Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Obituary

Today we all seem a little lost. My dad was busy making the final arrangements -- writing the obituary (2 versions) and all the rest of us were trying to keep track of a lot of travel plans.

Here is the obituary that appeared in the newspaper.  We decided that the vast majority of people interested in reading the obituary would be finding it online versus reading it in the newspaper -- so we opted for a small printed version.

Here is the complete obituary that was online.

In Memory of
Candy Bingham Hanis
July 8, 1954 - June 29, 2011

Candy Bingham Hanis, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and sister peacefully finished her work in this life on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 following a 10 month battle with ovarian cancer. Candy was born July 8, 1954 at Fort Benning, Georgia to Charles Bartlett Bingham and Betty Joe Phillips. She was their third daughter and they moved to Fresno, California, a few days later where her father practiced oral surgery for many years. Another sister, a brother, two more sisters and an adopted brother came to make a happy and busy home. Candy is survived by her angel sisters Penny Johnston, Tobi Sanders, Terri Lorz, Tami Cooley and Vicki Hinton, her brother Tab Bingham, adopted brother Helmut Bambl their spouses and 30 nieces and nephews. Her father recently celebrated his 90th birthday and Candy was so happy to fly to Utah for the celebration. Her mother passed away in 2001.

Candy grew up with a full range of experiences and activities. She was a cheerleader and homecoming princess in high school and a graceful diver and water skier. Following graduation from Sanger High School she attended Ricks College for one year and then transferred to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where she majored in clothing and textiles. In the fall of 1973 she met Craig Lee Hanis who became in her words, her "best friend" and her "first and only true love". They were engaged the following fall and married for time and eternity in the Oakland, California Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on December 28, 1974 while Craig was working on his Masters Degree in Human Genetics.

Marriage expanded her family to include another "mom" and "dad" and three more brothers. She is survived by mom, Ethel Leona Hanis, brothers Michael Martin Hanis, Mark Anthony Hanis, and Kevin Charles Hanis, their spouses and an additional 12 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by dad Hanis and Mark's wife Marci.

On January 7, 1976 their first daughter, Jamie arrived while they were living in a basement apartment in Provo, Utah. November 14, 1977 saw the arrival of Carrie Michelle while living in Renton, Washington. They then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where Craig earned his Ph.D. in human genetics. Shad Bingham arrived June 15, 1980 at the University of Michigan Hospital. Following graduate school, Candy and family moved to Houston, Texas in 1981 where Craig took a faculty position at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston where he is currently a full professor. In Houston, Candy looked forward to the birth of another son, Jared Craig, but he was stillborn on March 25, 1983. Daughter Amber was born August 8, 1984, and more than 12 years later another son, Tyler Frederick, came to bless their family in unimaginable ways. During this time, Candy became the consummate mother and established a home of fun, safety, beauty, love, contentment, prayer and faith. She loved vacations, silly games on the floor, arts and crafts, and family history work. She always had projects to do and engaged the children and others in them.

Candy is survived by her five children; Jamie, her husband Trent Handy, a CPA, and their children Julianne, Catherine, Madelyn, Adam Trent and Owen James all of New Canaan, Connecticut; Carrie Hanis, a physical therapist in Houston; Shad, an orthodontist in Katy, and his wife Amy Nebeker and their children Hailey Lauren, Zachary Shad, Chloe Eliza and Molly Jane; Amber, her husband Daniel Aird who works in the IT department of ExxonMobil and their children Megan and Brooke with a third daughter to be named Candace soon to arrive; and Tyler who will begin high school in the fall at Lamar. Candy logged countless miles and hours with her children in support of their school and church programs, birthdays, anniversaries and so on. She was always there and always lit up any function she attended. Her posterity is beautiful and stands as a testament to her beauty and skill.

Candy and family were active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all their lives. For the past 27 years, she has been a member of Maplewood 2nd Ward Congregation of the Church and served faithfully in many capacities. She served as Primary president, Young Women's president, Relief Society president, counselor in several presidencies, Sunday School Teacher, Nursery Leader and also in the Houston Texas South Stake Relief Society presidency. She was a faithful Visiting Teacher to a number of choice sisters. She didn't just serve, but she served with diligence, care and concern. She was filled with charity and went about quietly doing a great ministry touching the lives of all she came in contact with.

