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Mama’s appt went well yesterday – she found out that she doesn’t have to wear a halo, which was a huge relief for everyone. She was fitted with the face mask, and her first radiation is tomorrow at 2:30. We’re all nervous, but we all know it’s without a doubt the best thing. She, Daddy, Bobby and I had a very honest talk last night. She said that she knows that she’s beyond the doctors now – that they can maybe give her a temporary reprieve, but her healing has to come from God. I told her that I feel a peace that we’ve done all we can do – all the components that we have control over are in place – the medical team, the drugs, the support group, and most of all, her faith in God. So now we wait – we pray, and hope, and work with the doctors, and wait. Wait for God’s decision. I told Mama last night that God IS going to heal her – either here or on the other side. We just hope and pray that it’s here. But the decision is already made. She told me that if she did die, that I needed to remember that I had two sisters depending on me – and Jennifer has two sisters depending on her, and Susanna has two sisters depending on her. That our children will never know what they missed by not having a grandmother, and that their Aunt Jennifer & Aunt Susanna would fill the hole that would be left. But I’LL know what they missed. I’LL know how it could have been, should have been. It’s just not fair. I know that saying that doesn’t mean anything, and everybody knows that life isn’t fair, but I’ll say it again…. THIS IS NOT FAIR. It’s not fair that some people seem to lead charmed lives, and never have to experience cancer or anything even remotely approaching the horror of cancer. It’s not fair that some people are diagnosed with cancer, and then are “miraculously” healed without surgery or chemo or radiation or a nightmare that stretches for years. It’s not fair that my children may not know their grandmother. It’s not fair that my mother may not be there when I have my first child, when I buy my next house, when Susanna graduates, at Susanna’s wedding. There is nothing fair about this – and Mama tells me that I can’t be bitter or angry with God, but I sure would like to know why the hell our family seemed like the best candidate for the f-ing nightmare.

Ok, I just nailed Uncle Rocky’s butt to the wall. He sent a happy little email about how Grandpa’s on the way, and here’s my reply… bcc’d Jen, Sue, Bobby, & Tom.
Hey Uncle Rocky,
How are you today?… good, I hope. I just wanted to ask if there’s a chance that you could come South sometime soon? Mama starts brain radiation tomorrow, and I think that it would really help her to have her family there to support her… if not tomorrow, but maybe this weekend or next weekend? I know that ya’ll are praying, and believing for her, and we appreciate it so much… I just wanted you to know that she loves you an incredible amount, and having you with her during some of these treatments would really mean a lot to her.
I hope you’re doing ok today… I’m so glad that Grandma and Grandpa are on the way. I’ve really been looking forward to them coming because it will make it easier for Mama. She has faith that God has a perfect plan, but the human side of her is scared of the brain radiation when (as Tom says) they “fry her egg.” She’s been experiencing a lot of pain which is testing her faith – and like any child, having her Mommy & Daddy with her is going to comfort her and help ease her fears. Plus, Jennifer, Daddy and I are about running on empty after this past week… I’m looking forward to having the extra help since we don’t want to leave her by herself at all anymore.
Anyway, I’m sorry this email is grim – I’ve just gotten to the place where I can’t make it pretty anymore. If God doesn’t touch her, there’s a good chance that she’s not going to see her 51st birthday. That’s why I sent the update to the entire family – they all need to know what kind of monster we’re battling. I love you and hope that you’re doing ok with all of this. This is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, or that I probably (hopefully) ever will do. I just want you to know that you’re really, really important to us, and Mama needs “her brudda” right now more than she’s ever needed him.
We love you!
I’ve just had it. Had it, had it, had it. And I printed it out and read it to Jennifer, who was in her car, and we discussed that Grandma and Grandpa might need a verbal version of the same conversation. I’m sick of letting them pretend that everything is fine, that Mama has the flu, and that she’ll be better soon. She’s NOT going to be better soon – barring a 100% miracle, the doctors are only going to be able to hold the beast at bay for 6-9 more months AT THE MOST. It’s just ridiculous that we’re having to flipping babysit these adults. WE are the children here…. But you sure wouldn’t be able to tell that from the last few weeks. Daddy has just about maxed it out with me. Bobby had Rob come to Townville last night to do some measurements of the patio, and Daddy could not have been more uncordial without being just outright rude. He said to Bobby “You know how much I’m going to pay on this idea? ZERO!” and made a zero with his fingers for emphasis. He just doesn’t get it. He’s trying really hard, and he does care about Mama in his own way, but ultimately, he’s just a selfish person. He only cares about himself and his goals – the care and effort that he extends to Mama is just that – an effort. An unnatural effort that inconveniences him and keeps him from his debt payoff goals and CeilBrite. Tom nailed it the other night when he said that Daddy’s not going to Michelin because he DOESN’T WANT to go to Michelin – this sounds really, really ugly, but he’s just using Mama as an excuse not to go to a place he’s always hated.

And Grandma and Grandpa are finally on their way down… I guess all the tomatoes are done, so they were able to work Mama into their schedule. Why do I have a feeling that them coming down is going to add two more people that we have to take care of? Grandma can’t drive, Mama’s already saying that we need to “beg” Grandpa to stay until Maggie’s born…. Now why the hell should I have to do that? If he can’t see that he’s needed down here, then its really better that he leave. For all of us.

Uncle Rocky wrote me back.

hey girl ! keep your chin up, I know it’s a trying time. I can’t seem to sleep and it’s on my mind all day. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be face to face with it every day! we are planning to come down soon, Anna called me this morning, she wants to come and bring Benjamin. I’ve been trying to wait until it cools off a little, no a/c on my van. I paid 300 bucks to have it fixed and two compressors later and still no air…..anyway it looks like I may be tied up the next couple of weekends, but Anna wants to come round the end of sept. Brady is going out of town then and she’s coming up to stay with us. I have been planning on discussing it with Aunt Jeannie, about her coming down for maybe a week to help out. I may ride down with dad when he comes back. in the meantime we’ll just keep believing, it has gotten way past anything man can do. we can’t know Gods plan…. but I’m sure he has one. but were just human, and can’t help but wonder why ?????? I know this is not much help but I do love you guy and will keep on praying for all of you as well as Dede.
keep in touch !

I just don’t get it… the attitude that I’m getting is something that I just don’t understand. It’s like he’s not even talking about Mama, his sister, his only sibling – it’s like he’s talking about someone else. “A trying time”, “face to face with it every day”, “I’ve been trying to wait until it cools off a little, there’s no air in my van”, “I may be tied up the next couple of weekends.” WHAT?!? It’s not a “trying time” – it’s the end of life as we knew it, and nothing will ever be right again. “Face to face with it” – it’s not an “it”, it’s MY MOTHER, YOUR SISTER. And the whole air conditioning and “tied up the next couple of weekends” – what the hell?!? I don’t even know how to respond to that. I feel like writing him and really just SCREAMING at him. I feel like cancer hasn’t changed the lives of the people in Virginia at all. It’s like they don’t even FEEL what’s happening – everything is still being handled in a slow, leisurely fashion…. They’ll come down to see their daughter/sister when the tomatoes are canned, when it cools off, when they take care of whatever pressing emergencies they have for the next few weekends (and I’m sure it’s urgent – he probably has a dulcimer class or something). It just infuriates me and I don’t want to completely let loose on them because I know that it would upset Mama, but my god, I am never, NEVER going to see my VA relatives in the same way. They suck. They’re horrible. They’re selfish and cruel and self-centered and self-righteous