Monday, 15 June 2009

More to come...

On behalf of our family, I would personally like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for your continued love and support. I cannot begin to express the many ways we have felt uplifted and sustained while addressing the many tasks over the past few weeks. We have all had many different roles to play from preparing each other, our children, ourselves and most importantly in helping assist our parents in making this transition. We have felt an all encompassing comfort that has come through an outpouring of love on all fronts. Letters, cards, phone calls, flowers, refreshments, hugs, prayers, have all sustained us when our own strength has faultered. We will forever be grateful for the devout friendships that have withstood the test of time. May blessings abound in return for the goodwill you have demonstrated toward us.

I have another purpose for this entry. While we have brought this many people whom we love together in one place, I thought we should continue to take advantage of this great opportunity. I specifically chose the name of this blog to pertain to our family as a whole. That way we could continue to keep anyone interested updated on what's going on with the Hatt family children and on any of dad's upcoming adventures. It's important that we keep moving forward. I remember when Randy and I had been planning on adding another baby to our family, however after mom's diagnosis, we were no longer sure of the timing. We weren't sure how quickly her progression would be and if my time would be divided between Alberta and Ontario. We knew it would be a struggle to endure an additional pregnancy under the best of circumstances as I don't handle pregnancy very well, but if there was to be traveling involved as well, it would be an additonal strain. After much contemplation, we decided we needed to add this little one to our family and were expecting shortly after. I can remember how excited both mom and dad were at the news that there would be a new baby welcomed into our family. Dad's response especially stuck with me as he said "What's great is that life is continuing." And so it shall be. Life will continue. We will continue to have new experiences as our children grow and our families expand. We would love to share this wonderful/difficult/amazing/frusterating/rewarding experience with you. Please join us on this journey.

Sunday, 7 June 2009


Renie Jane Hatt

Surrounded by family and sustained by her faith, Irene (Renie) Jane Hatt (Dionne), 59, former resident of Fredericton, New Brunswick, passed away Saturday afternoon at the Regional Hospital in North Bay, Ontario. A loving mother, constant companion, and cherished friend, she was a woman of great strength and grace.

She is survived by her husband Blaine; daughters Kara (Stephen Aina), Kalie (Colin Kilburn) and Kendra (Randy Cosman); sons Justin (Kaiti Hatt), Jarom and Jonan; grandchildren Gabriel, Gavin, Seth, Simon, Paxton, Carter, Ryan, Jill and Gracie; her mother Zelda Dionne; brothers Michael and Patrick, sisters Mary and Jennie and their spouses and children.

She will be remembered for her tenderness, compassion, patience and unwavering faith. Although her time on this earth was all too brief, the lives of her family, friends, brothers and sisters in the gospel, former students and colleagues are forever changed for the blessing of having known and loved her.

A visitation will be held at 7pm on Thursday, June 11th and the funeral service will take place at 2pm on Friday, June 12th at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 986 Smythe St. in Fredericton. Donations in memory of Renie may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society through McAdam's Funeral Home.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Peaceful parting

Mom passed away peacefully this afternoon at 4:00pm exactly. We sincerely appreciate the many prayers and well wishes that have been offered on our behalf. We have felt strengthened and attribute that blessing to our Father in Heaven and the kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness of others, their prayers and their faith.
Please check back to the blog for the exact time and location for the memorial service and funeral. As of now we are expecting the memorial service in North Bay to be at the beginning of this week and the funeral in Fredericton to be next Friday. These services will be open to the general public and all who wish to attend are welcome.

