Getting it out


Jen 21 took a week off from work to be with me. To help me. We went everywhere together. We took the kids to the movies twice. She cooked for me and ran errands. She called my hospice workers and made appointments. Today she took me to get my colonic. A colonic is like a really good enema that forces water into the colon and with gentle suction removes old waste. Mine worked wonders and I felt tired but unclogged when it was done. Typically, this out of hospital procedure is expensive. I was prepared to pay the fee but when it was over the owner said they would not be charging me. They asked Jen about me and my situation. They knew I was on hospice. Jen showed them my blog and they decided no charge. She cried. So did I. This is my life. Being eternally blessed by the universe until the day I die. The place is called Health Connections by the way. They are at 540 S. 2nd St. here in Philly. I may as well plug them for unplugging me for free.

We had our family meeting with bereavement counseling. Laura was very kind. She will come to the house weekly to talk to us. Ultimately, she felt we were far and away ahead of most families encountering this kind of tragedy. She was impressed that the children could express themselves and that we were really talking about it. I think for the most part the kids were listening. She asked about how they cope. And Alec said talking to his friends. Jesse said music. The twins said talking through it with me or Lizz or Eileen or Jen. I think Kelly was hoping they would say him, but I think they know he is grieving too. Its too painful to even talk to one another about it. But that is all temporary. Years from now they will have each other as support. I have every confidence that they will all emerge like a Phoenix from the ashes. Stronger and more determined to soar.

Ed came to my house on Monday to do a treatment on me. He put a bunch of needles in my ear. I was really out of it, detoxing from oxycodone. But I realized today that I was in a lot less pain. I have trouble turning my head due to the enlarged lymph nodes in my neck. Lower back pain that makes it hard to bend down. And a lot of fatigue. I am sleepy a lot. For this reason the baby is not with me very often. I have very little ability to keep up with him or even do much parenting. He watches a movie with me and snuggles about once a day. Most of his care has been turned over to Naomi and Jenny Ball along with Kelly of course. I have felt that it is important that since they will be his “mommies” when I pass it is important that that start now. For his sake. Then its not sudden or detrimental. It makes me happy to see him so bonded and comforted by them. I know he will be a healthy happy child. I spend a lot of time with my older kids. I still hang out with them as much as possible. My friends eat up a lot of time that I could be with family though. They call. They text. They drop by. They want to hang out. I want to see them too. But I am struck by guilt. How do I balance my time knowing I may only live a few more weeks?

For the most part I am not scared or angry. I do not fear death in any way. My sadness and tears flow when I think of my children growing up without me. But I trust the Lord and His perfect plan. Years from now many of you will know my children and all they have accomplished. Maybe you will be able to make sense of why God chose this for me and them. Maybe in heaven God will heal my broken heart and I will not wonder for long.

34 Responses to “Getting it out”

  1. Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/ on line 524
    Mary Beth says:

    I re-read your blog entries a few times so I can process everything that you have written. You have said so many powerful and meaningful words and I am often left with sense of awe, if that’s the right word. And there’s always part of your post that stands out and sticks with me. Today, it’s the last paragraph. All of you — you, your husband, your children, your family, and your friends — are so loved.

  2. Gift of Green says:

    Love your plug for the unplugging. Thinking of you today.

  3. Michelle Wienke says:

    Andrea, Kelly and kids-

    My heart continues to break for all of you! I will miss you when you are not here, blogging anymore-but know that you will be watching your kids grow strong and healthy and have cast wide your safety nets for them already. You are so wise-and I wish for you today a sunny, painfree, snuggly day with your family!

    I love you and admire you-there are sooo many people keeping you in their prayers each and every day-know that!

  4. toni g says:

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    Dearest Andrea,

    We will NEVER ‘make sense’ of any of it…… shall remain senseless to us mere mortals……..we try to advance knowledge of self, space and time but it is mostly out of our hands. Each generation explodes with ‘the cure’ ‘the answer’ ‘the solution’ but ultimately we are left only with questions, more questions.

