When Real Life Happens

For many of you, you last heard from us in mid October from New Mexico. We’d had a great time at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and were continuing to explore the state.

Yet in the background, real life was happening. My father, Glenn, was hospitalized August 21st with stroke-like symptoms. When he was released, I flew to Vancouver for a visit. He was hospitalized a second time in September and I flew in again. In mid October, when he was hospitalized for a third time, I flew to Vancouver to stay. Randy and Elko followed with the trailer. Unfortunately, his “strokes” were then diagnosed as brain lymphoma.

My father passed away November 25th, a scant three months after his first symptoms. During dad’s last weeks, my mother, brother, Randy and I shared round the clock care and comfort. It was very hard to be there, but it would have been harder not to be.

I so appreciate retiring early and living this lifestyle which allowed us to relocate our lives when needed. I so appreciate nurses and CNAs. They are heroes. I so hate cancer…. my dad’s and my husband’s.

In early December, we left my mom and brother in Vancouver and traveled to Boise for Randy’s bladder cancer re-check. Praise God, all looks to be fine in Randy’s bladder at present. His cancer has a high reoccurrence rate, but we have a reprieve for now. I am thankful.

My mother, Beverly, is doing okay and with her encouragement we have renewed our travels. We are in the warm sunshine of Mesquite, Nevada. Life looks better in the sunshine. We will be here for a month and Randy will have his next set of maintenance treatments in nearby St. George, Utah. In between appointments there are lots of places to explore and things to do. We are glad to be here and are looking forward.

But first, a look back at my dad, the man we love.


My parents were neighborhood friends as children, married young, and had me a few years later.  This is “our” graduation photo from Eastern Washington State College.   They purposely gave my brother and me names that couldn’t be shortened into nicknames.  But then he called me Charlie.


My dad was career Army as a social worker but didn’t own dress whites until I asked him to wear them at my wedding.


I had never seen this photo until a family friend posted it on Facebook after her “Uncle Glenn” passed.  Her dad, Larry, is on the left.   Bud, in the center, was getting married and Larry and my dad were his groomsmen. These three were childhood friends (along with my mom) and stayed connected always.  My dad was the last of the three to pass away.


We never lived near each other but Granddad and Bevie were always part of Natasha’s life.


Another wedding photo!  This time dancing with Natasha at her wedding.


My dad was an only child but had 58 first cousins.  He is here with his cousin-brother Guerin.


Randy and I traveled frequently with my parents.  This photo is from our 30th anniversary trip to Alaska, part land tour and part cruise.


My mom and dad visited Alaska quite a few times by RV and cruise ship.  This picture was from their 60th Anniversary Cruise which they hosted for our family.   My parents were married 61 years.   Love you dad!

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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22 Responses to When Real Life Happens

  1. Guy Shadiow says:

    Serene and Randy, I am so sorry to hear of your fathers passing. Pam had told me you were In Vancover with him. I can only hope that you find peace during this time and know that Guy and I hold you in our hearts and thoughts.

    Guy’s Brothers and wives along with his mother live in St. George. I encourage you to visit Sun River development . Also, old town St. George is wonderful and full of history. My favorite part is the big carousel. Lots of arts 🎭.

    A must visit is the Tuachan Amphitheatre – Ivins, Utah.currently it is Christmas in the canyon, live nativity, Saturday market, Train rides, Ice skating. Also, snow canyon state park……beautiful.

    Please let me know about Mesquite. We haven’t been there yet, but it is on our next visit to St. George. Nevada is a very friendly retirement state offering many saving.

    We both wish you the very best this Christmas and all through the year as you continue to work through a difficult time. May your travels continue to bring vibrant memories to cast a light upon the years to come.

    Hugs 🤗
    Ann & Guy

    • Serene says:

      Thanks for the kind words Ann, and for the recommendations. Tuachan Ampitheatre and Snow Canyon were in our sights but not Sun River or the carousel. Good to know. Thanks.

  2. Elizabeth Wiebe says:

    It is hard when we lose our parents; not to be able to hear their voices on the phone or to feel those hugs any longer. Please know you are not alone and many share what you are going through. Enjoy your stay in Mesquite. Be sure to see Valley of Fire State Park. We did for the first time on our trip down to Arizona from BC this Fall. We were blown away by that area. We boondocked near the park’s eastern boundary just south of Overton. When we left the area, we drove all the way down through Lake Mead Recreation Area. Beautiful drive all the way to Boulder City, where we continued down Hwy 95.
    Praying for you, Randy and your family.

    • Serene says:

      Thanks Elizabeth. We tried to stay at Valley of Fire State Park last spring but the campground was full and I am too much of a softie to boondock! We’ll for sure take a day trip, or two, down there in the next month.

  3. Kim Goehring says:


  4. Jim Kazakoff says:

    Serene– sorry for your loss. It is a difficult time in our life to watch aging parent and deal with their passing. I am so glad to know Randy’s treatments are going well, and things are looking very positive there. Enjoy your travels, enjoy life!

    • Serene says:

      Randy here.

      Thanks Jim. It is hard to see people we know die from cancer: my mom, Glenn, Anne, and others. My bout with cancer is not likely to kill me anytime soon, but you never know what will happen. We are so blessed to have retired early and are able to spend time living and not putting off plans.

  5. rightlaners says:

    What wonderful memories of your dad you were left with. So sorry for your loss.

  6. Betty says:

    So sorry for your loss. It is hard to loose a parent. That void will never be filled. Be happy with the memories that you will get to visit him everday that way. God Bless him.

  7. Tracy Meats says:

    He will be missed so much! I’m so very sorry for the loss of your dad, a great man. Praying for you and your mom. Sending much love and prayers.

  8. Mark McClelland says:

    We were saddened to learn of your fathers illness and death. It sounds like you will carry some great memories with you. Safe travels as you get back onto the road.

    • Serene says:

      Randy here. Thanks Mark and Teri. We are really liking getting back on the road and getting back to what we were doing before Glenn got sick. It feels good.

  9. guerin fischer says:

    Your dad was more like a brother to me than a first cousin.. I will always remember his somewhat distorted sense of humor. Many happy summers were spent together and they will not be forgotten.

  10. Jan McMillan says:

    Thanks for the memories in pictures Serene. I so admired both of your parents and appreciated their frienndship through the years.

  11. BeverlyOlson says:

    Thank you Serene. Your love for your dad and me is very helpful. Mom

  12. Reed and Jean says:

    We grieve with you in the loss of your dad. Sounds like he lived a full and exciting life. Thank you for sharing the pictures! We are so glad that Randy continues to do well with treatments and check-ups! Enjoy the warmth of Arizona and Utah. It is cold here!

  13. Cynthia says:

    So very sorry for your loss. i remember your father being so silly with you, always a twinkle in his eye when he looked at you. I smile as i recall him coming to the rescue of two young ladies on an icy highway in Kansas and then taking us out for pancakes!

  14. Connie Brown says:

    What a lovely tribute, Serene. You dad was so special and I’m glad we got to know him as adults and to spend time with your parents in Bay Center and Vancouver. He did have a great sense of humor. Love, Connie and Michael.

  15. Pingback: Family and Chocolate | Serene Wandering

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