Sunday, April 25, 2010

Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation Rockin' Bingo Event

We had a really fun fund raiser event last night! Rockin' Bingo was the theme and guests were given the option to dress up like their favorite rock star, rock group, or a groupie/fan from their fave rock era. Since my fave era musically was probably the 70's and I was a bit of a hippie that is how I chose to dress. My husband who was supposed to show up as one of Beach Boys flaked out at the last second and came as a serious psychologist...well, more people dressed up than I anticipated and it was fun. Cindy Forrest and her husband Marcus hosted the "fun" table. Those folks are an inspiration...they know how to have a good time. My friend and neighbor Bret Wiggins aka Elvis was "on" last night and his performance was stellar. We didn't have any highschool prom goers on the premises to crash our event like last year but it was still a blast. The serious side of the event was that we have to raise money to support the families in Western WA who are coping with a pediatric cancer diagnosis and all of the ensuing treatment issues that goes along with it. Our unflappable emcee/bingo caller and our VP, Chuck Marcouiller spoke briefly about his son Max and their cancer journey...just so folks would remember why we were all there...then, Christine Hurley gave a brief pitch later on...her beautiful little daughter Brianna is a survivor and Chris is also a board member who came from the support side. Great job of describing our mission Chris and Chuck! Not sure how much we raised yet but it almost doesn't matter. A good time was had by all -- some new folks attended and learned about our mission and who we serve and we had some great prizes...good food and lots of fun! THANK YOU to all of our supporters!

Now, on to the next two events...on September 24th the Eastside Business Association in Kirkland is hosting their annual "Taste of the Town" event at the Columbia Winery and Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Western Washington is the recipient of the proceeds from the auction portion of the event. Then, the very next day is the statewide walk to create awareness of childhood cancer. This is a joint venture of ours with the Connie Prekeges Foundation. For more info go to or check out our website at and we will update the info as we get closer. Start building your teams now and walk for kids with cancer! It's only a 5k. Planned for Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane, WA.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grieving the loss of a child

I attended a class last night that brought up a lot of memories of my son. Now, you would think that all these years later the pain would be a lot less...but guess what? the pain doesn't go away -- you just get used to it. I have often told others this sad truth. The hole in your heart will always be there. You can try filling it up with food, chocolate, alcohol, drugs, pets, more children, etc. but that hole has the name of your deceased child on it and it will be there until the day you die. Truth hurts sometimes...but getting used to the pain is a reality. My little boy told me before he died that he did not want people (especially me) to focus on his death but to continue to celebrate his life and to be grateful for the time we had. My wise little boy had so many insights about life, death and the afterlife. I wrote most of them down in my book "Over the Rainbow Bridge" and I encourage you to read it. I have received so many complimentary emails and letters that it touches my heart. I got one yesterday from a lovely woman in Massachusetts. She found my book at her library and it really helped her. It is still surreal for me to get fan letters. They are more for Cory than me...but I still appreciate them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grief Comes in Many Packages

I have been thinking about how children grieve and maybe more importantly the things they grieve about. In the old days (as my kids would point out means my younger years---many moons ago) most children's first experience with a loss was the death of a pet...or the death of a grandparent. That was back in Leave it to Beaver's day. Now, families move many times so the children lose friends, contact with family members, teachers, familiar surroundings, etc. Then, the divorce rate has blown through the roof and now many folks don't even bother to get married so splitting up is even easier in many cases. What does all this loss do to children? They are sad, some are mad, they feel disconnected, unsupported, and just plain lost. When kids experience the death of a parent or grandparent either one or both of their parents are busy grieving too depending on the circumstances---again...they feel unsupported and lost. I helped facilitate grief workshops for kids and teens for a local hospice organization for more than 15 years. It was incredible to hear the stories the kids told. And, it was wonderful that they were in a safe place where they could talk about how it felt to be going through grief with or without parents. Kids are amazingly resilient but they have to feel that someone is there for them or they will find other ways to cope. And that's rarely good. We had cutters, drug users, young people who drank name it. They weren't bad kids. They were just sad...mad...lost. Hear your children...feel their there for them. With so many adults messed up on drugs or other substances...they are not there for their children. I think that is why we have so many angry people in the world. Let's all pray for the children shall we?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Judging Others is Wrong

I read with interest the story today about the adoptive mom who sent her Russian child back to Russia with a note that said she didn't want to parent him anymore. Well, now the woman is being vilified by people judging her actions. What a sad sad story and all too common these days. Apparently the boy has severe behavioral issues and the single parent who adopted him was never told about the boy's true history. Makes ya wonder what kind of screening they do in Russia. In the meantime, the Russian government is totally hacked and suspending adoptions until they can come up with a new plan for doing adoptions with Americans. This story reminds of my friends who adopted a cute little guy and now he resides across the country in a boarding school for boys who can't hack it at home-- for a variety of reasons and none of them pretty. Now, we all know that you never know even when you have a child biologically what your child's personatlity will be like... but how tragic for all adoptive parents whose kids turn out to be the opposite of what they wanted. It has to be so horrible for the children too. They have been through so much -- they gotta be angry and so many are drug and alcohol affected most have RAD, PTSD you name it. You cannot judge these parents...not even if you have been through it yourself should you judge these parents. They deserve our prayers not condemnation.