Tuesday, April 28, 2009


April 28, 2009

I have turned over in my mind what to do with Erin's Home (this blog) since she died. One option would, of course, be to end it with the last post and let it stand as a memorial to her and as a source of information for how one family lived with cancer for almost seven years.

Somehow that doesn't seem right (at least to me and at least right now).

Erin's physical life ended, but in so many ways, Ted's message to us during the memorial service got it exactly right. Erin's life, in all of us, is now about Going Forward.

I will keep posting with that in mind.

You may notice that I changed the header just a little. This is still Erin's Home, but now I call the page "Let's Do It."

"Let's Do It" honors Erin by repeating the phrase I heard her say so often. She didn't want to put things off until she felt better. She didn't want to wait until the weather improved or for the path to clear. I never felt her hesitate once she made up her mind. She always wanted to grab life by the throat and GO MORE PLACES AND DO MORE THINGS.

The phrase also challenges all of us (family, friends, distant and unmet friends) to continue down that path, to live with gusto, to live with grace, to live like an arrow flying towards its target, AND to do it together. Erin, as inclusive as anyone I ever met, would emphasize the all of us in Let's Do It.

I have also added a question to the header: what verb do you choose? My favorite metaphor for Erin is that she lived like a verb. . .an action verb. I don't know what you like to do, but if I can make a suggestion: choose a verb and go do it. Cook, drive, serve, run, laugh, hug. Work hard, play hard, inspire others.

I have heard from many of you (believe me, I'm going to write you all back eventually) and so many of you are telling me about the things you are doing (at least partially because Erin inspired you). We have friends continuing to make and buy lanyards on Erin's behalf, and friends who are redoubling their efforts to raise money for Relay for Life. But it's not just about cancer. Clayton Sue took on a triathalon last weekend. We have friends playing baseball, practicing the piano, skating, dancing, singing, riding trains, and more.

Me? I think I'll keep writing for a while (as long as I have verbs to report).


  1. I choose to LOVE in honor of Erin!! I love what you've decided to do with the blog, I think it's very fitting and honors Erin in a great way! Plus, as much as I could understand if you did want to end the blog, I sure would miss your updates!

    Still thinking of you guys and Erin every day.


  2. vickie -
    glad you are going to continue to post. as much as i liked erin - from a far and through your point of view - i also like you. you are a good woman. anyhow- considering my own health these days, the word for me really is simply 'survive'(which makes my doc happy). oh, my chair and my committee would also like it to be 'write proposal'.. and my pastor would like it to be 'pray'.. but for now i'll just stick with 'survive'.. the others will come in time. hopefully that's not to low of a bar considering erin's spirit.

  3. Let's do it!....Indeed! Let us all become action verbs in following whatever it is in life that inspires passion in our souls.

  4. "Inspire" is my favorite verb for Erin.

    Thinking of you Vickie...

  5. Yay Vickie - I was going to ask, but I knew you'd let us know. Keep blogging...
    today i'm cooking, beading and as ever, hoping, wishing, praying.

    Love, Lara
    ps I responded to your questtion as another post. Yes - we did have a whole cortisol shock incident - but managed it with oral meds - I guess that's amazing for such a significant event...

    You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
    We have baby birds in nest on our patio--I think of the beautiful cardinals outside Erin's beautiful room--and your expressive voice reading--and Erin's amazing concentration--and Erin's positive comments on our beading efforts.
    Time to go WALK!! I think of Erin enjoying that trail as I go.

  7. Lets do it. Erin would want nothing less of you. Going forward is a grat action verb- however you choose to do it every day. Im hoping today was an okay day for all 3 of you.

  8. I say "RIDE" as in horses which Erin loved to do. (Big surprise that came from me, huh??)


  9. Thank you so much for this latest post. You've inspired my own and it means more than I could ever say. I'd forgotten how much I love the sky. I loved the sky today.

    Thank you!

  10. That entry rocked. Erin would be proud.

  11. A verb, huh? I'd have to go with play. Erin played the cards that were given to her, not complain about them as I tend to do.


  12. The verb I'd like to choose is SLEEP, which I don't seem to do much of lately. The verbs I should choose are CLEAN (my house) and SEW (my multitude of unfinished projects). Hopefully, I can accomplish at least one of them. Baby steps, right? As always, thank you for being you and for keeping up the blog. Your followers would miss it terribly if you quit! Remember you are loved.


