Wednesday, September 14, 2016

And There Shall Be No More Death - Sept 14th

It has been two weeks since Beth passed. I am not yet ready to write about all of the pain, all of the mircales, all of the love, all of the long nights, all of the thoughts that have filled my head over the past two weeks. I just don't have the energy to do so yet. Therefore I will share a General Conference talk from this past April. Elder Paul Johnson perfectly explains that despite the deep sadness and loss I feel why I am able to keep moving forward.  I know I will see Beth again.



I will also share some of the images that our friend Lee Ann Norris captured from the services this weekend.  What an amazing job she did.  Thank you!

More posts are coming.  I can't say when, but I do have much to say.










Monday, September 12, 2016

Hardship vs Happiness - Sept 12th

Beth taught me so much. I miss learning from her. She posted this 6 months before her passing.  Long live #TheBethEffect 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Now Here's a Little Story I've Got to Tell... Sept 7th

Well, it's looking like another sleepless night for me. I've had about 5 hours of sleep TOTAL over the last two nights.

So since we are still all up, I thought I'd share with you a funny story about some of the last words Beth spoke. It was 3 days before she passed (Sunday). It was the last day she was able to really talk. I helped her sit up to use the bathroom. She was so weak that I had to hold her up so that she wouldn't tip over. As we sat on the side of the bed, my arm wrapped around her holding her up, we waited for her to gain strength to try and move to the toilet. Out of nowhere she very faintly started rapping the opening verse of the Beastie Boys, Paul Revere - "Now here's a little story I've got to tell about 3 bad brothers you know so well..."   

I just love that crazy, spunky girl. She was so funny and full of life up till the very end. I laughed and
just imagined her laying in bed all that time reciting song lyrics in her head. 

I think a lot of her friends would be surprised to know exactly how much rap and hip hop Beth listened to. She would always listen to the edited versions and she always would make me laugh anytime she would hear one of her favorite rap songs but accidentally hear the unedited version. She was always so shocked and upset that they were using foul language. "Why does Tupac have to curse so much". She cracked me up.

I wish I could find out how many people's lasts words were lyrics to a Beastie Boys song. I'm serious, I think she said maybe 3 more words after her impromptu rap session (for the record those last 3 words were "l love you").  

Man I miss her so much.


Disclaimer: Beth would want me to point out that in this picture she was NOT miserably failing at throwing up the "Westside" W sign.  Her missionary companion took this picture on their P-day and Beth was saying " Only 3 more months till I come home".  

Friday, September 2, 2016

Obituary for Bethany Campbell Mowrey

www.brunners.com/obituaries/Bethany-Mowrey/#!/Obituary

Obituary for Bethany Campbell Mowrey
Bethany Campbell Mowrey age 40 of Hudson, OH, formerly of Redondo Beach, CA, died Wednesday August 31, 2016 at home surrounded by her family. She was born March 1, 1976 in Torrance, CA.

Bethany loved being a wife of 17 years to Alan Mowrey and mother to Benson, Ella, Caroline & Lily Mowrey, daughter to Neal and Nancy Campbell, sister to David Campbell and Christi (Michael) Cluff, aunt to Chancellor Campbell, London, Ashton, Holland, Joseph, Alexander, Truman & Elijah Cluff, Emily and Anna Crow, sister in law to Randall Lopez and dog lover to Poppy.

She is preceded in death by her sister Rebecca Lopez, niece: Sam Lopez and nephew Bo Lopez.

The family will receive friends from 4-7 pm Friday September 9, 2016 and 10- 11 am Saturday September 10, 2016 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 8751 Kirtland Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094.

The funeral service will be 11 am Saturday September 10, 2016 at the church.

Interment: North Kirtland Cemetery, Kirtland, Ohio.

Arrangements Entrusted to Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 8466 Mentor Ave. Mentor, OH. 44060.

Send flowers or offer condolences at www.brunners.com

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I'm Trying - Sept 1st

Beth’s services will take place on Sept 9th and Sept 10th.  Both the viewing on Sept 9th from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. and the funeral services on Sept 10th at 10 A.M. will take place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Kirtland Ohio (8751 Kirtland Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094), which is about 30 minutes east of Cleveland.  More complete details coming within the next day or so.

