Posted in cancer


I have had a difficult time concentrating on much of anything today since I got word that my sister Denise has cancer of the uterus.  Over and over, throughout the day, I would find myself stopping whatever I was doing and thinking about her.

Denise is the sister who can always make me laugh, the one who has me slapping my leg and wishing I was closer to a bathroom.  When I was a little girl crying in the middle of the night because I imagined there were bugs all over my pillow, she was the one who got up to “smash” them for me.  When my other siblings told me I’d have to get my hair cut because I’d gotten my head into a mess of burrs, Denise is the one who patiently sat next to me for over an hour, carefully removing one sticky burr at a time. 

When my friend Mary got thyroid cancer she hesitated telling me because of how recent my own husband’s cancer had been.  She was correct in her assumption that I would have a difficult time dealing with the reminders of what David had so recently experienced, but I couldn’t fathom not “being there” for her in some way. It turned out that I was only able to support her via packages and letters I sent her way. I will always regret not being able to hug her during that time. Now, when I see her, I see a woman who has walked through a fire and come out the other side with dignity, beauty, and grace.

My sister Jane is having a “pajama party” on Saturday for us sisters and our daughters. Denise will be there.  We’ll all give her hugs, I’m sure, and ask her if there is anything we can do. Knowing Denise, she’ll probably make a joke or two about her uterus, but there will be tears behind our laughter. 

Whatever it is she needs, I’m determined to be there for her.

What she needs might be as simple as having someone to sit next to her for an hour.


Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Certified grief counselor and Senior Service librarian for the James Kennedy Public library. Popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing, couponing, utilizing your creativity in everyday life, and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015. Grief journal to be released in 2018.

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