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Timeline -- Prelude 2: 2009-2010
Our cancer year was 2010, and most of the rest of the story will be focused there. But one event stands out as the important context that made the year bearable, by giving us something to do other than fret:

Oct 31 2009 -- Edward wins Crown Tourney. It was a great day for us personally, as well. Jane heralded the procession (a rare treat for her -- she’d *run* the procession more or less since it was created, but didn’t often yell for it). And I got tapped mid-afternoon to herald for Edward in the finals if he should make it -- and by the quarter-finals, it was clear that reality was simply warping around him so that he would do so, which scarcely a stick even coming near him.

We were tapped for Royal Staff pretty much from the get-go, which suited both of us fine. As it turns out, both of us had talked to them independently (and without talking to each other) about helping with their court heraldry; Ed and Meg decided to deal with that by appointing us jointly as Pocket Herald. (Which we wound up working with Rowen to rename as Vox Regis -- all of us felt that it was a more appropriate title for the Royalty’s personal herald. See the linked post for a fairly long argument in the comments about the pros and cons of the whole concept.)

Make no mistake: playing Vox Regis was hard work for both of us. But even in retrospect, it was probably the best thing that could have happened for us -- besides the distraction, it gave Jane something to be *proud* about, in a year when she desperately needed that. The need to be useful was always her best feature.

Nov 8 2009 -- Marian of Edwinstowe holds the most extraordinary book sale I’ve ever seen, selling off the library that she’d spent a lifetime accumulating.

This is linked because of the backstory. Marian had been ill on and off for many years, sometimes quite seriously, but the result of that had been that we were completely used to seeing her a bit frail, and had kind of stopped noticing it.

But selling off her books was about the most dramatic confirmation we could imagine of the rumors we’d been hearing: that this time was probably it. We didn’t know much about the details, but kind of figured that this was divestment of some of her most important worldly goods, and was a quiet statement about which way the wind was blowing.

So we went into the sale with an unusual sort of determination -- not so much about acquiring lots of books, as seeing that things went to the *right* people. About half the books we bought were specifically to give away, to a wide variety of folks; most of our conversation was about who was the best person to receive a particular book. We figured that this was probably the most appropriate way that we could honor Marian.

Nov 27 2009 -- The SCA Census Project kicks off. Not directly relevant, but it was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of me being overloaded with stress in 2010.

Dec 5 2009 -- Franz’ memorial service. The posting is a bit cryptic, but that is what is alluding to -- one of Franz’ contributions to Carolingia was The Order of Us, which I’ve always thought was a neat bit of symbolism on a number of levels. (This post from the following day goes into a bit more detail.) The lesson to me here was in what makes a good memorial, which I tried to echo when I planned Jane’s service a year and a half later.

Dec 15 2009 -- Wolfie dies, after months in the hospital with H1N1. Jane’s introspection on this underlines a point that I am occasionally reminded of: she and I *always* both assumed that I’d be the first one to go. Sure, she was a few years older than me, but her family was long-lived, and we both thought of her as being more fit. So she always had in the back of her mind the notion that she would someday be a widow, whereas the idea had really not much occurred to me.

And yes, there is going to be an *awful* lot of death going on here. That’s kind of the point: it was a bad stretch, with a sense (in retrospect) of the awfulness building a head of steam as it got closer and closer to my life.

March 27 2010 -- Jane takes Rowen as a protege. It was a good choice, but meant that we had another family member hurting when she got ill shortly after this.

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I was present for so many of these, or they feature in my own timeline prominently. I am seeing my timeline merge with yours.
This is interesting. I am saying this clinically and tamping on the emotions part of it.

I didn't go to Marian's book sale. At the time I said it was because we had too many books already. Really, I think I was trying not to think about what that sale meant.

Marian wasn't actually diagnosed with cancer until August 2009. She had been having health problems for about a year before that but had resisted being tested. Even after that I didn't get to say much about the state of her health; she wanted it that way.

Clearing out the books was indeed one indication of the approaching end. Finishing War Fare, which she sadly never got to see in published form, was another.

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