Passages

Apr. 26th, 2013 12:28 pm
meirwen_1988: (Default)
This has been an ... interesting ... week. If I get through to 2 PM I'll call it a victory.

Little things, nothing major, but the end of semester exhaustion, the enervating effects from the careful controlling my full-on rage monster this weekend, hormonal cycles, and health vagaries have me clinging to the edge of...something...just until I can get to a place where I can sleep. It probably doesn't help that last night was the first in more than a week when I didn't wake up between 3:30 and 4:30 and pretty much stay that way until finally falling asleep somewhere around midnight.

Nothing big, nothing major, just...stuff.

Not really connected, but something I need to have in front of my eyes, was the notice from Cathy yesterday that they're putting Ray on Hospice today.

Cathy is the oldest sister of my first real boyfriend, Jimmy, in that real way 15 year old Catholics have. Jimmy has since found that he prefers boys, but we were very "serious" about each other, and all the reasons we were are why we are still good friends today. His older sisters and I also became good friends (long years after Jimmy and I broke up I was in both of their weddings), and our family friends became each others friends. Of course, it helped when those groups also had overlapping interests. My friend Joan Kenyon was one of those. She had met my mom when Momma had gone back to school when I was in junior high (Joanie was 18 at the time), and they became friends, mostly because Joan starting dating my mom's friend Ray. We went to their wedding, were there when their daughter Kim was born. Joan and I were in musical theatre in Hamilton with Jim and his sisters, and the circles overlapped.

The Kenyons marriage fell apart when I was in college. After the divorce I dated Ray briefly during the summer. At the time Cathy was dating my ex-boyfriend Jeff. When I came back for Christmas, Cathy told me, with just a bit of embarrassment, that she was "seeing" Ray. I didn't care, and if I privately thought he was too old for her (in his thirties and she was only in her early 20s--I know, I dated him, but there's a big difference between "dating" and "being in a relationship"), I didn't say anything. They seemed happy. But then, so had he and Joanie at one time.

Remember that wedding? It was theirs.

When he started having problems finding work, he re-enlisted (just missing the age cut-off) and stayed in the military until he retired, and then became a civilian employee at the last base where he'd been assigned. About 10 years ago he got brain cancer, and "beat it." Until about 18 months ago when it came back. Thirteen months ago they gave him a month, but when he seemed to be fighting it well they decided to try a "new chemo." Sometimes the chemo does as much damage as the cancer, and this is one of those times. The cancer halted, but at a horrible price. And now it's back. As Cathy put it, "There will be no more chemo."

They have a son and two grandchildren. Ray wanted to live long enough to see his grandson one more time (he lives with their ex-daughter-in-law), be there when his granddaughter was born, and vote in November's election.

He got those three wishes. And now Cathy will become the second McDonald sister widow (Margaret, 3 years my junior, lost her husband to MS 3 years ago).

The saddest thing is that they don't know how to find Kim. She vanished from his life, her mother's daughter. She doesn't know her father is dying, and may not even care.

But we know. And we do care. He is a good man, with flaws and virtues. He was an Army clerk (their "Radar") in Saigon during the Tet Offensive and was told to "hide under a desk and stay the hell out of the way." He holds grudges without cause, loves the NY Jets, and has the strangest way of taking turns in a car I've ever seen. And Cathy loves him, which is what matters most to me.

When this is over she will probably come back here. She is a blue-hearted girl in a very red state, and hates it in Kansas. I hope she does, but I hate the reason.

But for now, it's just the waiting. And praying.

And here is the only picture I have of the three of us--it was the day Cathy told me they were together, Christmas Eve, 1977. I'm sitting with Cathy, and Ray is the one looking at her.
Christmas 1977

Edited April 29, 2013:
Ray died yesterday.

