My Hospital Experiences...
Just like Bilbo Baggins, I am on a grand adventure.
Please check the history links at the bottom of this page for additional updates.
Virginia Victors Memorial Account:
Wells Fargo Bank
581 W Parks Hwy,
Wasilla, AK 99654
June 12, 2010
I’ve had some questions about our celebration for Virginia this Saturday, the 17th at 1:00. It is a picnic/party. It is in our yard even if it rains. (There will be tarps up.) This is low key. I guess we made a mistake in labeling it her Celebration of Life. Virginia’s 13th birthday is on the 15th. We wanted to celebrate that with you. We want to catch up with our friends. We want the kids to play in the creek, in the yard and by the fire. We will not be showing pictures of Virginia’s life. We will not be talking all about her. We want to visit with friends and family. Short and sweet — it’s a potluck picnic. If you need a different reason for popping in, Steve and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary on Monday. So, stop by to congratulate us on that! Hee Hee! Just stop by in comfy clothes and enjoy the comfort of Fish Creek. (Bring a spare set of clothes for the kids because you know how kids and water mix!)
We are down Big Lake Road 5 ½ miles, take a left on Echo Lake Road which is across from South Port Marina. Go 1 ¼ miles, take a left at the Y. Go another 1 ¼ miles and you’re at the head of our drive. Our parking is limited, so we’ll be parking on the side of the road. Our driveway is a one-way lane. We’ll have balloons up to guide the way!
Hope to see you!
June 26, 2010
On July 15th, Virginia would have turned 13 years old. We would like to have a Celebration of Life for Virginia on Saturday, July 17th starting at 1:00. We will have the water slide in operation for those who want to enjoy the creek if the weather is warm enough and a fire to warm up afterwards if the weather continues its cool or cloudy days. We will have hotdogs and marshmallows for roasting. A potluck would round off the food. Jesse will have the video camera set up for those of you who would like to say some memory of Virginia. I am working on a book of her Grand Adventure and your memories would be a nice finish to it if you want to contribute a story or memory of her whether video or written. We look forward to seeing you and catching up with all of our friends who have helped us through these last few years.
June 10. 2010
It has been a long time since our last update -- nearly five months. As I write this, we are in our cabin in Seldovia for the next few days and will be sending this out as soon as we get home to Big Lake. Seldovia is a good place to rest and contemplate, and that is what we have been doing for the last couple of days here. It has been almost two years since we were here last. Our arrival here was full of emotion as this was one of Virginia’s favorite places; and to step off the boat without her was a difficult thing to do. It has been like that frequently over the past six months, and the wave of sadness that washes over us sometimes comes at unexpected times. The space that she occupied in our family still remains and we miss her a lot. Still we are grateful for the time that she was with us, for the lessons that she taught, and the example that she set for us.
Since our last update a lot has happened. Jesse applied for and was accepted into a number of different universities. He has selected Utah State University in Logan, Utah as the place that he will be going this August. At this point he has declared his major in computer science, selected his courses, received his room assignment, and corresponded with his roommate.
Over the course of the last six months, we have been reorganizing our lives as just the three of us and slowly removing many of the materials that were a part of keeping Virginia’s health and spirits up. We found it much easier to say goodbye to the wheelchair and the medical supplies than to many of the mementos that she accumulated on her twelve year journey. Many of the things that cheered her up we have given to her friends. Some we have kept as keepsakes for a reminder of her and some special attribute that it represents about her life or her spirit. There are some boxed up and put aside to sort later when our emotions are not so close to the surface. As we contemplate what to do with her personal things we go forward with the thought in our mind of what would Virginia want us to do with this item, where could this bring joy to someone? Many of her small toys are destined for the Children’s Hospital in Seattle and the Ronald MacDonald House next door to it where we saw so many families in need. Her Memorial fund that we established in Wells Fargo Bank has collected nearly three thousand dollars and will go to families there as well. Over the past several months it has been nice to see Virginia’s dresses show up in church on her friends. Her playhouse now lives up at the Rice’s house for their kids to play in and that is good.
Perhaps the largest and most difficult of her possessions were the two horses, but most particularly her little colt Captain’s Blessing. The difficulty in parting with the two horses is that they had become somewhat a physical embodiment of Virginia, like some part of her living on in her horse. Perhaps because when I would go out to feed them I could talk to them and wrap my arms around the colt’s neck and shoulders. His sweetness reminded us of our girl. It was impractical of us to keep them but what to do with them was the big question. They had served their purpose well and had given our girl a tremendous boost of spirit. As we pondered this, it came to us that just before Christmas Virginia spoke of how wonderful it was for “Pastor Pete” to come out from Anchorage and to bring a couple of horses for her and Amanda to ride. She was so thankful that someone she never met before came out to make her feel better. For her to remember this from over a year and a half ago spoke to the significance she felt of this act of kindness. As it turns out “Pastor Pete” has a couple of little girls to love the horses as Virginia did. Both the horses are now living together in his Anchorage backyard up on the hillside near the zoo. That part of Anchorage is the horse part of town with riding trails and even an equestrian center very close by for winter activities. We know that they have a good home; they will be well cared for and most especially, loved by someone who can grow up with them.
The Alaska summer is now well underway, Donna has been out in the yard planting flowers and fixing up the yard. After a couple of summers without serious attention, all of the flower beds need a major overhaul. Yellow flowers seem to be the color of choice this year in honor of Virginia’s favorite color.
Jesse has been working here at home rather than taking a job elsewhere. It has been quite helpful to have him available to give Donna and me a hand at the various chores that come up.
