I’m sitting in my bedroom at Cool Friend’s house, having done a little work after a full day with various family members.
I don’t have the bandwidth to write anything particularly deep this evening.
Over the past few days, I’ve been able to spend time with friends from high school and girlfriends from college. I had an afternoon with Adorable Nephew and Newest Niece. Cool Friend and I have had some time in the evenings to catch up, as well as her one day off work. I took my mom to have her hair all fixed up; I went shopping with my sister and Niece #1; I got a tour of Niece #2’s new house. We had a family dinner tonight – all the aunts and uncles on both sides of the family as well as the immediate family – to celebrate a birthday, see my niece who is visiting from far away and wish me well as I get ready to move far away.
And this has all been overshadowed by the news that my favorite aunt has cancer. Again.
I won’t get into how this news was delivered to me. To say “not well” would be quite the understatement but it’s done, which just leaves me with the fact of Favorite Aunt having cancer. Again. She was diagnosed with breast cancer almost a dozen years ago; she beat it; and now a bone scan has revealed tumors.
I have felt for weeks now that something was horribly wrong, like bad news was simply waiting in the wings to reveal itself. When I got a questionable test result recently, it seemed the bad news had arrived; I could barely breathe, thinking that I could be facing cancer again. But, no, it’s not me: it’s FA. And I stopped breathing with that news: time held for a split second, the world wobbled, and only me clinging to the steering wheel kept me from falling apart (because my sister thought driving from A to B was a good time to tell me this).
I’ve spent some time with FA, as I always do, and we’ve talked – about lots of things, not just this horrible news. But the realization that she’s starting the fight all over again makes it difficult to smile and talk about relationships and grandchildren and travel.
You never lose the terror that the cancer will come back. You don’t think about it, exactly, but it’s always resting in the back of your brain, rumbling about every now and then before quieting down again. FA is depressed and upset and frightened, and I am all of those things for her, as well as exceptionally angry at this bitch of a universe that wants to take yet another person I love away from me in an awful way.
So, yes, I had a pretty good visit to Home State this time. I had a chance to say my farewells to family and friends before I leave on my grand adventure. But I am absolutely terrified that I’ve said a final farewell to one of the most important people in my life.