I thought I knew what today was going to be like. I knew the “day after” would be hard but today was so much harder than I expected. I feel a physical emptiness in my stomach.  Numb. I am really struggling.  I’m so heartbroken I can barely think straight.  Beth and I were a team.  We were such a great team.  We complimented each other so perfectly. I am struggling to envision doing this without my partner in crime.   

Lily also had a hard time today.  We spent a lot of time crying together.  She wants everything to go back to normal.  She doesn’t want us to move anything, pack away any of Beth’s stuff and she wants everyone to stop acting like things are normal. I am 100% with her.  

I think this will be the last blog post for a while; probably until at least after the funeral. I have not yet decided if I will continue to post on this site.  I feel like I need to close this story, print it out and put it on the shelf so that the #TheBethEffect can live on. So that our kids and our grandkids can pick it up and read about how amazing their mother/grandmother was.  

Then there is the other part of me that wants to continue on. To keep Beth close to us. To see how the #TheBethEffect will continue to permeate our lives as we adjust and move on.

To continue or not to continue is just one of the hundreds of concerns and worries that I have thought of today.  We’ll see.

Lastly, just a little glimpse into what a complete mess I am.  Today I was putting some things away and noticed a jacket that had been hanging on a hook on the back of the door leading to the garage. It had been there for a very long time.  I grabbed it off the hook and there under the jacket was Beth’s purse that had been hanging in the same position for months now. I broke down sobbing knowing that the owner of that purse will never use it again. It has been the small things like this that have really gotten to me today.  I think I heard Beth yell down from heaven, “Dude pull yourself together”. I’m trying babe, I’m trying.



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Until We Meet Again - Aug 31st

I hesitated to write anything tonight but I promised Beth a few months ago that I would update this blog everyday until after she passed.  This afternoon Beth had a glorious reunion with her sister and her Heavenly Father.  She waited until everyone was together - her husband, four kids, sister, mom, dad, uncle, aunt and two cousins.  It was a peaceful passing and the spirit was so strong.  

Over the 8 years this family has gotten through this trial by laughing more than we cried, finding the blessings instead of focusing on the hardships and by focusing on the eternal perspective versus a worldly one. Beth’s temporary separation from us will not change our approach to this trial or others to come.  

I know that Beth will live again and that we will be reunited with her one day. I have thought a lot today about how wonderful it will be to be greeted by Beth when we are called home.

Today was hard, harder than I expected.  Tomorrow will be hard.  But we will get through this.  

I have never loved anyone more than Beth.  I have never been loved more than Beth loved me.  Until we meet again my love!

This was the last kiss Beth gave me.  It was 10 days ago. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

“Well Done, Thou Good and Faithful Servant" - Aug 30th

Beth is very close to the end. She has slept all day, has not eaten anything and has only had about 3 oz of water as we had to crush up her pain meds, mix it with water and give it to her through a syringe.  Our prayers have changed from praying for time to praying that Heavenly Father calls her home soon.  Her work is done here. I was laying in bed last night watching Beth sleep and envisioned that moment when she is reunited with her Father in Heaven and He embraces her saying, Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I then imagined Him saying, “Now let’s get to work.”  


As I alluded to, Beth is still taking oral pain meds. As long as she can still swallow liquids she will not need to be on morphine.  I expect Beth to pass before she ever needs morphine.  What a fitting way  for Beth to go out  - tough till the very end.


About a week ago Beth was telling me about a dream she had. Beth has told me before that she so much wishes she could talk to me as she passes.  She wishes she could describe what she sees, who is there, what it feels like. In her dream she had passed away and was told that she could describe to me only ONE thing in detail about what she sees.  Beth promptly started to describe a striped dog bowl sitting in the middle of the room. She described it to me in full detail including exactly how much water was in the bowl.  After realizing what she wasted her ONE and only chance to describe something she was so mad at herself.  “Of all of the beautiful things there is why in the world would I describe a dog bowl of all things?”

Sunday was the last day that we were able to have any type of real conversation with Beth. Each of our children were able to spend about 15 -20 minutes with her. I am so thankful for that time they got to spend.









