Nothing like a dose of reality to smack you in the face and make you wake up and realize your life is small. Your worries are small. Your failings and your problems and your grievances are all trivial. In the grand scheme of life, what you look like, or how you feel, are not that important compared to the bigger issues that others are facing daily.
Like my friend Diana, who survived breast cancer last year.
Like my grandmother who is battling Leukemia.
Like my brother’s-almost-sister-in-law who battled Hodgkins Lymphoma last year.
Like my friends who lost their little boy at just two months old, or my friend Debbie who lost her Sophie, or my cousin who lost her baby at 20 weeks, just a short time ago.
I could go on and on and on and fill pages and pages, but I’ll stop here.
What, you ask, is bringing up all this sadness, when I sounded rather peppy just hours ago? I got bad news. My mom, who has been taking care of her parents for the last year, sent me an email. My grandfather, who has something called Progressive Supranuclear Palsey has been failing fast. Progressive is right. Each day brings a new challenge, a new thing he can’t do. Friday he ended up in the ER and his kidneys are failing, among all the other things that are happening to his brain and body. He’s on his way out. I normally call my mom every day, but didn’t this weekend, when she needed me to.
She’s not only grieving the impending death of her father, which will most likely be soon, she’s dealing with caregivers for her father and mother, who has Leukemia and needs weekly transfusions. She’s dealing with lawyers and wills and who makes the decision to “pull the plug” so to speak. Hearing her on the phone, with a broken heart, and an exhausted body and mind, I don’t just hear my mom. I hear my grandparents’ daughter. I wish that there was something I could do. I am only 90 minutes away, but with my husband out of state, and 3 kids in school, I can’t just drop things. I mean, maybe I can. Can I? I think that adding my kids in the mix to the overwhelming stress and sadness wouldn’t really help matters. It would be confusing to the kids, and on top of that, we’d have to find something to do with the children while I help out. And, my mother said, there isn’t really anything I can do.
Still, I feel pretty useless.
I’m worried about my mom. I’m worried about my grandma. She’s been battling her Leukemia like a champion, mostly so she can still be here to take care of my grandpa. When he’s gone, will she let go? How will my mother cope with losing both parents?
And, while I’m horribly sad for all of us he’s leaving behind, and for the loss of a great man, I’ve seen how he’s deteriorating over the years, and I can only imagine he’ll be in a peaceful place when he does let go.