This is a long one.
But seriously. Get something to drink, sit down, take a load off. I had to get some writing out today, yo.
Right now I should be in some medicated haze. Laying in my bed, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy in between doses of little blue pills. I should be out drinking at my favorite bar next to my favorite bartender, giving and singing away my hard earned money in exchange for a few hours of artificial clarity fueled by whatever fruity drink he makes. I should be manically shopping for new clothes and justifying having 60 pairs of yoga pants with some excuse that I tell myself. I should be taking a leave of absence from work to sit at home and eat pint after pint of Ben and Jerry’s because it makes me feel better. I should be skipping out on my rent, bills, and other responsibilities as a way to punish myself for doing all of the other destructive things.
But I’m not. I’m sitting crossed-legged on my bed drinking cucumber water and I just took a multi vitamin and a small dose of melatonin. All bills are paid. I have a nice cushion in my bank account. All seems to be going fine.
Yesterday, on Mother’s Day, My grandmother and love-of-my-entire-life gave me my “Goodbye Speech”. The doctor’s have been telling us for several months to expect the inevitable, but the Doctors really don’t know when someone is going to die, they can only guesstimate. Any approximations from doctors kind of are wasted on me. This is the first time during this one year journey that she has admitted out loud that she feels like her time is coming. She’s accepted it, embraced it, and now patiently awaits to fall asleep.
The conversation itself wasn’t long. 5 minutes maybe. The words she said will stay with me forever. I won’t be sharing what was said, simply because the words, all of them, are something that are just for me. I don’t have to share it with anyone else. I don’t have to worry about losing them, or misplacing them, or breaking them. They’re mine to hold onto, and I want to do that. Those 5 minutes of sporadic hopes, dreams, and wishes for me were enough to enable me to get extremely clear on how I’m living my life now, and that the decisions I’ve made up to this point have landed me in the best possible spot. It left me realizing how far I’ve come, and how far I have left to go. Not because I need to improve in any way, but because I am strong enough and completely capable of doing more. Being more. Giving more. Receiving more. Forgiving more (especially myself). Opening up more.
I got through the last year by doing a great deal of repression. I bury my feelings about my Grandmother’s illness into other areas of my life. I thought to myself that I didn’t need to deal with this until she, herself believed she was dying.
Her one wish, because I always ask her, has been ‘to get up out of this bed’ as she’s been completely immobile for 10 months. She always had hope that a miraculous recovery would make its way to her room. What I will share with you is that I asked her this same question yesterday, “What’s your big wish?” I was hoping her answer would remain the same – to get out of that bed. The answer has changed. The hope for recovery is gone. The acceptance of her inevitable passing has taken over. She’s at peace with it. My Grandfather is waiting for her. Her wish doesn’t have to do with how she passes, or when it happens, or where it happens.
Her wish is simple: to be remembered as a good mother, grandmother, and friend. Not a ‘buttinsky’.
As beautiful as that is, it’s a double edged sword knowing that her mind has drifted from hope to accepting her fate. Now the rest of my family and I have to do the same.
So, the last two days have been filled with the full range of emotions. I was numb. I cried a little. I’ve been super angry and rage-filled. I’ve experienced some acceptance and feelings of happy. My traditional coping mechanism when something in my life isn’t going as I want, is to sabotage everything else in my life so then everything sucks. I’m hyper aware of this and am doing something it’s taken a long time to learn how to do — Let Go and Just Be.
I’ve held tightly to the hope that she would get better and we’d be playing Hand and Foot, cooking Cabbage and Noodle Bows, baking Christmas cookies and maybe attending a Josh Groban concert soon. I convinced myself that she’d get to know my future children and that she’d become their favorite person in the world, just as she is mine.
This hope got me through quite a few months without any yucky feelings of thinking she was going to be leaving me soon. Letting Go of that hope leaves me feeling a little guilty – like I’m giving up on her. Or that I’m not believing in her ability to overcome this anymore. I’m trying extremely hard to tell myself and believe that I’m not giving up, so much as I’m trusting her intuition, which I’ve inherited from her, I’m sure of it. I’m trusting that she’ll go when she’s ready. I’m trusting that I will accomplish all of the things that she told me I could in our talk.
Letting Go is painful. Just being is a challenge. But I am determined to make her even more proud of me.*
This is so hard, I need my friends, and I’m so glad to have the support that I do, when I’m ready. I’ve been super quiet about this struggle, but I may have to start asking for help in the form of pancakes, movie nights, and vent sessions.
This is by far the biggest loss that I will have experienced in my entire life. I’m walking a tight rope of keeping my shit together, it’s not pretty, but it’s the best I can do.
I don’t know if I’m ready to let go yet, but I’m learning that there are some things I just can’t plan for, no matter how hard I try, so I kind of just have to keep living. That’s all there is left to do.
That and wait for something that I don’t want to happen.
Life is hard.
*Tiny little spoiler from Grandmomma’s Goodbye to me. Sorry/You’re Welcome.