    The WHY of life becomes less important than the HOW of life…….and you have that down pat. That’s what we can ‘make sense of’. Your children shall know that and contribute to the advancements of their lives & generation……..who knows what’s in store for them and us. Maybe, just maybe, that breakthrough will appear. Keep watching over them and us my dear friend. You have made an extraordinary beginning for them and they will surely take care of the ending magnificently. That I do know…….I just know that with certainty.

    You’ve made a difference Andrea……don’t ever doubt that.

    My love and admiration goes with you.

    Toni Alperin Goldberg

  5. Chrissy(Jenny Ball's sister) says:

    I think of you every day and keep you, Kelly & the kids in my prayers. I find myself going on the computer more often to see what eloquent words you have written. You have such a positive attitude and are always making lemonade out of lemons. I have a favorite poem that reminds me of you.

    I wanted a perfect ending……..
    Now I’ve learned the hard way, that some poems
    don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a
    clear beginning, middle and end.
    Life is about not knowing, having to change,
    taking the moment and making the best of it,
    without knowing what’s going to happen next.
    Delicious ambiguity.

    ~Gilda Radner

    You are this way with every moment that passes. You take the situation and turn it into something positive. I admire you and I know countless others do too. I can only aspire to become that type of person. Enjoy your day and snuggle up with Clay, Kelly and the other kids and watch a movie. “Carpe Diem”


  6. Vanessa says:

    Hello Andrea,
    I recently was introduced to your website through a friend. I’m inspired by your courage and commitment to your family and this website. Thanks for sharing your story. It seems like you have touched so many lives…You and your family are in our prayers.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Andrea, your friends and family are remarkable. You are lucky to have them, they are lucky to have you.

    Thanks for the lovely visit. I know you weren’t feeling well. Getting to interact with the guys was really great for me- I hope they enjoyed my company! You should be proud (what am I saying, I know you are!) of all your boys. Wish I could have met Bailey… next time.


  8. Maura says:

    As you did with your 20 minute visits, perhaps you can set aside some time during each day for no visitors. Tis way you could spend that time with your children & Kelly.

    Your words and this blog will be with them as well as all of us forever.

    Wishing you a painfree day.


  9. Tiff (Knoxville, TN) says:

    Andrea – I am another one of your blog fans here in Cyberworld. I heard about you through the Weight Watchers message board. I have shared your blogs with all of my friends and co-workers and all are truly touched and amazed by you.

    Words do seem so insignificant right now, but I am forever changed. You have empowered me as a mother to 4 boys and as a wife. Life is to short to not live everything to the maximum.

    Much to the dismay of my family – I have announced to them that I will be getting my very first tattoo at 40 – a pink and black nautical star. In honor of you and what you have given so unselfishly to not only us online but to your friends and family. You are the epitome of what I want to be as a mother, wife and friend.

    I appreciate the time you take to blog – I have to check every morning to “catch up with you”! I also agree with the others that you must have this published – it is such a raw insight into the life of cancer.

    My only solice is knowing you are at peace with God – you are God’s child and you will be home with him soon…such comfort! My favorite hymn is In the Garden and it is so fitting for you –

    I’d stay in the garden with Him
    ‘Tho the night around me be falling
    But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
    His voice to me is calling

    And He walks with me
    And He talks with me
    And He tells me I am His own
    And the joy we share as we tarry there
    None other has ever known

    Peace to you and yours,

  10. Lin says:


    Goodbyes are not forever.
    Goodbyes are not the end.
    They simply mean I’ll miss you
    Until we meet again!

    LUV, LIN

  11. ruthie says:

    i love you.

  12. lizz says:

    “Each smallest act of kindness reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. Likewise, each small act of meanness, each expression of hatred, each act of evil.“

    your acts of kindness will reverberate across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown… they already do. And always will, every day, through Alec, Jesse, Asa, Tuck, Bailey,Kelly, Clay… and every other person who is lucky enough to have crossed yr path.

    duh. yr amazing.

    i love you.

  13. Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/ on line 524

    You are showing those of us that may be on the same journey as you someday to walk the path with grace, courage, love and eloquence.

