I've been back about a week now, and there has been so much to think about that it's been hard to sit down and put it all out there.
The trip was bittersweet. It had it's great moments as Lori and I giggled together over silly things the way only two sisters can. It had it's medium-sad moments as Ava kept telling me how much she would miss me when I left, but I promised her I would be back to visit often. Little does she know the reason why. And it had it's really rough moments as Lori discussed her estate planning, the progress of her illness and some of her wishes for the later stages.
We didn't get into too much detail with most of it. Lori could tell that I'm not ready yet. I think I'm still in the denial stage. She still walks (well, with a limp), she still drives, goes places on her own, can still manage most of her household responsibilities. How can she be gone in less than 2 years???? I still can't even think about it without crying. I'd better get it all out now, though, because at some point I imagine I will have to be her rock, and a slippery, wet rock just won't do now, will it?
She seems to have a remarkably good attitude. She says she's done her crying, and she's accepted it. The way she sees it is that she is no different from anyone else - we all die - she just happens to know the when and the how of it. She actually feels that she is luckier than most in that by knowing in advance she has time to plan for it and take care of all that must be done.
She is a strong, strong person and I'm glad Ava will get to spend some time learning from her, no matter how much time that turns out to be.