Cancer Cachexia


Tortes Are Us
Super Site Supporter
Arnettamae, it is good that you didn't push Warren to explain. As I said, he knows what is going on and when he is ready, he will let go. Just be there and love him and enjoy each precious moment that you can. You will need these days to look back on with fondness and to know that you did all that you could. I hope you never second-guess yourself. Hold onto the love--it will get you through.
I am glad that I shared some of what I have done, too. I knew you would understand because you are an amazing caregiver. You have been selfless and loving--Warren was blessed when he found you to marry. You both were very lucky.
Hugs, Susan


Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter
Sunday, August 16, 2009 9:34 PM
Warren & Arnetta Journal.

I'm reporting again this evening because I don't know what tomorrow will bring.

I'm really glad that Caryn and the granddaughters came yesterday. Warren has been very out of it today. I'd think this is the end but I've thought that several time before so I've learned to be skeptical - only God knows for sure. Today, though, Warren has slept through two lavatory needs judging by how long it had been since he previously went (4:15am) and how wet he was when he woke up needing to go again at around 2pm. He's never been totally out for that long during the day before.

After putzing around waiting for hours, I looked in on Warren still sleeping and finally decided to take a bag of trash out to the garage. I was only gone for 30 seconds but when I came back Warren was sending out urgent distress signals. His pull-ups weren't enough to hold the previous eliminations so I needed to change all his bedding again while he sat on the bedside commode and went some more.

Warren kept wanting to get back to bed and I couldn't seem to help him understand that he had to wait until I could get at least the mattress pad and bottom sheet changed and his pillows back on the bed. When making the bed this time I used a waterproof pad given to us by SandraDee between the bottom sheet and mattress pad so next time, hopefully, I’ll just need to change the sheets.

Once I had Warren back in bed and had finished feeding him (while he slept again) it was 3:30. Upon waking up when I put the feeding tube back under his shirt, Warren asked what time it was. When I told him it was 3:30 he asked if it was am or pm so the sunlight streaming in the windows obviously afforded him no clue. I mentioned that golf was on and he said he wanted to watch it but he didn't want to leave his bed. I managed to find it on his small TV within a minute but he had fallen asleep before I even had it tuned in.

I figured since Warren was fed, dry and asleep, the monitor and I could go outside for a while to work on the mums. After talking to Kate this afternoon, I’m going to wait for her to bring more potted mums in perfect colors that she found to match the table flowers to put in the deck planters. Kate and I decided to keep the orange mums I bought for the deck and move the purple and yellow ones to the area around the deck. I was excited about going out to plan the new arrangement.

Unfortunately, it was beastly hot outside by 3:30 pm. It felt good to me at first. I have been freezing in the house since Warren wanted the air conditioner set so low. He gets some pretty awful hot flashes and, being a middle aged woman, I can sympathize with that – been there, done that! However, Warren gets really cold, too. In fact, most of the time he has a sheet and a blanket on him. I’ve been edging up the air conditioner from the original 68 degrees he insisted upon a couple days ago to the present 73. It’s getting more comfortable for me with each added degree and there has been no noticeable extra discomfort for Warren.

It didn’t take long for the heat outside to get to me, though, and I had to come in. I watered the mums and promised to give them more attention on another day. After all, I had plenty to do inside (including the new job of laundering bed sheets and a mattress pad again).

Warren woke up just long enough to watch Tiger lose the PGA Tournament on the 17th and 18th holes while I set up his evening feeding. I have been in the habit of feeding him while he’s sleeping if he doesn’t wake up, but now he has asked me to “announce (my) arrival”. I’m not quite sure why and when I asked he said impatiently, “Just do it, okay”. Sometimes it’s not possible to rouse him, so all I can do is try. Any clues out there as to why this particular request? The only thing I can figure out is that occasionally Warren looks startled if he happens to open his eyes while I am standing there, but that happens so seldom that to try to wake him each time I enter the room seems a bit extreme.

Since Warren woke up for really the first time today around 7pm, he has requested my company off and on throughout the evening. Yet, even though he seems to want me near, he is very impatient with me tonight. He started to ask me a question such as, “Do you know if…………” then slurred a couple words and stopped talking so I calmly and quietly asked him, “Do I know if what?” He snapped back at me, “Arnetta, don’t ask so many questions - pay attention and try to follow.”

Next Warren asked for the Sunday newspaper. He asked for the whole thing when normally he just wants the Sports section so I brought it to him – service with a smile. He asked for his glasses and I got them for him, too. He asked for more light and I turned on the reading lamp over his head.

Then Warren forgot about the paper and went on to another topic – his bed was too short again. It’s because he was too far down toward the foot end but he couldn’t follow my explanation of how to fix the problem and got angry when I tried to help lift him toward the head of the bed (which I really can’t without his cooperation). We did, however, make a little progress.

After Warren settled down and seemed more comfortable, I lovingly handed him his newspaper again, for which he nicely said “Thank you” and then I left the room, battling back the tears. I will regroup and go in again. I’m sure this all has some deeply significant psychological explanation that may eventually come to light. In fact, the disharmony between us tonight is strangely reminiscent of that Tuesday night in the hospital on July 21st when the 8 to 9 level pain suddenly disappeared. That’s when I assume the cancer spread to Warren’s brain. Maybe the cancer is spreading again.

Warren just called me to help him get to the commode. He is very confused as to how to use it, but we managed again this time. I don’t know how much longer we will be able to. One good thing is that he seemed to understand that he should get his bottom closer to the head of the bed when he got back in it. He did well and he is much more comfortable now. Maybe that will be enough to get us through this night and things will be better tomorrow. Maybe my Warren will be back!

Hope springs eternal and I pray a lot! Good night all.


Tortes Are Us
Super Site Supporter
Arnetta, these things you describe are the hardest part of being a caregiver. I use to tell my dad that he was sometimes kinder to the aides and nurses in the hospital than he was to me and he would always apologize and try to change his behavior for the better. I, too, would cry because I was trying so hard. I think that with loved ones it is easier to let off a little steam and frustration because there is no fear that the kind of care received will be affected. Try to let it roll off your back. Like my dad, I am sure that Warren does not mean it.


Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter
Monday, August 17, 2009 8:58 AM, EDT
Arnetta & Warren Journal

I’m happy to report that Warren and I ended up having an okay night last night – no more impatient snapping from him. I realize that from here on out, I won't know what to expect from one day to the next. I do know that I don't want my last memories to be of feeling hurt because Warren is impatient and snappy with me so I'm working on getting my feelings under my sleeve instead of on it, and letting Warren have as much control as possible over his environment, including me. I've always been very sensitive to discord and criticism and, at the same time, I’m prone to be defensive and require due respect, so this will be a battle for me against myself, too. But, as Pie Susan says, if I hold onto the love, it will get me through! In fact, I’ve gotten a lot of good advice (below) since I wrote the journal entry last night. Maybe some of it will help others, too:

From Pie Susan (NCT) – Attorney, Honorary RN and Doctor:
Arnettamae, it is good that you didn't push Warren to explain. As I said, he knows what is going on and when he is ready, he will let go. Just be there and love him and enjoy each precious moment that you can. You will need these days to look back on with fondness and to know that you did all that you could. I hope you never second-guess yourself. Hold onto the love--it will get you through.

From Nurse Professor Gwen:
Oh my friend, I wish I could help you. Everyday as I read your entries, there are moments that take me back to when I cared for my mother and at other times - when I was developing a lesson plan. As difficult as this journey is for all of you, over the course of Warren's illness, he has steadily lost and continues to lose control as he moved from a state of proud independence to dependence on you and others caring for him. Through this, emotions are stirred and challenged - the more you want and try to help, he snaps at you, stopping you in your tracks. By this, he means no harm or pain...I would say that he is trying, in his own way to feel some control. You couple that with the possible advancing of his cancer, which naturally he has no control over...and thus the "small things" as we would view them, are serious and important to him. As for him asking you to announce your arrival? It may have something to do with not wanting to be startled, as you said; however it might also have something to do with him trying to create a feeling that he still has some control over the environment and situation - as little as it may be, it's some. I know there's much more to this and we will never know what is truly going on or what Warren may be thinking or dreaming, etc... It's like a kaleidoscope, and it is forever changing. Arnetta, may the path before you bring you comfort and peace in knowing that you are doing, and continue to do your very best to help Warren as he struggles to maintain his life as it is now. In the meantime - take time for yourself, you need this so very much. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually - your well needs replenishing...just as Warren's needs must be met. I am glad that you have help...because that help provided by others, also helps you. Be gentle and kind to yourself...
Take care my friend.

From Attorney Pete:
Sometimes, things do not have any great meaning.

You know best how Warren works. But ... right now he is not working very well because he is so ill. So, he won’t always make sense nor will he always track or allow you to track or make sense of what he is doing. But the short of it is that he is just trying to keep going, and you are trying to keep going and he is not always going to make sense.

And I love this imagery from Pete:
Remember the sailboat. Your job is to set the course. Things will happen, but you need to continue to steer the course and not worry about what each wave means.

Our job is easy, we get to say prayers.

My thanks to all of you at all times for all those prayers you are saying!


Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter
Monday, August 17, 2009 7:52 PM, EDT
Warren & Arnetta Journal.

I hesitated to write last night’s entry. I didn’t want to, in any way, portray Warren in a bad light. I ultimately decided to go ahead and post the journal for three reasons:
  • First, my instincts told me that you would all understand that this is not the real Warren. He has become consumed in body and mind by the cancer.
  • Secondly, as I’ve said previously, I am trying to portray, through my journal, a true picture of caring for a dying spouse so that it may help others. I went into this scene very “green” and unknowledgeable and would love to have had some reference. Because they lived with us, I was close at hand as Dad cared for Mom in her dying days and I learned a lot in the ten years they lived here prior to Mom’s death. But Mom had Alzheimer’s Disease for twenty years and was physically healthy till the last few of them so her illness was a lot different than Warren’s. I just wasn’t prepared for the dementia Warren is experiencing now and it is perplexing to me so I’m trying to understand his feelings and mine, too – an "I’m Okay, You're Okay" kind of quest if you are familiar with that book.
  • Finally, I really wanted and needed input from you that might help me and also help many others reading the daily entries. You, of course, didn’t disappoint me. I have already relayed helpful words from Pie Susan, Gwen and Pete. The helpful comments are still coming in and, if time permits, will be relayed in an evening edition of the journal.

Warren called me into his room at 11am this morning. It was a call I had been expecting since it had been a while since Warren used the commode. However, I wasn’t expecting the actual reason for the call. Warren said “So, I’m really sleepy. I think it’s time to go to bed.” I said, “Okay, Honey, that will be easy since you are already lying on your bed. Would you like to use the commode now?” Warren’s answer was affirmative so I showed him where it is when he asked me to.

While Warren was mustering the energy to sit up he said, “I’ve been drifting in and out of sleep. I got a lot done, though.” I’m not sure what he meant by “getting a lot done” but I knew better than to pry, so I just said, “That’s good, Honey, I’m glad you got a lot done.” I was hoping Warren would elaborate but he fell back to sleep instead. Within a couple minutes, he woke up and reaffirmed where the commode is by looking toward it, “So that’s the target, I want to sit on that bucket.” A simple “Yes” sufficed from me. He asked me to turn the overhead fan on so I did.

Warren struggled to get to the side of the bed and appreciated the gentle pull and the support I tried to give him. He said, “This is really getting hard to do.” I told him I know and asked him if he thought we should ask Nurse Mary about a catheter when she came – hopefully today. Warren agreed that would be a good idea. Personally, I think it’s time, too. I believe it would make life a lot easier for him (and for me) if he agrees to it.

Mary did come and tried to put the catheter in. Warren felt like it was in his bladder and Mary said it had gone in smoothly. But Warren hadn’t gone since 11am and this was at around 3:30pm but no urine was coming out the tube. Mary said she couldn’t leave with the catheter in until she saw urine in the tube. She waited for about a half hour and still no sign of urine. She will try to come back tomorrow and try again or Wednesday at the latest. Meanwhile, I’ll try to get more fluids down Warren. He isn’t dehydrated but his urine is dark and concentrated.

Finally, at 4:30, Warren asked me to help him go. This time we used a urinal at the side of the bed and it went okay. In five and one half hours only 125 CC of urine was produced. Mary will be surprised tomorrow.

