Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Golf's Greatest Gentleman"

 Dad!  I can't believe it has been one month since we lost you and we miss you more than ever!  I will cherish this picture forever, taken at my wedding just over a year and a half ago!  I have it blown up sitting on my nightstand, right next to my bed!  You were always such a great dancer!

 Here is a picture of my dad just days before he died!  He looks so incredibly happy!    He was in Korea for an entire week, representing the United States and the prestigious Pine Valley Golf Club at the World Club Championship hosted at the Nine Bridges Golf Club!  He was so excited for this event, and even more excited that one of his best friends, Kevin Hammer, would be accompanying him on the trip over to play as his partner!   It has been such a gift to me and my family to have such wonderful photos taken of my dad's last week here on earth!  To see how happy he was, to see he was surrounded by all of his friends, to know he was treated like royalty the entire week...brings us peace knowing he passed on doing exactly what he loved to do right up until the very end!  I know it is a gift from God to have been given such precious mementos; to be able to see all the wonderful details and experiences that my dad would have seen first hand in his last week!

We have received hundreds of photos from the World Club Championship, but I just wanted to share a few!

This was the last photo taken of my dad!  Giving a "farewell!"  I wonder if God subconsciously was preparing my dad to say goodbye?  Maybe God was preparing us?  No other contestant playing that week had an individual photo op out of all the pictures we have seen?  When I look at this picture I very best friend, my coach, my mentor, my hero, the best dad in the whole world, the most loving husband to my mother off 38 years, a wonderful man that literally lived everyday like it was his last!  As my sister, Ashley, so wonderfully said at his funeral....
Our dad had an overwhelming zest for life and he "Chose Joy" every morning he woke up!
Nothing bad or regrettable ever happened to him….it was all just part of living life.
He spent 64 years preparing for this day.
He prepared his wife and kids as well as he could.
He never left anything unsaid.
He told us he loved us every day.
He gave us more advice and direction than any of us will ever need.
He created an example we want to follow.
He created a network of wonderful, loyal friends that will keep his memory alive.
He treasured each and every one of you and he told story after story of your adventures.
He wouldn’t want us to be sad.
He would want us to tell all his stories.
His life was short but it was full.
One last thing…..we’re pretty sure that he started his bucket list when he was 5 years old and he came pretty darn close to ticking everything off.
I think he would want me to tell you:
“he who dies with the most stories wins……so you better get to work.”

Here is a small glimpse into what my dad saw in his last week! 

At the World Club Championship Opening Ceremony at Nine Bridges GC in Korea!  Dad is middle row, second from the left!

Dad and Kevin Hammer representing Pine Valley!

Dad and Kevin. Also, good friend, Kelly Miller.
(Kelly is 3rd from left, Kevin 5th, Dad 6th)

   The detail and preparation that went into this 5-Star event was immaculate!  Traditional Korean dancers and entertainment performed at the Opening Ceremony.

Receiving a welcome gift from Nine Bridges owner and founder, Jay Lee.  Mr. Lee knew my dad by name, as they had become friends over the last few years.  This was my dad's 3rd time representing Pine Valley at the WCC.

The Caddies.

Dad and Kevin with their caddies!  It is customary to bring your caddie a personal gift from your home country.  My dad was so proud to give them custom made headbands from my new accessories company  I can just hear him telling the photographer to make sure he gets a few good pictures of this so I can use them on my website!  He was always thinking about how he could help promote whatever it was we were doing! Thanks for the awesome picture, Dad!
Kevin's caddie wearing "Shake n' Bake" and Dad's wearing "Tropical Tantrum"

Closing Ceremony
Receiving a special picture frame and gift from his caddie, Miss Yang.

My dad had brought back a little thank-you card from his caddie. It had a printed Korean saying on the front that translates into:

Thinking of you always helps me to get recharged.  
Together we'll survive through the haste and hurry.  
I'll be at your side 
If you feel like you're alone, and you've nowhere to turn.
I'll be at your side!

Dad, I know you are at my side, even though I cannot see you!  I know you will be there!

From these photos, courtesy of Brian Morgan, Nine Bridges Golf Course looks like something straight out of heaven!

Sadly, like so many times before, my dad boarded his plane to return home to us with memorabilia from the week to share with us all.  He always brought home three extra of everything he collected on his travels, one for each of his three children.  With a long 14 hour flight ahead of them, everyone settled in to try to get some sleep as best they could.  The most heartbreaking part is...our dad never woke up! 

