Thursday, March 22, 2007

We went to see this movie tonight and, while it won't be winning any Academy Awards, it was just what the doctor ordered - a nice, light, mindless film with no complicated plot to follow. It made me laugh and that's pretty much all I was looking for. And John Travolta can do no wrong by me...ever since I saw him in "Michael" I've been totally sold on him. The whole cast was great.

But the real story here is my friend Vince, the father of Lindsay's friend, "Fifi" (as we call her). He and Fif met us at the show and I was really happy to see him. I went to school with his wife Jackie and they're just the nicest couple you could meet. Unbelievable people. Fifi is not their biological daughter - she was a foster child. They took her in as a baby who (I believe) had been the victim of prenatal alcoholism and was paralyzed from the waist down. They've had her 15 years and had to face the very real possibility of losing her a few years ago, as her mother re-entered the picture. It was completely devastating to them - she was "their daughter" and they'd raised her as their own. But the woman quickly realized she wasn't up for the task and that Fifi was better off where she was - she had the best home imagineable and was thriving there. So she backed away.

Fif is not the only child that these two have taken in under their wing. Their door has always been open and they tend to take in the babies/children that are impossible to place - the kids with severe disabilities that require round the clock care. At the moment they have a baby girl, "Angel" who is on feeding apparatus and needs constant supervision. She's been with them for well over a year (or two) and is sick a great deal of the time. But Jackie and Vince have patience beyond anything I've seen and are a team who work together like a well oiled machine...they take "shifts" and both care equally for the kids. Jackie naps in the afternoon so she can handle the nights. They bought a bigger (beautiful) home to accomodate all their "children". They had a boy in their care awhile back who was very deeply troubled - he was wild. He'd obviously had a very traumatic little life up until then and they got him knowing this - knowing he'd be a real challenge. They tried desperately to help Ozzy (yes, his name), but he was posing a serious threat to Angel and his behavior was extremely dangerous at times. So Jackie's sister took him - she had no other children in the home and could focus all of her attention on him (which he needed).

I've known Jackie since high school and she's always been a doll. What I never knew was that she got pregnant back in highschool and had a child very young. She married, divorced and met Vince later on in life. And, after her biological daughters had grown up, she became "Mom" to these other kids who so desperately needed one. We became reacquainted when Fifi and Linds attended kindergarten together (they've been best friends ever since).
Jackie just idolizes Linds and they took her away to the lake with them on their summer vacation last year. They piled everyone/everything into their van and went fishing. They also happen to throw the best "theme" parties for the kids....they're just awesome people.

I was devastated tonight to learn that Vince's battle with cancer has taken a sudden turn for the worst. It's fucking tragic...here's this man (younger than I am), who's the core of a beautiful family and the very real possibility is that they may lose him. Things aren't looking good. Last I heard he'd been doing well...tonight, not so much. When we entered the theater, we quickly realized that the wheelchair seats were so close to the screen that everything was blurry...we couldn't stand it. And there was no way to get Fif up to the rows further back, so Vince decided to carry her up. I didn't know he was still sick, I thought he was pretty much out of the woods. The decision to carry her was a mistake...he's weak and it pretty much did him in. He was in pain throughout the movie, but tried to hide it. He then explained that his cancer markers are up and he's going for more chemo soon. He just needs to build his strength up first. Damn it. I thought he was on the road to recovery. The movie ended and we really didn't know how we'd get Fif down to her chair. She scooted along on the floor (as she does...amazing), but she quickly ran into a big pile of sticky looking ooze that we didn't want her crawling through. Normally I'd have picked her up but lifting's a huge no no until after I've had my procedure in the summer. Vince lifted her over the guck and she worked her way down the stairs, to her chair. To see them struggling together just tore up my heart. I'll pray every night that Vince turns the corner and starts healing again. I just can't imagine how life will go on for that family without him.

* * * * * * * * * * *

If I have a bad moment and am doing the pity party in future, I only need think of Fif and Vince and how lucky I really am in life. How some take adversity in stride and keep smiling through it - they're my heroes, these two. Tonight was a real struggle for Vince yet he was there, slugging it out for the sake of this child. And she's unbelievable in her own right. We're blessed to know this family and I'm thankful to have spent this night with Vince and Fif. Because I just don't know about the future. Damn cancer.

7 Comments:

Blogger RUTH said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Vince...as you say "Damn Cancer" in fact "Double Damn It". Vince sounds like a courageous and loving person...I hope he manages to get through yet another struggle...please give our best to him and his wife Jackie...shall be thinking of you all.
{{HUGS}}
Rx

2:40 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Thanks Ruth. He's such a sweet, gentle guy. Very good father/husband...totally devoted family man. Tonight was the first time he's opened up with me and showed his fear. Maybe it's because Jackie wasn't there that he let his guard down...I'm sure he tries to be strong for her sake. So frickin' sad (as I know you can well relate to).

3:05 AM  
Blogger kelly said...

I admire people like your friends a great deal. To me, they are the true heroes in society, often with no recognition, and they usually don't want any. Being a firefighter, we get called that a lot, and I hate it, I really do. Its a great job, we do lots of shitty stuff, but so do many other people, police, paramedics, its also a great rush sometimes. I've never rushed in and saved anyone from a burning building, (didn't have to and I hope its not required). We get to play with big expensive toys and on occaison get to play with fires, how can you beat that. I hope i've made a difference in peoples lives by helping them and I know its been appreciated, countless home made cookies and cards..yum. As part of a team, we do this.

The selfless time, energy, love and devotion that your friends put into their lives is amazing. For someone like that to have cancer ...well ..you said it...Damn cancer.

8:30 AM  
Blogger LaLa said...

Pardon my french, but I much prefer f@$# cancer.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

kelly...I, for one, appreciate firemen very much (just not the ones I've posted on!). My next door neighbour all throughout my childhood is a firefighter and his Dad was Fire Chief up until the time he died. And, when I caught my microwave on fire and called them, they were the nicest bunch of guys that showed up (yes, I did that).... You may not have rushed into a burning building to save anyone, but the very thought that you've dedicated your life to do just that if called upon is extremely noble. And I place my friends Vince and Jackie right up there as well.

lala...I actually thought of you as I posted this too. Life is so f*%*#&'ing unfair sometimes...why the good people?...why not the serial rapist and the pedophile?

10:41 AM  
Blogger whitenoise said...

Sorry about your friend, Deb. Life isn't fair, and all we can do is try to pick up the slack for those who can't lift anymore. Best wishes for Vince.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Thanks W/N...why is it always the nicest people? This man is the perfect example of "family" man/gentleman. Time will tell I guess.

11:51 AM  

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