January 2019

 

 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! One year closer to being in Heaven with him and Logan and all my friends and family who have gone ahead. One year closer to graduating with my MSW and working again to help others. One more year with my darling husband, children, and grandchildren. One more year to be a friend who is there for my friends. One more year to be the best daughter and granddaughter I can be. One more year to get things right. One more year to grow in spiritual knowledge. It’s going to be a good year.

1/4/19

I am still at the cabin with Ringo and Oreo and loving most every minute. I am relaxing more than I have rested in a year. I have read several mystery books, walked an inside track a few times, kept up with my PT exercises, and met up with a few friends. Today I am driving to Homer to meet with three different people. The first is the head of the Homer Opioid Task Force. The second is a friend of mine who is also a well-known Alaskan author- Marianne Sclegilmilch, and the third is Ardith Mumma who is the new state chair for Addiction Policy. Yesterday I met with Gail Kennedy who is an on-site manager for Freedom House, a women’s sober transitional living home. I cannot get enough information about all the sober resources available statewide. Yes, to me that’s relaxing too. I cannot let my mind go to mush simply reading about solving mysteries! What I should be doing is reading my textbooks for next semester! Maybe next week....

Patrick came down New Year’s Eve. At the time I did not know he was getting sick again. That night he confessed he had a terrible sore throat. He was so ill that he said he was going to go to the doctor on the 2nd when he returned to Anchorage. He left the cabin at 0530. At 0700 I received a call from him. His tire blew out outside of Sterling, and he needed a tool. The tool was in our basement. Now that sounds like no big deal, but there is no direct access to the basement. We have to walk around the cabin to get to it. That also might sound like no big deal, but the cabin is built in a bluff, and the walk down is very steep and currently covered with ice. It was also very dark, and my one flashlight was very dim. Walking down there while light out is very hazardous for me and walking in the dark was doubly so. It took me a while, but I made it. I face timed him to verify it was the right wrench. He didn’t think it was big enough, but that was the only one available there. I drove the 40 minutes to reach him, and the tool didn’t work for him. Now keep in mind I had already set up roadside assistance to help. It’s part of our insurance plan, and they would provide the service at no charge. I gave them his number, and he said they wouldn’t be there for 90 minutes. I figured they’d get there the same time he was working on it and could take over since he was sick. He drove my car to Soldotna to get the proper tool for removing the tire. By that time it had been more than 90 minutes, and I called the insurance company again. They informed me he told them he already fixed the tire and didn’t need them. I was furious with him. When he got back, I told him there was no reason to be macho and proud just because he was a man. He was so sick and there he was in the cold and dark fixing the darn flat. He made it back to Anchorage and went to the doctor. He has strep! Poor guy. I did no more lecturing and just gave him sympathy. He still feels awful, and he had no one to take care of him. He’s been such a fabulous caregiver to me, and I feel a bit guilty for not being there for him. However, there’s considerable concern about me getting sick, so it’s better we are separated by a couple of hundred miles. Unfortunately, he already exposed me, so I am again taking preventative cautions by using immune boosting products.

My mom will be in Alaska next Saturday and will stay for a week to work on taxes. I am picking her up and very excited to be spending some time with her. I miss having her and Dad here as well as Meghan, Kirk, and the girls.  It just doesn’t seem right. 

1/5/19

Yesterday I had a busy day in Homer. I met with the lady in charge of the Homer Opioid Task Force and was excited and pleased to hear that they are making progress in assisting those in recovery in the Homer area. Homer is a small community that is super busy during the fishing season in the summer but is a sleepy community during the winter. There are many year-round residents though, and they want to help combat the drug problem and see a successful recovery for the addict.

After meeting with Stephanie, I had lunch with my friend Marianne. Marianne is a well-known Alaskan author and a former nurse. I love visiting with her and hearing her strong views on things.

Finally, I met with Ardith, the new addiction policy forum chair for Alaska. Ardith is a woman of great faith and is anxious to get more faith-based recovery programs going.

The day before I had met with Gail who is one of the live-in managers for Freedom House, a sober support home for women in Soldotna. Soon they will have a men’s house as well. There are many good programs down here, and I want to be involved in all of them.

I have heard of THREE people in Wasilla, just this week, of people who need a bone marrow transplant! Two have aplastic anemia, and one has another rare condition. Two are young children, and one is a young adult. Fundraising and bone marrow drives will be happening, and of course, I will do what I can to help.

