Ringing of the Bell

The bell, silently waiting to be rung.
The bell, silently waiting to be rung.

The symbolism of the ringing of bells has been widely recognized throughout the ages and spans the globe. They have been used to awaken us, mark the beginning and ending of religious services, summon lawmakers to legislative sessions, used in celebrations, warn of dangers…the list goes on and on.  In this context, they serve as a rite of passage, for those who walk through these doors, heavy-hearted and fearful, and leave with hope in their hearts, grateful for the compassionate care given to them by the medical staff and the companionship of others whom they have met on this path.

Yesterday was Terry’s final radiation treatment and as I stood waiting for him to emerge from the patient waiting area, a sadness enveloped me, an odd feeling I thought, on a day meant for celebration.  I shared this with one of his technicians and Nicole, the patient advocate, who both explained how completely normal this was (me, completely normal?!).  Something that had become a daily routine, something that could be done to eradicate this insidious disease, had abruptly come to an end.  It made perfect sense to be having this experience.  What did not make sense to Terry, and what he was totally unprepared for, was the sudden emotion that washed over him.  Although greatly relieved that this chapter was coming to a close, he was also walking away from part of his family, a very kind, compassionate, supportive family at that.

We will forever carry in our hearts all who wrapped us in their loving care and are most grateful for the remarkable medical staff at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

yesterday’s struggles

are today’s celebrations

wrapped in gratitude

94 thoughts on “Ringing of the Bell

  • Good to hear the treatment is over and you were in such good hands in this hospital. People who help in this matter, also here in London are very kind, helpful and show great compassion, what you need!
    Enjoy your life together, big hug for you both!

  • I pray that you two will never have to go through this experience again. I have often heard that the cancer units of hospitals have compassionate, caring staff, which makes the dreaded treatment as pleasant as possible, giving light and hope along the way. Your positive attitude is such a great assistance to Terry and now you two can get on with your lives, again. Have a safe journey to your next chapter. Love and hugs to both of you.

  • Firstly .. Terry may this be your last visit for treatment, but may you go back as a friend to say Hi to the Staff and to impart words of encouragement to those that sit and wait their turn… I cannot say I know what you’ve been through and I pray I never have to, may you C be gone forever…
    Secondly LuAnn… I know exactly what you are talking about, having taken Linda 60 miles (one way) every day for 6 weeks so that she could have her Rad work and repairs to the underside of her boob that took such a beating. That last treatment that should have been a joyous one was anything but… we took a few gifts to the staff that had treated us so well and been so understanding of our circumstances… but greeting those who had sat every day with us in the waiting room, it was like saying goodbye to old friends, probably never to cross paths with them again…
    The elation was just not there, well for me in any case, Linda might have felt differently, but it was sad… I often sat and told jokes or did my best to cheer up everyone around me, they all looked so tense and downcast, and my big mouth had them smile and hopefully forget their problems, if just for a short while, these people had become family, the nurses and staff my friends, and I was sadden that we would not see each other again. Well I prayed that I would never have to take Linda back there… and luckily I don’t have to…
    To both you and Terry, may total remission be the result, that you may continue your life of travel and adventure, that we may follow with you via the blog posts…

    • Your comments are so special to me Bulldog. Had I thought about this for even a couple of minutes, I would have known that there would be more than elation passing through us on this final day. Terry developed bonds with others walking this journey and I with those who played the role of caregiver. One day, while I was the only one left in the waiting area, an older woman walked in, very pensive. Soon after paramedics arrived wheeling in a gurney with an elderly man, obviously very ill. With great effort and much encouragement from the staff, they had him ring the bell. Everyone cheered and tears poured down my face. I learned after that the woman was his sister, the only living relative that remained, and he was being taken to hospice from there. We all walk this life journey together, some of us just further down the path than others. I feel so blessed that way across the globe, we have this beautiful connection to a Bulldog and his lovely wife. 🙂

  • LuAnn, my heart is filled with joy this morning for Terry and you. I am so very glad you will be able to close this chapter and begin a new one! You have written a beautiful tribute to people who spend their life caring, so happily, for others. A beautiful poem!

  • Terry looks so good and happy. Another one of God’s miracles.

    I am sure you two enriched many of the lives of the caregivers as they enriched yours. Cherish those memories of love, care and compassion.

    • Thanks Marsha. We will forever cherish these memories and feel blessed to have such loving, supportive people in our lives. Enjoy your adventures out west! 🙂

  • Terry, I am elated to hear the news that you are finished with the treatment. A mile stone has been reached. I read what the Bulldog had to say and he has almost said it all. Only now, may it be the last that you ever need to endure, and may your health only improve.
    LuAnn, like Rob you are a star, and may it now be all over and just sunshine and roses. God Bless you both.

