Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Two days ago, my mom walked into the house, after grocery shopping, and the first thing she said — it was to Tom — was “How are you feeling? We’re getting married tomorrow.” And he was happy.

When he was admitted to the hospital for the MRI and biopsy when all of this started, he kept asking — truly, the only thing he’s asked for — to get married, soon. They’d been planning to get married in June, when the house renovation was finished, but the health scare (as it looked to be early on) brought some urgency to the issue. And when he started to go downhill more quickly, my mom pulled out all the stops to make it happen. We had to find a court clerk willing to walk out to the car so we wouldn’t have to get him all the way in and out of the building, and an officiant willing to come out to the house — twenty minutes afield of the nearest anything — on virtually no notice. But it was what he wanted, and all he’s asked for, and we made it happen.

After, we went to the hospital. After the diagnosing imaging yesterday in preparation for the chemo-radiation treatment that was supposed to start next week, they saw a fluid build up and need to put in a shunt to relieve the pressure. They called about an hour before the ceremony; they are doing the procedure this morning.

Throughout this situation, you’re left feeling like there isn’t a lot you can do. There isn’t a lot you can do. But we did do this, and we did it well. And I’m happy, and that’s something I haven’t felt a whole lot of lately.

Tom’s happy too.

This is a part of a series of essays which I began while my step-father Tom — a good man — was undergoing treatment for particularly aggressive brain cancer. He began experiencing acute symptoms on March 6th, 2016, and passed away nineteen days later.

His family and friends started a college scholarship fund in his memory. If you would like to donate, you can do so at


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