It has been a long year. Already. Or maybe it is still November. I'm not quite sure. This won't rank among the most interesting of rambles for folks who don't know me well, but I feel a need to record this period of time.
Life has been a bit of a blur since my cousin's wedding in mid-November. That was the first time in a while I'd seen my uncle and he'd definitely gone downhill healthwise. He fought to walk her down the aisle and the father/daughter dance caused a mix of tears.
Thanksgiving (with the same family branch) was not long after, followed by my trip to a new surgeon....still facing delays in getting the tests I need to move ahead on that front. Once again, I was reminded that being interesting and unique is not a positive in the world of spine surgery.
At the same time I was seeing the doc, MM had seen his mom and found her struggling healthwise. On the heels of that visit, she had a cardiac test that led to the immediate scheduling of a triple bypass in mid-December. MM left from her house for a week-long work trip and came home for only a day or so before we headed back out to his mom's. The surgery had shifted our holiday plans from her coming to visit to us staying at her house and checking her out of a rehab hospital (a hard place to visit, let alone stay) for day visits. She's done very well, beating all the doctor's expectations, but is was a tough fight for her and hard for her son to watch. Amid the holiday visit, my lacking immune system showed its face again and the trip out there also included a short but nasty virus...I am so glad I didn't share that with MM's mom (I was really worried since she was at risk for infections and other problems).
We came home to a snow-filled driveway and we passed into 2013 with more winter weather. In the early days of the year, MM heard from a friend en route to a cancer benefit that, in a "small world" moment, turned out to be for a cousin MM hadn't seen since childhood. The cousin passed away while people gathered for a benefit for his care. Then came the call that MM's brother-in-law had died suddenly. We packed quickly and hit the road. We stayed at my mom's for several days (it is in the same area as the relevant family members) while MM helped his sister with both emotional and practical issues, including preparing to close out the man's landscaping business which was in need of a lot of attention. I just focused on being there for MM since he'd lost someone very important to him and pitching in where I could. We both kept watchful eyes on the grieving children (a nine year-old, two college aged, and a step-daughter in her mid-twenties).
Amidst this all, my uncle has fallen sicker. He's been batting brain cancer for three years and there has been a downhill turn in the past months. It has been tough on my mom (and, of course, my aunt and cousins, including the newlyweds), At one point, it looked like we might have to extend our visit to include another funeral (MM had gone to the cousin's on Friday since we were in town, we both went to the brother-in-law's on Monday evening). We debated having me stay and MM come back home until I called with news (the four-hour trip is tough for me), but they extended the projection a bit and we decided we couldn't stay in static waiting mode. We both came home last night (Tues). We know the next call will come soon and we'll both go back to help my mom and then see the rest of my family in New Jersey (the NYC suburbs).
The recent weeks have taken a toll on both of us. I feel like it has been a lifetime since November....I heard strangers extend New Years wishes over the weekend and was totally thrown to realize that was still appropriate. I'm a physical mess (and still waiting on the insurance company to approve my CAT scan). The emotional toll's been more on MM's side and I've been in the support role, but that's shifting. I'm glad I've been able to be there for him and that I have him there for me. Being an Us is helpful in these times.
I'm trying to rest up during this lull and hold on to a period of normalcy. I think we'll need to reboot 2013 once we get through the next few weeks.