Congrats to the New Parents!

Regular readers of the blog may remember that I was the celebrant at the wedding of friends Emily and Dustin. They have just become parents of Owen Daniel, a healthy baby boy. Whoo hoo!  Congrats also to the new grandparents on both sides, and to Uncle Danny, from whom Owen got his middle name. Wishing every happiness to the new family, and hoping Owen sleeps for more than 10 minutes at a time. 🙂

Post-Wedding: Back in Touch with Old Friends

I took zillions of pics of Ben and Sara’s wedding, even though there was a professional photographer. I went through my pics and made an album of 100 favorites, which I sent to many of my friends here and afar who knew Sara and Matt when they were younger and would, I thought, be interested. Their responses have gotten me back in touch with old friends, who’ve updated me on their lives as well.

Two are taking immunotherapy drugs that target their specific cancers, different ones. Immunotherapy offers the possibility of longer life, but it’s no walk in the park. There was a book I read a long time ago whose title is I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Yep. That’s immunotherapy. You’re here, and your treatment is a rapier not a bludgeon, like radiation and chemotherapy. But the treatment is clearly hard. Both talked about adjusting to their “new normal”. Sigh. A lot of us have to do that in one way or another as we age. Adjusting to the side effects of immunotherapy is a harder challenge than most.

On the brighter side, a friend a bit younger than I, a brilliant photographer, has now retired and is able to concentrate on her own projects. She is also a prolific gardener; her long narrow urban back yard yields a bumper crop of vegetables and luscious berries every year. She cans vegetables to eat over the winter. I recall one year when she wanted to plant corn on the square patch in front of her house, and the City of Rochester balked. I can’t remember exactly which city department said no or why. Apparently grass and shrubs and flowers pass muster, or even untended weeds or crabgrass or dirt, but not corn.

Also on the brighter side, friends whose beloved dog died have welcomed a new one into their home, and they and he are bonding. This news makes my heart smile.

I’ve gotten invitations for summer visits, and so will do a bit of domestic travel — even though summer is the most gorgeous time here in Seattle. I love seeing people I care about, and I can’t entice everyone to come here.

One friend is coming soon, though. We have lots to catch up on.

The yin and yang of life.

April 17th: Remembering Jerry

My husband Jerry, Sara and Matt’s dad, died on April 17, 2002. His death was very sudden, although an autopsy revealed that he had hidden but severe cardiovascular disease. His doctor totally missed the diagnosis, then evaded my attempts to find out what had happened — leading to a malpractice case, which I won. Jerry looked and sounded and acted vigorous and healthy, and indeed he was training for a coast to coast bike trip to celebrate his 60th birthday. But doctors are supposed to follow the evidence, which was here and there in the medical records, not perception. Jerry’s death was a sobering lesson for all of us, I’m sure the doctor too.

I was 56 when Jerry died, not so old, and the kids were in their early 20’s — formed, independent, out on their own. But it’s never “time” to lose a beloved parent, a beloved spouse.

People have often commented on how well I’ve done as an unexpectedly single woman, another example of adjusting to a “new normal”. I’m grateful for the affirmations, and generally agree. Know that it’s harder than it looks.

The biggest thing for Jerry is how much he’s missed in the last 17 years, how many great things he didn’t get to be part of. He would have loved being a grandfather. He would have welcomed his daughter-in-law and son-in-law with open arms. He would have loved walking Sara down the aisle, or down the beach, more accurately. I think had he gone on the long bike ride, he would have loved it and found distance biking something that would appeal in retirement. While he was researching the trip he’d found a months-long ride from Cape Town to Cairo, and asked if I’d ever consider doing it with him. The trip sounded more grueling to me than fun, but I said I was open.

Jerry’s was a life interrupted, which brings to mind the 1999 film Girl Interrupted, with Winona Ryder. The difference is that her character, Susanna Kaysen, came back in the end, which Jerry never did.

This is one of my favorite pics of Jerry and me, on the porch at Paul and Jeanne’s house in Maine. Taken sometime before April 2002. I was in my longer hair/perm phase. Jerry liked my hair better short. 🙂

If you look carefully at the pocket of Jerry’s shirt, you can just see his geeky MIT white plastic pocket protector with his pens stuffed in. He wore it every day.

Sara Getting Ready in the Bridal Suite

I had already had my make-up done and gotten into into my dress and left Sara, Ari, and Suze in the bridal suite to focus on getting the bride set to go. These were pics I hadn’t seen until Ari sent them. Once we were all outside the brisk trade winds started playing havoc with coiffures, but here they are before that. Three gorgeous young women, no?