Again many thanks,
Blaine, Kara, Kalie, Kendra, Justin, Jarom and Jonan Hatt and family

Friday, 5 June 2009

Nothing but Peace

As I look back over the posts that Kara and I have been writing over the last few weeks, I have noticed a common theme; that of peace. I cannot begin to tell you how profoundly this priniciple has been impressed upon our being. Allow me to share how prominant a virtue this has been in our lives. Peace was what mom felt when she heard of her diagnosis. During numerous conversations that were had during the course of her journey, peace was her greatest desire and was her most frequent request in her prayers on behalf of we, her children and most importantly, dad. Over the course of her almost continuous 18 months of chemo treatments she was able to live her life to the fullest and continue to bring comfort and peace to those around her instead of us comforting her. On so many occasions as I would receive a phone call from people who were distraught over having heard of mom's news, I would tell them to call her. I would tell them of the comfort they would find in the peace she would share. They would see she was still they same person who was forever the loving, caring, compassionate lady she had always been. They would always relate to me having felt so much better having spoken to her after their conversation. Amazing how we continued to draw strength from her, even through her trial. And last but not least, the peace she has upon her face and throughout her very body as she rests comfortably. I cannot begin to describe the solace we find, as we keep a bedside vigil, in the calm expression upon her face. She truly has an angelic countenance.

We have continued to be in awe of the comments nurses, doctors and visitors have made about how comfortable she remains. We take great comfort in her constant tranquility. Please note that we have been posting photos of mom throughout the past few years that she may be remembered by her beautiful smile and vivacious personality. We will not post any current photos as her present condition does not depict her as the person we all know and love.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

cuddle time

I ran to the hospital again this morning. Dad was there visiting with Mom when I arrived. I sat on the bed next to Mom and chatted to her a bit...she slowly reached out her arm to me. I was unsure what she wanted but she let me know...she hooked her hand around my shoulder and pulled me into the crook of her shoulder so that my head rested on her arm and shoulder and drew me close. I snuggled with her like this for a good 30 minutes while she rested comfortably and as I chatted with Dad. She did the same thing with Kendra and Jonan yesterday...quite a treat!

Dad and I discussed how Mom has been teaching us about peace and demonstrating how to integrate it into our lives instead of tackling every obstacle head on with intensity and fight, but rather to approach it with an accepting spirit and try to conquer it by meandering through it like a river eventually gets through a mountain without disturbing the rock that it has conquered. Mom is the epitome of peace and serenity.

Mom's color has worsened today and her breathing is shallow and sporadic. She was quite agitated periodically today, an indication that she either needed to be turned or have her medication increased. She continues to attract numerous visitors all day long and though she enjoys it, I think she gets worn out but the family enjoys being able to chat with loved ones none the less. A continued big thanks for all the prayers and well wishes.

* this photo was taken December 2007

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

the Day of Many Visitors

This morning Jennie and I ran up to the hospital (and beat Dad there who was in his car!) and so the three of us entered her room together (well, actually Jennie sprinted in ahead :)
I said to Mom "look Mom, Dad is here to visit with you!"...she right away turned her head to look for him and caught his eye and flashed him a flirtatious smile. (as flirtatious as you can get in her condition but we KNEW, once a flirt always a flirt...I'm so glad we did not inherit THIS quality :) She reached out her hand to him and he took it and she wrinkled her lips. I said "Dad, I think she wants a kiss from you." Dad leaned over and kissed her tenderly and they had three very tender kisses and she told him she loved him, aside from Mom, there was not a dry eye in the room. It was such a precious moment to witness, I'm so glad I was there for that. Gotta admit, they are so awe-inspiring together...makes you want to work a little harder in your daily relationship with your husband/wife when you witness their connection and devotion.

Mom then slept from 9am to 3pm and then she had a FLOOD of visitors from 3pm to 9pm. She had 8 visitors aside from family members! One of which was a local clergyman who visited and Dad kindly expressed his appreciation as he assured him that when it comes to religion and faith they were covered :) She would perk up periodically as she would hear a funny story or a comical interaction between a couple of family members and would express her interest with a wide smile and then fall back to sleep. Thank you all so much for your love, well wishes and prayers...we feel the love in its abundance.

