Sunday, July 17, 2011


Hello Friends and Family,

This is my last post on this blog.

First of all, let me thank you all for showering both of us and our families with such love and support through all of the difficult times. We have been so comforted by your prayers, emails, phone calls, visits, food, flowers, and cards. When Eric was lost we were all in awe of the number of people whose lives he had touched. The same holds true for Paul. I am grateful to those of you who continue to share your fond memories of Paul's solid lasting friendships, his witness of his Christian faith, his devotion to his country, love of his family, and dedication to our marriage. I do feel most certainly blessed to have been chosen to spend his last years on earth by his side. He continues to ease my grief in uncanny ways, letting me know that he is watching over and caring for me. "Abundant Blessings" continue being revealed in my life.

It's almost been 2 months since Paul embarked on his heavenly flight plan. Even though we all had 6 months to prepare for his passing it still seems surreal, doesn't it? During his illness I thought we had already begun the grieving process and would therefore find "the end" to be less painful. Not true. Although I occasionally find myself temporarily distracted from the "sad feelings" they are always always still lurking very near the surface. You know what they say, "time heals". Each day is a little bit better especially when I remember that he now has no pain or suffering from his new heavenly body, only joy and happiness.

As for me, I have decided to try to continue the pursuit of our shared dreams based on the previous 2 years of intense research that we had done together. I've retired from Continental Airlines and temporarily moved to Lafayette, Louisiana to be nearer my family. I'm also hoping to buy an RV and to live in it full-time someday, traveling around visiting friends and family. Have just returned from South Dakota where we had planned on establishing our legal residency.

Currently, I am staying with my 82 year old mother who fell and broke her hip shortly after the funeral. This caregiver role is much easier as her prognosis for a full recovery is extremely good. I'm proud to watch and help her as she heroically plows through her rehabilitation with such focused determination to recover her pre-fall level of mobility. She plans on traveling with me as much as possible!!

God continues to shower me with blessings. The many "coincidences" can only be God working in my life anonymously. Plus, both of our families are very supportive and are encouraging me to "UNshatter" our dreams.

Perhaps someday I'll start a new happier blog about my travels with Rocky and our guardian angel co-pilot.


Monday, June 20, 2011


Give someone you love a hug, and then really FEEL their life-warmth and strong arms wrapped tightly around you. I miss that. So very much, I ache.
I miss washing dishes or standing at the stove cooking and feeling a tender gentle surprise kiss on the back of my neck from my husband.
I miss telling him it's way way way past time to pullover and ask for directions!
I miss his little yellow sticky love notes on the coffee pot that he never ever once failed to leave for me when he had an early flight check-in.
When I was on a layover and called home, I miss hearing him answer the phone, "Hi, Beautiful!! Hope you've had a great day!! Rocky and I miss you bunches!!"
I miss coming home from a 3-day work trip and being very happily greeted home with a huge hug from a happy husband, a frolicking yipping puppy, and having my luggage toted to the bedroom, the shower prepped and ready to go. Everything perfect and in it's place. All was well. Life was so good. Loved coming home; the best part of any trip.
I miss grocery shopping with him. We always went together. And if I mentioned that I liked something, he always bought 25 of them!!
I miss looking outside of our back windows and watching his muscles work as he scooped leaves out of the pool, everyday!! He had such a great physique! Was so very healthy and strong. I always knew God chose well for me.
I actually miss his dumb jokes that I heard 10,000 times, or more! Would give anything to hear just ONE from him now.
I miss always finding "mysteriously" sharpened knives in the kitchen drawers.
I miss how he emptied the wastebaskets and took out the trash every single day and I never ever once asked him to.
I miss how he would always wait to sit at the table until he could pull out my chair, even when all I had cooked for lunch was just dumb grilled cheese sandwiches, or peanut butter and jelly. He appreciated the littlest things.
I miss thinking how nuts he was because his side of the bathroom counter (including his closet and dresser drawers) was so neat with everything aligned in alphabetical order! And every spot that was mine was a total mess that probably drove him crazy, BUT he never said one word about it.
I miss watching reruns of "Darma and Greg" with him.
I miss hearing him introduce me to anyone new as "My lovely and gracious wife, Carleen".
I miss how he'd call me after EVERY landing to let me know he had arrived safely, loved me and would be home on schedule.
I miss how he'd secretly check my fuel gauge in my car and then make up some weird crazy reason to drive the van for something, and it would always come back with a tankful of gas, a detailed carwash, and oil change.
I miss how when I'd see his headlights arriving in our driveway after a trip and I'd announce to Rocky that "Whoopee, Daddy's home!!" he'd be barking crazily with glee, almost as excited as I was.
I really miss Paul. I really miss Paul. I really miss Paul. Every conscious moment. I wish all women could have a husband like Paul. He was more than incredible. He was a perfect gift from God.


