11 August 2012


Dear Mitsa,

In times like these, living on the other side of the world does not feel so fun. While I am over here taking walks in parks, having lunch with friends and making a mess of my kitchen, you are in a hospital bed likely wondering how to make the most of your day.

I know these last two months have been tough, and I wish there was something I could do to ease your pain and keep you entertained. After all, you spent so much time entertaining me the last 30 years, whether or not you know it.

You should know that Saturdays were my favorite day of the week. Every Saturday, family members piled around your kitchen table, sipping coffee, eating the goodies that Gran or Aunt Ada would bring, maybe arguing a little and definitely laughing a lot as we all picked up a deck and played our favorite Solitaire games. Paul’s mom still laughs at us for playing four separate card games around the same table.

You taught me how to play so many versions of Solitaire. And by “taught,” I mean you would tell me how the game was supposed to be played, show me as I captivatingly watched and then stick your nose, your opinion and even your hand into my game any time I missed a step or paused too long.

“No! Don’t flip that card. Move the seven over,” you would say. “Put that queen on that king over there!”
“Hey,” I would shoot back. “This is my game. You play your own.” 
“But you missed a card. You’re not going to win.”
“Well then I guess I will lose.”

Then you would huff and roll your eyes at me before again chiming in when I played an incorrect card. Obviously, you just wanted me to win and, the way I was playing, I was setting myself up for failure, which was not an option. Thinking about all of our great times around the table makes me laugh even now.

Though I am not able to be with you in person, I am calling every day, twice a day, for updates. Part of me wants to tell you to fight because I cannot imagine going home and not having you there. Your house is the center of family gatherings. Every day my grandmother joins you, her younger sister, for coffee and conversation. Every Saturday, the rest of the family joins the two of you for coffee, conversation and multiple games of Solitaire around your kitchen table. Every holiday for almost as long as I can remember has occurred at your house, and I do not want that to change.

Part of me, however, wants you to know it’s O.K. to go. Having leukemia, losing mobility due to a stroke and suffering from pneumonia is more than many people have to handle in a lifetime, let alone having all of these diagnoses within a few weeks. I know that one day in heaven is better than a thousand elsewhere, especially when elsewhere is a hospital where people come in and bug you at all hours of the day and night.

So whether you feel like fighting or resting, know that you have family all around the world who are right there with you, loving you, supporting you, wishing you peace in your last days – however numerous they may be. We are all so lucky to have had you in our lives. Laku noć


Anonymous said...

You are so blessed to have such a beautiful woman in your lives. Leanna, whether you know it or not I remeber some of those good times, especially one family wedding you and I attended. i am sobbing right now. Each one shares in their own way and I loved Rachel's message. Asking for peace is just the right way, although it is hard . I faced the death of my spouse 12 years ago within seconds, he died so suddenly of a heart attack. I don't know what else to say except I send my prayers and love to you all. To everything there is a season.... Deb Watson

Daniel Means said...

Thank you Rachel for such a lovly poem. Mitz will be missed. Dan Means

Judi D. said...

Beautiful words.