At 5:30, Warren said he needed to go to bed. I said, “Okay, you are already in your bed, so what would you like to do in preparation?” He didn’t know but when I offered to rinse his face he agreed that would be nice so I did that. Then he asked me what I would be doing. I told him that I hadn’t had my dinner yet and was hungry, so I would be eating some soup for dinner, then folding laundry, shutting down my computer and taking care of the cats. I also told him that I would need to come in around 7pm to give him his last feeding. Earlier he had been concerned about getting all three feedings in.

“You know,” Warren said, “we can’t keep going on like this – getting no sleep. We need to figure out who’s jobs are whose and get somebody to do them so you can get some sleep.” I assured Warren that I was getting seven or eight hours of sleep every night so he shouldn’t worry about me but I’m not sure he believed me. I told him I go to bed around 10:30 at night and get up between 5:30 and 7am and that’s seven or more hours.

I was touched by Warren’s concern for my welfare then suddenly he said, “This discussion is silly and I need to go to sleep.” Yes, as some of you have said, Warren is trying to establish some control over his own life; it would appear that he would like to have more control over mine, too. I really am not ready to go to bed at 5:30 at night, though. I’m more than ready to have some dinner!

Warren called me in two more times trying to get me to help him prepare for bed – one more time to use the urinal, then the latest request – twenty sheets of paper towels. Again Warren asked what I would be doing and again I said I’m going to go eat my dinner at the computer and then it will be time to come in and do your last tube feeding for your dinner. This time he asked me what time it is. “It’s 6:15”, I said. “In the evening?” he asked. “Yes”, I said. “Oh, well I guess I am confused.” I told him that maybe he just needs a nap and he agreed. Now maybe I can finish dinner and this entry and get on with the rest of my agenda. Soup’s on, literally!

At least I thought it was. At 6:30 Warren called me back again – he was very upset. “I’m so sorry that I got so confused about the time.” I told him it was perfectly okay and since he isn’t well it’s understandable. “It dawned on me”, he continued, “that you had probably fixed that wing for me.” I grappled with that for a moment, “What wing, Honey?” ”You didn’t then?” he asked. “No”, I answered. He looked disappointed. Then it dawned on me, he might have meant the soup that I told him I was going to eat for my dinner. I asked if he was ready to eat and he said yes. I said I would check his tube and see if his stomach was ready for more food then get his feeding ready and bring his nightly chocolate. Once I had the tube feeding started, Warren still seemed to want soup but I told him the one I was eating was pretty spicy so it might not set right with him. He said he would like chicken noodle and I went to fix it for him. I knew he would only eat a spoonful or two so it wouldn’t interfere with his formula feeding and it might make him happy. But when I came back with it, he didn’t want it – he just wanted the chocolate.

Well, folks, I gotta tell you, dealing with the physical ramifications of Warren’s illness was easier than this chapter is turning out to be. If this continues, it will be a challenge for me to make it without causing Warren stress. He is in a channel halfway between Lake Cognizant and Lake Dementia and I’m finding the navigation very difficult. I’m counting heavily on God to be my lighthouse guiding the sailboat that signifies our marriage!

More objective insight into the current relationship between Warren and Me………………
Our friend Ray wrote the following good advice.:
My mother lashes out at me when she has an infection. The infection will not be strong enough to notice any symptoms. So the lashing out is sudden and totally unexpected. When you tend to wear your heart on your sleeve (I have been described that way, too) such unexpected behavior really hurts. I have little in the way of advice and I almost hesitate to write because you seem to be, at least tentatively, on the right track, but here it is:
· Always enter the room where Warren is with a small shield ready to defend your emotions. As you have already figured out, these "attacks" have nothing to do with the reality or your relationship. To fight back would just leave Warren more lost and hurt than the cancer is already making him.
· When the "attack" is over think through the event. There may be some meaningful thing said. Maybe a need or like the game room theory, something that may help to resolve a confusion. Once reviewed, try to dismiss the junk as much as possible

· I have long been able to see paranoia in my mother. When she is ill I feel that the paranoia gets a far greater hold on her. I know from the journal that you and Warren have a strong and abiding faith in the future. In your fully functioning minds you have this certainty. But I suspect that as the cancer eats its way along there will be feelings in Warren that he nor anyone else will ever be able to explain. Perhaps he wants you to announce yourself so that he will know that it is a friend in the room instead of an entity that the cancer may have stirred up in his imagination.
· Lastly, from one more source, your love for Warren and your good intellect make you a wonderful nurse. I am sure that you will tend to do the right things and should not let your short comings, if there ever are any, be a concern


Tortes Are Us
Super Site Supporter
Arnettamae, what you have described is a lot of what I have experienced. Yes, it hurts when you are doing all you can and it feels as if you aren't appreciated but truly you have to remember what has been told to me with respect to my caregiving duties (I substitute Warren's name here):

Warren does not know what he is doing and would never hurt you intentionally. What you feel is his illness. Look at Warren and his illness separately and that should help you navigate these waters. I, too, am sensitive and I had to be told not to take things so personally at these times. My father's end was not a pleasant one for him or for me. It took a lot of work to see that it was not him but the illness that made him behave and or say things that were so unlike him.

I also agree with Ray. Warren, like my father was a very independent man and over time, he had lost more and more of that independence and had to rely more and more on me. Imagine what that was like for my father to rely on his youngest child and daughter. At one point, it was as if I had become the parent and I was able to veto him. We had to come to an understanding and thankfully we did.

Hang in there!
Hugs and prayers, Susan


Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter
Warren Wm. Whitehouse
September 1, 1944 to August 18, 2009

The time came for Warren to go home with God at about 1:45 this morning, Tuesday, August 18, 2009. I thank God that he wasn’t in pain and that he passed quickly. I am unbelievably sad, however, that I was not with Warren at the moment he died after all my hopes and efforts to be. As I look back on it, I could have been and that’s why my heart aches with regret.

Warren was having a restless night, clearing his throat a lot and moaning. He woke up and needed to use the commode or urinal but tried to get out on the wrong side of the bed again. God why didn’t I think to just go get the urinal (which he hates) and try to pull his pull up down so he could use it there? But when I think about it, he was so weak that he really couldn’t sit up by himself without me holding him. So instead I told him to go in his pull up and it would be fine then I would put a dry one on him. I should have known he wouldn’t do that. He wanted to lie down so I helped him get back in bed.

