Friday, January 23, 2009

No regrets.

Are you married to a Wiseman? I am.

Last Friday, Kenny gave me some great advice: "Jill, while it may not be a fun trip, and it will be a long drive, and I'm sure there's lots of other things you could tell yourself that you HAVE to do this weekend, you absolutely won't regret going [to Utah]. However, you very likely would regret NOT going. Just go. You'll be fine."

I'm glad I went. I got to visit this lovely lady: my Grandma N. 

She's been...well, under the weather for some time now. At Christmas her weight fell to around 115 lbs ("the size of a teenager!" in her - very excited - words) and she started going in for more testing. Well last week she was officially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On Friday night (the evening of Kenny's now legendary wisdom) her doctors confirmed the cancer had spread to her liver. She has three to six months.   

So I went to Utah. Alone. And drove a very long time. Alone. (Well, I guess I could say that David Bowie made for some pretty fantastic company on the drive, but still...I was alone.)

But I made it.

I got to spend a lot of time with my dad's family whom I really don't see enough; a few I haven't seen since my wedding! Most importantly I got to see my dad's mother, the best example of Love and Acceptance I've ever known.

Here's my family: Grandma, Dad, Mom, me, Anna, Becca, and Ryan
And my dad's sister, Pam, her husband, and one of her kids, Kim.
Grandma, Uncle Greg (throwing the bunny ears - classy), Dad, and Aunt Jenny.
Side note/Funny Story: with Pancreatic cancer often comes diabetes (check) and apparently jaundice (check again). Grandma was pretty yellow when I saw her, and I'm told it was much worse earlier in the week.  She was so orange that my four-year-old cousin is convinced that too much Mac & Cheese is to blame.  He wouldn't go near the stuff.

I didn't get a picture of Uncle Doug and Aunt Kathy, but here is my Grandma proudly showing off the quilt they bought her.  She plans to use it during Chemo.
My Grandma's husband, Glayde.  Such a sweet man.  

Side note/funny story: Glayde is a romantic.  He proposed to my grandmother at the place they first met: the cemetery.  For reals.  They were both visiting their respective (late) spouse's grave when they met.  Man, I love stuff like that.
Mother and Son.  My dad has kept a pretty diligent watch.
Okay, my family can't remain serious for very long, nor are we particularly reverent/respectful. Sorry in advance.

Ryan spotted these stairs. "It seems like such an unnecessary use of stairs" he quipped, and then proceeded to feign an injury/handicap as he demonstrated it's usage.
My Uncle Greg took my camera on a photo tour of the hospital (thanks again for that, Greg) and found some religious literature in the Chapel, which we found later.  Somehow its message strikes me as a tad bit macabre. "Should you fear Hell?"  Really? In a hospital?

Apparently half my family has the fear and the other is already soaring with the angels.
I'll close with this photo, taken by Greg on his photo tour.
I love you, Grandma.


Freddy and Mandy said...

What a sweet trip. I'm glad you got to enjoy some time with important people. I love families with senses of humor... even in rough times.

Meikel said...

Beautiful post, and I totally agree with your cousin Mac 'ncheese will totally turn you orange.

Nielsen's Training Systems said...

Jill, it was great having you here. Grandma mentioned several times that she is glad you came.

Melissa Tiek said...

I am glad you got to see your grandma. I would have been regretful if I had not seen my grandma before she died. And yeah...that is a totally macabre title to have in a hospital chapel.

jill said...

Very lovely post. I am better for having read it.

Erin | Adam said...

I hope your Grandma recovers quickly, she seems so sweet.

Reader peter and Camillie kay said...

jill, it was so awsome of kenny to encourage you to take that long and most dreadful (for me at least) trip. (i hate driving)
your family is so lucky to have at least 3 to 6 months with that sweet little lady. your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

its a good thing your family has a good and fun sense of humor. make some fun memories for the next little bit.

Ryel j Photography said...

Kenny has wisdom... you have the strength like no other to drive that distance alone (and I'm assuming beginning at night). I hope your Grandma N has great results in Chemo and recovers fast! We'll be praying for her and your family.

Your family outlook is tack sharp and point on! :)

Ken said...

Jill, I hope everything goes well with your grandmother. That is a great thing you did to travel a that way to see her. I know it meant very much to her. We love you and of course we love Kenny also. Ken