Sandy Beardsley
Living with a Brain Tumor
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08/05/06
Vigil
Filed under: General
Posted by: Dan @ 5:28 pm

Friends and family have gathered around Sandy to surround her with love as she continues this journey. She has been in bed, now a comfortable hospital bed in our bedroom, since we returned from the LiveStrong Challenge. She is sleeping most of the time, but occasionally awakens and recognizes us, flashing that beautiful smile of hers and saying a word or two, or squeezing our hands tightly. Our son Cameron arrived back home from Hawaii last night at 1 a.m. Sandy awakened at his voice and touch and said, “Oh my God… wow…” and smiled, looking straight at him. She is comfortable and not in pain. And she hears everything we say to her — flashes of her eyes or a smile lets us know she is still with us.

I have moved the small candlelit altar she made a couple weeks ago nearer our bed, with her favorite photos and special objects. The Native American flute music of Carlos Nakai is playing softly. And her hospice nurse also has played her Native American flute for Sandy. Her nurse is an amazing woman and truly loves Sandy, a blessing of a connection for us.

Another piece of music I have been playing is “Migration.” Here’s a quote from Sandy’s website journal about it…


I am listening to a C.D. that a friend gave me. It’s called
Migration by Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai. It is so moving
and when I first listened to it I cried. The music touches my
deepest feelings. The twelve pieces are titled with a short description.
They seem to mirror my journey. Wandering, Initiation, Honoring,
Stating Intention, Surrender, Embracing the Darkness, Lighting
the Flame, Transformation, Quietude, Becoming Human, Walking
the Path, Service.

I feel I have reached a new place in this journey. It is in
some ways more difficult then when I was having radiation treatments
and feeling nauseous and sick all the time. At least I had a
focus and could concentrate on something. Now I’m back at work
and my mind is constantly busy. Recently I felt overwhelmed.
I had avoided thinking about the cancer or writing in my journal.
Maybe it was my way of taking a break. I feel a need to go on
with this journey. To learn from it and not go back to my old
life. It is a spiritual one and I realize I need time for reflection
and having solitude. It is important. Like the music quietude.
The words to describe it are listening, observing, being still.”

As I watch her sleep, through my tears and heartbreak I am filled with a peacefulness… a knowing that she is traveling this path in the most perfect way.

