Monday, April 18, 2011

There Is Life After Death...

This statement is true for me and Ron.  Ron has moved on to his new life.  I too must move on to my new life. 

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement in writing this blog.  Ron and I did not know we would garner so much attention for our journeyinto words.  When it all started (August 2010), Ron only wanted some good to come from the writings; inspiring someone, assisting someone through their own journey or just plain old sharing to enlighten. Judging by your comments and feedback,  I do believe that we achieved what we set out to do.

Ron's journey on this earth has come to an end and so must his blog.  It with great hesitation and sadness that I do so because it is yet again another marker, another reminder that my husband is no longer holding my hand, no longer giving me gentle kisses, no longer here to make me laugh.  I no longer have Ron to hold his hand, to give him gentle kisses or to make him laugh.  The void I am experiencing is larger than life.

I have had a tough nine weeks albeit easier because of family and friends.  I do not know what I would do without you.  I also know that I must move on from the US to the I.  I must reach inside and find the strength to forge ahead - hence there will be life for me after Ron's death.  I do not know what it looks like.  It will unfold with each passing moment.  The moments will turn into minutes and the minutes into days. Sailors would say, "One wave at a time." 

As we said good-bye to Ron in Hawaii I felt it appropriate to use Hawaiian influence to name my new blog,  Ha Makai.  You can find me at www.ha-makai.blogspot.com 

Aloha and Mahalo

Every Wave, Every Ripple

Ron has always told me that he wanted his ashes to be spread somewhere warm.  Warm it will be!  During Ron’s last couple of days I promised I would take him sailing again.  This put a smile on his face and he nodded approval.  Hawaii, I asked.  Another smile, another nod of approval. 
Ron and I always talked about how we are not the type of people to hang on to ashes.  They need to be freed to end the journey on this earth as we know it.  Soon after setting the date for Ron’s Celebration I started thinking about taking his ashes to Hawaii.  Why Hawaii, you might ask.  On our first visit to Hawaii together, Ron and I renewed our wedding vows. That, my friends, is another story for another time.   Hawaii is also warm especially compared to Victoria in February, March.  I had settled on the fact that I would be prepared to go alone.  It is not that I wanted to go alone, it is just that I didn’t have the energy to organize a trip for other people.  When I announced to Bill and Leanne I was going to Hawaii, and very soon, they announced they were coming along.  It would be me, Leanne, Bill and Gracie.  After I announced to the kids I was going to Hawaii with Ron’s ashes, it was not long before Meghan announced that she had time off work and money – she too was coming along.  OK, I said.  Bill and Leanne took charge of accommodation.  I was flying airmiles and it was not difficult to get Meghan on the same flight.  I took charge of chartering a sailboat.  Meghan took charge of entertaining me while in Hawaii.  Accommodation booked – check, flights booked – check, passports in order – check, rules about Pixie Dust – check.  All good to go.  All this was about to happen just four days after Ron’s Celebration.
We all flew out of Seattle on the same flight.  It was exciting to be going to Hawaii but the reason was sombre.  I had to get through customs and security with Ron in ‘the box’.  Customs was no problem as we drove to Seattle the day before the flight.  Security on the morning of the flight decided they wanted to box opened to see what was inside.  I drew a deep breath not sure how I was going to handle it.  The Security fella was very good about it.  We repacked the box into my luggage and carried on. 
While I was prepared to go to Hawaii myself, I didn’t know how happy I would be to be with Meghan and the Stegalls’.  I would have been happy to be with most people.  It just so happened that it worked for Meg, Leanne, Bill and Gracie to be with me.
Smooth flight to and touchdown in Hawaii.  It was so deliciously warm that immediately none of us wanted to go home.  We hopped in the rental car and made our way to Ko Olina.  Good job on the accommodation Bill.  Being on the fifteenth floor offered its comfort during the tsunami warning. 
We arrived on Friday.  I had chartered a 42’ Beneteau sailboat complete with skipper for Monday afternoon.  It was decided that we would wear something Hawaiian.  It was only appropriate as Ron was dressed in his Hawaiian shirt and Dickie shorts in which he renewed his vows to me.  I donned my dress that matched his shirt.  I purchased leis for everyone including Ron and the skipper.  We packed snacks, Corona and a bottle of Clancy’s wine for Ron.  Again it was and exciting yet sombre experience. 
We pushed off at 1530.  The winds were building.  I am not used to such strong winds that pack a lot of warmth.  It felt medicinal, therapeutic.  We had an exhilarating sail complete with whales.  If we stayed on course we would have been in Fiji.  Sounded good to me!  As it was getting near sunset, we headed closer to short, just off Diamond Head.  There was less wind.  This is a consideration when releasing pixie dust into the ocean. 
The mood switched from amazing to solemn.  The moment had come to release Ron.  I moved Ron and his box to the stern of the boat.  I sat there numb and paralyzed.  It was tough to swallow.  While planning this farewell it all seemed ideal; just like his celebration.  Now I was not sure if I could let go.  I took a deep breath then, in the gentle breeze, freed Ron to the ocean.  I sprinkled his pixie dust  into the warm and blue waves.  Flower petals followed.  Symbolically I removed my lei and tossed it and all my love to Ron.  It was a goodbye I will never forget. 
video
Our skipper circled Ron and the flowers three times.  We were still and silent, bidding Ron our own personal farewell.  Then to follow was the Clancy’s fine wine.  I took a drink from the bottle and poured the rest for Ron and wishing for fair winds and smooth sailing. 
Our personal ceremony and tribute to Ron was stunning; warm breezes, blue seas and a setting sun.  It was breathtaking, appropriate and amazing. 
When you are near the ocean remember these gentle words of our good friend Lawrence, “Ron will forever more be a part of every wave, every ripple and every warm surge of water.”  He will also whisper in the breeze and watch us from the sky. 
Na hoku nona kiu oka lani – The stars are the eyes of heaven. 
Ronald, my love, save a spot for me.  When it is my time we will be together again.
A hui hou – Until we meet again.

Forty-five Bottles of Wine... And Counting

Can you believe it?  45 bottles of wine, 2 bottles of fine Scotch and 2 LCB gift cards.  I don’t think that Ron was concerned about storage when he expressed his wish for wine rather than flowers.  Yes, some of the wine has been enjoyed and some is stowed.  The funny thing is that it is stowed in Ron’s drawers with his drawers padding the bottles.  Living on the boat one has to ensure enough padding to prevent breakage.  While I was putting it away and found myself chuckling and saying aloud “You asked for this Harris.” 
All I can say to those of you who gifted wine in the name of Ron, you have fine taste.  Some labels I have never seen so it is truly a delightful experiment to uncork (or unscrew) a bottle.  The Scotch is tasting might fine too. 
Dare I say that Ron had a good idea?  OK, he had a good idea.  I get to toast him with every bottle.  Thank you, Husband.
I came to realize that the wine is not about drinking copious amounts to drown my sorrow.  The wine is about me sharing a bottle with other people and perhaps in particular people that I meet on my new journey in life.  I can make an offering of wine and invite people into my space or be invited and give the gift of wine and stories. 
This thought came about when I was in Canoe Cove.  I met a couple on their sailboat.  They were having some work done and more specifically they had roller furling installed to the two head sails.  He said, “ I am getting tired of hanking on the sails and hauling them up to sail.”  “I am getting tired of bagging them when we are done sailing for the day.”  Wally was his name.  He then stated he was eighty-six years old.  His wife was of like age.  My jaw hit the deck.  He didn’t look a day over seventy.  I cried and he didn’t understand at first.  I went on to briefly explain my story and how he and his wife are who Ron and I wanted to be... sailing together beyond the years. 
The next day Wally and Margaret were leaving for Cortez Island. That evening I presented them with a bottle of wine in honour of Ron and in honour of their inspiration to all who come to know them.  “Fair winds” I said “and smooth sailing to Cortez.” 

