Saturday, February 24, 2007

Emotional Roller Coaster

There's something about the weekend, apparently, that causes my sick grandmother to first hover near death and then miraculously and for no discernible reason recover, at least somewhat. Last Saturday? Internal bleeding. The doctors could not figure out from where, nor why it was happening. Panic ensued, then all was well-ish: the internal bleeding stopped. Whew.

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.

Reluctantly Connected

I have developed a love-hate relationship with my new cell phone. For instance, when my grandmother took quite ill the other day, it came in very, very handy indeed, allowing me to quickly ascertain pertinent information and pass it along to others in a timely manner. Great. I hate how intrusive it is, though. Drive time used to be my time. I spend a lot of time in the car, driving Jacelyn to school, then myself to work, then picking Jacelyn up from school, then dropping her off at someone's home, then driving back to work, then later driving home again.

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

Here's to Grandma

Jen put up a thoughtful and insightful post on her blog, which encouraged me to post about what has been on my mind lately (although, I'm certain, my thoughts will not be nearly as well written). Our grandma is quite sick and possibly on the verge of passing away. I am sad, and don't want to lose her, but she's been in so much pain that I think she should feel free to go, if she wants to. Fight if you want to fight, Grandma, hang on if you want to, but if you're tired, go on. I will miss her, terribly, but I hate her being in so much pain. Her quality of life has been much-reduced lately, and now it has only gotten worse. She can't swallow, so she has to have a feeding tube. She has stress fractures all over her body. The few moments that she is awake she just moans in pain. My other grandmother said the other day, "Maybe she just needs to go on and be with the Lord". Amen, grandma, amen.

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

By the way

Thank you, to Mr. Mike Clark, for 'The World According to Garp'. If you haven't read it, you should. It's a great book. And the only thing better than reading a great book is knowing someone who has also read it and can discuss it with you, show you a little different perspective, point out some things you never noticed. Garp is one of those books that makes you think afterwards. I finished it late last night, and found myself attaching signifigance to everything: when I walked outside, it was just starting to rain. What does that mean? I pondered. While I was outside a small possum darted up the driveway and into the backyard. Blurg, what does that mean? I wondered, again. I eventually concluded it all meant nothing - there was a slightly damp possum in the backyard, that's what it meant. But that's how the book got me. I love books that get me. Thank you, Clark. You're the bomb.

Oh Good Grief

Jacelyn had nightmares the other night, bad ones. She was restless all night long, tossing and turning and sighing and crying out. It was a rough, long night. The next morning I asked her: what gave her nightmares? Her reply: "That vegetable game, it scared me". She was referring to her new Veggie Tales video game (see image above). I am not normally a veggie tales fan, but the game was on clearance for $3.50, so what the heck. The irony here: Jacelyn loves vampire movies. She watched "Kill Bill" with her father from her booster chair at the ripe age of two, munching on Cheerios (until I came home and put an end to it). The other day Michelle was watching "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" when we got to her house, but changed the channel shortly after we came in. Jacelyn wanted her to put it back on the scary movie. She watched part of "The Grudge" with her father (again, until I put a stop to it). But what gives her nightmares? Veggie Tales. I will never, ever understand that child.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bad Mood

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

Sometimes, sh*t just don't work out

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.

Much better than reality

This is the picture I would like to have by my name on the store's website. The thought of seeing this picture beside my name on the 'Staff' page made me giggle. Just though I would share.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

For Teresa

This song has reminded me of you since I first heard it. The lyrics are great; the song itself is even better. You have to find it and listen to it. Anywa, here's to you, Resa: Extradinary Machine, by Fiona Apple (sung by her, at least, I don't know if she wrote it):

I certainly haven't been shopping for any new shoes-
And-I certainly haven't been spreading myself around
I still only travel by foot and by foot, it's a slow climb,
But I'm good at being uncomfortable, soI can't stop changing all the time
I notice that my opponent is always on the go-And-
Won't go slow, so's not to focus, and I notice
He'll hitch a ride with any guide, as long as
They go fast from whence he came-
But he's no good at being uncomfortable, so
He can't stop staying exactly the same
If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me, or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine
I seem to you to seek a new disaster every day
You deem me due to clean my view and be at piece and lay
I mean to prove I mean to move in my own way, and say,
I've been getting along for long before you came into the play
I am the baby of the family, it happens, so-
Everybody cares and wears the sheeps' clothes
While they chaperone
Curious, you looking down your nose at me, while you appease-
Courteous, to try and help - but let me set your
Mind at ease-
Do I so worry you, you need to hurry to my side?-
It's very kind
But it's to no avail; I don't want the bail
I promise you, everything will be just fine
If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me, or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine.