again you shine your light on this path that all of us will tread some day. You show us how not to fear death, and how to love and live in each moment until the end. It is hard to believe that such a big beautiful spirit as yours can be taken from us. But I know you are wise in your decisions and will go forward with a clear mind, knowing you have done all that this life asked of you and more. How wonderful to have this moment to celebrate Asa, Tucker, & Alec’s graduations. To glory in their accomplishments (and yours in raising them.) To see old friends and family and heal old wounds.

    I hope I get to see you to say goodbye, but I have already told you what I wanted to say–how grateful we are that you loved our son and gave us Clay to be our grandson. That your whole family is now our family and each of your children have become special to us. You are right in saying that they have most of the skills and parenting that they will need to become independent and successful adults. And they are surrounded by people who will love and nurture them after you are gone. Count us among them.

    With love,
    Karen

  25. Renee Khan says:

    Andrea:

    You are leading the way…….

    The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
    He leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul:
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’ sake.

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;

    Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
    Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

    Love Renee

  26. Aimee says:

    well…shit. i AM crying and unlike most of your friends, Andrea, i am struggling with accepting this. i don’t know if it’s just me, or if it’s that sisterhood of IBC, or both, but i never take this kind of news easily.

    i know God will take care of our loved ones- that your husband and children will make it through somehow, some way. but there’s only one bond greater than a mother to her children. it’s funny (marvelous) how Jesus tells us that if we love our children more than Him, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37). and yet, He placed this heart of a mother within us. it is a heart that wants to shield our children from any kind of pain, to jump in front of an oncoming train in order to spare the life of our child.

    while i rejoice that you know Christ and that your salvation is secure, i am so deeply sad for your family. all the weddings you will not be there for, all the births you will miss, all the life pains and joys that you cannot share in, all the wisdom you will take with you. and that little baby of yours who is too young to even remember you in relation to his own developing self. this is why i cry. not that you will miss that stuff- you’ll be far too busy in heaven worshipping God to even have a human thought or feeling. but it’s that your husband and children will miss YOU. fuck. fuck. fuck.

  27. evelyn keehn says:

    dear andrea i dont no what to say but i do no i wish i met you before this i read your blog evey day and you are such i loveing person and your kids and your husband you and i would have made such good friend i live in nj now but i live in fish town for a long time i prey for you and youe kids love evelyn

  28. Heather says:

    They say Angels come in all colors, shapes and forms. I truly believe you are our little Punk Rock Angel. I was lucky to know you once as Andrea from Mom’s and now know you through your fight as this amazing wonderful insightful Andrea. You and your family have inspired me and taught me that no day is guaranteed. Through my family scare you and your strength have lifted my heart so I was able to deal. I know you have done this for so many others.

    We the ones you might know in passing will forever be grateful for your generosity. Your generosity from sharing your story and allowing others to grab strength and hope from it. I know you will be out of pain and in a better place but our world will be missing a little bit of the sparkle you have brought onto us.

    My little boy, my husband and I each say a pray each night for you not to be in pain and for you family to be able to handle the pain. I wish we would have been closer and that I could have been there more than just going to a benefit or reading your blogs or telling your story. You have now and forever more become a part of my heart.

    Keep up that fiery spirit that was always Andrea and know that you are loved.

  29. You are a wonderful woman. My thoughts are with you and your beautiful family.

    xoxo

  30. deezee says:

    so profoundly moving. I admire your strength and spirit, and ache for you and your family, but I am also grateful for the lessons you impart here. I hope the pain subsides so that you can spend meaningful time with kids and hubby.

  31. imstell says:

    Blessings abound and the lessons in life are not always pleasant. You must be quite special for God to want you home so soon.

    Peaceful dreams and sweet hugs.

  32. Karen says:

    Andrea, I’ve been following your blog since Susan at ToddlerPlanet linked to it, and have been checking in on you daily since. I had a dream the other night that we met–I came to visit you and we had a great chat. I’m continuing to pray for you and your family–you’re an amazing person and a gift to all. God bless.