Truly A Celebration

Ron’s Celebration of Life was to be just that. When the kids and I got together we knew it had to be up lifting. While we are extremely sad – every day I might add – we knew that Ron would want people to laugh, to smile, to remember and to learn about him.
For Ron’s ashes (pixie dust) I had to have a First Nations Bentwood Box. They are truly a work of art and Ron wanted to purchase one in the summer. Meghan and Kirsten help me research on the internet. Meghan offered her opinion when viewing the boxes. The story of the box and purchasing the box, as they say, is another story for another time. For the Celebration, Ron was there in his handsomely carved box with the Orca and Wolf.

The venue was perfect! Kirsten, excellent choice. No other venue in Victoria would have suited Ron’s Celebration. It was glass, bright, roomy and came with a view of our homeport, WestBay Marine Village. We knew the sun would shine on his day.

The memorabilia table was perfect! Ryan’s idea. All the kids contributed to what would go on the table. Stew suggested that we do not forget the Scotch!

The posters were a hit. Thank you Kirsten for your amazing talents. Thank you to everyone who sent Kirsten the photographs to choose from. At the end of the day, there were requests from people to take the posters home. We were honoured.

The kids and I worked with Stephen Swift. Stephen, thank you for your understanding, kindness, patience and coaching. The kids and I are grateful to you for characterizing Ron as if he were your friend. Folks are still talking about the quality of your facilitation. Thank you!

S/Sgt. Marc Lavergne, thank you so much for organizing the Honour Guard and the bugler. Never once during Ron’s illness did he ever say that I was to expect the Honour Guard for his celebration. It was truly unexpected and sincerely appreciated. The kids and I were honoured by the ceremony and truly proud of Ron and the RCMP. I know that many others at Ron’s Celebration would say the same. You and your team released so many emotions during the parade and the playing of the bugle. Ted Smith, thank you for carrying Ron’s stetson. He felt very fortunate to have you and Cheryl enter his life.

And thank you to you who spoke about Ron. Kirsten, Meghan, Lou Goulet, Bill Stegall, Bill Phillips and Len Burton. You each did an amazing job to bring to life Ron as you knew him. You made us laugh, you made us cry. Did you forget it was “NO LEAK ZONE”? As important, we came away knowing Ron better than ever before. He is smiling and thanks you.

For those of you at Ron’s Celebration you will have your own thoughts, feeling, and sentiments. For me and the kids, Ron’s Celebration was just what we planned. Not a thing would be changed or done differently. We did it our way.  We did it Ron's way. We were speechless at the number of people who showed and the number of people who sent their regrets.

Thank you Kirsten, Ryan, Stewart and Meghan for all your help – you did a great job. This celebration was fitting for a great man - your father and step-father, my husband.

Thank you to all who participated in making it a great celebration.  Thank you to all who attended.  And thank you for your encouragement and confidence in me and the kids.

February 28, 2011 was truly a celebration of the life of Ronald B Harris – husband, father, poppa, friend and so much more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pixie Dust - In The Magical Sense of Tinkerbell

It has been an extremely tough go for the little ones.  We have always been surrounded by our little girls - Rayna (who is not so little anymore), Makayla, Juliet, Amelia and Gracie.    They all love Poppa Ron and Poppa Ron loved them so much.  The kids were drawn to him simply by his presence.  Talking about someone dying is not the difficult part of the conversation - where we believe our loved ones go after death makes it difficult for the younger ones to comprehend.  Talking about cremation and ashes, the why's and where etc was not a conversation I would care to have with little ones.  The questions persisted and the kids deserved a respsonse.  Rather than scare the bejeezers our of them regarding cremation and what it truly means, Leanne came up with a creative response that is not far from the truth - Pixie Dust.  Thanks goodness she was in tune with Peter Pan.   We have been  able to talk about magical Pixie Dust.  Poppa Ron, is now Pixie Dust and he is everywhere.  They know that we have sprinkled his Pixie Dust in the ocean... he is magically in our hearts and we can speak to him anywhere and everywhere.  We love you Poppa Ron.  We miss you Poppa Ron.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

PROCRASTINATION To The Nth Degree

Seven weeks and two days since Ron’s passing. You would think that by now I would have updated our blog. Many of you have been checking for updates (some as often as daily. You know that the updates have not appeared and nor would they for the blatant act of feet dragging on my part. Procrastinate – Put off, put on the back burner, leave to another time – you get the picture. It has been no secret that I have been procrastinating when it comes to adding the final entries to the Rootin’ For Ron blog. I will be the first to admit guilt. As I type, it is painful for me to think of the finality of the task. It is one more undertaking that removes Ron from the physical world and transfers him to my spiritual world. My heart is twisted in knots; tears stream from my eyes and I find myself sobbing. Ron and I have always said that you need to walk in another’s shoes to really understand. Let me tell each and every one of you that, in my personal preparation for Ron’s death, I did not come close to imagining how painful this would be; how painful it would be to be so far away from my husband, my st friend, my everything. We are worlds apart and I have never felt such misery. Finalizing the blog is agony but it is yet another stumbling block that I must conquer as a part of the healing process. So in the true fashion of the Ron and Janice you know, let’s just do it and it will be done. In short order I will follow up with a number of entries to share events, thoughts and feelings leading up to and including the spreading of Ron’s ‘pixie dust’.

Monday, February 21, 2011

He Is Not Coming Home, Winston

I am home from the Comox Valley. I chose to come home and face the inevitable - being home alone. Last night was my first night alone since Ron's passing. As mentioned in a previous blog, I have been busy; I have been distracted.

This morning, Winston and I got up and went for a long and much needed walk. I then attacked the mail, email and task list. Just now, I decided to sit down and have a break. A wave of emotion invaded my mind, my body and my spirit. I cried and said out loud to our dog Winston - "he's not coming home, he's not coming home, he is not coming home."

My heart aches. My soul longs for my mate. As my life now lacks my physical Ron, I will have learn to accept and settle for my spiritual Ron. Today I am struggling. Tomorrow will be a new day. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let Us Celebrate Ron - February 28

Time for me, at this moment has no meaning. It is a mere one hundred and fifty-four hours since Ron passed. That equates to just under 5 days. So much has had to be done. Sometimes it just does not seem to be fair at what must be done - funeral home, death certificates, sign here, sign there. Other tasks are a delight to do - these tasks bring a smile to my face and warm my heart for it is these tasks that cause me to truly remember Ron. I have had the pleasure of working with the kids to plan Ron's Celebration of Life. We have chosen Laurel Point Inn as the venue on February 28 at 1300. Please come celebrate with us.

Many of you have been asking how I am doing. Being honest and frank, I have to tell you that there is no joy in my life; there is no spring to my step; there is no laughter in my heart and no smile on my face. Yes, I may smile momentarily but that smile is soon replaced by sadness and emptiness. Do I cry? Absolutely. I weep when I go to bed at night. I sleep, then I cry when I awake. I find comfort and distraction from Meghan, Stewart, Kirsten and Ryan but it is short lived. During the day, waves of emotion engulf my spirit and I periodically find my self sobbing. Sometimes I wonder what brought it on and other times I know exactly what I was thinking. It might have been thoughts of Ron and Winston, Ron researching our next vacation, Ron cooking, or seeing the elation on his face when all sails are flying. For me, his presence was bigger than life. For me, the heartache is greater than I ever could have prepared for.

