Taking the Curves

We have been taking the curves these past few weeks — having good days and bad days (and perhaps more accurately, good hours and bad hours).  Bret is staying on the Sutent drug but at a lower dose, which seems like a better cocktail for treatment of his tumors but it prohibits healing of the large, open wound on his stump.  Our days are spent in bed entertained by documentaries, movies, current events, and great food, when Bret’s stomach is agreeable.  A few months ago, Bret asked his parents to stay with us out here in Pultneyville until…well, indefinitely.  It’s like we’re on the road trip again — Betsy and Jim with us here and Aaron and Ryan joining us when they can.  We don’t know how we can ever thank them enough for this time together and their amazing support.  We also feel like our “ride in a good direction” continues as Bret reads all his blog comments, emails, texts, and cards.  Although Bret’s fatigue doesn’t allow him to post updates or respond personally, he/the Hoefen family continue(s) to be deeply touched by all the support and Bret wanted us to express how much it means to him.

As we continue to reflect back on our journey of a lifetime, I thought I would share some of the curves along the way.

When Bret was diagnosed with cancer, he wanted to get a motorcycle.  But not just any motorcycle, the one he had dreamt about and talked to his brother Aaron about for a long time –a Harley Davidson Fat Bob.  It really is the coolest bike.  The crazy thing was, he had never ridden a motorcycle, but Bret, as with everything he attempts, excelled extremely quickly.  We would start out by taking little trips on the Fat Bob down the road to Burnaps for ice cream.  Ice cream provided the perfect destination…but the ride together, me squeezing Bret tight and him learning how to “take the curves,” provided the perfect journey.  This was just the beginning of our road trip.


Now that it has been over a year since Bret was diagnosed with CCS, I think back on this tumultuous time with both happiness and sadness.  Sadness because I don’t want to ride this road we’re on without holding on tight to Bret, and happiness because these have been some of our “best days.”

People ask us, what was the highlight of your road trip?  Well, for me, the highlight was truly the journey itself.  I have to admit that when Bret wanted to take a road trip across country, I wondered: How would we survive that long in a car together?  Seriously!  We do well for the first couple of hours in a car but then it goes downhill.  But I honestly don’t recall feeling that way once on our trip of a lifetime…this journey wasn’t about getting there; it was about taking the curves (like on Glendora Mountain Rd), taking the back road (seeing the bayous of Louisiana), taking stops along the way to enjoy the view (ahh, the vistas of Gila National Forest in NM), just taking time together (like “watching it get dark” in Key West).

But one of my “best” days was when Bret, Bets, and I were driving down Highway 1 (south of San Francisco), where the curves of the road parallel the contour of the amazing Pacific Coast.  Then “Om Nashi Me” by Edward Sharp started playing…the simple lyrics “I love you, And I love you forever, And I’m loving you now” as we drove the winding road seemed to capture, well, EVERTYTHING!  And I cried out loud to Bret, “We made it Baby!!!!!!” as the tears rolled down my cheeks.  Everything had just led up to this moment.

When I tried to convince Bret we should fly to Alaska instead of driving there in order to make it there in our condition, he said to me: “as cheesy as it is, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”  Instead of being on the road this summer, as we spend time together here in Pultneyville, I’m reminded of Bret’s blog post in which he said the intent of this blog is to “continue creating stories, building memories, and sharing my adventure”…I would just add “taking the curves.”  I love you forever Bret!

To view video online, go to:  http://vimeo.com/29506912

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About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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76 Responses to Taking the Curves

  1. Sarah Bolduc says:

    David and I are thinking about you and your whole family all the time. We love you. Your pictures, movies, and story are incredibly moving. All of you are an example of love, family, friendship, and strength. We are lucky to have you in our life. Our prayers are with you always.