Ten hours into the flight, the flight attendant tried to wake my dad because they were starting to serve breakfast!  After a couple of attempts, she realized he had no pulse.  He had passed away peacefully in his sleep!  My dads good friend and playing partner, Kevin, was no doubt part of God's plan.  No one could have handled a situation like this as strong and gracefully as he did!  Kevin held my fathers hand the remaining 4 hours of the flight back to the US.  When they landed in Atlanta, Kevin never left my father's side and brought him home to us here in Charlotte!  Kevin was my dads guardian angel here on earth.  I look forward to the day that I can ask my dad...what were you dreaming of all those hours on that flight? Did you have your noise-canceling earphones on that you loved so much? What were you listening to? (Most likely his sports psychology and mental toughness CDs)  At what point did you realize you were in heaven?  I've heard that heaven has spectacular glowing colors that we don't even know about?  What do they look like?  Have you seen Paw Paw? Tell him that I love him and miss him too! 

Along with Pine Valley, my dad was so very proud to a member of the Royal and Ancient!  He had a passion for the Heritage of Golf, and St. Andrews, being the birth place of golf, might have been his most favorite place on earth!  Here is a picture of him during the British Senior Open emulating his good friend and fellow Wake Forest Grad, Arnold Palmer, on the famous Swilcan Bridge.  

We were blown away by the numerous phone calls and wonderful emails we have received for the past couple of weeks!  My dad was truly loved! 

One of my dads greatest passions off-the-golf course, was delving himself into his antique golf collection.  Here is a picture of my dad with his golf collection he found so much joy in.  In our house growing up, he custom designed and built this room from scratch to specifically showcase his collection!  It was absolutely incredible!  Little did I know growing up, I was living in a time capsule of ancient golf history!

This photo was featured in the book "Golfers" by Dick Durrance.

Wake Forest University

My dad loved Wake Forest!  Before graduating as a Math major in 1969, he played on three ACC Champioship teams with great players such as Lanny Wadkins, Joe Inman, Leonard Thompson, Jack Lewis, John Buczek, Logan Jackson and the late Jim Simons.  Growing up, we made the trip from Charlotte to Winston quite often to support the Demon Deacons at football games!  He also loved the Kappa Sigs, where he made so many life-long friendships.  Just this past year, he organized a big Wake Forest Reunion up at Pine Valley Golf Club and I am so thankful he had one last golf weekend with his teammates!   

The Phone Call

The minute I told my dad I had entered the Women's US Open Qualifying at Woodmont CC, the first thing he said..."You should call and stay with Marty and Betsy West."

Marty and Betsy West have been wonderful friends of my parents since before they or my parents were married!   After driving up to Rockville, MD from Charlotte, Justin and I arrived at the West's house about 9pm.  For hours, we immediately started reminiscing funny stories of when my dad and Marty secretly kidnapped my mom and Betsy and took them on a fun beach weekend back in their dating days!  We then talked about how my dad was currently on his flight back from Korea and was landing home in Charlotte in just a few hours.  We then headed to bed, as I had a practice round tee time bright an early at 8am.  

At 1:00am my phone rang... it was my sister on the West Coast?...maybe she forgot about the time difference?  To my surprise, both my sister and my mom (who was on the East Coast) were on the line!  I immediately knew something was wrong.  My mom told me the horrific news.  I was in complete shock!  A million pictures of my wonderful dad flashed through my head.  I had never felt a pain this deep before!  The rest is a complete blur!

Psalm 30:5  For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
joy didn't come in the morning.  The only thing I knew to do was what my dad would have done.  I wanted to go hit golf balls.  We drove to the opposite side of the range for some peace and quiet.  Surprisingly, I found solace in feeling the golf ball hit squarely out of the center of the club face and seeing the perfect little divot of grass that followed!  In the still quietness of morning, I felt comfort; I felt closer to dad!
Later that day, Marty took us to the club he belongs to, Columbia Country Club.  My mom and dad had joined this club shortly after they were married before moving to North Carolina!  Marty told us the story of my parents first week of membership there!  Somehow, my dad's initiation check had bounced and on top of that, my mom accidentally drove a golf cart into the lake just off the first hole.  

Little did my mother know, this crazy world of golf was just the beginning for her!

