Thursday, November 3, 2011

Undaunted Courage

I felt badly this morning as I blew my hair dry and put on an outfit that seemed to match just a little too well.  As I pulled on my good boots and got ready to go see Phil in the hospital I felt indulgent for looking so much better than I felt.  For looking too nice. It felt so damned inappropriate because Phil is dying.  

He is in renal failure, isn't making platelets or red cells and is not eating well.  He can't tolerate anymore chemotherapy and has come to the end of his long journey.  Valiance and courage continue to characterize his life and those of us gathered here are blessed to be alongside him as he faces the challenges of the coming days.  

Pray for a peaceful passage for our Iron Man warrior, father, son, brother, husband and friend.

*please respect our family time as we draw together to love and support one another and refrain from phone calls.  Email messages and comments are much appreciated

Cards and letters may be sent to:
1426 Lomita Road 
El Cajon, CA 92020


  1. What a great honor to know and love a truly special person. Tears of joy and sorrow in my eyes.

  2. To the family!
    You have given such inspiration to those you shared with. Courage, strength, heart, love, compassion, honesty, patience and understanding, and so much more! Our love and prayers will continue for you and your family... continue to live strong............

  3. We are praying for Phil, his peace, and for you and Bennett and Olivia.

    I can say that Phil Conrad is truly one of the best people I have ever known in my life. He is one of the true, best friends I have known. He was an inspiration to me all through the crucible of Duke PA School and the many years after.

    To say that he lived his life with integrity, honor, courage, and kindness is an understatement.

    I will always love Phil.

    We love you all and are with you - heart and soul.

    David, Heather, Zoe, and Gretchen.

  4. Reading and writing through tears, dear Sally. Oh, my - valiant is the word, indeed. ALL of you. Praying you through this last leg of the journey, valiant woman of courage. Your testimony is absolutely brilliant. So much love to you all - and blessings of peace to that man of yours. I will put my favorite prayer for such a time on facebook - it's from the Book of Common Prayer and is both tender and strong at the same time. Kind of like you and Phil. Lots and lots of love. Diana

  5. Lisa Christen and familyNovember 3, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Sally, stay strong for Phil and your children. God will give you the strength that you need to help him to his next place. God will help you as you help Phil. You and your family and especially Phil are in our thoughts and prayers.

  6. Sally,

    May God and your family comfort and guide you through this next leg in the journey.

    Lots of love and prayers sent your way...Your "Team" is aching for all of you. I'm sorry.


  7. God be with you! We are with you in spirit!
    -Charlie and Shane Appel
    All of the Calvary Campers and Staff past and present are joined around the spiritual altar in love for Phil and his family.

  8. I'm praying. He has put up a good fight. We are never ready to let go, but I pray our Lord Jesus will comfort you and give you strength for the days ahead. Remember we love you both.

  9. I'm with you Sally, Bennett, Phil, David and the whole family. I am praying for you as I type, to know that God is wrapping you all in His warm embrace, comforting, and allowing sorrow, pain and love spill over you. I love you---Julie

  10. Phil, I will forever enjoy the time we spent on this earth. I am glad to call you my friend and a brother I always enjoyed chewing on deep topics. You live Phil. Your bride is amazing and your kids will thrive. There are hundreds of your friends who will wrap our arms around your family for years to come. Be at peace. Godspeed brother, see you on the other side.

  11. Elizabeth, Jack and I are heartsick for you all - we wish you peace - and we always remember you skateboarding down the "steep side" of West Hutchinson, scaring the hell out of us; laughing; and skiing hard and fast both in the Laurel Mountains of PA and the mountains of Park City - and most of all, your easy, ready and warm friendship.
    with love and sorrow,
    the wilsons

  12. Heavenly Father, we ask You to lift up our dear, brave brother as he walks toward You in a peace he hasn't known for a very long while. Embue him in Your light and in Your love and encourage him to drift into Your gentle embrace. We know You have had a plan for Phil and, although we can't pretend to understand it, somehow we trust in it and in You. Drift, Brother Phil, are forever surrounded in love.

  13. My heart is heavy, and I grieve with you all..... Peace be with you.


  14. I am sorry to get this posting, and so sad. Phil, you were so great to be a kid with! I have wonderful wonderful memories of our childhood in Edgewood, and up til we all went away to college. I think we started in Kindergarden together, right? All my love to you and your family dear Phil, please know your friendship thru my life meant a lot to me. Love, Carolanne Patterson

  15. My heart is heavy and filled with so much sadness. Phil, you put on a great fight and I just wish the outcome would be different.Thank you both for sharing the most private and most painful part of your life with much to be learned from. For your last days together, feel the love that pours down on you and leave in peace...Love, Uli Conrad

  16. Words are difficult to express the sorrow we feel for your family. We will always remember the Phil who could blow the heck out of that harp and bring life to music. We are heartsick for you Sally, Bennett and Olivia. We cannot begin to comprehend your situation but are praying for strength and comfort for, the Caldwell's

  17. I am so very heartsick right now. I have been vicariously walking with all of you for so long now. I think of Phil on each and every run I make; remembering our days together, running, sharing and acting like complete nut balls. Love to all. Safe journey Phil.

  18. I'm so heartbroken to hear this sad, sad news. You have all fought the toughest fight and did everything you could. I guess God really wants Phil earlier than expected. Prayers and blessings to you all in this dark hour

  19. Sally, I'm so sorry about Phil. Even though I never met him and only knew him through email, I'll never forget him. Andrea Graf

  20. My heart is broken and my family's thoughts and prayers are with you and your wonderful family. Phil's courageous fight has been an ispiration to everyone who knows that awesome man. I will forever remember the times I spent with him growing up, and will long cherish the time spent again just recently in Atlanta for a guys's weekend with he and Brad, Tim, Jim, Jeff and Bruce, laughing the whole time, I swear. I love you, Man.

