Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Note from Kent Wood

My dad asked if I could post the following note:

My dear family and friends,
I just want to express my love and appreciation to each of you. My life, and the lives of my children, have been blessed due to the outpouring of love, concern, and service that have been offered to us so liberally by so many. We have felt the impact of your fasting, faith and prayers. Meals have been prepared, dogs have been walked, beds have been delivered, books have been offered, notes of comfort have been provided, etc. . . all, it seems, at just the right moment. It has reminded me that there is a symphony of service being conducted by God as He inspires each of us to act on impulses planted by Him. The result is blessings in each of our lives. I pray that God may bless each of you for your kindness.

This has been a most challenging chapter in my life. It is hard for me to articulate how much I loved my wife Kathy. She was my dearest friend and sweetheart. I feel as though part of my heart has been taken from me for awhile. Yet, I will also add that these last few weeks have been remarkable as I have felt such an outpouring of spirit, love, understanding, light and comfort, which are helping to fill the void in a significant way. I am very grateful for the grace and compassion of our Father in Heaven and our elder Brother, Jesus Christ. My heart has been turned toward them as never before and I desire to do their will and hopefully join them and my dear wife some day in the future. In our faith, we believe that marriages and families are eternal, when joined through priesthood ordinances. I thank God for the great hope in my heart, born from these temple covenants, blessings and promises.

Of all the people I would like to thank, it is my children. They have made countless sacrifices to be by my side during my hour of need while each one of them continues their private journey to become comforted and reconciled with God regarding the loss of their mother. Their strength and faith have been an inspiration to me. We have felt the grace of God pulling us together, helping us be more unified and of one heart. I thank God for this wonderful gift.

May God bless each of you for all you have done and continue to do to bless our lives.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update, August 12

In the last post I mentioned that Dad had been diagnosed with a ruptured diaphragm. This was a reasonable diagnosis, given his symptoms and the fact that recent scans showed some of his abdominal organs sitting a bit high (i.e., as if they had migrated up and through the diaphragm).

The surgery was to be done laparoscopically. When the surgeons went in and searched for the torn section of the diaphragm, they weren't able to find anything. So far, little to no communication from the doctors about what they now think is causing Dad's shoulder pain and the apparent ascension of his abdominal organs.

Dad was kept at the hospital for a day or two so he could recover from the surgery. He's home again now, enjoying the hospitality of Elisabeth, Sean, and Jason. They're all taking their turn cooking these days. No word on whether or not Jason's meals are edible.

The family recently started the tradition of doing a conference call on Skype every Sunday night. Last Sunday we spent most of the time taking distorted snapshots of ourselves (oh, the beauty of Macintosh computers), sending them to each other, and laughing. Sean has officially been crowned King of the Photobooth.

Some people have asked me if I feel some sense of relief after leaving California. I think they're under the impression that I was having a really difficult time down there, and that a burden has been lifted from my shoulders. Looking back, there are still some places that my imagination won't go, but I thank God that my memories from the last two months are now a sort of holy ground, and I can't visit them without feeling peaceful, thankful, and better. I felt no burden until I came back to Canada. Being on the phone with Dad helps a little, but part of me just wants to go back and be with him. I truly miss him. From what I can gather during those phone calls with Dad, he is still improving. A little stronger every day. The pace is slow, but it has been relatively steady. Still a long road ahead. I envy the people that get to walk it with him.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Update, August 3

Since Dad returned home, the biggest obstacles for him have been pain control and breathing efficiency. His general breathing has been improving, but not as quickly as was expected. More troubling, however, is the fact that no bruising, tearing, or breaking was detected in the shoulder or nearby tissue, but when he is upright, he feels a sharp, debilitating pain in his left shoulder and upper chest, and his breathing becomes very labored. Until now, nobody has been able to find an underlying cause for these symptoms.

During a routine check-up today, a doctor discovered that Dad has a ruptured diaphragm (on the left side). A tear in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to migrate up into the chest cavity. This can displace the lungs, reducing their efficiency. It also commonly leads to shortness of breath (dyspnea), dysphagia (which explains Dad's continued issues with swallowing liquids), and sharp pain in the chest and shoulder.

Dad is waiting to go into surgery. We are slightly frustrated that we didn't catch this sooner, but mostly we are hopeful that Dad's progress will be accelerated now that the cause of his symptoms is being addressed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A wonderful day

Today was Mom's burial and memorial. Is it odd to say that it was one of the best days of my life? It was an experience that left me with a clearer vision of who I want to be. The memorial was perfect. It was simple enough to please Mom (she being the lover of simplicity that she is), but it was inclusive enough to reflect Mom's gregariousness. There were so many people who, thanks to their hard work behind the scenes, made the day flow smoothly. As a family, we want to thank everyone who came to help us celebrate the life of our mother and wife. My father was sad that he wasn't able to interact with you after the services; if we had left it up to him, he would have been standing there shaking hands and hugging until he dropped. He sends his love and gratitude.

On a personal note: I'm leaving with my wife for Ontario today (it is now the day after the services -- I was too exhausted to finish this post last night). This means that this blog is winding down. I may give a few updates on Dad's health now and then, but I feel like the primary purpose of the blog has been served. Please check back periodically over the next month or so. There are still some important posts from other members of the family that I, personally, am looking forward to.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Note from Elisabeth Wood

Elisabeth, 32, is the oldest of the children. She sent me the following:

I'd like to thank every person who has shown kindness to our family. We've received many gifts, so much assistance, things that would be impossible to numerate or address individually. Please know that we are grateful for everything. Your support has lifted us. We can feel it. Thank you!

Note from Christina Wood

I invited my siblings to contribute to the blog with a memory or a thought. Christina, 18, is the youngest of the six children. She has been an example to all of us in many ways. This is her letter:

Shortly after I learned about the terrible accident I was in complete shock. Time froze and I didn't want to accept the fact that my mother who I had just seen earlier that evening was not able to ever come home to me! You hear all of these stories about "people" experiencing death in their lives....but I never thought that this would happen to someone like me and my family. Throughout my entire life my mom has been the one that I was always able to go to when I had a question; it seemed like she had answers for everything. She was the one who tried to make sure that she was involved in my life and each of my siblings lives. She helped teach me some of the most difficult lessons of life. Even though the lessons she taught me were hard to learn sometimes, I will always cherish them for the rest of my life.
Aside from the Lord, my parents have been the most amazing examples in my life. They are people who have lived very simple lives, as long as I can remember. When it comes to others, my parents were always willing to help out in any way they could; they didn't like to publicize what they did but since the accident I have heard so many different ways that my parents have touched others' lives for good. Sometimes it is a little overwhelming because of the legacy my mother has left behind ...but I hope that if I try as hard as possible to be like my mom one day I can hopefully resemble her.
People have asked me why I am able to "be so strong" throughout all of this and my one and only response is because I know that we are an eternal family and I will see her again! I love you mom!

media coverage #2

Two recent articles about Mom:

Sacramento Bee

Folsom Telegraph