**this photo was taken fall of 2008

Monday, 1 June 2009

Resting comfortably

Mom is resting comfortably. She still has a lot of fluid on her abdomen, her surgeon was in today and was going to drain it but decided that it would actually be more traumatic on her system and since she is comfortable has decided to leave her as is. Mom is less responsive today and we are taking turns being by her side 24/7. The nursing staff is great and they have become close friends. Her room has become a haven where resides a strong feeling of warmth and light and many who enter comment on the feeling of her room. Mom is peaceful and her spirit is strong. She is sleeping most of the time and we are cherishing our last few days with her.

Sunday news

Mom had a decent day today. At one point she even sat up with her legs off the bed and insisted that she walk to the bathroom (even though she has a catheter in) the nurses explained that she had a catheter but she was quite decided that a trip to the washroom was in order. She made the trip without incident despite her weak state. We were relieved of that. She also ate half of a banana Popsicle (who eats the banana ones anyway? guess they save them for the hospital patients and think they won't really care :) She also called Dad "handsome" and asked him to hold her hand for quite a while.
We are grateful for parents that put so much time and energy and personal sacrifice into building that unified family. We are blessed to have the support of each other and love surrounding us. When one of us are weak another is strong and so the scenario continues. I'll cry now and comfort another 2 hours from now. The nurses have made numerous comment on Mom and how peaceful she is and how accepting she is of everything. Also they have asked us on several occasions how we can be "alright" with what is happening. We've had some great talks with the nurses and their observances are correct...although we experience much pain we are accepting of what is inevitable and we know that Mom's spirit will live on literally and also manifesting itself within each of us, her children. We have talked about how Mom's sense of humor is in Jonan, how her passion is in Justin, her confidence in Kalie, etc. We have been blessed and continue to be blessed by this amazing woman. Dad is having a hard time now that Mom can't have "talks" with him, he is losing more than just a companion, he is losing his best friend. He is doing a great job handling all of this and manages to keep an amazing perspective. I can only imagine how much more painful this is for him. They have a marriage to be envied...full of loyalty, adoration and respect, please continue to keep him in your prayers as he endures this challenging time with finesse and strength as ever our father does. Your kindness and well wishes and prayers have been so appreciated and we send our thanks.

**this photo was taken fall 2008

Friday, 29 May 2009

the latest

Today was a tough day. Mom was not very lucid today and quite exhausted. Perhaps she overdid it yesterday. Last night as Kendra was leaving to go be with Mom at the hospital the van completely died while making great loud noises at 1:00 in the morning. As we waited for a rental car this morning to become available, Jennie and I jogged to the hospital to be with Mom. She was throwing up quite a bit and we were frustrated that there were no nurses coming in and checking on her within the 3 hours that we were there. She is on a surgery wing still in a great private room but the nurses in that unit are used to caring for people that are recovering from surgery with a "tough love" kind of approach. She really needed to be in the Palliative Care wing but no beds were available. We talked with her doctor and the nurses and they will try to get her there tomorrow where she can get a little more "love" and attention from nurses and where we don't have to worry so much. We have arranged ourselves so that she has 24 hr family care in the interim. She actually got out of bed and walked around her room this afternoon when none of us were there, which is very dangerous given her current state.

Jennie and I gave her a sponge bath this evening and polished her off with lots of baby powder and new gowns/bedding etc. She fell right asleep. Her breathing is shallow but her blood pressure and vitals are otherwise good. She has quite a lot of fluid in her abdomen but it is not full enough to drain and that is scheduled for Monday which will help her become much more comfortable.