  21. Many important memories in our life include both of you. Getting married, my first job... Phil is one of the most amazing examples of a Christian man I know and we feel so blessed to have had the privilege to call you both friends. Our prayers continue for a miracle but also request peace in this transition. We love you. I don't understand why you have gone though more trials in your life than anyone I know, but to watch how your family gathers and protects each other and your faith has not faulted has been inspiration to me many time over the years. Through my tears I want to say thank you for who you are and the man you've been. Our hearts are breaking. Love you, Kristy and Corey Asbell

  22. Sally, my heart broke when I got the news... I am so sorry that I never got a chance to meet Phil myself, but from what I have learned of him through this blog throughout this fight, he sounds like he is one hell of a man. I have no words other than "I am so sorry"... I am praying for you, Bennett, Olivia, David, and all of your family right now and will continue to do so throughout this time of darkness.

    My love to you all,
    Michelle Dailey

  23. With tears I am praying for your family. Pleading with the Almighty for peace and comfort and strength. Sorry doesn't begin to say enough, but I am truly sorry for what you are experiencing. You are all so loved, and your witness in this trial is great. With love to all of you, the Giesbrechts.

  24. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire family, may peace be with our brother Phil as he enters the heavenly gates.

  25. Phil you are an extraordinary human being. Always filled with love and humor and an understanding of what is really important. You have improved our lives. Our thoughts and love are with you all as Phil faces these next challenges.

    We hope you have very little pain and lots of hands to hold. With love,

    Kristin, Bennett, Claire and Elaine

  26. Jessica BreitbarthNovember 4, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    I have followed your ups and your downs these many months, but know that my heart has been with you, Phil and the kids each step of the way. You have all shown grace and are truly inspirational. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you now or whenever. Love you!

    Jessica Breitbarth and Thor.

  27. Phil, Sally and family, you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Phil is a strong man who never gives up... I love you both dearly and I am thinking about you daily. I do hope Phil is comfortable. I know having you with him is all he needs. Sally, there are no words to express how I feel and there are no words to help you at this time, but know that I love you both and you are in my thoughts. You always will be. jan

  28. There really are NO words to express the sadness and heartbreak upon reading this last post. I am filled with so many different emotions that I am almost numb.
    God bless you all so much at this time, and especially in the time to come. The love and prayers will continue always!!!!
    Leslie Rush Cuda

  29. Phil,
    Godspeed to you and your family. I cannot imagine all of the people you have inspired along the way. Phil, hands down you are my favorite coach. I'm sure you are the favorite coach of many. You were such an inspiration and you were only 18 years old! I remember the Edgewood swim meets like they happened yesterday. Your voice would be hoarse, or gone, after you gave it your all with cheering. We all looked up to you then and we look up to you now. Love you!
    Jill Hutton

  30. Sally,
    This is Nona's friend, Christi. I met you a few times at various cookie bakes and gatherings there. I am so very sorry to hear this news. My heart is aching for your family. There is not much I can say right now to help heal your pain, but what I know is you are an amazing wife and mother and you are doing an phenomenal job taking care of your family. I know first-hand how difficult this process can be on a family...I lost my stepfather of 10 years to Leukemia when I was 14. I could never imagine going through it as a wife or a mother. I remember thinking my mother was the strongest person in the world. You are a warrior, too. Take care, Sally.

  31. Prayers for the entire family and for peace.

    I have nothing but fond memories of growing up on Lehigh Street and spending many days doing mischevious things with the Conrad boys, especially Phil and David.

    Phil called a while back to share some thoughts with me and it was a very corageous and thoughtful call. I am a better person from knowing Phil and am amazed, but not surprised, with his will to fight and undaunting courage. God Speed and God Bless the family.


  32. Sally and phil, Just to let you know the PBF prayer chain is lifting you up, asking God to strengthen and hold you in His arms.

  33. Just wanted to share this for a dear friend Phil...

    "A Parable of Immortality" by Henry van Dyke.

    I am standing by the seashore.
    ... A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
    and starts for the blue ocean.
    She is an object of beauty and strength,
    and I stand and watch
    until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud
    just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

    Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!
    Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.

    She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
    as she was when she left my side
    and just as able to bear her load of living freight
    to the places of destination.
    Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

    And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
    'There she goes! ' ,
    there are other eyes watching her coming,
    and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
    'Here she comes!'

    Love to you brother...God speed on your new journey!

  34. You are all so strong. My heart is breaking for you, but I am glad that peace will come and that you have all had each other through this. We are thinking of you and sends lots of love.

    The Handy's

  35. Sally - I am an old friend of Phil's from college. Bennett forwarded your Chronicle to me.

    During those years Phil and I ran together (he much faster), went to parties (Barbarian Night was Phil's fav), a trip to Cape Cod, listened to lots of music (he turned me on to U2 in 1982!)and talked a lot well into many nights in room 105 sophomore year. And Bennett, Phil and I were on the three time champion Theta Chi ultimate frisbee team. You could look it up.

    So I am deeply saddened by the news that Phil's illness has worsened. We will be in church Sunday and during joys/concerns I will mention my buddy Phil and from Connecticut send aloft hundreds of prayers on his and your family's behalf.

    Please give him a hug for me. Please. Thank you, Kevin Kelly (