Comfort Zone

My father had never withdrawn from a tournament, especially a USGA tournament!  Therefore, I knew in my heart I would play my US Open Qualifier the following day; he would've wanted me to!  Never having seen the course before, I showed up to the first tee at 7:50am with Justin on my bag, with absolutely no expectations about what was to follow.  I introduced myself to my fellow playing partners. I then began my pre-round routine of calculating the pin placements on my pin sheet just before teeing off, when one of the girls fathers who also happened to be caddying for her walked up to me.  He said, "I know your father.  We actually have played a lot of senior golf events together.  Great man.  Tell him I said hi when you get a chance." 
I choked back tears, shook his hand, and said, "Thanks,  I'll be sure to tell him."  I couldn't bare to have those dreaded words come out of mouth at that moment.  I knew I would lose it emotionally and would in no way have been capable of teeing off that first hole.  I also didn't want to drop a load like that on someone who had been mentally preparing themselves for 36 long holes of golf, and having played with this girl many times before, I knew she was more than capable of qualifying for the Women's US Open (which she did!)
My dad's famous words to me had always been, "Perry, if you could just save 2 putts per round, you would have already won at least 5 times this season!"  He was a stickler for putting stats and my friends knew all too well, that they should memorize their stats for "putts per green hit in regulation" and "the average distance of their first putt for greens hit in regulation," because their was a pretty good chance he was going to ask them!
Because putting was such a huge part in improving my scoring average, whenever my dad would come and watch me play in competition, I tended to "over try," and pretty much ALWAYS 3-putted the first green! haha.  Well, Dad must have been present on this day too watching from heaven, because somehow I managed to 3-putt the first green from 25-feet! Ironically, for a game that had brought me so much anxiety and frustration the past few years, this round was different...VERY different!  For the first time in a very long time, I enjoyed every step of the walk.  I enjoyed golf for the true game that it is!  Not once did I get frustrated or angry. It was just me and Justin, walking and talking together on the most beautiful day, on a beautifully manicured golf course.  A sense of peace had overcome me and I knew my dad was looking down on me smiling!...For the first time in a very long time, I realized, this is how the game of golf is supposed to be played!  This is what my dad experienced in this wonderful game of golf that drove him to play almost everyday of his 64 years here on earth!  My dad was always whistling!  He was always happy!  He "Chose Joy" every single day! 

Justin and me at the last LPGA Corning Classic.

Baggage Claim

A few days later, we all drove up to our parents mountain houseIt was almost too much to handle, seeing all my dads belongings and notes just as he had left them!  He had left a printed article for my mom on the floor next to the door he had found on the internet.  Its title read, "Nuclear radiation levels safe in South Korea."  That was my dad...always thinking ahead, and didn't want my mom to worry about one thing!

My dad had always kept detailed "to do lists."  They were all saved on the computer and meticulously dated.  To us, these "to do" lists almost acted like a journal of my dads thoughts and aspirations of things he wanted to accomplish.  It amazes me how many projects and ideas my dad had going on at all times and still managed to play a full schedule of competitive golf all around the world.  Here are a few things that were on his last list.
                             -  type up presentation on ways to help improve JR. Golf Program @ Delray Dunes
                             -  update Macrae Invitational list
                             -  check on Linville renovations
                             -  Swen Lasik eye surgery
                             -  dance lessons with Shelley
                             -  talk with Perry about potential job contacts
                             -  get AC checked in Boynton
                             -  book hotel in Oslo for Norway Cruise
                             -  tee times at Royal Portrush
                             -  call Joe Hackler
                             -  letter for Justin- invitation to Crump Cup
                             - get Justin to order new Bushnell cart mount

The hardest moment came when we received my dads luggage that had been on the plane with him from Korea.  As we all sat on the kitchen floor, we cried as we unpacked his bags, reminiscing on every detail.  Kevin had told us that earlier that morning, one of the tournament directors had phoned their hotel to ask them to take the earlier shuttle to the airport, which gave them little to no time to pack.  We found the pair of pants my dad had worn during his last round of golf here on earth.  In the pockets, we found the tees, the last ball he had hit, his yardage book, pin placement sheet, and his most valuable laminated card of "key mental thoughts" from Dr. Morris Pickens that he carried with him every round of golf he played.  Lastly, I pulled out a little silver heart with the words "With God, All things are possible" inscribed on it!  I cried as I recognized this little trinket.  My mother had given this to my dad last year on Easter Sunday.  What a wonderful gift to my mom.  This was so very special!  The fact that my dad consciously put this heart in his pocket each day he played golf and the fact he had remembered to pack it all the way to Korea.  My dad always called my mom "sweet heart."  I never heard either of them ever raise their voice at one another, nor to any of us!  They swam together at nights in the pool behind their house!  He and my mom were truly still "in love" after 38 years!  Their marriage was built on "God's solid foundation!" It was the BEST gift my mom and dad could have ever given us!

"Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice, is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock!"  Matthew 7:24-25

What is so wonderful...I have the matching heart!  Mine says, "Trust in the Lord, with all your heart!"

Some of the contents from my dad's pant pockets.  His final golf ball and glove.  A thank you note from his Korean caddie and a few business cards from friends he had probably met that day. His self-made laminated mini book of key mental toughness thoughts which he carried every competitive round he played!

The last email we received from my dad was on the night of May 18 (2 days before he died).  It read, "Please call your mom and tell her that I love and miss her and am doing fine!  She does not have her email working right now I think.    Love, Dad

One thing I did notice about the contents in my dad's luggage is how much he believed in the mental side of golf.  I had always known this, but it brought a smile to my face to see the items he had chosen to pack.  He had brought the minimum amount of clothes possible for a week long trip overseas.  The majority of his bag consisted of a few mental golf books, and ALL of his sports psychology notes he had collected throughout the years!  At some point, I hope to compile all of his notes into one collection to give to his grandchildren one day!

Celebration of Life

We wanted our father's funeral to be a huge celebration of his life!  We filled the church with many of his treasured items, trophies, and memorabilia.  We proudly displayed his beloved green Pine Valley jacket that he has had since he was invited to join as a member in 1982!  However, his friends always made fun of him that his jacket seemed to be one shade of green lighter than everyone else and that he no longer could actually button the jacket up!  They joked about cutting a slit up the back so maybe it would fit! haha.  But, they all knew that his jacket shined with 28 years of love that my dad devoted to Pine Valley!  

A friend had emailed us and referred to Dad as "Golf's Greatest Gentleman" and we couldn't have said it better! 

Various treasured trinkets including his Wake Forest ACC Championsip rings, USGA medals, Mexican Senior Amateur Champion Crest, Bermuda Senior Champ. Crest, and other memorabilia.

My dad found complete joy in trying to help others succeed at what they loved to do!  He had so much wonderful advice, which now we cling onto even harder.  We typed up a couple of our favorites and left them for people to get their last words of advice from Norman. Here are just a few of them:

Here's the deal, if your gonna be a world class traveler you better have Hartmann luggage!

This is major league.  When driving on the left side of the road while traveling in foreign countries, make sure you get the rental car insurance!

This is what ya gotta do, you've got to get yourself a pair of these noise canceling earphones and listen to your sports psychology CD's!!

Here's the deal pards,  if you're not using the long putter, then your giving up at least 3 shots to the feild. 

The Lone Bagpiper- my dad loved the bagpipes because they were such a huge tradition in both Scotland and Ireland!  About 15 years ago, we took a family trip to England, Ireland, and Scotland!  One of the most magnificent experiences I remember from the trip, was our dad taking us to see the Lone Piper at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  Ironically, the same bagpiper my father hired to play at my wedding a year and a half ago, also came to play at his funeral.

Speaking at Dad's Funeral

My dad always told me..."Perry, when you do something spectacular on the golf course and the media sticks a camera in front of your face, the worst thing you can possibly say is.....I'm speechless"  Therefore, he was adamant about me learning to speak in public and suggested I do some sort of media training.  We both figured, even if I never used it in golf, I would definitely use it in the business world! 

I never in a million years thought I would be using it to speak at my own father's funeral.  When the pastor asked us who would be speaking at dad's funeral, to no surprise, we ALL felt like God had given us something to say.  We had heard dad say before, if God gives you the stage, you better take it and say what you wanna say!  

Seeing my mother stand up there talking about our dad, only confirmed what we already knew about her!  Our mother has unbelievable strength and faith in God!   Mom...we are so very proud of you! 

How do you compile everything you want to say about your dad in a 2 minute speech?
 You can't!
Many of you here today, were able to share some "life-long experiences" with my father...whether playing Pine Valley for the first time, taking a trip to Ireland, walking the Great Wall of China, or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. 

