August 9 is the birthday of a dear friend. She and I celebrate together at some point during the month. On Friday, she emailed that her son-in-law was ending treatment for cancer and that the family sought hospice. Saturday morning, on her birthday, Ronnie died at his home sitting in his swing.
I thought how each event–his passing and her birthday–were life happening. The difference between the two, in this case, is the cancer part. I can’t accept that cancer is just “life happening.”
Another friend, who watched and waited as her sister succumbed not long ago, said, “Cancer is such a cruel disease.” And then, just recently, a dear friend dealt with the surprise of a diagnosis after a routine mammogram. Not long ago, a brother and son of friends passed away much too early from lung cancer.
Cancer is cruel and it should not be part of our stay on earth. Is there anyone who hasn’t been touched, or harmed some way, from this horrible hurt?
Two years ago this month, John and Vicky lost a dear friend to colon cancer. Sarah was Brian’s wife, and mother to Jameson and Carly’s playmates, Camden and Scott. For at least a year, we included Miss Sarah in bedtime prayers on every Grammy night.
Saturday morning was quiet, but not in a calming, peaceful way. I was glad when the grandkids came in the early afternoon. So was Murphy. She half-way ran to the door, and since I was afraid she might try to jump, I loaded her into her playpen.
The two older Graham Grands brought pieces, and the peace, of good news. Jameson likes the new middle school and has been accepted into the Cambridge Program. Carly said she “made it” into the Encore group. Jameson was quick to tell me that they watched the third Harry Potter movie. I answered, “Without me?”
They all laughed and told me we could watch the fourth one, and Carly bounced across the floor to land in my lap.
Carly’s dad, John, nicely warned that Carly has been a little “off” this past week. He detailed some of her behavior, which included “constantly starting something” with her brother and “not listening”, and suggested, “I wouldn’t give her too much leeway.”
She is going through some sort of phase, a normal one, I think. She’s already an exhuberant person, in contrast to Jameson’s quiet, pensive self. However, both delight in sibling aggravation in equal measure. They also absolutely adore each other. When John made his statements in Carly’s presence (intentionally, I’m sure), Carly climbed into the overstuffed chair where Jameson sat and snuggled to his side. She was only slightly affected by the discussion, however, because she was up almost immediately, jumping, bouncing, kicking legs in the air.
John told them to be good. They waved him out the door. I suggested that the two go on down to The Cellar (which they consider their personal retreat) while Murphy and I engaged in a physical therapy session.
“Can we have a snack?”
And the junkfoodfest began.
After the Harry Potter movie and an early dinner (“We’re starving!”–really), it was time for the Hide the Mustard Can game. If you have a huge garage with unmentionable clutter, an empty Coleman’s mustard container, and two kids on rollerskates, this is the game for Grammy et.al. Grammy does not wear rollerskates.
We take turns hiding the can, youngest to oldest. There are lots of good hiding places as you might imagine. Round and round they skate, either looking for yellow-gold or providing clues to its general location.
“It’s in the back left fourth of the garage.”
“Is it visible?”
“No. Well, you could see it if you’re at the right angle.”
“Who’s warmer, me or Carly?”
“Do you give up?”
“No, do NOT tell us where it is!”
“Grammy, you’re burning up! You’re on fire!”
There are no prizes in the Hide the Mustard Can pastime, but we all have great satisfaction that we invented this fun. And then, I do seem to put a couple things in their rightful places every time we play.
We really need to play this game for twenty hours straight. I might get the garage cleaned up.
Dave woke me about 6:30. “The kids are up,” he said.
I checked Carly’s hair that we put up in a topknot of pincurls after her shower the night before. It was still wet and I told her we’d have to proceed to Plan B. She said okay. She and Jameson were engrossed in TV–The Ant Farm, I think.
Jameson looked up long enough to say, “Gravy.”
I cooked sausage, bacon, biscuits, gravy. They ate on the coffee table, the usual routine, something they do not do at home.
I dried Carly’s hair and rolled it in tight sponge rollers.Jameson showered–he didn’t want to–and sat down at the piano and played through Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
“Where did you learn that?” I asked. Although he plays the guitar, he has never had a piano lesson.
“Uhhh, there’s this thing called the internet, Grammy.”
Carly spun toward me. “Grammy! We didn’t do my piano lesson.”
“We have time. We can do it after we finish putting your hair up.”
She’s playing well for less than a year of lessons from a washed-up teacher, and she will do even better. She is diligent, and she may develop a stronger ear.
I was glad that Jameson was clean for Sunday school, and Carly was delighted to show up in curls.
“What are your plans for today?” Dave asked.
“Well, I’m going to cook a pasta dinner and then I have to spend some time writing.”
The two of us landed in our recliners in time for 60 Minutes, but it was delayed because a golf game was delayed somewhere. It gave us some time to catch up.
“The super moon is going to be most visible at 7:30,” he said.
“Oooooo, let’s go out and see it. Maybe I should set an alarm.”
“Nah, we’ll remember that.”
At 9:00, I jumped from my seat. “Oh no, we didn’t see the moon.”
“I knew we’d forget it.”
“I’m going out anyway.”
It was halfway up in the sky but so bright it was stunning.
Dave said, “It’s lighting up the whole front yard.”
“Yeah, it is. Ronnie’s funeral is Thursday at the church.”
“I better check to see if I’ve got something to wear that fits.”
2 thoughts on “9, 10. Life Happens.”
Homey and sweet, Diana. I had to laugh when Jameson said “Gravy.” When I was a Fed on the west coast in the 70’s, once in awhile co-workers from our D.C. office came to San Francisco to work. For some of them it was their first trip to the west. There were some born and raised southerners in the visiting group sometimes, and more than once this scenario played out: we’d go to lunch the first day, and when the server brought the food and turned to go, the visiting southerners would invariably say “Where’s the gravy? She’d didn’t bring any gravy, and there’s none on the table.” A foreign concept to most of us from the west, who never saw gravy except on the major holidays. I got the impression from the visitors that there is gravy on the table in the south 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, forever!
Maybe not every meal, Cal, but sausage gravy is a Southern breakfast staple. Jameson has become an expert. He requests it every time he’s here now and we’re so happy that he’s found something he likes, I make it every time.
Did your Southern friends also want bread on the table every meal?