When we moved here in 2010, we were thrilled to finally live near some family, my aunt and uncle. We move around so much that this is a luxury that we really haven't had ever. It has been a huge blessing to us.
A year ago, Aunt Cindy had her appendix out and they found the cancer. So began her year long fight. This woman had some serious style and grace, and I always thought of her as the Jackie Kennedy of cancer patients. Until Thanksgiving I could see hardly any effects of the treatment or the disease. This is not to say she didn't have any, only that she didn't let it show and certainly never complained. She didn't like to talk much about it. I remember Isaac asking her once if she was "better yet." I am sure he was confused since she didn't look sick and yet we prayed for her healing as a family every night. She replied simply, "I'm trying."
On Christmas day, we were at their house and she was definitely a lot weaker. It was shortly after that when they decided to stop treatment. When we heard that news we dropped everything and went to visit her that very day. She was having a "good" day, my uncle had told me. So we jumped at the opportunity since just a few days before we were over for a visit and we were not able to see her since she was sleeping the whole time. This was nearly one week ago today. I didn't know that would be the last time we would ever see her. If I had known I would have made sure she knew how much she meant to me, to us. If I had known I would have told her that I hung up the plaster heart hand-prints she helped the kids make for my Christmas present. For some reason it slipped my mind that day, but I had intended to tell her how nice it looked on my bedroom wall with their photos. If I had known I would have prepared the kids more for a calmer visit. I would have brought coloring books or something to keep them busy in the confines of her bedroom. If I had known I would have written her that letter that was on my to-do list for tomorrow to tell her all the things that I could not say.
But I didn't know. I thought we had more time. We always think that, don't we? Thankfully though, for every I wish I had known, there is an I'm glad that. I'm glad that we went to see her that day, on a "good" day. I'm glad that she got to hold Drew that day and he brought her a little bit of joy. I'm glad that she didn't have a long drawn out time of suffering and that her pain was easily managed. I'm glad that she had the chance to say and do the things she wanted to before she left this earth. I'm glad that her three girls are grown and out of the nest. As a daughter, I know you always need your mom no matter how old you are. You are never old enough to lose your mom. But as a mom, I know raising your kids, teaching them, and getting them to that place of independence is so very important since no one can love and raise your kids the way you would.
Cindy passed away early this morning. She was only 47. She will be so greatly missed. She was a friend to me and a surrogate grandmother to my children. My heart and prayers are with my uncle and cousins during this incredibly difficult time. I only hope I can be of some help to them.