Monday, August 29, 2016

#TheBethEffect - Aug 29th

I am emotionally fatigued.  All I will say tonight is that Beth is still fighting. Last night all I did the entire night was watch her breathe while she slept. She would take a deep breathe and then wouldn’t breathe again for about 10-12 seconds. I sat there waiting for her to gasp for air, hoping that she would. The good thing is that Beth is not in pain and that is such a blessing.  


So many sweet moments tonight.  Tonight was one of the first nights in 2 months where it was just the six of us together as a family.  The house was quiet and reverent.  So much peace.


As we were getting ready for bed, I went into Ella’s room and just hugged her. She has never really had a good cry. Tonight she sobbed in my arms. I didn’t say anything to her, I just let her cry.

As I held her, I looked over her shoulder and saw these Post-It Notes stuck to her mirror.  A few months ago our friend Jonathan back home in LA started a hashtag #TheBethEffect.  It’s all I could think of as I read those Post-It Notes while holding a sobbing Ella.  Ella is a little mini Beth; she has for sure been hit with #TheBethEffect.




Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Tender Mercies of the Lord - Aug 28th

The last few days have been very hard but there also have been some incredible, touching moments that we have been able to experience as Beth prepares to return home. Some have been fleeting moments, some have been memories, some have been conversations with family.  Last night I had one of those experiences. This morning, I woke up and was pondering about what happened and was reminded of a talk and true principle that was taught by one of our General Authorities.  

In 2005, Elder David A Bednar, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a General Conference Talk titled, The Tender Mercies of the Lord.  He describes the “tender mercies of the Lord” as “the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Last night I had an opportunity to experience one of the Lord’s tender mercies. After two days of not being awake or coherent for most of the day, Beth woke up a little before 2am. She nudged me and woke me up and said, “Alan, what happened today?  I don’t remember anything.”  She was as wide awake, alert and articulate as she has been in the last week or so. Her voice was clear and not raspy; her voice actually startled me as I had not heard that voice in weeks. Sleepily I rolled over and answered her. We talked about about what happened during the day, who had come over to visit, what the kids did.  She told me about some of the dreams she has had, some funny and some more serious.  We shared memories.  We just talked, like we used to do every night before bed.  Our conversation ended up lasting almost 2 hours.  I had so longed for a chance to talk to Beth like that - uninterrupted for an extended period of time.  It was a blessing, therapy for me, a tender mercy of the Lord.  

Elder Bednar taught us that, “...the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings.” I am so thankful that I was able to recognize and treasure this blessing I had been given.  

Lastly, Elder Bednar testified that “...that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us.”



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Time to Shut it Down (visitors) - Aug 27th

Very tough day today. We have made a decision that visits are no longer able to happen. Beth has been asleep for 2 days now. She is not eating or drinking and is not very responsive when we try and wake her. She has a hard time communicating or keeping a train of thought. I hope you all can understand that we need the time we have left (especially time when she is alert and awake) to be with family.


For those out of state that were trying to come visit Beth soon, please consider replacing a visit now with a trip out for the funeral services. They will be held in Kirtland at the Stake Center.  


For our local friends, we can’t thank you enough for all of the time spent and love you have given Beth. Beth had three visitors today and none of them were able to talk to Beth as she never woke up. Visitors have been a source of anxiety and concern for Beth lately. The last 3 or 4 days Beth has been very anxious knowing that people were going to be coming over and that she would feel the need to be awake or converse.  We have decided to take that stress off her plate and shut down all visitors.  


Lastly, I just looked on Beth’s phone and she has not replied to a single text since early Wednesday (and even on Wednesday she only replied to two people). I just wanted to let you all know so that no one gets offended that she is not responding.  


Today I made it a point talk to each kid one on one and let them know that time is short. Lots of tears but all of the conversations went well. I am going to let the kids decide if they want to stay home from school this week and be with their mom.  

Tough conversations are much easier while eating a Swenson's Burger




















I remember asking Dr T. a few months ago what to expect the last few days before Beth passes.  She said, Beth will sleep more. She won’t be able to communicate much.  She will not want to eat or drink and she will become very weak.  She will basically fade away.  I hate that I see that this is what is happening.  


On Wednesday, after her panic attack because she couldn’t breathe, I told her that I am not ready for her to pass.  I asked her if she was ready and she said, “Some days I think I am”.  


