home hospice

by Judith and Robert

The good news is she’s  home.  No more transfusions, no more chemo, no more trips to the ER, and much higher levels of pain meds.

The bad news is she’s come home to die.  The cancer is winning. Has won.

The eight units of blood had practically no impact. The stent replacement probably eased some pain but basically her kidneys are failing. Although:  as they keep telling us, she’s young and otherwise healthy. Maybe her kidneys will come back, but the cancer is still progressing…nothing is certain in this particular universe.

They are telling us it could be days…or weeks.

Our current efforts are arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic: we hope to keep/make her as comfortable as possible. The combination of kidney failure and meds mean she is/will probably sleep a lot more, maybe 18 or 20 hrs each day, and drift in and out. We’re hoping for any awake/alert time to share, but, as it has been for the last four months, everything is subject to change, hour to hour, day to day.

She is and will be surrounded in love, she will not be alone.


50 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stephaniecavanaugh
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 13:09:49

    All I can say is that our thoughts and prayers are with you constantly. Much love and white light — which is what I am convinced brought ME through, Stephanie (and of course Greg and Monica)


  2. Alex Zapruder
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 13:12:29

    Kirby, Robert, Judy, and Owen,
    I will be thinking of all of you. I am heartbroken for you. There is nothing right about this. I know you are doing everything you can to keep Kirby comfortable and to ease her passage with dignity, grace, and most of all, love. You are all in my thoughts constantly.
    As ever, Alex


  3. Olya
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 13:46:54

    I’ve been sitting here at my computer for about twenty minutes, not knowing what to write. I find that all I can say is that my love and prayers, as ever, go out to you….I love Kirby and her friendship is a blessing.


  4. Sarah Grusin
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 13:54:20

    I hope you can feel the love coming to you from around the world. There are no words, just a long collective sigh.


  5. Peggy Banks
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 14:06:14

    And neither are you alone, Judith, Robert and Owen. We love all of you.


  6. The Toto family
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 14:17:52

    We are praying for the family, that Kirby is awake enough to share some special moments with you all. We pray she is no longer in such horrible pain. Thank you so much for keeping this blog up. I know we all appreciate it. Love, Eric, Terri & Brooke


  7. Nora
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 14:25:28

    Kirby, though I do not know you that well, I do know that you are truly an amazing person. My thoughts are with you.


  8. Kim Franklin
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 14:33:31

    Robert, Judith and Owen, as a parent I can only imagine what you are going through. My heart is breaking as I type this and the tears are flowing. All three of you have been amazing parents as you have worked through this with Kirby and she is blessed to have you by her side. Our love for your familiy and prayers continue and know that there is a better place in the beyond for Kirby, a place free of pain and suffering.


  9. Marjorie ZAPRUDER
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 14:41:39

    Dear friends,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I agree that nothing is certain in this universe, but one thing that IS certain is that Kirby is loved very deeply and knows how much you love her.



  10. Ann
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 15:00:55

    Kirby, Robert, Judith and Owen,

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you with much love for all of you. And whether it is days, weeks or months, we know that all of your time together is cherished.

    We’re thinking of you constantly,

    Ann and Steve


  11. Cara Levy
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 15:19:47

    Kirby, you are such a beautiful, vibrant person, and the time I spent with you as a colleague and a dear friend has been amazing. I appreciate every second of it. You have always been so strong even during the worst of times, something I truly admire. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family to find peace after all of this turmoil, you all certainly deserve it. Love, Cara.


  12. Amanda Molson
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:10:58

    Dear Judith and Robert,

    I’m thinking of you and your family. When the dark clouds roll in, there is no better place to be than at home with mom and dad.



  13. Nancy and Ken
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:20:15

    We are so glad she is home, surrounded by her family’s love and by the cranes that represent the love of so many others. Nancy and Ken


  14. Grace Pokela
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:22:04

    Hi Kirby, and Kirby’s family,

    I am heartbroken and so, so sorry. I was planning a trip to come see Kirby this weekend and say goodbye. Please let me know if this would be a welcome visit or if it would be more helpful and respectful at this time for your family to let you have alone quiet time.

    So much love,
    Grace Pokela


    • judith
      Jan 22, 2012 @ 15:48:04

      grace, you’ve been such a presence with all the cranes from you, your students, your sister, her friends…don’t know who all…of course you’re welcome…come when you can, knowing every single day is subject to change.


