Why I’ve Been a Bit AWOL Lately

Due to a a couple of serious illnesses in our family, I will be taking a break from the blog for a few days and maybe slightly longer. I’ve tried to write something for the past couple of days but my mind wanders back to our loved ones, Denene’s mother and Ellen, our daughter.

As many of you know, they were each diagnosed with serious cancer just weeks apart  approximately three years ago. Denene’s mom has been receiving chemo for the entire three years, along with a couple of emergency surgeries. Three weeks ago she was rushed to a Raleigh hospital where she underwent another surgery. She has been extremely ill since and has had to pause her much-needed chemo treatments.

We’d hoped to travel there to visit with her for a few days, but COVID concerns have not made it possible for us to do so. She’s ill and I take medication that greatly suppresses my immune system. Denene and I have not left our property since March, with the exception of a very brief ride in he countryside just to see civilization again.

Then the big whammy hit this week. Ellen called me one night to say she was experiencing severe abdominal pains so her husband was taking her to the ER. There or four hours later she texted a message to me that sent my heart to the floor. Her cancer had returned and it was far worse than before.

I Am Crushed. Numb. Heartbroken. Devastated. And Helpless.

So please forgive me for neglecting this blog, MurderCon, responses to emails, etc. I need time to process, to hold back tears and even to shed a few, and to pray for our daughter and my mother-in law. My thoughts are scattered and bounce around inside my head like rubber balls. Emotions are all over the place.

It’s not been a good year for any of us, and I feel quite selfish for just days ago hoping to see enough Virtual MurderCon registrations to save the event from sinking lower than the Titanic. Right now, well, my mind is on the pain I heard in my daughter’s voice when I spoke with her by phone this afternoon.

Ellen had beaten the odds before, after enduring emergency life-saving surgeries and chemo and radiation, sickness, hair loss, extreme pain, memory loss, and more, and then their home was totally destroyed by fire not long after she rang the bell celebrating her last chemo treatment. They lost everything they owned, but thanks to many of you they pulled themselves together and found and fixed up a small home. Then, Ellen’s husband lost his job due to COVID restrictions.

Your generosity and kindness has much appreciated and needed.

Tyler, our grandson, is scheduled to head to college in three weeks, a few days after his mom sits to receive the first of many aggressive chemo treatments, and radiation. It’s tough enough to start college without having such a huge weight resting on his shoulders. He’s a remarkable young man who, during all the hardships he faced, continued to maintain his grades and compete as a champion wrestler who earned his pick of scholarships at colleges around the country.

Anyway, this where I am right now, wandering around aimlessly and unable to concentrate. I humbly ask that you please stick with me. I’ll return here as often as I’m able.

In the meantime, kind thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes are appreciated.

Thank you,


45 replies
  1. Helen Bellamy
    Helen Bellamy says:

    If the sheer number of good wishes makes a difference, it’s obvious those in your family who are so ill will certainly improve quickly. Please add my wishes for better health to the list of those who have gone before me. You already know modern medicine is miraculous and there is no reason for the magic not to work again.

  2. Mona King
    Mona King says:

    Lee, Going AWOL is perfectly normal and understandable with the serious family illnesses you’re facing and the uncertainty of what the future holds. It’s scary as hell. That’s your baby girl. Take all of the time that you need for you and your family, and love them as much as you can. My heart feels your pain. Prayers for all of you. Mona

  3. M. E. Bakos
    M. E. Bakos says:

    Very sorry for the challenges you are facing. Sending my best to you and yours during this stressful time. Stay strong.

  4. Sheila S. Hudson
    Sheila S. Hudson says:

    So sorry to hear of your mother in law and your daughter. I know how heartbreaking it must be. Praying for all of you. Stressful enough with out this added burden

  5. Donna Albrecht
    Donna Albrecht says:

    Lee, I know too much about what you are going through from my own experiences with my daughters. Hang in there. While some might disagree with me, there is no other choice. Your family is depending on you. There will be time to fall apart later. KNOW that many out there, including me, are sending prayers for support, in whatever form that support needs to come. {{{hugs}}} Donna

  6. susanoleksiw
    susanoleksiw says:

    This is overwhelming. My heart is with you and your family, and I know hundreds of people who care about you and yours are thinking of you, praying for all of you. I hope these prayers bring peace and health.

