Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to describe ...

Last Sunday, Cooper came home from a weekend of Boy Scout camping and showed symptoms of an awful stomach virus. He was down and out for all of Sunday afternoon and night and was in no condition to go to school Monday.

I emailed his teachers to let them know he'd be out and asked for any work he could do from home, in case he started to feel better.

His Spanish teacher replied with some instructions. I forwarded them to Cooper. He was confused about the directions and emailed her directly.

She replied that he was supposed to start creating a "Who Am I?" poster, using adjectives to describe family members. She suggested mom, dad, sibling, pet and himself.

Cooper didn't want to reply in an email that his dad is dead.

And then, he explains, when he returned to school, he thought it would be awkward to tell her in person.

So, he chose to include Steve in the poster. (This is totally normal for Cooper and Katie -- they usually include Steve in their family descriptions.)

To describe Steve, Cooper wrote: El es tranquillo y callado.

In other words: He is calm and quiet.

Oh, I laughed and laughed and laughed. Of all the adjectives I can think of to describe living Steve, calm and quiet wouldn't be at the top of my list. Witty, outgoing, outspoken, lively, intense, funny, smart, curious, clever. Not often calm and quiet.

Yet there's no arguing that he's calm and quiet now.

Steve would definitely approve. And he'd be tickled that his son shares his quick wit, sarcasm and dry humor.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Head for the Cure 2014

For the fourth year in a row, Cooper, Katie and I are fielding a team of friends and family members for the Head for the Cure 5K North Texas. Our team, Run for Steve Damm, is in memory of our beloved Steve, who lived with a brain tumor for a year and a half before passing away on September 7, 2009.

The Head for the Cure Foundation raises money for brain cancer research. The money goes to the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative at M.D. Anderson (where Steve was diagnosed) and the Legacy Brain Foundation in North Texas.

Cooper, Katie and I are so thankful for the community that continues to surround us with love and prayers. We would be honored if you could participate! You can:

1. Run or walk in the 5K. (And young children can participate in the Kids Fun Run.)

2. Donate money to Head for the Cure.

3. Pray for our team and for a cure for brain cancer!

Here are details on the race:
  • Saturday, May 10, 2014
  • 8 a.m.
  • Oak Point Park, Plano, Texas
  • Team registration: $23 through April 18; $27 from April 19 to May 7; $30 on race day
  • Kids Fun Run registration: $10 (ages 10 and younger)
For more race details, click here.

To register for the race, click here

When you register, be sure to join our team: Run for Steve Damm.

If you're not able to participate but would like to donate to the Head for the Cure Foundation, please click here

Also, whether or not you can join us May 10, you can buy the fun new DAMM TEAM T-shirt! We hope to see lots of tie-dye and bright blue out at the race -- both styles that Steve Damm would have approved.

To order shirts, click here. They'll all be delivered to me, and I'll distribute them before the race.

Please let me know if you have questions! Email me at

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I survived the interview with Pastor Andy at First UMC Lewisville a couple of weeks ago.


Actually, I knew I would survive. Andy is a dear friend and would never lead me astray. Plus I have an incredible support team. And in each of the three services, there were friendly faces in the pews.

Kathy and Scott, Kris and Maddie at the first service.

Andy's family at the second service.

Katrina, the whole Amezcua clan, Chelsea and Neil at the third.

During the interview, Andy walked me through 10 questions related to life before cancer, life during and life after. I spoke about (or tried to remember to speak about) our storybook life before that December 2007 MRI, about my fears of becoming a single mom, about the life-sustaining network that supported us, about the people placed in our lives who eased our burdens, about not being angry at God, about hymns and Scripture that provide strength greater than grande soy lattes.

After each service, there were kind folks who stopped by to give me a hug or share their own stories. A few are even fans of my column. (That's always a little odd to me, because in my mind there are about 100 people, all of them my friends, who read my column.)

I met a woman in the restroom who thanked me for sharing my story and then broke down in tears because she had lost her own dear husband last April. We held hands for a few moments.

A young man asked for advice for his mom, who struggles daily with grief and can't seem to "move on."

A woman whose husband is a cancer survivor told me that she could relate to our story, even though their story has a different ending.

I'm not sure when, if ever, I'll listen to the interview, but if you'd like to, you can find it here or download it here. (From the third service, I believe.)