We didn’t know it, that first day of Tessa’s swim team practice in the spring of 2010, but our lives were about to be sliced in two.
Before: we were consumed with the end of the school year. There were report cards, field days, deciding on next year’s school, assemblies. We’d had a wind storm the night before that blew our shed off its foundation. Roger was dealing with some serious problems at work that were weighing him down. I was preparing for a big conference and was feeling similarly weighed down.
Little did we know how heavy things would get.
Minutes after Roger told me “I don’t know if I can take anymore. It’s just too much,” his cell phone rang. It was the slash that would govern our lives for the coming year and beyond.
His dad reported that his mom had had a CAT scan for some pain in her side. It revealed masses on her lung and liver.
Over the next days and weeks the full diagnosis emerged: Stage 4 lung cancer, metastasized to her liver, lymph and bones.
How could this be? Grandma Marshmallow had just visited us for Christmas. She spent Easter with us, and we’d gotten up at 4 in the morning and enjoyed a glorious sunrise at Red Rocks amphitheater together. Surely this diagnosis must be a mistake. Not Lisa, a non-smoker who ate healthfully and was physically active, a loving and well-loved person. Surely she would beat the odds with treatments.
We visited her last summer during her early rounds of chemo. We visited in the winter when the doctors said there was nothing more that could be done. Roger and I met his parents in Florida in February while we were on a business trip. We spent Spring Break with her just weeks ago. Those were her waning days when Grandma Marshmallow was all but bedridden, her energy depleted, her spirit straddling two worlds. We teared up at our goodbyes, knowing we’d likely not see or hear her again.
Grandma Lisa died on April 12 at 8:38 in the morning. Roger had gotten to her side hours before. She was surrounded by her loving husband, son and daughter.
This will take some processing, so bear with me.