Beth's Amazing Journey #4

by on ‎02-05-2016 03:58 PM - last edited on ‎02-10-2016 02:41 PM by

This past Wednesday marked Beth’s 62nd birthday. It was the toughest day so far for me. Since she passed away on October 30th last year, we had several tough days.  There was the first Thanksgiving without her at the table, December 22nd would have been our 31st anniversary, the first Christmas, New Year’s and now her birthday.  Maybe it was so difficult because February 3rd was her day. My mind went back two years to 2014 ...... Beth's 60th birthday.


Beth was handling chemo pretty well at this time. I think we were on her third combination of drugs, but she wasn’t getting as sick after her treatments. I remember thinking on New Year’s Day that I had better start planning something special. Kelsey was getting ready to leave for Thailand as part of her social work major at Messiah College. I called my oldest daughter, Kirstyn, and told her I wanted to throw a big surprise party for mommy. She said she had been thinking the same thing.


The challenge was to totally surprise Beth, because she was always tough to fool. We discussed different restaurants in the area, but none of them seemed right. Kirstyn suggested I ask our wonderful neighbors, Dana and Steve, if we could use their house.
They often have neighborhood parties and we could just act like they were having a “chase away the winter blues” party. We decided to have it on Friday, January 31st so it wouldn’t be as obvious. Our neighbors said that we could absolutely have the party at their house. They proceeded to send out emails to Beth’s closest friends and we began calling. Of course, they sent an email to Beth announcing their “Chase Away the Winter Blues” party for the neighborhood.


There is a wonderful caterer in West Chester, PA that many people recommended to me so I went down and “sampled” their food. If you have watched me on a QVC food show you know that I LOVE great food. I placed the order for the food, food warming trays, plates, napkins, silverware, etc. Dana called a piano player for background music and we told everybody to dress up just a little from our usual neighborhood parties ... this was a very important night. 


Beth had no clue what was happening. The weekend before we were watching television when an ad came on for the Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Beth’s beloved Denver Broncos. She became a Bronco’s fan in the mid-70’s when she lived with her brother, Roy, in Denver. Beth said, “Oh we should have invited Roy and Paulette to come for my birthday, so we could have watched the Super Bowl together.”  I said, “Oh Beth I am such a bad husband. I have been so busy and haven’t planned anything for your birthday.” Little did she know that I was flying in Roy and Paulette along with her sister, Carol from California and her mom from Chicago for the weekend and they would be watching the Super Bowl together. Beth was gracious and said, “That’s ok, I know how busy you have been at work.” Now, I really couldn’t wait to surprise Beth! 




Everything was going along fine until I realized I had given several people the wrong address. I scrambled that day calling and texting everyone the correct address. My good friend, Anthony C, who is a professional chef, offered to come early to prepare some extra appetizers and help direct the caterers when they arrived.


Over fifty of Beth’s closest friends showed up at 6:30pm to surprise her and we planned to arrive at 7pm. The problem was Beth was taking her time getting ready. I was trying to get her out of the house and Kirstyn kept calling my cell shortly after 7pm to ask where we were. I told her that mommy was moving slow and I was trying to get her down there. At 7:15pm Beth started emptying the dishwasher so I ran in the kitchen and started helping her and said, "we really need to get down to the party. We shouldn't be out late." To which she said, it's just a casual party and I don’t feel like rushing.” I went out onto our back deck and called Kirstyn who had an idea. She said, “I’ll tell Mom I need her to bring down some diapers and another outfit, because Gavin had a little accident.”  Beth always had everything our grandsons could ever need at our house including diapers and outfits. Bingo! Beth hung up with Kirstyn and said "let's go".  She was the best grandma ever and her grandsons affectionately called her, “Gam.”


When we arrived, Beth commented on how many cars were parked in the driveway and along the street. I said something like, “I guess a lot of people have the winter blues.” Everybody yelled, “Happy Birthday!” when we walked in and Beth was shocked! I loved the look on her face as she went around hugging everybody. During this time I snuck outside to call her brother Roy who had rented a car at the airport and was on his way to the party with his wife and Beth’s mom and sister. They arrived about a half hour later and as Kirstyn announced to the guests that we had another surprise. I was waiting outside the front door with her family. When I brought them in she started crying tears of joy and Kirstyn and I hugged and said, “we pulled it off!”



