Friday, May 29, 2009


Here are some pictures of Guenevere's grave stone. Tis' a nice location on a hill. Her husband, Dave, will be buried next to her someday. These are the views from front and back. Its actually very pretty, and there are some lovely flowers planted close by. I miss her dearly.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Heartfelt Tear

Some people have the gift of compassion. Others are fearful of it and avoid the subject completely. A wonderful friend sent this poem to me:

So close are the angels to those that grieve.
So close in Heaven to those who believe.
'Tho difficult it is to sometimes see beyond the sorrow,
Memories will help to comfort your tomorrow.
For love leaves a path that no one can steal,
And time is the element that it takes to heal.
The heartfelt tears you feel today
Is the delight you felt from yesterday.
So look inside the chambers of your heart
To see that you are not really apart.
When sorrow comes, just look above
Tears belong to those who had love.
True love never dies…….I Cor 13

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


On behalf of the Board of Directors of the California Advancement Researchers Association (CARA) < >,we have unanimously voted to re-name our existing conference scholarship in memory of Guen, who once served as CARA's treasurer. The naming of the scholarship in Guen's honor and memory will be in perpetuity.

I remember how genuinely kind and helpful she was to me when I first joined the CARA Board in January 2007 and it is
evident that her loss has left a void in our profession and deeply saddened numerous research colleagues who knew her closely and whose lives she touched. We wish to honor her spirit and her service and dedication to our profession by renaming our existing annual conference scholarship in her memory.

Kind Regards,
Kimberly A. Ordunio

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Testing 1,2,3...

I was told last week by a genetic cancer counselor that I am high risk for cancer. They are running all sorts of tests and so far everything is coming back normal. I am not worried about all this btw, as I gave it up to prayer. I just hung up with the nurse who gave a follow up call to say that my pelvic ultrasound was labeled as "unremarkable" and that the mammogram was benign. Looking forward to more tests coming back. This is new for me. I usually operate under a spirit of fear, telling myself I'd rather not know. Those days are over.

Prayers of the Faithful

When you get the news that you are pregnant, the thought never leaves your mind. For the duration, you are consumed with thoughts of everything "baby." I feel the same way about losing someone close. Everyday I wake up, and it takes just a few seconds before I am aware all over again...oh yes, my sister. I know that He knows, but sometimes I remind Him: God, I lost my sister.

During one of our visits in the hospital, she commented that she would pray for those who were praying for her. I thought that was so nice, and truthfully something I never thought of. I pray for people and situations that come to mind, but it never occurred to me, to pray for those AS they were praying for me. I knew it was a gift to hold onto when she spoke of it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sharing Grief

If you ever need it, is a website dedicated to people going through loss and grief, and it has been very helpful to me. You can sign up for their emails.

There have been some really low moments and I felt like my emotions were affecting me physically. It is common to experience anxiety and worry many times in life. This was something different. Never before have I felt so overcome with sadness upon learning that my 35 year old sister had cancer. The shock manifested itself into this constant state of soreness. I consciously forced myself to relax and really focus on being healthy. When I called her friend back East to let her know, my bones hurt. The next day came an email from Griefshare. In it was a verse from Psalms about David crying out to the Lord in his sorrow, telling Him that his bones hurt! Wow- grief takes on many forms.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

You were a wonderful mum to Libby Guen! Happy Mother's Day to you dear sister. I am so glad you got to fulfill your dream of becoming a mother. This picture was taken Easter 2008.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

One of Her Many Talents

Guen was a fabulous cook. She made this fresh fruit salad for Easter 2008. We would take turns cooking for the various holidays.

Yesterday I asked my brother-in-law for any of Guen's recipes that she was famous for. He made copies of 2 pie recipes and gave them to me. She was famous for the pumpkin one. We have all tasted pumpkin pie before but this one has whiskey in it and oh my! We made sure she always made it for Thanksgiving. The other one is apple and it was amazing. I was looking through some pictures and I was shocked to find this one...didn't know I had it. This picture is from Thanksgiving 2008 and I am so thankful.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

On Jan. 15, my mom called earlier than expected. My sister's planned surgery to remove an abdominal cyst was scheduled for that morning. I guesstimated when it would be finished and about the time that I would get the call that she was fine and in recovery. When I saw the time and the caller id said it was my mom, I thought "Cool! easier, quicker surgery than expected."

