|Rosh Hashanah gathering|
Oh, that's obvious. Love, family, togetherness. Warmth, laughter, some tears. Good times, good food. A Rosh Hashanah meal full of family and friends, including a nephew (from my prior marriage) whom I had not seen in 14 years.
But there are two specific memories that I carry deep in my heart, with all the other memories as an overlay.
The first is Ramona, who is now three. Her verbal skills have exploded. She is pre-reading and I found myself more than once listening to her sound out her world. "Uncle Pat has a dog, Grandma. Duhh-duhh-duhh. Dog. 'Dog' starts with a D, Grandma!"
At three, Ramona is no longer the frenetic ball of energy she was at two. Her focus is sharper. She will sit through several books, then "read" them aloud herself. She is capable of creating and following a sustained story/play line using plastic animals (giraffes, elephants, lions, horses, whatever—it's a peaceable kingdom).
"I LIKE making pies, Grandma!"
The other deep memory I will carry forever is I sat my sons down and spoke with them about my health. I'm way, way farther along the continuum of myeloma, so much so that I have passed all statistical expectancies. My Mayo oncologist said that I am in a very tiny class at this point, definitely in the shallow end of the pool. While I am hoping not to die in the next several months, I explained that death is a lot closer than it was. And then my voice broke.
"I am learning to say goodbye to the things and people I love, and other than Warren, there is no one I love more than you."
I managed to get that out before I burst into tears.
Sam, sitting nearest to me at the table, looked at me, his eyes wide and stricken. He reached over and covered my hand, holding it.
Ben, at the far end of the table, shoved away. I thought I had upset him so much that he was leaving the room. Instead, he came around to where I was sitting and put his arms around me. We all spent a few minutes sniffling (well, I was crying) and then regained our composures. We then started playing a card game.
There are far worse ways to deal with life and death than to talk, cry, and then play a game.
Life goes on. It goes on in a card game. It goes on in a hug. It goes on in Ramona saying loudly at the supper table, "Pie! P! I! E! That spells PIE!"
And it does.