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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Long Goodbyes....

It has been a week since We learned Grandma was on hospice. Her condition has ebbed and flowed. Some days she has been very alert and can speak mostly coherent and we can understand what she says. Other days she is back to mumbling and frustrated that we can make out her words.

She has congestive heart failure and had a stroke. She has been hallucinating, seeing people and things that aren't there. Sometimes she doesn't recognize us. The decline has been rapid.

It is hard to see anyone going through this. Doubly so when you can see or at least feel that there is a realization on her part that things done differently in the past could have made life a different experience. For me I have tried to put the past behind and focus on these present moments because I know they are few. 

It is sort of agonizing not knowing how long this goodbye will last. Each time I see her, she holds my hand and if she thinks I am letting go, she squeezes tighter, a silently begging of me to stay. And I do. We all do.

Today, I watched as morphine was ordered. It's to keep her comfortable and while I know this, it is also a reminder that time is slipping away from us. It's times like these that bring things into a little sharper focus. We never really know how much  time we have on this Earth. We  never know if we'll get the chance to tell people we love them again. We never know if we'll get to see them again. We make plans, look to the future, but we never truly know. 

I have pondered the difference between losing someone suddenly or waiting for the inevitable... I guess when someone is suddenly gone, there is shock and disbelief because it jars you out of your comfort zone bubble of schedules and planning. everything is upended suddenly and without warning. Just as quickly as it happened, there is the formalities of a funeral and then you have to get back to the bubble, the schedules and planning for things ahead. In a way we had that suddenness with grandma's diagnosis and quick decline. It was a little stunning to get that call. Our schedules have been altered and we hesitate to plan too far in advance. Getting another call is constantly in the back of my mind, even as I try to carry on with the daily things I need to do. Even as we expect the inevitable, we expect to get that call, there will still be an amount of shock and disbelief. And as much as we would like to think we are prepared for this, I don't think we are prepared for this....

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