|Leaves and graupel on my lawn|
Today is the 53rd anniversary of my mother's death. It is the 80th anniversary of the end of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, the night that changed the course of thousands of lives forever.
Today is the day a high school/college friend's California family fled their homes as fires neared.
It is the day I ponder the news I received last night, the news that a cousin's wife has been handed a death sentence by cancer. That same cousin lost his older brother last year from Parkinson's disease. The call came from another cousin, one who has been the wife's very good friend for years.
My cousin's wife has inoperable brain cancer, manifested in a tumor that has already left her paralyzed on one side. The doctors say maybe she has a a month. Maybe she has up to 18 months. And now, with the clock ticking quickly, decisions must be made. Should she try to undergo chemo, knowing that it can not cure?
I was asked not to contact the family yet - they are so overwhelmed they don't want to speak to anyone. (They live about three hours from me). I respect that.
I thought about a simple card just to express that I knew and that I was sorry. I don't like a lot of the "serious illness" type cards out there. They don't feel right to me.
And, in fact, thinking back 53 years to the aftermath of my mother's death, it makes me think of the things people said to the 12 year old me that helped, and those things that were hurtful, stupid, or worse. The young teen me made a vow never to hurt people in that way.
So then I went online to see if I could find a card, and I found a lot of "warrior" type cards. I thought, does this mean that if my cousin's wife dies, she wasn't enough of a warrior?
I found a book at the library called "There is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love." It reminds me that sometimes simple is best.
My cousin is a photographer, and a man who loves puns and Monty Python. So right now, although he does not read my blog, I will send him some virtual flowers. Our last mums, mixed in with maple leaves. And then, I will go from there.
Dear cousin, I am sorry.