Well, it hasn’t been a good start to the week…and today was no better. My sister shared the news today that they’ve gone and brought in Hospice services for my Uncle Dick. He has stage 4 head and neck cancer that was diagnosed late last year…and needless to say, it’s been a horrible time for the family. I’m not especially close with him, but the past couple of years, I have gotten close to his wife, my Aunt Dar. It’s a long story, but we’ve sort of bonded over a certain hatred and detestation for another family member–which I know, sounds horrible, but if you knew this individual then you’d completely understand that in her case, water is definitely thicker if you know what I mean–but anyhow, yeah that’s how it is. So in spending more time with her, I’ve gotten to spend more time with and gotten to know my uncle more. Which makes this especially hard. I mean, I know that death is just part of the life cycle and that it’s going to happen at some point to everyone–and maybe my view of the subject is a little eccentric to some in that I’m overly sensitive on the subject–but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care. Or that it doesn’t effect me, because it does. When it impacts and effects those I care about–good people–it does.
Cancer. I hate it. I really, really hate it. It’s taken far too many people that I care about already, and I hate that. But I think that this time, in my Uncle’s case, it’s especially hard for the fact that the progression of this disease could have, at the very least, been halted if not necessarily prevented. He had a tumor in his neck that he basically ignored for months, refusing to see a doctor about the abnormal growth. I can only assume what anyone would assume as to why he didn’t do anything about it, and that is that he was in denial. And probably scared. When it first became noticeable, he’d only recently lost his own father to cancer, so I’m sure he had a good guess that it wasn’t good…and he didn’t want to know. Honestly…I can’t say that I wouldn’t have done the same, were I in his shoes. I mean, no one wants to hear a bad diagnosis…especially not on the heels of a loss of that magnitude like losing a parent. And cancer…no one wants to hear that word. Ever. So I understand his thought process…but still, it’s hard to understand how he could let it go as long as he did without at least getting it checked out. By the time he did…and then by the time they diagnosed it and figured out what kind it was, it was already stage 4. By no means am I trying to say that it’s his fault, because that’s just not true or how I feel. Cancer is no one’s fault. It just happens. There’s no one to blame, except maybe God…if you believe in religion and all that…which personally, I’m still trying to figure out what I believe and what I don’t in that area, so yeah. Either way, the type of cancer that he has is apparently really aggressive, so even if he had gotten checked out sooner, there’s no guarantee the outcome would have been any different than it is now.
Still…it sucks. It really, really does. He didn’t give up though. He tried. He did the rounds of radiation and chemo. The tumor on his neck shrunk considerably even…so we thought maybe it was working. We were wrong. Just last month he was in Upstate for a week for what would be his final round of some pretty nasty chemotherapy. We were all hopeful, but then his scans came back and we learned the awful news that the cancer had spread. It’s in his lungs and liver and bones now. For Easter we all got together at my grams’ for dinner–rather than doing it out here like we’d originally planned on doing. No one came out and said it, but the change of plans was for my Uncle’s benefit. He was really happy when he found out that we’d switched to my grams, so he could be there, rather than make the over an hour and a half drive out here they would have had to have made if he’d chosen to come. For the most part, the holiday went smoothly. My Aunt came down earlier on her own to join us for the games and activities with the kids, then I joined her on the drive to pick up my Uncle to bring him back to the house for dinner. That was when she broke down and told me the news…that they’d gone to the doctor’s and he’d decided to stop treatment. That he was done. I just sat there, you know, at a total loss for what to say. I mean, what DO you say to something like that? “I’m sorry” just sounds so trite, you know? I don’t know, I just feel so BAD for her. He’s all she has, really. They’ve been together forever, it seems. They were together for 16 years before they got married back in 1999, so that’s 31 years. I can’t even imagine being with one person for that long. It’s like a lifetime. Heck, it is a lifetime. Believe it or not, they got married on my birthday that year. Yep. I spent my 12th birthday as a bridesmaid in their wedding by the lake at their Summer camp. It was such a beautiful, joyous day. Not to be morbid or sound selfish, but now my birthday is going to be a sad day for her–and I hate that. For her, not for me because personally, I hate my birthday–I’d skip the day if I could. But she’s always going to be reminded of another anniversary that she won’t be able to share and celebrate with him when he’s gone. I feel so bad for her, you know? I mean, without him, she’s going to be all alone. She was never the “motherly” type, so she never wanted or had kids. They had a beagle that was kind of like their kid–and they were absolutely wrecked when he died some years ago. He’s got kids from a previous marriage that are grown with kids of their own…but my aunt’s not especially close with them, so it’ll be just her. I don’t know how she’s going to take it…losing him…I really don’t. I just have a feeling…no, I know…that it’s going to be bad. Really bad. Hell, it’s already horrible. She’s already a mess. And I feel so helpless, you know? I mean, I’m all the way out here so there’s really not much that I can do. And I’m really not a person to lean on in situations like these…death. I meant it before when I said that I don’t know what to say or do in these situations. I really don’t. That’s why I hate funerals so much and avoid them at all costs…because I don’t know what to do. I hate wakes when you have to go through the receiving line of all the loved ones. I like literally stand there and say nothing because it just feels so…awkward and useless I guess you could say….to say “I’m sorry for your loss.” That’s my take on it, anyhow.
We’re supposed to do Memorial Day there this year…like we do every year. I don’t know how that’s going to go, but it’s going to sad, I know that much. I mean, how else is there a way to describe what will most likely be my uncle’s last Memorial Day celebration? Sad is really the only word that covers it. I almost don’t want to go, you know? I know that’s a horrible thing to say, but I’d rather not say goodbye. It’s just so final and it feels wrong. I mean, cancer always is. It’s wrong. It’s unfair.
Speaking of the horrible “C” word, it seems to be spreading it’s horrible fortune around this week. On Monday I saw on Facebook that Jenna Hinman, a local woman that two months ago was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after prematurely giving birth to twin girls, passed away. I didn’t know the woman, but it’s hard not to feel something when you read her story. She was local…just a week ago they had a big benefit for her here in the city where I live now …and dedicated the day to her in an official ceremony. She was just 26 years old. The same age as I am. So yeah…it’s mind-blowing. It really makes you wake up and realize what you have…and be thankful, I guess. I can’t imagine the hell her family is going through right now. Her husband, a member of the service, just lost his wife. And their two little girls, who just recently got to leave the NICU finally and go home, will never know their mother who loved them so much that she literally died for them. It’s just a horrible, tragic situation and story all around and it just makes me want to cry thinking about it. I know people say that everything is meant to be and that everything happens for a reason…but I don’t see the reason there. I just don’t. It’s not right. It’s just…it’s wrong. People talk about prayers and trusting “God” to do what’s right…well, I’m sorry, but I’d say HE dropped the ball on that one there, wouldn’t you? For those of you who aren’t familiar with her story, you can read about it here at https://www.facebook.com/prayersforjenna and maybe leave some well wishes on the page her amazing friends put up on Facebook for her.
Anyhow…yeah, it hasn’t been a good week. But I guess it could be worse…somehow. Ugh…time to get some sleep. Got two little twin boys that don’t care if their Auntie Jo wants to see what 5 am looks like every day or not ’cause she’s gonna anyways 🙂 So…’Night ya’ll!!