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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It's been a long time since I posted.  It's been a rough year for me, some of you already know this, some don't:  I've been in England for a year and a month now.  A fellow blogger, 'Dominic Mary' of Libera-Me-Domine blog and I had fallen in love, and had become engaged.  We didn't tell many people, because though we were engaged, we'd not met in real life, and we didn't want to look foolish if it turned out we were not right for each other -- but we'd talked for hours via Skype every day.   Last October, I came over for a 12 week visit.  Basically, we confirmed we were, in fact, 'right' for each other.  I was due to come back to San Diego, where we'd hoped to be married this last year in summer.  Well, we DID get married, on Jan 31st,  but not the way we'd planned it.



A few days before I was due to leave for home, Quentin was diagnosed with a stage 4 terminal brain cancer.    He'd had an 'episode' of seizure like symptoms over the summer, but allegedly, 'they saw nothing.'  [We'd NEVER gotten to see those scans, after repeated requests.  But believe me, I am going to pursue this under the law and they will have to cough them up, and if there IS something there, I will sue them for every last bedpan, because his treatment was delayed by 6 months when nothing was done, and it might still have been operable.]    The tumor was so large, it was inoperable.  Multiforme glioblastoma.  How long did Q have?  Weeks, months?  50% die within the year with what he had, only 2-3% make it for 2-3 years, if they are very lucky.  If I left the country then, odds were I wouldn't get back in.  There was no way I was leaving him with no one to care for him.  Q had no siblings, no children, and octogenarian parents.  Q had an annulment in progress, but we had to take advantage of a special quirk in English law and get married in the C of E, via special license, and later try and go for a ratiocination in the Catholic church.  To say this made my visa status here complicated is an overwhelming understatement.  It's STILL being sorted out, with the home office finally ruling in our favor, finally figuring out: 'no one decides to get a stage 4 cancer to try and get around the immigration rules...they deserve this on human rights.'    Literally the last day for the home office to appeal the ruling in our favor was the day Q died, Oct 21st.  I should get my stamp 'shortly' though the judge had marked it 'urgent.'

There doesn't seem like there's much for me to celebrate this year.  But there is.  I had Q for exactly a year and a day.  Never once did Q complain of having the cancer.  He'd get frustrated because he had a harder and harder time communicating.  Nominative aphasia, they called it.  I think I got to be with a saint in the making, and I thank God for that gift.

So if you have a loved ones, and family around you this year, give them a special hug, and realize when you least expect it something may happen to them.  Hug them like you were getting to hug them for the last time, because for all anyone knows, it may well be your last Thanksgiving together,  and be thankful they are with you and have graced your life.

23 comments:

Idle Rambler said...

Oh Karen, how desperately sad. I was very moved by your post, having been sent over here via Mac's comment.

I was an avid follower of Dominic Mary's blog and remember his relating his seizure at the time.

I was also saddening when he mysteriously disappeared from the blogosphere and feared the worst.

So pleased you had some precious time together at least.

Prayers for you both.

Jane said...

Heartfelt condolences and prayers for you both.

IR expresses what all of us on the Blogosphere are now feeling. Know that both of you are much cherished and loved.

Fr John Abberton said...

A very sad but also beautiful story. God definitely works on and through these blogs. I am sure that those days that he had you with him were blessed and were very important for him. God is still with you and in your faith journey you will meet Quentin again, not only after death but especially in the Mass. May he rest in peace.

Jean M. Heimann said...

Dear Karen,

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. My heart goes out to you. You have my deepest condolences and prayers. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. May he rest in peace.

Rob said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm so grateful for the time together that you did have. Today my problems will much more insignificant. God bless!

Rubricarius said...

My sincere condolences. Very sad news indeed.

Clare@ BattlementsOfRubies said...

Dear Karen, I am in tears reading this.
What sad loss. But what a very beautiful witness to love also. Praying for you as you share in the mystery of the cross.
God is close to the broken hearted. May you know His peace.
May your heavenly mother be especially close to you in your sorrow.
With my affectionate prayers dear sister
Clare

Adrienne said...

I rarely keep up with Facebook and happened to see a recent update of yours and was a bit stunned. I hadn't known about any of this.

Karen - I am so sorry for your loss but happy for the time you did have with your husband.

God bless you...

Tara said...

