In late January/early February, we received word that my Dad's nephew, my first cousin, would not be having any more treatment for his spreading cancer and that he would be glad for visitors before he needed to be in hospice. We decided to plan a quick trip for the long Family Day weekend in February.
As it turned out, Shane and Seth were able to help with some furniture-moving for my cousin's family and then we all spent time visiting with my cousin and his wife. It was a busy house that day with lots of coming and going, but amid the physical and emotional pain, there was much laughter and pleasant memories exchanged. My cousin, Gary and his wife Donna, have two children, both married with their own young children. Later in the weekend, Laura and my mom and I returned for a short evening visit before we drove home the next day. Laura enjoyed some board games with her cousins and I visited with their mom, Rachel. Gary was tired, but ready for board games with one of his grandchildren. It was a sweet evening and I said good-bye to my cousin one final time.
Outside the weather was mild and sunny, so one afternoon, Laura and I took a long meandering walk through the same terrain I played on as a child. We checked out the natural spring on the neighbor's property, the same spring that housed cold, ripe watermelons once upon a summer. Yes, I let her drink from it, much to the later chagrin of her father. She's still standing upright.
Another afternoon, we walked part of a trail that goes around some quarries and old factory buildings. Kate thought we were taking her for a swim and made several attempts at getting closer to the water. It was a beautiful warm day and we soaked up every minute knowing we were heading back to full-blown winter back in Ontario.
It was hard to leave my parents' home, especially knowing that the next time we visited would be for Gary's funeral.