Good night,
Dan

17 Responses to “Vigil”

  1. stephanie and luke Says:
    Dan and Sandy, Although we are not sitting next to you at this moment, we are certainly with you in our hearts. You two have truly been on quite a journey. I have read and re-read Sandy’s entries over the past few weeks. I am and will continue to be in awe of the clarity you two have demonstrated over the past 7 years. Now Steph and I sit here and wish you peace. This medium is ill suited to reach out and touch people if you do not speak or write well but that is what I have witnessed so many do. Rest well Dan and Sandy, and feel the many people who are with you and are reaching out to you tonite, and in the coming days, weeks, and years. God Bless, Luke and Steph
  2. Annie Hettick Says:
    Dan and Sandy, I am sorry it has taken so long for me to make contact. I wanted Sandy to know a few things. If that doesn’t happen I will feel just as good sending my thoughts to her out into the world. Sandy, you have been a light in my life. You are a mother figure I never had. Your strength in combination with your nuture is inspiring. I (many times) used you as a way to want to be with my own children. I was pleasently suprised that you are listening to Carlos Nakai. Dylan was born at home with his music all around us for the first week. I miss you. I love you, who you are, what you represent to me. You are a true piece of magic. You are a angel sent here to make us all better people. I’m so sorry that it took the knowledge of your departure to get the nerve to tell you how much you have meant to me. I wish you a peaceful journey and for the family to have peace. Best wishes AnnieHettick
  3. Henry and Nancy Says:
    Half a world away, we are with you in spirit and heart, our friends! We visited the Six Harmonies Pagoda and a huge Buddhist Temple in the mountains of Hangzhou today and thought of you all (Sandy, Dan and Cameron) Gazing on Buddhas carved from natural marble cliffs above cascading waters and a thirteen story wood pagoda rebuilt three times over the centuries speaks to the tenacious spirit of man, the spiritual influence of an artful life, the calming quality effected by a life lived in harmony with nature and compassion for each other. Sandy, you embody that tenacious spirit. I’m sure it was a thrilling experience for Lance Armstrong to meet you. We take your teacher’s spirit with us as we tackle a new teacher’s challenge. Dan and Cameron–your compassion and passion for Sandy and each other will serve you well. Please know that we honor you all and you are in our hearts. Please know that we are here and our friendship is unconditional. Please know our home is yours. We love you–Nancy & Henry
  4. Anna and Lee Says:
    Dan and Sandy, So glad to hear you are soaking up those sunrises, cupped in the palm of our tiny valley, surrounded by soaring mountains. There is so much there that mirrors your spirit. We sit in Virginia visiting family, thinking of you…reading of your incredible time in Portland…learning of Henry’s first days in China. What an amazing circle you have created, each of us one small tiny ripple. We reach out to you from afar…all of us in one big circle held together by one big heart — the one you two share. I hope you can feel all the warmth and affection we send — we are definitely feeling yours. Hugs to you both. With great affection, your neighbors, Anna and Lee
  5. HAWM Says:
    Thank you DanO and Sandy, for giving us the words to help with our sadness. I’m trying to breath deeply as I write this, but my tears are caught in my throat. OK, no “sad puppy dog faces” (sorry Sandy, that’s a hard one to keep, as we will miss you). In my mind, I am there to pet your heads and your shoulders and give you my love. I have been hanging with my Dad, who needs me right now (Dan’s met him, a very positive person who prays for everyone every day, and you are big on his prayer list). Pat & I are keeping each of you and your family and friends in our prayers and in our hearts. It’s all about love. - H
  6. jkw Says:
    Sending you all, Sandy, Dan, and Cameron, Love and Positive thoughts and prayers. This journey you all are on is so incredibly hard and you have been sharing it with so many of us. Wishing you peace and comfort in each other at this time in the journey.
  7. Joan Steichen and Kids Says:
    Dan, please read this to Sandy if you would. Sandy, I’ve wanted to tell you for the longest time how important you have been in the lives of my children. Jennifer remembers what a great year she had with you as her third grade teacher. She got to know Cameron a little bit, because you would bring him to school sometimes. I think it was your first yeat of teaching, wasn’t it? I loved your bright, cheery outlook each day, your beautiful smile — how you smile with your whole face! Laura is sending her own message, because she has some sweet memories of you, I think. I remember Laura would say that you talked about your “sweetheart Dan.” I was so happy that you had found somebody that made you happy. Becca never had you as a teacher, but she wishes she did. Alyssa remembers how you taught for Mrs. Hoofnagle one day a week and how you came and read to them in Mrs. Viebrock’s class a World War II story. Daniel also never had you as a teacher, but they definitely all considered you a constant, lovely and loving presence in the Orondo School community. Thank you for choosing teaching as your profession, and for giving my children so much of yourself in your teaching of them. And Dan, what a wonderful partner you’ve been to Sandy through this long journey. I knew you were special when I saw you driving her to school each day from Leavenworth after her seizures started and she couldn’t drive anymore. God bless you both and embrace you in His arms of love, as we are all trying to do for you now with our thoughts and prayers. Love, Joan Steichen
  8. Babs Says:
    Two nights ago I quietly watched as the evening sun set over alpine meadows; turning soft green larches into dark silhouttes; changing bright red paintbrush to grey. And yet, the brilliance of the sun still nearly blinded me before it disappeared behind the mountain peaks. Made me think of Sandy. I love you.
  9. cindy and kevin Says:
    Dan, our hearts break with yours. Sandy’s journey, her beauty and spirit have deeply moved us. Your journey together and love for each other is a gift and in sharing it, you have filled our hearts. With Love, Cindy and Kevin
  10. Millie Says:
    We continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. So often lately I have been thinking of the legacy you have left, Sandy, in the lives of all the children you have loved so well and taught so much. You are teaching them today, about love and friendship, courage and vision. Thank you for investing in the lives of our school community and the lives of children.
  11. Anonymous Says:
    Sandy and Dan - Sunday night in Portland - just back from a trip to the barn. Heading back today on I-5 we looked East over the Cascades and thought of you, like we do every day. Our hearts reached out to you over the snow capped peaks that are as majestic and magical as the two of you. We hope you felt our love come down the canyons to your door to hold you and never let go. Love Always. D2
  12. Margaret Neighbors Says:
    Dear Sandy, Dan and Cameron, My heart is breaking. Know that you are in my prayers and the prayers of so many in this valley. Love and God’s Peace by with you all, Margaet
  13. Daniel Rife Says:
    Dan and Sandy - I have been following your journey and think of you and pray often for you guys. Thank you for sharing your life and journey with us that watch from the sidelines in different states. Tell Sandy that the sunset last night in Bend was brilliant yellows and pinks on the underside of the thunder clouds. The smell of sage and new rain was across the area and I think she would have enjoyed it. May you two be found in the arms of God enjoying His embrace. Love, Daniel and Robin
  14. Tracy Ismert Says:
    To Dan, Sandy,Cameron and family, I can hear the angels singing for you. My love and tears Tracy ( Burlingame CA)
  15. Rick Steigmeyer Says:
    Sandy and Dan, I’ve been reading through all your journals documenting this tragic disease and the incredible way you have both fought it back, learned to embrace it and lived your life with intense love, wonder and strength. I’m saddened that I haven’t come to know you in this time when we have had many mutual friends, but I’ve come to know you through your journals. I have become enriched as a result with a gift of humanity and insight on mortality and love that is rare. Thank you. Peace, Rick
  16. Anonymous Says:
    Sandy, I will miss you
  17. jkw Says:
    Sandy and Dan I think you have a much larger classroom and group of students, of varying ages, that you both continue to teach and expand our minds and life experience. Some of us have been blessed with very little experience in the mortality area. I could not imagine kinder, gentler, or more honest teachers for these hard lessons to share. Once again I thank you and send prayers and love to you all.

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