On a cold day in November of 2000, exactly five months to the day after he was diagnosed, my dad, Robert Forrest Shrewsbury, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 51.

robert forrest shrewsbury

While my dad had a fulfilling life, it makes me sad to think that he never got to see or do so many of the things we all cherish.

He never experienced the satisfaction of retirement after working hard for so many years in the milling business. He never felt the pride of seeing his children own their first homes and he wasn’t here to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day or meet Steve. He didn’t have the honor of growing old with his wife, or the joy of seeing his grandchildren graduate high school and head off to college.

My dad and step-mom, Janna, and my siblings Christy, Robb, Laura, and Brendi.

My dad and step-mom, Janna, and my siblings Christy, Robb, Laura, and Brendi.

I wish he could have lived longer and experienced those things, but I’m also very grateful for memories I do have with my dad. Memories of family road trips to the Black Hills or the Ozarks where we’d go boating on Table Rock Lake.

My dad loved going boating on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks.

My dad loved going boating on Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks.

We have fond memories of eating Fritos with bean dip while watching Husker football games and cheering on Kevin Johnson the Phoenix Suns. Memories of him teaching me how to play golf, sitting on curbsides watching parades as a family, and singing karaoke. 

My dad was always willing to try something new, including karaoke.

My dad was always willing to try something new, including karaoke with his kids.

Those memories sustain me and remind me to be grateful for every day I have on this earth. My dad never seemed to take much of anything for granted. He lived his life with few regrets.

My aunt, Kristy Douglas, painted this picture of my dad walking home from the Fourth of July parade with his granddaughters.

My aunt, Kristy Douglas, painted this picture of my dad walking home from the Fourth of July parade with his granddaughters.

He took chances and vacations and he was quick to give away his money, time and talents to others. He rarely put things off and he said what he wanted to say. My dad’s example reminds me that life is short and not all of us are given the privilege of old age.

His legacy is a reminder to do the things that matter most. Try something new. Travel. Help those in need. Laugh. Be still. Listen. Make the time to be with your family and friends. And most of all, never miss an opportunity to say, “I love you.”

I love you, dad.

  • Last week, we had the pleasure of making handmade pasta (via the internet) with our friends, Deb and Massi, who were in their home kitchen in Italy. ⁣
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You can read all about it, and get the recipe, on our blog. Yep, you guessed it, the link is in our bio. ⁣
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We met Deb and Massi of @italyunfiltered a few years ago when they created an amazing food and wine itinerary for us. We've remained friends and it was so good to see them, even if they were a world away.
  • We were supposed to be in Rochester, Minnesota, this week for Ann to see a cardiac sarcoidosis specialist about some recent issues with her heart. Of course, we did not travel to Rochester for her scans and doctor visits because of the coronavirus outbreak.⁣
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Instead, her cardiologists called her from their homes and her scans and tests will likely be delayed until June or July. We'll keep in close touch with them if anything changes, as well. We are so grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who are continuing to work crazy hours from home as well as in our hospitals around the world.⁣
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This is such an unprecedented and stressful time for all of them. Words will never be enough to convey our gratitude for the roles they are playing in the battle against this deadly virus while caring for those with other diseases and illnesses at the same time. ⁣
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Every healthcare provider we've talked with in the last two weeks has had the same message for those of us who don't have to go to work at a hospital. ⁣
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Just. Stay. Home.
  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
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Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
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It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
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What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome
  • Our daughter, Meghan, is a cardiac ICU nurse. Despite all of the current uncertainties in healthcare during this pandemic, early this morning she put on her scrubs and went to work a 12+ hour shift. 
She is not alone. Across the country and around the world, healthcare workers are putting the safety of themselves and their families at risk to help others. It's what they do. Every. Single. Day. 
We are incredibly grateful that there are selfless people like this in the world and we pray for them and we hope you'll join us. 
We couldn't sleep this morning, so we wrote instead. Click on the link in our bio to read our morning thoughts and prayers.
  • Trying to decide where we’ll travel this weekend. Covered porch? Living room? 😉
  • We are staying home. 
We've been here for almost a week now because Ann is one of "those people." You know the ones. Those people with an underlying health issue. Those people with a suppressed immune system. One of those people who could become seriously ill, need hospitalization, and even die if exposed to the coronavirus.  Those people need your help to stay safe and live. And all you have to do is stay home when you don’t NEED to be out.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen photos, videos, and witnessed first hand people of all ages (but mostly young people) gathering in groups for what us mid lifers would consider “non essential” reasons: birthday parties, movies, youth sports practices, St. Patty’s Day celebrations at the bar, spring break at the beach, and the like. 
We don’t understand it. 
We try not to judge. 
But just for a time during this worldwide pandemic, could we ask people who are participating in non-essential activities to consider who “those people” most at risk really are?

Those people are already battling serious illnesses.

Those people want to see their grandchildren grow up.

Those people need to do their jobs as nurses and doctors.

Those people are first responders. 
Those people run the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and the gas station. 
Those people pray for you and your generation. 
And what about those other people? 
The ones you know.

Those people who made sacrifices to meet your needs.

Those people who took care of you when you were sick.

Those people who went to your games and cheered you on. 
Those people who taught you in school.

Those people who helped you pay for college.

Those people who cooked your favorite dish for you.

Those people who taught your Sunday School class.

Those people who have forgiven you.

Those people who will always love you unconditionally.

We keep wanting to scream, “It’s not about you, it’s about those people!” But the truth of the matter is, IT IS ABOUT YOU. 
You have the power to help.
You have the power to influence others.
You have the power to flatten the curve.

And by not changing your behaviors, you also have the power to harm. 
How will you choose to use your power?j
  • We’re sharing your postcards and encouraging you to help others and stay positive. 
If you’d like to send us a postcard, mail to: Postcard Jar, PO Box 334, Crete, NE 68333.

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