September 19, 2014 by Katia
Life is too short for regrets.
I’ve had a week of revelations. As I was trying to cover as much ground as I could (both emotional and physical) walking the familiar streets of my hometown on a warm September week breathing in comfort, it was raining revelations.
On Wednesday last week my grandma was in a critical condition and not seeing her — not substantially seeing her for as long as I have — has made me numb on the inside. At midnight on Wednesday I was booking a ticket to fly out on the next day. I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to have a conversation with her again. I didn’t know what her reaction to me would be even if the theoretical option of having a conversation was there. I didn’t know if she was going to make it. I didn’t know if I was going to make it on time. I didn’t know what “making it on time” even meant. What WAS I expecting? Which outcome was better for her?
You see, on Wednesday, while she was going through hell she was able to report to my mom through her shortness of breath in a forced effort to speak, between one debilitating spasm and the next, that she had received a message. What message? A good one. From her father. So should I be praying to God to stand in the way of that? I prayed for everything to work itself out in the best possible way instead.
On Friday I landed into the warmth of familiarity and weather. My grandma made it. She was much better. Shortly after arriving in the country my mom and I walked into the hospital corridor. Hospital corridors look the same everywhere. The same colour scheme, the same art decorating the walls, same architecture yet there was nothing familiar about how this felt. My legs were leading me to her room despite myself. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what. I didn’t know.
How is your grandma, my husband asked on the phone from Toronto and once again I didn’t know. She was sleeping when we arrived. So deeply we couldn’t wake her up. My mom said we should try and I was surprised at how scared I was of doing it. Am I scared of interrupting her sleep or am I scared of what will ensue? She was sleeping, I tell him. She was always old, for as long as I can remember her, but now she looked as though there was more age on top of that age. Her hand was firmly clinging to the metallic railing on the side of her bed. For the first of many times throughout this six day visit I was swallowing through a lump in my throat.
On the next day we were at the hospital again. The same stomach ache as I walk into the building and up the elevator to her floor. And then we’re in her room and she sees me and her eyes are suddenly wide open and she says something which I know isn’t WOW but I can’t remember and anyways WOW is what it felt like most and her face lights up and it feels like she’s almost sitting up although I know it’s impossible that she was and making this decision to fly in and being there in that room at that moment is one of the best things ever. We spend some time exchanging words of love and surprise and wonder and my mom tells me she thinks the pillow is too low for grandma. Babooshka always liked to sleep almost sitting up, true to her alert nature and self imposed restrictions whereby the act of sleeping was viewed as a weakness. These days grandma spends most of her time sleeping and wanders in and out of sleep organically. Wakefulness and sleep seem to have merged and she does both with a smile that only leaves her face when she gets worse. I prop up the pillows, stack them up a little bit and gently move my babooshka’s head so she’s more comfortable. “How is it? Better?” I ask.
“It’s wonderful”, she tells me. A huge smile lights up her face once again as her eyes are fixated on mine “absolutely wonderful!”.
* I wrote this without editing after flying in last night and spending 24 hours awake. Consider this my apology.
* During this visit I felt terrible for not letting anyone know, but the visit was entirely dedicated to my grandma and her sister, who are both very ill.
* This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post on the topic: Life is too short for. Please visit our hosts, some of my favourite people to read on the internet:
Kristi at Finding Ninee
Stephanie at Mommy for Real
And co-hosting today the lovely Kelly at Just Typikel