Nan Mustard's Recovery

This blog is a record of Erin (Nan) Mustard's recovery.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Timothy has a new sitter

Dear Family and Friends,
Its about 10 pm Hawaii time, the breezes are blowing through my room and its cool and comfortable. This has been a really enjoyable day for me. I finally got to care for Timothy. In contrast to other days here in Kauai this morning started with sunshine. Jason and Jo picked me up and we found a local place for breakfast. It was good food. then we headed to the Blow Hole. We enjoyed watching the ocean come blasting up through the hole in the rock. Then Jason had selected a nice beach nearby and we landed there. I watched Timothy while Jason and Jo went snorkeling. When they came back to the shaded place where we were they called and found a boat for the afternoon to see the back side of Kauai where all the beautiful waterfalls, beaches, valleys exist. So they dropped me off to the hotel room and raced back to the launching splace on the west side of the island. Timothy and I settled in. Jason had said that if he cried he either needed food, diaper or rest. After he ate he fell asleep but an hour later he woke up. Then nothing I could do would calm him down. He cried for over a hour and I tried everything, finally he fell asleep and he slept until they got back at 7 pm. They had a great day and enjoyed taking dozens of photos. The photos were very good.
Jason and Jo brought me Taco Bell and when Timothy woke up he was happy to see his parents. What a cute little guy and so sweet. So I've enjoyed the kind of day I have dreamed of, I've got to care for Keanna and now Timothy. This being a grandparent is a good experience. Very rewarding.
Jason says tomorrow I am to get into the ocean. Not my favorite thing to do but I'll humor him.

So I big you a nice evening and I wish you were here in this place where a cool night is 65 degrees. It is so beautiful and relaxing.



Saturday, December 29, 2007


Dear Family and Friends,
This evening finds Nikki and Keanna and Steve arriving home in Oakland to a very cold world. They flew out this afternoon and I flew as far as Honolulu with them and said a tough good bye to them as they left the place to wait for their ATA flight home. I stayed on the plane, dried my tears and flew to Kauai. Jason, Jo and Timothy met me at the airport and we found my cute little hotel room. Its a little bungalow with new bath, nice bed, little frig and a flat screen TV. It is just perfect and I love it. We then drove to a beach that Jason had heard about at church and found a small place to snorkel with a rock wall keeping the surf away. Jo, Timothy and I sat on a towel in the wind while Jason snorkeled. He came in beaming, having managed to see many fish and finally get into the water. The we went to their hotel which is very nice, they have a view of the ocean, pool and a very nice room with a sitting area and high speed Internet. We ventured out to find dinner and ate at the Hula Girl, good food and decent service. Then we searched and found a little ice cream desert. Timothy had fallen asleep on his daddy's chest and slept through the entire meal and as we drove around he slept on. While we were driving back to my hotel it rained hard but then stopped as we neared the room. I've been here a few hours enjoying talking to friends, emailing and watching the TV. Now I'm heading to bed.
I started this day with a 6:30 phone call from a credit card company asking to speak to Erin Mustard. I filled them in what has happened and they ask that I fax a death certificate to them. the outcome is unclear but it appears they may accept that as the end of the matter since it was in Nan's name only. We will see.
I have had a very solid relaxing time so far, Nikki and Steve could not have been nicer to me making me feel welcome and loved. Keanna was the perfect little grandchild and we had a blast at the pool, at meals, in the unit and I am so proud of her spirit, her bright approach to life and her clever ways. She loves to play and can make a game out of a hat, hide and seek, just about anything. What a precious little person God has given our family. Thank you Nikki and Steve and Keanna for helping this be a very good Christmas after all.
Tonight as I write I can hear wind raging outside and rain has fallen much of the evening. I hope for Jason and Jo's sake that the weather improves so they can enjoy a boat trip to the backside of the island to see one of the most beautiful places in the world. They are not to anxious to take the helicopter ride since over the past couple years there have been some crashes with terrible results. There is a current lawsuit right now over a crash where the lady is paralyzed for life. What a price to pay for a quick ride. nan and I have taken the ride before and it is the best scenery in the world for sure. We loved it.
I notice that I shorted myself a couple days of my meds, I read the calendar wrong, saw 8 days but it is actually more. So I'll spread out the bills I have not taking quick a full dose on the days between now and when I get home.
Tonight I jsut want to thank you for your advice and positive feedback to my determination to get into better shape. I have been very impressed with the weight loss by friends, the Conners, Sylvia and others. It tells me it can be done and that is encouraging. I need to eventually drop 75 lbs which is a lot and won't happen quickly.

So I send my love from this garden isle and I wish you were all here.


tim and jason and jo and timothy

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday evening in Kona

Dear Family and Friends,
Time has gone by very rapidly for me over the past few days. All too soon the vacation changes locations for me and Nikki, Keanna and Steve head home. since they are flying on ATA they are not all that anxious to load and fly home. Small seats, cramped conditions and a long time, over 4 hours in the air. It was 5 hours and 40 minutes coming over. Yet they have had a splendid time and have spent hours at the beach, snorkeling, whale watching, dolphin watching, sunset watching, shopping, eating and relaxing. Keanna is so looking forward to getting home to see Melaboo, their black lab. Also since we have been here David and Lacy, Steve's brother and friend have brought their new baby home from the hospital. So Uncle Steve and Aunt Nikki are going to see their new little niece.

I am flying to Honolulu tomorrow afternoon at 2:15 and then on to Lahuie to spend time with Jason, Jo and Timothy for a few days. then on the 2ND I leave in the evening to fly a red eye to LA and then home in the morning of the 3rd. I am so thrilled that I have had this chance to be with my family during this time. It has helped this Christmas to become a positive series of memories instead of sadness.

We rose this morning and went to our own pool area planning to eat at the little dive there. When they took a long time to get there to take our order Steve said, lets leave. Well we did and found ourselves at the breakfast place at the Sheraton next door. Not only did we have a great breakfast with many choices of good food but we sat at the water's edge watching the breakers come and go. The nicest thing was much less cost for breakfast, much cheaper, then we went to the beach nearby for excellent snorkeling. Steve and Nikki took Keanna with them out into the ocean and she did her best yet at looking under water at things. Finally after we were baked we left to come back and shower. Then in the afternoon we shopped in the local markets. This evening had pizza and popcorn and now I am watching Keanna while they go out for a last night here in Kona for this trip.

I tried my hand at taking a photo with my camera and sending it out to a few people today. Had never done that before but George said he got it. It was so good to hear George's voice. They are attending a special event this weekend and learning lots of deep things regarding the future of Christianity in the world. It sounds very exciting.

As I was watching the sun slip behind the ocean this evening I called Jan. My call caught her totally by surprise as she was having a rough moment remembering her relationship and love for Nan. We talked and I think we both felt better afterwards.

This process of losing someone you love so completely and who you have lived totally for, well its tough to comprehend, tough to accept and tough to understand. Art helped me this evening as we talked and laid plans for his help for me in the future. I've not spent much time considering my own future over the past few years. It was always a focus on finding a way to relieve suffering, promote healing, build strength, battle tumors and share hearts. Now my focus has to change dramatically, to myself and then to others in the family and then to others who might have special needs outside the family. I don't have a clue as to what to expect in the next few months. I know I will work hard, try to tidy my finances up and reduce spending, built the business up and find a new lifestyle of health and exercise.

At the present time walking up even a slight hill makes my chest hurt, makes me gasp for breath and I hurt inside. It is a very frightening way to be, I've never been this out of shape in all my life. I used to run 10 Ks for the fun of it, weighed in at 160 and now I'm over 225 and really really limited in what I can do. Not blaming anyone, just ate, did not exercise and hardly ever drank any water. I believe that this can be turned around, I certainly hope so as this is no way to try to live.

Social security certainly messed up my day. I was assured by SS when I called to inform them of Nan's passing that another check for the month of Nov. was coming and would be deposited to our account on the last Wed of the month. So based on that fact I arranged for an auto payment to AMEX for Thursday. Well the bank called to say that SS had not paid a check but AMEX had asked for their money. So I spent just under an hour this morning to finally ge to speak to someone at SS. Yes they did pay the money, yes they did cancel it and yet they would be reissuing it soon, soon meant in a month, when pressed they said in 10 days. Well the bank was nice enough to go ahead and pay the AMEX and just wait for the money until I get home to find it. Frustration even in paradise. Thank goodness for cellphones without long distance charges.

This week with the kids has been so good, we speak often about nan, you can't be in Hawaii without remembering all the places and times we've been here with her. All of us have sad hard moments of remembering and we help each other through those moments. Nan was such a center of activities, she knew everything, dates, phones numbers, people, places so the rest of us did not have to keep track of everything, she would do it well. To have that spark plug for our family pulled out is really felt on many levels.

This evening the weather is warm, probably 76 in here right now with a ceiling fan turning and breezes moving through the unit from back to front. It quiet except for the dryer working on the towels from today. The unit has a living room with huge sleeper sofa, full kitchen with every utensil one could want, two bathrooms with Mexican paver floors, two TVs and storage. On the back there is a patio which is covered and looks directly to the ocean across a championship golf course. We bought these two weeks many years ago when they were cheap, at least cheap compared to today's prices and have used them many times, it is a good place and Kona gets less rain than the rest of Hawaii. Hilo thought which is an hour away on the other side of the island gets a huge amount of rain, just ask Roger and Carol, they have lived there often as they built homes on that side.

There have been cruise ships in the harbor nearly every day during the week and they thousands of cruisers come ashore so downtown Kona gets a bit busy as does the beaches. Yet that is a wonderful way to see Hawaii. We've done it a couple times and loved it. Seeing the orange streams of lava come down the mountain side at night is something you never forget, that was on the last cruise we took.

I'm hoping you all have a good weekend and a excellent Sabbath Day. In spite of all I believe God is good and His timing is perfect. Someone I know and love is no longer in misery but rests in peace due to His love.