When Kevin got back and we started talking about their week in Korea, he told me that one day after the round, my dad had pulled all the Korean caddies into the clubhouse and was showing them both my website ( and my sister's website (  He always let us know how proud he was...I wanted to share with you one of the last blog posts my dad read from me, just a few weeks ago, about one of these life-long experiences we shared together.  

Its called "My Augusta Amen"
Click the link to read.

I realize that my father taught me the game of golf for many reasons!  He taught me the game of golf because of the people I would meet, the spectacular places it would take me, and the lasting relationships that it brought!  My father loved the game of golf, but he loved LIFE even more.  If anyone asked my father to do a favor for them, he ALWAYS followed through.  Last week, I had asked my dad to jot down a couple of names he thought I should possibly contact in my job search.  It was the last thing I had asked him to do, and like always, he followed through!  
Two days ago, I got the list!!!!  While on the plane, he had written MORE than just a couple of names on these two sick bags.  So, if you are one of the lucky...or unlucky names, to make it onto these bags, don't be surprised if you get a phone call from me soon!  I can hear him now...."Perry, this is the deal, you gotta get on this list and call these guys TOMORROW!
Dad, I love you and I miss you very much!

The "couple" of names he had jotted down!  The back sides are filled up too! 

One month later!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!  We spent the day swimming at the Carmel pool!  The weather was beautiful out. We saw some of your friends and they asked how we were all doing!  They miss you too!  We came to visit you today at Magnolia Gardens.  Doesn't it remind you of Magnolia Lane driving into Augusta National?  I brought you sunflowers because they remind me of JOY.  I thought you would like them too!  I was going to bring you some golf balls (but since we are NEW, I didn't want to break the rules just yet!)  Maybe next time!  I can't wait to see you in heaven one day.  I have to so much to tell you!  
I love you Dad!  

We Love You Dad!
Justin and Dad at the Pine Valley Member-Guest

Dad leading the Congo Line at my wedding!
Mom and Dad last year at Justin and I's rehearsal dinner.

 A daughter's dream come true!  Dad walking me down the aisle at my wedding...when he suddenly pulled a golf ball out of his pocket and attempted to role it into a hole nearby!  Supposedly, he had wanted to bring a putter with him, but my bridesmaids talked him out of it! haha

Dad, I always wanted to be just like you and do things exactly the way you did it!  Thank you for being such a wonderful role model for me, Swen, and Ashley!  One day we'll walk together again in heaven!  Until then, I've got big shoes to fill down here on earth!

I love and miss you more than anyone could imagine!

Love Always,

Please become a fan of the Norman V. Swenson Jr. Memorial Fanpage on Facebook!

Please also read my sisters related blog posts from her website
Here are direct links to her blog posts:  
"My Dad"

Also, my brother set up a wonderful memorial website at  Feel free to leave stories and comments.

Just some fun photos.....

Dad loved being on the water!  Here is my dad shortly after him and my mom were married driving the boat.  Dad helping me real in a 50 lb Tuna just of the coast near Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks.  Swen and Dad fishing down in Florida!  My mom was the best boat driver of all! 

Go Deacs!  We loved driving the big van up to Winston Salem and going to Wake Forest football games!

As a family, we decided to give up Christmas presents every year, and go on a family ski trip each year instead!  These are some of the best memories of my whole life!

Dad loved to fly!  After he got his pilot's license, he made each one of us take flying lessons to learn how to land the plane, just in case we had to do it in an emergency someday! 

We woke up at 5am to take this family picture on the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews on our one-time family trip to Ireland and Scotland!  So glad we did!  Thanks Dad!

One of my favorite pictures of me and dad!  Taken in 1983, I had just turned 1!

Dad and Ashley

When we would go hang out with Dad at work, at American Studios, we would get to take funny pictures like this one!  My mom wasn't too thrilled at first, haha, supposedly that was a brand new shirt! 

Dad was a pool shark too! 

Dad and I played in the Carmel Parent-Child almost every year!  We then went on to win the Carolinas Golf Association Parent-Child and 2 National Father-Daughter Championships!  Such great memories. 

Dad playing in the Senior British Open (with the HOG Putter!)

Dad loved being a grandfather!  Him and Sienna out in Palm Desert, CA.

Dad practicing with Cameron!  Dad saw another golfer in the making! 

 Our last family ski trip this past February 2011 in Denver, Colorado!

