Archive for the 'Gratitude' Category

June 16th 2010

Some Positive Notes :)

It’s been a while since I posted.  The simple reason is that life is hectic as a single dad.  Not only do I contend with the “tyranny of the urgent”, but if you know Kai, you know that he is one of the most energetic kids you’ll ever meet.  That being said, probably the greater truth is that I’ve struggled with the realization that most of the time I feel like posting, it has been about something kind of negative.  I don’t want to be the downer in someone’s day, so I usually just skip the posting.

The weeks leading up to the anniversary of Monica’s passing were the hardest yet.  It was almost unimaginable to think that after almost a full year of grieving I was still finding new lows.  There didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I decided to take the day off on May 11th and just spend some “me” time.  I turned my phone off and didn’t check any email or FaceBook messages (a quick thank you to everyone who did try to reach out to me and Kai on that day.  I apologize for not getting back to you all, but there really were an overwhelming number of people to get back to. I just skipped it all.) 

Something interesting happened… I spent the day playing and writing music, and by the end of the day I really felt a lot better.  It was the first encounter of “joy” I’d had in a long time.  It was such a contrast to the lows I had been feeling, that I felt like I was soaring or something.  It was really encouraging to realize that I could still experience joy like that.

A couple of weeks later Kai and I received another gift.  Our church, Whittier Area Community, was doing its annual serve weekend and our back yard was one of the projects.  We ended up having so many people come to help and show their love, that not only did the backyard get a total makeover, but many of the projects I couldn’t get to inside the house got done too.  It was an incredibly humbling experience that we will be eternally grateful for.  If you were one of the many people that helped out at our house for serve weekend, please know that you really made a difference to us.  During a time of faith struggles, sadness, and a blurry outlook on hope, you guys represented the love of Christ and the church with elegance and grace.

I’m so pleased to be able to finally post something positive.  🙂


After serve weekend, our backyard looks amazing!

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May 25th 2009

Endless Thank You’s

I tried to sit down and make a list of people to send thank you cards to today.  The cards that have poured in are a mountain of love.  Between the sympathy cards, the emails, and all the posts on the websites, there seems to be an endless supply of compassion, kindness, counsel, and encouragement.  “Thank you” just doesn’t seem to do justice.

However, just as before when Monica finally gave in and realized it was practically impossible for one person to reciprocate to hundreds, I am going to do the same.  At first I felt ambitious and I thought I could keep up, but now I see the wisdom in her decision.  🙂

Anyways, please accept our (mine and Kai’s) deepest gratitude.  So many of you have shared beautiful words and sent selfless gifts of support.  Thank you for loving us through this time.  Please know that it makes a difference.

With love,

Sol and Kai

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May 21st 2009

Today Was Different

Today was the first day that things started slowing down.  There is so much to say, I don’t even know where to start…

I had to go back to work full time on Monday this week.  I actually had to go in last week a few times, even while preparing for Monica’s memorial service and trying to be a host.  One of my bosses passed away last Wednesday; just two days after Monica.  I work for a small business headed by a husband and wife team.  Besides Monica, the person that I spent the most time with was my boss.  We worked closely together over the last five years.  I looked up to him and had a great respect for him.  He was a role model and a good friend.  However, since we worked together on the technical processes of the business, I needed to go back in right away to keep the “gears” going.  Everyone in the office has had to be strong and focus.  They are an amazing team.

Even though it’s hard to focus sometimes, keeping busy has its advantages; especially at home.  That’s why today was a different.  Monica’s parents went home today.  Everyone else is gone now too.  It was a “whirlwind” and grand central station for a while around here, but it kept me busy and not alone.  Today I felt the loneliness, though.  My mom is still here helping with Kai and I am grateful for that.  Still, the quieter it gets around here, the louder my thoughts are. 

Kai has been having a rough time.  His teachers said he was crying for his “dadoo” and “mommy” today.  He has asked for her or talked about her every day so far.  A few times he was doing well, and I slipped and called my mom “mom”.  He got very upset each time and said, “No!  Mama’s dead.  That’s nana.”  The other day he was asking for her and I told him again that she was in heaven.  He got very upset with me and said, “No!  you go to heaven.”  It is going to take some time…

I read something that made so much sense about the way grief feels.  C.S. Lewis says, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.  I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid.  The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning.  I keep on swallowing.
…There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me.  I find it hard to take in what anyone says…  I dread the moments when the house is empty.”