I send much love to each of you, so glad to hear from Roger and Carol and Wes. Its really nice to hear words of courage and advice.

I love you all and I think of you often. I know there are GISTers reading this who are anxious, who are fearful and I urge them to go all out in pursuing life, don't accept poor care, try to get in contact with one of the major centers and establish an email, phone or letter communication. There are new ways of fighting GIST every day, use them, demand them, keep the fight going. Its worth every day you can extend your life.


tim and nikki and keanna and steve

Another day in paradise

Dear Friends and Family,
It is now evening and once again I am really tired and getting a little more burned every day. This morning Steve and Nikki went on a snorkeling trip to a national park, one that is completely under water. It is one of the world's best snorkeling place and they loved it. The really nice extra plus was they saw whales on the way to the snorkeling spot and than again on the way back. Yesterday we spend many hours on the ocean searching with no success but today just as they are traveling on the way they see whales. Nikki was thrilled and so was Steve. Meanwhile Jason and Jo were not having such a good time. They arrived at their hotel this morning before 9 am but check in was 3 pm. They were very tired from the all night trip on ATA. Of course their luggage did not make it. When I spoke again to Jason this afternoon he said the luggage had still not arrived. Jason went to the hotel office this morning and they let him in 6 hours early and to a better room with ocean and pool view. They rested much of the day but Kauai is having rain issues nearly every day. They hope for some beach time in the sun.
This morning Keanna and I went to the pool for breakfast and then she went to the children's pool. We were only there for a few minutes and a young chinese girl arrived, Presley by name, who was Keanna's size, with a life jacket, goggles and plenty of energy. They played non stop for hours until it was time to pick up Nikki and Steve at the boat. Then a nap was in the offing. Finally we woke up and Nikki made a great dinner. Then to downtown Kona for shopping and now back to the unit.
I've conducted some business today, ask Kent to see if he can fix our heater so the doggies won't be so cold, talked to Art several times, spoke to both LeAnn and Loree and several others. This afternoon I got to talk to Sharon for awhile and got an update, her house is coming along well and she is feeling well too.
I really appreciate hearing from Carol and Roger and Wes. What great friends with good advice for the future.
Now I'm so sleepy I will crash, slept from 1:30 this morning until 5 am.

We are sending our love to each of you,

Nikki, Steve, Keanna and Tim

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Whale watching, Luau bring back memories

Dear Family and Friends,

Its been 22 days since we lost Nan. This evening it feels a lot longer yet today as we boarded the Whale Watch boat for a day of searching for the elusive Humpback Whales I remembered clearly the last time Nan and I headed out to sea and this evening as we sat down at a Luau I could easily place Nan at the table from the last time we enjoyed an evening like that. Yet these are good memories, really good memories.

I woke early this morning, I'm not sure how early but I think about 5 am and using this laptop accessed my home computer. Once in I went to the hundreds of photos in the server and enjoyed finding ones of Nan from different years, from different events and in various states of health or illness. I found different hair colors, different weights, GIST events, birthdays, hospital stays, graduations of our kids and in every one I found my beautiful Nan smiling or braving her way through. I am so very proud of her legacy, that of a fighter, a warrior, a person who refused to give in to the disease, to let it get in the way of her will to live life well. Later in the morning Keanna got up and began to play quietly and later her parents woke. Although I am tired tonight I enjoyed this quiet time with our memories. I did really have it good with Nan. And I am really glad I was her husband, caregiver, admirer, lover and cheering section.

Nikki made a great breakfast of pancakes and then we left for the whale watching experience. Someday Nikki will actually get to see whales. I can remember many times when nan and I would call Nikki who was slaving at home at her work to tell her we saw whales and she would demand that she too could someday see whales. Well today was the day but it was not to be. We do have a free trip to go again to try again to see whales but of course they have no openings on this trip. Poor Nikki. keanna was so precious and did not give up on seeing a humpback until we entered the harbor at days end. She was a true believer. I prayed that we could see even just one for the girls but it was not to be.

Tomorrow Steve and Nikki are going on a snorkeling trip to a beautiful place next to captain cook monument that is a national park, a stunningly beautiful place to snorkel and I hope they have a great day. Keanna and I will go to the pool, have breakfast, take a walk and then in the afternoon go back to pick them up.

I am very happy to be here and deeply appreciate what Steve did for me in arranging the travel for this trip. It was vintage Steve to quietly help someone not wanting anyone else to know, just doing his caring thing.

This evening as I write Jason and Jo with Timothy are flying across the ocean to Kauai where they will finally get into their condo room. They are so looking forward to Hawaii so much but are going to have a long night tonight with Timothy as a lap baby. I'll feel better when I know they are here safely.

I've been doing some thinking about life, about my life but have not come to any huge conclusions. Without being dramatic I'll tell you this, if I don't lose weight and get into better shape I will not live to be old. Everything I do right now comes with great effort, even walking a short distance uphill makes me short of breath and I have a dull pain in my chest often, not angina, just being horribly out of shape. It frightens me to be in such bad shape. It is my own doing with no one to blame but I've let my weight go higher than I've ever been before and it puts a real strain on everything I do. I've got to deal with this and quickly. I do not have a clear picture in my mind of my living day after day, week after week alone, I just can't see where any joy or meaning fits yet. In time I hope things will settle in. At the present time all I really look forward to is getting the life insurance and being able to repay all those who have been so generous in loans for house payments and other special needs. Also to get the monthly bills up to date so I don't have to field phone calls every day from creditors. Without complaining my life has been a pretty big challenge for months now and the stress of it all remains. I have lost my good advice and counsel person, a person who could always get be back on track with a few encouraging words, I have lost her and I'm not really too excited about being alone, facing everything by myself.

Nan and I have always intended and pretty much been able to take care of ourselves without inflicting our issues onto the kids. Our kids deserve as normal of lives as possible and they have been totally perfect in their support and wisdom through the whole final stages and then the loss of their mom. No one could ask for more, for anything more. They have been perfect and are continuing to be a real support, even now as I am here imposing on their hospitality and generosity. Yet I know I have to live my own life, not depend on them for everything and I can handle that part. I will not become a burden to my kids, they don't need it and their mother would have a cow if she thought I had become a leach on our kids.

So somehow I've got to learn to live on my own, to make my own decisions and to get my health in shape. Tall orders for me it seems.

Right now the right thing to do is stop writing and go to bed. I probably had 5 or so hours last night and its catching up with me.

So my family, my friends, I am enjoying this very special place even as I have to work through many wonderful memories of our being together here. I can do this, I know Nan would expect it of me, I'm just so sorry she had to go, taken by a terrible enemy that we fought but could not win over.

love from Kona

keanna, steve, nikki and tim

ps I've sure enjoyed the emails, from Glen, Richard, Yvonne and George, Barbie
Yes Dennys was quite busy in Kona and Placerville! Sounds like Barbies house was a better bet than Dennys though.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in Kona

Dear Family and Friends,
Its warm, it beautiful and it is appreciated very much. Thanks to the generosity of Steve Ahn I am here with Steve, Nikki and Keanna. We have had a good day with Christmas this morning, Keanna opening gifts and playing with her dolls, one even eats, drinks and fills a diaper. Great gift! What next.... Then after a wonderful breakfast we went to the beach and Steve found green turtles for Keanna to see. They explored, snorkeled and enjoyed. Later we came back to the condo and after naps headed out to find dinner. Well this place is pretty quiet in the evening, especially if the evening is Christmas day. Finally we found a Dennys who promised a long wait but we decided to stick it out and it was not so bad, the fun thing is, this Denny's has a direct view of the ocean, amazing. Food was good and then back home. Now Steve is watching a christmas gift, the simpsons movie. And I am so sleepy.
We've all had moments today of vivid memories of Nan in this place. She loved everything about it and that will not change ever. However we are functioning pretty well.
It has been fun to speak to some of you today to see how you are enjoying your Christmas. Cell service is perfect here and so is the internet so we've also enjoyed reading all the messages from friends and family.
We are relieved to hear that Barbie is doing better after taking a nasty fall going into church on Sabbath Morning. She spent time in the ER and is now home and functioning well. She had 21 people there today for lunch and Gerry has been wonderful in helping around the house.
Merry Christmas to all.


steve and nikki and keanna and pappa

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Kona at last

Dear Family and Friends,
I am sitting here in the time share in Kona Coast with Steve and Nikki, Keanna sleeps in her bedroom. It is wonderful to finally be here. The seats on the airlines seem to grow smaller every year! Nikki was there to greet me and the box with Keanna's Christmas gifts also made it safely. It is about 11:30 here and Nikki has the room transformed into Christmas with the cutest little tree and mounds of gifts. Nan would be proud! Steve has been ill but is feeling better this evening after some good chicken soup medication.
It has been a day of contrasts, moving from high to lows, getting off the plane here in Kona and remembering the last time we were here, as they found a lift to carry mom into the plane in her wheel chair, and getting ready at home all by myself, having to remember everything since there was no travel agent to make sure I was really ready to go.
When I arrived Nikki mentioned that she too had been experiencing some moments of remembering Nan in this place. How she loved it here.
I have a very busy morning between wrapping presents, packing and getting appraisals out the door, then into the car to the parking place to discover that they were full as were two more places. Finally a half hour later I found parking and managed to get to the gate in plenty of time. The flight to LA was on time and then a quick bite to eat and the flight to Kona left on time and arrived early, 20 minutes early. A 5 hour 40 minute flight seemed to take forever but with friend seatmates and a few sips of orange juice I made it.
When we arrived at the condo Nikki had a plate of cookies set out for Santa which Santa ate with relish. Yummy.
This afternoon I had a chance to call Sylvia and thank her for this trip, to get to be with family over Christmas. We had a very pleasant conversation and she was overwhelmed by the support people gave at the service. She and the boys are functioning well and like us are adjusting to an empty place in everything we do, we miss our Steve and Nan and we will miss them for a very long time.
So being the old man that I am and being very tired I bid you a Merry Christmas. All year long you have been showing the love of Jesus to me, to our family and I thank you for all of that this evening.

