Friday, December 28, 2007

Many of you are wondering how we are doing. I think the best answer is OK. We are making it through. Each hour can bring a different feeling and a whole range of emotions. We take it day by day, or even minute by minute. We continue to be comforted by the outpouring of tokens of sympathy and appreciate all the cards, meals, baked goods, gifts, flowers and prayers.

Christmas Eve day we spent together. We had a different kind of laid back day. Unfortunately, Ryan was sick before Christmas and Kurtis came down with it Christmas Eve day. We hung out, the kids played and watched some TV as Kurtis wasn't feeling all that great, had naps and laid low.

One other piece of information that some of you may not know is that Tom has a new nanny for the boys. Annette and Tom found Alyssa (hope the spelling is OK) through one of the in-home nurses that came for Annette. The nurse knew they were looking for someone and connected them to Alyssa. The Tuesday before Annette died, she called me and told me that Alyssa had agreed to come and work for them. I could tell that she was so very happy and relieved that they had found somone so quickly, especially since she had phoned me, which she hadn't done for a little while. This was, I believe, one of the final pieces that Annette needed to feel at peace that everything was in place for the boys. Alyssa has many wonderful qualifications, she is able to drive the boys places if needed, she has worked with people with special needs and seems to be a perfect fit. She moved in over the past weekend and is slowly getting to know the family.

Tom and the boys are keeping busy during the time off of school. I think having this time is nice as an adjustment period before jumping back into school and work. I also have enjoyed a slower pace at home to reflect, rest, clean, shop and be with my kids. We continue to covet your prayers.

Wishing you the peace of Christmas,

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Welcome to Holland

Those of you who came to the church might have seen the table displayed with many tulips, a poem and a picture. Some of you might have gotten an explanation, but others might not have been aware of what that was all about.

There is a poem entitled "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Kingsbury that likens the journey of having a child with special needs to a trip. After Annette had Ryan, she became fond of this poem. She also reached out to an internet group that was made up of women (and some men) from all over North America and even the world and became very close friends with them. Together, they shared their journeys. Two of these special women even made the long trip up from Indianna to attend and speak at her funeral on behalf of everyone.

The poem means a lot to many of them. Annette's favourite flower became a tulip because of this poem. Over 25 women from all over Canada and America each sent one single tulip in a bud vase. Together, they made a beautiful arrangement and I know Annette would have been very touched. That is the story behind the stunning table of tulips, which included the poem. Thank you friends, for that wonderful display of flowers, but more importantly for your love for Annette, which was born from the wonderful journey you all share.


WELCOME TO HOLLAND By Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And for some, the pain of that will never go away... because the loss of that dream is a significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What a Day!

We are so overwhelmed and touched by the outpouring of love from so very many of you. The church was packed to the rafters today. I thought the service was so beautiful. Thank you for all of your thoughtful tokens of love and sympathy. Words cannot express all the things we felt yesterday and today.

I have many thoughts and things to share with you about the past six days. However, those will need to wait until another day.

For tonight, a sincere thank you and a wish for God's peace.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Annette Lammer

LAMMER Annette (Bruinsma) Peacefully at home, after a courageous battle with cancer, on Sunday, December 16, 2007, went to be with her Lord, at the age of 41. Annette is the dearly loved wife of Tom and beloved mother of Kurtis and Ryan. Dear daughter of Gordon and Winnie (2006) Bruinsma and sister of Lisa and Steve VanderKuip. A favourite aunt of Sara and Connor. Dear daughter-in-law of John and Theresa Lammer and sister-in-law to Andy. The family will receive friends from 1-4 and 7-9 on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at First Christian Reformed Church, Guelph, 287 Water Street. The funeral will be at First Christian Reformed Church on Wednesday, December 19 at 11:00 am. Interment to follow at Woodlawn Cemetery. If desired, memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society, Canadian Cancer Society or Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Dear family and friends,

Annette went to be with her Lord at 1:00 am this morning, peacefullly. We are grateful for her peace, though we miss her greatly already.
We will post more details as they are made.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,

"I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken for He is right beside me." (Psalm 16:8)

This past summer, we received the disappointing news that the trial that Annette was on was no longer keeping the cancer at bay. We continued to hope and pray for a miracle through a new trial. This fall proved to be a tougher time for Annette, and she has become very frail and weak. The cancer continued to progress.

We now find ourselves at this time having to share this most difficult news with you. Annette, at present, is comfortably resting, surrounded by her family who loves her dearly. However, it seems her time here is ending.

We have been blessed to have this time to talk and share, laugh and cry together, and cling to the hope that soon she will be healed in heaven.

We spoke about her blog this afternoon. Annette wanted to wish everyone her love. She is so very thankful for all of you and for all of the support she has received over this time.

She is surrounded by her family at home, which is what she wants. Visits aren’t practical for Annette, but we will keep you updated through her blog.

Thank you for all your support, love and prayers.

Annette, Tom, Gord, Lisa and families

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It's been a tough haul...

It's been hard work getting better and I'm still not there.

My legs still are the size of tree trunks (and they look like them too). The doctor decided today that the diuretics weren't doing any good so we agreed to stop taking them. Instead I'm too wrap my feet and legs in compression bandages and see how that works. (Chris - I think you suggested that???).

I'm also needing oxygen regularly. That's something I haven't shared here before. I started using oxygen at night about 5 weeks ago. Now I've started needing oxygen day and night all the time. The oxygen helps so much with sleeep and daily activities.

and finally, the other tough thing is that we're losing our nanny. :( She's heading back to school in January and giving it another shot. I'm happy for her but sad for us. We now need to find another nanny - and soon!!

That's all for now. Sorry it's such a short one but Kurtis just came home from scool and I've got to help getting snacks!