As they most often do things continue to slowly level out after our loss, and I think it's getting easier on our friends who deeply love Madi too... hence the question mentioned above only happening once at the pool party. I believe things are leveling out for Colleen too. I find it interesting that I don't think or write about Madison in the past tense or use the word 'died', 'loved' (past tense) etc. We love her and she'll always be alive within us.
My quirky agitations at a park concert or casino are diminishing and I was actually in a bowling league this year. The prior season (2018) I'd pop by for a cocktail with our friends, but the loud bowling noises and highly-stimulating environment would slowly ratchet up my anxiety to the point when it's simply time for me to leave. One of the lessons I learned after a tragic loss was to always have an exit plan. Every place Angela and I went with friends, we drove separately but now I feel we're ready to even carpool.
I was sitting recently drinking coffee and looking at old pictures in my phone. I had already archived the gruesome post-surgery pictures, along with the alarming pics of tumor bulges on her ribs... not a lot of joy seeing those realities, which is why they're archived off, versus in my phone. I stumbled across an old treatment schedule which reflected all planned treatments from Dec 2013 to Nov 2014... back and forth to Boston, apartment rentals, Hope Lodge, Christopher's Haven, etc. Seeing that schedule prompted feelings of such immense gratitude to everyone who helped us financially and emotionally during our journey, and the lesson to just jump... and the net will be there. We did, it was, and we are incredibly grateful.
I titled this post Epilogue for a couple of reasons, but first I'll rewind back to January 2018. I obviously posted about Madison dismissing her mortal body at this link, and continued to write through the rest of January, link here. I still can't imagine closing this website because it seems to be something to me that connects her to us. What actually startled me was how many people reached out to thank me for continuing to post, and several hundred readers checking in weekly. There have been a lot of realities posted over the years, but I chose a passive site to share information/updates; one that wouldn't intrude with an email that this site was updated. If people choose to bookmark and follow along, great. If not, that's fine too... some people can't handle to much reality, which IMO is a form of self preservation. I still find it cathartic to write, and I'm not a fan of Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other mediums that people tend to post pics of their lunch.
Angela and I decided to pull the trigger and have new carpeting, interior doors, floor molding installed. It was either that, or go to Puerto Vallarta for a few weeks and come home to worn carpet that needed replacing. New carpet, who'd have thought how many triggers that generated? Given everything had to removed from all closet floors including Madison's bedroom, OMG... it's been a tough week proving once again that time does not heal all wounds. In our home-office closet I have every PET scan, MRI, CT, X-Ray on CDs... about 50 of them. I took a single notebook to every doctor appointment since 2013 up until the "this cancer will likely run it's course" discussion in September 2017 and then next, interviewing hospice providers. Madison and I are very analytical creatures. Together we listed questions to ask them and when we met, Madison wanted to ask the questions. In the back of the notebook I had pathology and genomics/DNA reports. I sat down for a while and thumbed through the notes I'd taken over the years, which included questions Madison asked the doctors with me being her scribe. There is no value keeping the notebook but had a hard time determining what to do with it. Given it brought on more funk than joy, I fed it to the shredder yesterday.
Next, going through many the personal belongings of Madison's in her bedroom closet, which brought some joy. I found her first photo album; some pictures below.
[Edited this paragraph] We're down to about 40 people checking this site weekly so in theory if (likely when) I finish the book, perhaps 40 book sales! Of course profit if any will go to the Chordoma Foundation. For the Hope Lodge and Christopher's Haven in Boston, the Cancer Support Community, Family House in San Francisco, Extreme Mobility Camps, we help however we can. I'm truly amazed at how much good is out there, and how lucky and blessed we were traveling during treatment.