Last night we sat downstairs and watched a hockey game on TV while Dominic slept in his crib and our dog Megan curled up on a pillow.
At some point in overtime, Trish asked "are you sure it isn't all a bad dream? It feels like we never left."
Home. They hadn't been here since Sept. 12. Hadn't slept in their own beds, sat on their own chairs, opened their own doors.
I'd come home to silence, made my lunch in silence, slept in silence four nights a week since then, too.
Everything was turned upside down, and now we're starting to turn them right-side up. One thing, one day at a time.
We had hoped for this. Trish and Dom can only stay a few nights because he's going back to the Alberta Children's Hospital on Tuesday for an MRI, another lumbar puncture and bone marrow biopsy, the results of which will determine how soon the third round (out of four) of chemotherapy can begin.
There's a new goal: Christmas. It took Dom 27 days after the first round for his blood counts to recover enough to be discharged from hospital. So we had little hope for the seven days per round of being out of hospital to happen around Dec. 25. But the second round he only needed 14 days. If he goes back in for a week of chemo Nov. 26 or so, the chemo would end in the first week of December. Add 14 days and that's about Dec. 20. We hear they really go all-out for kids who have to stay in hospital for the holidays, but it would be one heck of a Christmas if we get to do it on our own terms.
We also got out Thursday night without Dom to the fundraiser in Calgary. With more than 100 friends, family and many of their friends in attendance, it felt a lot like our wedding reception more than nine years ago. Split up, do the rounds at tables shaking hands and saying thanks. Meet up every once in a while. Try to find a minute to have a bite to eat. Repeat.
Just like the fundraiser in Medicine Hat a week earlier, the totals were beyond expectations. All told it raised more than $10,000. A huge thanks to everyone who came but most importantly my sister Erin and my friend Trevor who were at the helm of it all. It couldn't have been a better prelude to Trish and Dom's brief return home.
Because I have to work until Wednesday night and they have to be back in Calgary Tuesday morning, Trish and I had to drive separately home on Friday. About a half hour away from home, Trish was listening to the radio when a song came on. Roar. You bet she sang every word, and you bet there were tears.
She was almost home.