Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Plus, Mom

Right now I'm sitting in a hospice house visiting my aunt Connie. Her battle with cancer is coming to an end, so I drove down from camp to say my goodbyes and see her one last time. My mom drove from Albuquerque to see her (and me, too, I'm guessing), so it's a fairly depressing family reunion. But I'm pretty sure that seeing your mom can fix any problems of life. Moms are great, and my mom is fantastic. I needed a mid-summer mom visit.
The reason this visit is so hard is because I have never seen someone with cancer. I mean, I've seen people with cancer, but I've never been around all the side-effects. My family doesn't have cancer in it, and so this is really the first experience I have had with seeing it so close. I had never realized just how severe the pain was. I had never realized how hard it is to watch someone you love slowly break down from the inside, but still have all the soundness of mind. My knowledge has been limited to those who fade both mentally and physically. I think it is much harder to watch someone go only physically, while knowing they have so much to live for and so much more that they want to do. I am sure that my aunt has total awareness when she is awake. She is still totally herself. At one point in our visit, my uncle Ed said to her, "Connie, I'm going to shift you over now," to which she responded, "I'm going to fight you." Totally Connie.
I don't think she's going to be going back home. I think she is in her final days, which really breaks my heart. For someone so dedicated to her family, so devoted to her church and her other passions and commitments, to be robbed of so many years - it is terrible to think about. There are so many people that value and depend on her. She is the central member of her family, the crux of them all, and a crucial member to her extended family. She is a wise and amazing woman of God, and I will miss her dearly. I cannot express how glad I am that I got to come down here one more time and see her and uncle Ed, even if she was too tired from medication to really talk. There is great comfort in bedside sitting.

In much happier news, I will now relate some highlights from my week at camp. Both of these have to do with being a wrangler. On Tuesday afternoon, no kids showed up for the third and final trail ride, so we decided to do a wrangler ride. We grabbed our horses and set off down the trail at a canter. We picked up speed, going into a gallop, turning fast around the trees at the sides of the trail. It was exhilarating. At one spot on the trail there is a little root that stretches across the path. My horse, Biscuit, jumped right over it. It was really fun.
The second fun thing is this: my wrangler friend Mel is teaching us other wranglers how to do drill! This is sort of like dance teams on horseback, making formations and doing cool-looking things in neat patterns. We practiced on Thursday and Friday morning. On Friday morning, we had our drill planned out. This drill, at full speed, should take about three minutes. The first time we just walked it all out, and it took about thirty minutes. The next time it only took fifteen, and the following two times we did it in five. It is so much fun, learning about a totally new (to me) aspect of horsemanship. Drill takes a ton of focus to get everything just right. It is very hard, but totally worth it. The horses were exhausted. I don't think any of them have trotted that much ever. They need to get in shape!
Okay, I'm going to hang out with my mom some more now.

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