We send our love

Nikki, Steve, Keanna and Tim

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saying goodbye to Steve, a guy who knew how to live

Dear Family and Friends,
This afternoon I joined hundreds of Steve's friends, nurses, doctors, church friends, airline friends, class mates as we said goodbye to Dr. Steve Ahn and celebrated his life.
The church was overflowing 30 minutes before the service even began. Whole sections of the church were filled with nurses and medical people from Steve's many years as a local OBGYN. One lady had a nearly new baby in her lap as she spoke of his dedication to her and the baby. The most moving moments came when son Michael rose to speak. His words were a revelation of what it was like to live with this always active, brilliant, dedicated, fun loving, person who loved to take pictures, to travel, the book showed over 5 million miles flown, to get to know people, to always learn something new. Steve was a genuine lover of people and the many many people who came to pay respects demonstrated that it was a two way street.
Art and Connie had a place next to them in the mothers room so Jo was able to sit holding Timothy. Jason and I chose to stand on the side of the church to observe and participate. It is a rare opportunity to know someone like Steve, a person that never would be described as ordinary in any way. His love of humor, sports and travel were mentioned repeatedly. Glen and his brother did a great job of letting us know about other parts of his life that we did not know about. Photos of his childhood through manhood, marriage, medical practice helped us all to understand him more. Many shared amusing moments of what it was like to live with Steve. People had flown in from all over the world to attend the service and many spoke.
To tonight I know some of what the Ahn family is feeling, the high service is over, now back to the business of reordering ones life, a time of adjustment to a missing member. Its absolutely no fun but as the days pass it become first believable and then begins to become normal and then becomes challenging, suddenly your decisions are yours alone to make and with freedom comes times of great loneliness.

I was glad to see several friends that I had not gotten chance to speak with for a very long time. Peggy Seyfang was there, she was a terrific secretary for part of the time I was a pastor in Tracy. Her humor and ability to learn are what I remember most. She was a great help and had not heard about Nan's passing, that came as quite a shock to her. I also got to see Tom Bennett, a long time friend that has been a great help to me. The fact that he was now over 100 lbs lighter was a shock. I learned about his heart struggles and it was so good to see him and Donna after all these years. I got to see Dolly from a distance but never caught up with her, I wanted to talk to her but with so many people, hundreds, I lost sight of her.

After the service Jason, Jo and Timothy met me at Olive Garden to exchange Christmas gifts, to eat soup and salad. Art and Connie were with us and thanks Art for picking up the tab. Such a good guy! How I love seeing my family and friends, after a week where I was in the car for hours alone each day it was good to not be alone for awhile.

I started work at 7 this morning expecting to drive to Vallejo to do a field review. But when I entered the order into the computer I discovered it was for an appraisal. I called the owners at 8:30 and they were up and very willing for me to come. So I did research and drove to Vacaville which is about 1 hour 20 minutes, then drove to Tracy to do a ranchette property worth a fortune located south of town and then to the church for the memorial service. Its been a long day with ups and downs.

At the service I wanted to speak but so many also wanted to as well. I was just going to mention a different side of Steve, the recent experience of him coming to our home 2 days before we lost nan, of him holding her hand, speaking directly to her and praying for her, of his arranging my trip to Hawaii with his miles gained from flying on American Airlines. Of his and Sylvia's great kindness and involvement in our lives. Because of Steve and Sylvia Nan had a better last few weeks. That is a fact. I thank them both for that and so does our family. We will never forget what you did for us that night Steve, never.

So we close a page in the book of our living and open a new clean page. What will be write on the page? How will we live our lives differently tomorrow, next week, next year? Since we have lost two very brave and talented warriors who we loved and admired are there things that they did well that we can now assume, are there people who need our involvement, our time, our talents, what will we write on the page that God has allowed us to have for now. What drives us? money , power, attention, security, love, fear, principles, interest? How then shall we live?

With the loss of these two vital people in my life I am first off rather scared that I will blow it, without Nan's judgement and good sense I feel handicapped, weakened, tenuous. Can I make it on my own? Can I live my life so Keanna and Timothy will be proud of me, of our family?

Tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 my plane leaves for LA and then on to Kona to arrive at 10:30 that evening. Until the 29Th I will be with Nikki, Steve and Keanna, then as they fly home I fly to Kauai to be with Jason, Jo and Timothy until the 2ND when they leave in the morning and I leave that night for a nice quiet red eye to LA and arrival back in SF in the morning. Frankly I can't wait to go on this trip. I have no reservations other than money issues that are looming. Yet I look forward to being in the air again and in Hawaii again. Nan would have loved this trip and did enjoy every trip we made to Hawaii. She taught me to enjoy the place and in her memory I intend to enjoy this trip.

So my friends and family, as you move into this Christmas week I have only the best to wish you. Love the one God has given you, love them with your whole heart while you have them. Treat them like this is your last Christmas, it could be but of course we hope not. Take chances with your emotions, open the flood gates, take a chance and let those around you know, just how strong you feel about them, do it, don't think about it, do it, do it now and keep doing it. People caring about people is the real essence of life. Steve did it so well and you can too if you try. Take a chance, don't play it safe with emotions. Share them!

I'm not sure about blogging tomorrow night, I'll have to see how it goes. I love you all and appreciate you very much.



Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sabbath rest

Dear Family and Friends,
It is 10:30 and I've had a quiet evening at home with popcorn, hot drinks, CSI and the doggies at my heels. I've been preparing appraisals for clients and once again trying to catch up with my desk which seems to grow when I am away. I'm trying to keep up with everything that comes in the mail, all the faxes, the emails, the appraisals, the new orders, the conditions on old orders and keep in mind I am leaving Monday afternoon for Hawaii.
Today I slept in until after 7 am. Then to church in Tracy for awhile until I lost my seat, it was a full house and beautiful, a children's play about Christmas, good stuff as Steve would say, good stuff.
This evening I took the sheets off the bed in the motor home, dumped the tanks here at the house and then drove it to get some gas and then to its parking place on the other side of Discovery Bay. Since I have no one to pick me up I took my bike. Well its quite a ways home and by then it had gotten dark. So I rode home in the very cold air and in the dark. It was an experience that I won't repeat soon. As I rode home my heart did not like the cold but I made it and after a warm drink I felt better.
This evening Ken, our tax man and next door neighbor came over with a revised 2005 tax return. He has lowered the amount I owe by quite a bit and the reports are now ready to mail in. Gradually things are getting caught up. When the insurance check arrives I will be able to make things right with several people who have helped in special ways and also pay the AMEX what I owe. I think it might easily be two weeks yet before it is finalized.
If I had any advice to people who are totally healthy, take time to pretend you are not healthy and think things through, do you have enough coverage to care for unknowns? Do you have a plan?
Tomorrow will be a tough day for the Ahn family, every day for the past week has been difficult. I have a sense of what Sylvia, Kevin and Michael are going through and its not easy or pleasant. Yet there are no shortcuts in dealing, coping with a loss of a loved one, you can function, go through the motions but a very big part of your being remains at a loss. People who hug, call, write, reach out, offer to help, people make a huge difference. People cannot fill the hole in your heart, the quiet in your home, the moment when you reach for the phone to call home to say hi and you can't, the right person is no longer there. Friends and family cannot do it all but what they do helps spin off the clock, makes time pass, allows time to begin healing. People matter, they really do.
I was called out of church today by Julius Melendez, the great horn player that came for the graveside service, he just wanted to know how I was doing, how I was coping, to express once again his sorrow at never meeting Nan. It was a nice call and I appreciate it.
Sometimes I think I cannot handle this, I have never liked to be alone. Nan loved to be alone and to do her own thing for hours at a time, I have never enjoyed being alone, my idea of an ideal situation would be to have a 6 bedroom home and have guests all the time, playing games, eating, watching movies, reading in quiet parts of the house, sitting on the back deck by the lake, that to me is real living, that is why I enjoy the spring time when Dana and Ronnie come to visit and hopefully Sharon and Marilyn and Jan can come next spring and use the house as a base as they enjoy Tahoe, San Francisco, the beach. So I find it very hard to handle, the being alone, its not what I do best so that is what I need to learn the most, finding joy in being alone. God will have to help me with that one and I know He will.
Now I am sleepy, the little heater at my feet is doing a nice job of warming an area about 2 feet on each side of me, beyond that it is 62 degrees. Yes I know, I have contacted someone about fixing the heating system. Over the years several really good people have taken a look at it and thought they had it fixed only to find out a few hours later it is blowing cold air again.
Today the good old US Government came through. Out of the kindness of their heart they mailed a check for $255 to help with the $11,000 +/- expenses of the funeral and burial. Well its $255 I would not have had so I am grateful. They have also let me know that they will be paying one more month of disability for the full month of November, that will help too.
I'm trying to do a balancing act between buying fuel for work, keeping payroll covered, buying a few gifts for Christmas, buying a little food here or there, the Texas Family left so much food that for the most part I am still eating pretty well. I am also trying to keep credit cards, data sources, utilities, phone bills sort of up to date. There is so little money to work with that the stretch sometimes does not quite keep up with the balance at the bank.
I am grateful for this day of rest and worship, I am grateful I made it home in the dark on my bike in the cold and I do look forward to seeing the family again tomorrow and then the next day in Hawaii.
God is good, life is drab and painful, the future seems a very long ways off and the memories of my beautiful and loving Nan are precious. I had the best and I am so proud of her for all she did, for all she stood for, for her loving ways.

