First the important stuff:
Our hearts are breaking again. Husband’s Grandma, Anna Mae broke her leg very badly yesterday. Rather than undergo surgery to repair the breaks, she opted to be kept comfortable and to stop taking her dialysis treatments. She is quickly slipping away from us.
Husband wasn’t able to be with his grandfather before he died, or able to attend the funeral afterward. He was stuck in Iraq. We briefly considered doing an emergency leave thing and trying to get him back, but quickly realized that likely would have resulted in him hopping planes all over Europe at Christmastime with little possibility of him making it back to the states and then back to his job in the time span allowed. C and I were able to join his family to convey Husband’s love and to be his ‘stand in’ of sorts. And it was a blessing. I am thankful that we could. But my heart broke for my husband’s helplessness a world away unable to be with his grandfather or his family. Weathering the storm of grief in a war zone instead of in the circle of his wife and family’s arms.
As mentioned, we fly out for Hawaii on Friday. Hawaii doesn’t have nothing on going to be with Anna Mae… But we didn’t purchase the tickets. They are nonrefundable. And to cancel those plans would feel like spitting in the face of Husband’s folks’ amazing generosity. We looked at Husband flying out today to see his Gramma briefly. Long enough to squeeze her hand and say I love you, and then to fly back in time to be at the airport to fly to Hawaii.
Added to the fact that Anna Mae is already nonresponsive, and there are enough folks coming in to give Anna Mae’s daughter and Husband’s Uncle more than enough to deal with on top of losing this incredible woman, we just couldn’t justify it. They’ve even asked family members to think of not coming so as not to overwhelm Anna Mae, and so as not to wear them to a nub with the extra people around to worry about. Having been through losing my Mom, I understand all of these variables fully.
We’re just sick about it all. Truly heart-broken. It just doesn’t seem fair. It seems that every time something major happens to someone we love we have to fight a million battles to be there with them. And sometimes, it’s a fight we can’t win.
Our hearts are in Kansas. They just are. We will go to Hawaii and enjoy it, because we know Anna Mae would tell us to do so. Also because we love Husband’s folks and don’t want to miss this opportunity to draw near to THEM in this life that is all too brief. But the ache of this helplessness that is all too familiar is just astounding. And it is hard to not feel like we are ditching our family in a time of need to go play in Hawaii.
For the record, Anna Mae felt like MY Gramma from the instant I met her. She and Husband’s grandpa just had a way of welcoming you into the circle of their love and making you know without a doubt that you belonged there.
So that’s the important part. We’re losing Anna Mae and it hurts so badly…. And we hurt for the pain she is in. We hurt that she must slip away from us. We hurt that we can’t be there.
Selfish me has a few things to say too.
Selfish me wants to be like Other people.
Other people can get married without their grandfathers dying a month to the day before. Other people can spend all of their first year of marriage with their new spouses, rather than saying good-bye for boot-camp. Other people can get pregnant without finding out six months in that their mothers have terminal cancer. Other people can deliver said babies without their grandmothers dying two weeks to the day before having the baby leaving pregnant huge them unable to get to her side in time to say goodbye, or to feel free to fly back for services with their families. Other people can enjoy those first few precious months of having a baby without having their mothers die. Other people don’t spend the remainder of that first precious year with baby saying goodbye to other family members and friends who also slip away (we lost 7 people very dear to us all in the year that Mom died), and being separated from their husbands. Other people don’t spend their first childrens’ first Christmas Eve’s at funerals. Other people can have babies without having postpartum depression or regular old depression.
And other people can plan a family vacation–one of the first times more than a few days of leave was taken to go somewhere not because someone was sick or dying as in all the other aforementioned circumstances, but because we selfishly wanted to go get a little sunshine, play in the sand and surf and have fun as a family. Other people can go on such vacations.
Apparently we will never be other people.
I know it is selfish to feel this way. I know none of these situations were about me. There is never a good time to lose a loved one or to have a family crisis. I know it is out of everyone’s control. It’s just that the timing of our losses always seems to double and triple the feeling that we are being profusely shat upon. The helpless ‘how do we make this work? We can’t make this work…..’ feelings feel too much to bear, and the feeling that no matter what we choose, we are choosing wrong is so wearying. We’re exhausted of it.
I’ve been told several times that most people don’t go through all that we’ve been through in the last five years in the span of twenty or thirty. I sure hope our span of twenty or thirty years without life-shaking heart-breaking events happening is coming.
I don’t understand why, when truly joyful things happen we can’t just experience the joy. I don’t understand why when truly joyful things happen, tragedy or struggle inevitably come to bite us in the ass.
I sure wish we could be like other people.
Most of all, I hope Anna Mae knows how much we love her…. And how much we wish we could be there. How much we wish that we hadn’t been 2000 miles away for so long and could have come to visit every weekend. I just hope she knows how special to us she is…. and how we are sending our love to wrap itself around her even across all these miles. And I hope she will forgive me for my selfishness.