Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Many Steps of Closure

The day after Heather past, one of the first items of business for me was to remove all medicinal signs of her being sick. Any OTC medications went to the trash and all prescribed items went to CVS to be properly disposed of.

Many other steps happened prior to that day and many since that day. Today many more have been made. To those who knew or knew of her, knew that one of her many passions in life was reading. Same held true when she first found out that she was sick, before it seemed I had blinked Heather had already either gone out for or ordered information, treatment, and even a cooking with cancer book. Another passion was fashion as she joked on how she would get a different wig for everyday of the week to never have the same "do" twice a week, and to buy hats to make her look like a model (always beautiful to me).

I have also came to the realization that of the many people who helped my wife it is usually only the doctors that get the thanks, and well deserved it is. But there are many others that needed to be thanked. That process I started today.

I know the last two paragraphs sound like ramblings but they do tie in and I hope I can do it properly.

I had earlier in the week gathered the books that Heather had bought on her cancer and boxed them up. When my father and I had decided to take a break from the crown molding today, I decided to gather the books and head off to the Stoney Point Massey Cancer Center where she both saw her doctors and took her chemo (and goof ball dad kept working after I left). I really don't remember how I felt as I pulled off of Chippenham Parkway to go to the center. I was more concerned in informing those who do not know yet about Heather than the reasons that brought her there in the first place. When I stepped up to the reception desk with books in hand as well as the harness pads to protect her port while driving that the volunteers gave her the receptionist saw me standing there (6'7" 312 pounds kinda hard to miss) hung up the phone and with her always wonderful smile greeted me. "Hello, I am Heather Brown's.........." before I could get out husband, she was standing and telling me how sorry she was and how wonderful Heather was (big surprise sheesh!). I first let her know how much I appreciated how she and the staff took care of Heather and made good out of a bad situation, I then let her know that I was there to donate the books that Heather had bought and the pads that the volunteers had given her. With that same great smile she graciously accepted them saying that they would put Heather's name in the books before putting them out. I then asked if I could go back and thank the nurses that treated her, again with a smile she buzzed me in. I went back and saw her three wonderful nurses, I stammered through tanking them telling them how much Heather appreciated how they took care of her when she went for treatments, the ordeals of the ports and all. One of the nurses with a tear in her eye embraced me, another with tears rolling down her cheek sat in her chair smiling, while the last chuckled and told me how much of a card that she was. We reminisced in about 30 seconds four months of life especially how she brought dogs into every conversation that she had. I then informed them of dropping off the books and pads, and then asked if they could do anything with her wigs and hats. Hopefully it is true, of which I will always believe, or they trying to comfort me by telling me that I could bring the items to them and the volunteers could make them ready for another who is need of them. As I was saying goodbye the nurse that was seated stood reached around the corner and brought out Heather's pink umbrella that she had on her last visit and started to hand it to me. I stopped her and asked her to keep it and the next time that it rained if there was a patient without one to give it to them, another tear rolled down her face.

The Women's Clinic, where both Dr O. and Dr. B. saw Heather is in the same building, and needless to say so is a lab. As I mentioned earlier the doctors are usually the only ones that get the praise and the thanks and there are so many others that are part of the team. I was fortunate that the people that I wanted to see were working today. At the clinic the two women that worked the desk were there, I approached them and introduced myself and thank them for how they took care of Heather. My mother had warned me that there will be times when the following would happened, the one said how wonderful Heather was (here I thought it my little secret sheesh again) then asked how she was doing. I thought of my mother's warning, my voice cracking as I broke the news to them. Stun and dismay appeared instantaneously on their faces. They started to tell me that they were sorry for my loss, as I stopped them to tell them that I was there to thank them because I know not all those deserving get the proper credit. I also had one last stop before leaving the building and that was at the lab.

There is a little tech that always drew my wife's labs, they had an instant repour for the first time Heather sat at her station she noticed pictures of the tech's Great Dane puppy and that's all it took (big surprise again). I asked if I could speak to her for a moment as she called her next patient. She looked up at me confused and maybe scared (her about 5' 110 and again myself 6' 7" 312) said just a moment as she led her patient back then came out to see me. I again introduced myself and informed her of Heather, and also with a laugh in my voice that including Heather's last day she tell anyone that came close to her with a needle that they could never be as good as the person at Stoney Point, the one and only that never gave her any pain. Blushing and with a sheepish smile she thanked me.

For me, for today, for our journey together I had taken the steps that needed to be taken until the next path I come across. The nameless with warmth, smiles, care, and compassion needed to be acknowledged and thanked.

Again I hope that I was able to properly tie my two rambling paragraphs together properly.

Now, on a lighter note, those who Heather had signed up to spy on me and project progress (Lisa) .............. crown molding up set and painted, thresh holds in place, exterior light replaced, and David will be back to install toilet and sink on Thursday and the bathroom will be done lol!

I originally put Staircase to Closure in the title bar, but Heather hated Led Zepplin and well it sounded to close to the song.

Thank you for letting me rant.



  1. You're awesome Scott. I want to see pics when you finish the bath :)

  2. Scott,
    I've started several comments and deleted all. Blubbering doesn't help anyone so I'll contribute when I have something positive to contribute. Suffices to say that today has been really hard. I went to forward something to her today on email without even thinking. Blerk she'd hate all this crying! Mary

  3. Dearest Scott,
    This is wonderful to read. Thank you for taking the time to visit and thank the many kind and caring people who helped Heather so much. Giving to others is what life is really about and this is Pay it Forward in it's truest form. That Heather is leaving some bit of her with so many assures us that one thing she feared- being forgotten- will never happen (we knew it all the time anyway.) It's like the ripple effect from a stone tossed into a lake- it will just keep reverberating and someone will pay forward what they got and another will pay that forward and on and on. It's hard to imagine anything more important to a parent than to have a child find someone who loves them dearly whom they love dearly in return. You gave that gift to Heather and I am forever greatful to you for that- and many other things.

  4. Scott,
    I write this with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face. I think of Heather fondly...especially your comment about the fashion...when she was starting the organization business, she helped me prepare my house prior to the wedding...we drank a few bottles of wine, cleaned the closets out and had a fashion show, dyed our hair...and oh what fun it was...and it wasn't just the wine...Heather will always be a fantastic person fondly in my memory! Love you both! Susan

  5. Scott - I am jealous I will not be with you for happy hour tonight, but have a Jack for Heather and pretend it is from me. I miss you - yvonne