This afternoon is the beginning of the semi-annual Women’s ACTS Retreat at the Church of St. Mary. Kraston and I each attended our first ACTS retreat in the fall of 2015. It made a powerful difference in our faith lives. He went on to volunteer on the Team for the spring and fall Men’s ACTS retreats in 2016.

Love Letters

Even though he hated to write, he always took the time to write the requested “love letters” to the retreatants who attended each retreat. I have been sort of hit and miss, only writing notes about every other retreat.

Last Saturday evening, while away from home at a workshop, I had a bit of time after dinner and thought I might have some time to write some letters before my cabin mates returned. While packing I had decided to pack the old box of stationery, rather than the unopened one I bought last week.

I set out all of the card stock and envelopes, sorted them each by color. Yes, the silly engineer in me likes to do things like that. I counted each of the cards and the envelopes and realized that I had an uneven amount. My 5 year old daughter Rosemary had been into the cardstock, so I had more envelopes than cards.

I got my pen out, ready to get started. I picked up the first blue card and, for some reason, turned it over. It was a good thing I did, because it had already been written on. But not, as you might guess, by my daughter Rosemary.

Thank You for sharing God’s Love with me

I don’t know why he didn’t send this card.

Did he not like what he had written?

Had he written too many?

Did he just forget?

Whatever the reason, I got a special message from him last Saturday.

My cabin mates walked back in shortly after I found my note. I picked up my stationery and put it all back in the box as I wasn’t going to be writing any of my own letters that day. I spent the rest of the evening talking with new friends, talking about him, and hearing about their losses and experiences with grief.

God Moments

Moments like these, I feel God especially close to me, letting me know He is with me. I would love to hear about your latest God Moment in the comments below.

Amanda is the founder of Survival With Kids. She is the mother of 4 kids (two boys and two girls). She became a brain cancer widow in April of 2017 at the age of 32. She writes about surviving and preparing for unexpected events.
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Last January I wrote several posts about my husband’s brain cancer. Things seemed to be going well enough.

Unfortunately, in late March, his MRI showed some re-growth. He was, statistically, pretty much average for the number of months one with Glioblastoma undergoing the Optune treatment lives without a recurrence.

So we sought out a very experienced surgeon in Oklahoma City to discuss surgery. Dr. Michael Sughrue is a neurosurgeon experienced with Awake Brain Surgery. He and his team of physical and speech therapists were able to assess his speech and hand activity during surgery in order to minimize the effects of surgery on those brain functions.

I imagine I will post more about our experiences during this time in the future, but that is not the purpose of this post.


This post is to record that my husband’s incision from that second brain surgery became infected about two weeks post-op. So if you are reading this and wondering how he is doing, I am sorry to report that his body could not fight that infection. He was declared brain dead at 18:18 on April 20. I intended to go into more detail about this experience in this post, but I find that I am not quite ready.

I moved about a month ago in order to be closer to my parents, closer to my kids’ schools and to give each kid their own room. To give us a bit more breathing room as we grieve. To give us a bit of space from the memories at our old house.

Every day when I walked through the front door of the old house, I remembered coming home and seeing him throwing up on the front porch the day before he died. Part of my mind started to drift to the ambulance ride and the ED visit. The stay in ICU. I just can’t dwell there every single day.

Work and Workouts

Next week, I am reducing my hours at work again. I will be taking some time to unpack at the new house. Taking some time to get my paperwork caught up and filed away.

I am also moving my workouts from the evening time to the day time. My 3 year old has developed some anxiety when I leave the house at night.

“Are you leaving, Mommy?” he asks me every night now. So now I can start to reassure him that, no, I am not leaving tonight. I have to keep working out though. It is kind of a mental health thing. The endorphins really help me keep from feeling down. So now I’ll just workout during the day.

I’ll take more naps. and when I’ve got that routine in place, I’ll start writing more blog posts. I have grand ambitions of creating a following here. Creating some opportunities here. My day job doesn’t quite fulfill me the way that it used to. So we’ll see what blogging does for me.


So if you want to know more, share this post and encourage me with the page views. I’d also love to hear your thoughts below, if you are inclined to comment.

Have a blessed day!


Amanda is the founder of Survival With Kids. She is the mother of 4 kids (two boys and two girls). She became a brain cancer widow in April of 2017 at the age of 32. She writes about surviving and preparing for unexpected events.
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