Lately

Lately….

(Both the title of this post and a rather awesome slow Jodeci slow jam from my high school days…)

I’ve found it quite hard to get back in the swing of things lately. I’ve just been off and not myself. It’s a little PPD, a little of the summer doldrums, and a lot of loss.

On August 11th my grandmother went into the hospital for what we thought was a routine procedure. She’d been having shortness of breath and chest pains so her cardiologist wanted to perform a cardiac catheterization. Basically, it is procedure where they shoot dye into your arteries to see if there are any blockages. My mom called me around 10:00 a.m. to say one artery was 98% blocked and they had to do immediate open heart surgery. One oh-so-helpful hospital aide actually said to my mom “I can’t believe she hasn’t died in her sleep!” Thanks for that visual, dude.

She made it through surgery and we expected a long, tough recovery. I went to see her that night and the following days. While she was definitely not herself and was in quite a lot of pain and a little loopy, I was still able to talk to her and tell her I loved her.

The following Monday, she started hallucinating, seeing and talking to family members who had passed away. She wouldn’t sleep and my mom, who was staying with her in ICU, reported she was extremely agitated. She finally fell asleep after being up about 24 hours early Tuesday morning. She never woke up again.

When she couldn’t be roused a CT scan was ordered and was performed Wednesday. The news was not good, but they wanted us to wait and consult with a neurologist before making any decisions or really making a ruling on her condition. I took the kids up to the hospital on Wednesday afternoon and waited on the neurologist to arrive.

The neurologist came late that afternoon, around 6pm, and spoke to my mom, aunt, and grandfather privately. My mom called us all back into a private room shortly after to share the news – my grandmother had had a major stroke and was, for all intents and purpose, brain dead. She would not wake up and was expected to live just a few days.

That was hard. I mean, of course it was hard but it was even harder because it was so unexpected. I kept thinking – you’re kidding me, right? Of all surviving three grandparents, my Mama Betty seemed to be in the best of health. She’d been walking around, shopping it up, just two weeks prior. She’d survived open heart surgery and the insertion of a pacemaker just to die of a stroke?

But our plans are not God’s plan – I know that.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, for sure. It’s hard to lose a grandparent. It’s hard to see your grandfather and mother grieve. Loss of any type is hard. I know my Mama Betty, had she been able to talk to us, would have said she was excited to go to Heaven. I know she’s not in pain and she’s rejoicing and celebrating with our other family members.

Death isn’t hard on the one who dies; it is hard on the ones that are left behind.

I keep thinking of all these things I wish I had asked her. You always think you will have more time, and even though I am sure most of us say that we live by a “seize the day!” attitude, do we? Do we really? There are so many things I want to know. What it was like being a working woman in the 1940’s? How did she live on her salary of $10 a week? What was it like to get married at 16? What are her secrets to a successful 64 year marriage?

I never asked, because I thought I had time.

Friends, do you have time? Do any of us? You just never know. Ask your questions now. Let your loved ones know your feelings. Hug them tight.

You just never know.

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