Good night friend, family, fellow GISTer



Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday evening, home safe, tired

Dear Family and Friends,

I've traveled a lot of miles since last evenings blog. Up and on the road at 7 this morning for Rancho Cordoba where I found a very well kept home with lovely people, then on to a home in nearby Sacramento which was also well maintained and had a new granite kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Being an hour ahead of schedule I contacted my brother Jerry who lives in Sacramento part of the time. He was in town and we met for lunch. One huge Boca burger later I was once again on the road. My poor car looks terrible right now. Yesterdays trip to the rainy city of Oakhurst included one excursion down a very muddy road to shot a photo of a home which had sold recently, I was all over the road slipping and spinning and the car looks like I've been 4 wheeling. No time to slow down to wash it right now. After I left lunch I headed to Livermore but grew sleepy as I left Sac. I found a quiet neighborhood and a shade tree and slept for a bit. Then I drove to Livermore, Nan's wonderful Christmas gift from last year keeps on giving as it directed me to each address today without fail. The Livermore property turned out to be well maintained with a new furnace system. After shooting the comps then it was time to head to Milpitas where I met up with Jo, Jason, Timothy, Clayton and friends. We had a nice dinner and celebrated Jo's birthday which is actually the 25th and John's as well. Jo got a new Imac computer from apple, from Jason really. She was thrilled. As the evening drew on I sensed I was fading and knowing I had an hour to drive I bid them goodnight. Timothy was in rare form, tired but so very cute, we all took turns holding him and shooting photos.

God has blessed me with 10 appraisals this week, even in good times that is a good week and for this time of year that is nothing short of wonderful. It has kept me busy, so busy I've only had a chance to load and unload the dishwasher, no house cleaning, just open the mail, moan when there is no money and do research for the next day. Now finally a break, a sabbath day to rest and recoup. I plan to begin tomorrow morning at attending church again. With Nan so ill I was usually not able to attend services, sometimes Keanna and I would make it to Sabbath School. Nan missed attending as she loved to learn, to be challenged and to have her faith stimulated. The satellite dish here at home was a wonderful way to enjoy music, preaching, worship services and she often asked if we could do that.

So this week I have worked and enjoyed the comments to the blog. I read each one and can picture the person writing, I can see Laurie as she writes checks to pay bills and wonders where the rest of the bills will get paid, I can see Wes as he exhorts me to some new thinking, Bob and Carrol with their arms folded enjoying a moment after their meal at the Center, I can see Richard, fellow GISTer and editor of the newspaper in Hilo folding his umbrella and longing for sunshine. Through the magic of this blog I am transported into each of these lives and reminded of better times in the past and better days ahead I guess.

I can report that several appraisals were paid for today which helps allow me to in turn to cover payroll and data, supplies etc. My biggest hurdle right now is the AMEX. We have used the AMEX card for our business and travel expenses for the last 20 years. This year we have not been able to get it paid off. They have been extremely patient but finally their computer turned it over to a collections firm. Well there is one person there that is not patient or kind. I now have until the end of the month to pay the entire amount of over $6,000 or a ding will go against my credit,a guess it is a pretty serious ding. I have explained that there is a life insurance payment coming but I cannot control when it will be processed, I'm sure it won't be by the end of the year. So that is sort of on my mind. When the payment comes it will bring everything up to date payment wise and I can repay amounts I have borrowed to survive this past 15 months. I can't honestly say I am losing sleep over this, in the past months I've had so much larger issues to lose sleep over that money no longer holds the power. Sleep is just too precious anymore. I'm praying that some means will open so I can save the account, they have already issued a new card to be sent when the past due amount is paid up, they want to continue to do business with me and my company but they have run out of time, so it is an interesting situation. I especially appreciated the comments today from divatobe regarding the Lord coming through at crucial times. As you know faithful reader that Nan and I have experienced that over and over during the past year or so.
I'm looking forward to seeing Nikki, Steve and Keanna. It seems like forever since I saw them last and it will be so fun to get warm, be relaxed and catch up on some reading and ocean watching. It is my fervent hope that they are having a great time in Kona.
Tonight I feel that I have much to be thankful for. I have great memories, years of shared wisdom to guide me and an opportunity to take better care of myself and be ready for what God has in store. I love my family and I love each one of you. Your cards now fill a small box and I sift through them and read them and treasure them, some of the cards even had checks in them and I'll be getting personal letters written to you thanking you for your help.
Tonight my dogs are happy. I finally brought them some new treats and wow was that ever met with excitement. I'm ready for whatever treats God has in store, I think we call them blessings.
Tonight my prayers go to the precious Ahn family as they face this challenging time of loss and I also am praying for Clair who is recovering from serious carotid surgery. I am thinking of Irene as well, our precious GISTer who blesses everyone all the time. She needs God's special healing now.
Good night or morning my friends,



Thursday, December 20, 2007

675 Where do I go from here?

Dear Family and Friends,
I've got to admit I've not been as fervent in talking to God as I was when I was begging for Nan's life and for God's guidance and timing. Yet we talk and I am struck by the fact that I am still here, barely standing but still here non the less. OK God, where do I go from here? What would you like me to do that would help people, use the skills and talents you have given me, what next? Its a question that I suppose time will answer.
What I do know at this moment is that I miss my precious baby, I miss her voice, her tender thoughts, her saying when I came in tired, come and sit by me for awhile, relax, glad you are home safe! Yet just at a time when I was missing that tonight Sharon called from Texas, she was very tired and ready to crash, had inspectors all day and passed so her license for her adult day care facility is good for yet another year, yea for that! She and Rick do a great job for the people who trust them, what an operation. Her words were so welcome and sweet, suddenly I was not so alone.
When I got home I had made dinner, green beans, a mac and cheese in the microwave, cottage cheese and two tomatoes from Nan's plants on the back deck, remember the bale of straw, well it is still putting out tomatoes. Now I'm at my desk and sipping a hot drink and reviewing what I need to complete tonight and prepare for tomorrow.
This morning I rose early, left the house at 6:30 and drove 2 hours to the first little house in Madera. Cute as a bug, clean and fresh, no problem at all. I met Bob Johnson there. He orders appraisals for that area as he lives in Oakhurst, near the entrance to Yosemite National Park. Bob is a great guy and very loyal, he hugged me hard since this is the first time we have met since Nan passed away. Later we hooked up in Oakhurst where he bought me lunch and we picked out comps for the next appraisal, a 2 acre ranch near town. The dear owner had lost her husband a year ago so we had lots to talk about. It was pouring rain the entire I measured her home and I slipped but did not fall in the mud which was everywhere. Then the next hour was taken in finding the comparables sales since all are located on small little roads over a 6 mile radius. Then I could head home at last. By getting out so early this morning I was able to do the work and still have lots of light to start home.
A dear friend and fellow choir member Clair Johnson had a carotid artery surgery near Thanksgiving. I had known but could not get there, now I was driving right by so I took a chance and drove to he and Beverly's beautiful home in Ceres. They were there and we had a great visit, he is doing so well and make slow but gradual progress back to health.
Then back into the car and the yellow light was on, I needed diesel. I thought I could make it home but it started acting strange as I neared Stockton so I stopped and it was 20 cents cheaper than Discovery Bay. Which credit card to use? Which one would work? One had failed to cover the cost of a drink at Taco Bell, yikes.
So now I'm home and I'm getting used to it being 64 degrees. This evening I have to scan and email over the reports I have seen today to my writer, Jean. She makes sense out of my scratching and notes and helps put the reports together. Then to bed as I'm pretty tired.
Tomorrow morning I have to be in Sacramento at 8:30 so another early day out the door, then a Rancho Cordova, then back to Livermore before hooking up with Jason and Jo at John and Justine's home just above San Jose to celebrate Jo's birthday which is actually the 25Th. John also has a birthday so the dinner will be for both. I would guess that by the time I finish up there I'll be pretty tired again.
I've tried to pull out the stops this week and see as many properties as I can. God has granted me several orders and I've even had some for Heather to cover on a rush basis. It has been a very busy week and when one is this busy then one does not think so much and feel sorry for himself. I just miss her, there is no sugar coating that at all. She was huge in my life, I admired her, feared her, listened to her, watched her and loved her with all I knew how to give. By the end she knew that I loved her deeply and completely, all the stupid stuff from our early married years was forgotten and gone, she knew who I loved and it was here. But when you invest your whole heart into someone and work night and day to save their life but eventually have to say good night it is just hard to let go.
I've deeply appreciated the words written to the blog, I find myself reading them over and over to fill the void, they are so supportive and positive and so touch my heart. I often cry but that is no longer an issue, when I need to cry I just do, I know it will pass and I'll feel better but tired after I cry.
I'm so glad that Steve and Nikki can be spending this time to recover and heal with Keanna there in Kona. What has happened hurts, there is no short cut around it. Jason and Jo have been so busy that they too have been coping well with the healing process.
I can't encourage you enough to say things when you think of them to your spouse, don't hold back for fear that laying out your heart might make you weaker or something, just take the plunge, let them know how much you need them and treasure them. Cut the bickering time short and hand holding long.
Yes I am busy, yes I am coping, yes I do miss her terribly and life will go on.
I can't remember when I've been so strapped financially as now. In a short time a small life insurance policy will be settled but for now it is tight. Seems like clients have lost my address but the bills sure seem to get here. At least I know that by putting lots of appraisals on the books right now that money will be coming in eventually! Please pray that God will help with mundane things like bills over the next couple days.
I've enjoyed talking to many clients today and to my friend Arthur several times. What a golden friend he is and with Connie at his side they both have been a great help to our family. Jason has called to but he sounds so tired. I think we are both ready for Hawaii, to rest, to heal.

I send my love and thanks for sharing this trip with me.



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back working hard...

Dear Family and Friends,
As I write this evening I am so tired. A little while ago I developed a reaction to something so scrambled to the many bottles of medicines we have and found Nan's bottle of Benadryl. AFter taking a capsule the reaction slowed and then stopped but boy am I sleepy now.

