Sunday, June 03, 2007

"I love you so much too."


"A healthy body is a guest chamber for the soul: a sick body is a prison."
~ Francis Bacon, Sr.

Dale William Petersen, age 49, died at 2 am, June 3, 2007, of complications of a bone marrow transplant. He was just shy of his 50th birthday, which would have been on June 28th. Throughout his illness, he often told me he just wanted to make it to 50, and through sheer determination and strength of character, he nearly did. The medical staff called him the Energizer Bunny because he just kept going and going.

All of you who've known Dale in real life and through this blog know that he was golden; as good a friend as you'd ever have. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with him in the last several months. I know I am a better person because of it. Next to my son, Dale was my favorite person in the universe.

He was a dear friend to so many. Carol, a former co-worker of Dale's, loved him with all her heart and he loved her just as much. She had planned to come visit him last week, but became ill herself and had to postpone the trip for a few days. One of Dale's best friends, Darek, had spent several days with him this past week. Our Cousin Kay spent countless hours in the hospital with him in Billings and made two trips to Denver to see him as well.

I can't tell you how many of Dale's friends called to see how he was doing and/or sent cards or letters. One dear elderly lady even sent him a check for $20.00, which of course he didn't cash. When he was in Billings at the hospital, he had a steady stream of visitors. He said he couldn't believe how many people cared about him. To be honest, I don't think he had any idea how much he was loved until he got sick.

On Thursday, as I was preparing to leave him to come back home for a few weeks to catch up on some work that couldn't be put off, I couldn't stop crying. I told him over and over again that it wasn't because of his condition, it was because I had to leave him for a few weeks. He said he understood. I believe that he did. I also believe that he knew his time on earth was nearing an end.

He kept telling me how much he loved me and of course I responded in kind. I told him he was my best friend and he looked at me with those big beautiful blue eyes of his and told me that I was his. His last words to me were, "I love you so much" to which I responded, "I love you so much too". I really didn't think it would be the last words I'd ever say to him.

Through all of this, through every setback and every bad day, I believed that he would survive. My faith never wavered. My dearest friends told me in many gentle ways to prepare myself for the possibility that he wouldn't survive, but in all honesty, I wouldn't or couldn't let my mind go there for fear that letting any doubt in would be evident in my interactions with Dale. I wanted nothing but positivity surrounding him.

I can't help but wish I had stayed.

My son has updated his blog with a heartfelt post about Dale. During the last several months, Dale and Nels (Wolf) have become extremely close. In fact Dale often told me that if he could have chosen a son, he'd have chosen Nels. The feeling was mutual. Dale had become the father my son had never really had. Wolf is broken hearted over Dale's passing and I'd appreciate it if you'd read the post and leave a comment if you are so inclined.

Thank you all for being there for us.

We love you.


Anvilcloud said...

Aw, we had another card waiting by the door to go in tomorrow's mail. You cared for him so much and were a wonderful friend. Those last words that you spoke? We should all be so fortunate to part from our loved ones with words like those. Peace.

Cuppa said...

Oh Laurie, heart hugs to you and Wolf. There are no words to ease your pain, but we do care and send you our love.

Within Without said...

You were everything to him, Laurie, you and Wolf. You made his days as bright as they could be.

Your chronicling of his brave journey was touching, magnificent and loving.

I am so sorry for your loss after you gave so much, which will be with him wherever he goes next.

Your compassion and caring is unlike anything I've ever seen. Many hugs to you.


Mary said...

Laurie, I just found out about Dale through Cuppa's post. I am shocked and very sad. I have gotten to know you, Wolf, and Dale over the months and I always saw a good future for him.

Please accept my "virtual" hugs. There is nothing to do but to feel the pain. Dale would like for you to smile, you know. I don't he was the type of person who would enjoy much sadness.

mist1 said...

I'm so sorry...

Cathy said...

Laurie, Laurie - I'm sitting here with my husband - tears on my cheeks. He sighed under his breath as I read him your post.

Dear friend - the love you gave Dale will resonate in our hearts forever. We will always remember Dale. Always.

Sending much love and a very tender hug.

Courtney said...

I have a few bottles of Dasani in the fridge, I think I'll put one in the freezer for a while. I've never toasted a man's life with water before, but somehow it seems fitting.

I don't know what to say, other than I'm sorry.

Gina said...

Oh Laurie, I am so, so sorry.

And here I wasn't even able to get off my butt and send the card we made. I would have liked to have sent a little bit of brightness over to him, and now because of my procrastinating, it won't happen. I'm sorry for that as well.

I hope that you and your son can find some comfort in the memory that he was such a wonderful person in your lives. Hugs to you...

Not Amused said...