A little later at about 1:30am I saw Warren putting his legs out the wrong side of the bed again so I redirected him to the other side and helped him sit at the side of the bed. He wanted to use the commode but he was so weak he could barely get there. He didn’t land on it right but I managed to straighten him a bit so he could finish in the “bucket” as he called it. Then he wanted to get back to bed. I helped him get up and, like I had done many times before, pulled his clean pants up as he turned to get in bed, but he began to fall before he made it far enough. I tried to catch him but the space was cramped and he was heavy. I knew he was going down to his knees beside the bed. Warren ended up crouched on the floor with his arm and head resting on the mattress. I tried but I couldn’t get him up. I earnestly called upon God to please help me. Earlier Warren had been trying to speak but his words were so slurred that I couldn’t make anything out. Now he said nothing but he was breathing heavily.

I ran into the kitchen to get the number for the Hospice 24/7 line. I should have activated and used my cell phone so I could be in the room with Warren, but I didn’t even think of it – I had to go into the kitchen to get phone numbers so, as I was standing by the wall phone, I dialed instinctively . The Hospice triage nurse told me I needed to call Farmington Hills non-emergency to get Warren back in bed and she would call the Hospice night nurse, Judy, to come and check him over.

I got the FH non-emergency number out of the 2009 information pamphlet and dialed it but I got an answering machine telling me that no one was available to take my call and for a true emergency I should call 9-1-1 – a Hospice “no, no”. So I called the triage nurse, Jo, back again. She gave me a different number for the FH fire department and I called that. I think by this time it was around 1:45am.

While I was giving the FH fire department dispatcher our info, I heard Warren’s voice but I couldn’t make out any words. As soon as I got off the phone – it couldn’t have been more than 15 seconds – I ran into his room. He was non-responsive. I could feel no pulse nor could I detect any small movements. I called his name several times, while crying for him to say something to me.

I went back to call Jo at Hospice. She wanted me to make sure that Warren was still non-responsive so I went back and confirmed that nothing had changed. At that point, Jo told me, all I could do was wait for the Fire Department and the nurse to show up and confirm what I already knew. My Warren was gone.

If only I could do this night over again! I sat with Warren’s body and cried while I waited for the medical examiner. I told Warren how much I love him and how I wanted to be there with him to say goodbye when he went to Heaven. I pray he knows all that. I feel terrible that my last minutes with Warren were frustrating because he was missing the commode and going on the carpet. I didn’t say anything about it to him but I felt it. My last thoughts with him alive were, “How can we keep going on like this? How much longer will I have the strength to do this?” Now I have to ask, “How could I be thinking of myself, when my beloved Warren was dying?; Why didn’t I think of turning on my cell phone and taking the emergency numbers with me into his room so I would be there with him?; Why…………, Why…………., Why…………? I know I will forgive myself eventually, but it will hurt for quite a while. I hurt!

Your prayers for Warren and our family are and have always been, so appreciated. We know that Warren is finally whole again and with our Heavenly Father and his earthly Mother and Father who went before him. All of us are left to carry on and hold Warren forever dear in our hearts and our memories.

Our family will be meeting with Heeney Sundquist today to make funeral arrangements. There will be two nights of viewing, followed by cremation and a Memorial Service at Nardin Park. If possible, we would like to hold the Memorial Service in the Evening on September 1 – it would have been Warren’s 65th birthday and I promised him a party. I will keep all of you posted as plans are set.

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Tortes Are Us
Super Site Supporter
Arnettamae, these are exactly the kinds of thoughts I wanted you to avoid. My father wished to die alone, as long as we were in the room, he would not let go. Perhaps that is what happened with Warren. It was the last thing he could control. All these woulda coulda shouldas will make you needlessly miserable. Focus on all the wonderful things that you did do and all the happy memories as I had earlier suggested. I know this is a terrible time and I remember so clearly feeling like I could have done more for my father when rationally I knew I could not. One does the best one can. Most people don't go to the extremes that you did. You were blessed to have him in your life for as long as you did and he will live on in your heart and memory. Be kind to yourself. Continue to take care of yourself. Love does not die. You know as well as I do that Warren is in a better place and one day you will both be reunited. His job here is done and yours is not. Peace be with you.
Hugs, Susan


New member

My heart is crying for your loss. Warren was blessed to have you, and you were blessed to have his love these many years. My brave, strong courageous Sister In Heart, may God Bless both of you.


Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter

This is one of my favorite Pictures or Warren & Arnetta and their boat before Warren Got sick.


Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter
Arnetta's Journal
Aug. 19, 2009

Many of you have asked me to continue to post entries about our journey. I thank all of you for your continued support and concern. I probably will need to journal for a while to help me in closing this chapter in my life and beginning the new ones.

Time is short today, but I wanted to let all of you know that I am doing okay.

Now Warren is at Home and whole again. I have felt his presence and understanding around me since he took that journey. I know that someday, when I am finished here, I will be with him again. The feeling of his presence now and the knowledge that I will see him again, are helping me to move forward.

I'm hoping to see many of you at one or more of the upcoming events - visitation today or tomorrow or the memorial service/birthday celebration on September 1st. If you can't make it to any of them I understand. It would be impossible to devise a schedule that could accomodate everyone. If I don't see you at any of those times, I'm hoping to see you in the near future. You have been wonderful and I'd like to tell you that in person.

Thank you and God Bless You All.




Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter

FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009 8:40 PM, EDT

Today has been a busy day. At 10:30am I met with Sherry, Tim and Judy from church to talk about plans for Warren’s birthday party memorial service luncheon on September 1st. After the meeting, those same good friends volunteered to use their van to go over to Heeney-Sundquist to pick up the flowers and other mementos from Warren’s stay there. I am now wearing Warren’s wedding ring on my right hand. It fits the ring finger pretty well but may need to be made a bit smaller when I lose the water weight I seem to have acquired in the past couple days due to my unfamiliar eating patterns. Time to get back to basics!
Early this afternoon, the Home Care people came to pick up the equipment we had gotten through Hospice – the oxygen machine and portable tanks, the oxygen sling for the wheelchair, the hospital bed and air mattress, the bedside table, and the commode. I was glad to get those things out of my sight – they were reminders of how sick Warren had been and I want to picture him well now.

As I sit down to write, I’m not sure where my thoughts will take me. I know there are a lot of messages I wish to convey.

