Baby Steps

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Though I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me;  Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23

Hello my dear COLOs.  Danielle here.  I thought that verse is fitting for our final blog post; it’s Mom’s favorite. 

Yes, you read correctly.  It’s our final blog post tonight.  Dad said to me, “We need to do one last post.”  I jumped at the chance to once more connect with all of you diligent readers.  We both thought it was fitting it ends with a post from me, since it began with a post from me. 

I was driving home trying to think of what I could say to end this properly.  At Mom’s services yesterday, Dad pointed out that there is no way to honor Mom’s entire life in just one hour; it’s simply impossible.  I feel the same with this final post; there is no way that I can sum up the past 6 1/2 months in one post…I sure as heck am going to try though.

I have had many things end in my 20 short years on this Earth.  Things end and we are forced to say goodbye to them along the way.  Saying ‘goodbye’ is a part of  life.  Some goodbyes, however, are easier to do than others.  In the past month, I will have had to say two of the hardest goodbyes yet.  On November 16 I had to tell my mom “Goodbye” and tonight, December 12, I have to tell this blog “Goodbye.”  I’ve found over the past 6 months that words don’t take away the pain, but they do help ease the sting a bit.  I turned to Google to try to find a quote that makes this goodbye a bit easier; I found a quote that perfectly explains, in my opinion, what this goodbye means. 

“Ends are not bad things, they just mean something else is about to begin.  And there are many things that don’t really end, anyway, they just begin in a new way.  Ends are not bad and many ends aren’t really an ending; some things are just never-ending.” 

This blog is never-ending.  These posts that we have written, would not mean nearly as much without the dedication, love and support you all expressed through your views and comments.  This blog has meant so much to our family, and that’s all because of you.  I know that this blog will help me through the rough days ahead.  Today was the first day that I haven’t had a thing to do since Mom passed away.  Over the past 3 1/2 weeks I have had either volleyball, school, or planning the services to throw myself into.  Today, I had nothing.  I was scared and overwhelmed and sad and a little lost.  I was getting ready to leave the house and head back to my apartment and I was thinking that I was going to end my day feeling just as icky as I had felt when my day began.  When Dad brought up the blog, I knew my day was going to end well. 

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  Over 1,000 people showed up to Immanuel Baptist Church to celebrate the unbelievable life my mom lived.  Pink was all around us and so was the love of all that showed up.  And we felt the love of those who could not be there as well.  It was a beautiful service.  We laughed and we cried and cherished the memories that were laid out before us.  I had to get up on stage to introduce my coach (she was reading the poem I wrote for Mom) and when I got up on stage I did what you’re supposed to do when public speaking: look out and scan the crowd as you speak.  The moment I looked up to begin my 15 second introduction, I was overwhelmed and humbled and grateful.  I barely made it through those 15 seconds because I couldn’t stop thinking about how many people were there to show their love and support for my mom and my family.  I was so happy to meet some of you for the very first time, and finally be able to put a face to the names I am consistently seeing pop up in my email. 

I’d like to thank each and every one of you.  You have given this family a gift that will live on long after we are all gone.  This blog is something that I will proudly pass down through the family I’ll have one day.  I’ll read it to my kids when they ask about their Grandma Patti because this blog will teach them all the lessons I learned through this.  On days when I’m feeling down, I’ll turn to this blog and the comments you all shared and I’ll remember how loved Mom is and how loved I am.  You have truly blessed this family, and I can’t thank you all enough. 

I am sad that this blog is finished, but like the quote above says: some things are never-ending.  We did something great here, COLOs.  There are tough times ahead, but I know that each one of you is right there with me going through it.  Right now, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other; we’re taking baby steps here.  We have reached the end; I am at peace with this ending because I know I did everything I could do and I know you all did too.  We loved deeply, prayed fiercely, hoped truly, and trusted completely.  I know Mom’s proud of us.

So as we say “goodbye” to something that has been such a large part of our lives, I ask that you do one thing.  When you feel that ache in your heart, that lump in your throat, and that twist in your stomach, remember that gorgeous smile that she loved to show off.  Remember the way she always wore her baseball hats.  Remember the way her nose would crinkle when she would laugh.  Remember the first time you saw her without a baseball hat on and how gorgeous you thought she looked.  Remember the good times.  Let’s take this next step together COLOs.  We may no longer be posting on the blog, but we will receive all of the comments you post.  If you feel like writing to one of us, please do.  And please, feel free to comment to Mom.  I write letters to Mom on a daily basis, and I encourage you to do the same.  I know she can read them. 🙂 

I love you all dearly, and I am so happy to have taken this journey with all of you.  I would like to end this post with mine and my mom’s favorite quote; this quote was very dear to us throughout this journey and I hope you cherish it the way that we did.

