Tag Archives: mourning

Everything Happens For A Reason

I do not believe in coincidence.  I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

I was raised to be spiritual, to love God, to trust in God’s will, to believe that no matter what everything works out in the end.  Through the years, particularly when I was a young adult, I had my doubts.  I’m a “black-and-white, no gray area” type of person, so I started to doubt the concept of God and went with the scientific explanation of the universe.  That didn’t work well for me.  My life went to hell in a hand basket.  I then started to strengthen my spirituality, and my life started coming together.  I continue to strengthen my spirituality and accept there are things that are not meant to be explained or understood.

Therefore, I do not believe in coincidence.  Everything happens for a reason, even if it is not specifically clear at any given time.

My brother Kris died a little over 1-1/2 years ago from bone and lung cancer at the age of 57.  From the time he was diagnosed to the time he died was just 3 weeks.  They tried radiation and one dose of chemotherapy which he could not tolerate.  They then put him on hospice and sent him home with his wife.

January 2015… on his way to Maui.

He never told me he was ill.  He knew he was going to die, and he never said goodbye.  And I was angry.  Very angry.  Regardless, I ran my next half-marathon less than 2 months later in his memory.  It was my goodbye to him… I was running Maui, his most favorite place in the world (…everything happens for a reason.  I do not believe it was coincidence that my first race after his death happened to be in Maui.).

However, sometime soon after Kris died, I discovered Terry from Spearfruit (everything happens for a reason).  Terry was having his own battle with cancer, and still is, fighting every day for his life.  Terry recently wrote a post, I Will See Her Again, about a recent visit with his mom, sister, and brother.  Because of this heartfelt post, I now understand why my brother never said anything.

My brother didn’t “do” emotions.  He expressed love and occasionally anger or frustration, but he never showed grief or sadness.  Outwardly anyway.  He despised any type of drama.  He accepted the way things were and moved past it.

It took me a year and a half, and finally Terry’s post, to realize my brother couldn’t deal with the emotions that would have come with saying goodbye to the people he loved.  He had enough to process in dealing with his own mortality, and the emotions of having to say goodbye were just too much for him to handle in the short time he had left.

Taken a couple of days before he died, November 2015.

Terry… thank you for sharing your journey with us.  You may never know everyone you’ve helped during your fight, but I am sure there are many.  I appreciate you.

Rest in peace, bro… I finally get it.

Nero (12/2000 – 11/2016)

When James and I got married back in 2000, I owned 5 cats.  And even though he had never in his life been around animals before, he was very accepting of the situation.  I guess you could say animals are what make me, me.

He actually enjoyed being around the cats in the beginning, so much so, he absolutely had to rescue this one kitten, Nero, from a couple who had just found out they were pregnant and decided Nero posed too much of a health hazard (please do not even get me started on this).  I was against getting another cat… 100% against it.  But James persisted, and I gave in.


So this cute little kitten came to live with us and unfortunately got beatings from the other cats for a little while.  My gentlest cat, Esmeralda, dished out the most severe beatings, and she was relentless for 2 solid weeks.  She chased him under the washing machine daily.  Eventually the beatings stopped and they became the best of friends.  Ez was the matriarch of the family; she commanded respect and she definitely got it.  When she was 17, arthritic, and could hardly walk, her and Nero would still play chase, and Nero would wait for her to catch up, then bolt off again, and so on and so forth… he knew she hurt, so he was patient and gentle. He even let her win the wrestling matches when, in reality, he could’ve taken her down no problem.

Nero 2010

One spring evening in Arizona, James grilled us some salmon.  Nero was about 7 months old.  James had left his plate of salmon on the coffee table to get up for a second, and Nero was so smart and stealth, he snuck up to James’s plate, grabbed the salmon in his mouth, and ran with it.  Unfortunately, that particular piece of salmon was as big as Nero was, so he didn’t get far. Besides that, Nero was so shocked that his little plan worked, he didn’t know what to do with that huge piece of salmon.  He wasn’t sure if he should eat it, soon decided against it, then ran off, without ever knowing the joy of salmon.


Nero was a super smart cat.  When we moved to Washington, to a house that had lever handles, it took him no time at all to figure out how to open them.  He loved going around opening all the doors. It was entertainment for him.  James finally had to replace all the levers with knobs because, you know, cats don’t have thumbs.


This morning we had to say goodbye to our beloved Nero.  His GI tract was shutting down, as were his kidneys, and he had lost too much of his body weight.  I know some cats live longer, but I think 16 is a great, long life for a cat, and we were blessed to have him for so long.  He was loved immensely, spoiled rotten, and will be greatly missed.  Rest in peace, sweet Nero.