October...a month of everything
Well hey there.
If you're friends with me on Facebook (and if not, we should be) you likely saw that my sister-in-law (wife to my husband's brother) passed away about two weeks ago. She had colon cancer and was diagnosed at stage four. She battled for almost two years.
She also was 34, a wife, and a mother. Her babies are 2 and 5. Her fur babies are much older.
A significant part of her life she spent working in humane societies and helping rescue dogs and cats. When they moved out of the state, she immediately worked to improve the animal shelter in her town.
She was a talented university graduate who worked her butt off to pay her way through college. Then her husband's medical school.
When I started dating Michael, Rachel and Adam had been married 4 years. At first I was completely overwhelmed and intimidated by this loud, outgoing, and sassy as-all-get-out woman.
(interjection - I didn't mean for this to turn into a ode, but my mind is in control and telling my fingers what to do)
She was opinionated but kind - VERY confident and came from a large extended family. This family of hers was/is the stuff of legend. They get together for epic parties all the time, hang out with each other all the time, and well, are just such.... family. Something I always wanted growing up. And something my better half's family is not (not throwing shade on my in-laws).
Anyway, it was difficult to find common ground with Rach. She was on this whole other level of familiarity with my in-laws, she and Michael had been close for nearly all their lives, and she had a close sister so she didn't really need another one. I was too needy and desperate for attention, affirmation, and acceptance that I couldn't appreciate her loud laugh, her decidedly straightforward manner, and her friendship. She awed me.
It took several years before she and I connected. We didn't see each other often and when we did, it was for short periods of time.
Three things that brought us together:
1 - I grew up a bit and got to know the family more and understand each person better. And my personality developed; I became much less reserved and more secure in myself.
2 - My inlaws. There is nothing like commiseration to bring two daughter-in-laws together. It just took one small comment and then both of us went, "I KNOW RIGHT?!" Hallelujah common ground.
3 - One of her fur babies threw up on me. I was sitting on their floor one night after going out and one of her fur babies, ahem, BAILEY, walked over to me, stood for a second, and then projectile vomited all over my lap. I sat there stunned and Rachel, who had seen the whole thing happen, just lost it. I mean, loud hysterical laughter, tears, howling, bending over gasping for air, the whole shebang. Bailey my old man, thank you for that. Thank you for giving us a memory.
Not once after Rachel was diagnosed did I ever think she was going to die. Not even after we visited her after they started hospice. When we were first told of the cancer I didn't believe it because she was young and healthy. Then I just didn't believe it because she had such fight and drive. Then I really didn't believe it because how on earth could someone you love ever leave? It's not like I thought there would be a miracle moment and Rachel would wake up healed, I just thought the chemo would work and the surgeries would be successful.
because HELLO world, young, healthy, happy, loving, caring, and giving women and mothers of babies AREN'T SUPPOSED TO DIE. They're supposed to be in the percentage that survives. That's the way it's supposed to work. That's what happens.
HEY, AUTHOR OF THE RULEBOOK. I'm pretty sure there's something in Deuteronomy about this or at least Ecclesiastes. Something in there says that precious people don't get hurt or die before their time. If not, I need to have words with You. We're not the least capable of surviving after they leave. Seriously, people dying is the worst thing to happen to other people. Except for that One who did for us.
ANYWAY. wow. This was all to say, Rachel wasn't supposed to die. And she did. And that's why I haven't been blogging. So much heaviness holding down my brain, body, and spirit.