This has been a long day, up early this morning, then to Hayward to see a cute little place, then to San Francisco to see a rental property, not so cute but lots of potential, then to Vallejo with almost no traffic which was amazing. So I managed to see the two little townhomes there and then I headed home. Stopped at Olive Garden for soup and salad and to see people, then on to home where I took a great call from Dana, so good to talk to her and find out she is doing pretty well and looking forward to some vacation time for her and Ronnie. Two of her grandchildren appear to be moving back from Dallas and will be much closer for her care and loving.

While I am writing I have Christmas programs on the TV in the other room, nice music and powerful voices. I remember the dozens of Christmas programs we sang in with the Stockton Chorale. Art Holton was director and our kids were very little then. I remember that the concert was televised each year to be shown on Christmas Eve on a Sacramento Station. What a shock to see the credits at the end of the show rolling over Jason as a tiny boy with curly blond hair stopped in motion. Now that was a show stopper for sure. Wish I had a tape of it now. I tell you when you are living a normal life you have no idea how precious photos or sound recordings could be later. This winter I intend to spend time going through my hundreds of video tapes, of our Christmases, our concerts, of the kids programs and events. I intend to enjoy these visual memories.

In the morning I am leaving around 6 am to drive to Madera which is down in the valley off Highway 99. I will see a tiny house there and then head up the road to Yosemite where I will see a ranchette with a couple acres. I am promised that there is no snow there right now and I hope that holds true until I can get back down into the valley after seeing the property and the comps, the comps which are spread over about 10 miles of countryside. Thank heavens for last Christmas and the fit from Nan, the GPS system. If there ever was a working gift this is it.

People call to encourage me and to find out how I am doing. Well the answer is complex. I am going through the motions very well and doing work, driving rationally, eating regularily, sleeping pretty well. Now ask me how much I am enjoying going through these needed motions, well not much. This afternoon when I was finally through I thought of calling home only to remember home is empty, she had to go away. I don't know how you go about filling that void, a void caused by a terrible disease that was unwarranted, undeserved and relentless in its destruction of much that we held dear. Now we pick up these pieces and try to make sense of them. So yes I'm OK and no I'm not OK. I appreciate the guideline Sylvia faxed over which shows things and events that need to take place after a loss like we have experienced. It is very helpful.

So another day, hopefully several more dollars, time has passed. Where God leads from here I don't know. I do know it was good to talk to Pam, to Glen Connor, to Jason a couple times today and Nikki yesterday from hawaii, to Art and to Marilyn with her foot of snow and more coming. To my brother Jerry who sits and waits for a train that will require his skills.

People really matter. Glen and I spent a long time discussing our mutual respect and esteem for Steve and how special he was. This evening Dana called and was just shocked into tears when she heard that that handsome guy who came to see Nan was lost. She was stunned. People always say the same thing, he stopped and talked to us, he was interested in us. What a tribute to a person, that in spite of being a brilliant physician he more importantly loved people.

Art just called, that was great to get to catch up with him for a few minutes. He has been such a stellar friend through these challenging days. You you have a friend like Art? I hope so, he is gold! Very expensive but gold! Actually I mean he has excellent taste. you really ot to see his remodeling home, what a beautiful job on all the details.

So good night my friends, my family.


ps I don't really sleep alone. This morning I woke and 2 inches from my head Starr was sleeping with her head on the pillow too. So cute!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Marilyn arrives home to a blanket of snow

Dear Family and Friends,
This is my first day alone. Its not freedom, more like feeling lost. Yet I have accomplished a lot of work today, made appraisal appointments for the rest of the week, have taken some phone calls re: work and enjoyed having time with the Ahn family this afternoon. I was reminded again of how precious these dear people are, Sylvia, Kevin and Michael, God's own very special children and how supporting each other as they face this new world without Steve at the helm. Yet they shared many many blessings that God has allowed this year in anticipation of Steve's passing. Steve had long hoped that when the hour came he could go in his sleep, not end up handicapped with a stroke or some other debilitating condition.
Yet there is such a hole in all of our lives, a hole that has been filled neatly with Steve's contributions over the years. Steve could make a guest feel totally comfortable in an amazing way. His genuine interest and quest for knowledge led him to ask penetrating questions, to learn the whole story and Sylvia and the boys say that was also the way he traveled, that he could strike up a conversation in a few minutes anywhere, with anyone. In this way Steve's world grew to include hundreds of people he called friends, from all walks of life, from all financial levels, from all educational levels.
Our family members from Texas and Denver found Steve to be charming and very kind. They were won over by him almost immediately and also mourn the loss.
This will be a Christmas season to remember, 2007. Yet I do not feel that in the future years we will dread Christmas, how could we when Nan loved it so much. The many many boxes of ornaments she has collected from all over, the special Christmas cards she collected, the time she spent finding just the right gift, this was a season she loved because it allowed her to do what she did best, put her love and esteem into action, not words. So the tree always flowed with presents and like Jason said, many were extremely practical, sox's, underwear, shirts, shoes, boots, they were all wrapped carefully and placed under the tree. She introduced so many loving ideas into our family and we all enjoyed and thought we would have her forever, but that was not to be.... so today I am alone.
People lovingly say, are you OK? Well there are really only two answers to that, yes and no. So the answer is yes I am doing OK, do I like doing OK, not really yet but the time needs to pass and the work needs to get done. I miss her voice, her scent, her beautiful face, her blond hair with its darkening roots, her wrinkle free skin, her cute little toes. Yes I miss her and will forever. Yet I can almost hear her say, get on with your life, start exercising, eat better, drop the weight and live while you can.
I will certainly be thinking of Steve as I board the plane for LA and then Kona on the afternoon of the 24Th, of his quiet generosity and his approval of how I cared for Nan. His words were gently hammered into my brain, Tim, you have set the standard for care of a loved one. Actually I think I did what most any person would have done when faced with the situation I was faced with, a loving spouse in trouble needing your help, that's pretty basic, you either run or do what you can. We decided to do what we could as a couple and we did very very well in our quest for life. But the fact that Steve said it to me was the important part for I listened when Steve spoke and I believed because he never never said what he did not believe. You could take his word to the bank or to heart and I have.
Earlier this evening I heard from Marilyn. She had landed in Rhode Island and was home safely with her precious family. She sounded contented to be home. I was so relieved that she made it safely in a time of bad weather and delayed flights. And both and she and I want to thank Tim for providing those precious pink passes that she flew home on. Tim is Dana's son and works for the great Southwest Airlines and as an employee he can get pink passes from time to time. Those were very precious in a time when money was tight, they helped Marilyn come and go to be with Nan. Thanks Tim.
Well I miss the gang, I miss Dana, the life of the party and a person with a heart that is pure love, I miss Jan who can tackle any job and when she is done it is perfectly executed, Jan who has such a warm affectionate personality, Sharon, the mother of Israel, Sharon with her huge faith in our Lord, who wants, demands that we all get it right with Jesus while we can, Sharon, who blesses all with her generosity, Sharon who was Nan's other sister. Leslie who brought her youth and energy to the tasks that needed to be done, yes I miss the gang but I know they need to proceed with their lives as I need to move forward with my own. It was a very special time and Nan would have loved having David, Joe and Linda, Lorie and Don, how she loved the family.
This evening I want to ask you to remember Irene in your prayers. She is experiencing some very severe pains that so far cannot be explained and while she is under a doctors care we present her to the great Physician for His exam. Irene, we love you.
Considering that Marilyn's rap on the door came at 4: this morning I am considering going to bed now. Its been a long day but its now over.
Thank you for your calls, cards, prayers and warm wishes for our families future. I have several arrangements of flowers that are still very beautiful. I enjoy seeing them and the other Christmas flowers too. On Friday I visited the graveside and found it to be a tough experience. The beautiful flowers selected by the family were still in good condition and in spite of the wind were in place watching over Nan's grave. She is so near but so far too. Now she sleeps waiting for her redeemer to wake her.



Monday, December 17, 2007

Marilyn leaves at 6 am. She will be missed!

Dear Family and Friends,
We rise at 4 in the morning for a 6 am departure from Oakland for Marilyn. Yes, she is going home. Marilyn is not used to much attention but has received an outpouring of affection and appreciation from all who meet her for her wonderful and caring work with Nan. She gave Nan the one on one love and care she needed during these last few months. She has been a positive influence for all of the family and has helped out so much, more than anyone not living here could have known. I am so happy that she gets to spend Christmas with her children in Rhode Island yet I already feel a void knowing she is leaving. She has been the go to person for so many things over the past few months. She can file, organize, repair, advise, counsel and fortify. This evening when a rep for a company which does collections for American Express spent 25 minutes telling me how terrible I was not to have the past due amount paid up in spite of my sputtered explanations, well I thought Marilyn was going to climb down the phone line and strangle the nice man. She has cared for this family like it was her own and has earned a place in our hearts that can never be forgotten. When God knew we were heading into tough times he tapped Marilyn and she responded. Thank you Marilyn, thank you from the bottom of a hundred hearts for your wonderful care and devoted love.

I spent last evening with Art and Connie, parked in their driveway. We had a great evening warmed by the designer fireplace and comfortable in new recliners. Then this morning Connie taught me how to make oatmeal with cloves of Cinnamon. Yummy. Thanks for such a great time you two.

I am still trying to make total sense out of my desk with orders to see, things to fix, people to call about financial matters to settle, I'm not short on work, just short on time to do it all.

Foremost on our minds is the Ahn family. We have seen an email from Sylvia which lets us know a memorial service will be held this Sunday at 3 at the Tracy SDA Church. I know it will be a joyful service yet tinged with sadness and a sense of great loss. I'm receiving calls from our Texas family wishing they could come back and attend the service, they feel so strongly about Steve and Sylvia. Steve touched and helped many lives in his lifetime with his faith, his brilliance and his talents. My life and the lives of all of our family members have been touched by his clever emails, the yearly CDs, the photos, the humor, the genuine interest he had in people and the fascination he had for life itself. I'm so blessed that my life was touched by the influence of Steve. Its a better life for it.