Thank you to our children, thank you to Bill and Leanne for putting up with me for the next few days. I know that I will have to be alone and I will face that challenge very soon. The reality is that I will have Ron in my heart gently guiding me, nudging me onwards, encouraging me and believing in me. It is what he has always done in all our days together. I will feel his love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Celebration Is In The Works

Good things take time. Ron's Celebration of Life will be no different. The kids and I have decided that we want to plan it right. Ron deserves no less. I will keep you posted as to the date, time and venue for the celebration. For now we are aiming for Feb 25 or 28 in Victoria.

Some of you have been asking each other about what to do; flowers, donations etc. Well, let me tell you what Ron's opinion on all this is. He said to me a couple months ago and this is no lie! His wishes were for no flowers but a fine bottle of red wine instead. He figures I will need the wine! Some of you may find this less than traditional. If so, because of the exceptional care Ron received at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, Palliative Care Unit please feel free to make a donation in his name. The link to make an online donation is www.sphf.ca

Many of you have asked how the kids and I are doing. We are doing OK. I cannot speak for each of the kids but for myself it is very tough one minute and completely surreal the next. I miss Ron so much it hurts like I never could have imagined. The kids help me laugh and are a big part of making Ron's celebration become a reality.

When I am out and about, doing business that must be done, the bank teller or the barista or the lady at the stationary store will say to me, "Have a great day." I stop and think, how great can my day be. How great will my day be for just losing my husband just over twenty-four hours ago. I pause again. Silently I am glad they said those words for they remind me that I can have a great day... it is great because I have so much to be thankful for.

Stay tuned for celebration details to come soon.



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fly High Ron Harris

We have had two very different days between Friday and Saturday. Friday, to me, was a transition day for Ron. His mind was ready to move on but his body close but not close enough... medications were increased again. The nurses said he has a very strong heart. I already knew that he was all heart. Yesterday, Saturday, Ron had a very peaceful day just being. He was well aware who was with him but found it extremely difficult to communicate.

At 0200 this morning, Sunday, Ron peacefully passed to the place he has wanted to go since Tuesday. I held his hand and Meghan held me. We reassured him that all the kids love him very, very much and that they will be OK.

Our anguish at seeing his health deteriorate rapidly has shifted to a deep, deep sadness for the enormous void in our lives. For each of us, Stewart, Meghan, Kirsten, Ryan and myself, our new journey begins... our life without the physical Ron yet a life that will be profoundly influenced by Ron. His grace and dignity are immeasurable.

Ronald Harris I am proud and honoured to be your wife. Fly high, my love.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Would I Do Without Friends and Family

I owe many, many of you a huge heartfelt thank you for your emails of encouragement and support, for you stories about Ron and what he means to you. As important is your acceptance of his decision to pass to a more peaceful place. Thank you, too, for your understanding of unreturned calls and unanswered emails.

Bill and Leanne, thank you for being by my side, Len and Dawna for your visits and as important keeping Ron's laundry fresh and clean. Fresh clothes are so important to him as he fights the sweats brought on by the cancer.


This week, I could not have done it without our kids - Stewart, Meghan, Kirsten and Ryan. They too are on this journey and it is a bumpy road. At one time or another they have all had some quality time at Ron's bedside. If you know Ron, this includes reminiscing, laughing together, appreciating one another and the kids reassuring Ron that they will be just fine.

As each of our children have different experiences in dealing with loved ones passing, they were there for each other. The youngest one gave the biggest hugs - he is also the tallest kid. The smallest one gave big advice. The boys (OK men) being reflectively quiet, the girls bringing up stories that put smiles on all our faces. And then there is Ron... giving each of us a lesson in life that we will never forget. We can take our learning and apply them to the next time we lose a loved one, however close to us. We will be able to share Ron's journey with others to make their process of loss feel less painful. He will truly like that we we are better people and will help others.

February 10 - Valentines Day in Room # 1466

A few posts ago, at or just after Christmas, I wrote that I could not open my Christmas card from Ron. It remains unopened. I just could not bear to open the last Christmas card I would ever receive from him.

Ron's daughter Kirsten, a few days ago, asked Ron if he wanted her to pick up a Valentines card for me. It was established what type of message it should read. Kirsten purchased three for Ron to choose from. So, today is Valentine's Day from Ron to me.

Kirsten and Meghan (our daughters) asked Ron if he wanted to give me the card. He said yes but know that this was a sedated yes. I was summoned to his room. Alone I went. Ron asked me what day it was and I said February 10 so then he made a mistake. I noticed three cards in his lap and I asked if he was going to give me a card today and he said no, I changed my mind. Eventually this was mentioned to Kirsten so she explained.

When Kirsten purchased the three cards for Ron to choose from, he decided that he would give me all three. All three so that I could open one now - knowing that it would not be the last - and two more to open whenever I wanted. I am happy to write that I did open the card but I did so with endless tears. The other two, I have tucked away and well... you know the rest.

Ron had an outing today. He said he wanted to go for a drive and that he wanted his friend Bill to take him. OK, I said. So we bundled Ron up, sunglasses and all. Bill and Ron drove off in the Volvo. Bill said they went parking on Lochside Drive. Ron got bored and ordered coffee. Starbucks was the next stop. Then, Bill made the mistake of following Ron's instructions to a marina and they got lost. Eventually they made it back to the hospital with Ron having a good time and Bill now has some stories to tell.

As Ron's medications have been increased significantly, he was soon down for the count and sleeping. I am thinking that perhaps the medications had not been increased enough and we mistook anxiety for anxiety but should have translated it to pain. Often in the room Ron did not know what he needed to be comfortable - in bed, in the recliner, in the wheelchair, in the sun room etc.

While Ron had a busy day, the reality is that he is changing physically and drastically. I will not describe the changes but we see the change with each day and almost with each breath.

The Conflict

February 9th, Ron and I had a meeting with the doctor. He said that this voyage is taking too long, that he is going in circles, that it is not fair and that they euthanize animals. Dr. Lewis explained that while Ron is mentally and emotionally ready, there are parts of his body are and parts that are not. Hence the conflict between body, mind and soul. She explained that he would have to trust us and be patient. The medications for pain and anxiety will cause him to sleep more. More sleep equates to less food and fluids which in turn will accelerate the process.

Andrea and I met with the four kids in the lounge. Andrea very eloquently explained to the kids Ron's decision and the process for Ron to reach his place of peace. This was good for the kids to hear this from someone other than myself.

The kids and I then proceeded back to the room to be with Ron. Ron got the kids to have a seat. He then proceeded to tell the kids that the bend in the road is not the end of the road, that you get back up when you fall off your bike. He said, "I have a lot more quotes but cannot remember them." We all laughed. He told the kids they have done well but can do better and that he sees them at what they are going to do. Ron then stated, "It is time to party." He picked up his cranberry juice and announced he would have a 'double nothing'. After all that it was nap time. He laid down and promptly went to sleep.

I have heard that passing can be a beautiful thing. Conflict between mind, body and soul has turned this into torment for Ron. Trust us, my husband, be patient, rest easy. We are doing every thing we can to help you complete your voyage.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Ultimate Gift Between Soul Mates

When I typed the last post I truly did not know when I would write again. So much has happened emotionally and mentally for me and the kids. For Ron the same but add the physical challenges. Last night we all went home, completely drained and perhaps a little spaced out given the decline in Ron's condition. I feared the nurses would be calling me in the middle of the night. They did not.

