I felt the need yesterday to get lots of the stuff I'd been putting off done. And I'm so glad I had the forsight to do it. I don't often do things ahead of time anymore. I guess I've always been better under pressure (why I don't know because I HATE pressure). But it seems this year, with all the sh!t going on, I happened to think...maybe not the best time to just wait.
My Aunt Karen was diagnosed with cancer in May and on Monday we were told that the cells are so aggresive that the liquid they were feeding her through a shunt was giving her no nutrients, but only feeding the cancer. The cancer cells were growing so quickly that they were starting to crowd her heart and lungs that she would probably be suffocated in days to weeks. But on Tuesday, my mom called to let me know Karen's doctor had called to say that they hadn't realized she was in renal failure. Her liver had shut down. She only had hours.
Well, she passed away yesterday at 4:30pm. I'm really shaken. My kids are really shaken. Its all a bit too much and selfishly I've cried about our loss. But I've not even really wept for my cousins. My cousin Ann, 31, won't be able to have her parents around for a wedding, kids, first home. My cousin Jeff, 28, is expecting his 2nd (although this will be the family's 3rd) baby and his parents won't be able to share in the joy. My cousin Matt, 25, won't be able to have his parents by his side for a promotion, an engagement, a family. This would be devastating. I remember a huge sense of loss for a father I never really had on my wedding day. My brother, who I always knew would, walked me down the aisle. But I didn't get to dance with my father at my wedding either. This is not how life should be.
But worst of all, they won't have Mom around this Christmas. She was the rock of the family and even in all our families. If you needed a sensible, responsible answer, you knew to ask Karen. One of the best pieces of advice I ever learned from her was "To pick my battles". This is what I will remember about her.