First, I want to say how very pleased our family was with every aspect of our Visitation experience at Heeney-Sundquist Funeral Home. From the care and attention given to us by the staff there, to the outpouring of love and friendship from all of you who were able to come to one of the sessions, it was a time to remember. I hope that at least someone from our family was able to greet and talk to each one of you individually. If any one of you was missed, please know that we appreciated your attendance very much. The shear number of people who came – especially on the second day – made it challenging to keep track of the entrances and exits of all of our friends and family but it was our intention to greet everyone and I offer our apologies if we didn’t. I do hope that all of you signed the Guestbook. If somehow you forgot, please let me know that you were there.

The two days of visitation went very quickly and all the activity was filled with bittersweet pleasure. As always, one realizes at times like these that it’s wonderful to be able to see and talk to so many friends and family members – the sweet part – but the circumstances that have brought us all together are sadly bitter.

I am by nature a friendly and open person who always has a smile to share; that didn’t seem to change in the past two days even though at times my heart felt as if it was breaking inside of me. My tears were just under the surface and it didn’t take much to make them spill over the top, but someone was always there to lean on when they did.

I spent some tender moments beside the casket alone with Warren as well as some with family members, especially my granddaughters who are devastated by their beloved grandfather’s death. The girls were given a choice by their parents as to whether they wanted to go near the casket and they all chose to go. We believe that their decisions proved to be a good thing.

The oldest granddaughter, Becky (12 years old on Sept. 9), had been unable to meet her own expectations about how much she thought she should be crying for Grandpa. As soon as Becky came into the room and saw Grandpa laid out, the floodgates opened and she was inconsolable for several minutes. It was a good and cleansing cry, and Rebekkah felt better for having let out her grief. Now she is much more able to deal with her feelings.

Rachel (now 10), knowing that Grandpa was sick and expected to die from his disease, has cried herself to sleep a lot throughout her Grandpa’s illness, so, unlike Becky, Rachel has been grieving all along. Rachel continued to cry as much as one might expect her to while she was at the funeral home.

Grace, the eight year old, and especially Beth who will be five on August 27, are still not fully aware of their loss. They did cry but were more able to shake off their sadness and act as if everything was okay.

I believe both of our children, Caryn (going on 39) and Justin (32 on August 24) are making progress in dealing with what we consider the very sudden and premature death of their father. Both of the kids have felt that their relationships with their Dad were getting better and better during the past several years. Like Justin said one evening as he choked back his tears, “We were just getting warmed up”. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose a parent while as young as or younger than our children are. I am fortunate to still have my 95-year-old father with me and in pretty good health. I lost my mother when she was 88 but she had Alzheimer’s disease for 20 years before she died, so we had a very, very, long (and often painful) time to say “goodbye”.

It was good that I was so busy for the three days following Warren’s death. It gave me very little time to think about my heartache. But last night, as I stood for the last time by Warren’s physical body lying in the casket, I didn’t want to leave him. I knew he was no longer there and, in fact, he’s in a much better place with God in Heaven. But that body was the last corporal evidence I had that Warren had walked this earth with me. It was very hard to let go of my need to be able to reach out and physically touch him. I suddenly felt so alone as I realized the time had come when I would never lay eyes on him again. I wondered then if Warren’s presence that I had felt with me since the morning he died was in any way actually related to the fact that his body was still on this earth.

Today has been a strange day. Thankfully, I still feel Warren’s presence in our home, but I am prone to cry at every little thing that reminds me of his physical being – especially pictures of him, the gifts given to him during his illness and all the tokens of his accomplishments that meant so much to him and to me.

The boxes and boxes of files, magazines and books that have, for many years, prevented us from having the neat and uncluttered home I dreamed of, will gradually be gone. Warren’s wardrobe spanning high school and college to the present will be donated to charity. His clothing fills the entire master bedroom closet from floor to ceiling leaving just a 2’ square area of floor to reach anything from. In searching for summer clothing for Warren to wear during his illness, I also found another 15 or more file (or larger) boxes of his clothing in the basement storage area. Our entire cedar chest is filled with his fancy wool sweaters that were hardly ever worn.

I laugh now when I think about how many years Warren claimed that our clutter problem was caused by my doll collection (which is all displayed in one of our bedrooms while still leaving the room totally functional) and my nutcracker collection (which is displayed on just one small wall in the dining room). He seemed unable to admit that his tendency to save every book and magazine that crossed his path had anything to do with the problem.

I almost feel guilty that I am really looking forward to downsizing within our home so that eventually every room will be as neat and inviting as the rejuvenated family room which I’ve struggled to maintain throughout this difficult time. Warren loved the transformation in that room as much as I do. Therefore, I remind myself that Warren had also finally come to the realization that our clutter was getting out of hand; he had vowed that we would both do something about it when we had time. I now will have time so I will work in Warren’s memory to make our home a place I can enjoy and one where he would be happy to be, too.

I have a good idea of how Warren would like our home to look. Both of us would come home from the houses of our neater friends and say we wished that our house could look like that, too. By the end of 2010 I will strive to have made significant progress, including finishing the solid oak flooring upstairs. That had been our goal for 2009.

I will, of course, be saving all the wonderful things that remind me of the great man my husband was – diplomas, pictures, trophies, things he made or wrote – but the biggest treasure, of course, will be our memories of him.

Speaking of memories, one of Justin’s friends, Bill, sent me a wonderful digital picture of Warren and me, which he had taken on his 2006 road trip to Michigan. I was very happy to get it to use in the digital picture frame we displayed at the funeral home. If any of you have digital pictures you could send me by e-mail, I would love to have them for the digital frame that will be used at the Memorial Service and beyond.

In closing, I want to mention that some of you have asked me to talk about what happened during the hours immediately following Warren’s death. I will be working on that document over the next few days. Hopefully it will be ready to post early next week.

I do have a busy weekend planned. I’ll be pulling the motor home out of it’s garage tomorrow and meeting Caryn and Tim and the grandkids at Kilarney campground in the Irish Hills for an afternoon, night and morning of family fun.

Thank you again to all of you for the support you have given us. I truly don’t believe I would have been as strong throughout this ordeal or as well adjusted at this point in time if you hadn’t been there. I leaned on you a lot and you were always there! Thank you will never be enough! God Bless us Everyone!

