Saturday, March 13, 2010

The smell of Spring

There was as seamless moment etched into our hearts where we went from despair to hope. It was on a spring day last March following the hardest and longest week of our lives. A week so dark and so scary that we are forever changed. You cannot go back from facing the reality that you are losing a parent. You become a new version of yourself. The trouble with moving from despair to hope, is that often times you are so fixated on the hope you have so desperately been seeking that you never really re-enter the despair, to say goodbye and find closure.

They say that smell is one of the strongest triggers for memory. And as the spring air starts to blow into Chicago, I am almost taken aback by the return of memories I've wished to forget. As I awoke yesterday morning, I had a random, yet strong memory of walking down the long hall on the 9th floor ICU of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Bringing friends and family to see my dad, reminding me of a living wake. The bright florescent lights, the medical staff avoiding eye contact with grieving and frightened family members, or even worse, giving you the look of sympathy, the smell of the antibacterial lotion and the sounds of the predictable beats on the machines and the sound of my dad's breathing machine, in . . . and out . . . in . . and out. In that moment early yesterday morning, I was overcome with my own fear again. Knowing cognitively that we have moved beyond the pain to the healing but also paying homage to my loss that week in March that still lives very deeply in my heart.

In this past year I have had friends who have lost parents. And I often feel some form of survivor's guilt. Why does my child get to have her grandpa and not my friends? Why do I get move back into the every day with my dad? Why do I get the luxury of forgetting?

I was listening to a Leonard Cohen song this morning that many of you may know, Hallelujah. And I love his description of Hallelujah.

"And it's not a cry that you hear at night. It's not somebody who's seen the light. It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah."

For me, it really sums up the feelings on the last year. A broken hallelujah. So thankful for God's healing and for our embracing community. And still so raw. As spring comes I'm reminded of new life and the chance of new life my dad has been given. Hallelujah.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Pentecost Sunday.

Holy Spirit
Rushing Wind
Present Among Us


Celebration. Intervention. Miracle.


This past Sunday my dad returned to church and shared a Word of Witness. He was honored by applause, hugs and prayer. We continue to be enveloped in love and kindness.

As Acts 2 was so beautifully read during the service, I felt some of the fear & pain lifted. As if driving away and looking at those days becoming smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror.

I remember so clearly the day that my dad's prognosis moved from critical to recovery.

Sunday was another memorable day of moving from recovery to celebration.

Praise God.

*Enjoy some photos of the celebration below. Thank you to Hal and Nathan for taking the photos.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Society and Hallmark make a big deal about certain anniversaries such as those ending with a five or ten.

Last year Dwight and I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary. We had a quiet dinner and a movie...rather low key.

This year, however, on our 41st anniversary, we have a lot to celebrate!

A little over two months ago, the idea of our anniversary seemed to be in doubt. We really had to live our vows of "for better or worse" in a real way during those difficult days. God gave us the best gift we could ever have...each other!!!

Happy 41st Anniversary, Dwight!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stormy Lake

There are moments in grieving where the loss of a loved one comes in full force when you least expect it. It's not always on the anniversaries or birthdays but when you see something that reminds you of them or hear a song that reminds you of them. I'll never forget what my grandma would always say when I'd call her on my grandpa's birthday "Today is not any different than any other day, Barbara. Every day you miss the person you lost. You keep walking, you just walk with a limp."

And like grieving, our celebration comes in unexpected moments.

This weekend, the Cederberg and Nordlund families headed up to Stormy Lake for a weekend together. This is an annual tradition where my parents give us the cabin to celebrate the first weekend of summer.

Before we left to come back to Chicago, I was in my parent's room and opened my dad's closet and saw his shirts, his hats, his dvds that he's lovingly put together for special events. And I was overcome with joy. I was again reminded, in such a raw way, that my dad came out of horrible circumstance. This is a complex feeling because I know that other loved ones have not been as fortunate to have their parents survive difficult health issues.

Parents are knit into their children''s character through the years of caring for their children. But I also saw this weekend, how my dad is knit into Stormy Lake with his silly parking meters and yes, fake people.

You would think that every moment would be a reminder of this joy but if there is one thing I have learned through this process it's that my heart and my head don't always connect with one another. My head knows of the amazing healing that has been given to my dad's body but my heart remains protected, slowly unfolding the relief and joy.


This coming Sunday, May 31st, my dad will be sharing his story during the 10:30 worship service at their home church, Winnekta Covenant, and you are welcome to join us if you'd like.


Many of you continue to ask how my dad is doing. Thank you for your continued interest and support.

To paint the picture, my mom and dad's week events have included:

a trip to New Buffalo, Michigan to celebrate an anniversary with friends

water areobics at Galter Life Center

a trip to Milwaukke to see a Brewers game and a dinner at their favorite German restaurant

a visit to Gurnee to see my sister and my niece Klara

(and many other things I'm sure)

Two months ago to date, we sat with the reality that my dad may never wake up.

God's graces are bigger than we could ever imagine and "is sufficient for me".


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Check out a headline on the front page of the Covenant website by clicking here : )

If you are visiting our blog from the Covenant website, feel free to read archived entries by scrolling down on the right column and clicking on March.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


My dad just finished the scope and the ulcer is gone.

Praise God!


This morning my dad will be having a scope to see if the ulcer has healed. Please send your prayers as this is something that will hopefully be giving this family positive results and a huge sigh of relief.