    Sarah and David

  2. Yvonne M Sellers says:

    Thank you Shannon for continuing to update us, and for sharing more of your incredible journey. Our thoughts and prayers continue for Bret, for you and for the entire Family. Your words are beautiful, the video is an amazing testament to love & life.
    May God bless you all.
    Yvonne

  3. Cousin Nancy says:

    Its so nice to hear from you. I miss your posts and want you to know you are all in my daily thoughts and prayers. Nancy

  4. ginger johannes says:

    again, beautiful and touching.

  5. Peggy says:

    Thank You for your update, you, Bret and your entire family will always be in our prayers.

  6. Judy Lynd says:

    Bret, you and your family are amazing…a beautiful example of what true love really is all about…and Shannon, what a touching and meaningful tribute your video is to Bret. You are always in our prayers. Judy and John

  7. Aaron says:

    Wow! Well said Shannon! I continue to feel extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing adventure. You and Bret gave us ALL the trip of a lifetime!

    While we wish we could be there with you every minute, we are sending love from the south! The FL Hoefen Clan misses you and can’t wait to get back to see you!!!

  8. Chris Swingle says:

    That is beautiful. Thinking of you both and wishing for moments of joy together.

  9. casey says:

    I don’t post often, but send my thoughts to you all through Betsy often. This is beautiful – thank you for sharing and we think of you all always.

  10. Daniel says:

    You truly embrace every moment in the now and that is a way of living very few people successfully achieve or experience. I am heartened to hear that you continue to drink in this beautiful world with each sense at your disposal; always rest assured that you are surrounded near and far by a phalanx of folks who wish every moment you have on this Earth is a joyous one.

  11. Hello Bret and Shannon, I was so pleased to see your post. Thank you so much for the update. On this end, we just had a “Holly Day” 5k run that raised over $7200! We are planning on sending some of the money to a research firm that Carolina introduced us too that is working on detecting CCS.

    • Your in my thoughts and prayers continually.

      God Bless,
      Carol Holly Burke

    • Carolina DeHond says:

      Hi Carol,
      Holy smokes!! Congratulations on raising so much!! That is an impressive amount of money raised!! I think Holly would have been so proud!

      Thank you so much for helping us CCS friends with the funds you all raised! I was so confused by some of Joe’s questions as far as qualification but hope we can move on with testing now 🙂
      Hope to talk soon! Take care,
      Love, Carolina

  12. Mary Beer says:

    Bret, Shannon, Jim and Bets,
    Such a journey! Aunt Louise gives us updates and I pray for all of you daily. So wonderful to see the beautiful side of your journey….I know that there is also times that are very diffcult to bear the pain. Know that so many pray for you, think of you and would help in any way. How lucky all the Hoefens are to be so loved!
    Mary

  13. joe kohler says:

    Hello Bret….
    Thank You for sharing This Most inspirational Journey, perhaps this is the Only time on this planet,that I came to almost like motorcycles ! the more I read/learn about you,I am simply amazed @ your incredible attutde,strenght,will,courage,and LOVE of seeming almost eyerone,and everything God has placed in your world ! somehow as I Met you thru your Beautiful Mother,I started to feel at ease writing to a heretofore complete stranger.

    As autumn comes to Our Finger Lakes,my invitation even on short notice to yourself,Mom,Dad and or a special Friend to come down rt 21,as I used to Love your settlement of Pultneyville,when I used to launch my Snowmaker II fishingboat from there,you are Most welcomed to join me for luncheon at either the Lodge at Bristol Harbour Village or my modest condo for “whatever” you would like me to cook for you and your Guests.

    Please continue to share these chronicles of Incredible Unbridled Courage and Positve attitude.
    Very Truly Yours,
    Joe Kohler from Camp Good Days/Bahamas
    585-905-0462

  14. Dan & Lin says:

    Bret & Shannon, We Love You Guys !!!

  15. Carly Szabo says:

    The positivity you all have is just incredible…truly truly incredible. I continue to share Bret’s story to anyone I can and you all continue to inspire me. I would LOVE to send something to Bret that will help him thru his day. A book? Magazine? Can you please email me to give a suggestion or two? Carlyszabo@gmail.com. Thanks so much!

