July 2020 is one of the warmest I recall in the Shire, as I call our idyllic valley, and it's dry with hit or miss (mostly miss) thunderstorms. Covid remains a threat, seemingly forever. I almost expect reports of zombies, considering how this year is going. But the mega challenge in our family is my dear daughter Alison undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer at 38. She's also on oral chemo, but the IV infusion is the bad boy, administered over a period of hours with a calcium magnesium drip before and after and mega anti nausea meds. It still hits her hard. A bigger worry than the nausea and exhaustion is the effect this med is having on her nervous system, which is why the timing of the dosage is being tweaked.
I spend much of my time at Alison's house (only a short distance from mine) helping out with her, my three grandchildren, and the house--mostly the kitchen, under frequent assault. The kids, already heavily curtailed by Covid, are more so with an unwell mom who really doesn't need it. Keeping boredom at bay is a daily thing, but they are creative children. Yesterday, nine year-old, soon to be ten-year-old, Chloe fashioned herself a bow and arrow from sticks, tape, and twine. She and her cousin, my ten-year-old grandson Owen, who also made one, strode off with their bows and arrows like young contenders in the Hunger Games. They were proud.
I often bring Chloe and her older brother, Colin, to the farm in the afternoons. Their other braver grandmother keeps two-year-old Charlie on Alison's bad days, and for her medical battery stuff. He's as cute as he can be but tantrum prone, depending on how he's feeling, and an exceedingly busy boy. He 'gets on my nervous' as big brother, Colin, used to say, climbing on the tops of things and leaping off. Plus plus. Colin did the same. Have you hung out with a moody super active two year old lately? It's not for the faint of heart. They don't have the sense God gave a goose and I envision accidents at every turn. Then Charlie smiles endearingly and gives me a hug and I wonder why I have a problem?
About Covid, I've been hiding from this monster for months and see no end in sight. My hair is more silver than brown now and longer than it's been in years. I may never see my hairdresser again. But that doesn't really matter. The main thing is that Alison gets to the other side of this cancer journey, victorious, and we escape Covid. My daughter-in-law, Charity, an ER nurse, had it this spring and thought she might die. Noooo thank you.
We're all just doing our best to get through a rotten time. Alison's treatments should end by Christmas--we hope. Guess that all depends. Meanwhile, the enthusiastic support of friends, family, and the community is very heartening. People regularly bring meals to Alison and her family, do the laundry, bring flowers and little gifts, send cards, run errands, boost morale and uplift her (and us all) in prayer. It's kind of like when Winnie the Pooh was stuck in Rabbit's hole after eating too much honey and his friends rallied round and sang sustaining songs. That's the only way to manage in these challenging days. I don't know how anyone gets through anything without support. I call it circling the wagons. Country people do that very well. And of course, I've got my furbabies.
As ever, the garden uplifts me and many others, despite the heat and bugs. After the beetles pass, the roses will bloom again in a flush of glory before frost. Zinnias are coming on strong, as are salvia and dahlias are setting buds. The sunflowers are a golden forest. And I've ordered more tulip, crocus, and hyacinth bulbs to plant this fall, as I'm of the opinion you can never have too many. I don't recall a spring where I failed to be cheered by crocus shining in the sun, or daffodils bending in the breeze.
Beauty is never wasted. Remember that. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever..." John Keats
I should mention that I actually managed to do a little writing this past week, but my opportunities are limited these days and I'm often too tired to be creative. But it will come.