When Lily and I were talking tonight, she said, “Dad, I don’t want you to get remarried.”  I asked why not. She said, “You don’t need to, you have me.”  Oh boy, did I ever lose it.  

Man this sucks.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Let's Take a Break - Aug 26th

Anyone else sick and tired of Beth hogging up all of the attention on this blog??? I mean, EVERYDAY it’s all about Beth!  Right??  Who’s with me? Hello? Anyone?  

Ok, well despite what everyone really wants we are going to take a day off of talking about Beth and give you all some insights on what’s going on with everyone else in the family.

Alan - Still riding the high from two Championships at work (Cavs and Lake Erie Monsters). Trying to play basketball as much as I can. Fired up that I found two increible taco joints in Cleveland, on back to back days. Las Americas in Bedford  (Thanks Smiths and Pattersons) and Taco Tontos in Kent (Thanks Talentinos). Only took 4 years to find good mexican food.  

  • Last movie watched: Reverent (Thanks to the magic of VidAngel.com)
  • First Song that popped up on your Spotify playlist when you hit shuffle: El Camino, Amos Lee
  • Best thing that happened this summer: Spending time in Florida with family.
  • If you had a $100 what you buy/do: Buy new basketball shoes.

Ben - Started 10th grade.  Slowly learning how to drive.  Hasn’t figured out how to properly backup.  Dying for the Cavs season to start.  Loves to read and write.  

  • Last movie watched: Reverent (Thanks to the magic of VidAngel.com)
  • First Song that popped up on your Spotify playlist when you hit shuffle: On Top of the World, Imagine Dragons
  • Best thing that happened this summer: Cavs winning a Championship and being in the parade.
  • If you had a $100 what you buy/do: Go to a New York Knicks game.

Ella - Started 9th grade.  LOVES school.  Trying to get into the College Credit Plus program so she can start knocking out College. Wants to be a doctor.  

  • Last movie watched: Princess and the Frog
  • First Song that popped up on your Spotify playlist when you hit shuffle: When Will my Life Begin, Tangled Soundtrack.
  • Best thing that happened this summer: Went to EFY.
  • If you had a $100 what you buy/do: Put it in the bank.

Caroline - started 7th grade. Made the Middle School Soccer team.  Wants to play basketball and Lacrosse as well.  Loves her new long board. Wants to major in Sports Management in college.

  • Last movie watched: Soul Surfer
  • First Song that popped up on your Spotify playlist when you hit shuffle: Roses, The Chainsmokers
  • Best thing that happened this summer: Girls Camp
  • If you had a $100 what you buy/do: Go to Dicks Sporting Goods

Lily - started the 6th grade (Middle School).  Obsessed with the Jones’ litter of puppies.  “Will DIE waiting to turn 13 so she can get an Instagram account”.  Plays rec soccer and loves to read.

  • Last movie watched: Sixth Sense
  • First Song that popped up on your Spotify playlist when you hit shuffle: Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying, Sabrina Carpenter
  • Best thing that happened this summer: Ziplining with cousins.
  • If you had a $100 what you buy/do: Buy a puppy

Grandma Mowrey - secretly loves being here to take care of Beth.  Just saw 2 plays - Kinky Boots and Steel Magnolias and loved them.  

  • Last movie watched: Miracles from Heaven
  • First Song that popped up on your Spotify playlist when you hit shuffle: WHAT IS SPOTIFY?
  • Best thing that happened this summer: Moved to Florida
  • If you had a $100 what you buy/do: Buy lottery tickets.

Poppy  (Dog) - Just had ACL surgery.  Has to wear the dreaded Cone of Shame.  Super stressed out about Beth.  

Now back to our regular schedule programming….