Last night I watched “Beautiful Boy,” and my heart ached as I know the reality the story brings. 

1/9/18

My house looks like the earthquake did more damage than we thought. We are remodeling the kitchen, and everything upstairs is stacked haphazardly and is a complete mess. I have no flooring upstairs except for the plywood and no kitchen at all. I do not do well with chaos, and I must tell myself to have a better attitude than I do. School starts Monday, and I'm about three weeks out from having this finished and put back together again. I'm like the little train, "I think I can, I think I can."

Meghan called today and told me a funny story about Ailynn which lightened up my mood considerably.  They found a broken bottle on their walk. Meghan made a casual statement that they needed to tell the office people about the broken glass. Meg got distracted, and when she looked around, Ailynn was gone. Meghan walked back to the 5th wheel and no Ailynn. She asked the neighbor if he had seen her. He said, "Yes, she was a determined little thing on a mission and took her scooter and walked to the office." It was quite a distance. When Meghan arrived, Ailynn told her that she just had to tell the lady about the glass. She is three years old! I laughed over that and I'm so thankful she is safe.

 1/12/19

Be the Match put together a book filled with stories from transplant survivors so that those who are preparing for a transplant can read it and have a better understanding of what is to come. I haven't read all of the stories yet, but the ones I did read are inspiring and filled with thankfulness for being alive and surviving a very difficult disease. There is something encouraging about people who share their personal experiences with others going through something similar.  I love that willingness so many people have to help.  Why would we go through something so hard and keep it inside ourselves? Our stories deserve to be told.

On another note, I met with a fantastic man yesterday who shares his own story. It's not about surviving a bone marrow transplant, his story is about being in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Mark is a champion in our community. He doesn't brag about his accomplishment in conquering addiction. He would tell you that he only gets through each day sober because of Jesus.  Mark uses his experiences to comfort and guide others who are wanting recovery.  He listens to a lot of stories that probably hurt his heart, but he keeps smiling, keeps encouraging, and keeps accepting the calls, texts, and visits.  He's indeed a man of God.

Jesus teaches us to be compassionate to all.  He teaches us to love our neighbors as we do ourselves. He teaches us to feed the hungry and provide clothes to those who need them.  We live in a world where so many need us. There are homeless men and women all around us. Unfortunately, there is homeless youth as well. There are people in our community hurting because of domestic violence, a cancer diagnosis, addiction, other medical problems, a spouse leaving them, and because of financial difficulties.  We must open our eyes and look around to see who we can help.

  I love how in Matthew chapter 15 we can see how compassionate Jesus is.  Starting with verse 32, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.  I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.  His disciples answered, "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?"  "How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked.  Seven, they replied, and a few small fish.  He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.  Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples and they in turn to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied.  Afterward, the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  The number of those who ate was four thousand, besides women and children. 

Isn't that amazing? Jesus turned seven loaves of bread into enough food for over four thousand people, and they were filled up.  When our lives seem out of control, we need to remember that Jesus can perform miracles.  I think we are easily overwhelmed as human beings.  Life gets difficult and very stressful.  We can't do it all ourselves, and sometimes we forget that we can trust the man who fed thousands with seven loaves of bread.

May you have a wonderful day filled with happiness and comfort.  I pray that each of us sees those in need.  I pray that each of us is led to do our part whether it's contributing financially, giving out food, sharing the word of God, taking someone a meal or to a doctor appointment, or whatever that brings them comfort.  Let us love others more than ourselves.

1/13/18

H: Happiness is attainable. We can often find happiness in the smallest of things.
O: Open your heart and mind to learn new strategies to cope, heal, and thrive.
P: Peace is possible when you let God take control of your thoughts, emotions, and concerns.
E: Education is vital. Honor the experiences of others. Remember that we do process problems and issues differently. Accept and respect the individualism of each person. Be kind and compassionate to all.

When we remember and respect these four things, we can have HOPE that we can change our communities, states, nation, and the world.

Kelly Marre
Grieving mother and Leukemia Survivor
Champion for all

1/14/19

My first night of school was tonight and tomorrow I start my practicum. I am nervous as can be; so much ahead of me and I struggle with the issue of self-doubt. Am I capable? Do I have the stamina? Am I intelligent enough? Oh, God, you are going to have to guide me through this. I most certainly cannot do it on my own.