  33. You are a wonder. Love.

  34. Carolynn says:

    I came upon your site by accident but I am sure it was “no accident”. I was feeling sorry for myself over something that pales in comparison to your trial. I have taken a deep breath and have tried to re focus my thinking and thoughts…because of you. Yor dignity in the face of something so horrific is inspiring. Many years ago I worked as a nurse in a bone marrow transplant unit. While all of my patients died…I learned so much from the experience. They taught me more about faith and love than I could have ever learned on my own. I am grateful for that…and am so vividly reminded of the gift of life. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I pray for peace and rapid and painless passing for you.
    God Bless.

  35. Sara says:

    Thank you,
    Bless you,
    I’m sorry…

  36. Jaija says:

    Many people look long and hard for caring devoted friends. You mention shying away from negative family members. So many people in the world ARE negative, self-absorbed and down-right rude much of the time. How to meet and retain those nurturing souls that are truly in your corner in times of joy and woe is a difficult task.
    I am older than you but I have not been able to cultivate the type of loyal friends you are so very fortunate to have found. To feel so loved continously from the depths of the heart must bring you an incredible sense of joy.
    I often walk past the Mother Mary statue outside at the Church of Mary Magdalane at 7th & Montrose. I live nearby. I think this used to be your neighborhood.
    It is a historic Church, the first Italian church in the US, I believe.
    I don’t attend church but I have always been drawn to the statue’s presence and the sense of nurturing she reveals. I find myself talking to her. Pretty ironic since I’m a rather non-religious jewish girl who knows very little about prayers to saints! But I’ve become drawn to Mother Mary and lately have been asking her to reach out to you in some way. A few night ago in a half-sleep I saw her in a vision and she had a baby in her arms. She kind of reached out and held up the baby. I don’t know the significance but perhaps it was a message. I googled `miracle -Mother Mary’ and low and behold there were a few incredible stories of miraculous healing, one story especially interesting reflecting prayers to Mother Mary resulting in a seven year cancer life extension for a woman living in England.
    OK, well I thought I could ask! So I did. I know it’s a lot to ask, Mother Mary, I said. But if you did it before, can you do it again? And if indeed it is too much to ask and there are other plans then please guide Andrea into a peaceful and loving light and second life.

  37. Cindy says:

    You don’t know me. I come here every day to read. You remind me everyday what a gift we have, of this day we are in. To tell and show those around me that I love them…that they are most precious to me.

    I pray for you and your family. I will miss you.

    As a side, one of my boys is learning to tattoo. He has done 4 tattoos for me. One he did for me has seven hearts with each one of my kids’ names on them.

  38. Ruthie says:

    You are healthy, Andrea, in heart and in spirit if not in body. You have it right, right for yourself, and right for your family….you did all that was within your power to do…you have endured much. Enjoy this last chapter in your life…write those letters, make those healing connections. I have always said to myself about my children, that, like you, motherhood is the process of moving others towards adulthood. I say that my job as a mother is to work my way out of a job. It sounds as if you are confident of your childrens’ strength and ability to carry on. What a wonderful feeling and a wonderful thing for you to have worked hard to secure that this past year…you are right in saying that the year was a gift. I am so blessed to have happened upon your blog. I will continue to pray for you and your lovely family.
    Ruthie Graham from California

  39. evelyn keehn says:

    andreai just went to let you no that i wish i met you before you are just a very great lady my love goes out to you and your great kids and husband i read youe blog evey day i ope you can read this am not the best on this computer love evelyn sicklerville nj

  40. CD says:

    I have been following your story, but have never commented. Seems like now is the right time. You have given us all a gift with your honesty. Thank you. Wishing you and your family peace in these next moments. You are leaving them an amazing gift.

  41. Gail says:

    Andrea,

    I’ve been reading off-and-on for some time and have never commented. This post is some of the bravest words I’ve ever read and is making me cry. I love you. Godspeed.

    Gail

  42. Your words inspire…your love is something that your family and friends will remember forever.

  43. Heather says:

    Dear Andrea,
    Thinking of you tonight and sending thoughs of comfort, love, and peace your way.

