First and foremost, my gratitude and love goes out to my four children – Charles Munat, Isabel Cole, Ben Munat, and Ted Munat. They uniformly stood by Chuck and me during the six years of his nursing home care. I thank them for staying in the ICU after Chuck’s stroke, for giving me respite care, for attending Patient Care conferences at the nursing home, for being sounding boards during my days of doubt, and for assuring that I would not experience my journey through caregiving alone. Each responded caringly to my frequent SOS’s, always saying, “Whatever you decide, I will back you 100%.”
When Chuck made his decision to begin his last journey with Hospice, our four children showed honor and respect for their father’s right to make that decision. Ted spoke for all of us when he wrote to Chuck on his last Father’s Day: “Your life is your own, and when you reach the point where it is time for you to leave us all, please do so with our countless blessings and all of our love. Go with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that all of us you have loved, and have worked so hard to do right by and provide for, will be fine. The forces you long ago set in motion will continue to serve us after you are gone, and as such you will continue to remain with us.”
Second, and no less importantly, I offer thanks and love to our two grandchildren – Alex Cole and Sharky Munat. They brought joy and light-heartedness into what was sometimes a gloomy scenario. Alex spent countless hours quietly entertaining herself in Chuck’s room at the nursing home while I performed caregiving tasks. She voluntarily sprang into action when we took him out – holding open doors, folding up Grandpa’s wheelchair and slinging it into the back of the car – always attentive to our needs and never complaining. Sharky was an equal joy and encouragement. “You can do it!”
Many other family members and friends visited and bolstered Chuck and me on our journey. I will inevitably and inadvertently leave some of you out – my apologies in advance for those omissions. My great thanks go out to: the entire Munat clan, including our foreign exchange students and their families; and my Grace Church family, especially Bill Harper, Ann Strickland, and Candee Heald. Also, hnoi Latthitham, James Cole, Kate Breimayer, Lillie Addams, Lela Altman, John and Nancy Walker (aka Maggie Malone), Wendy and Juan del Valle, Joanna and Blaine Newnham, Doug and Pipper Watkins, Janet Kutina and Joan Pratt, Eileen Iles, Elnora Jackson, Betty and Rich Hemmeter, Sarah Cooper, Mary Ann Stenger, Flo Lemke, Gaylen Stoa, all the Circle Babes & Muriel’s Girls, Barbara Phillips & family, Susie and Bob Hutchins & family, Peter and Laurie Frenzel, Barbara Chaplin, Clare Newbury, Archie Hobson, Mary Lauricella, Maggie Choate, Edith Zissos, Carol Rorex, Evelyn Burry, Clare Brown, Jason Chase, Theresa Connolly, Cynthia Ellefson, Heather Weldon and Paul Pal, Cindy Stuhley, Bonnie Piket, Randy de La Garza, Laurie Ruf, and Laura Jones.
I’d also like to thank the staff at Island Health & Rehabilitation Center for their tender care of my husband. Many of you went far beyond expectations. You know who you are. Blessings.
My heartfelt thanks goes to the early readers of the manuscript whose encouragement and feedback was invaluable. These include: Carol Angel, Susie Hutchins, Barbara Phillips, Sharon & Dawn Austin, Ginnie Burkholder, Wendy del Valle, Jim & Sue Berg, Mary Romeo, Laurie Ezpeleta, Nancy Fraychineaud, Roberta Schaffer, Laurie Lyall, Venera & Ed Barles, Beulah Downing, Dennis Carlson, Susan & Jim Morss, Lynn & John Sinclair, Natalie Humphrey, Janet Kutina, Joan Pratt, Mickie Stowell, Candee Heald, Ann Sievertson, Betsy Lawrence, Dallas Young, Ruth Blaney, Claudia & Bill Anderson, Julie Shryock, Patty Molloy, Fran & David Moen, Karen Carson, Tom & Joan Gunning, Sarah Cooper, Paul Brin, Cynthia Ellefson, Bruce Parker, and Louise Wheeler.