Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Update on Phil

Phil is growing ever more weak and fatigued and sleeping more hours of the day, a blessing in itself. We had a weekend of family and friends visiting and he was able to participate in that. It was incredibly taxing, however.

Yesterday with Dr. Kossman we learned his platelets (at 10K) are dangerously low and put him at risk for a spontaneous bleed so he decided to receive one last transfusion. This was no small decision since it meant spending the better part of the day in the hospital being admitted, typed and crossed then transfused only to go home and sleep for the rest of the day with little interaction. We also decided to begin hospice services. It is a huge relief for me to know that I will no longer be solely responsible for the decisions in the middle of the night and that I will have more help walking my children through this painful transition. As for Phil, his desire to die at home with us can now be made that much more comfortable and achievable. I can see in his entire body since making this decision, that he has begun to relax and let go of the fight. I am relieved for him.

Your comments, prayers and scriptures have been nothing short of manna for our weary souls. Thank you for continuing your vigil with us and for describing to us your love and experiences of and with Phil. My children especially will need to reflect on these stories and comments in the days, weeks and years to come.


  1. Sally, I am Susan Lithgow and Phil could tell you he used to visit my father's drugstore, AKA 'The Druggie' when he was young. I can understand your relief with hospice care; I did the same thing for my Aunt when she was terminal and knowing the caring and compassion she was surrounded by made her imminent death more bearable. Lean on the hospice staff; they are wonderful people!

  2. My own body relaxed when I read that you've brought in hospice care. Oh, Sally - this is just too much to try and deal with on your own. Reading the notes as they have come in has been a blessing to me - and I've never even met Phil, I don't think, and you only at Randy's funeral. Yet through these blog posts and the comments of your wide circle of friends and family here and on facebook, I know you both. Isn't that amazing? Say what you will about social media and its potential for damage - it, like just about everything else in this world - can also be a gift of God and a community-builiding tool. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had to walk a tiny bit of this journey with you from out here in space. My love to you both, my prayers continue.

  3. My heart hurts for you, and I pray you are comforted by all the love and prayers that are offered for all of you. You know you are in my prayers daily. Hospice care is wonderful for the whole family. May the happy times you have had as a family be real to you and the kids.
    Love, Billie

  4. Sally, my family too had the wonderful experience of hospice care. Hospice professionals are true angels of God. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you during this most trying of times. I hope to meet you some day. Your are one hell of a woman!

    Jo Ann Nied Washburn

  5. Love you Sally, thank you for the update, have been thinking about you and your family a lot this week.

  6. Sally, We are praying for you and the kids and of course, Phil. Hospice will indeed bring a huge level of comfort to your whole family. Our Dear Lord says "Come unto Me, All who are weary and labor and I will give you rest.
    Trust in HIM....We love you. The Smith Girls, HELEN and Grace in Silverdale.

  7. MY Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
    Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
    Are beautiful as days can be;
    She loves the bare, the withered tree;
    She walks the sodden pasture lane.

    Her pleasure will not let me stay.
    She talks and I am fain to list:
    She’s glad the birds are gone away,
    She’s glad her simple worsted gray
    Is silver now with clinging mist.

    The desolate, deserted trees,
    The faded earth, the heavy sky,
    The beauties she so truly sees,
    She thinks I have no eye for these,
    And vexes me for reason why.

    Not yesterday I learned to know
    The love of bare November days
    Before the coming of the snow,
    But it were vain to tell her so,
    And they are better for her praise.

    My November Guest, Robert Frost

  8. Praying, asking for miracles, trusting, hoping, and loving all of you so much Phil, Sally, Bennett, and Olivia.
    Jenn, Jeff, and Alexa Joy

  9. Oh gosh this is so sad...

  10. Sally, my heart breaks for you and your family. You have struggled so long and hard together. Praying for God's arms to wrap around you all and bring peace to your hearts knowing He will never leave you or forsake you.
    Love, Janet

  11. Love, hugs, peace to each of you.

  12. May the Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loves you, in His special favor give you everlasting comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and give you strength in everything you do and say in these precious days...wisdom and blessings and deep rooted love for Olivia and Bennett...prayers and thanksgiving for your gorgeous faith and family...

    Laurie (Edgewoodian) , Doug, Brittany, Austin, Casey and Jenna (Yosemite, Ca)

  13. My dearest Phil,
    This poem is for you wishing you Godspeed on your next journey.

    High Flight ~ The Aviator's Poem
    by John Gillespie Magee, RCAF 1922-1941

    Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

    Sunward I have climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of - wheeled and
    Soared and swung

    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
    I've chased the shouting wind along,
    And flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air.

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, or even eagle flew.

    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
    the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    Love to you my brother,

  14. There are many people who come and go in our lives. You, Sally and Phil touched our lives in ways that made us better for knowing you and a difference in our lives for which we are both grateful. May the bread of life and the cup of eternal love that brought you together bless you and keep you. May the hands that formed you touch your body with eternal love and give you peace. May the breath that moved over the waters of creation fill your soul with life and may the heart that emptied Himself to win you to Himself surround your hearts with comfort and lasting hope. You can be sure that the hands of the all powerful God promises peace beyond understanding. We give thanks for you.

  15. Sally,

    Jenn has been handling the post messages for our family for the past several weeks but today I was compelled to write a message to you echoing her words. We continue to pray several times a day for radical miracles, for God's presence, and for peace for the four of you. We will continue to do so and will do so with much love.

    Jeff Kliewer

  16. Sally,

    I have kept my many Brothers and Sisters informed, and they have asked that I send their best wishes, thoughts and prayers as you navigate this uncharted territory. We were so blessed with Hospice with my Dad. These are gifted, gentle people whose grace and wisdom should provide you enormous comfort and strength when you most need them. They helped bring us peace and comfort. In the mystery of all of this, Phil and You and your family have brought so many diverse and long lost friends together for a common purpose. Please let Phil know that we are all in deep thought and prayer for your comfort and peace of mind.

    Bill Fallon and Family

  17. I am SO GLAD that you all have hospice support. Love, peace, and endless blessings ~

    Jeannine DiPerna Murath
    for the whole extended DiPerna Family

  18. Jessica BreitbarthNovember 8, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    The important thing is that you can be together as a family. You will find strength and solace in each other. Make the most of these precious minutes. And know that you are not alone.



  19. Sally,
    So heartbreaking. I do hope the sadness is overshadowed by the peace of knowing your path now and the peace of knowing it is ok to let go now. God Bless.
    Alice Fallon

  20. Sally, Olivia, and Bennett-

    Your husband/father is a remarkable person whose spirit and memories will be carried on by many people who have had the honor of knowing him. I was playing tennis the other day and felt his presence within me - I always say "first serve, Phil" when I am serving and know he will always be watching over all of us. I hope his final days go by peacefully, and we are all comforted that he will be spending them with his loved ones at home. We are lucky to have been able to share our lives with him. His legacy will be carried on by all of you.

    Jim Kramer

  21. We love you all. Stay strong.
    The Handy's

  22. Sally, Phil, Bennett and Olivia-

    Our prayer for you is that you will walk this path with courage, because you have the assurance that God will meet your needs in their own perfect time and place.

    Even though you weep……the foundation is sure.
    Even though you suffer………the victory is certain.
    Even though you struggle….…….the route is clear.
    Even though you sorrow……the outcome is definite.

    You are divinely protected and we know that the Holy Spirit will make your lives radiate with hope.

    The Lehmann Family
    Scott, Joanne, Steven, Chris and Jonathan