Arnetta M. Whitehouse



New member
What a amazing, loving person you are Annette even though I do not personally know you. I admire every quality you hold in life. Wish I could explain it much better. God Bless You, Sheri/Meme


Tortes Are Us
Super Site Supporter
Arnettamae, take your time. Don't push yourself to do things that you are not ready to do. As silly as it sounds, I cried my eyes out when I donated my father's clothes as per his wishes. I had to do that twice because my mom has two homes. My mom wanted to help me but she could not. In the end, I felt better because I knew that my dad's clothes would be put to good use and would help others but going through everything and remembering all the occasions and gifts was a very hard thing to do. Give yourself some time before you dig in.
Hugs, Susan


Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter
SUNDAY, AUGUST 23, 2009 6:14 PM, EDT
Arnetta's Journal

[/I]On Saturday afternoon, August 22, while at Camp Kilarney in the Irish Hills with Caryn, Tim and the Grandkids, I sat down to fulfill the request from several of you to journal the events in the wee hours of the morning following Warren’s death. Caryn and Tim had taken the girls to go paddle boating and I knew that would be hard for me to do, first because it’s not my thing (especially in the rain) and, secondly, because I could still picture Warren and Becky doing it together. Always on the edge of tears, I really felt inclined to stay at the campsite alone and write for a while.

As nearly as I can recollect, I have remembered and relayed below, what transpired between the time I last spoke on the phone to the Hospice triage nurse to confirm Warren’s non-responsive status and when I again found myself alone sometime after 4am.

Between periods of staring at Warren in disbelief, crying, and talking to him, I paced the floor. The time seemed to drag on forever. Finally two men from the fire department arrived around 2:30am. I met the men at the door and told them that Warren was gone. They thought I meant that he had left - “You mean he got up by himself and left?”. “No,” I said, “I mean I can’t feel a pulse; I think he is dead,” and I started to cry again.

When I mentioned that Warren was on Hospice, one of the men asked me for the Hospice papers so I retrieved them for him. He told me he was looking for the Do Not Rescuscitate Order. I told him that Warren had never signed one. I cried, "Please don't try to rescuscitate him! He has cancer in four different organs and he has suffered enough".

I took the men into the room to see Warren and one of them felt his neck and wrist for a pulse. They concurred that there was no detectable pulse. They kept asking me over and over again when he had quit breathing and I kept telling them the same thing; "I got up with Warren to help him use the commode at about 1:30 and that’s the last time I remember noticing the clock. It’s usually about a 10minute process to use the commode and he fell at the end of the effort. When I couldn’t get him up I immediately ran to the kitchen to call for help. It probably took me about 5 minutes to finally get hold of the fire department - that would make it about 1:45am when I was speaking to your dispatcher. That’s when I heard Warren’s voice for the last time. No more than 15 to 30 seconds after hearing Warren speak, I was off the phone and at his side. He was non-responsive."

“So,” my interviewer asserted, “you believe he died around 1:40.” “No,” I said, “I believe it was a bit later than that. If you want an exact time you could find out from your dispatch records - I’m assuming you have records. He most likely died just as I was hanging up the phone.”

The man I was talking to then made a call - I’m assuming to the medical examiner’s office - and relayed the story to him. But I heard him tell the man on the other end of the phone that “the wife says she thinks he died around 1:30”. It’s no wonder records get so screwed up!

It was a hot night and I had the air conditioning on so I shut the front door. They told me to leave it open because more people would be arriving so I went in and turned off the air conditioning and closed the cats in the other part of the house so they wouldn’t get out through the front door.

I also realized that the only way for anyone to get to Warren was to walk over my makeshift bed - the three large couch cushions that were wedged between the foot of the bed and the wall. I began to pick up my bedding so I could get the couch cushions off the floor. Not only would that make things more convenient for them, I also didn’t want everybody walking all over them. The men told me I couldn’t remove anything - like it was some sort of crime scene or something. All I wanted to do was to make sure the cushions didn’t get ruined. For years we had reminded the grandchildren and other kids not to walk or jump on the pit couch cushions and now I was expected to let four or five grown men traipse all over them! I held my tongue and said nothing, yet I was politely ordered to leave the room. Two more men arrived shortly and entered.

The Hospice Nurse, Judy, assuming that Warren had been helped back to bed, called to tell me that she was on her way from Brighton to check him out. I told her there was no need to check Warren out because he had passed away and she probably didn‘t need to come. Judy replied, “Well, if he has passed you need me more than ever. I need to help you with the procedures.” Judy arrived around 3am and I was very glad to have her there. She was wonderful!

While Judy talked to me and wrote down information in the foyer, the men were busy in Warren’s room. Judging by the electrode sticker backings I found on the floor, they gave Warren some sort of electro gram to confirm the total absence of vital signs. The man who appeared to be in charge came out and told Judy that the doctor had pronounced Warren dead over the phone at 2:42am on the basis of the test results. It had been almost a full hour since the actual time of death. After he and Judy had coordinated their paperwork the men left.

The door to Warren’s room was left open. They had laid Warren on the bed and left him there with the sheet pulled up over his head. I went in to be with him again but didn’t want to pull the sheet down. I put my hand on his arm. It was cool but not cold through the sheet. Though I couldn’t see Warren’s face, I cried and talked to him and told him again how much I had wanted to be with him when he died and was so sorry that I hadn‘t been.

After Judy saved her work to her laptop she needed me to answer more questions. Now that we had a supposed time of death, it was also time to call the funeral home to come and get Warren’s body. I got our church bulletin because Heeney-Sundquist always has their info on the back of it. Judy then called and made arrangements for Warren to be picked up. I began to fold my bedding and remove the cushions. Judy pitched in and helped me. Then she made an inventory of Hospice equipment that would need to be picked up and asked me to gather all medications dispensed by Hospice so that they could be destroyed.

Judy was going to flush the meds down the toilet or put them down the garbage disposal - the standard procedure. I told her that, as an environmentalist, I was very uncomfortable with such a thing happening from my home (or any home for that matter). The habit some people have of disposing of medicines in that way is having a very detrimental effect on our lakes, streams and ground water and adding to the toxicity of them. I told Judy that I have a box of old medicines in the garage that I plan to take to the next hazardous waste day available to me and I would like to do that with these, too. Judy said that I could do that. All I needed to do was to sign a paper saying that I would legally and responsibly dispose of the medicine myself. That leaves Hospice off the hook for responsibility.

