Dolores Camilla Savio Fannin was 76 when she lost her life 3 weeks ago to pancreatic cancer. Just shy of three months after her original complaint of pain and scheduling a Dr. appt to have it looked into. It all happened so incredibly fast. It seems like a blur. Surreal.
Here we are at A's end of school play near the beginning of summer. With no idea of what was about to come near the end of summer.
Her dad was an Italian immigrant who married the daughter of Mexican immigrants.
(He ran his own grocery store in the Marina district of SF as early as the 1930's.) She used to talk about growing up in a flat in SF, and as a little girl during WWII, having to turn off the lights and hang black curtains over the windows during blackout drills.
She married her sweetheart on Feb 14, 1960.
A few years ago, A made his Nana & Papa a heart shaped cookie for their anniversary/Valentine's Day.
She was the best Nana ever.
And the best MIL ever. Hard to believe this was nine years ago. I loved her more each day/visit/year that went by.
A couple of years ago, for Mother's Day, I gave her "the bird". Not THAT bird.. this quilty one.. she loved it b/c she had asked me to make her a quilt, and she was an avid birdwatcher and collector of birdhouses. She also loved crosswords, and there's a bit of all of that in this quilt, with the bird fabrics, and a little bit of crossword fabric. She also loved to write, and volunteered at the library, so the texty print was very "her", too. She was a neat, neat lady.
It was while "estate-saling" with her that I found my little featherweight. So many of our memories and so much of who we are involve her. It's hard to believe she's gone.
When I joined a mug rug swap that raises $$ for Ovarian Cancer Research in September, I put on my questionnaire that I might give mine to my MIL who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My sweet mug rug partner sent me TWO. One for me and one for my MIL. Unfortunately, it all happened so fast. She was home on hospice before I could give it to her. :( So hers now lives with my SIL, who loves it. My partner was soo sweet to do this! I know my MIL would have loved it.
Thanks to those of you who kept her and our family in your prayers. It was really hard dealing with all of the emotions while trying to keep some sense of routine/normalcy for A, who was having his innocence stripped away a bit at a time at only 7 (now 8) yrs old.
The day in August that my MIL had surgery in SF, in which we were expecting them to remove the cancer, or as much of it as they could, the Dr came out early and told us it had spread everywhere and that there was nothing they could do. Devastated with the news, and waiting for her to come out of recovery, I left my hub and family at the hospital and took A back to the hotel. He needed a break and somewhere quiet to process it. We had a mommy/son lunch date in the hotel, where A was excited to sit up at the bar to eat. Only, he very obviously wasn't 21, so we weren't allowed to sit up at the bar after all. I snapped this pic of him with my phone b/c I never wanted to forget that sweet face. His world was about to change.
He asked me some tough questions that day. Like, "is Nana gonna die tomorrow?" At that point, the Dr had said 9 or 10 months, which seems like forever to a 7 yr old, so he was very relieved. We talked about God, and Heaven, and life and death.
A few weeks after her surgery, she was told it could be 2 weeks to 2 mo., and she would come home on hospice, and only be with us for three more weeks.
We spent that weekend of her original surgery in SF at the hospital with her, and also trying to create some fun memories for A, to have some balance. He loved riding the cable car for the first time.
She was so happy that A was getting to explore a little of the city that she grew up in. From the hospital hallway windows, she could point out to us different buildings and schools that she or her brother went to.
She wanted to hear all about his adventures in the city.
He was so excited that we rode the city bus, the cable car, and the hotel shuttle all in the same day, and was very disappointed that we couldn't ride in a cab to make it four public transportation systems in one day.
Little did we know that day, that in the span of just a few weeks, she would be gone.
We will miss her terribly, but are so glad that she doesn't have to suffer any more than she did. She was ready. It progressed so brutally fast. She passed on Oct. 10th, in her sleep. The last time A saw her, she hugged him tight for a long time and told him how very much she loved him, and to always be a good speller for Nana. sniff.
This is possibly my most favorite picture ever b/c it has all of A's grandparents together, plus one great grandparent. The two ladies he's standing in front of are no longer with us but I will be eternally grateful that he got to know them and will always have memories of them.
You are missed, D. We love you.