Monday, February 23, 2009

winn workin' his kitchen magic.


I had the best bowl of chili for supper. And better yet, I didn't have to make it. Winn is vying for the blue ribbon at the chili cookoff tomorrow night, so I get to be the taste-tester for his "experiments." He really is better in the kitchen than I am. But then again, we would expect nothing less from a chemist.

Now supper is over and the dishes are done, and I can hear the saw and sander buzzing away upstairs as he works on the window trim. During this emotional roller coaster of a week, he is all muscles and action, processing this unwelcome news about his mom's cancer in his own way. Calm and steady, sensitive and solemn. Our good friend Chris lost his father unexpectedly over the weekend, and at church on Sunday, while worshipers around them stood and sang, he and Winn sat shoulder to shoulder, bent over in their chairs, two strong men shedding tears of pain for their loved ones. And I can't explain why that scene touched me so much, but in that moment, expressing their sorrow, taking comfort in each others friendship, they looked stronger than ever.

The unwelcome news. I have been putting off telling you, because then it is real. My mother-in-law Sherill came up here last week from her home in Iowa, looking for answers from Mayo Clinic about the recent severe pain she's been experiencing. The answers came. But they weren't the ones that we wanted to hear. What began as breast cancer many years ago, and then spread to her liver and lung, has now metastasized to her bones, and there are several additional tumors as well. And after a long and courageous battle, she has decided to end her treatments.

In this next season of life, this wonderful family that I've come to love and appreciate so much, will gather to soak up precious time together and create many priceless memories. Two of Winn's siblings are already there, the third is on her way, and we will head down this weekend. I'm trying to prepare myself, as much as one can, for the bittersweet times that we will experience, as we savor every moment together, contemplating a time in the not-so-distant future when Sherill will be free from pain, when she'll finally have a body that's not overcome with disease, when she'll be able to run and dance and see her dad and her sister and, like she told me a couple days ago, finally get to see Nova Scotia. We don't know what we'll do without her, but who can begrudge her a future like that...

10 comments:

Britt said...

Our prayers are with you all Betsy... She is such an awesome lady, and her attitude just brings tears to my eyes. Hugs to all of you!

The Rhoderick Family said...

I will be praying for your family! What a tough time. I hope that you can enjoy your time together making new memories and remembering the ones already made.

martha said...

Tears. I am so sorry for you and yours. All of you will be in our prayers. Hugs to all of you!! MJ

Kelly said...

Betsy - what a beautiful entry. Our hearts and prayers are with you, Wynn and the rest of his family.

brentandsarah said...

I'm praying for your family. It's not fair that two wonderful Johnson sisters have had to experience cancer. Praying that your last memories are precious ones.

Esther said...

I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through this tough time. I will pray for strength for all of you and that lots of wonderful memories can be made during the time that she has left. She is such an amazing person. I'm glad that you have been blessed with a mother-in-law like her. Love ya girl. Hugs to you all.

breannabrummer said...

this woman has touched so many lives!! a lil bird told me that miss sherill here is going to teach us something, something we (I) never thought i would learn, i thought it was just something you get through... i (among several women in our congregation) believe she is going to teach us how to meet our heavenly father. what an honor this task is.
and with that said, know you and your family are on my mind more than i can express!
HUGS!

Jackie said...

Betsy,
I discovered your blog From facebook and have enjoyed reading. I want you to know that my heart is sad for you and winn, and I will be praying for your family as you go through this difficult time. Your Mother-in-law" is a beautiful woman,(pictures on your blog) I was surprised to see so much of Winn in her face. I hope you have a wonderful time this weekend with famiy, bittersweet as it may be, I also pray for lots of laughing and joy. Jackie Hemmer

Abbi said...

I am crying but also hoping that you all have a wonderful time together this weekend and thankful that Sherill can look forward to something so much better and that everybody else can look forward to seeing her again someday in a place where there will be no tears or pain. Ever! You all will be in my prayers.

teamcadwell said...

What a touching story Betsy!! Hugs to you guys during this tough time!!