Friday, October 31, 2014's personal..

My tagline up there says, "mostly crafty, sometimes personal..never perfect." This is one of the personal posts. There are so many happy things happening to blog about lately, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to, b/c every time I sit down to blog, I just can't do it. I can't write and be happy about these things, while overlooking the most momentous loss ever to hit our little family of three. Yet, so far just the thought of writing about this loss has dissolved me into tears more than once. I just haven't been able to do it. But today is the day I will face it. And document it. Because this is my journal, and these things deserve documenting. They are part of our story.  She was, and will forever be in our hearts, and part of our story.

Dolores Camilla Savio Fannin was 76 when she lost her life 3 weeks ago to pancreatic cancer.  Just shy of three months after her original complaint of pain and scheduling a Dr. appt to have it looked into.  It all happened so incredibly fast.  It seems like a blur. Surreal.

Here we are at A's end of school play near the beginning of summer. With no idea of what was about to come near the end of summer.

Her dad was an Italian immigrant who married the daughter of Mexican immigrants. 

(He ran his own grocery store in the Marina district of SF as early as the 1930's.)  She used to talk about growing up in a flat in SF, and as a little girl during WWII, having to turn off the lights and hang black curtains over the windows during blackout drills.

She married her sweetheart on Feb 14, 1960.

A few years ago, A made his Nana & Papa a heart shaped cookie for their anniversary/Valentine's Day.

She was the best Nana ever.

And the best MIL ever. Hard to believe this was nine years ago. I loved her more each day/visit/year that went by.

 A couple of years ago, for Mother's Day, I gave her "the bird".  Not THAT bird.. this quilty one.. she loved it b/c she had asked me to make her a quilt, and she was an avid birdwatcher and collector of birdhouses.  She also loved crosswords, and there's a bit of all of that in this quilt, with the bird fabrics, and a little bit of crossword fabric.  She also loved to write, and volunteered at the library, so the texty print was very "her", too. She was a neat, neat lady.

It was while "estate-saling" with her that I found my little featherweight. So many of our memories and so much of who we are involve her.  It's hard to believe she's gone.

When I joined a mug rug swap that raises $$ for Ovarian Cancer Research in September, I put on my questionnaire that I might give mine to my MIL who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My sweet mug rug partner sent me TWO.  One for me and one for my MIL. Unfortunately, it all happened so fast.  She was home on hospice before I could give it to her. :( So hers now lives with my SIL, who loves it. My partner was soo sweet to do this! I know my MIL would have loved it.

Thanks to those of you who kept her and our family in your prayers.  It was really hard dealing with all of the emotions while trying to keep some sense of routine/normalcy for A, who was having his innocence stripped away a bit at a time at only 7 (now 8) yrs old. 

The day in August that my MIL had surgery in SF, in which we were expecting them to remove the cancer, or as much of it as they could, the Dr came out early and told us it had spread everywhere and that there was nothing they could do. Devastated with the news, and waiting for her to come out of recovery, I left my hub and family at the hospital and took A back to the hotel.  He needed a break and somewhere quiet to process it. We had a mommy/son lunch date in the hotel, where A was excited to sit up at the bar to eat.  Only, he very obviously wasn't 21, so we weren't allowed to sit up at the bar after all. I snapped this pic of him with my phone b/c I never wanted to forget that sweet face. His world was about to change.

He asked me some tough questions that day. Like, "is Nana gonna die tomorrow?" At that point, the Dr had said 9 or 10 months, which seems like forever to a 7 yr old, so he was very relieved. We talked about God, and Heaven, and life and death.  

A few weeks after her surgery, she was told it could be 2 weeks to 2 mo., and she would come home on hospice, and only be with us for three more weeks.

We spent that weekend of her original surgery in SF at the hospital with her, and also trying to create some fun memories for A, to have some balance. He loved riding the cable car for the first time.

..and sitting inside Grace Cathedral, looking around in awe at its design and telling me all about how he wants to visit the Notre Dame. I sat in Grace Cathedral trying to figure out how he knew about the Notre Dame. ? It also gave us another opportunity to talk about what's going on with Nana and say a prayer for her.

She was so happy that A was getting to explore a little of the city that she grew up in.  From the hospital hallway windows, she could point out to us different buildings and schools that she or her brother went to.

She wanted to hear all about his adventures in the city.

He was so excited that we rode the city bus, the cable car, and the hotel shuttle all in the same day, and was very disappointed that we couldn't ride in a cab to make it four public transportation systems in one day.

Little did we know that day, that in the span of just a few weeks, she would be gone.

We will miss her terribly, but are so glad that she doesn't have to suffer any more than she did.  She was ready.  It progressed so brutally fast. She passed on Oct. 10th, in her sleep. The last time A saw her, she hugged him tight for a long time and told him how very much she loved him, and to always be a good speller for Nana. sniff. 

This is possibly my most favorite picture ever b/c it has all of A's grandparents together, plus one great grandparent. The two ladies he's standing in front of are no longer with us but I will be eternally grateful that he got to know them and will always have memories of them. 

You are missed, D.  We love you.


So sorry for your loss Kelli. This is a beautifully written post and what special times and great memories you have. Huge hugs xxx

Terry said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. :0(

Anonymous said...

So sorry to read of your loss.

so sorry!! I've gone through it with my MIl too...cancer Timor that went to the bone....she suffered some, but was a trooper. You take care

Maria said...

MY heartfelt Sympathy to you and your family at this sad time..
A beautiful post and you will have many happy memories of a lovely lady..

KathyinMN said...

What a lovely post to read through. Sharing heartache is just as important as sharing joys. Thanks for giving us a peek into the last few months of your life. Very sorry for your loss.

Kat said...

