Monday, March 5, 2012
A Visit With Cousin Shirley
Monday May 25, 1992
We are checked out and heading for Shirley's about 10 a.m. We drop Carol and Ed off at Cal Expo for the last day of Dixie Jazz in Sacramento. Shirley is not quite ready for company when we arrive. She has most of her makeup on but needs to do her hair. But she shows us around the house anyway. It's wonderful. She changed a dreary dark house to peach and white. She is so happy. I'm very happy for her.
I'm tired today. Frank and I take a 15-minute nap about 2 p.m. Shirley and I talk about my ovarian cancer. We think our grandmother Stillinger had ovarian cancer which puts Shirley at risk too. I told her what to watch for.
We visited til 5 p.m., left, had a good Mexican dinner out and arrived at Donna and bob's about 7:30.
It sounds like cousin Shirley is still staying sober, and even redecorated her dark smoky house. I remember visiting her with Mom and Frank when I was nursing Justin. He was 3-4 months old and as I nursed him Shirley and her mother Ila (pictured above with Shirley's son Mark and his family) smoked like chimneys a few feet away. I thought that was incredibly rude, even if it was their house. If the smoke made me sick, what was it doing to my newborn while he was trying to eat his lunch?
Sadly, Shirley's sobriety did not last for long. Her son Mark brought her to Mom's funeral a year later and she was drunk the whole time, even when we went to breakfast the day after the service. She died the following year, not from cancer but from the alcoholism that consumed her most of her life.