XOXO

Danielle

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”  Winnie the Pooh

Good Morning,

The girls and I got back yesterday afternoon.  We had a great time in San Diego.  The getaway was perfect.  We had our moments, but the distraction of perfect weather, gorgeous views and delicious food made the first four days a nice transition.  We have a very special family to thank for our trip.  I won’t say their name, but please just know my family will be grateful forever for this incredible gift. We talked a lot throughout our weekend; “mom would have loved this, mom would have said this, mom wouldn’t have liked that.”  It was enlightening to be on a family trip without Patti, but we enjoyed the old memories and very slowly eked out some very precious new memories.

Coming home was a little weird, but we made it through the first night in our home without Patti.  We miss her so much, but we don’t miss watching her be so sick.  We agreed that we would give each other time to be alone and think but we made a vow to talk about what is rolling around in our heads and hearts.  I know we will be fine, because God is clearly steering this roller coaster ride and the minute we don’t trust him, we get scared and the ride overwhelms us.

Thank-you for all of the great comments on Friday and throughout the weekend.  They mean an awful lot to us.

Patti’s Memorial Service will be on Tuesday, December 11th at 1:00 pm.  It will be in the Worship Center at Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland.  Patti had a lot of input about her service, she was so courageous.  She said she loves pink and wanted a lot of pink at her service, so if you feel compelled, wear something pink for Patti.  Remember, normal made Patti nervous.  She also asked there be no flowers.  She always appreciated the flowers she received during the last 6 months, but she hated people spending that kind of money on her.

I have been asked about donations.  People want to do something.  The caring still amazes me.  Patti wanted all donations to go to;

 

Sheriff’s Employee Assistance Team

Attn: Kary Tesselaar

655 East Third Street

San Bernardino, CA 92415

 

There is already an account set up there in Patti’s name.  This is where all of the money from the blue wristbands was saved.  After a little while, we will get some people together to figure how we can best honor Patti, her mission and how we can make it viable so it can be around forever, helping others.  Thank you for any future donations and the money already amassed.  It will be put to good use.

I know you all are hurting too, just think of her smile, embrace the person she was to you and know, few people get a Patti in their life so you are blessed.

 

Sincerely,

Mike

 

The Final Step

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”  -Matthew 25:21

Good morning loved ones; Danielle here.

I am writing to let you all know that this morning, Mom went to be with the Lord.  She was surrounded by Dad, Maddy, Barbara and me.  We hugged her and loved on her until God took her.  Although we are all sad to have lost such an incredible and beautiful woman, we are happy that she is happy and pain-free. All of us here have peace knowing that she is in Heaven for all of eternity.  How blessed are we to have such an amazing angel looking over us.

From day one, you all have showered this family with an amazing amount of love and support.  I consider myself blessed to have been able to reach out to such wonderful people.  Some people go their whole lives without experiencing as much love as we have experienced over the past six months.  I would like to thank you all for that.

God used Mom in so many ways throughout this journey.  She taught us what it meant to be a fighter and to have unconditional faith in God’s plan.  She always handled this with such grace and courage. 

Although we have some rough times ahead of us, we all know we have the best guardian angel loving on us and helping us through them.  Not only do we have Mom watching over us, but we also have the love and support of you wonderful COLOs. 

Again, I want to thank you for embarking on this journey with us.  The blog became an outlet for all of us and when we felt stuck or lost, we turned to the blog.  Sometimes we wrote and sometimes we just sat and read the comments you guys shared with us. Your words meant more to this family than I can even begin to explain.  You COLOs will forever have a special place in mine and my family’s hearts; especially Mom’s.  The love you all shared with us is something we will never forget. 

We finished the race COLOs.  This last little push was a test for all of us.  Now we can catch our breath, possibly for the first time in months, and smile knowing we gave all we could in this crazy race.  I know that Mom’s smile is forever engraved in my mind.