  44. Anna says:

    I love you Miss Andrea! You’re one of the most amazing women that I know. I remember when I was little coming to your house in South Philly to play with the boys and you trying to get me to eat Tofu by telling me it was chicken…. FYI I knew what it was! Oh, there are so many things I could write here to tell you. I’m so glad that I bumped into you with my mom on the day of Freshman Orientation at Bodine with my mom and that Alec and I were able to graduate together… who would have thought it right? Us graduating together? I wish there was more time to say everything… or more space in this little comment box… but I can only pray now that the pain goes away and know that this won’t be a good but rather a see you soon. Then we can party in Heaven and maybe Kelly will get to tattoo Jesus!

  45. leah says:

    once again, these are the reasons why you are my hero, the reasons why i want to be more like you, you always know what’s right, it may be hard but you know what is right for you, and that’s why i love you and respect you.
    you friendly stalker (LOL)
    ~leah

  46. Donna says:

    I love you with all my heart, my life and my being

  47. Colleen says:

    This is truly not accidental that ‘we’ all have come upon your blog. I believe you have taught us all so much on how to really live & love. Cancer has touched my life many times I have always been the one left behind..”the survivor” , I hope when it is my time to be reunited with my family & friends I will also meet you, Andrea, to thank you for sharing your journey with us all. Keep God’s promise in your heart & let His light guide you. Peace to you and your family.

  48. maire brandon says:

    Andrea, Kelly and your quiver plus some,
    I haven’t written in a few months but have been reading all along….there are no words to console or calm…..I’m sorry doesn’t begin to touch it. I do know that I feel a kinship with you….have all along….. your statement about raising your children to be responsible, productive adults….same philosophy I had with my five children. I didn’t have them to hold onto them…I knew that they were entrusted to me only for a time and that I needed to instill a sense of self, integrity, strength and responsibility…it’s amazing to me but you asked Asa the same thing I would’ve asked any of mine…..”Why are you scared”?! You are an awesome woman Andrea! I know, you’re just you, right?…but you are awesome, really. You’re inspiring, strong, witty and full of love and faith….yeah, listing these attributes seems weak in light of your trials and tribulations but you have touched thousands of people who otherwise would never have known you……thank you for being willing to make yourself, your life and your trials known to us all…….iron sharpens iron!
    much love and admiration~
    maire brandon

  49. Marly says:

    You don’t know me and to be honest I have never read your blog before. It was my friend Nicole aka Throwslikeagirl who linked to it from her blog. I don’t really know what I was expecting to find when I clicked on the link. I knew you had cancer and I knew you were a mom. But, I found a lovely person who has made me realize that I take my time with my family and children for granted. You have moved my very soul.

    Such lovely words of kindness and wisdom. God Bless you and your family my dear. You will be in my prayers.

    xoxox
    Marly

  50. Joc says:

    Andrea, I know this sounds strange, but I wish you well for the rest of your earthly journey and pray that it is the best that it can be given your circumstances. You are a truly inspiring and amazing woman and I feel priveleged to have been able to follow along your journey through its ups and downs. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your love ones.

  51. Amy says:

    Andrea,

    YOU ARE MY HERO………..YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Amy

  52. Elesha says:

    You trully are quite incredible. You writte so beautifully it comes straight from your heart. I just cant imagen any aspect of what you are going though but somehow though your words It makes what we will all have to deal with at some stage a little less scary.

    They say they god made carrying a child so unbearable at the end so women will do anything for it to be over like puch a water mellon thorugh a key hole. Mabey the pain you have as bad and horrible as it is is natures way of getting your mind to a point were you are ready for the next chapter with God. If there was no pain no one would ever be ready to leave. And as much as a perone can be it seems you have reached that point in your mind. Im in Australia now lying in bed and I just cant stop thinking about you and how brave and strong and loving you are to your family. What a gift they have to have you as there mum.

    Elesha

  53. Juanita says:

    It’s hard to know exactly what to say, except that I’m proud of you. You’ve done all you can for your kids, and you’ll be leaving them able to truly know love and security and independence. I’ve not met you, but from my heart, I love you.

  54. Amie says:

    There are no words. Just endless prayers and love and respect.

