It’s taken me a long time to put this together because I simply couldn’t find the words. I know some of you don’t follow us on Facebook so you may not even know but I lost my sister almost two months ago now. “I Hope You Dance” was played at her graveside burial. From now on, every time I hear that song, it will take me back to that moment in time.
Cathy passed away on August 2nd, 2017
Six years earlier on that very same day, Cathy and I unveiled our first pieces of painted furniture. Ironic, isn’t it? That debut happened at Holland’s Art in the Park in Holland, Michigan in 2011 and every year since, we celebrated lunch in Holland on August 2nd..
Boatwerks on Lake Macatawa ~ Holland, Michigan 2015
Never did I imagine that August 2nd would take on a whole new meaning
Cath’s battle with Cancer began on Thanksgiving 2016
Horrific back pain led her to Urgent Care the day before Thanksgiving. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Extensive Small Cell Lung Cancer with mets to her spine and skull on Thanksgiving Day, 2016. We were all shocked to find out her back was broken in eight different locations. How she even drove herself to ER is beyond me.
Cathy’s journey with this damn cancer would prove to be eight months of hell on earth. Her vocal cords were damaged during one of the very first tests they ran over Thanksgiving and we would never hear her real voice again. There were countless oversights, delays, screw-ups, mixed-up patient files and mis-communications between departments, insurance companies and the lead oncologist. I wouldn’t wish her experience on my worst enemy.
If I hadn’t gone through this with her, I wouldn’t have believed it was true.
This isn’t a post about the horror of Cath’s journey though, it’s a post about the good times, those diamonds in the rough that we so desperately sought out along the way.
Cath on the way to her first chemo appt
She felt good during her first round of chemo
Don’t let it fool you, it’s poison!
Christmas Day 2017 ~ a few good hours
She loved her grandchildren more than anything!
She was in so much pain Christmas Day but had a couple decent hours to enjoy the kids opening gifts
I love this shot of Cathy and all her mini-me’s
God spared Cath her hair long enough to celebrate Christmas Day. The next morning, most of her locks were found on her pillow.
January 2017 – We moved our Jenison Shizzle Shop to Grandville
With my arm completely immobilized for two months and Cathy’s terminal cancer, we had to think fast. It just didn’t make cents (pun intended) to keep our Jenison location open with that kind of overhead. We moved out of Jenison and Hudsonville and moved into Changing Thymes at 2900 Wilson Avenue in Grandville.
Together, with the help of many friends, customers, volunteers and our landlord, we were able to dramatically downsize and move the business back to my home. My eyes were blurry from failed Lasik surgery and my arm literally immobilized. Even with all the volunteers, I seriously don’t know how we did it. We resigned as U.S. Distributor for Frenchic in exchange for just being a retailer, sold a lot of furniture, donated a bunch of projects we never started, gave things away, and filled our dumpster – twice. After a month of very hard work, everything was moved out. I am STILL sorting through boxes and trying to organize everything so I can work at home again.
What do you do when you have four hours to kill between total body bone scans?
Why you go for a pedicure of course! Kell had gift certificates and treated all of us to twinkle toes. Thanks Kelly!
Cathy’s Surprise Birthday Party at Rob & Kelly’s
It was so bitter sweet. We all knew it would be her last but she truly was surrounded by all who loved her.
Easter 2017 at Pat & Angie’s
Cath getting chemo with her little sidekicks
One of the highlights of the 8 month journey was a road trip to Uniquely Chic. Cath was in her glory that day feeling well enough to help Karen paint signs while Karli and I worked on our new website. Have any of you checked it out lately? New layout, easier shopping, easier navigation and a whole new look! Ummm yeah, I kind of forgot to announce that upgrade with everything else happening.
Our Day Trip to Uniquely Chic ~ Brushes & Timber
Cath was able to visit the new Shizzle Paint Booth at Changing Thymes
2900 Wilson Avenue, Grandville, Michigan 49418
She was also able to watch both her sons play a game
Cake Pop’s at Metro
Somebody was getting her last chemo treatment so she passed out treats to everyone. Cath was planning to switch to Metro after our vacation but it wasn’t in the cards.
Our Last Hurrah ~ Trip to Leelanau Peninsula – July 2017
We rented a great cottage for a week in Interlochen, Michigan. Cathy, her daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren, myself and girls were all able to stay together. Cath reserved it months earlier so we would all be up there for my other niece’s wedding. Our mom planned to go, but was too sick battling her cancer to go with us on this trip. Mom continues to battle her cancer to this day. Prayers are definitely appreciated for our dear mom; she’s simply the best!
Cottage on Bass Lake – Interlochen, MI
Puzzles help take her mind off the cancer
I think we all had fun on Cathy’s motorized scooter. I’ll try to add some of the videos from our vacation.
Somebody’s pouting, lol
Our First trip ever to Moomers
Talk about Farm Fresh Dairy ~ YUM!
We brought some back for Cath the first night; she loved it so much Cath and I went back the next day.
Cath loved Petoskey Stones! She had all of us hunting for them in Glen Haven
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park ~ Empire, MI
Great Candy Store / Ice Cream Shop at Boondocks in Glen Haven
Cathy and I enjoying the BEST Raspberry Moscow Mules with lunch at Boondocks
Lunch at Boondocks
Kelly and Cathy sampling wine at Cherry Republic in Traverse City
Lunch at La’ Senoritas in Traverse City
July 22, 2017 ~ Angela & Tyler’s Wedding
There wasn’t a dry eye in the place
Of course our brother had to try out Cath’s Scooter
We’re cracking up because he managed to pop a wheelie
Checking out Steve n Joyce’s new home
I have no idea, lol!
They have quite the view though
August 2, 2017
Cathy passed away peacefully on August 2, 2017. Minutes later our sunny skies had turned black and it rained cats and dogs for 30 minutes. This is the view out her kitchen door that morning.
Cath’s Celebration of Life Party
We gathered some of the things Cath had made for each of us and displayed them at her party. This was the last piece of furniture she painted. She worked on it from her couch at home, little by little as pain permitted. It is not finished but it is absolutely perfect.
Unfinished Works of Art Frozen in Time
Here’s another blanket she putted around with when she felt up to it the last few months.
The blanket she got on Christmas was on her bed the morning she passed away
It reads “Let our love surround you”
Things Cathy had made for us over the years lined the walls
Cath was laid to rest next to her husband on a beautiful August day
Everything is still so surreal
It seems like all we did over the course of those eight months was run back and forth for daily appointments at Lack’s Cancer Center. As I look back on these pictures, I am very thankful for the things we were able to squeeze in between. Our hearts are sad but she’s in a much better place.
A hui hou kau Cath!
We miss you like crazy! Your little sister ~ Shell