Sunday, February 06, 2005

Tired but grateful we are together

Tonight we are tired. After a late afternoon visit, we were herded off so that Mom could get her CT. At that visit, she was such a delight and we are so very proud of her. She opened her eyes for me and squeezed my hand. And then she opened her eyes again for Roland and cried a little (tears not sobs). We comforted her for the pain and fear and reminded her how much she is loved and how many people are praying for her. We also received the good news that her chest tube had been pulled.

When we went back after dinner and their rounds, she seemed a little worse off. She was much less rousable (almost an oxymoron given her limited interaction so far-three eye openings and two squeezes). In addition, her heart rate and temp were both up. But we sang to her and put on a CD that Kelly brought of the VCC Christmas concert. That seemed to soothe her a bit.

It was a hard visit for all of us. We were reminded as ever that medicine and healing are non-linear processes with jolts forward and then arcing curves back. We also recognized how much harder it is to see her the first visit after a forward step because you hope unfairly for so much more. It also is hard as every few visit you are again surprised to find it is all still real, not a terribly vivid and excruciating nightmare from which one will awake.

But that is the nature of the process. A roller coaster of ups and downs. If I were my client, it is about the time that I would start writing prescriptions for ice cream and girl movies. And, as I know that, so too I know that this is the way of things, that this is not darker or grimmer or more sinister than other battles. It is simply my own, our own. So we will rest tonight and begin again anew on the morrow.

With love and reflection-



Blogger Zhubin said...


Another short note from a VUCC alum to let you know my thoughts and prayers are with Pam and Roland and your family. Pam is one of the most wonderful people I've ever met, and her influence on my musical and personal growth is incalculable. I'm very heartened by the good news so far, and I am certain that Pam's full recovery is only a matter of time.

If I may ask a question: is the address to send items to Pam still the same as it was when you posted it a couple of days ago?

- Zhubin Parang

12:04 AM  
Blogger anne and ben said...

good morning jacqui - i was glad to read your post this morning. it is good to have space to reflect. i had dreams of your mother all night so i finally woke up. i am so happy kelly is out there. i have access to pam's offices - shall i get some other cds out from the childrens choir or anything and mail quickly to you? i'd be glad to do that or anything else you can think of that you need from here. i am going slightly mad with all of you so far away and you all constantly on the brain. know that i continue to send positive energy your way and many prayers. thanks for the updates - get my phone number from kelly if there is anything i can do for you. love to y'all, anne

6:26 AM  
Blogger Deanna Walker said...

Hey sweet people! I'm so grateful that you're posting these updates. We all feel like we need to know what's going on. Your mom has an awesome, powerful life force--when I praying for you all, I imagine her with her long, fast stride down the halls of blair, smiling at everyone like she always does. Hang in there and know that love is pouring into you from all directions!

7:37 AM  
Blogger Angie Antkowiak said...

Hi there,
I was quite pleased at getting the link from Christy so that we could follow up on Pam's helps us to feel a little closer.

I wanted to let Pam know how important and truly loved she is...I have had many many vocal coaches and choir directors in the past that were more like military drill seargents and seemed to extinguish my passion for singing and all things musical. When I discovered VCC for the first time last fall and had the delight of being accepted, I quickly discovered what a blessing Pam is. I have never worked with someone who is so encouraging and motivating, who tenderly coaxes out the best in each and every one of the voices there, and perhaps most refreshing is her commitment to the expression of the FEELING and emotion of the music, not just the technical perfection of it. Singing every Tuesday night with her is the one thing in my life that I truly love and I want to thank Pam for rekindling my love of music and singing with the chorus.

As the choir soldiers on, please let her know that every note we sing is a prayer uplifted in her name. We also sing for the family, in gratitude of their courage, love, and support. May our songs bring her to full health and carry her home soon.

Peace, Light, and Love,
Angie Antkowiak, VCC Soprano

8:04 AM  
Blogger Al Ramp said...

The girls and I are praying for your mom and your family each day. It is so hard to take steps forward and then back again. Again, if there is anything we can do, please don't hesitate to ask. We are creating colorful pictures which we will mail today. Your mom has always been a strong woman. It doesn't suprise me that she is doing more than expected. Hang in there and God bless. Love, Alette

8:13 AM  
Blogger Lee Levine said...

Thank you for the updates, Jacqui.
You cannot imagine how many, many prayers are being raised for Pam, and for the entire family.
Courage to all of you,
and a special hug for Roland from me.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Allison Pingree said...