  55. NYGrrrl says:

    Dear Andrea –
    My mom died from breast cancer 2 1/2 years ago & I vividly remember the day she decided to quit chemo & enter hospice. Looking back, I still think of it as such an incredibly brave, powerful thing she chose to do. I’ve been reading your blog for the past 2 months & I wanted to thank you: I have learned so much from you, as a mom… but more, I have learned so much about what MY mom must have been going through, but was unable to articulate in the ways that you are doing. I can’t tell you what your words have meant to me – you have helped me to heal in so many ways & I am so grateful to you. God bless you and your family, Andrea. Love and thanks – Sally

  56. Sarah says:

    Andrea you are my hero, this world truly will be at a great loss without you.

    Love Sarah

  57. Jackie says:

    Hi Andrea. I have been reading your blog for months, and everyday you still amaza me with your strenth and courage as a woman and a mother. You should be proud of your children, but more importantly, they should be proud of YOU. I hope they know, and will always remember, who a strong mother they have. God will continue to bless you and your loved ones, whether together or seperate. Have comfort in that. God speed.

  58. Debbie says:

    Andrea, you continue to be an inspiration to any mother or person that comes here. You have made me appreciate my life in the moment and to stop worrying about the future and whats happened in the past. I pray for you and your family every night and only hope that I have some of your bravery as I face whatever comes my way in life. Thanks for sharing so much with us and you know that all of us will be here as long as you are.

  59. Elaina says:

    Dear Andrea,

    I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your life and love. There is much to be learned from your grace. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Much love,
    Elaina

  60. Sarah S. says:

    You are so strong, and such a good Mom. Bless you! I wish for you no more pain. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. You have raised some strong kids.

  61. Evie says:

    Andrea,
    I thank you sincerely for being a teacher to those of us who know through this blog. This ministry has been a blessing to me in my life. You’ve affirmed in me: loving and living in the present moment, seeking and finding the light in every person, and trusting and loving God.
    Yes, I’ve shed those tears you dread. But, they are of love and are prayerful as you continue this blessed journey. I pray for you to bear this physical pain and for peace upon your family.
    God’s love and peace be with you,
    Evie

  62. imstell says:

    Andrea,
    If you have the energy, do you think you could put your Mantras into a list an post them? I think they are full of wisdom.

    Smooches.

  63. Karen says:

    Andrea,
    Thank you for sharing your life with us. I have been reading for quite some time; always moved by your posts; smiles, tears, sadness, joy. You and your family are in my prayers; I know God is there for you all.
    Blessings, Karen

  64. Sue & Joe says:

    Dear Kelly, Andrea & precious family – I woke this morning at 5 a.m. with you all on my mind. I had to get close to you, so went to your blog. We were at Wendy’s for Father’s Day & she asked if I had read your blog. (It had been a while since I connected with you that way; however, you all have continually been in my prayers, and in my thoughts as I look at your family pictures on our shelf, and on several Sundays Joe through tears has lead our church in prayer for you.) Back to Wendy’s . . Grandma was there, too. Wendy shared with us the lastest. We cried and then talked about what a blessing you have been to Kelly, how the Lord had brought you together in His perfect timing and in His perfect will(on the other side of the continent, even!), and gave him an incredibly loving family, and Clayton. Thank You, Lord, for Your many blessings!

    I’m so grateful for those three times we got to be with you, Andrea, at your wedding, at your house before Christmas in ’06 and last year when you came out to CA. They were brief encounters, but mean a lot to me now. It’s funny how we take our times together for granted, thinking that there will be more. My only comfort is that we will be together again where there will be no distance or pain or sadness or separation. Thank You, Lord, for Your comfort!

    Thank you, Andrea, for your honesty and sharing your life with us all, for inspiring us to have courage and faith in the Lord and in His Word and to discover our purpose in life and enjoy what we have been given. You have been a gift to us from the Father, inspired by the Holy Spirit. When you have fulfilled all He has purposed for your life, He will call you home and say, “Well done My good and faithful servant”. (These words were in my mind to tell you when I woke this morning. Interesting that Wendy said the same thing in her note to you. Seems the Lord wants you to know it.) The angels will be rejoicing at your homecoming, the Lord will be welcoming you into His loving arms, and your heart will be at peace. And we will go on with you in our hearts forever. Thank You, Lord, for Andrea!

