Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer
Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer
Life After Emilee Logo | Neal Klein honoring his wife after losing her to pancreatic cancer

Getting to D.C. For Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day

Waiting For The Train

The journey begins. I found a spot and parked in the inside garage. I will just bite the bullet for the daily charge, and I will be close by when I get home at four in the morning on Wednesday.

I found a spot to wait on the train platform. I have about forty minutes to kill. I took out my book, and started reading one of my favorite books, a book by William Saroyan titled “The Human Comedy”. One chapter after another is making tears flow. As Homer talks to his mother about everything changing the last two days since he started working for the telegraph office. He is no longer a child, and he is becoming aware of all the aches and sadness and tragedy that has always been there but he is seeing it for the first time and it is changing his world, and he senses and deeply feels the loneliness that is palpable in the world.

How many people have a mom that is so wise? Makes my heart ache and cry because she is so wise, so beautifully wise and full of understanding of feelings. I guess there is a pang of “wish my mom had been like  that”. I could read some of these chapters in this book five times and each time I would cry.

On The Train

I got on the train and sat next to a woman who was in her thirties or forties. She was playing games on her phone. After a while I said something about where she was headed, which turned out to be Manhattan. I said I am from New York originally, and I am headed to Washington for advocacy day for pancreatic cancer. She didn’t seem to have any interest in talking, and so I went back to reading.

At Penn station, it became very busy. The woman left, and soon a young man in his twenties or thirties took her place, laptop out immediately, and started typing.

How naive am I? I was thinking that I would see someone else wearing purple, someone else for pancreatic cancer heading to Washington D.C. According to the Pancan website there were eight people registered from Connecticut. Did I really think I would see them?

Actually, turns out someone else did take the train, but a half hour earlier one.

It is supposed to be about 3 more hours till the train gets to Washington D.C.

I really should stop reading the book. My eyes are dripping, my nose is running. I walked into the bathroom a couple of times to try to compose myself, crying, and then laughing at my crying. I did not get to Washington yet and I am a mess today. Or, not a mess, just open, a little raw. And, this book is touching every spot, just how I remembered it from years ago, but even more so. Saroyan, such a way with expressing his views of being a sensitive, conscious human being (page 188,195).

I guess no one was watching me as I continued to read and cry. Tears kept flowing, as phrase after phrase would hit a note in me. There was the one about “sooner or later we all go home”. Like Emilee said two mornings before she died, “I want to go home, please, just take me home, can I just go home now?” I have a major lump in my throat with accompanying water works. Or, there was the man who was going to rob Spangler, the telegraph office owner, but the man was really looking for at least one decent human being, trying to figure out who he, himself, is in this world. How kind and gentle Spangler was to him.

The train just passed Philadelphia.

About an hour and fifteen minutes late, the train arrived at Union Station, Washington D.C.

Thank you, Leslie. I helped her get her luggage down from the overhead rack. She in turn, helped me navigate through Union Station, find the Metro card machine, find the Red Line. She lives in Westchester, N.Y. and is visiting family.

The walk to the hotel was about four blocks. Big contrast from the train which had gotten colder and colder as we went, to the point where I had to put on a short sleeve and a long sleeve shirt, to the 94 warm and humid degrees outside.

I got to the hotel around 6:15 pm, checked in, got my keys, then went to the PCAN check in and got my registration packet. They had a table of items for sale, shirts, ties, hats, sweatshirts, wind breakers. I couldn’t help thinking they should be giving us something free, more than a wristband. I told myself I would come back the next day when I had some patience.

I found my room, unpacked and went down to the lobby. I met two women, one from Connecticut, one from Queens, N.Y. I had dinner with them. The Connecticut woman, lost her husband in 2015. I don’t remember the details of the other woman’s story.

I mingled with some of the people in the lobby area. Out of all the people I met after dinner one woman, a very thin and tall person, when hearing how recently Emilee had passed, gave me a warm, sincere hug. That felt good.

I took a few block walk to CVS for soymilk. I came back and got a Starbucks white mocha frappe made with soymilk, and figured Emilee must be thirsty. I came back to the room, fell asleep at the computer, and laid down on the bed and fell asleep with my clothes on, woke up three hours later, got up, and got washed and undressed and into bed.

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