Monday, May 30, 2011


My family had planned to take me back to Louisiana for a couple of weeks right after the funeral. I was gonna help my son sail his newly purchased sailboat from Destin, FL to New Orleans, which we all thought would be good for me. But at the very last minute before leaving I declined. The last six months, especially Paul’s last 2 weeks here with me, followed by the frenzied week of funeral arrangements, have taken its toll. Total extreme exhaustion. I just wanted to be still and quiet. Me and Rocky. I asked them all to just go back to their busy lives and “love me alone” for a bit. Thankfully they understood and two days after the funeral everyone was gone.

It’s Saturday, quiet, peaceful. So I rest, cry, nap, pray. Walk around the house in a daze, unaware of why I opened the refrigerator, what am I looking for in there? Oh, yeah, creamer for my coffee. Rocky needs to go outside, we go. Later I wonder why the creamer is on the counter. Oh yeah, for the coffee, but it’s cold now. An hour later I find the mug still in the microwave, cold again. I’m spinning in circles, can’t seem to do anything. When I’m awake I’m flitting around the house, restless, fidgety. Looking for anything to do. Clean something! I open his dresser drawer thinking I could start the inevitable process. Nope. Slam it shut. Can’t do that now, might not ever be able to do that. Is this what grieving is? Guess so.

Feels like a panic attack!! I need focus. Distraction. My brain begins thinking of our RV dreams. Oh, that feels good! I get tunnel vision thoughts about RVing. Heart races but in a good feeling way. I remember that right after the tumor diagnosis I had trashed “all” the RV paper stuff and deleted all RV bookmarks and favorites in both of our computers-----I was so angry then.

But wait…in a few months this lease will be up and I’ll have to move “somewhere”. Why not into an RV? Afterall, I had discussed this with my brother and my kids during “funeral week” knowing at the time that I was probably just ranting out of my mind. But, was I? Could I really do it by myself? Pulse is racing. Adrenalin is pumping me higher. I’m excited! Feel happy. That’s a new feeling. I “escape” back into our dream.

So late Saturday night I Google the old RV forum we used to follow; find it, [], sign in, and post this:

Post subject: Should I give up my dream?
It's been a long time since my last post on this forum, or on any forum. It was on Sept. 17, 2010 entitled "Tomato juice changed my font size?" I just read it again and it felt so good to laugh out loud at all of your humorous responses! You're a terrific group of strangers!

Back then in Sept. 2010 my hubby Paul and I had already spent almost 2 years planning our retirement for a full-time RV lifestyle, collecting info on our dream RV---a 2010 Allegro Bus 43 QGP. Our plans were that as soon as our house sold we would both immediately retire from Continental Airlines and hit the road. Well, on Nov. 15, 2010 (6 months ago) our retirement dreams were shattered when Paul was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, followed one week later (on his 60th birthday) with a massive stroke. Ironically, our home sold 2 days after I brought him home from the first hospitalization. I moved us into a leased house nearer the Houston medical facilities where he went thru chemo, radiation, and numerous complications. Then finally 2 months ago Hospice Care entered our lives. I'm so glad that I was able to keep him at home with me the whole time.

Today is Saturday. I buried my precious Paul only 2 days ago in the Houston National Cemetery with full military honors after serving 31 years. He is now in heaven with his only child, Eric, who was killed in Afghanistan 3 summers ago. It's finally very quiet here tonight; now that the funeral is behind us, and both of our families have gone home to their busy lives.

A sad story, I know. But crazy as it must seem to even perfect strangers, I still want to live "our" dream. Paul never wanted me to give it up, and worried himself sick wondering if he should encourage me or not. Naturally, when we got the diagnosis, I trashed our RV dreams immediately to focus on him.

I know I'm probably still in shock right now. But luckily I do have about 6 months before I will be forced to make some firm decisions. My 3 children with 9 grandkids, along with numerous other family members (his and mine) and lots of friends are scattered from coast to coast. They know me, (I am sort of spunky) and are all telling me to "Go for it!, It was your dream too!" My only brother has offered to install a concrete RV pad with septic, electric, and water on some property that our father left us near my hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, so I would always have a sort of home base to go to very near lots of family. So I do have my family's support, but NONE of them know anything about RV'ing!!

I just need some input from folks who are living the lifestyle. Should I just quit the dream? Should I continue to gather info on, of course, a smaller, cheaper, and easier to handle model by Tiffin? And if so, which model? Can a 59 year old single (although "spunky") woman with a small 3 year old Havanese dog who is now my "grief therapy device" do this?


P.S. A couple of months ago I needed an outlet so I created a blog titled "Abundant Blessings Found In Shattered Dreams". Here's the link (if you're bored):

In no time the next day I got about 30 responses: “Go For It!” Along with lots of good advice. I was pumped!!
So late Sunday night, I posted back, all excited, adrenalin flowing:

I am truly overwhelmed. Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. Some of you posted excellent points and questions that I do need to consider. Here's a bit more info that may help YOU to guide me.

