Simple Love - Our Story

Dear Friends & Family,

If you know us, you know our story. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know our story. Last summer, my friend asked me to write "our story" for a project she was working on. Here's what I wrote last June although I updated a few things such as the kids ages. I am truly thankful for my life, kids and most of all for Curt. Here's our story again:

I can’t say it was love at first sight. We were 11 years old when we met and love wasn’t the first thing on our minds. It was 6th grade and we were more concerned about hanging out on the bleachers as friends than actually pairing up as boyfriends and girlfriends. Curt was always kind to me as he walked around middle school carrying his PeeChee folder with a mischievous look on his face. He had a ton of friends and was definitely one of the cool guys on campus.

It wasn’t until high school, the summer before our Junior year, that we fell for one another. It was August 4, 1982, and we were 16 years old when our friendship turned into something more. We were at a party, playing quarters at our friend's dining room table, when he began playing with my leg under the table. The night ended with a long kiss next to his VW Bus. That was the beginning of our story and our happily ever after.

Our relationship has always been easy. I think the fact that our parents have been together for a long time helped. We both came from great families and had happy childhoods. We grew up in the same city, blocks apart. We knew the same people and came from the same backgrounds. His family attended church, went on camping trips and kept in close contact with grandparents and extended family; as did my family. Our dads both worked hard but always found time for family fun. Our moms both stayed home in our early years and then worked as we got older. In our early years our homes were modest, but nice and all our needs were met.

After high school graduation I left home and Curt to attend college in Texas. We agreed to break up and see other people while we were apart. Although we each dated others; my monthly visits home were spent with each other exclusively. The college was a two year junior college, so I was home in no time. It was then (when I returned from college in May 1986) that I truly believed that Curt was the one for me. Then in September, on the way home from a fun night dancing at Black Angus, he asked me, “Would you want to marry me?” I thought he was talking about the future, like sometime in the future, would you want to marry me? So I said “yes.” The next day he called to ask if I remembered what he asked the night before. He came over to my parents house and we walked across the street to Entradero Park and we sat on the bench swing and talked about our future. It was then and there that we committed our lives to each other.

We were married on June 4, 1988 in front of over 300 friends and family. By then we had been together close to 6 years. Although we were happy with trips to the river, motorcycle riding in the desert and hosting lots of parties, we were excited to begin a family. Clarissa was born March 4, 1993. For some reason we were thinking I was carrying a boy, so we were surprised when the doctor said “It’s a Girl!” We jumped right in to parenthood, sharing duties, and loving on her all the time. When she was three weeks old we traveled in our camper to the California Gold Country, following my parents on a 2 week trip. We continued that pace of travel and activity throughout our lives. Cayden was born on February 8, 1995, we were excited to have a boy and to see Clarissa interact with a new baby! That same year, in December Curt’s dad died suddenly of a heart attack. It was a sad time for all of us.

Although we were happy with our little family, we thought it would be nice to maybe have one more child. Since we had to undergo fertility treatments for the first two children we figured it would take some time to conceive #3. We were excited to get pregnant without fertility treatments on the first try; Corbin was born on September 3, 1999. Our family was complete!

When the kids were young we spent many weekends away from home. We traveled in our motorhome to the desert and rode motorcycles most weekends in the winter, while summers were spent at Lake Nacimiento, waterskiing. When Clarissa was young, if ever we were home on a weekend, she would stand at the door and say “go”. We called her our “go baby”. Still today, she loves to GO! All the kids still enjoy traveling to the desert, lake or anywhere.

We have truly lived a fairy tale life. Honestly, we have hardly ever fought or argued about anything. Curt has an easy going attitude and just makes everything do-able. We have both worked for over 25 years at the same job, we manage our money well and we make time for family and friends. We attend church, volunteer and support our children in their activities.

We love our kids so much! Dinnertime is always full of conversation and laughter. The kids talk to us about everything (it seems), we love that they feel safe confiding in us. They are all super smart, not only in school but in life. They know and appreciate the things they have, they respect us and each other. Clarissa (18) is a planner, she loves planning trips and activities with her friends. She is outgoing, organized, creative, a great people person, has amazing intuition and is beautiful! Cayden (16) is a hard worker who loves to fix things. He is an accomplished videographer and editor, and keeps busy with friends, activities and customizing his truck. Corbin (12) is funny and sweet. He has the biggest heart and loves to help people. He plays football and likes to ride dirt bikes and wakeboard with Clarissa and Cayden. We all love spending time together as a family.

