a long time.
A lot has happened, obviously, since I updated last. And I only have 15 minutes until I have to go to work, so I’ll sum up and then update later.
Firstly, and probably most mind-consuming as of late, is that my dad’s wife died January 17th. For those of you who don’t know, she had colon and kidney cancer. She was diagnosed two Thanksgivings ago and was undergoing chemotherapy for about a year. The problem was this: while the chemo was not allowing her cancer to grow back, it was also not killing it. And, it was making her very weak. So, she started a clinical trial to test new drugs in lieu of the chemo. Those drugs were also hurting her physically; making her legs swell while depleting her body of weight. She was under 100 lbs when we saw her at Christmas. Then, on New Year’s Day, she went back into the ICU at a Houston Hospital. She was still there when we drove down Sunday night. My dad didn’t want us to come down, but he was alone there and really needed a break (even though he still doesn’t admit it). It was a good thing we went down when we did. On Monday she was responsive, but she had a tube in her throat so she couldn’t speak. On Tuesday, she wasn’t. She died Tuesday afternoon.
We spent the rest of the week in Houston, taking care of all the things I never thought I’d have to take care of. We went to the funeral home to set up the cremation. We drugged my dad so he could get a full nights sleep for the first time….since last Thanksgiving. We drank a lot and cried a lot and still didn’t feel any better.
The things that I feel about this death are complicated. She was my dad’s other wife, the one he chose after my mother. She was a beautiful, talented, brilliant woman. She wanted to be my friend, not my “other mom.” She wanted to help people and teach people and she did. She loved my dad and he loves her. He’s broken now, and that’s hard to see. Not only because I don’t want my dad to hurt, but because it’s strange seeing him act like that with someone other than the woman he was with for 30 years.
It’s something I’m going to have to figure out on my own, although J’s been wonderful about just listening. My brother has also been helpful beyond anything I’d ever imagine a 19 year old could be. I’ve always seen him as a kid; he’s my kid brother. But when he went down to Houston on Tuesday and basically took over, he grew up 10 years. He’s been such an adult and I’m sad that it took this to show that to me.
So, that was two weeks ago. The memorial service was last Thursday.
See, now I have to go to work. But I’ll finish tonight and will have better news. I promise.
a long time.