The Long Goodbye

The flames of hope have been reduced to a flicker.

Thank you to everybody that reached out to me in the past week.  Blogger nation really is an extended family if you have been doing this long enough.  Camp Skipah has had to temporarily relocate to the land of bourbonhorse racing, and the finest medical care in the area seeking answers as to why cancer can run amok on loved ones with no repercussions.  This native Hoosier never thought in a million years he would be leaving cookies and White Russians for Santa Claus in Louisville, Kentucky, but cancer could care less where I rest my weary head on Christmas Eve.

While the mood has been somber, to say the least, Miss Madison and the whole gang of Madisonians have rallied to the cause and have been here to pick each other up when need be.  Sibling rivalries and picking on the new guy have now been replaced with hugs and laughter as our Matriarch (unless some sort of miracle happens) is succumbing to cancer.  For some reason when the human species was created, they thought a liver was a vital organ, and our matriarch’s has turned into mush thanks to the cancer that has ravaged it.

Quick rant:  Why in the hell do I have to pay to park at a “public” hospital?  I’ve had times in my life $5.00 meant the difference between eating or putting gas in my vehicle.  Thankfully I can afford to park these days, but I can’t imagine not having the money to see a loved in the hospital because I couldn’t afford to park in the garage.  Since I’ve never heard of staying in the hospital as a “budget” lodging choice, I’m more than curious where this revenue goes!  Is there some secret parking attendant’s slush fund?  I didn’t know for Christmas I was going to be asking for University of Louisville Hospital parking garage gift certificates!

I guess yellow paint isn’t included in the parking garage budget.  

Losing a friend sucks not matter how the situation plays out, losing a friend that has shown me and my daughter nothing but love and respect since day one is a tough pill to swallow.  While initially the signs were trending upward that she could pull through this, it was just cancer’s sick sense of humor that gave us all a glimmer of hope for a “Christmas” miracle before ramming our heads into the wall with the sickening news on Christmas Eve.  The silver lining in all this tragedy is that children help take your mind off an otherwise craptastic time in the Skipahsphere.

Sloane got to rejoin the gang and me on Christmas morning and it was off to clock into my other job of “dad” for the time being.  Evidently Santa got loaded up on Mrs. Claus’ award-winning apple pie and decided to crash at the Skipah’s Realm corporate headquarters a little longer than he was intending to on Christmas Eve, because when we got home from Louisville for a temporary stopover, it looked like Rudolph left a pile of droppings as tall as a mountain and Santa was redistributing gifts from all the morons that decided mall fighting was a sanctioned sport.  A quick glance of ur Christmas tree, and I’m sure it had more Amazon shipping labels than ornaments.

Evidently, Santa deemed I was way too naughty this year to warrant this under the tree.  I spent two hours body shaming him under my breath!

Well played ex-wife, well played.  I guess she got a  deer stand to match her new jacket at her other residence.

Even with her new camo, Sloane didn’t exactly blend in when trying to photo bomb!

Since our kids had been so well behaved this year (bites tongue in half), they got a second dose of elf helpings once we returned to the temporary hacienda for an evening of Christmas fun.  Miss Madison and I even received some original artwork from PDK International.  I’m living with the coolest girl in the world and didn’t know she had such talented connections also!  The highlight of the evening was seeing the Turtle Man unwrap his very own Bachmann Train Set.  My inner little boy kicked in immediately and he and I are currently rummaging through eBay like women at a clearance rack at Kohls looking to become the model train barons of the Midwest.

Sloane and I even picked up a new bestie this weekend.  She’s three years old and cuter than a newborn puppy.  I thought gingers were better known as “fiery red-heads,” but this little bundle of joy just grins ear a to ear anytime one of us plays with her.  She has been so fun and helpful this past week she even got to join me and the girls for a walk in the Highland district of Louisville to enjoy the unseasonably warm temps (72 degrees on 12/26…#winning) and enjoy some lunch.

Putting the “high” in Highlands!

My “dates” for the day, thankfully these lovely ladies were a little cheaper than dinner and a movie.

All things considered even Ice Cube would say “It Was A Good Day

I could go on and on about the past week.  There has been plenty of tears, plenty of laughter, and plenty of frustration.  What is admiring to me is seeing people that you love and cherish at their weakest moments showing how strong they are when facing the worst possible news.  I got the biggest smile when I heard the story of her barking orders out about Christmas gifts from a hospital bed, like a general surmising the battlefield before leading troops into war.  Still worried about making sure this and that gets done, while helpless to do it herself.  She won’t have to worry anymore, and I hate it!

About it for now, the woman that I would have been proud to call my mother-in-law one day is about to move on to a spread her love in the afterlife.  My solemn promise to her is I will always look out for her daughter and the rest of her family as best as I can.  I am going to miss getting the occasional needling from her about picking on her beloved Chicago Cubs on my blog.  More importantly I am going to miss her.
Send Skipah Sailing!


  1. Pingback: Just Give Me Six Percent! ⋆

  2. Gary, I am so very sorry to hear this. Sending my love to Miss Madison. And like you, I think that paid parking at the public hospital is a disgrace.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about this terrible news, Gary. Cancer has robbed us of much loved family members too, so I really feel for you all.
    Bun Karyudo recently posted…A Boring Walk to the StationMy Profile

  4. I’m sorry for your loss Gary. I’m glad you still managed to have some great moments with the girls.
    I’m so with you on hospital parking. Be glad you don’t live in Toronto. I’d like to have the money I spent this past year on hospital/doctor visits. How about $24 for 2 hours. It’s disgusting. 🙁 Let’s hope 2017 is a great year for all. 🙂
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    • YIKES! Wait a minute isn’t the Canadian Dollar worth like a nickel in the states? Just kidding, it is ridiculous PUBLIC hospitals can charge for parking! Thank you for the thoughts, Miss Madison’s mom passed peacefully last Friday morning due to liver failure from the returning cancer :(.