They did call me at seven and the doctor called at 0745. Ron has requested me and Winston to be at the hospital as soon as possible. Meg, my daughter, came along for the early start to see Ron. I was sincerely surprised to see him sitting up at the computer patiently (or impatiently) awaiting our arrival. He immediately said, "We are going to Starbucks for coffee." I said OK, are you going in your jammies or jeans. Jeans it was. We got the necessary medications to take with us and promptly headed to Starbucks in Sidney. Skinny lattes and low fat fruit bars to go. Ron said he needed to talk to me so off to Cy Hanson Park we went... Meg could walk Winston while Ron and I talked.

What Ron offered, at first, I did not recognize as a gift. In the Volvo, Ron turned to me and said, "I am ready to go, I don't want to do this anymore. Are you OK with that?" I said, "Yes, I will always respect your decisions on this journey."

I went on to say that there were a few things that I now needed to tell him. First, his kids are OK. Kirsten has spoken to the Social Worker at the hospital. Ryan will be alright. Stewart and Meghan who have been through this before are also communicating with Ryan and Kirsten. Stewart and Meghan will be alright. The four of them are strong kids and this will be a life experience for them. Ron then asked about me. I assured him that I would be fine. I have Leanne and Bill and so many others that have unselfishly offered their support. He then said what about the boat. I also reassured Ron that I will be fine aboard Ta Daa and that I have Winston. I also disclosed to Ron that Ryan gave me the biggest hug and thanked me for looking after his dad. All of this meant so much to Ron and greatly reduced his level of anxiety.

We then talked about who would be waiting for him when he passes: his mom, his dad, my mom (whom he calls the Queen Mom) - they would be waiting to take his hand. Lou, I told him that you are like a brother and when it is your time, he will be coming for that Crown Royal he owes you. I also warned him that he has not seen the last of me. When it is my time, we will be together again, doing what we do best - loving and being with each other. This all brought a tear or two to his eyes. He leaned over and gently kissed me and said "I love you so much. I am glad you are my wife, I am glad we agree on this." He then said, "Now that we agree on this decision, what do I do next, do I pick up the phone, who do I call?"

Well, this threw me for a loop and we had a little laugh. I suggested that perhaps it goes a little different than that. Perhaps it is now time for your body, mind and soul to come together. I also suggested that now he is at peace with his decision and there is nothing to worry about, his primary job is to relax and recognize when it is time to pass.

When Meg returned from walking Winston I told her about my and Ron's conversation and decision. She went to his side of the car and gave him the biggest hug, told Ron how much she loved him and that he was just not a step-dad, he was another dad. With the relationship that my kids had with Ron, no words could be truer.

Once back at the hospital, after a scenic tour around Saanich Peninsula, Kirsten arrived. I shared the morning conversation with her. I know that she was comfortable with her dad's decision.

While sitting with Ron, I realized all too often, we are giving our loved ones permission to leave. How often do we know they are ready to pass. I also got to ask Ron about visitors - he said no thanks, just the you and the kids. He also said that he wants to pass very soon; in the next day or two. We shall see.

Ron has gifted us the knowledge that he is ready to go. We have shared the ultimate gift between soul mates; the gift of conversing freely about a topic that is so sensitive for all parties that it is not often broached.

Ron has also gifted me, by being the remarkable man that he is, a new sense of strength to get me through the next few days. This new found strength will allow me to encourage him to go when the time is right. Husband, you are still a pillar of strength for me, you are still supporting me and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. As promised, hand in hand, I will be with you as you complete your journey.

Now we wait, relive adventures and stories, laugh and support each other. It may be tough but we know it is right for Ron.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement and best wishes. Revenue Solutions Branch -you are remarkable with your thoughtfulness and care packages that routinely come our way.



Monday, February 7, 2011

This Is Such An Ugly Unrelenting Disease

No visitors, please.

I am at a loss of what to write. This is so difficult and I sit here wondering how I can write something and sound positive. It is just not coming to me so this posting will be very short. Where I am today I have been here before with my mother. I somehow mustered the strength to tell Ron it was alright if he wants to give up. I understand because I love him so much.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reality Check

Darn it, this morning has been a reality check for me. Ron grows weaker by the day. I am sure it is a combination of the cancer and the drugs. He no longer initiates conversation and for those of you who know Ron, that is just not normal. He will respond if you get his attention to focus however his response may not have anything to do with the conversation. He does not drink a cup of coffee and in fact has trouble having a sip or two. To top it all off, Ron was reaching for something on the floor and fell. This scared us both. New rules, Ron shall not pick up anything from the floor.



While he did have a good night, the reality is that we are dealing with changes daily. I am not sure if I am prepared or will ever feel prepared for what lies ahead. I have said it before and I will say it again... so many changes and no time to adjust.

I want to thank everyone for their support. No kind gesture has gone unnoticed. Each kind gesture is powerful enough to give us more strength to deal with each passing minute.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Never Underestimate...

The power of holding hands, a kiss, or a hug. Heck, a supportive arm around your shoulder or a tender touch of a hand on your knee is just as powerful. These acts of love pack impact - it is the touch that says: I love you, I cherish you, you are my friend, I understand, be strong for I am here for you, friends forever, I respect you and much more - you get the hint. Words are not required.

Where I am going with this is to not just think about Ron or me but think about your husband, wife or partner. Think about your children and your friends. Make your touch meaningful and cherish the tenderness and power of the reciprocal.

A previous entry in the blog noted that I do not know when I would receive my last kiss or last embrace. I still do not know but I can tell you that I cherish each kiss as if it were the first; I cherish the gesture of Ron reaching for my hand like the first time. I cherish our love... and yes, Ron still tells me every day that he loves me.

Never under estimate the power of the touch.

No Two Days The Same

It is crazy - no two days are the same for Ron and therefore no two days are the same for me. Last night when I left Ron, he was working on his computer. His favourite pass time has been to take photos and insert them into a photo book. The photo book is then ordered and delivered to him. This has been great for Ron to occupy his mind and to review his photos. Some of you have had the privilege of reviewing his latest photo book. Perhaps one day I will take time to put one together but I know that he has been an inspiration to a few of you already.

I digressed... Ron seemed OK last night. This morning I arrived just before eight and he was totally wiped out from a lack of sleep. He was weak, had little focus and could barely make sense. I talked him into going back to bed and have a nap. At eight-thirty I trundled off to the airport to pick up Bill. By the time we got back Ron was just finishing breakfast -doing a little better but still tired. Again, we convinced him to lie down for a while and he did get some more sleep. All in all it was a tough day for him but as usual he was a trooper.

Ron was delighted when an RCMP acquaintance surprised him - Rosie, thank you for dropping by and sorry I missed you. Kirsten, Ryan, Johnny, Len and Marie-Germaine thank you to for visiting and thank you for your understanding of Ron's zoning in and out of our conversations.

Bill and Leanne, what can I say. Thank you never seems to be enough for the unending support and the opportunity for me to sneak away to do Ron's laundry. For those of you who do not know, we do not have laundry facilities aboard the boat so need to trek to the laundromat at least once a week.

Tonight I am having a sleepover with Ron. He had a good supper and I asked him if he wanted me to say anything to all of you. He says that he is extremely touched by the show of emotion and the expression of emotion towards him and his journey. He loves it when you, our friends and family, realize from the blog that we are deeply in love and will be forever.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Week In Palliative Care

It has been a full week at Saanich Peninsula. Progress has been made, thank goodness. Ron has had two good days in a row. What does this mean... it means that the medications are more balanced for the pain. Ron looks much more relaxed than he has looked in the past month and a half. I am of the mind that Ron did not realize how much pain he was in until he started to feel relief.

