And the band played on!…

[from Linda]

Chris Gulker Memorial - Photo by Laura Hamilton

Thanks to all who shared in the great celebration of Chris’s life yesterday. The music – sounds of TaizĂ© and the Zenith Bayou Brass Band – brought joy and cheer to all.

Concluded Matthew, rector at Trinity Church: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. May Chris’s spirit be free in all of us.”

Amen to that!

[Photo: Laura Hamilton]

Posted in All, My Brain, Taking Faith, The countdown | 2 Comments

Memorial Service

[from Linda]

Chris’s memorial service will be held this Friday, Nov. 12 at 2:00 pm at Trinity Church (Ravenswood and Laurel) in Menlo Park.

The photo that accompanies this post was taken by friend and photographer Gary Fong when Chris was sorting through some of the black and white photos he’d taken in the 1980s. The goodbye wave makes me smile – hope it does the same for you.

Chris Gulker

Posted in All, My Brain, New Life, Taking Faith, The countdown | 7 Comments

It's a wrap…

[from Linda]

With the Giants in the lead – and they didn’t dare lose tonight! – Chris died peacefully shortly after 7:30 pm tonight. We’ll have more details about the memorial service and celebration service shortly.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL. We are so blessed by each and every one of you.

[Update: See this tribute to Chris on InMenlo.com.]

Posted in All, My Brain, New Life, Taking Faith, The countdown | 34 Comments

Ok, so this dying business isn't easy

[This post is written by Linda]

Over the years, Chris and I often talked about the potential negative consequence of being fit. Would years of jogging, hiking and walking keep the ole ticker going long after “the time had come.”

Such seems to be the case with Chris. But he is comfortable, sleeping and in no distress.

I can’t thank you all enough for the comments, calls, notes, emails and every other way you have reached out to us. Not just in the last week but over the last four years.

We are truly blessed to have you all in our lives.

Posted in My Brain | 15 Comments

The arrival of Sister Morphine

Note: Chris dictated this post to Linda this morning.

These things always get here sooner than we think they will. Planning ahead has not been our strong suit. We’ve gotten equipment in too late – case in point the assistive poles that arrived months after they could have been really useful.

Two nights ago, we started small doses of morphine which we probably should have started earlier (as the hospice nurse suggested) given back pain and other discomforts. I think Linda and I were both in denial that we were here so soon, realizing that starting morphine is one of the final steps in the dying process.

So now we’re here and discovering like most other things, it’s not a silver bullet (although the dose has just been increased). Even on morphine, we’re still miserable.

Heidi was here last Thursday and told Linda that I’d managed to fall off one cliff – that cliff being the dying cliff – and needed to fall off one more. I keep looking for the map to the next cliff. I keep looking for the “let go button” and can’t quite find it.

Linda thinks maybe I have gone off the next cliff, that my condition as deteriorated since Heidi was here. I hope she’s right. I’m so ready to fade to black.

My good friend and retired priest David Perry is arriving today. Among other things, he’ll administer last rites, which I’m hoping is the nudge I need to take the last step in departing this earth. I certainly feel I’m fading out…

Posted in My Brain, Taking Faith | 57 Comments

The Downhilll

The DownhilllOn the one hand, we’ve been busy – organizing and signing prints for the archive – some 500 so far – at the same time as the body is crashing in unprecedented fashion.

I can only just walk as I write this and if it weren’t for my new best friend Susie Bautista, a home health care worker, I’d be much less mobile than I am. My left arm has gone from paralyzed to stiff – it gets in the way a lot. Thanks to the enlarged prostate, much of my time is sent traveling to and from the bathroom. Impaired mobility plus enlarged prostate equals some degree of misery, if I do say so myself.

Susie has cheerfully chipped in and helped the poor, beleaguered spouse with some household chores when she isn’t tending to me. Other bright spots include John, Julie and Grace, who continue their weekly cheer-up mission, to good effect

My stamina is steadily declining and I’m napping more, often twice a day. Sitting up is becoming a chore, And did I mention the sore back? Misery, indeed – and all from side effects rather than the tumor itself . The good news is no seizures, just a little intermittent weirdness with muscle spasms.

The power wheelchair gets me around when I’m up. I’m still dependent on Linda and Susie to get me up and do all the little things like move my (decaf) coffee cup from breakfast table to garage or wherever I’m working..

Posted in All, My Brain, New Life, The countdown | 14 Comments

Getting it all "together"

Getting it all "together"At 9AM this morning, a short parade of organized, and organizing people showed up on our doorstep.

Leading the parade was Jacqui Bocian, a recommended organizational expert followed by Frances Freyberg a Menlo-based photographer who’s become a friend since Linda and I profiled her for InMenlo and handyman, Kevin Bartling.

Naturally, disorganized moi scheduled everyone to arrive at the same time creating chaos on the doorstep. Jacqui and Frances soon headed off to the garage, home of the Gulker Photo Archive, such as it is.

Jacqui and Frances made remarkably short work of sorting hundreds of prints into stacks of like subject, the better for me to choose the ones I thought worthy of my signature. Meanwhile I took Kevin around pointing out the manifold household entropic decline that has taken place since my own entropic decline began.Today was also day 1 of home health care workers… These guys should have us whipped into shape in no time…

Posted in All, My Brain, New Life, Photos, The countdown | 4 Comments