Candy met every challenge with grace and enthusiasm, including her battle with ovarian cancer. She had an incredible inner strength, pleasant disposition, faith and ability to work that was unparalleled. She made the most difficult look routine, was always kind, and never murmured. She and Craig, who survives her, enjoyed 36 wonderful years of marriage and were true partners. She is sorely missed but their marriage for eternity solidifies their belief that "families can be together forever". They both look forward to a joyous reunion in the eternities.

A visitation will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 PM, Friday, July 1 at Earthman Bellaire Funeral Home, 6700 Ferris St., Bellaire, TX 77401; 713-667-6505. Funeral services celebrating Candy's beautiful life will be held at the Maplewood 2nd Ward Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 5531 Beechnut, Houston, Texas on Saturday at 11:00 AM with interment following at Brookside Memorial Park, 13401 Eastex Freeway, Houston, TX 77039; (281) 449-6511. Those wishing to make donations may do so to a charity of their choice. Two of Candy's favorite and regular donations were to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Perpetual Education Fund and its Humanitarian Relief Fund.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Candy Bingham Hanis -- July 8, 1954 - June 29, 2011

I woke up this morning when Owen awoke (just like normal -- around 7 am). I came out into the family room where my Dad was dressed and waiting for a good friend, Larissa (who is a gynecological oncologist) to stop by. During the night (around 11) my mom began to be a little noisy while she was breathing.  To me it was kind of like a groan she was making with each exhale.   Despite being so vocal, she remained asleep and did not seem restless.  Hospice had told us that she might make noises and even gurgling sounds, but my dad wanted to just make sure there wasn't anything more we should be doing to help her remain comfortable. Larissa came and said that my mom seemed comfortable and that we were doing all the right things. (My mom had a fentanyl patch for pain and then every hour we gave her a liquid morphine that does not need to be swallowed as it is just absorbed through her mouth.  Every third hour she got a cocktail of morphine, haloparidol, and lorazepam.)   At about 9am, we decided to change all the bed linens, as well as give my mom a sponge bath and change her pajamas. 

It was quite the project.  We filled the washing machine at my parent's home as well as taking another load across the street to Shad and Amy's house (so that we could get everything through the washing machines quickly).

Carrie and I were helping her with a sponge bath and were putting on her clean pair of pajamas (her favorite ones).  My mother was almost like a metronome in the room, groaning a little with each breath.  My dad was overseeing the whole project and helping as we would gently lift her up to slide on her pajama pants.

The last thing to do was sit her up just slightly so that we could put her pajama shirt over her head.  We all three helped lift her up.  Carrie was kind of hugging her with my mom's head resting on her shoulder while my dad and I on either side of her tugged down her shirt.  As soon as her shirt was down, we gently laid her back on her pillow and then there was nothing but silence.  My dad looked at her and asked, "Is she gone?"

And we listened.  And it stayed silent.

I even vocally whispered, "Dear Heavenly Father, Please keep her with you."

We could see her heartbeat visually and we could watch as it slowed down.  Carrie went and got Tyler.  It was 10:24 a.m.

It was so peaceful in her bedroom, that for a moment it was hard to feel sad -- her poor body was finally free.  Free of the cancer, free of the g-tube, free from the pain, free from the medications.

I suppose that ultimately we do have the last laugh on cancer.  Those cancer cells come in and take over.  They are such a nasty parasite, but they are too good -- they cannot restrain their growth and ultimately their overgrowth causes not only the death of the person, but likewise the death of the cancer.  Cancer really is stupid.  Cancer's success causes cancer's demise. 

I walked around my mother's room and photographed some of her special treasures.  They capture some of the essence of what mattered most to her. 

This is a figurine showing a representation of my parent's and their 5 children all kneeling in a family prayer.  It is enscribed with the saying, "Families are Forever". 

This saying was stuck into the frame of her mirror.  It perfectly embodies my mother's approach to loving others.  She went about quietly doing small (often very tiny) acts of love that truly made other people's day. 

