I wake up and it is light outside. For a moment I think it is Monday, before I realize I still have one more day.
I get up and putter around the kitchen. Boy, do we make a mess. I start to clean and Kaileigh comes down. She is still tired. Josh had taken the bus in from Ithaca yesterday and arrived late. She waited up to pick him up from the bus stop.
As we talk about what I need to do today, I savor the rest of the broth for breakfast. I know I should save some, but it is delicious and I am so hungry. I make some tea, nettles and echinacea. There must be something helpful in there for me.
The first thing I want is a shower. I know my showers are numbered at this point, so I am going to enjoy it.
Today, I am going to be a greeter at church. This means I will be one of the first people folks see before they go into the sanctuary. I have never done it officially before, and I am looking forward to it. I wear the one thing that fits me these days, a sleeveless dress with a empire waist. My arms are looking thin and to me, kind of scary, so I wear a shrug even though it is getting very warm outside. I wear a rainbow scarf to signify that I am a greeter.
I am always genuinely happy to see people at church. I spend most of my time in the Religious Education wing teaching kindergarten on Sunday mornings, so when I go to the “big church,” it is always an event. So many people are new to me. I am by nature somewhat shy, but very good at doing tasks. If you ask me to greet, I will ignore that shyness and greet! I greeted people who were new to me that day, and also old friends. It was nice to give greet new people warmly or give people I knew hugs and tell them how happy I was to see them.
As if on cue, one of the last people in the door before I sat down was my friend Lonnie. She is in the choir, and usually sits with them, but there is no choir during our summer services, so we sat together. I was glad, because I wanted to let Lonnie know what was going on now that I knew. She is one of my knitting friends that I had avoided on Tuesday night.
I also had a backpack filled with an afghan that I was working on. Members of our group had knitted long strips I had been sewing together to give to another knitter who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish it, so I needed to pass it over to Lonnie to finish.
The service was fine, although I can’t say I paid attention much. It was oddly Godly, which for a UU church, especially ours, is strange. I didn’t know the hymns, although I wished that I had. The rise and fall and succession of notes was beautiful.
Honestly, I was more interested in who was at the service, than the content. I was delighted to see another knitter there, Dana, and one of the moms from my daycare, Jen. Each time I discovered someone I knew seated amongst the congregation, I grew happier to be there.
As soon as the service was over, wanted to blurt everything out to Lonnie. She had been patiently knitting beside me throughout the service, while I fidgeted with my rainbow scarf. I had been so busy gathering all the things I needed to give people I might see at church, I forgot my own knitting. It had been very hard to sit still during the service.
I waited as long as I could, maybe thirty seconds after the service was over to give Lonnie the backpack with the afghan in it. I explained why I was giving it to her, about my week and what I had learned. Dana came over while I was explaining… mass in my colon, stage 4 liver cancer. I hadn’t told anyone outside my family that yet. Lonnie and Dana both got teary eyed. I smiled at them and said it’s going to be okay though. I’m going to do my best keep a good attitude and get through this. We hugged, and then hugged some more.
It was hard to leave, but I was supposed to still be greeting newcomers after church. I made my way to the coffee hour.
As I go into the front parlor where coffee hour is held, a little girl runs up to me to hug my legs. Dorothy! I haven’t seen her in weeks and she looks so big. Her sister Ellie is there too. They are the children of my friend Jen, who I had seen in the service. I thought that I had missed seeing them. She was still at coffee hour hoping that I would turn up too. We had a big hug fest.
Dorothy and Ellie both came to my daycare as babies. In December they moved to another town, so I have gone from seeing them five days a week to only seeing them occasionally. It has been over a month since I have last seen them, and in that time they have done a whole lot of growing.
I am glad to see Jen, because I have missed her, but I also need to ask her to help me with something. My church, the First Unitarian Church of Providence, is hosting a General Assembly from June 25 to the 29th in Providence. It is a big deal. UU’s from all over the country will be gathering in our fair city.
One of the things that is happening at the GA is a bowl project, where UUs from across the country will send bowls to be sold during the event and during waterfire to raise money for some homeless organizations in RI. I have decided that our children should paint bowls to contribute to the project. Here it is a week before, and I am fairly certain I will not be able to make this happen. I ask Jen if she will be able to cover for me. To be fair, I have ambushed her with a huge amount of information in a short time. I told her why I would not be able to finish this project, and I feel a little manipulative. “Hi, I just found out I have cancer,and I need your help.” is how it sounds to me. How do you say no to that? I really do need her help though, and she accepts. She takes down the details and I know it is in good hands. I am happy she can do it. I ask a couple of other friends to help out, and everything is covered.
I finally make it to the newcomer’s cafe, the place where new people can go to meet other people in our church. At this point few people are there. I have totally shirked this part of my job today.
Kaileigh and Josh have been looking for me. They have all the bowls and painting supplies needed to do the project next week. We find the room where it is to take place and leave everything there all set to go.
I see Merritt. I apologize for dumping on him last Wednesday night. He says he was glad that I told him, and assured me that things will be okay. He has a friend who went through something similar and is now fine. He gives me a big hug. Merritt is an awesome hugger.
After church I want to go to Lowe’s. I want to make a zinnia garden outside my house, so the kids can bring flowers home to their parents. All my kids decide to come with me. As we are poking around, we find a birdbath that just has to come home with us. It is a large, red, polka dotted mushroom with a gnome at the base of it. It will fit in perfectly with my gnome garden, and we all agree this is not an item to pass by. We get the bird bath and five large bags of soil.
Once we get to the car, I am a little panicked. How are we going to fit all of this stuff, plus four grown people in a Toyota Camry? Fortunately, Alex has skills. He easily stacks them in and off we go. I am hoping there is a Del’s in the parking lot across the street, and although there are signs pointing the way, we are out of luck.
At home, Kaileigh and Ayla decide we should make our own version of Del’s. They squeeze lemons add honey and water, I look for the ice shaver.
My brother Tim and his son William walk in as I reach the top of the cellar stairs with the ice shaver. Even though we live only forty five minutes away, I have only seen my brother for about two minutes in the last two years. My Dad and my sister arrive shortly after. Everyone wants to see the cancergirl.
We start right in with this lemonade project. It is really hard to shave ice with a hand cranked contraption, but we figure out who is best at it before we wear out the blade. And in the end, everyone gets to enjoy a large glass of hand made lemonade.
I am so glad that we have this lemonade distraction, otherwise we would just be sitting around the table talking endlessly. Not one of my favorite activities. I think about my zinnia garden and realize it is probably not going to happen. There just isn’t enough time in my day.
I need to get my room cleaned up a little. There is clean laundry piled up on the floor and lots of dust. I figure I need to get this done, or this is what I will have to look at when I get home. I get the laundry put away and the dust under control.
The girls make dinner, bbq chicken with stock from my soup for them, a fresh batch of broth for me.
I had noticed the movie “The Lunchbox” was playing at the Avon, and was hoping we could all go see it together. At this point it is getting late, and I am getting tired, so I don’t bring it up. Steven surprises me by finding a copy of it online and downloads it so we can watch it at home. Everyone wants to watch it with me, although I am not sure they will like it. It turns out, everyone does. I go to bed happy. It has been an awesome weekend with my family. I could not have asked for better.