I will be interrupting the Insecure Writer's Support Group to share a personal story. Be sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh and the rest of the talented members.
On July 21 we received word that my mother-in-law was rushed to the hospital in Israel. She was unconscious, and was put on a ventilator. The doctors ruled out a stroke, and began treating her for an infection of unknown origin. Our cousins were wonderful about staying by her bedside, and keeping us apprised. When her condition wasn't improving, my husband made arrangements to fly out to see her.
In the meantime, his younger brother was suffering from liver failure. The cancer began in his colon six years ago, and had spread to his lymph nodes, liver and lungs. Though he was in a great deal of pain, he never complained, and agreed that it was important for my husband to leave the country to be with their mother.
We saw his brother the day before my husband left for Israel. He seemed happy to see us, and even joked around a bit. Our sister-in-law told us that they were going to Michigan for the weekend. We reminisced about some of my brother-in-law's major accomplishments, as they were in a family business together for more than thirty five years. When he went to take a nap, I asked his wife if my husband should postpone his trip to Israel. She felt badly that he was put in this position, but encouraged him to see his mother.
I offered to go with my husband or in his place. Because our older son was busy studying for the bar exam, and our younger son was getting ready for summer school finals, my husband thought that I was needed at home. After he arrived, he phoned to let us know that my mother-in-law was improving. He also received a reassuring email from my sister-in-law stating that his brother was feeling a little more like himself.
When I called to check-in later the following day, a close family friend told us that his condition had worsened. My brother-in-law had to have his abdominal cavity drained for the second time in two weeks, and he was sleeping from all of the medication. They seemed to be exhausted, so I said that I'd bring our boys over on Saturday.
Because there is an eight hour time difference between Chicago and Israel it was already Shabbat there. My husband's relatives are very religious, and will not speak on the telephone or use any electronic devices from sundown on Friday to sundown Saturday. I was frantically trying to reach him early Saturday morning, but he never got the message at the hotel. He was with his mother in the hospital where they also observed Shabbat,
In the midst of all of this, my son was moving into a new apartment. His plan was to set everything up, so that he could be closer to where he was taking the bar exam. I finally was able to reach my husband when Shabbat ended, and asked him to come home as soon as possible to see his brother. He also felt terrible and was waiting for his mother to be released from the hospital.
I tried to prepare our sons, but their once exuberant uncle lay jaundiced and weak in a hospital bed in the bedroom he shared with his wife. He tried to sit up to greet us, but he just didn't have the strength. I told him that he was the bravest man I knew, and that he didn't have to be brave anymore. My sister-in-law and nephew were also in the room with us, and we all fought back the tears.
My husband booked an earlier flight home, and was scheduled to arrive on the first day of our older son's bar exam, which was also our younger son's birthday. While I was scrambling the night before to buy him a birthday present, I came home with two right shoes.
Sadly, my husband didn't make it home in time. At the airport, I gave him the horrific news that his little brother had passed away earlier that morning.
My brother-in-law was a wonderful man who went out of his way to make everyone else feel comfortable during his illness. He always greeted everyone with a joke and a smile. His dear friend did an exceptional job capturing his spirit in his eulogy. We sat with the rabbi telling stories with our sister-in-law, niece and nephew which helped in the healing process. In one day, my husband lost his brother, business partner and best friend.
Julie, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss in your family. I wish you, your husband, and your family peace and comfort during this difficult time.ReplyDelete
Julie, I'm so sorry for your loss. Our family went through a similar season, losing my father-in-law and niece within five days of each other. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.ReplyDelete
Cynthia - Thank you for being so thoughtful.ReplyDelete
Jenn - My heart goes out to you and your family. How awful to lose two loved ones only five days apart and your niece was probably very young. Thank you, and I hope that you're all helping each other get through this.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Julie.ReplyDelete
Hugs and chocolate,
Oh, that is so tragic. I'm very sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. Six years. What a valiant fight.ReplyDelete
What a sad story. Thinking of you and your family.ReplyDelete
Oh my, bless your hearts, you've had so much on your heart to deal with. Prayers of comfort and peace to your family during this very difficult time. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's just so difficult when family is sick and hurting. Fear and sorrow are consuming.ReplyDelete
Hi Julie - gosh the family is having its troubles and your poor husband trying to decide where to be ... you all did your best to be where you were most needed - I am just sorry that your husband didn't quite make it ..ReplyDelete
My thoughts are with you all - I hope your MIL is easier in her life - I'm just glad you were all able to see each other recently ...
All the best and hugs - Hilary
Sorry for your loss, Julie. I pray for comfort you and your family as you grieve. I'm glad you are sharing the story.ReplyDelete
What a brave man to fight cancer for six years, prayers for you all at the moment xxReplyDelete
Suzanne @ Suzannes-Tribe
Thank you Carole.ReplyDelete
Shelly - Hugs and chocolate always help.
Luanne - He did put up a "valiant fight." Thanks Luanne.
Thank you Linda.
Julie - I really appreciate your kind words.
Hilary - Yes, it was good to see her during happier times at the end of May. My husband and his brother also made the long voyage last year in between chemo treatments. Thanks Hilary.
Thank you MollyMom!
Suzanne - He was incredibly brave. Thank you Suzanne.
I'm so sorry for your loss, Julie. And please extend my sympathies to your husband as well. Your brother-in-law sounds like a wonderful man and I'm so sorry for your family.ReplyDelete
This loss must be so terrible for your mother-in-law, especially since she is also in poor health. I hope she will be able to manage okay and will continue to recover physically. I'm sending good thoughts to all of you.
