Seven Lessons I’m Learning on the Grief Journey

Today would have been my daughter Rhiannon's 30th birthday. We're calling it her "first birthday in heaven."If you haven't been following the story, here it is in a nutshell: Rhiannon was born (5/19/1985) with polycystic kidney disease which led to other issues, including liver disease, an enlarged spleen, and paralysis following a stroke at age 3. Faced with a short life expectancy, in 2011 she began to experience falling blood counts that led to repeated hospitalizations as her caregivers … [Read more...]

Rhiannon’s Vigil and Funeral

On Thursday, September 11, a vigil for Rhiannon Gladelle Wilburn took place at Wages and Sons Funeral Home in Stone Mountain, GA. The family received guests from 7 to 8 PM and at 8 PM a brief prayer vigil was presided over by Father John Molyneaux, CMF. People told stories — mostly humorous — and Rhiannon's dear friend Cindy Lou Harrington sang two of Rhiannon's favorite songs: her own "Let Me Win" and Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" (with lyrics specially rewritten for "our" Rhiannon).Here's a vi … [Read more...]

Completing the Hospice Journey

Back in May, I wrote a post about my daughter's decision to enter in-home hospice care. Rhiannon struggled with health issues, related to polycistic kidney disease, her entire life, and spent 26 of her 29 years in a wheelchair. I first blogged about her challenges back in 2010. Today's post is the inevitable conclusion to her story. Rhiannon passed away on August 30. Here's a link to her obituary. Maybe the easiest way to write this post is to begin with the message we sent out to the 175 fa … [Read more...]

Living with Hospice

Today is my stepdaughter Rhiannon's 29th birthday. It's always a sweet day, but today is a bit sweeter than most, because just a few months ago we thought she wouldn't live to see it.As I've explained in a previous post, Rhiannon lives with kidney and liver disease. Born with polycystic kidney disease that was so serious she almost didn't make it out of neonatal intensive care, she developed problems with her liver as a result of her kidney problems. To top it all off, she is also … [Read more...]

John D McColman: Obituary and Reminiscence

First, the obituary...Retired Major John D McColman, USAF, 89, passed from this life in High Shoals, Georgia, on January 15, 2013. A lifelong sportsman and devoted family man, John touched many lives through his quiet but warm personality, dry sense of humor, and compassionate character.John D McColman (his birth certificate simply reads the initial “D” for his middle name, which was intended to be the name of his uncle, Dee) was born on June 15, 1923 in Avoca, Michigan. He entered pilot … [Read more...]

A Few Pictures of Dad: John McColman (1923-2013)

My father passed away yesterday. He was 89 years old.This was the end of a long journey of illness which began with a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease almost 20 years ago; congestive heart failure and finally dementia also took their toll. Of course, these are all diseases of attrition, so it truly was a long, slow goodbye. But he maintained a positive, optimistic spirit pretty much through it all, and was truly loved by the nurses and CNAs who cared for "Mr. John" at the nursing home where … [Read more...]

Sylvia B. McColman (1923-2007)

Sylvia B. McColman, 83, of Hampton, Virginia, passed from this life on January 4, 2007 surrounded by loved ones. She graced the lives of countless friends and acquaintances with her warmth, her charm, and her playful sense of humor. Her life will be celebrated through a funeral service at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hampton on Tuesday, January 23rd at 7 PM with a reception afterwards. Interment will be in the Gloria Dei Memorial Garden.Born Sylvia Bertha Batina on January 29, 1923 in … [Read more...]