It was the best party ever and I am so glad we did it.  A magical night with friends and family celebrating the life of the best woman, the best person I have ever known.  Beth did get to watch the Super Bowl with her brother but, unfortunately, her Broncos suffered a big loss to the Seahawks.  You can guess who I am pulling for this year with the Broncos returning to the Super Bowl to face the Carolina Panthers.




You know that surprise birthday party was one of my proudest accomplishments.  It made her feel special.  We also surprised her on her fiftieth birthday.  You see the little things in life really are the big things.  I am so grateful to God that we were able to have that party.  I recorded video of the night with my phone and watching Beth hug her friends and family with tears in her eyes is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.  I told Beth that night that I wanted to do it again on her 70th and 80th birthdays.  But we both knew that probably wasn’t going to happen with her physical condition.  If you are thinking about doing something special for someone you love please do it.  You will never, ever regret it. 


God bless,

Dan Wheeler


Read Beth's Amazing Journey Blog #3 here

Join me  on Facebook here. 

on ‎02-05-2016 04:25 PM

Such a beautiful heartwarming story.   You both were so lucky to have each other. I wish you well Dan.

on ‎02-05-2016 05:02 PM

You did good,Dan It's the moments that keep us going. Smile and laugh when you think of Beth.She knew how much you loved her.



on ‎02-05-2016 05:03 PM

Truely a wonderful story. I really enjoy reading your tributes every Friday.  What an amazing women she must have been! God Bless you and your family Dan.

on ‎02-05-2016 05:07 PM

What a beautiful surprise birthday for your Beth, you really did pull it off.  What a great hubby.   It brought tears to my eyes watching her beautiful face so happy and seeing loved ones hug her on her special day.  Thanks for letting us in to share your beautiful life with Beth.  God Bless you 

on ‎02-05-2016 05:20 PM


on ‎02-05-2016 05:20 PM

I am in tears reading that absolutely awesome story of such love shown for that party and plans.  Dan, you and your daughters are amazing and I am sure Beth always knew the depth and passion of you love!!


on ‎02-05-2016 05:51 PM

This was wonderful. Such a special birthday Beth must have had. God bless you for sharing this with us all and I am looking forward to the next blog. Thanks Dan .


on ‎02-05-2016 06:03 PM
Hi Dan, What a wonderful story of your sweet Beth. The love you shared was so special.You were both lucky to have each other.Love reading you blogs. Praying that your days are getting a little better in some small way. Will be looking forward to your next blog. Peace be with you.
on ‎02-05-2016 06:06 PM



I really enjoy watching the Q when your on and now you just up the annie since I read your story. I will keep you and the kids in my prayers. I just lost my mom last summer. She passed the day after her last kemo appt.

I am so glad your wife was there to celebrate the wonderful party you pulled off. We were going to do one for my mom after she was done with her kemo but that didnt get to happen.


I loved everything about your story and thanks for letting us into your life at such a sad time. I love how you ended your story with   If you are thinking about doing something special for someone you love please do it.  You will never, ever regret it. Because I wish so badly I was able to do one last party.

God Bless you and your family


Kathy Owen


on ‎02-05-2016 07:04 PM

Dan - what a great story. I lost my husband 2 years ago from cancer. I have our daughter's wedding video to watch & laugh & cry. I am grateful for that.  Bless you, Nancy

on ‎02-05-2016 07:05 PM

More tears...another beautiful blog of your life and love with Beth.  I am sure her love for you is FOREVER, and she will always be watching over you and your beautiful family.   God bless you, Dan.

on ‎02-05-2016 07:39 PM

Tears are streaming down! You and Beth are what a marriage is all about. She was so surprised! Thank you for sharing your beautiful Beth and family with us, Dan.Heart

on ‎02-05-2016 08:08 PM

Dan, I have been keeping up with Beth's journey since you first let us into you life and ask for our prayers on FB last year. I always believed that I have had a strong bond with my family and that I appreciated them. I want you to know that since I have been reading your blog, I appreciate and show my family members even more,  how much I truly love them.


