Thursday, December 6, 2007

A little weepy right now

I'm wondering if I should even type this post right now, but I think part of the reason that I'm doing this 'post every day' thing is to really be better at journaling and getting out my real thoughts....my 'right now' thoughts. My concern is, I don't want people reading too much into this post. I'm not writing to get all mushy and receive sympathy. It's just what's on my mind. So here goes...

As I've been preparing for the Christmas season and "feeling all on top of things" and doing a fabulous job at getting ready for the big day, there's a lot going on in our family(ies) right now. All I have to say is that Cancer and Alzheimer's absolutely suck. Separate, together, whatever. They suck. And it's worse when they affect people you know. People you love. People who have been instrumental in your life.

In my family, I'm the oldest grandchild--by a handful of years. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was young. My grandma used to take me to do crafts in the summer. She'd shop with me for hours- literally an entire day if I wanted- during my vacations. We'd go out to breakfast on weekends and then go to the farmer's market to pick out something special to prepare for dinner. We'd pick berries and go on walks. She'd always let me count the money when we went to the bank for a withdrawal, and even though she'd only chew half, she'd always give me a whole piece of gum if I wanted it. I remember that every time I'd go over, she'd wax her kitchen floors because I really liked the way the linolium had sparklies in it, and the very clean floors would shine even more. We'd have little lunch parties under the dining room table and tell secrets. When I graduated from high school, she seemed fine. She wrote in my senior book, and I read it the other day. It was a sweet message from the grandma I always knew. But my freshman year in college, things started to change. She seemed different, moody, distant. She's progressed quickly, all the while, my grandpa taking care of her at home. He's so brave, such an example of what dedication in a marriage is. They have such an admirable relationship. In fact, we named our daughter after him--her middle name. This year, we're hoping to have Christmas with grandma. (ah, see, I'm crying now.)

In addition, one of Josh's grandpa's--we call him "Big Don"-- has cancer. He was one of the first from Josh's family who I really felt comfortable with. I'd go over for Family Home Evening--a night we set aside in our church once a week for family time and a lesson--while Josh was still on his mission. Although Big Don and I are polar opposites politically, we had fun with each other. I got to know him as well, as I visited with Josh's mom and sister. Big Don absolutely adores Mara, and she has fun with him too. Having never had grandkids of his "own", Mara was the first baby grandchild he's experienced. He loves her as his own, and she does too! Big Don had cancer a few years ago and went into remission, but he's sick again. This time, he's just waiting. Our time with him seems to be limited, as well.

For us this year, Thanksgiving was a time we were especially thankful to be able to see Big Don and Grandma. Christmas/Mara's b-day will be difficult. Although I have a testimony- a knowledge- that we are put on this earth for a purpose and a short time and that we will live again, I have always had issues with death. Maybe it's because I have been lucky enough to not have had to deal with it in life. Until this summer, I still had all my grandparents. (The one that passed away this summer was 104 years old.)

And so, it's with a heavy heart that I am trying to come to terms with it. I'm trying to find a way to have my emotions follow what I know to be true and be comforted by it-- that in the next life, we will all be able to be together again. Families can be eternal. That knowledge truly does help me as I deal with this; however, it doesn't change the fact that cancer and Alzheimer's really do suck, and it doesn't keep me from crying about it. And so far, it hasn't really helped me work out any of my 'issues' with death.

2 comments:

CodynStacey said...

It does suck, and I'm really sorry. Death is one of the hardest things to go through but at the same time it really can bring you closer to your Heavenly Father, which I'm sure Josh's grandpa and your grandma would want you to be. If you ever need anything let me know! There will always be hard days, but it is something we can be sad and happy about. It'll always be ok to miss them, but it's ok, too, to be so happy for where they are. I love you!!!

margaretb said...

Nicole,

I want you to know how much I love you as a daughter in-law and how proud I am of you as a mother to my grandaughter, and as a wife to my son. You are an exceptional woman and your mother has done such a great job raising you. I admire your commitment to family.
It is very hard to see Don suffer. He has been like to father to me over the past 16 years. I know that Don and Pauline truly love my children as they would, had they had their own grandchildren. Mara is a delight to everyone and especially Don and Pauline. I am so glad he got to see her yesterday. He smiled today when we talked about her visit.