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Ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in 1 of 72 women; 14,000 will die. Please know the symptoms and risk factors: read Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. Books at www.amazon.com. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writer's International Society of Authors, and Patient Leadership Council for Tesaro, Inc. I WILL NOT USE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE THAN CONTACTING YOU DIRECTLY. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2018.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


                                     The more one lives, the easier it is to die.

A very special lady made her passage in the wee hours this morning. She took her last breath peacefully though physically alone, she was surrounded by angels and heavenly loved ones. She lived life to its fullest; her life was complete.

I did not know this fine lady very well though I met her for the first time about 20 years ago. She was gracious and kind to me, welcoming me into her life with a smile and pleasant word though the circumstances were difficult for both of us.

I saw her at family functions; had brief but loving conversations; and a smile never left her face nor mine. She was genuinely interested in learning about me.

If you could choose to come back for a period of time, what length would you choose? One year,  ten years, a hundred years?

I knew her best through her daughter and grandchildren...she was a wonderful role model to them and they are each examples of her love and spirit.

Over the years her independence declined from independent living, to assisted, and then to a nursing home. When family came to visit she would say, "Please pray for me that I might die in my sleep." With each morning she questioned why she was still here on earth. The answer often was, "Because God still needs you here."

               The more complete our life is, there is less anger or fear of death.

I believe she had these last weeks and months to teach us:
  1.  That there not be fear in dying.
  2.  That we each have a role to make the passage of the dying smooth and easy.
  3.  That love and forgiveness are the major lessons in life for each of us to learn.
  4.  And that dying is the natural part of living.
At 3:00 in the morning, my husband awoke with strong thoughts and memories of this gracious lady who had touched his life so deeply. This was just one hour after she died. He said, "Ardelle passed by."

                   A young man dying of leukemia said, "I don't think people are afraid of death. What they are afraid of is the incompleteness of life."                                              

This is a celebration and tribute to Ardelle and other people I knew who have passed on and passed by. Each of them have left their footprint on me. I have learned from them and hopefully when I pass on those left behind will feel my footprint.

So a little bit like in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" the bells are ringing...Ardelle earned her angel wings on earth.

If by chance you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do this, I will live forever.

My thanks to Ann Landers, Lisl Marburg Goodman, Linda Deutsch, Bill Newcott, and the family of Ardelle Bryntesen.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


How we live our lives is how we deal with grief. Life does have times of grief, but also heartfelt joyful times. 

Grief can come in many forms and stages lasting short or long spans of time. Our response to grief may also depend on the unexpectedness of the event. We grieve at the time of death or passing of someone; the ending of a relationship; the loss of a job or finances; and we grieve at the time of a life-threatening illness.

We go through the stages of life from early childhood, through our teens and young adulthood, to mature adults, and finally to our aged years. Some of us sometimes get "stuck" in a certain age group, not learning from life's events to move into the next stage. For example when we are supposed to move into the young adulthood, we might stay as a less mature and irresponsible teenager.

When I worked as a hospice nurse I saw individuals unable to cope with the coming death of their loved one. Some screamed and fought the inevitable in every possible way. At such times I watched the faces of the patients who were ready to pass on with peace and dignity. There were other families who were very supportive of their loved one's wishes and needs.

My grandmother used to teach me that when someone is dying, it is best to have the lights low, sounds hushed, and loved ones surrounding the patient. She would say, "The soul passes on easily when there is not the clamor of shouts and wailing." Now this theory does not align with all beliefs, but it fit Grandma's needs and wishes, as it does mine.

A friend, Carol, wrote to me about her 92 year old Mother's death. The hospital staff was very supportive, comforting, and never left the family's side. Carol described them "as the four angels who helped my dear mother make the final journey home."

Harriet Hodgson has written many books and given many presentations about the subject of grief. Losing her daughter and son-in-law within a short period of time propelled her to explore beliefs and information about grieving. I encourage you to go to her website and search out books that might be helpful to you. http://www.harriethodgson.com

From a young age we see around us that grief is mostly an affliction, a misery that intrudes into the life we deserve, a rupture of the natural order of things, a trauma that we need coping and management and five stages and twelve steps to get over. Here’s the revolution: What if grief is a skill, in the same way that love is a skill, something that must be learned and cultivated and taught? What if grief is the natural order of things, a way of loving life anyway? Grief and the love of life are twins, natural human skills that can be learned first by being on the receiving end and feeling worthy of them, later by practicing them when you run short of understanding. In a time like ours, grieving is a subversive act.

When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer I went through the 5 steps of grieving (denial, bargaining, depression, anger, and acceptance). We may go in and out of these stages according to our own schedule. The goal is to reach and stay in acceptance for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. www.outshineovariancancer.com