I am behind, as usual. November got away from us in many ways. I don't know if I ever posted on here that Shane's dad (Mike) was diagnosed with cancer in May 2012. The journey has been rough for everyone. Mike decided to do chemo and radiation treatments in hopes of prolonging his life but the fact is that the cancer was found in 5 places and was just too advanced. Sadly, we lost him on November 20th. He was at home, as he wanted to be, surrounded by his family. I am told he went peacefully, I had just left the house to go pick up the kids from school after spending the afternoon with Mike. I wanted to get the kids and get back to him as the Hospice nurse was there and said we had a matter of hours left. On my way out the gate I told Shane, "tell your dad not to go anywhere before I get back..." but Mike had other plans. I had made it to the second school to get Cassandra and Shane called me to say he had passed at 2:22 pm. The significance? Mike and Nancy were married on Feb 22nd. The other tidbit is he passed away on Cassandra's 13th birthday. What a day.
I've lost people very close to me before. My grandma was very close to me, a huge part of my life and when I lost her in 2002 (on Mike's birthday actually) I thought that was about as bad as the hurt could get. I better understand now that there different levels of that kind of hurt. Losing a parent (even a parent that wasn't my parent) is a different pain than losing a grandparent. Mike was only 60 years old...he was too young to let go. However, I say that about everyone I've lost. My grandma was only 70, my grandpa was only 58. Hampy was in his early 80s and that still felt too young. I guess it just goes back to the feeling that there is never enough time with the people that you love. So here we are, trying to deal with life going on. Shane is coping with the fact that not only has he lost a parent and friend, he lost his boss. Shane and his dad worked at RWCD since Shane was around 14 years old. They worked in the office together for at least the last 10 years (dates get a little fuzzy at my age, ha!) So both his personal and professional worlds are upside down. I don't know how he gets through that, at every corner there is another reminder. Another person asking him questions, giving condolences, etc. There is no escape. I wish there were more I could do for him. The kids are a mess, seeing school counselors. This is the first loss they are old enough to really understand. Cassandra was 3 and Savannah was 1 when we lost my grandma. The kids had a close relationship with their Papa. It had not always been that way but in the last 5 years Mike became the grandpa we all knew he could be. He taught the girls to ride, taught Griffin to shoot and bought him his first BB gun last Christmas. He taught Griffin how to drive a tractor, dig holes with the backhoe, took us all camping. Mike never missed an orchestra performance for Cassandra and Savannah, never missed a school event like Grandparents Day. He came to most of the award ceremonies as work permitted. He was there for them and his absence is felt daily even though we didn't see him daily. We knew he was there and now that void is big. Just the comfort of knowing he was back there waiting, if you needed him, is gone.
One morning on the way to the bus stop Cassandra asked me when the pain would be less. I paused and told her my honest opinion, I don't know that the pain ever gets less...you just finally learn to live with it. We have to find a new "normal" in our lives without Mike. That is the shitty truth of it.
So we made it through Thanksgiving. We had Nancy (Shane's step mom) and her sister Diane over for Tgiving dinner along with my parents and my sister. It was a hard day, lots of tears among quiet discussions. We clung to each other and the memories we have but it was a really rough day. More birthdays keep coming, We celebrated Andy's (Shane's brother) on Dec. 8th. Mike's birthday was Dec. 14th. My nephew is Dec. 20th. Then Christmas comes to slap us in the face and we round out 2012 with Nancy's birthday on Dec. 30th. All these "firsts" thrown at us only two days after losing him. We are doing the best we can, all things considered.
So rather than rambling on endlessly, I will post some pictures and remind you life is short. Share your love and your time so your regrets are fewer later on.
You can see the pictures bigger if you click on one and then arrow through like a slide show :)
Alyssa's birthday party, June 2012. Just after Mike's brain surgery
2009 Hunt Trip
Camping 2010 with Alyssa and Rosie :)
Hunting with Shane
Mike's Birthday card from 2011...
Riding with Cassandra and Savnnah on our camp trip
Easter eggs at Mike and Nancy's house 2012
Easter at our house 2012
Mike and Nancy at our Disneyland Christmas 2009
Mike and Nancy June 2012
Pumpkin carving 2011
Hunt trip with Shane and Andy
Mike and Tater
Disney Xmas 2009
Pumpkin carving the right way!
Camp trip "pre horseback riding reminders"
Shane's birthday 2011