January 30, 2010
Hello dear friends,
We thought that we would send out an update on how we are all doing here on the homestead since Virginia’s passing almost a month ago.
Looking back over the past few weeks we can reflect on the love and care that have been shown to us by many, many friends. We have been concentrating on reestablishing a strong family unit and setting a course for the future. For the first week or so, the three of us went everywhere together, taking Jesse to school, going to the church, and off to the store. This helped us all out a great deal. We have found that, if we keep the focus on the bigger picture and the view from Virginia’s perspective, things seem a lot brighter. We have no doubt that she has celebrated her freedom from all pain and difficulties. If there are ponies and unicorns in heaven, she will have found them by now….
We had a chance to meet with the girls from the church the week after she began her next and latest adventure. It was really nice to speak to her friends and have the opportunity to let them know how much it meant to her to have them come over to do activities here, to sing her Christmas carols, and to know that she was not forgotten by them.
Over the past several weeks, we have talked with many of our friends and had a number of them stop by for visits. It has been great to see them all.
In these past two years, it was always difficult to walk that balance between seeing friends and the risk of Virginia picking up some infection or to have them drop by when she was having an extra tough day.
It is important that we do not forget all of the lessons that she taught us, that we must live and love each and every moment that we are given. That time marches on, and moments that are past are just that --- past. If we do not take advantage of them we have no chance to do them again. She taught us to concentrate on the good in life even when things got a little rough. She taught us that even when things are bad, we could draw heavily from the strength of the Lord; we would have sufficient power to carry us through.
We have been drawing on that power for the last several weeks. There are times when some small thing that we see or remember causes the tears to flow, and they often come in unexpected moments. Those moments also pass and we haul ourselves back together and apply a bit more glue.
Donna and I find that when Jesse is at school, it is very quiet and empty here in the house. So we endeavor to keep ourselves busy with the backlog of projects that we were unable to do because of noise, smells, or the lack of being able to start something and leave it out and unfinished.
Jesse has been pressing forward with his schoolwork and getting himself ready for college. He has applied to and been accepted to both Utah State University and University of Utah. So far USU is the only scholarship that he has been notified that he received and that is his first choice so far. We have not heard from BYU yet but that is not unusual from what we hear.
The Virginia Memorial Cancer Fund that we set up to help out cancer families has almost $2000 dollars in it! Donna and I have plans to take it to Seattle to help out families in the Ronald Macdonald House next fall when we go down to do some service work there. Having been there and seen a sample of families having a tougher time than we had gives us a chance to know where we might be able to help out. Thanks to all of our friends that have helped out with the fund.
Winter seems to be slowly releasing its grip on the land here. The days are getting longer and a bit warmer. The bees in the conex are still hanging in there, and we hope that we will have some strong colonies when they come out in March. Steve put some feed on them to assist the light hives along and to give the others a boost. Orders for packages of bees mount up, and we are hopeful for a good season this next summer.
We hope this finds you all well and in good spirits.
Clamped tightly together by our Heavenly Father and waiting for the glue to dry,
Steve, Donna, and Jesse
January 7th, 2010
January 7th, 2010
We have had trouble writing this update on Virginia until we got the subject line right. It says what has really happened and states the thing that we need to focus on.
She no longer has cancer.
She no longer has pain and does not suffer.
She is restored to a new body.
She is in the presence of her Supreme Father.
We will never be lost from us as our daughter.
We will see her again.
Shortly after our last update Virginia started a fairly rapid decline in general health. We took her to the clinic a couple of times for fluids and that seemed to help a bit. She ate less and then none at all. Then she began drinking less as well. She slept more and more. By the time New Years had come, we were pretty sure that it would be at any moment. The steady transition gave us time to prepare and to become ever closer. We talked to her a lot in the last days and expressed our love for her and the pride that we felt for the person that she was. Her passing was so gentle and peaceful that we felt blessed that it was while she was sleeping. She was in the same position that she went to sleep in, arms crossed on her lap and her head resting on the small pillow.
Those who have followed our updates know how proud we are of her. She never complained about her path though we knew she was very weary of it.
She stood as a reminder for us to live and love every day and to focus on the things that really matter. We have never had a better teacher. We hope that some measure of her lessons has come through in our updates and that you have found them at least a little enlightening.
Our family is now establishing a set of new orbits since the center of our two year old universe is gone. Everything we did revolved around her, and now we need to find new paths. Our goal is to keep the orbits tight and together and not loose focus on the lessons that we have learned.
School goes on for Jesse, and we have been taking him in and picking him up together. There is a backlog of unfinished projects that will keep us occupied while the newness of our reconfigured family becomes more natural for us.
Virginia’s obituary will be published in the local papers this Sunday. I am including the announcement in this update for all of our friends throughout the world. We are also attaching some pictures: one is a photo Jesse took of her letter to Santa this year that shows the direction of her heart.
We have had a number of quiet family get-togethers already and will continue to use this approach instead of a larger gathering or formal memorial service.
It is so important to us to express our deep gratitude to all of the friends, families, and even strangers who have helped hold us up during a very difficult time. We don’t fully understand this journey we have been on, but we know with a certainty that we could not have walked this path alone. All of our needs were met, and we were so blessed to have that happen.
We have established a cancer fund in Virginia’s name at the local bank and have plans to use it to support families of children who are struggling with the stuff we went through and don’t have the good fortune that we have had.
We hope that this letter finds you all well.
With much love,
Steve, Donna, and Jesse
7449 S. Babcock Blvd
Wasilla, AK 99654
For God hath not given us the spirit
of fear; but of POWER, and of LOVE,
and of a SOUND MIND.
Whitey-white-whiteII Tim 1:7