Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bitter, sweet and an adventure

On Monday, I attended the funeral of S, a coworker who died of colon cancer. She was diagnosed with her cancer around the same time I had my kidney removed. Unfortunately, surgery could not remove her entire tumor. She endured chemotherapy and a lot of pain, especially at the end. She was only 54 years old, and was a kind and generous woman. We'd talked a few times about both having cancer; I always felt a little "guilty" that I have done so well since my nephrectomy. It's not that I don't deserve a good outcome but it seems unfair somehow that everyone can't have a good prognosis. She will certainly be missed by many people.

The week got happier and more hectic for us. We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year, and had a total of 21 people there throughout the day, though not that many at any one time. As usual, I didn't get enough done ahead of time (read, housework) so was completely frazzled by the time people were scheduled to arrive. Once they did, though, I calmed down and we all had an enjoyable day. My turkey came out as juicy as I'd hoped, and everyone brought something so we had a ton of food. We celebrated Becky's birthday at the gathering; she didn't mind sharing with the holiday, especially since she got nice gifts from her relatives. I'm still cleaning up today (Sunday) because we've not been home a lot since Thursday, but it will all get done at some point.

I took Friday off work and the girls and I trekked downtown to see Jim, who did have to work, and have lunch with him in the hospital cafeteria. They both enjoyed the trip, especially Becky, who has announced that we need to visit again soon. Lunch in the caf was a big hit, though the grilled cheese sandwich was not to B's liking (what do you mean, there are 3 kinds of cheese in there?). She loved the pierogies, and told me that they are as good as mine. They looked to be just like mine, that is, Mrs. T's!

Then Saturday we went on a driving adventure. My mom had a cousin, B, who has kept in touch with my sister and me after my mom died in 1994. B has 3 adult daughters and several grandchildren, spread across the country. Sis got to go visit B in October, and learned that she was going to Cincinnati to spend Thanksgiving with her middle daughter and family. Sis, BIL and nephew were going to KY to see BIL's mom so they decided to stop by my cousin, S's house on their way back through on Saturday. Sis and I talked and decided that Jim, the girls and I would drive down to meet everyone. Jim wasn't thrilled about the idea of a day in the car, especially with Carly, but he understood that meeting more of my family was important to me. We left the house with videos for the girls to watch on a portable DVD player they'd received for Christmas last year, as well as some other toys, and set off. The trip down went fine; the girls did watch some videos and napped for a while. We only stopped once, to get a bite to eat and let everyone stretch their legs, and arrived as S's house at lunchtime.

They have a lovely home outside Cincinnati, and made us feel welcome as soon as we arrived. We all had sandwiches and talked for a few hours, making sure to take some photos of one another. I learned that my mom's tradition of always making angel food cake for our birthdays had family roots... her aunts all made angel food cakes for family gatherings of all kinds. One of my cousins who was there said there would always be multiple angel food cakes. S and her husband have two adorable daughters, who are 9 and almost 6, and who were adopted from China. The older daughter played games with my nephew (who is 6 1/2) and the younger daughter played princess dress up with Becky. Carly fell in love with their puppy and had a general good time toddling around. We finally left Cincy in the late afternoon and met our good friends in Columbus for dinner and a quick visit. We didn't get home until about midnight, and Jim and I are pretty tired today, but for me it was well worth it to get to spend time with family who I have not gotten the chance to know.

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