Karen, your post made me cry, but mostly because I felt the love you had for Q. God is love, and He gave you both such a gift of knowing each other--something truly to be thankful for. Hope your Thanksgiving is filled with beautiful thoughts of that love :)

A Catholic Comes Home said...

God Bless you Gem.

Seraphic Spouse said...

I'm very sorry to read what happened. Prayers from me and Benedict Ambrose.

Dymphna said...

God bless you both. May your beloved rest in peace.

mum6kids said...

Oh Karen, thank God you had that time.
How sad it was so short.

I am in Birmingham if you are still in England and want to visit someone.

God bless you and hold you.

Shell x

Catholic Schoolmaster said...

Condolences on the loss of Q. I will say the Office for the Dead for him in the traditional Dominican form!

Terry Nelson said...

Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. What a beautiful yet poignant story, as Fr. Aberton notes. Prayers and best wishes.

Delia said...

A moving, tragic, yet beautiful story- the whole of life. Condolences and prayers.

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Karen. My deepest sympathies. Be assured of my prayers for both of you. See you in England, again, before too long. in Domino.

Joseph K @ Defend Us In Battle said...

Wanted to let you know that you are being prayed for in Alaska. It seems from the commentors here, you and your beloved Q are being remember in prayer to the ends of the earth. A testament, hopefully, to both of you and the faith we all share.

God Bless you, and may he rest in peace.

japotillor said...

Praying for you :)

Joe of St Terese :)

gemoftheocean said...

I'd like to thank everyone for all their prayers and support. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't pine for him.

Adulio said...

My sincere condolences for your loss.

Gigi said...

Dear Gem Of The Ocean, I've just read the heartwrenching story of you and Q. I'm always struck be the direct intelligence and good natured wit of your comments on Fr Ray's blog and finally decided to catch up on your own.
I am stunned. My year has been dreadful but I'm humbled by your words. How precious your time with Q has been. And what a love story: brought together in faith and then to have that fath tested so painfully. I know your love endures. You are an immensely inspiring and likeable woman.
If you ever come to Brighton I will bake you a treacle tart. Until then, you and Q are in my prayers.

gemoftheocean said...

Gigi, how very kind, would love to take you up on your offer. I've been trying to get down to see Fr. Blake et al, but between Q's being ill (we'd wanted to go down there, but during his radio/chemo it wasn't really possible, and then as he got weaker, I knew he could only stand X amount of hours out before he'd flag - so we had to time things very carefully, then came the point suddenly, when he could no longer be trusted safely to be able to transfer himself from wheelchair to car. And that was hardest of all. We got to do a few things. Unfortunately, I was very sick Henley Week, and Q was a 'fixture' there for years. Luckily HE was well enough to go - so a friend was able to take him for two days, for which I was grateful -- and end of July there was a relatively 'casual day' of racing, where Q and I got to take advantage of *the* *one* *picture* *perfect* *English* *Day* *of* *idylic** *pleasure* -- which we enjoyed immensely amongst his some of his closest friends. It was something we'd talked of. What I didn't mention, was that we'd actually first fallen in love through a chance meeting of the minds when he responded privately to something I'd written as a comment on Fr. Blake's blog. Around Easter of 2010 -- we quickly turned the exchanges into long conversations via the wonders of Skype and instantly knew we were suited. We were going to have a lot of hoops to jump through, so we only confided in a few friends, lest things had gone awry and blown up in our faces - we didn't want to look foolish. We had, in fact, thought 'how nice it would be to show up at Fr. Blake's one day with a ring on my finger and thank him for inadvertently bringing us together' but that just wasn't, alas, how it turned out. I had been planning to go see Fr. a few weeks ago, about 2 weeks after Q's funeral, but unfortunately, I've been felded by anemia -- I think I'm starting to recover a bit. Quite fine lying or sitting...but walking / standing for more than two minutes leaves me light headed and dizzy, and walking to the car leaves my heart racing for about 5 minutes. Luckily had a friend finally bring me the proper iron supplement a few days ago, and do some much needed fridge restocking for me with liver and such like -- hopefully it's starting to take effect. Was able, with care, today to run out and do a small errand with assistance of said friend! [Guess what you CAN'T pay for at paypoint easily? T-mobile dongles...' Anyway, I'll drop you a holler if I come down your way. St. MAry Mags. is a place I've been longing to go to but it just hasn't happened yet.

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