*these photos were taken last week, May 2009

Thursday, 28 May 2009

quick update

I arrived in North Bay just a little bit ago...after 18 hours of traveling. I went in to visit with Mom straight away. I was thrilled to find her awake and lucid and cracking jokes. I noticed she had her ipod next to her on the bed and I said "Mom, you got your ipod, were you rockin' out in here?" to which she replied "yeah I was going 'woo hoo, woo hoo' and wavin' my arms in the air, the nurses had to come in and tell me to settle down so I don't disturb the other patients"...quick as a whip this mother of ours, what a crack up. She had lipstick on and big smiles for me. She said that she talked to Jarom yesterday and she was touched that he told her that she was an excellent mother of boys. (and girls might I add) She is so cool and her pixie hair cut very chic and sassy! Here are a few photos from when Justin, Kaiti, uncle Michael and Jennie took her outside to get a sunburn so that she might add melanoma to her list of ailments :) Aren't these photos cute? Michael and Jennie did a spa treatment for her, talk about a pampered princess.

* these pictures were taken middle of may 2009

Jennie has been visiting with Mom for the past couple of weeks and has stayed on with her for yet an undetermined time at Mom's request. She has been such a source of strength and a bright spot in Mom's world. We sure appreciate her willingness to be here, to help out with things on the home front as well as make Mom's days happier ones. We love you Jennie!
The following is a poem that Jennie's daughter Melinda wrote for Mom and Jennie, hope you enjoy it:

Forever Sister.

Fragile as the last autumn leaves clinging to Fredericton trees,

I clutch our branch and cling to your warmth as winter storms begin to breeze.

How could the seasons fool us so—we blossomed beneath this bough!

Your experienced grasp rooted me in sure love, hope, and eternal vows.

Many shaky spring days I sought asylum within your schooling shade,

And oh, the sweet summer eves we spent snickering at games we played.

As the dawn of a new season arose from winds whistling in the East,

You helped me dress in royal colors and prepare for a Heavenly feast.

So feast we did, stretching to fill our roles and soak in God’s divine light.

We share knowledge, faith and family—the best ingredients for life.

Fall brought the best out of us—changing our shades from green to gold,

But I hesitate as I watch our shroud shrivel into seasons yet untold.

What is next? What lies beyond this fragile mortal embrace?

I know this branch must soon give us up to God’s everlasting grace.

And now as I lie next to you and watch your vibrant colors fade,

Your courage calms my quaking heart each and every time I’ve prayed.

We know that Adam fell that we might be together to have joy,

From you I’ve learned that this next fall is part of His plan we must employ.

But as this cold, fragile existence blows us to greater happiness set aside,

You are my forever sister, who winter’s veil will never hide.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

status update

just a quick update as I know many of you check the blog regularly to know what is happening with our fabulous mother. Yesterday was a defining day as Mom (and family) decided that she was not going to undergo surgery as the cons outweighed the pros on this difficult decision. Mom had her stomach and abdomen drained again so she could feel more comfortable. The doctors and nurses are doing a great job in pain management. Until yesterday she had IVs in but she has been pulling them out in a medicated stupor and now Dad is faced with the decision to leave them out of try to somehow keep them in. Her surgeon has indicated that her liver is not doing very well and has begun to fail her. She remains upbeat and chipper despite her current circumstances and still worries about everyone and continues to assume her role as "mother hen". She is lovely and strong and a blessing to us all. We appreciate all the prayers and well wishes that many of you have offered on our family's behalf. Many thanks.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Better Days

Mom had several difficult days this past week (tues-thurs were especially rough). On Thursday she was able to get her stomach drained from a tube inserted through her nose (not fun) and her abdomen drained of fluid (ascites). Her surgeon has determined that surgery will not be an option as it will not prove beneficial given her current situation. The surgery in question is very invasive and recovery is very difficult. The following couple of days after her stomach and abdomen were drained were much better, she was lucid and smiley and chipper. She even called home and requested that she have visitors!
Kendra will be flying in with little Gracie on Tuesday of this week and Kara is hoping to fly in on Friday and is trying hard to get a leave of absence from work and waiting on her passport renewal which should arrive any day. Kalie is already in North Bay along with aunt Jennie helping out and taking care of Dad, Jonan and making Mom feel like a million bucks.
Mom is such a spunky little thing and she is not going down without a tooth and nail fight...gotta love this awe-inspiring lady!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Company's Coming

Mom had a great surprise this weekend with the arrival of a few unexpected guests. Saturday evening was busy with the buzz of excitement as Jennie (mom's sister from Utah), Justin (the oldest boy) and his wife Kaiti rounded the corner to enter her room. Her smile was wide and her surprise was evident as she embraced each person wondering how they had so effectively hidden their plans from her. We secretly had a joke that because of all the meds mom's on, she wouldn't have remembered even if we had told her :) But, none the less, she was overjoyed to have them around her.