We loved trying to beat dad in a putting contest before dinner!
Carmel CC 1988
 Dad taught me to ride a bike for the first time without training wheels.
Carmel #16 South (we grew up on this hole) 1988
 Mom and Dad!  They were still "in love" after 38 wonderful years of marriage!

***UPDATE December 8, 2011***

Lasting Words

I feel like my dad is always with me!  He leaves us signs everywhere we go!  These signs get me through life day by day!

 The Golf Channel aired the World Club Championship footage and they were so wonderful to have included a wonderful tribute to my father at the end!  My heart broke as I watched this...seeing and hearing him alive and talking felt like a horrible trick!  This footage was filmed just hours before he would leave this earth.  I wished I could jump into the tv and beg him not to board that plane back to the United States.  However, as painful as watching this was, I am so thankful for it at the same time.  To actually have my dad's final thoughts and days captured on film for us, is a gift from God!  He truly seems so happy and that is the biggest gift of all!  

When Justin and I got married, we had special golf tees made up to give to all of our golf friends to remind us about how we wanted to live our lives from that point forward.  
The golf tees said, "Live the Life You've Dreamed."

I didn't even think my dad had taken any tees...but come to find out, he was actually playing with them!  The last footage of him that aired on the Golf Channel was him holding up this golf tee for everyone to read!  
My dad's final words to us were "Live the Life You've Dreamed" and "Choose Joy." Its ironic that the final messages he left us, all have the same theme about life. It makes me want to take back every negative word I've ever let come out of my mouth. It makes me want to choose my words wisely and not miss one single opportunity to find joy or help someone else find joy! "Your words and thoughts which you think the most, will inevitably be the ones you believe and unavoidably move towards. They will become the things and events of your life! Thank goodness!" My dad lived the life he dreamed and more! 

He truly seemed happy!  He loved this smiley face!  I think it reminded him to accept every shot for what it was... remain in the present and focus on the process...the only thing you can really control in golf is your preparation and your attitude!  

My little 5-year-old niece saw this "pirate face" my dad made and said very adamently, "Grandpa did that for me!"  I believe she is right!  He actually looks just like her in this moment!  I believe angels speak to children and that children can hear them!  Sienna had a very special relationship with her Grandpa!  During his viewing at the funeral, she placed a note in his pocket that asked him to "Save her a big purple motorcycle with an extra long seat.... so grandma could ride with them."  

Right after my dad passed away, and once we were able to get his luggage, we drove up to our mountain house, which was the last place he had been before leaving for Korea.  He had left a devotional he had ripped out on the top of his desk.  The devotional was titled, "CHOOSE JOY."   These simple two words, are the two words my family has lived by for the last year! 

My sister, Ashley, started a CHOOSE JOY movement that has spread rampantly all over the world!  
You can read about it on her Choose Joy Blog Series she added to her website at Lil Blue Boo.   

We were ecstatic as a family when we got the news that my sister, Ashley, would be having another baby and Sienna would be a big sister.  Ashley shared the news with us with an unforgettable image of Sienna holding a "Big Sister 2 B" sign.  

 Little did we know, these two words, CHOOSE JOY, would carry us through another tribulation in our lives.  Shortly after my dad's funeral, my sister suffered a miscarriage most likely due to the stress and grief of losing my dad.  The miscarriage turned into a very rare form of cancer in her uterus called, "Choriocarcinoma."  She writes about her day by day journey of fighting cancer in her blog series called, " The Cancer Chronicals."   I am praying that we don't have anymore traumatic reasons in our family for a very long time that would be worthy of her creating another "blog series" of any sorts, haha.  Just saying!  

Here is a little snit bit from her blog!  

In September 2011, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.  It turns out it wasn’t a new pregnancy, but a continuation of the first pregnancy: a molar pregnancy. It also sent cancerous cells throughout my body. A tumor was growing in my uterus and it grew so rapidly that it invasively grew straight through to the other side. In October 2011, I was transported to Loma Linda with internal bleeding. While on the operating table to remove the tumor in my uterus I started hemorrhaging and lost 4/5 of my blood. The surgeons had to perform an emergency hysterectomy in order to save my life. They say I’m lucky to be here.  I underwent 2 different lines of chemotherapy that were unsuccessful and it was determined that I had a rare aggressive cancer called Choriocarcinoma.  The third line of chemotherapy EMA-EP was a brutal process of weekly 8 hour infusions where most people get 2 or 3 weeks off in between…..but it worked.  I’m monitored weekly for any increase in my tumor markers (HCG) to make sure it doesn’t come back and also because the chemotherapy I got increases my risk for leukemia.  Here is my story from day 1.…it includes the death of my father in May 2011:

The hardest part of it all, was to see my sister suffering and feeling not be able to do anything is such a helpless feeling.  I wished it was me, not her.  But my sister is the STRONGEST person I know!   She CHOSE JOY every single day!!!!!  
Here are just a few pictures chronicling the past 8 months of her journey: 

Recovering in the ICU after an emergency hysterectomy that saved her life.

