Monday, July 17, 2017
There's Bad News and There's Good News....
Good morning, Monday!
I realize that you're an understanding crowd, and that I don't need to be all upbeat, all the time around here, but I'm finding it particularly tough at the moment to write blog posts that I enjoy writing and you can enjoy reading. I feel especially good about two last week -- the tour around Wendy's magical garden and the memorable dinner in Split -- but this has been a very tough week for feeling creative or for acting on any creative impulses.
Not only has the seven-storey concrete construction across the street ramped up the noise level -- they're beginning to "sculpt" (drill and polish and cut) the concrete they've poured over the past few months, and that constant sound is wearing. Closing the windows and doors helps, but given the sunshine we've been enjoying, that gets uncomfortable quickly, especially since most of our exterior walls are glass. And the discomfort has me really missing my island home, where summer was always the reward for winter's difficult logistics.
Yes, I can remind myself, I'm not having to deal with stormy trips across the harbour for groceries. But that's only logic. Part of me grieves a beach whose every rock I knew. I think we're doing well in adjusting to the city, and we've been cycling and kayaking and going to farmers' markets and enjoying the library just across the street. But these last few weeks, I've been craving a kind of solace that is heavily coated with nostalgia, yes, that might never truly have existed, but that beckons from my imagination as tauntingly as any desert mirage. . . .
All that pales, though, in the light of what's really hurting here. The primary cause that has all my extended family in shock; has us all going back to basics and trying to love the ones we're with in the moments we have in the seismic damage; rejigging those life principles, values, platitudes we live by, and so on. I alluded to this family illness week before last, here, but I couldn't say much then. I can tell you more now because the family of my nephew's wife started this GoFundMe campaign, which means the story is already public. There are details at that link, but the gist is that my "little brother"s son, my nephew Ryan, went to the doctor with symptoms about two weeks ago, the week before his first child was due to be born. He was almost immediately hospitalised for a week of pain control and testing and some radiation, then home for a few days before they were told that he has an advanced, rare (in adults, at least) form of cancer. His wife, Carly, determined that they have a few days together as family before Ryan starts whatever treatments are deemed necessary or helpful, delivered a beautiful little baby girl the weekend before last.
My brother and my lovely sister-in-law were here for a few hours on Saturday, and we had a pleasant lunch, toasting their status as new grandparents with Prosecco left over from toasting our newlyweds a few months ago. The emotional roller-coaster of that visit -- the absolute delight sharing the birth story, looking at the baby pictures, hearing my brother speak of helping with a 4 a.m. feeding, but then breaking down at the thought of what the future holds for these new parents and my beautiful new grand-niece.
And then while we were visiting, my sister-in-law looked at her phone messaages and burst into tears, seeing that the news was public, with this campaign. I'd just given my brother and SIL the cheque representing what my siblings and I (and my kids) had collected to buy some breathing room for the young couple -- the mortgage still has to be paid, but Ryan is unable to work and it's not at all clear what income they might have from disability, etc., We're lucky we're a large family, and the amount would help for a couple of months, but of course this is a bigger circumstance than getting through the summer. So it's been reassuring and, even more, heartwarming, seeing so many people donate, seeing the funds mount so quickly over the weekend. But I think it was also a kick in the head, having to see it written out, so concretely. . .
I'm not telling you about this, and posting the link, to solicit your contributions. As you'll see if you post the link, those funds are mounting quite quickly as is, and I know there are always many causes that clamour for our help in all of our lives. I'm just sharing it because the situation is dominating my mind and my emotions for the moment, and we're close, here, you and I. . .
And I'm going to keep posting, but If the posts are picture-heavy or the prose is a bit flat, you'll understand, I know.
Finally, sorry for the "downer," especially on a Monday, but sometimes, if you'll pardon the vulgarity, sometimes Shit Gets Real! And it's not all negative news, is it, when there's a beautiful new baby girl in the world, and she's bringing so much joy to her wonderfully devoted new parents, and there are two brilliant, newly-minted grandparents flashing baby snaps at anyone who cares to have a look. . . And a world of really kind people who want to help. The amount raised at GoFundMe has gone up by $500 in the time it took me to write this post. So that's it for now, and as they say, I'll see you when I see you. Hope you'll be back, and perhaps a bit patient with what I post in the next while. Wishing you a very good week.