I thought this quote was so interesting as it applies more to all of us trying to move forward than it must have to her.  Every memory I have of my mother is truly a treasure to me. 

This is my parent's engagement picture.

This is my mom's favorite saying.  She truly lived this way -- if there was a solution to a problem she would do everything to cure the problem, but if there wasn't (like cancer) then she would put on her brave sweet smile and go on just like any other day.

At about 11 a.m.  a dear friend showed up (not knowing my mother had just passed away), and she brought us the most beautiful cupcakes.  They were delicious and we all enjoyed eating them (honestly it helped so much.

It wasn't long before the funeral home directors arrived at our house to move her to the funeral home.

Here we are all watching as they very delicately worked.

They brought 2 flowers -- one for my mom and one for my dad.  They placed my mother's rose on her pillow.  It was a real tear jerker. 

My dad was so lovingly watching her as they moved her. 

And then we watched as they loaded her into their car and drove away.  It was an emotional goodbye. 

It was a hard day. 

Later that night we all went up to the Finals Chamionship swim meet where Tyler (having just lost his mother) had qualified for 4 events as well as Hailey and Zach.

Here is the song I just kept singing -- imagining that my mother was singing it to me.

This is my song
To carry on
When you have found yourself alone and I am gone.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Learning Patience

Every day right now feels so long. My mom is sleeping peacefully and we all gather each day and wait. There is no rushing the Lord. That is a hard lesson to learn no matter the situation, but this one seems so real to me right now. We cannot rush the Lord. I cannot rush the Lord. No matter how I feel I must recognize that this is in his hands.

The kids are also teaching us patience so it is like a double whammy of patience learning here! Thankfully, today a good friend of my mom's took all the cousins for a fabulous playdate.

Here is my dad playing cards.

This is my Baba (my dad's mother).  She is so active and spry and quite the card shark!

Here is Tami (my mom's sister).  She is sitting learning how to use her iPad.  She was so excited to get it.  She opened it, flipped it over and burst into tears.  (She had just read the inscription on the back "Angel Sister Forever")  Shad, not missing a beat grabs the iPad, flips it over and asks, "Made in Japan???  that is what you are crying about????"

A Beautiful -Normal- Summer day

We woke up today ready for a fresh start to a new week. We have hardly gotten to experience summer. While adults seem perfectly capable to sit around and visit while playing games, my kids need more action in their lives. And quite frankly a little action didn't hurt me or Trent at all either.

We got up and Trent headed out to the yard to get things all spruced up and I started day 2 of our summer rotation (our first day of the rotation was just the past Friday). The summer rotation is how I survive summer with 5 kids at home. I select a variety of activities for the time and then each kid starts on one activity and after a set interval of time, they rotate to the next. Today we had 8 stations.

Ipod touch

so the kids spent 15 minutes at each station. They seem to like it and I get 2 hours of no fighting (because none of them can be at the same station as anyone else). Afterwards we went swimming. Then came lunch and quiet time (usually from 2-4) and the getting ready for dinner.

Now the meals around here are BUSY. Normally right now each meal is for 22 people -- it is quite the catering kitchen we have turned into. And then there is the cleanup. And the getting ready for bed. Fortunately I have put shampoo and conditioner outside by the hose (and I make all my kids shower outside after swimming) because with the commotion all around it would be tricky to get bathtime in.

In the meantime, I would steal a moment or two to go lay down on the bed next to my mom. Usually I would go in there whenever Owen needed to nurse. I figured if I was going to a quiet place to nurse him, it might as well be right by my mom. Plus, she always loved watching me nurse my babies.

She has been asleep most of the day, just a handful of fleeting seconds where she opened her eyes. She sleeps so peacefullly, but it is hard to watch her and realize that the end is drawing near.

Right after all the dinner cleanup the light shines through the dining room window. It hits the flowers on the table and it just looks stunning. There is always someone in the house who runs and grabs a camera to try and capture just how pretty the roses are. Today, was my day.



Sunday, June 26, 2011

My mommy and her baby

My mom is still barely hanging on. Each day we wonder if this will be the last. With each goodbye, we say I love you with more meaning each time than the previous time.