    • Thanks for this touching comment Linda, as I know that you truly know of what you speak. I hope for nothing but calm, quiet beauty in your lives and perfect health. 🙂

  • So happy for you both, that Terry is now through the treatment. Now it’s onward and upward. 🙂 I can well imagine that the last day was very emotional for you. Kudos to the team who cared for the two of you through this traumatic period. Hugs and blessings to you and Terry.

    • Thanks so much Sylvia. Although we are ready to move forward, it almost feels like we lost our security blanket also. I guess this is a normal reaction to a sudden break in a routine. Hope all is well in your world. 🙂

  • I experienced this also when I had a preemie baby born who stay in the hospital for over a month. It is hard to leave the support you have come to rely on daily. You do find new supports and renew supports of the past. I am so happy that you are able to move on to the life you design for you both. Hugs!!

    • Karen, thank you for this comment and stopping by. Those who work in the service industries are like guardian angels, surrounding us with comfort and love.

  • Gayl and I are so happy to hear that Terry is through this difficult and emotional step in his recovery. As others have said, LuAnn, Terry is so fortunate to have you as his partner in life. We are looking forward to reading your future Landscape comments about new positive experiences the two of you are having as you travel through life.
    & Gayl

  • I am so pleased for both of you Terry & LuAnn. I was in hospital in Spain for tests and made friends with not only the nursing staff, but the cleaners (who gave me an impromptu flamenco dance 😀 ) and my room mate Antonio. Your post has just reminded me to email his son to see how he is. I thank you for that. Big hug. Ralph xox 😀

  • I am so happy that this is over. It’s great. I understand that the change to the routine can be upsetting. It is a good change though. So glad this is over though. You can rebuild a bit now whilst you deal with the other family matters.

  • So good to see Terry’s big smile ringing the bell:) Praying that this is the end. It is so nice to have the love and understanding of so many wonderful care givers.

    Thinking of you as you move on to the next journey in your life. Looking forward to maybe meeting up one day soon:)

    • Thank so much! We are glad to be closing this chapter of our lives and thankful for the many prayers being offered up for us. We would love to meet the two of you someday. Safe travels and nothing but fabulous adventures. 🙂

  • How touching and heart wrenching at the same time. Turn your faces to the sun and believe. Our thoughts, prayers and hearts are with you both always.

    • Thanks so much Les! We are aware you know only too well these emotions. Hope all is well with you and David; that you are once again enjoying each other’s company; that you are enjoying your new job; and more importantly, you are both enjoying good health. 🙂

  • So happy the treatment is done!! Any time of change is always a time of reflection, so yes…you are “normal” LOL. Hoping these next months take you into a new phase of love and light.

    • Thanks Nina. Your support has meant so much to me. We are looking forward to more laughter, more calm in our lives, and some adventure along the way. Be safe as you begin your journey south.

  • Fantastic news for all envolved! And thank goodness for true companions. We’re so happy for you that this difficult phase is over, and know that you’ll be great going forward. ~James & Terri

    • Thanks so much for your concern and encouragement along the way James and Terri. We look forward to reading more about your adventures and having a few of our own. 🙂

  • Oh so beautiful LuAnn! I am sure it has been quite the journey and am glad that this one has passed and you had such wonderful care. You should nominate the staff for a REAL Award! That would be a great way to honor them! I just posted about the REAL Awards two days ago on my blog but you can also go to the site google “real award and Save te Children” or check out my blog piece. 🙂

  • Hello dearest friend. A passage of time indeed. Very well written and told in a moving and uplifting way, LuAnn. Now, you two go ring some more happy bells! I agree with you – It’s adventure time for the two of you!!!! warm thoughts and much affection and love to you! 🙂

  • Such good news and relief for both of you and the family LuAnn . You are obviously a very close couple and deserve much time ahead to enjoy what life brings .
    The treatment and support from The Riverside Methodist Hospital sounded wonderful, like any sharing experience good or bad there are always mixed emotions leaving group who one has felt close to . It’s a period of settling and re-adjustment all round for you both xx

    • Yes, happiness and relief are two emotions we are now embracing. Looking forward to some new adventures and meeting the two of you (hopefully) this winter.

  • What a heart-warming custom, the ringing of the bell. It’s incredible the caring people you run into when you need it most. Hoping your next adventures are far more fun. That lighthouse is still here waiting for you. Though we have one hellacious storm going on at the moment. Wishing you both all the very best!

    • Thanks so much Gunta. We are so grateful for all the warm wishes, prayers, and the caring medical staff we have met along this journey. Rest assured we will be back to Oregon one day! I have heard you are getting hit with some storms right now. Take care and hopefully you will get some awesome photos as a result. 🙂

  • I’m glad this part of your life is over now and that you can move on and start to live properly again. It’s great to see you back writing as well and that Terry is looking well. xx

    • Ste J, I just mentioned to hubby this morning that I was going to have to drop you a line as I had not seen a post from you recently and wondered how you were. Hope all is well with you and that you had a restful respite. I can’t thank you enough for your comforting words during these past several months. I am so grateful for your friendship. 🙂 BTW, I just starting reading Solaris and am enjoying it very much. Thanks for the recommendation.