    I know you’ve read these words before. I said them to Grandpa when Grandma, Karen and I were around his bed. John 14:1 Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Thank You, Lord, for Your promises!

    Sorry I took so much room. I just wanted you to know we love you so very much and are upholding you in our prayers.

    Forever in our hearts, Aunt Sue & Uncle Joe

  65. Mary says:

    Andrea–
    You are truely an inspiration to family, friends, and everyone (especially me) who reads your blog.
    Peace and love.

  66. ellen b says:

    Dear Andrea, The Prophet- Much gratitute for writing your philosophies about life and love, and for giving of yourself to the world through this blog.
    Dear Andrea, The Ex-Birthing coach- Thank you for coaching me through 21 hours of labor 10 years ago, you were learning to bartend at the time, with 5 kids that were 8 and under… you sat selflessly with us, rearranging your life that day and night to be there. Thank you.
    Dear Andrea, The Music Lover- the punk rocker- thank you for making me feel welcomed in those Bradley classes, among the married couples with planned preganancies, by sharing your Iggy Pop story, and photos, and love of good music- we had an instant bond, sisters in rock & roll. And thank you for talking to Gavin about the Rock School, he listened intently to you at the party, you have added to his motivation for learning to play music.
    Dear Andrea, The Woman- Thank you for the pride you’ve taken in your appearance and home, made up and sexy while running a busy busy neat tidy household- a role model for keeping it all together, the total woman.
    Dear Andrea, The Mother- Thank you most of all for allowing God to work through you, to shine the light on so many others, for embracing your calling. You have moved through this life with tremendous accomplishment, mothering the kids while working on your passions, college, marriage to Kelly, while showcasing God’s love for all to see. That is the light people see in your smile, the twinkle in your eyes, sparkling, nurturing you, the Mother of all Mothers.
    Fifteen years ago in Scotland at a place called Findhorn I was saved, which for me means I was opened to let spirit into my life, to understand and accept the concept of “work is love in action”. Today I see that God’s work is your love in action.
    Dear Andrea, Your light shines on, in the ocean and rivers, in plants and animals, in the moon, and the stars, and the sun.
    Blessings to you and Kelly, Alec, Jesse, Asa, Tucker, Bailey , Clay, LeeLee and Slo. And much love.

  67. Julie says:

    Andrea,

    I have been following your journey for the past year. Your words are beautiful, and such a testimony for the Lord. You have inspired me in so many ways – to be a better mother, to live each day to the fullest. What a beautiful soul you have! Thank you for sharing your true self. I will continue to keep you and your sweet family in my prayers.

    Blessings & Love,
    Julie

  68. Laura K says:

    Andrea,
    You are truly a wonderful, beautiful, amazing and loving person. Thank you for letting me into your home, you life, your family and letting me be a part of this experience. You are by far my hero and I love you very much. It makes me sad to see you going through all of this pain. I know you are brave and you are an inspiration to me. I am praying for you and your family everyday. I love you all very much.

  69. alyssa says:

    At the end of our life, it doesn’t matter how many things, or how much money we have, the only thing that matters is love. Andrea you are loved by so many!!! I don’t know you, but you have touched my life and you are a true hero to so many. I used to be scared (terrified!) of my cancer returning. I would let myself be scared, now -I give my life it’s due, and not one second less. You have showed me, and so many people, such a private and intimate part of your life, your soul. Thank you for the lessons on life, death, and love. I’ll never forget them. Peace to you and your beautiful family. God bless all!!!!

  70. Dan & Judy says:

    Andrea, we love you and we love your family. I feel selfish saying it, but my heart breaks. You are going on to something better, but we are left behind. I’m so glad you were able to see the twins graduate. They, like all your kids, are evidence that you really lived out and achieved your goal of preparing your children to be adults. Frankly, by the way you’ve lived, you’ve shown a lot of other children and adults how to be adults too. Thanks!

    Kyrie eleison. S.D.G.

