01 Aug 2013 1 Comment
When I was five or six, my dad and I spent one Saturday morning alone at home. We didn’t do anything special, I think we watched TV together upstairs in my parents bedroom. Since my dad is the greatest and I wanted to be just like him, that particular morning I, too, attired myself in just my underpants. At some point I needed to go outside to get something, so I walked outside with great confidence, chest puffed up, feeling as awesome as my pop. An older boy I knew in the neighborhood happened to go riding by just when I made it to the curb. He laughed at me and informed me in no uncertain terms that girls do not go around outside without shirts on. I was mortified and ran back inside.
When I first started this blog, it’s main purpose was to keep far-flung family in the know about the various goings-on in our household, and let me tell you, it’s been non-stop, exciting, action-packed reading ever since. Sometimes, knowing who your “audience” is has a way of affecting the tone of what you say and how you say it, and knowing that my Grandma down in Louisiana was a member of the aforementioned audience certainly caused a lot of self-censorship. For instance, those who know me well know that I’m a firm believer in frequent swearing. If my archives from the very beginning were still up, you could go through my posts with a fine-toothed comb and not find a single swear. Not even a “hell”, preferring instead to use the much tamer and completely unnatural (as far as I’m concerned) “heck” because I could practically feel the disapproval emanating from a very particular southern section of our country.
This past Saturday my mom and I flew down to Orlando to spend the weekend with my Grandma. She had relocated there in May and was still in the process of settling in when after a bout of what Dr’s thought were allergies and pneumonia were finally diagnosed this past Thursday as lung cancer. She had 3-6 months left and my mom and I were going to go be with her while she was still active and herself. While we were in the air, my Uncle took her to the ER because she was having trouble breathing and she was ultimately admitted to the hospital. We went straight there after we landed.
Grandma was herself, just very weak and unable to get comfortable. She had no stamina, I guess because she couldn’t really get enough oxygen despite being given oxygen, so even trying to shift her position in bed would make her hot and winded. Over the next few days my mom and I, my Uncle, and my Aunt would take turns being with her, keeping her cool and comfortable, chatting, laughing, and taking care of various things that were worrying her, like mailing letters, keeping track of medicines, and basically just being with her.
On Monday morning, a specialist sat down with my mom and I and showed us Grandma’s x-rays and CAT scan and really explained to us how bad the situation was. Things had been so unclear up to that point because of conflicting medical opinions that even though we all had an inkling that she wasn’t doing well, there was still hope that the current trouble was pneumonia and that treating that would help her to feel much better. The conversation with the specialist killed that hope. Suddenly it was all very real and my mom and I just hugged each other and cried. From there my Uncle and a hospice representative worked their magic and managed to get my Grandma to my Uncle’s house later that afternoon. She passed away the next day around 12:30. I still can’t wrap my brain around that. We were all there with her and it was awful, and sad, and amazing at the same time. Being with her when she passed was like being given a special gift. Actually the entire time, from the moment I walked into the hospital, to the time I got on the plane to come home felt like a gift. I’m going to be forever grateful to my mom for asking me to go down to Florida with her.
I’ve thought about the story of me walking around outside in my underwear off and on over the past 30 years, more frequently lately as Holly has shown a penchant for wearing nothing but her Dora underpants. There were a few times I thought I should put it up on the blog because it clearly made an impression on me, but ultimately didn’t because I thought my Grandma would be appalled at the thought of me being allowed to walk around the neighborhood in my underwear. Every once in a while I’d get grumpy over that fact, but I have to confess I’d give anything to feel like I couldn’t post it now.