Sadly, our ‘happily ever after’ is coming to an end. In November of 2009, Curt was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. There is no cure for this devastating disease and the life expectancy is 2-5 years. Since his diagnosis, he can no longer walk, use his hands, dress or feed himself. The disease is also robbing him of his ability to speak. In the end he will lose the use of all of his muscles including his breathing muscles. Through it all Curt has been amazing. He has kept a positive attitude and still tries to make the most of each day. He teaches us so much each day; about how things work, about how to treat others but most of all how to love. He shows his love in simple ways. Before the disease took over his body he would put toothpaste on my toothbrush, wash my car, run errands and shop for the family. He saw what needed to be done and would do it out of love.

Our relationship began as a friendship and today more than ever we are friends. Our love is built on a simple foundation of wanting to put the other one first. We save the best of what we have for each other. It's not about fancy vacations or expensive gifts; our love is simply caring for one another.

to be continued......

I had a great birthday week with lots of celebrations with our amazing friends. As you will see in the photos Curt looks great as usual. But I feel I should update you all on his physical health. Since he was diagnosed the disease has not taken a break from the devastation it is performing in his body. At this point, he can no longer stand unassisted or support his own weight. He slumps in his wheelchair and needs to be constantly set back up because his trunk muscles are deteriorating. He gets uncomfortable trying to sit up all day in his wheelchair so he goes to bed early. We have to place his two right fingers on his wheelchair control in order for him to drive it, and they don't work very well. I just ordered him a reclining manual wheelchair because I am not sure how much longer he will be able to operate his power wheelchair. He has just about zero use of his arms and hands.  Pain medications, muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety meds help him sleep through the night. He prefers to eat softer foods and we feed him small bites as he tends to be choking more. He often chokes on water and his saliva.His speech is thick and hard to comprehend especially when he is tired. His legs "jump" all the time, we are always repositioning them so the jumping and shaking will stop. Sometimes his legs get stiff and will not bend, we have to work with them slowly to get them to relax.

Our activities and outings have slowed down a lot. Riding in the mini van has become difficult; he bounces a lot and even with his seat belt firmly tightened, he still seems to slump and get uncomfortable. Loud places are hard for him, he can not communicate well. Crowded places are difficult as he can barely maneuver around and through people and tight places. He gets tired easily so we stick close to home so he can go to bed when he needs to.

As always, his attitude is amazing! He still smiles, laughs, sun tans, and cares. He loves the visits he gets from friends along with Jacki's haircuts, his mom's scalp massages, walks, cocktails with the guys, comedy shows on tv, music and the smell of coffee. He watches the birds outside, the scrolling photos on the computer screen saver, and the people coming and going. Tonight he was in Clarissa's room, she was not home, he was just taking it all in, her photos and memorabilia. Later he and Corbin had all of Curt's jewelry and mementos spread across the bathroom counter as they talked about each piece one by one.

Sometimes it is too much for me, right now, watching him decline, watching him struggle, everyday, every moment, it is breaking my already damaged and weak heart. It is more than any family or any man should ever have to bear. Pray on...

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

My friend Michelle took me to lunch for my birthday on Thursday.
We didn't take a photo, but I had to include her on tonight's blog, she has been such a support to me.
 She is a great listener and voice of reason! And my friend since elementary school!
This photo was taken at Curt's 40th Birthday Party in 2006!
Mark, Kelli, Larry & Debbie surprised us with dinner at our favorite restaurant - The Bottle Inn.
We even sat in the wine cellar! Thanks for a great night!

Friday lunch with Evyn, Carolyn, Jaime, Bill, Rae Lynn and Lisa.
Pete's Cafe, downtown Los Angeles.
Thanks girls (and Bill) it was super fun!

Dinner at Claim Jumper!

Paige & Cayden's Winter Formal

Paige is the sweetest girl ever! They had a great night at Winter Formal!

Birthday Celebration with Jim (our birthdays are a day apart)
at Acapulco Inn.
Jim, Steve, Shelley, Janet, Steve-O, Colleen

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