  16. Mary Ann says:

    Thanks for the post. I think of you guys every day, as well as pray for you. Chris is doing ok, but found a node that we have to get checked out tomorrow. Your experience with Sutent gives me hope. I’m going to Boston in a few weeks to meet with Wagner to discuss any advances he’s seen with CCS. As always, anything you need, you know where to find me.
    God bless you.

    • Carolina DeHond says:

      Mary Ann,
      How did Chris’ appointment go? Has he received the results of what this node is?
      We will pray for good news. please keep us posted!
      Love, Carolina

  17. grandma Hoefen says:

    Just saw the travel pictutres. Loved every minute of it. Wish I could have been with you on your travlels. Love uo both.

  18. Lynne Hudak says:

    Hi Bret and Shannon,
    Your Aunt Judy just told me about the new posting. She keeps me updated. Shannon, the video was beautiful. What wonderful adventures you had on your cross country trips. We think of all of you so often and are continuing to send you our prayers.
    Lynne Hudak

  19. Christine & George says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your lives with us once again. The words, photos and video were heart warming. I’m so pleased that you took so many pictures so that so many of us were able to accompany you on this great adventure. We think of all of you everyday. We send our love and best wishes.

  20. Matt Dorn says:

    Thanks for the update! You guys have been on mine and Jackie’s mind a lot lately!

  21. Aunt Judy & Uncle Kevin says:

    Hi Bret & Shannie, We so enjoyed your wonderful update. You’ve been watching lots of documentaries lately, but the video you put on your blog is the best documentary we’ve ever seen on love, family, life, and reminding us to enjoy every minute of every day. Thanks for giving us that once again.
    With much Love,
    UK and AJ

  22. Nannette and Karl says:

    Thank you for your beautiful posts. I hope that you continue to take the curves in a good direction in your hearts and mind. You’re always in our prayers. Love and peace,
    Nannette and Karl

  23. Nanette P. Hance says:

    To Bret and Shannon … So good to read your update and watch your simply beautiful breathtaking video. Thank you for taking the time to continue sharing your beautiful story with all of us. Know that you have taught all of us so much about living life to the fullest and you are truly the couple that others aspire to be. You both, and your families, continue to be in my thoughts and prayers as I pray everyday for Bret’s peace and comfort. Together, taking every curve throughout the last year, you have made a meaningful story as you ride in a good direction … a true love story that has touched so many lives and hearts. Forever in my heart … Love, Nan

  24. Eileen Lemoine of Louisiana says:

    WOW!! Thanks for the update. I check the site everyday. What an inspiraton!! You are truly a remarkable couple. You are both in my prayes daily. I hope that you continue your ride daily-if not in actural riding but spiritually. LOL

  25. Jessica says:

    This world is a pretty amazing place and you have seen some awe-inspiring sights. They practically pale in comparison to the joy that radiates from you two just being together… Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if everyone had someone else who loved them as much as you two clearly love each other??? I’m so glad you have each other and so glad we have you.

    Thanks for the update.

    Sending you hugs,
    Jessica, Joe, Abby & Jack

  26. Rich Martello says:

    Bret,Shannon and family- We think of you each and every day and hope your journey will continue as it is intended.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you as we wear our black&orange “Ride in a Good Direction”wrist bands. With our continued love to such a wonderful family-Rich&Linda Martello

  27. Marianne Borrelli says:

    I was so happy to see your post Shannon. It was beautiful. I put it on my facebook and have gotten so many responses from people who have followed your blog. It inspires us all. We are all better people for knowing you and Bret. Remember how much support and love follows you everyday. Our prayers continue as I still look for the silver lining on that one cloud!! Love you all Jim and Bets too.

    Auntie Cuz,
    Marianne

  28. Rich says:

    Great to see your post, and wonderful film. Miriam and I are settled in here in UK, far away from everyone and we think about you both a lot and your courage as road warriors. In a couple weeks i go to Ghent, Bret, to partake of those Belgian beers you took a liking too! There will be a cheers in your honor. maybe two!
    rich

  29. Kelly says:

    AMAZING video Shannon. It breathes love in every curve!

