Originally written on Tuesday 10/25/2016.
It’s tough to pinpoint how it feels. My feelings change so frequently. I don’t even know why I try to figure it out. But at this moment, during this sentence, I’m feeling really sad. It’s terrible that she was tortured the way she was at different times. Very few people in this world deserve to go through what she had to go through. Certainly not sweet Margie.
Luckily, I haven’t found myself feeling too sad for prolonged periods each day. I keep reminding myself to be grateful no matter how fucked up this shit is. To my surprise, I woke up feeling somewhat content. She’s in less pain now… less discomfort. But the confusion she has about where she is and what’s happening is painful to watch. It’s starting to occur each time she wakes up, in between her naps that are growing in length.
She’s so beautiful when she naps and so beautiful when she wakes up. She doesn’t wake up for long… a few seconds here, a couple of minutes there. I don’t know how she does it, but she always cracks one of her incredible smiles. It’s the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen.
Margie has always been pretty simple. She loves her family, her sleep, her T.J. Maxx, her Mike and Ikes, her chocolate desserts, and a good prank call. And the “nice” things… her Audi, that awkward, expensive side table in the living room that I can’t seem to figure out how to put to use. She cracks me up with the furniture… always rearranging. And then rearranging some more. I’m so glad I caught her on video rearranging that one time at 2 am. We laugh every time we watch it. Most people would find it creepy, but she loved it when we kids watched over her from the Dropcam. I bought it for her shortly after her diagnosis so she could watch the dogs during her 6-hour treatments. She thought it was the coolest gift ever.
We are all that matters to her. Her untrained but cute seven-year-old dog, her best friend, us son in-laws, her daughter in law, her current and future grandkids, her sons, her daughters, and her husband. It sure sounds like a lot of us… but it doesn’t feel like it. We need to remember how many other people love her like we do even though they’re not here every day. I know she loves them too. She’s just so sweet that she wants as few people as possible to have to see her in this state, here at this place.
I don’t know how she does it, but she somehow finds the strength to tell us she can’t believe that we’re all here all the time. She wants us to go home and is worried about us being tired. Sometimes she wants to come back with us. She just woke up, pointed at me, and asked if I’ll take her “home.”
Dammit. Why the hell is this happening?
Her cancer is so complex. That’s how doctors have described it to us. “It’s a complex case,” they say. But why does such a sweet, beautiful, simple woman have such a complex case of cancer? Why did she have cancer numerous times? How was she only given six months to live… just about two years ago now?
It’s so unfair.
Her body is so frail, but her strength through it all, even to this day, is inspirational. She’s amazing. If she went through all of that, we could make it through all of this, right?
This fucking sucks. But it is what it is.
Thanks for everything, Margie. For putting up such a tough fight… and for loving us so much. I accept that it’s your time. I know you’re ready. As promised, I’ll take care of your baby.
I’m going to miss you. We’re all going to miss you. I love you Margie.
Margie passed away in the early hours of Friday, November 4, 2016. Which in true Margie fashion means, she surpassed medical experts’ expectations yet again, but only by a few hours this time.
We could never have imagined what happened next. My wife’s father, Margie’s Husband, Arnee, was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), just months after she passed. Boom. We’re going through it all again… the shock that comes with the news of a very poor prognosis, which is explained best by Matt Bencke in “The Day I Found Out My Life Was Hanging By a Thread.” All of the planning… what’s the treatment plan? Who is going to go each time? Who should we tell first? What about work? Who is taking out the dogs? Why is this happening? What the fuck?! We’ll get through it. Will we? We’ll be supportive and try. It’s what we do.
Once again, life is put on hold. Constant care taking with little time for ourselves. Mentally exhausted, nightly conversations about dreams of a simpler life. Perhaps early retirement with a small family on the beach in the middle of nowhere. Ahh, sounds nice.
But this situation wasn’t the same as with Margie. He didn’t stand a chance. Although determined to beat it, we had to rush him to Hopkins with pneumonia-like symptoms on the eight-month anniversary of Margie’s passing. We were saying goodbye two weeks later.
And just like that, my wife lost both of her parents… in under a year. The baby of the family, the first of her friends to not just lose a single parent, but both.
Fuck you cancer🖕🏽.
Matt Bencke wrote, “If I get a soapbox, here’s my short shtick: We are all so fragile. Each day is precious. And the most important parts of our lives are the relationships we invest in.”
FWIW, I hope I can give people like Matt peace of mind when I say that the people left behind will be OK, including his daughters. It fucking sucks that it has to be this way, but that’s life… bad shit happens to good people. We would do anything to rewrite recent history, but that’s not how life goes. When tragedy strikes, just remember that it could always be worse… That’s the only non-bullshit line I can tell myself that I actually believe. And when I do, the weight of the current situation doesn’t feel quite as heavy.