This e-mail was sent to friends who could not be there........
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 01:57:25
When Scott first contacted me, he was full of hope that he would beat this cancer. He knew that is was a very aggressive and fatal kind. A juvenile form of sarcoma which is relentless. Still, he fought and went along with all the traditional chemo and other therapies, enduring it all quite valiantly. Chemo was scheduled every three weeks! He had such great courage even in the face of metastases and the ups and downs of side-effects and reactions he encountered along the way.
When I received the call Friday about the seizure and eminent closure of his life - I was taken by surprise - for the news that his entire brain case was cancerous and that there was a very large tumor around his brainstem - was shocking when they had said not long ago that there was nothing at all there! I feared that he would not still be there by the time I could get to Richmond (the next day.)
My friend, Barb, drove me as far as Crozet (near Charlottesville)- almost two hours from here - where Brian Adlridge met us, having driven from Richmond - almost another two hours - to meet us halfway. (I am not able to drive extended distances any longer due to the Dystonia) We made good time and arrived long before lunch. (At this point, Scott does not eat anything)
We ran into the family outside in the hall - for the nurses were giving Scott a bath at that time. I hugged first one then another and another and another - and it seemed that they were going to continue for quite a while - like a parade! I began to giggle as I went into embrace after embrace... *Smile* So warm and comforting to give and receive.
Scott stared at me a while and I asked him if I had changed that much in the two years since we last saw each other and right away he said "Your hair! It was a lot darker then" That is a very odd thing... after Eric was killed - my hair changed almost overnight! We all thought it amazing how rapidly such a phenomena could happen when it takes so long for hair to grow and mine is so long! But he is right - I am mostly silver now - especially on top. I kind of like it - actually - but realize that it WOULD be quite a shock to see all at once!!!
I am glad that he has a lot of friends and family around him in support and loving care. His sister, Cathy, was there from Maryland (6 months pregnant) with her husband, and she was so solicitous of him - feeding him the chipped ice he could manage and smiling so sweetly (she is anadorable woman!) - holding his hand - bending close to hear the short little breathless, whispery words he could manage to get out from his dry, sore throat (from the tubes and respirator and all such as they had to use when he was in the coma after the major seizure and brain surgery they performed a few days before). He is so weak that his voice is barely audible anyway, unless you lean real close to get the words. His eyes speak loudly though. And although he cannot speak much - you KNOW that he hears every word! He responds to whatever stirs him to make the heroic effort it takes for him to do so! There was so much "talking over him" going on that I asked him if he minded (as I, myself, always have minded it) - hearing people talking as though he wasn't present. He nodded his assent and whispered "A little"!
I think that he will not be leaving that room alive. There are so many various fluids suspended and entering into him through mainline at his groin (wrists and other places are now too scarred to use). His parents said that they would prefer that he have the full facilities at hand there at the hospital. His life will end in that room.
His aunt, very sweet and "sunshiny" is staying and relieves the parents when they go home for some R&R.... His uncle, (his dads'twin brother) was here for a while but was going to fly back home (further south) Sunday. People are bringing food and there is plenty to eat and drink for all who visit!
Scott had a teddy-bear and whispered to me that his mother still gets him one every year for Christmas.
In the evening, when the parents returned from home (they left right after Brian and I got there) - they had with them a large padded envelope - for me! Inside were three photos of Eric (Scott worked on the Iron Blade and was a photographer for them) and three large 11x14s(?) inside of another cardboard mailer inside the larger package. These three took my breath away. One was of myself on top of Freesoul rock on April 5th, 1996 (we were there to release Erics' ashes and the balloons) with one of my grandchildren, Chastidy, sitting beside me - a part of Brandi and a part of my friend, Barbs' son, Josh'... and some of the balloons which we were distributing for each person present to symbolically let Eric go..... The other two were different views of those moments and surroundings up there in that awesome place which Eric had loved and frequented all of his life. One of them, his mother told me, they had an even larger copy of, framed and hanging in their living room! Tears stung my eyes at the bittersweet beauty, and the memories, and the priceless gift being given to me. I was overwhelmed with emotions, chief of which is gratitude for the precious love and fellowship which brought the special gift to me!
Scott - laying there, looked rather much like a much smaller version of the young man in "POWDER" (1996 movie) No hair, eyelashes or eyebrows (though he did have a soft, furry white beard which you see if you draw very close. It is a very soft beard, reminding me of Erics' which was also soft like that and when I caressed Scotts' - I remember thinking of how I had loved to do that to Erics'.
When Brian and I went out for a bite to eat and a quick visit to his brand new (to him) apartment, we bought a lovely flower arrangement (among the flowers were daisies, which are my favorites!) which we thought would brighten the room, for it is quite dark in there. Perhaps the colors are chosen to facilitate rest.... Within an hour, another basket of flowers arrived from Dr. Lana Whited and the Iron Blade Staff. In the center of the arrangement of baby pink carnations and daisies, there were two tall deep-purple Larkspur and those caught Scotts' eye in a most special way - his big blue eyes lit up and he reached out for the basket which Cathy was setting next to those Brian and I had brought back with us - he reached out both hands in a (Give that to me) gesture - which spoke loudly and was obeyed. When she got them close for him to see - he reached out and gently wrapped his long, slender fingers around the purple flowers and held them there a few moments as though they were such a thing of wonder and beauty that he wanted to experience them with every sense he had. And he did. It was a poetic moment.
I know that many of you would want to see Scott once again, and so I am bringing our visit to you to share. I doubt that there will be another. I do plan to attend the funeral with Brian.... but it is far too long a trip to just visit as I would sincerely like to if he were local here. (Dystonia is a cruelly disciplinary condition! )
Dear Brian is going to be stopping by each day. He drove me all the way home (which meant a 6 hour round trip for him, dear one that he is to do so!) We decided that it would be nice if he went ahead and took my good laptop (my Sony-Baby) and for him to take it to the hospital and perhaps help Scott to do an e-mail out with Brian doing the keyboard, for Scott does not have strength enough to even touch the letters as would be necessary. If that works out - I hope that you will hear from him one last time! And that will be a beautiful thing too.
When it came time for us to head out for the long trip home, I held Scott and I caressed his beard tenderly, looked into his eyes and told him that I loved him... and he spoke (with our eyes locked) in the most audible voice I heard come from him in all of that day... "I love you too!" It was a long moment after that - for we just looked into each others' eyes with that unspoken knowledge that it would be the last time.......(here on earth) that we would see each other. I thanked him once again for the beautiful pictures that I will cherish always... And reluctantly stepped way to go.
As we were hugging and leaving the room and I'd taken a few steps from the door into the hall - I just had to back up and say goodbye one more time - and I waved from there and said the words, and was amazed to see him raise that long arm ALL THE WAY up into the air to wave to me! An angel surely must have helped him do that - for he had not the strength to... believe me!
Tears came again freely. I turned and left with that goodbye.
From your GYPSY, (Nina)
"A Soul Set Free To Fly"