Sunday, December 31, 2006

Joseph Wood Meyer

Joseph Wood Meyer 1928 ~ 2006
I am in love with this world, I have nestled lovingly in it, I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings - John Burroughs

Joe Meyer, a mountain of a man, died peacefully December 30, 2006 from complications related to bladder cancer. He will be sorely missed by Barbara, his best friend, companion and wife for over 51 years, family and friends.

Joe was born July 8, 1928 in Salt Lake City to Joe and Mary Meyer. He grew up with his older sisters, Mildred (Hicks) and Lucille (Greer). Joe attended South High School and the University of Utah where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Art Education and a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling.

Joe will be remembered by his distinguished career of service and compassion. As a teacher, high school counselor and school district coordinator, Joe helped support and improve the lives of hundreds of students and staff members. He celebrated each person's individuality and uniqueness and sensitively helped others pursue their dreams and follow their hearts. Joe lit up every arena of his life with a contagious sense of humor, compassion and ability to build immediate connections. Because of Joe, this world is more humane and gracious.

With an eye for beauty, Joe enhanced his home and garden. He created stunning paintings, stained glass windows and welcoming gardens that demonstrated a life of artistry. Creative pursuits throughout his life made each surrounding a more beautiful place. Joe radiated a sense of adventure and joy of discovery. He organized camping, backpacking, and hiking experiences in addition to adventuresome travels around the globe. Long before roof top carriers were available, the Meyer family often strapped a canvas cover on the station wagon and drove off to explore countless trails and National Parks.

The support and protection of the environment were of utmost importance throughout his life. Above all, Joe's devotion to and love of his family defined his life. Joe is survived by Barbara, his loving wife; Lucille Greer, sister; Deborah, daughter; David (Penny), son; Laura (Michael), daughter; Jessica (Ethan), Brandon, Melissa, Chandler, Taylor and Kendra, grandchildren; and his devoted Golden Retriever, Willow.

The Meyer family appreciates the sensitive and professional care from the Utah Cancer Specialists, Western Urological Clinic, St. Mark's Hospital and Community Nursing Hospice Services. During this critical time, the empathy and support given to Joe and his family have provided a soothing life line. Joe and Barbara have always had the gift of transforming every event into a special occasion. Joe would like his memorial service to reflect this hospitality. Family and friends are invited to celebrate Joe's life at the Red Butte Garden Orangerie. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Nature Conservancy would be appreciated.

I miss you Grandpa.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

He is gone

This morning my Grandpa died. I don't want to write anymore right now. I miss him too much.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bittersweet Christmas

Oh how bittersweet this Christmas was. My Grandpa has gotten worse and worse and an alarming rate. They decided not to start him on chemo; instead they decided to start with hospice, and hope that he can die with as little pain as possible.

On Saturday my Dad celebrated his 53rd birthday, and invited a large party to his house. It was great fun until my mom’s ex-friend H showed up. I didn’t know how to act, what to say, and just felt really uncomfortable about the entire situation. I ended up saying hello, and escaping to the basement for most of the evening.

On Christmas Eve my Grandpa felt he was going to die soon, and was asking for people. I found it very touching when he reached for my hand and wanted to hold it and talk about my “beautiful wedding in Yosemite.” He told E that is was part of the family now, and asked how my Grandma will be, when is his gone. He asked about his dog Willow, and his best friend Morice. We invited everyone that was close to him over, and each said our goodbyes. Morice sat next to him, and they reminisced and laughed, cried and hugged. We decided to call our family in London, and told them to come quickly, Grandpa might not make it another 24 hours, so they booked a plane the last minute on Christmas Eve.

That night was quite and somber. Each year we have a huge Christmas Eve party at my Grandma’s, and this year my Grandpa wanted it to be something special, because it would be his last. But, alas, he was confused and agitated, so we decided to have the party at my house. My Grandma stayed home to attend to my Grandpa, so the night was quite different than the tradition I have loved my entire life.

I fell asleep on Christmas Eve hoping that my Grandpa would live another day, and be able to see his son who was trying to get home from London as quickly as possible.

Christmas was wonderful, it really was. After a special breakfast at home, E and I went to his family’s house where they showered us both with wonderful, thoughtful gifts that were more than any daughter-in-law could ask for. (I got a Kit doll, a Gap gift card, beautiful doll clothes, and so much more!)

Then E and I went to my Dad’s. It was sad to remember just a year earlier how many things were different. My parent’s were still together in my childhood home for Christmas, I was unmarried and still spending Christmas morning with my family, and E with his, and my Grandpa was healthy and happy, and there was no illness in sight.

