Saturday, February 24, 2007
This Saturday, today, dad calls: reports are dire, it was just a matter of time. Her IV line post became infected, and then the feeding tube they tried to insert failed. The doctor had cried in front of my aunt the day before, saying they just couldn't get her to wake up. Hope was forgotten; my aunt was making phone calls to let people know. She hung up the phone after speaking with my dad (who then called Jen and I) and then looked down and there was Grandma, wide awake. And hungry. And wanted to get up. I can't help but smile when as I type this. Funny stuff, that.
At first I found myself rather disgruntled with all the time spent in the car, then I found myself enjoying it. It has become kind of an oasis for me, a little isle of tranquility. Some down time between work life and home life, a little space where I don't have to be anybody, I can just be. The jetta is my domain and mine alone, the only space in the world that is exclusively mine. I put a air freshener scent in that I enjoy, I can listen to whatever music I want to or none at all. In the car, I am in charge. In that time, there are no expectations of me, except that I will arrive somewhere, eventually.
That little bit of time that was previously blissfully my own has now been intruded upon by technology. On the way to pick up Jacelyn, my SIL will walkie-talkie me, the conversation sometimes lasting until the bell rings and Jacelyn is delivered to the car. On the drive home from work, someone will walkie-talkie me - sometimes Brian, sometimes his sister. Where are you? is usually the first question, followed by the relaying of some need or desire that I can fulfill upon my arrival home. A few moments into the conversation comes the inevitable question: Where are you now? I hate that. Leave me be. Let me have these fifteen minutes. But alas, it does not seem to be.
I feel safer with the phone, and it has come in very handy. I am very glad that I have it, in case there is an emergency and I need to contact someone, or someone needs to contact me. I just can't stand being so....available. I was at the hospital Sunday, sitting in the room with my grandmother when, much to my horror, the phone rang. I had forgotten to turn it off. After nearly breaking my neck to answer it quickly, who is on the other end of line but my SIL. "I haven't heard from you in a while, what are you doing?" she asked. Sigh.
I still consider myself a holdout on some points of cell phone ownership. I keep it turned off, most of the time (unless Brian is in town or Jacelyn is doing something at school). I do not own an earpiece or hands-free headset. In the car, if I receive or make a call, I put it on speaker or use the walkie-talkie function. I don't feel the desire or the need to be that available. I appreciate the safety and convenience but mourn the loss of privacy. Oh well; such is life, there's a downside to everything. I'll get used to it.
My father just called. My grandmother is on the downswing, apparently. They have removed all of her tubes - her feeding tube and another IV line they had in her shoulder (that became infected). Dad said it is now just a matter of time before she passes. This to Teresa: do not feel bad. You cannot control this, no one can, and you cannot get here any faster than you can get here. DO NOT FEEL BAD. She knows you love her, and she has been so proud of you, always. We all are. I love you and can't wait to see you next week and if she does happen to die before you get here do not feel bad. You can only do what you can do. Don't feel bad. Did I say that enough? I love you.
Friday, February 23, 2007
The other morning, when dear Michael Clark and I were discussing 'Garp', I noted that the two John Irving books I have read thus far, his characters endure these enormous, life-shattering tragedies, but Mr. Irving may only dedicate a paragraph or so to the actual event, and then the rest of his book to people's reaction to that tragedy. Mike pointed out that is actually true of real life; that the actual tragedy or life shattering event can take mere moments, but the ripple effect can be far reaching through time (those are not his actual words, those are my words for his words; dear Mike is far more articulate and eloquent than I, both in the spoken and written word). That is so true. My mother's death, for example. There was the short hospital stay, the worsening health, and the morning to prepare ("someone call Dad's doctor and get a prescription for his nerves"), and then she was gone. In a moment. She was there, she was gone. Everything after that was just reaction. I remember feeling, as I drove home from the hospital, is this it? Is this all that there is? Someone just died, my mother just died, and that's it? And after her funeral, when life started picking back up again, it felt so wrong. How can I go to work? My mother is dead! How can I go buy ice cream! Shop for shoes! I was outraged and righteously indignant at the idea of life continuing on without my mother in it. But it did. I adjusted; I moved on, but in a guilty way, constantly feeling that there was something inappropriate about moving on.
Grandma leaves behind a legacy of love. Of care, of good deed and action. I remember biscuits for breakfast at her house, when mom was in the hospital. I remember her taking care of me when I was sick in that way only a grandma can, the cooling, comforting hand to the fevered brow. She was always on my side, always taking care, always supporting, loving, celebrating each accomplishment. She was feisty, and determined. I will fondly remember grandma for one recent exchange. A little background: when Jen, Teresa and I were in girl scouts, grandma always got stuck sewing our patches onto our uniforms. I remember her doing this without complaint, and always very proud of what we had earned. Life has circled and now Jacelyn is a girl scout, only I am the one doing the sewing now. I was visiting with her one afternoon and mentioned how hard it is to sew those patches on, and she snorted and said, "Tell me how hard it is!". I laughed, she laughed, and I felt the significance of the moment, literally spanning generations. Cool.
So here's to you, Grandma Tucker. I love you and will never, ever forget you. Anytime I hear, utter, or read the phrase "Damn Yankee" I will think of you fondly. I will try to love the way you loved me, and all of us. I will try and do for others the way you did for us. I will remember how your love was unconditional, and how rarely you were angry or raised your voice. I will remember you and honor you by trying to be more like you. I love you.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I'm a grumpy bear. Maybe a day off (with the exception of the phone call I have to make at exactly 7:05 in the morning, in the midst of my morning routine of all the stupid times) will do me good. Maybe I will return to work refreshed and ready to go. Doubtful, but maybe.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Nothing is going the way I want it to. Nothing is going too badly, don't get me wrong, and while things could be decidedly worse, I am not pleased. I have reached a wall with my journeys into the world of faith and religion (nothing I can't handle, but frustrating nonetheless). And home life just sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks. I take Jacelyn home where the in-laws, once again, are preparing to go shopping. It's a gorgeous day outside, most other children her age are already outside or are preparing to go outside, and she's suiting up for a trip to Wal-Mart. Sigh. I feel guilty, for not giving her a more normal life, or lifestyle. No backyard to play in (the backyard where we are now is not the most child-friendly), no swingset or sandbox. No parks in walking distance. No good roads to ride a bike on, and not even really a bike--the big wheel that stays at our house has some steering issues. She got roller skates for Christmas that have never seen the light of day. Her helmet, knee and elbow pads ended up at Michelle's house where I believe them to be lost forever. Sigh. Oh well. I'll figure something out. She spends her afternoons shopping, watching cartoons, or playing video games. That's not right or healthy for a 4-year old. On occasion, there's nothing wrong with the above, but not every day. I'll work it out - I always do.
On a high note, Jacelyn was good at church today. The bishop was there for Mass, and she was warned repeatedly about the expectations for her behavior. The report was positive; when the teacher put her in the car she said, "Much better today!". Jacelyn's take on the whole thing: she was good, and she liked his hat. When I asked her what he talked about she said, "Church stuff. Can I have my fruit snacks?". Oh well. She was good, that was enough for me.