30 days: The Rug Pulled Out From Under Our Feet

30 days…

I remember getting the text about Mama Kay not sleeping well. She would wake up in the middle of the night and think that it was morning. She once sent us a text at 3:30 a.m. our time apologizing for missing a trip out to a family ranch in Oklahoma. That trip was a long time ago and L and I didn’t go. At least we got a laugh out of it. While her waking up in the wee hours was not necessarily a bad thing for her, it was effecting my FIL. Poor guy needed sleep!

On Monday April 29th he called hospice (remember she was released from their hospital) and they suggested she do a 3 day stay to give him and L’s aunt a break. They would monitor her, take the night shifts and make sure all was good. In 3 days she would return home. Sounded like the perfect plan.

They checked in late that afternoon and FIL decided to stay with her. Close to midnight they were laughing and eating and just happy. I wish we could have just stayed living in that very moment.

Tuesday is when it all changed. Tuesday is when she stopped responding. Tuesday is when we got the call that we needed to get there ASAP. Wednesday is when we packed L’s bag and prayed that she would hang on. Then the stroke happened. We broke. Literally. We prayed, our church prayed, our friends prayed, our neighbors prayed, people we didn’t know prayed. We asked for comfort. We asked for guidance.

Thursday morning we took L to the airport. It was Deja Vu. We just did this same thing at the same time 30 days ago…last time it was better. This time would be different. This time the rug was being pulled out from under our feet.

He made it the hospital and got to spend lots of time with Mom, Dad, his brothers, family and friends. He would call me every few hours to check in. The emotion during each of the calls was high. It was really hard.

Friday I booked a flight for the kids and I to leave Saturday morning. That Friday was the longest day of my life. Everyone was calling. So many emotions, so many questions. Tick, tick, tick. It was like time was standing still. I just wanted to get there. That night I got us packed got everyone tucked into bed and then around 10:15 p.m. the call came.

No, no, no. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not yet. She was just released from hospice care. She was just on the news thanking HIM for additional time. She was just at the gym. She was just out shopping and negotiating deals at a local thrift store. She was just butt dialing me at work. NO NO NO. Please no.

Our plans aren’t HIS plans. We’re not in control. And then the flood gates opened. Uncontrolable tears.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” Matthew 11 28-30.

On Saturday May 4, 2013 Mama Kay when home to heaven. She battled Pancreatic Cancer for 11 months. She never complained about it. Not once. She, in fact, thanked GOD for her cancer because it gave her the opportunity to speak to people about her faith. She was given a powerful voice. One we never saw her use until her diagnosis. She was a warrior. She encouraged so many. She loved, she laughed. She changed lives.

The first time I saw her I didn’t believe it. It was Saturday night. She looked like an angel. She looked so elegant and peaceful. She was finally healed.

We celebrated her life on Monday May 6th. At the graveside service the pastor read Isaiah 41:10. I lost it. That’s the verse written on my hand every race. He had no idea. “That’s just how God works” he told me. When we made our way to the church it was packed!! She was (and still is) loved by so many. She touched people she never even met. She will never ever be forgotten.


I want to thank you all for sharing in this journey with my family. Thank you for letting me share my faith.This is real life. We all go through this. It has not been easy to share. There have been many times (like today) when as I write tears are streaming. It still doesn’t seem real.I don’t think it will for a while.


The Ojai Marathon is a week from Sunday. I will be wearing purple to support the fight against Pancreatic Cancer. I will run with my heart and not my legs. It’s going to be an emotional race. The one thing that is certain is that I will have an angel with me for all 26.2 miles that day. It can’t get any better than that.

34 thoughts on “30 days: The Rug Pulled Out From Under Our Feet

  1. Nicole:
    Flood gates have opened! I am soooo sorry for your loss and that really of everyone that your mother-in-law had touched. There are no words of comfort that can even begin to ease your pain at this time. Months back you reached out to me when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I had much gratitude. My dad’s time is slowing as well. Mama Kay, like a true mom, went ahead of my dad, to make things perfect in heaven for him, I’m sure of it. We are doing a cancer ride to help raise money through the American Cancer Society so that funds can continue to find a CURE for the beast known as cancer that takes so many of our loved ones. Some of the lucky ones beat cancer, others, sadly don’t. It’s certainly not for lack of love! If any of your network is interested in donating, we can put your family’s name on our page and tribute the amazing person your mother-in-law will always be remembered for. Please accept my deepest sympathies from my family to yours! With a heavy heart, I send you love, hugs and prayers, Melanie
    To donate to the American Cancer Society’s Bicycles Battling Cancer:

    1. Melanie, I continue to pray for you and your Dad. I will certainly share your link! I am running a race next Feb to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. I have lost far too many family members to allow this to continue! Big big hugs to you all!

