Saturday, January 06, 2007

her time

DH is in CT for his grandmother's funeral.

She was a charming, petite woman, and she lived to 99-and-one-half years old. It was her time to go. When I first met DH she had already fallen into that habit that older generations annoy younger ones with, the repeating of the favorite stories. I can't tell you how many times I heard about DH's letters from camp to his Gram, and how he spelled school "s-k-o-o-l."

I didn't see Gram all that often, so it was easy for me to be patient with her. I know for my in-laws, she was often a trial. In these past few years, Gram had obviously given up. She started using a wheelchair four or five years ago, simply because she didn't want to walk anymore. There was no reason for her to use the wheelchair, she just didn't want to try anymore. Her awareness would slip in and out, and I know the last few times we saw her, she recognized that we were somehow related, but she really didn't know who we were. That was in sharp contrast to the early days of my marriage, when we'd visit her with DS1 and she'd take us all around and introduce us to all her friends and the staff, saying how we'd come all the way from AZ to see her (which was, more or less, true). Her decline seemed gradual until it became abrupt, and then suddenly, she was gone. At least that's how it seemed from a distance.

DH took off Thursday morning; the services were Friday. He'll be home Sunday night, and I'm glad he's spending some time with parents and his brothers and their families now. There was no question of all of us going, the expense would've been crushing, and DS2 is just now feeling better after being sick for two weeks.

I know it's the right think for DH to be there, but I wish he were here, too. My mom finally got a diagnosis for her shortness of breath, and it was something completely unexpected: it's her kidneys. Here's one reference to shortness of breath and kidney-related illness which blatantly uses the words kidney failure. This question presciently asks the most important thing:am I going to die? The answer is vaguely hopeful, talking about dialysis and transplants. The thing is, my mother already has a DNR and I'm pretty sure she is not on board with the idea of dialysis. I'm slightly panicked that if Mom gets a serious diagnosis she'll just give up entirely and decide it's her time, too.

Of course I'm operating with only partial information here, and am probably jumping to all sorts of unnecessarily bad conclusions. Mom said her condition is "not life-threatening," but that is so the kind of thing she'd say so I wouldn't worry. This is, after all, the woman who came to my (put together in a week) wedding without mentioning that the very next day she was having a mass of pre-cancerous tissue removed from one of her breasts; she ended up getting a masectomy. She "didn't want to ruin [my] day." I was the only one of my siblings that didn't know; she forbade anyone else telling me. Of course I found out the next morning and stayed with my Dad and sister during Mom's surgery -- but she accomplished her goal, which was for me to enjoy my wedding and not worry about her until afterwards, which was an amazing gift, but also makes me feel like an idiot for scheduling a wedding so close to my Mom's surgery date... which I didn't know about!

Mom's funny, sometimes she's ready to throw in the towel -- she really misses Dad, living alone is difficult, her health is keeping her away from the travels she loves -- but other times, she's psyched about something, like her upcoming 80th birthday party, or traveling to China with one of my sisters-in-law. There's too much variability there for me to predict how this is going to go, and without knowing how serious her medical condition is, there's no point in predicting, anyway.

I'm just not ready for it to be her time. Not yet, not that I believe I ever will be ready. Maybe when she reaches the cusp of 100, it will be OK, the way it was with Gram. I don't know, I don't know. I just know her time should not be soon, and it certainly should not be now.

Spontaneous generation: DS2 told his kindergarden class about Gram's death. His teacher asked him how he felt about it, and he reasoned it out for himself: She didn't live here, recognizing that he didn't really know her, but she loved him. Then: I love her. I'm glad she's in heaven with Jesus.

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