After a rough few days of worrying about and wondering if my bone marrow was failing or not, I finally had some good news. Every morning my blood work would be done around 6a.m. and by 9 or 10 we would have the results. We waited patiently for any increase, some sign that my sister's bone marrow was finally taking it's place in my body and working. We were at about day 14 when my white count went to .4, and we were elated. It was such a small sign, but such a needed one, never mind that I still had a long way to go.
As I mentioned before, I had been working at Mabou Gardens for a few years, and I worked with so many amazing men and women during that time that I still feel a close connection to many of them. There was one of our bosses, Gerald, who always looked out for us, and rescued us from snakes and sticky situations on more than one occasion. He is one of the most genuinely nicest people I have ever met. There was Chris who invited me for lunch so I would feel like I fit in with the group, and inspired many by living a life centered around her girls and many other youth in the community, her door was always open and she always had a kind word and good advice for many of us. There was Julie, who was one of the hardest working people I have ever met, she put the rest of us to shame on many days. Michelle and Andrew were a husband and wife team, Andrew worked his butt off, and Michelle, even though she was only 3 apples high, she carried and loaded those trucks with a smile on her face and a hop in her step. They were one of the first couples I remember thinking that I wanted what they had in a marriage, they always seemed so happy together, and I never, ever heard Michelle ever complain or criticize her man. And Gayle, who was like a second mother to me for many years, as her daughter and I worked side by side, went to school together and probably drove both our mothers crazy on more than one occasion.
But there was one other woman I worked with who would come to mean so much more to me in my life. At first I did not know how to take Mary Mae, she was a mother of one of the boy's in my class, but I did not know her very well prior to working with her. In the first year or two we worked together in some green houses, and did some trucks together, and we slowly started getting to know each other a bit better. By the time I reached grade 12, I was doing almost all my lunch breaks at her house, and I often went to her for advice about just about anything. When my cousin Shelly was on life support, and it was decided that it would be removed, my mother called Mary Mae so she would tell me during lunch at her house so that I would not hear it from someone else. Even though we should never have been friends, I loved her, and loved spending time with her.
So when I was in Halifax, many of these people came to visit, sent me cards, and sent their prayers. They were like my "Garden Family", and the owners, Peter and Florence also came to visit and told me how they would help however they could. I was a lucky girl, but it was around the day my counts started coming up that Mary Mae came to visit. Her father was up for a check-up, so they were spending a day or two, and she had planned on staying at the hospital for an evening with me so mom and dad could have a break. My fantastic cousin Debby had tracked down the VCR for me that day, and for the first time in almost a month I wanted to watch something, most of the time the moving images on TV would make me sick, but I did not just want to watch anything, I wanted to watch Wayne's World. Poor Mary Mae was the one who was stuck with me on the day I wanted to watch this movie, and I could tell she was not too sure of what she had gotten herself into. I am sure she thought I must have lost some of my mind along with my hair, as I laughed so hard at Garth and Wayne's antics on the screen, that I made myself sick several times. It was the best night I had in weeks, and I don't even remember if I stayed awake long enough to say good bye when the movie ended. You know you have a good friend when they travel for hours to visit, and sit through something that they would never usually watch otherwise, all the while watching you throw up repeatedly with your bald head and raccoon eyes.
But here is the kicker, Mary Mae, my wonderful friend and cheerleader, became my mother-in-law! Yep, I married her son, Tim, and she has been stuck with me now for 19 years in total. There have been many nights since that I am sure I have been on her last nerve, and for many years I worried that she thought I was not good enough for her son. I was always worried about not giving him children of his own, and also, she knew me so well that maybe she just did not want me to be bringing all my baggage to her family. It was different to be her daughter-in-law, and I probably worried about it more than she ever thought about it, but I am glad to say that now, all these years later my mother-in-law is my friend, and I cannot imagine having her to call when things go wrong in my life. She continues to be one of my biggest cheerleaders, and we now share a history that only family can share. We can start a sentence, and we know which story is coming, and I can say, "Remember that time when Tim did that?" And she knows exactly what I mean.
She will bawl her eyes out when she reads this, but I love you Mary Mae, thanks for everything over the last 23 years, especially your son, lol.