This Thanksgiving morning, I (Karin) am particularly thankful for having a year and life full of amazing opportunities and good friends, for having a partner who loves me and supports me and cooks yummy meals for me, for having a healthy pregnancy and an actively kicking baby growing in my belly, for having such amazing love and support from both of our families, and, most of all, for having the very difficult life experiences that have taught me to cherish every single day as if its your very last.
But this Thanksgiving Holiday also has a sad and bitterweet feel to it -- on one hand, I am thrilled and excited to gain a child and become a mother. On the other hand, as I gain a person in my life, it appears I must lose one as well. My college roommate and good friend, April, was diagnosed with Stage III Pancreatic Cancer almost a full year ago. She's been fighting it like a stormtrooper but unfortunately the cancer is winning out. She's now getting hospice care, at home, to help her stay comfortable and to manage the pain. And while her strong willed and positive spirit is intact and certainly hanging in there, her body really seems to be slowly shutting down -- she is really having a very tough and painful time of things. April is just 33 years old, and today, she is at home, with her family gathered, for what is likely to be her last Thanksgiving holiday in this body and spirit.
In 1991, April and I met at Freshman orientation and decided to become roomates right away. We began our very first days of college at Ohio State together, and we had a blast. I will never forget our first OSU football game, where we had to sit in the famous "Block O" (the pep rally section) and how both of us hated it and left to go find other seats at halftime because they were making us do too much work (telling us to jingle our keys for a "key play", telling us to put on and take off different colored shirts to spell things to the rest of the stadium, etc...) The next week, we traded tickets with some kids from our dorm, and while we never again sat in Block O, we still became rabid OSU Football fans. In many ways my friendship with her was one of the most important and consistent female friendships I have had in my life thus far. Throughout the 5 years we were at OSU, our friendship saw us through difficult times, changing boyfriends, different friends, and difficult family situations but we always remained bonded in a special way. And though our lives took different paths and took us to different places over the years, she was, until now, really always there for me when I needed her... just a phone call away. Today she is still a phone call away, but its not really quite the same...and my heart is just aching that she is suffering so much today.
Even prayers and thoughts seem so inadequate...Cancer is just a miserable miserly mean awful invention, and no one should ever have to endure such pain and difficulty in their young life.
Needless to say, I am not in a cheery holiday mood... and because we havent seen much of one another due to a lot of travel (his and mine), Mike and I thought we needed a day together where we didnt have to interact with others and pretend to be happy. So we cancelled the tenative dinner plans we had, and instead, today we're staying home, making dinner by ourselves, watching some movies...rubbing my belly and watching the baby kick, and just spending some good quality time hanging out together....a day of rest, appreciation and contemplation.
Have a good Thanksgiving!