One of the greatest gifts one can receive is the gift of time. I’ve been fortunate recently to receive that gift from dear friends and loving family. Around 6 months ago I was thrown into the hospital for, what we learned later was, a drainage problem of the cerebral fluid from the brain down to the spinal cord. As soon as my family heard they bought their tickets and rushed down to see me. There support helped me brave a week of being a prisoner at CLC. When it came time for me to have surgery, they we were there to see me through it. I was scared, but having them there made it all seem manageable.

My parents and sister came to help out at the beginning.  A couple of weeks passed and Jon’s mom came down to help out for a week. By the time she was leaving Jon knew things were getting bad again and we needed help again.

Mom. I was going back into the hospital to run some test to find out why I was doing so poorly. Like a rock, my mother was there by my side sleeping in a god-awful pull out bed. Her ability to be tough as nails allowed me to take the bad news with some semblance of grace. For, again, I got bad news that my cancer was growing. I found out that I’m down to my last option and we started a new chemo the next day. Meanwhile, my father bought his ticket down and unannounced to me, my sister got a ticket to come down to surprise me. Also, Meaghan, Shannon, and Beth decided to throw a surprise birthday party for me.

All my life I’ve never really had the big birthday bash I’ve wanted. My birthdayis in the summer, and everyone is always on vacation in July, so the celebrations were always small. I’ve wanted to have a surprise birthday party and I’m so thankful for Meaghan, Shannon, and Beth for organizing and giving their time to give me such a wonderful surprise.

But the surprises didn’t stop there. Adam and Paulita flew in from Venezuela to see me. They’ve been some of our closest friends since the day we met them in China. There might not be better people to drink a glass of wine with than Adam and Paulita.A couple of weeks later, I was visited by another dear friend of mine. Britt and her amazing daughter Zella, came back to Santiago for a little visit. Something everyone might not know is that Britt took us into her house before she ever even met us. We became instant friends and have spent many days living in each other’s houses. Britt also brought the cutest girl I’ve ever seen into our lives. Britt and her daughter, Zella Mimi, always makes me smile, and is the first kid to really like me. Just hearing her laugh is the best medicine one can receive. I’m so glad I got to see you two both again, and I promise to try to visit Lima soon.

My closest friend made yet another trip down to see me. I can always count on Randi to be there for me. Even with having the most chaotic and busy schedule on the planet, she manages to carve out time to come down to Santiago and see me. Thank you for being my best friend, Randi.  I also want to thank all of my friends and friends of my family that donated on the gofundme page. I know many of you wish you could come see me and I wish that I could come see you as well. But your donation has allowed my family the gift of more time together, and for this, I thank you all very much. It means the world to us to be able to spend this time together. Thank you.

Throughout all of the visitors my family was here. My sissy managed to give me a week of her life. I know how difficult it was for Alison to come down here amid her new crazy job schedule, moving homes, and Dustin’s work. Yet, she has always been there when I need her the most. A more dependable sister could not be found. Alison was there when I needed a hand. She was there when I needed a laugh. And she was there when I needed a hug. Alison has always been there and will always be there. She is one of the most important people in my life. I already miss my sissy-wissy.

After my sister left we were down to just my mother and father. We settled in for a long haul not knowing whether or not my new chemotherapy would work. Dad, tirelessly worked to make sure that I had everything I needed. He’d run to every pharmacy in the neighborhood, there is like 8 in walking distance, to try and find the medicine that I needed. He visited medical supply stores to make sure that I got the walker prescribed. No matter what, he’d persist until I got it even if it meant talking to twenty different people. On top of all this he’d wake up every morning before anyone else was up and do the dishes, make the coffee, and get the table set for breakfast. Thank you Dad for making sure I got everything I needed to be healthy. I know all the flying isn’t easy for you. I appreciate what you do for me and how you make my life more comfortable. Con mucho amor, papa.

But the person who earns the medal for the most time gifted belongs to my mother. No one has spent more time and been there for me more than my mother has. She’s been my travel partner, care giver, pick-me-upper, and so much more. She cooks, cleans, drives, plays family feud and puzzles with me, and does just about anything and everything for me. I can’t even think of the words that express how thankful I am for my mother. She’s been my rock when I felt like crumbling. She’s been my joy when I felt like crying. She’s been my inspiration when everything around me looked so bleak. No one has sacrificed more for me (besides Jon) than her. She’s given me so much that I’ll never be able to repay her. I love you so much, Mom.

After my mom and dad left Jon’s whole family came down to visit. Jim, Sandi, Adam, Kristin, Harper, Briggs, and, unknown to us at the time, one more yet to be named, made their first visit to our home as a whole family. Harper and Briggs were so excited by everything we did and couldn’t get enough of their crazy weird uncle. Being towered over by the Krumtinger family is intimidating but wonderful at the same time. They are such an easygoing group of people, always laughing and telling stories. Plus they like to play cards and I enjoy kicking their butts in Euchre, Rummy, and Uno. It was so nice getting a chance to share our life with them. I’m thankful for their time and I grateful to spend it with them.

So thank you everyone. You are all amazing and I love you all very much.





Add Yours
  1. Agnes Franklin

    Dear Eli,I don’t think I’ve ever read a note more full of gratitude.

    Love and light,

    Agnes & Tim

    “Plucking a flower and affecting a star” old Thai saying



  2. janet mitchell

    Eli, Having gotten to know both your families they are all wonderful! It’s nice to see you writing on your blog. Take care…


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