      • Fantastic! It feels like ages since I did a book review and it probably is so I shall go looking for another one to add to the list. The extended hiatus was restful but probably way to long.to be away.

        I am, naturally, always here for you guys and it pleases me that I have been able to help and support as much as one can from miles away. I am hoping to be over your way…by which I mean America real soon.

  • I do get a numb feeling whenever there’s something ‘medical’ happening in the family. There’s that strength versus weakness battling inside. I’m conflicted with my feelings every time.
    Way to be strong, both Terry and you. He is a very lucky man to have such a life companion like you.

    • I do know what you mean Rommel. I feel that way initially but know that it is so important to stay positive so try to push through those feelings. Because of issues with our father, as children we were not able to discuss the impending death of my mother, and I feel it is so important to discuss how everyone is feeling at a time like this, whether the situation is terminal or not. I am a big communicator but sometimes it is not welcome. 😉

  • LuAnn and Terry,

    So very happy for you both. That bell ringing is a great idea..I can almost hear it in your blog post. Praying for both of you and so glad that Terry is doing so well! It would be great to see you again.

  • what a great photograph and great smile with the ringing of the bell – thank you for sharing, LuAnn. the bell that rings to the world to signal a successful completion on a hard task well done…makes for a joyful heart! having someone to share in the difficult journey – a definite bonus and blessing. 🙂 abundant peace, love and healing energies as both of you move forward to the next adventure. ♥

  • Wonderful news!!! I am so happy to hear the treatment is over now and you are out on the other side of it!!!
    It means the world to be surrounded by competent, warm, beautiful and loving souls in a situation like you have been through.
    Wishing you both all the very best 🙂

  • I am excited that you are ready for the next step!! I have to say dearest friend you are such an exquisite writer…your haiku was gorgeous and so powerfully written! Would you consider….writing a book? Seriously…either of your adventures/trials….or perhaps that strength we’ve spoken of that is there when most needed….you just write so well and I would be first in the line of many to buy it! Everyone would be so excited…but me morer!! hehe Sending so so much love to you❤❤❤!!!

    • I must admit when I read blogs such as yours and your mother’s, I am keenly aware that my writing is not in the same league, but then I must remind myself that we all have our own style and must listen and write with our own voice. I have done a lot of writing outside of this blog, much that would seem rather dark perhaps to some. I don’t view it as such because I know from where I came and how powerful forgiveness can be, but I am not sure how some of it would be received.

      • Oh no no no! I may have to drive over there and hug some sense into you my dearest friend! Mom and I have had numerous talks about what an incredible writer you are! You have that gift to pull people in with your words, feel what you’ve written. Don’t ever doubt that!! An idea to consider is maybe the darker stuff (everyone has dark stuff inside, some less…some more) if you wanted you could have a pen name…think what a blessing it would be for someone who is going through that same darkness to know there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel!! Please…just think about it okay? I know for a fact mom would totally agree with me so two against one hehe! You’re outnumbered by love!! Sending so so much love to you beloved friend❤❤!!

      • I must admit I’ve never been threatened with having sense hugged into me. It actually sounds like a very pleasant experience. 😉 I read your words and your mother’s and feel blessed to be able to share this gift you so freely offer up, your eloquent prose. I have learned that even though I may feel a wee bit inadequate at times, I must listen to my own voice, as this makes me uniquely me. If I know nothing more of myself, I know there is a deep well of compassion inside, and that is the place from which I often write. I will continue, as I have clearly been outnumbered by love, so do declare “uncle”…I give up! 😉 Much love to you Christina.

      • Yay for loving threats hehe…or maybe I should say “non-threatening” threats 😉 I am happy you have given in and will continue…you do have a gift with words my dearest friend and I am happy you know that your voice…your compassion…everything that makes you uniquely you is a gift for the rest of us to share in! Hehe “outnumbered by love” and don’t you forget it!! 😀 Send tons of love backatcha♥♥♥!!

  • Words don’t always come easy, LuAnn. The love we share with our closest dear ones is not something tangible, and yet its strength is something real, grounded, and has a life in itself.

    When tears come they allow us to fully embrace the intangible. It is a feeling shared by those of us who experience the depth of love for another. Know that I feel your deepest pain, and would want to remove it, were I able.

  • Don’t know why this post did not come to my reader 😕 Love to see Terry’s big smile! Thank you so much for the post, LuAnn!

  • Ah what wonderful news Luann! I am so glad you had kind, competent people helping you through the ordeal. Hope this marks the end of all your health issues and it is only happy adventures from here on. Love and good wishes to you both :-).

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