I could write now. The A's, Cory Lidle, AJ's latest shenanigans, me, The Drizzle and on_thg cashing in a HORSE tourney last night (with brdweb missing the money by three spots). There has been no shortage of interesting material lately. But I'm in a black hole, one of those moods where I question myself, my attitude, my actions. On top of that, there is a Real Life Situation that has me feeling both helpless and inadequate.
My grandmother is dying. Has, in fact, lost the will to live. The stroke she suffered in March has left her a shell of herself and though she survived, has resisted rehab in recent weeks. My mother told me to make sure I call her frequently, because The End will come soon. A self-sufficient woman her whole life, she doesn't want to live depending on others to walk, to eat. I can understand that.
This whole thing has made me think about something that happened earlier this year. In the immediate aftermath of X's confession of betrayal, I experienced a panic attack. It wasn't my first, but it was intense, with massive anxiety, chest pain, shortness of breath. I went to the patio of our house, afraid and needing fresh air. I stood there watching, listening, trying to find calm in the sounds of the night. When it hit me that I didn't care if I died. At that moment, with the pain I was feeling, I was content to let go, to give up.
Funny thing, the very act of surrender cancelled the attack. Why panic over something if you welcome it?
My grandma wants to die, wants to surrender, give herself over to the celestial afterlife which she firmly believes exists. Who among us is selfish enough to resist that wish, to force her to stay?
Yet, I don't want her to go. From 2000 miles away, I feel her. I hear her voice echoing in my head. I see her joy and tears when we surprised her in January by flying in for her and Grandpa's 65th wedding anniversary. Sixty-five years. That says everything you need to know about my Grandma. Nothing is more paramount to her than family. She has spent her life as the sun around which the rest of us orbit, the spiritual and emotional head.
So, we're left with nothing but a morbid countdown. This strong woman, who has endured a husband off at war, the premature death of one of her daughters, has made her final decision. I've spend several days trying to figure out what to do, sorting out my feelings and grief.
One thing I can do is to honor her memory with my behavior. It's hard, you know, because I've already failed my family. I preside over nothing but the tattered remains of the unit I once headed. Insufficiently. My attempts at compensating for that failure have come up woefully short lately (which is a post for another time).
But I suppose the best thing would be to make sure she knows how much we all love her, how much we all needed her and how much we've learned from her example. I've laughed at her across the generations, rolled my eyes at our different ethics, but I am not so different. I have her blood coursing through my veins. I have her lessons etched in my DNA. I have her eldest daughter, my mother, repeating her words for as long as I remember. We are products of our past, better and worse, glorious and despairing, and all we can do is exalt in the times we've had, be thankful to have possessed her as long as we have and never forget her strength and radiance.
If you want to go Grandma, it's okay with me. If it's okay with you, I'm going to keep as much of you as I can.