Monday, November 29, 2010

Gone to Rochester

My sister left today. Gone back to Rochester. She believes the treatment will be good, but more important, the home care better.

It's true. I have three kids. A job. I cannot take care of her 24/7.

It has been a long year and a half. Going to Savannah, getting rid of the puppy killer, bringing her back here, getting her surgery... I read what I wrote back then and I'm shocked.

She needs a stem cell transplant. This will require many months of intense chemo to kill off all her cells. Then infuse her with new, donor cells. It is tricky but if it works? She'll be cured.

Yes, it could kill her, too.

It's hard. It's a hard day around here. I know she's where she wants to be.

And I miss her.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nancy, Again

A few years ago, while cleaning out my desk, I found a letter from my friend Nancy. I wrote about it then- it was clear sign from her. Yesterday? I found another note while preparing for my class. I don't much believe in spirit guides but what little I might? Mine would be Nancy.

She was funny, and kind. Her life goal was to be creative, and loving with her children. She poured her soul into them, and their world. She would tell me, as her children had grown into fine young men, of the little things she would do with them. Christmas was never about gifts but a pageant. They would sing songs, act out scenes from plays, dance- for each other.

What a priceless gift.

She, with the kids, would take out a map of the US and randomly choose a place. They would then plan their driving route, all the places they would go through, and learn about the towns, the history, any significant things that happened in those places.

And then they went.

She was always giving me ideas- a puppet show she saw advertised done by a troupe she knew was good, or my favorite, writing a birthday letter to the boys each year, to be given to them when they turn 18.

Shh. Doing that one.

She always smiled. She always had a look of mischief in her eyes. She wasn't afraid of her cancer, or the treatment. Only of leaving her boys behind.

She was not quite a mother to me, more of an older sister. She needed me, too- it wasn't one way. I remember reading that very book I pulled off the shelf yesterday to her while getting her chemo treatment.

In her note, she reminded me to "never pay more than the price of admission." It was her life lesson. She always felt so unworthy, the only way she ever felt okay was to go way over and above. Not at the end, though. She tossed a cheating husband out the door, shaved her head and learned how to ride horses.

She is never very far away for me. Random things will remind me of her and, clearly, every few years I find a very real piece of her.

I don't always do the right things, I don't always do my very best. Often, I feel the only way to make up for my shortcomings is to give and give and give. Nancy is shaking her head, No, Sara. No.

Her note ended, "Wish you were here to enjoy it with me. I love you Sara."

I am here to enjoy it, Nancy. I love you, too.

I hear you.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Death and Sunsets

Gil died.

Gil was Jeanine's Uncle. Well... more like a brother. By the time he was born, Jeanine's mom was a young bride, no kids, no whipped cream.

After Jeanine's mom married her dad, the whipped cream disappeared from the ice cream he bought her.

Weezie raised Gil. There are pictures of the group of cousins, and he is there. A little boy.

He was only 55. He was so young. And such a good man. Kind. Generous. Thoughtful. He welcomed me and our kids into the family.

I am so sad. Sad for all the losses.

Jake is very sad about Gil. I got a call from the school yesterday that he shared in circle that his uncle was dying and he had so much fun in Indy this summer. Jake cried.

Last night was a glorious sunset. One of those breathtaking, beautiful light, colors... you knew Monet was on the other side of it.

I took him outside and pointed to it. I told him that the colors, the light, that was his Uncle Gil's spirit. His body couldn't go on anymore but he was those colors now. He was in a place of beauty.

No more pain, just light.

Ok, I might have given him a fear of sunsets- there are dead people in them! But I wanted him to know there was joy at the end.

All I could do.

Gil died. Yesterday, before he passed, he asked for his Hawkeye tickets. A football fan till the very end. Please... watch the game tonight for Gil.

And always cheer for the Hawkweyes.