I can hardly believe that we are more than halfway through with 2013. It’s a year that’s been mostly upheaval for me, but I’m figuring it out. Let’s tackle the updates one-by-one.
At the end of April, my grandmother (my father’s mother) fell asleep in her wheelchair at her assisted living residence. While asleep, she slipped out of the chair, breaking the femur of one leg and her hip on the other side. She was too old and weak for surgery, and there were no appropriate braces that would help her heal. All the hospital staff could do was keep her comfortable with sedation…and all her family could do was hope that the end would come soon because she would never heal from this. She passed away at a hospice care facility on May first, less than a week after her fall. May Day indeed.
The event rattled me…we were two very different people—her a pessimist and me an optimist—who sometimes struggled to accept the spiraling direction of each other’s mind. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t love the dickens out of her, but it does mean that I closed parts of myself off to her as I grew older and learned the art of self preservation.
Do I regret that I shut her out from parts of my life? Of course I do. OF COURSE I DO…but sometimes we are faced with decisions that cannot be classified as mostly good or mostly bad. Those decisions live in that vast gray area of life where doubt thrives. I mourn the loss of such a spirited, sassy woman, but I started mourning her years ago.
She gave up in the last nine years since Grandpa died. She had aches and pains in her later years, and she never developed much tolerance to discomfort. Her depression and accompanying inactivity after Grandpa’s death literally crippled her. After years of lethargy, she seemed almost glad to be relegated to a wheelchair. She moved from her condo to assisted living because she seemed to lose the will to fight through anything that challenged her, eventually losing the ability to care for herself.
Her muscles must have been so atrophied and her bones so brittle to have such a simple but devastating accident. My heart aches to know that she suffered at the end. Helplessly, I draw parallels to my own life, my own chronic back pain, and I get a glimpse of what would happen the day that I stop trying to rise above it. If I stop taking the stairs, my mind will tell me that stairs are impossible. If I stop lifting heavy things, my mind will tell me that I’m too weak to do so. I can’t ever stop.