Kelli, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Nana sounds and looks like she was a beautiful woman and I know her loss leaves a giant hole in all of your hearts. My husband's Aunt Joanne passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2002, her story was much the same as your MIL's. What a terrible disease it is and not a day goes by that we don't think of her, even 12 years later. To honor her memory we used the "J" from her first name to name my 2nd daughter (Jessica). Keeping those beautiful memories alive is so important and I hope you can feel her with you in your darkest hours. Sending you love and ladybug hugs!

So sorry to hear of your loss, what a beautiful woman to have had in your life! Our prayers are with you and your family

Oh, Kelli, I'm so sorry that your wonderful mother has passed. Your post left me in tears and I will pray for you and your family today. May her soul rest in peace.

Ginette said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Sounds like you all have great memories of her. I am sure those will help you rough the tough times. Praying for you and your family.

sunny said...

I'm so sorry for your family, Kelli. This is a lovely tribute to your MIL, and I'm glad you have such wonderful memories to help your overcome your loss.

so sorry for your loss, but how wonderful for you that you had such a positive person in your life. Not everyone experiences that, and I am sure you have many wonderful memories.

I am so sorry. I am thinking of you and your family.

Cat said...

Kelli I am so sorry for your loss
My thoughts are with you all and especially wee A
I did enjoy your photos of SF

charlotte said...

So sorry for your loss. I remember when you made that bird quilt. Cherish the memories you have.

Ranch Wife said...

Sending you my condolences and prayers during this difficult time. I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope that in time, your treasured memories will bring you all comfort.

MissPat said...


Heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. Cherish all those wonderful memories and don't be afraid to talk about your MIL with your son. It is the way to keep her alive for him.

my mother went into the hospital for test and had that, she lived about 13 days after she came home to our house, i feel your pain, hugs

java diva said...

Oh, this was heartbreaking to read. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I wish I could give you a big hug. Goodbyes are so hard.

Oh, Kelli, I am so very sorry for your loss. It is obvious that she loved and was loved very deeply - a very special woman. You were so blessed to have her be a part of your life, even though the time was way too short. A reminder to all of us to cherish the time we have with those we love, every minute of every day with them is a gift! Prayers for you and your family.

Vicki said...

I'm so very sorry for the loss of A's grandma and your MIL. I love that you kept A near and answered his questions. Thank you for sharing a bit of this special lady with us. Heal in the way that is best for you.

Carla said...

Isn't cancer just awful. It steals so many people away far too early. I'm so sorry about your MIL. Mine too, is in Hospice. It's so hard to watch.....

Nedra said...

Oh, Kelli, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers have continued with you over the last few months. I know you expected this, but not the speed in which she was taken. I know your emotions are still very raw with grief, but be aware that I am still praying for you, and your sweet little A often. You have a gift to love deeply, and your family is blessed to have you!

Unknown said...

So sorry for your loss - your post is a lovely tribute to her and to your love for her.

perry94022 at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

Sending much love to you and your MIL above.

I am so very sorry for your families loss. Your MIL was obviously a lovely lady and her love will go on in your hearts I am sure. xx

Leonie said...

So sorry for your loss Kelli - big hugs to you all and your little one. Hope your heartache eases in time xxx

moira said...

Oh Kelli, hugs to you and your lovely family x

Kelli, I'm so sorry. Thank you for such a beautiful post about her - it's nice to know she was such a wonderful Nana. I'll be praying for you and your family. It's really a tough place but God is there for you.

So sorry for your loss. I know she was a special person in your life. I remember you mentioning her in previous blog posts. Take the time to grieve.

Thank you for sharing such tender memories. I am so sorry for your loss. ((HUGS))

What a beautiful and heartfelt post! It isn't often that people blend into their spouse's families so well. It is nice to know that you did. My prayers for your family at this time and the coming months.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelli,
I just wanted to let you know you are not alone with your sadness. I lost my father due to cancer also. He had just had his 2 year all clear when he told the doctor of troubles with breathing. Off the xray's and it revealed that his cancer had spread to his lungs. He was gone too soon. Yes it is still very hard to talk about someone you love so dearly. So I do understand, you will never forget A but you learn to live with your grief and it does gets easier to move forward. Thank you for sharing how you cared about A. Plus I too shred a few tears whilst reading your blog Kelli.

Aww, I'm so sorry Kelli, cancer really does suck (((((HUGS)))))

Lara B. said...

Kelli, this is a beautiful tribute to your mother-in-law, who you so obviously loved. I've been awash in tears for quite awhile after reading what you write. Our family was blessed to have a wonderful Nana too, as we had in my mother-in-law. She died because of pancreatic cancer when my son was seven... your son's age. That was 14 years ago and she is still missed every day.
Oh that we all can leave such a legacy of love behind us!

Unknown said...

Hi Kelli,

Thank you so much for writing this awesome blog post about Dolores. I learned so many cool things from it that I didn't know about her. I have been thinking about you and wondering how you were doing, and now I have a better idea of how close you two were, so thanks for sharing so openly.

She was such a special lady, as Luchi once said to me, "Every one likes Dolores because she's so nice." I was telling her how Dolores was one of the first family members to take an interest in our trip to India back in 2001, and she was one of the first extended family members to really make me feel welcome into this big family. She also always brought Lucas A's toys that he had grown out of, and made him feel so special. She had a special way of doing that, didn't she?
I miss her terribly too and can't believe that she's not here in the physical form any longer. I'm so grateful that we got to see her just days before she transitioned.

Please take care of yourself, and know that she is in good hands. I look forward to seeing you in the Spring, if not sooner.


Sarah said...

Very sad time for you all. Sorry to hear. She was obviously a beautiful person who was much loved by her family. I loved the stories and old photos you included in this story.

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