I'm up way too late, but I don't care. I'm 22 years old and I can do what I want. That's what I like to tell myself, at least.
A week and a half from now, it will have been a year since my mom died. September 29th is the anniversary of her passing away.
A lot has happened since then; some good, some not so good. In March, our family found out that my dad has a Melanoma. Those of you who follow me on twitter might remember the exact day, because I freaked out just hearing the 'C' word.
Dad had a few surgeries. One to remove the melanoma in early April, another to remove certain inguinal lymph nodes on April 29th. In case you don't know why I would remember the specific date, April 29th happens to be my birthday. My first birthday without my mom and I spent it in a hospital room looking after my dad.
Luckily, I had a friend who was kind enough to bring a wonderful goody bag full of party supplies and treats and presents to me the day before, so when I got to the hospital, I could have my own little party while dad was drugged up and knocked out.
Also, luckily, I had a friend, who had spent a lot of time in that same hospital as a child, come visit me while dad was in surgery, so I didn't have to wait alone. He showed me where the little room was to get dad water or juice or something, and he showed me where the extra linens were. He even kept dad company with me while he was there (and while dad was awake). The guy spent at least 8 hours at the hospital with me, playing bored games with me, chatting it up with dad, and just being there.
In the summer, Dad started an ongoing treatment. He's doing some 'immuno-therapy' stuff, called 'interferon' (sp?). Basically, it's a month (five days a week for four weeks) of high dose meds that make him feel like he's got the flu, and 48 weeks of low dose, less frequent (three times a week) shots that he's been giving himself.
He got an infection a couple weeks ago and none of the antibiotics they tried slowed it down, so they had to go in surgically and remove everything, so that stunk. He spent a week in the hospital, and I spent three days there until he made me go home to take care of the house.
Things have been calmer since then, and I'm glad. I have time to reflect upon the things that have happened this year, and I have time to remember when everything was easy.
I'm still grateful to have a wonderful family, and I'm thankful to still have one parent. I'm thankful for everything my mother was while she was here, and to the wonderful example she set. I'm grateful for the support of our friends here, who, the day they heard dad was in the hospital, sent flowers, visited us, and had us over for dessert and movies and games.
It's just Dad, myself, and my two little brothers at home now, so when dad's not around, it feels like we're a broken family or something. Thankfully, we have a wonderful bunch of friends who are there for us, and we can rely on them for anything, even if it's just a night of company and fellowship to keep our minds off of things.
Yeah, life could stand to be a little easier, but I'm grateful that it's not worse, and that we're going through everything as a family. We still laugh and play and talk and watch movies together, and we say "I love you" to each other more often, and I'm thankful for the trials we've been handed, because they've helped us grow stronger and closer.
I miss you, mom, and I wish you were here, and even though I know you aren't coming back, I hope, at least, you're watching us, and that you're proud of how we've managed so far without you. I know I'll see you again, but until then, my memories of your life and your love will have to do to keep me company when I think I can't handle things.
"And when one of us is gone
and one of us is left to carry on
then remembering will have to do.
Our memories alone will get us through.
Think about the days of me and you.
You and me against the world."