Anxiety and sleep is not as big an issue but it is still there. The sweats has been a new development in the past couple of days. This is bothering Ron. He has read somewhere on the internet that it is a symptom of the cancer.

I have had one sleepover and will have another on Saturday night. Thank you to Tim and Tara for taking Winston for me. We have a great schedule happening with Winston. I bring him to the hospital in the morning and Tim picks him up on his way home after work, approximately 1630. Then I fetch Winston from Tim and Tara when I get home about 2130 each evening. I am so relieved that Winston is taken care of. Doug and Karen have also offered and in the future I am sure we will need their help too. If you know Winston, you will understand that he is getting a lot of attention at the hospital. Nurse Nancy takes him to the nurses station and feeds him biscuits... Winston ever so gently lifts his paw and receives his little treat. Winston also falls asleep in the chair with Ron... they look so comfortable together.

Ron has been enjoying his afternoon outings. Yesterday we met Stew, Clare and the kids at Mayfair Mall. We shopped for birthday presents, had lunch and just enjoyed being together.
Thank you kids for coming down and sharing time with us. Thank you for your love, support and encouragement.

We had an amazing dinner last night... Glen and Jill you went over the top and it was very much appreciated. The rest of you, please keep in mind, we do not expect anyone to turn this into a competition. What happened last night was typical Jill and Glen.

They showed up with a laundry basket full of goodies. Dinner was set up in the lounge. By the time the basket was emptied the table was draped in linen, four wine glasses adorned the table along with china, cutlery, flowers and candles. Dinner consisted of red wine, fresh green salad and stuffed pork chops baked with apples and cinnamon. Yes, there was dessert - fresh fruit salad and ice cream. Yes we lit the candles and got away with it for a short time before we got told. It was an awesome dinner and super company. Ron ate well. We realized last night that by seven o'clock he is tired and needs some quiet time to unwind. Ron rested in his room while Glen, Jill and I visited in the lounge.

Ron hand a great day and today was another good day. He wanted me to reassure all of you that we are not about tears and sadness. We are about happy stories and much laughter. It is keeping with our style of living. No reason for it to change now.

That said, we are coping well. We do have our moments. Sometimes they are private; Ron has his moments and I have mine. Sometimes we are together and we have a little cry and a hug. Neither one of us wants to let go of the other.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Visitors Make Ron's Day!

Since Ron has been in palliative care there has been no day the same as the next. There are medications for pain, medications for anxiety, medications for sleep, medications for swelling and medications for break through pain. Believe me, all is good. The challenge is regulating the meds and this has been a process. Each day that the meds have changed, Ron has been in his zoned out state the next day. One day is good, then next day Ron has a catatonic look about him. Having said that, he would zone in and zone out, joining in conversation here and there.

Visitors have been very understanding. He is loving your visits, your conversation, your stories and of course the laughter. Just this morning we had made arrangements for 'the ladies' from his work to visit. Lo and behold, the fellas decided to visit too. There must have been fourteen of us in the room! Ron, in true form, had everyone laughing with stories of Disney World, days with the RCMP, and stories of those in the room. A good time was had by all. Most importantly, we do believe that a level of comfort was experienced by those visiting and a realization that there is nothing to fear.

Ron and I both realize that some people are challenged by the thought of visiting someone who is travelling the journey that Ron is on. What do you say; is it OK to laugh, will I be intruding; is now the right time to visit etc. All we can say is keep visiting, keep the laughter coming. We love your company!

Also yesterday and today, my son Stewart, along with wife Clare and kids Juliet and Amelia visited. Ron so enjoyed the big hug from Juliet and the kisses from them both. It was also joy for the nurses to hear little voices coming from room # 1466.

Ron's daughter Kirsten is finally feeling better from the flu. It has been a tough haul for her to say away for the past few days. Finally with the flu gone, visits can be more frequent.

Did I mention today, as well as fourteen visitors, Ron and I went into Sidney and took Winston to Cy Hamson park for a run. It was a couple hours enjoyed by all.

Glen and Jill, thank you for your visit and we are looking forward to dinner tomorrow night.

Lynn, let us know how you made out with your computer and whether we need to make a trip to Costo!

Love to you all. We sincerely appreciate your support. You have the knack of knowing what to do when. Believe me, it is working.

Finally, Momma D, thank you for your time on the phone last night. Since my Mom passed away you have been there for me - to talk, to bounce ideas and of course to laugh. I will forever be grateful for your wisdom and your take on life. Love to both you and Bud xoxoxox.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ron Harris, You Complete Me

Yesterday while doing a couple chores I felt different. I didn't quite put my finger on it until I was walking along the boardwalk taking Winston for a stroll. I am feeling incomplete; there is half of me missing. This is not to say that I am not in my right mind, this is not to say that I cannot cope or make decisions. It means that I am at the marina with a great feeling of emptiness. Ron and I, in the true essence of the meaning shared a lifestyle. Something as simple as doing dishes is poignant chore for it was Ron who liked to do the dishes. Goddammit, he should be here doing the dishes. We would have great conversations while he did dishes and I worked on other tasks. I miss our everyday simplicity of just being.

Believe it or not, as soon as I get in the Volvo to head to the hospital, I immediately start to feel whole; I feel strong by the time I reach the hospital and am able to greet Ron with a smile, a hug and a kiss hello. I, too, see his face light up. Ron Harris, my husband, you complete me.

Where does the time go. Yesterday and today literally flew by. Neighbour Dave helped me change the macerater pump on the toilet. I am not electrically inclined so needed some assistance connecting the wires. It is not done the same way as with a house. Laundry was done so Ron could have fresh undies. OK, they are not undies and he is appalled when I call his jockies undies.

Doug and Karen, Ron is so enjoying the down quilt. Lyn, Kathy, Len, Doug, Tom and Keri and Spiff, thank you for your visit and of course your medicinal conversation about boats and bringing on the laughter. Tim, thank you for bringing Winston out for a visit. Ron finds joy simply by having Winston in the room with him.

Today thanks to Ken, Penny, Helen, Garth, Len, and Dawna another great day was had by Ron. Also, Ron was allowed out for a few hours. He must be demonstrating good behaviour. With Garth and Helen, we went into Sidney and walked along the waterfront, purchased slippers for Ron and indulged in a coffee at Starbucks. Winston spent the day with us and thank you to Tim for picking up Winston at the end of the day.

Just so you know, Ron has few needs. Food gifts in the past few days have included soup, cheese, crackers, chocolate, cookies, popcorn, peanuts, jujubes and fruit. Beverages include (yes believe it), Smirnoff Ice coolers, Pineapple coolers, red wine and two brands of scotch. Ron likes to have a night cap so indulge he will.

