Thursday, March 08, 2007

The 44th good thing about Lagos: Sometimes business trips happen at the right time.

I really had to think hard to come up with a good thing for the subject I'm writing about today. My sister-in-law, Lisa, passed away yesterday of brain cancer, and that's really not a good thing at all. I'm feeling very sad right now and sorry to be so far away. I'm wishing I was closer to family and could give my nephews a hug and tell them how very sorry I am that their mother won't be there, at least physically, to give them hugs.

Lisa had been suffering from brain cancer for a little over a year and a half. She had been home from the hospital for just over a year and right before we left for Lagos in January the results of an MRI scan showed a very small tumor. Doug, Lisa's husband/Brent's brother, as well as Brent's parents and sister who moved down to Houston and were taking care of Lisa and the boys and keeping the household running -- they all said that it wouldn't be a big deal. The doctors were going to do gamma knife radiation. They had caught it early and the tumor was small. No reason to stay around, they could handle it. I never really thought that when we said goodby that I wouldn't see Lisa again, at least in this life. But the tumor grew quickly and Lisa had all kinds of complications, acquiring pneumonia, necessitating ventilators and a tracheotomy. By the time they were able to perform surgery last Thursday, she was partially paralyzed and in the surgery they were unable to remove all the tumor, as it had grown into her brain stem -- or so I understand. Anyway, I don't believe she ever woke up. Yesterday they removed her from the ventilator and other equipment and they said she passed peacefully.

Brent had a business trip to Houston he was contemplating, though it wasn't essential. But because of this family situation, he decided he'd go ahead and make the trip and see if there is something there he can do to support his brother. Lisa had requested cremation and no funeral service. Unfortunately, Brent will just miss his parents and the boys as they leave directly for Arizona for a planned spring break trip to see their cousins. As they won't be around and there isn't a planned family gathering, I decided there was no real reason to go to Houston right now. But I'm glad that Brent is able to be there with his brother and sister and hopefully he will be of some support. In the meantime, I'm here and just as I was feeling lonely and far away, I got an instant message from my daughter and then we connected through the computer on our Skype phones and talked free for almost an hour. That made me feel not so alone. So, thanks, Linds! I'm going to have my own memorial service for Lisa and read through some of the old emails she sent that I still have on the computer and I'm going to think about the person she was and think about what I can do to hopefully be a good aunt to her 2 young sons. I'm going to remind myself of how quickly life can totally change and how we need to always remember that it is very fragile and we need to make the most of each day we have here.

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