I'm genuinely sorry for my long absence.  I have not only had an extremely tumultuous year so far but an extremely stressful year as well.  I figured that now was as good a time as any to open up to you guys about my life since I last posted.  

Above I've posted a picture of my father's mother and father, my grandparents.  My father passed away when my brother and I were barely ten years old of colon cancer and since his death in 2003 my grandmother really never recovered.  He was her only son, he my was father, an optometrist, the love of my mother's life, her high school sweetheart, her college boyfriend and he meant everything to my twin brother and I.  He and my mother dedicated themselves to making sure my brother and I got a glimpse of the world, they took us on our first trip to Gatlinburg when we were three.  From there we saw the Grand Canyon when we were five and from there so much more.  Every summer there was a new place to go, every summer a new museum to explore, every summer a new trail to hike, our lives were absolutely filled with exploration.  I feel extremely grateful for my childhood today because honestly it was beautiful.  I saw the world around just even my house in this small town of Bradenton as something of a fantasy.  I ran around outside barefoot, exploring the pine trees, the oaks, the bugs, the lizards, the snakes, the pond just outside in our backyard, everything.  When he passed it was unexpected.  I never once thought he wasn't going to recover, but I was a child, I didn't see fear in his eyes, only concern in my mother's.  So when we lost him just after his favorite football team (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) won their first super bowl it was devastating.  I dealt with my grief differently from my brother, from everyone.  My grandmother could never celebrate her birthday (which came at the same time as my father's) the same way again.  

This last december we were given news that my grandmother had leukemia.  Technically cancer in her bones.  My grandparents tried to stay strong for us but very clearly I could see they thought it was the end.  I stayed positive though and when they received news that there was a donor who was a perfect match to her and that they were going to go ahead and make the transplant.  In april the transplant was made.  In may she was starting to undergo the awful symptoms of her body rejecting the bone marrow. It was my birthday, I went away on a beautiful vacation to Key Largo and Miami with my boyfriend Sean, worried all the while that she wouldn't make it through the week.  But she did, and when we returned things started to look up.  Her blood cells were starting to come back, her system was working again.  And then everything began to ease slowly downward.  Her body had finally decided to reject the transplant.  She was hooked up to all these tubes, she couldn't breathe on her own, she'd lost her hair from the chemo she had undergone before the transplant, and she no longer looked like my grandmother.  I had to stop seeing her, she couldn't hear me, she was lost.  I didn't want to remember her that way.  In June our family decided to let her go.  

It was painful.  I felt as if I'd come to understand my grandmother better in the two years before her death.  We'd gone to lunch every wednesday after my morning french class at New College.  We would talk for hours at panera.  It was wonderful, I loved to gossip with her, to talk about Elvis, his marriages, movies, the past, the a&w in Bradenton.  But now she was gone.  My family was accusing me of being cold.  My brother and I were criticized for not being at the hospital the night they let her go.  We both couldn't.  We'd seen our father, we didn't want to see someone who we loved, who spoiled us rotten until we were adults, in that state, in that unrecognizable state.  

Since her funeral I've moved out of my childhood home into an apartment in Sarasota with my boyfriend Sean who I love more than anything in this world.  I've become a secretary/assistant for an eye doctor.  My mother has sold our childhood home.  My brother and his girlfriend are expecting a child in February.  I'm happy though.  Happier than I've ever been.  Trying to make our little home cozy as winter approaches.  

As they've sung in one of my favorite musicals The Book of Mormon, tomorrow is a latter day.  I've got to keep moving on.

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