  13. The title "Inspire" seems very fitting, as this blog, and Erin's story has inpsired one of my students. Our Student Council is participating in Relay for Life of Frisco. When one of my students came to me asking if we could support someone we didn't know, I thought the request seemed odd, but told the student to do what she wanted. The student chose to tell Erin's story, and has chosen to Relay in Erin's memory. How kind an act to remember someone she has never met, but after reading some of your blog entries and viewing one of the videos on the page, I can see why the student chose to relay in honor and memory of Erin. It seems as though she had a love of life and lived every day to the fullest. I thank you for sharing your story, its touching and inspiring more hearts than you know. As we relay this Friday, I will remind my students...LETS DO IT!

  14. I chose to stitch ornaments for a person raising money for cancer. I will as many ornaments as I can.

  15. Wonderful.... lets do it :-)

  16. My verb is DO something about it. Which I will! Jane

  17. Thank you for your decision. I love Erin's sight and I would miss seeing her pictures and I would miss you as well. We are choosing to live and love everyday- no matter what.

  18. I'm so glad that you will continue to POST. I CHOOSE to exercise more (on a smaller note) and to simply PLAY with my children more. I also choose to LAUGH and EXPERIENCE life more on a day-to-day basis. That is something I have learned by watching all of you Buengers.

    Erin's influence LIVES on.

    LOVE, (big verb here)

    Kimberly Reeves

  19. I choose "explore" - places, people, ideas, viewpoints, authors, words, experiences - the list of things to explore is limitless which is, of course, something that Erin (as well as most children) just knew. At what point in our lives do we lose that sense of adventure and possibility? Doesn't matter - I've dug mine out, dusted it off and am using it every day.

  20. I'm so glad that you will keep posting. I choose "laugh" in honor of Erin I love her little giggle at the end of her video and that's what keeps me sane.

    Margot and TeamSam

  21. Thanks for today's post. I have been thinking about Erin and realized that I have been living life too much as a noun....I want to be more than just a mom, friend, wife...I want to be an action verb! :) With all the negative talk in the news about swine flu, it is easy to get paralyzed with fear and do nothing. Thank you, Erin (AGAIN AND AGAIN) for reminding me to Go, explore, live, love, play, dream, and more....

  22. My verb this week is persevere. I have had such a horrible week with stress at work, the end of a relationship I had been happy with, turmoil at home, etc. But everytime I feel like something is about to make me cry, Erin immediately comes to mind with that smile of hers that could brighten anyone's day. She smiled in every single picture of her, even the ones of her taken in the last few weeks of her life when I knew she had to be feeling absolutely crummy and suffering. All of the issues bringing me down pale in comparison to the things she had the courage to persevere through every day, and not only did she persevere, she did it with a smile.

    This week I have been relying on her memory to keep me going. Thank you, Vickie, for sharing your precious daughter with us all. She continues to inspire me.

  23. Thank you Vickie! From now on , whenever I'm hesitant or feel stuck I'm going to remember this post and "Let's do it!"

  24. Publish?

    I have an idea--and a contact--whenever you're ready to talk about it.

  25. While I do not know your family, I found your blog from Ryan Morgan's family blog site. At any rate, I thought I would pass on an idea to you. One family nearby in the Richmond area asks everyone they know (and all the people those people know, as well!) to email them a random act of kindness they did for someone else. They ask for them in November and save them all to fill his stocking and read on Christmas morning. Perhaps you can do something similar and keep your dear daughter's spirit moving through everyone's acts of random kindness?

  26. I echo all the other posts that it would be hard not to be able to go Erin's Home Page. You could not read a word about Erin and not be inpsired. Definitely need to publish - and I need to live in the moment and with my family. thank you for inspiring all of us to cherish the small things and ignore the banter.

  27. Today I DROVE to the vehicle inspection place and took care of that chore. The van's sticker expired in February, and I figured I was pushing my luck. Thanks for the invitation last night. I had a good time.

  28. Vickie,

    I LOVE the idea of you continuing to WRITE so I can READ! You are an inspiration to all of us. I will continue to LEARN and SERVE as Erin (and you) have so graciously have taught us!
    You continue to be in our prayers and thoughts!

