Monday, December 15, 2008


I've always liked the idea of luminaries - not sure when I heard about them. But in recent years, during the Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society puts luminaries around the track and people will write the name of someone that they want to remember or commemorate during the Relay. So, when my nephew's school fundraiser had Christmas luminaries for sale in their catalog, I bought some - but I still need to figure out how to do lawn lights for them. I found another set of luminaries the other day that were made to go out on the lawn and my dad helped me set them up. Here is the picture at night - forgive my camera as it doesn't have a strong flash.

In keeping with the ACS's practice and after reading Doug's blog, I decided that I'd dedicate the luminaries to those individuals that I know who have died from cancer. So, the five lights seen in the picture are for my uncle Gabriel Muktoyuk, who died in February 2006 from pancreatic cancer; my auntie Margaret Penatac, who died in May 2008 from lung cancer; my grandmother, Gladys Kingston, who died when I was 19 from kidney cancer; my grandmother's mother, Clara Shellenberger, who died of colon cancer; and Jane Easton, who died in June 2008 of colon cancer. My uncle Gabe was a great supporter of my research and I'm very close to his kids; my auntie Margaret was always cheerful even though there was a lot that happened to her - she served fresh baked bread to Teddy Kennedy; I was close to Grandma Kingston - she lived near us most of my life; I don't remember great-grandma very much, but I think I met her when I was small; and I think I remember seeing Jane around town and started reading her blog near the end of her life in May. The blog address was on a fundraiser flier so I started reading it and have continued to read Jane's husband's blog afterwards. With the luminaries, their lights are still shining. I will be remembering them this holiday season.

Rest in peace, everyone.


Doug said...


Words cannot express how much your thoughtfulness means to me at this time of year.

On behalf of me and my kids, I thank you for honoring Jane in this way.

Blessings to you,


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Dee said...

Hi Doug,
You're welcome. I know that I can't possibly understand what losing your wife (and your kids' mother) is like. I just appreciate how difficult it must've been (and still is) to bare your souls as Jane died from this dreadful disease. As I read yours and Jane's blogs, I was always impressed at the dignity you showed (and still show) through the whole process. Thank you for that.

I do hope, though, that your family can find some joy through this season. And, let's hope that they start doing more research on how to prevent this disease so our families don't have to keep going through this kind of pain. In a way, that's what the luminaries do - it puts a human face on the numbers and reminds people of the terrible toll of cancer. Blessings to you, too.

Dee said...

Hi Sara,
Thank you for visiting and I'm glad that you like the blog. I find writing it very therapeutic. Happy Holidays!

Theresa said...

We spend every other Christmas in Albuquerque, visiting Joseph's mom, and on Christmas Eve we drive around looking at all the home who have put out "luminarias" all over their lawns and homes. It's such an amazing site, and so much more moving than plain old Christmas lights. When we're not in New Mexico, and it's not raining here, I try to make my own for Christmas Eve and put them out to capture a little of that flavor.

Dee said...

Hi Theresa,
I bet New Mexico does look really cool with the luminarias out on the lawns. I'd love to see yours if and when you put them out! I think I need to read more about them - I know that ACS has co-opted the tradition to some degree - so if there is anything you or Joseph know more, please send the info my way!

Congrats on your move to OSU!