Monday, July 24, 2006

roller coaster

There's so much happening now that I don't know how I'm gonna fit it all into one neat little package here, but I'll do my best.

As you know, last week we were all up in arms, preparing for our French wedding party on Saturday. Friday morning, I received news that my father was admitted into the hospital with some unknown illness. He'd been declining in health ever since he'd come to visit us at Christmas time, so to tell you the truth, the fact that he was getting 'round the clock care come as some relief. I spoke to him briefly after he had woken up from surgery to do a biopsy of his liver, and with the knowledge that the results wouldn't be back until Monday, we did the only thing we could: get on with it.

So off I went to pick up kyliemac, Aimee and Mrs. B from the train station. Due to a cancelled train, they arrived an hour and a half after their expected arrival, so I walked around in the sweltering heat and found an ice cream cone and stayed in the shadows as best I could until they arrived. Then it was back to home base to finish preperations for our party.

We got an early start on Saturday, getting to the hall before noon, and quickly went to work on setting up tables and putting out decorations, while my mother-in-law and sister-in-law went to work on some beautifully done fresh fruit for dessert. At lunch time we wasted a couple of hours by shopping and trying not to sweat through our clothes. At the appointed hour, we changed into our party clothes, Steph fired up the grill, and the guests started to trickle in. Not too long into the festivities, a thunderstorm passed about ten miles north of us, but left us with enough cool air to making sitting outside quite comfortable, even though sitting at the carefully prepared tables in the stuffy hall was too hot to bear. We dined on delicious barbecued meats, along with three different kinds of salad (prepared by me, thankyouverymuch), lovely cheeses, gorgeous fruit salads served in carved out watermelons, and plenty of wine to wash it all down. It was an excellent occassion with most of Steph's family and lots of friends who came from all corners of the country to celebrate with us. I am continually reminded of how lucky I am to have such amazing friends and family on this side of the ocean.

Sunday was another early start, with bringing Aimee and Mrs. B back to the station to get an early train back to Paris. kyliemac has stayed on with us for a couple of days to take advantage of our fine country livin', which is just fine by us. Today we spent most of the day in Troyes, eating lovely enormous salads, visiting only a couple of Troyes' famous fourteen churches, and even got a little shopping in at the end.

Alas, with these highs, it seems lows are never very far behind. My father informed me only an hour ago that the results came back with the worst possible news: terminal cancer. The diagnosis is so new that I'm afraid even he doesn't have any more information right now, though it seems the inevitable is not imminent. Steph and I are making preperations to fly to the states within the week. Obviously, I'm still processing this information, and I have no earthly idea what the future holds. Right now, all I know is that I need to gather as much strength as possible from whatever wellsprings I can find in order to bolster up my dad.

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