Two Fridays ago, we got on a plane headed to Orlando for a long weekend. We were headed to see my mom and sister, my dear friend, Katie, and her entire family, which is pretty much my family as well. Upon landing, I turned my cell phone back on and checked my messages. I had one from my mom saying that Katie was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and wasn’t doing very good. For those of you who don’t know, Katie has a brain tumor, and lately each MRI has shown more and more progression.
Saturday morning we wake up and call to see how Katie is doing. She seems to be doing better, is responding and talking, and wondering how her college friends (who were visiting from out of town) were doing. Katie was still in the ICU, so we didn’t go visit. We went to a Mardi Gras party on Saturday night, where Greta (normally the child who needs complete and total silence to sleep) slept through the whole party. Sunday we had a pizza party in the hospital library, so that everyone who was in town visiting could see Katie, and Katie could see us. Katie was finally moved to a regular room in the cancer hospital, after waiting for a very long time for a room to open up. Katie seemed to be doing pretty well, was chowing down and chatting with everyone.
Monday we spent the day going back and forth from my friend Lauren’s house (where we were staying) and the hospital. As we were getting ready to head home for the evening and saying our final goodbyes to Katie (we were scheduled to leave Tuesday morning very early), we learned that Katie might not make it another 24 hours. The tumor was pushing on her brain stem, which controls the very basic life functions of breathing and the heart. I decided then and there that I wasn’t leaving on our plane the next morning. Matt had to get back to work, since he doesn’t have much vacation left.
Tuesday Greta and I did most of the same, hung out at the hospital and back to the house for naps. We got to spend lots of time with Katie. She was eating and talking, and even fired her one doctor. I didn’t believe the whole 24 hour thing from the start. That doctor clearly didn’t know Katie. We left Tuesday evening not knowing what would come next. By Wednesday morning when we arrived at the hospital, Katie was in a deep sleep. The doctor told us that she would go into a deep sleep and then eventually a coma, until her breathing stopped. I had decided on Wednesday morning that I would be leaving Orlando to either go home to Tallahassee (where the funeral would be) or to San Antonio. Wednesday morning no one thought Katie would make it until noon, so the funeral would be on Friday, so I opted to go to Tally with my mom and sister. The whole drive home we were expecting a call from Katie’s family, but never got one.
Katie slept and slept until Saturday morning at 7:15 am, when she took her last breath.
The funeral was on Monday in Tally. It was a very touching service, given by the cantor from Katie’s temple in Orlando. She was very close to Katie and did a great job celebrating Katie’s life and sharing details that many did not know about the wonderful life Katie lived.
It was very sad to loose one of my oldest and dearest friends. I’m glad I was able to spend some time with her the last few days. She enjoyed seeing Greta and even wanted to eat Greta! In May there is going to be a big bash to celebrate her life.
Originally, Matt and I had planned a trip to PA to see his family starting last Wednesday. So rather than flying back to San Antonio and then up to PA, I just stayed in Tally a few extra days. On Wednesday Greta and I flew up to PA, and Matt met us there. We were happy to be back together as a family, since we had been apart more than a week. We spent a lovely weekend with Matt’s family, and celebrated his grandfather’s (Greta’s only great-grandparent) 92nd birthday. Greta enjoyed playing with the kids and all the new toys at Matt’s parents’ house.
I have something like 1200 pictures to download and comb through from the last two weeks. I took lots of pictures of Katie with her friends and family, as well as the usual Greta pictures. Soon there will be some more pictures, but for now, this is all you get.
We got home last night around 10 pm, and are all glad to be back home. Albert certainly missed us, and I missed being in my own house with all of our things. I’m glad to finally have some different clothes to wear.