Fran’s Journal from 12-21-04 to

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In the course of getting ready for the public sale at my in-laws house, I came across several of my mother-in-law’s journals. Today I read her last one, which had a start date of 12-21-04 but no end date (although she died in October of ’05). This one picked up right before Christmas the year before, and the last entry was in the middle of July. That was around the time she had to go to the hospital, and then into a nursing home (their choice).

I had forgotten how tough those months were. And once again I find myself regretting not spending more time with her in those last months, though I discovered that I spent more time than I thought I had. Sometimes I would go on a Saturday to do some work and stay with her so Mac (her husband) could get a break from caregiving and go fly his planes with his buddies. I remember we talked a lot, but silly me didn’t keep a journal (or blog) and those conversations are gone. I especially regret not writing down the story of how Mac proposed to her. I remember that it was sweet, and he said something very unique, something I was certain I would never forget (note to self: whenever you have the thought that you will never forget something immediately run for a pencil and paper and write down whatever it is you were thinking because you WILL forget it).

It was interesting reading her accounts of the day, pretty much what they did, where they ate (what they ate), trips to the doctor, treatments, how much she weighed, and who called. Curiously enough, for the first half of the journal she wrote “Played Ben” at the top of the page. She had gotten back into playing the piano and that must have been her favorite song because she played it every day for months. The auction was a little over a week ago and I remember seeing that sheet music. Now I wish I’d have snagged it so I could learn to play it myself. I wish I’d have kept more of that music (I only picked out a couple). But in the end what does it matter? Just more stuff to sit around and collect dust. And then someday when we pass my children are left with the what-do-I-do-with-all-this-stuff problem. Well, we hope to avoid that. I was in a clear-it-out mood tonight and got rid of a bunch of stuff.

But I digress. Back to my mother-in-law, Fran. I miss her. A lot. She never got to meet Mary (my son’s wife). She’d have loved her. And Fran was such a good cook. I could have learned so much from her. I know the 80 miles between us played into that, but what’s 80 miles? Wish I had it to do over ~sigh~.

But it does no good to keep looking in the rearview mirror. Life goes on…until one day when life as we know it ends and real life begins. No more pain. No more tears. No more cancer to rob you of loved ones. Yes, I look forward to that.

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