OK, the whole recovering from surgery thing is not easy. Today is probably the first day I feel close to normal though I still get pretty winded doing the simplest things (i.e. folding laundry). I saw Dr D, the surgeon, yesterday and she said that of the three incisions, one is healing perfectly, one so-so, and one was showing an allergic reaction to the human "glue" used in the incision. She cleaned all three of them and "dug out" the junk in the problem incision (which hurt like I can't describe!). So I am officially off the Percocet (yeah!) and now just taking the prescription-strength Ibuprofen.
But ... something bad happened on Christmas eve.
My very good friend Mary called me just after I had gone to bed to tell me that our friend Les had just died. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. You see, Les is more than just a friend. Like Mary, he helped me become the person I am today. When I entered St Martin's College, I was young (17 years old) and so unsure of who or what I wanted in my life. Eventually, after taking one of his poetry classes, Les became my advisor and it was partly because of him that I ended up spending almost four years living in Japan after graduating with a BA. After encouraging me as a student for four years, he didn't stop there. His letters to me after I moved to Japan were so important to me. And then when I discovered email after coming back to the states and entering grad school, he was the first person I emailed. I was stunned when moments later, he emailed me back!
Les got me through an MA program and I realized that I wanted to be him. I wanted to be a great teacher. He helped me make the hard decision to move to Mississippi (all the way across the country by myself!) to pursue a PhD and I can't tell you how many times I called him from my sad, little apartment. When I left that program to accept a tenure-track job at SWIC, he was right there supporting me. And, as you can see from the picture above, he was right there when Jim and I got married (the night before our wedding, he apparently threatened my husband with bodily harm if he ever hurt me).
For the six months I have had breast cancer, Les and I have talked more than ever since he has been going through his own struggle with cancer. But not once did I ever think he wouldn't make it. You see, if you knew Les you know that strong voice he has, that determination and kindness that simply come across in any conversation you have with him.
And now he is gone. The timing is rotten but I guess it always is. I just think it's so unfair that he had to die now. There is so much more that I would have told him if I knew that the last call was going to be it.