And then we go out and play with the kids, take them to a movie (cars 2 yesterday), take them to church, go on walks, go swimming, cook meals and so on.

And then all of sudden, my dad will call us all back to her bed -- sometimes it is because she wants to hear her grandkids sing a song, sometimes it is for just her kids to sit around her on her bed and have some special times.

And I can't lie -- it is heartbreaking.

There are moments when I hold my breath so long I wonder if I will pass out just trying to keep my composure and there are moments that take my breath away.

But the sweetest of them all is watching the love of my mom for her baby- my little brother Tyler. He leans in close and says, "I love you mom" and she squeezes his hand, whispers, "I love you too!" and gives him a kiss. And my heart just aches for them both.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beauty all around us

Trent arrived in Houston early this morning (my brother Shad picked him up at the airport for me). Despite my mom's short burst of energy yesterday, she has been back in bed ever since.

She spends most of the time asleep. She is beautiful when she is resting. We all take turns laying with her and holding her hand. We have had some really special moments-- there is something beautiful about being able to share in these special times.

There is also a lot of time to just sit and think. I have decided that there are a lot of similarities between waiting and anticipating the birth of a baby and waiting and anticipating the death of a loved one.

-with both situations there are signs that the time is drawing near, but one can never be sure the time or the day

-loved ones gather near to show support for the family

-once the time draws really close that is when the labor begins

-watching someone labor through a transistion is not always entirely comfortable for everyone involved

So I am here, waiting and watching, thinking and praying, and trying to find the beauty -- even the small simple things that are all around me to bouy me up through this difficult time. And I took this photo of a crepe myrtle -- one of my favorite flowers here in TX. When I see them, I just feel at home.

My mom has talked a little about all the beautiful flowers around her. I know they help her feel at home. I hope they have ordered up a few special bouquets in heaven for her.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A surprise for all of us

My mother is an amazing woman.

When I got into town, it was shocking to find her completely bedridden and sleeping most of the time. Considering that only 9 days earlier she was walking around, talking, playing games, and just being the normal mom despite being so sick.

But today, we were all in for a surprise. The kids were over at Shad and Amy's and a few of us were here at the house with her when she suddenly was very lucid and energetic. She announced that she wanted to come out and watch the kids swimming. My dad turned to Shad and I and said, "Well, you'd better go get some kids in the pool" So we all rushed and got them into the pool swimming so she could watch them playing and having fun. These are a few of the photos I got of her while she was enjoying the grandkids swimming.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I made it!

After 2 birthday parties, the last day of school, packing for 5 kids and myself for a 7 week trip, getting up at 5 am, heading to the airport, getting the bags checked in, making it through security, boarding the first plane, getting off the plane in Chicago, finding a McDonalds, feeding all the kids, finding the next gate, boarding the next flight, landing, getting all the kids, all the stuff, and the luggage, finding my dad at curbside, and driving to my parents home -- I MADE IT here! I made it in time. I went right in and saw my mom. She was awake and she saw and recognized me. She gave all my kids a sweet hello, hug and kiss.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some old photos of my mom

In less than 24 hours I will be there. I just have to survive one more birthday party, finish the packing, sleep, and get on a plane and fly with all 5 of my sweet kids -- it sounds so easy --

Here are some pictures of my mom from her youth that I love!!!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We are heading to Houston

Soon. Tomorrow is the last day of school.

I have to make it through Madelyn's birthday party and Julianne's birthday party and pack 5 kids and myself and then . . .

probably on very little sleep -- I get to board a plane to come see you mommy! Me and my sweet kids. . . I can't wait to see you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sometimes it is hard to live so far away

from Family.

 This picture is of my parents and all my siblings and their spouses at the Houston Temple on Saturday, June 18th.

I love you all so much!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to my Dad

My dad is amazing, especially in these last 9 months. I ALWAYS knew how much my dad loved my mom. He has always been there for her and supported her in her every endeavor-- all her crafts, sewing, painting, home remodels, and yes even cancer. I can't possibly show you all the love that I have seen exemplified in my parents over the past 36 1/2 years of marriage but what I can show you is just a few snippets of my dad's updates about my mom.

