Love Never Ends

Unbelievable! It’s been over two months since I have written! There is so much stuff going on in my head and heart that it’s hard to settle down and write! Mom’s death created such a hole in my heart. Daily I think of things I want to tell her or ask her. Mom was the last of her generation in her birth family. Who do I ask now about all the greats and great-greats? Oh, my! Then there is the habit of checking in with her by phone nearly every evening. However, her love continues to journey with me through each day. I may not be able to phone her, but I know she is there.

In the midst of this, I must ponder my own death. I was officially admitted to hospice on July 31, just a little over a month after Mom’s death. What a great team of folks who are supporting not only me but also my family! The nurse comes twice a week, the chaplain and social worker once a month and a volunteer whenever I need her. (I wonder if she cleans house. Just kidding!) Fatigue continues to dictate how I spend my days. That is the nature of metastatic cancer. I did get a new pain medication that helps a lot with the pain in my back and ribs. Terry and I took care of another pain this week as we finished up our end-of-life legal papers. All that legal -“ease” causes much anxiety for me. Guess that comes from being rooted in an Appalachian culture. Beware of the government and lawyers!

Our Asheville trip was great although very tiring! Terry was a trooper! He pushed me up hill and down in the wheelchair. Dinner with my brother on Friday night was a treat! Tupelo Honey is a wonderful restaurant! If you are ever in Asheville, we highly recommend this place. Upscale southern food—fried green tomatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, awesome biscuits with honey, my first glass of chardonnay in many years and too many other delights to remember! On Saturday we explored the Southern Highlands Craft Guild’s summer fair. I’ve been a member since 1986. This is the first fair I’ve attended. Such intriguing blown glass, wooden tables, baskets, jewelry, hand woven and sewn clothes. Such prices! Did I say it was excellent people watching?

We spent some time at Montreat, the Presbyterian conference center. Many sweet memories there of conferences—some I attended and some I helped lead. We had dinner in Black Mountain and reveled in the mountain views. We were trying to soak up enough “mountain” to hold us for a while.

On to Charlotte on Sunday to celebrate our Shawn’s 48th birthday! A very relaxing time there. I am still marveling that this man was the bouncing baby boy we brought home from Germany so many years ago.

My birthday weekend was full of surprises and wonders! On the actual day, the Daniels family joined us for dinner at our home. Terry fixed everything except dessert. Heather presented an awesome dessert called “Death by Chocolate!” Believe me it could kill if you ate too much! After dinner the kids proudly carried a huge box to me! Cards, cards, cards, ya’ll! 214 to be exact! What a treat! Talk about being surrounded by love! I received flowers and small gifts from Terry all day long!

On Saturday evening our whole family went out to dinner at a fabulous German restaurant in Durham. When Heather made the reservations, she told the manager about my birthday and the need for accessibility. The next day the chef called her to say he would like to prepare anything I’d like even if it was not on the menu! I received my request, paprika schnitzel and it was prepared to perfection! He came from the kitchen four times to make sure everything was too my liking! Can’t ask for more than that! But, wait! There’s more! Chris asked us to follow him back home. Faithfully Terry turned where Chris turned. None of the crossroads looked familiar to me. We ended up on a dirt road and followed it to a boat landing and parking lot on the edge of Lake Jordon. Lo and behold! Those youngin’s gave me another spectacular treat—40 Chinese lanterns lit and ascending into the heavens at sunset!

So much love, laughter and pure joy! Needless to say I had a “fun-over” for the next few days! Lots and lots of naps!

I read a quote somewhere this past week—“The one thing that can’t be taken from us, even by death, is the love we give away before we go.”

My friends you continue to offer me immeasurable love as you walk with me on this journey!


  1. Carol Morling
    Aug 26, 2017

    So many blessings and surprises and joy. And I didn’t know it was your birthday – so add my wishes as well – Happy, Happy Birthday, dear Donna! You find some joy in each day – and it gives me hope in my journey. If you can do it, so can I. And it’s there for the taking – I just have to let go of the pain and the joy and love of family & friends shines like a beacon. Love to you and Terry – Carol

  2. Harriet Smith
    Aug 26, 2017

    Donna, I can’t tell you how much I love you, and appreciate your sharing these days, months and years with us. It is helping erase the fear of the unknown. We are praying for reduced pain, lots more love, and the continued blessings that family and friends can heap upon you.