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I Don't Like Feeling Like The Smartest One in the Room... - Aug 25th

I have only had a few times during the last 8 years of Beth having cancer that I have legitimately “freaked out”.  Yesterday was one of them. In yesterday’s post I talked about how Beth had one of her hardest days yet and she was starting to panic because she couldn’t breathe. I mentioned that I called her doctor in Chicago and we agreed that Beth should start home hospice care.  The reason we decided to start home hospice care is because Beth is suffering.  It is getting increasingly harder and harder for her to breathe.  We increased her oxygen output to the highest setting - 5 liters/per hour.  She is very weak and frail.  She can no long walk to the bathroom. Doctor T said that there is really nothing more that can be done to help her symptoms and that it is time to stop Beth’s suffering and let hospice come in and get Beth on morphine.  Morphine will help with her pain but more importantly it will relieve her sense of breathlessness.  Doctor T then gave me this warning, something that I will never forget, she said, “Alan, I need to tell you that once morphine is started things will move very quick”. I asked for clarification and she said, “Expect Beth to pass quickly after she is on morphine. I am talking more like days, not weeks”.  


When Dr T told me this I had to sit down. My mind started racing. Days??? How could that be? She was just playing Taboo with all of her High School friends 4 days ago. This can't be right. We are not ready for this. I knew that time was short but I never in my wildest dreams thought it was days away.

Morphine will suppress her respiration and tell her brain that it is okay that she can’t catch her breath. In Dr T words, “It will allow for a peaceful passing instead of a painful suffering that she is going through now”.


I left work and came home early.  On the way home I called Beth’s sister and told her to come. I was about to call Beth's parents but did not as I wanted to meet with hospice in the morning and get some more information. Christi is only 4 hours away where as Beth’s parents are 12 hours away. I wanted to make sure I had all of the information before calling and having them trying to race here.  


So we met with hospice this morning.  The nurse was great and was able to lessen some of our fears and concerns about morphine and give us a better understanding of exactly what their role will be. She said that hospice is not there to extend or shorten Beth’s life. They are there to make sure she is as comfortable as possible.


Beth was doing very well this morning when the hospice nurse came as she was able to get a decent night's sleep. The nurse evaluated her and talked about what care she would be receiving. At the end of the visit she said from what she saw Beth was alert, her pain was manageable and her breathing, while labored, was adequate. She said that if we can stay ahead of her pain, anxiety and breathing problems by using her current mix of medications that morphine will not be needed at this time. She did say that as the disease progresses or if Beth is no longer able to take medications orally they would move to a very low dose of morphine.  


Overall, we were very impressed and happy with what hospice will bring to Beth’s care.  Her time is not DAYS. Her time probably isn’t months though either. We will continue to pray for quality time, comfort and peace. We are so grateful for all of the prayers on our behalf. Everything will be okay.  We know how this story ends. One of our friends left this beautiful reminder in the comment sections of yesterday’s post. It was something her sister said to her as she was going through her own battle with cancer. It rings true for all of us, “...you know, in a hundred years, this happening won't matter, what we do before during and after will. We will be together forever someday.”

We love you all.

#BattleTogether


**With Beth’s permission I recorded a few moments of Beth talking to the hospice nurse.  In this clip she was giving the nurse an account of where she started 8 years ago and everything in between that has happened to date.




Beth playing Taboo just 4 days ago with her High School friends. It was the best medicine she has had in a long time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

It's Been Real, Chicago! - Aug 24th

It’s been a very emotional and draining day. We have decided to not go back to Chicago on Friday and stop all treatments. After 4 great years we will not be going back to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Consulting with Beth’s doctors both parties decided that we will start home hospice care immediately. I will elaborate tomorrow on why we made this decision and what home hospice care means; most of it is good but there are some fear and concerns.  


The decision to stop treatment was coupled with a friend of ours coming over tonight to help us plan funeral services. While it was a huge weight lifted off our our shoulders to know that most of the funeral services are taken care of, it added to the emotional fatigue of the day.  Props to Ella for snapping this picture of Beth and I napping post funeral planning.

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Beth struggled with her breathing today more than she ever has. She called me at work this morning and told me she thought she needed to go to the emergency room. She was freaking out because she couldn’t catch her breath, she was exhausted and was getting scared. My mom was able to get her to calm down and take some of her anti-anxiety meds which she had been trying to stay away from. After a while she was able to relax.  The last fews days Beth’s oxygen levels have bounced between 83 and 93%.  The last few days she has not gotten past 93% - which is not good.  


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I’ll go into a little more detail tomorrow.  I gotta run though - Chip and Joanna are in way over their heads in tonight’s episode of Fixer Upper.

#BattleTogether