Grampa is at peace. We lost him the other night, which was absolutely what was best for him, given the circumstances. It’s a small comfort to those of us left behind, as we would prefer to cling to him here, but that’s not fair, either. So we let his body go and all keep with us the pieces of the man who helped mold each of us in different ways. For me, I will always remember the grandfather who bounced me on his knee chanting about the duckies; introduced me to my love of theater; was my first minister; spanked me, my older brother and cousins when we got into mischief; took me to the top of Mount Washington; and welcomed us at the Cape. He furrowed his brow as much as smiled, and we loved and will miss both.
I apologize to all those who’ve commented on how silent I’ve been lately. It’s really been an overwhelming two weeks – in a totally different way than the preceding ones. From Mother’s Day when Grampa had his stroke, we’ve spent at least part of every day at the hospital, luckily surrounded by family. Tara rightly pointed out that one small silver lining was the timing of all this, in that at least with this happening during this point of my recovery, I was able to be there for him and my family, which certainly helped me. (None of us ever thought we would – or wanted to – know the Longwood district and all the hospitals so well. But we’re constantly thankful to be in Boston with some of the best hospitals in the world!) Now it’s planning and preparation for his service this weekend (details here). I’m doing a write-up on him for the funeral home’s web site, but struggling: it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever written. And I am beyond touched that Ginny and the rest of the family decided to direct people to donate to Dana-Farber for breast cancer research in lieu of flowers.
At the same time as all of this was happening, I also was running across the street from Beth Israel to Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s for my appointments. I had my first physical therapy (PT) appointment, which both felt like progress and hurt. I’ll continue PT twice a week for the next few weeks, in addition to my exercises at home. Also in the hurting category: I had my first tissue expansion injections with the reconstructive surgeon. The four giant syringes intimidated me at first (uh, do I really want boobs that bad???), but the process was fine, not nearly as bad as I expected. (I closed my eyes, although my mom was brave and watched.) Mom warned me not to get too excited about not hurting, as they gave me numbing stuff first. And boy was she right! I am still in pain that almost rivals the original surgery – no wonder he’s spacing these injections out to every four weeks! The highlight for me (in addition to now having slightly larger mounds where my breasts used to be) is that I am tentatively cleared to go back to work on Monday, June 4 – I really can’t wait. I will just need to take time off as necessary for all the appointments/additional surgeries and for when (if – as I am still dreaming I won’t be) I am sick from the chemo, which will now begin on June 12.
Also this week, my Dad and Maggie surprised me by driving up from Tennessee (where they went after I left them in Florida). My father was close to my grandfather and wanted to be here for him, as well as for me with all of this fun cancer stuff, and to help my 100-year-old Nana with things around her house, now that she is (momentarily) willing to accept a bit of help – boy do I know where my stubbornness comes from! (As well as some of the strong, independent woman DNA, although I am lucky to have that on all sides of my family!) It is comforting to have them here – and simply always good to see them, as it was when my brothers were both here last week.
This has definitely all been a reminder on the importance of family – including your closest friends who you consider family. Nothing is more important than spending time with the ones you love. You may not always see eye-to-eye, you may have knock-down, drag-out fights, you may not always be able to stand each other. But when it matters, you’re there for each other. And hopefully in the days in between you spend time together. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re together. Some of Nick and my favorite times were sitting on the deck at the Cape, simply talking with Grampa and Ginny and whatever aunts, uncles, cousins were around. Those are moments we will always treasure, and wouldn’t trade for the world. We love you Grampa , and miss you so already.