1. I am in trouble. I had no idea about ordination gifts. No expectation or anticipation whatever. Apparently that was extremely dumb. I have received such personal, thoughtful, creative presents ~ I am astonished. And grateful. And I thank so many of you, and I WILL do so, personally and for real ~ but it will take a little while. And if "a little while" is after surgery ~ well, so be it.
This is nothing like after Josh died ~ when every thank-you note was an exercise in anguish, and I would have to take breaks that lasted for weeks. This time, I look at these wonderful gifts and I am filled with joy and gratitude. But I'm still pretty slow.
2. This cancer thing? It's tough, although not in ways you might expect. I continue to struggle with the reality that it, too, is not Josh ~ and so where do I put it? The other night, my husband said, "It IS breast cancer, you know." "Right," I responded. "Right; I keep forgetting."
All of us in our little family have acknowledged: This is not the death of our son and brother. But everything for us is about life and death, and for me about mothering and bodies. So what is this, exactly? How much mental attention and energy does this warrant? I guess it gets what it gets. Some times a lot and sometimes none.
3. I've been reading a few blogs, trying to retain my equanimity where some of the descriptions of the week after surgery are concerned, and trying to pick up practical information. Some of them are incredibly helpful, full of tips that are obvious once you read them, but are not things that would have occurred to me on my own. So I am wondering, in an unimpressed and sarcastic kind of way: Ten days away and I've received nothing from the hospital about what I might need for the day and night I get to spend there and for the days immediately following. Helloooooo?
4. Best tips worth sharing: Pajamas that open in front (for ~ ahem ~ gross and messy activities) and have a front pocket, for a phone and ipod. In the hospital, said one woman, I couldn't do much, but when I was vaguely alert, I could send and receive texts. Second thing, if you want to do something for a friend facing this, or any other major surgery: Target (or whatever; Target is the one closest to us) gift cards. There are a lot of little unexpected expenses, things you need that you might not usually buy. Too late for me ~ I now have leggings and socks and men's t-shirts ~ but in case you want to help someone else out and ESPECIALLY if, like me, your cooking skills don't extend beyond grilled cheese, those little cards would be a godsend.
5. I have some really, really bad moments, and hours, and longer. But today I was muttering to myself (no, not out loud) that sometimes I really do get sick of how people just do not "get" certain things, like for instance the confluence of the death of a child and breast cancer, and then I thought, "But I do. I have now become a person who gets it." I can't say that I consider that to be good news. But maybe , for someone else one day, it will be at least helpful news.
6. I could, of course, write thank-you notes if I stopped blogging!