Boys and Loss

A week ago today, my cousin’s wife lost her battle with breast cancer. Although, she is in heaven now, I don’t actually feel she lost at all. She fought bravely, with grace, courage and beauty. She maintained her faith throughout, and was strong for everyone else. Kathy showed us all what it means to have family and friends in our lives. She lived her life up until the very end. When I got “the phone call” the wind was knocked out of my sails to say the least. I was devastated for Chandon, auntie Mary Jo, Taylor, Taylor’s babe and Kathy’s family and friends. I cried. And cried.

The eldest has trouble with empathy. He loves his family so much that I often forget. He struggled to understand why I would be so upset. After all, we didn’t see them often. I explained my grief the best I could and went about the business of packing our bags to make the drive to say our final good byes.

On the day of the visitation, I talked again to the boys about what was not appropriate. When we arrived, Chandon was greeting people. Accepting hugs, “I love you(s),” and condolences. The eldest, of his own accord, walked up to this cowboy in his starched white shirt and “pink for gray” bracelet, who is more a brother to me than a cousin, and hugged him tight. Joe looked him in the eye and said, “I’m sorry for your loss.”. One single tear trailed down this brave cowboy’s face. He bent down to reply, but couldn’t. Later after the funeral, as we all gathered at Kathy’s sisters, Chandon said he wanted to say something to Joe, but the words were stuck in his throat.

As we were driving home yesterday from my dad’s Joe asked why there had to be cancer in the world. I said, “Baby, I just don’t know.”. My youngest babe says, “Taylor’s baby still has her grandma.”. I say, “No, baby, her grandma is in heaven.”. Chet says, “No, mama. I mean just like we all have Jesus with us always, the baby will have her grandma with her always.”. What you have to know is that we are not a particularly religious family. We (sometimes) make it to Christmas eve and maybe (ok rarely) Easter services. We tend to find God when we are with our family, or fishing, or at the beach, or in the company of our friends…Chet’s had three school years of once weekly chapel that must have really sunken in.

I’m so very proud of my boys for really grasping the important things in life. Sometimes, it takes five and a half and seven and a half year old boys to show grownups how to travel through this inevitable part of life…loss.


Bone graft. Check.

We have to wait eight weeks to make sure the graft takes before we can know for sure, but we know now we can do it.

This was one of the hardest times letting Joe go back; perhaps the only time worse was the first time. It. Never. Gets. Easier…to hand your child over to a surgeon no matter how gifted he or she may be. Joe’s goofy juice had not kicked in when they came to take him back. He was not a happy camper. It was all I could do to let (ok make) him go.

The surgeon thinks it went well. For now, he has pain in his hip where they took the graft from. He’s walking well. Still a little wobbly. The swelling has begun as has the bruising. He’s being SUCH a trooper and really trying hard to do what we tell him. I am so proud.

I have some complaints about our stay at the hospital and will voice them when the time comes. I will say this, don’t go into nursing (pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology especially) if you can’t separate and compartmentalize your bad day. My kid that hasn’t had anything to eat or drink (other than the water he just vomited) should NOT have to hear you complain about your busy day and that you haven’t had lunch. Oh and his mama and daddy won’t be happy with you either! Be kind to your patients; if you can’t do that, perhaps it’s time for you to move out of the surgical ward where people NEED pain meds. Be kind when you explain to a HUNGRY child why he is on clear liquids. Just be nice or get another job! Stepping off soap box.

The brudders are happy to be reunited! Both claim they didn’t sleep well without the other. On the way home, we were telling Joe about people from across the globe wishing him well. He said, “I am world famous!”. He decided to write a book about himself; with one chapter dedicated to the best little brother in the world titled “Chet, I couldn’t do it without you.”. Their reunion brought tears to my eyes. Chet kissed Joe in the forehead and got down next to him. They only had eyes for each other…

I am blessed.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers. We appreciate you all!

K and co


Treatment plan…you know how I like a plan!

We have knowledge now of our long term treatment plan for the eldest; I am a woman who likes a plan. On Monday or Tuesday (crap that’s only 5 or 6 days away!!!) we will have bone graft surgery. At that time the cranio doc will remove one loose baby tooth. There will be an 8 week recovery period; after that, we will go in for an x-ray to make sure the graft took (fingers an toes crossed…knocking on wood). Then, we (in the royal sense) will have five (count them ONE. TWO. THREE. FOUR. FIVE!) teeth extracted. The orthodontist said not to worry; the permanent teeth will be in within a matter of a week or so. Then, another eight week recovery period. Then, new molds, x-rays, etc. Then EXPANSION! We don’t know exactly how long this part will take, but I’m guessing 6 months. Then, more molds, etc. Then orthodontia begins. It’s nerve wracking. The thought of Joe just healing to have more done is unsettling at best, but it is what needs to be done. In the end, it will be okay. Now that I have a “plan” I can focus on the first step. Isn’t that strange? The first step is always the first. I don’t know why I can’t focus on the first step without knowing where it will lead…