I need to apologize to anyone who emailed me before November 2nd. I am a terrible correspondent. If I do not respond to a message the moment I read it, you can assume it's been left for dead. And let's face it, with an increasingly active baby in the mix I consider myself lucky if I get a chance to read incoming mail at all. Every once in a while I will get caught up in a fit of email guilt and embark on a forced march through my old messages. But I would prefer to declare email bankruptcy some day. Start over with a new email address and a clean slate. Although I cannot promise that I would operate a new account with any accountability.
In this case an email that Mom forwarded to me on November 2nd created an emotional logjam, and I'm finding it impossible to wade any further backwards through my mail. The message is from my cousin Shawn's wife Lisa. Lisa is fighting what began as ovarian cancer for the sixth time in as many years. She is 40 years old. And after an experimental treatment failed to yield any positive results, she is dying. So she composed a letter to family and friends explaining what's going on and sending her love. And get this--it's the part that trips me up each time I read the letter--she says that many people have asked what they can do to help. Lisa writes:
Here are a few thoughts I had:
* Visit, call, or email – I hope to be able to see everyone before I get too sick to enjoy a visit. Feel free to contact me so we can set up some time to spend together!
* Food Pantry Donations - Interested in making food? How about making a small donation to the food pantry barrels at your local grocery store or food pantry instead?
* DVD/Wii Game Drive – The Medical Oncology Family Center at Waukesha Memorial Hospital just purchased a flat screen TV and Wii Gaming System with the intent to build a library of games/movies for families to access during their stay. New or gently used games/DVDs are welcome (kids grew out of them, etc).
This stops me because it's just so Lisa to tell her loved ones that they can help her by donating to a food pantry or oncology center.
Mom talked to Uncle Mike yesterday, and Lisa's health has deteriorated very quickly since the beginning of November. I'm going to write back to her now.