  15. Suzanne Weidie
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:22:34

    oh, i was hoping to hear different news. Sending my love for Kirby, Owen, Robert and Judy. Kirby was a hell-la-va girl. I loved working with her at The Day School, and later observing her teach students at the summer camps. I’m hoping to look thru my big basket of Day School photos and find her there working on a project.
    God has surrounded her with angels, here and above. Sad face and tears, Suzanne Weidie (CHDS 1990-2007)


  16. Ellen Sommer
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:27:36

    Dear Kirby, Judith, Robert, and Owen, i don’t know what to say, other than that I still believe in miracles, and I’m praying we will see one here. I’m so glad that Kirby is home, surrounded by her loving family and friends. I sen you my love and prayers,

    Ellen Sommer


  17. Giang
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:37:06

    Hi Kirby, I am so blessed that I got to know you dear. I still have the picture you sent me on my wall and will always remember the great time we spent together. Nothing but family and friendship is certain in this universe.

    I am thinking of you, always. Love,Giang


  18. Jan Greenberg
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:40:46

    Kirby .. rest well, surrounded by family, friends and cats … Robert, Judith, Owen, Jean … I’m holding you close – my heart aches for you and with you – and will be there for you …

    love, Jan


  19. E
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:46:31

    I have been pretty silent on the blog but I’ve been following since last year. Kirby, I know we haven’t seen each other since high school but know I send an extraordinary amount of energy and love from the west coast.

    Your Friend,

    Erial Tompkins


  20. Allison
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 16:52:34

    Over thanksgiving, Kirby and I talked about a quilt – she chose the colors and the rest was going to be a surprise(other than the omnipresent crane theme). I’ve been working on it, and its almost done and will be sending it to her soon. When she’s lucid, if you can tell her that I’ve been thinking of her constantly and send piles of love and happy thoughts her way, I’d really appreciate it.


  21. Sheri Blotner
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:11:47

    Kirby, Judith, Robert & Owen,
    The news is heart breaking. We are so glad though she has come home to be surrounded by everyone that loves her and the 4 walls that have been her home and a source of her strength to fight as hard as she has. Just know you are all in our thoughts.
    Sheri & David


  22. Eliza
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:16:49

    Kirby and family – I am an old acquaintance from Temple Micah, a couple years ahead of Kirby in church-basement Hebrew school. You have all been in my thoughts and heart constantly. Please accept some more love, light, and energy from just down the street in NW DC.
    Much love and comfort,
    Eliza Simon


  23. Ghazaul
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:28:32

    Dear Kirby,

    I don’t even know what to write. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so devastated about all this but I am happy that I got to know you. You are an amazing person and I will cherish all the laughs and good times we had together for the rest of my life. I will never forget you my dear. I love you always.

    Your friend,


  24. sarahcamionalexander
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:31:54

    I have been checking the blog daily hoping for a miracle, and praying often to read that Kirby is getting well. My heart does break with the most recent post, however, I am deeply grateful that Kirby is home surrounded by love. I am so glad I got to spend a few hours with her over the holidays. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help, other than continue to hope and pray for all of you.
    Big Hug,


  25. colleenteresa
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:38:19

    Dear beloved Kirby, Robert, Judith and Owen,
    Words are terrible at best, in times of inexplicable crisis nearly useless. Just know every hug, every touch, every tear wiped away is magnified many hundred fold; every cry at the cosmic unfairness is echoed by a thousand loving voices. Dearest Kirby, not only are you not alone, but neither are you, Judith or Robert. Although you may not see us, our love and support are there every second of every day. This is life’s worst journey, but the Divine love is mirrored to you by our unwavering love and support. God is always with you and so are we.
    With love beyond my poor words,


  26. Nancy Friedman
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:55:37

    Words fail, other than to say we love you all. Nancy and Barry


  27. Ruth Capen Batten
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 18:08:20

    Kirby, Judith, Robert and Owen,
    Words…where are they…..The hospital was not the place to be at this time and am so glad that you are home surrounded by the love of your family. I pray the medications will keep you more comfortable in your home as well as knowing that you are all there together to share your thoughts and special memories. Rest easy and enjoy your awake times. I promise that I will learn to make cranes and teach my grandchildren as well. They will know them as Kirby’s cranes. I would love to see yours hanging in your room. Love, rest, and peace ….Ruth Ann


  28. Claire Kaufmannire
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 18:21:03

    Kirby, Judith, Robert and Owen,
    Love and light to all of you during this time that is more intense than words can express.
    Claire (Grusin) Kaufmann, Roy, Hannah, Micah and Ori


  29. Karen Zizmor
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 18:24:18

    Judith, Robert, Kirby and Owen
    You are encircled by your community of family and friends; we are all here for you.