  2. I want to say how touched I am that you shared this story. I can relate, as I lost my father 2 years ago in February to Pancreatic Cancer. He survived 13 months after diagnosis. At the time he was diagnosed he was pretty far in, but most Panc. patients can be. It sounds like your MIL (MIL, correct) touched many people. What a wonderful thing you are doing, running in her honor. I will pray for your family for continued support and love during this difficult time. I am still very emotional about my father and will continue to be. Hugs, friend, you are not alone.

    1. Char, it’s just such a horrible disease. I learned of 4 deaths the same weekend all a result of Pan Can. It effects so many people yet I never hear anyone speak of it. Time for a change!!

      1. As a nurse, I can honestly say the only thing that’s going to end cancer is funding research! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! They’re almost there with an HIV cure, now onto cancer!

  3. I am so sorry for your family’s loss. Having lost a parent to cancer, I know it is a bumpy ride, with lots of ups and downs. You put your experience into words very nicely, creating a touching memory to share. Thank you!

  4. Thanks for sharing this very personal experience; she seemed to be one amazing woman that has left quite a legacy in your family. Run your heart out sister!!

  5. My eyes welled up and I got chills while reading this post, and I didn’t even know her! It’s just that I can see how this woman of God has been so amazing and touched many lives! She was incredibly blessed AND blessed others during her life. What an inspiration!
    I’ll be in Ojai for that marathon, too. I’ll be thinking of you and your angel during the race. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. So sorry for your loss. I don’t know what else to say. I will be praying and thinking of you and Mama Kay. It is a blessing that she is finally healed but so hard to accept. Good luck to you and your Angel in Ojai!

  7. I am a lurker and don’t comment much on the blogs I read but I have to tell you these posts about your mother-in-law, her fight with cancer, and the feelings and emotions of you and your family have really touched me. I am so sorry for your loss but know that your words are beautiful, emotions powerful, supports strong, and love and faith inspiring, even through a computer screen and from the other side of the country. Thinking good thoughts for you and your family.

  8. Hugs and love for your family through this time, N. cancer is so off guard and changes lives…I just wish there were a cure. You’re so right. She’ll be an angel running with you, proud to have you as a daughter xoxo

  9. Oh Sis, I too sit here with tears streaming. She was an incredible woman indeed. She has changed so many lives including mine and will never be forgotten. You are my angel and I can’t wait to here how well you do this weekend with your angel running with you!! love you so much.

  10. Oh honey, I am so sorry for your family’s loss. What we will miss every second is certainly Heaven’s gain. I am sending big hugs and big prayers for peace and comfort for your family.

    We are currently in a similar battle with my FIL and kidney cancer. His drs are trying to find the right combo of medicine to keep his cancer at bay-it is already metastatic. Regardless, I am so thankful for the promise of reunions that we will have someday with our loved ones. Oh what a sweet day it will be!

    All my love.

    Mark 5:36
    Jer. 29:11

  11. I am so sorry for your loss…it sounds like she was such a wonderful woman!

    On a separate note, I love that you write a verse on your hand for each race…I think that is beautiful! I plan on starting that same thing this Sunday for my marathon. I just love that!!

  12. Praying for comfort and peace for you and your family Nicole!!! You’re MIL was so lucky to be surrounded by so much love, and you guys are lucky to have such a wonderful woman bless your lives! I’m so sorry for your loss.

  13. I couldn’t even get through your post without crying and even as I try to formulate a response I’m still crying. My heart breaks for your loss but what a beautiful message she was able to deliver through this storm the Lord gave her to endure on this earth. My sister in law was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and I fear what we will face watching her fight this battle. I try to remind myself He is in control but it’s so hard sometimes. Cancer is so awful! Prayers for you and your family.

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss. I have been checking your blog everyday for a while now and mama Kay has been in my thoughts every night when I go to read your blog. I could not stop crying reading your message yesterday. I was sad reading your post before this last one as well. I just knew….I’m so sorry, I hope you and your family will be ok. Hugs from Oregon!

  15. 11 months is a long time to battle something like Pancreatic cancer – she was a tough lady, that’s for certain. And while it’s sad that the recovery she had after the first hospice stay was temporary – she got to live fully for those 30 days. Going to the gym, antique shopping, hanging out with her family! That’s awesome!

    I really think that God was merciful in the way she passed – it seems that she didn’t suffer great pain – she had a wonderful 30 days and she was quickly swooped up. I hope that the healing has started for everyone.

  16. She sounds like an absolutely wonderful woman! I’m so sorry for your loss. But like you said, she is now healed and in a much better place. Cancer can no longer be her enemy. You and your family now have an amazing guardian angel!

  17. I had to comment and let you know that I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful MIL. It is obvious how much you loved her and I’m sure she felt the same way about you. Your daughter looks like her, byt the way. God bless you and your family!

  18. I haven’t been on here in awhile. I am so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I was in tears reading your post. I’m just so sorry. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts in prayers. I pray you all find comfort soon.

  19. Such a beautiful post about your MIL. Thank you for the reminder of God’s power in our lives and what true living is. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

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