I've been a flight attendant for the last 20 years (so I love traveling), and prior to that was a firefighter/EMT in Rio Rancho, NM (near Albuquerque) where I drove fire trucks and ambulances for years. So I'm not afraid of a big rig and probably would have arm-wrestled Paul to get my turn at the wheel!! In fact we have rented RV's and I drove almost as much as Paul. Being a 737 pilot and a Navy jet instructor, at first Paul "nonchalantly hovered" close by whenever I was at the wheel. He soon relaxed and was very proud of me. That felt so good coming from him! He was my hero and my biggest fan. The only thing that terrifies me are toll booths. I always gave him the wheel then, and still kept my eyes squeezed shut while he drove thru with such calm confidence. He was always so very cautious and would handle any situation with such capable and amazing focus. And he never ever displayed that well known "pilot-ego". (He used to always tell new acquaintances that he was just a "heavy equipment operator"! He was just that kind of guy.) So I gotta work on "tollbooths" or maybe just totally avoid them with my GPS. "Check lists"--- Haha, Paul laminated them! "Toad"---Now driving a Toyota Sienna van---we knew we'd have to trade it for an appropriate "toad". He had been researching toads---wish he had told me which one he wanted. "Tools"---I was the mechanic! He could fly fighter jets and commercial airplanes but used to joke that he didn't know the difference between a phillips or regular screwdriver! I think he just said that to make me feel good. Before we had met, when I was 40, freshly divorced, and just beginning my career as a flight attendant I bought a small sailboat that I lived on full-time and sailed and maintained it alone for 3 years. So I'm accustomed to "small" living. The Tiffin Breeze is just too small for me as I hope I'll often have friends or family joining me. But I won't let being solo stop me from going anywhere once I'm confident. And I don't want to have to "trade-up" later, too costly and a hassle. We'd been doing a LOT of research and forum-lurking. So...flat tire, stranded, engine CoachNet. [Time for a break from typing and maybe a nap.]

I just re-read this post for proofing and got this real sad feeling about the whole idea.
It wasn't just my dream, it was OUR dream. One minute I get all excited about the prospect and then the next minute I'm hit with the true reality that Paul won't be there with me. And my excitement collapses. He's gone. I shouldn't be thinking about this right now. It's too soon. Maybe my mind is doing this to escape the grief, even momentarily. But then reality pokes my brain and stabs my heart. Slow down, Carleen, take it easy. Don't let this dream become a "mental detour" from the grief and pain. I just find my mind flitting around in circles, like I'm going crazy or something. He's REALLY REALLY gone and NEVER EVER coming back. And I can't run away from that. This is a roller coaster. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.


So now it’s Monday afternoon. I’m waiting for tomorrow. And this day is only half over. Wish I could fast-forward about 6 months. So tired. Think I’ll take a nap.


The Funeral, May 26, 2010

A few photos of the funeral.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Paul Hunter Terhune

Commander Paul Hunter Terhune, United States Navy Reserves, of Conroe, Texas died peacefully on Saturday, May 21, 2011, at his home in Conroe, Texas.  He is survived by his beloved wife, Carleen Marks Terhune, his parents, Daniel and Joy Terhune, of Lexington, Kentucky and his brother, Dr. David (Dorothy) Terhune, nieces Summer (Oliver) Jeromin, Kendall (Richard) Colquitt, and Rebecca Joy Terhune and his nephew David Terhune, Jr., and five great nieces and nephews.   He is also survived by three stepchildren, Christa White, Brady (Michelle) White, and Benjamin (Shawna) White, and 9 step- grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his only son, Captain Eric Daniel Terhune, a Marine helicopter pilot who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 19, 2008.  Captain Eric Terhune had previously served two tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He served honorably for more than 10 years of active duty service to County and Corps.

Commander Paul Terhune was born in Brownwood, Texas on November 23, 1950.  He grew up in Kentucky and attended Wheaton Academy in Wheaton, Illinois and graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida.   He received a BA degree in History from Western Kentucky University, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps upon graduation.  He then earned his Navy wings at Pensacola, Florida.  His career as a military pilot spanned 31 years before retiring from the Naval Reserve.

Commander Terhune spent two years in Okinawa early in his career and is one of the few airmen who served in all three sea services, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the Navy.  His citations include and reflect his patriotism.

His career apart from the military was with Continental Airlines for 23 years from which he retired on November 23, 2010.  

Burial services will be held for Commander Terhune on Thursday May 26th at 10 am at the American Heritage Funeral Home, 10710 Veterans Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77038, (281) 445-0050.  Visitation will be held Wednesday, May 25th from 5-8pm.   Friends are invited to join the family at a reception honoring Commander Terhune at Landry’s Seafood, 1212 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas, 77380, immediately following the services.

Paul Is Flying With The Angels Now

I feel empty of words.  The best I can do right now is just plainly present the information about the services to honor Paul's life.

Wednesday, May 25, Visitation 5:00-8:00pm at the funeral home.
Thursday, May 26, Service at 10:00am, Burial at Houston National Cemetary 11:30am (across the street from funeral home)

          American Heritage Funeral Home
          10710 Veterans Memorial Drive
          Houston, TX 77038

Immediately following the service and burial a reception will be held at:
          Landry's Seafood Restaurant
          1212 Lake Robbins Drive
          The Woodlands, TX 77380