Wednesday, January 29, 2014


When we all arrived home today, we found a note on the door.

A medical supply company -- a vendor that Steve's hospice agency used -- had stopped by to check on an oxygen compressor.

It took them four and a half years.

I had called the company in September 2009, not long after Steve died, asking that someone pick up the compressor. No one did. And so it has sat in our garage ever since.

I wonder what made them stop by today of all days to check on it.

I called the number left on the card. We've arranged a pickup date so the company can retrieve its compressor.


Cooper and a friend at school were talking about their fathers today. The friend's dad died when he was 4.

"He didn't really know what death meant then," Cooper said. "And I was 8 when Daddy died, and I sort of knew what death meant."

The boys have two friends who are suddenly, without warning, mourning the death of their father.

"At 12, you really know what death means."

Cooper and I are both praying that he can offer comfort.


All this talk got Katie talking. (Not that that's difficult to do.)

"I remember the day Daddy died," she said. "Aunt Ami gave me a bubble bath. My fingers were like raisins. I didn't totally understand Daddy's death."


Two weeks ago, my trusty minivan was hit in a parking lot. The driver of the Hummer was apologetic and quick to take responsibility. There's a big ol' hole on the left side of my car.

Arranging a time for an adjustor to look at the damage is difficult when you have a daytime job. I took a risk and scheduled the first appointment on the books -- today at 4:40 p.m. in Plano, about 15 miles from school. It was risky because we have staff meetings on Wednesdays. Would I get out in time to make the appointment?

Never fear. Betty volunteered to drive from Dallas to Frisco, pick up the van, drive it to Plano and then back to our house in Frisco.

There's no way I could manage this full, busy, joyful life without help. I'm so thankful for the people around us who never fail to amaze me with their wide-open hearts and practical, logistical solutions.


This is a big weekend. It's the annual Daddy-Daughter Dance.

You may recall that Katie went with Steve when she was 3. We knew that it was probably the only dance they'd ever attend together.

Since then, she's been escorted by Uncle Greg or Papa. This year she asked Uncle Jim to be her date.

He, of course, said yes, and will fly in from Washington, D.C., to take his 8-year-old niece to the dance.

She will wear sequins. She has agreed to some curls in her hair. She will no doubt have a lovely time.

And yet I'm preparing my heart for the inevitable heartache she feels and expresses after this annual event, where she sees her friends dance with their daddies.

This year we talked about the possibility of staying home or finding another way to spend the day. It would be OK, I told her, to skip in an effort to avoid emotional pain.

She would not even entertain the idea.

If you think about it this Saturday evening, maybe you could pray for her tender heart.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Steve loved spicy food of all kind. He especially loved Korean food. He often told me about lunches at Steve's Lunch, a little restaurant in Ann Arbor. His favorite meal there was bibimbap -- rice with veggies, meat and a fried egg on top. When we would eat Korean together, he would almost always choose spicy pork with kimchi.

On Friday, Cooper, Katie and I had a late lunch at a little Korean place in Plano.

Katie ordered a rice bowl with fish. (She's been a practicing pescatarian since August.) I ordered a rice bowl with chicken and kimchi.

Cooper studied the menu for a while then ordered a spicy pork rice bowl with a fried egg and kimchi.

I laughed and laughed. It was totally a Steve Damm kind of order.

Coop at Kor-BQ


Also on Friday, we received a letter from Alpha Tau Omega -- Steve's fraternity at Michigan. The organization isn't yet aware of Steve's death and therefore sent him a certificate for 25 years of membership.

I suppose it's time I send ATO a note about Brother Damm, initiated in 1988.


One of Cooper's middle school coaches passed away this week. Coach Furnas was, by all accounts, a treasured coach and role model. He was 39.

Cooper wasn't sure that he wanted to attend the memorial service. I told him that I would support him either way. I also gently told him that there are no second chances on weddings and funerals. We talked about why it might be good to be around other students and to say goodbye.

He ultimately decided to attend and says he's glad that he did. It's definitely been a rough, fragile, emotional weekend around here. I've taken a lot of deep breaths and asked for an extra measure of patience.

Tomorrow is the first day of school after winter break. A team of counselors will be on campus to visit with students and staff as needed.


In one of our talks this weekend, Cooper and I talked about anger toward God.

I told him that God no doubt can handle all the questions and anger we have. God's love for us never, ever wavers.

O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
(Psalm 136:26)