Monday, December 17, 2012

December 16, 2012 Happy Birthday Cindy

The Conference Center was filled to capacity.  Just moments before, the streets outside were like a favorite Christmas Carol.  City sidewalks, busy sidewalks,  dressed in holiday style.   In the air there was definitely a feeling of Christmas.  Sharon and Ted, Cindy's brother from Alaska, are down for a visit.  Sharon is a self described "nice Catholic girl, from in Minnesota", and is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's biggest fan.  That being said we are all extremely grateful and lucky to have a good friend who gave us tickets to the Choir's Christmas Concert on Friday night.  It was a lovely evening with many touching moments.  One of those was when acclaimed tenor Alfie Boe sang "Bring Him Home" from the musical Les Miserables.  He sang the song as it should always be sung, with the emotion and anguish of a desperate, heartfelt prayer.  And though I am very familiar with this music and lyric, hearing it this time brought a different meaning to me.  I looked down on Cindy and Reed, who were sitting in the row in front of us.  "God on high, hear my prayer.  In my need, You have always been there. ... Let her rest, Heaven blest.,  ...  You can take, You can give.  Let her live."   These are the pleadings of my heart.  I do not have the ability or talent to state the feelings so beautifully as in the song.  I can only add my loud and enthusiastic "Amen".  When Mr. Boe finished his "prayer" the crowd of nearly 22,000 were on their feet.  Because I had changed, in my mind and personal prayers, the characters in the song from "Marius" to Cindy, I am certain that the entire crowd was also adding their "amen" to my prayer. It couldn't hurt to have 22,000 praying for you, right?

Other prayers were then recalled.  Hezekiah had prayed to the Lord for longer life.  The Lord heard his pleadings and granted him 15 more years on earth.  Mary of Bethany and her sister Martha received comfort for their sorrow when the Savior raised their brother Lazarus from the dead.  I do not have the power or faith of Hezekiah, nor the daily human interaction with the Savior like Mary and Martha, but my desires are the same.  This finite mind of mine is limited and selfish.  I want Cindy to linger longer here on earth.  I want her to be healthy and out of pain.  I want the cancer to go away.  Her grand kids need to know her like I do.  Her family needs her here. Reed needs her.  I need her.

When my mom passed away last August, a friend offered condolences and taught me that perhaps we have it all wrong.  When a new baby is born we rejoice and celebrate and shower her with gifts and love and cuddles and welcome her with open arms.  But just maybe in heaven they are a little sad because that beautiful soul must now face the challenges and struggles, along with the joy of course, that comes with being human and obtaining a body.  When that soul then leaves this earth, those of us remaining here mourn the loss.  We are sad and lonely, but in heaven the angels rejoice and celebrate and love and cuddle and welcome her with open arms. I believe in heaven and  know these principals to be true.  This life is a short time and there is so much more beyond that awaits our arrival.  But no matter how hard I try I cannot see eternity.  And so I continually plead with the Lord, much like the character Val Jean did for Marius, to let her live!

Three weeks ago Cindy started a new Chemo regime.  The previous treatment was not working and causing horrific side effects.  The tumors in her liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs have grown a bit but are not out of control.  The new chemo is delivered intravenously.  She was taking 8 horse sized pills a day, she now receives a treatment every 3 weeks.  After the 3rd to about the 8th day of treatment are the roughest so far.  But once she makes it through she seems to gain some strength and vitality.  The drugs will affect her blood counts and she is very susceptible to infections.  Not the best time of year for that, but she keeps her sanitizer handy and has taken to blowing kisses instead of giving hugs.  Visits and calls from family and friends are wonderful and welcomed.  Notes, emails, facebook posts and phone calls brighten her days.  If you visit or call and she is tired, she will let you know.

 Huntsman Cancer Institute Chemo Treatment

One of our challenges is to try and fatten her up.  I feel like the crooked old witch from Hansel and Gretel at times offering her high calorie sweets and such.  But those don't taste good to her.  She despises milk drinks so Ensure is not a great option either.  So we try to come up with savory, tasty food without the sugar to tempt her taste buds.  She continues to melt away but is trying hard to get calories in her.  If only I could give her some of mine!  We would both be better off.

For Thanksgiving the Gardner's all went to Arizona for an Adams Family Reunion.  I believe they had dinner with over 150 people.  All 12 living siblings were together, and Larry was there in spirit I'm sure of it.  It was a historic event.

LeGrand, Mike, David, Ted, Cindy, Tony, Ed, Don, Phyllis, Jim, Steve, Janet, Bonnie
(Did I get  you all right?)

Christmas will be here next week.  Ali and her family are here.  We are anxiously awaiting the birth of her second child and Cindy's fourth grandchild.  Hurry up little fellow.  We can't wait to meet you.  Deven arrives Friday.  Jason, Erica and the kids come Sunday.  Today we celebrated Cindy's birthday.  How lucky we are to have her in our lives.  She is kind and good and joyful and faithful and we all want to be like her when we grow up!  There is much goodness to celebrate.  We shall do so with grateful, humble hearts.  Prayers and pleadings will continue to be offered up, as well as thanksgiving for the bounteous blessing we have.  In the famous words of Tiny Tim, "God Bless us Every One!"  May we all remember to Take Joy in His birth and more importantly in His Atonement and Love. Merry Christmas one and all.



  1. I overwhelmingly feel the spirit by the beautiful words you have shared and the feelings behind them. I add my most earnest prayers with you and the 22,000! Cindy, I love you.

  2. What a beautiful post! I want to add my prayers too!
    Having Cindy and the family here for Thanksgiving brought so much joy to so many of us! We love you all!
    Have a very Merry Christmas!