Please join me in praying for the Ahn family as this is a very difficult week with many things to take care of, people to talk to, mail to read and private moments of loss and adjusting to the new and difficult realities of being alone, of loss, of shock.


tim and marilyn

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday evening, emotional overload

Dear Family and Friends,
I am writing this evening from Art and Connie's home in Gilroy. It has about 40 minutes from MBA where I have been motorhome camping adjacent to Jason and Jo's nice home. The sounds from the ocean put one to sleep at night, the weather has been perfect and this weekend has yielded many many happy memories and a beginning of healing. However we are all in shock and disbelief about the loss of Steve Ahn, our friend of 25+ years. He has left an incredible legacy of caring medical practice, thousands of babies delivered, millions of miles traveled, thousands of photos taken and a family that has been guided by his love and devotion. Steve has been a pillar for many of us by example and by thoughtful words. I early on learned that when Steve spoke it was always worth listening, he was brilliant, had an amazing memory and a way of making anyone feel at home and esteemed. Sylvia wrote an email out today which captured the thought that Steve would have preferred this way of going, in his sleep peacefully. This is one family that is going to miss him very much and who deeply appreciates all he has done to enhance Nan's final days and his loving actions for all of us.
Jason and Jo gave me a very busy weekend. We spent a quiet time on Friday night in the warmth of their home. I got to hold Timothy and play with him before he crashed for the night. Then Starr and Lady wiggled in close and we all had a warm night in the motorhome. Sabbath morning found Jason making striples and chocolate chip pancakes. Then off to Sabbath School to enjoy Timothy's adventures with the tractor, the farm yard animals and angels, great little sabbath school program. Then to church where both Timothy and Grampa managed a few winks and worshipped. Then to the chinese place to eat, then back to Messiah practice, then perform the Messiah, then back to the motorhome to rest up a bit. Then back for a Sabbath night Christmas program by the school choir, it was a great program. Then back to the house and motorhome for some sleep. Then up early this morning as the career day program Jason was running involved my making 5 20 min. presentations to students about the world of appraisals. Then at 1 we were through and back to the house to prepare for an afternoon party, I rested in the motorhome again which Jason and Jo worked to get ready. I drove away at about 4 with the party of Jason and Jo's friends in full swing. They are a wonderful group of people, a support group like no other. I then drove to Art and Connie's where Art skillfully guided me into his ample driveway for the night. They had a wonderful meal prepared and now we are just enjoying the warmth of their newly remodeled home and its outstanding fireplace which is gas fired.
I was treated with great warmth and compassion this weekend and I know Nan would have enjoyed the time so much. I discovered that I can stay in the motorhome by myself and not be too overcome with pleasant memories so I'll be traveling some in the future. In the morning I'm on the road to Discovery Bay and a big work week. Marilyn will begin to search for a flight with room so she can be with her precious family for Christmas. She has been like an angel to our family and we are all deeply indebted to her. She gave Nan a better quality of life over the last few months, she has make a real difference and I think I know how angels treat people by watching how she has treated all of us.
So now I am fading and bedtime will have to be soon. The doggies wait for my return and perhaps the garbage will not be consumed this time around!
Please join me in praying for the precious Ahn family, I've recently learned that there is no way one can be fully prepared for the loss of a spouse, parent, friend.

We love you Sylvia, Michael and Kevin, you are precious to us.

tim and art and connie
ps I spoke to Nikki this afternoon and they arrived safely but late to Kona last evening. They are settled in and enjoying the warmth, beauty and healing powers of Hawaii. I am so glad!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We have suffered a great loss, Dr. Steve Ahn

Dear Family and Friends,

Dr. George Miller was kind enough to call us today to share the terrible news that our long time friend and helper had died this morning at the hospital while he was there working. We were stunned and could hardly speak. Many of you know how both Steve and Sylvia have been there helping during the past two weeks. Steve has been a pillar, a rock, a wise friend, a counselor, a generous giver to us over and over again. It can now be told, I am flying to be with my family in Hawaii because of Steve sharing his frequent flier miles to get me there, he was the benefactor. When I was in Boston and needed to come home to conduct business for a few days he provided the round trip ticket. He came out to visit Nan two Sabbaths ago and spent over an hour talking to Nan, holding her hand and praying with her. And now to attempt to accept that we have lost this great man, our hearts are right with Sylvia and the boys this evening.
I have enjoyed my time here with Jason and Jo very much. I've had a chance to get to know Timothy better. This afternoon Jason and I sang side by side in the Messiah which is always a good experience. We were both in shock and could talk of little beside our experiences with Steve and Sylvia over the past many years. We just keep thinking of how fresh our hurting is and to now know that Kevin and Michael with Sylvia are experiencing those same kinds of lost feelings and emotions, it tears ones heart out.

We send our love, many prayers already and our pledge of support, anything you need Ahn family, ask and we will help.

Friends and family, we are all reminded vividly how short time can be for any of us. I believe both STeve and Nan lived their lives in faith and with a close personal relationship with their Lord and we take some comfort in the belief we will see them again. I wonder about my own life and yours, where do you stand tonight with Jesus? I know this, He loves you, He knows you and He wants to be your friend and saviour. He does not care about the things we care about on this world, He cares about saving your heart for eternity.

We send all the love we know how to send to Sylvia and the boys, his sweet mom and Sylvia's mom, a family hit by a tragedy, a family that needs all our prayers, support, caring.

Thank you Steve for showing us how to live, now we pledge to in turn do what we can to help people, to listen to them and to care for them. We have lost a great, special giant today.

tim and jason and jo and timothy and clayton

ps This evening I had my first chance to read Jason's tribute to Nan. Tissues needed and my heart just was touched by his words of memory and tribute. He got it right about Nan and I love my family all the more for those words.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Guest message from Jason