  29. Thank you so much, Vickie. I looked for Erin in the sky today too. They had said it was going to rain but it was absolutely sunny and beautiful. Some people may think the weather reporters were just wrong, but I know it was Erin working her magic.

  30. Thank you, thank you so much! I am grateful for your decision and have no doubt that Erin is grinning her pride and approval. My verbs for today would be "remember" and "pray" - these will be my minimum, for the days when health and life is especially challenging.

  31. I'm so glad you will continue to post. Erin would have been a stranger to us all, if it wasn't for this blog. She's always close in thought. All the best.

  32. Thinking of you today. Hope the texas wildflowers are in full bloom and you find some small ode to joy for today.

  33. So many great verbs have been suggested already, and all of them are fitting! I would like to add HOPE and BELIEVE, not only because Erin has shown so much of that, but also because of of us need to do this in order to move forward. Oftentimes, I neglect to BELIEVE that
    God is always with us, and to HOPE for things we haven's seen yet.

  34. Vickie,
    I am so glad that you will continue to post to Erin's blog.

    There are so many verbs to think of - at the moment I am actively participating in Relay For Life in honor of Erin and many other loved ones to help find a cure for this horrible thing called cancer!

  35. Vickie
    I am so glad that you have decided to continue to post on this blog. Erin was such a special person and this blog lets everyone know it! The word I choose is enjoy. I will enjoy live to the fullest I can.

    Thank you for the well wishes you sent my way earlier today. For some reason the entries I posted after that one wasn't showing up. I got it to work now.

    Thinking of you and your family all the time.


  36. Vickie,

    Happy, happy, happy!

    That's how I feel now that I know you're going to continue to post. The web just wouldn't be the same place without you.

    Prayers and hugs,

  37. I appreciate your commitment to life, even without Erin. And yes, it's true that to honour her spirit of living, we, those left behind, should live with joy. Having said that, I feel like curling into a ball in anguish. There are bailouts for the economy. There are billions of dollars in new sports stadiums. There is a flurry of worry for GM. Where is the funding research?? Erin should be here. It stinks that she's not.

  38. Hi Vickie,
    I came across your blog from Dylan Hartung's site. My son Josh is 5yrs and currently expecting his angel wings over the next few days through Neuroblastoma- it has been a two year fight.
    My verb is ACT, instead of indulging my grief I choose to ensure other parents do not have to suffer as greatly as we have through awareness and fundraising here in Australia.
    Your girl looks like sunshine personified and I am sorry I did not meet her in the living, what a beautiful soul.
    Love, Light and Rainbows to your family from mine,

  39. I'm glad you are keeping this blog going. Reading about Erin's life is a reminder of how much I need to embrace the life God has given me. I'm 49 and their is so much for me to do. I hope I have half the spirit and zest that Erin showed in her way too short life.


  40. Hello

    I'm glad you are going to continue to post - for yourself, for Erin and for those like me...the anonymous people living across the country who have come to know and love Erin.

    I've been reading the blog of Toby Pannone and that blog led me to Erin's blog a year ago. I've cried and laughed and prayed for Erin and her whole family.

    I was so saddened to read that she had passed away. As a mom of two, I'm not sure how you go on, but you and your husband and son seem to have great strength and wonderful support.



    Brooklyn, nY

  41. Vickie -
    I do hope you continue with the page, it is inspiring to everyone and reminds me that my problems are so small.. I think it is a great honor to Erin.

  42. Vickie,
    I am so sorry that you lost your beautiful daughter to NB. She sounds so special. You sent a post to my daughter,Christa, to offer your ear and experience. My grand daughter, Katie, was diagnosed with NB stage IV in May this year. They live up close to Bryan/College Station and are using Dr. Russell at TCH. Katie is recuperating from her first surgery with Dr. Nuchtern. I wanted to say thank you for offering your support to my daughter. MY name is the same as yours by the way, Vickie, spelled the same even. I am Katie's Nana. This is the most horrible thing our family has ever faced. We are so hoping and praying our Katie will beat the odds and survive this horrible monster. So far God has been so faithful to us. He has brought her through. After surgery it was touch and go. But in the last five days her body has made an impressive recovery. Sorry this is so long. I just wanted to touch base with you, and tell you that Erin was indeed precious. Vickie Riley,Nana to Katie Connor dx May 09 with NB stage IV.