It was unlike anything I’d experienced before. Sure, there had been a few other moments of intuition in my life that had proven somewhat premonitory. During my OB/GYN training junior residents came to understand that if Tyson suddenly wanted to simulate a ruptured ectopic or shoulder dystocia, you’d best pay attention because it was likely moments before one rolled in through the ER or labor ward. My ability to “gut out” what a call night or surgery or delivery would be like became the stuff of legends. Well, not really. But more than a few times it served our training team – and thus our patients –well that I could sense trouble brewing before it presented itself.

So it was deeply disturbing to me that, on the night of Thursday March 6, 2014, it struck again. But with unparalleled intensity.

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We never saw it coming. And, in hindsight, it was probably better that way. No hype. No anticipation. No expectation – and thus, no chance for disappointment. We’d certainly experienced our fair share of that recently: the “almosts”, “about tos” and “hopefully soons” have been the landscape and language of our lives for months.

Predicting and planning had long ago yielded to guesstimating, not that this entirely obviated the letdowns. But at least it kept things consistently inconsistent. Nearly everything in our lives was predicated upon caveats and clauses. “If…thens”, “I don’t knows” and “maybes” were the likely answers to just about any question, and the expression “cautiously optimistic” made our approach to life seem boldly decisive.

Callen was particularly keen on the “when” questions: When will I / can I / will my blood be strong enough to”… And our answer had so often been “maybe tomorrow” that he once quite pointedly asked, “How many tomorrows will there be?” I struggled not to read too much into that one.

So there had been a lot of “tomorrows” in the making of that day - which I suppose was, in and of itself a build up to it. Although having lived it, it sure seemed like more of a beating down.

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It's Just a Phase...

New Year’s Day dawned cool and clear and calm - the weather, yes; but more importantly - particularly after the maelstrom that was New Year’s Eve - my mind. As I walked from my room toward the kitchen, I stopped to admire the Christmas tree. I mean, really admire it. Not just pass it by, peripherally aware of its continued existence in our living room. But really study it. Appreciate it. Take it in in its majestic entirety. I breathed in its deep woodsy fragrance. I turned on the tree lights, watched them glow and twinkle in the pre-dawn twilight. I studied the ornaments on the outstretched branches, reliving precious memories of when each was acquired or made.

It was a beautiful, living, breathing tree full of our family’s history as well as presence. And in that moment I realized that I had not given that tree its proper due. Thankfully, in keeping with our tradition of celebrating the full 12 days of Christmas, it would be up for five more days. And so, as I headed out the door, I resolved to come home and return to that place by the tree. Afraid of being consumed by the nostalgia of Christmases past, I had held the holiday spirit at arm’s length long enough. I was finally ready to embrace it.

Two hours later, Jim sent me a text message: the tree had toppled over shortly after my departure.

I. Was. Crushed.

So were countless of our ornaments.

Jim went on to assure me that somewhere, in some culture or universe, having your Christmas tree come crashing down on New Year’s Day was considered a sign of good luck in the coming year.

And while I have been unable to validate this, we’re going with it!

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ASK Fun Walk and 5K 2015


We're back! Team Callen is on board for the upcoming ASK Fun Walk & 5K on Saturday, April 25 at 9:00 a.m. We have our team all set up and we hope you'll join us!

The ASK Fun Walk & 5K celebrates the strength and courage of local children who are battling cancer. Every dollar raised will provide children and their families with assistance, support and kindness through the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation.

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