  30. Amber says:

    Great post, Shannon! The video was beautiful. I have to say, I laughed seeing the 3 of you walking on the beach. You and Bret so sweet and his brother? Clutching a blow up bottle of hot sauce? Made me laugh! What amazing days you have all had a continue to have together. Praying for you all!

  31. Darryl says:

    Thanks for sharing Shannon. Like most people that follow Bret’s blog I always want to comment but seldom ever do. I found this video the other day, I started to watch it and then stop because I didn’t have enough time. I had just watched your video and loved it. This is video from a TED conference. Sorry rambling here… Shannon mention the “Om Nashi Me” song by The band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. This band is part of this culture this guy is talking about. I had never here of the band or the song but I am fully aware of the art and culture movement taking place all over the world that this band is a part of. Thanks for the intro to the band and here the link to the video hope you enjoy it.

    In case the link doesn’t work you can search youtube. Title of video is:
    TEDxVancouver – Jeet Kei Leung – Transformational Festivals

  32. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    WOW – So beautifully and lovingly written, Shannie. Along with your heartfelt words, the video is truly amazing and such a special, loving documentary of this journey. Once again, you and Bret remind us all to enjoy everyday and that love and family are among the priceless blessings that keep us “riding in a good direction” in this journey of life, no matter what comes our way.
    No words can describe how proud we are of your love, courage and strength or how much we love you both,
    Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon

  33. Gina Mathis says:

    Shannon and Bret,
    Tears are streaming down my face as I finished reading Shan’s beautiful post. The memories created from your cross-country ride, and Bret’s wisdom to acknowledge that it was not about the destination but “the journey”, can also be looked at as a figurative philosophy for life itself. As you follow the next curve of your day-to-day, I pray that God continues to strengthen you as a couple, as a family, and as an enduring light of His will. I love you Shanny with all my heart. I have known you since you were a precocious tyke exuding sunshine and love to everyone you met… and now these qualities are exactly what “Your Bret-ley” so very much needs from you as you love. him. today. and. forever. For the brief moments I spent in Bret’s company, I cannot but be thankful that I had the good fortune to meet a remarkable young man. I love him because you love him. Bret is the epitome of “the journey.”

    Blessings and Love,

    Gina

  34. Awesome Video and great post. So good to hear from you guys. So special all you have done. We love you!

  35. Debbie says:

    Words escape me on how moving, beautiful and poignant that video is. What I see is a couple who truly loves one another; a family that loves one another. How I wish I could have been on that journey with you to share in the memories.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Shannon and Bret; not a moment passes when they are not in my heart and my prayers. My arms ache to hold and hug them both; my heart pains at not being able to just tell them face to face how much I miss them and how incredibly I love them both.

    You’ve both taken the curves that life has given you and yet you still manage to ride in the sunshine. I hope the warmth of all the love your friends and family are sending to you can continue to keep you safe and warm.

    Simply–I love you with all my heart.

    Sissy

  36. Brian and Wendy West says:

    Our lives are richer and more meaningful now that we have seen what it really means to live. God bless you all.

  37. Hello Bret and Shannon, Thinking about you and letting you know that the journey Holly had was so similar to yours. Loads of love and inspiration. It trickles down to so many others who use it to give hope, love, compassion and inspiration with a continual stream, flowing through out the world. As I write this, an article of such ,about Holly’s life was published and circulated to 72 countries. Yours my friend, is also circulating in a unique way. What a wonderful testimony! Even my little boy has been effected in a positive and beautiful way. Scott who is now 13yrs old helps take care of younger children with cancer. He has helped raise money for his sister’s foundation Shred Out Cancer. Mostly he talks to kids about God. He saw His love and kindness in others and mostly saw it in his sister Holly. So, YOU ARE making an ENORMOUS impact. To that I say “THANK YOU”

    God Bless,
    Carol Holly (Holly and Scott’s Mama)

  38. Ingrid L says:

    Dear Shannon and Bret,

    Thank you so much, Shannon, for your post and your lovely words and beautiful video and photos of your journey. I often think about you and Bret, checking the blog and thinking about how you two are doing and coping with everything. It often comes to my mind the happy day when my family and I visited your house in Pultneyville. What wonderful surroundings and what warmth you both gave us! Such a lovely memory!

