Relay For Life

Last night (or this morning for that matter) marks my 9th Relay For Life (RFL) i’ve participated in. When I moved back to Minnesota from California I was at a parade where they were promoting RFL, and I decided right then that THAT was something I wanted to do, and have been Relaying ever since. Unfortunately each year we add new people to the folks we walk for, but we’re still walking and not giving up the fight, or the hope that someday nobody else will hear those words, “Its Cancer”.

The past few weeks in Minnesota have been terribly hot with temps hovering around the 90s with dew points in the high 60s and 70s, but not yesterday. It was brisk and cool with dew temps barely flirting with 50, and temps in the 60s. Frankly it was a welcome break, but with the scattered rain a lot of people didn’t show up last night. So I would say last nights Relay was intimate. (But my team was still there!).

Jason and little miss stopped by to say hi, walk a few laps and put in a few bids at the silent auction. Later when I went back to check on the bids I noticed the bids had gone WAY up. So I decided to lock in on this fleece blanked my daughter had wanted, and also realized it would keep me warm over night when I wasn’t walking.  So I upped the bid sheet and I ended up having the winning bid! Horray!

The ceremonies were wonderful and walking got underway. We again got our walking punch “cards” to keep track of laps and miles and was well on my way for 10 miles. I walked miles 1-4, ran miles 5-7, and then walked the last three. While I walked I thought about all of the people that I Relay for. One lap per person until I got to my Grandma Eilleen whom I’ve never met. I thought about her for lap after lap. About how cancer robbed me of ever knowing her.

Some Short videos & pictures here:

We were able to fill out these cards titled “Messages to Heaven” which I filled out. It said something to the affect, “Dear God. Please give this to my Grandma Eilleen. I really wish I would have gotten to meet you. I often wonder if I have your nose, or your laugh, or kind ways…” I asked God to hug all of my aunts and uncles, other grandparents, and friends. I also asked that he would take Tyler in and love him, and keep him.  In the morning they tie these messages to balloons and release them up to God.

I thought about going for 15 miles, but that last mile 9 to 10 was very exhausting, and I ended up going back to my “campsite” on the football field to rest.  Temps dropped down to about 50 degrees and it was MIGHTY brisk. I am pretty sure as I told others that I believe I “contracted” hypothermia. Of course not really, but it was cold.

We woke up just in time for the balloon release which was magical, and moving, and emotional. I stood there and watched the beautifully colored balloons fade into the morning grey sky and disappear into the clouds. It was a wonderful way to end the Relay.

I got in my car turned the heat on high, heated seats on high and rode that way home the whole way. Climbed into bed with my husband and daughter, and slept until 2:30 p.m.

I’m not sure what today will bring, but I have a cup of coffee and baileys, a fire in the fireplace (no joke), and a whole lot of blessed memories from last night!

Friday Fast Facts

1.) I am starting to become convinced that Eli drinks extra water, so that he goes potty outside more – so that he can get more treats… I’m on to you dog!

Speaking of Eli- we went up to the Breeder to get his final “puppy” shots and the breeder said he looks absolutely great, stunning. She couldn’t believe how HUGE his paws are, and stated that he already has adult size paws. She guestimates he’s going to fill out to a muscular 120lbs!

2.) I asked K if she was excited for Uncle Rick’s & Auntie Nicole’s wedding and she said, “Oh yes… I’m excited for them to born (pronounced Bore-en) their baby tomorrow too!”

me: Come again?

K: “well after they say I do, and kiss a baby will be in her tummy, and then they’re going to the dance, and eating cake, and then they will go to the hospital to born their baby Natalie.

Maybe she knows more than the rest of us??……..

3.) Tomorrow I gain a sister, a niece and a nephew. I have the huge privilege of taking all of their [“professional”] photos!

4.) I have a new favorite summertime wine. I love love love red wine, but in the summer I like a nice chilled white. I discovered this little diddy recently: Mommy’s Time Out. You should try it!


I understand if you don’t want to read this post. It’s hard to read… and its hard to write.

Thinks went ok. I guess according to plan. Friday night we went to Cub and got two huge steaks to give to Tyler as a sort of “last meal”. He absolutely loved it, and was the most he’s eaten in quite a while. We’re actually hopping Sadie starts to lose some weight now, because she is only supposed to have 1 cup total per day, and Tyler was getting 2.5 cups, and Sadie was eating a whole lot of his since he wasn’t eating.

Anyways – Saturday morning I woke up “early” probably a quarter to 8 or so – just knowing what lay ahead of us for the day. We spent some time loving on Tyler and getting some last pictures/videos of him before we took off for the vet.

We couldn’t have asked for a better Vet to go to. We didn’t even have to wait at all in the waiting room, and we arrived at about 10am for our 10:15 appointment, so that was super nice. I think it would have been much more difficult if we would have had to wait in public. “Oh what are you guys here for? I hope your dog feels better soon!”….  I wore my sunglasses much of the first half of the appointment… so nobody could see the hurt in my eyes, including Tyler. I felt safe behind them.

They had a nice blanket laying down on the floor, and the CVT took some photos of K, Jason, Tyler and I. We then took off his collar and gave his neck a good last scratch. Then the CVT gave him a sedative, which did not put him to the unconscious state that he was supposed to be in. We “joked” that Tyler didn’t want to leave us… so they gave him another whole dose of sedative, and out he went snoring loudly, and not responding to any pain at all.

The very nice Vet came in and went through some stuff, of course the standard, “I’m sorry for your loss”… and also commended our bravery for ending Tyler’s pain that morning.  She checked Tyler out and said that he will have absolutely no part in the final injection, and that he’s already at peace. And then with Jason and I holding Tyler’s paws and petting his head she started looking for a good vein. They did a 10x anesthesia dose, and were able to get a vein after shaving 2 or 3 of his paws. They [books/online] say it takes 30 seconds to a minute, but he was gone in about 5 seconds flat.

The Vet listened to his heart  as he had some twitching, and his brain telling him to start breathing very hard, but all the while in a very calm and soothing voice Dr. Gail just kept telling us that it was the last bits of positive energy leaving his body. The whole ordeal was incredibly sad and probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done before.  Dr. Gail all the while listening with her stethoscope said she couldn’t hear any heart beat, that he was gone… and that it was just normal bodily functions, and the last bits of energy…  That part was really helpful.

They took a clay paw print and then helped to load him into my car and wrapped him in a blanket. It took putting him in the wheelbarrow to bring him to the back….which seemed sad but we wheeled it back and laid him to rest. I helped toss some dirt on him, and Jason built a cross to put at the head. K wrote the name “Tyler” on the cross, and Jason soldered it in, and we slung his collar on the top of the cross.

There is definitely a presence missing. I feel the lack of him in the house. Even though we still have 4 pets, he was such a large presence (literally) that it just seems so empty.

As time goes on – the pain will ease up. I try not to think too deeply about it though. Eli is already eating out of Tyler’s dog dish which made me cry at first, but Eli is trying his darndest to fill his older brothers shoes…