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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Double-Edged

Our family is not a large one, especially on my mother's side.

My mother had one sister,  Louise, who died  almost a year ago.   She was the mother of cousins Lowie and Harry. 

I have two brothers and am the eldest of all the cousins (on my mother and father's side),  we have all retained a nice relationship over the years.  Lowie and I, in particular, only two years apart, are more like sisters than first cousins.  At least we fought like sisters growing up.  She still tells the story of when I smacked her with a hairbrush one night.  Lies, all lies.  But when I remember the 4th of July or Christmas Eve, I remember us all being together, laughing, eating, and laughing some more.  Discussions always got a little loud because in Italian families, if someone doesn't agree with you, they obviously didn't hear you...

I'm sure you all realize how much a double-edged sword love is.  With all these wonderful  memories comes the other side of the blade:  the pain of loss.  As I write this my cousin Harry, four years younger than I, and two years younger than his sister, lay dying in a Philadelphia cancer center.  Diagnosed about a year ago, he was doing well, responding to chemo until about three weeks ago.  The cancer has infiltrated and decimated his nervous system and spread pretty much throughout his body.  The good news is that he can not feel pain as the cancer cells have attacked the pain center.  The bad news is that they cannot even move him to a hospice as they had planned to do today, because he would not survive the trip.

And so we deal with the grief, celebrate the love, and go about our lives, our family a little smaller, our memories more precious.

13 comments:

Maggie said...

Thank you for telling us about Harry. He will be much missed. Hugs to you and your family.

Linda said...

I certainly hear you on this one. When you get our age and you begin to see your family shrinking it gets hard. Bob lost a brother in July and one is December. We've had a hard time dealing with it. Blessings to you and your family during this time.

Purple Flowers said...

Harry would be very happy to read your words about him. You are a very eloquent writer.

I believe love is bittersweet. In lies the wonderful, and the thorns that hurt. My heart goes out to Harry, you, your cousin Lowie and the rest of your family. You are in my thoughts. I'm sorry Kath.

Linda Reeder said...

Ah. I have just read two postings in a row dealing with the pain of death and loss. But in both cases there is also the story of love shining through.

Hang on to that.

Retired English Teacher said...

So true, so true. The family or origin circle becomes so much smaller as we age. It expands with the next generations, but we are a part of the circle that is getting smaller.

I'm so sorry to hear of your time of sorrow and loss. Cousins are so important to us. They are our first real connections in life. May God bless you all at this time.

Lena said...

I am so sorry to hear about Harry. Cousins are so very special.

I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Jay said...

Very sorry to hear about cousin Harry. My thoughts and prayers are with him and your family.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Kathy, I am very very sorry. I lost one brother to cancer and have a very good friend with Stage IV Breast Cancer now. Cancer is a wicked disease.

My love and prayers are with you and your family during this time.
Hugs,
Betsy

George said...

I'm sorry to hear about Harry. We'll keep you and your family in our prayers. I hope that the love you all shared as a family will help you get through the pain.

Kimberly said...

Oh Kathy, I am so sorry! Hugs to you and prayers for your family.

Happyone :-) said...

So sorry Kathy to hear this sad news about Harry.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

KiraAJ said...

*HUGS* I am so sorry darls to hear about your cousin Harry.. my thoughts are with you and your family darling...

Gulf Coast said...

I am so sorry for your loss. As a cancer survivor, this really hits home. Much love and thoughts are sent your way.