My dad’s house was fine, and the gifts were thoughtful and caring. We next stopped at my grandparents and saw how much my Grandpa had declined in just one day. He wasn’t able to stand, speak, or eat. My Grandma said the only way she was keeping sane was not thinking that it was Christmas, and keeping up hope that he would live to see my uncle.

Next we went to my Mom’s where we had a nice time opening presents (Ann Taylor gift card, belt, PJs, and a beautiful set of candles my sister made), and visiting with a very small portion of my family before my Mom had to head to the airport to pick up my Aunt and Uncle that made it not a moment too late.

E and I went back to his family’s, and just had a nice time enjoying each other’s company.

As of today my Grandpa is still not doing well, and the hospice nurse’s think he’ll be gone by week end. I can’t believe this is the same man that did all the flowers for my wedding only six months ago. In a way, I’m thankful it’s going so quickly, because it is devastating to see him in such pain.

May I have a happy new year, I’m looking forward to more good than bad in 2007.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Heath Check

Sometimes when my Mom calls for no apparent reason she says she’s doing a health check, just check up, and saying hello. Well today I want to do a real heath check on my blog, because things are not going well.

First, the less serious issue: E was experiencing really horrible lower abdominal pains last week. On Tuesday I called home to see if he was okay, and he was barley able to mumble “take me to the ER.” I rushed out of the office in a worried panic, and drove like a bat out of hell all the way home. Once arriving, he said the pain and subsided a little, and he could go to the doctor, and skip the ER co-pay. We headed up to the doc, and they did some blood work, a urine test, and others. They found out he had a horrible bladder infection, and might also have a kidney stone. So, after another doctor visit to get on ultrasound on his kidneys, they found the source of the pain, a 2mm kidney stone. I guess we’ll see if E can even talk after it passes.

Now onto other heath news, my Grandpa. He’s not been doing well, instead of getting better and better, everyone sees he’s getting worse and worse. My Grandma has been really worried about him, as we all have, and she took him back to the doctor yesterday. They did a CAT scan and found the cancer has moved into his lungs and grown substantially since his last CAT scan a month ago. The small dark area they were going to watch in his lungs has turned into a mass of six to eight aggressive fast moving tumors. Grandpa told us this last night as my Grandma cried. Then he told us that the doctor said that is couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more wonderful man. We realize that is how everyone feels about him; he is the most wonderful man many people will ever meet. The doctor said he should start chemo again, at least it might make him feel better, so he starts tomorrow.

So, in honor of this health check, I give you a photo of my Grandpa and E at the Wave:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The best day of my life

I’ve been thinking about my time spent in Africa a lot lately. When it is so cold outside, and I’m cooped up in the office most of the day, I can’t help but remember what an incredible time I had there. It was the best experience of my life, and the very best day of my life happened while I was there:

I was newly engaged, E had proposed the night before, so I still felt all the giddiness and excitement of my new ring and the wedding to come. We woke up to the usual “hello, hello, good morning” we heard each day, because in the African wilderness there are no alarm clocks other than the Massi that watch over the camp.

E and I rolled out of bed and looked out of our screened-in tent to see the African morning still dark. We dressed quickly, and followed the Massi to the jeeps (we needed to be escorted because we were in an area that was inhabited my wild animals). We wanted to get an early start today, because many African animals were active at dawn.

E and I piled into the jeep with my Mom, brother and cousins. As soon as we left camp we saw a heard of elephants right next to the road. As all three Jeeps slowed, we each stood up and poked our heads out of the roof to watch these majestic animals. We watched and learned for over thirty minutes, until finally moving on.

The sun was just rising as we drove into Tarangire National Park. We stopped at water holes and open fields to watch animals living in the wild. Each time we stopped we all stood up, took photos and looked through our binoculars. Our guide Eric told us about behaviors and things to look for when watching these awesome animals.

Pretty soon the sun had fully risen and we stopped at a beautiful lookout for a picnic breakfast! We looked down on a scene that looked to be right out of the Garden of Eden. Elephants we walking, ostridges were keeping on eye on things. Zebras were grazing, and the more we looked, the more animals we saw. After a fantastic breakfast we hit the road again.

Pretty soon we were viewing animals we had yet to see there, baboons were hopping from tree to tree, lizards we sunning themselves in the sun, and marmot type creatures were spying out of their dens. We even saw a camillian before it disappeared into the brush once again.

The entire day we were joking and laughing and singing, and I was in bliss knowing that I would never forget this day.

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