I would like to say that 2012 was horrible; the worst year ever, one not to be repeated. Surprisingly, I cannot. I saw a post on Pinterest the other day that helped me to realize something. That although the glass may look half empty [yes, a true pessimist I am], it is really not. That the glass, with the water only filling it halfway, is still full, simply with another form of matter, oxygen. Hence, the glass is always full. It's another way to look at it at least. I have heard this before of course, but it seemed funny to me that on the very day I saw this post, my dear husband and I had a talk and he said virtually the same thing in an anecdotal way.
One would think that a diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma would tag 2012 as a horrible year. Of course, April 19th, 2012 will forever be in my mind; the day of my diagnosis. Then there will be June 11th, the day of my very long surgery which I am sure my husband will never let me forget as he, my daughters and family members spent over 16 hours in the waiting room. July 26th, my very first chemotherapy session. I will surely never forget the sickness from the first chemo.
Then, there is Amanda. When she went away to school we all believed that the plan was that she would graduate and return to the Chicago area. A true Chicago sports fan, we knew that she would not want to be far from Soldier and Wrigley Field and the United Center. It was discussed that when she graduated, she would return home for a year or so to save money as she worked as a nurse at one of the many great hospitals in the Chicago area. As most of you know, Amanda joined the Army ROTC. Hence, she will not be coming home. Once she graduates in 2014 she will be sent somewhere, who knows where, but it will not be home.
And, Alexandra. Ali left for her first year out east to Haverford. Greg and I are officially empty nesters. It is so quiet in our home now. What do I miss most? My drive to work. I work where the girls went to high school and every morning for the last two years, Ali and I would drive to school together. It was usually a quiet ride as Ali and I are not what you would call "morning people", but it was nice. The drive home was always a great time to check in with Ali and what was happening at school. She would tell me about her day, her friends and the homework she had or presentations that she was either preparing for or how they had gone. But that does not happen anymore. Ali loves Haverford, of which we could not be happier. The transition has been hard for all of us. She loves the school so we are comforted by that.
I will remember my husband and Ali looking at me, being with me for my first chemo session and trying very hard not to look scared themselves nor trying to look at me with sympathetic eyes. I will remember Amanda, not my daughter but my nurse, who worked so hard to get that first chemo through me and then very sweetly had to tell me that I needed a port, something that I was actually truly grateful for as it made it so much easier all the other visits. I will remember every chemo session, the amazing nurses, my amazing Dr. T.. I will remember November 2nd, my last chemo session and the huge hug my oncologist gave me. I will remember the friends and family that took me to my sessions, lunches at Corner Bakery and how wonderful so many people were to me. My bosses, Sr. Michelle and Chris, so understanding and supportive, full of love and prayers. Dr. B, the principal where I work, who texted me faithfully everyday to see how I was doing, and upon returning to work, made a point of seeing me everyday to check in, lend her support and give me a hug and smile. She is a breast cancer survivor herself and was so full of information and support. My neighbors and friends, who helped me and my family by bringing dinners or brunches and my sister-in-law Kim who organized it all. For all the cards, flowers and fruit, even a yummy jar of bread and butter pickles came my way. I will remember Ali, running through Target to track down the two teenagers who laughed at me and her berating them in the store.
Although I would not recommend cancer to anyone, it does, if you let it, allow you to see all the wonderful people around you. People who in their own way, show their care and concern. I cannot thank my dear Ali enough. She and I have always been close and, if possible, this brought us closer. Her care was 24|7 day after day as Amanda had to leave for ROTC leadership training and Greg had to go back to work.
Although Amanda will not be coming back home after school, and we don't really know where she will end up, she has made me so proud. She is excelling at school and will make an amazing nurse when she is done next year. She has amazed me with her determination and strength of self and character. I know that she will not be coming home but, I also know that she has made the decision that is right for her. She will be serving our country by serving those who go out and protect our country and those that need protection. She will be providing much needed care to those who live to defend others. She truly inspires me.
Ali has just left to go back to school. It is quiet in the house, when the dogs are not barking at anything passing by, when the girls are both gone. I am slowly getting used to it. I miss our mornings but, I also know that she is right where she is supposed to be. She loves where she is, excels in her classes and, has made many great friends around the country..
I love the unexpected phone calls from the girls. I also love the hugs when they come home, I will not forget them. Likewise, I will not forget the shopping excursions, lunches, movies or just sitting and talking. They mean the world to me, and honestly tide me over until I get to see them again.
So, as we are heading to February, I am thankful and grateful for all that I have.