The Tumour Shrinks and Other Summer Gifts

May 3, 2000 – May 28, 2021

The seasons are turning, and it seems natural to reflect. This summer was an entirely different one from 2018’s. This summer was a gift that didn’t seem likely last summer. This summer was time together – time on epic adventures and time savouring the usually mundane, but now precious, day-to-day.

Last summer was spent away getting treatment. This summer, Jonah was home. Last summer, Jonah was unrecognizable as the steroids took their toll. This summer, the steroids are gone and a more familiar version of Jonah is back. Last summer, Jonah was barely getting around. This summer, he’s been golfing, working, swimming, camping… Last summer was bleak following a devastating diagnosis. This summer was hopeful as there is evidence that Jonah’s tumour has shrunk!

Much of Jonah’s June was spent helping his aunts settle into new homes as they made big moves to be closer to their beloved nephews. Jonah helped unpack boxes, do yard work, assemble furniture, hold the baby… he was kept busy. Now, he can pop over for treats and company whenever he likes. He gets to see his little cousin almost every day, experiencing the joy and amusement his aunts felt watching him grow up.

July was full of big adventures, the biggest being the Sayward Forest Canoe Route. The family piled into three canoes and spent three days paddling and portaging the 45-kilometer circuit. It was an exhausting endeavor and it took a team effort to get the whole family around, but lots of good memories were made.

A week later, the Shankars were out on the water again, this time the salty kind, motoring over to Marina Island near Cortes for a picnic. Both there and back, the boat was surrounded by whales amidst a postcard backdrop, an incredible treat and reminder of what a privilege it is to live in this part of the world.

The next week, it was bungy jumping! Jonah cashed in a birthday present by taking the 150-foot plunge in Nanaimo with his brother, aunt, uncle, and two close friends. As Jonah likes to quote, “Life is short, stunt it.”

August was filled with more garden-variety time together – dinners, boardgames, Netflix, mini golf, regular golf, disc golf, more disc golf, lots of disc golf. Jonah made sure to touch base with his friends before they headed back to university. Not all their exploits this summer are known, but Jonah appreciated being able to see them while they were home, and it’s hard to see them go.