10-04-11

It has been four weeks since Bruce passed away, and I felt the need to write just a quick note to thank everyone again so much for all their support and best wishes.  I now know what an incredible help those heartfelt words are, what solace it brings to read the comments about Bruce and what he has meant to so many.

I ventured back to Johns Hopkins nearly two weeks ago, to thank Bruce’s doctors and nurses for their amazing care and concern.  We could not have asked for a better team – their dedication to Bruce and their other patients is truly astonishing.  

In going back to the hospital I was also, of course, looking for answers.  What happened that last day?  Why did he suddenly fail after having such a good day just the day before?  Unfortunately there were no hard and fast answers.  The doctors told me they often see patients rally one last time before the end.  They talked about his fragile state, how any one thing could have tipped the balance.   His oncologist told me his mental picture was Bruce’s baseball cap just swimming on his head – that Bruce just couldn’t gain back the weight and strength he needed after his transplant.   One of his pulmonologists said that Bruce was in incredibly hostile terrain – dealing with both the effect of the bone marrow transplant and his chronic GVHD.      

One thing I’ve learned all too well is that there so much that doctors simply don’t know and can’t predict, let alone control.   

So many people have told me that in reading the blog- they felt as though they had ventured along with us on this long journey.  And really – all of you have.  You’ve been there for the highs – and the lows.  You’ve been there with words of encouragement and hope and wisdom and humor.   As much as Bruce “gave” to others through the blog, he got back so much more from all of you.  He was humbled and honored at your comments and your concern. 

My children and I will join many others to walk in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” walk later this month.  We will think of Bruce and the brave fight he waged.  We will think of all of you, right there with us.

The words “Thank You” somehow seem insufficient, but know that I mean them from the bottom of my heart.

Love,

Lisa

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14 Responses to “”

  1. Cheryl McCullough Says:

    My thoughts of sympathy and of love will continue for your family. I am simply a blog reader, who chanced upon Bruce’s blog within days of him having started it, and I’ll repeat my sentiment, that even though I have not met your family, Lisa, I feel the love and strong bond through Bruce’s words.

    Peace and love always,

    Cheryl McCullough
    Vancouver, BC

  2. judy moss Says:

    It is so nice to hear from you, Lisa. We followed every word that you and Bruce wrote on this blog. I wish that I could have joined Larry at Bruce’s funeral….he said it was amazing. Please know that you and your children will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Bruce will never be forgotten. We look forward to seeing you when you come back to Memphis. In the meantime, take care and stay well.
    Love, Judy and Larry

  3. darya nasr Says:

    Dear Lisa,
    My heart jumped when I saw the email from Bruce’s blog, as if for a split second I thought we had erased the past 4 weeks….. I wanted to tell you that I am at such awe of both Rachel and Ethan. The strength that both you and Bruce showed during the past 2 years are definitely there in both of them. I know you have heard this a million times by now, but Rachel’s words at her Father’s memorial touched us all in a very special way.
    With much love,
    Darya and the Nasrs

  4. Karen Jaffe Says:

    Lisa, you have given us an important gift. While there is never real closure when a dear friend is lost the idea of your brave trip back to Hopkins and the unanswered questions we all have had is helped by some of the doctors’ comments. Not totally but a little. At least that they were asked. Because like the blog….we all thought Bruce would be going on. And maybe if it continues in some iteration then he is going on with us. and that is comforting.

    You and the kids are amazing – the word cannot do justice to all you have been through and continue to handle.

    Much love from a member of Team BBD we’re still with you

    xxoo Karen & Sara Jaffe and Bob Price

  5. Catherine O'Brien Says:

    Lisa, I gasped when I received the blog email. Thought it was all a bad dream and that there had been a mistake and Bruce was again writing. Funny how our minds work. I really miss hearing from him.

