As we come to the end of March our Slicing Marathon and I’m using this Slice to consider the experience. How about coming along with me?
I was just packing for Aruba as the first Slice reminder came to us from Stacey and as I writing my very first entry late on the last day of February on my Digital Bonnie blog I got a notice that I had been hit by something evil. Good thing I could save that first Slice and move right to my blkdrama blog and as of today I have my Digital Bonnie back up and clean.
Still with me, Eileen? I promise, that’s all the techie sharing for one post.
We were back in Aruba for the start to the March challenge. Seems like we have been away for some part of the March challenge since we first began 5 years ago and that has made it easy and productive for me as a Slicer-writer. Of course it does make it harder to read other posts and leave comments when the internet is not always at your finger tips. But I did try.
In early March you were still holding your own with the usual ups and downs you faced from day to day but nothing life threatening so we left feeling that you would be okay and you were. A few short emails back and forth and even though I knew things would be crazy for me when I got home you were status quo. It was a heavenly week but both of us were ready to leave two days before we did.
Back home, with a bit of jet lag, the Slicing continued as the pressure kicked in to get working on my Highland Falls video. I took the first weekend to get myself anchored and see you and my parents. Tuvia was able to take a look at you with his doctor’s eyes and I could feel good that I had him to share with you. He was very diplomatic when he rejected Andy’s all-natural liquid supplement and recommended Ensure with a doctor’s insistence.
I always wondered why you could not get the answers you needed from Sloan Kettering but Tuvia defends the state of medicine today. When he was practicing he saw 7 patients a day. Today doctors are required to see 20-25. That doesn’t leave much time to really get to know patients.
By Monday of that first full week home I was officially living with my 17inch computer and I was happy. Just time for a guitar lesson and a Slice and I moved away from the phone and the internet and I was in the ZONE, creating a new digital documentary using FInal Cut Pro X for the first time and with a session scheduled with Tom at Apple the next morning, I was making progress.
I did stop for a conversation with Andrea to get some political updates that did not sit well with either of us, but that’s reality. Many great teachers are afraid to open their door and go public.
Monday, Tuesday…great work days. Just a bit of time for Slices but nothing left for reading and comments. I felt so guilty when I got a comment and couldn’t respond.
On Wednesday I hit the wall, but I was getting closer to something finished. I did need to share it with Andrea before the Board of Ed presentation and I had a frustrating session at Apple in the afternoon. But at Tuvia’s, who provided dinner and respect for my need to keep working… was right there to view my first draft and HE LOVED IT...all 18 minutes…in fact he made me promised not to cut anything. So I thought I still needed to spend time at Apple the next morning…but at 3 am I was up and finding my own way to finish the piece and revise the day’s schedule.
Still with me??? Not too much tech here.
By 5am I had a piece that I can live with and with a few hours of sleep I was texting Andrea for a time to drive up to HF and share it with her. I still needed time to render this version but I was confident that this change in the schedule would work and that Andrea would go with the full 18 minutes.
At 8 am, I am up and walking the apartment with a fresh cup of coffee, feeling almost good and the phone rings and it’s you…
“Bon, I have good good news and bad news. (Long Pause) We came back from the city last night and the cancer has spread everywhere: liver… all the soft organs. I am silent… She is silent. But you can tell Tuvia that the Ensure worked.
Eileen knows what I’m thinking and breaks the silence.
“Bon, you needed to hear this from me. I will keep you posted.”
“Eileen, I love you.”
We hung up. I called Tuvia and he let me know that you would be gone in a few weeks, maybe less. Andy had some questions for him and called Tuvia directly and then Andy called me for recommendations for a Funeral Home for the service and a list of people to call when it would be necessary. Good thing that over the past year they had been planning for the future.
I continued on: another cup of coffee, shower, dressed and a check on my video’s progress. By 9, I was in my car on the way to HF to share my video with Andrea. I put on some music, clicked for something that fit my mood, found nothing, shut it off for the silence and beauty of the ride.
I arrived. Shared my news with Andrea. She understood. Then the video. A hit. I had a few tweaks to make and in an hour I was on my way to Tuvia’s for comfort and a nap.
The evening was a big success but I was in a fog, a sleep walker, always on the verge of tears.
That early morning conversation was the last one we had, even though I was hopeful that there would be another visit on Saturday.
I was up on Saturday and stopped on my way to celebrate my dad’s 91st B day but you were in the middle of a shower and Jen and Jim came down to greet me with a hug. I didn’t stay.
One more week of life for you. A fresh week of Slicing where I could write mine and then read others. Now I was speaking to Andy and the family was arriving and it would be impossible to see you with everyone there. Tuvia was relieved that Andy would have help in this last phase of your life.
On Friday morning as I sat with my book club in the North Vale diner, Andy called to let me know that as the two of you shared the dawn rising, you shut your eyes and left. Andy’s voice was beautiful and I had my list now and returned to my girls for some coffee and dry toast.
Then the initial loss and my new plan to write these conversations as the Slicing for March ends…and this first week without you has been hard, really hard. I have had very little energy and ever-present headache. I was able to cancel half of my events and reschedule some to make this week easier. Yes, I have been to funerals but and watched others mourn but you are the closest I’ve come to losing an arm.
Good thing I had my Slicing Community to share this journey with.
My Slices will continue…
Eileen, you continue to be in my thoughts…you too, SLICERS!