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A Season of Transition

Posted by on October 2, 2013 in RCC News & Research - 5 Comments

By now, most of you know that Chris died on August 8th. We held a beautiful ceremony in Savannah – including an internment service at Bonaventure Cemetery – the place that Chris and I chose together.

Shortly after, the girls and I made the pilgrimage back to our home in Virginia. Looking back, this drive that was so weighted with significance was remarkably insignificant. The girls complained as usual. We went to Cracker Barrel as usual. We sat in traffic north of Richmond as usual. But when we arrived home, our house was decorated with flowers and balloons – not usual. There were boxes full of cards, flower deliveries, meals being dropped off at regular intervals. Appreciated beyond belief – but still, unusual.

We held another amazing service to celebrate Chris’s life at Grace Church in Alexandria, the church that he and I chose together.

In this time following Chris’s death, the usual and the unusual have continued to intertwine. Fitting for the season of fall – a season of transition. Like the temperature, my days and moments are unpredictable. Some days are better, some worse; some moments are joyful, some too painful to think about. Like the kids when they leave the house each morning, I’m rarely prepared for the emotional weather. Either lacking a sweatshirt or too layered for an unseasonably warm afternoon.

It is a season though, and I know that over time, the moments of pain and loss will become less frequent. The usual will become more usual once again.

Since you will all ask, because you all care so much, the girls are doing well. They both have wonderful teachers this year. While the loss is great, they are also enjoying some of the consistency that was lacking in our lives when we were so focused on the battle against cancer. I’m remarkably proud of both of them for being so loving to me and to one another during this time.

I’m working through thank you notes, but please treat this blog post as a giant public thank you. Our family, friends, and neighbors have surrounded us with love, memories of Chris, gifts, hugs, meals, the list goes on. I’m so grateful. I’m also humbled to tell you that together, in memory of Chris, we have raised more than $40,000 for kidney cancer research at Johns Hopkins. There is more exciting news to come on that front too – but that’s for another blog post.

Speaking of blog posts, you might be wondering what will happen to the Kidney Cancer Chronicles blog. I can’t quite give out full details yet (because I’m still working through them), but I do plan to keep the blog open and updated as a resource for others battling kidney cancer.

I’m also posting some of the things that were written by others in honor of Chris, as well as a very funny piece by Chris that was read at the service in Alexandria. You’ll find them in the essay section.

As I noted in my eulogy, while Chris is no longer with us, we were blessed to have so many of his words – and they still live on.

  • Mprazma

    Dena – I must have missed that post! I am so sorry for your loss. Chris has been in my prayers and there will be an extra special one tonight. I wish you and the girls strength and happiness. Thank you for all your family has done for all kidney cancer people! Love, Mary Prazma

  • Chris Fegles

    Dena, it is so very good to hear from you again, although my eyes are moist. I eagerly read and am thankful for your update. Like so many others do too, i would love to be able to be close enough to offer help, to give you hugs and just be present . . . . but nothing & no one can ever replace Chris, or lessen the grief you are experiencing. We know that, but we do ache deeply for you Dena. We also can pray you through this & through this next chapter and eventually help welcome you & the girls into your new normal.
    Thanks for sharing your heart with us, ~ chris & mike ~

  • Tom Schranck


    Thanks for posting this. Its great to hear from you and was also very nice to read The essay you posted from Chris. It made me smile.

    God Bless,

    Tom Schranck

  • Bill Bro

    It’s good to know this will be kept online as a resource for patients. Your family’s experiences are valuable ones to share with others who must walk the same path.

  • Marianne

    Day by day Dena….like always….

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