ONe more time…Gonna try to start blogging again. Got a lot of flack from friends at home.
Over the Christmas Holidays I was lucky enough to deliver stockings to the patients stuck on the Melanoma floor of MD Anderson over the Holidays on behalf of Julie’s foundation, JMKL Foundation. The stockings were amazing. Julie’s mom made them and then Julie’s daughter’s Girl Scout troop decorated them. We then took donations from friends to stuff them with lots of goodies. I rounded up several of our good friends and we spent an hour handing out the stockings.
I had seriously underestimated how hard this act of kindness would be. First of all…I was blessed to have my good friend Kathy go with us. But Kathy is also fighting a terminal cancer and you can tell because she has lost all her hair. So, to spend time with her delivering these gifts to other people in a similar situation…well it was eye opening. She had a smile on her face the whole time and held up much better than I did. I also think the patients appreciated her upbeat happy attitude.
The problem with delivering the stockings was…it was on the Melanoma floor. I had spent some time on that floor when Julie was sick. We got off the elevator with two boxes full of stockings and headed to the nurses station. I couldn’t make it down the hall. I was completely not prepared for my reaction…but every memory came flooding back and I couldn’t breath. I saw the room where we ate pizza and hung out while waiting for Julie to die. I was in the Hall I had walked all the time…the hall I would walk to bring her kids to see her. I was immediately taken back to that last day, Nov 24, 2007 and I was completely unprepared for how hard it would be.
Eventually I pulled it together and we started delivering the stockings. The patients loved them! Here they are stuck in the hospital and we were bringing them just a little holiday cheer. Plus, my friend Angie was dressed up like Santa’s helper looking all cute…I know people appreciated her Santa hat and big smile. We were doing great until we arrived at the room where Julie died. I couldn’t go in and I could not deliver that stocking. As we moved on I peaked into the room. It seemed so much smaller than I remembered in my mind. How did we fit all those people in the room for the final hours? Then, I passed by the room and the area I had stood just after she passed. It was the spot her where her Mom walked out of the room, looked at me and said exactly what I had been thinking: “And then there was 3.” (Children/Siblings). I don’t know why that memory is burnt in my head. It was also the location where I stood and called a few good friends to let them know it was over.
It’s funny how we remember things. Delivering those stockings was hard but therapeutic. Julie would have loved getting a visit from a group like us. It was great to put a smile on everyone’s face and I look forward to doing it again next year. I plan to not cry next year. I am also looking forward to having Kathy deliver them with us again.