Today is Sunday. Once again, I will go to church without her. Last week was the first time since her first surgery September 1st that we have both had to miss because of all these events. We like going to church and serving. For the most part I have been able to keep up with the bishoping (I don’t know if that is a real word. The spell checker in Word didn’t think so and gave “barhopping” as the suggestion. That made me smile.) I am grateful to counselors and others who have responded when asked to do things. Today is also the fifth Sunday and the Bishopric will teach a combined Priesthood and Relief Society meeting. I have felt to talk about “Intimacy” in marriage. I know of no other relationship as intimate as marriage. In many ways, our relationship with the Spirit, our Savior and Father in Heaven parallels some of this. The marriage covenant itself is incredible. Obviously, as we individually strive to keep the commandments and do what we are supposed to there are blessings that accrue to us individually. The choicest, however, come as we work together in that process of becoming “one”. We only have some 36 years experience at this, but are learning. There are experiences, thoughts, feelings and words that are only shared within the bonds of marriage. Sometimes people feel that they need to share some of this or their concerns to others. I guess that it is somewhat the same as people feeling the need to share their experiences that they have with the Spirit. There are rare situations where this may be appropriate, but the vast majority of the time it is not helpful. Indeed, with regard to our marriages, we must do all that we can to protect this relationship by always staying within the appropriate bounds and being absolutely true and faithful. This includes preserving and protecting the intimacy of marriage. Well, this is the part of what they will hear today (if you are in our ward and see this before church, I hope that you will still come). Candy and I have experienced things that only we have, have thought about things that only we have, and have faced things uniquely also. What they are is not really the issue, but that they have enriched our lives and relationship is. Marriage is absolutely incredible and just gets better and ultimately we have the opportunity for it to continue forever. Of course, having the best wife in the world makes it easier on guys like me. The wonderful thing is that in every marriage, individuals have the best spouse in the world.
She's Pretty Cute
Candy and I have also enjoyed some special time together. It is wonderful to be totally and completely in love.

Candy made it home today and is doing great. No IVs, no monitors, just her gastric tube and we can disconnect that at times. She is loving being unteathered. We arrived home about 3:30 and all five of her sisters were here, Carrie, Shad and his family, Amber and her family and Tyler. The sisters had planned an early birthday party so there were balloons and cake and everything. Candy enjoyed some pureed soup. The sisters watched a movie together and have been in the living room talking for the last couple of hours. It reminds me of August 1974 when I went and visited Candy and her family before we were engaged. I watched their conversations go around and around and change topic about 10 times each round. Let's just say things haven't changed much --- except for one thing. This time I did not have to observe the entire time and could simply go in to the other room.

There is a normalcy to having Candy home. It is hard to describe, but our home is filled. We are grateful. In thanking the doctors and nurses and a kind Father in Heaven, it is amazing how healing gratitude is. Another great day with more to come.

These have been some great days. I think I have said that Candy is amazing before. If you forgot, let me repeat that she is amazing. Our home is an incredibly special place. When I wrote a week or what seemed forever ago that she would come home and there would be a “fullness” to life, I didn’t fully realize just how full it would or could be. It is difficult to describe. Each day is wonderful and yet, in many ways, normal.
Candy is slowing down to a pace that we can start to keep up with her. She remains the strongest person I have ever known. She is now at the weight she was when we got married. I can’t say that about me. She continues to influence all in so many good ways. It is wonderful to just be together and have feelings for each other that just deepen and deepen. She is as cute as ever. Today is Father’s Day. Being a father with her as your companion makes for a great journey. She is to me as Photoshop is to some flawed photos.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Eleven Years Old

Eleven years ago -- Julianne was born into our family. She was born on Father's day even. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

She has been so much fun. I knew I would love being a mom, but I could scarcely comprehend just how much until it actually happened. We have learned so much together. As she grows and learns, I grow and learn. As she faces challenges, I have new challenges. And I love each new opportunity to watch her grow and develop into the beautiful young woman that she is.

 I love you Julianne!