Sunday, October 5, 2014

Who needs a dozen pairs of pajamas anyway?

Great grandson, Liam, who is 3 1/2 months old eased me over a rough spot yesterday.

It was my best friend's funeral in Boston. Sheila developed brain cancer in 1989, the year my first grandchild, Ashley, who is Liam's mommy, was born.

I'll never forget that phone call.  My first words to Sheila when she told me she had a cancerous brain tumor were, "Are you KIDDING me? Tell me you are. My neighbor, Vicki, just suffered a brain aneurysm. Not YOU too?!" (Vicki survived.)

"I wish I was kidding." Her voice was flat, my questions many. My heart was racing.

When she told me her prognosis: 2 years survival, I held my breath and didn't exhale for those next two years, it seems. I wrote her once a week, even when her letters were not reciprocated during that time as she dealt with chemo, radiation, depression and fought valiantly.

She went into remission, and in 1993 came for a visit with her husband to meet my guy who was so much in personality like her. We had glorious and fun vacations together from then on. She came for a visit four years ago for her 60th birthday. It was a bittersweet week, as she was fading fast.

Sheila made medical history. She survived 25 years. Her physician Dr. Jorge Dietrich took excellent care of her and now does brain research at Massachussets General Hospital.

I was blessed a few weeks ago. She fell and broke her elbow and was in hospital because her surgery had been postponed a day. Her family put her on the phone, and her voice was strong, her mind alert. We had a real conversation. Usually she was weak and confused on the phone. It was a gift, I tell you.


Saturday was blustery cold. A day I equally dreaded and looked forward to for a week. The temperature was in the 40s and 50s, but my daughter and I were determined to weather the weather with little Liam bundled up in a stroller. A nearby high school sponsors an annual outdoor Baby Mania sale. No babies for sale, but some of the mamas there would have considered giving their wailing babies away for a few minutes. There were so many.

The parking lot was filled with over a hundred vendors selling every gently used item a baby would ever need.The gusting wind unexpectedly powered baby strollers, causing moms to chase after their offspring. It sent tents and tarps toppling, and toys and clothing skittering off tables and across the black top.

We bought Liam's winter wardrobe: pants, long sleeve shirts and onesies, three pair of cute little shoes; a soft pair of Nikes, a suede pair of moccasins and Winnie the Pooh light blue cloth lace ups. We bought him a dozen pair of footie jammies. He's set.

I also bought Liam's next year's birthday present, a brand new set of Playskool blocks and cars. I think toys that allow children to use their imagination are the best.

 My daughter purchased items for her new day care, which she will set up soon in her home. You should have seen us stuffing the car.

As we were driving away, I saw a young police officer friend and shouted, "Hi Charlie. I'm loaded with baby stuff."

He tipped his fingers to his mouth and moved his hand back and forth. "Loaded? You must be; you're exiting out the entrance." He laughed.

Oops! We laughed all the way home. My daughter and I had a great day, shared the baby, ate a yummy lunch, and then we dumped our treasures out and went through them like they were Christmas presents.



Bookie said...

What a bittersweet day for you...glad you had the sweet to override the bitter. Sounds like one fun day for you and loved ones. The cold...ah, depressing in that it reminds me of winter. This morning back out to deck in sweats but for how long? What will I DO without tea outdoors? Ha. Have a great Sunday....

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda -

So sorry to hear about your friend, but what a gift that she survived so long.

I'm glad you were able to celebrate the joys of life with your daughter and Liam. There's nothing like a little one to put a smile on your face.


Sioux said...

It sounds like you spent the day in a way Sheila would have enjoyed...

I am so sorry for your loss, but you were so lucky to have a friend like Sheila for so long.

Lisa Claro said...

How wonderful for you to have the gift of that final conversation, and the joy your friendship brought will stay with you always. This does not make the goodbye easier to bear, I know. I'm so sorry for your loss, Linda.

That little Liam is a ray of sunshine. Thanks for sharing him with us.

Tammy said...

There's nothing like brand new life to help overcome loss, is there? Glad you found peace and happiness in the day, just as I'm sure Sheila would've wanted. God bless her for putting up such a great fight, and you for helping her along the way.

Daisy said...

That last phone call was indeed a gift. My deepest sympathy to you on the passing of your friend.

That is an adorable picture of Liam. Your shopping day sounds like it was a lot of fun.

Val said...

Sweet Baby Liam! He looks all Halloweeny in his outfit.

Sorry about the loss of your friend, but glad you have all those memories.

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...

Oh, such a hard time! Sending love to you in your time of loss. Life is so strange how it gives us these gifts at the same time. Liam is gorgeous.

Lynn said...

What a cutie and it sounds like you made a haul with the baby stuff. I know you are going to miss your friend a lot - been sending love your way all week. Love your Halloween stuff too!

Susan said...

Hi Linda. Have been to a baby stuff sale and loved it. You can get SOOOO many bargains.

I am happy Sheila is in paradise. She lived a long, long time after a two year brain tumor diagnosis. Bless her sweet soul, bless her family, bless YOU, my friend. Susan