Monday, March 10, 2008

Too little time

I grew up with an aunt who was only a couple of years older than I. We played together when we were young, but had different interests as teens. As we entered our twenties, I didn't spend a lot of time with her, but always admired her for having the emotional fortitude to work at the local humane society, a kill shelter that euthanized a large number of animals.

There was a day when I had kittens to vaccinate for distemper. The vet showed me how to do it, and gave me the pre-filled syringes. When it came to it, I had a hard time, so I boxed up the kittens and went to my aunt's house, where she did it for me. She told me that the vet had provided needles that were too large to easily and (for the kittens) comfortably give the shots, and that they were probably used to draw the shots, so were already dulled by at least two sticks. She quickly and skillfully injected them, and gave them some cuddles before sending me on my way.

The shelter valued her so much that, when their mascot, a sweet, adorable dog named Shannon, was retiring, she went to live with my aunt. Loving and working with animals has been the one main thing that we have in common, but I didn't spend nearly enough time talking to her about it.

And now, she has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

I've been trying to make up for lost time by sending her letters. I know that this is a difficult time for her; she is having chemotherapy and radiation to extend her time and give her greater function for what is left. So I write often, telling her about my foster kittens, my own cats, funny, happy stories to hopefully provide a few moments of distraction. I also express my admiration for her work with animals, something I should have done long ago. I don't expect replies; I would rather she use her time to be with her husband, and do the things she really wants to do, and have my letters just be something good and fun that arrive once or twice a week. I hope she looks forward to them, at least.

Whom have you written to lately that really needs to hear what you have to say? Do it while times are good, and you can enjoy each other fully.


Anonymous said...

I feel so sorry for your Aunt. Our next door neighbors' father died of Brain Cancer. It was like, we didn't really know them well, but whenever you saw the father you just knew he was going through hell and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

I mean, it really affects everyone, even people you might not know. Cause it's the most horrific thing anyone can think of, to slowly loose your abilities. I still remember when a truck brought in the end of life medical supplies for our neighbor, and the family was just this really is happening.

I think people don't like to be confronted with the reality, when something horrible like Brain Cancer hits you, you can't do anything but ride it out until the end. It really brings forth the concept of having absolutely no control to reality.

I hope my post hasn't depressed you more than you already are. I just felt, you might appreciate hearing from someone who has not gone through it personally, but gone through it in a sense. I mean I didn't really know the father, but my parents would say every day they saw him he just looked horrible and you could tell. Just very depressing and sad for everyone.

Jen said...

*hugs* I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. I'm sure she loves the letters and enjoys reading them very much.

AnnieMcPhee said...

I'm so very sorry you have had this bad news - you're doing just the right thing. I wish you and her well. :(

Anonymous said...

Oh, Rio, I am so sorry.