I cheerfully answered the phone. The call was to let me know that the surgeon interrupted the surgery to inform my brother-in-law that he had discovered cancer. I remember pounding my granite island over and over. I kept saying "No! Oh No! "

My mom asked me to look up some flight info as her surgery was in a different state. I had incredible difficulty focusing. I went upstairs right after that, while we were still talking. I started packing and was done so quickly. I didn't know if I needed to get on a plane that day. The trip actually came later. As I was packing, I said to God, “This is big...this is really really big!” How I longed for January 14th again. The flowers are from the reception.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Forced to Simplify

We can all make a list about what we feel is most important. When Guen became sick, my list was instantly simplified. Every choice that followed became so basic. Anything extra was cut out. Meals were simple. Shopping was only for necessities. I stopped watching most tv... just a dvd here and there to unwind. Life had a new schedule. I was on the phone, texting constantly and back and forth to the hospital,etc.

What is most important? In this situation, the list was reduced to 2 things; good health and fervent prayer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Underestimating the Power of Friendship

I have been blessed with many friends, and most of you know that I come from a huge family. I also know many from church and the community. This was an ordeal of such magnitude that I let people know right away when I learned that my sister had cancer. I needed their prayers! Although I had talked about her, no one had really ever met her before. I knew they would pray, but I really didn't think everyone would care so much. I expected a lot less from them. I underestimated them.

Many felt genuinely sorry about the whole situation. The amount of emails, phone calls, cards, flowers, and even gifts has been nothing short of amazing. Lots of my friends have called and emailed to check on me and I am so grateful. I belong to a club and we meet once a month. I had mentioned about my sister's passing only to the director, because I couldn't participate for a week. To my surprise she commented that her mother had died of Ovarian Cancer at the age of 42. Everyone has a loss story in some form. I just didn't expect to meet someone from a lighthearted outlet that would mirror my story. She gave me a beautiful bracelet with words of inspiration and a frame charm for a picture of my sister.

A burden shared is a burden halved.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Asking A Lot

Almost every time I would talk to Guen, she would say, "God is asking a lot of me", and I agreed. As much as I wanted my sister healed, I earnestly prayed for God's will. His choices are perfect and mine are self-serving. I had some fear/notion that her being out of pain may include her death. Everything I read about Ovarian Cancer indicated to me that this would have to be a miracle that God had not worked yet, or anyone had documented. The nature of having stage 4 cancer means your time is limited. Ovarian is a hormonal cancer and goes through your whole system.

I remember feeling that she might be holding on too tightly. It caused some anxiety for me. There came a day when she said she was resolved to leave everything in His hands. When I read that on her CaringBridge update, from her husband Dave, I was so relieved. I remember that moment with crystal clarity. I thought that Doctors and medicine are good things, but have so many limitations. In God's hands we could move forward.

The picture is of my Thanksgiving table in 2006. My sister was sick with some normal virus and couldn't join us. Of course I understood, but I remember being really bummed that she wasn't there.

Keeping the Faith

Guen was not one to tear people down. I have felt strongly that one of our biggest jobs is to encourage and build others up. God says you are either for Him or against Him. It is His kindness that leads to repentance. If you have encountered someone who is critical, you feel like fleeing. You feel that they are not for you, but against you. My sister was the opposite of that. We had lots of talks about what God expects of us, and how to do this thing called life.

Never assuming, or pretending to have clarity, she was always concerned about others feelings and doing the right thing. There were times when she lost patience, but ever so briefly. If I had any sort of heads up, I would have loved to write down things she said verbatim. Not having this type of foresight, I will have to recall much from memory.

At one time she was a runner. Guen fought the good fight, she finished the race, and she kept the faith (referring to 2Timothy 4:7) Her funeral was 2 weeks ago. Her race happened to be very short.