    Love and thoughts from Ingrid

  39. Carolina DeHond says:

    Dear Bret, Shannon, Betsy and Jim!
    Thank you for your update! Our thoughts and prayers for you have been daily! We wish so badly we can come up with a fast cure. Many of my family and friends ask about you and reassure me of their prayers for the both of us. We are so happy you have such a wonderful, loving and supportive family as you fight this nasty cancer! If you ever need anything we are here for you too!

    If you guys are able to stomach empanada’s and such foods, we would love to bring some over to you, just let me know!
    Love, Carolina and Craig

  40. Kristie Bergvall Vota says:

    Beautiful update. You all remain enveloped in prayer.
    Kristie

  41. Emily says:

    Wonderful post … thinking of all of you.
    – Emily

  42. Bob Cownie says:

    Bret & Shannon,
    Months ago after your diagnosis, you made a choice to “Ride in a Good Direction” and share your journey with each of us. What a gift that has been. Thank you. I hope you recognize the multitude you have impacted with your lives and your courage. I hope you can now sense our presence, our love & prayers as you continue to take the curves ahead together.

  43. Ellen Edmond says:

    Our hearts ache for you and rejoice for you, and that becomes our prayer for you…that you contine the journey, taking the curves with the strength and love that endures.

  44. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Bret and Shannon,
    What a wonderful video. Shannon..you are so talented! Such beautiful scenery. This country is beautiful with so much to see and appreciate. Sometimes it takes an illness to get people to stop and take in the beauty around us. I can tell you that this journey you guys are on and allowed me to share with you has had an affect on my life. I am exercising one of my ‘learnings’ from you this week. I have taken the week off from work and am enjoying a ‘stay-cation’. My husband is retired and we have been enjoying our 2 1/2 year old grandson since last Friday. We have enjoyed the Cars movie and Toy Story about 100 times. We have colored every day and played with hot wheels in the floor, on the dining room table, and in the bath tub. Today we took him to a park close by and played with him on the playground equipment. About 2 hours into it, he said “ice cream Nana”. Nana – that’s the most important title I have! Of course, I said sure, we can go get icre cream. Which we did at 3:00 in the afternoon; followed by a nap which he is still enjoying! He will probably be up until midnight tonight, but you have taught me that it really doesn’t matter that he’s up until midnight tonight, or that the ice cream at 3:00 in the afternoon may ruin his dinner tonight. Those things just do not matter. What does matter are the memories we have from the afternoon we spent with him at the playground. Jumping off of the jungle jim, sliding down the slide and running from equipment to equipment without a care in the world. Thank you for sharing your journey. You both have enriched mine.
    I hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall colors of Wayne County.
    Take care,
    Sherri

  45. Pam Hirst says:

    Dearest Bret and Shannon — This blog entry by you, Shannon is beautiful, touching, and captures the love you have for each other. Thank-you for sharing yourselves with some of us who are unknown to you, but have come to care about you deeply. We continue to lift you in prayer always – every single week, and are privileged to be able to take you to the throne room of our tender and loving God, who cares about you both on this hard, not chosen, journey in life. We continue to love you through prayer, because it is what we have to give. Ever thankful that Heather drew us to your story – that we might be people of prayer for you, but more for how you have touched our lives. Your story means much to many, we are sure. Praying you on………

    Milt and Pam Hirst

  46. Marissa Siciliano says:

    Bret and Shannon,
    What a beautiful post. Continue to hold on tightly to each other. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I always look forward to reading the next post, hearing about the next part of your journey and realizing the courage and love you both have together.
    Marissa

