Sunday was a day to relax, well okay so we didn't relax. We prepared the house for Christmas Eve Dinner when Rhonda and her boys will come over and do all the cooking. My brother Bob is not in any condition yet to be able to come over, (He is agoraphobic and has been for several years) we try and get together at Mom's house every year, but for the past few it is just too hard for him to have so many people and all the commotion. This is his story to tell, but not being able to spend Christmas with him is hard. I can handle if someone lives in another State far away, but when they live so close, it's hard. We honor his wishes as we know it wouldn't be fun, maybe even be torture for him and that's not what it's all about. Frank and I asked if we could it at our house this year so that Zack can go in his room should he get tired. Everyone is in agreement. Rhonda's only request... "let me have your kitchen for the day and stay out of it!!". I remind her of my motto "I have a kitchen, because it came with the house." Cooking is not one of my favorite things to do, I would rather have kitchen patrol than to cook.
|Meme (Mom) and Zack|
Monday is Christmas Eve. Since the office is going to be closed for a week after the Holiday's we decided to open from 7:30 am - Noon. The house is in order, so I know "my" preparations are complete. I work until noon, we exchange gifts, (I receive a Christmas bonus from my bosses, which is such a blessing) and Nancy and I grab a quick lunch before heading our separate ways.I had contacted the Cancer Center and told them of our plans for the rest of the week. Melanie advised that Zack go ahead and come in for them to check his levels, this way if he needs blood they can arrange to have it ready for Wednesday's appointment. Zack is angry, he didn't want to have to go in, but he also understands. He and Frank headed out and by lunch I got a call from Melanie who advises that he does need blood and though they wanted to give it to him today, he refused saying it would be hours and he didn't want to miss Christmas Eve dinner with family.We have taught him even though you must have treatments there are some times that the schedule can be altered and if you truly want to do something, you have a right to speak up. So we have this all scheduled for Wednesday.
I had collected several pictures of Big John and after lunch brought them to the funeral home for the Thursday's service. As usual communication was mixed up and they were already closed, not being one to give up I call and ask where to leave them. We work out a location and I'm on the road again. Not realizing the banks closed early, I went shopping for a couple of last minute items and received change for my nephews "Joke" present. I had prepared two packages, one with change, small bills, and a couple of large bills and put each item in a coin roll, Frank found a stone that weighed the exact same as a snow globe that I placed in the other bag with larger bills. He had two bags in front of him and could only choose one as his gift. He choose the one that required the more work. Of course, later he found out the amount was the same in each bag, one just required work and the other not. This was "pay back" for a time when he placed money in small denominations in a plastic bag, filled it with water and froze it. He then presented my husband with the gift of "COLD HARD CASH!!" We love gags like this, it makes for fun.
|Frank and Rhonda|
|Nick (nephew) and Havley|
|Rhonda and her sons Peter, Nick and Jim|
|Sidi (Tibetan for Peace)|
|"It's past my bedtime"|
The Christmas Eve spread was magnificent. Hors d'oeuvres of Brie cheese, pigs in a blanket, a cheese ball and Rhonda's special fruit shaped marzipan. The meal consisted of mac and cheese, ham, pot roast, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, two breads, cranberry sauce. I'm sure I missed something. There was enough food to feed an army, but the best part is all the leftovers. We had a great meal and a even better time together. Laughter is something that has been missing from this family for awhile, especially at the holidays. Mom misses the hell out of Dad, understandably, so the Holidays are especially hard for her. My "mission" this particular time of year was to ensure that Zack had the best possible memories. He has just lost his Grandfather and the limitation he currently has due to his therapy make it hard to keep things "normal", but we do the best we can,.
|Rhonda's special marzipan|
|Darrick, Zack, Curtis & Jamie|
|Zack's new ramps|
On Christmas morning, we woke fairly early and exchanged gifts. I used to think the days that Zack stopped believing in Santa, opening gifts wouldn't be the same, but we had a ton of fun. Frank had wrapped my gift in a large box, taped with duct tape and a set of drill bits (hey I asked for it, don't laugh) also taped inside the box. Zack will excited with his gifts, mostly for the truck and Frank's involved fishing gear.
We all (Franks family) had agreed to meet at his Sister and Brother in laws house for the Fisher get together. We usually go in the afternoon, today we will meet at 11:30 am. so that my younger sister in laws children could have equal time with us and their father (their parents are separated . It was actually perfect. We opened gifts, the children were picked up by their father and the adults had quiet time to visit and catch up on everything.
Plans are ready for Big Johns service and if everything goes as planned, the service should be light and short. Zack will go to the service, which will be first, sit up front with us (Big John was cremated) and when it is over head home while the rest of us stay and visit with the guests. Frank and I were firm and told everyone we didn't want Zack to be subject to a large crowd. Of course everyone was in agreement, so no arguments.
We wrapped up the day around 4 pm which allowed us "down time" at home. Zack had already headed our earlier to go see Drake and his family and rest. We love the fact that he is honest enough, no matter what the situation to tell us when he is tired and needs to rest. That is the only way all of these get together's are working. We don't want to have to "guess" what he is feeling, if he tells us, we can better understand how to help.
It is now Wednesday and life as we know it is back to normal. Zack and I head out to the Cancer Center for a double blood transfusion and his next round of chemo. This time it is Vincristine, which, thankfully, doesn't make him as sick. He is tired, which is one of the side effects of low hemoglobin so we are already glad for the transfusion. We arrive at 11:30 am and are done by 3:30 pm, an early day for us. This can usually last until 6 pm. We head out and stop at a local store to pick up some new pants for tomorrow's service. Some family members state we must wear a suit, but anyone that knows us, knows we will not and do not conform. We are there to pay our respects to Big John,and I know he wouldn't care what the heck we wear. The reality is, he is long gone and much happier and hopefully not hanging around to see what we are up to. He served his time and now it's his time to rest in peace.
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