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Dolores Camilla Savio Fannin was 76 when she lost her life 3 weeks ago to pancreatic cancer. Just shy of three months after her original complaint of pain and scheduling a Dr. appt to have it looked into. It all happened so incredibly fast. It seems like a blur. Surreal.
Here we are at A's end of school play near the beginning of summer. With no idea of what was about to come near the end of summer.
Her dad was an Italian immigrant who married the daughter of Mexican immigrants.
(He ran his own grocery store in the Marina district of SF as early as the 1930's.) She used to talk about growing up in a flat in SF, and as a little girl during WWII, having to turn off the lights and hang black curtains over the windows during blackout drills.
She married her sweetheart on Feb 14, 1960.
A few years ago, A made his Nana & Papa a heart shaped cookie for their anniversary/Valentine's Day.
She was the best Nana ever.
And the best MIL ever. Hard to believe this was nine years ago. I loved her more each day/visit/year that went by.
A couple of years ago, for Mother's Day, I gave her "the bird". Not THAT bird.. this quilty one.. she loved it b/c she had asked me to make her a quilt, and she was an avid birdwatcher and collector of birdhouses. She also loved crosswords, and there's a bit of all of that in this quilt, with the bird fabrics, and a little bit of crossword fabric. She also loved to write, and volunteered at the library, so the texty print was very "her", too. She was a neat, neat lady.
It was while "estate-saling" with her that I found my little featherweight. So many of our memories and so much of who we are involve her. It's hard to believe she's gone.
When I joined a mug rug swap that raises $$ for Ovarian Cancer Research in September, I put on my questionnaire that I might give mine to my MIL who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My sweet mug rug partner sent me TWO. One for me and one for my MIL. Unfortunately, it all happened so fast. She was home on hospice before I could give it to her. :( So hers now lives with my SIL, who loves it. My partner was soo sweet to do this! I know my MIL would have loved it.
Thanks to those of you who kept her and our family in your prayers. It was really hard dealing with all of the emotions while trying to keep some sense of routine/normalcy for A, who was having his innocence stripped away a bit at a time at only 7 (now 8) yrs old.
The day in August that my MIL had surgery in SF, in which we were expecting them to remove the cancer, or as much of it as they could, the Dr came out early and told us it had spread everywhere and that there was nothing they could do. Devastated with the news, and waiting for her to come out of recovery, I left my hub and family at the hospital and took A back to the hotel. He needed a break and somewhere quiet to process it. We had a mommy/son lunch date in the hotel, where A was excited to sit up at the bar to eat. Only, he very obviously wasn't 21, so we weren't allowed to sit up at the bar after all. I snapped this pic of him with my phone b/c I never wanted to forget that sweet face. His world was about to change.
We spent that weekend of her original surgery in SF at the hospital with her, and also trying to create some fun memories for A, to have some balance. He loved riding the cable car for the first time.
She was so happy that A was getting to explore a little of the city that she grew up in. From the hospital hallway windows, she could point out to us different buildings and schools that she or her brother went to.
She wanted to hear all about his adventures in the city.
He was so excited that we rode the city bus, the cable car, and the hotel shuttle all in the same day, and was very disappointed that we couldn't ride in a cab to make it four public transportation systems in one day.
Little did we know that day, that in the span of just a few weeks, she would be gone.
We will miss her terribly, but are so glad that she doesn't have to suffer any more than she did. She was ready. It progressed so brutally fast. She passed on Oct. 10th, in her sleep. The last time A saw her, she hugged him tight for a long time and told him how very much she loved him, and to always be a good speller for Nana. sniff.
This is possibly my most favorite picture ever b/c it has all of A's grandparents together, plus one great grandparent. The two ladies he's standing in front of are no longer with us but I will be eternally grateful that he got to know them and will always have memories of them.
You are missed, D. We love you.
Kelli, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Nana sounds and looks like she was a beautiful woman and I know her loss leaves a giant hole in all of your hearts. My husband's Aunt Joanne passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2002, her story was much the same as your MIL's. What a terrible disease it is and not a day goes by that we don't think of her, even 12 years later. To honor her memory we used the "J" from her first name to name my 2nd daughter (Jessica). Keeping those beautiful memories alive is so important and I hope you can feel her with you in your darkest hours. Sending you love and ladybug hugs!
Oh, Kelli, I am so very sorry for your loss. It is obvious that she loved and was loved very deeply - a very special woman. You were so blessed to have her be a part of your life, even though the time was way too short. A reminder to all of us to cherish the time we have with those we love, every minute of every day with them is a gift! Prayers for you and your family.
Oh, Kelli, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers have continued with you over the last few months. I know you expected this, but not the speed in which she was taken. I know your emotions are still very raw with grief, but be aware that I am still praying for you, and your sweet little A often. You have a gift to love deeply, and your family is blessed to have you!
I just wanted to let you know you are not alone with your sadness. I lost my father due to cancer also. He had just had his 2 year all clear when he told the doctor of troubles with breathing. Off the xray's and it revealed that his cancer had spread to his lungs. He was gone too soon. Yes it is still very hard to talk about someone you love so dearly. So I do understand, you will never forget A but you learn to live with your grief and it does gets easier to move forward. Thank you for sharing how you cared about A. Plus I too shred a few tears whilst reading your blog Kelli.
Kelli, this is a beautiful tribute to your mother-in-law, who you so obviously loved. I've been awash in tears for quite awhile after reading what you write. Our family was blessed to have a wonderful Nana too, as we had in my mother-in-law. She died because of pancreatic cancer when my son was seven... your son's age. That was 14 years ago and she is still missed every day.
Oh that we all can leave such a legacy of love behind us!
Thank you so much for writing this awesome blog post about Dolores. I learned so many cool things from it that I didn't know about her. I have been thinking about you and wondering how you were doing, and now I have a better idea of how close you two were, so thanks for sharing so openly.
She was such a special lady, as Luchi once said to me, "Every one likes Dolores because she's so nice." I was telling her how Dolores was one of the first family members to take an interest in our trip to India back in 2001, and she was one of the first extended family members to really make me feel welcome into this big family. She also always brought Lucas A's toys that he had grown out of, and made him feel so special. She had a special way of doing that, didn't she?
I miss her terribly too and can't believe that she's not here in the physical form any longer. I'm so grateful that we got to see her just days before she transitioned.
Please take care of yourself, and know that she is in good hands. I look forward to seeing you in the Spring, if not sooner.