Ron's room # 1464 was great. It was at the end of the hall so not a lot of traffic passing by. It has a view of the field and best of all it is private - as all the rooms in palliative care are. The nurses have fallen in love with Winston so he comes in the back door and settles on his doggy bed nest to Ron's bed. Ron said he was very comfortable. We knew there were larger rooms and today I was thinking of how I could tactfully find out if Ron was eligible for one of these rooms should one become available. Not ten minutes after I had this thought did the nurse come in and ask me to come and look. It was a much larger room and Ron could have it if he wanted. I said, "Of course!". While we were out, Ron's belongings and stuff was moved to his new room. It has a separate door to the outside - a Winston door. I have come to the conclusion that I am not sure if the nurse offered it for Ron's benefit or Winston's.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to Stewart, Clare, Juliet and Amelia coming down from the Comox Valley to visit Poppa Ron.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love Me Tender

Today we had an early start. Ron and I met with Andrea in his room to discuss further the results from the CT scan. We had one more item to discuss and that was Ron's abuse of the system. Yes folks you read right! Ron was worried that because he had two good nights sleep, he felt that he didn't belong in the Palliative Care Unit. Andrea was very stern in reassuring him that palliative care is for people like Ron who need to be in a reassuring environment by having medications monitored while getting pain and other symptoms under control. Ron, you silly goose. No more talk like that or you will have to deal with your wife!!

Today Ron was just as zoned out but not talking to the Starship Enterprise. Visitors started to arrive by 1300. Ron was very happy and chatty. Thank you for delighting Ron with your presence and listening to his stories.

Also, thank you to Doug and Karen for the twin size down quilt for Ron's bed and the magazines. Thank you to Eddy and Dawna for the Chinese food for supper. Thank you Tim and Tara for bringing Winston and lattes. Ken, thank you for the DVD's. You chose well.

Len B,and Dawna thank you for sharing Ron's story with Doug. He has contacted me and as it should be between friends, you can simply pick up where you left off.

It the truth were known today, I had a splitting sinus headache. Ron knew this and several times requested that I just rest. I am a Capricorn so that is not easily done when there are things to do. After Doug and Karen left, Ron convinced me to take the bed and snuggle with the quilt while he addressed his email messages. Reluctantly I did as he asked. Ron closed the door, closed the blind, put on smooth and quiet music and tucked me in. Tenderly he kissed me on the forehead and sat near while I slept. I felt completely loved by these so simple yet loving gestures. Sweet dreams.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Visitors To Saanich Peninsula Hospital Palliative Care

Many of you have been asking about coming out to visit Ron. He is up to having visitors and would love to see you. He only asks that you check with me to ensure that y'all do not arrive at the same time on the same day. Please call or send me an email with your suggested time of visit and together we will finalize a date and time.

See you soon!

Earth To Spock

Last night Ron in palliative care and me at home. We both had good and much needed sleeps. As I arrived this morning, Ron was being whisked away for a CT scan. Ron's son, Ryan, was visiting so the two of us got a few minutes to catch up. Ron was soon delivered back to his room.

I soon realized that my husband was drugged like I had never seen before. Keep in mind, Ron was a goody two shoes growing up - no smoking, no drugs. His vice was red wine. Being under the influence of drugs was a new experience for Ron.

He was still in his jammies, laying comfortably but half sitting up in bed. He started a conversation with me and Ryan and just zone out. This was very strange for me to witness. He also picked up the phone in the room and jokingly said 'Earth to Spock, earth to Spock'. Ryan and I chuckled and Ron said it was like he was on the Starship Enterprise. Well, you couldn't help but laugh out loud. Ron was in and out of conversations most of the day. While I was conversing with the social worker, Ron would just jump in and start talking about his own version of our conversation.

The CT scan. While there is good news that the liver has not been compromised and nor has the abdomen. The heart has been compromised. The right lung is showing signs of metastasis, small tumours but tumours all the same.

We had a good afternoon and evening. It was good because Ron was pain free and relaxed more than ever. He could sit for long periods of time with out being anxious and feeling a need to walk out the pain. We played crib. That too was funny... he just cannot count a crib hand on those drugs. I will have to sharpen him up before Bill arrives to have a game or two next week.

Ron also ate well. Thank you to the Revenue Solutions Branch who contributed to the food basket for me to take to Ron. He enjoyed a bit of everything; soup, cheese, crackers, homemade tarts. I enjoyed the delicious licorice! We have leftovers for tomorrows lunch.

Tomorrow I will return to the hospital bright and early. Ron and I will be talking to Andrea and the radiologist about the swelling and what is causing it. It remains a mystery.

We will see what the next few days will hold. Fingers crossed for all things good for Ron.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Heart Says NO!

My heart says no, but my mind says yes. It was an incredible conflict I faced today.

My heart ached for everything to stay the same; to be all right. My mind said that it is OK, it is all about Ron. This great tug of war between my heart and mind came to light when we realized it was time for Ron to be admitted to palliative care.

In this blog we have chosen to keep it light. I find as we support Ron in his journey, it is more difficult to gloss over the reality. I believe in my heart that Ron has gallantly endured more discomfort to stay aboard Ta Daa as long as possible. The truth is that this sinister mass consuming his chest cavity and organs is taking its toll - physically, emotionally and mentally - each and every day.

Today while visiting Andrea, his esteemed physician, Ron stated it was time for him to go to palliative care. He has not slept a full night since November. We knew this but he felt the snippets he was catching was enough. Couple the lack of sleep with pain that would not go away and you get one fatigued, exhausted man. While explaining how he felt and the frustration, tears welled up in his eyes. Unfortunately, a bed was not available. Ron settled for spending one or two nights at Doug and Karen's. I had, I thought, a couple days to digest Ron's request. To Ron's benefit, a bed became available.

This meant, for me, Ron likely will not set foot again on our boat. Our boat was not my dream, it was not Ron's dream. It is our dream. Wow, I need to work through this. My heart wanted to deny and scream NO, it is not time for us to end our dream - at least not like this. My mind admitted that this was right for Ron and this is all about Ron, his comfort, his peace of mind and contentment. This is also Ron's way of continuing to take care of me. He worried about situation that would be next to impossible to deal with while living on a boat.

We shared many teary times today. I will admit that this whole week has been weepy for me. After picking up a handicap tag for the car and a wheelchair we swung past the boat to get gear for Ron to take to the hospital. Every moment was agony. The drive to Saanich Peninsula Hospital was silent. I asked Ron if he was hungry. I can't believe it but he requested McDonalds drive through over hospital food for supper.

Once we arrived at palliative care, Ron felt a great sense of relief. The nurses made sure he was comfortable and were more than attentive to his needs. Tonight his meds were slightly adjusted. Tomorrow there would be a consultation with the palliative care doctor and Andrea. Andrea wants to find out what else is going on to cause discomfort in his hip.

Ron's spirit has stayed strong. Ron's sense of humour has not diminished. Ron's physical house for his body is severely failing him. Earlier I mentioned the mass consuming his chest cavity. This has caused obvious physical change in Ron. He has lost weight, his legs and left hand are swollen, his gait is extremely impaired, his breathing is shallow and often laboured. It does not matter the physical, mental or emotional changes. The Ron today is still the man I fell in love with and married on August 16, 1997. Nothing will ever change that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ripples In A Pond

Ron and I have often talked about how diverse you, our family and friends are. You come from all walks of life, you come from all income levels, you come from your own unique experiences. What you share in common is your love and support of Ron since he embarked on his journey of living and coping with cancer. Also, your love and encouragement for me. We receive phone calls, we receive emails, we receive visitors and we are invited into your home - all are most welcome and all are crucial for our mental and emotional well being. I want to share with you, some of our experiences.

You have all heard of our generous friends, Bill, Leanne and Gracie. Their home is our home away from home in the Comox Valley. And... they dared to travel with us knowing that the unexpected could happen and knowing that we would all just deal with it.