Dealing with the loss of our loved ones requires a lot of bravery. So sorry for you and your family, Julie. Take care.ReplyDelete
Julie - We are waiting to tell his mother in person when she gets stronger. Sadly, there will never be an easy time to break the news to her. Thank you so much Julie.ReplyDelete
Lee - So true. My sister-in-law, niece and nephew have been remarkably brave. Thanks Lee.
Julie, I am sorry!! Prayers for your family. That's too much to deal with in one day.ReplyDelete
Jewels, you know I have been sending prayers to you and your family since you told me. You have been doing it all. Love you, Lampchop.ReplyDelete
Julie, I am so sorry for your loss. I was with Kirby on Friday night, July 26th and he didn't say anything to me about your family situation. I totally get the wanting to be in two places. A little over a year ago I lost my mom. We buried her on July 28th and right after the internment, we went to my brother's in BG for shiva. An hour after arrival, my sister's mother-in-law stroked out on my brother's living room floor. They rushed her to the hospital with my sister and brother-in-law's family right behind. All my friends and family were at my brother's house but I felt like I needed to be at the hospital with my sister. I chose to go to the hospital and I'm glad I did. We buried another mother 2 days later. It was surreal. Give your husband an extra hug for me tonight. I am waiting for my husband's call after his visit with his oncologist this morning to see if he is still in remission. F*cking cancer.ReplyDelete
Thank you for being so thoughtful Alex.ReplyDelete
Lynn - You are the best.
Sara - I didn't know that my brother-in-law had taken a turn for the worse until later that day, so Kirby wasn't aware how quickly things had escalated. I remember when you lost your mom and your sister's mother-in-law at the same time. What a horrible experience it must have been. You did all of the right things and I'm so sorry that you and your family had to go through that. I know that this must be a very difficult time of the year for you, and I really appreciate your kind words. I'll be sending lots of positive thoughts your way and hope that your husband received a good report.
I shall keep this comment but brief. Through such a painful, traumatic time, I send my caring wishes to you and all your loved ones.
Oh, Julie. I'm so sorry for your loss, sweetie. It sounds like your brother-in-law went through a lot of suffering, and yet still tried to put on a brave face for the rest of you. He must have been a very special man. My heartfelt condolences to you and the rest of your family.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry.ReplyDelete
Thank you dear Gary.ReplyDelete
Susan - He was a very special man. Thank you Susan.
I am so sorry, Julie. My heartfelt condolences. Your brother-in-law sounds like a very special and dear man. I am sure your husband will miss him deeply as will you all.ReplyDelete
Val - He will be greatly missed by all of us. My brother-in-law touched so many people's lives. Thank you Val.Delete
Julie, I'm so sorry to hear this. Losing a family member, that's so very difficult. And cancer is, well, you know how terrible a disease it is. I'm so sorry for your husband as well. I hope you all have some relief and ease during this time of healing.ReplyDelete
Julie: There are no words that express how difficult life can be at times. I send you my condolences and wish you and your family well.ReplyDelete
Libby - Thank you for the kind words.ReplyDelete
Yvonne - I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Julie, I'm so sorry for your loss. And especially for your husband's loss. Even when we think we're prepared, we're not. My prayers and thoughts are with you and all your family.ReplyDelete
Carol - It all happened so quickly beginning the week of your guest post. Thanks again for being so helpful.Delete
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Julie. Your poor mother-in-law lost a son and couldn't even be there with him.ReplyDelete
Jan - I agree that no parent should ever have to lose a child. Thank you Jan.Delete
Oh my, how dreadfully sad. But, if I was his brother I would have insisted that your husband go see his mom. I know it's going to happen one day with my brothers. But, how did mom fare?ReplyDelete
Al - His mother seems to be doing better. We're waiting for her to get stronger before we tell her the news. Thanks Al.Delete
No parent-myself included-wants to see their child pass before them. My heart goes out to you all.Delete
Al - We will be flying out to tell her in person after we take our son back to school. You are absolutely right Al. Thank you.Delete
I'm so sorry to hear all this bad news you have had to endure. So happy at least his mother is getting better, but it's difficult losing a little brother. My heart goes out to all of you along with thoughts and prayers.ReplyDelete
Mary - Thank you for being so thoughtful. I hope that you and your husband are doing well.Delete
I've just read this, and I'm very sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to all your family during this time. You had so many things on your plate to juggle and there is never enough hours to be everywhere and do everything. Your brother-in-law knew he had a loving and caring family, and that counts for a lot. Your husband lost a great love, but has been left with many wonderful memories of the times he had with his brother. My condolences.ReplyDelete
Rum-Punch Drunk - Thanks for your kind words during this difficult time. It really does help.Delete
Oh Julie, I am so very sorry. My love and prayers are with you, your husband, and family. May his memory be forever a blessing.ReplyDelete
If you're willing to write his name, I'd like to say Kaddish for him.
You and your family have been through so much in such a short time. My sympathies are with you at this time.
Dear Julie, What sad news Julie. Please know your family is in my prayers.ReplyDelete
Robyn - Thank you for being so thoughtful. I'll email you soon.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much Arleen.
I really appreciate it Jen.
I say many thanks to Mr. admin website I read this, because in this website I know a lot of information information that I did not know before hisReplyDelete
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