A body transport team from Heeney-Sundquiest arrived around 4am. They were very professional, caring and polite. The young lady told me that if I wanted to be in the room with Warren while they transferred him to the stretcher I could but they didn’t recommend it. She said that after they had him in the body bag, they would leave the head portion unzipped so that I could say a final goodbye. All I could tell Warren again, was that I loved him and was sorry he left while I was away; but I was happy that he was at peace and whole again in Heaven.

Judy stayed around for a while winding up her paperwork and making sure that I was okay. She told me a lot of stories from her experience about dying people waiting till they were alone to die. She assured me that Warren had planned to exit just the way he did - leaving me to know that I was on the phone trying to get help for him and saving me the agony of witnessing his final breath. Several of you have assured me of that, too, so I prefer to believe you are correct.

After everyone left, I tried to lay down and sleep for a few minutes but it was impossible. It was too early to call people - I didn‘t want to have to leave messages or blank calls - so I sat down and wrote my Caring Bridge entry while I waited for the clock to say 6:30am. That’s the earliest I expected anyone to be up. At 6:35 I started by calling family and close friends that I knew would be early risers and worked my way around the clock. I knew I needed to notify at least the kids and Bob before I could publish the news - I didn’t want them to read it first on Caring Bridge.

Tomorrow I will happily journal about our weekend camping experience and why I know that Warren was with us. I will have Caryn’s collaboration on that! She and the granddaughters are coming to town tomorrow to meet with Reverend Dale Miller and me and share our Warren stories. I look forward to that but I know we will need a few boxes of Kleenex!



Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter
MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2009 11:05 PM, EDT

Arnetta's Journal!

I got up at 7:30am on Saturday refreshed after a sound 8-hour sleep. After doing a few necessary things around the house, I went out to start the motor home and pull it out of the garage. Unfortunately, the vehicle hadn’t been started last fall or at any time during the winter. The battery sounded strong when I first turned the key, then quickly ran down before the engine could catch. I would wait a few minutes and try again with the same results – a strong sounding battery that quickly ran down. I thought if I could get jumper cables on it, I may be able to get it going but I wasn’t strong enough to get the hood open. The hood is bent from flying up one time while driving on the expressway and it works really hard. Even strong men have trouble opening it so I knew my arthritic hands were no match for it.

I called Caryn and told her the sad news. I said I would bring the backpacking tent out of the motor home but if it kept raining, as it was that morning, I didn’t think I would like spending the night in it. I said I would probably just drive the car there for the afternoon and come home after the campfire.

When I told them my tale of woe, Caryn and Tim offered to let me sleep in their pop-up camper on the table that makes into a bed. Caryn said she, Tim and the four girls don’t use the table as a bed and it was easy to put together. I was still worried that having me in the pop-up with the six of them would make it too crowded but both Caryn and Tim assured me it would be fine.

Tim was in the army and maintains that the pop-up camper is for the girls in his family anyway! He likes “rugged conditions”. In fact, Tim said if I was really worried, I should bring the back packing tent so he could sleep in that like “real men” would do and I could take his place in the camper.

Tim would have had very rugged conditions if he had decided to use the tent. The weather was not good Saturday and Sunday – it was cold and it never did quit raining. However, at the end of the evening we would all end up fitting in the camper fine and it was nice to be warm and dry. (Aside: In spite of his assurances that he doesn’t need a camper, Caryn has noticed that Tim is much more eager to go camping since they got the pop-up.)

I arrived at the campground late (a few minutes after noon) Saturday due to a traffic backup in Saline and everyone was very hungry by the time I got there. We immediately piled into the two vans (Caryn and Tim’s neighbors were there, too, with their two young boys – two and five years of age) and went to Marcos for a pizza lunch. Marcos is a “hot spot” so Tim was able to get an Internet connection to make his NASCAR picks.

After pizza, we drove to the Cherry Hill Wine Tasting Grape Orchard. It’s quite a place and they make heavenly wine. I bought all the bottles I tried samples of so I'm glad I stopped at three samples. One bottle was a gift for my Dad – he loves Sangria and this one was the best I had ever had.

While Caryn, her neighbor Kelly, and I tasted the wine, Tim and Steve watched the kids - six in all - roll endlessly down the steep hill next to the building. Their delighted squeals let us know they were having a wonderful time in spite of the rain and cold.

After wine tasting we went back to campground. Everyone went paddle boating and, as you know, I stayed behind to write the Caring Bridge entry entitled “Death In the Night”.

Since getting back to the campground, I had been feeling melancholy. It was strange to be camping with the kids without Warren. Warren and I had helped them buy the camper last summer as a family gift and, I must confess, the gift was somewhat selfish on our part. Warren and I had imagined all the hours of family fun we would share camping with Caryn and her family throughout the coming years all over Michigan and beyond.

My tears were always just under the surface and I was beginning to feel as if I might put a “damper” on the party and probably shouldn’t have come. Then while making dinner, Caryn told me about her last conversation with her Dad and everything changed for me.

Knowing that the end was near, on August 11 - exactly one week before he died, Caryn went in to talk to her dad about her feelings. Warren asked Caryn if she was okay with him passing away so soon and if the grandkids would be able to handle his passing. Caryn told him that she and her family would miss him terribly but it was very sad for all of them to see him so sick and weak that he couldn’t enjoy life anymore. She also told him how very much the whole family treasured every canoe trip, bike ride and camping experience that he had enjoyed with them. She told Warren that the family would continue to enjoy the camper and would think of him fondly every time they used it. It was then that Warren asked Caryn if he could come along on the camping trips. He said, “I promise I won’t take up much room”. Caryn told me that she had promised her dad that she would make a place for him in the camper so he could always be along with us. I, of course, cried some cleansing tears and from that moment on, I felt Warren there with us.

We closed the evening with a campfire, hobo pies, singing around the fire and, of course, a keg of Tim’s home brew. It was all wonderful!

This afternoon (Monday) Caryn and I met with Reverend Dale Miller, who will be giving the Eulogy on September 1, to tell him stories about Warren. We gave Dale lots of material but he is very open to receiving more. Please let me know if you have any stories you want to add. Dale also encourages anyone who wants to say something about Warren to let him know or you can let me know and I will pass it on.