Several days have passed now since my mom passed away on December 4. I was overwhelmed by the support shown her at the graveside service and her memorial service. It was very special and meaningful to see so many loving faces. We being her family, know exactly how important and unique mom was, but it is something altogether different to realize how many hundreds of lives my mom touched in her honest, direct way that was totally void of self-serving agendas or grandstanding.
On Saturday evening, I was hoping to have the strength to stand up and tell everyone at the service about my mom. Once there though, I found I had neither the strength or the courage to get through even a few words on my mom's behalf. So, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to take a few words here on my mom's blog to share some memories that I have of her.
I think that it's impossible to describe any person in just a few words, much less someone who involved in every aspect of your life, but I would like to share a few qualities or characteristics I think defined my mom.
First of all, my mom was brave, strong and full of courage. It's never been a secret that my mom is the toughest of any of us in this family. In 1989, I remember hearing the news at my elementary school that mom had been in a serious car accident. She had overcorrected and rolled our minivan. The van flipped three times and slid 300 feet and looked like it'd been hit by a roadside bomb. My mom walked away from the accident with her hair full of glass fragments and a massive bruise from the seatbelt. In truth, the accident barely slowed her down.
When I graduated from college in 2001, mom had just gone through her third surgery three weeks before. Her abdomen had gone through a kind of torture to rid her body of tumors, but she was still in Texas for my graduation (after a quick stop at whataburger, of course). Mom refused to ever let challenges become obstacles if she could help it. Not that she ever made a big deal about anything, she just plowed ahead and only asked that we didn't stop living just because she was sick.
My mom was also intensely loyal and committed. I don't know if you ever had the chance to work on a project with my mom, but if she had committed to something, she become singular in focus until the job was finished. This is probably what made her such a great appraiser and it was definitely part of what made her a great mom. Some of my earliest memories of my mom are of her sitting at my bedside through the night when I had a bad cold or cough. My dad had all kinds of weird home rememdies like soaking a wool sock in warm water and wrapping it around my neck (kinda worked too), but my mom's medicine was just to give 100 percent attention and care until the sickness was resolved. I saw a reflection of this care in my father's caretaking of my mom the last 18 months of her life.
My mom also showed her commitment by supporting my sister and I in any endeavor we took up as kids. I remember that in 1988 the Ahn family introduced me to professional sports, most notably baseball. My parents really aren't into team sports at all and they certainly didn't play them, but my mom and Mrs. Ahn and Mrs. Miller would dutifully caravan a group of us kids to A's or Giants games many Sundays each summer. They put up with the weirdos and drunks in the cheap seats and tried their best to learn the lingo because we loved it. Those Sunday games at the Oakland Coliseum in the bleachers are some of my favorite memories of time spent with my mom.
That brings up something really true about my mom: she loved to have fun. I hear that as a teenager she was something of a wild child in Texas and that's how she ended up in Lodi with my great-uncle Jim and great-aunt Ann. In my life, mom was always fun. Anyone who knows my family knows that my dad, me and even my sister are much louder than my mom ever was. But when our family went out, she was the life of the party. She made vacations fun and always had little surprises up her sleeve. She could turn a trip to the mall or the supermarket into a great day. She loved to go new places and meet new people. Not the way my dad or I meet new people (we'll talk to a stop sign just to have conversation), but mom had a way of connecting with people in a meaningful way very quickly. I think folks knew right away that they could always trust my mom or count on her for anything. She was always very true to her word.
Trust me, I'm winding down soon.
At the memorial service it was mentioned that my mom loved to shop. I think it's more important to note though that my mom truly loved to give. Christmas was her favorite time of year. She made our living room a sea of green and red papered boxes full of gifts. She loved to give gifts so much that she often times would wrap everything up from October through December. Toys, socks, undies or just that new pair of shoes I'd been needing since Halloween. She loved to see a tree that overflowed with gifts. Christmas morning takes hours in the Mustard home and that's how we like it. It's been a family joke for the past 10 years or so that we "really are going to cut back on Christmas this year." Hasn't happened yet. Beyond Christmas Mom loved to give too. One summer I was working at summer camp in eastern Arizona. My Kia Sportage was lemon at best, but I was still planning a big road trip to the rockies after camp ended. My parents decided it was time to get me a new car and suprised me with a phone call to say that a new VW Beetle was sitting at home with my name on it. My mom wasn't satisfied though and decided to deliver the bug to me in person. The next morning, at 6:30am, my mom knocked on my cabin door with the new car right behind her. She had driven 16 hours overnight because she wanted to suprise me. I'll never forget it.
Most of all, I remember my mom because she was so good at loving. She loved her family completely and not just dad, Nikki and myself. She loved my brother-in-law Steve and my wife Jovinia as though they had always been her children. She loved every sibling, cousin or distant relation she every knew in Texas. When I went to college in Texas, she visited often and it seems like each time I met some new relative. Mom could recite the family tree by memory too and she hated to miss a wedding or special event. If you knew her, chances were she love you too. I really can't think of any times when she bad-mouthed anyone or rode someone into the ground behind their back. I don't think my mom had time to dislike folks. She just didn't do it. Not that she was some kind of pushover. She was ruthless on waiters. If there was ever a line my mom found a way to get to the front of it. I can remember so many times when Dad and I were embarrassed because mom and Nikki had fought their way to the front of a line. My mom just knew how to love people though. She made people comfortable and she made life fun.
It's hard to grasp the idea that my mom has left us. She fought so hard for so long that sometimes it feels like she's just in another hospital somewhere and she'll be home soon. But I know that just isn't true anymore and I can honestly say that that's okay for me now, because the pain and suffering were just so bad the last few months. I want everyone to understand though that my mom never gave up. She never gave up her life, the cancer had to take it from her. I often think of the great Dylan Thomas poem "Do not go gentle into that good night." He writes of his father's last days and wishes that his father had fought harder to live. My mom fought for every breath. She fought to meet my son, Timothy. She fought to hold my aunt Dana and Sharon's hands one last time. She fought every second she had cancer and most of the time she won. I love that about her.
I want to thank so many people for what they've meant to my family. Truly, the doctors, scientists and institutions that cared for my mom gave her another decade to be with us. Her insurance company was amazingly good to her and saw her through several experimental therapies. I kept waiting to hear that they wouldn't do anymore, but that never happened that I know of.
The Tracy SDA Church family, who I often refer to as our extended family in California, has come through in so many ways so many times. To me, Tracy SDA is the standard for a church family and I only wish that more people were able to be a part of it.
Dr. and Sylvia Ahn have been a kind of lifeline for our family. I remember once that Dr. Ahn arranged for my mom to have an airline seat that fully reclined so that she could travel to Boston for treatment. She would not have made it without that special seat. This is only one instance of many generous gifts the Ahns have given us.
The fellow GISTers and people at Liferaft who have been there with us as mom struggled with her sickness. Many times mom was the support for so many who passed before her, but there were also so many who encouraged her too. I do not know a more acute form of evil in this world than cancer. Though it has dealt a crushing blow to my family I cannot still imagine the kind of bravery it takes for someone with cancer to fight and hope. Yet, so many do. Like my mother, these people are heroes to me. So many of us fight for things that don't truly matter. We spend our lives on things or status. These people fight for another sunrise and to watch their children grow up and to eat one more whataburger. I hope that I can live in a way that honors their struggle.
My mom's many friends deserve more thanks than I can say. Marilyn has devoted months of her life to help my mom's life pass into rest with dignity and friendship. Pam has been at my mom's bedside so many times. With her family in Texas, Pam was mom's west coast sister and she always knew that she could count on her. Roxanne moved away a few years ago to the east coast, but was always there for my mom and they even got to reconnect when mom started getting treated in Boston. Mary and mom worked together at the travel agency and were great friends. Mary took such good care of us those last couple of weeks. Without her we may have never eaten. So many more too. I cannot think of everyone, but could not say enough anyway.
Wow, if you made it this far I'm impressed. I'm guessing that most who knew my mom could write a similar story of how she touched their lives. I really just wanted to say that my mom was a great lady, a terrific mom and the coolest, bravest person I have known. I already miss spending time with her, and I can't wait to see her again in Heaven. I am so glad that the suffering is over, but I don't imagine that I'll ever get used to her being gone.
Thank you for loving my mom and putting up with a super long post. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Mom would've wanted you to.

jason and jo and tim and timothy and clayton

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Phone calls help pass the long hours

Dear Friends and Family,
I hope your day has gone well. Mine has been OK and this evening it got better when Sylvia came to visit Marilyn and me for awhile. She is one of the fun people in our lives and has been for many years. She has been very good to Nan and continues to watch out for me with calls and a visit today. It was great to see her and to talk a bit.
Terry the nurse came today and talked a lot with Marilyn and some with me as well. She has a new critical patient and is once again very busy helping her. Terry took medical supplies that can be passed on and will pick up even more later.
I've had lots of calls from friends and family and have enjoyed every one of them. They are a real lift when things get sort of serious and somber. Nan's passing is not going to be something that can be quickly dealt with, she left a huge hole in a lot of hearts, certainly mine. This evening Steve showed me the obit that appeared in the Brentwood paper. It had the color photo of mom where she looks so good and was a nice writeup. I'm glad she is getting the recognition she deserves.
Last night I slept some better and did not get out of bed for good until 7 am. First time was at 5 but after walking around a bit the back let me go back to sleep for awhile. Star was clamped to my side all night. Poor doggie is really going through a tough time and it shows.
I've processed lots of orders today and starting scheduling this afternoon and evening. I have plenty to see next week and they are spread around, Pacifica, Cotati, Oakhurst which is near Yosemite, San Francisco, Tracy, Rancho Cordova... I will be traveling a bit next week. Marilyn will head home sometime the beginning of next week but she is glad to be here tonight. At her home in Rhode Island a snow storm is raging, the town is just about shut down and we complain about 35 degree temps at night.
Tomorrow I leave for Jason and Jo's home at MBA. On Friday evening the youth are putting on a drama about Christmas, then there are Christmas programs on Sabbath and an afternoon Messiah presentation, that evening more Christmas fun and then on Sunday career day where I will give 5 presentations of the same material to students. I'm going to drive to Art and Connie's home for the evening. On Monday morning I'll drive to Pacifica for an appraisal and then on to San Pablo for a second one and then home. The dogs will help keep me company as I travel.
I am getting more used to the reality that Nan is not coming back, its a very hard thing to accept. Every time she went away in the past 38 years she came back filled with joy and excitement about her various trips.
Please pray for our family, we all have tough and rough moments when we sense the loss all over again. Traveling in the motorhome that we picked out together and set up with all the stuff Nan loves to have on board, that will be a challenge. I am determined to not stop but to keep on living even though my heart is only partially in it. I don't have a clear sense of what Nan would want for me if she were advising me before she died, we never had that talk at all as she did not want to die or even consider it as a possibility.
So I wish each of you a good night or a good morning and thank you for the cards which continue to come in, the flowers which continue to grant this home a wonderful fragrance and the calls and emails. You make it possible to move forward and I thank you.


tim and marilyn

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh how we miss our sweet Nan

Dear Family and Friends,
They say this will get easier and the people saying it have lost loved ones so I know they are right. However right now the only way it gets easier is to get so busy that for a brief time I just forget.
I've stayed in today trying to clean up a mountain of paperwork that comes with the job of appraising. Since values are so bad right now lenders are suddenly very nervous and really make our job even less fun than usual. Yet I am thankful to have this profession, it has allowed me to care for nan in a way I never could have if I had a normal 8 - 5 job. I could pop around the corner to check on her, rub her feet, get her ice water or just love her for a minute, what other job could have been better. The kindnesses shown by many of our clients are quite amazing. Some were able to attend services, others have sent cards or emails, all have understood what we were coping with over the past few weeks.
We continue to have challenges with getting clients to pay us in a timely manner. Things seem to be tight everywhere and here in our little office is no different. So we have our work cut out for us, work quickly, build a rep for being fast, good and reachable, encourage COD when possible as that keeps cash flow going.
Marilyn made an amazing discovery today. She decided to tackle the box we have which holds all the blue cross statements of what they have paid and not paid for the past year. One caregiver is billing us $2,900 so Marilyn decided to wade into this deep stack of letters from Blue Cross which they send whenever they pay a bill. She had only been into the stack about 5 minutes when she made a great discovery, nearly $500 in two checks from Blue Cross to us that I had missed. That will certainly help with things. Marilyn continues to amaze me, she has some abilities that are just special, she used to work in the governors office filing things. She can find directions, she ran errands today to Tracy and Brentwood, taking the tape of the graveside service to George in Tracy and returning the wheelchair to Brentwood medical supply.
This evening I had sat in the chair working long enough so we dashed into Brentwood to see little Keanna in action in her swimming lesson. Its something Nan and I did often before she was too ill to get in and out of the car. Keanna is doing well with her lessons and is looking forward to seeing green turtles in Hawaii. There is a great snorkeling beach near the time share they will be staying at. Keanna is starting to get anxious about her trip to the big island, she loves the place but its been a couple years since she has been there. Our time share was paid for years ago before they got expensive but comes fully furnished, you just buy groceries and sit on the back lanai and watch the ocean from a distance. You feel the warm breezes, you read, you nap and you rebuild inside.
This weekend I'm taking the dogs and pointing the motorhome toward MBA. Along the way I'll do an appraisal in Pacifica near the ocean and then do another on my way back on Monday. Sunday night I'm going to stop by Art and Connies to show them how to play domino's!! Right like I'm going to teach anyone a game, anyone that knows me knows I really don't do games very well, hate to lose, hate to look silly and I had to invest too much mental energy into a game when I have so little left. On Sunday Jason has me giving a presentation about being an appraiser 5 times in a row, each time to a different group of kids. That will be fun. I'll print up some appraisals showing big houses, little houses and even smaller houses and talk, something I do well at times.
I was happy to learn about a blog today for my friend Laurie Dunston. She is attending graduate school in the east and has a very interesting blog so that will be fun to follow.
This morning when I rose at 5:30, I had back pains too strong to allow me to stay in bed any longer, I came downstairs and built a fire. It slowly raised the room temp from 59 to 68. Boy its cold lately. I'm trying to cover the lemon tree with a sheet to save it, can anyone tell me why putting a blanket or sheet over a tree will keep it warmer? But Nan always had me do it and the tree was saved so I'll keep doing it now.
After we watched Keanna swim we hit a local mex. food place for some decent grub and then home to a cooling house. Marilyn is still busy sorting papers and finding that there are other medical bills that I am paying on that insurance should have paid. She is really helping out with things and soon the office will get tackled. She will have to go home fairly early next week or she will not be able to find any openings as she flies standby thanks to Dana and Tim her son who works for Southwest. I am so glad Marilyn can be with her family at Christmas time, she has provided such wonderful help to Nan and to the rest of us as well. She deserves to enjoy her own family.
Several friends and family have called today to just check up on me and to see how I'm doing. Well I'm functioning, just not enjoying it a lot. Frankly I just miss her so much and can't believe that for some cosmic reason she needed to go.
Our neighbors come home tonight, they were so kind to loan their house for our family while they were gone to the Midwest. Thanks so much Ken and LeAnn. Hope we didn't hurt your house, sheets are all clean thanks to Sharon and family.
Well I guess its time to try to get some sleep again. Nothing seems OK but nothing seems impossible either. Everyone has been so nice to me, to our family and we thank each of you for that kindness.
We send our love to each of you and thank you for the flowers, the cards, the money and mostly for the prayers that have helped us stay sane.

