Life As We Knew It

Dear Friends & Family,

We walked out of Kaiser on November 11, 2009 with a death sentence for Curt. His diagnosis sent us both into a state of shock (thankfully). The next few days we felt numb and physically pained. Life as we knew it would never be the same. My mom said that we would eventually get used to it and find a sense of normalcy and acceptance and be able to continue on with our lives. We spent the next few days struggling with how and when to tell the kids. When we broke the news to the kids we suddenly realized we needed to tell their teachers and our friends and family so everyone could support one another. I spent the next few days making phone calls bearing the unimaginable news. On December 7, 2009 we visited a different doctor for a second opinion. I think that time hurt more than the first. We walked out of the building and I was surprised by the way the world was still turning. People were hustling about, traffic was congested as usual and although our world would never be the same, no one seemed to notice. It was the strangest feeling, I felt like we were in a bubble and no one could hear or see us. Our family had just been dealt a devastating blow and nothing in the world changed. I am sharing this story tonight because I just finished reading Tuesdays With Morrie; he had the same experience when he walked out of the doctor’s office after being diagnosed with ALS. He was surprised that everyone was just going about their day just as he received the news that his life would be ending soon.

Like my Mom said, we have been able to find some normalcy and go on about our lives. Although the past year and a half has been difficult and full of adjustments, for the most part, we have continued to fill our days with friends & family taking in God’s beauty, the warm sunshine and fabulous opportunities to appreciate all we have. Although I try to remain positive day to day, the tolls that ALS is taking on Curt’s body are sometimes more than I can bear. To see him suffer is torture for me. We used to tell each other when the other was sick, “I wish I could suck it out of you and make you better.” Curt is requiring more and more help as his body deteriorates by the day. ‘In sickness and in health’ has become the forefront of our relationship. I am sad that he has to suffer so much. Our nights are full of trying to get him comfortable in bed, helping him roll over, use the restroom, and getting him in and out of bed. I am tired. Pretending that everything is ok and keeping a sense of normalcy is exhausting, but there is no time to complain. Plumbing leaks (thanks Mark for fixing it), school projects, and sports schedules keep us running.

This past week someone caught on and word spread through our friends that we were struggling. Although we don’t know what we need, they seem to know. Wednesday, Mark picked up Curt and took him out for awhile to visit Mark’s job sites, and then he brought Curt by the office to surprise me. Earlier that day, Mark & Kelli had sent a vase of sunny yellow flowers to the office to cheer me up. The water in the vase had sliced lemons floating in it. Kelli said that we had been given lemons in life and are making lemonade along with teaching everyone else how to. Thursday night we were blessed with an impromptu gathering of friends; the Melansons, Hunters & Coyles came over and cheered us up. It was so sweet of them to come over; they livened up the house and Curt & I went to bed laughing. Saturday night we were once again surrounded by friends at our house for an Italian potluck. These gatherings are just what we need to distract us from the pain and show us that we are not in this alone. Sometimes I forget that I am not the only one losing Curt. Our friends are grieving and struggling along with us also.

Tonight, Curt took me out to dinner for an early anniversary celebration. He had a gift for me and wanted to give it to me while he could still talk. Although I tried to convince him to wait until our actual anniversary, June 4th, he insisted that he wanted to see me enjoy the gift as long as possible. We had a super delicious dinner at Park Ave where the waiter presented a gold, foil wrapped box on a tray. The sweetest thing about the box was his handwriting (to Cindy Lee, Love, Curtis Mitchell) on the outside. He hasn't been able to write for months, so I know this took a lot of effort and love. He is so amazing and loving! I am still the luckiest girl in the world! Please pray for physical strength for Curt.

Continuing our video interview from April 2010,  Steve Gallie has added Part 3 - The Proposal, on the right side bar. Check it out.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Corbin's Friday Night Lights football game

Rosalie & Curt
I wrote about her last week, but didn't have a photo. She is a great care-giver for Curt!

Thanks Hunter Family!

Curt is teaching Larry how to arrange flowers! Too cute!

Mark, Kelli, Clarissa, Jessica, Debbie, Julie & Daniel
Saturday Night Italian Party!

Jaime, Margie, Carolyn, Lisa and Rae Lynn

Paul, Bill, Ray, Bill, Larry, Jim & Mark
Love the random guy on the tv looking over Paul's shoulder. He really wants to be part of the group!

Jim & Colleen (she's almost done with chemo!)

Sadie's 80's Dance
On their way to Sadie Hawkins Dance

Clarissa's 8th Grade Class Reunion at Lakewood Christian School

Clarissa had fun catching up with old friends.

Krystal & Cayden after his volleyball game today.

An early anniversary gift from Curt. You'll have to wait until next week to see what's inside the box.
 I have to keep you all in suspense. Just know that it is super amazing, just like my husband!

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