Oct 8, 2010

Looking back

If you've never experienced great loss, i don't think it's possible to understand the ways in which it can impact you, sometimes even without you knowing why or what exactly is going on.

The last month has been a little tough for me as the impending anniversary loomed ahead like some ferocious dragon I would have to slay. Some days are hard for no particular obvious reason. I'm thinking that this is partly because of the subconscious triggers that bring back feelings of last year without me even realizing why. Last year at this time was most certainly the hardest time of my life. And here in the Midwest, this time of year is clearly marked with signs of the changing seasons. There are sites and smells that regularly take me back to happy memories of years gone past. It seems this year though, some of my all time favorite sites and smells are taking me back to a time I'd rather forget. Obviously, I have no desire to forget my mother and her amazing smile and laugh. But the last weeks of her life were closest thing to hell I've ever experienced.

Here is a post from this time last year to share a little of what I mean:

Yeah...I don't think so...

I am by nature a people watcher/observer. Even as a teenager, when I'd go to the mall, my favorite activity was sitting and just watching people. Did you ever do that, sit with a friend and come up with stories about the people as they walked by. Like why that lady was clearly peeved off at what we can only assume was her husband? People and their habits have always fascinated me. I'm pretty sure I should have gone into some for of psychology or social work. But I obviously didn't so I'm just left to amuse myself with my completely untrained observations and opinions.
And I have to say I've found it surprisingly interesting to see how people "handle" talking to me (or NOT talking to me) about the things my family is going through. I'm completely aware that it simply is not easy to know what to say or do for people who are hurting. But I'm also fairly convinced that sum people just aren't that worried about it because not knowing what to say and saying something utterly ignorant are two VERY different things.
But one thing that's been said to me MANY times that I don't feel is thoughtless or without merit has been swimming around my head lately. People who are very near and dear have commented about how, as bad as what we're going through is, at least it's not been a sudden or unexpected thing, that this way is better. And I've always nodded and agreed because I completely get what they're saying. The pain of losing someone unexpectedly, not getting the chance to say all the things you should have said, is gut wrenching. It leaves a hole that can never be filled. I know that!

But I'm also convinced this way is NOT better. Different? Yes! But not better.

While I've lost several special people in my life, I've never gone through this experience before. I have lost both of my Grandmothers after what seemed like excruciatingly long illnesses. But neither of them were conscious and able to express to us what they were going through. I can't say that they didn't know, but I'd don't think they knew what was happening to them. I lost my uncle very unexpectedly. It was a huge shock! But again, while he had been made aware of a condition with his heart that should have been addressed, he also had no real presumption of his impending return to our heavenly Father. And another uncle, who was actively fighting for his life just two years ago. I'm sure he was aware of the possible outcomes. But he was also still fighting and able to attempt to hold on to that last bit of hope for his miracle.

But never in my life have I had to look anyone, let alone someone so close to me, in the eye and know that they are living each minute of their life knowing that it will be ending for them soon. Wondering and worrying about when that moment will be. Questioning what it will feel like. Wondering what they did to "deserve" this. Considering all the milestones of their grandchildren that they will miss. It's excruciating to sit with someone you love so much and make plans for their funeral, make gifts to be left for their grandchildren and discuss what will be left to whom.


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