Sunday, August 14, 2011


You might want to get a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or in my case I am craving a diet coke.  
You will need something to take this journey with me.  I thought about not writing about it, but maybe there is something in it for you.  Maybe I just need to clear the cobwebs out of my brain because I have to start working on Christmas tomorrow…

I can’t remember where I left off on this journey, but I think it was with the first week I was in Dallas at Baylor with my dear high school and life long friend and her husband as he waited on a liver transplant.

When Jack and I left two weeks ago on a Saturday headed to Dallas to see them, I just knew we were suppose to go…as in pay it forward
I had no idea that almost two weeks later we would still be there.  We came home for just a couple of days to pay bills. 

All I knew was my gut was saying “go back and just be there”! 

I did not want to bother them or be in the way, I just wanted to be 10 minutes away and available.

I wanted to be a shoulder for Dianne to fall apart on, I wanted to be a smile to Keith when the world was really dark. 
I just wanted to live out “we care” as so many people had done for us 10 months ago.

I may never know why God picked Dianne and Keith to be on the other end of this journey. 

Oh wow did I learn a lot about the transplant world. That’s another post, but if you are not a donor…think about about it and just do it.
My regular readers know I don’t go many places without a “little” in tow. Ever. So living in a hotel for two weeks in 110 degree weather without the little's was not my idea of a vacation.
But the entire time I was there I knew I was right where I was suppose to be.
I was able to set up a Caringbridge site for Keith and do the posting for Dianne. We were able to be there for the highs and for the very low times.

Talk about a roller coaster.

Remember from Jack’s stroke, I am NOT a nurse.  So every minute I am in the hospital is totally out of my comfort zone. 
Dianne is just the opposite…She was the kindest caregiver and could do anything.
Exactly a week ago today we were settled in the hotel for what we thought was another week.

Things changed drastically on Wednesday and we knew there would be no liver…infection was rampant in Keith's body, he had multiple organ failures…on Thursday afternoon around 4 surrounded by his family with old hymns playing in the background, he took his last breath.
His body just had no fight left. 

Today, in a standing room only, filled to the brim church, we all said goodbye.
This is the part I was not sure I was going to share.  But maybe there is some lady out there that can insert her name and find comfort. 
Yesterday was Dianne and Keiths 34th anniversary.  All week we had talked about it and I would ask Keith if he wanted me to get her something..and every time he would say as only he could, “Naw” (that’s Texan)..

About 11:45 Friday night I sat down to the computer and decided I would write Dianne a letter in Keith's voice for her to have in her email when she woke up Saturday morning.

A Happy Anniversary wish from her man.   It took me exactly 10 minutes, no rewrites, no thinking, meaning it HAD to be God.  I hit send and went to bed.

When I woke up I realized I had five missed calls from her.  When we finally connected all I could understand was “That was the best gift EVER"!
Understand, I thought only Dianne and I would ever know about it or read it..
Her next words were “Can I have it read at the funeral”?
Of course, but not by me…I can’t..and don’t say who wrote it.  So Keith's cousin  beautifully delivered the letter.
I am going to share it with you and if you lost a mate and some things were left unsaid ..take it as your own letter.

This one was to my dear friend Dianne.


I am so sorry I am not here to celebrate our anniversary. I wish we could have spent it in Colorado or Gatlinburg.   If there was ever a year in our marriage that I need to celebrate you, it is this year.
You have been everything to me. At times it probably did not seem that way. I am so thankful that you hung in there thru the bad years and took those vows of "for better or worse and in sickness and health" as a vow to God and not me.
I was a handful and more....a wild man many times, but I loved you with all my heart.
Dianne, you know better than anyone how the devil worked on me as he does everyone. We know the areas that were a challenge to me. Please remind my friends that life can change in a moment. But with YOU and God I WON those battles. Thanks is not a big enough word to you for fighting them with me.

You have been the greatest Mom and Wife any man could ask for.
These past months you have had to be nurse and no one could have asked for a better one. I KNOW I was NOT an easy patient.
You took care of my every need without thinking twice.
Some of those needs you probably could have lived without ever doing.
The hospital was horrible and humiliating, but I know you know that. Thank you for giving me my dignity.
Thank you for every drink of water, every ice chip, every back rub and bath, every night that you slept on that tiny little bed. Thank you for NEVER leaving me alone.
Thank you for encouraging me and trying to get me the best medical care available, even when it meant being away from home for months. YOU ARE MY HERO!!!
I have been stingy with compliments most of our marriage. Please let me make it up to you now. YOU are the rock that held our family together. You are the love of my life. You stayed when most would have left.
I am well now...reunited with so many people, so much family and totally whole. There really are streets of gold. I have no more pain and everyone I have met loves my stories.
I know you are hurting and today will be extra hard. I did NOT want to leave you but my physical body just gave out.
Live life to the fullest, remind the boys how much I love them and how proud I am of them, kiss the grandkids regularly for me. Tell them stories about me. Keep in touch with my friends and if you don't mine, every once in awhile remind them that I was a pretty good (No Great) football player.
Most of all never forget how much I love you!
Happy Anniversary with all my love,

Keith 1
         Keith Whatley….I wish I could hear one more story. 
     Dianne and Keith
So tonight my word to you is if your gut tells you to do something, JUST DO IT.