Beauty is everywhere. As I write this, I can hear the geese flying overhead through my open window. It tugs at my spirit to come and play and dance on the wind. Looking around me I see all the unfinished projects and “things I need to do” instead. No wonder I’m such a procrastinator! Hmmm, follow the geese to the lake, or take care of duties. Yikes! So instead, here I sit writing about it all, looking inside for the elusive flow of creativity that helps fuel my life. Inspiration seems to have been hiding lately. I feel a need to track down my creative muse and drag her kicking and screaming from whatever box she is hiding in among the remaining chaos from moving. Perhaps she fell asleep curled up in a box of special treasures gathered over many years. Oh, and there are far far too many of those gathered treasures, and choices to be made. It is starting to sound like a search for my muse might include more sorting and eliminating! Ohhhh the choices… they become overwhelming, and soon i wander off to follow a dream.
May 18. Lots of memories associated with this day, most of mine having to do with mom’s birthday and one birthday in particular when Mount Saint Helens blew her top.
May 18, 1980. It was my moms birthday, and my husband and I were in the old truck with mom and dad driving up in the hills past Trout Lake. We saw the column of Ash, and thought at first that it was a fire, but quickly figured out it wasn’t. We drove up to a place we could see a little bit better and watched for awhile. Then Jerry and I drove back home to La Center, and drove up back roads into the mountains on the south west side. We were sitting on a cliff all night watching it blow and you could feel the ground shake. Red tail hawks and eagles were soaring overhead.
10 days later on May 28, we were up in north eastern Washington seeing ash everywhere. While we were there the mountain blew again, to the south west this time. We couldn’t go home back down I-5, and had to travel through Yakima on the east side of the Cascade mountains back down to the Columbia River gorge and then west along WA-14. When we got to our trailer in La Center, there were several inches of ash piled on the roof.
Mom was fascinated by the mountain blowing in her lifetime, and thought it was a pretty interesting birthday present!
May 18, 2019. This year for Mom’s birthday, she gets another of her children, Roger, joining her in the spirit world. I’m pretty sure she’ll put him to work right away. Roger Black passed on May 16, 2019.
Mom, you are Missed, and Loved forever! I remember you talking about how strange it felt to be almost the last one left of your siblings. Now I understand all too well. You raised us to believe in the afterlife, and family being together forever; gratefulness fills my heart.
Mount St. Helens and me, in recent years. Taken at McClellan Viewpoint in GPNF
This is posting only now because for some reason my mobile app has not been uploading posts like I thought it was.
Roger Black, born May 8, 1942, died May 16, 2019. This beloved Navy veteran from the Viet Nam war was a Wonderful husband to Connie, father to Carmen Knopes and Sarah Vantinteran, grandfather to many, adopted Papa to dozens, and brother to myself and Boyce. We had three more siblings and two nephews who already passed on to join our parents in the spirit world; Nora, Sheldon, and Dennis. Seems like there must be a homecoming party happening on the other side.
Roger was a rock in our lives, Full of love and hugs, and good advice. He seldom got worked up about anything, and like mother he loved everyone and saw the good in them all. He taught us all so much just by example on how to be a better person.
In this last journey, Roger was escorted by another Navy Veteran who is 100 years old. The kind man from the funeral home was also a veteran, and the VA care home provided the beautiful flag. Employees and residents saluted, or put their hands on their hearts as we walked by.
We are so grateful for all the love and kindness from so many.
Many of you have read and shared this article about My adopted niece Erica Kuneki. She continues in her battle with cancer, dealing with a great deal of pain. This brave young woman still continues to find things to laugh about, in spite of the trauma of the cancer. Recently, a platelet transfusion caused a reaction similar to anaphylactic shock, and had to be discontinued.
Erica and her family continue to need help financially for help with bills, laundry costs, even bridge tolls. There are several fundraisers listed in this original article for anyone willing to help. Thank you!
I received a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, and OCD a few years ago after I started grad school. PTSD would soon follow. I had been in and out of counseling for over 10 years, where the only labels I was given were anxiety and depression. I now feel pangs of rage when I meet someone else with just these labels. It seems to be clinical shorthand for “you’re welcome to pay us but we find your problems unworthy of further consideration”.
Though I was proactive in seeking care once I had access to the University’s services, I was and am privileged to have access to these services. It was also a privilege that I was able to “speak the language” to get the triage counselor to put me with the psychiatry clinic. Other friends, particularly my black lab mates, are sent to “group counseling” for other black women. It’s a…
Shining bright with winter snow at the higher elevations. Mount Adams is the second tallest peak in Washington State, and yet had been the lesser visited mountain. We locals like it that way.. no roads open year around to treeline.