Just as she was recovering from that shock, in walked her brother Michael who had flown in from Fredericton for an impromptu visit. She was amazed that he was actually there to see her and spend time with her. Any of you who have spent much time with mom know that her greatest joy lies in the time she spends with her family. It pains her greatly that she doesn't live near any of her adult children and especially that she's without any of her sweet grandchildren. That being said, I don't know if we can ever fully understand what it meant to mom to have all those loved ones appearing with the specific purpose of spending time with her!

By all accounts, everyone was able to enjoy some great one-on-one time with mom. From treating mom to a manicure and pedicure to enjoying a sunny afternoon lounging in the sun with a spur of the moment photo shoot, there were some talks and some even greater laughs.

We continue to joke with mom about some of the things she has said while medicated. I'll just give you a taste. While mom was trying to explain to me that they were going to start feeding her intravenously, she told me they were going to start her on TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein - a soy product with consistency similar to ground beef) so you can just imagine the pictures I had in my mind of what would be floating around mom's IV bag! After a quick call to the nurse, she assured me it was not TVP, but was called TPN (Total Protein Nutrients) which is quite different. That mix up got a few good laughs.

As I am writing this post, Kalie should be snuggling nicely into a bed in mom and dad's home in North Bay and will be dad's "right hand man." She has always been a kindred spirit with dad and has had an ability to reach him on a level that has left us all in awe. We are hoping she can offer him support and strength on behalf of all his children.

While Justin, Kaiti and Michael have returned home to their respective lives, Jennie has been able to remain, keeping laughter and a peacefulness in mom and dad's home. We appreciate this more than she will ever know. We love her dearly and recognize the sacrifice of her family on our behalves. Thank you.

I have been able to share with mom the comments that have been left on the blog by loved ones. She always has a kind response and is touched that you're thinking of and praying for her. Please feel free to leave any comments you would like for mom and I will be sure she receives them. I know they are a ray of sunshine in her day!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Attention seeker....

Spoke to Mom today. She had some major pain meds coursing through her system but nevertheless she tried really hard to focus and was light and chipper. Occasionally she slurred her words and would get frustrated with herself. Too much talking exhausts her but she is still so happy to hear our voices. We talked about her surgery and what her surgeon had said that day and I said to her "Really Mom, your such an attention seeker, your always after the limelight...the extents you go to just for a little attention, couldn't you have done something more basic like get your belly button pierced?" She laughed and laughed, it was music to my ears and she replied just as quick as a whip "yes honey, I do tend to go to extremes I really should have consulted with you before hand, a belly button piercing might have been the better choice."

Recent Pictures!

Last week while I was visiting in North Bay I managed to snap one picture...kind of lame I know but it was quite an emotionally charged weekend and call me crazy but my camera was not the first thing on my mind. Nevertheless, I should have taken more. Here is a cute picture of Jonan (age 17) and Mom, in this picture we were waiting for the doctor to call and give her a stronger anti-nausea pill and pain pill.

We didn't realize that 2 hours later we would take her to the ER and admit her. I am constantly amazed at my Mom...she is the epitome of grace and kindness. It broke my heart to watch her undergo so many tests and being prodded and asked so many questions over and over again while she was in so much pain and yet she never complained. She always had a smile for the nurse or a "thank you" for another as they changed bandages or took blood or polked and pressed. I cannot fathom what she has gone through physically within the past year and a half and yet her tone is always positive and her spirits high and cheery. She is amazing and her influence has both bredth and depth. We are better because we know her.

