I've had a super busy day today! It's 7:00 pm, and I'm just now sitting down at home. This morning, my dad asked if I wanted to go visit Mark, and I was feeling a lot better, so I said sure. He told me he'd pick me up at 8:45 (which was in an hour). He came over to walk the kids to the bus stop, and the second they left, I headed out for a four-mile run.
I knew it was going to be a busy day, so I wanted to get it done before heading to the hospital. I ran four miles and then hopped in the shower to get ready. I scarfed down some oatmeal for breakfast just in time for my dad to pick me up.
We stopped at the post office on the way to the hospital so that I could check the P.O. Box. I was delighted to see that there were a ton of cards in there for Mark. On the way to the hospital, I counted them, and there were 52! I was really excited to give them to him.
When we went up to his room, Mark was really happy to see us. I showed him the cards, and explained that they were ALL for him. I opened each card and read it out loud to him, then passed it to him to see. He kept saying, "Oh, that's a nice card!" to all of them, like it was the best card he's ever received.
And they were all so nice... I honestly can't thank you enough for all of the thought that went into those cards! Mark kept saying, "So many people care about me, I have all these people that care about me." I didn't want to cry or get upset in front of him, because he's just so HAPPY, so reading the cards was really hard for me. I get emotional while watching Hallmark commercials, for goodness sake!
Every once in a while, out of nowhere, he would tell me just how excited he was to go "home". I felt bad about that, because I know that he's not going back to the home that he's known for nearly his entire life. When I mentioned something about "home", he said, "NO, not 'home'... I mean 'HOME home'." When I asked further, he explained that he is excited to go to his real home, to Heaven, to see his family.
He talked about "HOME home" a lot while I was there, and I have to say, it was really comforting to hear him be at peace about it. It would be so hard to hear him talk about fear of dying or something like that, but Mark will be happy whether he miraculously beats this cancer or he goes "home". I learned today that Mark's brother died of lung cancer a few years ago, their father died of lung cancer, and their grandfather died of lung cancer.
After I read all the cards to him, his nephew showed up. His nephew is his only living relative. My dad chatted with his nephew, so I talked to Mark some more. I asked him if I could bring him anything next time I go visit, and he said his usual response, "Oh, any old thing." But I pressed him harder, and said, "Mark, is there something you REALLY love that you would like me to bring you? Anything at all?" and he started to come up with a few ideas. He loves junk food--so much so that we are probably soul mates ;) He said he wants hush puppies and fish from Long John Silvers; Cheetos; cheese popcorn; candy bars, or any kind of chocolate; and a milkshake. So I'm going to bring him some goodies the next time I go, probably on Saturday.
My dad and I stayed for a couple of hours, and then we had to head out because I had to go to the school for the kids' Christmas party. I'm so glad that I got to go visit Mark! He's positive and happy, and it just radiates off of him. He kept thanking the nurses for everything--even after they gave him an injection, he'd say "Thank you!" I was feeling so sad about his situation last night, during a long talk with Jerry about it; but today, I feel a million times better after seeing how happy he is.
(Here is the P.O. Box address again, just in case you missed it, if you'd like to send Mark a card:
c/o Katie Foster
P.O. Box 405
South Rockwood, MI 48179
He REALLY loved seeing a couple of post cards. He's never been outside of Michigan, so a post card or photo of where you live is interesting to him. He also really loved a card that played music when you opened it.)
When I got home, I had about 30 minutes to eat lunch and then head out to the school. The kids had their Christmas parties, so I was there to help, although it really wasn't needed (lots of parents there!). Right after school, we went to my Aunt Mickey's house so the kids could decorate Christmas cookies with her grandkids. It's something that we do every year, and the kids really look forward to it.
My Aunt Mickey always cooks dinner for everyone, and every year, I don't eat there because I'm trying to "stay on track". After visiting Mark today, I was just thinking about how dumb it is to skip out on things like that. My aunt makes really great food! So I took a plate, and ate what she made, and I enjoyed every bite. I even had a couple of cookies that the kids made for me. Tomorrow, I'll be more careful, but I'm glad that I ate dinner there today. Mark having cancer has made me stop and think (more than a few times) about what is really important!
Eli showed me his plate of cookies when he was done, and they were totally unappetizing...
The one on the left even has a huge bite out of it, haha. Despite being a super busy day, it's been a very good one!