Oh, Laurie, I am so sorry to hear the news. I was thinking about you over the weekend - maybe I knew. Please know that I have you and Wolf in my thoughts and am sending you lots of love and good things.

Menchie said...

I am so sorry to hear about Dale's passing Laurie.

Thank you for letting us get to know him through you. I am sure he is in a better place now with no pain. You and your family did everything possible to make him happy in the last few months.

Helen the Felon said...

Laurie, I'm so sorry. The only comfort is that Dale's suffering is over. He was so incredibly brave through all of this...I'm happy that he can rest now.

I can only wish for everyone who is sick or in pain to have such a wonderful, strong, loving family as Dale does.

My love and best thoughts are with you and Wolf and Dan, and of course with Dale.

KGMom said...

Through all your sadness & grief that you understandably now feel--you have this: you spent wonderful hours with Dale. You were there for him; you helped him in every way conceivable. |
It is so very hard when someone so dear dies, but they really do live on in you forever.
Blessing, prayers & hugs for you.

Ur-spo said...

I am shocked and sad.
In times like these, I want to give some words that are comforting or clever, but they are always lame and useless.
Best to say merely I am so sad and sorry.
and you have all our thoughts and prayers.

LauraHinNJ said...

I'm so sorry, Laurie. You were a good friend to him. Remember that.

KC said...

You are a true friend and a true angel. How wonderful to share moments like you did, acknowledging the love you shared for one another. You did everything in your power to make him well, at least of mind and heart. Peace to you both.

Lynne said...

I'm sorry. You all are in my prayers tonight.

Anonymous said...

Laurie I'm soo sorry for your loss. I know he meant alot to you. I wish there was some way to help ease your pain. He was a brave man and in his passing he will be with God now, no longer to suffer. Though you will miss him he will be looking down on you commenting on what you do just like he did before.
If you need anything, you have my number call me and I will help. Much love.

Bonita said...

Words surely cannot console here, but, I feel consoled that you both conveyed so much heart-felt love for one another. You were so fortunate to have that time, those feelings, those words of love. Take care, Laurie, and know that Dale is in many hearts now.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Laurie, please accept my heart-felt condolences and my prayers.

Q said...

Dear Laurie,
You are in my blessings tonight as you grieve the loss of your dear friend.
It is beacause you loved him so much that it hurts so deeply.
It is a tribute to him and to you that you cry. I know you will always remember him.
Blessings of comfort,

Pink said...


I'm very sad and sorry for your loss. Dale touched us all through your blog and I know that having you there for the past few weeks must have made his last days very special.

You and your family continue, as ever, to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Lots of love,
Tania (Pinks)

Puss-in-Boots said...

Dear Laurie

My condolences on the loss of your beloved friend. It's hard to lose someone so beloved and my thoughts are with you.

It makes your thoughtful comment on the loss of my loved cat, Oscar, doubly precious.

Thank you so much, Laurie, and may your dear friend find peace.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. This wasn't the happy ending I was hoping for.

Your family is in my thoughts.

Jayne said...

My heartfelt sympathy to you and your son. May light perpetual shine upon Dale who sounded like a very special human being. (Here via Mary's View.)

Pam said...

Laurie, I am heartbroken for you all and sit here in tears for a very dear man and for all those who loved him. AC is right, if he had to leave, how fortunate that he left with words of love.

With love, Pam

homo escapeons said...

Any of us would be extremely lucky to have a fraction of the level of commitment, love, and generosity of spirit, that you showered upon your beloved Dale. His astonishing brave journey would not have been possible without your reinforcement.

You may never appreciate the true impact of your efforts but I am certain that Dale, and all of us, most certainly did.

Whether you realise it now or not, there is nothing in this world that would have been as appreciated as the devotion that you gave every second.

You and Dale gave all of us an experience that we won't forget.
A humbling revelation about the power of real love. Pure giving is thing of beauty unparralleled in this life.
Thank You.

MsLittlePea said...

Oh Laurie I'm so sorry. I just picked out a beautiful post card of a Picasso painting with birds and the sea for him. I shed tears for you and your family right now. He is so lucky to have such loving relatives. I am so happy for you that you both exchanged I love yous in your very last moments together. I would give anything to be able to have 2 seconds with my grandma again just so I can tell her that instead of 'hunter green is not your color', 'your shorts are too short' as our last conversation :o(
Please know that your family is prayed for and thought about here in Fl. hugs hugs hugs

NatureWoman said...

Oh Laurie, I am so very very sad for you and your family. {{{Hugs}}} to you all.

Squirl said...

Laurie, I'm so sorry for you and Nels. Don't beat yourself up for going home when you did. You spent so very many hours there. He knew.

