I hinted, several posts ago, that my year is getting off to a difficult start. I don't wish to beat a dead horse, but in the following paragraphs I recap the last 6 or so months, in more or less sequential time.
After battling cancer for four years, the dear friend of my wife's and mine, Loretta, died. Ellie stayed at Loretta's, to both continue caring for the cats ( which we have since brought home ) and more easily carry out her charge as Loretta's Personal Representative ( in laymen's terms, the executor of her will ). A mutual friend of my wife's, mine, and Loretta's, also named Loretta, died. Ellie's brother and sister-in-law, less than two weeks into their stay in Arizona for the winter, cut their time way short as Ruth fell quite ill with the flu and Jim's dementia symptoms acted up. Before leaving Arizona, Ruth fell and broke her hip, requiring their two daughters to come to Arizona to retrieve their dad. On Christmas Eve day, I learned that a good friend of mine has inoperable brain cancer. The day after Ellie moved home from Loretta's, Ruth went into the hospital with what we thought was a bad case of the flu; she died two days later with what turned out to be a toxic case of sepsis ( blood infection ). Though Ellie and I were less than a week into learning the nuances of living together again, we hosted Ellie's sister from California and her husband for the week they were here for Ruth's funeral and some other family business. Jim was living at an Assisted Living facility that was clearly not well-suited for him, and he wanted out, immediately, if not sooner, and was verbal about this. We traveled the thirty miles there several times a week, to spend time with him, to take him to lunch, to get him out of the building for a short while. This was good and helped him, but seeing his intense dislike of his living situation was emotionally draining. In the meantime, his daughters and his sister in California made arrangements to move him to a facility in California ... the place is close to where the sister lives and much better suited for Jim's condition. It wasn't going to happen for at least two weeks after a daughter told Jim of the plans, and he could not wait. Another good friend of Ellie's and mine, a male friend in this case, died. He was eighty-eight and not in the best of health. We saw him and his wife periodically, and he and I got together as well. We treasured whatever time we spent together.
This all causes me to say, with feeling, "Stop the World, I want to get off."
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