I couldn’t have said it any better, except that I am afriad.  Lewis was older and established when his wife passed.  I worry about raising Kai and where life’s going to lead.  I’ve never known this much uncertainty that was so immediately present in the forefront of my mind.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to try to keep things as consistent as possible.  I’m trying not to make too many big decisions any time soon.  I’ll stay here in Whittier and try to stay close to all our friends and support.  Kai is doing really well at his day care and actually enjoys going to “school” everyday.  I don’t know that we’ll be able to stay in our apartment since we were a two income family, but I don’t want to think about trying to move right now. 

Finally, for those that have been asking, Monica’s parents will have another memorial service for her up north in Paradise, CA.  We always liked being able to say we were married in “Paradise”.  I will be there too.  It will be at the Paradise Alliance church on Saturday, May 30 at 2pm.  I will post an address and more information later.  I know there are many of you up there that have prayed for Monica and loved us for a long time.  I look forward to being there with you.

Good night.


May 17th 2009

Future Updates

Things haven’t quite slowed down yet so I haven’t had much time to post, but I intend to keep it up.  You all were such a source of strength for Monica, that I hope to take advantage of the connections here too.

Thank you to everyone who came yesterday to Monica’s Memorial.  We will love her forever.


May 13th 2009

Memorial Plans and a Few Requests

We will have a memorial service at our church this Saturday at 7:00 pm.   Our church web site is  You can get the address, phone number,  and directions on there.

I would like to ask anyone who has special pictures with Monica in them to email them to me.  Monica touched so many peoples lives in so many different parts of the country and the world, that I know there are many pictures of her I don’t have; especially from missions trips, the orphanage in Ukraine, different schools, and volleyball.  I might use some for her memorial, but I especially want them for Kai and myself.  You can email them to me at: sol.rodriguez <@> yahoo <.> com (brackets for spam protection).

I am also looking for people interested in speaking a short tribute/eulogy or story about Monica.  I can only take a few, so I apologize if I can’t use everyone who wants to, but I want to at least extend the invitation to all.  Please email or call me at 562-552-7180.

Thanks in advance.


May 6th 2009


The past few days have been a whirlwind.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m dreaming.

I can’t post too much detail because I want to make it back to the hospital as soon as I can.  I didn’t have the strength to stay with Monica last night, so I stayed at my cousin’s house for a decent rest.  Monica gets up about every 45 minutes to go to the restroom or take pain meds or talk to a docotor, etc. and after several nights of that, I felt like I wouldn’t be her best support person; I was afraid she might need something and upon calling me I would just sleep through it.  A changing of the guards was in her best interest even though it hurts me to not have been there for her.  Her mom stayed instead, so I know she was in good hands.  Even though I was tired, I had a hard time falling alseep and I still feel like I got hit by a truck this morning.

The doctor’s switched her pain meds yesterday from morphine to dilaudid, and she seems to be doing better with the dilaudid.  she is a little more coherent, and her pain seems to be managed better.  She also has a fentanyl patch which started at 25 mcg and has been raised to 100 mcg in small increments because they were having a hard time managing the pain for a while.  The doctor at the hospital told me that he thinks she has been in a lot more pain than she was telling us, because the kind of pain that comes from her condition is intense.  He thinks she was trying to be brave for our sake.

Monica has definitively decided to keep on fighting, so please keep praying for healing and strength.  She doesn’t want to give up, so we are not going to give up on her either.

I saw how many people signed up to follow her on Twitter recently, so I’ll try to post as many updates as I can.  Once I leave my cousin’s house for the hospital, I still won’t have internet access though.

One more thing… thank you to everyone who has come to visit.  I’m sorry I haven’t been able to answer everyone’s questions or speak to everyone.  Like I said, it’s been a whirlwind.  But we really do appreciate the support.  Monica and I talked last night about how amazing our support network has been.  You guys all really do make a difference.  Some of you deserve medals for everything you’ve done.  If I tried to list everyone, I would be here for another hour or more.

Please keep up the prayers and the hope.

