Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So Long Lynn Marie 1958-2011

I remember the call I received around three years ago in August of 2008.  My cousin Lynn Marie Fracalossi and my uncle had been searching for a home outside of Dearborn Heights, Michigan since the passing of my aunt in 2003.  The call that I thought I was going to get regarding selling of the home and impending move was nothing of the sort.  "Hi Eddie, it's Lynn and now we have something else in common.  I have been diagnosed with cancer and start treatment soon."  The diagnosis came one week after they closed on a home in Monroe, Michigan.

It was only a month earlier that Lynn and I spent the 4th of July holiday golfing together at Indian Hills Country Club.  Lynn showed no signs of impending illness when she easily shot in the low 80's that day.  "I have been through all this was my reply over the phone. I will try to get you through this cancer too."

In life, Lynn Marie was one of the most simple yet one of the most complex people I have ever known.  Each one not in a bad way.  She was simple in the fact that she could visit Pennsylvania and find some unique place to visit or market to explore while I never knew they existed.  She was complex in the way she talked about her illness.  She would tell me about every intricate detail of her treatment, but would not tell anyone at what stage was her cancer.  Intimate while remaining private.  Sometimes it was hard for a person to understand.

Lynn was the happiest in the midst of nature whether it was at the shoreline of an ocean or in the garden right outside her kitchen window.  She saw beauty among nature and never lost her appreciation for all things living.  At the hospital less than 9 days away from her passing, she was giving out instructions on how to care for some of her favorite plants. 

Lynn spent her adult life single and never really dated.  She had the best features that Tyrolean and Ukrainian genetics could offer and would not have a problem attracting someone.  Through a lifetime of phone calls, emails and personal visits, I never asked the question of her choosing to remain single.  I figured that I have witnessed many couple split over the years, the question itself became less important over the years. In the end the question would never be asked and I'm sure Lynn would have never wanted to share an answer.

I went to visit Lynn Marie on June 9th in the hospital in downtown Detroit.  I cried immediately when I entered the hospital room. Instead of seeing the eternally young 52-year old, I saw the eyes of my 76-year old grandmother who had passed nearly 35 years earlier.  The cancer had taken it's toll.  She still had the same voice and told me that she put up a great fight and is at peace with what was happening. At that moment, I was composed enough to have a normal conversation.  We talked about the past and somethings about present. 

The conversation even got light-hearted.  My father and Lynn's mother were brother and sister and took "worrying about everything" to new heights in modern human history.  My father who was the youngest of three siblings passed in December of 2001 while Lynn's mother passed in June of 2003.  I told Lynn that she will see them soon and then I asked, "I wonder if they stopped worrying by now?"  Lynn laughed as hard as her physically limitations would allow.  I thought we were going to have to call a nurse for assistance.

We left Michigan on Saturday June 11th before Lynn came home to hospice.  In my last conversation over the phone (which she sounded great) I told her that we are still 2-0 against cancer.  You didn't let it get you down and it brought our family together.  Before my voice started to crack the last thing I simply said was, "Lynn, I love you."

I knew there was going to be an impending phone call coming from Michigan in the near future.  I attended my local Relay for Life, but couldn't escape the thought that Lynn was in her last hours.  I was hurting inside inside wondering if anything really if it was worth any effort.  I had to find a way to heal myself and started to think of all the people who would travel down this path once again.  As the sunset, I left the Relay in better spirits.

The call I knew I had coming shortly after I left Michigan came Sunday afternoon.  Lynn passed away 8 days later on Sunday, June 19th.  It was 8 years and 12 hours since her mother's passing on June 18th, 2003.  We never know how much time we have on this earth.  We just need to make every moment count.

1 comment:

AKLinn said...

Beautiful tribute to your cousin!! You're all in my thoughts and prayers Ed!
Anne