  71. Gwyneth says:

    andrea, dear. like so many others, i am praying for you, for kelly, for alec, jesse, asa, tucker, bailey and clay. you are a wonder. i hope to one day know and trust god the way you do. thanks for being such a blessing to so many. and thanks for inviting me to bailey’s 5th birthday at chuck e cheese way back in the day–when you barely even knew me! i also remember the first time we met, we went to john’s water ice in south philly and got lemon water ice (at least i think we both got lemon?) with the jason/jason cell. you amazed me even then and you certainly continue to amaze me now. i love you. ben loves you. we are praying many prayers.
    love, gwyneth

  72. Michele says:

    Andrea, my heart goes out to you and your family. You and your family were blessed with the “prep time” that you described above. I hope that your pain will subside soon. I know that your family will be in pain when you pass, and I hope that they will be comforted in knowing that you’re going to to be free from sickness, and that although you might not be with them physically, you’ll always be watching over them.

    Your entrance into heaven is going to be a spectacular punk rock party. Say hello to Joey and the rest of the Ramones when you get there. Shake hands with Johnny and June Carter Cash. I have a feeling that there is going to be quite a welcoming committee when you get there.

    Thank you for all of your life lessons.
    Peace to you and yours,
    Michele

  73. jamom says:

    Dear Andrea, I first heard about you through Dr. Dan Gottlieb’s show on NPR. I love Dr. Dan and he had such wonderful things to say about you that I had to check out your blog. I was completely hooked and have eagerly anticipated your new posts.

    I admire your spirit and outlook-you pull no punches but at the same time you are loving and spiritual. Your husband and children have been blessed to have you and vice versa! You are full of love and that legacy lives on in all your family and friends.

    I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now but know that there are alot of people praying for all of you…

    God bless you…

  74. Chris S. says:

    Dear Andrea, I am so glad to have met you here in Glendale, CA, when you came down last year to check out the clinic in Santa Monica and again in Santa Rosa for a brief time. From that time on I have had the utmost respect and compassion for how you are handling this most difficult of situations with dignity and reality. You have taught me so much about reality and being honest. You will always live in our hearts. Bless you!

  75. Mar S says:

    I started reading your blog after the article was published in the Inquirer about you earlier in the year. I don’t know you but if I could I would take away your pain and disease.illness.

  76. Jen says:

    I come here every day Andrea, I have for a long time. Until two weeks ago I knew no one with cancer or anyone who had ever had it. I am a mom though and your love for your children is something we have in common as moms. I loved to read about your children and your hopes and dreams for them. Then two weeks ago my mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of uterine cancer. All of a sudden your words meant so much more to me than ever and as our family travels this journey with my own mother, I am learning lessons from your writings that I can not put into words. I feel blessed to have “known” you in this way and your legacy will not be forgotten. You are strong, brave, beautiful and amazing.

  77. Brian says:

    While only having met you and your wonderful kids at your wedding, I wanted to thank you for the Love you’ve shown Kelly, and for my grandson Clay. Time goes by so quickly and you’ve shown many through this venue how precious this time on earth really is. The Love you’ve given to your family have undoubtedly made a huge differance in the many lives you have touched.

    I know that Clay, Bailey, Tucker & Asa, Jesse and Alec are going to miss Mom not being there forever in body Andrea, yet the truth is, You will never leave them. Your spirit will live on, in and through them. While their hearts, and ours, will be broken there will come in time the realization that who they are now, and will become, is due greatly to who You are now, and have been. The Love you’ve shown them and shown us all will indeed live on forever.

    Wilma wants you to know:

    Dear Andrea,

    I’ve asked Brian to send this email for me. Just today I was looking at the pictures taken when you were here with Karen. Our first time to meet. I’m so very happy that I was able to see you. I sensed at once that you were a beautiful and strong young woman. That you deeply loved Kelly and your children. And I sensed your strong faith in God. You have been a wonderful Mother. You have given your children the opportunities to grow and develope, and this will continue through their lives I’m sure. I love your children and only wish I could have met them in person. And I love Clay because he belongs to all of us. And always will. I’m glad you have made peace with everyone and everything partaining to your Life. And you can look forward to no more pain…no more tears…and await the rest of us to meet You. I do Love You. And thank you for giving the happiness to Kelly that you have given and Joy that you have given us. And until we meet, in the place that God has prepared for us, You will ever be in my thoughts and Heart.

