Sunday, July 18, 2010

One Thing I Know

One thing I know is the night light plugged in by the ceiling turns on at 7:15 p.m in room D146 at the Golden Living nursing home.

I know that sweetie Anna, Gram's roommate, is concerned I will see her 'tut tut' whilst she shuffles from bathroom to bed.

I know that every 10-15 minutes a staff person walks by, peeks in or comes in to pat, check and or gauge patients.

I know the physical therapist doesn't mind when he is confused with an Iranian when he looks marginally Italian. 

One thing I know is that I will never go to Golden Living again.  I have no reason to-Gram isn't there anymore.  She isn't anywhere anymore.

I saw her Thursday night.  She was, as she had been for weeks, in and out of lucidity and awareness.  That night, however, was the first I saw her be startled or afraid.  She would fall asleep and then wake up, eyes wide, as if something or someone had dropped something near her.  I was the only thing near her.  The only thing in the natural.

Friday I stayed home.  I was concerned as the nurses informed me Gram had a highly contagious infection.  One of which I could expose my family to if I didn't sanitize it away from my hands, my clothes and my shoes.  I struggled with the desire to be with her as much as possible and protecting my children.  I stayed home, battling depression, the only antidote being playing Star Wars games with my sweet boys and crying myself to sleep.

Early Saturday morning my Uncle called with the news which was still surprising in spite of it's certainty.  I was thankful I had so many hours with her at the end.  I was thankful she was no longer alone, afraid and suffering. 

As I left the previous Thursday, Anna asked me why I didn't stay longer.  I shouted, as Anna is quite hearing impaired, "She's sleeping now.  I also have to get home to my little guys."  Anna snuggled in, her tut tut now fully encased in her green flannel blanket, said this,"That's right, they are more important."

More important than my dying Grandmother? My mind reeled.  More important than making up for years of lost time and bitterness and hurt?  More important than...

One thing I know, after the past 6 months of endings, is my boys are more important.  For they are the new beginning.  In them, in my mothering, in our family, with God's help, we can fully eradicate the generational dysfunction between Mothers and children. 

One other thing I know?  I will miss Grandma Ruth's soft hands, her cranky comments (all too often accurate), her homemade bread, her wiry hair and personality.   I will miss the idea of her and of my mother.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Precious and Preferred

In a previous blog, Ruth (see I have written of my Grandmother.  The relationships between the women in my family have never been easy, until now.

Ruth is in a nursing home now.  She fell out of bed and was found, two days later, on the floor.  Dehydrated, delirious and with a broken rib, she was immediately placed in the Critical Care Unit for several days.

She has pneumonia and is bed bound.  Her new home is Golden Living.  Is it Golden Living?  Maybe.  The nurses love her and often stop in just because.  She can't see very well and hears even less (they keep losing her hearing aids). 

Before (read: when Mom was alive and the environment emotionally toxic) I barely saw Grandma.  Recently I have wanted to see her more, but I haven't.  Life, busy-ness, and just stuff have kept me away.  Or did I not go because I didn't 'have to'?  When life is overwhelming we only do what we MUST, what we HAVE TO, what is critical.  Or we do what is easiest.  It was just easier not to see her so much.  Easier for me.

Now, I plan my day around popping in to see her.  I want to have those moments.  I didn't get to spend time with my Mom when she was leaving this life.  I am committed to doing so with Gram.

Last night, as she rested, I was praying for her.  Though her mind may not be aware of who I am or where she is, her spirit hears.  I prayed, among many things, that she would know how loved she is.  Loved by God.  Loved by us.  I prayed she would know how precious she is to all of us and to Him. 

In that still, small voice, I heard that not only is she precious to God, but she is preferred.  She is preferred because she is just as important Jesus.  From a theological perspective, I can't explain it well.  I can only borrow a quote from John Bevere's book, Extraordinary.  If she, and all of us, wasn't  just as valuable to God as Jesus, he wouldn't have died on the cross.   She, and all of us, are preferred because out of all creation, the amazing animals, plants, and life, God chose us to create in His own image. 

In the stuffy room, as I held her swollen, wrinkled and soft hand, I was given a revelation about her and myself.  Surprisingly I was given a precious gift from this little preferred woman.  I can't wait to go see her this afternoon. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grateful and Curiously Bored

July 4th at NaNas is amazing.  The entire township sky is filled with fireworks and smoke and lights and sounds.  I sat on the deck, stretched comfortably in a chaise lounge, marveling at this celebration of American independence.

I also marveled at my boys independence.  It began earlier in the day at the annual family picnic.  Ian, in his skater American flag t-shirt, arrived at the picnic and quickly went to the swing set.  He was swinging back and forth and taking stock of the fun to be had among the cousins.  Within minutes he was kicking a soccer ball with a random cousin in the field.  Me?  I sat in the shade and watched, grateful and curiously bored.

Caden, my three year old, resplendent in his flag t-shirt and coordinating madras shorts, walked around looking at everyone.  His shoulders were slumped forward and he kept asking for his, "Rissa."  Rissa is a teenage cousin, Marissa, who has been the center of Caden's cousin Universe since birth.  With her arrival he too was gone--chasing her and randomly stopping to sip from his sippy cup.  Me?  Still sitting in the shade, sweating through my flag t-shirt and sticking to the bench.  Grateful and curiously bored.

Later that night, as I reclined in the chaise, I could see the baby in NaNas lap.  Hiding from the booming fireworks, he sat cuddling, gnoshing on the chocolate cake he was being spoon fed.  Ian was running the neighborhood with the girls next door.  I could see him a block away, as he glowed with the two foot long glow stick around his neck. 

Each day I must hover a little less.  Each day they move further into their own lives.  I am grateful for confident sons who are part of these safe loving communities.  I am grateful there are those who like to play with my amazing lovies.  What will I do now that I have less of the caretaking to do?  I need to learn how to play or I will spend too much time being curiously bored.