  3. Mary Lou
    Aug 27, 2017

    Thank you beautiful friend for this wonderful commentary….I feel like I have ‘walked with you’ through Asheville and Charlotte and a weekend of FUN celebrations of YOU!
    Grateful for the new pain med….hope it continues to work well.
    KNOW that you are indeed surrounded by love and ‘held in the hearts’ of countless folk hither and yon!
    With much love ‘n blessings,

  4. Melodie Davis
    Aug 27, 2017

    I can’t believe either you haven’t written for two months. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Neat to hear how many cards came your way.

    Had to think of you today as we celebrated the life of Chad Churchman. Saw some of your friends too, of course, and your dear Terry. Thanks for letting him come! Take care.

  5. Cathy Lantz
    Aug 27, 2017

    Sending you my best and remembering with love and appreciation all that I have learned and continue to learn with and from you.
    God bless you and yours always.
    Love, Cathy

  6. Tam Larson
    Aug 27, 2017

    Our telephone call this past week was such a wonderful blessing! You sounded more like your old self. I loved that we still are able to talk, laugh and pray together – what a special day it was for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the sharing of the recent events including your birthday celebration activities. Keep on writing,you are so good at it and I pray you will finish your book, as many will want to read it. As ever,I send my Love, Hugs and Prayers to you, Terry and the rest of the Clan!

  7. Joellen Delamatta
    Aug 27, 2017

    Dear Donna,
    Your reflections always give way to instruction ! I thank you for the visual connection you share so freely to help many friends and family grapple simple truth that often evades us with the mundane.
    May your beacon of love and grace continue to shine as you write and as we read and pray.
    Love you JoEllen

  8. Mary Himelright
    Aug 27, 2017

    So happy to read of the fitting celebration of you, sweet Donna! I’m certain you needed some naps, but grateful you had such a special birthday overflowing with all the love from family and friends. Sharing your journey has touched numerous lives, and will continue to do so I’m sure! Your wit and wisdom is over the top! I love you dearly and I’m blessed to call you friend.

  9. Carol Fields Fleenor
    Aug 28, 2017

    Our dear caring Donna, We are excited to hear what a wonderfully special birthday you had. You do have a precious family that loves you so much. I’m sure they wanted it to be most special they could make it. Your mom was such a loving Christian lady and I’m sure you miss being with her. Thanks for continuing to share your journey as we seek God’s will in our journey. We send our love as we continue to pray that God will ease your pain and give you peace. Carol and Mike Fleenor

  10. Judy Williams
    Aug 28, 2017

    Well, Terry, it sounds like Heather, you and your whole family pulled off a most gala, fun filled, fantastic party. Donna, it looks like you made almost as many new memories as you received cards!

    A friend sent an anonymous (you remember her/him) after Amy’s death. “Death is like blowing out a candle because morning has come!” I have cherished that many times since receiving it.

    And yes, hospice –at least Good Samaritan , the one I worked for in the Roanoke Valley considered light housekeeping–dusting, vacuuming & such as part of CNA’s possible responsibilities when planning care . And if that has changed, I’m guessing there may be volunteers who do that. We had them that baked cakes–you sound like you had your cake AND got to eat it as well–gave convertible rides, read to our pts. and a whole bunch of other wonderful things. So you and Terry please ask. Reen surely appreciated her time there! Until next time, dear friends, you remain in Gene’s and my “prayer pocket!” Loving you, Judy

  11. We continue to think of you and send love and prayers.

  12. Sarah Phelps
    Aug 29, 2017

    Dear Donna, what an inspiration you are to me! I’m so happy that you had such a wonderful Birthday and that your new pain Jess are giving you relief. Steve and I send you bushels of love and peace. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  13. Colleen Helms
    Sep 7, 2017

    Love to read your post. Been thinking of you. Was near Fuquay the other week and thought of you. Hope you are having your pain managed and just wanted you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  14. Judy
    Sep 26, 2017

    Donna you are in my thoughts and prayers as you continue your journey and taking us along. So glad you had a great birthday month. Traveling to some of your favorite places, being with your loving family and being with your dear Terry. God is good! So grateful you have come into my life almost 20 years ago. Love and hugs!!!

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