Saturday, September 13, 2008

Checkin In

Kelly here. It's been a while since the last post, so I thought everyone might appreciate an update. Jeff's condition is unchanged, so the good news is that he has not gotten any worse. He still requires substantial assistance to move anything but his arms and and his head. He prefers to sleep most of the time. However, when he is awake he is generally lucid and conversant. However, he is slow to formulate his thoughts and will sometimes wander off-topic, so visiting with him requires lots of energy and persistence on Jeff's part and lots of patience on the part of others.

He is still able to eat--mostly creamy soups and ice cream or shakes, however he doesn't have much of an appetite. He lies in bed most of the time--sitting in a chair has proven to be too much work and ultimately too uncomfortable.

Jeff has had lots of visitors, cards, and letters. I visit him two or three times a day and generally try to work from his room via wireless internet when I am not in the office. The kids get to visit him everyday, too. Last night was Finn's turn for a one-on-one visit. As soon as we walked in the room, Finn lit up and said, "Da Da." From the beginning, Finn has been a real Daddy's Boy. When Jeff was at home, they had a nightly bedtime ritual where Jeff would lay in bed and Finn would crawl all over him giving him hugs and kisses. Jeff would sing to him and they would laugh. If Finn did not get this special time with Jeff before bed he would either not go to sleep or would wake up in the middle of the night. So, Finn's "Daddy Time" became a must. Now, as little as he is, Finn knows something is different and he misses Jeff's presence at home. Last night, Jack slept on Jeff's side of the bed in our room. Finn woke up extra early this morning and I brought him into bed with me in an effort to get him back to sleep. In the dark and the shadows of the room, Finn could only see that Jeff's side of the bed was occupied, and again, he was instantly alert and eager to play, and as he climbed onto a sleeping Jack, yelled "Da Da" as if for a moment thinking it was all just a bad dream and Daddy was back at home in his bed where Finn always expects him to be.

But despite everything that has changed since Jeff went into hospice, much remains the same. Life goes on and swirls around him. The kids started school, Regan started soccer ("Go Owls!"), Jack is joining Cub Scouts, and Aubrey is cheerleading again this year. I'm so grateful that the kids have been able to follow their routines and that we've been able to keep things as normal as possible for them.

In the meantime, I have to apologize for being woefully behind on returning phone calls and on writing Thank Yous. I'll do my best to get back to everyone. Please know that we appreciate everything everyone is doing for us! Also, I need to let everyone know that we found a new nanny to job-share with our regular nanny, Lauren, so between them (and the Murphys) our child care is covered. Jen is a nanny with a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu. She is the perfect complement to our other nanny, Lauren, who lost her own mother to cancer when she was nine years old. The kids love them both and they are the absolute Dream Team for us!

Finally, and on a happier note, my paralegal, Liz, (who is also one of my best friends) and I both became aunts on the same day this week! Liz's sister, Amanda, gave birth to a baby girl and Jeff's sister, Michelle, gave birth to a baby boy within three hours of each other on September 11th! Congratulations to both of them!

I'll try to post another update soon. Until then . . .

Warm Regards to All!


Terri said...

First off, Congrats to Michelle!!! If he only could have waited two more days he would have shared a b-day with me. Today is my b-day. Hope all you guys are doing well.
Second, I am glad to hear all continues on with you and your family Kelly. All of you are in our prayers and call anytime.

aesturtz said...

We mailed you a card yesterday, but decided to blog also, since it is a faster way to let you know that we are thinking of you. I frequently struggle to remember this...."If He leads you to it, He will guide you through it."
You are all in our prayers and always.
Congrats to you all on the new family additions.
Ed & Annette

Jennifer (Gutschenritter) Meier said...


A Mass was said for you today! Thinking and praying for you and your family!

Jenny Gutschenritter Meier

maureen said...

32,351 visitors to this blog and counting since January-a true testament to the many lives that have been touched by the Dodd Squad.
AlL I can say is thank you for being so real and open to those of us who have grown close to your family even though we have never met face to face. How you all are able to maintain during this most difficult time validates the real presence and peace of God in your lives.
With much love and appreciation
Maureen from Kentucky

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Jim said...

Jeff & Kelly

Through the rain, a candle burned brightly at the Grotto on Saturday for you and your family. God bless -- The Carrigs

Laura Gilbert said...

Jeff, Kelly and Family -- you are in my thoughts and prayers -- constantly. Much love, Laura

Cathy Connors said...

Jeff & Kelly,
Cathy Connors here. It has been a while since I have been in touch. I ran into Pat Reis who told me that Jeff's condition had worsened. I am so sorry to hear this. Please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers daily. May God bless all of you.

Yours in ND,
Cathy Connors
Houston TX

Christine said...

Dear Jeff, Kelly and Family -
You don't know me, I heard about your family through the ND/SMC 'family'. My husband and I are '93 ND & SMC grads.

We have been reading your blog and praying for you during your journey. We are so amazed by your strength. The love you have for each other and your family comes through loud and clear in your writing. We will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Just wanted you to know a couple of people in Wyndmoor, PA are pulling for you.
Peace and Love,
Christine & Mike Kennedy