Just a short one today, as we here at Rancho Taylor kick off End Week. I know, I know, many people call it Christmas or some other name. In my home, being as we are such a unique combination of people, I call it End Week. A celebration of another year closing and the promise of a new adventure in the year to come.

And this last year marks a huge milestone for my family. After 14 very long, very painful years of being care givers to elderly parents, we are now retired from that job. Together, as a team, the three of us did everything we could and had to, for the happiness and peace of Sweeties mother and father. Now, it is time for the Taylors to heal, we've been beat up pretty bad by all of that noise.

Sweetie, (my wife), is one of the strongest people I know. She stood by making sure that her mother died peacefully in 1996. She never left her side and never once regretted our decision to move back to Phoenix to help.

The Celt, (my son), grew up knowing about care giving. It became a major part of his education. At times he hated it and grew very frustrated by the need to drop everything he might be doing, because the phone rang and grandpa needed help. But he loved his grandfather and grandmother with a powerful intensity and he misses them both greatly now that they are gone.

The atheist, (me), became the support network, both financial and emotional. It is very tough to maintain two households and even harder to sleep alone in one of them. As her father's health slipped further and further, I saw less and less of my wife and son. All I wanted for this End Week, my family, home. I got my gift but it has cost all three of us dearly.

Sweeties father crashed for the last time on Labor Day of this year. I had the task of putting him into hospice and convincing him to sign a DNR. He fell asleep in hospice on Sept. 23 and Sweetie stayed by his bedside, refusing to take a break or come home. Dad slipped away the morning of Sept 25 and with that one natural act, our lives changed.

I don't know what this next year has in store for us, I really don't care. We're together again and as we kick off our End Week celebration, we have much to reflect on, much to look forward to, and a lot of healing to do.

So enough sobbing inrto my spiced cider. From the family Taylor in the desert of Arizona, may you and yours all have a Happy End Week and a fantastic New Year.

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