The scar that was left. 

While mommy was too weak to get out of bed, and me being the goof ball of the family, I made it my task to be Sienna's entertainment!  Here I am doing a Nepolean Dynamite inspired dance, while Sienna watches from the end of mommy's bed and laughs!  "Aunt Perry, do it again!  Do it again!"

A huge "milestone" at the time.  Walking 15 laps around the pool....

...which left her completely exhausted afterwards.  

...even brushing and blow drying her hair was difficult, requiring to much energy!   This day, she had a few friends coming to I was ecstatic to play beauty parlor!   

BUT, we knew this day would come sooner or later... her hair started falling out in large clumps.

With her hair falling out even more rapidly everyday, she knew the inevitable would come and had talked about just shaving it all off.  My mom, without telling anyone, stopped at a salon one evening and shaved her own head first.  She didn't want my sister to go through this process ALONE!  Sienna cried for hours at the sight of Grandma's bald head, but she warmed up to it after a few hours.  She was then excited about the fact, mommy might shave her head too.   She wanted to then shave her head, so of course, they had to make sure they hid all the scissors in the house to make sure Sienna didn't try to give herself a haircut when noone was looking, haha.  Our mother is so unbelievably STRONG!   While still grieving for the loss of my dad and her life long partner of 38 years, she jumped right into caregiver mode to my sister!  We love you so much mom!    Sienna wanted to wear a scarf on her head too! 

The next day, Sienna and Brett, helped Ashley shave her head.   She captured it on film in a wonderful video she titled, "Rite of Passage."   I cry everytime I watch it!

This video is a MUST SEE!
"Rite of Passage"

Here we are at the doctors office....I let Ashley borrow my ponytail for a quick photo op while the doctor stepped out of the room for a split second!  He did happen to catch up and Ashley asked if she looked like Andy Warhol?  haha.   We tried to keep a sense of humor every step of the way...

 but it was hard to not notice the huge toll the chemo was starting to take on her body.  

Today would be the last day of chemo...

and I'm so thankful Justin and I were able to be there to celebrate!

***UPDATE November 21, 2012***

Just last week, the World Club Championship held there 2012 Championship.  Last year, my dad played in Seoul, Korea, but this year the tournament was played in Diamante Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.       Everyone at the WCC was so wonderful in keeping the memory of my dad alive by including him in their opening ceremony, along with posters hung up with his picture on it.  

"The first day of competition for the 2012 World Club Championship at Diamante Cabo San Lucas, Mexico began with a ceremony on the 1st Tee. In memory of Norman Swenson, who passed away traveling home following the 2011 World Club Championship at Nine Bridges, the driver he used as a team member of Pine Valley was presented to the defending Champions from Durban Country Club in South Africa. The Durban Club Champion Ryan Birnie, using Norman's driver, hit the first ball as a tribute to this three-time participant and dear friend of the WC and amateur golf and to kick off the first round of competition."   
You can ready about this years event here.  

During the Opening Ceremonies, the 2012 Pine Valley team presented my dad's beloved Adams Red Line driver, to the defending champions from Durban Country Club in South Africa!

  Pine Valley walking in to present my dad's driver to the defending champions.

Durban Country Club of South Africa, graciously accepting what they know is much more than just a driver.  My dad's heart and soul was poured into that driver and this wonderful game of golf!  

Defending champion, Ryan Birnie, hitting the Opening Tee Shot with my dad's driver!   I can only assume he hit it so long and straight, he wished he could keep that driver in his bag!

I also found this video the other day on the World Club Championship's facebook fan page, of my dad being his silly self last year in Korea!  I'm not sure exactly what he was doing here, but it looks like some sort of Saki Bomb trick!  haha. Click the photo to view video.  

Also, I wanted to share a few articles and blogs written about my dad.