Several of us came in from lunch today to see one hell of a horrible thing in our e-mail boxes. Sunday morning, my friend Maia was found dead in her sleep. This isn't at all surprising, which doesn't make it any better. She'd been dealing with ovarian/cervical cancer that had metastasized even after aggressive treatment. She left my company early this summer, saying that dealing with the cancer had to be her full-time job for now. I talked to her a lot. It was pretty obvious that the "job" only got harder. We never replaced her. We all hoped she'd come back, especially my work husband B. Maia was wonderful to both of us during times when we really needed it; it was just her way. She was always so amazingly calm. The cancer ripped a hole in my office, and I don't even want to contemplate what it's done to her husband, her daughter, and her parents.
I should be drinking chamomile tea or something right now. Instead I'm drinking Diet Mountain Dew Ultraviolet mixed with gin, which is so not what I need. Maia used to tell me I needed to drink less soda and that my love for blatantly artificial food dyes was no good for me. I hate food lectures, and lectures of any kind. I would pay my entire savings account to hear Maia gripe at me about this drink.
I'm getting a few things taken care of at work tomorrow, then B. and I are going to her funeral. We'll blow into and out of North Carolina, less than 24 hours in all. Our bosses act like sending us counts for their attendance, too. Our wives can't go. They both have to work. I wanted to take a bit of my vacation time before Samhain. I damn sure didn't want it like this. There's nothing for me to do at all but show up, which I hate. I'm making and taking a muscadine grape pie for the wake anyway. It had never occured to Maia to put grapes in a pie, and when I gave her a slice to taste, she loved it and made several herself. B. is singing because she told him a couple of weeks ago that she would want him to. I understand why she would. He's taking this hard, though, of course.
Also, late last night, my mom called to let me know that my great-aunt got out of intensive care. I'd had a pretty good weekend--the zoo with my best friend's daughter, surfing, some quality time with my wife. I didn't even know she was in the hospital at all, and she seemed fine last week. It seemed she was coughing up blood on Friday, though. She had a hernia that needed to be taken care of, and also has stomach ulcers. She was touch and go for a while. Again, not completely unexpected. She is 89. She is still in the hospital, but will be released soon. Her daughter thinks she needs to go into a nursing home. My great-aunt is very independent-minded, and probably hurt herself doing things like clearing stumps on her property. Her daughter and I do not like each other very much, but I don't envy her having to tell my great-aunt they need to try something different.
Mom and Future Stepdad were going to see her this autumn. L'Ailee and I were going to see her around Yule, while we were in Detroit. We're thinking we need to try going to her earlier. I'm just grateful this hungry, greedy Summer 2009 didn't claim her too, knock on wood.