Raymond Gerald Kenyon JR lost his long battle with cancer on April 28. 2013.
He was born June 19, 1947 to Raymond and Ida (Baiguini) Kenyon in Cortland, NY.
After graduating from DeRuyter, NY schools he spent three years in the Army with the Army Security Agency, serving two tours in Vietnam and a tour in Hokaido,Japan.
Ray then earned degrees in Business and English from SUNY Morrisville and SUNY Brockport.
On September 2, 1978 Ray married Catherine McDonald in Hamilton, NY.
After working in New York and Texas, he reentered the Army and he and the family served in Alabama, Germany and Kansas. Ray completed his service in 1993 at Ft Riley Kansas.
Ray worked for both the Topeka VA Hospital and Irwin Army Hospital on Ft Riley.
Besides his wife, Ray is survived by his son Erik Kenyon of Ogden and his brother Lew of Cortland, NY. He also leaves his grandchildren Caleb Loggins, Ethan Kenyon and Kaiya Kenyon as well as many neices and nephews. Funeral arrangements are pending with Irvin Parkview funeral home of Manhattan, Kansas
meirwen_1988: (girlhawk)
Today was remarkably busy. I got up (overslept a bit, so I missed Mass), did tea and toast, then packed up the dogs and the brownies and headed out. I dropped the brownies off in West Winfield for the scholarship barbeque (the Winfield Masons and Eastern Star hand out $1000 scholarships at graduation; the number is based on how much we're able to clear on our two scholarship BBQs--last year we handed out 12). Then I gassed up the car and headed to Utica to take the boys for a walk on the 840 trail.

When I got there it seemed excessively warm for 10 in the morning, but the boys were eager, there are a number of places they can drink along the trail, so we headed out. All was well until, at one of the drinking spots, Jiro decided to chase a frog. Into the water. Which was rather deep. And the boys are on a coupler, so I made a dive and hauled him out so he wouldn't drag Ping in with him. I must say he was quite willing to come out--he was a bit surprised, but not unduly frightened.

So, we continued. Ping readily drank at multiple opportunities. Soaking wet boy, nada.*Sigh* But, I reasoned, he's wet, so not overheating. We got to the midway point, where there are a couple of closely placed stretches where the path is completely shaded at that hour of the day, we slowed down, Ping drank more, Jiro didn't. So I turned back around. At this point the boys were walking more in the grass than on the path (which I can't blame them for). We finally got to their favorite drinking spot, and Ping laid himself down in the mud and refused to move. Which meant, finally, Jiro decided to actually drink. Which was good. But Ping was covered in mud. Bad.

So, after letting him cool down, I picked him up (by the harness, which allowed for the next part), and dunked him up to the rib cage in the flowing water. He didn't seem to mind a bit! So, I held him there for a bit, with Jiro looking on nonplussed, then put in him the grass, in hopes that walking through the grass (as they had been doing) would finish the job the water started. Well, that worked--sort of.

We headed home, where I continued with the weekends housework adventures, then took advantage of the newly white bathroom to take a long, luxurious shower before heading off for Belltower #118, OES NYS rehearsal. When that was over, we spent about an hour setting up for Tuesday's DD Visit.

Home to puppies, finishing To Light a Candle, and catching up on this and that (including waiting for Duchezz to get home from War Practice.

And then I saw that Robin had died.

He'd been ill for awhile, and there is no sense of surprise, but there is a deep sadness. For Barbara, who has watched her sons die in reverse order of their births. For Lesley and Barry as they lose another younger sibling. Barry as he completely loses his writing partner, adversary, collaborator, little brother--a very different thing than their on-again, off-again estrangements.

I never enjoyed Robin's solo efforts, but then I don't enjoy Barry's. Their work together, though, was magic--whether writing of coal miners saying good-bye to loved ones while saying hello to death, or capturing the Alice in Wonderland veneer that painted over a deep despair in the 70's, or the humanity of a baby brother dead, children marrying, and marriages that stood the tests of fame and time.

The voices of huge swaths of my life are being stilled, one by one.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
There's a famous line, perhaps apocryphal, attributed to, variously, Augustine, Aquinas, or the Jesuits, that says "Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man."

Well, when my hands are better I'm going to write about that. Except it will involve "until she is 11," and the permanent influences of early helpings of Orson Wells, Angelique Bouchard, and the Balanchine choreography for "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."

For what it's worth, the inspiration for this post is that Pat Tallman was recently gifted with the complete Dark Shadows. Blame her. Or Joe--he's the one who gave it to her.

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February 2015

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