05 January 2009

Happy 2009?

Well, as my cousin said yesterday, good riddance to 2008.

He has a good reason to feel that way. His son was born 6 weeks early, quite ill, and needing lots of care. It was stressful. It's likely that the little guy will always be challenged, and it will be a while before they know whether it's limited to physical problems. But, he's a sweet little thing. I just love him to bits. I know there are lots of challenges to come, but he's so wonderful that I don't think it makes a lick of difference. I wish I'd gotten to spend more time with him. I think a trip to Boston is in definite order.

4 months later my cousin was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. For geeks who think that sounds familiar, it's the same kind Steve Jobs had (people often incorrectly refer to it as pancreatic cancer). My cousin's original treatment was fraught with issues. It was a newer (generally successful) treatment, but he kept getting infections around his stent. Now he's in old fashioned chemotherapy, and it's doing a number on him. I've never ever seen him so... wan. His entire disposition is different.

They say that cancer touches everyone, and I don't doubt that it'll get closer to me than this, but seeing how different this disease makes the victim was heartbreaking. Not only was his personality lacking, but he's lost at least 40 pounds, and he's just a shell of himself.

My paternal grandmother had cancer. It was a form of leukemia. I had just turned 11 when she died, so I barely remember her, let alone how it affected her. But this is the first time I've really experienced that change. In a couple of hours, I could tell how bad it is to deal with. This is definitely the closest I've ever been to cancer.

I certainly admire my cousin's wife for her strength. I'm sure she gets tired sometimes, too, but I hope I can deal with my life with the same grace that she displays. She obviously loves her men so much, it's so great to see. I see my friends married and in love and I get jealous sometimes because of what they have. But what I saw yesterday is even more wonderful to see, because it isn't easy. It's the "better or worse" that they talk about in the marriage vows. It's definitely what I've been missing in my relationships.

Lately, I find myself doing something akin to praying -- mostly just concentrated thinking about the people in my life who need help. I don't know if it's the same thing as what more formally religious people do, but it's definitely what I feel like doing right now. And if 2009 holds promise for my cousin to get better and his son to get stronger, then yes, good riddance 2008.

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