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May 4th 2009

A Rough Night

I’m home for a quick shower and update.  The doctor’s goal for Monica was to find the right dose of pain meds that would manage the pain and still allow her to be functional.  Last night, however, her pain escalated significantly in her lower back where there are new tumors in her spine.  The pain that brought her into the ER at the site of the liver was still significant as well, so after a long, painful and sleepness night (I thanked the nurse for her patience) they gave her Dilaudid which is a lot stronger than what she was getting.  Unfortunately, this makes her even more groggy.  The sleepness night doesn’t help either.

I’m not sure what the plan will be at this point.  We have to wait and see what the doctor wants to do next. 

Visitors are fine for a short stay.  Longer stays tend to accumulate more people and it gets loud and crowded quickly.  Monica may not be all that responsive though, so if you coordinate to come together with a couple people it might be better than waking her up multiple times.  I think she appreciates seeing people though.

Thanks again to everyone for their continued support and prayers.  We love you more than you know, and you’ve all given Monica more strength than she could have without you.


March 18th 2009

Navelbine #2, Friends, thank you and more…

So it’s been a while and many things have happened.  Many of you know how excited I was to have my friends coming to visit.  It did not disappoint.  I had a great weekend, feeling great, hanging out, catching up, praying, and eating a lot of food!  Oh, how wonderful it was to have them here – close by to hug me and serve me for the weekend.  It’s been hard on them to not be close by.  So I know for them to be able to clean my house, make me food and just take care of me meant a lot.  They were DOING something!  I know for many of you, you feel the same way!  What can we do so far away?  Pray, pray, pray!  🙂  

Friends Visiting  

Well, something we decided last minute to do was to send Kai to Paradise for a week.  He flew on an airplane with my cousin, Rachyl, and loved every minute of the flight!  He LOVES airplanes!  We woke him up on Friday morning and told him we were going on an airplane and he was wide awake in seconds!  🙂  He’s such a good boy.  He’s been having fun at Grammy and Grandpa’s house.  He got to hold and feed chickens and cleaned turtles at Auntie Janelle’s house!  He’s played with Skippy (my parent’s dog) wanting to carry him around the house, much to Skippy’s disapproval!  Boy do we miss this kiddo!  He’s coming home on Sunday with my mom.  Yes, on another airplane!!!  He’ll be so excited!  🙂

5 Raspberries - 01   

On Monday night a few couples from church came over and anointed my head with oil and prayed for Sol and I.  It was a very special time and meant a lot to us!  We feel so blessed to have people in our lives who will take the time out and just cover us in prayer!  

Something else amazing is that we have been made into a serve project through our church.  Project #129 (I think).  Anyway, it’s just people from the church signing up to pray for us on certain days of the week, write a note of encouragement, or donate money to help us cover the costs that are heading our way with insurance and whatever else there is.  I have loved reading every single note and seeing the list of people praying for me every single day!  It’s unbelievable.  The amount of money that has been donated is simply astounding!  I am blown away and in awe of God’s people!  People have been giving through the website, the mail, church drop box or other means.  It’s simply amazing!  I wish I could thank all of you personally, but I don’t have that much time, and I don’t know who gave cash!  So here is my thank you!  You are all so dear and precious.  Words cannot express the deep, heartfelt thanks that Sol and I have for you all!  Thank you!

Wow, wow, wow!  That’s all I have to say about this next piece of news.  My mom and I received free tickets to go see my sister in Washington D.C..  How amazing is that!!!!  Sol’s mom was able to get ahold of some frequent flier miles and get us tickets (Thanks, Harold)!  Unbelievable!  Thank you so much!  Blessings are coming from all sides!  God is good!  

Tuesday, I had my 2nd Navelbine chemo.  It was strange in that I was pretty knocked out by the anti-nausea drug.  My friend, Keri, said that my eyes glazed over and I was out of it.  I ended up sleeping the whole afternoon and evening away!  That really hasn’t happened to me before!  Keri thought she’d have to drag me up the stairs to my apartment!  Good thing she didn’t have to!  

So I think I’ve caught you up on the happenings here!  Sorry it took so long.  

Peace and Blessings to you this week…

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November 20th 2008

Many thanks…

Yesterday, I went to the school and was asked to stop by the office before going home. When I went into the office, I was given a huge basket of goodies – flowers, slippers, tons of gift cards, magazines, pajamas, a robe, Burt’s Bees, a necklace, and so much more! It was so amazing and overwhelming as I was in my livingroom opening the basket! Thank you so much to my Dexter Family. Not only did they bring meals from March to November (when I changed my diet), but they’ve provided house cleaning and gifts throughout the past year. What an amazingly sacrificial group. They have blessed me with all they’ve done! Thanks!