  5. So sorry to hear about this…


  7. I’m sorry yous are going through this. My thoughts and prayers going out to y’all.

  8. I’m so sorry. That is devastating. I’m glad that you are there to care for Miss Madison and her family now. There aren’t any real words that can console someone but your presence is so important.
    Trudy recently posted…Rendezvous at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park My Profile

  9. Really sorry to hear this news. Cancer is a monster when it gets a grip on someone. Not online much at the mo because of my own family health stuff going on but saw your headline in my email list and thought it sounded sad. glad you are managing to find some fun times in the midst of this sad situation. Thinking of you all.

  10. Oh my gosh Gary, I’m so sorry! I think it says a lot about you that you are still on good terms despite no longer being married to her daughter; what a role model to your kids. Wishing you as happy an end to the year as can be expected given the circumstances.
    absolutely prabulous recently posted…10 Reasons Why I Need to Thank George MichaelMy Profile

  11. There are no words for any of this, except that I am sending love and hugs to all of you. I have been a Radiation Therapist for 30 years, treating cancer patients and it is absolutely horrible and heartbreaking. I guess that is why I find beauty in photography in my other career.

  12. So sorry to hear that about Miss Madison’s mom. Keeping you all in my prayers. Having a selfless guy next to her in this difficult time is helpful. You’re just as cool as her. 🙂 Hope you find comfort in each other and let the healing begin. Hope for a better 2017.
    Jas @All that’s Jas recently posted…RECIPE SHOWDOWNMy Profile

  13. I’m so sorry to hear your news. I’ll be praying for you and Miss Madison.

  14. I’m glad your holidays were not entirely somber. As you know, I spent mine with worry pushing itself to the forefront, but merry I was anyway.
    Love and light to all of you in the coming days.

    Camo? Really? What about Sloane says hunter green camo?!?
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  15. She…you all…are in my prayers…xo

  16. Cancer is an unwelcome gatecrasher at any time, but especially at Christmas. Glad you could all be there together to support one another and the patient. Bummer about the parking fees. Our hospital charged for parking a while, but the public outcry put a stop to that.

  17. My heart goes out to you and Miss. Madison and the family, such a hard thing to deal with !! Very touching post. It does make you bang your head against a wall! Prayers and thoughts coming your way!! Keep finding ways to smile as you keep loving on each other!

  18. Condolences to all of you during the hard times. Glad you guys were able to keep in the Christmas spirit. Best wishes to everyone!
    R.C. Liley recently posted…Nutrition is Key: Are You Limiting Your Kids’ Potential?My Profile

  19. I am very sad to hear this news Gary. My heart goes out to Ms. Madison and family during this difficult time.

  20. Sending my love to Ms Madison, you & the children at this difficult time.
    I agree parking fees at hospitals are awful - same costs as yours except that we get up to 15 minutes free, then up to 3 hours at £3! If you’re at the maternity ward in labour your parking fees could be horrendous!
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  21. So sorry to hear about your MIL. It’s a horrible disease 🙁 I hope you all are taking care of each other xx PS_ the hookah (or hubbly bubbly as we sometimes call it here in Oz) isn’t used to get high, generally. Just smoking socially- flavoured tobacco usually 🙂 It’s quite nice if you ever get a chance to try!

  22. So saddened to hear this. Such a touching blog post. Hugs and prayers.

  23. So sorry to hear about this. She sounds like a wonderful, strong woman, and I love that she’s been organising christmas from hospital. I hope Miss Madison is okay.
    Silly Mummy recently posted…Friday Frolics – 9th December 2016My Profile

  24. I’m so sorry. Cancer is a bastard. I’m grateful that you were able to find moments of joy this Christmas, even with that cloud over your head.
    Mandi recently posted…Love is the Bridge Between UsMy Profile

  25. No time of year is ever a tolerable one for this news but it seems much more unwelcome at Christmas. My mother passed from cancer just a few days before Thanksgiving arrived two years ago and that certainly has “adjusted” my mindset about that Holiday. It is so cliché to say “a better place” but that is where the final destination is. Gary, prayers extended to you and yours. Bruce

  26. I’m so sorry. Please hug Miss Madison for me. Hopefully hugs from strangers will be OK.

  27. As horrible as cancer is (I know, one of my younger brothers has it), it also brings out the love in families. Your love shines through this post, Gary.
    Monica Matthews, recently posted…College Scholarship Search Strategies for the HolidaysMy Profile

  28. Sending load of light and love to you and MIss. Madison! <3

  29. Your memories of this particular Christmas will likely be most acute, as you temper cancer with holiday celebrations. I’m so sorry to hear about your MIL, she sounds like a fighter. My grandmother succumbed to cancer 38 years ago, and I remember at age 19, then, her tenacious spirit during the holidays while she went through chemo. Focus your love and laughter on your wonderful family, for that will lead you on the path to healing when her time does come. Here’s to a wonderful 2017.

  30. This sucks. I’m glad Ms. Madison has you there!
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