  47. Scott Elsenheimer says:

    To the Hoefens:

    The time we have on this Earth, with our family, friends, and all other loved ones is truly very special. It is also very limited… if there is one thing that I have completely taken away from your blogging over the past year, is to take absolutely NOTHING for granted. We truly are on borrowed time, from the day we are born, the life cycle begins. The growing, maturing, and loving we experience due to the experiences we have throughout life, make this journey truly great. It is unfortunate that we all do not get the opportunity to learn about “Riding in a Good direction” from an earlier age, but that too, is part of growing. It takes experiences to learn how to cherish life, and I, for one, am truly full of gratitude that you have helped teach me this very important life fact. Thank you all!

    Regards,
    Scott

  48. Hello Bret and Shannon, Thinking about you both. Keeping you in my heart, thoughts and prayers.
    Holly made it possible for me to have the honor and pleasure to know you even if it was not in person. Many, many beautiful people and things have come from this cancer. The one thing I have learned from all of this is- The Love and Compassion is way bigger than the cancer. The essence of Love and God are so strong. I feel it so even now with Holly being a part of the Bigger scheme of life.
    May you also feel this beautiful, invisible presence .

    With love and much gratitude for you,

  49. Dick Frederick says:

    life is truly a journey. Everyday is a gift. Bret you continue to inspire and teach us that we need to appreciate all that surrounds us, to live everyday to the max, no regrets, no excuses…just be the best you can be and hold your head up high. You have the heart of a champion and the courage of a lion.

  50. Loretta says:

    Shannon, you put that so beautifully! I think of you, Bret and his family and you’re in my prayers every night! I wish you the best. You have one helluva “curve” ball thrown at you and you both have taken it beyond my imagination! God bless you!

  51. Sue K. Hill says:

    It is with tears that I have just discovered the journey you and Bret have been on this past year. How well I remember the energy and passion possessed by the two of you. I have read each post and enjoyed the pictures of your travels. I now stop to pray for strength that will get you through each hour of the day.Though many miles and years have passed, the thoughts of you remain clear. Love You Both!!

  52. Terry says:

    beautiful, long awaited update, have read it several times, and say a prayer each time. Bless you and your amazing family!

  53. Mike Gratz says:

    Keep up the good fight, thinking of you and your family today…

  54. Julie says:

    I wish you and your family continued peace and love. I admire the courage and spirit shown by yourself, your loving wife and wonderful family and friends. God bless.

  55. judy gratz says:

    HI Bret,
    Been thinking about you a lot lately-sending my love and prayer’s.

  56. Aunt Judy & Uncle Kevin says:

    Hi Bret,
    Happy Birthday! The sun is finally shining today– just for you! Thinking about you all day today, as everyday. Sending lots of hugs and love,
    UK & AJ

  57. Jessica Scott Wolfanger says:

    Bret, Shannon, and Hoefen family,

    Just wanted to let you know that you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers daily. Your strength continues to teach and inspire us all.

    Jessica

  58. Amber says:

    Hi Bret and Shannon!

    Sending prayings and thoughts to you on this beautiful fall day. God Bless You!!!

  59. Wendy says:

    Happy Birthday Bret! Thinking about you and hoping you are having a good day with Shannon and the rest of your family.

  60. Carolina DeHond says:

    Just thinking of you guys… and wanted to wish you HAPPY Belated BIRTHDAY Bret!!
    You are in our thoughts and prayers!!