I picked my wonderful mother up Saturday night. We went to church together Sunday. It is so good to have her own even if it's only for a week. Due to classes, I won't be able to spend much time with her, unfortunately, but I feel better knowing she's in the state. She and Dad decided they enjoy being in Texas more than Alaska so after this summer I may not see them nearly as much, and that makes me sad!

The little son of Logan's friend, Josh, is currently in the hospital fighting a terrible infection. Please join me in praying for Cove.

1/19/19

Mom leaves tonight, and we have barely had any visiting time. School started for me again Monday, and my practicum started Tuesday. I am again immersed in the books and rarely come up for air. I am already feeling exhausted. I'm driving her into the airport tonight, so we'll get to visit a bit at that time. My niece Michelle arrived in Texas last night to visit, and she and my dad are having a good time I am sure.

I read one of my textbooks today and revisited the horrific past that I previously read about in U.S. history books. People who were poor or mentally ill were treated with such terrible disdain and disregard, and it makes me so very sad.  I'm so thankful there are laws in place to protect people, and we are more educated, but we still have a very long way to go to fully advocate and support those in need. Social Work can be very rewarding, but it can also be very depressing.

I gave away two huge plants to two different friends of Logan.  The first was given to us when he was born, so it is 32 years old. The second was given to us when he died, so it is 20 years old. It was very hard to part with them as they remind me of his life and his experiences as a child and his ultimate early death. We just don't have room for them anymore.  Ariel met Logan at Ronald McDonald House. She also had A.L.L. and is a survivor.  Amy knew Logan when they were both young. She was one of the children I cared for in my daycare.  I'm so glad that two young ladies who knew and loved Logan will enjoy his plant and think of him. The sweet sorrow of parting.....

 1/21/19

Oh, Father God, I am having another panic attack over school.  Please calm my spirit and give me confidence that I can do this.

I'm not kidding. There is so much reading, so many papers, so much time.... I'm tired, and it's only been one complete week.  I am not sleeping due to extreme hip pain, and that does not help at all.

I went to see Dr. Drury today, and he ordered a spinal MRI and more x-rays. He is wondering if there is something he is missing to explain my pain.  I feel that there is something all the doctors are overlooking. I hope it's something simple and they find it. To move again without pain and difficulty would be simply amazing.

My house remodel is still not complete. I am more calm about it and not letting it get to me as I did originally. Poor Patrick gets the brunt of my overreactions and panic attacks. I cannot find anything around here, and it's just a mess.  It should hopefully be complete by Friday. Today we did have some SOA people out to evaluate our earthquake damage. If they agree to fund the repairs, that means more mess and chaos, but it will be so worth it.

I thank God for my life. I truly am grateful that I am here, alive, and learning.  Wednesday I will be spending a few hours at Homeless Connect doing intake.  That always makes me appreciate what I have. So many people have nothing. How dare I ever complain!

1/24/19

I woke up yesterday feeling grateful that I got to take a warm shower, get a coffee at Little Millers, and drive out of my garage to go to Homeless Connect. I thanked God all the way there for all the blessings I have. I met with many people during intake, and all of them were struggling with either drugs & alcohol, domestic violence, or extreme poverty.  My heart hurt, and I had a hard time holding back the tears as some shared their traumatic stories. I wanted to take them all home with me and just show them the love of God.

One lady wept as she shared that it was her birthday and her children are in child protective custody, and she has no hope for anything to improve.  Part of me wanted to share my story with a few of them, but of course, I did not.  I could have shared I lost a son to leukemia complications, I got leukemia and now have terrible physical ailments because of it, my other son is addicted to drugs and my heart hurts a lot.  I could have shared the grief I feel on a daily basis with missing Logan and hurting and worrying about Casey.  I am not minimizing anyone's pain, but maybe sometimes it's okay to disclose a bit to show that I truly am compassionate and empathetic.  What kind of social worker am I going to be? I can't figure out what to share and what not to share.

The other night I was required to watch a video about the sexual abuse inflicted upon the Alaska Native Children in one of the villages.  The abuse was committed by Catholic Priests. I confess to ugly crying- bawling my eyes out while sobbing, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, these children were so violated and so traumatized by such an ugly thing committed against them in the "Name of God." I know that those men were not committing their acts as "holy acts of God", but they were wolves in sheep's clothing. Now those who were victimized will forever remember the sadness and pain inflicted upon them.  No wonder there is such a problem with drugs and alcohol in the villages.  The damage was done. Now we have to figure out how to help people heal from it and prevent it from happening again. We must no longer be silent about sexual abuse.

