Thursday, October 22, 2009


Adrienne was an avid reader. Even before she came back from college last May, books were arriving through an online trading group ( that Adrienne belonged to. I went through her books yesterday since her room was chock full of them. There are a lot of text books, including those that came while she was in the hospital for this semester, plus lots of "fun" reading. She always had two books with her: one for school and one for pleasure. There's the entire series of Harry Potter books, everything written by David Sedaris (she saw him at CMC), Bill Clinton's autobiography (she saw him at CMC too), and "All the President's Men," among hundreds of others. She and Curt used to trade books, especially political ones. She even had "Politics for Dummies," as well as a whole slew of other "Dummies" books. I sure miss her.

Life feels like it's in slow motion. Everyone tells me to take this at my own pace, so I'm following their advice, grieving in my own way. I'm trying hard not to lose myself but it's tough, really tough. Keeping busy seems to be the best medicine right now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Moe's Birthday

Yesterday was Moe's one year birthday. He got a few new toys and his evening walk with Caesar. Along the way, we met Tobey, a 2 year old Shitzu that had just been rescued from his abusive owners who kept him in a crate for most of his 2 years. It makes you wonder how there are people in this world who do awful things like that and are fine, and then there's Adrienne, who never hurt anyone or anything, and only wanted to live her life.

On Wednesday, I went to a Compassionate Friends meeting, which is a group of parents who have lost a child. I've heard mixed reviews of these meetings but thought I'd give it a try. The local group is run by two wonderful women who lost older teens, one a year ago and one 3 years ago. I wasn't really able to talk, crying all the way there, at the meeting, and all the way home, but I'm still glad I went and I'll continue to go the second Wednesday of each month. Their focus is to honor your child and not to totally lose yourself in grief, to work through your grief, so that in time, the pain is less sharp and you can learn to live with it. I've heard of parents who lose themselves to booze or just never get beyond it and I don't want to be that type of person. It's hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel right now, but I know it's there. Hopefully Curt can go to the next meeting with me.

Several parents remarked that they'd lost friends through this experience, that once the funeral was over, people disappeared. I've found just the opposite and feel so blessed that so many of you continue to check in on me, to call and write. The phone calls are particularly hard for me and usually end in me sobbing uncontrollably for a few hours. So please understand that I may not return phone calls but I truly appreciate them and know that you won't disappear, that you're all there for me. It's just going to take time until I'm ready to reach out.

There's a comment from a school mate of Adrienne's on the previous posting. I hope you'll take some time to read it as it really gives you a picture of the girl she was. I was often so sad that this disease took away so much of Adrienne's childhood and teenage years. That post showed me that she was the same young woman through it all. For those of you without Blogger accounts who leave comments, please sign your name so I know who you are.

Through the cards and emails I've received, I realized that most of you have better words than I do. I'm going to post portions of notes over the next few weeks that I think really captured her and her spirit. Here's an excerpt from her pediatric oncologist who took care of her for the first 10 years.

"I heard the terrible news about Adrienne over the weekend. I suppose that in my heart of hearts I knew this was coming but I admit that I was shocked that it happened so suddenly, and, of course, I was terribly saddened... I think you know that Adrienne was a very special patient for me: smart, spunky, full of life, and so unwilling to let her disease interfere with her life dreams. It was impossible for me to believe that she would not somehow beat her lymphoma in the end... Adrienne was one of those special young women who might really have done something to change our world. It is indeed unfortunate for all of us that she never able to realize her dreams completely. I suspect that there is some rhyme or reason for these things, but I have been unable to reassure myself... I know that the weeks ahead will be very difficult ones for you. Know that we are all thinking of you and that we are still around if there is anything we can do to help."

Sunday, October 11, 2009


We're getting through the days but it all seems so unreal, so unfair. I keep thinking that Adrienne will walk through the door, that this is all a bad dream, but I know it isn't. I cried so much while she was in the hospital and in the days after that I don't have a lot of tears left right now and I feel like I'm in a fog. The worst times are when the mail comes with condolence cards and notices of donations in "memory of Adrienne Boardman." Then I know it's real.

I made it sound like it was a choice to take Adrienne off the ventilator, but it wasn't really a choice. In fact, we didn't think she'd make it through the night before. The ventilator was maxed out and alarming constantly because it couldn't give her the oxygen she needed and she was in pain. Once the fungal infection set in, her breathing got worse and worse and there was no way to make it better. The nurses came in and said we were giving Adrienne a gift but I never thought of it that way and I won't. I'm so angry at this cancer that took her from us.

Adrienne used to read the New York Times constantly and would send me links to interesting articles. She recently sent me an article about moms and their grown daughters who talked every day and shared everything. She was happy that she wasn't the only one, that it was okay to be so close to your mom. I miss those articles. I miss everything about her.

I have so many notes and calls and I'm sorry for not getting back to people. I'm just focusing on getting through each day. I'm working again and will be in the Bay Area the last week of October and the first week of November, so I'll be able to catch up then. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


We got back late last night and I lit the Shivah candle for Adrienne. It will burn for 7 days. It seems too short a time.

When we were in the hospital with Adrienne, I received a message from Ruth Sanders. She's a regular reader on the Webmagic forum and reads this blog regularly too. Ruth's daughter, Amanda, 25, was going through the same situation as us, with Amanda being admitted a week before Adrienne, going to the ICU on almost the same day, even getting a trach the same day. We spoke or wrote almost daily. Sadly, Amanda passed away from her Hodgkin's the day after Adrienne. Here's a link to Amanda's obituary: Ruth, I hope you and your family find peace as well and I treasure your friendship.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Video Tribute

Adrienne's dad put together a video tribute at If you have pictures that you'd like to include, please send them to:

Donations: Please make a donation in Adrienne's honor to the Alese Coco Fight2Win Foundation ( or to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at:

675 N. First Street
Suite 1100
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 490-2666
(408) 490-2663 (Fax)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Memorial Services

Memorial Services will be held at 1:00 pm on Sunday, October 4, 2009.

Oak Hill Funeral Home
300 Curtner Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

Adrienne will be buried with my dad following the service in the Home of Peace Cemetary, which is a short drive from the funeral home. A reception will follow at my sister's home in Saratoga, California.

Adrienne - we love you

Adrienne died peacefully around 11:15 am. We are heartbroken. She should be home with her family but we know she didn't suffer and she would not have recovered.

I'll post with the arrangements as soon as I have details. They will be held in San Jose sometime Sunday afternoon.

Please, no flowers. You can make a donation to the Alese Coco Fight2Win Foundation or to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.