Today is going to be a crazy day- last week, one of mom's oldest friends from her Bronxtucket stomping grounds died from chemotherapy complications. He'd been suffering from inoperable cancer for a long time, and his chemo regime wreaked havoc on him. Mom is leaving Virginia tomorrow morning, driving to Yonkers, where we'll rendezvous, and drive together to the Catskills area for the wake. After the wake, we'll drive back to my place, where she'll stay overnight, then she'll wake at the crack of dawn to drive back to Virginia, so she can fly out to Colorado to visit my brother Gomez and his family, and my brother Vincenzo's family (Vin's in the greater Kandahar metropolitan area right now). She'd booked her flight a few months ago, and changing it would have been a major boondoggle. I'm sure she'll be glad of the opportunity to get the hell out of Dodge for a couple of days.
In other horrible news, an old grammar school friend of mine recently called to tell me that his mother had terminal esophageal cancer. She decided to forgo chemotherapy, and will be receiving hospice care in her home. She traveled extensively in her youth, and she saw her children marry well and start to raise kids of her own, so she decided (with her characteristic Yorkshire stiff upper lip) that she didn't want to buy a few more weeks at the expense of her quality of life. Her door was always open, so I'll be sure to visit her when she needs support.
It's been a heavy couple of days... gotta put the brave face on. The snark will resume sometime soon- it's my primary coping mechanism.
UPDATE: Thanks for the outpouring of support, people. I am privileged to have you in my online circle of friends. Mom and I drove upstate in a heavy fog, and a constant drizzle. The wake was really something... my mom's friend John had retired from the NYPD with a 75% disability pension after being involved in a bad motorcyle accident while on duty. About thirty years ago, he had an opportunity to buy a lumberyard upstate, and he quickly became a pillar of the community of Cairo, New York. I had total strangers coming up to me (I seem to be the sort of type that people approach to shoot the breeze with) and telling me about how had been a great person to deal with- honest, generous, and compassionate. The local contractors all told about how he'd assist them when business was tough, how his handshake was as good as a contract. One woman told me about how she'd had a run of trouble, and John was able to help her out so she could turn her life around. It's a horrible irony that a guy without a bad bone in his body would succumb to bone cancer.