Posted: September 17th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Cancer, Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Miss Kate | No Comments »

Got a “not good news” call yesterday from my friend Amelia who I’ve known since we crawled around on blankets in each other’s backyards as our mothers looked fabulous in cat’s eye glasses and clam-diggers. Turns out her mother has cancer. It’s something that was just discovered in the past week, and they don’t yet know what course of action the doctors will recommend. I’m so incredibly sick of hearing about people getting cancer. What the hell is out there that’s poisoning us? And can’t it skip over the people I love?

What’s weird is that our neighbor who is pregnant just lost her father to a heart attack. And here is Amelia, eight weeks until her due date, and dealing with this horrible diagnosis that leaves her stressed out and emotional and checking on airline policies to see when and if she can fly, instead of nesting like a maniac like she should be.

At least there’s no terrible conclusive word on her condition. So I’m summoning all my powers of cancer-ridding thoughts and sending them across the country to beloved Mrs. D. Damn it.

After getting off the phone Mark and I were off to do some errands and I said I really should visit Rose first. She’s been in her final days for about a week now, and even though someone is supposed to call me from the nursing home if her “status changes,” I still wasn’t sure whether she’d be there when we arrived. I was already so sad about Mrs. D, but since geography prevented me from being with her (another adoptive granny to Kate), I’d try my luck at seeing Rose.

When we arrived, Marie, an administrator at the nursing home who loves Rose like a Mama, told us Rose was out in the garden. I had to admit that for a second I thought, “Alive in the garden?” Marie said they were able to move her into a kind of wheelchair bed and roll her out there. She was getting a manicure actually, from her son’s girlfriend. They were all out there–Rose’ twin sons and the girlfriend. Walk to the yard and turn all the way around to the left, she said, and we’d see them. “I’m sure they’d love to have you join them.”

Mark and I looked at each other as we headed for the back door. Huh. We’d been geared up to brace for news that she’d died, so it was odd shifting gears to the fact that she was getting a manicure outside. Odd but good, mind you.

Sure enough there they were. The garden was in bloom and sun was peeking in from the shade of the trees, and there was Rose in a hot pink fleece robe and black and white patterned scarf. He sons stood up when we approached (she raised ‘em right) and I introduced Mark, and we met Stephanie, Martin’s girlfriend, who was sweetly holding Rose’s hand.

Rose was more lucid than she’d been in days. She still dozed off often, but when she did open her eyes she smiled and laughed to see Kate. She even scolded us for not dressing her warmly enough. “That baby needs socks!” she said to Mark. Her sons shook their heads and chuckled. (Those twins tend to move in unison that way.)

We had a lovely visit. The weather was warm and comfortable, our sprits were high, and the garden was so peaceful and intimate that you’d never know looking down at our little party we were sitting outside a nursing home. Rose’s sons joked that according to their mother, none of us would ever be dressed warmly enough. We even took some great pictures.

It seemed, if only for a little while, Rose was back.

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