    Karen and Bruce


  30. Samri
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 18:35:40

    Dear Kirby,
    I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. I will always cherish our friendship and laughs in NYC. Sending so much love your way and wishing your family great strength.
    Your friend,


  31. Milton Shinberg
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 18:51:25

    Kirby, Judith, Robert & Owen,
    This is the worst of news, and everyone feels the shock, in spite of keeping in touch and knowing how things have gone. I feel for you all, and particularly for the pain and devastation Ksirby has experienced. To go through this without a family like the one she has helped create would be a horror. For her to be at home, with all the love you have always had, is all the comfort that is available, and all that matters. Judy and I and, later, our girls, have watched Kirby grow up and have such deep affection for her and also respect and admiration for the fine person she has become. This is not fair. I am deeply saddend and angry that this is happening.


  32. Shelley Temchin
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 19:16:40

    Dear Kirby, Judith, Robert and Owen,
    Much sadness and sorrow and love accompany all of you. Your grace and courage have been an inspiration.
    Shelley Temchin and Tom Parker


  33. Nick Barbash
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 19:28:11

    Nothing profound to say, but I’m thinking of you lots, Kirby, and your family too. -Nick


  34. Diana
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 19:53:22

    Dear Kirby,
    You are on my mind all these months. I refer to your logic and wise advice whenever I feel uncertain at work. A picture of you making soap bubbles on my wedding day is on my table. It makes me smile. I wish we were laughing and having good time cooking a tasty meal. You have enriched my life in so many ways. Thank you for this. And be strong.
    Much love, Diana
    Your colleague and friend


  35. Anna Robinson
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 20:42:00

    Dear Kirby,

    I’ve been too quiet over these past months. I’m so sorry I haven’t told you more often how awesome a person and a friend you are. You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers through all of this.

    I remember a few years ago seeing you in NY with Linda, Netty, Asmaa, and June. We met for lunch at a Lebonese restaurant. It was so much fun seeing you. You are always so happy and upbeat.

    You are the amazing soul who organized all of our engineering classmates to make cranes for me when I was facing my cancer. I will never forget that moment opening the boxes and seeing hundreds of tiny and large cranes, some made from engineering paper, and knowing that I still had my friends supporting me.

    I hope you know how many people support you, even from a distance, and are still praying very hard for you.



  36. Milton, Judy, Katie and Samantha
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 21:10:34

    Robert, Judith and Owen,
    I am so sad to hear the news about Kirby’s fight and by am glad that she is going home to be surrounded by the constant love of her family. I went to the synagogue this morning to pray for her. I will keep the memories of our day together this past Christmas when we sat around your table eating Chinese food, relaxing, and watching the movie ‘The Help’ together. Kirby had a good day and we did too. You mean so much to us. My prayers go out to you and hope that Kirby is free from suffering and fighting, and that you all have some quiet peace together. May G-d bless and keep you. May G-d give you strength as the days go on.
    We are sending you our love,
    Milton, Judy, Katie and Samantha


  37. Lynne Church
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 21:55:52

    She certainly is surrounded by love, obviously within 810 A, but also up and down A Street. We are awed by Kirby’s and your strength. Please call on us for errands, etc. Love, Lynne and Jim


  38. Netty
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 22:21:06

    Dear Kirby,

    Sometimes one waits for the perfect opportunity to say or do something. You end up wishing you had acted sooner. I have been seeing all this unfold, keeping up with the blog, praying, constantly thinking about you…

    I think of that time you came Boston for that energy modeling conference. I was so excited because one of my favorite Smith engineers, not only was visiting but also did the same thing I did! Haha, we went to lunch with the crazy people I used to work with (what the heck was I thinking sitting you down with those loons!) Anyway, every time I think of you I think of this awesome free spirit, so confident, so sure! It silly to wait so long tell someone how great they are. But you are great Kirby, and the world is a better place because of your presence in it.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.



