I don't blog so much, but I do read and comment on your blogs. At least I try. Mostly I stay on FB, because I find it is less taxing and easier on my hands and my brain fog.
I do keep up. With you all, even if I don't say anything in comments. Some of us have been friends for over a decade. Wow. That's a long time, isn't it?
Yet, be it a year or ten - you, my Tadpoles, are my friends. You have stayed fast and true. You have been supportive and loving, funny and sarcastic. You have made me laugh until it hurt and. . .
Your lives have brought me sadness. Not through any act of your own, or anything you can control, but because I truly love you and love your families.
I have watched your kids grow up, some even getting married, having babies. I have rejoiced in your birthdays and your anniversaries. Graduations, deployments for those in the military. . .the list is endless. But, as you have been there for me, I have done my best to be there for you too. There is nothing better than being able to cheer your happy.
But? Life. . . and death have an awful way of sneaking up on us. Doesn't it?
My last post I wrote about being so terribly sad over a friend I knew was hurting that I disappeared into the kitchen to bake away the hurt I felt for her and her family.
You see . . .our lovely and dear friend Beth, Bizzy - from My Bizzy Kitchen - has suffered a loss that is completely unimaginable to me. He husband, known as Tony on her blog, passed away a few short weeks ago. Through the last weeks of his life Bizzy never faltered in her devotion to her husband [of 14 years] not only working, but travelling great distances to be with him while he was in the hospital.
Bizzy and I talked via FB/private message and email. Tony had two conditions that I also have - Congestive Heart Failure and liver failure - mine being a genetic condition, Tony's LF due to his heart. A lot of what they were treating Tony for in Illinois, they are working on my sketchy body here in Virginia. I tried the best I could to answer Bizzy's questions, but it wasn't until recently that I realized that Tony was much more sick than I am and more than even the doctors had told her or her husband.
Sigh. One of the things we discussed were transplants. Since I am waiting on one, Bizzy explained that Tony was waiting on [first] a liver transplant. But then the doctors said he would need a heart transplant. Ooookay. Both? Okay....well it still looked promising, but then? His kidneys started to fail due to his heart. They mentioned that now it would be three transplants.
He was in the hospital on kidney dialysis, awaiting a transplant when the doctors told Bizzy that Tony's heart just wasn't strong enough for anything more to be done and that she should take him home, to hospice. I can't even write the words "take him home to die" because who can do that? HOW do you do that? [Ugly cry commencing now.] I don't know that I could if it was Steven, but Bizzy is Bizzy and she's amazing.
It was a Friday when Bizzy told me they had Tony home and comfortable. I was alone, in my house, waiting for Steven and Evie to come home. Of course I was crying. Crying for the unbearable pain I know Bizzy, Tony and the family were facing, but also because of the unfairness of it all.
Let me stop for a moment and say something. . .I am doing a sucka** job describing any of this, and for that I apologize. It's one of the reasons I didn't do this post sooner. I used to be very good at getting my thoughts down on this dang computer, but it isn't as easy as it used to be. I love Beth and Tony with all my heart and I hope I can relate this in a way that honors their love and life together and what a terribly awful thing I think this is. Perhaps others or even Bizzy sees it in another way, but I just don't know.
All you Tadpoles know I believe in God. You also know I believe in the power of prayer. Bizzy and Tony were prayed for from all corners of the world, including this little 'burg, and I can't say prayer failed, but I have to say I was truly surprised when Bizzy called me to tell me Tony was coming home.
Steven walked in from work and found me sobbing. Although he knew that Tony was doing poorly, he initially thought it was one of our kids. I don't think he wanted to hear what I said. Nope. Evie pulled him aside and whispered in his ear what was happening and he came over to put his arm around me. And do you know what the only thing I could say, between heaving sobs and the snotfest I had going on? The only thing I could say was. . .
"It is just black words, on a white screen. They are just pictures on a page. These people aren't real."
And I kept repeating it, and do you know why? I wanted it to be true. If just for that day. To take away all the pain and be able to pretend that the Velantis weren't real and their pain and Tony's death weren't going to happen.
Sounds awful doesn't it? I know better - God knows I know better - but it was my last defense to take away the pain I knew my friends were feeling. I was scared for them and DAMMIT I am 1,500 miles away, so pretending they weren't real seemed to make sense to me. I felt [still feel] so powerless.
So 48 years old of me, right? I know..."Janine, grow the eff up." Steven gave me a little shake and told me what I was saying was wrong and that trying to discount the realness of Bizzy, Tony or any of you wasn't going to do anyone any good. Everytime I said it, he would respond "No, Janine. You know better."
After cleaning myself up I explained to Steven that since Tony was home, dialysis had been stopped so ....I can't even write it. Sorry. You guys know.
What I can't believe, and what I will be forever grateful for, is that Bizzy took the time to phone me the day her beloved husband died. She told me that she didn't want me to read it online. I actually couldn't believe she had the strength to think of anyone outside of her big, loving and supportive family. [Bizzy's whole family is amazeballs btw - makes sense considering how wonderful she is.] I love her for that and she taught me such a great lesson in love, compassion and friendship.
I truly wanted this post to be a tribute to the love story that is Tony and Bizzy's life together. If you want to read about and see what true love really is - and what a great friend we all have in Mrs. Velanti - you only need to go and visit her at My Bizzy Kitchen . Most of you already know Bizzy, because I honestly believe she is the best cook I have ever met. Not only that - she is one of the most generous and kind people I have ever met.
I am blessed that she shares her life and Tony's life with me and for that I will [also] always be thankful.
Do me a favor, if you have a moment - please go over and share the Tadpole love I know that you all are so beautiful for and do so well.
I'll see you on the flipside. And never forget. . .Life is a gift.
Love and hugs, Janine