Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Lot can Change in a Year

One year ago today Randy was diagnosed with Leukemia. And everything changed.

About a week before he had to go to the hospital, he took me to lunch at Taco Bell. I distinctly remember him complaining that his legs and hips hurt. I thought it was unusual that he was griping, it was quite out of character. But I dismissed it nonetheless, reassuring him that his sporatic workouts and helping runnergirl move into her new house was hard on his muscles. Soon after I got the call from the hospital.

One of the things we had to get used to after the diagnosis was that Randy couldn't go out as much. One afternoon a couple of the boys and I collected stuff from our places that Randy could do while quarantined to his apartment. I brought him a Mickey Mouse mosaic puzzle I had bought during my internship in Oak Ridge. Randy liked to call and chat with me while I was in Oak Ridge and when I bought that puzzle I would work on it while talking to him on my cell phone. He would chuckle while I would periodically curse at that damned thing, sounding like a Tourettes patient. When he saw the puzzle in the bag, he laughed at the irony. I had bought it while confined to my apartment, now I was passing it along. The other item I brought him was a deck of canasta cards I had impulsively bought at Target a couple years earlier. It was one of those things I thought would be fun for Dean and me to learn to do. Dean thought otherwise. Anyway, I told Randy to study and learn the game and then teach me how to play. He ended up learning the game with his sister Anna, and they played often while he was stuck in the apartment and in the hospital.

There have been a few landmarks since Randy's passing that have been dificult: his 28th birthday, the one and two month milestones, walking in his memory in Miles for Moffitt. But this one is very tough. I expected my grief to improve linearly over time. I didn't anticipate such pain after feeling so good for awhile. Why is this so hard? Mostly because we were all so ignorant a year ago. We didn't think this might be our last year with Randy.

The weekend after his death, we all met at his apartment to help go through his things. It was there that his mom gave me his piano, one of the most beautiful gifts I've ever gotten. Shortly after this grand gesture, Anna approched me still timid from our not knowing each other very well. She asked to keep the canasta cards. It's funny how inanimate objects can take on such profound meaning.

Some where around these few days also marks four years since I met my friend Randy (read about it here). I also met runnergirl and Cheeshead. I was on a visit being recruited by the department. As I come back to my Minneapolis apartment to tell Dean about the people I met, I could have never imagined the impact they would all have on my life.


Jackie said...

MagnetBabe, I can feel through your words what a wonderful friend Randy was. I know that things will eventually get easier, but don't be too hard on yourself, give yourself the time to greive that you need.

I didn't know about Randy's mom giving you his piano. What a wonderful, and selfless gesture on her behalf.

thinking about you...

Runner Girl FL said...

Randy's family is as selfless as he was and gave appropriate items to everyone. We all only hope that we gave enough back.

I know we all hope that we never have to go to an ER or hospital again...unless it is to see someone's new baby.

As for you meeting all of us about 4 years ago...WOW...could you have made better decisions. :) hehehe

mom said...

isn't it funny how a digital piano and a target canasta game can have the same value if given to the right people?

Scott said...

Again I am touched by the person that Randy was, that such small things could mean so much to his friends. He was an amazing person, it's obvious.

magnetbabe said...

Thanks for your thoughts everyone, and for continuing reading even though I went through this terrible thing and keep writing about it.

I couldn't think of a good time to write about the piano. I do have some thoughts about it that maybe I'll share sometime soon.

Yes, I think tomorrow it will be 4 years and I distinctly remember meeting each of my friends. rgfl- you were wearing your Grammatica jersey! You said, "Oooooh, you're from Minnesooooootah? Go talk to Cheesehead. He's from Wiscaaaaaahnsin!" What a long, strange trip it's been.

Runner Girl FL said...

I remember that....It was near the stair well by the pendulum. :) I can't believe you didn't run for the hills.

Go Bucs!!

Hot4Teacha said...

Nat -

I think I remember that puzzle from when I came and visited you at Oak Ridge. The Tourette's is just part of your charm.

Keep treasuring the gift you had in a friend like Randy. As I get older (sigh) I realize that it IS better to have loved and lost, even when it hurts so bad.

Thinking of you.

magnetbabe said...

Thanks for such kind words. I wouldn't trade some of the memories I have of Randy for the world no matter how much it hurts sometimes to recall them.

That puzzle was a bitch, wasn't it? I partially blame you and the girlz for the Tourette's.