To finish this post up, I’d like to share with you all a quote that was special to Mom and I.

“If ever there is a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart and there I’ll stay forever.” -Winnie the Pooh

I know Mom has a special place in all of your hearts. 

We will be updating all of you in regards to when services will be. 

We love you all dearly.  Mom’s forever in our hearts.  Know that she’s smiling that million dollar smile down on all of you. 

Image

XOXO

Danielle

Find the Joy

Hello COLO’s

I’m sorry we have been intermittent with our posts.  You all have been so loyal to Patti and her process, I feel bad we have not been better at keeping everyone up to date.  Patti is as sweet as ever, she has her moments, but it’s only because of times when we cannot manage her pain or when she realizes she cannot get up and go teach a spinning class.  It’s understandable and overall she is a great patient.  We still love taking care of her.  Last week, the hospice folks put her on a morphine pump.  The pills and liquid morphine were not cutting it.  This move has made the last few days a lot easier on her.  She is out most of the time, but comes to, says something wacky and goes back to sleep.  She still laughs and smiles.  There are many imaginary visitors in our room; kids, ladies and the other day she asked me who that younger, good-looking guy was.  I guess she is allowed a visit from a young, handsome man.  If I see him, I might have to have a word with him.

It is a tough situation we are in, but we are keeping our sense of humor and finding the joy where and when we can.  It’s there if we chose to look for it.  Her state is the result of the cancer on her brain and the medication.  Her condition worsens daily as expected, but as a family, we are at the point where we are praying earnestly for her to just go to sleep forever.  I know you understand.  We have left nothing unsaid and have no regrets about life or about how we handled this and I know she does not either.  We talked about it during many intimate conversations when she was completely aware of what was happening.  Her courage and grace has touched the girls and I as perhaps it may have touched you.  We have the opportunity to see it up close and she is one amazing lady.

Patti has been in hospice, just over two months.  Everyone asks me what the time frame is.  We have no idea, but the general decline remains constant.  Keeping her comfortable is the mission.  Patti’s mom has been in town over the last month on her third visit since this started and she has been great.  She is strong and supportive and brings a smile and a laugh to the house every moment she is here.  The family, friends, volleyball teams and the Sheriff’s Department continue to be incredible.   We are overwhelmed with the help and support we receive.

Thanks for keeping tabs on our sweet Patti.  I promise to be more diligent on the blog posts.

 

Love, Mike

 

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”  -Psalm 56:3

Hello dear loved ones.  Danielle here.  I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to sit down at the computer and feel the keys beneath my fingertips, knowing that this post will be brought into all of your homes, shared with your loved ones, and taken to heart.  Guess I better make it good huh?

I hope you all understand the title of today’s post and where it comes from.  The quote is from the movie “Friday Night Lights.”  Although I don’t have a Facebook anymore, I do have an Instagram.  Tonight I have a game and whenever I have a home game, I post some inspirational sports quote and tell people to come to the game!  This morning, this quote was on my mind.  So I found the quote and posted it on Instagram.  I posted it only thinking that it pertained to my game today.

I came over to my parents’ house and said “hey” to Mom and gave Dad a squeeze before he left.  Mom fell asleep, and when I went back in to check on her, I saw a worrysome look on Mom’s face.  She was sad.  When I asked her what was wrong, she started to cry.  I climbed up on the bed and grabbed her hands and we talked for a long while.  She told me how she was feeling, why she was crying, and then we prayed.  She told me she wanted to pray in her mind, so we both closed our eyes, bowed our heads, and prayed.  We were holding hands and for a good 3 or 4 minutes, we sat there quietly both of us crying and praying.  I don’t know what she prayed about, but I know I prayed for peace.  I prayed that God’s will be done and that Mom won’t be in pain.  I prayed for her happiness and her strength.  She apologized for being weak, saying that she shouldn’t be crying.  Of course, I told her she could cry as often as she needed to.  She’s always been the one that has told me to cry when you need to cry.  Clearly today, we both needed a good cry.  I told her that there’s no way that she can be perfect, especially through a situation like this.  I had to remind this amazing woman, that she is only human. My coach had reminded me of this a few days ago.  In fact, I stole a few of my coach’s lines and fed them to Mom.

