Cafe Hitch-hike


The Uncles, Once Again

I personified Remy's cancer with the name Uncle Lukey (aka leukemia). I never did that for Uncle Joe since it didn't take long for him to go after his diagnosis (colon cancer diagnosed too late). I didn't think of it with my birth father's brain cancer; hat happened 30 years ago. I think I'll call my maternal Uncle Rainman's neoplasm Uncle Peyton (aka prostate cancer). Uncle R. and my friend German CO (the one I visited in Primrose Hill last summer) have uncles with the same name.

I can't believe it's getting to that point. I recently planned on preemptively scheduling my birthday a month or 2 earlier than its actual day because for the past 3 years, they've fallen at the same time as serious family health matters and a major hurricane. Maybe this plan jokingly thought of may have some merit... I'm not ranting about my birthday, it's my trivial sneer at a series of realities in my life.

I got to share my birthday with 2 others who were dying (Joe and Grandma). I was heading to Key Largo for my birthday with Rafael & Company when my uncle Elias had me on speakerphone when he was in Grandma's hospital room. She was heavily sedated from a recent stomach/ intestinal surgery, yet stirred and mumbled when she heard E. and I speak. I was talking about snorkeling when she slowly mumbled then uttered the first part of my name. E. ended the call so he could notify a nurse, but we were able to exchange 'love you's.'

Joe... I won't say much but he received a very poor prognosis either the day of or just before my birthday. He could barely speak (we or his doctors were never sure why), but he and Mom wished me a happy 45th. They were very happy to wish it, and even if we didn't say anything, we all felt what was really below the surface. (I could write about the amusing yet sophomoric events that followed that birthday celebration at the local cantina, but I'll spare the details).

I sent Uncle R. a pint beer glass from the recent Super Bowl because one of his favorite teams was in the game and its logo was on the glass. I was going to keep it for my collection, but I decided he would enjoy it more. It took only 3 days to get to him in Texas, so he called to tell me he got it and it was in 1 piece. We had a nice chat, and it was a frank talk about his stage 3 diagnosis. His cancer is still very treatable, but he doesn't sound optimistic. I don't know if the prognosis was bad or if he was having a hard time with having it; it's been almost 2 1/2 years now.

It's another unknown to sit with, and once again, with another significant man in my life.

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