The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Friday, December 19, 2008


I arrived into Sacramento late last night after an hour and a half delay in Denver. Our dear friend Warren, who was also the "Best Man" from our wedding 20 years ago, graciously agreed to pick me up and drive me two hours home at 11:30 at night. Thank you so much Warren for taking time out of your day (night!) to do this for me!

The Christmas lights were on when we arrived...

Gayle has the house looking so cheerful for my mom and her visitors.

My mom was sleeping when I got home, but woke up after a few minutes. We had a nice conversation and she enjoyed hearing about the party in Ashlyn's 2nd grade class. She smiled and giggled hearing about all crafts and fun the kids had with the frosted "Christmas trees" we made out of ice cream cones, frosting, and candies.

This morning she took another turn, and has been fairly unresponsive for most of the day waking only briefly. Her breathing has changed, and is becoming more congested. Several friends stopped by to say their, "goodbyes" which is difficult not only for them, but for those of us standing by. It is a necessary part of this process and one that will surely not get any easier.

My mom can only take liquids from an eye dropper now, and all medications have been stopped except for morphine which is given round the clock to manage pain. She is sleeping comfortably under a very special blanket that my mother in law Billie made for her. This blanket is extra special because Billie made it with such love, and also because it is made out of T-shirts that belonged to my Dad! She is covered with a reminder of him, and that is such a comfort.

Yesterday the parish priest came and prayed over her, giving her a special blessing and the "Anointing of the Sick." Gayle said that this was quite comforting for her as well.

She has lost a considerable amount of weight, and is unable to keep more than a few spoonfuls of food down. She is very weak and can no longer hold her head up, with the right side of her body being most affected. She continues to interject a thought here or there, even with her eyes closed, and seems to enjoy listening to the conversations. Tonight Annette, Gayle, Sharon (one of her night time caregivers)and myself were sharing stories of growing up. During one particular story she chuckled out loud and it was so delightful to hear her laughter.

Gayle made us all a delicious hearty beef stew, green salad, and sourdough bread which was enjoyed by 6 of us! Gayle's husband Mike stopped by and my mom was so tickled to hear his voice. She refers to him as her "bread man" since he brings her a favorite type of bread from Costco on his shopping trips. She seemed to become more alert when she heard his deep voice compared to the jabber of all the ladies!

The CNA came by to give her a sponge bath, and the Hospice nurse, "Chuck" also stopped by to check on her. When he arrived she was feeling nauseous and had her head leaning into a can...he jokingly said, "Well Lorraine, are you trying to find an echo in there?" This tickled her too and she no longer felt sick after his comment. Humor is such good medicine!

Chuck believes she has a few days to a week at most before she makes her "transition" (a term used in Hospice language.) He commented on what a special lady she is and how he wishes he could have known her before her tumor. He also said that he believed she would pass peacefully. He felt confident in this because he has been with many patients through the dying process. He had learned that those who have lived a life of community service, are secure in their faith, and who are on positive terms with their family members, have the most peaceful passing. It was interesting to hear this perspective from someone who has worked in Hospice for 20 years.

I anticipate more changes in the coming days and have cancelled my flight home until next week. I will keep you posted regularly now from home as Annette helped me figure out how to use the lap top with my mom's old Mac...(the ethernet cable was the key!) Now I don't have to leave to go to Starbucks to post an entry.

Remember to live fully, and savor every day...


Anonymous said...

We are praying for you and your family. Enjoy your time with you Mom. Sending you both love from Redding, Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Denise,
It's 2:14am here and I'm the only one up. Everyone else will be getting up at 3:30am to start our journey to New Mexico! I wanted to check the blog and see how everything was going. Even though we know what's coming, it definitely doesn't make it any easier (as I'm typing this through very teary eyes). We will all say a prayer for Lorraine. Like with my Dad, isn't it comforting knowing that they are going to a much better place? Anyhow, we're thinking about you guys and we send lots of love and hugs. Please give your Mom a hug and kiss from all of us! By the way, a special someone really loved your blog entry (we ALL did)!!!

Beth said...

Hi Denise,
I read your entry with a heavy heart. I am so glad you are able to be there with your mom during this time, but know that this must be increbibly challenging. I know I've said it before, but you are such a wonderful and devoted daugther. Your mom is very lucky to have you, as you are lucky to have her. I know you have said your mom has handled the last year with such dignity, grace and optimism and you, my friend, have done the same. We are all thinking of you back here in CO. It is early and getting colder by the moment as I head to Denver for "mission day" with my team and for a long run. I was dreading the cold temps, but your post gives me a reminder of why I am doing this and I am inspired by your love for your mom, her love for you, all the wonderful deeds she has done on this earth and all of the meaningful relationships she has created and nurtured over the years. That is what it is all about. I am praying and hoping for a peaceful transition for her and am sending you much love and support.

stefanie said...

Celebrate Me Home -- that song just took on a new glad that she has so many people celebrating her life with her, and that you all are supporting her and each other so beautifully.

Again, at a loss for words. I am praying for you all.

He loves you with an everlasting love(Psalm 103:27), and underneath are the everlasting arms(Deut. 33:27).

Anonymous said...

My Grandma died on xmas day years ago and I always thought it was very appropriate because she had been such a spiritual and goodhearted person. I know that's not quite the same as losing a parent, but I hope the holiday season will always be a special time for you to reminisce, also. Your notes about your mom have been such an inspiration to me, I will include her in my fond memories at this time of year.

sue bakalar said...


You and your family are in my hearts, and in my prayers. You and your mom are such amazing women... thank you for sharing this journey with us. Know that many prayers are being said for peace and strength.

Love and hugs,

Kim said...

Dear Denise and Lorraine,
I'm so glad the two of you are together now. It is so very special to read your updates, Denise, as there are many of us "out here" who want to keep up with you. Lorraine, I can hear the sound of your laughter as Denise writes about it. I remember it well. And your cheery smiles, too! God is blessing you both by having you together at this precious time.
kim l.

Lorri said...

Denise, thank you for the update...I thought of you this morning in prayer and it's good to hear what's going on although I can only imagine how very hard this must be.

We love you, Lorri and Scott