    Love, Wilma

    Well, I’m glad I was able to get Mom on the phone Andrea and have her dictate her thoughts and feelings while I was able to write them down for You. I know that if my Dad had met you, and had a way to express his thoughts in words, they would be full of Love and be expressed with the most beautiful smile you could imagine.

    Much Love to You, Andrea

    Brian

  78. maryellen Nerz-Stormes says:

    Dear Andrea,

    These are three quotes that I felt described what it is like to have cancer which is a very isolating disease. The people you think will be there for you are not and then you have these suprising people who give you tremendous support.

    “You have to let down your defenses in order to be mothered, and after seven years in a culture obsessed with academic achievement, my defenses were just about the only parts of my personality I had left. Whatever force it was that brought Sybil up to my apartment, and mad her return with Deirdre the following day ñ and the day after that, and the day after that ñ was also loving enough to make sure I was too sick to send them away.”

    From “Expecting Adam” by Martha Beck

    “You mustn ‘t be afraid of the dark.” he said, gently grasping my arm and making me shudder. “Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking and loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning.”

    From Dawn by Elie Weisel

    “This was my first tentative, wary encounter with one of the greatest gifts of I would receive from Adam: the understanding that the word mother is more powerful when it is used as a verb than as a noun. Mothering has little to do with biological reproduction ñ as another friend once told me, there are women who bear and raise children without every mothering them, and there are people (both male and female) who mother all their lives without ever giving birth. The bad news is that not all of us have the good fortune to be born to our real mothers, or to stay with them as long as we need them. The good news is that, while mothers are often in short supply, mothering is not. Against all odds, despite everything that works against it on the unpleasant, uncomfortable planet, mothering is here in abundance. You can always find it, if you’re smart enough to know where to look.”

    From “Expecting Adam” by Martha Beck

    I feel that the first years I was sick I was really ready to die and I think it is very brave for anyone to accept death and dying As I had better succes in my battle I went back to my earlier self in a way because I started to feel invincible. We live in a society where people do not accept disease and dying – even me some of the time of the time.

    When I first got sick I made a very good friend who was a priest. He told me that having a disease like this one is a great privledge and that only a special person would be given such a grace. I thought he was crazy at the time, but I grew to understand what he meant. It gives you the ability live in a world of love – and you catch a glimpse of the love of the angels. It is truly the most positive situation, though people can’t see it.

    I have grown cynical again, but your blog made me see that again. You are truly filled with the grace of God and this place here is just the beginning.

    I just finished my three hundreth chemo, but obviously I have never gone through what you have and if I could I would take the whole thing off you and hold it for as long as you wanted me too.

    I used to say that cancer was this totally ugly present and very few people want to take it and hold it. You are blessed with friends who are willing to help you hold it.

    My friend who was very special died in 2005. Just dropped dead of a heart attack on the anniversary of my diagnosis and the day I met him. When he was alive he would say to me that he kept me in his pocket. He gave these great hugs. They were truly sincere hugs that lasted until I let go. He was love. I will tell you, I could not feel him after he died. I felt he was just gone. I think it was me – just lost from him. But, anyway, your blog made me think about him and I have asked him to put you in his pocket and to give you a little hug.

    God Bless you and your family. When I go to Mass tomorrow, I will remember you and your family in my prayers. I hope you are relieved of your suffering.

    Sincerely, Mary

    I am sorry if I was overly aggressive to you in my attempts to give you advice.

    I get militant about fighting the disease becasue I had to for myself. When my puppy almost died of parvo, I just said to the vet – no, I will save this dog and somehow the dog survived. I just want to go fight it for peopel and I really do.

  79. matt says:

    thank you for sharing.

  80. sizzle says:

    I have been reading your blog for some months but do not believe I’ve commented before.

    I wanted to tell you how you have moved me. Your dignity, grace and wisdom leave me speechless. Thank you for sharing your life with us here on this blog.

    I wish you peace whatever way it comes to you.

  81. sandiegogirl says:

    I am just like sizzle above. Been reading your blog for some months as well and I don’t think that I’ve commented either.

    I wish you peace and comfort on your journey that from here on you must take alone. 🙁 I also want to send my prayers your way for the family that you will be leaving behind.