Erica is at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland with her mom and dad. This morning she was more spunky, gave her mom a hard time (Believe me that’s a good thing). Erica has found some relief from the pain and other problems, is able to move her legs more easily.
April 1,2019 @ 10:35 pm
Many people, family and close friends, came and went all day on Monday. Folks from many faiths and cultures were praying and singing for Erica. Friends from school and the neighborhood were making her laugh, and vice versa, or crying with her mom. She just now headed out on the ambulance to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, with her mom following. They’re going to try to help her get better control of the pain and other problems, and it’s in Gods hands next. He knows the bigger picture, whether it’s better to take Erica back to heaven so she’s out of pain, or bring her a miracle and heal her. I was totally humbled by how many different people came; different colors , languages, cultures, and ages but all with the same prayers from the heart. This girl not quite 19 yet has touched so many hearts in her short life. She was always looking out for other people, especially those who would forget to take care of themselves. Even today, she spoke very few words and two words were to remind someone else to eat.
Erica will be 19 on April 5.
There were some powerful prayers spoken or sung on Monday and in at least five different languages. Whether it be for a miracle healing or for comfort and ease of passing, the prayers were all from the heart.
There are 3 ways people can help by donating.
1. If you live anywhere near an Umpqua Bank, go in and tell them you want to donate to an account called “Stronger than Cancer” for you are using a check, make it out to Elsa Spence. Or, mail a check to Elsa for “Stronger than Cancer”.
“Stronger than Cancer”
Donations For Erica Kuneki
PO Box 67
White Salmon, WA
Bank Located at 73 NE Estes St in White Salmon
2. Anyone that wanted to send a personal card and/or donation to Elsa Spence and her daughter Erica Kuneki (she is 18 by the way, and turns 19 April 5). Elsa also just had a birthday in late March.
Send it to :
Po Box 778
Bingen, WA 98605
Updated. Erica Kuneki story as of March 30,2019
Erica has kept up her spirits as things progress but the cancer has kept marching on relentlessly. She has been able to stay home, with her mother taking care of her. [Read The original story and previous updates down below this update]
Elsa also continues to work as a caregiver part time with Senior Services, but of course her main priority is her daughter, who is literally fighting for her life. They can still use your help and support to help cover expenses not covered by insurance.
Elsa and Erica say THANK YOU to everyone who has helped in so many different ways. They are so incredibly grateful. This is an independent gal who’s used to doing everything herself for her and her family. Having so much community support is such a blessing right now.
Erica is not fond of having her picture taken at this time. However Elsa and I took this picture last week of us two.
Darlisa Black and Elsa Spence March 2019
Updated January 10,2019
The Story: “Stronger than Cancer”. Erica Kuneki, a young Native American girl currently 18 years old, is fighting Osteosarcoma, bone cancer. A few months ago when it seemed like the cancer was doing better, it jumped to soft tissue and new tumors showed up. More rounds of chemo and radiation nearly killed her, and she took a long rest from treatment. Recently, however, inflammation showed up in her bones again and she became very ill. They opted to do a weeks worth of radiation therapy. Now, As of the fourth day of radiation she started feeling quite a bit better so we are feeling hopeful again. In fact, she sounded remarkably energetic over the phone tonight, laughing at a funny movie.
Unfortunately, while at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at OHSU in Portland this week, someone broke into Elsa Spence’s car in the parking garage. The girls had just gotten there and were already stressed and accidentally left Erica’s wallet in the car. She had all her Christmas gift money in the wallet, so it was a mighty big blow emotionally.
Erica had saved up her money for a trip to New Jersey that will be provided by the Make a Wish Foundation. She wanted to be able to buy souvenirs or special treats. All of her money was taken and the wallet was left laying somewhere on hospital grounds. Someone turned it in to the security.
I keep dreaming that someone with a little extra money would help sponsor this local Native American girl, whose family lived in the valley for many generations fishing on the river. While theoretically the tribe helps people in situations like this, the truth is people this far away from the reservation often slip through the cracks.
DONATIONS: There are now several options for helping financially. See above under the new update for links and addresses
Or if you see them around town feel free to say hello and tell them you have been following their story on here! Maybe slip Elsa a few $$ for gas.
It takes a whole Village to raise a Child. We are asking for your help with a particular child/ young woman and her family’s needs. Be the Village 😉 😀 A huge thank you to various people who have helped in the past with donations
Click on the image below to go to the original post about Erica for full updates and new photos.