Plans for the luncheon are also in place. We know Warren was loved by a lot of people so turnout is expected to be very good and we want to make sure there is plenty of food for everyone. Those of you who know about Methodists know we are VERY big on food!

The papergoods, meat (ham), and rolls and butter are being funded by the family. Our friends from the Back 40 – our social group at Nardin Park – and women from my Circle, Evening Star, are providing salads and desserts.
Some of you have asked if you can contribute anything to the luncheon. Representatives from the Back 40 have told me that salads and desserts would be welcomed. Relish and/or fruit trays would be fine as salads. As usual, food can be brought the day of the funeral, or marked “Whitehouse funeral luncheon” and left in the church kitchen the day before. We thank you in advance for any contributions you would like to bring.
We look forward to seeing all of you there to celebrate Warren's life!



Food Sound Eng.
Gold Site Supporter
FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 2009 8:32 PM, EDT
Arnetta Journal

I’m doing okay, everyone.You haven’t heard from me because it’s been a very busy week.There is always something every day that makes me cry for a while, but that is to be expected.It’s good to have things to keep me busy so there is balance in my life.

Monday Caryn and the girls came in the morning and we met with Reverend Dale Miller in the afternoon.Caryn left with the girls for Lansing around 3:30 and by 4pm I was on my way to Heeney Sundquist to pick up the death certificates and commemorative plaques and pay the funeral bill.Afterwards I dropped off the two wheelchairs at the church.

Monday evening, in preparation for carpet removal on Tuesday, I began clearing out Warren’s old office which had become his first floor bedroom during his illness. Tuesday morning I finished boxing all the CD’s from Warren’s office music cabinet so we would be able to move it off the carpet when the time came.My helpers, Celeste and her son Adam, arrived at 11:15am and we headed out in the rain for a hearty lunch at the Olive Garden to fortify ourselves for the task ahead.

Tuesday afternoon, Dad joined me, Celeste and Adam. We were able to remove the red carpet from the office floor in three four to five foot strips without serious mishap – just a scratch on Adam and a small puncture in me.Eventually, I will use the carpet strips (burlap side up) as foundation for wood chip and leaf mulch to help keep the weeds down between the berm and the sidewalk along the east edge of our back yard.

By late afternoon, we got all the carpet removed except for the computer corner. Celeste and Dale's other son, Darren, is a computer guy so later on I hope he can come over and help disassemble that corner so nothing gets damaged. There are wires and peripherals EVERYWHERE!Meanwhile, I can start to lay the parquet tile from the center out and leave the computer corner for last. I'm planning to start the floor after the September 1 Birthday Memorial Service with the tile that Warren and I had already purchased for the job.

After Celeste and Adam left I started working on the walls in the room. For the rest of the afternoon and throughout the evening, I had a wonderful time arranging Warren's mementos on the walls. The room will be totally dedicated to Warren’s memory and his love of God, family and sailing. The beautiful quilt made especially for Warren by the women at Nardin Park hangs in a place of honor on the west wall where the head of his hospital bed once was.

When I was finished hanging things, I stepped back and looked at the arrangement. I was astounded at how well everything came together. Warren would be so pleased!I told Warren that I hope he really likes it, then of course, I cried for quite a while. It's tough to work with things Warren loved in the room in which he died! So far in fact, in a lot of ways, going on without Warren is as hard or harder than caring for him was, but I will be okay. I feel Warren's presence, I know that God is with me, and loving and supportive friends and family surround me. I am truly blessed.

Wednesday morning the sun returned and the day dawned incredibly beautiful.I took advantage of the weather to plant the seven pots of mums I had purchased in the beds around the deck then watered the area very well.I also did some weeding and transplanted some plants that were being overshadowed by the phenomenal hosta growth this summer. It felt good to work in the garden again and I felt Warren’s approval of my efforts.

After lunch Wednesday, I went to Helga and Hank’s to visit and so that Hank could scan pictures from our photo albums for inclusion in the digital photo frame. That project took all afternoon. After we were finished we went to the Outback for a celebratory dinner. Then after I got home I tried to organize three days worth of mail that I hadn’t gotten to and do some overdue chores before bed.I’m still way behind but I will be home tomorrow – Saturday – and I hope to catch up.

At 8:30 Thursday morning I left for Lansing to celebrate our youngest granddaughter, Beth’s, fifth birthday with her and the family. It was raining when I got there but we didn’t let that dampen our party spirits. We went to Horrock's where I bought more mums in red and orange for the deck beds and also some of my beloved Pink Lady apples. We all enjoyed our coffee creations from the free coffee bar at Horrock’s, too. The next stop was Hobby Lobby where we bought some beading projects.

Our next stop was fantastic! Beth requested lunch at Clara’s for her birthday. Clara’s is an elegant old train station turned restaurant in downtown Lansing.The food is as wonderful as the atmosphere and the kids really got a thrill out of eating their lunch in the old dining car adjacent to the station.

By the time we finished lunch, the weather cleared up and we spent a perfect afternoon at the Potter Park Zoo (you wouldn’t believe the upgrades!) before returning home for the birthday dinner of Beth’s choice – “buscetti” with meatballs (otherwise know as spaghetti), salad, fresh baked garlic sticks and Tinkerbell cake with strawberry swirl ice cream.

After the girls were in bed, Caryn, Tim and I had a great evening with Tim’s latest three brews, some reminiscing and a brand new episode of “Monk”. Tim’s Raspberry Cream Ale was spectacular and I imbibed a bit too much! I spent the night in Lansing and drove home early this morning so I could bowl with Dad on the Senior Friday league. It was my first time bowling since very early in Warren’s illness. It was a lot of fun to be back there again and I didn’t do too badly considering my long absence. However, my 95-year-old Daddy had the top score with his 178!

After bowling I paid the property tax (before I forget) and went to get a real honest to goodness haircut – my first professional cut in almost a year!

That brings me up to the present.I can’t say it has been easy. The tears are still just under the surface and the slightest thing can set me off – putting away an article of his clothing, meeting someone who doesn’t know he’s gone, seeing one of his treasures again, reading a card or letter written in his memory, hearing the Michigan fight song, the smell of fresh coffee and fresh bread – two of his favorite aromas.In a strange way, though, all those things also bring me joy because they bring good memories of Warren and because I know that his life in heaven is filled with things that he cherishes, too – good health, peace and love.