There is definitely some humor in recreating the dining room scene from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. Watching Francois spin in circles as he looked for a receptacle, any receptacle, to catch what I had motioned to him was coming, definitely amped it up. But the problem with this spontaneous restaurant vomiting episode (and no, no other customers were harmed in the making of this scene. We were the last clients at the Sleeping Lady Resort’s Kingfisher Dining Hall.), the problem with this episode is that it was clearly about my liver getting so large there was no room for my stomach, or more specifically, those last two Tablespoons of Chamomile tea I sipped down. And then slupped up.
My 80-year old aunt visited this weekend from Lancaster, PA. We visited the Chihuly Glass Museum in Seattle and ate at Collectibles restaurant. We visited Pike’s Market and hosted a crabfest with my nearest and dearest. We even ventured on a walk into the wooded, hilly, park in our backyard. Hanging out with Aunt Shirley is always a treat. She’s the aunt who wrote me hundreds of letters while I was traveling in college. When I was a middle-schooler, she sent me the very best books to read from her lovely bookstore. She married into the 50’s culture and joined my mother in helping to ensure her children, nieces, and nephews marched towards the 21st century.
Hanging out with Aunt Shirley for three days was my exact energy match. I’m 80 years old now.
Except I’m not. It turns out her heart was failing while she was here. They had an emergency procedure to put in a pacemaker the day after she returned to Lancaster. Ha ha. So I’m an equal match to my 80-year old aunt in the middle of heart failure.
There’s something comical in that!
I misjudge how weak I’m getting. I think it’s because my lovely family and friends make me feel so alive and present. Francois, Serena, Ramona, Medora, Janis, Breck, and from down in Eugene, Kaylea, my core group, the ones who are there supporting me so often I don’t even notice I’m being supported. They ones who create a family holiday, with hearty laughter and just enough kid chaos, out of any weekend dinner. The ones who send a text cartoon, a hello-how-are-ya, without really needing a response. And let me have a weekend off completely from socializing when I need it, too.
And it was all so easy. The generosity of my aunt, and my cousins for supporting her in this, let me finish a few edges of chaos that still hung around the corners of my life, layers of mess created by years of overextending and quite a bit of willful neglect. Now, after fixing all the broken and worn out spaces in my home, I had my house and garden cleaned! (It’s amazing how much easier it is to have visits when you don’t have to be afraid of what the kids might step into, outside — or what the guests might find in the kids’ bathroom…)
Francois and I just came back from a mid-week trip to Sleeping Lady Resort. The trip was made possible by Breck and Ramona, who came to live at our house with our kids while we were gone, and Jana and Dave Gordon, who’ve become my neighborhood backup family for Paul.
Maintaining intimacy in a marriage over 25 years is hard. Then add kids. Then add cancer. Then add terminal cancer. It takes some mindful intention to create spaces long and nurturing enough for the kind of unfolding we have to do.
It’s been a lovely week of soft, messy cotton sheets and sunlight gardens.
And very small sips of tea.