Dear Stuart (in Joy),

For all of the chaos and back-to-back action of yesterday, today was quiet and social. From a slow morning talking with my dad and mom, to a quiet sit-and-talk with my mom and Nonno in the early afternoon, to sitting at the table around dessert munching and talking, to sitting in the common space talking and showing each other YouTube videos...there felt to be a lot of down time! It's the kind of time I have always struggled with, but today it was good.

I feel like when I talk to you over the phone I sound so calm and put together, mostly because I don't want to feel like a victim here. As challenging as it can be (and it is), despite my efforts to have perspective and gratitude, this has been deeply fulfilling, and it is my choice. This is where I need to be right now. It's so rare that we can solve a problem for someone else, but my being here can (and does) alleviate so much stress, tension, time, and money for so many people that I care about. Plus I have the best boyfriend in the world who fully supports my doing so. 

One day, if I'm lucky, I'll be able to wipe your butt too and feed you weird healthy desserts. "This girl has more ways to get around the word sugar than anyone I've seen," my Nonno told my mom today. It's true, I've brought him a different treat like 3 times this week! Pinterest is a slippery slope...

We talked about Letting Go. Today my grandpa let go in a way that felt bad. He decided, I guess while I was gone bringing the food and desserts back home, to just go to the bathroom in his diaper all night instead of getting up at all. Just a week ago we were making tremendous efforts to walk into the public bathroom stall for maybe 3 or 4 drops of pee, but tonight he didn't get up at all. He just went in his pants and when the Aid came, he asked if she would help him take a shower.

Maybe it's just a one day thing. I hope. But it felt like a letting go that accompanies a giving up. As much as I and we can all say we don't have any control over anything... we do have some, and I think that's an important distinction. We choose our reaction and responses, and those choices reflect who we are. And that takes a hella lot of control.

Whether this marks the beginning of a letting go for my grandpa or if it was just a one-night-only choice, I'm so damn proud of how hard he tries, day in and day out, moment by moment, to be patient, understanding, and grateful through each tortuous day. I'm trying to be that strong, too.

I love you so much my sweet candied pecano,

xoxo Em(joy)