Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The End of the Road

I think I've been to more funerals in the past two months than I have in the past 10 years combined. Add in my family's own health crisis and not sleeping and you get a blubbering Enola.

The majority of these deaths were caused by cancer. I hate cancer.

First was my previous Sunday school teacher's husband. He filled in teaching some and was a fabulous man. He died less than 6 weeks after learning he had cancer. Then was a young man from our church. The cause of his death is unknown - some mysterious ailment after returning from a military deployment. Next the father of church friends - cancer again, less than 2 months after diagnosis. Last week the father of my husband's co-worker had a stroke and passed away with in 48 hours. Husband had worked with that guy a few years back. Today we learned that the grandson of my husband's co-worker is expected to be taken off life support. He is three years old. Doctors said if he did survive, they would have to amputate both arms and legs.

Tomorrow my husband is a pallbearer in a funeral. It is a beloved church member. Cancer again. It took longer with him. Tim was a feisty old man that I loved. Truth be told, he scared me a bit. Tim was our church custodian and maintenance man. He is a veteran and boy did he run a tight ship. Munchkin has only ever written on a wall, and it was at church when she accidentally colored too far - right off the dry erase board. I just knew Tim would kill me. My hope was that he would not notice and I could return the next day with some cleaning products. The next day the wall was spotless. I was scared to see Tim for awhile after that. Tim was 79 and still played church softball. He pitched. He was good. One game he slid running and broke his hip. My husband took him to the hospital. Tim made me leave. Said he needed to curse and couldn't do it in front of a lady. We took him a meal. He sat and talked with my husband for hours. Husband helped clean up after the meals on Wed nights, working side by side with Tim. Tim is a loner who loathes asking for help. The Church pitched in to bring him meals, as he has no local family. Most people had to ring the doorbell and leave the meal on an outside table. Few were invited in. Tim did not want people seeing him so frail. My husband was one of the few invited in. He stayed for hours, listening to war stories. Tim died this week.

Another church friend's mother passed away from a long battle with cancer. She is younger than me. To lose her mother at this stage in life is tough.

I learned not long ago that my aunt has cancer - again. She survived brain cancer in the 90s. Now she has breast cancer. She is the only remaining link to my dad's side of the family. Her son and I were best friends growing up - very close cousins. I hate to think of losing her.

The one that pushed me over the edge is my former mentor. He too survived cancer years ago. You may recall me writing about him having a serious health crisis a few weeks before I returned from maternity leave. I had to pick up some work at home. Soon after my return I learned he has cancer. He fought it valiantly. I just received word yesterday that he has made the decision to stop all treatment and just recieve comfort measures. It won't be long. I was supposed to go visit him two weeks ago, but that day he wasn't up for visitors. He is not receiving visitors now. So my last meeting with him will be the day I said goodbye and left the law firm. Most people saw this guy as a cantankertous attorney. I saw a softer side. He changed a lot after having grandchildren. He truly began to see the struggles of balancing home and work life. He was my staunchest advocate at the firm. He taught me just about everything I know in the practice of law. He and I handled many cases together, and had some good times in court. Fought some good fights. My favorite memory is of him walking in my office when I was 7 months pregnant with Bugaboo. My feet were swollen, shoes off, propped up on a box. He said, "we can do better." He left and returned with a leather ottoman. Just a simple gesture, but it meant a lot.

My family and church family have had more than our share of death lately. I'm done. While I believe in heaven and that these people are there, it still is sad. I really, really hate cancer.


lawyerchik said...

I am so sorry, Enola! That is a lot of deaths and a lot of losses of people you have been close to. [[[[[HUGS]]]]]

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Enola. Losses of dear friends and family are difficult always...but so many in such a short span of time must be even more difficult.

Hang in there...know that you are cared about.


hearttoheart said...

that is a lot of heart ache packed into a short time. I love your description of Tim @ church and your mentor @ work. The fact that Tim invited DH in to talk speaks very highly of him (your hubby) Wish we were closer to give you some moral support...didn't realize how much heartache you guys have had lately.

jumpinginpuddles said...

we are sorry cancer seems to be a bigger killer than aids right now

prochaskas said...

This and the next post -- and I know you have other stresses in your life as well. Keep on, in faith, and take care of yourself -- give yourself rest and replenishment as you are able, and look to the living water too.

Kahless said...

The first death close to me was through cancer. Its cruel.

I am sorry Enola. Funerals suck.
I cry from the minute I see the coffin. It always looks so damn small.