Phone Calls

“Don't stuff it,” she told me last night.
I had to laugh. Who me? I'd never do such a dastardly thing, is what I thought. But my laugh was silent, choked by the tears clogging my throat. Stuffing is what I do best.

My dad's bone cancer didn't just flare up last weekend, it outright attacked him and left him in unbearable pain. They weren't home, so Mom drove from Oregon (or was it Washington? I don't know. My mind is foggy on the details.) to Arizona to get him in to the doctor. Once the pain was under control, which took quite a bit of doing, they did chemo.

He called me late yesterday afternoon, on his way home to let me know. His voice was hoarse but the pain I'd heard last week wasn't so close to the surface. Thankfully I'd had about 3 minutes' notice that Dad wasn't doing well...

Jim got home from work yesterday afternoon in record time and before he was even out of the van he asked, “Have you talked with your dad?” Everything inside me sagged. I had fallen asleep in my chair (I'm finally recovering from VBS) and was groggy, but his words sliced through the fuzz in my head. He filled me in on Mom and Dad's weekend as we carried his lunch box and water cooler in. I had no sooner sat down than my phone rang. I didn't have to look to know it was Dad.

...those three minutes helped me focus on what Dad was saying. The chemo schedule, the traveling back and forth between the mountains and the valley for doctor visits as long as he can. Later, as I pieced things together in my mind that phrase caught me. As long as he can. They only live in the mountains until sometime in October when they move back down to the valley. As long as he can. It's June now, that means there's July, August and September until October comes. Three months. As long as he can? October is when they made their semi-annual rounds visiting kids and grandkids. Life is changing this year in so many ways. And it snuck up on me. As hard as I tried to be prepared, it caught me off-guard.

Don't stuff it, she told me last night as we talked on the phone.
Coming from my sister, another queen of stuffing, I had to listen to her. She knows me well. Her words cut through the fuzz that had grown into heart static, and the tears started. There's nothing wrong with tears, except that I don't cry too often and very few people see me cry.

So, I'm not stuffing it. I'm writing it since that's what I do.

I've not talked to Mom. I know very few details. If I was told, they're lost in the fuzz and static. But I know that what was once on the horizon is here. Bone cancer is doing what prostate cancer and heart problems and Agent Orange failed to do.


  1. Oh Peej, praying for your dad. I'm so glad you didn't stuff it but you shared.

  2. Ahh..Peej! ((hugs))

    Lord, hold Peej and her family close in Your arms. Thank you for their faith in You to give them strength and comfort during this time. Lavish Your peace in their souls. In Jesus' Name, Amen

  3. Anonymous7:33 AM

    Oh Peej. This brought tears. I'm praying for you, your dad and mom, and the whole family. God knows all the details and is in control.
    Love you,

  4. Peej, I'm so sorry. It's hard to hear this kind of news--so very very hard. Praying for you and your Dad...praying God holds you close to Him as things change around you. Love you. Sending hugs.

  5. saying a prayer for your dad, as well as you and your family.

  6. Oh, sweetie. Praying you through the process. Love you SOOO very much. Love you so much. Praying the sharing helped.

  7. Patty,
    Prayers are being said on your behalf all over the place. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  8. Praying for you during this difficult time.


  9. I pray through this difficult process you become a wise spewer instead of a stuffer. It's been 6 years since our phone calls and just last week my mom sat me down and told me the stuffing has to stop. It seems easier that way, but you were so wise to speak it through the pen, so to speak.

    Your dad sounds a lot like mine, a very brave courageous man. Use those words to tribute him, it helps so much. My dad's last conversation was with me---I gave him a living tribute instead of a eulogy. I consider it one of the top blessings God ever gave me.

    We love you Patty, please don't hesitate to ask us to help if we can, and know we're ready for any spewing you need to do.

    With love and tons of prayer,

  10. Barbara Culler9:10 AM

    Oh Patty, I am praying for you.
    Thank you for sharing this- and written so creatively too!

  11. Praying for your Dad and your family. I'm so glad you're not stuffing, but rather sharing with us.

    Psalm 143:1
    [A psalm of David.] O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.

    Love and prayers,

  12. Anonymous7:57 AM

    Thanks, Patty for sharing your grief. You, your family, your sisters and mom and dad are dear to our hearts. May God grant you all His peace and presence through this and asking Him to comfort you all.

    In Christ's Love,


  13. Anonymous8:19 PM

    Hi Patty,

    Your analogy was so good re let God's grace brush you - I'm going to share that with my sister, Jean, don't know if you remember her but she raises Golden Retrievers - just sold the last of a litter except one she finally decided to keep - but she'll definitely relate to the analogy as she's been going through app. 5 months of cancer treatments, etc.

    I think of your parents so often and have always appreciated how they gave up their wonderful greenhouse business and went out to the mission field and how I have often thought of how your father was one of the hardest workers for the Lord I've ever met - I still speak of him to others in that regard! I've known some of all he's been through since and prayed for him and your mother who has been right there beside him and it sure looks like she still is!!! I've always admired them so much -

    I'll be especially in prayer for him right now - my cousin had bone cancer and I known somewhat about the pain he's going through. All I know is God must look upon him in a very special way to trust him for such a thing as this - and I pray he may look to Jesus as he always has and find in Him all He needs!!

    With my love and prayers for you and them and the rest of your family -

    Flora S.

  14. Anonymous10:06 PM

    " Jesus wept."

    This verse came to mind many times today as I've been thinking and praying for you. He is so gracious to share our sorrow. Isaiah 53.

    In Brotherly Love,



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