This post is #88 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
Our family was blessed to enjoy several wonderful vacations together ... while the girls were growing up, we made treks to Branson, Gulf Shores, Disney World, Yellowstone, and several other fun destinations to visit family and friends. During the summer of 2008, Brad had to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend a work-related conference and we girls had the opportunity to accompany him. It was the perfect trip for us that year ... not too far from home and our doctors if Hannah had any issues ... yet far enough to be a good get-away for us.
We stayed at the Opryland Hotel, which was an interesting experience in and of itself. We enjoyed some good restaurants, toured the Country Music Hall of Fame, visited a botanical garden, shopped at a couple of big malls, and saw the sights of Nashville.
During the time we were there, we could almost forget that Hannah was sick because she was doing so well, but there were little reminders. In this picture, we were at a pool of manta rays at one of the malls we visited. We had a great time feeding them and reaching into the water to touch their backs as they skimmed past. You can see the thinness of Hannah's hair, which she worked hard to cover up with her ever-present wide headband.
Here the girls were having some fun posing with "flat" Dorothy, emulating the expression on her face. One of the only lasting side effects from Hannah's brain surgery was the inability to look up with her eyes, and you can see that in this picture. She could look to the side, but not upward.
Thankfully, these were relatively minor issues and we were able to fully enjoy that time together as a family!
On Friday of that week, while we were still in Nashville, we received the sad news that Brad's grandmother had gone to Heaven. Well ... sad for us, but not for her! Frankie Mae Stahl Owens had raised nine wonderful children, and had 20 grandchildren and 37 great grandchildren. She was an amazing example of a life well lived, and we knew her reward in Heaven would be great. We headed home to Arkansas the next day to prepare to celebrate the life of Hannah and Bethany's great grandmother.