  61. Happy Birthday Bret (Belated)- thinking of you always!!!
    Love, US

  62. Robin Gantt says:

    Good morning family,
    I have watch and ask about you and also kept you and your family in my prayers. I know that this family is truly blessed to have such a close knit relationship just from reading and seeing the support you have recieve throughout your journey Bret. I continue to pray that you are well and that God heal your body. Betsy I thank God for knowing you because you walk around at work each day with so much grace and simplicity and I see that you know that God is taking care of your son and you she that you depend on him to get you and your family through each day. I commend you for that. Thank you for showing up each day with your smile and hellos. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. Thanks for sharing

  63. ashley says:

    I just stumbled across this blog last night and stayed up completely engrossed in your lives that you so openly share through this tough time. I truly admire how positive both of you are staying and not letting any of this get in the way of living your life the best you can and fulfilling any dream possible! (i’ve probably driven by your house 1,000x in Pultneyville and feel somewhat closer to you than an average article from a stranger) I’m BEGGING (if you haven’t already) that you read the book “The China Study” and watch “The Beautiful Truth”. Or else- I will come find you and make you! 😉

  64. Hello Shannon and Bret, I am dropping in to the blog to say “Hello”! When I think of you two I have to smile. The reason is that the blogs are humorous (did I spell that right? Spell check not working) Your smiles are contagious. Continue to keep you in my prayers.

    Love, Carol Holly

  65. Denise Walters says:

    Dear Bret and Shannon, You are in my thoughts and prayers always. I have been following your blog since Mar. I read about it in the Journal and Courier in West Lafayette Ind. Once I started your blog, I have to get on everyday. I have enjoyed the pictures and blogs that you both have posted. Take care and thanks for the journey that you have lead us on. Denise

  66. Thomas says:

    Happy belated birthday, Bret! Thinking of you both every day. I’m now on a rotation at a compounding pharmacy in Raleigh, and being back there makes me recall the “old days” when we all lived in Raleigh.

  67. Timpla says:

    Bret and Shan-

    Porter and I are thinking of you often and wishing you strength and courage.
    My mom also wishes you love and strength.

    Please let us know if there is anything we can do, even from NC.

    All our love,
    Timpla (aka Stewie)

  68. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Hi Bret and Shannon. Just checking in and thinking about you. We’ve seen snow flakes fall here in Maryland already. It’s just a matter of time for Ontario and Pultneyville to have a couple inches of the white stuff on the ground. Enjoy these crisp fall days, and the abundant sunshine. Much love to you.
    Sherri

  69. Erika Phillips says:

    Bret and Shannon,
    I wish I could fully express how grateful I am for you sharing your wonderful journey and indomitable spirit. Thank you for the love, laughter, and tears. May you eternally ride in a good direction.

    Love,
    Erika in VA

  70. Scott Elsenheimer says:

    Thank you Bret and Family… I am truly humbled by the experience of this blog, and most importantly of the life I’ve learned to cherish over the last year. Rest in peace Bret. God Bless.

  71. Yvonne M Sellers says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Rest In Peace Bret.

    Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there, I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glint on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you wake in the morning hush,
    I am the swift, uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft starlight at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there, I do not sleep.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry.
    I am not there, I did not die!

    Mary Frye (1932)

  72. Dawn DeBadts says:

    Dear Bret’s Shannon, Betsy, Jim and family,
    I sit here and wonder what to think. I thought of the word FAITH and what it means to me right now. To me FAITH is what you can’t see but what you need because of what you have seen. Maybe FAITH is where we can find comfort even just a little bit.

    I saw this passage recently and wanted to share it with all of you.

    WHAT MOVES THROUGH US IS A SILENCE, A QUIET SADNESS
    A LONGING FOR ONE MORE DAY, ONE MORE WORD, ONE MORE TOUCH.
    WE MAY NOT UNDERSTAND WHY YOU LEFT THIS EARTH SO SOON
    OR WHY YOU LEFT BEFORE WE WERE READY TO SAY GOOD-BYE
    BUT LITTLE BY LITTLE, WE BEGIN TO REMEMBER NOT JUST THAT YOU DIED
    BUT THAT YOU LIVED
    AND THAT YOUR LIFE GAVE US MEMORIES TO BEAUTIFUL TO FORGET.

    And lived, Brett did and he made his mark on so many. What ever purpose he had for you in his short life, only each of you can know. How very special for us all who grew to know him through physically knowing Bret or through his blog. Let there be some peace in your heart right now.

    Love Dawn

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