Ron's workmates, just today, filled our hearts with an abundance of love and compassion as they swarmed Ron in the hallway. It brought us both to tears. And Cheryl, your offer for you and Ted to help me with anything with the boat anytime is greatly appreciated. I am truly hoping that we can take Ron out for a sail when the weather warms. I can also learn a thing or two from Ted.

Penny and Ken, your emails are timely and your words eloquent. Penny, your visual I want to share with the readers. Penny writes that Ron and I are like a pebble dropped into a pond. The ripples that spread out from it are the family and friends encircling us. That is exactly how we have felts since day one - August 19. We have felt embraced, warmed, hopeful, loved, energized and much more because of those of you caring to stay close to us while we take one step at a time.

MG keep your little emails coming. Your snippets of kindness are as significant as a one time expression.

For the remainder of our friends and family, many of you have been noted in previous insertions If not, I have not doubt you will be noted in the future for a memorable act of kindness. Your kind gestures are in no way any less appreciated than those revealed above. Our hearts, even through difficult times are filled with joy because of you!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Epiphany

I was dragging my feet for fear of pain – emotional pain from writing about our recent news. You see, the day after getting home from Disney World, Ron had an appointment with the Radiation Oncologist. This visit did not result in good news. We found out that the cancer is spreading, again, faster than we ever expected. It is now affecting the heart and the diaphragm. At the rate of growth, the doctor suggested that Ron could be in hospice care within two months. Wow... there is a time line for you – two months, eight weeks, sixty days, one thousand four hundred forty hours. Of this time we are told that there will be ever changing symptoms as his physical health deteriorates.
It is pointless for me to drone on about how shell shocked we were at this new development. It is also pointless for me to go into details about the implications of involving the heart. I also choose not to lay out the details because it is too emotionally painful.
Today we were, once again, at the doctor’s office. She has sent Ron for blood work to reveal whether or not there are implications of cancer on the liver. Also, it is suspected that the lymph nodes are involved. Pain medications have been increased.
As I was walking away from the boat today I had an epiphany. Once Ron declares that he needs hospice it will be the last time he will be on the boat – our home, our dream. When we hold hands, I will not know if this the last time that he will give my hand a little squeeze. When we hug, I will not know if it will be the last big hug that leaves me feeling loved. When we kiss, I will not know if it will be our last kiss that seals our love.
We have decided that we need to process this information, dig deep and find strength to march on as we always do when times are tough. My new fear is that I am not the woman of strength I believed to be. Ron is handling this with great dignity. Husband, I am so proud of you!


Ron, the first time you held my hand I felt loved and complete. Know and trust that I will hold your hand as we endure this journey that will take you to your own destination. I love you so much.

Catch Up On Disney World

These are my excuses for not updating the blog: technical difficulties while in Orlando, I am not well and suffering from bronchitis, and quite honestly, procrastination. Why the procrastination you might ask. That doesn’t match Janice’s style. Before I answer let me catch you up on Disney World – The Happiest Place On Earth and Where Dreams Come True.
To summarize, Disney World is made up of four theme parks and Universal is made up of two theme parks. We managed to do all but one of the Universal parks. Ron had the greatest time. All this came with challenges. You know that we used wheel chairs and a scooter for Ron’s ease of mobility. What you do not know is that he suffered from inevitable swelling of the feet, ankles, knees. One arm, also caused us some concern. We were not expecting this symptom. He also suffered from a shortness of breath for longer periods of time. It became such concern for Ron that he considered coming home early. I told him to just say the word and I would be on the telephone to make the arrangements. Ron felt confident to go one more night before making the decision. I think Ron’s determination to fulfil his dream of visiting Disney World helped him through the last week. He knew that if he bailed, he would never be back. Ron’s energy improved and we soldiered onwards.
So here is a description of our gang in Disney World; two women PMSing, a three year old, a man with one functioning lung and a man who is glued to his blackberry. We had the best time.
Ron says that when you ride the extreme coasters you need one lung for breathing and one for screaming. I screamed while he breathed!
Ron’s highlights of the trip: spending time with me, Bill, Leanne and Gracie, seeing Disney World through the eyes of a three year old, Harry Potter, Epcot Centre, Animal Kingdom, the size of the theme parks and the understanding and tenderness of our friends.
Thank you to Len R and Len B for driving us to and from the airport. It is not that I was too cheap to pay the parking fees, I just didn’t want to leave the new Volvo there.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scoot Harris aka Ron

Ron has been having a blast on the scooter. I do believe in an earlier post I mentioned it is the best thing we have done for this trip - renting an electric scooter.

We started out thinking we would get a wheelchair. Julie at my work suggested an electric scooter for two reasons: one, none of us are in shape for pushing Ron in a wheelchair for hours around the theme parks and Ron is in no shape to wheel himself. Two, it gives Ron some independence to go browsing on his own with needing one of us to accompany him.

The scooter was delivered to our hotel, the Hilton. They have a bus shuttle which we used daily while patrons of the hotel. The first day of Ron on the scooter and using the bus was hilarious. The bus came. As Leanne, Bill, Gracie and I stood back on the sidewalk, Ron backed the scooter on the ramp and the driver activated the lift. Once at bus level, Ron drove and parked the scooter in position in the seating area. The driver was going to strap and anchor Ron in. Ron stood up and said "Look! It's a miracle, I can walk!". The bus driver, a tall black man, did a Scooby Doo arghhhhh and we all burst out laughing. We couldn't stop... the timing was impeccable.

I also mentioned that Ron has run over my foot, his own foot, rammed Gracie in her stroller and also rammed the entrance gate to Disney World. He has also gotten to be a pro on the tight corners as well as maneuvering the crowds. The people themselves are a mixed bag of being very polite to people on scooters to being extremely impolite. Ron is dealing with it in stride but does have a new appreciation for people with disabilities.

The scooter has been fun for Gracie. She periodically hops aboard and goes for a spin with "Poppa Ron". It is fun for both of them - she lights up his face with her hugs and attention, Gracie gets a ride and a rest.

We are thinking of the logistics of owning a scooter while on the boat. Storage may be a challenge but it is a thing of beauty for Ron for getting around. He can scoot and I can run beside him. We will have to look at the price, models and if there are used ones. Just a thought for now.

And For Everything Else There Is Mastercard... Or Not

We just cannot go anywhere without incident. Just go give you an example, five years ago Bill and Leanne joined us in Disneyland. The guys made secret arrangements. Somehow the communications got crossed. Bill and Leanne were missing in action for an hour or more. Bill had our cell number which was at home. Ron had Bill's home number which is in Kirkland so we had no way to connect except through positive thinking. Ron had to spill the beans that Bill and Leanne were in Disneyland and were supposed to meet us. Finally, we saw some Mickey hands coming our way... Bill and Leanne were attached to these overstuffed white Mickey hands.

We were in Hawaii with Bill and Leanne. Ron and I decided to renew our wedding vows. We had fleeting thought of it prior to leaving Canada but had not seriously made any arrangements. Being who we are, we decided to 'throw' something together. I found matching Hawaiian wedding bands at a jeweler - likened to People's in Canada. We found matching clothes; a dress for me, a shirt and white shorts for Ron. Did I mention there was a third couple, Nigel and Tammy. We met them for the first time on this trip however they are friends of Bills. Two nights before the renewal of our vows I excitedly pulled out all the wedding purchases to show Tammy. I had left said purchases downstairs in our rented house. Sometime after me and Ron heading to bed early (I was suffering from a cold) my bag of goodies was mistakenly thrown into the trash. We did not discover the missing purchases until late morning - after which the trash was taken to the end of the drive and scooped up by the trash collectors. We went to the main trash collection area on Kuai and realized it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Just think of Heartland dump in Victoria... We worked through the shock, purchased another set of rings - and I got a deal because this time at this store the lady was from Vancouver - purchased another set of clothes and proceeded with vow renewal as planned. But wait, did I tell you the local Minister had a crisis at home and showed up an hour late for our sunrise ceremony. All ended well as we renewed our vows with our own Hawaiian version of our words.