  14. Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/ on line 524

    I feel kinda guilty having taken time away from you and Jesse and Bailey yesterday. But selfishly I treasure having spent a little time with you. I will see you whenever you can put up with next week. Feel free to tell me to get the hell out, I won’t mind

    You were bumming about looking different from a couple years ago, but after a couple minutes with you I didn’t even notice, you’re still the same girl who cracks me up and reminds me of great times gone by. Years ago I described our relationship as high school girlfriends, we spent so much time on the phone together, then spent so much time goofing around together, the trip to Virginia, constant giggling and hugging. I feel lucky to have had you in my life. I value all of the advice you have given me over the years.

    You are still very beautiful inside and out! And you do good smokey eyes!
    I love you Andrea and you will always be in my heart!

  15. Cheryl says:

    My heart just aches for you, not because you will be in a better place, without pain, but for leaving your kids your behind. That has got to be the most difficult thing to do. As a mom, you want nothing more than to be there for your kids, but God has another plan. I will continue to pray for you and your family. May God give you the comfort that you need when you need it.


  16. Kathy says:

    Wow! I read your blog for the first time a few weeks ago after having been directed here by another blogger. I admit, being a rather conservative grandma, I was hesitant to visit your blog because of the title, punkrock mommy. However, I also have a hidden desire to be different, so my curiosity won out.

    Andrea, I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to get to “know you.” I appreciate and admire your humor, honesty and determination to make every day the best it can be.

    I am sending you gentle hugs my friend, and lots of prayers for you and your family.

  17. Merry says:

    You rule. I have enjoyed reading your brutally honest and touching blogs. I am praying for you and your family.

    I’ve always appreciated the samurai ritual of writing a death poem to celebrate one’s own life and death. i wonder what you would write at the end…? i wonder what i would.

    if you’re curious, you can read a few here:

    and here:

    peace be with you on your next journey.

  18. Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/ on line 524
    Donna Arnold says:

    HI Andie:
    Its just me…dropping by to say “I LOVE YOU”! always….Donna in SC
    You still want some baby cokes in a bottle???? Let me know if you do, I will fix you right up!!!!

  19. joshua says:

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    Andrea to Alec & Jesse while I was on the phone with her yesterday:

    “are you ready for bereavement counseling? Whooo Hooo!”

    you are a crackup.

  20. Aimee says:

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    Andrea- I really think it’s good for you to cry, to feel grief. It’s an important part of the process and perhaps even more important for your children. They have to know that you’re at peace with it, so that they too can be at peace. But by the same time, I think they need to know that you haven’t “given up” just because you’re tired- that you have contemplated and mourn for their loss right along with them. That’s just my 2 cents………
    ……… I think you’re going to find you become increasingly tired and sleep longer periods. So, do spend good time with your family while you can………

  21. alyssa says:

    Cancer sucks so fucking bad!!! (Try Super Dieters Tea if you start to feel backed up, the health food store will sell it. No pain involved,just relief) Know you’re in my thoughts and wishing you a pain-free day. I’m getting a nautical star tattoo, I’ll never forget.-Alyssa

  22. Janelle says:

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    pole sana. pole sana. The Perfect Plan sucks right now i reckon…sending you love love love and Light…. xxxxx janelle in tanzania.

  23. La says:

    thanks for sharing some of your time with us (non-family members), and for giving us clear directions on how to care for and manage that time with you and your family. i agree, that time with your family is more precious than the time that is spent with me, and so i cherish every 20 minutes i get;-)
    hugs and love- La

  24. Renee Khan says:

    Andrea spend the time with the kids. Everyone else has already got their piece of you and will completely understand.

    You need this time to imprint everything about them so when you leave you take them with you. So that when you meet them again your soul and their souls will remember from the last moments of your physical life.

    It seems that if you only had one or two friends it would be okay but you don’t. You have tons of friends and then you also have your friends that are like your family and they will be with you and the kids. Other friends have to say their goodbyes now.

    God Bless Andrea

    Love Renee

  25. Aja Beech says:

    You’ve never really had a hard time putting the truth right out there. And you always listen to your ‘gut feeling’. Keep doing this!

