One of the best parts of having owned this comedy club was the people who worked there, the folks who became friends and then the folks who transcend all that and became part of one’s life. My dear friend Scott is one of those. He worked there, invested in it and also happens to be our #4 hitter on our softball team. Scott recently found out that his mom had cancer.. His letters were so moving that we wanted to post for all to read… bob
Read them and pass on…share on social networks.. etc
Aug 23rd- Hi dearest friends and family….
an update, as I watch the sun rise over the small lake in my parents
backyard, early in the am..
Some of you know more than others, but I don’t have the time nor capacity to
catch you up.. so sorry to shock anyone.. but suffice it to say, for those who know nothing, my parents and family have had a crazy 10 days. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer 10 days ago after having back pain, and sleeping most of her day, for a few weeks. She did a petscan, and for the first time, they found cancer.
It was all through her body – it started in the lungs, and now is in her brain, and actually broke her lower back. I flew her that night on the last plane out of SF w/ my girls to be here right away, as instructed by Hospice. That was 11 days ago. Within an hour of being here, my Dad missed a step while we were checking into a hotel, and he destroyed his knee cap. Both of them were at the same hospital, so we spent a week going back and forth to their rooms. what a scene.. hospice in one building, intensive care in another building.. with Gelfand’s criss crossing all day and into the night. My siblings, Beth, Marcy, Rose and Talia, and nieces have all been remarkable and amazing.
That’s the background to this update below.. Life as we knew it will never be the same here.
Thank you for your love and prayers. I love sharing life with you.
I’m on 7am watch as the night care person has left, and the am person arrives at 8am.
My MOM is sleeping peacefully as we write, filled with the awareness of love surrounding her
24 hrs a day. Last night she was telling stories, with a clear mind, about her escapades as a wild young woman. I had to keep Talia and Rose playing cards and out of the room, as the stories were not guaranteed to be family entertainment. ANYTHING can come out of her now – total permission and uncensored - and you really never know what she will say, or when something happened to her. But the river of words is deep and flowing out of her, and some of it is shocking past history and has never been uttered before to us.
She is doing well.. not in any pain, comfortable, and still eating and drinking.
She says, “I love you!” to anyone who comes across her path.. non-stop, no matter how many times you leave and re-enter the scene. She looks out over her bedroom window, out to her beloved birds that come to say hi, and visit her lake. There is a beautiful fountain in the middle of the lake that never sleeps, and keeps the sound of water lapping in your ears.. lovely.
Before we move her around (change her diaper, clean her, wash her, rotate her), we’ll give her
some morphine to dull the pain of being mostly skin and bone, as the bones creak and ache
so easily now. It’s a little liquid in her mouth with a syringe, and it works well to help her be pain free. She has other drugs as well, and the combination seems perfect, as she has many many hours of clarity and attentiveness, and she also has hours of sleep. Not too much, not too little.. very balanced at this stage. And that could change any day, and hour.
As soon as she wakens, there is Talia, Rose, my 2 brothers, my sister, Beth, my 2 nieces, my sister-in-law, the caregiver she’s come to love over the past 3 years who tends to her, or myself RIGHT there to say hi, welcome back to your bedroom, we love you. I wish everyone could say goodbye and leave their body so peacefully. Slowly, calmly, lovingly, be in the presence of their children, grandchildren, and say I love you. Everyday. All day.
At first the Hospice doctor said days, no more.. but now that she is home, the doctor says, she could take months! Only God knows. MY Mother has always kept us waiting… But for now, the intensity of the past 10 days (It was ONLY a little more than a week ago that she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer out of nowhere!!) has found a new rhythm and pace.. we got all of our systems in place, with the help of Hospice, and she is being held in a cradle of love and peace.
Wow.. he fell in the first hour after we arrived in Florida, and has been in Intensive Care for over a week now. He is a complex patient, with heart issues, dialysis 3 x a week, and low blood pressure. They operated on his broken patella, pieced together his knee cap, and had trouble getting his blood pressure up enough, so he had to stay in ICU. Finally, yesterday, he was able to move to the orthopedic ward and a new room – which was great. He has a cast from his waist to his ankle -keeping the knee straight.
ICU is a tough place to be for a day, let alone a week. He seems to be lifting out of his depression and deep sadness from his fall, and moving back into his body to begin living again. ICU takes your spirit away, and you really can slip easily into a sadness of who wants all this pain and body..
When my mom had to leave the hospice ward and we moved her home (they release her if they are not doing anything anymore for her), we had the driver stop by the ICU so my mother and father could see each other – what a moment! She was sleepy and half-there, he was tied up to 25 wires and machines.. But they LOVE each other so much, just to hear each other’s voices was beautiful. And my mom, in her daze, uttered the greatest gift she could give us all.. “I may be dying, but I’m happy. I have my family all here and I love them all so much”. It brought a deep sense of peacefulness to everyone. No one has talked about “dying”.. but she knows. And she’s gonna take her sweet time.
My 2 brothers and sister and I will be here indefinitely, for at least a few more weeks, until we can get my dad home and into a rehab rhythm with systems in place. Bruce will be staying here for the next few months to help him. We have paid for and planned a funeral for whenever that happens for my Mother, so those details are in place.
There is nothing like deciding on which coffin you want for a loved one.. what a trippy experience.
That’s it for now.. we’re all holding up well i think – being kind to each other, exercising and taking down time when someone else is ON, taking turns and shifts, etc.. my cousin sent us a dinner yesterday from a local restaurant, which was GREAT to receive and not plan. There is so much love here for my parents that is is lovely to talk to their neighbors and community.
Talia and Rose are getting a first-time look at dying and death and seeing it can be graceful, loving, funny, sweet, and warm.. not bloody, morose, and tragic. I am proud of that, and thrilled for them. They will not see death the way it is portrayed in the movies, or fear it in the same way because of this experience. It is the accepted way, the embraced way, and the love that a family feels that I hope will stay a part of them forever. They have been awesome, playing cards with grandma, making her friendship bracelets for her wrist, and kissing her cheeks non-stop when she awakens. Oh, the pure love of a grandchild. It is a nectar that is intoxicating.
Sending you much love, and those thoughts and prayers are working well.. this has been a WILD 10 days for everyone here, but for now, for today, as this hot, sun climbs this morning and everyone awakens, we see progress, less-pain, and all love surrounding us all.
oh yeah, final note: they are predicting a 120 miles per hour hurricane “Irene” may pass thru here friday! Somehow, God seems to be saying, “OK, you guys have had it charmed for a lifetime, so I’ll throw everything at ya in a span of 2 weeks!” We’ll be prepared, but it is BIZARRE! The weather has been a mirror of our emotions – raining HARD on and off, with rainbows and double rainbows appearing on a regular basis. The thud of thunder resonating deep into the soul, and the thrill and awe of lightening striking every day around you.. It is hurricane season down here, and every day is a storm, and a release of emotions.. and the sun still shines throughout it all..