  7. Danielle Cook
    Danielle Cook says:

    Oh no! I have been where you are and I know how heartbreaking it is. No words can ease the pain but do know you have an ARMY of supporters and friends sending love, prayers and virtual hugs.

  8. Linda Lovely
    Linda Lovely says:

    I’m so very sorry, Lee, for you and your family. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. MaryAnn Fitzharris
    MaryAnn Fitzharris says:

    Lee, so sorry you and your family are struggling like this. You’re such a symbol of strength and love to all of us, and we all pray your family will stay strong and get healthy. Love from Louisville!

  10. Harvey Stanbrough
    Harvey Stanbrough says:

    Stay strong, Lee, and do what you have to do. The more the universe heaps on, the straighter you stand.

  11. Jenni Cornell
    Jenni Cornell says:

    Praying for you and your family, Lee. I can’t even imagine going through all of this. My heart goes out to you. Take a break. Don’t worry about this. We’ll be here.

  12. Chris
    Chris says:

    I’m so sorry, Lee. I’ve been there; I know what you’re going through. Take care of yourself so you can be there to support those you love.

  13. Pen Wize
    Pen Wize says:

    Lee, I am so sorry to hear this news. Please don’t worry about you blog right now. Do take care of yourself right now. Let the tears flow, tears or grier are, literally, healing. Be there for your family and know I am sending healing energy and prayers or comfort for all. You and your family have had more than your share or difficult times. How I wish I could do something that would really help you and your family. My heart breaks for all of you. May better days come forthwith.

  14. Patricia Smith Wood
    Patricia Smith Wood says:

    I’m so sorry, Lee, to hear about both your mother-in-law and Ellen. Please know lots of prayers and good wishes are being sent your way. Give Ellen my best, and please take care of yourself during this time.

  15. iskustva
    iskustva says:

    Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. That sounds so cliche and yet I’m sure everyone of us who says that means it with ever fiber of their being. Some time life lands on us with both feet and it takes all we have to stand up again — so take time to cry if you need it, shout at the moon, let your feeling run free and then do what you can to move forward.

  16. Kaye George
    Kaye George says:

    No words, Lee. I’m stunned. Hugs, if I were there. I wish for strength for all of you.

  17. Brenda G. Wheeler
    Brenda G. Wheeler says:

    Yes its been a terrible year. You and your loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers.

  18. trudy
    trudy says:

    Sending virtual hugs and prayers of comfort being sent your way. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.

  19. Ginny & Sam Diego
    Ginny & Sam Diego says:

    Lee, our hearts are with you and the family. We are praying for all of you at this time.
    Please let us know if you need anything.

  20. Janet Irvin
    Janet Irvin says:

    Dear Lee, may you find the strength to carry on knowing you are loved and cared for by so many, and may the healing power of so many heartfelt prayers be with all your family at this difficult time.

  21. annettedashofy
    annettedashofy says:

    Oh, Lee. I’ve been thinking of you and Ellen and all your family a lot lately. This year sucks. Know that you’re all in my thoughts and prayers and I hold you close to my heart. Take all the time you need. Sending love.

  22. Astrid Amara
    Astrid Amara says:

    Oh wow. Sometimes reality is just unbearable. My heart aches for you and your family. Nothing I can say will alleviate anything but please know all of us who love and support WPA want you to put your family and yourself first. My best wishes to your daughter and Denene’s mother.

  23. Winona Cross
    Winona Cross says:

    Lee, I will certainly keep you and your family in my prayers. I believe in prayer to comfort, to bless, and to provide peace.

    I’m sure everyone will understand your “absence”.

  24. RueterC.Writer
    RueterC.Writer says:

    You take care of what you need to, your family and yourself. We’ll be here when you feel strong enough to return. Prayers for you and your family.

  25. Kari Wainwright
    Kari Wainwright says:

    Lee, this is indeed overwhelming. I am pulling for your family in the battles they face. Take care in these perilous times.

  26. Rebecka Vigus
    Rebecka Vigus says:

    Lee, you and your family are in my prayers. I hope you find peace. Cry now, because you won’t want to in a few days. You will will them both your strength to see this through.

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