The call came one morning last week and because I had been asleep, I missed it. It came to me in the form of a voicemail from my former brother-in-law, Henry. The message was a sad one. He told me that his wife of about 30 years, passed away last night in her sleep and her gallant 6 year fight against cancer was finally over. I had spoken with Henry the night before and he said he'd keep me posted on her condition, but I never dreamed it would happen so soon. I saved the message to listen to when I was more awake, to make sure I'd heard it correctly and I had.
About 6 years ago, Patty found a lump on her breast that turned out to be malignant. She then suffered a bi-lateral mastectomy and it was late into her recovery that she came to Phoenix to care for me after my heart episode. She stayed about a week and went home for some social event and returned a week later to stay with me again, this time for 10 days. I'll always remember her generosity and how she forgot about her own problems when I needed help. I never spent that many hours laughing with a woman that I wasn't married to and frankly, I don't know how she put up with me. We fought like dogs and cats when we disagreed on something, like where to park when she would drop me off in front of a medical building. We sounded like an old married couple.
When she returned home, we remained email buddies and exchanged jokes and political opinions. We'd speak periodically and catch up. Last year around this time, I flew to Chicago to see her while I could. She had just had some major surgery, as the cancer had spread to her bones. She really couldn't walk, but scooted around on a kitchen step stool that had wheels, using her one good leg for motion.
I got a call from her oldest son Scott, last week. He wanted to tell me to get in touch with his Mom, as she really wasn't doing well. I did, but she had already succumbed to the disease that eventually took her and was asleep constantly. She had 24 hour Hospice help and sedation.
After the call came, I got notification from her husband and son announcing a dedication service that was planned for next month, after her cremation. I received invitations from her cousin Mike to stay with him at his house during the November dedication and to tell Brad he's welcome too.
Now my ex-wife and her sister Patty have been fighting since fighting was fashionable around 30 years ago. I never really knew what this silly fight was over, but my ex being super jealous of her older sister, I always felt it had something to do with that. I also didn't think that anyone would notify her of her sister's demise. I handled it with an email when I first found out that Patty was doing poorly and advised Barbara to contact her sister, she might be near the end. Only a day later I sent her another email notifying her of her only sister's death. Again, no reply!
On Halloween Day, I put it off as long as possible then realized it was probably my obligation to see if she even received my emails and if she even still lived in AZ. I called her number and it rang an unusually long time, when just as I was about to hang up and try her cell, she answered. I wished her a happy Halloween and asked if she'd heard from our son Brad lately? She said she'd had lunch with him last week and I asked if he was okay. She said, yes. I asked how our estranged grandson Max was and she said she didn't know, she isn't allowed to talk about him. I dropped it. I asked if she got my emails and she said, yes. I asked if she'd had the opportunity to contact her sister before she died and she said, She could have called me! So I relied that you never got a chance to right things??? Well, she should have called me...... I interrupted her and said, SHE'S DEAD! How could she call you from a coma prior to death? Well, I was pretty sick plenty of times and she never called me! I almost lost a leg one time and she didn't call.. I said I couldn't continue this conversation and hung up! You just can't fix ST000PID!