Sunday Thoughts

1 Jul



pink rose bud

Originally uploaded by egret’s nest

This is not one of my roses. I took this picture of a lovely climbing rose at the high school while waiting for Gage. The rose is utterly beautiful and I seriously thought about getting a cutting of it. The only reason I didn’t is that I only have one spot for a climbing rose now and I want one that I see all over the older homes here in Boulder Creek. I have to remember to get a cutting of it so I can root it and grow my own here. It’s similar to this one.

My new roses are interesting. The red one is utterly thriving. Blooming already, leaves glossy and moist — one happy rose. The one that I don’t know what color it will be is in the middle — some happy leaves, some sort of fried but I think I pruned it back enough and it will be fine. The Oregold is not happy — pouting and whining about being transplanted. All but like three of the leaves are crispy. I am planning to go out today and prune it back even further than I did — back to the happy leaves. And, yes, everyone, I’m watering, watering, watering. We’ve had great weather for it — sunny and nice but not outrageously hot.

My old roses are doing well, Buds on both of them. They seem to have forgiven me for the vigorous pruning at a weird time of year.

We are going over to my in-law’s today for our weekly Miller Mission. I hope that my father-in-law is having a good day. After seeking a 2nd opinion on his treatment from some wonderful doctors at Stanford’s Comprehensive Cancer Clinic, we are all feeling much better about his treatments. However, the decision was to end this current round of chemo. The chemo isn’t helping but is hurting his body too much. We’re hoping that with the chemo ended, his appetite will improve and he can get stronger and feel better for the time he has left. The doctor has recommended a course of steroids to help with that process.

I think the hardest thing about all of this is balancing the various emotions flowing around me. My husband and his sister are hanging desperately onto any shred of hope as a lifeline. My mother-in-law is reading my father-in-law’s emotions and feelings while she deals with the day-to-day struggle of seeing her beloved husband fail. I suspect the end is coming sooner than we think but I know that my husband and his sister aren’t ready for that.

While talking to my MIL, I told her that I never thought that anything would make me feel better about how my own father died. When I was 12, he was killed in a helicopter crash. It was unexpected, sudden, and fait acompli. There was no preparing for it, no adjusting to it. I always thought it would be better to have the time to know it was coming, to prepare, to say good-bye. Well, I don’t think it is. If I thought that the grieving we are doing now would lessen the grief when he’s gone, I could handle it better but I don’t think it will. I think this is just extending the suffering for all of us. It’s a very painful time.

Talking to my children and helping them prepare for the death of their grandfather is heartbreaking. We missed a window with my daughter. She is growing up faster than we realize at nearly 9 years old, she is much more aware than we give her credit for. Last week, I came home to find her asleep on the couch. I woke her up and she burst into tears immediately. She had overheard Greg updating a friend on the phone and figured out that Grampa was terminal. She — in her old soul, smart way — shut down until I came home and could help her deal with it. To Hell with dinner, I sat down and held her and talked to her and rocked her and stroked her hair while she railed against the unfairness of it all. My beautiful, smart, loving child.

My son is handling what he can handle in his way. He knows that the medicine that was supposed to fight off the cancer didn’t work and that the cancer is winning. But I don’t think he knows that means that Grampa will die. He knows its serious but he’s not ready for that talk yet. He’s only 7-1/2 and the difference between 7-1/2 and 9 is, apparently, more than 18 months. Who knew?

So, I am trying to stop and smell the roses in this difficult time while knowing that harder times are to come.

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9 Responses to “Sunday Thoughts”

  1. Pam 1 July, 2007 at 7:48 am #

    This has brought tears to my eyes Lizalee, for all of you, for knowing what you’re all going through, both as a granddaughter who lost my grandfather at a young age, and as a daughter. I’m with you, even though I lost my Dad way faster than I wanted to, I feel blessed that I didn’t have to handle a long, dragged out illness (been there before with my Grandmother so I know it’s not easy). {{{Hugs}}} to you and your family.

  2. Sarala 1 July, 2007 at 4:30 pm #

    It’s rough, my kids lost their grandmother, my MIL, (also to cancer) 2-1/2 years ago. They don’t mourn too much but every now and then will comment that they miss her. I feel bad that they missed out on a longer relationship with her.

  3. mary 1 July, 2007 at 5:48 pm #

    OH, Lisa. I feel your pain. Your children need you and I think you are going to be a good inspiration to them.

    Your father’s death – so sudden – made me tear up. I am sorry for your loss at a young age. At least you didn’t have to watch him die for a time…

    It’s so hard to know death is the ultimate result. I watched death unfold with my Mom for a long time and it’s hard for an adult to handle! Children are stronger than you think.

    Hang in there and keep your eyes on those roses!

  4. mary 1 July, 2007 at 5:48 pm #

    Meant to say “Liza!” Sorry for the typo.

  5. jayne 2 July, 2007 at 2:33 am #

    ((((((Liza)))))) It’s such a hard thing knowing you have to say goodbye and not knowing how much time you have to do so. I will certainly keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers as you face this transition time.

  6. robin andrea 2 July, 2007 at 7:45 am #

    That long, inevitable decline is hard on everyone. When my father was dying of liver cancer, we finally tried to take it one day at a time. I remember writing a poem that had a line in it about the last place of hope before no hope at all. Your husband and SIL will get there and recognize there is no hope for a better outcome. All that is left is one day at a time, and may they all be filled with love and compassion.

  7. Mary Carlson 2 July, 2007 at 4:57 pm #

    Liza – Just want you to know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. KGMom 2 July, 2007 at 5:41 pm #

    Oh Liza–whenever death comes, it is hard. There is something to be said for a fast death–it is a shock, but then you grieve & absorb the meaning of death all at once. Lingering deaths are harder, I think.
    For many children, their grandparents’ deaths are the first encounter they have. You are most loving & wise to understand what your daughter is going through, and to just hold her.
    Prayers & thoughts with you as you go through these coming days.

  9. Susan Gets Native 2 July, 2007 at 9:17 pm #

    I have lost loved ones both suddenly, and also have lost some after long, agonizing illness. Neither one is “easier” than the other. When someone dies suddenly, we think of all that we never got a chance to say, and have to deal with the change in our lives without being prepared for it.
    When someone dies after lingering for a long time, I think we get lulled into feeling that it won’t end. And when it does, we are almost surprised by it. Or we think that we will feel a sense of “relief” when their suffering is over. But we don’t, do we?
    Hugs to you, your DH, and your whole family. And your sweet old-souled daughter broke my heart.
    *Sending strength of heart and peace of soul to you*

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