Welcome to our blog

This blog is the brainchild of a few of us children from the Blaine and Renie Hatt family. Since mom and dad have lived in New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba and now Ontario, they have made quite a few friends along the way. We know the kindness and love they have been shown from so many along their travels. Because it is sometimes difficult for us to keep up with everyone, we decided it might be a good idea to start a blog so we could keep people up to date with the goings on in our family.

Most of you who have been in touch with us in the last year or so know of mom's diagnosis with stage 4 colo-rectal cancer. It came as a complete shock to us all as mom was the picture of health and had virtually no indicators she was so ill. She has been on chemo almost non stop, except for a 2 month period last summer, since that time. Her quality of life, for the most part, has been extremely high. She was able to maintain a balanced diet and rarely felt nauseous. In fact she tried her hand at an alternative way of eating. She adopted the vegan lifestyle and was very adventurous in her quest for new and exciting recipes. She pushed dad way out of his comfort zone, but he was able to find some new favorites and actually quite enjoyed most of what mom prepared. Mom being the great cook she is, there aren't many complaints that come out of her kitchen.

Kara, Kalie and Kendra were able to correlate their busy lives for a much needed girl's weekend in Toronto 2 weeks ago. The only one missing was Justin's awesome wife Kaiti who was, sadly, unable to break away from her work to join us. We were able to leave our respective lives at home, except for Kendra's 8 month old baby, and enjoyed a great relaxing time with pedicures and shopping. We were then able to drive north to visit with mom and dad for a couple days before each heading our separate ways. Mom was in quite a bit of discomfort when we arrived so we spend most of the evening with her lounging around her bedroom, visiting and treating each other to facials. Mom was so happy to have us there, laughing with us and enjoying us each snuggling with her in a different corner of her bed. Dad even came in to join us and was able to go to sleep with all 4 of his girls! (There were 5 in the bed and the little one said "Roll over, roll over...)

That night was rough on mom and after Percocet was no longer managing her pain effectively we, along with dad, decided she needed to be taken to hospital. They admitted her and found she had some kind of blockage in her abdomen. She has been unable to digest food in the traditional sense and is being fed intravenously. She has been receiving very thorough care including either daily X-rays or CAT scans. The surgeon is in close contact with dad keeping him updated on any change he sees in her condition. This is the same surgeon who preformed mom's initial surgery and has maintained a close working relationship with mom, recommending alternative procedures, re-reading CAT scan results for her when findings from her oncologist were unclear and answering any questions she may have had throughout the last year and a half. He is a good man and a reputable surgeon, we have confidence in his skills and abilities.

As you can well imagine, dad is having an incredibly hard time balancing everything alone as none of his adult children live near him. We spend hours on the phone to each other sharing updates, talking with dad or just sorting things through. We are remaining in close contact with dad for updates on her condition. We are committed to keeping this blog updated adding new posts as her condition changes or as we receive any new or pertinent information. We appreciate the prayers and love of all those who have reached out to our family during this time. Mom has often related that she feels so blessed to have had this time with us. She has felt the strength from the prayers offered on her behalf. So please, keep them coming.

Dad tries to return phone calls and e-mails as often as possible, however, the weight on his shoulders is extremely heavy at this time. He simply does not have the time to return everyone's phone calls, however, he greatly appreciates your love and concern. We, as a family, would appreciate it if you would use this website as your main resource for regular updates. You could help us by passing along the address to anyone else wondering about mom and how she is doing. Feel free to leave us any comments and we will do our best to respond. There has been quite a few requests for their address, so I will list it at the end of this post. Thank you again for all the love and support. We feel it.

The Blaine and Renie Hatt Children

Blaine & Renie Hatt
30 Sergio Ct
North Bay, ON
P1B 9A9