tim and marilyn

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One week of peace and rest

Dear Friends and Family,

Today marks the one week mark since Nan passed to her rest. One week without constant fear and trauma, one week without bleeding, pain and suffering. On a mental level I am so relieved that Nan is beyond the battle she fought so bravely, on a emotional level I still expect her to come around the corner or be in her chair greeting me.

I'm making decisions right now that wise friends and family have said I need to make, go back to work, keep busy, be with family, talk to supporting friends. Today has been a day like that.

Last night I returned to my bed upstairs. It was a very rough night. I had slept in the chair for so long that my body had no interest in being in a bed flat, after a few hours my back woke me with pain, and it was too hot, then with the window opened it was too cold, the bed was too hard or too soft. I kept adjusting the numbers, finally at 1:30 I decided to come downstairs and reclaim the chair but then I feel asleep for a longer period of time but at 7 am I was up and showering, enough pain in that bed. It will be better tonight, I'll start out with the windows open for cool air.

We have received dozens and dozens of cards over the past few days. Today I opened one from Dr. Melynk, Nan's oncologist. It reads: Dear Tim, On behalf of all the doctors, nurses and staff at East Bay Oncology, I wish to extend our most heartfelt condolences on the pass of Erin. I can unequivocally state that I have never known anyone more determined to overcome their disease; Erin will always remain a true inspiration for us all. She will be sorely missed. With deepest sympathy, Ostap Melynk M.D."

Dr. Melynk was her oncologist for the entire 11 years she battled GIST and learned a great deal about the disease during that time. He was always willing to talk to MD Anderson in Houston to experts on the disease and helped us through it all. He has only had one other GIST patient and that was for a brief time. What he said was true. Nan pursued life where ever the search led and I was along to make her quest happen.

This evening we had dinner at the local steak house to celebrate Steve's 34 birthday. His brother David joined us as did Marilyn. We really had an enjoyable time together.

I went back to work today and saw 2 properties in Oakland. Both ladies were aware of our loss and we talked a bit about it, I was able to show a photo of Nan and Starr. They were very kind and supportive.

It feels very strange at times to be going about my life in a normal manner considering the loss we have experienced yet I have to located and assume a new normal that God is leading me into. I can hardly believe what has happened and have to remind myself often that in fact it has happened. This morning just as I was set to leave I came across photos I had taken at the viewing at the mortuary. That was a tough moment and it took a bit to recover. It was like a walk back in time she looked so lovely and healthy there.

Jason has invited me to give a presentation about the appraisal world at career day on Sunday at MBA. I'll drive down on Friday and stay the weekend. It will be nice to get a change of location. Marilyn is set to visit her friend Diane in Sacramento. Steve and Nikki are flying to Hawaii on the 15Th to begin to enjoy a warmer situation. I will join them on the night of the 24Th and now I have a place to stay in Kauai, Nikki found the last room they had and there is even a chance I might get to stay at the Hyatt since a family friend has a crew working there. That would be very exciting, we will have to see what develops. No matter what I will enjoy watching Timothy so Jason and Jo can explore, hike and enjoy the warm water and air. I can't quite believe that I am going, it is like a very nice dream, one I had hoped for but had no idea how I could make it happen at this moment and then it was laid on me, thanks!

I am thankful that there is a lot of work right now to get done, helps keep me going.

My heart really goes out to those people in the mid west who are having ice storms, lost power and misery. I've seen some ice storms before and they are terrible. Sunny California seems pretty good right now in spite of the cold.

Thank you for the DVD requests and we will have them as soon as the little shop in Tracy can handle it. They are having their own personal crisis right now and we can certainly wait until they are doing better. George is helping so much with everything.

Just let me know if you want them and include a mailing address, I've started a file for the requests.

So my family, my friends, thank you for your support over the past 24 hours. I never feel alone because of you.


tim and marilyn

Monday, December 10, 2007

What a week, we are slowly recovering

Dear Family and Friends,
This morning Sharon boarded a plane at 10 am to return to Texas. She was the last of the family to head home. Seeing her leave after her helping hands were everywhere was a tough moment. She has inspired us all to be more faithful to what we know is true, to hold tightly to God's many promises and to direct our focus to living worthwhile lives in anticipation of joining Nan at the second coming. She is a very special lady who has been a best friend to Nan for years.
Marilyn helped return the rental van to its home in Tracy and then it was time to try to make sense out of my desk which is deep in paper work. I drove to Stockton this afternoon to see a property which is owned by a FBI agent. The home was perfect and is located in a quiet nearly new neighborhood. In doing research for this property I found that there were 12 sales in the past 6 months within 1/2 mile. However in looking closer I found that 9 of the 12 were bank owned. This is the worst situation I have seen so far. My heart goes out to people who were making a reasonable house payment and then suddenly discovered that they payment had nearly doubled. Many just walked away from their homes.
I have appreciated several calls today from friends and family. Nikki went back to work and so did Steve. Jason and Jo were also back at the grind. We all know that Mom would have wanted us to resume our lives and do practical things. Yet you just cannot know how hard it is to be doing something and suddenly find yourself sobbing, almost without explanation. This precious woman left her mark on many many people and our hearing about them enhances our memories. Your cards and letters are so precious and I sit and reread them. In spite of giving most of the flower arrangements to senior citizens in Tracy we still have some here and they continue to grace our home with fragrance and beauty. It is amazing how soothing a quick look at beautiful flowers can be. It says love, concern, involvement and investment in our family for its future.
Tonight I am going to go back to my own bed. I think its been over two months since I slept in my bed and now is the time. Since we had the master suite available it was used by guests who had space to relax, a bathroom and shower, their own TV and it has worked out well but tonight the family is home, only Marilyn remains and she has her own room and bath. Last night I slept poorly. I started an appraisal at 11:30 and completed it at 12:20 this morning. Then at 4 this morning I woke up with a strong sense of knowing how Nan would feel about the future. She would think we had a great 36+ years together but things had changed and now I needed to head into the future in a slightly different direction and that it was OK to do that. Then I went back to sleep until 7 when we needed to get on the road.
Because of the very hard work of the ladies many of Nan's beautiful things have been sorted and some have been alloted to different relatives where they will be appreciated. We still have a closet full of beautiful things and gradually we will work on it. When you live with someone with so much class and with such good taste it is somewhat difficult to part with everything. All these things were purchased for a reason and now the purpose has moved on.
I would like to share an amazing thing that has happened to me. Both my children had planned trips to Hawaii over the Christmas holiday. Nikki and Steve are set to leave on the 15th and Jason and Jo are going later. They are going to different islands. Due to this fact I was set to spend Christmas at home with Nan but then of course that changed as well. A kind benefactor has arranged that I fly to Kona on Christmas Even arriving there at 10:30 in the evening. I will stay in Kona at the time share for a few days and then fly to Kauai for the remainder to be with Jason and Jo. I am scrambling to find a room in Kauai but I know that will work out somehow. The kids have allowed me to sort of crash their vacations but I really appreciate the help this un named person has provided. I am very excited about getting to spend this time with my family and in a place that nan and I deeply loved. I am fully aware that I will have sad times, like when the sun sets quickly into the sea, nan and I often would go out and watch it set over the ocean enjoying Hawaiian music and the warm evening air. Yet being with these precious children will be wonderful. Plus I am a built in baby sitter and I happen to love it.
For anyone who tonight is struggling with caring for a spouse or loved one and feels like you cannot hang on any longer I would urge you to reach out seeking help, find someone like our blessed Marilyn who can give you a break and breather. There are great rewards that come from knowing you have done your best pursuing life. You don't have regrets later.
Karen Cress reports that the DVD of the memorial service is being duplicated locally here. If you would like a copy of the DVD of the service or the graveside service please email me at Let me know your address and whether you want the memorial service or graveside service or both. There will be no charge but please allow a little time for us to get them to you. I would like to encourage readers of the blog who could not attend to request a DVD. The services were very uplifting and paid tribute to a very brave and courageous woman. After you view the DVD you will better understand Nan's background and the many triumphs of her life.
As I look back over the past 2 very trying years I just don't see how we could have made it through without you at our side. Every time we needed a miracle over that time you prayed and it happened.
Tomorrow night I will try to include some photos of the services.


tim and marilyn