Patrick thinks I am nuts for volunteering in this field and getting my MSW. He wants to avoid the pain at all cost.  I understand why he feels this way, but I also know this is where God wants me to be.

On a happier note, this kitchen remodel is almost complete! I am more than thrilled with my beautiful dream kitchen. It's spectacular. I am so grateful to God for helping us attain this goal of mine, and I am so very thankful and grateful to my dear husband who never denies me anything. I promise to use the kitchen to bless others.  While moving things around, we found two art projects Logan made as a small child. I must admit my heart soared with gladness as I touched the item he once touched. One was a frog made out of a paper plate, and the other was a pair of heart-shaped colored glasses with special colored paper for the lenses. I held them up to my face in wonder as I imagined those very glasses touched by baby's face. I felt so close to him at that moment, and the tears rolled down my cheeks as I felt the pain of his absence.

1/27/19

Thursday and Friday night I slept without pain in my hips. Last night's pain was minimal. I am hopeful. Maybe this is it? Maybe after all this time I will be healed? I would love to be free from pain and have the freedom to move again. Unfortunately I experienced two corneal erosions the past two mornings. It is interesting that they happened when I used the eye ointment at night rather than my space-age goggles that I purchased specifically for people with eye erosions. My eyes have been so dry at night with the goggles that I worried I would have an erosion. So I used ointment to try it out and that became the problem. I am nothing if not consistent in regards to always having some issue. But as usual, I will state I am glad to be alive and relatively helpful. We all have some problem or another.

I was lying in bed this morning thinking about all the things I have gone through and how I used my determination and strength that God gave me to get through it all. I had such a hard time with the auto pistol course. I failed it the first time. DOC only offered it once a year when I was a probation officer. I don't know if that has changed or not.  I spent the next year practicing at the range on a regular basis. I did dry practice too at home. I asked multiple experienced officers to accompany me at the range and give me tips and feedback. The next year I was the highest scoring shooter at the training. I did not give up.  I'm feeling overwhelmed with the amount of school work I have this semester. I am the oldest person in the program. Sometimes I think I am crazy and wondering why I am putting myself through the stress. Then I remember that God orchestrated my admittance to the SW program, and I am strong, determined, and capable.  I think of the song, "Fear is a Liar" and know that my fears and insecurities come from Satan and not God. God has deemed me capable, therefore I am.

Kirk has been sick yet he still went to work as a lineman. He worked all day and then drove himself to the urgent care afterward.  They checked his temperature and he had a fever of 108! I have never heard of anyone having a fever that high. They gave him IV fluids, steroids, antibiotics, etc. and sent him home. I am shocked they didn't hospitalize him. They got his temperature down to 104.  Meghan said he's better today. I'm so concerned about him. I am also terrified Meghan and the girls will get it. I told her if they get fevers to take them in immmediately. Meg and all three girls are sick, but not to the extreme of Kirk. I will be so thankful when they are back in Alaska. They are coming home March 2nd. Mom and Dad will be back April 10th for the summer. I need my family back!

1/29/19

Today I hit the wall. I was co-facilitating a class at my practicum and realized I was not going to make it through. When I feel this way I know I must immediately go home and go to bed. I was asleep within minutes and slept over 2 hours. My mind and body are exhausted as the lack of sleep is catching up to me. If only I could sleep at night without pain, I might make it through my days without extreme fatigue.  Tonight I had to attend a council meeting for a class paper. If it weren’t for my nap, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Cove, the little boy with Aplastic Anemia is now in Seattle getting treated and prepared for his bone marrow transplant. It breaks my heart that Josh is watching his baby go through a similar process as his friend Logan did. Josh was such a good friend to Logan. I will always remember his love and kindness and his prayer for his friend. Logan was so happy to have Josh there with him. For years Josh helped me with the Light the Night Walks to honor his friend. God prepared his heart.

I believe in the power of healing. I believe God can get us through all our difficulties. We just have to trust him. I believe God uses our experiences to shape our lives so others can be blessed and comforted. I believe God sends people to us that help guide and he uses situations to orchestrate the right plan for us.

Patrick saw my fear and apprehension about school on Monday and he said to me, “You have been through harder things and you have always gotten through them and excelled and this situation is no different.” He said the same thing I had said to myself the day before. God reinforced that realization through my husband.