Now the Disney World story... I lost my Mastercard. We stopped at Walgreens to get Ron a heat pack. I (per usual) needed to find the ladies room before I busted a bladder. I had my little card wallet and placed it on the back of the toilet. Thinking of Ron standing in line, I quickly washed up and headed out of the loo. We hopped into the van and proceeded to the grocery store. At this time I had some words not to cool for a three year old. I had left my card wallet in the ladies room. We bolted back to Walgreens to no avail. No wallet which means no Mastercard, no driver's license, no condo key, no Disney World pass. Bill and I checked each till station in the store. I checked the ladies trash and yes even the feminine disposal. Leanne checked the trash outside. No luck. All this happened in ten of the longest minutes of my life. Ron had his card so I phoned to report my card stolen. I was told I would be sent an emergency card in twenty-four to forty-eight hours. #$%^ is all I can say but what the heck, things can always be worse. A couple Coronas softened the blow.

Next day, that being today, we were heading out and it was a miracle... my wallet appeared in my backpack. Holy Cow... how silly of me. I guess it was the 1.5 Coronas I had prior to going to Walgreens... I must have gotten a buzz and couldn't see straight. I phoned Mastercard but they cannot, would not reactivate my card as I had reported it stolen. I must wait for the replacement to arrive at our condo. Ahhhhh, life is grand when there are adventures! For Disney World there is Mastercard... for adventures with Ron and Janice - PRICELESS!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Happiest Place On Earth

Here we are in Orlando. As it has been some time since I have updated, I will make chronological entries and attempt to not miss anything important. We last left off where Ron and I were sitting in San Fran awaiting our flight to Orlando.

January 8
Our flight to Orlando departed a mere few minutes later. Nothing to be bothered about. What both Ron and I were surprised about is that we were travelling via Air Bus. This Air Bus did not hold many people hence the plane did not have a lot of room to move around in. Even I was getting a bit agitated at the cramped space. Ron was a trooper. The highlight of the flight was flying over Disney World at fireworks time. It was certainly a different perspective looking down at the fireworks. Try it some time.

Needless to say we were extremely tired by the tie we got to the Hilton Hotel. 11PM Florida time, 8 PM Pacific time. Keep in mind that Ron and I had been up since 3:30 AM. A long day indeed.

January 9
We connected with Bill, Leanne and Gracie. We had a pow wow (sp?) to decide what tickets to purchase. There are so many options: base ticket, park hopper 5 days, 7 days etc... Once we made the decision Bill and I made the purchase. We also marched to the nearest grocery store to purchase incidentals such as snacks, water, razors for hairy legs and the such. Then and only then it was time to hop aboard the shuttle and head to the Magic Kingdom. We were on our way.

We are now seeing Disney World through the eyes of a three year old. That would be Gracie. And we are also accomplishing and striking items from Ron's bucket list. Ron normally likes to do the wild rides but is a bit reserved. Our pace through the park is relaxed. Our excitement level is elevated. We are finally here.

Ron is becoming a pro with the scooter. We find ourselves walking in the shoes of others. How many times have you muttered under your breath about scooter drivers in crowded places. Well, now Ron is one of those drivers and he finds himself muttering at the pedestrians. In all fairness to the patrons of Disney World, I find that they are absorbed in everything around them except the people nearest them. There is so much to take in: sights - colours, shapes, displays, dancers, architect, costumes and more. Sounds - music, people talking, singing, booming of fireworks exploding, train whistles, kids crying, people laughing and more. Smells - popcorn, caramel, fireworks, hot dogs, lemonade, coffee and more.

Yes, we stayed for the fireworks and what a magnificent show it was. It is magical. It is romantic. It is breathtaking.

Ron's feet have begun to swell. It is not painful or uncomfortable for him, just annoying. We will keep our eye on this new development.

Scooter riders do have their privileges. We often do not have to wait in the lines and as often as not, we get the front of the ride car. Ron "The Benefit" Harris in Disney World.

Off to the hotel room for a night cap with our friends and to make plans for tomorrow.

January 10
It is the wee hours of the morning. Ron and I made our way back to our room about 30 minutes after midnight. I was about ready to crawl into bed and there was a knock at the door. It was Leanne. Gracie was throwing up all over the place. Leanne, it turns out, throws up when other people do. We rendered her useless. She sat up with Ron and I ran over to their room to lend a hand to Bill. My version of lending a hand was to take Gracie and cuddle her while Bill cleaned up the vomit covered sheets. Yes, tending Gracie also meant rushing her to the toilet to throw up some more and some more and some more. Finally, about 3 AM Leanne came back to the room and I returned to our room. It was a long night for all of us. In the morning, all the adults were tired and Gracie appeared to be back to normal.

Today we visit Epcot. While Epcot was enjoyable it was not y favourite. I found the country displays glorified shopping areas. I mostly enjoyed the Living Sea display and the Nemo ride. What grown adult would not enjoy climbing into a big clam shell following Nemo's story. Ron and I also waited (and it was worth the wait) to see Soaring. It is a type of hang glider ride. I will say no more for you will have to see for your self.

Ron's feet once again swelled. First order of business was to get those feet up and reduce the swelling. It appears to be working. Ron says he is fine and not to worry.

January 11
Today is Animal Kingdom day. Both Leanne and I found this park to be more relaxing than Epcot and Magic Kingdom. For me it was the greenery, live animals and the music. We strolled the different countries, went on safari and watched Nemo the musical. Ron, Bill and I went on the Mt Everest ride. I was a little concerned about Ron, his breathing and well you know... it is a very exhilarating ride. What can I say. As we went down the first dip of this coaster ride I asked Ron how he was doing. He said fine... he had one lung to breath but no other lung for screaming. I did all the screaming. At one point of this ride we were roller coasting backwards. Strange feeling, indeed.

Nemo the musical was very entertaining. I highly recommend it.

As the Animal Kingdom closed early we headed back to Magic Kingdom for Ron and Bill to ride Space Mountain. Leanne, Gracie and I went to Buzz Lightyear. My shooting score was so high I was categorized as a 'Space Ace". 449,000 points. I think I got lucky. Gracie liked the ride so much we went three times. As luck would have it, we also took in the fireworks again.

Ron had a great day and we have had a lot of laughs; mostly at Ron on the scooter. Since we have arrived he has run over my foot, he has run over his own foot, he rammed Gracie in the stroller, and he rammed the Magic Kingdom entrance gate. Not bad for the first three days.

January 12
Today we moved out of the Hilton to a rented condo in Kissimme. We have this unit for the duration of our trip. Bill picked up a mini van. This will transport the five of us and the scooter.
The condo is the greatest. We have two master suites with their own ensuites, a huge kitchen and a beautiful view. We can see Disney and Epcot fireworks in the evening. Today was also a down day from any of the parks. Leanne, Bill and I headed out to Target to stock the fridge with our own food. Ron stayed behind and rested. We all had a relaxing day and it did us all some good.

Ron's feet are still swelling. I have now put in a call to our doctor. Since she is not working today, we will hear from her or her assistant tomorrow. I have asked if Ron would benefit from compression stocking. They may help with the swelling. We shall see.