Sunday, November 16, 2003

Picture Grab-bag--Episode 2

Pulled out another picture for "Show & Tell."  It's a bad picture, but I scanned it in.  It's of my husband and me on our 25th wedding anniversary.

My mother and sisters took us on a weekend to the Oregon Coast, and threw us a little dinner at the hotel restaurant.  It was kind of a surprise, given the upheaval that our family had gone through after my dad passed away in 1999. I half  believed my family wouldn't choose to help us celebrate our special milestone.  My husband's mother used say, "We're going to be a family if it kills us."  For the Baldwin girls from 1999  through 2001, it damn near did.

Dad was diagnosed with cancer in September of 1998, had surgery October 1, and died four months later, almost to the day.  Two weeks after Dad's surgery, Mom was sent to the ER in the middle of the night with back pains so severe she couldn't move.  For the next four months, while we daughters were trying to help my dad die at home, Mom was bounced in and out of hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab facilities.  Three months after Dad passed away, they finally diagnosed my mother's illness and treated her for it.  It took six weeks of IV antibiotics to knock out the bone infection in her spine. Mom had lost 100 lbs.and looked like she had aged 20 years. She COULD have died while Medicare kept costs down by throwing her out of the hospital three times without a diagnosis, so they wouldn't have to pay for nursing home care.  AND Dad died of cancer in the interim.

We four girls ended up taking out our grief, fears and frustrations on each other, for whatever reason.  I felt as if I hadn't just lost my dad, but my entire family.  We said and did things that we never knew we were capable of.  And the memory hasn't gone completely away...

So, I started out writing about our 25th wedding anniversary weekend, and ended up telling the story of my familiy's troubled journey through my Dad's death.  That's how my mind works.  If I ever HAD to write an article about a specific thing, and keep to the subject, I'd be sunk...


  1. I'm sorry about the loss of your father. :-( I know cancer has stolen lots of lives, and it's always hard to say goodbye, but especially when it seems way too early..

  2. Dad died a month shy of his 80th he wasn't young. I think that was part of the problem, though. The doctors all seemed to have the attitude of, "He's old (and he's on Medicare) so we don't have to work too hard to save his life." It was NOT a fun time! Thanks for stopping by, Donna.