While I was sitting there opening my goody basket, the doorbell rang. It was a wonderful bouquet of flowers from a team of teachers at my school – thanks Harvard! I am really enjoying the fresh arrangement on my kitchen table! It’s beautiful!

Then I went and checked the mail – another team at Dexter had sent gift cards to Whole Foods! Thanks Duke! You are definitely helping me choose a healthier diet! Thanks so much!

My son’s daycare – Lad ‘n Lassie – deserves a huge thank you as well. They give Kai special love and have blessed our family in ways we couldn’t imagine a business would do. Thank you and God bless you guys!

Jackie – thanks for all the meals that you have brought over on chemo days. She said the only things I’m getting from now on are chicken and fish! 😉 She’s so cute. She says she comes to see Kai, not me! 😉

A new friend, Jill, took home huge stacks of paperwork from school and sorted them by student name – 33 student names.  She has been cleaning my classroom weekly for a while to keep all of those germs away.  Thanks for all the help.  She even accompanied me to chemo at the last minute!  What a treasure!  Thanks!

We got news today that a friend from long ago heard that we were going to be heading to Disneyland and has set up for us to stay two nights at the Disneyland Hotel – tomorrow and Saturday nights for free! Lupe – you’ll never know how special that is going to be!

We were given tickets to Disneyland and California Adventure a while ago and will finally be using them this Saturday! We are so excited! Kai is the perfect age. Not only is he free :), but he is really into Mickey Mouse Clubhouse right now! He’s going to be so adorable all day long! I can’t wait. Thanks for the tickets WW! 🙂

I did have chemo this morning. Everything went smoothly and really quite fast. I am starting to feel a little weird, but that’s to be expected! I am going to bed soon, but wanted to send this note out before time gets away again!

Before I go, there are a few more thanks – Nana – you came through today helping me at the laundry mat with 9 loads of laundry! Wow! Do we really have that many clothes? Thanks for sweating it out washing, drying and folding so much laundry! That would have taken forever here at home with one washer! 😉

My friend, Sunshine, came over and made fajitas for us tonight as our kids played together. Thanks, Sunshine for all that you do for us! You are so thoughtful!

There are soooooooo many more of you who need thanks and I’m sorry that I’m not mentioning you by name! You have all touched me with your encouraging words, hugs, emails, cards, books, phone calls, lunch dates, journals, and so much more. Each day I am blessed by someone through various means! I can’t even tell you how much it means to have you all in my life reminding me that I have so much to fight for. I feel so loved and lifted up. You are a huge reason I walk around with a smile on my face! Thank you!



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August 26th 2008

Thanks for the help and chemo tomorrow

I was going to post earlier this evening, but Sol and I went on a date!  🙂  We are just getting back from a Kai-free dinner, which was absolutely lovely!  Thank you to Chad and Alysha who took care of our precious boy, so we could enjoy a night out before chemo tomorrow!

I have been blessed the past few days with a few great people who have helped me with things related to work and setting up for the beginning of the year!  Thank you to Sunshine, Joy, Wendy, Lisbeth and Vicki, without whom, I would be drowning in not knowing where to even begin!  I am feeling much better about what has been done and not stressing as much about what still needs to get done!  Thank you! 

Anyway, I am having my chemo treatment for this week tomorrow at 2:15 pm.  I will be working in the morning, and then spending the afternoon reclining, killing cancer and hanging out with Keri!  That doesn’t sound so bad!  I had my blood drawn this morning and am praying for a high enough white cell count.  Please pray with me about that and that the side-effects would be non-existent.  I was going to ask for prayer about my cabinets at work getting unlocked, but today I went in, and they were open!  A prayer already answered!  Now I can start putting things away!  Yay!  That makes me feel good, too!

Upcoming appointments:

September 4th – Blood work

September 5th – Chemo

September 12th – CT scan to see if chemo is working

September 19th – Doctor’s appointment to discuss CT scan and next steps

Thank you for your continued prayers support and well wishes!  I love you all dearly and thank God every time I think of you!  🙂  You are my treasures here on earth! 



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