I have often been told that there’s no handbook for a situation like this.  Nobody is perfect throughout something like this.  But when I sat down to write this blog, I knew I wanted to title it ‘Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose”.  What’s the point of having such a meaningful title if it doesn’t somehow relate to the blog?  So I turned to Google.  I typed in “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose meaning”.  I came across a blog written by a Coach Tom.  He too, looked online for the meaning of this powerful quote.  He included this quote from the movie that I’d like to share with all of you.

“Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down, because you told them the truth.  And that truth is that you did everything that you could.  There wasn’t one more thing you could’ve done.  Can you live in that moment, as best you can, with clear eyes and love in your heart?  With joy in your heart?  If you can do that, then you’re perfect.”

The first thing that came to my mind when reading this quote was “that’s Mom.”  She, from the beginning, has embraced this situation with clear eyes and a full heart.  I feel as if I have a responsibility to continue to live with that motto in mind, especially now.  I truly believe that Mom has demonstrated an unbelievable amount of faith and grace and love throughout this journey.  Mom was explaining to me that she’s tired, and she’s unsure of why she’s still here.  In reality, God only knows that.  When Mom said that, I told her that she’s almost to the finish line.  We began this race in May knowing that whatever the outcome may be, we’d be running this race together.  There have been trials and times where we had to stop and catch our breath.  There have been moments where we’ve felt fatigued and we’ve felt as if there’s no way we could find that extra strength to keep on pushing.  For the better part of this race, Mom has been the one to pick us back up.  She’s passed us up, turned around, and ran back to pick us up and tell us we can keep going.  Now it’s our turn to do that for her.

Here, in the Newcombe household, we are living in the moment as best as we can.  We have clear eyes and hearts full of love for Mom.  But most importantly, we have trust in God. After all, He does know best.  I believe, from the very bottom of my heart, that when all is said and done, we will all be able to look to each other and know that we did all we could do.  We loved deeply, prayed fiercely, hoped truly, and trusted completely.

Keep your eyes clear, your hearts full, your trust unfailing and you’ll never lose.

XOXO

Danielle

White Stone

 “I will also give to each one who wins the victory a white stone with a name written on it.”  Revelation 2:17.

A friend of Patti’s sent us a nice note with this really great verse.  The thought was great and we truly appreciated the timing.  Although, we have never had a doubt about Patti’s salvation, as each day happens, every encouraging word means a lot.  There has been so many encouraging words from all of the COLO’s.  Thanks very much.

The girls and are doing well.  Getting into more of a routine and planning schedules around Patti and volleyball.  The iPad has been great.  One of us can go to a volleyball game, record it and bring it back so Patti can watch it.  We can zoom in on just Maddy or Danielle and she can concentrate on watching them play.  I am very proud of the girls.  They have kept their grades up and are both doing well in their sport

Patti is sleeping a lot.  She has some serious symptoms occurring from her cancer.  I won’t go into specifics, but I will tell you, the hospice folks have made it so, regardless of what is going on, we can enjoy Patti as much as possible.  Every minute is precious, but we have reached that point where we are praying for her to go so she will not have to endure anything harder or anymore pain.  The only way we could get to that point is because of faith.

Last night, a nurse came to the house so I could get some sleep.  It was great.  Patti woke up very happy, because all night she had this sweet lady by her bedside, providing for her every need.  Today we have a lot of nurses in and out throughout the day.  It’s always that way on Friday.

Thanks for the prayers and support.

Mike

Faith; what would we do without it.

Prayer;

 Help me to learn the lessons of those who have gone before me, and help me to leave a faithful trail that would speak of Your faithfulness to the next generations. Lord help me to transition based on your will.

 

Hi COLO’s’

That was Patti’s prayer tonight during her devotional.  She has been on an up and down struggle with everything and today she really turned it over to God.  I think we all did.  Don’t be fooled; we put a lot of stuff in our blog to let you know the positive things that are happening, but we have our down days and moments.  We have questioned everything and have questioned ourselves.  We have struggled with how we did this and asked ourselves if we have done everything we were supposed to.  It is a totally weird place to be and we are human.  We have talked about how hard it would be to go through something like this without a true and complete faith in God.

This is not it.  This is not our last step, it is only our first.  Patti is contemplating her second step and she is doing it with grace and peace because of her faith.  I have learned so much from her.  Her family is in a good place with where we are and that is only due to Patti’s values and beliefs.

We Love you all and thanks for all you have done.

Mike