Christmas came early this year. Today, in the early afternoon, I had my wife and two sons with me in the family room watching the guys enjoy some new Playstation 3 games being played on the HD-TV big-screen. Memories of similar occasions all the way back to the early Nintendo years came flooding back alongside these fantastic images of the most recent incarnations of those games.
Another time, 3 childhood friends were sharing themselves, their values, their memories, and their affection for me. As we said our farewells and I watched them get back into the stretch limousine for the trip back to the Hamilton airport (an item crossed off one of my friend's personal Bucket List), we all realized the possibility that this would be the last time all of us would visit with one another. It was perfect - sadness and joy inextricably linked in recollections of 4 "seniors" enjoying their childhood and youth all over again.
Shortly after that, the doorbell rang and in walked my youngest brother, after having just arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport and bringing his more modest Ford rental along the 401. My brother is a Canadian through and through, preferring Tim Horton's coffee (which he picked up on the way here), while I preferred the French Press Starbucks bold variety offered by another friend in a gift box brought to me during a visit from earlier in the week.
Part of why my brother is visiting is to get stories, stories of years and occasions when his memories are minimal or non-existent. Always happy to oblige with stories about M., and me, about my grandparents, about my uncles and aunts, about childhood friends and neighbours, I think we got his American Thanksgiving weekend off a very good start.
Time is too short these days to make avoidance a habit. So there were also moments when I played the role of facilitator, attempting to ensure that important questions were asked and reasonable answers provided. In the actual meetings/visits, I could sense the success of doing so, the sense that full frontal nudity may be appropriate right now. At other times, depending almost exclusively on email, it was far less evident to me that holes in the walls were being plugged and that communication had been improved. We'll know soon enough, I suspect.
Always and within a few moments, the health questions would come my way. How long did I have to live? What could they do to help my family with funeral/life celebration arrangements, etc? What about some few remaining/outstanding quarrels? Was I really going to finish the blog sub-thread on spirituality? Would I consider doing some audio recollections for younger siblings who simply weren't around for some of the earlier Spencer family events?
And invariably, as we talked about health and death, the issue of voiding and catheters would arise. People my age don't need a lot of time or sense of security to wax eloquent about the pain of being unable to empty their bladders. I have to say that one of the most positive developments in my health saga recently has been my spectacular success in regaining natural function in voiding.
As I start to get close to voiding 2 litres a day, I am getting more hopeful about reducing edema in the legs. The blood clots are a different story, of course, but anything which reduces the pain and swelling associated with my legs is good news.
As pain becomes more manageable, I find hope welling up at the same time urine and water are eliminated.