Maswik Lodge – Aug 1, 2010


Here are Shannon and Mark at the Maswik Lodge during our Grand Canyon-based McCulloch family reunion. This is the first of what I’m calling the Arm Around Mom series. She loved our kids more than anything and they loved her back. Still do, in fact. I’m so glad she had the chance to appreciate each of them as adults. She wanted to be a part of so much more of their lives, of course. It was her greatest regret. But what she got was so good. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at the Grand Canyon National Park, and part of my famous Shannon and Vacation series.

We didn’t exactly stay at the Maswik Lodge. It’s inside the Grand Canyon National Park and very lovely. We stayed in nearby Williams and rode the scenic train in to the park. Williams was fun, our hotel was very nice, and the train ride was enjoyable. It would have been even cooler if they hadn’t already retired the good old steam locomotive in favor of a boring – but vintage – diesel-electric model. But it was still cool.

Today was an interesting day. Two things happened that really matter: an epiphany and a relief.

First, the relief. When I sat down to check my email this morning, I discovered a message from our life insurance company. I had spoken with the claims person yesterday on an insurance-related matter and happened to ask her how my claim was coming along. She told me she had just received a partial collection of medical documentation that morning and would start looking at it soon, even though there was still more to come. Well, the note this morning said she had seen enough to determine our claim was legitimate, so the check is being mailed tomorrow morning. Not that I expected anything different, of course, since our claim was entirely legitimate. Shannon wasn’t sick when the insurance went into effect on February 1, 2013. However, she became sick so soon thereafter that it made sense for the insurance company to ask for proof that we didn’t know something was up when we bought the policy. So I don’t blame them for checking. Still, I was kind of dreading it turning into a fight and I’m relieved it didn’t. I did a bit of calculating this morning, and the life insurance proceeds will replace all but about $2500 of the money we spent on Shannon’s medical care and post-death expenses.

I’m sure my Loyal Readers know I would have gladly given the life insurance proceeds along with all my money, all my belongings, and my own life to have saved Shannon. I would have done anything. But that was not to be, so it’s at least a small ray of sunlight to be made mostly financially whole from the experience.

Now the epiphany. I have reflected many times on the fact that my last year with Shannon was the sweetest one of my life. That thought has comforted me greatly, but I have also been puzzled by it and perhaps even felt a little bit guilty that amidst all her horrible suffering I felt that I had the happiest year of my marriage. I know she was happy too, but why was it the best year of my life? I think I figured that one out today, and the answer was so obvious that a more thoughtful person would have understood it long ago: it was my greatest (and possibly only) prolonged opportunity to serve her and I feel that I did it unreservedly and to the best of my ability. I resolved very early on during her illness to face our mutual hardship with good cheer and optimism and to give her whatever she needed immediately and cheerfully. I decided that delayed service is a sign of reluctant service, so when she asked for anything, she got it immediately, no matter what. I learned long ago that service given grudgingly is no service at all, but I don’t think I’ve typically been a good exemplar of that teaching. This past year, I did everything in my power to turn that around.

So I think I’ve learned that the sweetness was at least partially found in seeing to Shannon’s needs and trying my best to make her comfortable and happy. Of course, it was also wonderful to spend essentially all our time together, to say all the words of love and devotion that could be said, and to treasure each other. In spite of the sorrow and pain, it was a magical year.

Maybe that’s why Shannon was so happy all her life. She served and served and gave and gave. What a great life she gave me. I hope she was amply rewarded for it.

Got some more work done on the website today. It’s looking better all the time. I need to work out a reservation system for our upcoming seminar right away. It will take a little bit of research to find out what software is out there that will fit our needs. I also need to personalize the overall website design just a bit – it looks way too generic. Embarrassingly so, I think. So my design hat (probably a Tyrolean cap with a feather) goes on tomorrow morning. The backlog gets whittled down just a little bit every day.

Mark and I went to In-N-Out for dinner tonight. Enjoyed it. Probably should have cooked something at home, but I got busy with the website and didn’t want to stop to cook today. Lame.

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: freeway-blocking hams!

See you tomorrow.

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