Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Long Goodbye

I make a lot of jokes about drinking too much wine but the truth is I really don't drink very much. I don't even drink once a night but tonight...well tonight is a little different. I've polished off a whole bottle of Riesling and am going strong.

I wouldn't be a good alcoholic though because I don't feel numb at all. Not one little bit.

Gigi went to the emergency room for the 2nd time in 6 days this afternoon. Tonight the ER physician was brutally honest with my Mom: she is the final stage of congetive heart failure, she needs to move out of her little assisted living apartment in to a nursing home where Hospice will to comfort care until the end. He said no longer than 6 months.

For 30 years I called Gigi, "Grama" but since Samuel came along we've started calling her "Gigi", short for Great-Grandma. Tonight in the bathtub I heard Samuel tell Emily that Gigi was too sick and she was going to die. Emily said she wanted to go and hug her Gigi.

I know some of you have experienced unbearable, unimaginable grief and I'm not trying to "one up" or try to get a bunch of sympathetic comments or anything...I'm just writing. I'm just wondering. I'm just processing.

The one thing I keep thinking about is how Grama knows what is happening; she cried when Mom told her she had to go to a nursing home. She understands...she knows she won't see another Winter, she knows she won't crochet another blanket or do another puzzle and she has to walk that journey herself. I can't walk it for her. Mom can't walk it for her. With all the love and support she has, she still has to do this alone.

I wonder if she senses when the end will be or if she is wondering like the rest of us.

When Uncle Bob got sick and the end came the last 2 weeks were brutal. Horrific. I couldn't go see him, I was afraid, but everyone told me it was horrific. And there we all were--just waiting. Waiting. The Hospice team said it was time and we all were there just waiting. And hours turned to days and days turned to more days. 2 weeks in all and we all prayed to God for mercy and it didn't come and it didn't come and it didn't come until was over. And I thought I understood God is soverign and I thought I had found peace but when I heard my Mom say tonight that she was praying for God to be merciful to Grama I got so angry I almost screamed. I want to know where the mercy is. I don't know that I can see it right now and I don't have the courage to believe in it.

I think I'm surprised how heavy this grief is already. I wonder if it is more regret than grief. When I moved from Montana to Oregon I knew it was to start a new life with Jeff and I know this is the life God has for me but tonight I feel so far away and all I want to do is crawl up in to that bed and lie with her and tell her I love her.

We have a trip planned out there at the first of July and my first reaction is that I don't want to go now because if I go I don't want to leave. Not until it is over because I can't say that final goodbye. There are no words to tell her how much I love her and how thankful I am she helped raise me and how I will never, ever, forget her or stop missing her. How do you do that? How do you walk away and get in a car and frive 18 hours knowing you won't be back until it is time to lay her next to her son? I simply can't do that.

We talk just about every other day and our conversations are so light and casual.

I don't know where I was going with that. I'm a little drunk.

I actually have to go to work tomorrow so I need to go to bed. I just needed to write and this is where I do it. I'm probably going to turn in to one of those rambling bloggers that write all in one paragraph and don't capitalize or punctuate. Shut this damn thing down if that happens.

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