Our daughter arrived in the nick of time. In the last two weeks, two of our favorite people have passed away. K’s grandfather died on July 10th and my great-aunt died on July 17th. But please – PLEASE – stop telling me that at least they got to meet C3. It doesn’t make it easier, it makes it harder.
G-Dad and K had a very special relationship. K was his first grandchild and his only grandson. To say he doted on my husband wouldn’t do it justice. He inspired K, gave sage advice, and supported him in every venture. Within the first ten minutes of meeting G-Dad, which was approximately two hours after getting engaged, he had given us a new car and told me conspiratorially that I would bring his great-grandchild home in it. It was a little overwhelming at the time, but he was right. When K and I separated, he was the only one in K’s family who reached out to me. He did it consistently – calling to check up on me, cheering me on, telling me not to give up – and most importantly, praying for my marriage.
He declined quickly. Within a week he moved from the ICU to hospice at home to heaven. He – like so many – had cancer (multiple myeloma) and had battled against an 18 month prognosis from six years ago. I was honored to be with his – our – family as we celebrated his life both while he was dying and after. I love him very much, and I miss him. He did get to spend time with our little girl; I just wanted so much more. I wanted her first football game, her first steps, her graduation from kindergarten. I wanted her to know what a great man he was.
And then, the day before G-Dad’s funeral, I went to visit my great-aunt. She’s like my Auntie Mame aunt – stylish and sharp and smart. Instead of the visit I envisioned, I spent the day in the ER with my uncle. She died on Tuesday afternoon… Again, it was fucking cancer. The same way my Grami died – lung cancer that metastasized to the brain. Please, for the love of God people, stop smoking.
Since I moved to Florida, I’ve been able to visit with her more often and I’ve so enjoyed it. When we moved down here, she was only an hour and a half away and I relished being able to pop down for lunch. She was a connection to my grandmother, a connection to the strong line of women that I was born to. She was protective of me, supportive, and straight. When I told her about my fears about motherhood, she shot them down one by one. I loved that about her – she was full of piss and vinegar and wasn’t afraid to spray it.
I love her family. Her sons have become closer family to me, and I love how we enjoy each other. While she never held my daughter, I had one moment with her where she held my hand and looked at us both. Tears came to her eyes, she squeezed my hand and brought it over her heart. Then, she was gone.
I fucking hate cancer. I know that the connections to these two, very different people don’t evaporate. And I know we’ll be passing down the numerous gifts from them to our daughter, but I wish it didn’t have to be this way. Dying is much harder on the loved ones left behind – and I am happy that these tired, valiant, beloved souls are now whole, healthy. I miss them both. I just… miss them.
It’s been a long, tough couple of weeks for us. C3 has spent way too much time in hospitals. And even though I am now a champ at finding changing tables in hospitals intended mostly for the retired, I did not intend to spend the last weeks of my maternity leave in their halls. We’re traveling north tomorrow and while both of us are really excited to see more family, we are also looking forward to the sea of unplanned weekends in August. And no death for a while. Please.