God Bless.

on ‎02-05-2016 08:17 PM

  Feb 3rd is my birthday too , I was 63 years old . When I was 58 I went thru a time of illness..not cancer but ..the stress and strain an illness takes on a family ..I know about that .  It is good you write, as an outlet ...all of the firsts are difficult .. the first Christmas . first birthday etc and they say for every 10 years you knew the loved one who passed ..its equal to a year of grieving . No one knows how long one needs to grieve and no one has the right to say how it should be done ...I wish you peace and many memories of a happier time .  I also had a 60th birthday party ,it was planned by my family was to also celebrate I got thru all my heart problems /surgeries . I enjoy your blog and I am sorry for your loss and pain .

on ‎02-05-2016 08:27 PM


I am touched by your heart warming story. What a wonderful memory. 

You are correct. If you want to do something for a loved one, do it NOW!

Many, many years ago when I was quite young , my Mother was very ill and dying. I had $11.00 to my name. I spent the entire amount on a Mother's Day gift for her. It turned out to be her last Mother's Day on this earth.

It left me with a lovely lifetime memory. She died almost 50 years ago..<3

on ‎02-05-2016 11:00 PM

Dan, I love reading your blogs about your beloved, Beth.  They never disappoint and you know just how to write to build the excitement.  I lol'd when reading about how Beth decided it was time to unload the dishwasher not knowing there was a houseful of people waiting for her as the honored guest.

on ‎02-06-2016 12:22 AM

Dan, I'm so sorry for your loss.  I have been in your shoes and it's just hard.  Thank goodness for your faith.  It brought me through mine.  Always cherish your memories.  I wish you well.



on ‎02-06-2016 01:19 AM

Dan, I envy the love you and Beth had and will always have.  You always bring tears to my eyes when I read your posts. What a wonderful party you gave for her.  You are a wonderful person.  May God bless you.

on ‎02-06-2016 06:30 AM



You bring tears to my eyes, when ever I read your blog. What a lovely tribute to your precious Beth! I wish I could have seen the look on her face, when she saw her family coming in the door! God Bless you and your family!

on ‎02-06-2016 07:44 AM

Dan, this was a wonderful blog. Bless you my friend.


‎02-06-2016 12:14 PM - edited ‎02-06-2016 12:26 PM

Dear Dan,

Thank you. Sharing your experience, Deeply moving.

Ex husband, Left us Christmas 2014. Often recall wonderful moments shared. His second Wife stays in touch. Grateful Anthony enjoyed 20yrs with Lisa. Our Son Mark, Successful Husband & Wonderful Dad. Misses him desperately, Remind him love never dies. We shall see him in Heaven. Life indeed precious. Family & Friend's-Blessings not to be taken for granted. Beth must have been very special. To have someone wonderful as you. 

on ‎02-06-2016 01:30 PM

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and touching story.Heart

‎02-07-2016 05:26 PM - edited ‎02-07-2016 05:28 PM

Thank you for another installment of your and Beth's version of It's A Wonderful Life.  I noticed a couple of QVC hosts at the celebration.  I worry about you, Dan, when I read your lovely tributes to Beth because it is clear that you miss her terribly.  Be nice to yourself this Valentine's Day and try to plan a busy weekend so that you won't feel the grief quite so intensely. 


A number of years ago a very old man approached me at the garden center because he wanted to plant a container of flowers as a tribute to his wife who had passed.  I gave him all kinds of information and tried to be as helpful as I could.  Later I realized that it would have been better to get one of the employees to join us and actually pick the flowers for him.  I could have kicked myself.  I do hope he was able to put something together to enjoy for the summer.  Have you considered planting a corner of the yard with some of Beth's favorite flowers?  Or do you already have such a garden? 


Your faith will sustain and guide you into what will be a bright future even as you struggle with your grief. 

on ‎02-07-2016 07:32 PM

Tears on my keyboard.  Pain in my heart.  I feel for you.

You did good.  Very good.

on ‎02-08-2016 06:46 AM

Beautiful.........and you're right---its always the little things

on ‎02-08-2016 07:57 AM

The Broncos WON!!!!!! YAY!!! Woman LOL

You are so right if you have something you would like to do for someone do it! I will! Thanks!!!!! 

 Dan,   You are so kind and sweet and loving of a person. It brings tears to my eyes! 

on ‎02-08-2016 01:10 PM

Hi, Dan.  Great job - as usual - on the post Super Bowl show.  It's become a tradition of sorts to view Dan - and Long! - after the game.  Hope it continues for years to come.

on ‎02-10-2016 06:11 PM


     You are a kind gentle man . Your can feel the love you had for your wife .It's a real blessing to share that kind of love .I understand it because I had it also .My husband passes amost three years ago .Sending you a hug