Let me join with the many other voices here thanking you for the compassion, energy and wisdom you're pouring into this blog. It means a great deal to us to know how Pam is doing, and to have a place to communicate with her, and you, and Roland.

After reading Kelly's e-mail on Friday, my eyes (blinking through tears) gravitated toward a card taped to my printer--a card filled with words from an e-mail your mom sent to the Community Choir last year.

Here are those words, which I offer to her (and to others here) in the hope that they might bring her strength, peace, and a reminder of how many, many lives she has touched:

"I vow to see, hear and feel more of the world around me--the shape of a tree, song of a bird, smell of the air after a rain. I vow to live more in each day--to keep asking: 'Am I participating in my life or working the calendar?' I vow to touch and be touched more by people, sights, sounds and emotions. Like me, I suspect you long to stay connected with those things that make us truly human. Like me, I suspect you are on a life-long search for meaning and truth. Singing in choir offers us a magical vehicle to carry us to those ideas and emotions so easily buried and shoved aside by more 'productive' tasks. Together we will explore and create beautiful sounds set to meaningful texts. Together we will patiently labor, note by note, rhythm by rhythm toward a goal at once communal and infinitely personal."

Pam: you've changed my life by bringing true beauty into it once again. When you admitted me into VCC, I went home and wept with joy at the opportunity to join the "magical vehicle" that is your choir. Prayers for you are in my heart and mind continually. We love you, and send you a gigantic virtual hug. (To you, too, Roland!).


8:53 AM  
Blogger Barry Heard said...

Thank you, Jacqui and family, for your constant updates as you meet this challenge with such amazing love and dedication. Having been away from computers all weekend, I've read the posts and comments just this morning. I'm humbled by my feeling of helplessness, but uplifted by the knowledge of what a large community of supporters it is saying prayers for Pam and for you and your whole family. As others have said in this forum, Pam touches so many lives on a regular basis. For me, and the rest of the community chorus, she brings the curative power of music weekly. May she be blessed in return.

Peace, strength, and love to all!

8:55 AM  
Blogger Al Ramp said...

Roland, Jacqui & Brian-

Our prayers are with you all and with all those that love Pam. She is such a strong women and her great faith is sure to be the base for her recovery, as well as a comfort to you all. If there is anything that we can help with, please do not hesitate to ask. We will continue to pray for Pam and you all in all our evening prayers!
All our love, Jeff, Megan and Brenna Paul

9:22 AM  
Blogger Miriam Borosund said...

Pam's Family,

I want you to know that I--and the entire VUCC--love Pam and hope that she has a speedy recovery. Choir has been such a blessing for all of us, and Pam has been a wonderful director for us. Thoughts of her are with us continually. Share our love with her and know that we are praying for her.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Ruth and Al Stith said...

Dear Pam's family,

Thank you so much for doing this and giving us all the updates. We have been praying for Pam's healing and peace for the rest of you. If there's anything at all we can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask.

Ruth (and Al) Stith

10:23 AM  
Blogger Cynthia Cyrus said...

Roland, Jacqui, and especially Pam:

I want you to know that you are in my thoughts. Sick beds and waiting rooms: neither is easy on the people who inhabit them. May healing come quickly and may you take strength from one another.

Thank you for blogging the experience; it helps us to be able to share in your news.


10:35 AM  
Blogger Bruno said...

I don't know Pam except for attending an occasional VCC reunion nowadays. But VCC members, past and present, have always appreciated all VCC directors alike; my wishes are with you. -- Michael Bruno (VCC 1993-1997)

1:02 PM  
Blogger Lindsay Alexander Owen said...

Lee and I just got the news about Pam and our hearts go out to Roland, Jacqui and Brian. Please know that we are thinking of you and praying for you constantly. I have also asked my church in Greensboro for their prayers. We know how strong and healthy Pam is and are certain she will recover with great force.
Pam has been such an inspiration to me! She gave me my first job right out of college and is still a mentor to me-especially since their are so few female choral directors. She is an outstanding choral conductor who really loves what she does. I believe the Vanderbilt University Concert Choir understands that! I value and look up to her with great admiration.
Please let her know how much we love her and are pulling for her!

We love you,
Lindsay Alexander Owen, Vandy class of 97', Concert Choir member 1993-1997 and President 1997, (student, co-worker, and house-sitter for Pam!)

4:02 PM  

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