Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Care Package Project: July

Well, you guys, between the idea and the reality falls the shadow, and even though I'm not really emotionally stable enough to handle the responsibility of writing this one, I am anyway.

Here's the gist: This month is a complete care package project failure, but who even cares. There are a million things I should have done and said, but the fact remains that I did nothing. I thought I had time, but I didn't.

And maybe that's the point. We always think there is time.

Well, anyway. This month I had planned to CP Mom's cousin Marlene, who I guess is my cousin too, except I consider her to be more of an aunt because she's around Mom's age--late 60s--and that's the role she's played in my life since we met about 14 years ago. The last couple of months have been rough. She had two cancerous tumors removed from her brain AND lost a kidney because another tumor was so thoroughly entrenched they couldn't remove it. She still had tumors on her lungs, but the doctors were optimistic those could maybe be overcome.

She spent a month in the hospital, and I thought it would be fun to send her a package to be all yay coming home!

So I went about gathering the perfect items. I had hoped to find her fun presents from our trip around Washington State, so we could tell her we'd thought about her in every place we'd visited.

But that didn't really happen. I mean, I found lotion at the Space Needle with the Space Needle logo on it, but nothing "place specific" in the other places we went. I thought there'd be Mt. Rainier coffee or Hurricane Ridge chocolate or Olympic National Forest vampire teeth. But there wasn't.

Coming back home, I found her a bar of chocolate-scented soap and beeswax lip balm from an artsy lavender festival held literally next door. Johanna and Abby made a card and I failed to get my act together to write her a letter of my own, so the package sat on my wardrobe for about a week and a half.

Then, this past weekend, Mom calls to say that the doctors had just found a very quick growing breast cancer and that without chemo, they were giving Marlene two weeks. With chemo, she might have a year.

Mom and The Aunts (that's Joan and Jan to you) decided they'd visit the hospital yesterday to say goodbye. I gave Mom the package to deliver--complete with my letter (I'm sorry it took me another crisis to get my butt in gear)--because I figured that it would be quicker than using the postal service. The gifts I'd included now seemed completely idiotic, but we decided as a family that didn't matter, that it was the thought.

Marlene died yesterday morning, before Mom and The Aunts could come. Mom is so sad. Everyone is just so damn sad. Except I can't cry. I'm kind of glad that she doesn't have to suffer anymore. I'm glad for her and I'm devastated for everyone else. I wish I could cry and get it out, but I just can't even fathom that she's gone.

And I keep thinking about her husband, Dave, and their boys. It's just too much.

So not the way I wanted this to go.

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