Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Death, an Awakening, and Grieving the living

When I was young I lost my grandmother to cancer. I was around 8 or 9 and we traveled back and fourth the 3 or 4 hours drive to be with her as much as we could. Through her Kemo we was there with her. We seen her go from healthy to sick and miserable. And we was there quit often. More then we was home. She was a big part of my life and the one thing that held my dads side of the family together. When we lost her it definitely changed the person I was. I understood at an early age what it was like to see someone suffer. To lose someone I cared about immensely. I learned that being there for the ones you love is not always the easiest but when you love someone you try to take the long walk with them. To the best of your abilities. You care for them through the hardest time of there life. And through what might be one of the hardest most defineing times of your own. For years after losing her certain things would trigger my emotions. No one could sing Happy Birthday.. we lost her right after her birthday. The words cancer and die was off limits... there was other things as well. The one that to this day that still gets to me is certain country songs. Riding in the car all those times. That long drive to see her. My parents listened to country music. I can't tell you the names to the songs. I can't, myself remember the lyrics to these songs. Till I here one come on the radio when I am in a store, or flipping through the stations on the radio and accidentally fall on a country station that has one of those songs. It is strange how the brain retains this information. Without use knowing. Anyways. Children cope with loss so much differently. I remember the night we received the news that she had past away. We was at home. It was late. I had been upset and had been sleeping in my parents room. I woke up and they were in the kitchen sitting at the table. I walked out and they told me she had past away. All of these memories flooded my mind. I knew what "died" meant. I knew we would go and see her at the funeral home. I had already been through other funerals but not someone I was so close to. I remember the viewing before the funeral.

I didn't cry. I was being strong for my parents. So I thought. I remember walking up to my dad and telling him that it was ok to cry and that everything was going to be ok.

I am still to this day learning how my grandmother's death affected me more then anyone knew it would. Watching some one suffer is one of the hardest things that you will ever have to face in life. Depending on how you take this suffering and what you do with it can determine the type of person that you are or will become. I am definitely glad that I had those last months with my grandmother. I would not want it any other way. I learned a lot of life's lessons through this situation. There are so many things that I would like to be able to put into words about what I have taken from that situation. But they are not thoughts. They are feelings & reactions to certain situations now. They are ultimately a part of who I have become.

I watch Doctor Phil ever so often and I know how he asks everyone who comes on his show to list a few things for him.

10 most defining moments in your life
7 most Critical choices that you have ever had to make
5 Pivotal people who have written on the slate of your existence

I think to do this is a very eye opening experience. I have been working on my lists and also kind of been working on it in essay form telling why I have picked these answers. John has been working on one as well and we have been sharing our answer. I think it really helps to find out where certain mannerisms in your life come from. I think that is also very important for self growth. And to be able to move on after certain situations. I am only 23 and I have been working on this list and although I have been here you know 23 years I am definitely having a hard time finding the 10 most defining and 7 most critical.

I still have a very hard time with loss. I like to control a lot of situations because of this. But I am learning to step back and be rational and try to view the whole situation. I am sitting here self examining myself not just for self growth today. But because I have recently been dealing with my Grandfathers terminal cancer. My Mother's father will not be here to meet my children when we decide to have kids. Unless it is very soon. My children will never have any memories with him like I do. At the end of last year we found out he had bladder cancer and that his whole bladder would need removed. We were dealing with that. He was dealing with that. We have watched my grandfather go from being very head strong about everything, very opinionated, rough, tough, just I'm not sure how to describe him so that you can get the picture. But now he is weak and quite. He has lost 40 pounds. While he was in UMPC he also contracted C- Diff. He can't stand up, bath him self. Everything people take for granted every day he can no longer do. His bladder was taken out and they told us he was cancer free. He was put back into the hospital a couple days ago for a blood clot in his leg. Where he hasn't been able to walk around. They took some chest x-rays because he was short of breath and found that he has lung cancer. Stage 4. So now it is only a matter of time. He is not going to see a specialist. He is not having Kemo or radiation and I don't blame him. Nor is he going to have surgery. I just wish they would have found this before his bladder had been removed. At least then his body would not being going through the healing process & C-Diff. And he might have had a better quality of life for his time remaining here. It is strange how you look at something one way until something so unexpected happens. And then it changes your perspectives on everything.

Grieving is such a weird process. Grieving the living is even weirder. I know every death is different but still the same. The same in that fact that it is the end of a life. Different in the matter of how they died, did they suffer, was it lengthy or quick? The grieving precess is different just in that fact. When it is a lengthy process you grieve for the loss you will have, the loss of the person as well as the loss of your relationship with that person, you grieve because they are suffering, you grieve because there is really nothing you can do to help them. But just try to make them as comfortable as possible. When they pass away your not sure what to do with all of that extra time that you had been putting towards that person. But sometimes you almost have a since of relief. One because they are not suffering any more. Two because you can finish the grieving process. But since you had been grieving that person since before death the anger, a lot of the time the denial has already past. You can take the sadness and finally move on. But when someone passes away unexpectedly the whole grieving process has to be done after that beings death. Though most time it is a shorter process. At least it is for me. Knowing that there was no suffering involved or very little.. helps me with that process. I really have never had a problem with denial of a death. Although some deaths I have taken extremely hard. I guess all this is about is psychoanalyzing the situation that I am in right now. Not denial just I think my way of starting the grieving process. And maybe how to better manage my grieving.

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