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My youngest sister Jane invited us girls (sisters, nieces, daughters) to a “pajama party” this afternoon. Of course my digital camera battery died before I could get any pictures but there will always be those memory pictures in my head; Pat in her “costume,”  Angie wearing cozy pajamas with matching slippers, Jane embarrassing us with a black history  quiz, of all things, Denise with her admission that she had always wanted to learn how to tap dance, and Joan, the oldest (but you wouldn’t know it to look at her). And that was just my sisters. My daughter Beth was also there, along with several nieces. 

None of us wanted to leave. We don’t do this kind of thing often enough and it was difficult to pry ourselves away from the laughing and the talking. And talking.  And laughing some more. And, yes, we were all aware of the intruder in the room, Denise’s cancer, and we eventually did talk about it, but Denise won’t know much until she gets results of the CT tests they are doing on Monday and then after the surgery, when they can stage the cancer and give her more answers. 

It is probably appropriate that I was the one who finally brought it up, considering that I know, intimately, that not talking about it doesn’t help. For those of you who do not mention cancer to your friend or family member with cancer, if you think that you can help them forget about it by not talking about it, or that you can take their mind off of “it,” don’t kid yourself.  They are still thinking about it. Denise says that if she lies on her back at night, she can’t stop thinking about it. If she moves to her side, she can stop thinking long enough to sleep.

My sisters and I spent six hours at Jane’s this afternoon. 

I miss them already.


Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Certified grief counselor and Senior Service librarian for the James Kennedy Public library. Popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing, couponing, utilizing your creativity in everyday life, and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015. Grief journal to be released in 2018.

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