Western education 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

..... a quiet moment amongst the busy ones....

..... in the wee hours of the morning.  I am restless overnight and as usual, my brain fails to sleep.  Part of me has so much to do and is racing to get things done in a 'just in case' attitude.  Yesterday my friends Brayden and LIsa came to visit.  Brayden is a young man who one day approached me in the Faculty of Ed cafeteria.  He wanted to let me know that he just loved my laugh and could often locate me in the lecture hall.  I thanked him and then after rose to go to his table to thank him.  That was our first meeting and our first hug.  Over the months, we would become friends and he would later urge me to audition for the play 'Alice through the looking Glass'.  I did, got the part of the wacky White Queen and had the most magical time of my life.  I love this 'old' soul who brings such joy to those around him and to me.  He made the trek from Guelph yesterday, picked up Lisa and they spent a few hours with me in the pool.  The weather is still so stifling hot.  Max is ever present reminding me to stay out of the sun, put my hat on and stay in the shade.... my Jimney Cricket!!!  Thank you so much Brayden and Lisa for your wonderful visit and for the lovely flowers which now grace my kitchen counter.  There are promises to visit again soon.  Lisa will be leaving for a position in Sweden... she learned through her own cancer journey years ago that life is fleeting and that you should always seek out what you want in life.... I totally agree.  

Lydia and I snuggled into bed after dinner and watched a number of episodes of Bewitched.  It has become our evening ritual to watch these wonderful shows on Netflix.  She stopped worrying about the lack of color and just enjoys the story line as much as I did when I watched them as a child.... wait till she sees 'I dream of Jeannie'!!  Max still carries her to bed but now she has grown so tall and her long legs and arms are tangled around him.  Her pretty pink toe nails are from yesterday's bedtime gathering.  She found me napping earlier in the day and brought a blanket to cover up my feet.  I could hear the urgency in her voice when she couldn't immediately locate me and she snuggled in tightly to me when she did.  She pets my head and wraps herself in tight.  I love you so much Mommy.  I love you too baby.  She watches over me for a few more minutes then lets me know where she will be if I need her.

..... it is the wee hours and I stretch out my legs and rub my head... oh dear.... day 10 and the bristles above my ears have snapped off at some point in the night.  I ponder the conversation before bed...Max, I think everyone thinks I am going to die.... well we all do.... but I get the funny feeling that there is an urgency to see me before anything happens?  He looks at me and says a simple 'yes'.  I know that I always try to find the humour in everything and especially when I am in pain... its a strange coping mechanism and I am not sure when I discovered it works for me, but the laughter always helps to offset the stress.... you have to start really worrying when I no longer smile or laugh at stuff.... it means I am in a funk and can't get out.  I ask him where he is at with all this and sit quietly when he tells me that he will miss me and he does not want to see me in pain when the time comes for me.  I draw in a quiet, long breath as he continues.... he wants me to live a long and happy life but if it should come to a painful end, he is hoping there is mercy.  He is afraid.  People often say how strong I am and how brave I am.... well, I have no choice in the matter but my family does.  They could run screaming to the hills and hide but they choose to stand beside me.  They are brave for not falling apart on the days I am not well... they are strong for hugging me and keeping close despite knowing that some day, their hearts will break... Miss Lydia tells me she doesn't want me to see her cry and I let her know that she can do whatever she needs to do and say... there are no boundaries or taboos in our conversations.  We have always been honest and candid with each other.... we are real.  

..... I reach out and find my husband's hands.... he gently clasps them and enfolds them gently in his.  We do not speak but we know that we are just there in the moment and together.  We are soul mates, we know each other well.  I think about his sister, the one who says she cares about us.... and then I push her out of my mind... she only cares about herself.  My husband is surrounded by other family members and friends who have been incredibly supportive to him.  Brad visited in the early evening and as we spoke, he grabbed the bandaid I needed to cover the wound on my left arm and gently placed it. The bug bite is not infected but it also is not healing either.  It will be months after the chemo for it to completely heal and will leave a permanent reminder when it does.  He and Max have been friends a long time and I can see he is concerned when we tell him what is going on with my diagnosis.  He will come and see us as often as possible.  

My sister texted me in the early evening.  She is coming for a visit!!!!!!  OMG I am so excited I just can't wait!!!!!  We have not seen each other in so long.  She will come at a time when the whole family is at home.  Will will head off a few weeks later to the Military and Lydia will head out to a friend's cottage for a gathering.  I am beyond ecstatic and can't contain my excitement.  Lydia can't hear the TV from the giggling while I text her back with silliness!!!  I will take all the joy that comes our way and live my life knowing that the people we have in our lives are wonderful, brave, strong and spectacularly special to us.  

I dedicate this blog entry to all those whose lives are touched by a loved one going through any journey.  It takes guts to stick it out through thick and thin while having to watch from the sidelines. I am deeply grateful to the wonderfully brave souls who live with me, who, through no choice of their own must watch the journey unfold in their daily lives.  We use humour and love to offset the darker moments.... I think cancer loves to feed on our darkest moments so we try not to have too many of those.  As a friend of mine Caroline said in the days before her own death..... you have to laugh at the irony of living... we all must go.  I was able to sit with her in the palliative care unit at Princess Margaret Hospital a few years ago and hear what she needed to say to me.  She knew she was dying and yet, as we sat in the comfy overstuffed chairs in the private family room, she kept living and planning and moving forward.... she had goals she knew she may never achieve but she had them none the less.  Her positive spirit and endless cutting wit endure in my memories of her and how incredibly positive she was to the end.  She left behind a support group she founded and a medical special care group for Multiple Myeloma - a cancer of the plasma cells.  Her treatments caused a secondary and deadly diagnosis of Leukemia which took her in her late 50's.  

Tonight will bring Mandi and her clan to chill with us by the pool.  I am looking forward to having a meal and another chat with her.  The wind is picking up and swinging the full branches of the apple tree around... it is leaning towards the pool as if looking for a drink.  The industrious squirrels have been foraging for more materials to line their nests.  Judging from the height of them, I am assuming that we will have a lot of snow this winter.  The Cardinal wakes me from my reverie... I have been up since 5 and now must get ready to take the car to the shop for its bi-annual rust inspection.  

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