Sending lots of love and hugs to you guys.

TigerYogi said...

Laurie, I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my deep and heartfelt condolences.

He's in a much better place now.

thailandchani said...

You sent him off well. You .. and your son.

He is free now...

... but I am sorry for your loss and your son's loss.

May his memory be a blessing.



Anonymous said...

I'm devastated by this news.He was doing so well compared to a few weeks ago! You really went the extra mile for Dale and you should just be glad your last words were filled with love and he left this world with a mark on many, many people. God Bless You Laurie!

anna said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. I really don't know what to say. I just hope that the wonderful memories you made with him will carry you through the grief. My thoughts are with you and you have my sincere condolences.

Laurie said...

Thank you all for your kind comments and continued thoughts and prayers. Your concern means more
than you will ever know.

As you can imagine, we are having trouble processing everything. It is all still so raw, if that makes any sense.

Cousin Dan is trying to hold it together while planning the service, which will probably be held next weekend.

Cousin Kay (aka Clark) has her hands full with her nieces and nephews and her sister who is also ill. Kay copes well on the outside, but I'm not so sure about the inside.

Wolf is struggling. He's starting a different job within his company and even though this isn't the best time for a transition, I know he will manage. He's a strong young man.

I'm trying to catch up at work, and it's probably good that I have things to focus on. Now if only the nights weren't so long...

Again, thanks for everything you did and all you continue to do. We love you all.

Cathy said...

Yes, Laurie - 'Raw' - I know exactly what you mean. And I know what you mean about having the distraction of work.

Night times can be so tough when our minds insist on processing our heart's messages.

Holding you and Wolf in my thoughts and prayers.

Laurie said...

Cathy, I knew you'd understand. Thank you.

Hugs, Laurie

Pink said...


Work, new jobs, planning the service...these are all very helpful things to focus upon.

But sometimes I know it can feel unfair that the world does not stop turning.

Hang in there. Cry when you need to and know you have a community out here that is holding you, Wolf and the extended family in our prayers.

maggie said...

Laurie, I am so sorry to hear your news. I have been following your update on Dale and did not expect this ending.
Losing someone you love is a very traumatic experience. I hope you find the strength to cope and carry on. You know Dale would have wanted that.
Hugs and Prayers in your time of sadness. Maggie

caroline potato said...

Hi Laurie,
That's a beautiful tribute. As I read it I realized how you and Dale shared so many traits. He lives on in you for sure. Gentle thoughts to you.

threecollie said...

I am so sorry Laurie. He fought so hard.

jen said...

oh, sweet, sweet laurie. i am so sorry for you and for Dale. but you know, he went filled with love, all around him, the love of so many surrounding him.

you made so much of that happen, friend.

rest in peace, dale.

Dave said...

The sorrow I feel for you and Wolf is heavy. I know that the loss of one so dear is something that seems unbearable. Yet, deep down I know, that you know, that Dale is still with you. He is in the cool breeze that brings you comfort. He is in the thoughts you have of him. He is in the smile of someone who passes you by. His spirit is always with you. All you have to do is go into yourself and sit quiet and he will be there. He was your teacher and mentor he showed you how to take what is dealt and make it work. Bless you and Wolf.

Laurie said...

Thank you all for your kindness. We are trying to stay positive, because that is what Dale would want us to do.

Words aren't enough to express our gratitude for your kindess and caring. It meant the world to Dale and it means the world to us.

We love you,
Laurie and Wolf

Cathy said...

Hope you're hanging in there. Just wanted to send a another hug to you and Wolf.

Squirl said...

Thinking about you and Wolf.

steve'swhirlyworld said...

Laurie...I'm so sorry. I'm broken-hearted. I don't know what to say...

I'm glad to have gotten to know him through your blog.

Laurie said...

I am working too much and not sleeping enough. Wolf is doing the same. I guess it's our way of coping. We are, after all, Norwegian. ;-)

You are the most wonderful people in the world and we are truly thankful for your love and compassion.

We love you.

Laurie and Wolf

Cathy said...

OK. I hope you'll be able to catch up on the sleep thing. That can be really rough. Gosh. You need to replenish your reserves. You must be going on pure nervous energy at this point. Take care. Love and big hug.

Gawpo said...

Oh, Laurie. I didn't know. I am so sorry. The brightness in his eyes charmed me, Laurie. The brightness with which you loved him, as well.

My heart is with you, my dear friend.

Laurie said...

Cathy, I slept better last night and I'm going to try to do the same tonight. Wolf has managed to get some rest as well, he said.

Thank you so much for your caring and concern.

Hugs back.

Gawpo, he was a bright shining star and we'll miss him forever.

Thank you.