    You can do whatever you want! Now more than ever- do what YOU want.

  26. carise says:

    do you know that in addition to being a remarkable person, you are a truly remarkable writer? (love the plug for unplugging!)

    that you can share the beauty of yourself and your family in all of its anger and love and grace is truly a gift. thank you.

  27. Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/jono0379/public_html/ on line 524

    Amazing…that is what you are. I do not think that I could be as amazing as you are if I were in your place…I stand in awe of you.

  28. Amy Webster says:

    We shared a dream of finishing college,ran into each other occasionally at CCP, and went on from there to finish our goals. I always admired you for pursuing your dreams in spite of what seemed to me the daunting task of raising 5 (at that time) children. You struck me as incredibly strong.
    That was not the half of it. After hearing of your diagnosis from Jenni Bender, a lifelong friend of mine, I periodically read your blog. Like everyone else who has done so I was touched, humored, saddened, gladdened, and inspired.
    As a woman, I thank you for sharing your story and spreading awareness.
    As a child of a parent who lost his life to cancer, I can tell you that your children will always know how lucky they are. Through their sadness they will cling to gratitude and continue to feel your presence, hear your words, know your love. They will remember your acceptance and find comfort in the warmth of your remembered embrace. They will be encouraged by your pride and support in their successes and failures. They will love you until their hearts are clogged with the strangest, most welcome combination of peace and desperation.
    As a radiation therapist, I thank you for reminding me of the complexities of humanity. When I look at my patients, I do not ever want to be so defensive as to only see their disease. I thank you, and I’m sure my patients thank you, for reminding me that it is okay to get involved in their “stories”. I got into this field to impact lives, to IMPROVE lives. Thank you for squelching the clinician in me and reminding me to be vulnerable, in the best sense of the word.
    I wish you peace, although you have found it. Thank you for being.

  29. megan says:

    i love you. i love you. megan

  30. neighbor says:

    You are an inspiration, your a strong person. We wonder what is in store for us, and when something comes our way that is hard to handle we ask ourselves, why me? You are like a poster child for dealing with what you are going thru, and as all the blogs i read you dont feel sorry for yourself or pitty. That is a beautiful thing, your a good person. hope u have a pain free day with your loved ones…

  31. Sarah says:

    Andrea always remember that you may be gone but you will always live in the hearts of those who have know you and the ones that didn’t. You have changed alot of peoples lives, we all have a purpose and I believes that god has sent you to teach alot of us things that we take for granted, you are a wonderful teacher, mother, friend and daughter. So many people love you. Your family is very lucky to have you.

  32. Jen 21 says:

    It has been an amazing week being with you. The enormity of all of this is just too much for me to be able to find the right words to truly express to you how much you mean to me. Since there are no words, I try and show my love for you through action, by helping to the best of my ability, as you have always done for me. I love you so so much and will talk to you soon!

  33. rosemary says:

    i have been reading your blog faithfully everyday since i heard you interviewed on Dan Gottlieb’s program. you have held me captive everyday with your insightfulness. i never replied because i did not want to crowd your beautiful space. i am much older than you however, you seem like a wise elder to me. you have enlightened me and touched me at an incredibly deep level. You have made this world e better place, thankyou for sharing such magnificent parts of yourself with strangers. i have contiuously encouraged people to read your blog so they can benefit from the endless inspiration you emit through yours well chosen words. i have prayed for you through out, this i feel you already know . . . there is nothing i could give you that would be comparable to what you have given me. what i wish for you is what YOU wish most for yourself. Again, thank you for your candor, humor, beauty and LOVE that you have spread so generously to all of us. This Love will continue for generations to come through your incredible children and husband. What a lagacy you have given this world! It is clear that your surrounded, immersed, completely wrapped in Love every minute of your days, and i believe that is because you GET what you GIVE. . .

    with heartfelt fondness and warmth,

  34. Debbie says:

    As usual, you blow me away. I respect and love everything about you and ask God to make me a person more like you. As is said so many times, you have made such an impact on some many and your legacy will always live on. God Bless.