    I want to thank you for your grace in all this and your kind care of me and his other friends. I am thinking of you with love.
    Catherine

  6. joel steinberg Says:

    Dear Lisa: We are still down about Bruce’s passing. He was just a really great guy. Joel and Margaret Steinberg

  7. Donna Hill Howes Says:

    Dearest Lisa,
    You are an inspirtation to us all….a true gift to our hearts. Please know that we shall always “have your back” and will stay in good touch. Bruce lives on in you and your beautiful children. Love and more love,
    Donna

  8. Art Ulene Says:

    Dear Lisa,

    Bruce and I made a powerful connection through our shared love of “A Piece of My Mind”, which Bruce edited for JAMA, and which he loved so much. Through Bruce, I persuaded the AMA to let me publish a selection of those essays in a book of the same title. Bruce and I wrote Forewords, and Bruce added a number of short explanatory introductions to essay groups that shared a similar theme. His initroduction to the essays on dealt and dying included the following:

    “I spent almost a decade of my life LIVING in a hospital. I slept and dreamed while encircled by the restless nights of others. I ate my meals surrounded by those getting their sustenance from plastic tubes inserted into their veins. I walked into rooms from which others would never leave. I worked and I played and I spent most of my dats in a place where most people are frightened to go.
    How do you deal with it? Most of the time you just have to laugh.”

    I am not laughing now, but the thought of Bruce makes me smile. He was so passionate about medicine! He was so good at what he did! He was so smart! He was such a good human being! I miss him, but I am smiling.

    Last year, in the midst of all the struggles, I set aside the best bottle of wine I owned, and wrote on the label: “To be shared with Bruce Dan.” It sat in a closet… waiting for his cure… which was not to come. A few days after receiving your message, I opened the bottle…. took a few sips.. thought of Bruce… and smiled. I did that each night, until the bottle ran dry two days ago. My fond memories of Bruce will never run dry.

    I am grateful to you and Bruce for sharing his battle with us. I’m sorry it was so painful for Bruce and your family. Once again, I quote Bruce. The last words of his Foreword for “A Piece of My Mind” were: “This is as real as it gets.”

    I’m smiling again… through tears.

    Priscilla and I send our love to you and Rachel and Ethan…. ART

  9. winnie Says:

    my heart goes out to you and your children
    we cannot replace Bruce’s love for all of you,but keep in mind that we do care and will be available when n eeded
    love Winnie

  10. Ken and Ruth Says:

    Dear Lisa,

    The heart, soul, strength and wisdom you family has shown over these past months have been inspirational and motivational to everyone who shared this difficult journey with you. Though one road has ended, new ones lie ahead, and we’re here should you want or need traveling companions along the way. It would be our joy to help Rachel, Ethan and you perpetuate Bruce’s legacy of loving, learning and laughing.

    Fondy,
    Ken and Ruth

  11. wendy dan Says:

    Dearest Lisa, Letting go is so hard. I have been holding onto all my spiritual beliefs and that’s helped me plug through day by day. I didn’t realize how tightly I was holding on until I read your blog. And like Bruce, you touched me and my soul. And I shed tears and mourned for the lose of a father for Rachel and Ethan and for you for the lose of your partner in life and I shed a tear for all that you and Bruce had to endure through all of this. Yet, the voice that echos in my head is yours. It was what you said at the service. That you wouldn’t have traded the last 10 months for anything. And that you and Bruce rediscovered why you fell in love. I hold that close to my heart and it helps me. I’m sure it does for you too. Love, Wendy

  12. Judie Davidson Says:

    Dear Lisa,
    Bruce’s blog is still an icon on my desktop; I just happened to click on it and to my surprise you wrote about your past visit to Hopkins. Thank you. My sadness is relieved a bit knowing that Rachel, Ethan, and you will carry on Bruce’s legacy in your own, unique ways.
    Love,
    Judie

  13. Laurie Samuels Says:

    I too, still have Bruce’s Blog on my laptop. I think of him often and the journey I shared with him throughout his illness via that blog… I pray that you and the children continue to draw strength from family and friends that love you so much. I hope the New Year brings happiness and good health.

    I know Bruce will continue to live on through us all, as he touched so many with his knowledge, humor, and kindness.
    Love, Laurie

  14. wendy dan Says:

    I saw a rainbow, my spiritual sign, coming home from work last week. It was a perfect rainbow arched above the freeway where you could see where it started and ended. It was amazing. I stopped traffic so I could take a picture. I jumped out of my car. No one honked. It was amazing. I said out loud, “thank you, Bruce.”
    I hope you get a sign that he is well and safe and doing ok, So you know that there is a sense of peace for him now. And that gives you a sense of peace about all things. Love you Lisa, Rachel and Ethan.

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