Its been a rough week. I need to share some history and explain who’s who for the full impact.
My mom is the oldest of five kids, two sisters and two brothers. You’ve seen her sisters in my Stitch & Bitch photos. Pat, the older of the two, passed away two years ago. Her younger daughter (who lives in California) is married to the son of another member of our quilting group, Becky, who has been battling some health problems. Mom’s youngest sister, Mickey, is married to Leo, with three adult children, Russ, Joe and Grace. Grace lives in Washington state, halfway across the country. Mike is Mickey’s twin brother.
Last Wednesday, my uncle Leo had a small heart attack. Because Grace and her family were about to leave for a two week vacation and because the heart attack was so small that they weren’t even sure at first that’s what happened, they decided not to tell Grace, afraid she’d cancel the trip to come see them. This was a fantastic vacation, hidden in the wilds of Canada and almost completely out of contact – no phone, no internet. After Grace left, the doctors did an angioplasty and decided that Leo needed a triple bypass, which they scheduled for the weekend. During the surgery they changed their minds and did a quadruple bypass.
Over the weekend, we heard that Becky (my cousin’s mother-in-law and one of the ladies in our quilting group) had taken a turn for the worse.
Monday, my mom’s brother Mike (Mickey’s twin) told us he had been diagnosed with throat cancer.
Tuesday, we learned that Becky had been given last rites.
Wednesday, my uncle Leo came home from the hospital.
Early Friday morning we got a call from my aunt Mickey that they were at the University Hospital and their son, Joe, had shot himself. He would not survive. Through the Canadian Mounted Police, they were able to locate my cousin and she and her husband are flying back tomorrow.
Later that day we learned that Becky had passed away.
Joe’s body is shutting down and he is on life support. His two sons, ages 18 and 21, made the decision to donate his organs and tissue, and they’re just waiting until the recipients can be set up. I am so proud of them for making that choice. Although they’ve had some help from family, Joe did not have life insurance or a will and so they are making all of the decisions and assembling the money to pay for his funeral. There’s been some talk of a golf outing or other fundraiser to help financially. I can’t offer much in the way of money, but I CAN offer a quilt for auction or raffle.
So I don’t end this on the lowest possible note, here’s a quick video of Becky and Patty (not my aunt, just some crazy lady who came by to sew!) at one of our quilting days. Becky is on the right. Watch it – you can’t help but laugh.