I need to update a little personal news, and then I really do have to finish writing about our trip (six months later) because this is the only place I'm writing this stuff down.
November 5 my mother lost her long fight with cancer. We knew this was coming. She had a lumpectomy and radiation many years ago (like thirteen years, maybe?) and then tamoxifen and arimadex for a total of ten years, and then was thought to be past all that. The cancer came back so the breast had to go, and this time some fairly aggressive chemo, and once again it was supposed to be over. It showed up in her sternum so her maintenance treatment was changed a bit, and her understanding was that it would stay there, but then about a year ago she was having pain in her hip and back, and MRI showed that cancer in those bones. Since then it's been a fairly steady decline, in and out of the hospital for various reasons. I went home when she got that last bit of news, and again at Christmas, in July, and F and I in September. In the last few months my mom had dementia of some kind - we don't know exactly what caused it - that prevented her from expressing herself very well or understanding everything she heard, and maybe it mercifully kept her from thinking too much about what was going on with her physically, or being too bored. But as late as September she wanted to see the newspaper - her joke was always that she needed to read the obituaries to see if she was in them. That last month or so she was in a nursing facility because although my dad was taking great care of her, it got just a bit beyond him. The last weekend of her life she was unconscious. So that Monday she just went to sleep. My sister and her husband were spending the night and sometime in the wee hours they woke to find her very peacefully dead.
The three of us drove on the 6th, the 13.5 hours or so back there, for the funeral on the 7th. R and F flew back home on the 8th and I stayed with my dad until Saturday and drove back by myself. Could write about that a bit. My dad wanted me to have a beer with him. I don't drink beer, never have, but I had the first Old Milwaukee of my life sitting with him on the deck.
I know this is kind of grim and I have some better things to say about my mom but I guess I'll have to get to it. And then back to other stuff. My dad and my sister and her family are driving down here tomorrow to have Thanksgiving in Florida so that the landscape is changed for the first holiday with Mama gone. That was my sister's idea and I think it's a stroke of genius. We'll go to Kennedy Space Center on Friday and then they'll travel back home.
And that's it for now.