    P.S. Kirby’s family: Thank you! You guys are someone for bringing about such a great person, and for caring for her so well throughout all this. Kirby is really lucky to have you! God bless you!


  39. Robert R. Howell
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 22:40:27

    My heart goes out to you and I’ll keep all of you in my prayers..

    Robert R. (Bobby) Howelll
    Kim Franklin’s dad


  40. Janet Soller
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 23:49:22

    Dear sweet Kirby
    Your joyful spirit and laugh still ring loud and clear. We love you and join your mom, dad, and Owen in surrounding you with love and peace.


  41. June
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 02:21:49

    Kirby, it was so good to see you and your smiling face over Thanksgiving. It gave me a mental picture of where you are now, and who you are with. The sheer number of cranes you have hanging in your parents’ place is proof of the impact you had on all of us. You are one of the most selfless and compassionate people I know, and I love and respect you for this. You were the one who always took care of everyone else, with your band-aids and your zinc tablets and your genuine, heartfelt hugs. It was basically impossible to be in a bad mood around you. You have so much good in your heart, so much laughter, and I always loved that you were not afraid to speak your mind- a true Smithie. I know I can trust you. I’m glad we got to hang out in NYC when Meghan came to visit, twice. It was so funny when we finished having brunch that one time and you led us out the back even though there was a table of people there, and you made them get out of the way 🙂 Then you said that you would make everyone scoot down a seat in a movie theater. I told Will that after we came to visit you and were walking over to his uncle’s place and he said he can totally see that 🙂 I love you. I am grateful that I got to spend some time with you and reminisce about Smith; I told everyone that you were your usual self, and how great it was to see that. I can’t believe it has been 5 years since we graduated from Smith. Things feel the same when we see each other (except we’re both less sleep-deprived), which is proof that these bonds never break. Once a Smithie, always a Smithie. Stay strong, Kirby. We’re here for you.


  42. Alison Carlson
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 02:49:42

    I don’t even know what to say… please know I I pray for you that you find comfort and peace.


  43. June
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 03:20:27

    I hope this works:


  44. Meghan
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 03:20:29

    HI Kirby,

    I have been thinking about you so much over the last few months. You are such a sweet, happy, thoughtful, kind person. So many people’s lives are better just from knowing you!

    I remember staying up all night trying to do homework…and we might have managed not to sleep, but I don’t think we got much homework done… You were always so happy and outgoing – you couldn’t help but feeling better being around you. It was so nice to see in New York. I’m happy that we spent that time together, catching up, reminiscing about old times, complaining about work 🙂 ! I wish that we could have spent more time together. Its my own fault for being so bad at keeping in touch…

    Thank you so much for all of the help and advice you ever gave me. You are a great friend, and I am so lucky to have spent every moment with you that I did. You motivate me to be a better person. I love you Kirby!. I am thinking of you and your family.


  45. Nick Gibbon
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 09:54:31

    The news is not sinking in. Maybe tomorrow it will.


  46. Kit and Anna
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 17:15:11

    Kirby — We left a crane with your name at the Western Wall Tuesday, not knowing then that it was there to help you fly away. We hope that it brings some comfort to you, Robert, Judith, and Owen. We are relieved that you are home and surrounded by those who love you most. May you all find peace at last. You all have been extraordinary through this terrible time.


  47. Morgan Thomas
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 13:06:22

    Kirby – words fail. I want to express that I am sending love and positive thoughts from 3,600 miles away….you have always had a good kind heart, and been a good kind person, and it is apparent from following this blog that you have touched many people during your life. Lots of love.


  48. Kim Franklin
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 14:49:18

    Kirby, I am wearing my favorite Kirbead necklace that John purchased for me years ago…the one fashioned from little disks of a vinal record albumn! I will be thinking of you everytime I wear it. I hope you have been more comfortable resting at home this week and John and I hope to get over to see you and the family this weekend.

    Love, Kim


  49. Nanette
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 01:33:10

    In this crazy world of uncertainty, one thing is sure…you are all in- and – being love. That is the most healing, right thing there is. Love n


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