  82. Chloe says:

    I have read your blog every day since last summer when I heard you on NPR with Dr. Dan Gottlieb. I have often wanted to write, but I wasn’t sure I could say anything meaningful. I just really want to thank you. I am a Mom and was part of the punk scene in D.C. so I guess I identify with you a great deal (although you’re way cooler than me!). I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was 23 and your blog has really helped me get some insight into what this process must have been like for her when I was too involved in my own life to truly understand. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life!!!!

  83. Becky says:

    I was directed to your blog from the Glamour website and have been so touched by reading your story. Two years ago I lost my Mother to cancer and miss her and think about her every day. When I read this post I thought a lot about my Mom. She too decided to stop her treatment when she knew the end was near. It was the bravest and most stoic experience and while I was devastated, I fully supported her & understood her decision. You have been blessed with a big, beautiful family of bright children, a loving husband and many exceptional friends. What an amazing legacy! The one thing I wish I would have told my Mom was that dying at such a young age–she would always be young and beautiful in our memories. I wish your family these same memories of their amazing Mother. May G-d bless you and I wish you peace.

  84. Tricia says:

    I wanted to write to say though we have “chatted” via a comment once or twice, you don’t know me. I just want you to know I am here. Reading, being with you in this way, a stranger crying, because of your strength, your beauty (both inside and out), your amazing family, and this incredible loss we will all feel, even us strangers, when you are gone. I am so happy to know you are able to laugh. You, by being you, have given your children and your family an incredible gift. Thank you for letting me share that with you. Much love to you. Much love to your family.

    Tricia

  85. Maggie says:

    Hey Andrea,

    This is my second time posting in the past two weeks, so hey! We’re almost like friends!

    I shoot up a prayer for you and even more for your family who may suffer more, now and again. You are still here, and I pray for peace and joy to permeate your being – even if you’re knocked out on drugs.

    Today I took a nice snooze on the couch. It was nice to relax. I hope as you come to the end of your life you’ll just accept and enjoy the sleepiness as you decompress. I trust you will not suffer too much pain. That even in your pain you can smile at the ones you love.

    Good night Andrea. I’ll see you on the other side. I love you.

  86. whymommy says:

    You are beautiful, Andrea. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    (May I crosspost this on Mothers With Cancer? I think it needs to find even more moms who need to hear it.)

  87. Sarah says:

    I miss reading your daily blogs, please not this have been the last on. You help get alot of us thru, seeing your strength, and hearing your positive attitude. There is an emptyness in my heart.

  88. Heather says:

    I’ll make this one short. As you know I had expectations, as many do. Time to hold your benefit, a chance to get to meet you in order to bring you the $ from the benefit. Now I fear that I won’t have that chance. I will still have the benefit. I apologize for not getting it done prior to now.
    I wish you the best in the hard journey ahead, I wish your family acceptance and healing and thoughts of nothing but love and good memeories of you. I wish I could meet you, but I refuse to try and take up what little time you have left to be with those you love.
    You have touched me, Andrea, in such a profound way after not even meeting you. I admire you and hope to be like you when I try to grow up.
    Blessing of the lightest peace.
    Heather in Florida.

  89. I don’t know you, but I want to wish you peace and safe passage. It takes courage to say no to more treatment and to make your own choices. I hold your family in my thoughts.

  90. JessicaAPISS says:

    Susan/WhyMommy sent me to you.

    I will pray for you and your children for a very long time.

    Your soul is eternal and so is your love.

  91. Rachael says:

    I’ve never read your blog before, and I don’t know you. I found this post through the perfect post awards, and I find myself suddenly unable to control my tears. I didn’t click here expecting such an amazing and intimate story. I am amazed by the amount of peace that you seem to have found, and hope that it will continue for you until the end. I will keep you and your family in my prayers, and hope that whatever time you have left is spent in love and exactly how you want it. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us strangers – you’ve touched a lot of people.

  92. Hello Andrea’s friends and family.

    I found this blog recently and while many things I read here moved, me this post did especially. It correlated with a post I was writing for my blog and I quoted Andrea, and linked back to this entry. Of course if you find that inappropriate, let me know, and I will remove it. God bless your family, I am sorry for your loss.