a rainbow at Mercy House

On Wednesday evening, I drove to Mercy House, the hospice residence where my mother lives, during a sun-shower after a heavy downpour. Given the time of day and the moisture in the air, I started to look for a rainbow. When I turned east, a full rainbow appeared before me, one end of it resting on Mercy House.

What I didn’t know at the time was that Phatar, a twelve-year-old who was also in residence at Mercy House, had become unresponsive and would pass away the following day, surrounded by the love of family, friends, and caregivers.

On Friday morning, the door to Phatar’s room was open, his bed made with the quilt pulled up. Near his pillow was a little memorial with a flower, the United States flag that had been on his door, a little poem that had been posted in his room, and his handprint in green paint on white canvas.

This morning at church, Father Clarence told Phatar’s story during the homily, about his cancer diagnosis, about his final months at Mercy House, about his desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and his baptism, and the comfort that brought him in his final weeks. There were smiles and tears as we listened.

Our mix of emotions in reacting to death is always complex, but I think most people have a particularly strong sense of sadness at the death of a child. It has also been sad watching Phatar’s mom these last months, suffering through every parent’s nightmare of the illness and death of their child. Still, I am grateful to have met Phatar and to know that he is now at peace.

The next time I see a rainbow, I will think of him.

Advertisements

SoCS: the end of no-shave November

Every November here in the United States, there is an awareness campaign for prostate cancer. It is called No Shave November and people participate by not shaving for the month. There are also fundraisers organized around the event.

My husband B has participated in this initiative in honor of a co-worker who is a prostate cancer survivor.

It is now December fourth, but B still has his new beard! He has been getting lots of positive feedback on the look and has decided to keep it, at least for another month.

For him, it may be no-shave November and December – and maybe longer!
*****
Linda’s prompt for this Stream of Consciousness Saturdays was a word beginning with “sh”. Linda did everything in a timely manner; I am the one not posting until Sunday! ¬†ūüėČ Find out more here: ¬†https://lindaghill.com/2016/12/02/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-316/

 

March 25th

March 25th, 2016 was Good Friday.

So was March 25th, 2005.

The only reason I remember that fact was that that was the day my friend Angie died.

When she died after fighting cancer for over four years, both of B’s parents were still alive. His dad died in July, 2005, also from cancer; his mom, on Tuesday of Holy Week, just a few days before the 11th anniversary of Angie’s death.

In the early morning hours of March 25th, when I couldn’t sleep, I visited the website of the the charity that Angie’s family established in her memory. I always make a donation on March 25th and on October 25th, which was Angie’s birthday.

This year, the paypal link was broken, so I emailed to ask about it.

Her eldest son sent me a reply and set about getting the link fixed. He also sent me a wonderful photo of his daughter, whose middle name is Angeline, after the grandmother she will never meet on this earth. In the photo, she has a marker in her tiny hand. She may be an artist, like Angie.

Life goes on.

 

Remembrances on Sunday

Today would have been my friend Angie‘s 65th birthday and I just sent a contribution to her memorial fund. In the brief note that I sent to her family, I noted that I can’t imagine that Angie would have “retired” because she was all about love and service and would not have stopped doing that. I am honoring her memory today and remembering her family and friends who have been without her physical presence for over ten years.

As it happens, two of my college friends lost their mothers this month, one unexpectedly and one after a long period of illness, so I am sending thoughts and prayers out to Sally and Tricia, their moms, and their families.

Two friends are dealing with a sudden medical emergency with their loved ones. One’s husband’s life was saved by emergency open heart surgery. The other’s asymptomatic brother was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer at his first screening colonoscopy at age 50. Both men are facing a long road to recovery and I am holding them and their whole families in thought and prayer as well.

Yesterday, I attended vigil mass at St. Joseph’s, which was the long-time church home of my friend Marcia, whom we lost to ovarian cancer several years ago. ¬†Last month was ovarian cancer awareness month, with several big fundraising events. There has been some progress in detection and treatment since Marcia died and I hope that the advances will help her descendants to lead long, healthy lives.

It’s a quiet Sunday morning. Soon, B and I will head up to Good Shepherd Village to visit Grandma, Nana, and Paco with an extra measure of thankfulness.

Candles of Hope

People who often visit Top of JC’s Mind know that I tend to write excited, squealing posts any time a poem gets accepted and again when it is actually published.

This past spring, however, I did not post when the Candles of Hope anthology, to which I am a contributor, became available in print.

It’s complicated.

The subtitle of the anthology is “A Collection of Cancer Poetry” and it was edited by Wendy Lawrence of GWL Publishing to raise funds for Topic of Cancer, a UK charity.

The poem I submitted can be found here.  I had written it late one night and posted it without giving any thought that it might one day be published in print. Wendy had put out a call for poems about cancer for the anthology several months later and my poem was accepted. Last October, when I was writing the note that accompanies the poem in the anthology, I was happy to report that K was in remission.

This spring, as the book was released, we found out that K was having a recurrence.

I couldn’t bring myself to publicly celebrate a publication, knowing that K was facing difficult treatment decisions, especially as the chemo that achieved the remission last year very nearly killed her.

I decided to share the news and the link today because K, while still under treatment, seems to be doing quite well. She is able to be out and about and able to attend some events at church.

I would like to ask everyone who reads this to send prayers, healing thoughts, good energy, or whatever fits with your own belief system for K.

With thanks,
JC